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Morocco News meets the World

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    Mustapha Elkhalfi

    Rabat - Morocco is positively interacting and is supportive of UN initiatives for a settlement of the artificial dispute over the Western Sahara, said communication minister, government spokesperson Mustapha El Khalfi, underlining that for Morocco, the Western Sahara's Moroccanness is crystal clear legally, historically and culturally.

    “Morocco submitted a project for a political settlement of this conflict, which consists of a plan granting the southern provinces a status of autonomy under the Moroccan sovereignty,” El Khalfi told, adding that this plan was favorably welcomed internationally, mainly the stand reiterated by the United States.

    The minister recalled that 30 countries have already withdrawn their recognition of the fake SADR (Saharaui Republic) entity.

    He added that Morocco opted for a project of extensive regionalization as a starting point to move ahead with this settlement process.

    On the referendum option, he recalled that the UN had announced, ten years ago, the failure of this option after receiving around 131,000 application contesting the first list.

    The official underlined that the foes of Morocco's territorial integrity refuse to implement the UN decision on conducting a census of populations in the Tindouf camps while international reports are uncovering grave human rights abuses in these camps, especially slavery practices.

    Referring to the closure of borders with Algeria, the minister highlighted Morocco's clear stance on responding to the aspirations of Maghreb peoples to build a real unity based on cooperation and shared future.

    With MAP

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    Genesis Roman Melgar in Morocco

    By Genesis Roman Melgar

    New York - Summarizing a vacation in Morocco in a short article would be impossible. Morocco has the beauty of different countries all wrapped up in one.

    Every city is unique so much so that going from one to the other make visitors feel as if they had traveled to completely different places. It is a country with exceptional architecture, incredible landscapes, delicious cuisine, and unforgettable hospitality provided its citizens. Here are some highlights.

    Casablanca and Rabat are the largest cities, more modernized compared to the others and definitely urban. In Casablanca, Make sure to visit the majestic, breathtaking Hassan II Mosque that overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and is the tallest minaret in the world. In Rabat, the Hassan Tower and the Mausoleum of Mohammad V are two famous touristic attractions, well worth the visit.

    [caption id="attachment_120032" align="aligncenter" width="960"]Mosque Hassan II in Casablanca Mosque Hassan II in Casablanca[/caption] [caption id="attachment_106595" align="aligncenter" width="960"]Mosque Hassan in Rabat. Mosque Hassan in Rabat.[/caption]

    To admire inimitable architecture and have a more traditional Moroccan experience, visitors can travel a few hours away to Marrakech and Fez. I liked both equally, but for different reasons.

    Marrakech is the colorful city. There are many “must do things and must visit places” there. The Jemma El- fna square offers the best freshly squeezed orange juice, served cold and made right in front of the costumer.  The souk (market) was an amazing place to see and buy almost anything Moroccan. You could spend the whole day there admiring the handcrafted souvenirs, handmade carpets, lamps, teapots, handbags, and many other beautiful things.

    [caption id="attachment_139131" align="alignnone" width="960"]Fresh Orange Juice in Marrakech Fresh Orange Juice in Marrakech[/caption]

    Fez is the traditional city. Very different from Marrakech, Fez is still a must-see. Women dress more conservatively in Fez, wearing veils much more than they do in Marrakech. The Islamic religious calls to prayer fascinated me, calling locals together for the sacred time. I enjoyed both listening to the sounds and observing people going to pray.

    The old medina in Fez is such an enchanting place to be! Composed of thousands of narrow streets tourists might get lost if they don’t have a guide on their first visit. The captivating smell of scents, spices, food, and the to-die-for pastries give visitors a real taste of Morocco. The medina is also the place where women can spend countless hours shopping for beauty products, such as pure argan oil, natural oiled scents, perfumes, and beautiful traditional dresses such as caftans and gandoras made of beautiful fabrics.

    [caption id="attachment_139132" align="aligncenter" width="960"]What about some Moroccan Slippers [Babouch] that serves all tastes? What about some Moroccan Slippers [Babouch] that serve all tastes?[/caption]

    A must do when vacationing in Morocco is staying in riads, hotels in or constructed like the traditional Moroccan houses and Fez has plenty to choose from. Most of these have a terrace on the roof that gives tourists splendid views of the areas around. Also, these are perfect places to admire traditional Moroccan decorations and architecture.

    Away from modern and traditional, is the desert. The Sahara Desert is fantastic, but the experience is incomplete if the person does not spend at least one night there. Going with a group of friends can prove to be a fun adventure. Camel trekking in the sand while admiring the gorgeous sunset, laying on the sand at night listening to live Moroccan music, and sipping on mint tea while looking at the stars provide unforgettable memories.

    Sahara Desert in Morocco

    Beach lovers, there are cities for you as well. Located on the coasts of Morocco, Tangier, Kenitra, Essauira and Agadir are among the cities that offer gorgeous beaches and breathtaking views. I fell in love with Kenitra, a small city in the North with an amazing beach, and lovely people. A visit to the Mehdia’s ruined Kasbah can give you a spectacular view of the sea and city. The opportunities for amazing photographs are endless.

    The first visit to a hammam, or public bath, is definitely a memorable experience. Women, there is no time to be shy during the mostly nude process, just let yourself enjoy the experience. In the end, it is somewhat similar to going to a spa for three hours, but even better. The hammam leaves the person very relaxed, stress free, and very, very clean.

    I purposely made Morocco my first abroad travel destination. As an open- minded woman that believes in equality, respect, tolerance, and most of all as someone that embraces all cultures and religions, I wanted to get the firsthand experience of a country very different from mine. On this trip, I had the chance to debunk the usual prejudices and misconceptions that many people have about Moroccan culture, people, and religion.

    [caption id="attachment_117616" align="aligncenter" width="960"]Moulay Youssef Mosque in Rabat Moulay Youssef Mosque in Rabat[/caption]

    The usual phrases I often heard before traveling were “make sure you cover up well when you are in Morocco,” “be careful, people are very strict in their religions and customs” and “be safe, you never know what can happen to you in such countries.” Hearing these comments made me nervous, but I can honestly say that the fear vanished almost immediately, and in fact, I felt quite at home.

    Moroccans are good people, very welcoming and respectful. People at the airport, hotels, vendors at the souks, taxi drivers, and everyone in general try to make tourists feel at home. If there is a prize for hospitality, Morocco deserves it. Every time I visited a Moroccan house or hotel, I was greeted with a friendly smile and good manners, not to mention the usual offer of the traditional Moroccan tea and delicious pastries.

    [caption id="attachment_139130" align="aligncenter" width="960"]Moroccans eat sweets [Chabbakiya] with Harira Moroccans eat sweets [Chabbakiya] with Harira[/caption]

    Regarding language, even though Arabic and French are the main languages in Morocco, tourists manage to communicate in other languages as well. To my surprise, I found multilingual Moroccans, many speaking more than three languages. However, these multilingual locals are not everywhere; therefore it would be useful to know some French or Arabic before visiting Morocco.

    As for dress code, there is no such thing for tourists. I was repeatedly advised by friends and others to pack as many conservative clothes as I could, even a veil. In fact, I eventually regretted not taking at least a knee length skirt or shorts. I was the only girl in my group of friends wearing floor length dresses, while the others wore short summer dresses and shorts. At the end, floor length or knee length, it doesn’t make a difference. Moroccans respect the way tourists are dressed. However, some male locals will still stare at female tourists walking in the streets regardless of how they dress. Women, this is common, just ignore them.

    To conclude, Morocco is a country worth visiting. Its unique culture, architecture, history, food and beautiful landscapes, are just the beginning. The welcoming attitude makes you want to stay. I plan to visit again, some day, inshallah.

    [caption id="attachment_139112" align="aligncenter" width="960"]Women's Cooperation of Argan Oil Women's Cooperation of Argan Oil[/caption] [caption id="attachment_139113" align="aligncenter" width="960"]Tanneries in fez Medina Tanneries in fez Medina[/caption] The Moroccan Sahara In Fez, a mosque in the old Medina [caption id="attachment_139119" align="aligncenter" width="960"]Items to buy while in Morocco Items to buy while in Morocco[/caption] [caption id="attachment_139128" align="aligncenter" width="960"]The Art of Presenting Moroccan Spices The Art of Presenting Moroccan Spices[/caption] [caption id="attachment_139135" align="aligncenter" width="957"]Enjoy the Best Juicy Watermelon in Morocco Enjoy the Best Juicy Watermelon in Morocco[/caption]

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

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    Part of Next James Bond movie to Be Bilmed in Morocco

    Rabat- The production team of the 24th James Bond film, featuring Daniel Craig as fictional British service agent, will reportedly film scenes from the movie in Morocco.

    According to comicbook website, most of the filming of the upcoming James Bond movie is set to take place in Pinewood Studios in England, but there will also be shooting in Austria, Rome, and possibly Morocco.

    The film will start principal photography on December 6, 2014 with Daniel Craig playing 007 for the fourth time.

    Bond24 is scheduled to be released on October 23, 2015 in the UK and November 6 2015 in the U.S.

    Over the years, Morocco has become a favorite film destination acclaimed by a number of successful Hollywood film-makers. One of the American movies filmed in Morocco is “Son of God,” which was released last February.

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    Isis fighters, pictured on a militant website verified by AP.

    Rabat- Morocco will not take part in a conference scheduled to be held in Paris on Monday to devise a strategy to destroy the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq (ISIS).

    The conference, which is being convened by French President, Francois Hollande, will be attended by 30 countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, China, Russia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, and Jordan.

    The conference comes four days after the Jeddah meeting attended by the six Gulf countries, as well as Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey in addition to the United States. Like other countries of the Maghreb, Morocco was not invited to participate in the Jeddah meeting.

    Following the meeting, the participating countries issued a communique in which they pledged to undertake the necessary “actions to combat terrorism, including stopping the flow of foreign fighters through neighboring countries, countering the financing of ISIS and other terrorist groups and repudiating jihadist ideology.”

    In addition, they agreed to “join in the many aspects of the coordinated military campaign against ISIS, as appropriate.”

    The Paris meeting will be followed by a Security Council meeting scheduled to be held on September 25 on the sidelines of the sixty-ninth session of the United Nations General Assembly. President Barack Obama will preside over the Security Council meeting as the head of the delegation from the member-state that holds the rotating presidency for September 2014, the United States.

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

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    Three Moroccan Women Among Forbes’ 200 Most Powerful Arab Women

     Fez- Three Moroccan women were selected among Forbes’ 200 most powerful women in the Arab World in 2014 in the category “family business.”

    The three powerful Moroccan women fare well as they occupy the first 50 spots of the most influential Arab women included in the list.

    The first Moroccan woman on the list is Meriem Bensalah Chaqroun, who ranked 15th, followed by the CEO of Aksal Group, Salwa Idrissi Akhannouch, who ranked 18th and Nadia Kettani, Head of the the Casablanca-based International Law Firm Kettani, who ranked 49th. The three women were listed by Jeune Afriqe and other 5 Moroccan women as the most influential 25 African women of 2013.

    Meriem Bensalah Chaqroun

    An MBA graduate in International Managment and Finance from University of Dallas, Texas, USA, Meriem Bensalah Chaqroun was elected Wednesday, May 16, 2012 as President of the CGE M. She also directed for 23 years the mineral water companies Sidi Ali, Oulmes, and Bahia. She is the daughter of Abdelkader Bensalah, founder of the conglomerate Holmarcom.

    Salwa Akhannouch

    Head of Akwa Group, a distributor of petroleum products, Salwa Akhannouch is a prominent Moroccan businesswoman who heads the franchise group Aksal, founded in 2004. Her ambitious project, Morocco Mall, is the largest shopping center of Africa and the Middle East and in the world top five. Her father, the famous Berber businessman Ahmed Haj Belfiqih, made his fortune in the tea trade. She is married to Aziz Akhannouch, Minister of Agriculture.

    Nadia Kettani

    Since1992, Nadia Kettani has been a Partner, Co-Manager and the Head of the International Consulting Department at Kettani Law Firm in Casablanca, one of Morocco’s oldest and most prestigious law firms. Kettani Law Firm’s project and corporate finance experts have been involved in advising the $1.6 billion financing of projects at the port of Jorf Lasfar.

    Gulf Women top the list

    The list of the 200 most powerful Arab women is topped by United Arab Emirates’ Raja Easa El Gurg, Managing Director of Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group LLC. She is followed by Saudi Arabia’ Lubna Olayan, Vice Chairperson of the Board & CEO of Olayan Financing Company, and Bahrain’s Mona Almoayyed, Managing Director of Y K Almoayyed & Sons Group.

    Forbes’ ranking was elaborated based on 7 criteria, namely the degree of power associated with the position, the years of professional experience, the family generation the individual belongs to, Individual’s media interaction and online presence, the number of years in operation, the number of countries in which the organization has operations, and the number of employees.

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    Morocco busts suspected ISIS recruiting cell

    Fez - To tighten its grip on extremists who seek to join the ranks of the Islamic State (IS), the Moroccan government reportedly asked Turkey to require a visa for Moroccans wishing to visit or pass through Turkey, Moroccan newspaper Akhbar Al Youm said in its Thursday edition.

    According to the same source, the Moroccan authorities aim to curb the flow of Moroccans joining IS, most of whom travel to Syria and Iraq through Turkish territory.

    The fact that Moroccans don’t need a visa to enter Turkey makes it easier for some extremists to get through its borders and join the ranks of this terrorist organization.

    The same source added that Turkey does not seem to be enthusiastic about the Moroccan request for political and economic reasons.

    The political reason is related to Ankara’s reluctance to fully engage in the international coalition led by the United States to destroy IS.

    The second reason is related to the importance of the Moroccan market for the Turkish tourism sector.

    More than 100,000 Moroccans visit Turkey every year. This has a positive impact on the country’s economy, which relies heavily on tourism. If the Turkish government meets the request made by its Moroccan counterpart, the number of Moroccans tourists who visit Turkey is likely to plummet, which will have a negative impact on its economy.

    A report published by CNN earlier this month said that over 1,500 Moroccans have joined the ranks of terrorist groups in Syria, including IS.

    The same report ranked Morocco third in terms of countries that have sent the most jihadists to Syria. 1,500 Moroccan jihadists are fighting in Syria, followed by Russia (800 jihadists) and France (700 jihadists).

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    Morocco’s Main Tourist Destination Upgrades its Transport System

    Marrakech- Marrakech’s bus transport system will be upgraded in 2015, according to a report in L’Economiste. A rapid bus service will be launched from departure points at Koutoubia and Bab Doukkala to the main city suburbs.

    The first two new routes are planned for 2015, with service to the suburbs of Mhamid Guemassa, Massira, and Sidi Youssef Ben Ali. The new bus station will be located on Boulevard Allal El Fassi.

    There will be an expanded public transportation network to outlying urban networks, including Tammansourt.

    Main roads and avenues have already been widened, and the new transit system is expected to help to reduce the congestion on Marrakech’s roadways. The rapid bus service is planned will have buses arrive less than 5 minutes apart during peak hours and a maximum of ten minutes during off peak periods.

    Special bus-only lanes will be created alongside two lanes for four-wheel vehicles and one lane for two-wheel vehicles such as motorbikes, the article reports. It will be interesting to see whether car and motorcycle drivers will keep to the allotted lanes.

    The Spanish bus company ALSO will implement urban transportation plan. The current service is often overcrowded. New models of buses are being phased in and the population will welcome the new bus service if its frequency and punctuality can be increased.

    New lanes for buses, cars, heavy commercial vehicles, and motorbikes will hopefully mean that traffic will flow more freely, and traffic jams, which afflict all cities, will be reduced. The plan is further evidence of Marrakech’s development as a major urban center. One question that has yet to be answered is how much the new tickets will cost. Although the current bus service suffers from old vehicles and a lack of seats, the service is regular and the bus fare is four dirhams one way.

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    Morocco, first exporter of wine in the Arab World

    Marrakech- Morocco is the second largest producer of wine in the Arab world. Wine production in Morocco began with the Phoenicians and the Romans.

    Following Morocco’s Independence in 1956, the wine industry declined as vineyards were nationalized. Later King Hassan II allowed foreign winemakers to pay for vineyards on a long lease, and winemakers, mainly French, began to restore Morocco’s wine industry to its former glory.

    The wine industry now employs at least 20,000 workers. Brahim Zniber established Morocco’s first accredited Domain at Chateau Roslane, and the best wine area in Morocco is considered to be the Meknes region. Cool mountains and sea breezes mean that grapes do not overheat in the vineyards, and render Morocco an ideal place for wine cultivation. Morocco is now producing high quality wines which are beginning to win export markets in the United States and Europe, though the majority of wine is still consumed in Morocco.

    As reported in Morocco World News, alcohol sales on the legal market fell by almost 18% between January and August 2014. With a 46% drop, wine was the category most affected

    A sales drop by nearly 50% for Moroccan wine in the home market is counterproductive for the Moroccan economy. Years of investment and effort have gone into developing Morocco’s fine vineyards to a point where Moroccan wine is now finding favor in important export markets.

    As well as threatening jobs and investment there is also a serious impact on tourism. For Europeans and others having wine with a meal is part of the pleasure of enjoying Morocco’s fine cuisine. With rising prices for alcohol at a time of global recession, tourists may well go elsewhere for their holidays to Spain for instance which is enjoying a revival in its tourism industry.

    Sales in restaurants where the tax adds more to the cost of a bottle of wine are likely to decline as restaurant owners are forced to increase the price of a bottle to preserve their mark up. Morocco risks losing the important advantage it has gained in rising tourism figures.

    Morocco permits alcohol sales, but it is not permitted to be sold to Muslims. Yet many Moroccans like to drink wine and do so. They are free to buy it in supermarkets such as Acima and Carrefour and in many shops.

    If the Moroccan government wanted to ban sales of wine to Muslims it could do so very easily by following the procedure used in Ramadan where a purchaser has to identify himself as a non-Muslim by presenting his identity card.

    The fact that Morocco does not do this at other times of the year evidences a liberal policy on wine sales in line with countries like Jordan and Lebanon, and is a sensible compromise. No one after all is forced to drink wine if he or she does not want to. Moderation and compromise has so far been the secret to Morocco’s success.

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

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    Road Accidents

    Rabat- Only 55 street radars out of Morocco’s 150 are in good condition and able to detect speed and track traffic violations. 80 radars are in the process of being repaired or connected, while 15 are unsuitable to work.

    Minister of Transportation and Equipment Aziz Rabbah revealed these statistics in an interview with Moroccan daily Akhbar Alyoum in its Thursday issue.

    According to the Minister, these radars are often "exposed to defects as a result of a number of accidents and sabotage." In this regard, the Ministry has allocated MAD 4 million to repair the non-functional radars.

    To strengthen the system of traffic monitoring and surveillance, Rabbah noted that the Ministry presented a public procurement notice to receive proposals from companies that sell, operate, and maintain radars to buy 200 new ones. The Minister adds that these radars "will be ready to operate in mid 2015."

    The Ministry will introduce a new monitoring plan in which 175 controllers will be available to conduct abrupt technical monitoring missions. In addition to controlling drivers’ abilities and the extent to which drivers respect the road laws, the Ministry also intends to intensify inspection operations of technical surveillance centers for vehicles.

    For reasons of transparency, Rabbah revealed the Ministry's plan to to regulate drivers’ licenses centers by installing cameras in all circuits of practical exams "to monitor all recorded flaws."

     Traffic accident statistics for 2013 show that the number of fatalities reached 3,705, a 8.63 percent decline compared to 2012.

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    Rachid Belmokhtar

    Fez- The alarming degradation of the Moroccan education system has caused considerable controversy while the situation remains dismal according to NGOs’ reports.

    After decades of continuous downturns on diverse fronts such as economics, employment, social justice, and even sports, Moroccan education has also reached its crisis peak.

    UNESCO has unmasked the continued miserable state of Moroccan public schools as Morocco was ranked amongst the least effective educational systems worldwide. A very similar dim picture was revealed in 2011 and 2013 reports (Almassae; January 4, 2014). These reports indicate that the country must undertake major, comprehensive reform measures to restore and strengthen the system.

    Despite the 5% of the country’s GDP devoted to education and the grand facilities of the Moroccan ministry, the level of Moroccan education is no better than much poorer countries. The recent report has ranked Morocco in a belated position among Arab countries in graduation and schooling rates. This dreary situation persists despite vows of educational authorities to reform this sensitive sector.

    After his allegiance ceremony in July 1999, King Mohammed VI’s gave an official discourse in parliament on August 8, wherein he indicated the significance of reforming the Moroccan education. In the same year, the Moroccan Ministry of Education published a report following a thorough analysis of the Moroccan education system, following an order of former King Hassan II. The National Charter for Education and Training has been considered a momentous catalyst in Moroccan educational policy-making promising deep reforms of the deficient educational system. It has underlined a set of reform measures and mechanisms intended to promote Moroccan education’s quality.

    The National Charter was a revolutionary reform plan aimed at matching the economic, political, social, and educational novelties Morocco was witnessing then, after several crises in the system of education. Overall, the Charter has set a plan for quality education through an inclusive series of goals emphasizing good teacher-training, syllabus review and re-planning, language instruction enhancement, and human resources adequacy, to name a few. However, 15 years later, the actual status of education has gone through a palpable degradation, which puts into question the state’s political intentions in dealing with the issue.

    The White Book -another official education document- has named a series of tenets for education reform in Morocco. It affirms that the curriculum should not simply be a mere combination of subjects but an essential component of an educational strategy for reform (White Book. introduction p:1). It also emphasizes that school should play the leading role in producing well-trained, educated, and independent individuals. In addition, it draws attention to the empowerment of democracy and human rights, which are indispensable for opinion, knowledge, creativity, and initiative to thrive in educational settings. It accentuates the preservation the Moroccan identity along preparing the learner to be an active and influential player in the aspired renaissance.

    Similarly, and among other measures, the Moroccan administration has adopted an educational policy referred to as ‘school map’, intended to pass students in the early and middle stages of schooling to advanced levels despite their lack of primary education skills. Worthy of note is that experts attribute this defective policy to international partners’ intervention in the Moroccan financial affairs to control their fundraising for improvement of state sectors, of which education is major component.

    The reform processes has brought about a hustle and bustle in the media as well as for the public. Another official reaction to the dire human resources’ shortage and critical education situation was Latifa El Abida's ministry introduction of ‘The Emergency Plan’. It was an emergent model of reform which cost a colossal budget in an attempt to make up for human resources’ shortage, enhance in-service teacher-training, limit high drop-out rates, equip classrooms with teaching materials, etc.

    However, the results of the Emergency Plan demonstrate palpable failure. Education establishments are still short of human resources, especially teaching staff. Dropout rates are still very high: between 350 and 400 thousand leave school each year before the age of fifteen. In the long-term, dropping out has serious consequences such as high illiteracy rates, unemployment, theft practice, affiliation to crime gangs, and the like.

    Also, imitation of the French system in regards to cycles, streams, grades, and even content continues to stir controversy among education stakeholders. Given the conspicuous incompatibility between Moroccan and French educational environments, the copying of the French system has generated public discontent among educators, students, and their parents. Many deem it a continued form of subservience to France, which aims to maintain its colonialist control over Morocco.

    Today, Moroccan schools produce unqualified literates; ill-suited for the job market, and unable to function well in service to their country. The state’s ad hoc measures to raise the quality of education is manifested through policy change along with change of people in charge of this vital department. For instance, when Mohammed El Wafa took office as minister of education, he immediately cancelled The Emergency Plan and fired the official in charge of it, contending that a colossal budget was fruitlessly spent for the program. El Wafa has adopted a new policy addressing educational issues; a philosophy the appointed technocrat Rachid Belmokhtar seems to despise. This indicates that educational policy-making is dependent on personal perceptions or political ideologies rather than the country’s overall policy guided by national identity and the pursuit of sustainable development.

    Interestingly, Moroccan education’s deterioration continues while official discourse on education grows tenser through parliamentary debate, media programs, and so forth. In this respect, King Mohammed VI gave a speech on August 20, 2013, whereby he alluded to the mediocrity of the educational system and stated an effort to review language instruction policy.

    Meanwhile, he announced the creation of The Higher Council for Education, which will serve as a specialized body able to provide sound views and suggestions on education policy. The King’s speech was interpreted as returning back to the use of foreign languages in instruction in lieu of Arabic, which asserts that Arabization was another facet of a failing education.

    Considerable efforts have been made to rescue our education. However, reform attempts have veered off the central principle which is the empowerment of human resources and catering to their needs. In this respect, teachers and students continue to face increasing difficulties as reform plans seem to have no positive impact on their personal or professional endeavors. On the one hand, teachers still endure myriad problems such as slow promotions, low salaries, artificial textbooks, poor students’ grades, many working hours, lack of teaching materials, etc.

    These problems surely have an adverse effect on teaching quality inasmuch as teachers are stressed more and more and resent the state for inadequate working conditions. The state has not only suspended promotion of professionals holding academic and professional degrees but even violently reacted to their 2013 protest marches through arrest, verbal affronts, and other forms of maltreatment and humiliation.

    Students, on the other side, are no longer interested in the Moroccan public schooling due to its disgraceful atmosphere , boring lessons, large classes, lack of and absence of teachers, etc. According, the 51st issue of Educational Sciences Journal, Moroccan education is featured by absence of modern teaching techniques and the ongoing adoption of boring and unattractive teaching styles, which adversely affect students' excitement and motivation to learn while they are immersed in a technological revolution; as a result, the rate of failure in standardized exams has accrued significantly. Similarly, the rate of drop outs has alarmingly escalated in Morocco in the recent years according to officials as well as independent figures.

    Today, the Moroccan education system continues its critical decline on many fronts: low schooling rates, high illiteracy, high drop-out rates, mismatch between education contents and job-market requirements, etc (Education Science Journal, Issue 51, p58). Undeniably, all stakeholders have a part to play in the improvement of education quality and revival of the lethargic school life. Action, not words, irrespective of political or ideological backgrounds, is necessary in order to bring back to the Moroccan education the value it had throughout its long history.

    Reform is not possible unless the main concerned parties are included and their views are well-considered. Schools need to be equipped with necessary teaching and learning materials in addition to adequate human resources to cater educational needs. Curricula need to be reviewed and updated to suit students’ interests and meet their aspirations. In sum, discourse remains a mere bare bone awaiting enforcement to add flesh and eventually effectuate the reform Moroccans have long anticipated.

    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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    Nabila benkirane

    Fez- In a new appearance during a meeting organized by the Regional Secretariat of Justice and Development Party (PJD), on Sunday morning, on "Women's work, a fundamental pillar in democratic building," Morocco's head of Government, Abdelilah Benkirane, called upon men to apologize to working women for the hardships they endure.

    "We, men, must all offer a formal apology to woman who work," Benkirane said.

    Benkirane's statement comes not long after his last impassioned plea for the importance of the work Moroccan women do, during a monthly hearing at the second chamber last June. Mr. Benkirane's speech on women's roles in Morocco drew harsh criticism, especially from women's right organizations.

    Benkirane highlighted the importance of equality between men and women in Moroccan society, adding that it is good to see them "work as teachers, engineers, doctors, blue color workers, servers." Yet, most childcare and household responsibilities are usually put on women's shoulders. This engenders problems for Moroccan families.

    “Who will care for children?,” Benkirane asked, noting that women give birth to children, breastfeed and care for them, in addition to their professional jobs. "This is unbelievable,” he said, calling these hardworking mothers “superwomen.”

    The Head of Government also drew attention to those who "reduce the status of women adding that a [housewife] is "queen." "They offer society an unparalleled job, which requires not only reverence but also compensation," Benkirane added.

    In this context, Benkirane said he wishes that the state could afford to compensate stay at home mothers for the excellent job they do, especially those in need, so "they will not be obliged to work under harsh conditions irrespective of their circumstances."

    He also called for the adoption of a new concept of equality based on fairness to allow women to work, with employers taking into consideration their other tasks and responsibilities.

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

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    King Mohammed VI

    New York- As announced by Morocco World news 10 days ago, King Mohammed VI will fly to New York to participate in the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly, which is due to kick off on Wednesday.

    King Mohammed VI is expected to arrive in the Big Apple on Tuesday, and will be accompanied by an important delegation.

    According to UN official documents obtained by MWN, King Mohammed is due to address the 193 Assembly on the first morning of the General debate. He is number 12 on the list of speakers after Brazil, the United States, Uganda, Spain, Mauritania, Chile, Republic of Korea, Qatar, Armenia, Liberia and France.

    The Monarch is also expected to participate in the UN Climate Change Summit, which will be held in New York on Tuesday on the sidelines of the General Debate of the sixty-ninth session of the UN General Assembly.

    King Mohammed VI is first on the list of speakers of the morning meeting, which will be chaired by the French President, Francois Holland, and Peruvian President, Ollanta Humala. The summit will be held in three rooms.

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    King Mohammed VI with Abdelaziz Bouteflika

    Majid Morcelli

    San Francisco- Morocco is not helping its sacred cause by asking Algeria to be part of the solution. Just as Morocco will never accept losing one inch of its Sahara, Algeria too will never allow itself to lose the fight against Morocco.

    The Moroccan Minister Delegate for Foreign Affairs Mbarka Bouaida said that “Algeria is a direct party to the conflict over the Moroccan Sahara and should involve itself in the search for a solution to this problem.” Asking the Algerians to be part of the solution, and get actively involved in the negotiations, however, is nothing short of telling the Algerians to raise the white flag and admit that the conflict is between Morocco and Algeria, something the Algerians obviously will never do.

    Besides, the Algerians are not in any position to give up any piece of the fight to the Moroccans. They have repeatedly stated that they have no interest in the Sahara, and their main concern is to see international law prevail. The Algerians don’t feel that they need Morocco, or even the Maghreb in general, economically. They believe that any Maghreb Union will only serve Morocco, and they instead favor dual agreements such as the preferential trade exchange agreement with Tunisia. It’s their way of keeping a firm hold on the economy.

    Moroccan officials are not naïve when they make the statements above, those are merely tactics to place Algeria on the spot. But there is a problem with such tactics. They are simply outdated and have already been used by Morocco and they have not produced any positive result. The whole world knows that Algeria is the creator and the maintainer of the Polisario, what does Morocco gain from repeating something that is already known?

    While these statements get picked up by the news media in both countries and are used for or against the other, it does not change the reality on the ground.

    What Morocco needs to do is something it has not tried in the past: implementing the changes in the Sahara instead of asking its foes to change.

    As much as I like Morocco’s foreign policy going on the offensive in the international arena, and inasmuch as aI think that this new direction taken by the king of Morocco is a good start, it is not enough to have an impact neither in the present nor in the future. We need more than challenging the Algerians in regard of the Kabylie region as was the case when the charge d'affaires of Morocco in Geneva, Hassan Boukili said that "Algeria systematically violates these rights and freedoms in Kabyle and Mozabite territories and in the Tindouf camps"

    While it makes us feel good that Morocco is finally challenging the Algerians on the human rights issue, by pointing out that Algeria is no angel when it comes to human rights, and should correct the problem in their own backyard before asking Morocco to do so, it is not a deal breaker. We need to do and say things that have some serious impact and not be content with the tit for tat game.

    Moroccan decision makers should aim for something drastic to change the course, and go for the knockout punch. I can think of no better punch than giving a real chance to the autonomy proposal that the state has championed but never had the will nor the courage to actually implement.

    Morocco’s autonomy proposal calls for decentralizing authority to the people and institutions of the Western Sahara, so that they may manage their own affairs. Can you imagine the effects of a palpable autonomy on the region when people have their say without interference from the central government?

    Sahraouis are tired of more of the same talk with no action. They have been hearing the same song for decades now, and they are still waiting for a lasting solution. As a matter of fact, all Moroccans are waiting. While the Algerian regime can afford to squander its oil revenues that could be used on the people of Algeria, Morocco does not have the luxury of matching Algeria’s big spending. We have other urgent needs.

    As if the dispute with Morocco is not enough, the Algerians are getting deeply involved in the Malian and Libyan crisis. This is what a military regime does; it thrives on wars and conflicts.

    In 2008, King Mohammed VI announced his intention to implement regionalization in the Western Sahara. Six years later, nothing has happened except for Algeria continuing to be the only hurdle to peace. Algeria is not the only obstacle; Morocco is also to blame for its lack of determination to solve the Western Sahara problem. Waiting on Algeria to have a change of heart is not a solution; this wishful thinking will never take place. I would be very surprised if the decision makers in Morocco are not already fully aware of this fact. The last presidential elections in Algeria should be a clear indicator that Algeria with Bouteflika or after him, will not change, not one iota!

    One thing I have to credit the Moroccan authorities for, is that in the last few months, they have prevented some Polisario sympathizers paid by Algeria from entering the Western Sahara. We simply don’t have time to deal with these human rights defenders “wannabes.” Algeria has prevented this type of people from entering its territory for decades, and I do not see why Morocco has an open door policy to Morocco’s enemies disguised as human rights defenders. I commend Moroccan authorities for quashing the propaganda war that they were losing to the Polisario. The Algerians hosted the Polisario in Boumerdes to reignite this war, and so far, Moroccans are vigilant and not much is taking place to tip the balance in favor of the Polisario.

    Salaheddine Mezouar, Mbarka Bouaida, Omar Hilale, and Hassan Boukili are doing a great job, and Moroccans following the Sahara dossier are fully aware of the magnitude of their work defending Morocco’s territorial integrity. This team should be supported to fend off the enemies of Morocco in the international arena, a place where the Algerians have been successful placing Morocco on the defense. This time, with this team, Morocco should have no problem defending the sacred cause against and unchangeable Algerian regime.

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

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    Egyptian Youssef Chaaban

    Fez- Egyptian actor Youssef Chaaban's last statement in which he said, "in Morocco, you find eight Jews out of every ten Moroccans," is still reverberating among Moroccan social media users. Most were dumbfound by his remark which attempted to tarnish the reputation of the Muslim brotherhood's founder Hassan al-Banna.

    In a reaction to Chaaban's statement, Charafat Afilal, Minister Delegate to the Minister of Energy, Mines, Water and Environment, said that the Egyptian actor demonstrated deep ignorance while inciting hatred. "Chaaban is a great and competent artist, but his recent statement was an incitement for hatred and racism towards a vital component of the unified people of Morocco and towards an Abrahamic religion," Afilalt Said.

    Addressing the actor, she said, "you proved your deep ignorance regarding the composition of Moroccan society, including its religious, cultural and historical dimensions.”

    The minister declared that Moroccan people are "one people, one nation and one country," in a reference to the respect that Moroccans show towards Moroccan Jews in particular, and Jews in general. "Be assured that the rhetoric that calls for chaos, hatred and racism will not bring Moroccans apart, because we are peace-loving people," she concluded.

    Edited by Sahar Kian

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    Moroccan Foreign Minister Salaheddine Mezouar and Algerian foreign Minister Ramtan Lamamra

    By Majid Morceli

    San Francisco- There is no denial that since naming Salaheddine Mezouar the head of Moroccan diplomacy, we are now witnessing a different ball game with regards to the Western Sahara issue. He is a shrewd public servant. His first major mission was to plug the holes that the Polisario was using to undermine Morocco, and so far he done a magnificent job.

    We no longer see Polisario sympathizers using Laayoune as a starting point to go after Morocco’s handling of the Sahara. Morocco has now adopted a new policy banning visits to the southern provinces for anyone whose agenda is to disturb the peace.

    The Moroccan Foreign Minister and his team, composed of Mbarka Bouaida, Omar Hilale, and Hassan Boukili are now frequently taking to the airwaves, to counter any and all misinformation advanced by Algeria and its puppets. This is an extremely important step in the right direction. In the past, Moroccan officials were frequently placed on the defensive, and at times, they were at a loss for words. Now with this new team, the tables have turned.

    The Polisario is in such disarray that they don’t know where to turn, or what to do. They have gone so far as accusing the UN of taking Morocco's side. This week, one of their representatives made the following statement in a press conference in Algiers,

    "We accuse the group of five of kidnapping the Saharawi cause and impeding the process of decolonization in the Western Sahara". Their leader Mohamed Abdelaziz is now making a habit of writing letters to the UN secretary general on a weekly basis to complain about the way in which Morocco handles those who are not allowed to disturb the peace, as was the case of those who were schooled in Boumerdes Algeria, on how to shake things up in the Sahara.

    He even complained to the UN secretary about how their baggage was handled by Moroccan airport officials. These claims only go to show how pathetic and weak they have become. The new found vigilance on the part of Moroccan authorities has not helped their cause either.

    In the past, Moroccans waited for the Polisario to throw the first punch, but now under Mezouar's leadership Moroccans have learned to predict what’s coming at them and prepare for it in order to better counter it.

    It should not come as a surprise that someone has noticed this new strength in Morocco’s foreign policy under Mezouar, and tried venomously to distort his reputation by circulating a letter supposedly sent to him by Laurant Fabius, in which the French top diplomat allegedly nformed his Moroccan counterpart that he had helped secure a job for his daughter in France.

    About a month before the mysterious appearance of this letter, Mezouar was subject to another smear campaign accusing him of receiving French Nationality. It is becoming ever more obvious that someone is trying to put a stop to the excellent work Mezouar and his capable team are doing, and I cannot think of anyone other than those who have much to lose when Moroccan diplomats shine.

    While Mezouar and his team are making progress in stopping the avalanche of lies coming from Algeria’s puppets, this is by no means a sealed victory. Moroccan authorities need to constantly be aware that in every passing second, someone in Algeria is planning the next move to defeat Morocco. Defending territorial integrity is a 365 day a year, 24 hour a day job.

    Let us hope that this is very well understood on the part of each and every Moroccan, no matter where they are. Algeria becoming the first country in Africa spending over $10 billion on its military is no coincidence. This is a well thought out strategy from the Algerian military regime, which holds their own people hostage thanks to their primitive and vindictive thinking.

    We are fighting relentless foes that will not be satisfied until they see Moroccans on their knees. This regime— which is holding peace talks between the stakeholders of Mali, getting deeply involved in Libya, handing out millions of dollars to Tunisia, and forgiving debts of many African countries who subscribe to their theories— is doing everything possible to create chaos in Morocco, oblivious to the fact that if anything goes wrong in Morocco, Algeria will not be spared.

    There are major arrangements taking place behind closed doors in El Mouradia in preparation for a time after Bouteflika, who is incapacitated. All signs indicate that his brother Said Bouteflika will be the next major decision maker, even if it’s in total secrecy as is the case with the head of the Secret Service General Tewfik. We have witnessed several high profiles firing and hiring in the last few months, this is bad news for Morocco as the Algerian regime will continue to go against Morocco for decades to come. Said Bouteflika is only 57 years old, and will have many years to follow his brother’s footsteps, never to make peace with Morocco.

    Let’s hope that someday, and hopefully soon, the Algerian people wake from their sleep and evict this regime—peacefully I must add. Algerians like to think of themselves as proud people; I will believe it when they remove this regime led by a wheelchair-ridden president and who has taken from them everything to be proud of. This regime will not be able to sustain handouts for long and hiring security officers by the tens of thousands to prevent the Algerian people from asking for their rights.

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

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    Agadir, First English-based Moroccan School Opens

    Marrakech-  Following the advice of the Minister of Higher Education Lahcen Daoudi, the Moroccan School in Agadir has adopted English as its language of instruction.

    This is the first school using Moroccan and a Anglo-Saxon school program in English. Classes for the primary school are in session for the 2014-2015 academic year.

    The school’s Director of Academic Affairs, Fatima Iffsate, began working on the project 3 years ago. The school opened at the same time as the launch of the international baccalaureate in Morocco.

    The school’s goal is to strengthen the local education infrastructure by introducing new technologies and techniques that meet international standards and enable students to find high-level employment in line with their academic achievements, in order to prepare them as a capable future generation.

    As reported by Medias24, The Moroccan School in Agadir has high quality facilities. Its building has five stories and is 9,500 sq meters. There are interactive white boards in all classrooms and an intranet system so that teachers can communicate with each other, the administration, and students’ parents. The school has an innovative approach with a music room, theater, art gallery, library, sports ground, and a prayer room.

    The school is located on Boulevard Mohammed V in Agadir. It services students aged between 3 to 11. There are 70 teachers on faculty, half of whom are native English speakers. This enables the school to fulfill its educational mission while forging its own identity.

    The Moroccan School also plans to open a college for students to earn a bachelor’s degree. It plans to initiate partnerships up with international universities in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

    Morocco is currently seeing its private education system open up to foreign languages (including English) and partnerships with overseas universities to allow Moroccan students to achieve internationally recognized degrees.

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    Oil exploration offshore in Morocco

    Rabat- Australian oil exploration company Tangiers Petroleum has ceased drilling on the on the Tarfaya block, which it shared with Galp Energia. It has transferred its interest in the block back to Galp Energia.

    The company explained on its website via an article in that the well exceeded their internal budget, since costs for its share exceeded USD $18.56 million. The company said that the costs did not entirely relate to its drilling operation. It was left with a cash balance of $1.25 million. The trading suspension of the group’s shares was lifted following the disclosure of the company’s interim results, the article reported.

    Shares of Tangiers Petroleum on the London Stock Exchange’s AIM index fell by over 60% as the suspension was lifted, falling from 1.47p to 0.9p. At this price, the company is worth £2.27 million. The company has now decided to exit the Moroccan exploration venture, which is currently its only project, according to the Pro investor report.

    Tangiers Petroleum was said to be reviewing other exploration opportunities.

    International oil and gas exploration companies have been funding drilling operations in Morocco with cash. This can result in heavy financial and stock market pressures, as has occurred with Tangiers Petroleum.

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    King Mohammed VI addressing the United Nations

    Marrakech- In an unprecedented speech delivered on his behalf by Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane, King Mohammed VI made an impassioned plea for Africa and denounced the long-term consequences of colonialism in the continent.

    King Mohammed’s speech at the UN General Assembly opened with a statement that sustainable development depends upon economic, social, environmental, security, and political considerations. These are complex, and each country must move at its own pace.

    Most importantly, the King asserted that poorer countries have the right to be treated with respect by the richer countries and should be permitted to achieve what is possible for them with aid from the developing world. It has been a long time since a world leader spoke up for the countries of the Global South, particularly Africa.

    His speech provided an important counterbalance to the pressures of the Western governments, many of which appear to have forgotten that they were colonial powers that instigated many of the problems that countries in the developing world have been experiencing for years, such as the lack of a proper industrial system.

    Developing countries were used in the colonial period as suppliers of raw materials and cash crops such as coffee, which benefited the colonial powers at the expense of the Global South.

    King Mohammed pointed to Morocco’s pioneering efforts at developing human resources as well as renewable energy, including solar and wind power, which are key elements in sustainable development since they allow a country to avoid the use of fossil fuels in creating energy. With Africa in mind, he called on developed countries to treat developing countries, especially in Africa, fairly with regard to development issues.

    The Moroccan monarch called for respect for individual countries and their cultures and those are still suffering the long-term consequences of colonialism. In this regard, he pointed to the disorientation and disruption of cultures caused by colonialism, adding that that former colonial powers have no right to ask developing countries to introduce rapid changes in an unfamiliar context.

    He said that the developed countries should be more aware and realistic when dealing with the developing countries, calling for greater support. Development cannot be achieved without stability, he asserted. Developed countries unfairly rate countries of the Global South, and aid is based on these ratings. He called for intangible capital to be used in assessing countries’ needs.

    King Mohamed VI pointed to Morocco’s pioneering work on fertilizer production in Africa. He reminded the UN General Assembly that in his address in Abidjan last February, he insisted on the fact that Africa does not need humanitarian aid as much as it needs mutually beneficial partnerships. He also stressed that Africa had to turn the page on past conflicts and begin to resolve the challenges it faces. Africa has to overcome deep-rooted economic dependence on other countries, a lack of support and funding, and the absence of a sustainable development model. The King’s speech insisted on the long-term damage caused by exploitive colonial policies. The provision of aid to developing countries is a duty, and African countries should respond by ensuring good governance, he said.

    The choice is between more aid and increased conflict, which are the result of more violence and terrorism, which feed on injustice and exclusion. He concluded by calling for a global awakening regarding the need to work for a more secure, more equitable and more humane world.

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    Reforms Undertaken by Morocco, Example to Be Followed in Maghreb, Norwegian FM

    New York (UN) - The reforms undertaken for several years by Morocco are an example to be followed in the Maghreb region, said Saturday in New York Norwegian foreign minister Borge Brende.

    Morocco initiated "very important reforms in the economic and political fields" which enable the Kingdom to play a "more important role in the Maghreb and the Middle East", Brende told the press following a meeting with his Moroccan counterpart Salaheddine Mezouar on the sidelines of the 69th UN General Assembly.

    Concerning bilateral relations, Norwegian minister said he is confident as regard to the prospects of cooperation relations between the two countries, noting that Morocco is the first economic partner of Norway in the Maghreb.

    "There is always room for enhancing relations of cooperation, he added, noting that "the economic reforms undertaken by Morocco create new opportunities in this sense

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    Saudi Prince is real leader of al-Qaeda: Syrian envoy

    Rabat- Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the former Head of Intelligence Services for Saudi Arabia has been a victim of theft in his Marrakech residence.

    According to Annass daily in its Monday, Sept. 29 issue, the legal representative of the Saudi prince reported a theft of an amount exceeding $10,000 at a police precinct last weekend.

    The alleged theft took place in the private residence of the Saudi prince in the Dar Tounsi neighborhood of Marrakech.

    The same source added that Mohamed Dkhissi, Head of the police district of Marrakech, has issued instructions for a special team to investigate this matter further.

    According to Al Massae daily, the theft appears to have been perpetuated through use of the prince's credit card.

    The newspaper reported that the thief is believed to be known to Bandar Bin Sultan. The alleged theft does not just involve thousands of dollars, however. The representative of the prince also reported missing personal effects during the same period.

    Al Massae also speculated that the thief is a woman, based upon information gathered from the entourage of the Saudi prince.

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