Distinction in travel journalism
Is independent travel journalism important to you?
Click here to keep it independent

8 Jul, 2013

July 23 deadline for Emirates Future Artists competition, US$5,000 prize

Compiled by Imtiaz Muqbil & Sana Muqbil

A compilation of progressive, positive, inspiring and motivating events and developments in the world of Islam for the week ending 08 July 2013 (29 Sha’baan 1434). Pls click on any of the headlines to go to the story.



Ramadan Mubarak. May the Almighty accept all our sacrifices and prayers during this Holy month.




The ASEAN Tourism Forum 2014, or better known as ATF 2014 will be held from 16-23 January 2014 in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia. The ATF 2014 TRAVEX will be held at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) while the Ministerial and other official functions would be held at the Pullman Hotel, Kuching. Malaysia was where ATF was first held way back in 1981 and it is appropriate that it has returned “home”. The theme is ASEAN Advancing Tourism Together, although ASEAN is diverse in terms of the culture, the people, the tourism attractions and the landscape, it is united in terms of its ability to jointly promote ASEAN as an attractive tourism destination. We in ASEAN have to be united in jointly promoting and advancing the tourism sector in this region as the progress and prosperity of one country inadvertently affects the other member countries. Ministry of Tourism and Tourism Malaysia have appointed ASEANTA to organized ATF 2014 TRAVEX. ASEANTA in turn has appointed MICEM Sdn Bhd to manage all aspects of ATF 2014 TRAVEX including but not limited to the onsite booth allocation and operational matters at BCCK, compiling and determining the Hosted Buyers, the ASEAN Tourism Conference, Ground Transportation and Airport transfers, ATF Golf Game, Pre & Post Tours.

To sign up as a Buyer, Seller or Media for ATF 2014, please fill up the respective Registration Form online at the ATF 2014 website – www.atf-malaysia.com or contact the by email here: secretariat.atf@matta.org.my. For more details, please contact Mr Balan Suppiah at: Tel: +603-9222 1155; Mobile/SMS: +6012-693 6482; Email: sbalan@matta.org.my.

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/ or

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

twitter: http://twitter.com/tourismmalaysia

Blog: http://blog.tourism.gov.my


Watch Islamic Travel Newswire Executive Editor Imtiaz Muqbil’s landmark TEDx lecture on “Peace through Tourism” on YouTube — the first travel industry journalist in Bangkok invited to speak at this prestigious forum. CLICK HERE.



Imtiaz Muqbil’s 100% accurate forecast in the columns gagged by the Bangkok Post.

For 15 years (January 1997-July 2012), Imtiaz Muqbil penned a hard-hitting fortnightly column called “Soul-Searching” in the Bangkok Post, which claims to be the “newspaper you can trust”. In July 2012, the column was gagged, with no explanation. Over the years, four columns had explicitly forecast the rise of whistle-blowers — a prediction now coming 100% true. Read the four columns by clicking on the links below.

Let’s Hear It for Whistle-Blowers

2002: The Year TIME Magazine Recognised Whistle-blowers

Ex-White House Spokesman Exposes “Culture of Deception”

U.S. is No Longer the Country it Once Was

To read other far-sighted “Soul-Searching” Columns, click on any of the headlines below or here to access all the columns

If the Burmese are entitled to freedom, aren’t the Palestinians?”

An Open Letter to President George W Bush: God Does Not Love Liars and Killers

Beware the new colonialism

Study of “Happiness” is Becoming both a Science and a Business

Asia Must Influence New World Order, Not Be Influenced by It

“War on Terror” is a War Without End

No Sign of A Pursuit of Accountability for the Global Financial Crisis

Shouldn’t ‘Never Again’ Apply to All?

Globalisation Will Make Religion Even More Relevant

Treating the Symptoms and Not the Cause Is a Recipe for Death

Acts of God Show the Wrath of God

Weighing the causes and costs of global wars and conflict


Read Imtiaz Muqbil’s columns in Lookeast Magazine

Imtiaz Muqbil writes two columns a month in Lookeast magazine, one of Thailand’s leading consumer travel publications. Here are some of the recent columns:

Thammasat University – A Must-see Destination

Russian Visitors To Thailand: Women Outnumber Men

China is Now Dominant Force in Thai Tourism

Take Advantage of the Rail-tours

10 Fascinating “Factoids” about Thailand

The Next Big Thing: Northeast Thailand

Chiang Mai, North Thailand Set to Boom

Top 10 Reasons to Hold Your Next MICE Event in Thailand

Thailand’s Big Spenders

Phuket grows as Thailand’s Second Most Important Gateway

10 Reasons to Pursue Further Studies in Thailand

Promoting Sustainable Tourism Via ‘Designated Areas’ in Thailand

Japanese Market Rebounds After Four-year Slump



Israeli minister vows to build temple on ‘Aqsa ruins’

Ramallah, Saturday, 27 Shaaban 1434/ 06 July 2013 (IINA) – A rightist Israeli minister said that the government has to build the second temple on the ruins of the Al-Aqsa Mosque Complex in occupied Jerusalem, a report said yesterday.

The Hebrew daily Ma’ariv quoted Uri Ariel, the Housing Minister form the rightist Habayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home), as saying that “we have built many buildings, including many ‘small temples’,” employing a term used in the Jewish world to refer to synagogues. “We need something that is not like the Temple. We need the Temple. On the Temple Mount (Al-Aqsa Mosque Complex),” Ariel told participants at the Shilo Conference on Biblical Research and Archaeology. Shilo settlement located to the north of Ramallah in the West Bank.

Commenting on US Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts to revive the peace talks between Israel and Palestine, Ariel said: “There are those who tell us that two states for two peoples is the real solution. And I say these are old wives’ tales. Between the Jordan (River) and the (Mediterranean) Sea there can be only one state – the state of Israel.” The Al-Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage says that Israeli authorities are carrying out excavations near the Al-Aqsa Mosque Complex to build projects for Jewish worshipers and tourists. The foundation said that goal of excavations “is to Judaize Jerusalem and the collapse of Al-Aqsa Mosque to build the so-called second temple on its ruins.”

Last Friday, the Jewish Rabbi Yaakov Medan of Har (Mount) Etzion seminary said that the Israeli internal intelligence service Shin Bet supports the visits. “The Shin Bet Jewish Division Director told me Jewish presence on the Temple Mount (Al-Aqsa Mosque Complex) is essential for maintaining our sovereignty. He told me that in order to accommodate this trend he would increase the number of agents and security personnel on the Temple Mount,” Medan told participants in the Begin Center Conference on the complex. Israel captured East Jerusalem in the June 1967 War, annexed it in 1980, and has since built settlements there that are home to some 300,000 Jewish settlers.

Back to top

Israel to build park over ancient Arab market

Ramallah, Wednesday, 24 Shaaban 1434/ 03 July 2013 (IINA) – The Palestinian Ministry of Islamic Affairs and Awqaf has vowed to confront plans by the Israeli occupation’s Jerusalem municipality to take over the roofs of the local and traditional markets to create a park and tourist destination in the holy city.

The properties affected fall under the jurisdiction of the Islamic Waqf, which is run by Jordan. Municipal teams of the Israeli occupation have been visiting shops of Al Lahameen and Al Attareen, traditional markets in Al Sharaf neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem, instructing them to fully cooperate with Israeli engineering teams who will examine the structural strength of the traditional markets and some surrounding houses, which share roofs with the markets. The plan is sponsored by an Israeli company that intends to develop the Jewish colonies in the old town of occupied East Jerusalem.

Speaking to Gulf News, Mahmoud Abu Attah, Coordinator at the Al Aqsa Foundation for endowment and heritage, said Israel has come up with a new tactic to take over the roofs of properties belonging to the Islamic endowments (Waqf). “The old structures and traditional markets in the holy city were constructed in a continuous and uninterrupted way and the Israelis plan to take advantage of the roofs,” he said.

“This is the point to which Israeli greed in occupied East Jerusalem has reached. The Israeli plan for the two markets is ready and confirmed and the current visits to the shop owners are practical steps to put the plan in place,” he said, adding that it was part of a continuous plan by the occupation to Judaize the holy city. “If it is implemented it will harm the old town of the holy city and deepen the suffering of the Palestinian residents,” he said.

Abu Attah urged the shop owners not to cooperate with the engineering teams and to deny them access to their properties. “The shop owners have officially informed the Al Aqsa Foundation for endowment and heritage that they will never grant those teams access to their shops even if they seal off their shops,” he said. He said that the Jordanian authorities responsible for the endowments (Waqf) in the occupied East Jerusalem are following up the case and will undertake efforts to stop the Israeli attempts to take over the roofs of the traditional markets. Jordan and the Palestinian National Authority signed an agreement under which Jordan is responsible for the holy sites of occupied East Jerusalem to prevent Israeli Judaization measures. The agreement aims to protect hundreds of Waqf properties that are endowed to Al Aqsa Mosque.

The Ministry of Islamic Affairs and Awqaf in occupied East Jerusalem is a Jordanian ministry, which is the custodian of the holy sites and Waqf properties of the holy city. Even the Palestinian employees of the ministry are Jordanian employees who receive their salaries from Jordan. Located next to Al Aqsa Compound, whose residents and visitors frequent the markets, Al Attareen and Al Lahameen markets are two old and traditional markets in Al Sharaf neighbourhood of occupied East Jerusalem. The two markets are 150 years old structures which are parallel long cellars with at least 95 shops in each market.

Al Lahameen market is a specialized market for all types of meat and fish, whereas Al Attareen market specialises in spices, herbs, and custom-made perfumes. The two markets are Islamic and Christian Waqf properties leased to Palestinian traders. Younger generations have inherited the shops from their ancestors to run the same business. Palestinian owners of the two markets have been a key target for the Israeli military and colonists who have succeeded in forcing many shops in the two markets to close down. The Israeli segregation wall has played a key role in eroding trade volumes in the two markets. Residents of the West Bank, who are key consumers and regular visitors to the markets, were banned from making regular visits of the holy city, in addition to the heavy taxes imposed by the Israeli authorities.

Back to top

Uzbek Tour firm Invites Travel Agent Applications for Fam Trip

Elite Tours International, Uzbekistan, is organising MEGA INFO TOUR under supervision and in cooperation with government of Uzbekistan. This unforgettable trip will give you a great chance to get acquainted with Uzbekistan Tourist potential, its history, traditions, kitchen and people. The price of the Meganfotour is free of charge.

The next mega info tours will be organised from 1 to 15 November. The application should be sent not less than 2 month before the beginning of the Mega Infotour. Those who may participate in this mega infotour may include: Owners and directors of foreigner tourist companies; Managers and tour operators; Marketing directors.

Participants of Mega Info Tours should be no more than 1 person from one company. Thus, it is necessary to adhere strictly to the requirements for the prospective participants as being the representatives of the tourist organizations or branches of large companies responsible for the organization of tourist trips for the employees of their enterprises or mass media working in tourism sphere

The following services are included:

International and domestic flights only for Uzbekistan Airways (airport charges are not included);

Accommodation at 4-3 Hotels (twin room only);

Amazing Program for 7 days along the Great Silk Road.

Escort English speaking guide throughout the program

Full Board, A/C Transport

Train tickets according the program (economy class)

Entrance fees for all mentioned monuments according the program;

The following services are not included: Beverages, Tips and gratuities, Any personal expenses Any services not included in the above itinerary

Participation requirements:

Travel agents who do not work with Uzbekistan yet but want to make so

Before starting the fam trip, the travel agents have to sign an exclusive contract for cooperation with Elite Tours International for 1-2 years period except travel agencies, who already working with Elite Tours International)

Cities which will be visited during the famtrip:

Tashkent- ancient and eternally young two-million city in the center of Asia which is named “a star of the East, capital of friendship and hospitality” Besides it is political, business, scientific and cultural center of Uzbekistan. For the years of independence, the capital of the Uzbek state is completely changed: many beautiful fountains are constructed to decorate squares and parks of the city, new constructed buildings decorated in national style look very impressive, international airports and railway stations have been reconstructed to provide passengers with top service on the ground and in the sky as well.

Samarkand – is the second largest city of Uzbekistan and is of the same age as the city of Babylon or Rome. The history of Samarkand is about 2,500 years old and has witnessed a lot of upheavals during the times of Alexander the Great, the Arabic Conquest, Genghis-Khan Conquest and lastly Tamerlane’s. Hence, the culture of Samarkand was developed and mixed together with the Iranian, Indian, Mongolian and a bit of the Western and Eastern cultures. The historic city was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2001.

Bukhara – Bukhara is one of the most ancient cities of Uzbekistan. Bukhara the Holy, Bukhara the Noble, the Dome of Islam, the Pillar of Religion, the most intact city in the hoary East, the most interesting city in the world. Bukhara was the major trading town on the Great Silk Road, the city of … it is now the dumb witness of the history, and this attracts many tourists

Khiva – a museum in the open air – is the only city in all of Central Asia that has survived in its entirety from old times. In 1967 it was proclaimed a town-reserve and since 1990 one part of Khiva — the Ichan Kala — was recognized by UNESCO as an historical monument of world significance.

For further info, email inbound@elitetours.uz.

Back to top

July 23 deadline for Emirates Future Artists competition, US$5,000 prize

Emirates is inviting artists worldwide to express share and submit work for the 2014 Skywards’ membership cards. The Emirates Skywards Future Artists Competition is open to artwork across three broad media categories: photography/digital media, painting/illustration, and 3D (sculpture, ceramic and glass).

Four winning entries will be chosen, one for each tier of Emirates Skywards membership. Winners of the competition will have their artwork featured on the Emirates Skywards 2014 membership cards; giving artists an exciting opportunity to express their creativity while connecting them with a global and esteemed platform of over nine million Emirates Skywards members. The creators of the winning artworks will receive a commission of US$5,000 and their selected artwork will be featured in supporting online and offline communications and promotional material, plus each artist’s name will be displayed alongside their winning artwork.

“Being frequent flyers of Emirates, our members are accustomed to the best – in their travels and during their leisure time – and they represent a diverse group with discerning tastes and interests. Because of this, the Emirates Skywards’ Future Artists competition is the perfect match for our members,” says Brian LaBelle, Senior Vice-President Skywards. “By seeking out undiscovered talent – be it self-taught, art students or even experienced individuals who have not yet achieved their artistic aspirations – the competition engages the Emirates Skywards community by not only introducing them to these talented new artists but also allows them to vote for their favourite artwork; giving them a voice in design of their membership cards each year.”

The competition is now open for submissions and details can be found at: www. http://ekskywardsfutureartists.com/. All entries must be submitted by 23 July 2013. After the artwork is evaluated and short-listed, judging will commence; conducted by a panel of highly regarded industry professionals and experts.

Voting by Emirates Skywards members will be open from the 1st to the 16th of September, 2013, with the four winner announced at the end of that month. Voting is open to all current and new Emirates Skywards members. Enrolment in Emirates Skywards is completely free and can be done online at: www.emirates.com/skywards

Back to top

Saudi Arabia explores $104 billion solar industry

Riyadh, Wednesday, 24 Shaaban 1434/ 03 July 2013 (IINA) – Saudi Arabia started a program to assess its potential for generating renewable energy, part of an effort to lure $109 billion for building a solar industry that will free up more of its crude oil for export.

King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (Ka-Care), the organization responsible of devising the Kingdom’s strategy, will install at least 70 stations nationwide to measure the ability to produce electricity from the sun, wind, geothermal and waste sources, according to a statement issued Monday. Ka-Care said 10 stations already have been installed. The findings will be published in a national atlas by yearend, which will guide investors and researchers studying where to place generation plants. Saudi Arabia will present a national policy statement on renewable and nuclear power generation later this year as it seeks to diversify energy resources, Khalid Al Sulaiman, vice president at Ka-Care, said in January.

The Kingdom has said it plans to attract about $109 billion to create a solar industry that will generate a third of its electricity by 2032, or about 41,000 megawatts. It’s part of a wider program to generate 54 gigawatts from different sources including nuclear. Currently, about 3 megawatts of solar power plants are working in Saudi Arabia, a capacity that trails Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and the UAE, Bloomberg reported earlier.

Back to top

Ramadan expo draws thousands

Arab News – 06 July, 2013 – The National Consumer Industries annual exhibition organized by the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) has been attracting huge crowds, with over 90 companies displaying their products ranging from food items to gifts.

The exhibition, which comes to an end tomorrow, has on average logged about 5,000 visitors every day, the organizers told Arab News.

The products being sold at the exhibition include clothes, juices, shoes perfumes, make-up accessories, traditional gifts, bags, cakes, jewelry and handicrafts, most of them produced in the Kingdom.

“This exhibition provides a wonderful opportunity for Jeddah residents and visitors to do all their Ramadan shopping under one roof,” said a visitor. “The prices are reasonable; I and my mother really enjoyed this exhibition and did a lot of shopping for Ramadan,” she said.

Sumiya Patil, another visitor, said she was happy that she came to the exhibition as she could find all the things in one place for Ramadan and Eid. “I found very nice clothes and shoes for my children here,” she said.

The good news for the residents is that there will be another exhibition during Ramadan for Eid Al-Fitr.

Back to top

Fasting & diabetes: Maintain a balanced diet

Doha, 25 Shaaban 1434/ 04 July 2013 (IINA) – People suffering from diabetes who intend to fast during the month of Ramadan are being advised to take several precautions by Qatar Diabetes Association (QDA), as the number of people suffering from diabetes is increasing sharply every year here, according to a report in The Peninsula newspaper.

The prevalence of diabetes in Qatar was estimated to be 20 percent in 2011, up from 16.7 percent in 2008, and around 215,000 people in the country suffer from the disease, QDA said. To help these patients, QDA has issued safety measures which will create awareness on the precautionary steps, balanced diet and constant monitoring of the blood sugar level during the month of Ramadan. People with type 1 diabetes and using insulin are advised not to fast, yet if they are keen it’s essential to consult a doctor to determine the ability to fast and get necessary instructions and follow medication as per medical advice, Dr Najaty Bsaiso, member of the Association’s scientific committee, said.

Losing weight can lead to better control of diabetes during Ramadan due to a changed diet during the fasting period, but it is important to have a balanced diet that includes all types of food, and to avoid overeating, says Dr Bsaiso. Fasting can also help maintain greater balance in glucose levels in blood. Dr Bsaiso advises people with diabetes to have plenty of liquids during the evening, but they should be free of sugar and caffeine to avoid dehydration. If a person with diabetes decides to fast, consulting a doctor and doing blood tests is necessary because fasting may steeply bring down the glucose level in blood, which can lead to hypoglycaemia. If symptoms of low blood sugar occur and the level reaches 60 mg/dl, the person should break the fast and take glucose tablets or juice and then have a snack, according to Dr Bsaiso.

“Controlling food is one of the most important elements of managing diabetes. Trying to reduce weight to the ideal weight, avoiding weight gain during Ramadan by decreasing the total amount of food, avoiding eating large quantities during iftar and a light meal for suhoor can help,” says Dr Bsaiso. “We also advise people with diabetes to reduce fat intake by avoiding fried foods and oil, which are frequently consumed during Ramadan, as well as to avoid sugars and sweets, in particular between iftar and suhoor.” Dr Bsaiso suggests eating “food rich in fibre, such as brown bread, as well as a lot of fresh vegetables, because they are rich in fibre, and drinking a lot of fluids and non-sweetened liquids during the evening and with suhoor, especially in this region where temperatures are high and the period of fasting will be long.” People with diabetes can engage in physical activities as usual, but should rest in the afternoon and shouldn’t exercise between the Asr and Magreb prayers because the blood sugar level can be low during that time.

Any change in the dosage of medicine during Ramadan would depend on the patient’s needs and condition, Dr Bsaiso said.

“A patient who takes Metaformen should take the same dosage, and it should be divided into two by taking it at iftar and suhoor. This is applicable to patients taking Rosuglyatzone and Bioglytizone, but they should seek a doctor’s advice as the suhoor dose can be reduced,” he said. “Those who use Fonayloyoria have to see their doctor to change the dosage or medicine, if necessary. The medicine should be taken immediately after Magreb and before iftar if the dosage is low. Large dosages should be divided into two, before iftar and suhoor; the iftar dose should be one-third to two-third bigger than the suhoor dose.”

Back to top

Date harvest coincides with Ramadan this year

Arab News – 01 July, 2013 – It is officially the dates season in Madinah with farmers recently completing their harvesting.

Dates are an important agricultural product in Madinah. The price of a 2 kg box at the beginning of the season is SR 40. Prices vary according to the quality of the harvest.

Many varieties of dates can be found in Madinah markets including Al-Rothana, Al-Rabeia, Al-Sukari, Al-Beid and Al-Hilwah. Demand for frozen dates is not high this year because the date harvest coincides this year with the beginning of Ramadan, which means people can get fresh dates for breaking their fast.

Salesmen and auctioneers have been competing to buy the date harvest, which has resulted in a significant rise in prices. “High prices has resulted from the monopolization of the high-quality date harvest and transporting 40 percent of the harvest to Jeddah, Makkah and the rest of the Kingdom in small trucks,” said Muslim Al-Saidi, a date auctioneer.

Farmers are worried their harvest may be ruined because of the scarce availability of workers, as a result of the end of the amnesty period.

Naif, a palm farmer, said he sold his dates this year for SR 45,000. “The rising profit resulted from an increase in palm trees. Farmers take great care of their palm farms because they have high financial returns. We like to plant Al-Rothana, Ajwah, Anbar, Safawi and Al-Sukari because these are the dates with the commercial value.”

Ahmad Al-Maghthowi, owner of a small truck, said: “The date harvest is important because it provides jobs for many young men during the summer holiday. Young people can load and unload dates, sell them or transport them to different parts of the Kingdom in their small vehicles. I have an agreement with an investor to transport the harvest from Madinah to Jeddah for SR 400 per cargo.”

Samir, a buyer, said: “Buyers like to buy large amounts of dates, either for their private consumption or as gifts. These can be frozen and served during Ramadan. At the beginning of the season, prices were very high, but the price of Al-Rothana and Al-Rabeia are reasonable because of the high production and availability on the market. The best harvest comes from Qibaa, Al-Awali, Al-Shuhadaa, Al-Mattar and Al-Oyoon farms.”

Hamid Allheibi, a date store owner, said investors are active during the date season. “They start freezing dates in containers of different sizes to sell in bulk during Ramadan. Average prices are about SR 15 a kilogram. Investors like to freeze Al-Rothana and Al-Beid.”

Farmers like to plant Ajwah dates, because it has many qualities as defined by the Prophet (peace be upon him). It is sold for SR 70 to SR 100 a kilogram. They also like to plant Al-Anbarah, Al-Safawi and Al-Shalabi dates.

Back to top

Bahrain Minister Of Social Development Inaugurates “Ramadan Market”

MANAMA, Bahrain, July 3 (NNN-BNA) – Minister of Social Affairs, Fatima Mohammed Al Bulooshi, inaugurates today (Wednesday), the exhibition, “Made in My House, Ramadan Souk,” at the Gulf Hotel, which will continue till Thursday from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm.

The minister said that, the exhibition, which will have the participation of 200 Bahraini families, includes the Bahraini families’ and individuals’ products of handicraft, traditional food products, clothes, perfumes, accessories, genuine traditional industries, home products, in addition to Ramadan products, considering that the exhibition started just before Ramadan.

The minister said, “During the exhibition, there will be a distribution of valuable cash prizes on 24 winners of the best display and the best exhibitor, where 12 male and female exhibitors will be selected for the best traditional and cultural costume, and 12 locations for the best organisation and innovation.”

He said the exhibition “Made in My House,” witnesses an intensive and distinctive welcome, where they display the experiences of entrepreneurs who work from home, with more quality, efficiency and development standards in various areas.

The minister also called on all citizens, residents and visitors of Bahrain to attend and shop at the exhibition, to encourage and spur them to have concern on Bahraini products, and create new self-job opportunities, and join small enterprises with an added economic return.

Back to top

Palestinian award-winning singer welcomed at UNRWA HQ in Gaza

26 June 2013, Gaza – The Commissioner General of UNRWA, Filippo Grandi, welcomed Arab Idol winner, Mohammad Assaf, to UNRWA headquarters in Gaza, and thanked him for accepting the role of UNRWA’s first ever “Regional Youth Ambassador for Palestine Refugees”. Speaking in front of hundreds of UNRWA staff, Grandi said Mohammad “had brought us all together in a rare moment of celebration”.

Mohammad had accepted the UNRWA appointment well before his final victory in Beirut “without hesitation”, saying that he was determined to serve UNRWA and the Palestine refugees “as best he could”.

During the meeting in Gaza, Mohammad Assaf said “I am extremely proud for being named UNRWA’s youth ambassador for Palestine refugees. I give my solemn promise to UNRWA and the refugee youth to be an effective representative to them”.

Grandi added, “we are all truly proud that a young man who received his education in an UNRWA school in the Khan Younis refugee camp in Gaza and whose family has a long association with UNRWA has emerged onto the world stage to such universal acclaim. His golden voice speaks to and for all of us. He is indeed an ambassador: for his generation and for his people. It with great joy that I can say to you all, he is now also an UNRWA ambassador for Palestine Refugees.

Back to top

New travel retail innovation debuts at Dubai International Airport

Khaleej Times – 06 July, 2013 – Costa Coffee reached new industry heights with the worldwide launch of the first five-sense self-serve coffee machine — the Marlow 200 — in association with Emirates Leisure Retail, or ELR, at Concourse A of Dubai International Airport’s Terminal 3.

The Marlow 200 is the result of 12 years of coffee innovation and is the next wave of the Costa Express business. About 3,000 machines are now in operation since the launch of Costa Express in the UK two years ago, and the Marlow 200 has taken this technology to the next level.

The debut at Dubai International marks a global showcase for travel retail innovation.

In 1999, ELR became the first international franchise partner of Costa Coffee. ELR has repeated that feat being the first international franchise partner of Costa Express with the launch of the Marlow 200.

The machine is a result of working in partnership with a number of the world’s leading companies including Intel, Microsoft, Thermoplan, Bsquare and Pininfarina.

“As the current world leader in self-serve espresso bars, we have a responsibility to be innovative. Our existing concessions are hugely successful in the channels where we currently operate and the Marlow 200 will now enable us to offer great espresso drinks of outstanding quality to customers in new markets,” said Scott Martin, managing director of Costa Express.

“Introducing quality and innovation with exceptional partners and brands is at the heart of our strategy,” said Paul Griffiths, chief executive officer of Dubai Airports.

“Costa Express reflects this spirit very well, and we are confident that this new experience will connect with global travellers,” Griffiths added. The launch event was also attended by other key executives including Gary Chapman, president of Emirates Group Services and dnata; Eugene Barry, senior vice-president of Commercial at Dubai Airports; Andrew Day, group chief executive officer of Maritime Mercantile International and ELR; Kevin Zajax, chief commercial officer of ELR; and Eric Hughes, general manager of Costa Coffee UAE.

Back to top

Saudi Arabia seeks to become ‘green’ energy efficient by 2032

Saudi Gazette – 05 July, 2013 – Saudi Arabia is installing 70 stations to measure the potential of energy production from sun, wind and geothermal sources as it targets to become solar-powered efficient by 2032, the news agency ibtimes.com.au said on Thursday.

Ten of these stations have been put up and will collect all-weather and air-data to show renewable energy sources in all parts of the Kingdom, it said.

“Researchers will then be able to access the data through a Web site, relaying information such as solar radiation and wind speed,” the ibtimes.com.au said.

“Essentially, the findings will provide potential investors with guidance on where to build renewable-energy related plants. Saudi Arabia wants to attract about $ 109 billion to be able to create a solar industry that will help give off one-third of its electricity requirements by 2032, or about 41,000 megawatts.”

The news agency said Saudi Arabia targets to install 23.9 gigawatts (GW) of renewable power capacity by 2020 and then 54.1 GW by 2032.

The Kingdom’s efforts reflect a common trend in other Gulf countries which are turning more focus toward clean renewable sources of energy for their power supplies, ibtimes.com.au said.

Collectively, they target solar energy as one of the region’s main sources of energy by 2017, it said. Apart from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait have started aggressive planning toward renewable energy programs.

Qatar targets to source 10 percent of the electricity and energy used in water desalination from solar energy by 2018, while Kuwait wants to obtain 10 per cent of its power requirements from renewable energy sources by 2020, it said.

Overall, some $ 155 billion worth of solar power installation projects are in the pipeline for the entire Gulf region. These projects can give off more than 84 GW of power.

Meanwhile, another online news agency SyndiGate.Info said the Kingdom will present a national policy statement on renewable and nuclear power generation later this year.

It said Saudi Arabia has started a program to assess its potential for generating renewable energy, part of an effort to lure $ 109 billion for building a solar industry that will free up more of its crude oil for export.

King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (Ka-Care), which is responsible of devising the Kingdom’s strategy, will install at least 70 stations nationwide to measure the ability to produce electricity from the sun, wind, geothermal and waste sources, it said citing a statement issued on Monday.

It confirms the ibtimes.com.au report that 10 stations have already been installed.

“The findings will be published in a national atlas by yearend, which will guide investors and researchers studying where to place generation plants,” it said.

The Kingdom has said it plans to attract about $ 109 billion to create a solar industry that will generate a third of its electricity by 2032, or about 41,000 megawatts, SyndiGate.Info said, adding that it is part of the program to generate 54 gigawatts from different sources including nuclear.

Currently, about 3 megawatts of solar power plants are working in Saudi Arabia, a capacity that trails Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and the UAE, it said, citing an earlier report by Bloomberg newespaper.

Back to top

Uzbekistan, China Sign US$100 Million Investment Projects

TASHKENT, Uzbekistan, July 5 (NNN-Bernama) — Agreements on the implementation of 21 investment projects worth over US$100 million were signed during the Uzbek-Chinese Investment Forum on Special Industrial Zone Jizzak, Azerbaijan’s Trend news agency reported.

Citing a statement from Uzbek’s Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations, Investment and Trade, Trend said the agreed investment projects include implementing solar water heating system (collector) production, establishing a joint venture for the production of energy-efficient LED lighting products, telecommunications equipment production, and building a textile complex for the dyed yarn and garment production.

The ministry also describes the agreements as a unique investment opportunity for Chinese companies in Tashkent.

It was previously reported that the Special Industrial Zone Jizzak was created by a presidential decree in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding on the establishment of an Uzbek-Chinese industrial park in the country to set up modern high-tech industrial facilities.

The industrial zone can operate for the next 30 years with the possibility of extension. There will be a special tax clause and customs privileges in itsterritory during this period.

The Uzbek-Chinese investment forum was organised by Uzbek’s Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations, Investment and Trade and the Uzinfoinvest agency together with the Chinese Ministry of Commerce. Around 300 representatives from Chinese companies attended.

Back to top

Malaysia Eyes 3,000 Participants For 4th Global Entrepreneurship Summit

KUALA LUMPUR, July 6 (NNN-Bernama) — Malaysia is expecting to receive 3,000 entrepreneurs from over 50 countries to participate in the 4th Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) 2013 to be held on Oct 11.

Finance Ministry Secretary-General Dr Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah said GES 2013 will be a platform for the entrepreneurs to exchange ideas and share their knowledge and experience.

“GES 2013 is held so that we can empower our entrepreneurs with knowledge and ideas and this (GSE) will also give our Malaysian entrepreneurs the opportunity to develop their businesses with other people from different countries,” he told a press conference after launching the D-Code here Saturday.

The D-Code marks the countdown to the 4th GES, which is less than 100 days away.

Mohd Irwan Serigar said GSE 2013 will convene global stakeholders from throughout the entrepreneurship ecosystem to share ideas and best practices and develop solutions for some of the most intractable issues that prevent the growth of entrepreneurship and businesses.

He also said the international event will create networking cooperation between Malaysian entrepreneurs and other entrepreneurs that will open the participants’ minds.

“It (GSE) also provides networking, and participants will take back new perspectives that will have a lasting impact,” he said, adding it will also feature sessions that provide in-depth information on certain sectors.

“There will be information and communications technology (ICT), Islamic banking, financing and many more.

“There will be also some speakers, giving talks, sharing ideas, their knowledge that I am sure entrepreneurs will get inspired and gain inspiration from them,” he said.

He urged Malaysian entrepreneurs to take an active part in GSE 2013.

Back to top

EU Contributes €2.4m For Preservation Of Palestinian Heritage In Jerusalem

JERUSALEM, July 4 (NNN-WAFA) — The European Union (EU) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has signed a €2.4 million agreement with Al-Quds University aimed at the preservation of Palestinian cultural heritage in Jerusalem’s Old City, an EU press release said.

The agreement was signed in the presence of Michael Köhler, director for Neighborhood at the European Commission’s DG DEVCO, and UNDP’s Special Representative Frode Mauring.

The ceremony also included the signing of a cooperation agreement between UNDP and Al Quds University Center to conduct historical research and organize workshops in relation to the targeted historical sites.

“The program will contribute to the development and protection of Palestinian cultural heritage in the old city of Jerusalem, in addition to the improvement of socioeconomic conditions of its citizens through quality housing and tourism services,” said the press release.

The program activities will include the rehabilitation and revitalization of Hammam al-Ayn and Hammam al-Shifa, al-Madrasa al-Kilaniyya and related housing units, and the development of a business management plan and training on the maintenance and management of rehabilitated sites.

“This is an ambitious project, with numerous stakeholders, and we praise UNDP’s coordination work that allows us to be here today,” said the EU Representative John Gatt-Rutter. “Once completed, the project will unravel huge potential for the population of the Old City in terms of heritage preservation but also job creation and touristic growth.”

Huda Imam, general director of Al Quds University Center, welcomed the guests and expressed her appreciation to the EU and UNDP for taking this initiative forward.

“This program is very important for Jerusalem. It will revitalize the city and create awareness for the community on the importance of cultural heritage and the preservation of our identity,” she said.

Local capacities in conservation, rehabilitation and management of historic buildings and sites will also be enhanced through the program. Short and medium term job opportunities will also be generated for young professionals in the fields of restoration, tourism and cultural management.

“The occupied Palestinian Territory is rich in cultural heritage. UNDP and its partners will spare no effort to preserve and protect this treasure,” said Mauring. “The program will have a long term impact that will benefit different segments of the society by providing job opportunities and sustainable income for local professionals,” he added.

Since 1997, UNDP’s Program of Assistance to the Palestinian People supported the tourism and culture sectors in the occupied Palestinian Territory through the restoration and rehabilitation of cultural heritage sites and improvement of touristic areas and networks.

UNDP is currently partnering with the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities through a $34 million program aimed at rehabilitating public infrastructure for culture and tourism. The program encompasses seven components, including development of site museums, water springs, and cultural landscape, with special emphasis on East Jerusalem, Gaza and Area C.

Through the work of civil society, and in coordination with the office of the chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the EU supports actions in East Jerusalem in the fields of health and social welfare, housing, urban planning, legal aid, education, and economic development – including the promotion of the tourism and cultural sectors. Special attention is placed on youth, women and the disabled.

Back to top

Indonesian Trash banks yield income of Rp15.7 billion

Probolinggo, East Java (ANTARA News) July 7 2013 – The Indonesian Environment Ministry has recorded a turnover of Rp15.7 billion per month from all existing trash banks in the country.

“Now there are a total of 1,195 trash banks in 58 districts and cities with 106,000 workers that produce Rp15.7 billion per month,” Environment Ministry`s Waste Management Deputy Assistant, Sudirman, said here on Sunday.

Sudirman noted that the presence of trash banks in the beginning was to overcome trash problem and to increase public awareness of waste management.

“Trash management does not only make a city clean and beautiful but it also provides great economic benefits to the society,” Sudirman said.

He claimed that the trash banks had succeeded in improving the economy of the people as has been expected by the Ministry of Environment.

“The people can save the trash in the trash banks to produce money to pay their electricity or telephone bills,” he said, adding that a trash bank was a garbage management technique by adopting a banking management, but the instrument of transaction was garbage, not money.

Sudirman said the presence of trash banks was initiated by the people of Bantul district in Yogyakarta and now it has been developed and applied in various parts of the country.

Back to top

India’s Taj Mahal Ranked Third Among World Top Landmarks

NEW YORK, July 1 (NNN-Bernama) — Travellers from across the globe have ranked India’s Taj Mahal among the top three landmarks in the world, a leading travel website has announced.

According to TripAdvisor’s 2013 Travellers Choice Attractions Awards, Taj Mahal was ranked third in the list of Top 25 landmarks.

The top two places were taken by Machu Picchu in Peru and Angkor Wat in Cambodia respectively, reports Press Trust of India (PTI).

“The winners of Travellers’ Choice Attractions awards were determined basedon the quality and quantity of traveller reviews of attractions,” said a company statement.

Taj Mahal, listed among the new seven wonders of the world, is renowned the world over for its architecture and aesthetic beauty.

Built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his late wife Mumtaz Mahal, the white marble mausoleum in the northern Indian city of Agra is also a symbol of enduring love.

In 1983, it became a Unesco World Heritage Site. The Taj Mahal attracts 2-4 million visitors annually, with more than 200,000 from overseas.

It shares the latest honour alongside Petra World Heritage Site in Jordan and Bayon Temple in Cambodia, which are ranked fourth and fifth respectively in the list of 25 top landmarks in the world.

Back to top

Tourism Malaysia Promotes Country With Indo-Malaysian Music

MUMBAI, July 6 (NNN-Bernama) — The first ever Indo-Malaysian Bollywood music album, titled ” Tum Mile” (I Met You), was launched in Mumbai on Friday, The Times of India reported.

This specially produced album features four popular duet songs including one medley, all sung by Toh Puan Bendahara of Kedah, Toh Puan Noor Suzanna Abdullah, a member of the royal family of Kedah, Malaysia and Bollywood singer Kumar Sanu.

The album features timeless musical hits from the Golden Era of Bollywood filmed at Malaysian destinations, said the report.

The duo re-visited the 70s and 80s era of Bollywood music, but adding a Malaysian touch to the ever-expanding Bollywood influence.

Leveraging the popularity of Malaysian destinations, this unique blend of audio-visual extravaganza will appeal to both Indian and Malaysian audiences.

According to the report, Tourism Malaysia chairman Dr Ng Yen Yen said: “Bollywood songs, superstars and movies are household names in Malaysia and command an extremely high following even amongst the non-Hindi speaking population.

“And now, with this beautiful musical compilation by two prominent individuals, one from Malaysia, and the other from India, it is our hope that the album ‘Tum Mile’ will further bridge our two nations together – through music, through tourism.”

Back to top

Omani develops device to extract potable water

Oman Daily Observer – 01 July, 2013 – An Omani citizen has developed a system that extracts potable and irrigation water from air. The device is operated by both solar and wind energies and electricity as well.

The device developed by Shaikh Hilal bin Marhoon al Ma’amari, comes in a bid to diversify a hybrid dual unit for the solar and wind power generation. He has invented and manufactured this device in Spain earlier last year.

Shaikh Al Ma’amari said that the new device, which was named ‘Falaj’ is capable of producing ‘430’ litres of water in one day in suitable climate conditions. The device may be developed in the future to generate more water by condensing vapour and converting to water through the use of a modern technology.

In a statement to Oman News Agency (ONA), he said that the new device depend on the humidity level and temperature. The device is designed to operate in 10-100 per cent humidity and between 5 to 55 temperature degrees. It may be connected by a hybrid unit that can be operated by wind and solar energy.

The new water generator may also be operated by electric current (220-240 volt) and frequency of (50 hertz).

Shaikh Al Ma’amari pointed out that the device is provided with a new system for filtration and purification, in addition to a screen that displays data on humidity and temperature. It is also known for consuming less energy, easy transportation and multiple uses including use in emergencies. The Sultanate’s humidity and temperature levels are conducive for the operation of this device.

Back to top

Educational 3D cartoon programme for children

Oman Daily Observer – 01 July, 2013 – The Ministry of Awqaf and Religious Affairs releases in Ramadhan a 3D animated cartoon educational programme for children, aiming at promoting religious values among children.

The Director of the Religious Information Department at the Ministry of Awqaf and Religious Affairs said that the programme will be shown on Oman satellite channel during Ramadhan as Ramadhan fawazeer (quiz).

He added that the objective of the programme is to teach children good religious behaviour, morals and values in a way that is appealing and easy to understand and to promote TV programmes provided by the Ministry as a contribution to the religious and cultural programmes broadcasted on Oman TV during Ramadhan.

The programme will be in the form of quizzes to consolidate information in the mind of a child and to lure them to continue watching the programme and benefit from it.

It is worth mentioning that the programme is in 3D and high technologies for broadcasting on the HD channels.

The programme has 15 episodes in standard Arabic to be followed by the majority of Arabic language speakers inside and outside the Arab world.

Back to top

Iran’s annual tourism revenue hits $ 8b

Tehran Times – 02 July, 2013 – Iran earned around $ 8 billion in tourism income in the past Iranian calendar year, which began on March 21, the Iranian Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts Organization deputy director said.

He made the remarks on the sidelines of the second meeting of the Developing Eight (D-8) countries on tourism, which was held in Tehran on Monday.

Iran attracted some 4 million foreign tourists in the past Iranian calendar year, he noted.

The D-8 is a group of developing countries with large Muslim populations that have formed an economic development alliance.

It consists of Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Turkey.

The objectives of D-8 Organization for Economic Cooperation are to improve member states’ position in the global economy, diversify and create new opportunities in trade relations, enhance participation in decision-making at international level, and improve standards of living.

Back to top

Saudi Museums to be powered by solar energy

Arab News – 03 July, 2013 – Schools in remote areas, museums and wildlife protection projects in the Kingdom would soon be powered by solar energy generated by the Solar Village located in Al Oyeynah city, about 45 km from the country’s capital.

Disclosing this, Abdul Rahman Al Oudeibi, assistant professor of solar energy research at the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology’s (KACST) Energy Research Institute, said the Solar Village, set up in an area of two million square meters about 30 years ago, would be converted into a city by the end of 2014.

Supply of solar power to schools in remote areas, museums and wildlife protection projects will be taken up after the village enters into agreements with the Ministry of Education, the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities and the Saudi Wildlife Authority.

The solar project’s initial objective, when it was established, was to provide electricity to villages around Riyadh city, before it recently became the first local and regional center for solar energy research and experimentation. Transforming the village into a city is in line with the Kingdom’s aspirations to use solar energy and reduce dependence on oil-generated electricity. The Saudi-operated village is also used by the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for solar readings, Al Qudeibi said in an interview to a local newspaper.

Currently, the desalination plant in Al-Kaafji city is producing 30,000 cubic meters of water daily using solar power produced in the village. Future plans include using solar energy in the desalination of 300,000 cubic meters of saline water, for which the capacity of the solar-panel factory would have to increase by 10 times. Along with the expansion, a special laboratory for standardizing panel specifications and improving its resistance to dust and humidity would also be launched.

The assistant professor noted that the architectural designs and technical specifications were completed for building a solar energy-powered desalination plants within King Abdullah’s Initiative, while tenders for building another to produce 30,000 cubic meters f desalinated water daily will be invited soon. The plant will implement KACST-developed technologies and methods.

A production line for photovoltaic solar panels has been established at the KACST headquarters, while research is still underway to develop easy methods to produce solar cells using alternative high-absorption material, he added.

Back to top

Nigeria: Reps Partner Tourism Ministry to Promote Country Abroad

Daily Trust – 3 July 2013 – Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora Affairs, Rep Abike Dabiri-Erewa (ACN, Lagos), said yesterday that her committee would partner the ministry of culture and tourism to market Nigerian culture abroad.

Speaking at an interactive session with the Minister for Culture and Tourism, Edem Duke, Abike said the Nigerian culture must be promoted abroad in order to make Nigerians leaving in Diaspora connect with their people back home.

While commending the minister for taking culture to another level in the country, Abike said it was imperative for government to take a clear direction on using culture to achieve international recognition.

The minister, Edem Duke, expressed concern that Nigerians under-estimate the value of their culture, which undermines the level of investment in the country. He said such partnership would to a great extent promote Nigerian culture in the Diaspora.

He informed that the ministry opened a cultural centre in Brazil which attracted over two million people as part of efforts to market Nigeria abroad.

Back to top

Uganda: World Body Calls for East African Tourism Pact

The Observer – 2 July 2013 – Taleb Rifai, the Secretary General for the United Nations’ World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), believes Uganda can use its prestigious tourist attractions to create a pact with her East African counterparts, and promote tourism in the region.

He was making his first official visit to Uganda since his appointment in September 2009. He had been to the rest of the East African countries, though. “I have to confess that I’m three years late to the Pearl of Africa. There have been some success stories in countries that I have been to but I think a lot needs to be done,” he said. “I think with this endowment, the East African pact can make this region to a top tourism destination in the world.”

Rifai was accompanied by Ousimane Ndiaye, the regional director for Africa. Meanwhile, the minister of Tourism, Maria Mutagamba noted that this was a perfect timing for the world leader to visit Uganda; the country is in the process of prioritising the tourism sector.

“We recently made the tourism ministry independent, and we are in the process of developing relevant policies and a tourism master plan,” she said.

Mutagamba said although Uganda had been earmarked by the Lonely Planet, as the 2012 tourism destination, political and social challenges within the country have affected the country’s tourism potential. Last year, there was a record one billion tourists across the globe and Rifai believes that African countries can capitalise on this and their endowment to attract more tourists.

Rifai, however, cautioned on environmental protection as the primary factor for the survival and promotion of the tourism sector, and that tourism was part of the solution to the current environmental challenges. Vice President Edward Ssekandi hinted on Uganda’s tourism challenges, especially the conflict between people and wildlife resources, and the uneven distribution of incomes across the value chain.

“Tourism will only be successful with environmental conservations and if African governments proactively address the infrastructural constraints that have made the cost of establishment and doing business prohibitive,” he said.

Back to top

Nigeria: FG to Designate 100 Cities As National Monuments – Minister

Premium Times – 2 July 2013 – The Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Edem Duke, on Monday in Abuja said 100 cities across the country would be designated as national monuments.

Mr. Duke said this when he inaugurated the National Heritage Council and Endowment for the Arts. The minister, yet to name the cities, explained that the establishment of the council was geared toward nurturing creativity and preserving the country’s cultural heritage.

“The objective is to underscore the importance of the visual, literary, design, and performing arts in nurturing creativity and preserving our cultural heritage,” Mr. Duke added.

The minister urged the eleven members of the board of the council to identify and support excellence in the arts.

He pointed out that it was necessary for the council to seek alternative source of funding outside the usual annual budgetary provisions in meeting its set objectives.

Mr. Duke said the council was expected to secure the necessary resources, provide desired facilities and exercise effective control and application of the funds toward promoting arts. “The endowment for the arts is therefore being set up as a platform we intend to use to offer support and funding for projects exhibiting artistic excellence,” Mr. Duke said.

He expressed the hope that it would serve as a platform for creative minds to express their natural talents, get employment as well as create jobs.

“Nigerians are creating masterpieces in works of arts while our cultural industries are also brimming with activities,” he added.

He said the board has a three-year tenure.

The Chairman of the Board of the Council, Igho Sanomi, said the activities of the council would be private-sector driven.

Mr. Sanomi added that the council would ensure a conducive environment and guarantee healthy synergy between it and the private sector.

Back to top

East Africa: Uganda’s CAA Wins Global Award

East African Business Week – 1 July 2013 – Kampala — Global Trade Leaders recently recognized Uganda’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for a job well done among median sized airports in attracting the highest number of international airlines in 2012.

Last year saw new entrants such as Qatar Air , Turkish Airlines, Aerolink, and NAS Air make their maiden landings. Gulf Air returned after a spell of being away to resume scheduled flights between Bahrain and Entebbe International Airport.

Other airlines have either doubled their weekly flights or reverted to a daily schedule. “Their choice of Uganda was not in vain. The award is justified if you look at our traffic figures,” Ignie Igunduura, the CAA Public Relations Manager said last week.

He said in 2002, the Authority with consultation from LPA Group, an aviation consulting firm, drafted a 20 year master plan with traffic projections which they have managed to beat.

“We are in 2013, but we have hit passenger volumes projections for 2019. This means we are six years ahead,” Igunduura said.

The Madrid-based Global Trade Leaders´ Club is an association of leading businesses, which gathers more than 7500 members from 95 different countries, all working in the sectors of production and services.

The main aim of this association is to promote trade exchanges and human relationships amongst businessmen from all over the world

The new flights arriving at Entebbe airport saw international passenger traffic grow at an average annual rate of 10% during the period of 2010 to 2012.

In the same year an estimated 1,238,546 passengers entered and exited through Uganda with this number expected to rise to 1,331,426 by the end of 2013 surpassing the 757,223 projected for 2012.

This growth was due to Uganda’s strategic positioning as a top tourist destination as well as the positive image and impact CHOGM 2007 created of the airport and the country.

The discovery of oil in the country also made Uganda an attractive investment destination resulting in increased international traffic in flows.

The global trade leaders club consisting of 7000 business individual members from 95 countries who every year carry out research on performing entities in areas of construction and transport awarded CAA with an international transport award.

Through research, members are asked to name companies in areas of transport and construction that deserve to be specially recognized for performing above expectations.

Igunduura said the Club members were looking for a company that attracted and interested investment in the two sectors.

Back to top

Africa: Uganda to Host Airports Meeting

East African Business Week – 1 July 2013 – Kampala — The Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and Entebbe International Airport are hosting the 8th Routes Africa in Kampala.

This annual high profile event involves several hundred individuals in the aviation industry coming together to network on air service development across Africa. Routes Africa has been described as the ‘only network planning forum for all of Africa and the event where the real business takes place’.

Uganda’s tourism minister, Maria Mutagamba and Kenya Airways CEO, Titus Naikuni will give the keynote speeches. As is custom, this year CAA and Entebbe International Airport in particular, will have an added advantage to market themselves by virtue of being hosts.

Routes Africa usually opens with a strategy forum on July 7. This is when leading experts brainstorm topical issues in the industry as it pertains to Africa.

Then there are meetings when airline, airport and tourism officials from Africa and beyond, meet privately to discuss new market opportunities and existing services at pre-scheduled face-to-face meetings. It was last held in the Seychelles.

Referring to the event, Seychelles minister of tourism, Alain St. Ange said: “Seychelles was proud to host Routes Africa and to have the opportunity to facilitate networking between the major players of the airline industry at his prestigious forum. Routes Africa provides an invaluable medium for advancing the interests of the African aviation industry and for cultivating the networks necessary for the industry to flourish.”

Nigel Mayes, Vice President Commercial, Routes, UBM Live, said, “We have a number of highly respected speakers confirmed for the Routes Africa Strategy Summit which will provide an impactful opening to the event.

The seniority level of these delegates is impressive and goes to show that Routes Africa is the leading event for real decision-makers from the African aviation industry.

The event has immense potential for growth and we are looking forward to Routes Africa in Uganda.”

The event ends on July 9 and is expected to attract over 30 airlines from across the region and beyond. Delegates from South African Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airways, Egyptair, Etihad Airways, Nasair, Mango, Rwandair, United Airlines, Brussels Airlines and Vueling have confirmed their attendance at the event.

A panel of leading industry experts will then take part in moderator-led discussions and presentations addressing aviation and route development issues across the region.

The discussions will delve on topics like New Carriers for New Africa – The Rise of LCCs (low cost carriers), driving tourism in Africa, public, private partnerships for airport management and development.

Back to top

Turkmenistan develops sanatorium and health resort treatment

Centralasiaonline.com 2013-07-01 ASHGABAT – Turkmenistan’s curative spas and resorts stand ready to help ailing foreigners. Many Turkmens have already benefitted from spending time in a spa.

Agabay Khalbayev, a 56-year-old farmer from Dashoguz Oblast, said he was cured of his long-time joint pain during three weeks at the Mollakara sanatorium.

“Believe me, the pain was just whisked away,” he told Central Asia Online before going home. “All the procedures helped, particularly the curative baths and the local mud. Allah willing, I shall come back.”

Plenty of Turkmens could benefit from sanatorium treatment, Akmaral Atagylyjova, a physician and sanatorium and health-resort treatment specialist at the Ministry of Health and Medical Industry, said.

“You won’t find it in the [official] statistics, but we know that eight of 10 people over 30 suffer from some illness that could be well treated in a sanatorium or health resort,” she said, adding that recent increases in government subsidies to modernise sanatoria and to expand their patient capacity will help.

The number of beds in sanatoria has doubled since 2007, she said. Patients are experiencing improved comfort and enjoying increased services because of the greater government spending.

The places most popular with Turkmens are the Mollakara, Archman, Yylysuv, Berzengi and Farab sanatoria and also the Bayramali health resort, which caters to patients suffering from cardio-vascular and kidney diseases. Turkmen spas all lie along the Caspian coast.

Abroad, therapeutic bath spas like Mollakara can be found only along the Dead Sea and Black Sea shores, Atagylyjova said.

“Mollakara, Archman and the other Turkmen health resorts are an inexhaustible resource,” she said. “They can admit thousands of foreigners and … can earn foreign currency for the treasury.”

As a first step, the government should advertise Turkmen spas and resorts internationally, she suggested.

Combining Turkmenistan’s rich recreational resources with its new resort infrastructure will enable Turkmen doctors to contribute greatly to the treatment of cardio-vascular and nervous system, gastro-intestinal tract, urinary tract, kidney, skeleto-muscular system and skin diseases, specialists at the Health and Medical Industry say.

Past generations of Turkmens had to wait until summer to treat themselves, Khalbayev said, recalling how they would immerse themselves in salt-water lakes, take mud baths or bury themselves in hot sand.

“Now we can obtain treatment year round, under the observation of medical specialists, in comfortable conditions and in combination with other treatments,” he said.

The country has dozens of unique places with energising fresh air, unique micro-climates, salt waters and healing muds, which help patients restore and maintain good health, according to data from state-owned Turkmengeologiya.

One complaint from ordinary citizens, though, is that the cost is out of reach. If prices were lower, Mollakara and other Turkmen resorts would have more visitors than they could handle, Khalbayev said.

“There are many sick people, but not all of them can afford the sanatoria. People from the countryside don’t earn very much growing wheat,” he said. The whole trip cost him about 1,000 TMT (US $350), he added.

Back to top

London to host World Islamic Economic Forum in October

London, Saturday, 27 Shaaban 1434/ 06 July 2013 (IINA) – London will host the ninth World Islamic Economic Forum in October, organizers have announced, the first time that the event will be held outside of a Muslim country, as the British capital looks to become a global hub for Shariah finance.

More than 1,500 delegates, including government and business leaders, as well as scholars, will descend on London for the three-day event which sets out to boost trade partnerships between Islamic and European markets. “Hosting this prestigious conference… presents huge opportunities to promote London as a world beating business hub, highlighting our status as a major center of Islamic finance and as a compelling destination for foreign investors,” Mayor of London Boris Johnson said in comments posted on the event’s website. Britain has the largest Islamic banking sector outside the Middle East and Asia, the website said.

The World Islamic Economic Forum is organized by the Kuala Lumpur-based WIEF Foundation — a not-for-profit organization. The objective of the WIEF is to facilitate business amongst the Muslim World, promoting and encouraging profits that would eventually flow down to the much neglected peoples. Previous forums have been held in Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Malaysia and Pakistan.

The ninth edition will be held at London’s Excel Center between Oct. 29 and 31.

Back to top

Half a million faithful offer Friday prayer at Haram Mosque

Makkah, Saturday, 27 Shaaban 1434/ 06 July 2013 (IINA) – About half a million worshipers performed the last Friday prayer of the month of Sha’aban before Ramadan at the Haram Mosque in Makkah.

The number of worshipers and Umrah performers on Friday was larger than the previous weeks. They covered nearly 80 percent of the area of the holy mosque. There are estimates that the first Friday in Ramadan will witness a 10 to 15 percent rise in the number of worshipers and Umrah performers.

All the government agencies mobilized their potentials to provide the best services to that the Guests of Allah.

The Director of Makkah Police Maj. Gen. Assaf Al-Qurashi said there were no security or traffic accidents. He said the security plan started on Thursday with the participation of over 6000 policemen. Security men were deployed in the Central Area to maintain security and organize pedestrians. Police detectives were also deployed to combat pick-pocketing.

Back to top

Indonesia Organises Largest Angklung Ensemble in China

Beijing, June 30 (People’s Daily Online) – The largest angklung ensemble consisted of 5,393 participants breaking the world record is organized by the Embassy of Indonesia in Beijing, at the worker’s gymnastic in Beijing, China.

Participants played “We are the world” and Chinese song “The Moon is my witness” during the attempt, which lasted over 10 minutes. Each instrument produces only one note, and so each participant would shake his or her instrument at a given hand signal by the conductor.

Angklung, listed by the UNESCO as an Indonesian musical instrument, has drawn the attention of many people in the world and became one of the country’s cultural icons. The Embassy of Indonesia in Beijing in cooperation with the Indonesia-China Friendship Association and supported by the Embassy of China in Jakarta, breaks the world record for the largest Angklung ensemble.

Imron Cotan, Indonesian Ambassador to China believes the event is a great people-to-people contact and cultural interactions between between China and Indonesia.

Back to top

Indonesia Int’l Motor Show (IIMS) to Promote ‘Smart’ Strategies

Jakarta, July 2, 2013 – (ACN Newswire) – Gaikindo (The Association of Indonesia Automotive Industry) is busy firming preparations for the Indonesia International Motor Show (IIMS) 2013, to be held for 11 days from 19 – 29 September, with a theme of “Smart Vehicle Mobility”. Collaborating with organizer Dyandra Promosindo, the Committee is engaged in carrying out a number of improvements for a better and more dynamic exhibition this year.

“IIMS is the benchmark for the country’s automotive industry. Therefore, Gaikindo hopes the exhibition can be organized to show the world how advanced our automotive industry is,” said Sudirman MR, Chairman of Gaikindo during the first IIMS press conference (25/04) in Jakarta.

“The opening of several sole agents’ (APM) new plants, such as Nissan, Honda, and Daihatsu, also serves as a positive indicator in the development of the industry in Indonesia. We hope these positive events will be reflected in this year’s IIMS,” said Sudirman.

Enthusiasm for IIMS 2013 has intensified through the public’s positive response to the affordable and environmentally friendly vehicles program, or the Low Cost and Green Car (LCGC) program, being featured under the theme “Smart Vehicle Mobility” this year.

The thirst to bring a more impressive IIMS 2013 gains full support from the APMs who are participating. A total of 37 APMs will join the exhibition, consisting of 28 brands of passenger cars including Audi, BMW, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Daihatsu, Datsun, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar, Jeep, KIA, Landrover, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mini, Mitsubishi Motors, Nissan, Peugeot, Proton, Renault, Smart, Subaru, Suzuki, Tata Motors, Toyota, and VW. 9 commercial vehicle brands will join this year’s IIMS, including Dyna, FAW, Foton, Fuso, Hino, Isuzu, MAN Trucks, Tata Motors, and UD Trucks.

“Support for organizing the IIMS is not only coming from APM companies who are members of Gaikindo, but from support industries as well,” said Johnny Darmawan, Chairman of the Committee of IIMS 2013, encouraging the Committee to accommodate demand by increasing the width of the semi-permanent area, for example.

This year’s IIMS will maximize the use of the exhibition area by occupying 75% of JIExpo land, equal to 75,101 square meters, more than 10,000 of which will be used for a semi-permanent area, bringing an addition of two areas. In total, there will be 5 semi-permanent halls for the support industries in this year’s exhibition.

This year’s theme “Smart Vehicle Mobility” proves the country’s automotive consistency in demonstrating its concern and playing an active role in promoting the spirit of energy efficiency in Indonesia. Smart Vehicle Mobility is the introduction of a transportation system that has efficiency standards, reduces fuel intake and lessens excessive emission. Through energy efficient and clean energy technology, Indonesia will be able to build mobility systems of the future.

Through the theme, the automotive industry wants to drive the development of smart mobility behavior that not only considers visual comfort and economic affordability but also presents reliable energy efficient technologies that are able to significantly reduce emissions.

The government and the automotive industry are introducing a number of programs; one of them is the Low Cost Green Car (LCGC) program. Gaining full support from automotive brands and major players of the country’s automotive industry, the program’s objective is to drive the development of vehicles with fuel efficient technology, while remaining affordable for the Indonesian public. The LCGC program with its efficient, clean, and environmentally friendly technology and affordable prices is the perfect illustration of “Smart Vehicle Mobility” as presented by IIMS 2013.

The increasing width of the exhibition area and the growing public enthusiasm to come to the exhibition has lead the committee to prioritize visitor comfort while they are in the exhibition area. This year, the committee provided 6 entrance gates so that visitors can have shorter access to the exhibition area. And to provide more comfort for visitors wanting to explore the semi-permanent areas, the committee arranged 9 entrance/exit gates with 8 connecting doors that connect one semi-permanent hall to the others.

The committee has also prepared a number of support facilities for visitors such as free shuttle busses and extended parking lots, and a medic room, nursery room, ATM Center at the Trade Center Building, charging corner, smoking area and Press Room that is set up for journalists registered on the IIMS 2013 media list. For visitors that come with their family, the committee has prepared a special room, The Kids Corner, and also a stroller rental facility all of which can be enjoyed for free.

The committee is targeting that in the 11 days of the exhibition it will attract 380 thousand visitors. To enliven the show, IIMS has prepared a number of supporting agendas with educational contents for visitors such as The 8th Indonesia International Automotive Conference, a challenging program of Test Drive and Stunt Show, as well as its routine programs such as Miss Motor Show 2013, Favorite Car Competition by visitors, Favorite Stand Competition by visitors, and The Ultimate Car Collection.

The latest program prepared by the committee to rush the adrenaline is the Gymkana Race War, a motorsport that demand the driver’s highest concentration to control the maneuvers in a complex track while driving the car in high speed. The program will demonstrate the driver’s supreme skill in reversing, spinning 180 and 360 degree, parking box, the 8 figure, and other complicated skills.

The 21st Indonesia International Motor Show (IIMS), which will be held at 19-29 September 2013, covers a total gross area of 75,000 sqm. IIMS 2013 is bigger than any other automotive exhibition in Asia Pacific, with 35 automotive brand names, and more than 275 support industries. With “Smart Vehicle Mobility” as its theme, IIMS 2013 is expected to reach a target of 380,000 visitors.

GAIKINDO (The Association of Indonesia Automotive Industry) has been hosting the automobile exhibition in Indonesia for more than 20 years. Starting in 1986, the exhibition has gone through several changes and evolved into the Indonesia International Motor Show, endorsed by OICA (Organisation Internationale des Constructeurs d’Automobiles) in 2006. For more information, please see www.indonesianmotorshow.com.

Back to top

Pakistan provides over 9.3 Million grant for handlooms

29 June 2013 (Colombo-Lankapuvath) The Government of Pakistan through its High Commission in Sri Lanka is collaborating with the Government of Sri Lanka to revive the handloom sector in Mirigama district of Sri Lanka, aimed at strengthening this cottage industry and providing self-employment to the people of the area.

The cooperation envisages training of 75 individuals, providing them with handlooms, hand winders, accessories and raw material. In addition to the direct beneficiaries, hundreds of people will gain indirect employment from the cottage industry.

In this regard, the High Commissioner of Pakistan, Major General (R) Qasim Qureshi met Hon. Basil Rajapaksa, Minister of Economic Development yesterday, to present the instrument for US $ 72,000 grant. During the meeting, the High Commissioner informed Honourable Minister about the focus of Pakistan’s new government on deepening economic and commercial cooperation, especially with the regional countries. He reiterated Pakistan’s commitment towards further strengthening friendly bilateral ties with Sri Lanka.

Pakistan has a strong, thriving and vibrant textile sector, with cotton production and entire value addition chain, including production of yarn, fabric, dyeing and printing, knitwear, and apparel. Textiles are the largest manufacturing sector in Pakistan’s economy and accounts for US $ 12.6 billion annual exports. Along with established large-scale mechanized industrial textile units, Pakistan has also developed its handloom industry, which is providing employment to thousands of families. Brand names like Khaadi and Bunnat have secured international recognition due to excellent quality, creative designs, eco-friendly production, and aesthetic appeal.

Pakistan is ready to extend its technical expertise in the handloom cottage industry to Sri Lanka through imparting training and capacity building programmes.

Back to top

MASwings in code-share arrangement with Royal Brunei

Insight Sabah 6/27/2013 – MASwings, a regional airline for Sabah, Sarawak and the BIMP EAGA region signed a code sharing agreement with the Royal Brunei Airlines (RB) at the Magellan Sutera Harbour, yesterday.

This is the first code share for MASwings covering flights to three cities, Kota Kinabalu, Brunei and Sarawak.

Datuk Masidi Manjun, Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister who was there to witness the agreement said that the smart partnership between MASwings and Royal Brunei airlines is significant and will lead to better service.

“We need to work together so that we can go beyond our potential. There may be a little less profit, but the volume will grow and in the process will lead to profitability,” he said.

Masidi pointed out that Asia is one of the fastest growing areas in the world today and the world tourism council estimated that 2/3 of the profits in the airline business come from the Asia pacific region.

“Currently, the airline industry players are tending towards collaboration. In the past we talked about ‘the winner takes all; now the stress is ‘winners take all’. We should all be winners. I think we need to work as a team and look beyond our own border to explore the business potential in other parts of this region.”

MASwings Chief Executive Officer, Datuk Captain Mohd Nawawi said the smart partnership is yet another important step in the airline’s effort to provide better service to the travelling public.

He said under the agreement, MASwings will add its ‘MH’ code to Royal Brunei operated flights between Kota Kinabalu and Bandar Seri Bagawan. On a reciprocal basis, Royal Brunei will likewise add its ‘BI’ code to MASwings operated flights to Bandar Seri Bangawan from Kuching operating four times weekly.

He said the signing of the code-share agreement will lead to better reach and larger network.

“Such partnership, I believe will bring about more benefits to the region in promoting the tourism industry. Looking at the current challenges in the airline industry, partnership and mergers seem to be the trend among the players of this industry,” he said.

Captain Nawawi expressed confidence that Royal Brunei’s current 15 times weekly service will provide sufficient capacity between Sabah and Brunei to meet existing and future demand from customers.

Karam Chand, Chief Commercial and Planning Officer Royal Brunei Airlines said that the code sharing partnership is one of the key commercial strategies to expand the airline’ network to provide more choice to their customers.

Karam announced that Royal Brunei Airlines will receive its new B787 Dreamliners aircraft at the end of September this year.

“As part of an introduction phase to boost the capacity, we will be the first airline in the region to fly this modern aircraft, starting with regional destinations and Kota Kinabalu, which is one of the first markets for this new aircraft,” he said.

The code-share between MASwings and Royal Brunei follows the current code-share between Malaysia Airlines and Royal Brunei that has been in place since 2004.

Back to top

Etihad organises financial roadshow for Australian bankers

6/27/2013 – Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has hosted its latest financial roadshow for Australian bankers in Sydney, following editions held earlier this year in London and New York.

Attracting 70 bankers from many of the world’s largest financial institutions, the roadshow offered an ideal opportunity to deepen the strong ties between the Abu Dhabi-based airline and Australia’s financial community.

The Etihad Airways delegation was led by James Hogan, President and Chief Executive Officer, and included James Rigney, Chief Financial Officer, and Ricky Thirion, Vice President and Group Treasurer.

The delegation briefed bankers on the airline’s achievements in 2012 and outlined its strategy to achieve consistent, sustainable profitability, as well as updating them on the expansion of Etihad Airways’ equity alliance.

Mr Hogan said “Etihad Airways continues to expand its flight network, fleet of aircraft, and passengers carried, and the banking community around the world, and in Australia, play a key role in helping ensure this successful growth is maintained.

“The banking institutions view Etihad Airways as a financially sound company with a strong track record in safety and we are always eager to spend time with them to communicate the latest developments at the airline.”

In 2012, Etihad Airways earned total revenues of US$4.8 billion and had a net profit of US$42 million and this strong financial portfolio, built up during the previous six years, has allowed it to gain more than US$7.1 billion in funding from more than 60 financial institutions.

In addition to gaining the finance required for new aircraft and engines, Etihad Airways closely manages major financial market risks such as fuel, FX, interest rates and emissions. This has enhanced the airline’s reputation for successful fiscal discipline and cost control.

Mr Hogan and his team discussed Etihad Airways renowned hedging strategy with the bankers in Sydney. The airline’s jet fuel is hedged at 81 per cent for the remainder of 2013, 62 per cent for 2014, 33 per cent for 2015, and nine per cent for 2016.

During the past 12 months Etihad Airways has continued to expand its three pillared strategy of organic growth, codeshare and interline partnerships, and equity alliance of minority stakes in other airlines.

The most recent to join the equity alliance of airberlin, Aer Lingus, Air Seychelles, and Virgin Australia is the Indian carrier, Jet Airways. Subject to Indian government approval, Etihad Airways will invest US$379 million for a 24 per cent stake in Jet Airways.

Following the Jet Airways announcement on 24 April 2013, Etihad Airways agreed an initial memorandum of understanding with the Government of Serbia to explore equity opportunities in its national carrier, JatAirways.

During the last 12 months Etihad Airways has also taken the first step in creating a global loyalty management platform. This began with the integration of Seychelles Plus, the Air Seychelles frequent flyer program, into the Etihad Guest loyalty program.

In December 2012 Etihad Airways took a 70 per cent stake in topbonus, airberlin’s loyalty program, and created a new company that will eventually include the Etihad Guest program and those of other airlines.

Back to top

Emirates to Sponsor Team New Zealand For 34th America’s Cup

DUBAI, 3rd July 2013: Emirates, one of the world’s fastest growing airlines, will sail the San Francisco Bay this summer as title sponsor of Emirates Team New Zealand during the 34th America’s Cup.

On July 4, 2013, Emirates Team New Zealand kick off the road to the Americas Cup with the Louis Vuitton Challengers Series official opening ceremony. Racing then commences on July 7 and continues through the America’s Cup match finals in September. Throughout the duration of the challenge, Emirates Team New Zealand fans will be able to enjoy the races from the Fan Zone at America’s Cup Village located at Pier 27/29.

Through a collaboration between Emirates Airline and the government of New Zealand, spectators will be able to climb behind the helm of a sailing simulator. The simulator will be open to the public each day of racing and allow enthusiasts to experience the thrill of manning the Emirates Team New Zealand catamaran into their choice of Auckland Harbor or the Dubai shores. Those who participate will be automatically entered to win a prize for two trip to Dubai in Business class courtesy of Emirates.

“Emirates Team New Zealand represents the very qualities that we strive to achieve as a world-class airline: team work, technical precision, and an unwavering drive for excellence,” said Orhan Abbas, Emirates Senior Vice-President Commercial Operations – Americas. “Our presence as title sponsor of Emirates Team New Zealand also underscores our mission of connecting people. Sport, of all sorts, has the ability to bring together people from every corner of the world and unite them in a shared experience. With 134 destinations in 77 countries, Emirates also connects people from around the world, bringing them together for important moments, be it a holiday, a birth, visiting family and friends, closing a deal, or watching a monumental sporting event such as the America’s Cup.”

The 34th America’s Cup will be raced with 72 foot catamarans – different from those used at Valencia in 2007. The massive, high-speed catamaran known as an AC 72 (America’s Cup 72-footer (22 metres)) features a 40-metre high wing-sail featuring similar materials to those used in today’s most modern aircraft; the upright wing on the AC 72 is actually longer than a single span of an Emirates A380 superjumbo wing. More than 30 designers, engineers and staff were engaged to create the Emirates Team New Zealand catamaran; bringing specialist multihull knowledge and skills to create the Emirates Team New Zealand catamaran.

“Emirates’ support of Emirates Team New Zealand has been an instrumental factor in the crew’s preparation for the America’s Cup and will certainly play a major part in our success throughout the competition,” stated Grant Dalton, Managing Director of Emirates Team New Zealand. “Very few sponsors understand the precision required to command optimum performance from our vessels, but Emirates does. By nature of their stature as one of the world’s leading airlines, they understand how important it is for craft and crew to come together as one seamless unit.”

Emirates sponsorship of Emirates Team New Zealand dates back to 2004, and was renewed in 2011 in preparation for the 2013 America’s Cup. In addition, Emirates has been the Official Airline of the San Francisco Symphony since 2011 and on June 4, 2013, Emirates Airline announced it would be the Founding Sponsor of the New York Cosmos which will begin their first season since 1985 in August, 2013.

Emirates currently serves six destination in the U.S. in addition to San Francisco – Los Angeles, Seattle, Dallas, Houston, Washington Dulles and New York JFK. The airline has recently announced that the flagship A380 aircraft will begin serving Los Angeles on December 2nd, 2013, and on October 1st, 2013, Emirates will inaugurate a new trans-Atlantic route from New York to Milan, Italy; providing the only First Class Service between the two cities.

Back to top

How Emirates Will Keep Junior Passengers Entertained This Summer

DUBAI, UAE- 4th July 2013 Emirates, one of the world’s fastest growing airlines, has plenty to keep its younger travellers happy whilst they travel this summer. From its inflight entertainment system ice, recently awarded best inflight entertainment for the ninth consecutive year by Skytrax to menus to toys there is plenty to keep youngsters and subsequently their parents happy.

Just in time for the summer holidays, this July and August the airline has a great kids line up on award-winning inflight entertainment system ice Digital Widescreen. The variety of movies, cartoons, games and music is second to none and is guaranteed to keep children entertained throughout their flight. Highlights include:

10+ Children’s Movies in New Release Movies, including: The Croods, Epic, Horrid Henry: The Movie, Jack the Giant Slayer, Escape from Planet Earth, Oz: The Great and the Powerful and A Monster in Paris.

40 Disney Classic Movies, including: 101 Dalmatians, Alice in Wonderland, Cars 1 and 2, Cinderella, Dumbo, Finding Nemo, Mary Poppins, Monsters, Inc. All 4 Pirates of the Caribbean movies, Pocahontas, Ratatouille, The AristoCats, The Rescuers and all 3 Toy Story movies

30+ dedicated kids TV channels, including: CBeebies, Cartoon Network, Disney Junior and Wiggletime TV

Nearly 60 hours of TV programmes featuring well-known favourites such as: Sesame Street, Thomas & Friends, Dora the Explorer, What’s New Scooby-Doo?, Barney & Friends, Fireman Sam, Pingu ,Transformers and Tom & Jerry.

For music fans of music we have a great selection to listen to, including: One Direction, Demy Lovato, Taylor Swift, Olly Murs, Little Mix and Justin Timberlake; just a few of the hundreds of channels of music available.

Children are given their own specially designed inflight activity magazine:3,2,1 for pre-school travelers and e-kids for older children packed full of games, quizzes and stories to keep them entertained.

As part of its children’s product offering, Emirates’ has specially designed gear in bright colours; purple, green and yellow, which is applied to cutlery, tray mats, snack boxes, headset bags, as well as the toy bags. Emirates catering team designed menus for kids that appeal to Emirates’ multi-national passengers, allowing children to enjoy both variety and their favourite dishes. In addition to a wide variety of options, the menus includes Asian and vegetarian dishes and as well as special offerings such as low protein or medical meals. Special meals can be made available with 24 hours’ notice.

Young passengers are provided with a fun pack containing the new monster-themed toys. Aimed at pre-school children, the monster collection truly embodies the spirit of young globalistas with quirky names from across the globe. They come in two categories; Blanket Buddies – plush characters wrapped around soft polar fleece blankets, and Seat Belt Critters – little toys worn around a seat belt to encourage safety. Young travellers can also enjoy the existing range of children’s products including the 321/e-kids magazine, coloured pencils, branded Emirates rucksacks and cooler bags, children’s eyeshades and the popular Dr. Seuss books.

Older children can enjoy the Quiksilver collection of travel-inspired products co-designed with iconic lifestyle brand Quiksilver, on long-haul flights over five hours. August sees a dedicated Quicksilver TV channel introduced to ice Digital Widescreen, featuring amazing surfing and skating programming.

In addition, special services for children and infants are provided. They include; priority boarding for families with small children, special fares for children aged two to 11, 10kg free baggage allowance for infants not occupying a seat, special brightly-coloured child-sized headsets to ensure a snug fit, baby kits, bassinets, nappies and baby change tables. Baby bottles, milk formula and two types of jar food as well as food/bottle heating services are available. Upon arrival in Dubai, special ‘stroller’ delivery service for parents with small babies is provided, enabling them access to pushchairs immediately upon disembarking the aircraft.

With the permission of a parent/guardian our most frequent flying younger passenger can join Skysurfers, our frequent flyer programme for young travellers aged two to 16. They can collect Miles for treats like free flights, Apple iPods, games and the latest fashion accessories. They receive their own membership card, luggage tags, log book and password-protected web site at www.skysurfers.com and have even more fun when flying with Emirates thanks to extra-special treatment and club benefits. Skysurfers earn Miles at the same rate as Emirates Skywards members, and they can graduate to Silver or Gold membership just like the rest of the family.

This breadth of products and services underpins Emirates’ commitment to taking special care of its youngest passengers and providing families with a hassle-free journey to help the whole family enjoy a relaxing start to their holiday this summer.

For further information and to see the latest Emirates flight deals, please visit: www.emirates.com

Back to top

Emirates Aviation Experience declared ready for Take-Off

LONDON, U.K. – Friday 5th July 2013: London’s latest visitor attraction, the Emirates Aviation Experience, was officially opened today by Mayor of London, Boris Johnson and Tim Clark, President of Emirates Airline, ahead of its public launch on 6th July.

The Emirates Aviation Experience, which cost in excess of £4 million, will take visitors on an interactive journey into the world of flight. In a UK first, it will include four commercial flight simulators under one roof including two A380s and two 777 aircraft. Further attractions include a 3D hologram of the internal mechanisms of an aircraft, an HD video-wall and a full-size nose-cone and flight deck of an A380.

“The Emirates Aviation Experience is a celebration of flight and the industry our airline serves. It is an educational resource which opens the lid on something I still find amazing even now – how airplanes physically work, how they get off the ground and even more importantly, how they land,” said Tim Clark, President Emirates Airline.

“The Aviation Experience was born out of our experience, technology and sense of ambition and I am confident it will become a fascinating attraction for both young and old for many years to come,” added Mr. Clark.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “The Emirates Aviation Experience is a veritable Aladdin’s cave of technological wizardry and gizmos that will give people of all ages a real insight into the wonders of flying. Nestled right beside the stunning Emirates Air Line, this fantastic feat of British engineering is a great new attraction that provides yet another draw for people to come to Greenwich. It’s a great investment from Emirates that’s bound to take off and I’m delighted to join Tim today to declare it well and truly open.”

The Emirates Aviation Experience will be open to the public daily from 08:00hrs to 19:00hrs from Saturday 6th July. It is located at the Greenwich Peninsular end of the Emirates Air Line cable car. The closest underground station is North Greenwich.

“Since our first flight to London in 1987 we have grown our services to the city by a staggering 700 percent, achieved largely thanks to the support of the local London community. We are always looking for ways to show our commitment to London and we hope that this innovative new facility goes some way in demonstrating just how dedicated we are to this captivating city,” added Mr. Clark.

In addition to the ‘Flight Simulators’ zone, the Emirates Aviation Experience incorporates several other features that will take the user on a truly interactive aviation journey. Visitors will be able to look at a cross-section of a Rolls Royce Trent 800 jet engine partially built in LEGO, a virtual wind tunnel application looking at how this influences flight, a touchscreen game explaining the turnaround process of an aircraft, and a replica A380 Economy Class seating area – with a range of aviation themed videos utilising Emirates’ ice system. In addition, the Emirates Aviation Experience will also include a food and beverage outlet and retail zone.

The Emirates simulator experience will start from £47.00 for a 30 minute slot, when booked in advance online. Entrance to the Emirates Aviation Experience will be £3.00 for adults and £1.50 for children under the age of 12, making it one of the most affordable attractions in London.

Today’s launch comes as Emirates also unveils its new ‘Say hello to the wonder of flight’ advertising campaign to mark the official opening on the 6th July.

Back to top

Qatar Airways to be Title Sponsor Of FC Barcelona Asia Tour

01 Jul 2013 – Doha, QATAR – Qatar Airways has been named the official title sponsor of the FC Barcelona Asia Tour 2013 to be held in Thailand and Malaysia next month.

The exhibition games will give FC Barcelona football fans in Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur an opportunity to see the Spanish La Liga Champions, also known as Barça to their fans, in action when they take on the Thai National Football Team in Bangkok on August 7, and an all-star team of the Malaysian League’s best players in Kuala Lumpur three days later on August 10.

The club will be making their first ever appearance in Malaysia and returning to Thailand for the first time since 2002. The matches, to be held in Bangkok’s Rajamangala National Stadium and Kuala Lumpur’s Bukit Jalil National Stadium, are expected to reach capacity at 50,000 and 100,000 spectators, respectively.

To help bring Qatar Airways’ 1.2 million Facebook fans closer to the “Blaugrana”, the airline has launched a contest giving a few lucky fans the chance to win a trip of a lifetime to watch the best footballers in the world in action. Facebook fans can sign up for a chance to win great prizes, from signed T-shirts to VIP tickets to one of the games, to an invitation to meet two players during a private autograph session.

The contest runs until July 31st. Fans can find more information on Qatar Airways’ Facebook page at www.facebook.com/qatarairways

With over 43 million fans worldwide, FC Barcelona is the most liked team, of any sport, on Facebook, with the majority of their fans based in Southeast Asia.

Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said it was only natural that the airline supported its new partner in a region that has such a large fan base for both organisations.

“Qatar Airways and FC Barcelona both have a large and loyal fan base in Southeast Asia,” said Al Baker. “We have been flying to the region for over 12 years, and are continuing to expand at a rapid rate. We are pleased to work with our new sports partner FC Barcelona, to take the tour to a region with the most Barça fans in the world.

“There is no doubt in my mind that the friendly matches will be a pure adrenaline rush for every fan who has dreamt of watching FCB in action on the pitch. This is just a taste of what is to come as we move forward over the next three years with our partnership with FC Barcelona,” added Al Baker.

“Fans of both Qatar Airways and FCB can expect to see passion and pride as we strive to be the best at what we do, both as individual organisations and as partners. We are excited to be part of the FC Barcelona family, and to welcome them into ours.”

Sandro Rosell, President of FC Barcelona said: “We are pleased that the Club is returning to Asia this summer with Qatar Airways, our travelling companion from July 1. We very much look forward to seeing our Thai friends again and returning to their country for the first time in more than 10 years.

“This tour will also enable us to visit Malaysia for the first time, where we know we have a lot of dedicated supporters. We want to feel close to them, especially the children, and for them to enjoy the team and our players, and get to know our club better, a club unlike any other in the world, and also our country. We thank Qatar Airways for the chance to visit these fans that have dreamed for long to see our players live.”

Qatar Airways’ network in Southeast Asia has grown significantly over the years, and now includes four flights daily to and from Bangkok, and three flights daily to and from Kuala Lumpur in addition to routes in China, Philippines, Indonesia, Cambodia, Myanmar, Singapore and Vietnam.

The airline will launch new routes to Chengdu in China and Clark International Airport in the Philippines later this year. The current routes connect passengers with Qatar’s capital city of Doha to scores of destinations across the Middle East, Africa, Europe and the Americas.

Qatar Airways has seen rapid growth in just 16 years of operations, currently flying a modern fleet of 125 aircraft to 128 key business and leisure destinations worldwide.

Qatar Airways has so far launched six destinations this year – Gassim (Saudi Arabia), Najaf (Iraq), Phnom Penh (Cambodia), Chicago (USA), Salalah (Oman) and Basra (Iraq).

Over the next few months, the network will expand with the addition of further destinations – Sulaymaniyah, Iraq (August 20), Chengdu, China (September 3), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (September 18), Clark International Airport, Philippines (October 27) and Philadelphia, USA (2 April 2014).

Back to top

Qatar Airways To Join World’s Most Famous Department Store

03 Jul 2013, London – Qatar Airways will officially open its flagship high-street ticket office in one of the world’s most exclusive shopping destinations – the iconic British department store, Harrods in Knightsbridge. The luxury airline’s new central London location will open for business this evening offering personalised booking service for discerning travellers to visit over 128 destinations across six continents.

Located on the Lower Ground floor, next door to Harrods Bank, the Qatar Airways concession is among one of the largest and most prestigious collections of luxury brands in the world.

The new Qatar Airways concession is truly a local store for many travellers whatever their needs, whether it’s to book an unforgettable honeymoon or explore interesting off-the-beaten track destinations including new routes to Kilimanjaro, Perth, Phnom Penh, Chengdu and Salalah. For Qatar Airways customers travelling to London on one of its five daily flights, the convenient Knightsbridge location provides Five-Star personalised service to meet most travel needs.

“London is one of our most important gateways,” said Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker. “We are opening our ticket office in central London at Harrods as it is a place that not only reflects the high level of service we offer, but is where our most discerning customers can be found. Harrods customers can now experience our unrivalled 5 star service in-store and onboard.”

Qatar Airways is an industry innovator that has made headlines in the UK as the first to introduce the Boeing 787 Dreamliner with scheduled flights from London Heathrow.

“Our rapidly growing network is constantly adding new and exotic destinations – six this year already,” said Qatar Airways Chief Commercial Officer, Marwan Koleilat. “And our award-winning onboard-services and Premium Lounge at Heathrow keep getting better as confirmed by the recent Skytrax 2013 awards for World’s Best Business Class and World’s Best Business Class Lounge we received at this year’s Paris Air Show.”

“In our Premium Class you can have a meal created by a Michelin-starred chef, before dozing off in a sleeper suit on a flatbed covered by Frette linens. In Economy Class, passengers can choose from more than 1,000 films, television shows, audio programmes and games on one of the most advanced in-flight entertainment system in the sky.

Qatar Airways has seen rapid growth in just 16 years of operations, currently flying a modern fleet of 126 aircraft to 128 key business and leisure destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and The Americas.

Qatar Airways has so far launched six destinations this year – Gassim (Saudi Arabia), Najaf (Iraq), Phnom Penh (Cambodia), Chicago (USA), Salalah (Oman) and Basra (Iraq). Over the next few months, the network will expand with the addition of further destinations – Sulaymaniyah, Iraq (August 20), Chengdu, China (September 3), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (September 18), Clark International Airport, Philippines (October 27) and Philadelphia, USA (2 April 2014).

Back to top

Saudi’s Summer 2013 plan for international flights

Saudia started implementing its 2013 summer plan for international flights on June 5. The plan aims at strengthening its position in the global aviation industry and capturing a fair share of the market. It has increased the number of flights operating to destinations that send the largest numbers of passengers. Last summer (2012) Saudia carried 5.8 million passengers, 13 percent higher than the figure of 2011 summer season.

This was disclosed by Mr. Faisal bin Ghazi Kayyal, VP for Planning and Revenue Management. He said the restructuring of international flights had helped Saudia attract a large number of passengers during the past years as it started operating direct flights to major destinations while separating its flights from Jeddah and Riyadh. “We have also intensified our flights to major international destinations. This has contributed to increasing our market share,” said Mr. Kayyal.

This year’s summer plan includes operation of 1,022 flights weekly, offering 252,000 seats, 10,000 seats or 4 percent more than the seats that were made available in the summer of 2012. “We’ll operate 190 flights weekly to Egypt, offering 46,000 seats and 176 flights to the United Arab Emirates with 34,000 seats,” the VP said. As per the plan, the Africa region will get 262 flights weekly with a total of 70,000 seats, with Egypt occupying the large number of flights.

The plan earmarks 332 weekly flights to the Middle East and Gulf region, offering a total of 57,000 seats with Dubai receiving the lion’s share of 148 weekly flights.

“We’ll operate the recently obtained Boeing 777-300ER aircraft to London this summer,” Mr. Kayyal said while highlighting the aircraft’s state-of-the-art facilities. Saudia will operate 144 weekly flights to Europe offering more than 27,000 seats with London and Istanbul receiving 28 flights each with nearly 8,000 seats.

“We have also increased our flights to the America region as many Saudi families intend to spend their vacation with their children who study in US universities on King Abdullah Foreign Scholarship Program,” Mr. Kayyal said, adding that Saudia would operate 28 flights weekly to Washington and New York, offering 8,000 seats. He disclosed plans to operate Saudia flights to Toronto in October 2013 and to Los Angeles in the summer of 2014.

Speaking about summer plan for the Asia region, Mr. Kayyal said: “We have allocated 258 weekly flights with 91,000 seats to the region including 92 flights to India and 62 to Pakistan.” The Malaysian city of Kuala Lumpur, which attracts a large number of Saudi tourists, will get the highest number of 24 flights weekly with 10,000 seats, followed by Manila 22 flights with 8,000 seats and Jakarta 16 flights with 7,000 seats.

Back to top

SkyTeam a launch-pad for Saudia to become a five-star airline

Saudia’s joining of SkyTeam will help the national carrier achieve the status of a five-star airline by improving its various services to win customer satisfaction, said Mr. Abdulmohsen Jonaid, VP Passenger Sales. He also spoke about the possibility using SkyTeam products to support Haj and Umrah operations.

Speaking on the sidelines of a SkyTeam awareness program in Jeddah, Jonaid said the event on the first anniversary of Saudia joining SkyTeam, was organized to make sure the airline’s optimum readiness to fulfill the conditions of the global alliance and market its products on a large scale.

“It was the sales staff who came up with this idea to reap maximum benefits from SkyTeam,” said Mr. Jonaid, adding that senior SkyTeam officials presented various products and answered questions of staff members. “We wanted to create awareness about SkyTeam in the minds and hearts of our sales people.”

The vice president emphasized the importance of SkyTeam, saying it would enhance the international reputation of Saudi Arabia as well as the national carrier. “SkyTeam is now the issue of a nation. The membership is a recognition for Saudi Arabia as a civilized nation that can live up to the alliance’s expectations. It is also a recognition for Saudia being a world-class airline.”

Mr. Jonaid referred to the various measures taken by Saudia to join the alliance including renovation of the IT infrastructure, training of manpower and modernization of domestic and international fleets. “We have made immense progress in different areas,” he said, adding that joining the SkyTeam was the most important decision taken by the airline to strengthen its global position.

SkyTeam products are multicultural and multinational. “Our strategy is to properly understand and promote these products, making sure it is available online, the staff at call centers can sell them and the staff at sales and ticketing offices are aware of them.”

Speaking about SkyTeam’s global meeting product, the VP said it could be utilized for Haj operation, the Janadriyah Heritage and Culture Festival in Riyadh and international economic forums held in Jeddah, Riyadh and Jazan. “If we talk to other member airlines on participating in the Haj operation, it will really facilitate transportation of pilgrims during this peak season. It will also make the other world understand Islam and remove their misunderstandings about our religion. People can see the benefits of Haj as mentioned by Allah in the Holy Qur’an,” the VP said. “We should have a total plan for how to make use of this SkyTeam product for Haj.”

At present many regional and international airlines are involved in the Haj operation. “I believe SkyTeam can play a big role in this operation. It will add value to Saudia and other alliance members. The demand of passengers during the Haj season is beyond what Saudia can handle alone,” he said. Ramadan Umrah is another possibility, he pointed out.

During the conference at Jeddah Hilton Hotel, there were presentations on SkyTeam priorities, Round the World booking engine and global meeting self booking tool. The meeting urged sales personnel to make use of Alfursan program to create thousands of elite customers. SkyTeam is an opportunity to be made use of by Saudia in this competitive environment, one delegate said. It adds value for the customers as well as the member airlines by doing business together, another added.

Saudia has proudly taken its place in the SkyTeam global airlines alliance. SkyTeam offers an extensive global network with over 14,793 flights to more than 1024 destinations in 187 countries.

Back to top

Saudia to Operate Nonstop flights to Madrid

Saudia (SV) will start operating non-stop flights between the Kingdom and Madrid on October 29, said Mr. Abdulrazaq Al-Bahar, SV Manager, France, Spain and Portugal. “The flights will be three days a week on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays,” using A-320 aircraft with a capacity of 20 Business Class seats and 96 Guest Class seats for the service.

At present Saudia operates four flights from Madrid to Saudi Arabia via Milan; two to Jeddah (on Tuesdays and Fridays) and two to Riyadh (on Wednesdays and Saturdays). “But this will change from 29th October 2013 to three frequencies but direct operation with no stopover in the Italian city of Milan,” the manager said.

Saudia transported 5,070 passengers from Madrid to Saudi Arabia in 2012 while total passengers carried until June 25, 2013 reached 4,349, Mr. Al-Bahar said. Saudia started operations to Spain in 1981 with two daily flights between Madrid and Jeddah. In March 2007, it launched a new route, Riyadh-Jeddah-Milan-Madrid, and it continues this service until today.

Back to top

Turkish Airlines network continues to expand

25.06.2013 – With its unique geographical position astride ancient trade routes that connect Europe, the Middle East, North and East Africa, Turkish Airlines continues to bridge the globe by again expanding its network. Yet another country, Luxembourg–number 103, joins the network as Turkish Airlines’ 234th destination. Roundtrip flights between Istanbul and Luxembourg operate 4 times per week on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

Introductory round trip fares are available from Istanbul to Luxembourg starting from 99 Euros (including taxes and fees). Additionally, for the first 6 months of operation to our new destinations, there is a special offer for our Miles&Smiles members, with a 25% reduction in the miles needed to redeem either award tickets or upgrades.

Luxembourg is a small landlocked state in Western Europe and is a Grand-Duchy, a form of government that dates from ancient times. Having a highly developed economy and strategic importance, the country’s place in history goes back to the Roman era. In the recent decades it has become a major financial center.

Its capital, Luxembourg, is the only city which has twice held the title, “European Capital of Culture”, first in 1995 and again in 2007. With its old and well-preserved castles it is also on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Having some internationally known artists, such as the painters Théo Kerg, Joseph Kutter and Michel Majerus, and also photographer Edward Steichen, the capital city is home to many museums.

To view the flight schedules, please visit www.thy.com, contact our call center at +90 212 444 0849 or visit any TK sales office.

Back to top

Great Bargains at Malaysia Airlines Nationwide Promo

Subang, 1 July 2013: More than four million seats are up for grabs at discounts of up to 70% off the prevailing market fares in Malaysia Airlines’ Nationwide sales promo. The promotion ends on 15 July 2013 and is for immediate travel until 31 March 2014.

Malaysia Airlines Regional Senior Vice President Malaysia, Muzammil Mohamad said, “We expect overwhelming response from our customers who knows a good bargain when they see one. The travel period for this campaign will be stretched to 9 months; until 31 March next year (except for certain blackout periods) to enable our customers to take advantage of the offers now, and travel later in the year to our domestic and international destinations.”

“This sales initiative is also part of our on-going commitment to support our travel trade partners’ initiatives, as our campaign will run concurrently across several physical travel fairs organized by the travel agents’ associations this month,” said Muzammil.

The low fares include those to Malaysia Airlines’ latest destination, Dubai, as well as on the South Asian destinations of New Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad. Attractive fares are also offered to the Orient and favourite destinations like London, Paris and Melbourne with more than 50 oneworld alliance destinations including New York, Chicago and Houston.

Special irresistible fares are being offered for travel during the holy month of Ramadhan – from as low as RM100 for Kuala Lumpur – Terengganu, Kuala Lumpur – Alor Setar and Kuala Lumpur – Langkawi return all-inclusive.

The Ramadhan fares are applicable for departures from Kuala Lumpur to domestic, ASEAN and Orient routes and for travel between 10 until 31 July 2013 on Economy Class only.

Those looking for international travels, return airfares from Kuala Lumpur – Dubai start from as low as RM1999 on Economy Class and RM5999 on Business Class, whilst oneworld destinations are offered at prices as low as RM1799 return on Economy Class and RM3899 on Business Class.

Special fares on MASwings routes and special rates on packages by MASholidays are also made available during this period.

Besides these special offers, guests travelling on Malaysia Airlines will also get to enjoy increased cabin baggage allowance starting today. The airline is allowing one piece of cabin baggage in Economy Class with a maximum weight of 7kg instead of 5kg. Guests on First and Business Class are permitted to carry two pieces of cabin baggage up to 7kg each in maximum weight, with each baggage not exceeding 56cm height, 36 cm in length and 23cm width.

Customers are invited to book these offers online through www.malaysiaairlines.com, Malaysia Airlines’ 24-hour toll-free Call Centre at 1-300-88-3000 and its ticket offices nationwide as well as its appointed agents.

Back to top

Malaysia Airlines Codeshare with American Airlines

Subang, 4 July 2013: Malaysia Airlines is offering more seamless one-stop air connectivity between Kuala Lumpur and several major cities in the United States of America (USA) through a code-share arrangement with American Airlines, one of its partner airlines in the oneworld alliance. All codeshare services will be marketed as Malaysia Airlines flights thus simplifying ticketing to one document issued by the national carrier.

The national carrier had announced codeshares with American Airlines in March 2013 which allowed 136 weekly options to and from five American cities through European stations. Other connections on AA and MH network will be enabled progressively in 2013/2014.

The 2nd phase codeshare enables customers in Malaysia and the USA to book direct with Malaysia Airlines and take advantage of the connection options between Kuala Lumpur and the US Cities of Atlanta, Boston, Washington, Houston, Minneapolis, Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, Las Vegas and San Diego via the Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Dallas and Miami gateways.

The codeshare will also be extended to Singapore and Bangkok via the Kuala Lumpur gateway. This will at once give an opportunity for our guests in USA to travel to other parts of ASEAN with a seamless connection.

Commenting on the arrangement, Malaysia Airlines Group Chief Executive Officer, Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said, “This codeshare will provide an excellent opportunity to expand our US network without having to mount our own flights to the various cities there. It also gives the US customers more options to choose from to travel to Malaysia, Singapore and Bangkok and is also expected to greatly contribute towards increased tourist arrivals into Malaysia.”

“As one of the most affordable tourist destinations in the Asia Pacific region, we are confident that more tourists from other parts of the US will use this codeshare and visit Malaysia. We are also very proud to offer our signature product, the A380 for the great travel experience of our American customers. For example, if they choose to fly from New York to Kuala Lumpur via London or Paris, they will experience the comfort of our 5 star product,” he added.

This codeshare cooperation is part of the strategy of the Malaysian national carrier to develop commercial cooperation with oneworld alliance members. It is also part of the national carrier’s initiative towards enhancing air connectivity with key priority markets overseas for increased tourist arrivals into Malaysia as required by the government’s Economic Transformation Programme (ETP).

Customers can book their travel on Malaysia Airlines through all distribution channels mainly www.malaysiaairlines.com, Malaysia Airlines 24 hours toll free number 1 300 88 3000, MHBuddy in Malaysia Airlines Facebook, MHmobile, Malaysia Airlines ticket offices and appointed agents throughout Malaysia.

Back to top

US$40.5 m to boost coastal climate resiliency in Bangladesh

Rome 28 June 2013 – To strengthen the resilience of people living in the coastal areas of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will extend a loan of US$39.5 million and a grant of $1 million for the Coastal Climate Resilient Infrastructure Project (CCRIP). The total project cost US$ 150 million is jointly funded by the Bangladesh government, IFAD, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and the German Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW).

Mohammed Shahdat Hossain, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh to Italy, and Kevin Cleaver, IFAD’s Associate Vice-President, signed the financing agreements at the Fund’s headquarters in Rome today.

The country is vulnerable to flooding and natural disasters. The area where the CCRIP will be implemented is remote and underdeveloped. Just last month, cyclone Mahasen swept through coastal areas killing people and destroying livelihoods. In addition to the increasingly extreme weather events, rural women and men struggle with already poor infrastructure such as roads and lack the needed resources to grow their businesses.

Through the project, the Bangladesh government and its development partners aim to support 3.5 million poor women and men to improve their lives through enhanced climate resilience measures to increase their food security and incomes. The project will be implemented in 32 sub-districts (upazilas), identified by the scale of poverty, vulnerability, remoteness, and lack of basic infrastructure.

More specifically, the project will focus on improving road connectivity and market services; while boosting the climate change adaptation capacity of communities to cope with harsh and frequent climate events. This includes ensuring roads are compliant with climate-resilient standards and supporting local radio stations to be better equipped to keep people living in remote areas up-to-date with weather and market information.

Much of the construction work will be done through labour contracting societies (LCS), which provide poor local women with training to act as contractors for building roads and markets. Previous IFAD-supported projects revealed that creating wage labour for women empowers them both economically and socially. Former LCS members used loans to improve their housing situation and to start their own small business, such as dairy processing.

IFAD has been working in Bangladesh for more than 30 years. With this loan and grant, the Fund will have financed 30 programmes and projects in Bangladesh for a total investment of $650 million, benefiting close to 10 million households.

Back to top

Iran offers 100% tax-break to foreign investment in agriculture sector

TEHRAN, July. 7 (MNA) – Iran offers one hundred percent tax exemption for an unlimited period of time to foreign investment in the agriculture sector, the Iranian deputy economy minister Behrouz Alishiri said.

Tax exemption up to 80 percent are being offered to investments in the industry and mine sector, he said, adding that the figure will be one hundred percent for a period of ten years in underdeveloped areas, IRIB quoted Alishiri as saying on Saturday.

Tax exemptions in free trade zones will be extended for 20 years, he added.

On June 20, Alishiri said that foreign investments in Iran rose by 45 percent in the past Iranian calendar year, which ended on March 20, compared to its preceding year.

The amount of foreign investment in Iran reached its peak in the past [Iranian calendar] year 1391, the Mehr News Agency quoted Alishiri as saying.

The investment figure has been reported to UNCTAD (the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development), he said, adding, “If UNCTAD approves the figure, we will announce it.”

Iran has initiated three plans to attract more foreign investment in the current year, Alishiri said.

The plans, which will be launched by the next two months, include restructuring the organization for foreign investments, implementing a unified window platform for investments, and offering incentives to investors, he added.

Iran needs around $1.3 trillion to materialize objectives of its fifth five-year economic development plan, Alishiri said on Wednesday.

To this end, annually $300 billion should be invested, he added.

Iran’s fifth five-year economic development plan ends in 2015.

Back to top

Iran, world’s 4th leading tile and ceramic producer

TEHRAN, July. 7 (MNA) – Iran is currently the fourth largest producer of tiles and ceramic products in the world, the director of the association of Iranian tile and ceramic producers said on Saturday.

Iran ranks fourth next to China, Brazil, and India, Behnam Azizzadeh added.

In terms of exports, Iran is at the fifth position next to China, Italy, Spain, and Turkey, he noted.

Iran’s tiles and ceramics output stood at 291.623 million square meters in the previous Iranian calendar year which ended March 20.

The amount showed 1.1 per cent increase compared to its preceding year, IRNA reported.

According to the head of the Iranian tile producers and sellers union, Mostafa Goudarzi, Iran exports 80 percent of its domestically-made tiles and ceramics to Iraq.

He referred to Afghanistan and Uzbekistan as other destinations for Iranian-made products.

He added that some $270 million worth of tiles were exported two years ago.

Back to top

FAO project helps boost Kyrgyzstan’s fisheries and aquaculture sector

03/07/2013, Kyrgyzstan – An FAO Press tour took place in the Issyk-Kul province of Kyrgyzstan on the 27th and 28th of June 2013 aimed at increasing awareness about the existing challenges within the fisheries and aquaculture sector as well as demonstrating the positive impacts and results of the FAO project “Support to Fishery and Aquaculture Management in the Kyrgyz Republic.”

In 2010 the Central Asian region (including Azerbaijan) produced around 88 000 tons of fish, of which almost 63 000 tons were from inland waters and around 9 500 tons produced through aquaculture. Of this total amount, only 347 tons were produced in Kyrgyzstan. The national statistics do not take into account illegal fishing because of the moratorium on fishing in the largest lakes Issyk-Kul and Son Kul which has been operational since 2008.

Though aquaculture and fishing products contribute very little to Kyrgyzstan’ food rations, some 1 kg per capita per year, there is a significant potential to increase the productivity of aquaculture and develop fishing in the lakes, reservoirs and small irrigation waters of the country.

The FAO project has helped farmers form their own fisheries associations and provided training to support them in learning how to produce, amongst others, farm-made fish feeds using locally available row material.

The impact of the training continues to amaze staff working on the project. In many regions of the country, including very remote areas, new ponds are being constructed. Owners of functioning ponds began reconstructing and modernizing theirs. Farmers expressed their gratitude for all the help they have received in training as well as the provision of baby fish “fingerlings” put at their disposal.

The project also provided a modern laboratory and field equipment (amounting to USD120.000) to the Institute of Biology of Academy of Science of Kyrgyzstan to enable scientists to carry out their research in the field.

During the press tour, representatives of national media visited several pond farms on the northern and southern sides of Issyk-Kul lake. Farmers explained their achievements and plans as well as the difficulties they continue to face in reviving the fisheries and aquaculture industries.

An exciting point of the press tour was the monitoring of water quality and fish stock conditions in Issyk-Kul lake which was conducted jointly by FAO staff, specialists from the Department of Fisheries and scientists from the Institute of Biology of the National Academy of Science.

Back to top