King Mohammed VIs Visit to China Milestone in SinoMoroccan Ties Chinese

Beijing – King Mohammed VI’s visit to China is a milestone in Sino-Moroccan relations, Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Zhang Ming said Wednesday in the Chinese capital.This visit will no doubt give strong impetus to cooperation between Beijing and Rabat, Ming told the press.Concerning King Mohammed VI’s talks with Chinese President, Ming said the two leaders are very attached to human exchanges between China and Morocco and to strengthening mutual knowledge between the two peoples and confidence between the two countries. The two leaders showed their strong common will to further develop Sino-Moroccan cooperation in infrastructure, economy, trade and industry, Ming said, noting that the talks were an opportunity for both parties to discuss reforms in China and Morocco, the Middle East situation and other international issues.King Mohammed VI, who is on an official visit to China, held talks Wednesday with President XI Jinping, followed by the signing of the joint declaration on the establishment of strategic partnership between the two countries, as well as 15 bilateral agreements relating to the legal, economic, financial, industrial, cultural, tourism, energy, infrastructure and consular fields.With MAP read more

Over 11000 Syrian Refugees Treated at Moroccan Zaatari Hospital in January

Amman – Some 11,464 Syrian refugees received medical services at the Moroccan field hospital in Zaatari camp, North-east of Jordan, in last January.According to the statistics provided by the hospital administration, children were on the top of those who were extended health services with 4,542 cases, followed by women (3,810) and men (3,112).As many as 3,031 emergency cases, 1,238 pediatric cases and 2,600 general medicine cases were referred to the hospital. Some 8,749 prescriptions were offered by the different departments of the hospital to patients and 77 surgical operations were carried out by the hospital staff in last January.The Moroccan field hospital, located on the borders between Jordan and Syria, has a capacity of 60 beds.

Ihattaren The Politics of DualNationality Footballers Choosing Morocco

Rabat – Promising footballer Mohammed Ihattaren, born in the Netherlands to Moroccan parents, faces the difficult choice of choosing between the Netherlands’ national football team or Morocco’s Atlas Lions.Having started his professional career with Dutch side PSV Eindhoven and quickly established himself as “one of Netherlands biggest talents,” Football Oranje reported recently, the 17-year-old Ihattaren is currently the center of “a tug of war” between the Atlas Lions and the Netherlands’ Oranje.For both teams, the young player could bring dividends to their dreams of prospective glory. Ihattaren, who currently plays for the Dutch under-19 team, can still choose to switch to Morocco for his senior international career. Choosing between two ‘homes’According to numerous reports from Moroccan sources, the Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) hopes to convince him to opt for Morocco.FRMF’s “mission” is to compel Ihattaren to be part of the dream team competing at the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) in June.Depending on their political affiliations, Dutch media outlets frame the issue from different angles. More liberal-leaning observers often query about whether the problem is with the Dutch football team or society.Questions of allegiance are bound to be raised and fingers pointed at Ihattaren’s potential “disloyalty” to his country of birth.The underlying assumption of such considerations generally has to do with the waning glory of the Dutch national squad.Maybe after all, playing for the Oranje, as the Dutch team is called, is no longer as compelling as it once was, when the Netherlands graciously and confidently swaggered through the footballing world. Not long ago, the Oranje could take on the world’s reigning champions and make them look like amateurs.Liberal outlets sometimes note the discomfiting looks and phrases that Dutch players of migrant background encounter on a daily basis. The discomfort tends to influence their career-defining choices.In more right-leaning networks, meantime, questions are bound to be raised of the degree of nationalist or patriotic attachment from “those children of immigrants” who, after reaping all the benefits the Netherlands had to offer, such as education and state-of-the-art sporting facilities, end up opting for their country of origin.Patriotism is questioned, multiculturalism caricatured, and questions asked as to why the country should keep investing in people of doubtful commitment. People, elated and angry right-wing critics often point out of these players, whose hearts beat for places miles away from the Dutch academies where they spent their formative years.Identity mattersWhile it is unclear which side Ihattaren will pledge allegiance to, choosing Morocco would not be as much of a surprise as it would years ago when elite players were more interested in career advancement than in identity or belonging.Increasingly, choosing origin countries over birth countries has become a routine, a rapid reversal of situations as more Moroccans with dual nationality in Europe feel some missing links in their sense of attachment and belonging.“The Netherlands I love you; Italy I love you; America I love you; Porto Rico I love you. But I love Morocco the most,” heavyweight legend Badr Hari shouted after securing a major victory in March 2018.At the 2018 World Cup in Russia, the Atlas Lions’ lineup featured 17 foreign-born players, including 5 Dutch-born.Reporting on FRMF’s successful campaign in winning the hearts of foreign-born Moroccan talents, the New York Times dismissively wrote that Morocco’s team was essentially an “imported” squad.The country’s recent successes on the pitch, which some commentators have likened to a renaissance, boil down to the contribution of “players born outside the country and forged in the academies of clubs and national associations scattered across Europe,” according to the Times’ report.For the Russian World Cup, Morocco’s Dutch importees notably included Hakim Ziyech; Noussair Mazraoui; and the Amrabat brothers, Nordin and Sofyan.As an increasing number of Moroccans switch their allegiance in favor of the Atlas Lions, Moroccan Netherlands-residing columnist Fouad Laroui remarked recently, the Dutch are surprised and “keep asking ‘but why?’”Laroui gave the example of Mazraoui, who in 2018 faced a forest of questions from the Dutch media demanding that he justify his decision to choose Morocco over the Netherlands.Mazraoui declined to pick sides, saying he felt attached to both countries. Upon insistence from interviewers, however, the Ajax player said, “I really like the Netherlands. But since it appears I have to choose, I would go with Morocco.”Reaction to populismBeneath the simple-looking move of opting for Morocco, Ihattaren, Ziyech, Mazraoui, the Amrabats, and all foreign-born choosing their origin countries constitute in large part a reaction to a growing pattern: Surging populism and the tense debate about identity and patriotism in a number of Western countries.Even the Times’ article conceded, albeit marginally, that Europe’s resurgent nativism and nationalism is driving many children of migrants to question their countries’ comfort with having them around.On the streets, on public transport, and even in stadiums while watching or playing matches, they are constantly reminded that they do not really belong there and that their religious and cultural way of life is not welcome.When times are rough and the goals are not coming for national teams, players from minority backgrounds take the brunt of the criticism. The racism and Islamophobia-saturated breakup between Mesut Ozil and German football after Germany’s 2018 World Cup fiasco is a textbook example.In the blink of an eye, the majority of German fans and footballing authorities forgot that Ozil, whose parents came from Turkey, was one of the most defining faces of Germany’s dominance in the world of football in 2014.After winning the World Cup in July 2018, France’s Africans and Arabs-filled team was celebrated and given the highest of French national accolades.Many French were quick to opine that the success of Les Bleus, as the team is nicknamed, spoke volumes about France’s successful integration model.But that World Cup euphoria stood in stark contrast with Les Bleus’ World Cup fiasco in South Africa in 2010. Reacting to a poor performance from Les Bleus in 2010, rightwing philosopher Alain Finkielkraut went as far as suggesting that the players, in majority of migrant backgrounds, were “arrogant and unintelligent thieves with mafia morals.”Listening to the heartIn origin countries, meanwhile, players feel valued, celebrated, and welcome. Their mistakes are forgotten, or at least tolerated, because no one questions which country their hearts beat for.In Russia, Morocco lost its first match against Iran. Many had predicted an easy win for the Moroccan Lions. But the game’s only goal was a last-minute own goal by Moroccan striker Aziz Bouhaddouz.After the game, Bouhaddouz’s error was marginally discussed in the Moroccan media. In fact, rather than humiliate the visibly distraught player, Moroccan fans sent supportive messages. “Mistakes happen to everyone. We are proud of you,” a number of Moroccans wrote.Such occurrences increase the connection and deep emotional attachment that players already felt.Families also help in making the difficult choice as parents often dream of seeing their children play for their origin countries. However, the underlying politics of shifting allegiances, in the minds of many elite players, comes down to the daily reminders that identity matters.“I think with the heart, and the heart was for Morocco,” the New York Times quoted winger Mimoun Mahi explaining his decision to ditch Oranje for Morocco’s Atlas Lions.Ahead of a continental trophy that Moroccans dream of lifting after decades of underwhelming continental displays, many Moroccan fans and footballing authorities hope that Ihattaren and other talents will, too, listen to their hearts. read more

Commerce official wants businesses to get Trump tax break

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Rhode Island’s commerce secretary said Thursday he’s analyzing new regulations issued by the Trump administration about a program for giving tax breaks for investing in low-income areas to ensure concerns by state economic development officials were considered.The Opportunity Zones program was included in the $1.5 trillion tax cut legislation the administration pushed through Congress in 2017 to enable private investors to re-invest profits into designated low-income areas. They can get a tax benefit by deferring capital gains invested in the zones.Rhode Island Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor said he and other state officials have urged the administration to make sure tax breaks for investing in the areas were not only for real estate transactions but also for businesses operating in these areas. Pryor said he’s the chairman of a new network of state economic development executives, formed recently to discuss federal and state policies, including the Opportunity Zones.Pryor attended a White House conference Wednesday where proposed regulations were unveiled to clear up confusion over how federal tax rules would be interpreted. President Donald Trump spoke.Pryor said he questioned Treasury Department officials at the conference about tax breaks for operating businesses in zones. While he was told there was a revision to the regulations on that point, Pryor said he’s still reviewing precisely what they did to see whether the program will work as state officials had hoped.Governors were allowed to designate up to a quarter of their states’ low-income census tracts as Opportunity Zones. Rhode Island’s governor designated 25 low-income areas in 15 municipalities.“As a small state with limited resources, we utilize every tool at our disposal to promote and advance the economy,” Pryor said. “This is a new federal measure that every state has available to it. We aim to utilize it to the max and ensure that we’re competing effectively with other states.”Trump said at the conference that governors in all 50 states and U.S. territories had designated 8,700 neighbourhoods as Opportunity Zones.Jennifer McDermott, The Associated Press read more

Grains mostly higher livestock mixed

CHICAGO — Grain futures were mostly higher Monday in early trading on the Chicago Board of Trade.Wheat for July delivery was up 8.20 cents at $4.7740 a bushel; Jul corn rose 6.40 cents at $3.8860 a bushel; July oats gained 3 cents at $2.9660 a bushel; while Jul soybeans fell 9 cents at 8.3420 bushel.Beef mixed and pork lower on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.Jun. live cattle rose .50 cent at $1.1162 a pound; May feeder cattle was off .42 cent at $1.3418 a pound; Jun lean hogs fell .30 cent at .9170 a pound.The Associated Press

Northern Uganda improving but still faces problems – UN humanitarian chief

15 May 2007Meeting with local authorities and aid workers in northern Uganda, the United Nations humanitarian chief warned today that the region still faces serious problems despite the recently improved security situation. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes spent much of the day in Kitgum district, where about 260,000 IDPs are living in 23 settlements because of the 21-year conflict between Government forces and the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).He visited the new settlement site of Labworomor, where many IDPs have gathered recently.During meetings with local authorities in Kitgum, Mr. Holmes stressed that problems remain in the north despite the signing of a cessation of hostilities agreement last year by the two sides.Peace talks between the Government and the LRA resumed at the weekend in Juba, southern Sudan, but Mr. Holmes – who is also UN Emergency Relief Coordinator – said the international community must continue its support to the recovery process and to locals as they try to return to their former homes.“We will continue to help in camps for the displaced and in settlement sites, and, with the Government of Uganda, we will help with resettlement and reconstruction,” he said. “We know it will be a long and often difficult process. There is an awful lot still to do and an awful lot still needed.”Thousands of people have been killed and an estimated 1.5 million others have become displaced in Uganda or in neighbouring countries since the LRA insurgency began in 1986. During that time, the rebel group has become notorious for abducting children and then using them as soldiers or porters, while subjecting some to torture and allocating many girls to senior officers in a form of institutional rape.In October 2005 the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued its first-ever arrest warrants against Joseph Kony, the LRA leader, and four of the group’s commanders – Vincent Otti, Okot Odhiambo, Dominic Ongwen and Raska Lukwiya – on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.Tonight Mr. Holmes is scheduled to visit an IDP camp at Namokora that is also home to numerous ex-combatants in the conflict, and he is expected to hold talks there with aid workers, elders, and women and children who had been previously abducted.Earlier today in Kampala, the national capital, the Under-Secretary-General met Ugandan Prime Minister Apolo Nsibambi and the Minister of Disaster Preparedness and Refugees Tarsisi Kabwegyere. Yesterday he held what he described as “a lively exchange” with President Yoweri Museveni.Mr. Holmes said it was important to have a “triple effort” from the humanitarian community: providing aid to those living in IDP camps, helping those who are in the process of returning home; and supplying recovery aid for those who have already returned. read more

UNs Iraq envoy pledges full support for constitutional review process

During talks with the Chair of the Constitutional Review Committee, Humam Hamoudi, and Deputy Chair Ayad al-Samaraie, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative, Ashraf Qazi, reiterated his earlier commendation of the panel’s work “and the professional and constructive problem-solving approach it adopted,” according to a news release from the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI). Mr. Qazi reaffirmed the UN’s willingness to continue assisting the Committee in reviewing outstanding technical issues, drawing on its international experience and knowledge of best practice in comparable situations, UNAMI said. The envoy also emphasized that the UN is firmly committed to assisting in the implementation of the constitution and any approved amendments, noting that its technical and advisory role is always carried out at the request of the Government. The Committee has already advanced proposals on the distribution of powers and in principle on the national collection and fair sharing of oil revenues, UNAMI said in a news release at the weekend. Issues still meriting consideration relate to Iraq’s federal architecture and to the Constitution’s Human Rights Chapter. The Committee is working to forge an agreement that can be put to the Iraqi people for their endorsement.In another development, the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) has published a 1,000-page plus Compendium of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programmes, with the exception of the nuclear programme, on its website.Work on the lengthy document began in late 2004 and the Compendium details the country’s chemical and biological warfare programmes and associated delivery systems as known to UN inspectors.The Compendium also gives describes UN efforts to map and verify the true extent and nature of Iraq’s activities.UNMOVIC, established by a December 1999 Security Council resolution, inherited from the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) the task of verifying Iraq’s compliance with its obligation to renounce WMD. 28 June 2007The senior United Nations envoy to Iraq today pledged the world body’s full support for the country’s constitutional review process. read more

Senior UN envoy to Sudan holds talks on problems in northsouth peace

27 November 2007The senior United Nations envoy in Sudan held talks today with one of the country’s Vice-Presidents on how to resolve the remaining obstacles to implementing the January 2005 comprehensive peace agreement (CPA) that ended the long-running civil war between north and south. Ashraf Qazi, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Sudan, met with Ali Osman Taha in Khartoum, according to the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS).Their discussions focused on the efforts of the National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), the parties to the CPA, to resolve the pending issues from the agreement and revive their partnership in a Government of National Unity.Mr. Qazi then headed to Juba, southern Sudan, for a two-day visit during which he is scheduled to hold talks with Salva Kiir Mayardit, the First Vice-President of Sudan and the President of the Government of Southern Sudan, and other senior officials in the region. He is also expected to meet SPLM Secretary-General Pagan Amoum.UNMIS said these talks will also focus on resolving the pending issues between the two parties so that the integrity of the CPA can be resolved and the current crisis between the NCP and the SPLM can come to a swift end. Last month the SPLM had withdrawn from the Government of National Unity. read more

Top envoy strongly condemns attack on UN missions Court building

The Secretary-General’s Special Representative today strongly condemned an attack on the District Court building of the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) in North Mitrovica, which took place when a large mob overwhelmed UNMIK Police.“Those who turned to violence in North Mitrovica have crossed one of UNMIK’s red lines. This is completely unacceptable,” said Joachim Rücker, adding that he has instructed the mission’s police to restore law and order.This morning, the Special Representative notified the Serbian Government of the events, asking it to prevent such attacks.Mr. Rücker underscored that any differences of opinion must be dealt with in a civilized manner.“Once again, I appeal to all communities to refrain from violence and to help us ensure a safe and secure environment in Kosovo,” he said. “UNMIK will defend its mandate throughout the whole territory of Kosovo without exception.”The Special Representative has informed both President Fatmir Sejdiu and Prime Minister Thaçi of the most recent developments and of UNMIK’s course of action.Last month, the Assembly of Kosovo’s Provisional Institutions of Self-Government declared independence from Serbia, and since then both Mr. Rücker and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon have underlined the need for restraint from all sides.Ethnic Albanians outnumber Serbs and other minorities by nine to one in Kosovo, which was administered by the UN after Western forces drove out Yugoslav forces amid inter-ethnic fighting in 1999. 14 March 2008The Secretary-General’s Special Representative today strongly condemned an attack on the District Court building of the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) in North Mitrovica, which took place when a large mob overwhelmed UNMIK Police. read more

UN and British Government launch business push for MDGs

6 May 2008A dozen international companies announced concrete initiatives to apply business expertise to tackle poverty at an event hosted in London today by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the British Government. A dozen international companies announced concrete initiatives to apply business expertise to tackle poverty at an event hosted in London today by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the British Government. More than 80 business leaders attended the Business Call to Action event, aimed at showcasing innovative and creative initiatives from the private sector to tackle poverty in the developing world. New business initiatives announced by Diageo, Vodaphone, Coca Cola, Sumitomo Chemical, Microsoft, SABMiller, Thomson Reuters, Citi and Cisco are expected to create thousands of jobs and potentially improve the lives of millions of poor people across Africa and Asia. They are part of a concerted push to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which were endorsed by 189 world leaders in 2000 and represent a global partnership to promote poverty reduction, education, maternal health and gender equality and to combat child mortality, AIDS and other diseases.The Business Call to Action aims to enable poor people to access speedy flows of information, money and business expertise, as well as creating new employment opportunities. “In the race to achieve the MDGs, one of the greatest untapped resources is the private sector,” UNDP Administrator Kemal Dervis said. “Innovative business leaders, both in the North and the South, are changing the way that many businesses operate. They are expanding beyond traditional business practices, to also focus on the needs of those locked out of the global market, bringing them in as partners in growth and wealth creation. “Such creative approaches and partnerships are essential in catalyzing vibrant new markets that can contribute to advancing inclusive growth and development.” read more