Moroccan road film subverts Hollywood stereotypes

By Andrew Hammond

DUBAI | Fri Dec 21, 2012 8:50am EST

(Reuters) – When director John Slattery first visited Morocco, the familiarity was jarring – and as removed from the images of an exotic Orient conjured up by Hollywood as possible.

That dichotomy between the representation and the reality of Morocco drives Slattery’s charming paean to a country he clearly loves and makes “Casablanca, Mon Amour” a thoughtful rejoinder to U.S. popular culture. Continue reading Moroccan road film subverts Hollywood stereotypes

Israeli Arab wrestles with grief, guilt in suicide bomb film

By Andrew Hammond

DUBAI | Thu Dec 20, 2012 9:50am EST

(Reuters) – When Universal Studios took a disliking to the script for Ziad Doueiri’s Israeli-Palestinian suicide bombing drama, the Lebanese director thought his career was over.

Six years later “The Attack” is garnering interest on the festival circuit, winning praise in Toronto, an award in Marrakech, and wowing audiences at the Dubai international film festival in the United Arab Emirates this week. Continue reading Israeli Arab wrestles with grief, guilt in suicide bomb film

Thousands mourn leader of Morocco’s main opposition group

By Aziz El Yaakoubi

RABAT | Fri Dec 14, 2012 1:38pm EST

(Reuters) – Tens of thousands of Moroccans took part in the funeral of the leader of the North African state’s biggest opposition group on Friday, in a sign of the huge support commanded by Islamists opposed to the monarchy. Continue reading Thousands mourn leader of Morocco’s main opposition group

Leader of main Moroccan opposition group dies

By Aziz El Yaakoubi

RABAT | Thu Dec 13, 2012 10:28am EST

(Reuters) – The leader of Morocco’s main opposition group al-Adl Wal Ihsane died on Thursday, raising questions over the future of an Islamist group that played a central role in Arab Spring protests last year.

Abdessalam Yassine formed the group 1981. It is banned from formal politics but is believed by analysts and diplomats to be the only opposition organization capable of mass mobilization in the North African state. Continue reading Leader of main Moroccan opposition group dies

Morocco police arrest protestor who impersonated king

RABAT | Thu Dec 13, 2012 2:04pm EST

(Reuters) – A Moroccan anti-government protestor who dressed up as King Mohammed has been arrested and accused of possessing drugs, the man’s lawyer and human rights activists said on Thursday. Continue reading Morocco police arrest protestor who impersonated king

Morocco opposition says monarchy still calls the shots

By Andrew Hammond

RABAT | Mon Dec 10, 2012 12:19pm EST

(Reuters) – Reforms that took the wind out of Arab Spring protests in Morocco last year have proven hollow and real power still lies with King Mohammed and his advisors, the north African country’s main opposition group said. Continue reading Morocco opposition says monarchy still calls the shots

MIDEAST DEBT-Morocco under pressure to plug budget gap, avert more protests

By Aziz El Yaakoubi and Andrew Hammond

RABAT | Wed Dec 5, 2012 7:30pm IST

Dec 5 (Reuters) – Almost every day without fail, hundreds of unemployed graduates storm through downtown Rabat calling for the government to fall. La st month, they went a step further, crossing a red line by targeting their anger at the royal family’s spending.

“Shame on you, you have squandered the budget!” a small group of several dozen chanted during one march a few days before parliament voted on the first draft of next year’s budget. Continue reading MIDEAST DEBT-Morocco under pressure to plug budget gap, avert more protests

FEATURE-Protests in Tunisian town show anger at Islamist government

By Tarek Amara

SILIANA, Tunisia | Sun Dec 2, 2012 10:21am EST

(Reuters) – In a remote town in Tunisia’s interior, protesters angry over joblessness and harsh police tactics call for the downfall of new Islamist rulers, echoing the revolt that ignited the Arab Spring two years ago. Continue reading FEATURE-Protests in Tunisian town show anger at Islamist government

Tunisia secures more loans as protests hit deprived town

By Francesco Guarascio and Tarek Amara | Reuters – Wed, Nov 28, 2012

TUNIS (Reuters) – Tunisia, struggling to ease economic difficulties that have provoked unrest since its democratic revolution, said on Wednesday it had secured more international lending to cover its 2013 spending.

Tunisia’s new, elected Islamist-led government has sought to revive the economy in the face of a decline in trade with the crisis-hit euro zone and disputes between secularists and hardline Salafi Islamists over the future direction of the North African Arab state. Continue reading Tunisia secures more loans as protests hit deprived town

Morocco police break up jobs protest ahead of budget debate

RABAT | Wed Nov 21, 2012 3:38pm EST

(Reuters) – Moroccan police with batons broke up a protest by more than a thousand unemployed graduates in central Rabat on Wednesday, the second protest this week before parliament votes on the first part of the 2013 budget.

Public finances are in dire straits in the North African country of 33 million people due largely to the euro zone’s financial crisis. Europe is Morocco’s main economic partner. Continue reading Morocco police break up jobs protest ahead of budget debate