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3 Sep, 2012

Indonesia Aims for Economic Hub Status by Developing its Seaports

Compiled by Imtiaz Muqbil & Sana Muqbil


A compilation of stories of interesting events and developments in the world of Islam for the week ending 03 September 2012 (16 Shawwala 1433). Pls click on any of the headlines to go to the story.



The 2012 Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur is ready to show tennis fans in South East Asia the excitement, the thrills and the sheer awe-inspiring level of tennis that many of the world’s best stars will bring with them to the Putra Stadium, Bukit Jalil, 22 to 30 September. This is the fourth year of the Malaysian Open. Many upcoming players will making their debuts in this wonderful city, and many others such as Marcos Baghdatis, David Ferrer and Kei Nishikori of Japan are delighted to be returning. The tournament is delighted to be welcoming back its first ever champion, Russia’s Nikolay Davydenko who won the title in 2009. Davydenko has also played in every edition of the tournament. The Malaysian Open Kuala Lumpur is supported by the Ministry of Tourism, Malaysia and Tourism Malaysia and a number of commercials sponsors. The event is sanctioned by the Lawn Tennis Association of Malaysia and is organised by IMG. Tickets are available via the event website at www.MalaysianOpenTennis.com or via. About the Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur 2012 please visit:

For more information about what makes Malaysia one of the most popular destinations in the Islamic world, as well as on planning your next holiday or MICE event in Malaysia, please click: http://www.tourism.gov.my/.

facebook: http://www.facebook.com/friendofmalaysia

twitter: http://twitter.com/tourismmalaysia


Egypt expects Chinese investment worth $3 bln over two years

Ahram Online, 2 Sep 2012 – Direct investment from China is expected to reach $3 billion over the next two years, state-run daily Al-Ahram reported on Sunday, citing Egyptian Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Ashraf El-Araby. Chinese foreign direct investment in Egypt amounted $160 million in the 6-year period between 2006 and 2011.

Egypt will receive a Chinese grant worth $75 million in three tranches, with the first tranche expected within weeks. Grants from China to Egypt have totalled around $100 million over the last 20 years. Egypt imported goods worth $3.9 billion from China in 2010/11 and exported goods worth just $292 million, according to data from the Central Bank of Egypt.

China will give 300 cars to the Egyptian interior ministry within the next month, El-Araby said. China recently sent 700 cars to the same authority, he added. A $200 million commercial loan has been made to the National Bank of Egypt by the China Development Bank, El-Araby said. The money will be loaned to small and medium enterprises.

On Saturday, Minister of Investment Osama Saleh said President Mohamed Morsi’s visit to China had secured 14 agreements.

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Arab film season comes to London’s ICA

Global Arab Network, 28 August 2012 – The Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, is to screen a season of popular Arab films between 21-27 September 2012. Entitled Safar: A Journey Through Popular Arab Cinema, the film season will screen a series of classic and contemporary Arab films. The season will focus on Egyptian films, as the traditional epicentre of Arab cinema, but also includes Lebanese and Jordanian works.

Highlights of the festival include:

  • A discussion forum, bringing together experts and commentators on Arab cinema including: Dr Viola Shafik, author of ‘Arab Cinema – History and Cultural Identity’, Dr Dina Mattar, head of the Centre of Media and Film Studies at SOAS and Jason Wood, the director of programming for Curzon Cinemas Group.
  • The Beginning and the End – A rare screening of the 1960 adaption of Naguib Mahfouz’s novel, starring Omar Sharif in his pre-Hollywood days.
  • One-Zero – A screening of this popular Egyptian film from 2009 which was led by an all-female production team (director, writer, cinematographer and editor).
  • Watch Out for Zouzou – the most famous film to feature screen star Soad Hosni.

Actors Khaled Abol Naga, Nadim Sawalha, Hussein Fahmy and Khalid Abdalla will also be appearing during the film season for Q&A sessions.

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Tourist Arrivals To Malaysia Continue To Increase

Putrajaya, 30 August 2012: The Tourism Minister, Dato’ Sri Dr. Ng Yen Yen announced that Malaysia welcomed 11,632,483 tourist arrivals for the first six months of 2012, registering a growth of 2.4% compared to 11,362,862 arrivals for the same period last year. Correspondingly, total tourist receipts from January to June 2012 rose by 4.0%, generating RM26.8 billion to the country’s revenue compared to RM25.7 billion in 2011.

ASEAN region continued to be the largest contributor of tourist arrivals with 73.8% share of the total arrivals. The top ten generating markets were Singapore (5,832,330 / -4.8%), Indonesia (1,108,361 / +20.0%), China (758,289 / +34.2%), Thailand (638,641/ -11.5%), Brunei (588,165/ -1.2%), India (365,104/ +6.9%), Australia (242,579/ -10.4%), the Philippines (238,175/ +45.3%), Japan (215,872/ +32.5%) and United Kingdom (196,738/ -5.9%). They accounted for 87.55% of the total tourist arrivals.

Among these markets the Philippines recorded the highest growth of 45.3% year-on-year followed by China (34.2%), Japan (32.5%), Indonesia (20.0%), India (6.9%) and United Kingdom (5.9%).

Other long-haul markets that had posted remarkable growth were Oman (33.2%), Russia (28.2%), France (20.6%), USA (18.9%), South Korea (18.0%), Kuwait (17.4%) and Denmark (15.7%).

The Minister attributed Malaysia’s appeal and growth in arrivals to the strong support from trade partners and the increased air connectivity to several key destinations such as Beijing, Hong Kong and Kansai. Key international-level tourism events such as Formula 1 PETRONAS Malaysia Grand Prix (23-25 March), 1Malaysia GP sale (10 March-15 April), 1Malaysia International Shoe Festival (29 March-1 April) and Citrawarna (19 May) have also contributed to the continued growth of Malaysia’s tourist arrivals.

China’s growth in arrivals (+34.2%) is due to the code share operations between China Southern Airlines and Malaysia Airlines since March 2012 to increase the Beijing-Kuala Lumpur flight frequency to two daily flights. Meanwhile, Cathay Pacific has also added seven more weekly flights to service the Hong Kong-Kuala Lumpur sector, and three weekly flights for the Hong Kong-Penang sector. Air Asia has also mounted three more weekly flights between Hong Kong and Kota Kinabalu since March 2012.

Japan, with a 32.5% increase in arrivals, benefited from the four weekly AirAsia X flights from Kansai to Kuala Lumpur since March, and the increase of service from Haneda to Kuala Lumpur from four to six weekly flights.

Korea’s 18% increase in arrivals is attributed to JinAir’s charter flight operations in January and February from Incheon to Kota Kinabalu; Korean Air’s twice weekly flight since April and Eastar Jet’s four weekly flights beginning March.

Saudi Arabia saw a 71.7% increase in arrivals because of the Saudi Arabia’s Immigration’s new rule which requires all outgoing travelers to own individual passports. Prior to this ruling, children travelled on their parent’s passports. Two periods of long holidays – January to March and June to July – also contributed to the increase in Saudi travelers.

ASEAN saw a 1% decrease in arrivals due to the change in recording arrivals based on nationality instead of country of residence; thus expatriates working/living in ASEAN countries were not regarded as ASEAN travelers. This reflected in the decreased arrivals from Singapore (-4.8%), Thailand (-11.5%), Brunei (-1.2%) and Cambodia (-4.2%).

This change has also affected Australia arrivals which declined by 10.4% since many Australian permanent residents were nationals of other countries such as New Zealand, Europe, Middle East, India and China. The decline is also attributed to Malaysia Airlines’ withdrawal of the Perth-Kota Kinabalu flight operations since January this year.

New Zealand also suffered a decline of 16.3% in arrivals this year due to AirAsia X’s termination of its Christchurch-Kuala Lumpur service in March. Sweden’s 22.4% decline in arrivals is attributed to the lack of direct flight services between Sweden and Malaysia compared to Thailand.

South Africa showed a 10.7 decrease in arrivals this year due to the cessation of Malaysia Airlines’ flight service between Kuala Lumpur and Johannesburg as well as Cape Town earlier this year.

Note: Data on tourist arrivals was supplied by Immigration Department of Malaysia.

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Middle Eastern Uprisings Highlight Region’s Poets Of Protest

Global Arab Network, 28 August 2012 – From the chants of crowds to graffiti on public buildings, has been a common feature of the demonstrations that have taken place across the Arab world over the last year.

Poets such as Egypt’s Ahmed Fouad Negm have been poetising their criticisms of society since the days of Nasser, only for the Arab spring to use his verses as a rallying cry and for him to be dubbed ‘the voice of the revolution’.

Some poets, however, are forced to leave their countries and continue the struggle in exile, such as Iraqi activist Manal Al Shaikh who continues to inspire her followers through social media.

Poets of Protest – a six part series to be aired by Al Jazeera – will focus on six of these writers and their attempts to inspire, lead and understand the political upheaval taking place in the Arab world.

The poets included in the series are:

  • Ahmed Fouad Negm – an Egyptian folk hero, dubbed ‘the voice of the revolution’, now in his 80s.
  • Hala Mohammed – a Syrian poet whose work is known for its spontaneous language, now publishing her seventh collection.
  • Yehia Jaber – fought with the communists during Lebanon’s civil war and is now one of the country’s most acclaimed poets.
  • Manal Al-Shaikh – an Iraqi activist living in exile in Scandinavia, but continuing to inspire people in her homeland through the use of social media.
  • Mazen Maarouf – A Palestinian who was raised in Lebanon, but had to move into exile in Iceland after criticising the Syrian regime.
  • Al Khadra – an Algerian poet in her 70s, trying to pass on her activism to the next generation.

The series focuses not just on the political situations which spur these writers to write, but also on the poets themselves, and their artistic and creative struggles.

The series will be broadcast on Al Jazeera English, from Friday 31st August until Friday 5th October at 19:30 GMT.

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Conductor of the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra teaches orphans classical music

Global Arab Network, – The former conductor of the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra Karim Wasfi has started an ambitious project to classically train orphans to become musicians. Wasfi said his initiative was inspired by Venezula’s El Sistema (The System), a well-known voluntary sector music education program.

Founded in mid-1970s by Jose Antonio Abreu, a Venezuelan pianist, politician and economics professor, El Sistema has taught hundreds of thousands of youths, many from impoverished homes in Venezuela’s tough slums, to play in orchestras.

To capture the interest of Iraqi orphans, Wasfi distributed hats and T-shirts to the children, most of whom had lost one or both of their parents in bomb attacks that swept the country after the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime in 2003.

Then he introduced them to musical instruments, giving them a brief explanation of each one of them. He said his project is meant to help children deal with their difficult lives and lift them out of poverty.

“My concern from the beginning was how to deal with another segment of the society, a segment which is badly and unjustly treated by circumstances, namely the orphans. The main idea of this project was to attract orphans without using any media methods or political reasons or any sort of public relations methods. Thank God, we are away from all this. Simply I wanted to create an experience that is similar to that of Venezuela where the orchestra has expanded to comprise more than 340 male and female players,” he said.

Founded in 2007, Wasfi’s House of Music offers classes on all western and oriental instruments, with special emphasis and focus on classical education and ensemble playing.

For each course, which lasts for three months, 25 orphan children are offered classes free of charge. They are chosen randomly from the Iraqi House of Orphans, regardless of their musical skills and talents. Children who excel at any instrument will be sent to Italy for further training, according to Wasfi. Some of the children in the school have lived on the streets and begged for a living.

The aim, as he puts it, is to teach children a profession that will help them shape their future and give them the chance to be world-class musicians by offering them classical musical education focused on ensemble playing.

“We offer them space, musical instruments, classes, lectures and accommodation at the center free of charge. They will be safe and protected and at the same time they will receive knowledge free of charge in order to give them a chance to add a new side to their lives, a practical and a professional one, which can benefit them in the future. And at the same time they are forming an orchestra, which can perform at the same places where they used to beg,” he said.

Wasfi also says the music is beneficial to the children in the short term. He believes that when children are exposed to music, their behavior improves. In addition to their musical learning, the orphan children receive classes on politeness, discipline and social manners.

“We teach them etiquette, good citizenship, good manners and courtesy in dealing with others as a social practice. There is nothing strange from other societies, we teach them traditions and positive things, things that are deeply-rooted in the region and in its ancient history, in addition to teaching them music in a scientific and academic way,” Wasfi said.

Soaking up his first ever experience of classical music and enjoying the melodies, 15-year-old orphan Abbas Thaer said he hoped to travel the world one day and play music.

“Through music you can express all your emotions. It moves emotions and my friends and I have experienced this. We all hope, God willing, that our dreams come true and that we travel, as our teacher said, and live a happy life. As he said we will not go to them, but rather they will come to us to hear our sweet music,” said Thaer, one of an army of countless orphans left behind by six years of sectarian violence.

Overall violence has decreased in Iraq in past years, allowing the war-torn country — once regarded as a cultural gem of the Middle East — to witness a slow revival of its arts scene. The Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra (INSO), established in 1948, came close to collapse after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

But it survived, and the number of musicians employed by the orchestra has grown from 52 in 2005 to 90 in 2010, including the first U.S. female violinist to be part of it on a full-time basis. It hopes to swell its numbers as exiled musicians return to Iraq after decades of war.

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Taking back Palestine’s streets: exclusive interview with underground Jerusalem graffiti artist

The Electronic Intifada, Jerusalem, 29 August 2012 – Graffiti has been a tool of the Palestinian liberation struggle for decades; during the first intifada in the late 1980s and early ’90s, Palestinians painted graffiti on all the walls as a means of protesting the occupation. Graffiti artists were met with brutal suppression if caught.

Young Palestinians are carrying on the legacy of art as a form of resistance today. On 12 January, an unknown group penetrated the heavily-fortified heart of West Jerusalem overnight and painted graffiti bearing political messages on walls, doors, construction sites and other surfaces. Most of the paintings pictured a woman’s face masked with a kuffiyeh, the traditional Palestinian checkered scarf. Below some of the images was the word “revolt” in Arabic.

The group hit the walls of Jerusalem again five days later, and issued an anonymous statement vowing to carry on their action to send messages to the Israeli and Palestinian communities. In the following weeks, other groups took up the spray can torch in various cities including Haifa and Jaffa.

And in June, the Jerusalem activists took a daring step by painting graffiti on the doors and walls of governmental buildings as well as the doorways of Israeli houses in Jerusalem and Palestinian houses occupied since the ethnic cleansing of 1948. They sent the same messages calling upon Palestinians in general, and Palestinian women in particular, to revolt. They also painted “Remember Gaza” across the wall of one of the buildings in big letters.

Read the rest: http://electronicintifada.net/content/taking-back-palestines-streets-exclusive-interview-underground-jerusalem-graffiti-artist

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East Kazakhstan holds International Honey Festival

http://caspionet.kz/ 01 sept 2012 – Over 60 beekeepers from the entire world have assembled in East Kazakhstan for the Third International Honey Festival.

After the entrance of Kazakhstan to the International Honey and Beekeeping Association, the fair gained international status. Beekeepers from different countries are coming to the Altai region in order to sell their products and discuss problems. This time around beekeepers have been talking about the introduction of modern technologies and maintenance of bees’ gene pool. The head of the region Berdibek Saparbayev believes that Kazakhstan has succeeded in this area a lot. Thanks to the support of the state, Kazakhstan imports foreign bees and introduces new technologies in the production and processing of honey produce.

The president of the Apimondia International Federation of Beekeepers’ Associations Gilles Ratia says in Kazakhstan the government pays a lot of attention to the development of beekeeping. He believes that it is a very important area of development. Today, the main problem is that 50% of honey in the world is not the honey itself but adulterant. This problem is becoming more serious taking into account the fact that honey should possess medical properties.

Foreign experts of beekeeping are unanimous that time is ripe to export Kazakhstan produce. Soon shops of Europe, the USA and countries of the Middle East will be offering the Altai honey with the “Made in Kazakhstan” brand.

Said Vitaly Tyryshkin, Beekeeper: “The state helps us a lot. We own the apiary and breed Apis mellifera carpatica. We are working here together with my father-in-law. I have been working here for 12 years and my father-in-law for 20 years. We are using modern equipment for honey looseners, extractors and uncap equipment. We are keeping 500 honey-bee colonies. Our apiary is the largest in the Urzhar district.”

Scientists of Italy, Georgia, France, Kyrgyzstan, China, Ukraine, Russia, Poland, Moldova, Lithuania and Kazakhstan have signed a memorandum on collaboration in the preservation of bees and the development of world quality standards of honey produce.

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Foreign investors heading again to Tunisia

Africa Manager: 31 August 2012 – Foreign direct investment (FDI) reached 1,064.200 MTD during the first half of 2012 against 734.5 during the same period of 2011 and 823.9 MD in 2010, up 44.9% over last year, and an increase of 8.3 MD compared to 2010, said Riadh Bettaieb, Minister of Investment and International Cooperation at the regular meeting of the communication cell, held Friday, August 10, 2012, at the seat of the Prime Ministry.

The Minister also said that 71 new companies, including 40 industrial enterprises, came into production during the first half of this year. Moreover, 120 expansion operations were registered by foreign companies. These investments have helped create about 6,750 new jobs, an increase of 9.8% over 2011 and 13.5% compared to 2010.

These figures were explained by the Minister by the efforts of the Ministry of Investment. Since the Revolution, the Department has striven to reassure foreign investors by creating a climate conducive to the smooth running of their business. The Department intervened, for example, in 88 companies to ease tensions and resolve some security, social and administrative problems.

This is also due to a successful policy, initiated by the Ministry with its foreign partners. Indeed, a loan of 1.2 billion is being negotiated with the World Bank (WB) and the African Development Bank (ADB) with $ 500 million each. The EU will contribute, in turn, to that loan with a donation of 112 million Euros. This contribution is part of the second economic recovery program.

The Islamic Development Bank will finance a power plant in Sousse with investments of around 300 million dinars. The Saudi Fund for Development and the OPEC Fund for International Development will contribute with 193 million dinars and 75 million dinars, respectively. The Saudi Board for Development has studied a potential investment in two projects including a project for extending the network for the transfer of natural gas in several regions including those inland. Investments set for this project amount to approximately 136 MTD. The second project concerns the development of the training system in Tunisia. The sum considered is approximately 25.5 MTD.

The Saudi Fund also allocated $ 250 million to develop and encourage Saudi exports to Tunisia.

The Kuwaiti Fund for Development pledged to study a range of projects including the protection of the coastline from erosion in the region of Monastir. A cooperation agreement was signed between Tunisia and the Islamic Development Bank last February 27. It has covered several areas of intervention including support for major projects and assistance to the poorest families, and improving infrastructure.

In the same context, a credit line of 75 million dinars in cooperation with the Islamic Corporation for the financing of private sector and the Tunisian Fund for Deposits and Guarantees was signed. The objective is to fund employment and develop own investments for young people. In addition, there are 50 million dinars, which will be devoted to integrated agricultural projects in the governorates of Kef and Kasserine.

The Islamic Development Bank, it was agreed to organize meetings and expert missions to present success stories in particular regarding “Islamic financial instruments.” The Islamic Bank will also support a cooperative project with Malaysia in the field of Islamic finance and “Halal” industry.

The Arab Bank for Economic and Social Development has mobilized during the first half of 2012, funding of around 330 million dinars in loans with favorable terms and interest rates that not exceed 3%. The deadline will be on 22 years with an extension of 5 or 6 months. These funds will mainly involve a contribution in the integrated development program with amounts estimated at 210 million dinars. They will also address the urgent program to support SMEs in the private sector with 75 MTD. There is also a third loan estimated at about 45 MTD which will be devoted to the creation of SMEs from the private sector.

An agreement with the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development is also expected to be signed. This project will focus on mobilizing Northwest waters and protection of areas from flooding. The amounts mobilized for this purpose are around 400 million dinars, of which 300 MTD will be mobilized by the Fund.

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Tunisia: strong recovery of British tourism

According to figures from the Tunisian National Tourism Office (ONTT), the number of British tourists who visited Tunisia soared 53.8% in July this year compared to a year ago, while those from Ireland increased by 83.9% during the same period. More than 180,000 visitors from Britain and Ireland have traveled to Tunisia so far under the year 2012, a dramatic turnaround after several years of unrest in the country.

This strong recovery is partly attributed to the new air services to Tunisia from Manchester Airport in the UK, as well as connecting flights easily available from Djerba. Moreover, the 35th anniversary of movie “Star Wars,” offered an opportunity for the British to flock to Tunisia to see some of the locations of the film, in Tataouine.

“Tunisia has luxury hotels, thalassotherapy centers, world-class beaches and thousands of years of history,” said Wahida Jaiet, ONTT representative in the UK and Ireland. This project is part of a series of projects, expected to be launched soon by the government. It will generate many jobs.

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‘Rustam-o-Sohrab’ staged at Pakistan National Council of the Arts

Islamabad, Sept 1, IRNA – Rustam-o-Sohrab, a masterpiece of Persian literature has been staged at the Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA). Written in 1930, the plot of the play was taken from the story of Rustam and Sohrab in Persian poet Ferdowsi’s famed Shahnameh.

The story — which hinges on Rustam, a fictionalised version of the great Persian general of the same name, unknowingly slaying his son Sohrab in battle — highlights the value of integrity and self-esteem while showing the natural, cultural and traditional values that bridge the gap between the two thoughts.

PNCA and the Ministry of National Heritage and Integration collaborated with Azad Theatre to present the play, which was adapted for the stage by Agha Hashar and directed by Malik Aslam. PNCA Director General Tauqeer Nasir told media that the council aims to provide quality entertainment to people with plays that promote healthy activities among youngsters and help revive the tradition of theatre in the twin cities.

“Stage drama is a strong medium of education and occupies a unique place among performing arts. It reflects and identifies social evils (while entertaining the audience).”

The PNCA promotes its own plays while also providing a platform to private theatre groups to showcase their skills and promote the tradition of classical theatre, he added.

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Dervishes Were Kings Without Throne: Dr. Raheen

September 01, 2012, Kabul (BNA) The minister of information and culture Dr. Sayed Makhdoom Raheen while addressing on the 246th anniversary of the Khan Aqa Pahlawan in Kabul yesterday said that the Dervishes were kings without throne.

In the ceremony attended by religious, scholars, Ulama, Chieftains, Sufis and elites of the city, Dr, Raheen said that Kabul since long has been the center of service for the way of Shariat and Tariqat, saying like the Khaneqas of Pahlawan there were dozens more Khanaqa in Kabul which had serve for the cause of Sharia.

Dr. Raheeen also noted that Khanaqa has been playing its role in promotion of Islam since first century. Highlighting the programs of the ministry for information and culture, Dr. Raheen said all the mosques and Khaneqas will be rebuilt and renovated.

Mawlawi Abdul Rahman Rahmani the MP of Kabul and religious leader Mohammad Baqir Shikhzada also in their speeches highlighted the role of Khaneqa and Sufism, saying acting upon Sharia or Islamic law will help to build unity peace and security in the country. At the end Dr. Raheen inaugurated the library of Khan Aqa Pahlawan which was built in 1186 in the old city of Kabul.

#Joint Iran-Afghanistan Exhibition Held

September 01, 2012, Kabul (BNA) A joint exhibition of Afghanistan and Iran was opened in Kabul yesterday. In the exhibition 25 Afghan productive firms and 38 Iran companies put in display their products. In his opening remarks the minister of rural development Hassan Abdullahi emphasized for boosting trade relations between the two nations.

Dr. Sadruddin Sehar the deputy of the ministry of commerce and industries and Azarkhsh Hafizi the international relation officer of the chamber of commerce and industries also spoke in the exhibition and stressed for enhancing trade and economic cooperation between the two countries.

The volume of export to Iran reaches to some 40 million US dollars annually while imports from Iran are around 1.300 billion US dollars annually.

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Reconstruction Work On Tomb Of Amir Ali Sher Nawayee Begins in Afghanistan

August 28, 2012, Kabul (BNA) Reconstruction work on the tomb of Amir Ali Sher Nawayee the outstanding scholar and politician of the 9th century in Herat started. Likewise the tomb of this court minister of Sultan Hussain Bayeqara has been started by information and culture ministry.

This tomb is located at the outskirt of Herat city along side of tomb of Queen Guharshad which has been repaired in the recent centuries by the rulers of the time. The archeologists say that the reconstructions during different eras have changed the actual historic character of the monument.

Abdul Ahad Abbasi head of the preservation of historical monuments department of the ministry said that this tomb will be reconstructed with the style of the life era of Amir Ali Sher Nawaee and in dome form. It is said that all the buildings during the Amir Ali Sher era were made of bricks for this very reason Sayed Musadeq Khalili deputy minister for cultural affairs of the ministry says that brick will be utilized in this tomb as well. The reconstruction will be completed in six months.

Ancient Herat is one of the richest provinces in terms of having many historical monuments. It is said that it has around 700 historical monuments every one of which has their historic importance.

Musadeq added that the ministry is trying that by launching reconstruction activities on the historical monuments prepare the ground for promotion of tourism in Afghanistan. Dr. Daoud Shah Governor of Herat says that on the basis of assessments, the province by having the most ancient monuments can bring about USD 1 million annually as tourist income.

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Afghan National Cricket Team To Play In West Indies For First Time

August 27, 2012, Kabul (BNA) The Afghan Cricket National Team will go to West Indies for series competitions. Fareed Hotak in charge of Afghanistan Media Cricket Board said to BNA, the Afghanistan Cricket National Team will carry out series competitions with Bangladesh and West Indies teams on the occasion the 50th freedom anniversary of that country. Fareed Hotak said, on 12 September, the Cricket Team of the country will go to Sri Lanka for the World Cup Competitions and will contest with India and British Teams.

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ISESCO to Hold Workshop in Azerbaijan on Literacy Programs Development

Rabat 30/08/2012 – The Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) will hold a sub-regional workshop on literacy programs development and implementation, in Baku, Azerbaijan, on 4-6 September 2012. This workshop is aimed at improving the capacities of literacy staff for developing programs, coordinating the efforts of the competent parties to implement these programs, and developing ways to supervise their implementation.

The participants in the workshop will discuss the stages of literacy programs planning, ways to benefit from the local resources, training staff in the field, and supervising and assessing the literacy programs. The workshop will benefit literacy programs officials from the following Member States: Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan and Azerbaijan. Dr Said Ahmed Ould Bah, Director of External Relations and Cooperation, will supervise this workshop on behalf of ISESCO.

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Non-Aligned Movement Affirms Support for Palestine

TEHRAN, September 1, 2012 (WAFA) – The 16th Non-Aligned movement summit held in the Iranian capital Tehran Friday concluded its agenda with issuing three statements concerning the Palestinian cause.

The first statement affirmed the Palestinian people’s lawful rights, the independence of Palestine with Jerusalem as its capital and refugees rights to return.

The summit adopted the Ramallah statement expected to be issued following the Non-Aligned movement meeting that was canceled after Israel prevented the participating countries from entering Palestine.

The Ramallah statement asserted the sole legitimacy of the PLO over the Palestinian people under the leadership of President Mahmoud Abbas.

It supported the efforts to achieve the Palestinian reconciliation according to the Cairo and Doha agreements.

The third statement, issued for the first time by the movement, expressed solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners and called for their immediate release.

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UK Minister Receives Palestinian Paralympic Delegation

LONDON, September 1, 2012 (WAFA) – UK Minister for the Middle East Alistair Burt welcomed on Friday the Palestinian Paralympic delegation to London, said the British Foreign Office press release.

The Palestinian Paralympic delegation, which consists of two athletes Mohammed Fannouna, 32, and Khamis Zaqout, 47, and the accompanying delegation were received at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and given a tour of the building. Afterwards, Burt showed the delegation around Parliament.

Burt said, “I was delighted to formally welcome Fannouna and Zaqout to London and to the Paralympic Games. They have overcome considerable obstacles just to compete here, and I would like to pay tribute to the dedication and determination that has been shown by them, their coaches and the Palestinian Paralympic Committee led by Akram Okkeh despite the difficulties they have faced.”

“Their stories are genuinely inspiring, and their achievements all the more impressive for being made with such limited resources and facilities. I wish them every success in the Paralympics, and will be following their progress with interest,” he said.

Before leaving for the UK, the athletes visited Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock in a trip facilitated by the British Consulate General in Jerusalem, and attended a Garden Party at the British Consul’s Residence.

Fannouna is expected to compete in the long jump, javelin, discus and shot put. He won a bronze medal in long jump at the Athens Paralympic Games 2004. Zaqout, on the other hand, will compete in the shot put, discus and javelin.

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Rights Group Urges Divestment Following Israeli Court’s Verdict on Rachel Corrie’s death

NEW YORK, August 28, 2012 (WAFA) – The We Divest Campaign Tuesday intensified in a press release its calls for divestment from Caterpillar Inc. after an Israeli court dismissed the case of the killing of the American activist Rachel Corrie made against the state of Israel.

The We Divest Campaign is a national coalition demanding pension fund giant TIAA-CREF divest from companies that profit from Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands.

The press release said that human rights advocates in cities across the US will protest in front of local TIAA-CREF offices and deliver a letter urging trustees to fully divest from Caterpillar and other companies that profit from Israeli human rights abuses in the occupied Palestinian territories.

“Israel’s illegal policy of destroying Palestinian homes in the occupied territories, sometimes extending to entire villages, remains an urgent issue today as it was when Rachel was killed,” said Riham Barghouti, a member of the We Divest National Coordinating Committee.

She added, “If TIAA-CREF trustees want to live up to their motto of investing ‘for the greater good,’ they must stop profiting from companies such as Caterpillar that are enabling Israel to carry out such gross human rights violations.” The court’s decision followed an Israeli investigation that the US ambassador to Israel recently criticized as lacking credibility.

An Israeli court dismissed Corrie’s case and called her death a ‘regrettable accident,” stressing that the Israeli soldiers had done their utmost to keep people away from the site; while Corrie did not distance herself from the area “as any thinking person would have done.”

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Bangladesh plans to build a railway bridge involving Taka 8,200 crore over Jamuna river

DHAKA, Sept 1, 2012 (BSS) – The government has decided to construct a railway bridge involving Taka 8,200 crore over the mighty river Jamuna aimed at meeting the regional traffic growth and improving the flow of goods and passengers.

Railway officials said they proposed construction of the dual gauge double-track bridge for completing the structure by 2017 beside the existing Bangabandhu Multipurpose Bridge to establish a strategic railway link between the eastern and western parts of the country.

They said once implemented, the project will ensure lower transport cost and quicker travel time beside meeting the increasing regional traffic growth which will ultimately contribute to the national economy.

“A railway bridge over the mighty river Jamuna is very much required at the moment due to increase in number of passengers and flow of goods,” Bangladesh Railway Director General Mohammad Abu Taher told BSS today. He said the existing railway bridge attached to the Bangabandhu Multipurpose Bridge could not take heavy load and a small number of trains are running over the bridge with only 15-km speed.

Improving the flow of goods and passengers and connecting infrastructure from one side of the country to the other are imperative to enhance economic activities, Taher said.

Another official of the Railwar Ministry said the railway bridge project will establish link with trans-Asia highway and rail, facilitating movement of goods from Nepal, Bhutan and Northeastern India to and through Bangladesh.

He said the Terms of Reference (ToR) and Feasibility Study of the project have been sent to the Public Private Partnership (PPP) office regulated by the Prime Minister’s Office after a decision on 16 May 2012.

Ministry officials said the meeting held at the PPP office on 21 June took decision to send the project to the Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs (CCEA) for approval of the project in principle.

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Bangladesh’s Sheikh Hasina the only female PM to attend NAM summit in Iran

TEHRAN, Sep 01 (BSS)- Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has reaffirmed unwavering support of the NAM member states of the Asia Pacific group to Iran to lead the movement in the next three years, not only to strengthen the NAM solidarity but also to build global partnership. The Prime Minister expressed the support while moving a vote of thanks on behalf of the Asia-Pacific group in the concluding session of the 16th NAM summit in the OIC Convention Center in Tehran tonight.

Sheikh Hasina, the only female Prime Minister attending the summit, was nominated to give vote of thanks on behalf of the group. The Prime Minister said the NAM members feel that the support is critically important as their endeavor to create inclusive global governance and restructure the international political, financial and economic architecture.

She said NAM looks today and tomorrow with hope and resolve to give equal voice to all, particularly the four billion people from the NAM nations and to empower those that are marginalized. Recognizing the enormous challenges in the coming days Sheikh Hasina said NAM is confident that under the chairmanship of Iran, it will be able to deliver the aspiration of the member countries and Bangladesh is ready to along with all members of Asia Pacific Group to support Iran in that journey.

The Prime Minister expressed the confidence of the member countries that NAM will be able to make a difference and move towards a just and durable solution on the Palestinian issue. Sheikh Hasina thanked the Iranian government for its warm and lavish hospitality to the leaders of Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in the last few days.

“We have experienced the truly lavish centuries-old Persian hospitality and warmth,” she said.

Terming the arrangement of the conference as very excellent, she said it has provided the leaders extensive opportunities on the sidelines to meet with other member states to review bilateral relations and reiterate their solidarity.

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Bangla Pilgrims to Makkah increases due to good management: Shajahan

DHAKA, Sept 1, 2012 (BSS) – State minister for religious affairs Advocate Shahjahan Mia today said the number of hajj pilgrims is increasing every year due to proper management of the present government. The minister said this while speaking at the opening ceremony of a training course for hajj guide and pilgrims under government management here at Baitul Mukarram auditorium.

“Every year the number of people intending to perform Hajj is increasing due to disciplined and smooth hajj management of the present government”, said a press release quoting the minister. “A total of 113,000 Bangladeshis are getting the chance to performing hajj this year,” the release added.

Secretary of religious affairs Kazi Habibul Awal said a medical team will accompany the pilgrims and a database of pilgrims including their pictures has been created to find out missing pilgrims if any unwanted incident occurs.

Additional secretary M Bazlul Huq Biswas presided over the programme while joint secretaries M Helal Uddin and Hassan Jahangir Alam, secretary of Islamic Foundation Rezaul Karim were also present.

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Bangladeshi Associations in North America hold festival in Toronto

TORONTO, Canada, Sep 1, 2012 (BSS) – The Federation of Bangladeshi Associations in North America (FOBANA) Festival – 2012 is beginning at Hotel Sheraton here today. More than 10,000 Bangalees living in North America are expected to join the two-day festival and enjoy cultural performances by popular artists from Bangladesh and India.

‘Bangladesh in Our Feeling and Spirit’ is the theme of the festival. The festival will to be divided into three segments. Bangalee children will take part in recitation, singing, acting, art and dance competitions in the festival. A fair named ‘Bangla Mela’ will be held in the morning while there will be a cultural function in the evening with participation of Bangladeshi and Indian artistes.

Canadian minister for education, culture and training Glen Murray, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford will attend the inaugural as the chief and special guests respectively.

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Joint efforts urged for development of Bangla films

DHAKA, Sept 1,2012 (BSS) -Information and Cultural Affairs Minister Abul Kalam Azad today laid emphasis on India-Bangladesh joint efforts for the development of Bangla films. “I personally believe that the viewers will start approaching cinema hall again to enjoy Bangla films if Indian producers come forward to make films under joint venture initiative,” he said.

The minister was inaugurating a 8-day programmes marking “100 years anniversary of Indian Films and Soumitra Chattergy Retrospective” organised by Bangladesh Film Development Corporation and the High Commission of India at Indira Gandhi Cultural Centre here.

Laying emphasis on cultural exchange programmes between the two countries, he expressed the hope that the bond of friendship between the two neighbouring countries would be further consolidated through such exchange programmes.

Chaired by Information Secretary Hedayetullah Al Mamun, the inaugural function was also addressed, among others, by Cultural Affairs Secretary Suraiya Begum, Indian popular actor Faruque Sheikh, Film Director Mojaffar Ali and Director of Indian Film Festival Committee Razib Kumar Jen. Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Pankaj Saran gave address of welcome in the function.

Faruque Sheikh said although Bangladesh has been credited to produce a number of good films and also having talented directors, it could not spread Bangla films across the world. He suggested screening of world famous films in the country along with taking steps to organize Bangladeshi film festival across the world to spread the essence of Bangla films worldwide.

Indian Film Director Mojaffar Ali extended his support to Bangladesh for the development of Bangladeshi films considering cultural similarities between the two friendly countries.

The festival will continue till September 8. A total of 15 Indians films and eight Bangladeshi award winning films would be screened during the festival.

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Pakistan minister hints signing of visa regime with India in September

TEHRAN, Aug 31 (APP) – Interior Minister Rehman Malik Friday said Pakistan had finalized work on visa regime with India and hoped it would be signed during the visit of Indian Foreign Minister to Pakistan in September. The Interior minister in his talk with media here said Pakistan wants friendly relations with India and added that in some matters it was going out-of-the-way to ensure better relations with its immediate neighbour.

Malik who accompanied the President during his meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh termed the meeting as “excellent”, and said both countries were heading in the right direction to resolve all outstanding issues. He however said it was the obligation of the two states to identify their common enemy, which does not want the two countries to be friends.

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Pakistan, Iran vow to expeditiously pursue joint mega projects

TEHRAN, Aug 30 (APP): The leadership of Pakistan and Iran Thursday reaffirmed their commitment to expeditiously complete work on the several joint mega projects, including the multi-billion dollar Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, electricity transmission lines and road links. During meeting of President Asif Ali Zardari and his Iranian counterpart President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad here on the sidelines of the 16th NAM Summit, the two sides discussed matters relating to further cementing bilateral relations, mutual cooperation and the regional situation.

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Borobudur temple has attracted over 2 mln tourists this year

September 1 2012, Magelang (ANTARA News) – Around 2,027,000 tourists visited the Borobudur Temple between January and August this year, which is about 90.3 percent of the 2,243,000 target set for 2012`s tourist traffic by the temple authorities, a Borobudur Temple official said.

The chief of the Borobudur Tourism Park, Bambang Irianto said here on Saturday that most of the visitors coming to the Borobudur Temple were domestic tourists and added that 126,543 foreign tourists have been to the temple this year. “We are optimistic of reaching our tourist target for 2012,” he said.

Irianto also pointed out that the number of tourists flocking to see the Borobudur Temple are increasing every year. In 2011 as many as 2,116,116 persons, who included 166,524 foreign and 1,949,592 domestic tourists, came to see the Borobudur Temple. During the ten-day Idul Fitr 1433-H holiday from August 17 to 26 this year, 228,319 persons turned up to see the temple.

“We will continue to promote the Borobudur Temple as a tourist attraction both at home and abroad,” Irianto stated.

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Indonesia aims for economic hub status by developing its seaports

September 1 2012 Tanjung seaport, Jakarta (ANTARA News) – The government is determined to expand seaports across Indonesia in a bid to set in motion the Master Plan for Acceleration and Expansion of Indonesia`s Economic Development (MP3EI), promulgated for developing public infrastructure throughout the country.

The plan has been proposed in the wake of concerns expressed about the inadequate seaport facilities provided by the government. Importers have pointed out that the services available at Indonesian ports are still insufficient and prohibitively expensive.

“If port conditions are not improved soon, the government will continue to face resistance in its attempt at encouraging the nation’s industry to raise its competitive edge,” Achmad Ridwan, the secretary of the Indonesian Importers Association (GINSI) said recently.

Indonesia being an island country has to develop a reliable and efficient logistical distribution system at its seaports, which will boost the country’s economy and make Indonesia an economic power to be reckoned with in the Asia. “The government needs to fix its logistical distribution system before it enters the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015,” Ridwan stated.

Meanwhile, the government already has a blueprint for initiating the developmental work at seaports in the country, including those that will be a part of the MP3EI infrastructure development programmes. Developing the around 1900 seaports in the country, will require considerable funds, and should therefore be carried out in stages.

Leon Muhammad, the Secretary of the Directorate General of Sea Transportation, estimates that the government will need at least Rp439.67 trillion or US $46.112 million for the development of the seaports across the country, which is expected to be completed by 2030.

However, the government does not plan to bear the entire cost of this project and is hoping to attract additional capital from private investors. As of now, the government can only allocate up to US $14.618 million for the project, which only makes up for about 31.7 percent of the total needed for completion.

“The remaining US$31.499 million are expected to be sourced from foreign investors,” Muhammad added. Seaports, which are included in the MP3EI alone, will need an investment of Rp117 trillion.

“We plan to invest Rp117 trillion for the expansion of seaports in the country,” Deputy Minister for Transportation Bambang Susantono said, adding that even though the budget of Rp117 trillion seems like a big commitment to make at present, it is a very small portion of the total expenditure needed for developing all the ports spread across the country.

Therefore, the government needs to prioritize which ports should be revamped first as a locomotive or as a gateway, he added. Muhammad pointed out that the Indonesian government began its port expansion project in 2011 to support its MP3EI programme.

“We expect that for the 2011 to 2015 period, the investment required for port expansion projects should be around US $12.114 billion, but the government is ready to only spend US $5.148 million, which is about 42.5 percent of the total funding required,” he noted.

He added that the remaining 57.5 percent or US $6.966 million will be obtained from the private sector. “The government’s role in developing the ports of Indonesia will continue to decrease as we get closer to 2030, while that of the private sector will gradually increase,” Muhammad stated.

Indonesia currently has 1,978 ports, which consist of 111 commercial, 614 non-commercial, 472 special terminal and 721 private terminal seaports. Muhammad also acknowledged the underlying challenge for the Indonesian government in trying to source huge investment for developing and making its ports efficient. At present, the government is expanding the main seaports of Indonesia, which are located in North Sumatra, Aceh, Tanjung Priok and Tanjung Perak in Java, Makassar in South Sulawesi and Bitung and Sorong in Papua.

“These are strategic seaports and enjoy a close proximity to international shipping routes,” Muhammad asserted. The government is also developing container terminal ports in Kalibaru at the Tanjung Priok port, at Teluk Lamong in East Java and a container terminal at the Belawan port in North Sumatra.

Meanwhile, in the next five years, the government plans to expand at least 26 seaports, which include the port of Pontianak in West Kalimantan, Batam in Riu Islands, Madura in East Java, Cilamaya and Palembang in South Sumatra, Kuala Tanjung in North Sumatra, Panjang in Lampung, Ambon in Maluku, Dumai in Riau, Teluk Bayur in West Sumatra, Makassar in South Sulawesi, Banjarmasin in South Kalimantan, Bitung in North Sulawesi, Tanjung Emas in Semarang, Probolinggo in East Java, Balikpapan in East Kalimantan, Jayapura and Sorong in Papua, Pleihari in South Kalimantan, Sei Gintung, Gorontalo and Pantoloan in Central Sulawesi, and Pare-Pare in South Sulawesi.

“Our vision is that we want to turn Indonesian seaports into international business hubs, which we plan to do starting with the Kuala Tanjung seaport in North Sumatra and the Bitung port in North Sulawesi,” he said.

Seaport capacities are also being ramped up and by 2030, and each seaport is expected to accommodate 500 million tons of coal, 107 million tons of petroleum, 40 million tons of oil palm, 43 million tons of cargo and 42 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of containers, Muhammad pointed out.

The Indonesian Logistics and Forwarders Association (ALFI) also urged the government to expedite the development of the Kalibaru port in North Jakarta, ahead of the establishment of AEC in 2015. The Kalibaru container terminal port will be strategically located for businesses, owing to its proximity to the harbor area of the Tanjung Priok port in North Jakarta.

“ALFI has asked the government to prioritize the development of the Kalibaru port in North Jakarta, because the Tanjung Priok port is currently unable to accommodate the increased flow of containers,” ALFI deputy chairman Anwar Sata said.

The government is also developing the Kalbaru port to step up the capacity of the current Tanjung Priok port from 5 million to 18 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) of containers. The first phase of the new Priok port’s expansion includes the construction of a 195-hectare plot of land located in North Jakarta’s Kalibaru area.

Meanwhile, the construction in the first phase of the expansion of the Kalibaru is expected to cost around US $2.47 billion.

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Turkey amongst top five investors in Bosnia

01 sept 2012 www.turkishpress.com – Turkish firms have recently been increasing their investments in Bosnia, placing Turkey among the top five countries investing in Bosnia, according to the Bosnia Herzegovina Statistics Agency’s 2011 figures.

Last year, foreign investors invested a total of 313 million euros in Bosnia, 1 billion euros in Croatia and 1.5 billion euros in Serbia, according to the data.

The total investment both from abroad and domestically in Bosnia only went up by a minimal 0.1 percent in 2011, to 2.3 billion euros. As in 2010, the majority of investments in 2011 went to the manufacturing sector. The production industry received 17 percent of total investments, followed by the wholesale and retail sectors at 16 percent.

When looked at as a whole, the 2011 investment figures show that investors are still wary about investing in Bosnia Herzegovina and that they still do not view it as a safe investment harbor, according to officials.Bosnia Herzegovina Central Bank figures indicate that from May 1994 to December 2010, the total amount of foreign direct investment (FDI) into the country was 4.9 billion euros.

Until 2010, Austria took the lead in terms of FDI, but this changed in the past two years, after Turkey began to increase its investments into the country. Last year, Turkish company Viyenats Kireçtaşı invested 3 million euros in the country’s mines, while Şişecam Soda invested more than 4 million euros.

In addition, Türk-oil also invested close to 3 million euros in Bosnia. Officials say that Turkey’s investments in Bosnia will increase every year. According to the Bosnia Herzegovina Statistics Agency, the countries that invested the most in Bosnia last year were: Serbia, Luxembourg, Holland, Saudi Arabia and Turkey in fifth place.

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Use of tobacco drops across Turkey

01 Sept 2012, www.turkishpress.com, ANKARA – The use of tobacco and tobacco products has dropped across Turkey. According to a survey conducted by TurkStat, Turkey’s statistical authority, 31.3 percent of individuals, who are 15 years old and over, smoke daily or less than daily in 2008. This ratio decreased to 27 percent in 2012.

The rate of tobacco and tobacco product users decreased 6.5 points among men and 2.1 points among women. In other words, this ratios reduced from 47.9 percent to 41.4 percent for men, and from 15.2 percent to 13.1 percent for women.

When analyzing tobacco and tobacco product users according to age group, mostly individuals in the age group of 25-34 and 35-44 declared using tobacco and tobacco products daily or less than daily. For 25-34 age group, this ratio was 40.3 percent in 2008, while it is 34.9 percent in 2012. For 35-44 age group, this ratio was 39.6 percent in 2008, and 36.2 percent in 2012.

Among individuals of 15 years old and over, who attempted to quit smoking in the last 12 months, the ratio of women increased 40.8 percent in 2008, and 44.9 percent in 2012. The same ratio for men was 40.5 percent in 2008, and 41.8 percent in 2012.

The rate of individuals of 15 years old and over, who are planning to quit smoking within 12 months, was 27.8 percent in 2008, and is 35.4 percent in 2012.

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State of the Art Khalifa Port To Help Achieve Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030

Abu Dhabi,1 September 2012 (WAM) — The official launch of Khalifa Port, the most technically advanced port in the MENA region, will be commenced by the end of this year, Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Ports Company (ADPC), said today during the commercial testing operations of Khalifa Port by (ADPC) .

Khalifa Port is one of the pioneering accomplishments resulting from the visionary leadership of Abu Dhabi which will make a major contribution towards achieving the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030 of a sustainable and diversified economy.

The original investment decision to expand port capacity has proved to be highly intelligent and prudent. Abu Dhabi has been furnished with port facilities which have increased steadily to meet the region s economic growth. The investment in ports has undoubtedly stimulated growth by constantly expanding capacity in line with growing market demand.

In 2012, Mina Zayed celebrated 40 years as a highly successful port – it is expected to reach maximum container capacity by the end of the year due to sustained growth within Abu Dhabi. This has been well planned for long in advance and, with perfect timing, all of Mina Zayed s container traffic will have been transferred to Khalifa Port by the end of Q1 2013.

Mina Zayed will then continue with commercial cargo, and concentrate on developing the growing cruise liner business at the port. It is ideally situated in the heart of the city centre. The degree of planning around the development of these business assets has been impressive and underlines Abu Dhabi s rigorous approach of only constructing port capacity or developing existing ports, when the market for it already exists.

Khalifa Port formally received its first ship from a commercial customer at 07.00, the precise target time set in the original 100 steps construction plan. The ship was the MSC Bari which is one of the largest and newest container ships in the world. MSC Bari is 366 metres long, 51 metres wide, has a gross tonnage of over 153,000 tons and is capable of transporting 14,000 containers.

The end of the ADPC countdown to 07.00.00 was marked by a spectacular display of synchronized movements by the port s six giant STS (Ship to Shore) cranes among the largest of their kind in the world and 100 metre water fountains shooting from two new ADPC tugboats, the Al Durrah and Al Fenci, all set to the sound of the ships horns booming out across the port.

Khalifa Port is designed to be rolled out in phases should market demand require it. For example, the innovative technology and infrastructure is highly flexible, creating economies of scale which will reduce the cost should there be demand for future expansion. The port has been dredged to be deeper than needed to accommodate ever larger ships. Khalifa Port’s world class ship to shore cranes are among the largest in the world and have been built not only to be able to unload the world’s mightiest ships today, but to be able to handle even greater vessels that might be developed in years to come.

At the heart of Khalifa Port is the advanced Terminal Operational Building which houses state-of-the-art computer technology used to control much of the container terminal. It is the long term investment thinking in features such as Khalifa Port’s sophisticated digital infrastructure which allows Abu Dhabi to offer shipping lines and trucking companies streamlined logistics with shorter container transportation times at highly competitive costs.

Khalifa Port’s container terminal will be operated by the leading port operator, Abu Dhabi Terminals (ADT). It’s container terminal has a capacity of 2.5 million TEUs (containers) a year, with an additional 12 million tons of general cargo, including 4 million tons a year from the busy Emirates Aluminum (EMAL) berth which opened in late 2010.

The port’s landmark features include the UAE s longest bridge (the Emirates Aluminum trestle bridge at over one kilometre in length) and the multi-award winning Environmental Protection Breakwater, the eight kilometre arm that curls around the port to protect the Ras Ghanada coral reef, the only example of its kind in the Arabian Gulf.

Captain Mohamed Al Shamisi, Executive Vice President, Ports Unit, ADPC concluded events by stating: “It is very satisfying to see Khalifa Port fully open with its magnificent infrastructure. As an Emirati, I feel great pride in my nation’s achievement and in ADPC for completing the first phase of the giant complex. This is just the beginning, however. We look forward to exciting expansion in the future, should in response to market demand.”

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India-Pakistan Hockey Tests To Start From 2013 Onwards

FARIDABAD (INDIA), Aug 29 (NNN-PTI) — The Hockey India is all set to the start the once popular Indo-Pak hockey test series from next year. In a bid to improve India’s ranking as well as give the senior team a chance to play higher ranked nations, HI secretary-general Narinder Batra said that a series with Pakistan on home and away basis will be a mandatory fixture in calender.

“The basic planning will be to play against Pakistan plus against two other top-ranked nations every year. We have already sent an invite to Pakistan’s hockey federation for a series next year. The following year (2014), we will be touring Pakistan. Apart from Pakistan, we plan to play against Australia, the Netherlands, Great Britain, Spain, Germany on a regular basis.”

According to association’s master-plan, there will be an India ‘A’ team or development squad which will be the bridge between the national U-21 and the senior squad. “Often, we find that some of the U-21 players who show a lot of promise are left in the lurch once they make a cross over to the senior level from age-group hockey. For them, we have decided to have a development squad or ‘A’ team which will act as a supply line for the senior side.”

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South American-Arab Summit To Bring Spotlight On Business Opportunities In Peru

LIMA, Sept 1 (NNN-ANDINA) — The 3rd Summit of South American-Arab Countries (ASPA) to be held in Lima next month will enable new business opportunities and big investments in the country, says Deputy Foreign Minister, Jose Beraun.

Beraun stressed Friday that Peru provided legal certainty for Arab investors. “These countries have a strong investment capacity. For example, if we attract high-income tourists, there will be more job opportunities,” he told Andina news agency.

He said opening new markets to Peruvian exporters would create new jobs in several areas, which would bring an “extraordinary benefit” to the country. In addition, Beraun noted, Arab investors were interested in Peru’s energy sector and agribusiness.

Meanwhile, the South American Hotel & Tourism Investment Conference (SAHIC) has ranked Peru and Chile as having the fastest growth in numbers of visitors during the first half of 2012. Chile topped the regional ranking with a 15 per cent increase in the number of tourists during the first six months of 2012 compared with the same period last year while Peru was second with an increase of 11 per cent.

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Study: Southeast Asian Muslims most devout

Jakarta, 08 Shawwal 28 August (IINA) – Southeast Asia’s Muslims can be confident that when it comes to some key beliefs they are among the most devout in the world.

A survey, carried out by Pew Research Center, focusing on the values, rituals and lifestyles of more than 35,000 Muslims around the world showed that the Muslims of Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand were often among the most enthusiastic followers of some of the five pillars of Islam: the declaration of faith, prayer, alms giving, fasting during Ramadan and going on a pilgrimage to Makkah. The survey, which included about 5,000 people from the region, showed that believers in Southeast Asia were more enthusiastic than those in Africa, Asia, Europe and even the Middle East in upholding most of these pillars.

Some 98% of Indonesians said they gave alms annually, followed by 93% of Malaysians and Thais. Those were among the three highest rates for charity in the world. In most other Muslim communities, less than 80% of those surveyed participated in what is called zakat. “Annual almsgiving, which by custom is supposed to equal approximately 2.5% of a person’s total wealth, is almost as widely observed as fasting during Ramadan,” the report released earlier this month said.

“In Southeast Asia and South Asia, the median of roughly nine-in-ten Muslims say they performed zakat.” This corner of Asia also outperformed when it came to fasting during Ramadan. While most of the Muslim world enthusiastically embraces the ritual of fasting during the holy month, 99% of Malaysians and Indonesians surveyed said they did. In Asia, only Thai Muslims were more devout, with 100% of them saying they fasted.

In Indonesia, mosque attendance is also among the highest in the world. The Pew report said 72% of Indonesians surveyed said they went to a mosque at least once a week. That compares to just 57% in Malaysia, 61% in Egypt and 44% in Turkey. Southeast Asia ranked a bit lower when it came to daily prayers. More than 75% of those surveyed said they prayed several times a day, which is well above the average for most of Asia and the Middle East, but below most African countries. Few of the Muslims surveyed had made it to Mecca yet: Only 6% of Southeast Asians, compared to 17% in the Middle East and northern Africa.

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Oman Air Launches New Service To Tehran

Oman Air, the national carrier of the Sultanate of Oman, has launched flights between Muscat and Tehran, effective 1 September.

On the inaugural flight, every passenger was presented with a rose and the aircraft was greeted by Oman’s ambassador to Iran, Iran`s ambassador to Oman and a number of other dignitaries. A traditional cake-cutting ceremony was then held at the Imam Khomeini International Airport, Tehran. The Omani delegation was received at the airport by a team consisting of Captain Hamid Reza Pahlevani, Deputy Minister of Roads and Housing and Head of Civil Aviation, Iran, Mr Morteza Dehghan IKA, Director General of Airport, and other high-ranking officials.

Oman Air’s Chief Executive Officer, Wayne Pearce, commented on the launch, saying: “We are delighted to have welcomed passengers to today’s inaugural flights of Oman Air’s new daily service between Muscat and Tehran. This new route, the 42nd within our ever-growing network, links two of the world’s great cities and offers travellers between the two capitals the opportunity to experience Oman Air’s unique passenger experience and to discover why Oman Air has attracted so many international awards.

The launch follows Oman Air’s remarkable success at this summer’s World Airline Award, where it not only won “World’s Best Business Class Airline Seat”, but also achieved top-ten positions in eight other categories, including “Best Airline Staff Service in the Middle East”.

The new service will enable passengers to experience that service aboard Oman Air’s brand new Embraer aircraft, which offer 11 business class and 60 economy class seats, each with personal seat-back inflight entertainment monitors which offer access to the latest range of music, movies, TV shows, games and information.

Attentive hospitality and delicious inflight dining ensures that every passenger enjoys the very best of 21st Century air travel, whilst additional convenience is offered through web booking, online check-in and, for business class customers, a complimentary door-to-door limousine service. Business class customers can also make the most of Oman Air’s superb new premium lounge at Muscat International Airport.

The launch of the Muscat-Tehran service will be followed by an inaugural ceremony, to be held by Oman Air later this month in the Iranian capital, Tehran.

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