Posts Tagged ‘morocco’

JOSEPH founder Joseph Ettedgui dies

March 19, 2010

Sad news in the fashion world. Joseph Ettedgui, the charismatic, Moroccan-born owner of the Joseph boutiques passed away yesterday at the age of 74, after a battle with cancer.

Originally training as a hairdresser in the 1950s, he left his native Casablanca to work in London. In the Sixties, he travelled to Paris for the Shows and met the Japanese designer Kenzo, and Ettedgui started to sell the designer’s jumpers in the basement of his hair salon on the Kings Road.

With a sharp eye for young modern designers, Ettedgui established his first clothing store in Chelsea in 1972, selling Kenzo, Emanuelle Khanh and Jean-Charles de Castelbajac.

He launched his own line in 1983, starting with Joseph Tricot, a collection of chic knitwear – his ‘sloppy joe’ jumpers quickly became a must-have. The following year, tailoring was added, and Joseph’s incredibly flattering boot-cut stretch trousers became legendary, topping every stylish woman’s wishlist, (alongside a silk shirt by Equipment – the cult French label that Joseph brought to the UK, which is about to be revived by the line’s original creator – Christian Restoin, husband of French Vogue Editor Carine Roitfeld).

Joseph was always quick to spot the next big thing – from Azzedine Alaia, to Miuccia Prada, Katherine Hamnett, and John Galliano – Joseph stocked them all. And as the chain expanded in the 1980s, to Paris, New York and Tokyo, Ettedgui championed an urban minimalism aesthetic with his stark white concrete and steel stores, and grainy black and white adverts. His restaurant Joe’s Café, on the Kings Road was the coolest hangout on Kings Road, with lycra clad Sade-lookalikes perched at the steel tables.

He referred to his classic pieces as a supplement to the designers he stocked, saying ‘an entire wardrobe can’t be made up of only designer clothes. People need good trousers and good shirts that they wear all the time.’

Ettedgui finally sold the Joseph stores in 2005.

A much-loved figure in the fashion world, Joseph’s impeccable taste will be sadly missed.

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Additional Arrests Made In Taxi Driver Murder; Five Suspects Now Charged

December 3, 2008

 

Newport News police have made two additional arrests in the murder of cab driver Mohammed Laktami.  Antonio Lamar Williams, 23, and Christopher Deangelo Holloman, 20, were arrested at the Americans Best Value Inn in Portsmouth on Monday night around 8:30.

Both individuals each have been charged with murder, robbery, conspiracy, and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. 

The recent arrests now brings the total of individuals charged to five. 20 year-old Trevor Rashad Futrell, Shannon Denise Drewry, 20, and a 17 year-old male were all arrested on Sunday, November 30. All face several charges including murder and conspiracy.

Police say this crime was not a crime of opportunity but a planned event.  The five individuals involved initially planned to rob a delivery driver from a Chinese restaurant and a call was actually placed, however the business was closed.  A decision was made to then rob a Taxi driver.  Two of the males physically conducted the robbery, but after the robbery and murder, the money was split between all involved.

Mohammed Laktami was shot and killed on Sunday, November 22 while conducting business as a North End cab driver on Marshall Avenue in Newport News. Mr. Laktami was a legal resident alien from Morocco working in Virginia to support his family that were still in Morocco. He had been a cab driver for two months.

 

a rapist in Marrakech

December 3, 2008

polanski

Polanski fled to Paris after being indicted in 1977 on six counts of drugging, raping and sodomizing 13 year old Geimer, whom he lured to Jack Nicholson’s  house.

Back in 2006,this notorious rapist was given the honor to head the Jury of the Marrakech cinema Festival and this year he was a guest of honor…

Al Jazeera lawyers quit Rabat trial

July 5, 2008

By Ahmed El Amraoui in Rabat

The trial of Hassan Rachidi, Al Jazeera’s bureau chief in Morocco, has been adjourned, after the defence team walked out when their pleas were brushed aside by the presiding judge.

The marathon second court session opened, following a three-day recess, at the Rabat First Instance Court at 9am (0800GMT) on Friday in the presence of up to 50 defence attorneys who volunteered to defend Al Jazeera.

After 11 hours of stormy debate, and the collective walk out of the defence team, the trial was adjourned until July 11.

The judge rejected all the defence’s pleas and the team quit over a “lack of fair trial conditions”, accusing the judge of biased and dismissing the trial as political.

The presiding judge and the attorney general then addressed a few questions to Rachidi, who pleaded not guilty and insisted that he did his job as a professional journalist and provided both sides of the story in question.

The session was then adjourned at around 10pm (2100GMT).

Defence walkout

The defence attorneys began their argument by calling the charges brought against Rachidi void since the press code, under which Al Jazeera’s bureau chief was prosecuted, can be applicable only on the director of publication of the media organisation concerned.

“Since Rachidi is not the person in charge of the editorial policy of Al Jazeera and not the person to decide which story to be published or not, we call on your honour to drop all charges against our client,” Khalid Soufiani, leader of the defence team argued.

The lawyers submitted to the court a copy of Rachidi’s confiscated press accreditation, issued by the Moroccan communication ministry, which states the profession of Rachidi as reporter.

“As Mr Rachidi, according to the Moroccan official document, is a reporter and not the person in charge of publication in Al Jazeera, we say that this trial is illegal” another lawyer said.

The lawyers also criticised the main document submitted by the general prosecutor to the court – a news report that was run earlier by Morocco’s official news agency MAP.

But the judge rejected all defence arguments as unfounded.

He also turned down a petition to call for witnesses that included ministers, senior civilian and military officials to testify before the court on the events in the southern port city of Sidi Ifni that brought Rachidi to court.

They also demanded those in charge of the Reuters news agency and the Moroccan daily Al Ahdath – which both reported that people were killed in the Sidi Ifni protests – as well as heads of various human rights groups, stand before the judge as witnesses.

The defence’s cross-examination of a CD submitted by the general prosecutor was also turned down.

Court disruption

Earlier in the day, the proceedings were disrupted by Ali Lmrabet, a Moroccan journalist, who was sentenced by the same judge in 2003 to three years in prison and was suspended from practicing journalism in Morocco for 10 years.

“I am here to remind you Mohammed El-Alaoui, the presiding judge. My name is Ali Lmrabet, the journalist that you have suspended from practicing the profession of journalism in Morocco for 10 years that I am actually doing my job as a journalist in spite of your order. And you can do nothing about it,” Lmrabet shouted before he was dragged by the police out of the court room.

Ahmed Snousi, a Moroccan satirist, was also ejected from the court room for reciting slogans in support of Lmrabet, who spent seven months in jail before he was a granted a pardon by the king.

Lmrabet is now a reporter of the Spanish newspaper El Mondo.

Strained relations

Rachidi is charged with reporting that people were killed in clashes with security forces in the southwestern port city of Sidi Ifni on June 7 during a protest over poverty and rising unemployment.

Moroccan authorities have rejected as “false” and “absurd” reports of deaths, saying that 48 people were injured, including 28 police officers, but that no deaths occurred.

Although Al Jazeera reported the government’s denial, the Rabat chief prosecutor’s office ordered an investigation to determine how the false information was disseminated.

Rachidi was interrogated by the judiciary police for four hours and was charged on June 14 with publishing false information and conspiracy.

Minutes later, the Moroccan communication ministry withdrew his media accreditation.

Rachidi’s trial is the latest in a series of incidents that have seen the channel come into conflict with the kingdom’s authorities.

In May, Morocco suspended Al Jazeera’s daily television news bulletin covering the Maghreb countries – Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Mauritania – from its studios in the Moroccan capital.

The decision, according to Khalid Naciri, the Moroccan communication minister and a spokesman for the government, was due to technical and legal issues.

Rachidi is facing prosecution under Article 42 of the country’s press code.

“The press code requires that two conditions be satisfied in order to convict someone for publishing false information under Article 42,” Soufiani, the lead defence lawyer, told Al Jazeera.

“The first condition is the publication of false information with the intention of bad faith and, second, that the publication disturbs the public order.”

If convicted, Rachidi could be sentenced to a prison term of between one and 12 months and a fine of up to $13,750.

Contract for Khalifa medical complex in Morocco signed

July 4, 2008
A contract for building the Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed specialised medical complex in Casablanca, Morocco, was signed Wednesday between Abu Dhabi Municipality and French Jacob France Engineering Consultancy Group.

The US$ 100 million health facility will be built by a donation offered by UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Director General of Abu Dhabi Municipality Juma Al Junaibi said the French consultant will undertake the works of architecture, design and supervision of the 65,000 square metre health facility where the built up area will be around 40,000 square metres.
”The centre will be completed in 30 months,”he said, adding that the project will also include commercial buildings whose revenues will be used to run the medical city to ensure high performance, operation and maintenance.
Construction work is expected to commence by year end.
A high level delegation from the Municipality has visited Morocco recently to select the location for the project in the city of Anfa, a future centre for urban expansions.
In addition to the specialised wards, the city will house a nursing school, a central laboratory, a radiology centre and a VIPs ward.

© WAM

‘No death or rape cases documented’ in Sidi Ifni, FIDH chairman

June 30, 2008
Rabat, June 28 – “No death or rape cases were documented” in the southern city of Sidi Ifni, where recent clashes between police forces and demonstrators resulted in the injury of 20 demonstrators and 28 law enforcement officers, Chairman of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Souhayr Belhassen, affirmed on Friday.

 

    The statement was made at a press conference held in Rabat to present the results of FIDH head’s visit to Morocco and the 2007 FIDH report.

    Belhassen underlined, however, that investigations in Sidi Ifni revealed “torture cases”, a practice that, chairman of the Moroccan organization of Human Rights, Amina Bouayach said, “was not systematic.”

    “No cases of disappearance have been recorded during these events,” Bouayach noted.

    The Sidi Ifni incident took place when an unspecified number of youths had been, since May 30, besieging the port, preventing 89 trucks loaded with 800 tons of fish from leaving the facility, which prompted authorities to intervene.

    On the morrow of the June 7 clashes, the Moroccan House of Representatives (Lower House) announced the setting up of a parliamentary commission to probe the incident “following the contradictory information and rumors circulated about this incident.”

    The Qatari TV station, Al Jazeera, had reported that six to ten people died following the intervention of the police forces, whereas Brahim Sballil, a member of the Moroccan Human Rights Center (CMDH) reiterated “false accusations” concerning the Sidi Ifni events, citing cases of death, disappearance, and rape.

    Commenting on what happened before the Parliament, Interior Minister, Chakib Benmoussa made it clear that a total of 182 people were arrested, the majority of whom were released except for 10 people who were brought before justice.

Husa Gains a Foothold in Morocco

March 22, 2008

481.jpgThe hotel chain Husa has recently signed an agreement with H. Partners, an investment fund created by Attijariwafa Bank and Banque Centrale Populaire, two local banks, with the aim of opening a hotel in Marrakech in 2010.

Through the agreement, the Spanish-owned hotel chain will control 15% of the Palmeraie Hotel, with a total investment of two million euros. With an overall cost of 14 million euros, the hotel will have 200 rooms and will be marketed both as an event and holiday hotel. Husa Hotels will also be managing the new complex, located in one of Marrakech’s neighbourhoods with the greatest number of tourist attractions.

This project is part of the chain’s expansion plan in Africa, where it already runs a hotel in Marrakech, and owns two other in El Cairo and Giza, the latter scheduled to be opened later this year.

Tourism projects propel Morocco’s success

February 29, 2008

As Morocco’s national tourism strategy, Vision 2010, begins to unfold and a whole new set of infrastructure improvements comes into play, the future is looking brighter than ever in Morocco. Investors choosing luxury property within any of the six King’s Resort developments, backed by HRH King Mohammed VI himself, are buying into a rock-solid and fast-growing tourist market.

Morocco, the exotic land made famous by Hollywood’s “Casablanca”, welcomes tourists who seek that unmistakable Arabic culture, along with outstanding natural beauty where they can enjoy a wide variety of attractions and activities. It is easy to see why the likes of American millionaire Malcolm Forbes, founder of ‘Fortune’ magazine, amongst others, began to invest in the area in the 1970s. Today the palace Forbes purchased stands as the ‘Forbes Museum’ and holds an impressive collection of 120,000 lead soldiers as well as many other curiosities, right in the heart of Tangier.

Today Morocco is seeing unprecedented growth, both in its infrastructure and visitor numbers, with tourism demand increasing by 6% in 2006, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). The World Travel & Tourism Council predicts the country’s tourism will continue growing at a rate of 4% per annum, in real terms, between 2008 and 2017.

The World Travel and Tourism Council concurs that Morocco’s market share of worldwide travel and tourism is generally increasing, the main market participants being the French (figures exclude Moroccan national residents abroad), although there has also been a colossal increase of British visitors to the country. Tourists from the United Kingdom were up 29% in 2007 compared with 2006, totaling 418,606 visitors to the country.

Much of Morocco’s strong performance in recent times has been attributed to increased foreign investment. The country has been particularly successful at attracting FDI from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, such as the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. A number of mega projects, part of the Vision 2010, are due to come into fruition within the next 5 to10 years and now, according to the UNWTO, “Efforts are being made to ensure that airline capacity into the country, including low cost airline services, increases in line with the growth in accommodation.”

Sara Romera, product analyst at propertyshowrooms.com, explains why the country is becoming so tantalizing: “Morocco is still a unique location for property investors and offers the opportunity to purchase property early in an emerging market at very favorable prices. What is unique about the market for property in Morocco is the sense of security for investors: with tourism already improving at a fast rate and buy-to-let investors reporting 85% occupancy rates in prime locations during the high season, Morocco offers a strong arena in which to invest in property.”

Property development may be booming in this North African country, but location continues to be key, particularly when buying property as an investment. Resorts in the Mediterranean are expected to see high rental returns, particularly as they are easier to access than some more southerly locations, and offer better climate and sea conditions. Projects such as Mediterrania Saidia’s “The Greens” and “The Fairways” are situated in what is to become one of Morocco’s most prestigious and ground-breaking of Mediterranean tourist destinations, being the first of the King’s Resorts to be launched. The complex caters for those in search of relaxation, tranquillity and sophistication, all set within the convenience of a purpose-built resort. The fact that the entire complex is backed by the King adds a welcome element of investor confidence and expectation, making Mediterrania Saidia arguably one of the best investment opportunities available in Morocco today.

Protest against Judge’s decision to disallow Amazigh name for baby girl.

February 7, 2008

tifinagh_4.jpgThe refusal of a judge to allow the use of  Moroccan Berber name that parents wanted to give to their adopted daughter has aroused discontent among Moroccan organizations of human rights.
on January 28th, The court in Larache, refused to allow a Moroccan girl to have the amazigh name “Illy”, a name chosen by her adoptive parents

“The judge’s decision of Larache recalls the times that we thought had left, when the government decided what names the citizens of this country could give to their own children.  In the 90’s, the government had drawn up a list of names that were allowed to be used and a list of names, mostly amazigh, that were forbidden.

Thus, the appellations of “Moulay” or “Lalla” that are traditionally given to the descendants of the Prophet Muhammad are now reserved for the royal family” Said Lawyer Aberrahim Jamai.
 

For the lawyer, the judge’s decision revived old demons and committed a miscarriage of justice by violating the fundamental right of parents to freely choose the name of their child.


“This sentence handed down by this court violates human rights and to the plural identity of Morocco , which has Amazigh roots” he said.


The parents have appealed this decision that they consider “discriminatory”.
According to them, the judge justified his decision on the fact that “Illy” in amazigh means “my beloved daughter,” Whereas the girl is adopted.

Several organizations of human rights and child welfare, as well as Amazigh organizations expressed their support for the family.

Morocco building collapse kills 14

January 17, 2008

176163754.jpg154767597.jpg0efb9f7d801.jpg106125659.jpgFourteen people were killed when a two-storey residential building under construction collapsed in Morocco’s northwestern city of Khenitra, government officials said on Thursday.Twenty six people were injured in Wednesday’s collapse and it was not known how many people might still be trapped beneath the rubble.

The number of people on site at the time of the collapse was unclear.

Authorities were investigating the cause of the accident in Khenitra which lies 40 km (25 miles) north of Rabat.

Interior Minister Chakib Benmoussa, who visited the scene along with other senior officials, vowed to identify and punish officials who might be responsible for the collapse.

Road accident claims 9 in Morocco

January 12, 2008

Rabat, Morocco – Nine people were killed here Friday and 10 others wounde d, five of them seriously, in a road accident in the Khémisset region, some 70 k i lometres away, an official source told PANA Thursday.The accident took place when a lorry collided head-on with a public transport ve hicle while negotiating a corner, the source said.

Nine people were earlier killed on new year’s day in two separate road accidents while 13 died in an accident between the cities of Tétouan and Chefchaouen on 1 9 December.

According to the Ministry of Equipment and Transport, road accidents accounted f or the death of 3,622 Moroccans in 2006, and this is 4.17 per cent higher than t h e figure for 2005.

King hopes that 2008 will be a year of peace, tolerance in the world

January 1, 2008
kingmohammed_500_500.jpg
Rabat, Jan. 1 – King Mohammed VI of Morocco expressed hope that 2008 will be a year of peace, security, solidarity, and humanism in the world.
In congratulation messages addressed to world leaders on the occasion, the king said 2007 was quite an eventful year with major conflicts of all kinds, hoping that “our common human aspirations will materialize in the new year.”    “We look forward to embracing a world where values of love, concord, tolerance, harmonious co-existence, and fertile synergies among different cultures, religions, and civilizations prevail,” the monarch added.

    The sovereign also received congratulations messages from World leaders on the same occasion, in which they expressed best wishes of good health, progress, as well as prosperity of the people of Morocco.

New report addresses causes of sex tourism in Morocco

January 1, 2008

The International Coalition for Responsible and Respectful Tourism published a report early this month on the resurgence of Morocco’s sex tourism industry, uncovering numerous causes of the phenomenon and proposing solutions.

The report, compiled by coalition goodwill ambassador Khalid Semmouni, indicates close links between sex tourism, globalisation and the opening of borders, adding that people are attracted by what they perceived as exotic.

Poverty and exclusion are also among the causes, and have contributed to the prevalence of prostitution in Morocco.

Other causes cited by the report include the violation of children’s socio-economic rights; a lack of public education on sex and human rights, especially for children; the disintegration of family structures; domestic abuse and a lack of responsibility on the part of schools.

The report also mentioned the lenience of Morocco’s legislation on child rape and the lack of a national action plan to protect children from violence.

It states that sex tourism is in violation of existing international agreements which Morocco has ratified, namely the 1949 Convention against the sexual exploitation of women, CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women) and the Convention on Child Rights.

The report also points to legal gaps and loopholes and proposes that the Penal Code be strengthened to more effectively counter the sexual abuse of women and children.

The solutions put forward include the adoption of adapted legislation to bolster children’s protections, the use of media to inform the public and alert families to the dangers of prostitution and the sex trade’s impact on society, and also the organisation of trainings for members of the judiciary to guarantee faster responses to young people’s needs.

Semmouni told Magharebia that “this problem also exists in other Arab countries, but it is much more severe in Morocco, since this country is open to the West and also due to its geographical position.” Semmouni proposed that all tourists found guilty of paedophilia in Morocco should be banned from returning. He also advocated the creation of a vice squad to monitor tourist activity from a distance and intervene where necessary.

Najat Anwar, president of the NGO “Don’t Touch My Child”, told Magharebia: “We need to establish a partnership with international NGOs and authorities such as ECPAT and INTERPOL to detect, condemn and prevent harm to Moroccan children by criminal tourists who travel to our country to satisfy their desires.” She added that “at the national level, our association has found that foreign paedophiles no longer enjoy the ‘tourist immunity’ they once had, and are just as liable to be punished as Moroccan paedophiles.”

Despite far-reaching government efforts, including the creation of tourism police in Marrakesh in 1994 and the conviction of over 40 tourists for paedophilia and prostitution offences since 2001, human rights activists in the country insist that Morocco still has a long way to go to eradicate the problem.

Ex-French President Chirac, wife celebrate Christmas in Morocco

December 24, 2007

7199a-jacques_chirac_en_vacances_a_taroudant.jpgFormer French President, Jacques Chirac, and his wife Bernadette, who arrived in Southern Morocco since Sunday, will be spending Christmas there, reliable sources told PANA here Monday.

Chirac and his wife are currently in Taroudant (700 km south of Rabat) where the French couple has a private residence.

Over the past few years, the couple had regularly spent their Christmas in Morocco.

As a regular visitor to Morocco, Mr Chirac has always had a penchant for the two-ochre cities of the Kingdom:Taroudant and Marrakech.

US may sell 24 Lockheed fighters to Morocco

December 23, 2007

WASHINGTON, Dec 19 (Reuters) – The Bush administration has told Congress of plans to sell Morocco 24 Lockheed Martin Corp F-16C/D fighter aircraft, advanced weapons and related gear valued at up to $2.4 billion.

The sale would boost Morocco’s ability to help in the U.S.-declared global war on terrorism and enhance Morocco’s ability to defend itself, the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a notice to lawmakers dated Tuesday.

King Hamad visits Morocco

December 23, 2007

lpic2.jpgRABAT: His Majesty King Hamad arrived in Rabat yesterday on a private visit to Morocco, during which he will meet King Mohammed VI.

He was received at Rabat airport by Prince Mawlai Rasheed, Rabat Governor Hassan Al Omrani, Bahrain’s Ambassador to Morocco Shaikh Khalid bin Salman bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, Moroccan officials and Bahrain embassy staff.

Senegal recalls ambassador from Morocco over W. Sahara spat: report

December 23, 2007

jacques_baudin.png

 jacques baudin

DAKAR (AFP) — Senegal recalled its ambassador from Morocco “for consultations” Saturday in a dispute over the disputed Western Sahara, media reports said.

Morocco pulled its ambassador out of Dakar this week in protest at comments about Western Sahara by a Senegalese opposition member.

“The recall of Morocco’s ambassador to Senegal was an unfriendly gesture to the Senegalese people,” said a statement by the Senegalese prime minister’s office, cited by local media.

“Senegal, while waiting for clarification, recalled its ambassador from Morocco for consultations,” the statement said.

Morocco on Wednesday recalled its ambassador for three days after a senior Senegalese opposition party member appeared to back separatists fighting Moroccan rule in Western Sahara.

Former Senegalese minister Jacques Baudin lauded Polisario Front rebels who are fighting Moroccan forces in the disputed northwest African region.

According to Rabat, the comments were “contrary to the secular bonds which exist between the two countries”.

Sources close to the government expressed surprised at Rabat’s actions since Baudin’s party is not part of the government.

Spain’s top court recognizes Saharawis as stateless people

December 19, 2007

Madrid – Spain’s Supreme Court has recognized a Western Saharawi woman as stateless because the Moroccan nationality cannot be “imposed” on her, court sources said Wednesday. The ruling opens the door for other Saharawis to seek a similar recognition in Spain. Some 200,000 Saharawis are living in camps in Algerian Tindouf, which received an influx of refugees after Morocco annexed the territory following the withdrawal of the colonial power Spain in 1975. Khadijatou Bourkari Dafa, 39, came to Spain seven years ago for medical treatment on a temporary Algerian passport. Algeria refused to renew the passport, because Dafa was not an Algerian citizen. She is also not a Spanish citizen, and the Moroccan nationality cannot be “imposed” on her, the Supreme Court said. Dafa is therefore stateless, and will be entitled to the right to live and work in Spain, the court concluded. The law will open the way for other Saharawis to seek the condition of stateless people, undoubtedly to the dislike of Morocco, which regards Western Sahara as its own, commentators said. After Morocco took over the territory, the independence movement Polisario Front waged a guerrilla war against the kingdom until the United Nations brokered a ceasefire in 1991. A referendum on independence foreseen for 1992 has still not taken place, and Polisario is threatening with a new war unless Morocco finally allows the vote.

Bosnia: Divided We Stand

December 15, 2007

najlae.jpgBY Najlae Benmbarek

and Durrell Dawson

“Divided We Stand,” FRONTLINE/World’s latest story from Bosnia-Herzegovina, is a departure from our past Bosnia coverage. As always it starts by recalling the tragedy of the civil war in the 1990s, but this time we focus on young people, a new post-war generation looking for ways to move on.

The unofficial capital of Herzegovina, the ancient Ottoman city of Mostar lies along the Neretva River and is the fifth-largest city in the country.

The word Mostar means “old bridge,” but that very bridge, the town’s most famous symbol, was blown up during the war, along with the city’s long history of religious tolerance and integration. Before the war, children from different ethnic groups went to school together. Today, they are mostly segregated. Even though the bridge has been rebuilt, Mostar is still very much divided, with Muslim Bosnians living on one side and Christian Croats on the other.

Najlae Benmbarek and Durrell Dawson traveled to Bosnia to find out how communities are working to overcome the divisions of the past. They made a surprising discvovery. The youth of Mostar had joined forces to commission a statue of a hero — someone agreeable to them all. When churches, mosques, bridges — even the airport — were rebuilt in this war-torn region, all created controversy based on whether the place was historically Croat, Muslim or Serb. The statue commissioned by these young people stands as the only monument erected in postwar Bosnia without an uproar.

The mastermind behind the statue idea was Serb writer Veselin Gatalo, who told Benmbarek that the choice they made symbolized universal justice and reminded many in the group of their childhood.

For those of you who don’t recall the news coverage around the unlikely hero’s unveiling, we will let the video itself reveal their choice.

Joelle Jaffe
Associate Interactive Producer

Ramiz narrates ordeals of his illegal journey to Morocco

December 13, 2007

Ramiz Uddin, an unfortunate Bangladeshi, finally returned to home after walking hundreds of miles for 26 days on foreign lands. After facing untold sufferings on way to Spain, his destination to change the luck that he could not reach. Finally he decided to return home and went to Bangladesh Embassy at Raba, Morocco.

Narrating his long ordeals Ramiz told a press conference at Police Headquarters yesterday that married but unemployed he first went to Dubai in 2004. Failing to change his luck there his father-in-law in Dubai sent him to Spain at the fag end of May this year.

“Having no valid passport and visa I’ve crossed Niger, Algeria and reached Morocco. There I walked at least 400kms from Oujda and reached Raba in 26 days,” said 30-year old Ramiz lamenting his ill luck. He hails from Bara Saleswar village under Biyanibazar in Sylhet district.

He said he met with a Nigerian at Oujda, a town bordering Morocco. He took him to a hotel where 14 illegal Bangladeshi immigrants were staying. “We all walked through the Sahara desert to reach Algeria. On way we were caught in sandstorm. I fell unconscious while others were stuck up under the sands. We were extremely hungry and passed the days without food and water.”

During their risky journey, Ramiz said they spent 5 days in a forest of Morocco when a mafia group beat them and took away the belongings.

Inspector General of Police Noor Mohammad present at the press conference said during his visit to Morocco for the Interpol meeting in November last year the Bangladesh embassy informed him about Ramiz.

In his own initiative the IGP arranged the return of Ramiz with the help of Nigerian representative of International Organization of Migration. Ramiz flew back home this morning.

leonardo dicaprio enjoying the moroccan sun

December 11, 2007

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Morocco: Newspaper Forced to Alter Front Page for Fear of Censorship

December 11, 2007

Reporters Without Borders has expressed its concern when the printers of the “Journal Hebdomadaire” forced its management to change its front page photo and others inside for fear the edition would be seized if it was printed as it was.

Managing editor, Ali Amar, changed photos illustrating a feature on a work by two Moroccan artists – inspired by French artist Gustave Courbet’s painting “Origin of the world” – which had been withdrawn from an exhibition in Mexico at the request of the Iranian ambassador, who found it “prejudicial to the Muslim religion”.

Amar told Reporters Without Borders that the printer had been convinced that the Moroccan authorities would not allow the edition in question, on 30 November 2007, to go on sale.

“The Moroccan state did not have to intervene in this censorship decision. It is currently benefiting from effects of pressure it has put on printers for several months,” the worldwide press freedom organisation said. “They are now becoming censors by proxy and are over-doing it to avoid any further confrontation with the authorities.”

The Moroccan authorities in August 2007 cordoned off the premises of the printers Idéale for several days and destroyed copies of the weekly “Tel Quel“, on the orders of the interior minister Chakib Benmoussa. A member of the printers’ management was questioned by police in connection with legal proceedings against the paper’s editor. At a recent meeting with print company executives the minister warned them to be “vigilant” (see IFEX alerts of 7 August 2007, 6 January 2006, 31 October and 17 August 2005).

 

The Third Root – Morocco Video Teaser

December 11, 2007

Excerpts from The Third Root – Morocco Documentary. A story that travels through Mexico, Spain, and Morocco with Mexican Guitarist, Camilo Nu. Camilo performs with musicians along the way as he searches the roots of Mexican music.

http://www.brightcove.tv/title.jsp?title=1336779311

Full text of King Mohammed VI to the 2nd EU-Africa Summit hosted by Lisbon

December 11, 2007

Lisbon, Dec. 8 – Following is the full text of the speech of King Mohammed VI to the 2nd EU-Africa Summit in Lisbon, read out on his behalf by Prime Minister Abbas El Fassi.

Praise be to God                Peace and blessings be upon the Prophet, His Kith and Kin
Mr. President,
Distinguished Heads of State and Government,
Your Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me pleasure to address this message to the Second Summit of African and EU Heads of State and Government, which is an important step in the process of consolidating dialogue and solidarity between our two continents.

I should like to extend my sincere thanks to the government and people of Portugal for their efforts to ensure the success of our Summit.

Our Cairo Summit, in the year 2000, set the stage for an innovative, ambitious partnership between our two continents. It reflected our firm belief in our common destiny and in the inter-dependence of African and European interests and concerns.

We set ourselves the target of making the Africa-EU partnership the linchpin of our solidarity in facing the challenges of globalization. We wanted our partnership to contribute to the integration of international exchange relations and to help us foster closer cultural ties. We also wanted to protect the African-European partnership against all trends which are incompatible with the principles of mutual understanding, in order to avoid distrust or exclusion, and to promote, instead, the aspirations and ambitions we had agreed upon.

Seven years later, the Lisbon Summit is offering us the opportunity to take stock of our achievements, pave the way for a strategic, promising and fruitful partnership, and adopt a practical plan of action to enhance our consultations and streamline our policies.

Your Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Africa is currently facing new regional and international challenges relating to the threat of terrorism, the disruptions caused by globalization and the complexities of migration. However, most African countries are doing all they can, using endogenous means to implement reforms and rise to the challenges confronting them.

This dynamic reform process, as well as the economic performances achieved, are a strong signal from Africa to its partners to let them know that Africa is on the move, that it is determined to embrace change, and that it seeks to play its full-fledged role in the new world balance.

In addition to exerting these efforts, Africa has to face challenges relating to poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, pandemics and the environment. It also suffers from the consequences of several armed conflicts and hotbeds of tension in Africa which severely undermine its capabilities and divert its resources away from development targets.

It is therefore our duty to support African countries in the area of conflict prevention, management and resolution, and to assist them in reconstruction efforts.

Two challenges are particularly serious: the temptation to balkanize national entities, and the provision of support to separatist movements and fictitious entities which are irrelevant in today’s world of strong blocs and coalitions.

The instability resulting from such a situation represents a breeding ground for trafficking in arms, drugs and human beings, and for the establishment of terrorist networks which threaten stability in the entire region.

To face this situation, all partners should first address the threat looming over the sovereignty, national unity and territorial integrity of African countries. They are also called upon to tackle the pressing challenges confronting Africa.
Preserving national unity and promoting regional integration in secure, stable environments are essential to enhance solidarity, reduce tensions and overcome disputes. The latter are often anachronistic because they date back to times long gone by; they can be resolved only through dialogue and consultations carried out in an open, realistic spirit.

Achieving such lofty goals requires commitment to good neighborliness, mutual respect, and avoiding all acts that are likely to offend national sentiment.

Your Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

True to the spirit of the longstanding ties it enjoys with its African environment, and in keeping with its commitment to South-South cooperation, the Kingdom of Morocco has sought to develop mutually profitable relations with African countries, based on trust and solidarity.

In the last few years, I have been to several sister African nations to hold talks with their leaders, to consider prospects for exchange and complementarity with African countries, and to serve our common interests, particularly with respect to sustainable development. In this regard, Morocco has sought to foster the principles of participation, solidarity and proximity, drawing inspiration from the National Initiative for Human Development, which I launched in the spring of 2005.

The positive results obtained in this regard, and the projects carried out in cooperation with several African countries, are a source of deep satisfaction. It is our firm intention to pursue this form of participatory action which promotes the sharing of experiences and know-how with sister African nations, as well as the implementation of projects designed to improve human development indicators and achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

Morocco is determined to strengthen exchange relations as part of an effective, solidarity-based triangular cooperation, from which all African countries can benefit, and in which the European Union would play a key role.
Thanks to its geographic location, its history and its cultural traditions, the Kingdom of Morocco has always fostered dialogue and interaction. Today, it is giving concrete substance to African solidarity and is seeking to promote cooperation between Europe and Africa.

I should like, in this respect, to commend the promising initiative of the President of the French Republic, my dear friend His Excellency Nicolas Sarkozy, which calls for an innovative Euro-African partnership, of which the Mediterranean would be the axis and the main pillar. Thanks to this initiative, our partnership is likely to gain strategic momentum.

Your Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Environmental problems are among the main challenges confronting Africa. Growing forest depletion, creeping desertification, soil degradation, drought, poor access to water and climate change compound poverty and threaten population stability. This Summit should therefore enable us to give new momentum to our partnership, commensurate with the challenges of sustainable development and climate change. Just as important is the need to enhance African capabilities to control these phenomena and restrict their harmful effects.

Dedicated action is needed because of the interdependent nature of environmental problems and development requirements. Such an approach can contribute to greater population stability and better control of migrant movements.

Having increased significantly with globalization, migration has special meaning in the Euro-African environment, where it is basically a reflection of economic and demographic disparities between the two continents.

Concerted policies for the management and control of migration issues, using a comprehensive, integrated approach, would enable us address migration-related concerns and tensions, and at the same time make the most of migrants’ contributions to development on both sides of the Mediterranean.

The Euro-African Conference on Migration and Development, held in Morocco in July 2006, made it possible for consultations between our two continents on this highly sensitive issue to gain a firm footing. It also showed that the proper response to current migration issues cannot be individual, or even bilateral, much less exclusively security-driven. The response has to be collective, trans-regional, multi-dimensional, future-oriented and, above all, inspired by humane considerations.

We do hope the next Euro-African conference, to be hosted by France in the second semester of 2008, will lead to a greater implementation of the Rabat Action Plan, and that it will address the broad range of issues inherent in migration.

Your Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

The challenges we face and the great potential of the Africa-Europe relationship offer a historic opportunity to lay down an innovative framework for partnership between a united Europe and an emerging Africa; a solid, equitable partnership based on mutual respect and shared interests.

Africa and the European Union should see to it globalization becomes a tool for development, not a cause of marginalization. Sustainable development, trade and regional integration should be key areas in Euro-African cooperation mechanisms.

It will be helpful, in this respect, to take into account the regional dimension in Africa, and to attach special importance to the rich, diversified experience the EU has had with each African region, through such mechanisms as the Cotonou Agreement, the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership and the European Neighborhood Policy.

Beyond a comprehensive, strategic approach to Africa as a whole, we should seek, through the operational instruments of our partnership, to give special importance to the Regional Economic Communities (RECs), which are the central element of – and prerequisite for – regional integration.

We hope the Economic Partnership Agreements the European Union is currently negotiating with each African region will make it possible to fulfill the aspirations of African nations.
 
Your Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In the years to come, our partnership should be based on a new, dynamic approach to political dialogue and consultations between our two continents, for the purpose of promoting peace and security, fostering good governance standards, and strengthening cooperation in economic, social, technical, human and cultural sectors.

Our combined efforts to achieve the above objectives require regular follow-up – both technical and political – so that the Joint Strategy and the Action Plan to be adopted by our conference may achieve their full potential.

Your Excellencies,
The way forward is now clearly charted, and we do hope that, by the time we convene our next Summit, our special partnership would have enabled us to make significant progress.

Thank you.

Wassalamu alaikum warahmatullah wabarakatuh.     
             Mohammed VI
             King of Morocco
The Royal Residence, Guelmim
30 November 2007

Banyan Tree enters Morocco

December 11, 2007

abc.jpgBanyan Tree brand Angsana has moved into Morocco as it continues to open more hotels outside of its traditional Asian market.

The luxury hotel company officially opened five out of seven of its Riad Collection around Marrakech. All of the Riads have between five and eight rooms and have been restored in Moroccan style.

Banyan Tree executive chairman Ho Kwon Ping decided to open up Riads in Morocco after visiting the city two years ago.

He said: “It is in Riads you get a real sense of Morocco and Marrakech. It is not a luxury hotel experience but we believe it is the heart and soul of Morocco, from the sense of smell to the colours. However you get the quality of service you would get from any Banyan Tree or Angsana Hotel.

Banyan Tree and Angsana is continuing to expand with more properties set to open in Dubai, Barbados, Morocco, Thailand , Mexico and Bali. There are also plans to move into European destinations such as Turkey.

kelly ranson

Gay marriage in Ksar lekbir,Morocco once again

December 11, 2007

 we were accused by a  moroccan newspaper , al ahdath, of inventing the story of the gay marriage in Ksar lekbir, Morocco and that we wrote about something we did not know about….This newspaper ,and all the francophone moroccan press,has maintained that such marriage has never taken  place and that some islamists have invented the whole story in order to harm the reputation of Morocco…..my ass.!…Morocco’s reputation is safe ,like it or not…..and it can’t be harmed by an article or two….so stop behaving the ostrich way…..

i have just one question: if this is not a gay marriage, what is it then?

updated: the bride,Fouad, was sentenced to ten months’ imprisonment….fouadcopy.jpg

                                the bride, Ms FOUAD

Up to ten-month prison terms for ‘sexual perverts’

Tangiers, Dec. 11 – Six people were sentenced Monday evening to prison terms ranging from 4 to 10 months in what is considered as the most publicized case of homosexuality in Morocco.

    The main suspect, Fouad F got ten months and was fined MAD 1000 (about USD 130) on charges of sexual perversion and illegal sale of alcohol. He was found not guilty of the charge of “public offence to morals”.

   Two other people were sentenced to 6 months imprisonment and two to 4 months.

   The six defendants were arrested in the city of Ksar El-Kebir in northern Morocco, following participation in a November 19 ceremony thought to be a gay wedding.

Their lawyers criticized the verdict insisting on the lack of evidence and the absence of “flagrante delicto” and argued that their clients are victims of an over-publicized case.
 
  A preliminary investigation, quoted by the Minister of the Interior himself, showed that the gathering was a ceremony of the mystic Gnawa sect, practiced by descendants of African slaves. While some participants were dressed in women’s clothing, the ceremony’s organizer claimed that he only wanted to re-enact a vision in which a woman asked him to dress like her and offer a gift to the saint Sayyed Al-Madloum.

     Speaking before the Interior, Decentralization and Infrastructure Committee of the House of Representatives, Chakib Benmoussa insisted that “regardless of any media and political exploitation of this event, it is worth mentioning that the preliminary investigations showed this ceremony was linked to pure charlatanism-related rituals.”

   The incident sparked uproar in the conservative city of Ksar El-Kebir where over 600 people took to the street, chanting slogans condemning what they thought to be a gay wedding.

no more comment………..

Hey big spender: the £3m spree that landed a Saudi prince in a London court

December 9, 2007

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 Saudi ambassador Prince Mohammed bin Nawwaf bin Abdul Aziz. Photograph: Martin Argles

David Leigh and Rob Evans
Friday November 16, 2007
The Guardian

It is a remarkable shopping list by any standards. And it has landed the Saudi ambassador to Britain with a possible £3m debt, and the embarrassment of having allegations about the ostentatious spending habits of the royal family laid bare. Bills he is claimed to have run up on an array of luxury amusements include two top-of-the-range Chevrolet 4x4s, a thermal night vision kit for his Hummer H2, dozens of designer watches and jewels, a selection of handguns and two Arab karaoke machines. One takeaway meal came to almost $800 (£391). And then there is the $2,500 item on a trip to a hotel in Casablanca that reads: “Girls: party night 5”.

These, and scores of others, are detailed in documents filed to the high court in a claim against the ambassador, Prince Mohammed bin Nawwaf bin Abdul Aziz, a nephew of King Abdullah. Last month, he was ordered to pay more than £3m to his family’s former private secretary, Walid El Hage, a Briton of Lebanese extraction and a former director of an Arab bookshop in the UK, who spent many years as confidante to the ambassador and his father. He claims he spent the money on their behalf.

The 54-year-old ambassador ignored the court proceedings, and had judgment awarded against him by default. But he now says he is hoping for an “amicable settlement”. A meeting with the El Hage camp has been arranged for next week and the prince says he is seeking to have the court judgment set aside.

El Hage’s lawyer, Ian Bloom, says his client, who is abroad, declines to comment. But those close to him say he believes the ambassador’s diplomatic immunity is uncertain, because the alleged debts were incurred before he took office.

In a normal case, a debtor’s property could be seized. But under the Vienna convention, other diplomats and their London families currently get away with activities from shoplifting to refusing to pay the congestion charge.

According to the documents filed by El Hage, he picked up bills as the prince went on trips to Rome, Vienna, Casablanca and Paris in 2004 and 2005, immediately before his posting to London.

As well as conventional, if large, bills for hotels, cars and security guards, the lists include charges for a variety of the world’s most sophisticated brand-name items.

There is a list of 43 luxury watches allegedly bought in just 18 months at a total cost of at least £350,000. They included a Patek Philippe for £23,000 and two Jaeger Le Coultres for £17,500 and £16,700.

In January 2004, it is alleged, the prince left Riyadh for a European trip. He bought cutlery from specialist Paris shops Curty & Fils and Laguiole for €22, 990 (£16,439).

His family also allegedly invested in the must-have female fashion item – a crocodile Birkin bag listed at €18,770. Outfits from the couturiers Lanvin allegedly cost a further €150,000.

A Beretta pistol (€6,761) also figures on the list, along with a Cartier watch (€27,000) and antique guns, shotgun, and swords (€66,000).

Back in Saudi, it is claimed the prince spent £1,200 on three ivory tusks with amber and turquoise, and a red and gold crystal set for £9,000. A fleet of Yamaha Grizzly, and Big Bear quad bikes set him back £13,000.

But this was a small sum compared with the $183,000 which went on purchase and freight charges from the US for five highly sophisticated Raytheon thermal night vision cameras, to be fitted on his H2 Humvee US-army derivative vehicle. A large US pick-up, a Chevrolet Avalanche, is listed as “full options $39,250”.

A specialist off-road rally car, the Wildcat African Raid, built by a UK firm in Derbyshire, on a Land-Rover chassis is listed as £94,000.

In March, the prince went on a further trip to Austria and on to Casablanca. There was an alleged visit to the famous Swarovski shop on Vienna’s Kartnerstrasse of which it is said “almost any self-respecting Viennese lady has a Swarovski necklace, bracelet, or pair of earrings”. The total bill was said to be $25,000.

In Morocco, items read: “hotel extra suite expenses, rooms for girls etc $1,465 … girls party night 5 $2,500… Moroccan sweets arrangement to take away $250 … HRH cash in hand $20,000”.

One striking purchase listed is an “ST Dupont lighter limited edition” for $1,769, which carries a mother-of-pearl and platinum rendering of the design of the Taj Mahal.

Back in Jeddah, the prince is said to have bought many Persian rugs, more vehicles and watches and gifts of amber. As well as some low-calorie sweets, he also allegedly splashed out on the import of a suite of exotic pets, (with cages) including parrots, mynah birds and a Dr No-style white Persian chinchilla cat.

A large selection of guns also figure on the alleged invoices These include two Czech CZ75D and CZ97B pistols, a French Famas assault rifle and a Micro-Uzi machine gun of Israeli origin. The Austrian Glock 18C “special tactical weapon” is described in one advertisement as “particularly popular with VIP security personnel. Nothing stops an assassination attempt faster than a hail of 9mm bullets”.

According to the court claims, the ambassador’s luggage of choice is Delsey and Zero Halliburton aluminium suitcases, whilst in cigars, his preferences run to the latest offering from Cuba – the Cohiba Siglo VI “Canonazo” brand. His alternative choice is alleged to be the Lusitanias Double Corona, described as “a truly great cigar” with “cedar wood, leather and cinnamon”.

The PR grandee Lord Bell last night issued a statement on the ambassador’s behalf. It said that El Hage had worked for the prince’s father for 27 years until he suffered a stroke in 2002. “The nature of the relationship subsequently changed.” Lawyers in Saudi Arabia were handling the claim, and had asked for receipts “in order to consider the expenses claimed and as appropriate to seek to reach an amicable settlement”.


Court documents: the alleged debts in full (pdf)

More court documents (pdf)

 

A kosher hotel takes root in Marrakech

December 9, 2007

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                                the ogre city

By Romina Ruiz-Goiriena

MARRAKECH, MOROCCO

When Moroccan-born Israeli chef Mordechai Perez decided to visit Marrakech to search for his roots, he had no idea that he would also be making a career move. In short order, he would find himself the chief chef of Marrakech’s first-ever kosher hotel and restaurant, slated to open its doors this month.

“After my mother died, I left Israel,” relates the 44-year-old Perez. “A month ago, I came to Marrakech searching for my roots. I came and I stumbled onto this kosher hotel project.” “When I got the job as head chef, I decided to stay.”

He came to Marrakech, in part, to learn about his father’s legacy. “My father was the head of a village 75 km from here. He would come here every day because he was dedicated to the promulgation of Marrakech Jewish life.” Seated in the place his late father used to pray 60 years ago, Perez shares stories of the Jews who inhabited the Mellah in the beginning of the twentieth century. He is especially moved to be serving the same community which his father, Yaacov, served as rabbi.

To the casual observer, the quarter where the hotel is situated reflects the Muslim character of Morocco, its narrow alleys flooded with children playing and elders fasting for Islam’s holy month of Ramadan. But on closer inspection, the true nature of the Mellah, the Jewish quarter – in essence, the Moroccan version of the ghettos of European cities – becomes clear. Many of the homes are still decorated with mezuzot and a wealth of other sacred Jewish symbols. “The sign of a Jewish home,” Perez sighs with nostalgia, referring to a mezuzah in a Muslim-owned house.

Today, Marrakech is home to 300 Jews out of the 2,000 in the whole of Morocco. Marrakech’s Mellah, once a vibrant shelter to those expelled from Spain after 1492, recalls an era in which both Jew and Muslim were involved in the salt and spice commerce, and both lived and prayed within the medina’s thick paprika-red walls.

A veteran of hotel kitchens in Israel and in Belgium, Perez will be responsible for implementing all of the kashrut dietary regulations in the new facility. “I am one of the only ones in Marrakech trained to ‘kosherize’ and be a proper shomer (Kashrut Supervisor),” he says.

Jews in Marrakech

For co-owner Prosper Kadoch, 43, the new hotel and restaurant, located 15 minutes from the Mellah, is about creating a place for the Moroccan Jewish community, as well as “providing a home in Marrakech for Jews worldwide.” In recent years, adds co-owner Simon Acoca, 45, “Marrakech has undergone an incredible transition, and it is definitely a tourist hot-spot. We are just trying to open the market for Jews as well.”

In one of the most important cities in Africa, there is without doubt a need for real kosher cuisine, Kadoch says. Mindful of observant guests, the hotel and restaurant are to maintain strict standards of kashrut. The hotel will also have an in-house synagogue, and will anticipate the needs of those keeping Shabbat. The hotel and restaurant will be run in such a way that “the one who can observe the most can observe the least,” says Kadoch.

Although their primary target is Jewish community, the hotel will be open to visitors of all kinds. “What is important is that they understand that they will be complying with a kosher environment,” Acoca says. In addition, the hotel is to organize sightseeing tours to historic Jewish landmarks and areas in Marrakech. The owners aim to “contribute to a Jewish experience in the middle of Marrakech while still indulging in everything the Maghreb has to offer.”

The question of terror

For some potential visitors to Morocco, the specter of terrorism has been a factor in delaying a trip. Limor Azulay, 36, of Jerusalem, concedes that what has held her back from touring Morocco is fear. “My mother is Moroccan, and although I?ve always been interested, I’ve always been too afraid to go.” The fear has been underscored by multiple suicide bombings in Casablanca in 2003, whose targets included a Jewish-owned restaurant, and by the Moroccans involved in the Madrid train bombings the next year.

Mindful of the damage to tourism, the government has since made security – and a sense of safety for tourists – a high priority. “When it comes to tourism, there is a certain air of tranquility to be found in Morocco, and no one is willing to sacrifice that,” Acoca says. Perez agrees. “Word on the street is that there are little spurts of terrorism, but we know that the king takes care of them silently,” he says.”I have only been here for a month, I go outside of the mellah and everyone tells me “shalom, shalom” Perez says. “I speak back to them in my mother tongue, Moroccan Arabic, and they know that I am a Moroccan Jew. I know that there is nothing to be worried about.”

Leonardo Dicaprio honoured with Golden Star Award in Morocco

December 9, 2007

image21.jpgActor Leonardo DiCaprio received an honorary award from director Martin Scorsese at the opening of the seventh Marrakesh Film Festival in Morocco.

At the award ceremony Martin lavished praise on the actor as he presented him with a Golden Star Award on Dec 7.He complimented the ‘Titanic’ star for “always working till he breaks through the psychological depth of the character he has to play.”“I never fail to be amazed by his clear and complete commitment to his work,” Contactmusic quoted Scorsese, as saying.DiCaprio, who has worked with Scorsese in Gangs of New York, Aviator and The Departed, returned the compliment by calling the director, “a legend”.

The two are set to reunite next year (08) for their fourth movie together, ‘Shutter Island.’

The festival, which honored Scorsese himself in 2005, runs until 15 December (07)

want to eat lion’s meat ….come to MOROCCO

December 5, 2007

AN INVITATION BY KOLA BOOF….

MORE DETAILS COMING SOON…SO STAY TUNNED….