Western sahara Major events

Morocco Puts Automotive On North Africa’s Map

Western Sahara Worldnews - Sun, 07/30/2017 - 14:13

Automotive News
Douglas A. Bolduc

Before the end of next year, Morocco officials hope to announce the name of a third global automaker to build an assembly plant there. The unnamed manufacturer would launch production in the North African kingdom in 2021 or 2022, according to Khalid Qalam, senior adviser with Invest in Morocco.

That third player would join Renault, which has two factories in Morocco, and PSA Group, which will begin building cars near the coastal city of Kenitra in 2019.

But Morocco has even bigger plans for the industry. The country is working to recruit a fourth major automaker plant before the end of 2021, Qalam says, with production starting in 2023 or 2024. A fourth project would help the country reach its stated goal of having the capacity to build 1 million vehicles a year by 2025.

“At that level, we believe Morocco will rank among the top 15 vehicle-producing countries in the world, and quite possibility even enter the top 10,” Qalam said.

Officials are mindful of the shifting nature of global technologies, he adds. Morocco is encouraging its next vehicle manufacturer to produce a platform that allows it to manufacture both electrified vehicles and conventional models.

Morocco’s pitch to world automakers is that it offers a low-cost base to produce models for export to Europe. But to help make EV production more attractive, Morocco will be providing consumer incentives to get local buyers to consider switching to models that fully or partially run on battery power. By 2025, Morocco wants annual sales of electrified vehicles to rise to 70,000 to 100,000 from small numbers today.

The move to electrified transportation coincides with Morocco’s aim to become a major producer of solar power and to cover half of the country’s energy needs from alternatives such the sun, wind and biomass.

The average wage in Morocco is less than 400 euros ($450) a year, compared to 2,000 euros just across the Mediterranean in Spain. The tax rate on companies is 0 percent for the first five years, and businesses are given a big break on value added tax. The country’s Tangier Med Port is already capable of processing 1 million vehicles a year. In addition, a high-speed rail line between Tangier and Casablanca is set to be operational in 2018.

Morocco: Full Text Of King Mohammed IV Speech On Throne Day

Western Sahara Worldnews - Sun, 07/30/2017 - 13:51

Eurasia Review
by Said Temsamani

On the occasion of the eighteenth anniversary of Throne Day, King Mohammed VI addressed a speech to the nation.

The speech is as follows:

“Praise be to God,

May peace and blessings be upon the Prophet, His Kith and Kin

Dear Citizens,

Today, we are celebrating the eighteenth anniversary of my accession to the throne, in a national environment characterized by achievements as well as challenges.

This yearly celebration is an opportunity to renew the mutual bonds of the Bei’a uniting us and to take stock, together, of the state of the nation.

The development projects and the political and institutional reforms carried out target a single goal: to serve citizens, wherever they may be. There is no difference between north and south, east and west, urban and rural areas.

It is true that Morocco’s resources are limited. It is also a fact that many regions need more basic social services.

However, Morocco has been constantly developing, by the grace of the Almighty. Progress is clear and real; it is recognized across the board and in all sectors.

Today, however, we are witnessing glaring paradoxes that are hard to understand or accept.

On the one hand, Morocco enjoys indisputable credibility at continental and international levels, the esteem and consideration of our partners and the confidence of major investors, such as the Boeing, Renault and Peugeot groups. But on the other hand, we are shocked by the end results, the facts on the ground and the modest achievements made in certain social sectors, so much so that it is shameful to admit we are actually talking about present-day Morocco.

While it is true that our action, through a number of sectoral plans – like those relating to agriculture, industry and renewable energy – has been successful, human and local development programs, which have a positive impact on citizens’ living conditions, do us no credit, nor do they match our ambitions.

In many sectors, this is mostly due to the inadequacy of joint action, the lack of a national, strategic dimension, inconsistency instead of harmony, disparagement and procrastination instead of entrepreneurship and concrete action.

These paradoxes are even more acute when we compare the private sector – which is efficient and competitive, and which is built on a governance model that has incentives, as well as follow-up and monitoring mechanisms – to the public sector, particularly our civil service, which is suffering from poor governance and weak performance.

The private sector is attracting the best human resources that are trained in our country. They are involved in the management of major international groups in Morocco as well as small and medium-sized Moroccan enterprises.

As for civil servants, many of them do not have the skills, qualifications or ambition required; moreover, they are not always guided by a sense of responsibility.

Some of them report to work for only short periods of time, preferring to settle for modest – but guaranteed – pay, instead of working hard to improve their social conditions.

One of the problems which impede Morocco’s progress is the weakness of the civil service, be it in terms of governance, efficiency or the quality of the services provided to citizens.

For instance, the regional investment centers – with the exception of one or two – are a problem. They impede the act of investing instead of serving as a mechanism that provides incentives and resolves the problems of investors at the regional level, without their having to go to central government departments.

This has an adverse impact on regions that are suffering from insufficient – sometimes inexistent – private investment and from the public sector’s weak performance. This, in turn, affects citizens’ living conditions.

The challenge is even more daunting in regions with the biggest shortage of health, education and cultural services, not to mention the lack of jobs. Greater cooperative efforts are required to close gaps and help these regions catch up with the others.

Conversely, regions with a vibrant private sector, like Casablanca, Rabat, Marrakech and Tangier, are enjoying strong economic dynamism which creates wealth as well as jobs.

To put an end to this situation, governors, caids, directors, staff members, local officials, etc. should work hard, just like staff in the private sector – or even harder. They should show a sense of responsibility that does credit to the civil service and yields concrete results since these officials are entrusted with serving citizens’ interests.

Dear Citizens,

All in all, our development policy choices remain sound. The problem lies with mentalities that have not evolved as well as with the inability to implement projects and to innovate.

The evolution witnessed in Morocco in the political domain and in the area of development has not led to the kind of positive reaction you would expect from political parties, leaders and government officials when dealing with the real aspirations and concerns of Moroccans.

When results are positive, political parties, politicians and officials vie for the spotlight to derive benefits from the achievements made, both politically and in terms of media exposure.

However, when matters do not turn out the way they should, they hide behind the Royal Palace and ascribe everything to it.

As a result, citizens complain to the King about government services or officials that take too long to respond to their queries or process their cases, asking him to intercede on their behalf.

Citizens are entitled to convincing answers – within reasonable time frames – to their queries and complaints, including the explanation or justification of negative decisions. Requests and queries should not be turned down without a valid legal reason; they should be rejected only when they are inconsistent with the law, or when the citizen concerned has not completed the relevant procedures or met the requirements.

Given this situation, citizens are entitled to ask themselves: What is the use of having institutions, holding elections, forming governments and appointing ministers, walis, governors, ambassadors and consuls if they live on one planet, and the people and their concerns are on another one?

The practices of some elected officials induce a number of citizens, especially young people, to shun political life and take no part in elections.

Put simply, they do not trust politicians; indeed, some stakeholders have perverted politics, diverting it away from its lofty objectives.

If the King of Morocco is not convinced of the way political activity is conducted and if he does not trust a number of politicians, what are the citizens left with?

To all those concerned I say: ‘Enough is enough!’ Fear God in what you are perpetrating against your homeland. Either discharge your obligations fully or withdraw from public life. There are plenty of honest men and women in Morocco.

This situation can no longer be tolerated because the homeland’s interests and those of the citizens are at stake. I am choosing my words carefully here, and I know what I am saying because it comes after deep reflection.

Dear Citizens,

The responsibility and the privilege of serving citizens call for action that goes from responding to their basic demands to implementing projects – big and small.

As I always point out, there is no difference between small and large projects. All projects are meant to meet people’s needs.

Whether a project concerns a district, a hamlet, a city, a region or the entire country, it still has the same objective, which is to serve citizens. In the eyes of citizens, digging a well or building a dam, for instance, are equally important.

What is the meaning of responsibility if the official concerned loses sight of one of the most basic requirements of that responsibility, which is to listen to citizens’ concerns?

I fail to understand how officials who do not fulfill their duties can leave home, drive their cars, stop at traffic lights and brazenly and shamelessly look people in the face, knowing that they are aware of their unscrupulous conduct.

Are these people who took the oath before God, the homeland and the King, and who fail to perform their duties, not ashamed of themselves? Should not any official who is guilty of dereliction of duty be held to account and dismissed?

I must insist, in this respect, on the need to apply rigorously the provisions of the second paragraph of Article 1 of the Constitution, which links public office with accountability.

It is high time this principle were implemented in full. Just as the law applies equally to all citizens, it must be applied, first and foremost, to all officials, without distinction or discrimination, and in all of the Kingdom’s regions.

This is the dawn of a new era in which there is no difference between officials and citizens as far as civic rights and obligations are concerned; nor is there room for shirking responsibility or avoiding sanctions.

Dear Citizens,

I insist on the need to implement the provisions of the Constitution fully and rigorously. This is a collective responsibility which lies with all stakeholders, each in their respective area of competence – the government, parliament, political parties and all the institutions concerned.

When an official obstructs or delays the implementation of a development project or a social program, this is not simply a case of dereliction of duty; it amounts to treason because that official is harming the interests of citizens and preventing them from enjoying their legitimate rights.

Strangely enough, there are some officials who fail in their duty and still consider that they deserve a higher position.

It is attitudes and inconsistencies such as these that give substance to the widely-held belief among most Moroccans that the reason behind vying for positions is to benefit from rent-seeking and to wield power and influence to serve one’s own interests.

And since examples of such practices exist in everyday life, people unfortunately tend to give credence to this belief.

But, thank God, not all politicians and senior civil servants are like that. There are trustworthy people who genuinely love their homeland and who are known for their integrity, uprightness and commitment to serving the public good.

Dear Citizens,

The events taking place in some parts of the country have regrettably revealed an unprecedented lack of the sense of responsibility.

Instead of each party fulfilling its national and professional obligations; instead of resorting to cooperation and collaborative efforts to resolve citizens’ problems, the parties concerned have been laying the blame at one another’s door, and narrow politicking has been allowed to take precedence over the homeland. As a result, citizens’ interests have been ignored.

Some political parties believe that all they have to do is hold their general meetings, those of their political and executive committees and get involved in election campaigns.

But when it comes to engaging the citizens and solving their problems, they do nothing and are non-existent. This is unacceptable on the part of institutions whose role is to guide and represent the citizens and to serve their interests.

I never expected partisan bickering and political score-settling to go as far as to jeopardize the interests of citizens.

Running public affairs should have nothing to do with personal or partisan interests, populist discourse, or the use of strange expressions that undermine political action.

I have noted that most stakeholders have opted for a win-lose rationale to preserve or expand their political capital at the expense of the homeland, even if that means making the situation worse.

The fact that political parties and their representatives refrain from performing their mission – sometimes deliberately, and sometimes out of a lack of credibility or patriotism – has further compounded the situation.

Given this regrettable and dangerous vacuum, law enforcement services have found themselves face to face with the citizens. They have bravely and patiently fulfilled their duty, showing restraint and commitment to the rule of law as they maintained security and stability.

I am referring to Al Hoceima, but what happened there could actually occur in any other region.

This refutes what some have referred to as the ‘security approach’, as if Morocco were sitting on top of a volcano, or as if each household and each citizen were being watched over by a policeman.

Some even say there is a radical wing and a moderate one, adding that they disagree on how to tackle these events. Nothing could be further from the truth!

In reality, there is only one policy and a single, unwavering commitment, which is to enforce the law, respect the institutions, ensure the security of citizens and safeguard their property.

Moroccans know that the people behind the aforementioned anachronous theory are using it as a business undertaking; they also realize that what these people say is not credible.

They act as if law-enforcement services are the ones who run the country and control the government and senior officials. It is probably these services that set prices, etc.

By contrast, law enforcement officers are making major sacrifices, working day and night in difficult conditions to fulfill their duty, maintain the internal and external security and stability of the homeland, and safeguard the security, serenity and tranquility of citizens.

Moroccans have every right and ought, in fact, to be proud of their law-enforcement authorities. I say this loud and clear, without any inferiority complex: if certain nihilists do not want to admit this, or refuse to tell the truth, it is their problem – and theirs alone.

Dear Citizens,

The Moroccan institutional model is an advanced political system.

Nevertheless, for the most part, it is not properly applied. The problem concerns actual implementation on the ground. Having said that, I am particularly keen to respect the prerogatives of institutions as well as the separation of powers.

However, if officials fail to discharge their duties, and the interests of the homeland and of citizens are jeopardized, it is incumbent upon me, as per the Constitution, to ensure the country’s security and stability and to safeguard people’s interests as well as their rights and freedoms.

At the same time, I will not accept any backtracking on democratic achievements, nor will I tolerate any obstruction as far as the work of institutions is concerned. Both the Constitution and the law are quite clear, and powers need no explanation.

Officials must exercise their prerogatives without waiting for someone’s permission. And instead of repeating the same excuse – namely ‘I am being prevented from doing my job’ – it is better for them to offer their resignation, which nobody would reject.

Morocco must come first: before political parties, before elections and before senior positions.

Dear Citizens,

Until my very last breath, I will always take pride in serving you, for I was brought up to love our motherland and to serve its sons and daughters.

I solemnly promise, before God, to keep up my earnest endeavors and seek to meet your expectations so that your aspirations may be fulfilled.

Allow me, Dear citizens, to speak my mind and tell you exactly how I feel, eighteen years after assuming the sacred mission of leading the nation.

I cannot hide certain matters from you. You know them quite well. It is my duty to tell you the truth. Otherwise, I will let you down.

You will notice, Dear Citizens, that I have not talked about our territorial integrity, Africa, or any other foreign policy issue.

Needless to say, the question of the Moroccan Sahara is not open for discussion, and, of course, it remains a top priority.

What I am seeking to achieve today, in all regions of the Kingdom, is a new massîra, or march – a march for the achievement of human and social development; a march for equality and social justice for all Moroccans, because such a major endeavor cannot be carried out in one region and not in the others.

One may come up with the most efficient development model and the best plans and strategies but:

– without a change in mentality;

– without having the best civil servants;

– without the political parties choosing the best elites that are qualified to run public affairs;

– without a sense of responsibility and national commitment; one would not be able to offer all Moroccans the free, dignified life one wants them to have.

I do not want you, Dear Citizens, to think, after listening to this address, that I am being pessimistic.

Far from it! You know that I am a realist. I tell the truth, painful though it may be.

Pessimism is the lack of will, the absence of a forward-looking vision and the inability to see things as they are.

Thank God, our resolve is both firm and sincere, and we also have a clear, long-term vision. We know who we are and where we are heading.

Throughout the centuries, and by the Grace of the Almighty, Morocco has managed to survive countless hardships, thanks to the close, symbiotic relationship between the Throne and the people.

And here we are today, forging ahead and making progress, together, in various sectors. We confidently and resolutely look forward to making more achievements.

Almighty God says:

‘Allah does command you to render back your Trusts to those to whom they are due; and when you judge between man and man, that you judge with justice’.

True is the Word of God.

Waste Separation And Recycling In Morocco

Western Sahara Worldnews - Sat, 07/29/2017 - 13:06

Qantara.de germany
By Alexander Göbel in Rabat

Morocco’s recycling pioneers

Morocco is exemplary in North Africa for its role in promoting the use of renewable energy such as wind and solar power. However, just like its neighbours, the country has a major problem with waste. A co-operative based just outside the capital has set out to change things.

Yassine Mazzout smiles sheepishly as he gets out of the car. The sweetish, acrid stench is amplified still more by the summer heat, but he doesn’t mind. He grew up here in Akreuch, the unofficial refuse dump on the outskirts of Rabat. He toiled here for more than eight years, vying with hundreds of others for every piece of rubbish that could somehow be sold for reuse. They call them “chiffonniers”: men, women and children who live from rubbish, putting their health at risk.

They live either directly on the dump site, rummaging through the refuse all day long in search of something of value, or they take to the streets at night with pushcarts, picking recyclable items out of rubbish bins.

Yassine points out three large scars on his forearms. “We worked under very harsh conditions. Many people poisoned or injured themselves digging through the rubbish. One girl died before my eyes, run over by a bin lorry. Another lost three fingers. Nothing much happened to me, thank God. But there is one thing I can tell you: many risked their limbs – or their lives – at the dump.”

Morocco’s first recycling co-operative

The dumping site in Akreuch has since been closed and filled. Vegetation now grows on top of millions of tons of refuse, but plastic bags and hospital waste still peek through in many places. Iridescent brown slag seeps down into the valley. Yassine Mazzout gets back into the car. It is thanks to him that no one has to labour here anymore.

The rubbish collectors now work a few kilometres down the road, in Oum Azza. This is where a French company off-loads the refuse from Rabat on behalf of the city council. And for the past few years, Mazzout and his former rivals from the dump have devoted themselves to dealing with the influx of waste – more than 500 tonnes a day. With them, he founded the group “Attawafouk”, which means “trust”, on the dumping site. It is the first co-operative for waste recycling in Morocco – and still the only one in the country.

The dumped refuse is shovelled onto a metal conveyor belt and spread evenly over a drum, where biomass is separated from the rest. The residual waste then lands on further conveyer belts, where people stand and sort it further by hand. “We separate out everything we can: cardboard, plastic bottles, foil, metal,” says Yassine Mazzout. “Refuse that is not organic and cannot be recycled can still be used: the cement company next door purchases the rest from us and uses it as a substitute fuel for its production. This way, we increase the percentage of waste that is reused.”

Fair and humane working conditions: “For the first time, all the hard work with the stinking rubbish is worth it. The workers no longer dress in rags but wear gloves and protective clothing and work in regulated six-hour shifts. They get paid a fixed salary, the equivalent of €250 a month, and also have health insurance,” writes Alexander Göbel.   Pictured here: “Attawafouk”, Morocco’s first and only co-operative for waste recycling

“Everyone is equal here”

The French waste disposal company financed the first machines, but the co-operative had to work hard for everything else. Attawafouk stores the sorted material, then interested companies can come and make offers. The members of the co-operative decide together to whom the recyclables should be sold, when and at what price.

“At the informal dumps, it is always the strongest who prevail. Here in the co-operative, everyone is equal. We all earn the same amount and we all have the same value as workers. There’s no exception, even for me as president; I am just another member of the co-operative,” says Mazzout.

Attawafouk currently turns over more than €460,000 per year with recycling. The co-operative has been able to buy a plastic press, a truck for deliveries and a bus to drive staff back and forth from work. “Things used to be so awful,” says Lakbira Makroumi, who now works for the co-operative. “Outside in the dump – in the sun, in the rain, sometimes in the bitter cold. And we never knew how much money we would take home. Everything is much better now.”

For the first time, all the hard work with the stinking rubbish is worth it. The workers no longer dress in rags but wear gloves and protective clothing and work in regulated six-hour shifts. They get paid a fixed salary, the equivalent of €250 a month, and also have health insurance.

Morocco made the fairly revolutionary move last summer of banishing plastic bags from supermarkets. Moreover, the privatised refuse collectors pick up rubbish quite reliably – at least in the cities. But as far as sorting waste is concerned, there’s still plenty of room for improvement. Households just tip everything together into the bin, with the unofficial rubbish gatherers in the cities picking through it all. What remains lands on the dump. A large part of the valuable biomass is contaminated by items such as batteries or hospital waste, making it unusable as compost. Organic waste in turn contaminates the recyclables.

A long way to go

Yassine Mazzout fears that it will take a long time before consumers realise the need to sort their rubbish. This is due to a lack of political will. “There are also still towns in Europe where all the rubbish is mixed together like it is here. We have to find short-term and long-term strategies to deal with this issue,” he says. “We need to raise awareness: from private households to large companies, from the classroom to the politicians. Maybe thirty years from now we will see rubbish being separated at source.”

At any rate, the rubbish heap that the Attawafouk co-operative has to deal with is growing bigger and bigger because no one else is addressing the problem. The World Bank has expressed an interest in the project. A second recycling conveyor belt is scheduled to go into operation in a few weeks.

“I’m proud of what we have accomplished,” says Mustapha Laflifla, a lean man with a friendly face and a big straw hat on his head. He is Yassine’s right-hand man at the co-operative. “We work under fair and humane conditions. And I want more people to be able to work this way. We need more co-operatives like ours. We are the first, but others must follow, and we want to help make that happen. Maybe one day we will have a federation of co-operatives. Then we can put more pressure on policymakers.”

Alexander Göbel
© Deutsche Welle 2017
Translated from the German by Jennifer Taylor

Morocco King Slams Politicians, Officials For Neglect Of Duties

Western Sahara Worldnews - Sat, 07/29/2017 - 12:52

Xinhuanet
Source: Xinhua

Morocco’s King Mohammed VI slammed on Saturday politicians and public officials for neglect of their duties, and failing to meet aspirations of the people.

The king said so in his speech to the nation on the occasion of the 18th anniversary of ascension to the throne.

He warned that the “evolution” in politics and development “has not led to the kind of positive reaction” when dealing with the real aspirations and concerns of Moroccan people.

He affirmed that the development policies remain sound, while the problem lies with lagging mentalities, as well as with the inability in practicing and innovating.

“The practices of some elected officials induce a number of citizens, especially young people, to shun political life,” he deplored.

Referring directly to the alarming situation in Al Hoceima in northern Morocco, the king warned that political parties and their representatives are refraining from their duty, sometimes deliberately, and sometimes out of a lack of credibility or patriotism.

The situation in Al Hoceima has been tense since October 2016, when fish vendor Mouhcine Fikri was crushed to death after climbing into a rubbish lorry to retrieve his swordfish confiscated by police.

The demand for justice for Fikri in the northeastern region has evolved into a major grassroots movement to require greater government investment to create more jobs.

Morocco has not witnessed any protests of this size since the pro-democracy demonstrations during the Arab spring in 2011.

Seized Phosphate Shipment ‘A Tender Situation’

Western Sahara Worldnews - Sat, 07/29/2017 - 12:30

Radio New Zealand

Fertiliser company Ballance Agri-Nutrients could end up buying back a consignment of phosphate from political activists who are on the brink of gaining control of it.

The NM Cherry Blossom was carrying 50,000 tonnes of phosphate rock when it was stopped at Port Elizabeth. Photo: Supplied / M.L. Jacobs MarineTraffic.com

A ship was carrying 55,000 tonnes of phosphate rock to New Zealand when it was stopped at the South African town of Port Elizabeth.

Opponents of the shipment said it had been mined illegally in Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony that was occupied by Morocco in the 1970s.

Independence activists say Morocco’s control is illegal and they cite a European Court ruling that Western Saharan products should not be regarded as Moroccan goods in trade deals.

The Moroccan company that sold the fertiliser has pulled out of a subsequent court hearing, angrily accusing the South African government of piracy.

Ballance Agi Nutrients chief executive Mark Wynne said that meant the fertiliser reverted to the only remaining party to the case, the Western Sahara activists, the Polisario Front, pending settlement of remaining legal details.

“It is really up to Polisario what they do with the cargo,” Mark Wynne said.

“Our understanding is that it is on the market, and it may well end up as our cargo ultimately, but it is certainly in a tender situation at the moment.”

Meanwhile, Ballance Agri Nutrients’ annual report makes clear that the dispute has not cost it anything.

That is despite the stalled ship incurring berthage fees in Port Elizabeth at the rate of $10,000 a day, which are likely to total more than $1m before it is released.

Mr Wynne said most of that cost would be met by insurance and the rest would be payable by the Moroccan company exporting the goods.

Subsequent shipments of phosphate to New Zealand have been routed via Cape Horn to avoid South African jurisdiction.

Morocco Busts 46 Terror Cells Since 2015

Western Sahara Worldnews - Sat, 07/29/2017 - 12:19

Xinhuanet
Source: Xinhua

The Moroccan security services have busted 46 terrorist cells since 2015, including 41 with links to the Islamic State (IS) group, local media reported Friday.

The director of the Central Bureau of Judicial Investigations, Abdelhak Khiame, said the dismantlement of these cells has led to the arrest of 674 suspects, according to le360.ma news site.

There are some 1,664 Moroccans who have joined terror groups abroad, including 950 to 980 who belong to IS, Khiame said.

He added that up to 230 fighters have returned to Morocco from conflicted areas, stressing that the country has adopted strict policy regarding the arrival of the fighters.

Khiame believes that the end of IS group does not mean the end of terrorism, hailing a “very advanced” counterterrorism cooperation with European countries, especially its northern neighbor Spain, while deploring the “absence” of such cooperation with neighboring Algeria despite the alarming situation in Sahel region of northwest Africa.

“Terrorism is an ideology. We would only make an end to terrorism when we end radicalization,” he insisted.

APM Terminals Tangier Celebrates 10 Years In Morocco With The Munich Maersk, The Largest Ship Calling An African Port

Western Sahara Worldnews - Fri, 07/28/2017 - 22:01

PortNews

APM Terminals Tangier welcomed the Munich Maersk, one of the world’s largest container vessels, as it made its maiden call to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the largest and most modern terminal facility in North Africa.

APM Terminals Tangier is one of the most important transfer points of global trade. In addition to handling Moroccan import and export cargo, the terminal manages and transfers cargo for onward destinations in Africa, Latin America and beyond. Tangier’s strategic location and state of the art facilities provides easy accessibility to cargo vessels sailing between the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea.

The Munich Maersk is one of the largest vessels in the Maersk Line fleet, and second in a series of Maersk Line’s improved Triple-E class. With capacity to hold 20,000 containers, the vessel is the largest container ship to call a port in Africa as part of a regular rotation.

“We are delighted to welcome this latest addition to Maersk Line’s fleet in Tangier, just as we celebrate 10th anniversary of our operations. This is yet another confirmation of the strategic importance of APM Terminals Tangier as not only the gateway to Morocco, but as a leading transhipment hub in the region”, says Hicham El Alami, Chief Operating Officer at APM Terminals Tangier.

Since starting operations in July 2007, APM Terminals Tangier volume has grown 72%, to handle more than 1.7 million containers per year. The terminal operates at highest levels of energy efficiency and has reduced its CO2 emissions by 30% since 2009.

To ensure future competitiveness, the terminal recently acquired two super post Panamax cranes, to serve giant vessels like the Munich Maersk. This brings the total number of cranes in operation at the terminal to ten. Investments in elevating more cranes to serve even larger vessels in the future are underway, which will further cement Morocco’s place as an important orchestrator of global trade.

“With this maiden call of Munich Maersk to Tangier, we have yet another opportunity to celebrate our good cooperation with the city, the port and APM Terminals,” added Marcos Hansen, Maersk Line’s Managing Director in Western Mediterranean. As the latest addition to our modern fleet, this new vessel continues our commitment to serve our customers in 2/3 Morocco and around the world in an even more efficient, environmentally-friendly and sustainable way.”

With a high focus on operational efficiency and safety, APM Terminals Tangier has a strong track record in providing high quality services to customers and has become an employer of choice in the country. Furthermore, the terminal team takes pride in partnering with the community to provide a variety of education, sport and social economic programs.

APM Terminals is a leading global port and cargo inland services provider with a presence in 59 countries providing the world’s most geographically balanced global terminal network with 76 operating port and terminal facilities, five new port facilities under construction, and an inland services network spanning 103 operations at 89 locations in 38 countries. Headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands, the company works with shipping lines, importers/exporters, governments, business leaders and the entire global supply chain to provide solutions that help nations achieve their ambitions and businesses reach their performance goals.

Hotelier Summit To Capitalise On Morocco’s Tourism

Western Sahara Worldnews - Fri, 07/28/2017 - 13:36

Travel Trade Weekly

On the back of Morocco’s flourishing tourism industry, the Hotelier Summit Africa (North) scheduled on October 04 – 06 is set to boost the strategic relationships instrumental for the further development of the country’s multiple sectors.

Contributing to the prosperity of hospitality and construction industries, Moroccan tourism experienced significant growth this year, recording higher tourist arrivals from traditional and emerging markets.

In February, the country registered a 92 percent leap in Chinese visitors over 2016’s figure, with Russia, Japan and the US also soaring, up 82 percent, 62 percent and 32 percent, respectively.

Ravi Kumar Chandran, director, Hotelier Summit Africa (North), IDE, commented, “[…] Overall, the summit will serve as a strategic platform to help deliver growth, competitiveness and innovation in the hospitality and real estate industry [in Morocco].”

APM Terminals Tangier Celebrates 10 Years In Morocco

Western Sahara Worldnews - Fri, 07/28/2017 - 13:30

Marine Link
By Aiswarya Lakshmi
Photo: Maersk Line

APM Terminals Tangier welcomed the Munich Maersk, one of the world’s largest container vessels, as it made its maiden call to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the largest and most modern terminal facility in North Africa.

APM Terminals Tangier is one of the most important transfer points of global trade. In addition to handling Moroccan import and export cargo, the terminal manages and transfers cargo for onward destinations in Africa, Latin America and beyond.

Tangier’s strategic location and state of the art facilities provides easy accessibility to cargo vessels sailing between the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea.

The Munich Maersk is one of the largest vessels in the Maersk Line fleet, and second in a series of Maersk Line’s improved Triple-E class. With capacity to hold 20,000 containers, the vessel is the largest container ship to call a port in Africa as part of a regular rotation.

“We are delighted to welcome this latest addition to Maersk Line’s fleet in Tangier, just as we celebrate 10th anniversary of our operations. This is yet another confirmation of the strategic importance of APM Terminals Tangier as not only the gateway to Morocco, but as a leading transhipment hub in the region”, says Hicham El Alami, Chief Operating Officer at APM Terminals Tangier.

Since starting operations in July 2007, APM Terminals Tangier volume has grown 72%, to handle more than 1.7 million containers per year. The terminal operates at highest levels of energy efficiency and has reduced its CO2 emissions by 30% since 2009.

To ensure future competitiveness, the terminal recently acquired two super post Panamax cranes, to serve giant vessels like the Munich Maersk. This brings the total number of cranes in operation at the terminal to ten. Investments in elevating more cranes to serve even larger vessels in the future are underway, which will further cement Morocco’s place as an important orchestrator of global trade.

“With this maiden call of Munich Maersk to Tangier, we have yet another opportunity to celebrate our good cooperation with the city, the port and APM Terminals,” added Marcos Hansen, Maersk Line’s Managing Director in Western Mediterranean. As the latest addition to our modern fleet, this new vessel continues our commitment to serve our customers in 2/3 Morocco and around the world in an even more efficient, environmentally-friendly and sustainable way.”

With a high focus on operational efficiency and safety, APM Terminals Tangier has a strong track record in providing high quality services to customers and has become an employer of choice in the country. Furthermore, the terminal team takes pride in partnering with the community to provide a variety of education, sport and social economic programs.

Morocco Makes Women Eligible For Muslim Notary Positions

Western Sahara Worldnews - Fri, 07/28/2017 - 03:40

ANSAmed

The ‘adoul’ profession, a sort of notary for judges in Muslim court systems, can be held by women and not only men in Morocco now.

”Eyes and ears of the judge” is the theological definition for the role normally reserved for men that lightens the work of notaries and judges in the administrative, civil and criminal justice systems. Every deed they write needs a judge to sign it to make it valid.

Due to customs, trust and accessibility – especially in small towns – ‘adouls’ are often used for real estate sales, inheritance laws and to record witness statements included in official trial documents. The justice ministry has now launched a public competition for October for 700 ‘adoul’ positions that women can take part in.

The competition is regulated by Law 16.03, which in at least its first draft in 1982 named ‘being a male’ as one of the requisites in Article 4.

The Article was amended a few years ago but no competition had until now opened to women as well. (ANSAmed).

Bitcoin Store $5 Mln Fraud ‘Operator’ Haddow Falls To Police In Morocco

Western Sahara Worldnews - Fri, 07/28/2017 - 03:32

Coin Telegraph
By William Suberg

“Clandestine” businessman Renwick Haddow is in police custody as the US moves to arrest another Bitcoin bad actor.

Multiple sources including the UK’s Daily Mail report that Haddow, who allegedly conned investors out of $5 mln via a fake exchange platform, was found in the Moroccan capital Tangiers.

“Haddow created two trendy companies and misled investors into believing that highly-qualified executives were leading them to quick profitability,” the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) commented after charging Haddow last month with securities fraud.

The British-born New York resident is said to have tricked investors who contributed funds to his Bitcoin Store platform and other ventures, diverting funds to offshore accounts.

“In reality, Haddow controlled the companies from behind the scenes and they were far from profitable,” the SEC’s New York Regional Office director Andrew M. Calamari added.

Cointelegraph previously reported on Haddow’s original arrest earlier this month, and Moroccan authorities are now set to consider his extradition.

It is a second high-profile Bitcoin case to surface involving the SEC this week, with the regulator also seeking $110 mln in anti-money laundering fines against Russian exchange BTC-e.

Its assumed founder, Alexander Vinnik, is also under pressure to pay a personal fine of $12 mln.

Morocco And Algeria Keep Building More Barriers

Western Sahara Worldnews - Fri, 07/28/2017 - 03:01

The Economist
Middle East & Africa
Marsa Ben Mhidi

Fences make neighbours poorer.

Had Algeria and Morocco honoured their agreement back in 1989 to form an economic union, along with Tunisia, Libya and Mauritania, they would be among the Middle East’s largest economies. Their poor border regions would be booming crossroads. Over the decade to 2015, reckons the World Bank, their two economies would each have almost have doubled in size.

Instead, Algeria grew only by 33% and Morocco by 37%, as both governments instead reinforced their barricades. Their north-west corner of Africa remains “the most separated region on the continent”, says Adel Hamaizia, an Algerian economist. While sub-Saharan countries agree common currencies and trade zones, Algeria digs deeper ditches. Morocco revamps its berms and renews its razor wire. Concrete walls rise on both sides. Frustrated families shout greetings across the divide. Tantalisingly, both have built hundreds of kilometres of east-west highways which stop short of their common border.

Islamic empires once spanned the Maghreb, the land of the setting sun, as Arabs term north-western Africa. Both countries share a common history, cuisine, architecture, strand of Islam and an Arabic dialect mashed with Berber and French. But in 1957 colonial French generals erected an electrified barrier, the Morice Line, along the border to keep out arms-traffickers and guerrillas based in newly independent Morocco. Bar five paltry years in between, the border has been closed ever since. In 1963 the two countries fought a brief war. Skirmishes are now rare, but fighting words are common. Algerian republicans deride Morocco’s monarch as feudal, and because of the kingdom’s land-grab of Western Sahara call him the world’s last colonial ruler. Their neighbours cannot help sniggering at Algeria’s latest prime minister, whose name, Tebboune, is Moroccan slang for “vagina”.

Their prospects should be brighter. Both countries have largely avoided the upheavals of the Arab spring. They are almost homogeneously Sunni, free of the region’s sectarian divides. They have the advantage of cheap labour, and offer Europe a bridge to Africa. Algeria has had the edge. It produces copious oil and gas. And it developed a programme of mass industrialisation and agrarian reform after independence, while King Hassan II, who died in 1999, preserved his ancient kingdom like a museum. Algerians spend twice as long in school as Moroccans, and with so much oil, they earn almost twice as much.

Yet Morocco is catching up fast, thanks to its greater economic openness under Hassan’s son, Muhammad VI. The kingdom ranks 68th on the World Bank’s measure for ease of doing business—88 places above Algeria. Exporting goods from Algeria takes six times as long as from Morocco, and costs almost four times as much. Algerian businessmen complain that centralisation, corruption and red tape have crushed local production. Investment is deterred by a law that limits foreign shareholders to 49% of any concern. Look at Renault, they say. Its production line in Tangiers, in Northern Morocco, is the largest car manufacturer in Africa to be sourced from locally made parts. But its plant in Oran, Algeria’s second city, is little more than an assembly line. Algeria’s beaches can rival Morocco’s for beauty. The coves at Marsa ben Mhidi next to its sandbank with Morocco are enchanting. But tourism on its coast remains state-run and spartan, while Morocco’s are considered some of Europe’s premier escapes.

The time was when smuggling at least provided Algerians near the border with a living. Trucks and donkeys hauled subsidised basics like fuel, flour and sugar to Morocco, and returned with hashish from Morocco’s mountainous Rif. But the latest fortifications have put paid to that. Young men who once plied the routes now fill the mosques with their frustration. Unfinished villas line the roads, abandoned. Officials say the new defences will keep out the drug barons and the risk of a spillover of Morocco’s growing Berber unrest. But locals suspect that at a time of falling oil revenues, the army is simply diversifying its revenues by hogging the smugglers’ take. For $80, they say, soldiers will open the gates of army border crossings at night to those without papers.

For five brief years it was all so different. In 1989 both countries removed visa controls as part of a new Maghreb Arab Union. Trade moved freely. Algerians went west on holiday. The two countries parked their squabble over Western Sahara. Then in 1994 a bomb went off in Marrakesh, and King Hassan, nervous that the civil war in Algeria was heading his way, accused Algeria of involvement and chased out its nationals. Algeria’s generals responded by closing their borders, battening down the edges, and retreating into huffy isolation. As with the Gulf Co-operation Council, another trading bloc that has failed to deliver at the other end of the Arab world, practice rarely matches fraternal ideals.

This article appeared in the Middle East and Africa section of the print edition under the headline “Open Sesame”.

OIC Condemns Killing Of Moroccan Peacekeeper In Republic Of Central Africa

Western Sahara Worldnews - Thu, 07/27/2017 - 01:11

Asharq Al-Awsat English
Getty Images

UN peacekeepers pictured last month in Bria, north of Bangassou.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) strongly condemned an attack that targeted yesterday a group of UN peacekeeping force, in South-East of the Republic of Central Africa.

One Moroccan UN soldier was killed and three others injured while escorting a humanitarian convoy to provide water. The attack took place in the southern diamond-mining town of Bangassou.

OIC Secretary-General Dr.Yousef bin Ahmed Al-Othaimeen expressed regret over the incident and ongoing violence waged by the Anti-balaka militias, in Banguasu, for more than two months which led to claim many Muslim victims, stressing solidarity with the OIC with the Central Africans.

The Secretary-General expressed condolences to the Moroccan Government, to the family of the victim and wished the injured speedy recovery.

Asharq Al-Awsat English

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

Two Moroccan Peacekeepers Killed In C. Africa Attack

Western Sahara Worldnews - Thu, 07/27/2017 - 00:54

Daily Nation Kenya
AFP Photo Pacome Pabandji

UN peacekeeping soldiers from Rwanda patrolling in Bangui, Central African Republic. Two Moroccan UN peacekeepers were on July 26, 2017 killed in an attack in the country’s southeast.

In Summary

The Moroccan peacekeepers were killed in an ambush by suspected anti-Balaka fighters.

The country is struggling to emerge from a civil war that erupted in 2013.

This followed the overthrow of former president Francois Bozize, a Christian, by Muslim rebels from the Seleka coalition.

By AFP
More by this Author

BANGUI

Two Moroccan UN peacekeepers were Tuesday killed in an attack in the Central African Republic’s southeast, two days after the death of another soldier from the same contingent, the force said, blaming pro-Christian militias for the violence.

“The Minusca (peacekeeping mission) regrets to announce the deaths of two more blue helmets on Tuesday afternoon in Bangassou,” a town 700 kilometres (430 miles) east of the capital Bangui, the peacekeeping force said in a statement.

The Moroccan peacekeepers “were killed in an ambush by suspected anti-Balaka fighters, while another peacekeeper was slightly injured,” Minusca said in its statement.

The UN peacekeepers were attacked as they were stocking up with water “for the humanitarian needs of the town,” the statement added.

The country is struggling to emerge from a civil war that erupted in 2013 following the overthrow of former president Francois Bozize, a Christian, by Muslim rebels from the Seleka coalition.

VIGILANTE UNITS

The coup led to the formation of “anti-Balaka” (anti-machete) vigilante units, drawn from the Christian majority, which began to target Muslims. Both sides committed widespread atrocities.

On the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, Bangassou has in recent weeks become the epicentre of the unrest in the Central African Republic.

A similar ambush in Bangassou on Sunday left another Moroccan UN peacekeeper dead.

ATTACKER KILLED

On Friday, a patrol of peacekeepers was shot at and one of the attackers killed, a MINUSCA spokesman told AFP, again blaming pro-Christian militias.

Six blue helmets were killed in Bangassou in May.

Former colonial power France intervened in 2013 to stop violent Christian-Muslim clashes and formally ended its peacekeeping mission only last month, hailing it a success despite fresh outbreaks of violence.

That leaves mainly the UN’s 12,500-strong Minusca peacekeeping mission to protect civilians from armed groups.

Polisario in awkward situation after arrest of 19 Moroccans, falsely accused of drug trafficking

Sahara News - Wed, 07/26/2017 - 11:50
The Polisario, which announced on Sunday (July 16) the arrest of 19 Moroccans it falsely accused of drug trafficking, found itself in a very awkward situation not only with respect to Algeria but also the MINURSO and the Sahrawi tribe of the arrested persons. Contrary to the allegations of the separatist front, which accused the […]

Welcome To Morocco

Western Sahara Worldnews - Tue, 07/25/2017 - 16:02

Hellinic News

Welcome to Morocco: Tangier from the Kasbah looking down on the Medina & the new port facilities.

“Welcome to Morocco,” was the greeting not just from the front desk reception at hotels but from shopkeepers, people on the street, vendors in the Medina and waiters at cafes. Expressed with broad smiles it seemed to this first time visitor to the ancient Kingdom of Morocco to be genuine.

Passersby greeted each other and this foreign writer with “good day” in Arabic, French or Spanish, depending on location.

Simple statements, yet time taken out of their day to make one feel less of an outsider had a major impact. It made one think why these ordinary gestures were important. Hospitality was not learned in university courses; it was embedded into a nomadic culture in a land of rugged beauty that preceded the Prophet Mohamed’s reinforcement of the concept:

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him honor his guest and recompense him.” They said, “O Messenger of Allah, what is his recompense?” The Prophet said, “It is for a day and a night, as good hospitality is for three days and after that it is charity.” And the Prophet said, “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him speak goodness or remain silent.” (Prophet Mohamed on hospitality) 1

Does that mean Morocco is a haven of smiling calm? Hardly. Crossing a street provides challenges, as anyone who’s traveled to Southeast Asia can attest – one goes with the flow of traffic and calculates timing. Turning down another request for a tour guide was repetitive.

A firm but friendly “no thank you” may have to be repeated dozens of times as shopkeepers in the Medina and waiters in front of cafes entice visitors to enter. Sometimes simply turning in the opposite direction worked well after persistent entreaties. What never worked was a display of frustration. The response to that was being offered another glass of mint tea – the hook to make the sale.

One article cannot be a guide to an entire country. Tangier is frequently a visitor’s initial stop owing to its close proximity to southern Spain and was this travel journalist’s introduction to Morocco. Five days in the city offered a glimpse of the Kingdom’s culture, ancient past and future path creating a template for explorations in the north over the following two weeks.

Looking out from on top of the walls of the Kasbah (fortified city) onto the harbor and the Strait of Gibraltar with the Medina below it’s obvious why Tangier has occupied a prized location for nearly 7,000 years. To the original Berbers, Phoenicians and Romans it was an essential Mediterranean trading port with access to the Atlantic Ocean, Ireland and the British Isles beyond. A mere nine miles to the Iberian Peninsula it launched the Moorish conquest forever shaping the culture of what would eventually become Spain.

Whoever held Tangier controlled the front gate to the Mediterranean world, which is why during the rise of European empires in the 18th century it was hotly contested with France ultimately emerging as the dominant power spreading its influence and language throughout most of present day Morocco. Despite the end of the Protectorate in the 1950s, French remains the dominant second language of the Kingdom and a part of Moroccan culinary legacy.

Since this visit coincided with the holy month of Ramadan, Tangier epitomized the dichotomy of the Kingdom. Devout Muslims fast for 15 hours each day for 30 to 31 days – approximately 4:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Fasting means ingesting nothing by mouth, not even water.

Keeping cool during Ramadan

Ramadan is the 9th month of the Islamic calendar, which is based on the lunar cycle so the exact dates shift each year. In 2017 it straddled the end of May through the third week of June. Tangier, Rabat, Casablanca and other coastal cities averaged in the humid 80s (F) in June. Inland – Fes, Meknes, Marrakesh – temperatures soared into the low 100s (F).

Standing on that fortified wall of the Kasbah gave a birds eye view of the soon to be completed construction of Tangier’s new cruise ship terminal and fishing fleet port (commercial fishing remains a major industry in the waters of the Strait of Gibraltar). Construction cranes dotted the modernizing city while just a few feet away stonemasons worked in the sweltering heat on major historic restoration projects – all without so much as a drop of water allowed.

This was not a sponsored trip for this travel journalist; it was a personal exploration. Accommodations and restaurants were not chosen with the expectation that they would appeal to all tourists although most of them should and they certainly shed light on today’s Morocco.

Bayt Alice interior

Bayt Alice is an art filled two hundred year old mansion in the ancient medina of Tangier masquerading as a budget hostel. Restored and operated by a retired French architect, Bayt Alice immerses its guest in the heart of ancient Tangier and attracts an international mix of travelers, many young. Yet good hospitality is infectious.

The roof top garden terrace was both the lounge and breakfast room where talks of adventures were exchanged and a sumptuous traditional Moroccan breakfast could be reserved at minimal cost. The rooms were not air-conditioned but the traditional design of the house allowed for adequate airflow and this journalist was provided with a fan on request.

Just outside the door were the twisting streets of the ancient Medina of Tangier ­– traditional shopping malls for this area of the globe. It was such a narrow maze of streets they would, and did, hinder invaders! Be prepared to get lost, although a properly equipped smart phone with a map app will be beneficial.

This chef journalist ate in small neighborhood cafes, often with much younger guests of Bayt Alice. Since this was Ramadan, many larger restaurants, with the exception of those specializing in the tourist trade, were closed, but street vendors and bakeries did a thriving business as locals bought food to break the fast after sundown.

From 7:30 p.m. any number of small cafes opened selling traditional tagines and couscous dishes along with salads and the copious varieties of pastries and sweets beloved by Moroccans.

Ask directions for Ch’Hiwat L’Couple a superb small neighborhood restaurant owned & run by Youssef & his wife Chef Hanane.

Sardines a la Chermoula at Rashid’s

Likewise seek out Rashid’s, a local hangout just around the corner from Bayt Alice, and savor such dishes as Sardines a la Chermoula -– each piece a sandwich of two fresh sardine fillets with cilantro, parsley, spices, lightly battered and pan fried.

In the evening take a taxi to Cafe Hafa, an institution without change since 1921 that attracted the great literary and political minds of the lost generation. Enjoy mint tea, the national drink, and the cooling breeze off the Strait of Gibraltar on its cliff side location above even the Kasbah. To drink something stronger one needs to visit bars in the larger hotels outside the Medina.

If shopping provides travel entertainment than Morocco’s Medinas will enthrall. If haggling thrills, the Medinas are akin to Las Vegas to attain that high. If on the other hand more peaceful activities are the agenda, Tangier provides.

The American Legation is the first and oldest American owned foreign property and the only one that’s a United States National Monument on the National Register of Historic Places. The Kingdom of Morocco was one of the very first to recognize American independence in 1777 and in 1821 the legation was established in the Medina of Tangier where it served as the embassy for 135 years. Still United States property it’s a beautiful building, a Moroccan cultural center and has an impressive art collection.

Dar-el-Makhzen was the 17th century Tangier palace of the Kings of Morocco prior to the French Protectorate (1912 – 1956). It remained a royal residence until the late 1930s. The beautiful palace now houses two museums, the Museum of Moroccan Arts and the archaeological Museum of Antiquities. Located at the highest point in the Kasbah, its gardens capture any breeze wafting though the city on a sultry afternoon.

There are popular excursions outside Tangier and should be arranged through licensed companies. Wide sand beaches abound and from both the Medina and newer downtown it’s an easy walk or taxi ride to the city beach. Nearly completed is the wide serpentine Beach Promenade well lit at night – all part of the vision of progressive King Mohamed VI to modernize both Tangier and the Kingdom.

American Legation, Tangier

It almost seems as if every Moroccan male over a certain age is a tour guide. They’re not. Taking a tour of any city in the Kingdom is well worth the modest expense if certified guides conduct it. Do ask your accommodations to help you arrange for an official guide and politely decline everyone else – certified guides don’t solicit on the streets or in taxis.

Over the following two weeks travels to the legendary “blue city” of Chefchaeouen, the Sufi holy city of Moulay Idress, the stunning ruins of the great Berber and Roman Empire city of Volubilis, fabled Fes, the former 17th century capital of Meknes and the rapidly modernizing current capital of the Kingdom, Rabat, reinforced the first impressions Tangier imparted. Morocco is determined to become a first world North African Kingdom balancing traditional values with modern progress.

Seventeen days in the northern Rif region of a multi-millennium old North African culture hardly makes a travel journalist an expert. Yet it opened a window of wonder onto the ancient Berber Kingdom of Mauritania, the Roman Empire, the spread of Islam, the Moorish impact of seven hundred years on the Iberian peninsula and the extraordinary continuity of the current 350 year old Alaouite Dynasty. “Welcome to Morocco” remained on the lips of the people fueling this travel journalist’s desire to return.

The Kasbah, Tangier

When you go: By ferry: Tangier is easily reached within one hour by high-speed ferry from the Spanish port of Tarifa. From the Spanish port of Algeciras the ferry runs to Tangier Med some 25 miles east of the city requiring a bus or taxi to reach Tangier. (The Algeciras ferries are convenient for visiting Morocco’s other Mediterranean coast resort cities) By air: international flights from major European cities land at Ibn Battuta Airport.

Travel with Pen and Palate every month to Greece and the world in the Hellenic News of America.

Travel with Pen and Palate returns to Greece September and October 2017. Follow his new Greek series starting with the October issue of the Hellenic News of America.

Bab Fass Gate to the Medina off the Grand Socco, Tangier

Katrina Kaif Is Taking Proper Surfing Lessons In Morocco To Surf Like A Pro!

Western Sahara Worldnews - Tue, 07/25/2017 - 15:22

PinkVilla
Home/Entertainment
Written By Upala KBR Mumbai

Katrina Kaif has been learning how to surf along the Atlantic Ocean coast.

… And no, Salman Khan is not learning this water sports!

If Salman Khan has been learning horse-riding in the ancient city of Essaouira, Morocco, Katrina Kaif is no less behind. She has been learning how to surf along the Atlantic Ocean coast but while Salman has been learning horse-riding for action sequences in the film, the actress has taken up a professional course of surfing as a hobby as she loves learning new and exciting things every day – sometimes for fun and sometimes for shoot sequence. She had done a water stunt with a seabob in Bang Bang and undergone training for the stunt for two days. Both Salman and Katrina been shooting for Ali Abbas Zafar’s Tiger Zinda Hai in Essaouira.

Says our source from Essaouira, “While Katrina has been learning for fun, she is also serious about learning it well. She has been taking wind surfing proper lessons every day from an instructor at Explora Watersports, which is the best surf and kite school in Essaouira. Salman has not been taking surfing lessons. His point of interest is only horse-riding. The surf and kite school is right across Katrina’s hotel and she walks across to it in the morning and takes lessons before shoot, whenever she gets time. Wind surfing is famous in Essaouira because it’s very windy along the coast.”

The source adds that Katrina had done her research before leaving for Morocco what Essaouira offered in terms of water sports. “She learned that Essaouira is one of the best beginner and mediocre wave surf spots in Morocco and a perfect spot for kite surfing. The instructors are certified and experienced professional teachers who help the surfers to push just that extra bit to catch a perfect wave. There are packages with daily yoga lessons given too and Katrina has taken that. So during sunset on the rooftop of the school she gets to stretch her sore muscles. It’s her second trip to Morocco and right now while she’s doing it for fun, whatever Katrina does she loves to be perfect the craft.”

When we asked the actress whether she wanted to learn how to surf like a professional, Katrina says, “Well it’s a hobby for now. Let’s see later…”

KHD Signs Contracts In Western Sub-Sahara Region

Western Sahara Worldnews - Tue, 07/25/2017 - 13:03

Cement News

Humboldt Wedag GmbH, Germany, a subsidiary of KHD Humboldt Wedag International AG (KHD), Cologne, Germany, has signed contracts totaling over EUR80m for the supply of equipment and execution of civil and erection works as well as supervision services for a cement plant in western sub-Sahara region.

The contracts will be booked as order intake as soon as the pre-conditions for commencing project execution are fulfilled, the company said in a statement.

Saudi King Arrives In Morocco For Private Vacation

Western Sahara Worldnews - Tue, 07/25/2017 - 11:35

Xinhuanet
Source: Xinhua
Editor: Huaxia

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud arrived on Monday in the northern Moroccan city of Tangier for a private vacation, local media reported.

The king was greeted on his arrival in Ibn Battouta by Moroccan Prime Minister Saadeddine El Othmani and the president of Tanger region Ilyas El Omari.

Nearly 924 rooms have been reserved for the Saudi delegation in the most prestigious hotels in the city, the Moroccan news site le360.ma reported.

A total of 453 luxury cars were also made available to the Saudi delegation, it reported. In recent years, the Saudi king has been spending his holiday in the Moroccan coastal city.

Prior to his departure, King Salman appointed his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to run the affairs of the country in his absence.

Enditem

Polisario: What is behind Nouakchott’s decision to declare border with Algeria “closed military zone”?

Polisario-confidential - Tue, 07/25/2017 - 11:27
Nouakchott’s decision to declare the border with Algeria a “closed military zone” did not come out of the blues. The seizure a few days later of weapons and drugs in a vehicle coming from the Polisario-run camps in Tindouf confirmed the fears of Mauritanian authorities. The 4×4 type vehicle was spotted thanks to the aerial […]

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