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Morocco Week in Review 
April 9, 2016

Around 2 Million Moroccans Over 20 Years Have Diabetes
Tuesday 5 April 2016 - morocco world news Rabat

About 2 million Moroccans over the age of 20 have diabetes, including 50 pc who are unaware of living with this disease, Health Minister El Houssaine Louardi said Monday in Rabat. 625,000 people are receiving treatment for diabetes in health centers, including 15,000 children with type 1 diabetes, the minister said at a meeting of the Commission on Social Sectors at the House of Representatives on “the strategy of the Health Ministry for the prevention and the fight against diabetes in the light of the launch of the national awareness campaign.”

The minister pointed out that this awareness campaign will run from April 7 through May 7, at a cost of 3 million dirhams and will allow 500,000 people to benefit from screening as of April until late June. He also noted that the 2012-2016 National Action Plan for prevention and fight against diabetes, which is part of the Global Action Plan for the fight against diabetes and the 2011-2025 Global Action Plan for the Fight against non-communicable diseases (WHO), generally aims to reduce complications and deaths resulting from this disease.

American Channel Highlights Morocco’s ‘Very Successful’ Experience in Counterterrorism
Tuesday 5 April 2016 - morocco world news Washington

WJLA-TV, a news channel affiliated with the American Broadcasting Company (ABC), on Monday highlighted Morocco’s “very successful” experience in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism.
In an article published on its website under the title “Chasing terror”, the Washington-based channel noted that the approach adopted by Morocco following the 2003 terrorist attacks is based primarily on a “comprehensive and holistic understanding” of the modus operandi of extremist groups and networks and their “culture”.

Quoting Mohammed Benhamou, President of the Moroccan Centre for Strategic Studies (French acronym CMES), the author Scott Thuman points out that Morocco, a country known for its tolerance and co-existence, has restructured its religious field, particularly through the training of imams whose role is of “special significance” in the fight against any politician or ideological use of religion.
The American channel also notes that since the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, Morocco has played a “central” role in the efforts aimed at fighting the terrorist threat, hailing the “success formula” implemented by the Kingdom in the field.

Al Akhawayn University to Host the 6th Annual Leader of the Year Award
Sunday 3 April 2016 -morocco world news By Ouasima Boujrad Ifran 

Leadership Development Institute at Al Akhawayn Univerity Ifran is organizing one of its biggest annual events; the Leader of the Year Award (LOTY) on April 7, 2016. The Leader of the Year Award (LDY) is an initiative by the Leadership Development Institute (LDI) to recognize and reward the work of the non-governmental organizations and associations and to celebrate volunteer workers’ efforts for the part they take in the development of our community as active bodies in the civil society. It is also an opportunity to show the importance of the social work in creating change in the community.

The Leadership Development Institute (LDI), is an extracurricular program that offers its students a number of leadership-oriented seminars, skill building workshops, class discussions and practical cases from daily life. It also encourages students to involve in community service to have a practical vision of the program. The LDI works towards shifting consciousness from traditional to a modern, servant, global paradigm of leadership.

The LDI aims to graduate students with the leadership skills and values needed to lead highly effective economic and social development programs. Furthermore, it seeks to be exemplary in all that it does, to develop and maintain high credibility and legitimacy, and maintain high standards of performance in its programs and for its students, staff and faculty. LDI works primarily in Morocco and the MENA region to change the way leadership is viewed and done.

Since 2011, LDI has organized the Leader of the Year Award (LOTY). LOTY has been a successfully promoting and advocating for community leadership as well as encouraging greater involvement in volunteerism sector. The LOTY is a ceremony that gathers different associations from four areas: Ifrane, Azrou, El Hajeb and Meknes.
The participating associations all perform different roles within civil society; including working towards reducing poverty, encouraging education, fighting illiteracy, providing moral or financial support to people with special needs or disabilities, and assisting the homeless people and the elderly. The common thread amongst these associations is the mutual commitment towards social development and the willingness to fulfill what is missing in their community.

Based on certain leadership criteria, like motivation, high integrity, good communication, team oriented and adaptability to change, LDI awards the best leader of the year. Candidates do not necessarily have to have a high rank within the association; any position is eligible. Last years winner (LOTY 2015) was Association Wlidatna Pour Handicapé, an association located in Azro. Its mission is to bring change to the region by providing medical and educational help for children with nervous system diseases. The association also works to raise money to help families pay the costs of medicine.

Spanish LGBT Association Calls for Decriminalizing Homosexuality in Morocco.
Saturday 2 April 2016 - Larbi Arbaoui Taroudante

The Spanish LGBT association “Lambda DDHH Valencia,” has recently launched a campaign on twitter with the hashtag #stop489 to call for decriminalizing homosexuality in Morocco. In Morocco, the penal code prohibits homosexuality as a criminal offense. Such illegal activity that can be punishable by 6 months to 3 years of imprisonment, as well as a fine of MAD 120 to MAD 1200.

After the circulation of a video online in which two men who were perceived to be a homosexual couple were assaulted and forced them to go home naked, Lamba DDHH Valencia, as well as other international human rights organizations, raised concerns on the right of homosexuals in Morocco. The Spanish LGBT association said that “many organizations, international associations and groups have denounced the cruelty that demonstrates Moroccan society against the LGBT community,” particularly “the total lack of humanity on the part of the Moroccan justice that sentenced the victims and let the perpetrators go unpunished.”

According to Moroccan media, the two attackers were sentenced to two months of suspension. One of the victims, conversely, was sentenced to four months in prison. Lamba DDHH Valencia added that, “homophobia is lived every day in Moroccan streets. Homosexuals are forced to conceal their sexual orientation and many suffer from attacks by those around them, including their families.” The organization also noted that many Moroccans will flee to Spain in order to find “the freedom to love.”“We meet a lot of men and Moroccan women who come to hide from the homophobia and are seeking a place where they feel safe to be themselves and love who they want to love,” the association said.

Other organizations and civil society movements such as the “Mouvement Alternatif pour les Libertés Individuelles” (MALI) and “Aswat” denounced this act of severe aggression towards the homosexual couple, demanding an immediate legal investigation.


Homosexuality trial sparks debate in Morocco
By Afp 4 April 2016

A man on trial for homosexuality and three others who allegedly attacked him appeared in court in central Morocco on Monday amid an outcry by human rights groups. Rights organisations are demanding that Morocco decriminalise homosexuality, which is punishable by up to three years in jail.

The hearing in the central town of Beni Mellal lasted just a few minutes, said Hussein Harchi of the Moroccan Association of Human Rights. Moroccan protesters living in the neighborhood where two men presumed to be homosexual were assaulted, demonstrate against homosexuality and in support of family members who are on trial in connection with the assault, on April 4, 2016 ©Fadel Senna (AFP)

The judge adjourned the trial against the four defendants until April 11, after the lawyer of one of the alleged assailants requested more time to study the case, said Harchi. The investigation centres on an alleged assault of two reportedly homosexual men by a group of individuals in an apartment in Beni Mellal last month. A video of the alleged attack appeared on YouTube on March 25, showing two half naked men with bloodied faces being attacked and dragged into the street. Harchi said one 30-year-old man was accused of "sexual deviancy" and three were accused of "forced entry, resorting to violence and carrying weapons. He added that another man accused of homosexuality had already been sentenced to four months in prison for "unnatural sexual acts" and that he had launched an appeal.

The trials have sparked outrage in Morocco, a conservative Muslim kingdom where rights groups have long called for the dropping of a law criminalising homosexual acts. A group of more than a dozen activist organisations released a statement last month alleging that the case breached Morocco's human rights obligations.

A court in Rabat jailed two men to four months in prison in August for beating up a presumed homosexual because of his appearance. The men were arrested after websites posted a video of the victim trying in vain to take shelter in a taxi to escape a crowd. And in another incident in a string of controversies over homosexuality, two men were jailed for four months in June for kissing in public in the capital.

Drought impacts Morocco's grain production

Morocco’s total grain production is estimated to be around 4.7 million tonnes including 3.7 million tonnes of common and durum wheat and 1 million tonnes of barley, the  U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service said in a March 30 report. The fall in grain production is mainly due to unfavorably dry and hot conditions during crop establishment in many production areas, as well as a smaller planted area and lower anticipated yields. The area planted this year is around 3.2 million hectare, with about 47% of soft wheat, 18% of durum wheat, and 35% of barley. With this year’s drought, wheat imports are expected to start earlier this year.

Grain production continues to depend heavily on rainfall because most of the production is rainfed. Moroccan rainfall is known for its wide fluctuations and has recorded extreme variations in recent years with no clear trends. These fluctuations considerably impact forage and grain supplies and ultimately the Moroccan economy. On Jan. 29,  the Moroccan government committed more than 5 billion Moroccan dirhams ($520 million) to what they call an anti-drought plan, aimed at supporting the agriculture sector against the effects of late rains.

The stocks of cereals held by operators and reported to the Moroccan Cereals Office (ONICL) reached about 1.34 million tonnes at the first of January, of which 1.23 million tonnes was common wheat. About 56% of Morocco’s total stock was made up of local wheat as of January. The 56% represents 760,000 tonnes of bread wheat, 105,000 tonnes of durum wheat, and the rest is corn at 375,000 tones. This stock will cover domestic demand only through the end of March, and consequently imports will rise. With the dry conditions, importers anticipate the imports to be between 3.8 million tonnes and 4 million tonnes of bread wheat.

Morocco relies heavily on wheat imports to cover its consumption needs. Morocco’s cereal imports in market year 2016-17 are forecast at 4.6 million tonnes, with wheat imports estimated at 3.9 million tonnes and barley imports estimated at 0.7 million tonnes. E.U. and Black Sea countries supply most of the common wheat, while Canada is the traditional supplier of durum wheat.

Zayane: Morocco in North Kensington
by KCW Today Reporter 09 Apr, 2016

In the 1960’s one never ventured to the nether end of Portobello Road, the frontier to the Golborne Road was not to be crossed. However the Notting Hill effect has arrived, with trendy shops and restaurants and a pavement widening scheme which will give space for outdoor dining; Golborne is here, and with it, the charming Zayane.

I was doubly keen to try this recently opened Moroccan restaurant having just returned from Marrakech. The welcoming owner, Casablanca born Meryem Mortell, has taken on Michelin starred chef Chris Bower to enhance the Moroccan menu with a British twist. The Zayane Platter of six little salad dishes set us up with tapenades, purees, and Chermoula of tomato and peppers. (When Moroccans use the word ‘salad’ it has nothing to do with lettuce and cucumber.)

I started with one of my favourite dishes, a Pastille, this one filled with quail, the meat encased in a delicate crispy envelope accompanied by a finely shredded slaw with mango and orange blossom dressing. My companion opted for the delicate and fresh Scallop Chermoula with chick peas, followed by the deep and rich Roast Lamb Tagine with aubergine caponata. It seemed a trick was missed by roasting the lamb rather than slow cooking it in the tagine.

I went all out and ordered the excellent Poached Lobster with baby root vegetable in a carrot and cumin cream sauce. The fresh spices are beautifully balanced in all the dishes so that you can really taste each one individually.

We had a short rest while we listened to the musician playing his goatskin ‘gembri’, a sort of lute, and singing his plaintive ‘gnawa’, African Islamic spiritual music. The Cardamom Set Cream with Pear was good but short on the pear, I think we were craving a palate cleanser at this point, the Raspberry Clafoutis was just right, plenty of raspberry! We naturally finished this most enjoyable meal with mint tea.

Although some more sophisticated and refined techniques have been introduced and non-Moroccan ingredients such as Cornish crab, Sussex beef, sea trout, and rhubarb, the essence of Moroccan cuisine has been retained and some of the dishes seemed little different from those I had sampled in Marrakech the previous week. Zayane also offers a Sunday Brunch, fresh juices, light bites, and snacks and a working lunch that looks like very good value with two courses at £15 and three for £18.

Need a tour guide in Morocco? The Ministry of Tourism guarantees quality - it's the law.
Apr 09, 2016

A law in Morocco was implemented in February to improve the quality of the services provided by tour guide. Law 05-12 also has the purpose to regulate tour guide services and allow professionals in this business to benefit from better recognition in the travel and tourism industry of the kingdom. That law aims to raise skill, training, and access for this profession . The law regulates diploma requirements, and is helping to structure requirements and activities for tour guides.

As such , special diplomas will be required for guides showing national parks and heritage areas. A special licenses will be issued for this. The Ministry of Tourism will soon announce the graduation of the first 20 specialty guides with such a license. Similarly in October 2015, the Ministry of Tourism launched a pilot training program for city guides. Training was conducted at the International Higher Institute of Tangier. This job specific two year training program , will assure guides graduating are highly qualified.

Along with the initial training, the Ministry of Tourism will launch a training program for more than 2,800 authorized guides . This training program is now a mandatory requirement necessary for the renewal of licenses. Such a mandatory education program will upgrade and strengthen the knowledge and skills of licensed guides in order to meet the expectations of international travelers. Tourists are increasingly demanding in terms of quality and safety.

Also, the Ministry of Tourism will conduct a professional examination for candidates with experience in this field and with certain skills. In order to pass such an exam subjects guides must be trained in security, first aid, accompanying techniques, and foreign languages. These new regulations will assure visitors to Morocco and travel agents or tour operators selling Morocco , they are in good hands when hiring licensed local guides.

Progress for Women in the Muslim World: Morocco is showing how dramatic changes for the better can be made.
By Fatima Zahra Mansouri April 7, 2016,

Watching the U.S. primary race unfold, offering the historic possibility of the first woman president, I have been reflecting on how dramatically women have benefitted from democratic progress in my own country, Morocco. Of course, women in Morocco, like women in all societies of the world, are still fighting for equality; and believe me, the road is long. But Morocco recognized long ago that women represent half the potential of the country, and that protecting and expanding their rights is essential to the successful and peaceful evolution of our country. More than 10 years ago, we changed our family law, the Moudawana, to provide enhanced rights to women in marriage. It raised the legal age of marriage for women to 18; it abolished man's right to renounce his wife simply by saying "I divorce you"; it gave women the right to initiate divorce; it provided them property rights in a divorce; and it gave them the right to engage in commerce and conduct business without spousal consent.

Now, there are laws that are the result of a cultural evolution, and there are laws that engender such an evolution. The Moudawana was definitely among the latter. It was a huge advance for Moroccan women, who, with this change, were able to become masters of their own destiny. There have been many other advances, as well, including expansion of schooling for girls in rural areas and increased access to higher education. And Morocco's 2011 Constitutional reform solidified our country's commitment to women's rights by institutionalizing parity.

Women in Morocco drive. We build and run businesses. We study and teach at our country's universities. We are social activists. We run for Parliament and other offices – and win, as I did when I was elected the first female mayor of Marrakesh. How is it that we are much better off than women in many other Muslims countries?

For several reasons. The tolerant Islam practiced for centuries in Morocco is one element, given added power because of the king's status as Commander of the Faithful. Just as important is the fact that the movement for women's rights in Morocco wasn't just promoted by activists; the state, embodied by the monarchy, was a partner. In fact, the late Mohamed V, who was sultan and then king almost 100 years ago, set the example, and the tone, by stressing the importance of education and civic involvement for the princesses of his time.

None of this is to say that the fight for emancipation is over. A great deal still remains to be accomplished. We are still waiting and working for a strong law on violence against women. Furthermore, many of the parity laws mandated by the Constitution have yet to be enacted. And there is ongoing debate about abortion and women's inheritance rights – both issues that will require legislation and adjudication.

As we reflect on the progress we have made, Moroccan women – and men – look forward to further achievements. As we do so, we must keep in mind King Mohamed VI's question from long ago, when he asked how we can have a successful society if half our citizens are denied their full rights.
Fatima Zahra Mansouri served as the first woman mayor of Marrakesh, Morocco from 2009-2015, making her the country’s second ever female mayor. She is a member of Morocco’s Authenticity and Modernity party.

L’association Bahri et l’ambassade des Etats-Unis organisent « Surf Green Morocco: Une semaine de surf et de sensibilisation environnementale au Maroc Casablanca | Safi | Taghazout Du 13 au 20 avril 2016
RABAT, Maroc, 7 avril 2016/APO (African Press Organization)

Dans le cadre de leur engagement continu envers la préservation de l’environnement, l’association Bahri et l’ambassade des Etats-Unis à Rabat organisent la semaine Surf Green Morocco. Organisé du 13 au 20 avril 2016, cet évènement vise à sensibiliser les jeunes et les moins jeunes à l’importance de la sauvegarde des plages marocaines, tout en initiant les participants au surf et à l’écologie. Au programme, des ateliers de sensibilisation à l’environnement et au volontariat,  des cours de surf, et des opérations de nettoyage des plages.

Grand lancement le 13 avril à partir de 14h à la plage Ain Diab de Casbalanca, Porte 13 chez Ain Diab Surf School. La semaine Surf Green Morocco verra la participation spéciale du surfeur pro américain Alex Smith spécialement invité pour l’occasion et du surfeur marocain Othmane Choufani, ainsi que Saad Abid, président de l’Association Bahri et athlète de sports extrêmes. 
Le lancement de la semaine sera également marqué par la présence de l’ambassadeur des Etats-Unis au Maroc Dwight L. Bush.

Les activités organisées le 13 avril bénéficieront environ 200 personnes, dont 20 enfants de l’Association Fida pour handicapés mentaux, 100 enfants et 30 femmes de l’Association Al Hilal incluant des orphelins et des habitants des bidonvilles et plus de 60 volontaires venant de plusieurs entreprises et écoles.

Les représentants de l’ambassade et du consulat américain se joindront aux volontaires présents sur place pour nettoyer la plage où seront installées de nouvelles poubelles. Une séance de signature d’autographes avec les surfeurs professionnels Alex Smith et Othmane Choufani suivra le nettoyage de plage. Toute l’aventure sera partagée sur les réseaux sociaux en mettant le Hashtag           
Distribué par APO (African Press Organization) pour Ambassade des Etats-Unis d'Amérique au Maroc

Morocco: Cultural tourism development program to promote tourism in the Medina of Fez.
Apr 04, 2016

The Marocco Minister of tourism, the Wali of the Fez-Meknes region, the President of the Fez-Meknes region, and the Mayor of Fez chaired a meeting on March 29. This meeting took place at the headquarters of the Fez-Meknes Wilaya. Focus was a presentation about a local tourism development program integrated with culture and the inclusion of handicraft sales. The focus was on the Medina of the city of Fez. The minister said: "Tourism is inextricably linked to the cultural and historic assets, and choosing a travel destination is based mainly on the diversity of cultural and historic resources of the country to be visited."

Listed as a world heritage site, the Medina of Fez enjoys many historic and cultural assets and has a unique architectural heritage, combined with an ancient social etiquette. Therefore, as part of the tourism, handicrafts, housing, and culture sectoral strategies, several measures have been taken with a view to developing Fez’s tourism and cultural assets, particularly by establishing thematic tours, restoring monuments, and improving the urban environment.

These measures that contributed to the tourism development in Fez will be supplemented with other specific measures to develop an integrated cultural product that focuses on preserving, developing, and promoting the Medina of Fez through an events policy.

The cultural tourism development programme follows the lines established by the Government as regards regionalization, decentralization, and developing local expertise. It aims mainly at strengthening the attractiveness of medinas’ tourism potential with regard to:
· Improving tourist facilities (tourist information kiosks, etc);
· Heritage interpretation (markers, ICT, scenography);
· Developing architectural heritage (night lighting, models, etc);
· Cultural events equipment (exhibitions, etc).

This programm is carried out by the Moroccan Agency for Tourism Development (SMIT), whose role would be to support the development of tourism products, and to develop cultural resources once urban upgrading is done (medinas and historic sites).

The Agency will also provide technical assistance to better implement projects and will oversee the programme’s various design and implementation stages.

It is worth mentioning that the programme aims at developing 31 medinas between 2016 and 2025, and that the commitments of the different stakeholders were materialized by the signature of the framework partnership agreement between the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Policy, the Ministry of Handicrafts and Social and Solidarity Economy, the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Tourism, and the Moroccan Agency for Tourism Development in December 2015.

Morocco on a liberal path
Bangalore Mirror Bureau | Apr 3, 2016, By: Mamta Sagar

People feel that present ruler Mohammad VI is more progressive than his father

Once upon this day, thrives a kingdom far away, surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean on one side, Sahara desert on the other, and forests on the third, the great snow ranges of Mount Atlas on the fourth. Morocco is a beautiful kingdom in the northern tip of Africa. With the history dating until over twelve centuries, memories filled with legends and folklore; it is a geographical space still existing as a kingdom with a king as its ruler and a prince being prepared for his turn as the king to be. It feels strange to step into a 'kingdom' at this point of time in this world's history!

Mohammed VI, the present King of Morocco ascended to the throne in 1999 upon the death of his father, King Hassan II. King Hassan II was the Arab world's longest-ruling monarch and had survived several coup attempts during his reign. After experiencing King Hassan's 38 years of autocratic rule, people now feel that their present ruler is much more liberal.

Mohammed VI is seen in the public with his wife Princess Lalla Salma, an engineering graduate and daughter of a school teacher. This is for the first time in Morocco's history that the common people have been able to see the face of their king's wife. Moroccan government is constituted of an elected parliament with the ruling and opposition parties in it.

However, the power of Parliament is still being limited as it is the King who appoints the prime minister and on proposition from the prime minister, the members of government are appointed.
In 2004, Morocco rewrote its code of family law, establishing the right to divorce by mutual consent, placing limits on polygamy and rising the minimum marriage age for women from 15 to 18. The current king had to arbitrate between the demands of feminist organizations, who were calling for an expansion of women's rights, and the Islamic political parties, who were strongly resistant to change. The terrorist bombings in 2003 in Casablanca weakened the Islamist parties and paved the way for the adoption of the new family code. The king used this opportunity to make it clear that he was the country's top religious authority.

"I can't in my capacity as commander of the faithful, permit what God has forbidden, nor forbid what the Almighty has allowed," the king said in an October 2003 address to Parliament about the changes to the family code. He also hinted that he would push to loosen religious rules without completely rejecting them. The move gave him the image of a modernist and a reformer and has located Morocco as a progressive country, different from other Islamic countries.

Since its independence in Morocco women have the right to vote and all schools are co-education schools. They do not have the concept of a separate school for girls. Morocco, formerly a French colony having French and Arabic as major languages is now anticipating to introduce English in schools.

Schools, banks, government and private offices, airports, bus and train stations, shops and hotels, every other place displays the portraits of the king and his father. As you walk down the streets of this reforming and transforming kingdom and witness the loyalty to the regime obviously on display everywhere, a sense of appreciation mixed with an unknown restlessness tiptoes from within.
The writer is a poet, playwright and translator

'Magical Morocco' at AP
Thursday, April 7, 2016 AUBURN

Teens and adults are invited to the Auburn Public Library from 4-5 p.m. Monday, April 11, when career teacher Cynthia Reedy will present an educational, informative and interactive program about her recent trip to "Magical Morocco." The program will be held in the Androscoggin Community Room. Cynthia Reedy visits Morocco in 2015. She will talk about her trip by presenting "Magical Morocco" on Monday, April 11, at the Auburn Public Library.

This past fall, Reedy spent four months in Morocco as a recipient of a 2015-16 Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching. During her time there, she visited several schools, taught dozens of children to sing B-I-N-G-O, climbed the highest mountain in North Africa, rode a camel and visited many beautiful and magical places.

Reedy began her teaching career as an outreach instructor at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle, Wash., delivering hands-on science classes to thousands of students throughout Washington state. She has taught science, languages and mathematics at Hebron Academy since 1987. For many years she chaired the World Language Department and she has taught more than 15 different courses at the Academy. She has served on the boards of A.R.K. and L.O.O.K. — weekend and summer enrichment programs for local children. After many years as a Friend, she currently serves as a Trustee of the Norway Memorial Library.
She and her husband, Brad Cummings, enjoy hiking, camping and simply living in the beautiful Oxford Hills.
FMI: 207-333-6640 ext. 4,,

Feed Grains: Morocco expected to ramp up wheat imports
Posted Apr. 6th, 2016 By Commodity News Service Canada WINNIPEG, Apr. 6 (CNS Canada)

Following are a few highlights in the Canadian and world feed grains markets on Wednesday, April 6.

– CBOT corn futures finished roughly one cent higher on Wednesday, with the May contract at US$3.5800 per bushel. Prices were supported by speculation some US farmers may switch intended corn plantings to soybeans instead.

– Sorghum plantings in the US are ahead of last year’s pace, according to the latest USDA crop report. Sorghum was 13 percent planted for the week ended April 3, which compares to just 8 percent planted last year.

– Leaf rust has been detected in some Nebraska wheat fields, according to researchers from The University of Nebraska. The fields were located in the south central areas of the state.

– Morocco is expected to dramatically increase its wheat imports due to drought-pressure. The USDA’s Moroccan bureau reports pegged the country’s 2016/17 wheat harvest at 3.7 million tonnes, which is 54% than last year. Initial guesses place the needed imports at around 4 million tonnes.

– Japan is on the hunt for approximately 50,000 tonnes of feed wheat and feed barley.

– A researcher from the University of Arizona says the alfalfa crop in California is slowly being reduced by newer specialty crops. In an interview with the Western Farm Press, Mike Ottman says alfalfa acreage is currently about 825,000 to 850,000 acres, a significantly smaller figure from five years ago when it was closer to 1.1 million. He blames the decline partially on the influx of specialty crops like almonds, pistachios and walnuts.

– Feed barley bids in the key cattle feeding area of Lethbridge, Alberta were in the C$207 to C$215 per tonne range as of April 1, which was slightly higher compared to the previous week, according to provincial reports. Feed wheat prices were in the C$231 to C$240 range, which were C$3 to $5 higher than the previous report.

American Show “Prison Break” to Film in Rabat, Casablanca, Ouarzazate.
Thursday 7 April 2016 - Zainab Calcuttawala Rabat

The fifth season of the “Prison Break” series is currently filming in three cities of Morocco – Casablanca, Rabat and Ouarzazate – according to a report by Huffington Post Maroc.  do not be surprised if you come face to face with the Scofield brothers in the coming weeks. The newspaper cited a filming permit approving the show’s cast and crew to work in the three cities from March 28th to June 17th, 2016

“Prison Break” started in 2005. Every episode in the first season attracted almost 10 million American viewers to tune in to Fox during the hour-long show. By the show’s fourth and final season, the audience has dwindled down to 3 million weekly viewers on average. In January, Fox announced a nine-episode event continuing the character’s stories. The principal actors in the original cast confirmed their return soon after. The next nine episodes will take place five years after the end of the last season.

The hero of the saga, Michael Scofield was thought dead, but is actually imprisoned in Yemen. The reboot will begin with his friends’ plans to try and free him from incarceration. Thus, the scenes shot in Morocco will probably be used to portray the Middle East.

The Atlas Studies in Ouarzazate have been used for the filming of several Hollywood TV shows and movies over the past decades. Season three of the show “Game of Thrones” and the film “Gladiator” were shot at the studies, among others.

Morocco’s Outlaw Country Is the Heartland of Global Terrorism: The northern Rif mountains have been home to hash-peddlers, smugglers, and outlaws for centuries. Now they’re a breeding ground for Europe’s jihadi terrorists.
By Leela JacintoLeela Jacinto is an award-winning international news reporter at France 24 specializing in the Middle East and South Asia. April 7, 2016

In the weeks since terrorists struck the Belgian capital, authorities and journalists have wasted no time mapping out the links between the Brussels and Paris attacks — between Molenbeek, Schaerbeek, and the French banlieues, between a hideout location here, and a fingerprint found there. The lines connecting the complex web of kinship and friendship ties across national borders are starting to resemble a Jackson Pollock drip painting with a disturbing message: These are the squiggles and dots that can usher deadly terrorist plots from conception through to execution.
Mapping out the form and content of Europe’s terrorist cells is certainly vital investigative work. But lost in all these lines connecting Europe’s gray urban landscapes are the sun-drenched hills, valleys, and towns of northern Morocco. And it is to Morocco that we must go, tracing links that go back generations to the colonial era, crossing the Mediterranean — a sea that binds, rather than divides, Europe and North Africa — to fully understand what has spurred young men to wreak havoc in Western European capitals.

At the heart of terrorist strikes across the world over the past 15 years lies the Rif. A mountainous region in northern Morocco, stretching from the teeming cities of Tangier and Tetouan in the west to the Algerian border in the east, the Rif is an impoverished area rich in marijuana plants, hashish peddlers, smugglers, touts, and resistance heroes that has rebelled against colonial administrators, postcolonial kings, and any authority imposed from above. For the children of the Rif who have been transplanted to Europe, this background can combine with marginalization, access to criminal networks, and radicalization to make the vulnerable ones uniquely drawn to acts of terrorism.

The Rif’s links to jihadi attacks probably first came to light in 2004 following the March 11 Madrid bombings, when it was discovered that nearly all of the plotters had links to Tetouan. Three years after the Madrid attacks, when reporter Andrea Elliot, in an article for the New York Times Magazine, visited that hardscrabble city in the heart of the Rif, she found a number of Tetouan youth, inspired by the Madrid bombers, making their way to Iraq to wage jihad on U.S. troops with al Qaeda in Iraq, the precursor to the Islamic State.

Nearly a decade later, the same jihadi tourism trail has led to the Paris and Brussels attacks. One of the latest Riffians to gain international notoriety has been Najim Laachraoui, the Islamic State bomb-maker who traveled to Syria in 2013, where he perfected his explosives expertise. We’ve all seen him by now: He’s one of the three men captured on CCTV footage pushing trolleys in Brussels Airport on the morning of March 22. Initial reports claimed he was the “third man” — also known as the “man with a hat” — who got away. But Belgian prosecutors now say Laachraoui was one of two suicide bombers who blew themselves up at the airport.

Laachraoui was Riffian: a Belgian national predominantly raised in the Schaerbeek neighborhood of Brussels but born in Ajdir, a small Moroccan town with a proud Rif history. Paris attack suspect Salah Abdeslam and his brother Brahim, who was one of the Paris attackers who targeted bars and restaurants in the 10th and 11th arrondissements before blowing himself up at a popular Paris eatery on Nov. 13, 2015, were also both Riffian by parentage. (Ringleader Abdelhamid Abaaoud was not of Riffian origin, for what it’s worth — his family came from southern Morocco.)

The region’s baggage goes back a long way. The history of the Rif is choked with battles between Berber kingdoms in the precolonial era, which gave way to major wars and rebellions against the Spanish and French during the colonial period. Independence in 1956 brought French and Spanish withdrawals, but a continuation of power struggles between the newly independent Moroccan elites and their Berber populations sparked another cycle of rebellions and crackdowns by Moroccan King Mohamed V, followed by his son, King Hassan II. For its historic rebelliousness, the Rif was rewarded with decades of state neglect.

King Hassan II famously never visited his palaces in Tangier and Tetouan. Government services in the region were negligible, Islamists filled the void, and Wahhabi teachings spread like wild fire in the slums and shanties of cities like Tetouan. Today, the region has the highest rates of poverty, maternal death, and female illiteracy in the country, coupled with Morocco’s lowest growth indices. So, though the current King Mohammed VI has invested in the region and makes it a point to vacation in the Rif, the largesse has not trickled down to ordinary Riffians. As Elliot put it in her New York Times Magazine piece, “[m]any of the locals find their rickety cars are no match for the smooth new highways or that they are woefully untrained to compete for jobs in the area’s lavish resorts.”
The story of the Abdeslam family fits a typical Riffian pattern. The parents hail from the village of Bouyafar in the Nador province of the Rif, a region they quit for Algeria, then a French territory, where Berber mountain men worked on French-owned farms or settled in Algeria’s rapidly expanding coastal cities. It was in French-controlled Algeria that the Abdeslams got French citizenship, resulting in all their children being French nationals as well. Step two of the Riffian migration saw millions joining the postwar wave of low-skilled workers feeding Western Europe’s mines and factories during the postwar boom years; the Abdeslams came to Belgium in the 1960s.

But while Europe offered the sorts of economic opportunities for which the first generation of migrants was grateful, the next generation has struggled. The economic downturn since the late 1970s has not helped. The Belgian heavy industries and coal mines that once drew Moroccans from their villages have now shut down, leaving behind areas of urban blight. Belgium’s national unemployment rate, which hovers around 8 percent, climbs to more than 20 percent among the youth. For Belgians of Moroccan or Turkish origin, that figure can double to around 40 percent.

But unemployment is not the sole factor contributing to the attraction among some Belgian Muslims to the jihadi cause. Among Belgium’s Muslim minority — an estimated 5.9 percent of the total population of 11.3 million — Moroccans form the largest community (between 400,000 and 500,000), followed by people of Turkish origin. While Belgian nationals or residents of Moroccan origin dominate the country’s roster of jihadis over the past 15 years, experts have noted the lack of Turkish names on terrorist lists. In a country like Belgium — which, unlike France, has no history of colonization in the Muslim world — not enough attention is paid in intelligence and policy circles to the origins of criminals-turned-jihadis. That’s a pity, because the answers can help frame solutions for what is primarily a domestic problem with transnational implications.

Why are Belgians of Turkish descent so reliably unimpressed by jihad? The reasons are varied: For starters, they’re Turkish speakers, and so they’re less exposed to mostly Arabic Wahhabi proselytizing than their Moroccan brothers. Then there’s culture: In a recent New York Review of Books interview, Didier Leroy, a leading terrorism researcher at the Royal Military Academy of Belgium, talks about a “certain type of identity construction in the Turkish community,” in which “the secularist heritage of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk … probably still plays a part.” Another critical factor is how mosques are run and staffed with imams: Turkey sends its own imams to cater to the Turkish community’s religious requirements in Belgium, and most mosques frequented by Belgian Turks are run by the Diyanet, the Turkish directorate for religious affairs, which keeps a tight rein over the religious sphere in the Turkish state. By contrast, the mosques serving the Moroccan community are staffed by Gulf-trained imams who, critics say, have preached a Salafi form of Islam far more radical than the Maliki school of Islam practiced in North and West Africa.
But, lurking in the background of all this, there is still the Rif — a radicalizing factor all its own.

The region’s dynamics of pacification, mismanagement, and neglect, inherited from the colonial era, mirror those that plague Pakistan’s troubled tribal zones. Like the Rif — which, in Arabic, literally means the “edge of cultivated land” — the peripheral tribal zones of Pakistan have gotten by with traditional codes of conduct based on honor, revenge, and hospitality. When the old order collapses in the absence of state institutions, jihadi ideologies flourish in these places like marijuana crops on the Rif slopes or poppy shoots along the Helmand highway.

The baggage of neglect has affected even the relatively lucky Riffians who escaped poverty back home for Europe. The older generation arrived in then-French-controlled Algeria, Belgium, or mainland France only to find that, as residents of a former Spanish enclave, their French was not up to snuff. Neither, as Berbers speaking Amazigh languages and dialects, was their Arabic.

Under these circumstances, the old Riffian ways and mores of traditional codes of conduct, honor, justice, and suspicion of authorities were transplanted to Brussels neighborhoods and allowed to bloom and grow. Fairly or not, Belgian authorities describe the country’s Rif community as marked by lawlessness and a “tribal, more aggressive culture” that sets it apart from other immigrant communities. In an incisive Politico piece titled “Molenbeek Broke My Heart,” Teun Voeten, a former neighborhood resident and member of the borough’s bobo (“bourgeois bohémiens”) set, noted how, like many white professionals taking advantage of Molenbeek’s affordable rents, he moved in dreaming that his kids would play with their Moroccan neighbors in a multicultural love zone. But, he noted, “[t]he neighborhood was hardly multicultural. Rather, with roughly 80 percent of the population of Moroccan origin, it was tragically conformist and homogenous. There may be a vibrant alternative culture in Casablanca and Marrakech, but certainly not in Molenbeek.”

What Voeten didn’t understand — and what so many in Belgium still don’t — is that the “alternative cultures” of Casablanca and Marrakech are as far from Molenbeek as the hills of the Rif are from the royal palace in Rabat. While newcomer bobos are made to feel like outsiders, for the old migrants and their children, there are ties that bind. And it was those Riffian ties, based on old codes of conduct that place hospitality and kinship above the law laid out by distant elites, that helped Salah and Brahim Abdeslam and their criminal-jihadi brothers hide and thrive.

These are the sorts of networks that the predominantly white Belgian and French security services now must crack and infiltrate. Well, good luck to them. The old colonial chickens are coming home to roost, and the best way to address these problems is by diversifying the security services and ensuring migrants don’t hit a glass ceiling when they’re striving to find a place in Western society. While it’s important to understand the nuances of origins — particularly when it comes to hiring imams and security cooperation between European and North African authorities — it’s equally critical to ensure we don’t fall into the trap of stereotyping. It goes without saying that not all Riffians are jihadis or prone to criminal acts. Like the majority of Muslim immigrants in Europe, most Riffians find the Islamic State’s brand of nihilistic, non-Islam alien and anathema to the lived religion they practice. Europe has plenty of qualified, educated Riffians. In the Netherlands, for instance, the mayor of Rotterdam, Ahmed Aboutaleb, is a Riffian.

Last year, the Moroccan-born Aboutaleb created a buzz in Dutch political and rap circles when he told Muslims who do not want to adapt that they could “fuck off.” It’s the sort of tough talk from a homeboy who has made it that Riffians respect. I’m getting hoarse saying this, but I’ll say it once more: It’s time to involve the Muslim community in this fight in society’s highest positions. Forget about Europe’s Islamophobic white right and the politically correct left. They can argue and stew in their salons and studios. This battle must be won on the streets, from Molenbeek to Tetouan.

Morocco Teams Up with UNESCO to Boost ESD
April 5, 2016

Mohammed VI Foundation for Environment Protection and UNESCO have agreed to enhance cooperation in the field of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD,) a program which enables people to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills for a better sustainable future. Princess Lalla Hasnaa, the Moroccan King’s youngest sister and Chairwoman of the Mohammed VI Foundation for Environment Protection, presided over Tuesday in Paris the signing ceremony of a partnership agreement between the Foundation and UNESCO.

The agreement was signed by UNESCO Director-general Irina Bokova and the president delegate of the foundation Lahoucine Tijani. It is part of the UN Decade of ESD launched by UNESCO within the frame of its Global Action Plan (GAP) for 2015-2030. The agreement will enable Morocco to benefit from UNESCO know-how and experience in ESD training. This will enhance the capacity of the Mohammed VI Foundation and give momentum to its programs such as Eco-schools, Young Reporters for the Environment and other programs related to the protection of environment.

Mohammed VI Foundation for the Protection of the Environment had partnered with UNESCO in the 1st UN Decade of ESD (2005 -2014.) Education for Sustainable Development means including key sustainable development issues into teaching and learning; for example, climate change, disaster risk reduction, biodiversity, poverty reduction, and sustainable consumption. It also requires the adoption of teaching and learning methods that motivate and empower learners to change their behavior and take action for sustainable development.

ESD promotes efforts to rethink educational programs and systems (both methods and contents) that currently support unsustainable societies. ESD affects all components of education: legislation, policy, finance, curriculum, instruction, learning, assessment, etc. ESD calls for lifelong learning and recognizes the fact that the educational needs of people change over their lifetime. Many individuals and organizations around the world already implement ESD (e.g. a teacher weaving sustainability themes into primary education using participatory methods; a community development worker raising people’s awareness on rights which are denied to them; or a public health worker training people to draw water from clean sources.) There are many programs using an ESD approach to learning which is critical for achieving sustainability.

“Followmetraveller” Posts New Picture of Couple in Kasbah in Morocco.
Wednesday 6 April 2016 - Zainab Calcuttawala Rabat

In 2013, the Instagram account “Followmetraveller” went viral for its picture series showing a woman taking a man’s hand and leading him through some of the world’s most recognizable and iconic landmarks. As Forbes said, “the Instagram took over the world, literally.”

On April 5th, Murad Osmann, the photographer responsible for the series, posted a picture of the woman, his girlfriend Natalia Zakharova, preceding him in Morocco’s Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou, near the desert city of Ouarzazate. According to the photographer, two Moroccan soldiers approached the couple and tried to forbid them from taking the picture, which was to be for the U.S. magazine National Geographic. “We ran across the Atlas mountains to catch a sunset…and while we were testing the angles, we were approached by two soldiers who forbids us to take the picture,” the photographer told the Huffington Post. “We only needed 5 minutes, but it was impossible to persuade them. that’s why we had to wake up early in the morning and walk around this amazing city to find a place where no military could not see us.”

We only had one day to do this shot for @natgeotravel . Racing through the Atlas Mountains to catch a sunset. I changed the outfit to a local costume and we were testing the angles when we were approached by two military men who prohibited us to shoot. We only needed 5 minutes, but they were impossible to persuade. That is why we had to wake up early in the morning and walk around this amazing town to get a location where no military men could see us :)……

Osmann added that after the shoot, a Moroccan offerred them tea, sold them tea and informed them that the “Gladiator” movie was filmed in Ourzazate Film Studios. The Moroccan said American actor Russell Crowe sat just  like them when he drink tea with her.

Over the past five years, Osmann, and Zakharova, have seen the rice fields in Bali, swam in the Singapore infinity pool, walked the streets of Barcelona, and visited countless other sites about which most people only dream.

The pictures on the Osmann’s account are not all in the same format; some of the images are of Zakharova – also a Russian journalist – on a swing set or just enjoying herself in the environment of a country fresh to her senses.

The series, titled “Follow Me” on Murad’s Instagram account, had almost four million followers at the time this article was released. Osmanm told The Daily Mail UK that the first photo happened accidentally during the couple’s vacation in Barcelona. “Nataly was a bit annoyed that I was always taking pictures of everything, so she grabbed my hand and tried to pull me forward,” he explained.”That said it didn’t stop me from doing photos while she was pulling me. So that’s how it all started.”

Documentary Tells Story of Mazagão, Brazilian City Settled by Moroccans.
Wednesday 6 April 2016 - Zainab Calcuttawala Rabat

The county of Mazagão – located in the Amapá state of Brazil –  will release a documentary later this year detailing the area’s relationship to Morocco. The city was settled by immigrants sailing from the North African country in the 18th century, according to Castanha, the company producing the film. The lives of a 29-year old history teacher named Josiane Brito and a 48-year-old and farmer named Jozué Videira take center stage in the documentary as the pair witnesses the effects of immigration on their lives even though they were born in Brazil.

The film – shot in both Brazil and Morocco – is set in a district called Mazagão Velho, where the Portuguese and non-Arab Africans who sailed to Brazil landed and formed the first Portuguese colony in the country’s modern borders. In March, the movie’s Canadian director, Gavin Andrews, and a producer spent four days in El Jadida – the coastal city in Morocco where the initial immigrants began their journey to Brazil once Portugal officially lost control of their stronghold of the city now known as “El Jadida.”

The director said he was drawn to the story because it is one of the main historical events of the state of Brazil in which he grew up. To learn more about the story, he travelled to El Jadida in 2002. 12 years later, Brazil’s national film agency, Ancine, announced an opportunity to put the story on screens nationwide. Last year, the agency approved the project and Andrews began shooting in Mazagão in January.

The Mazagão Velho community retells the story of this journey every year in a celebration called Party of São Tiago, which takes place in July. During the party, local actors perform a play depicting the post-8th century clashes between Portugal’s Christian forces and the Arab-Muslim defenders. 1000 years before the film’s main characters sailed across the Atlantic Ocean, Portuguese forces successfully gained control of lands temporarily governed by the Abbasid Empire. Andrews said the portions of history shown in the annual “fiesta” are not related to the film now in post-production, because he already made an ethnographic documentary on Portugal’s 8th century conflict for the Institute of National Artistic and Historical Heritage.

The film’s director also said one of the purposes of the crew’s recent trip was so that they could hear the other version of the story belonging to the Arab-Muslims defending their land. What happened in the 18th century is that the Portuguese fled Morocco after losing control of the region, the filmmaker said. During the team’s visit, the city of El Jadida organized an event inviting representatives from the local city hall and Brazil’s ambassador in Rabat, José Humberto de Brito Cruz.

Moroccan prince to deliver the Coca-Cola World Fund Lecture at Yale
April 5, 2016 Prince Moulay Hicham Ben Abdallah

Prince Moulay Hicham Ben Abdallah of Morocco, will give the annual Coca-Cola World Fund at Yale Lecture on Tuesday, April 12. The talk, “The Arab Spring Reloaded,” will start at 4:30 p.m. in Henry R. Luce Hall auditorium, 34 Hillhouse Ave. The lecture, sponsored by the Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies, is free and open to the public.

The Prince, also known as Hicham Alaoui, is the grandson of the late King Mohammed V, the father of the modern independent nation of Morocco. He was raised in Rabat, and attended Princeton and Stanford Universities. Hicham Alaoui is prominent voice calling for political reform in the Arab world. His foundation, the Hicham Alaoui Foundation, created the Program on Arab Reform and Democracy at Stanford University, the Climate Change and Democracy Project at the University of California-Santa Barbara, the Machrek Chair at the Collége de France in Paris, and the Governance and Local Development Program at Yale University. At Princeton, he endowed the Institute for the Trans-Regional Study of the Contemporary Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia.

The foundation also produced “A Whisper to a Roar,” an award-winning documentary on the struggle for democracy around the world. Writing on the Arab world, Hicham Alaoui has published numerous essays in Politique Internationale, Le Debat, Pouvoirs, Le Monde, Le Monde Diplomatique, El Pais, New York Times, Journal of Democracy, and Al-Quds. His memoir, “Journal d'un Prince Banni” (“Diary of a Banished Prince”), was published in 2014 by Éditions Grasset, and has since been translated into Spanish and Arabic.

In the past, Hicham Alaoui servedas principal officer for community affairs with the United Nationspeacekeeping mission in Kosovo in 2000; worked with the Carter Center; sat on the MENA Advisory Committee for Human Rights Watch; and served as a consulting professor at the Center for Democracy, Development, and Rule of Law at Stanford University. Hicham Alaoui is currently affiliated with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and is a D.Phil. candidate at the University of Oxford.

The Coca-Cola World Fund at Yale was established in 1992 to support intersecting endeavors among specialists in international relations, international law, and the management of international enterprises and organizations. Previous lecturers in the series have included Michael Doyle, Gary Hart, Tom Friedman, Nicholas Kristof, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Sam Nunn, Sadako Ogata, Samantha Power, Mary Robinson, Raghuram Rajan, Eboo Patel, Mo Ibrahim, Marwan Muasher, Raila Odinga, John Githongo, and Deborah Brautigam.

For more than a half-century, the Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale and its precursors have served as the university’s focal point for teaching and research on cultures, languages, societies, institutions, and practices around the world. It draws its strength by tapping the interests and combining the intellectual resources of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and of the professional schools.

These postings are provided without permission of the copyright owner for purposes of criticism, comment, scholarship, and research under the "Fair Use" provisions of U.S. Government copyright laws and it may not be distributed further without permission of the identified copyright owner.  The poster does not vouch for the accuracy of the content of the message, which is the sole responsibility of the copyright holder.

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