Category Archives: Morocco

(Yabiladi) Portugal wants to connect Portimão to Morocco and Spain by sea

(Yabiladi)

A new ferry line might link the algarve city of Portimão to Morocco./Ph.DR.

Portugal wants to link by ferry the Algarve city of Portimão to Spain and Morocco, says the Portugal News Online.

The announcement was made on Tuesday 18th of July at the official reception ceremony of the «Volcan de Tijarafe», a ferry that started recently linking Funchal in the Portuguese archipelago Madeira and Portimão in the Algarve following a six-year hiatus.

Several distinguished officials attended the ceremony including the Portimão Mayor Isilda Gomes and the Minister of the Sea Ana Paula Vitorino, and chief executive of the Port Administration of Sines and the Algarve José Luís Cacho. They discussed the possibility of connecting the city to Spain and Morocco.

«For the future, ferry connections are being evaluated for Spain and Morocco», said José Luís Cacho.

This project will be the first ferry line to link Morocco to the south of Portugal.

(BBC) Migrant crisis: Spain arrivals triple compared with 2016

(BBC

Three times as many migrants have arrived in Spain so far this year compared to the same period in 2016, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) says.

It means the number of sea arrivals in Spain – at 8,385 – could overtake Greece, which has had 11,713 people.

The shift may be because migrants are finding the Spanish route safer.

Earlier this week, footage showed migrants arriving by dinghy on a beach in Cádiz to the surprise of beachgoers.

The IOM say 11,849 people have arrived in Spain so far this year, compared with 13,246 in all of last year.

“We assume that some of the change is due to the fact that the route [to Spain] is considered a safe route up to the coast through Morocco,” Joel Millman, a senior IOM spokesman, was quoted by AFP news agency as saying.

“It’s possible that Spain will outperform Greece this year,” Mr Millman said. “If so, that’s a big change.”

Map showing Central Mediterranean migrant routes

Many of those opting for the longer route to Europe are from west African countries including Senegal, Gambia, Guinea and Ivory Coast.

Spain is still far behind Italy, which received 96,861 until 9 August, according to the IOM.

Overall numbers have fallen by almost 60% from the same period the previous year.

On Thursday, coastguards in southern Spain said 10 men from sub-Saharan Africa were rescued off Tarifa.

The coastguard said they were on a rickety boat off the southern town of Tarifa, in Cádiz province, where a boat full of migrants landed at a popular tourist beach on Wednesday, stunning tourists.

According to AFP, nine of the 30 or so migrants who arrived on the beach on Wednesday had been found.

They are all minors in their teens and, while they did not have any ID on them, are thought to be from Morocco, police were quoted as saying.

They will be taken to migrant reception centres, where they can apply for asylum in Spain, AFP adds.

The charity Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) says Spain’s reception centres arealready overloaded and do not respond to the needs of the thousands of “desperate new arrivals”.

Earlier this year thousands of protesters called on the Spanish government to allow people fleeing war-hit areas such as Syria in the country.

A note on terminology: The BBC uses the term migrant to refer to all people on the move who have yet to complete the legal process of claiming asylum. This group includes people fleeing war-torn countries such as Syria, who are likely to be granted refugee status, as well as people who are seeking jobs and better lives, who governments are likely to rule are economic migrants.

(AP) Seeing demand, Morocco approves first Islamic banks

(AP) Morocco has become the latest Muslim-majority country to authorize Islamic banks, amid growing market demand for Sharia-compliant banking.

The Moroccan central bank announced this week it has approved five Islamic banks, fulfilling a long-standing promise of the Islamist party leading a coalition government since 2011.

Among them are leading national banks Attijariwafa, linked to the royal family, state-owned Banque Centrale Populaire and private BMCE Bank of Africa. All three hold increasing assets around French-speaking Africa.

The others are CIH Bank and Credit Agricole du Maroc.

Four of the five will be partnerships between Moroccan banks and Islamic financial institutions in the Gulf.

Morocco had long been reticent about Islamic finance, but now sees it as a growth prospect.

Sharia forbids interest, which is central to many banks’ operations.

(BBC) Morocco protests: Death of fish seller triggers rare demonstrations

(BBCProtest called by the February 20 Movement in Rabat. 30 Oct 2016

Thousands of Moroccans have held protests in several towns and cities after a fish seller was crushed to death in a refuse lorry trying to retrieve fish confiscated by police.

The death of Mouhcine Fikri in the northern town of Al-Hoceima on Friday drew widespread anger on social media.

His death drew parallels to that of a Tunisian fruit seller in 2010 which helped spark the Arab Spring uprisings.

Morocco’s King Mohamed has ordered officials to visit Mr Fikri’s family.

The interior and justice ministries have also pledged to hold an investigation.

‘Everyone feels crushed’

The anti-government protests, on a scale rare in Morocco, were called by activists of the February 20 movement, who organised demonstrations during the Arab Spring in 2011.

Angry postings on social media referred to “Hogra”, a term for official abuse and injustice.

“I have never seen such a crowd in the last few years, since 2011 at least,” said Houssin Lmrabet, an activist in the town of Imzouren where a protest followed the funeral of Mr Fikri.

“Everyone feels crushed by that garbage truck here.”

Protests were also held in Al-Hoceima, Casablanca and the capital Rabat.

Protest in Rabat. 30 Oct 2016Image copyrightEPA
Image captionRallies of this scale are unusual in Morocco

Police had confiscated and destroyed Mr Fikri’s swordfish because it is not allowed to be fished at this time of the year, according to Moroccan media.

Video circulating on social media appears to show Mr Fikri jumping into the back of the refuse lorry to retrieve his fish, before being crushed to death by its compactor.

Interior Minister Mohamed Hassad vowed to hold a speedy investigation into exactly what had happened.

“No one had the right to treat him like this,” he told the AFP news agency.

“We cannot accept officials acting in haste, anger or in conditions that do not respect people’s rights.”

The incident evoked memories of Mohamed Bouazizi, the Tunisian fruit and vegetable seller who doused himself in petrol and set himself alight after officials seized his goods in December 2010.

Public outrage at the incident led to overthrow of then-president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and the unrest spread to Egypt, Libya and other countries in the Arab world.

(Reuters) Mediterranean warming fast, deserts may spread in Europe: study

(Reuters) Global warming is on track to disrupt the Mediterranean region more than any droughts or heatwaves in the past 10,000 years, turning parts of southern Europe into desert by the end of the century, scientists said on Thursday.

Average temperatures in the region have already risen by 1.3 degrees Celsius (2.3 Fahrenheit) since the late 19th century, well above the world average of 0.85C (1.5F), according to the study led by France’s Aix-Marseille University.

Man-made climate change “will likely alter ecosystems in the Mediterranean in a way that is without precedent” in the past 10,000 years unless governments quickly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the researchers wrote in the journal Science.

With unchecked warming, deserts would expand in southern Spain and Portugal, northern parts of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia and other regions including Sicily, southern Turkey and parts of Syria, it showed.

And it would dramatically shift vegetation in the region, famed for umbrella pines, olive groves, and holm oaks.

Last year, almost 200 governments agreed in Paris to limit the rise in average world surface temperatures to “well below” 2C above pre-industrial times, ideally 1.5C. Governments will meet in Morocco next month to review the accord.

Only the 1.5C global goal would ensure Mediterranean ecosystems stay within bounds of the past 10,000 years, the study said. Debate about cutting emissions “is urgent for such sensitive regions,” lead author Joel Guiot of Aix-Marseille University told Reuters.

The Mediterranean is sensitive to global warming partly because Atlantic storms are likely to shift northwards, meaning more sun and less rain.

The scientists reconstructed past climates by studying pollen in layers of mud in lakes. More oak pollen, for instance, suggested humid and temperate climates while more fir and spruce pollen indicated chillier conditions, he said.

In history, some natural hot periods and droughts have coincided with social upheaval in the Mediterranean region, such as around 1400 when many people in the Ottoman Empire abandoned unproductive farms to become nomads.

Last year, a study in the U.S. journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences said there was evidence that man-made climate change had added to a 2007-10 drought in Syria that was a contributing factor to the civil war.

And Thursday’s research did not consider other changes in farming that can hasten desertification, such as around Almeria in southern Spain.

(Express) Le Roi du Maroc Mohammed VI : “Il n’y a pas de vierges au Paradis”

(Express)

Moroccan King Mohammed VI leaves with the French president (Not pictured) following their meeting on February 17, 2016 at the Elysee palace in Paris. 
STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN / AFP

La semaine dernière, le Roi Mohammed VI du Maroc a tenu un discours remarquable sur le terrorisme et l’islamisme en Europe, à l’occasion de l’anniversaire de l’indépendance marocaine.

Le texte intégral de son discours traduit en anglais est récemment apparu sur le site du Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

“Nous croyons que le meurtre d’un moine est interdit par la charia, et que le tuer dans une église est un acte impardonnable de stupidité, parce qu’il est un être humain, et un religieux, même s’il n’est pas musulman. (…) Les terroristes qui opèrent au nom de l’islam ne sont pas musulmans”, a dit le roi, se référant à l’assassinat du prêtre catholique Jacques Hamel en France le 26 juillet dernier.

Il a demandé aux Marocains résidant à l’étranger d’adhérer aux valeurs de leur foi, et d’empêcher la montée de l’islamophobie et du racisme en protégeant leur bonne réputation.

Pas de vierges pour les djihadistes

Pour la première fois le monarque a également soulevé la question du djihad. Les kamikazes ne sont pas nécessairement motivés par des motifs religieux, mais la promesse de paradis est souvent un motif important. En effet, les musulmans qui se font exploser croient qu’ils acquièrent le statut de martyr, ce qui leur assure – à la différence des musulmans ordinaires – d’aller directement au paradis. Selon certaines interprétations du Coran, ils seraient alors récompensés par 72 houris, c’est à dire des jeunes femmes célestes vierges d’une très grande beauté.

Dans les bagages de Mohammed Atta, l’un des terroristes qui avaient détourné un avion pour le faire percuter dans les tours du WTC à Manhattan en 2001, on a trouvé un document contenant la note suivante : “Il faut que tu sois gai, heureux, ouvert, tranquille, car tu  commets une action que Dieu aime et qui le satisfait et le jour viendra où tu  seras avec les houris”)

Depuis quand le djihad consiste-t-il à tuer des innocents ?

Le roi a évoqué le groupe terroriste Etat islamique (EI), l’accusant d’exploiter le manque de connaissance de l’Islam et de la langue arabe des jeunes musulmans en Europe :

“Les terroristes qui opèrent au nom de l’islam ne sont pas musulmans. (…) Menés par leur ignorance, ils croient que ce qu’ils font est le djihad. Mais depuis quand le djihad consiste-t-il à tuer des innocents ? (…) Est ce qu’une personne saine d’esprit peut croire que des vierges au Paradis sont la récompense pour le djihad ? Est-il concevable que ceux qui écoutent de la musique seront avalés par la Terre ? Et il y d’autres mensonges de cette sorte. Les terroristes et les extrémistes utilisent tous les moyens possibles pour persuader les jeunes de se joindre à eux et de frapper des sociétés qui défendent les valeurs de liberté, d’ouverture et de tolérance. (…) Nous sommes tous visés. Celui qui croit en ce que j’ai dit est une cible pour le terrorisme”.

(PUB) Aviões Canadair de Marrocos já estão em Portugal

(Público) Aeronaves vão juntar-se aos dois aviões espanhóis que já combatem fogos a Norte. Um outro Canadair italiano chega esta tarde.

Os dois aviões Canadair vindos de Marrocos chegaram nesta quinta-feira a Portugal para ajudar no combate aos incêndios e um outro proveniente de Itália deverá chegar à tarde, segundo uma fonte governamental.

Fontes do Ministério da Administração Interna (MAI) e da Autoridade Nacional de Protecção Civil (ANPC) adiantaram à agência Lusa que os dois aviões cedidos por Marrocos já estão na Lapa, concelho de Arouca, no distrito de Aveiro.

Na sequência do accionamento formal do mecanismo europeu de protecção civil pelo Governo português, deverá chegar esta quinta-feira pelas 13h30 a Portugal um avião Canadair italiano.

Estes meios marroquinos e italiano vêm juntar-se aos dois Canadair disponibilizados por Espanha, que já estão a ajudar no combate aos fogos.

A ministra da Administração Interna anunciou na quarta-feira ter sido accionado o protocolo bilateral estabelecido com a Federação Russa para a vinda de mais meios, sem especificar, porém, quantos são ou quando chegam.

Constança Urbano de Sousa está hoje de manhã em Gondomar, distrito do Porto, e vai estar às 12h no quartel dos Bombeiros Voluntários de Arouca para acompanhar a situação dos incêndios.