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20 Apr, 2015

Middle East’s largest theater complex to open in Tehran

Compiled by Imtiaz Muqbil & Sana Shamsi

A compilation of progressive, positive, inspiring and motivating events and developments in the world of Islam for the week ending 20 April 2015 (01 Rajab 1436). Pls click on any of the headlines below to go to the story.




malaysia logo

Click on the image to get a full list of all the great festivals and events right across Malaysia this year.

The fabulous Malaysia Year of Festivals 2015, or MyFEST 2015, as will witness an endless celebration of festivals, events and happenings. MyFEST 2015 is set to make Malaysia the top-of-the-mind tourist destination, encouraging tourists to stay longer in order to enjoy the festival offerings nationwide. Themed “Endless Celebrations”, the year-long calender is packed with festivities of every genre; for instance cultural festivals, shopping extravanganzas, international acclaimed events, eco-tourism events, arts, music showcases, food promotion and other themed events. The Malaysia Year of Festivals 2015 campaign leverages on smart partnerships in line with the National Blue Ocean Strategy that nurtures stakeholders engagement, support and participation. The symbiosis enables Malaysia’s tourism efforts to be competitive and to remain one of the prime contributors to the socio-economic development of the nation. As Malaysia is blessed with various cultures, the new campaign seeks to showcase and celebrate Malaysia’s bountiful, diverse cultures and various festivities. The design for Malaysia Year of Festivals 2015 logo depicts a traditional musical instrument known as the Rebana Ubi. The drum is a musical instrument which can be associated with Malaysia’s multicultural society, in line with the spirit of 1Malaysia. Therefore, the logo design reflects an important part of the country’s heritage, traditions and culture.

For a full listing of all the great festivals, activities and events this year, pls click on this link


The Islamic Tourism Centre in Malaysia has launched a vibrant new website presenting Malaysia as a prime destination for Islamic tourism and a global halal hub. The website offers a wealth of information on Mosque trails, Islamic Museums, Ramadan & Eid-ul Fitr, Muslim-Friendly Tour Highlights, as well as a Muslim Visitor’s Guide, Halal Directory and Souvenirs Directory. Located strategically at the heart of Southeast Asia, Malaysia is well-known for its natural beauty and diverse cultural landscape. At its social core are three of Asia’s oldest civilisations – Malay, Chinese and Indian – as well as the ethnic communities of Sabah and Sarawak, resulting in a unique and inspiring blend of cultures. With an abundance of halal food, prayer facilities and Islamic attractions, Malaysia perfectly caters to the needs of Muslim travellers. The ITC plays a pivotal role in bringing Malaysia to the forefront of Islamic tourism. It works with industry players to build their capacity in Islamic tourism, thus ensuring that the needs of Muslim visitors are better served. ITC has also taken several initiatives in standardising industry’s best practices through research, seminars, workshops and industry outreach programmes. Now is the perfect time to experience the country’s multitude of Muslim-friendly tourism products – Islamic architectural heritage, halal gastronomic delights, vibrant Islamic festivals and world-class Islamic events – all guaranteed to give visitors an incredible time.

Click here to see the fabulous new website

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 http://www.tourismmalaysia.gov.my

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.



Exotic Malaysian Culture Takes Centre Stage In Paris

PARIS, April 13 (NNN-Bernama) — Place du Palais Royal in central Paris exploded in a multitude of sounds and colours as Malaysia’s vibrant culture came to the fore at Malaysia Cultural Week (MCW) Paris 2015 launched by Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin on Monday.

Organised for the first time in France, the show ( April 13-17) is one of strategies to further elevate Malaysia’s profile as it vies to be a member of the executive board of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) for the 2015-2019 term.

UNESCO has its headquarters in Paris.

Muhyiddin, delivering his opening speech on a sunny spring day in Paris, noted that Malaysia was fortunate in that its people were of multiethnic and multireligious origin.

He told foreign guests gathered at the event that a century of living together in a closely knit society had contributed to the blending and forging of a unique culture which was diverse yet harmonious and vibrant which Malaysia was proud to share with the world.

“To this end, Malaysia Cultural Week Paris aims to bring people of different backgrounds, race and creed together to celebrate the diverse cultural heritage of Malaysia,’ said Muhyiddin, who is Education Minister.

Throughout the duration of the cultural event, the French as well as visitors to this country will get to savour Malaysia’s exotic and multi-faceted culture encompassing music, fashion, dance, arts, crafts and food.

Malaysia welcomed 169,973 visitors from France in 2014, up from 145,108 in 2013. The target for 2015 is 180,000 visitors.

The MCW Paris follows similar initiatives organised in other major cities including London, Istanbul and Washington.

Muhyiddin arrived in the French capital Monday morning in efforts to ramp up support for Malaysia’s bid for membership on the UNESCO board.

In his speech, the deputy prime minister spoke at length about Malaysia’s tourism sector, saying that the Southeast Asian nation of 30 million was well on track to achieve the goal of being a top tourist destination in the world.

He cited Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2014 survey which listed Malaysia as one of the top 10 countries to visit.

In addition, CNN Travel had ranked Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur as the fourth best shopping city in the world, after New York, Tokyo and London.

Muhyiddin said five sites in Malaysia were listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites – Melaka City, Georgetown in Penang, Mount Mulu National Park in Sarawak, Kinabalu Park in Sabah and Lenggong Valley in Perak.

“These accolades bear testimony of Malaysia being a premier tourist destination,’ he said, adding that the only way to experience Malaysia in its fullest was to visit the country itself.

He used the MCW platform to also shine the spotlight on Malaysia’s economic prowess, stating that the country was constantly challenging itself to become a high income economy and attain developed nation status by 2020.

The Malaysian government’s Economic Transformation Programme (ETP)had borne fruit, citing the the World Economic Forum’s World Competitiveness Yearbook 2014 in which Malaysia was ranked 12th among 60 countries.

The World Bank, he said, had ranked Malaysia 6th on the ease of doing business among 189 countries.

“We will not rest on our laurels but will instead continue to strengthen and improve ourselves on all developmental fronts, be it education, trade finance, technology and other areas,’ he vowed.

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Mozambique to host Islamic Development Bank annual meeting in June

The 40th Annual Meeting of the Islamic Development Bank Group will take place in Maputo, Mozambique from 20 to 24 Sha’baan 1436H (7 – 11 June 2015).

Most activities will be organized at Indy Village Hotel, some at the Mozambique Telecommunication Training Institute, which is within walking distance from Indy Village Hotel. The opening ceremony of the Board of Governors will take place at the Joaquim Chissano International Conference Center on 23 Sha’baan 1436H (10 June 2015).


1) The following meetings of the Boards of Governors and General Assemblies of the members of the IDB Group will take place on 23-24 Sha’Baan 1436H (10 – 11 June 2015) :

  • 40th Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB)
  • 22nd Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit (ICIEC)
  • 8th Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development (ISFD)
  • 15th General Assembly of the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD)
  • 10th General Assembly of the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC)

2) The Annual Meeting of the IDB Group is also an occasion during which other institutions hold their general assemblies. They are:

  • The Association of Development Financing Institutions in Member Countries of the Islamic Development Bank (ADFIMI);
  • The Federation of Consultants from Islamic Countries (FCIC);
  • The Federation of Contractors from Islamic Countries (FOCIC);3) As in previous years, the Annual Meeting will afford the opportunity to discuss a good number of issues of utmost importance to member countries.

4) Exhibitions will be staged during the Annual Meeting, including an exhibition showcasing innovations by member countries.

Interpretation in English, Arabic and will be provided at all meetings. In addition, interpretation to Russian and Portuguese will be available at the opening ceremony and other selected meetings.

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Bangladesh Int’ Tourism Fair to be held May 21-23.

The Bangladesh Int’l Tourism Fair (BITF), organised by the Bangladesh Foundation for Tourism development (BFTD) will be held between May 21-23 at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC), Sher-e-Bangla Nagar, Dhaka. Further information is available here: http://www.bitf.com.bd/

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2015 ISESCO-OCIS Prize for Educators awarded

Rabat 13/04/2015 ISESCO media release – The Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), today, hosted the “2015 ISESCO-OCIS Prize for Educators” award ceremony.

The ceremony was presided over by ISESCO Director General Dr Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri; the Director of the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies (OCIS), Dr Farhan Ahmad Nizami; and the Ambassador of the United Kingdom to the Kingdom of Morocco, Mr Clive Alderton, who delivered addresses on this occasion.

In attendance were the Minister of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Executive Training of the Kingdom of Morocco, Dr Lahcen Daoudi; Dr Amina Al Hajri, ISESCO Deputy Director General; the Prize winners Mr Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum in London, and British author Ms Karen Armstrong; a number of diplomats and academics as well as the representatives of local and international media.

The Prize for the Institution category went to the British Museum in London, in recognition of the exhibition it held on “Hajj: Journey to the heart of Islam” which contributed to publicizing the ritual of pilgrimage and highlighting its significance.

As for the Individual category, the Prize was awarded to Ms Karen Armstrong, the British author and commentator known for her writings on comparative religions and on Islam, as a tribute for her dedication to multi-faith understanding and compassion, backed by scholarly but accessible publications which were translated into several languages.

On this occasion, a video was screened to present the prize winners. Also, Mr Neil MacGregor and Ms Karen Armstrong gave short speeches about their experiences in promoting the values of dialogue, understanding and coexistence among followers of religions.

It is worth mentioning that this Prize was established under ISESCO-OCIS Cooperation Agreement signed in 2014, with the aim of shedding light on the role of leading personalities and institutions in the United Kingdom in the promotion of peace, dialogue, understanding and coexistence among peoples, cultures and civilizations.

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11th World Islamic Economic Forum to be held in KL, Nov 3-5

Kuala Lumpur, (WIEF media release) – The 11th WIEF will take place on 3-5 November 2015 at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Securing financial stability and generating growth is at the top of the global economic agenda, especially after years of uncertainty and sluggish development following the 2008 financial crisis. More and more countries, Muslim and non-Muslim, are now seeking an economic model that is more equitable and sustainable.

The concept of the Islamic economy is increasingly gaining global traction in the past few years. It has been proven to be more resilient, and it has presented to the world its vast potential to bring upon peace and prosperity with its underlying principle of being ethical and inclusive.

The 11th WIEF will see the continuous promotion of Islamic economy as it convenes world leaders, government representatives, economists, academia, and the business community to address pressing economic and social issues. The Forum also promotes the values of cross-border business and economic partnerships as it provides an international platform for governments and the business community to showcase their cutting-edge ideas, galvanisesupport, and recruit collaborators.

This year’s objectives are:

• To enhance the economic well-being of the people of Muslim nations and Muslim communities worldwide through increasing trade and business opportunities amongst them, as well as the world at large.

• To package the Muslim world as a lucrative trade and investment caucus that is able to attract foreign investors and business partners from various countries worldwide.

• To strengthen networking and foster strategic alliances through the exchange of ideas, information and knowledge.

• To promote dialogue and foster cooperation among the Muslim and non-Muslim businessmen in the belief that collaboration is the salient feature of the 21st century international relations. Business partnerships can become genuine bridges towards peace and prosperity between the Muslim and non-Muslim world. – See more at: http://wief.org/forum-objective/#sthash.agg0Kirt.dpuf

The World Islamic Economic Forum started off from a modest beginning as the OIC Business Forum, which was held on 15th October 2003, in conjunction with the tenth OIC Summit in Putrajaya, Malaysia. The inaugural OIC Business Forum sought to create a business ‘face’ of the OIC.

The Forum brought together government leaders, captains of industries, academic scholars, regional experts, professionals and corporate managers to discuss opportunities for business partnerships in the Muslim world.

The second OIC Business Forum was convened in Kuala Lumpur in 2004, a momentous event that brought about the birth of the World Islamic Economic Forum and the subsequent convening of the 1st WIEF in Kuala Lumpur in 2005. This was an important shift that opened up the Forum to include Muslim communities beyond OIC countries and other non-Muslim communities across the globe.

Click here to download teh registration form: http://wief.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/11th-WIEF-REGISTRATION-Form-Fillable.pdf

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Malaysia named Medical Travel Destination of the Year

Kuala Lumpur (IINA) Friday 17 Apr 2015 – Malaysia has been proclaimed “Medical Travel Destination of the Year” at the International Medical Travel Journal (IMTJ) Medical Travel Awards 2015, further cementing the country’s reputation for providing top notch and innovative healthcare as well as its premier position as a world class healthcare tourism destination, according to media reports.

The event, which was held on the evening of 15 April 2015 at the Royal Garden Hotel in London, saw 13 awards, which were segmented into four broad categories, namely Healthcare Provider and Agency, Marketing, Quality and Service, and Overall Achievement, being handed out.

The awards included International Hospital of the Year, Specialist International Patient Centre, International Dental Clinic of the Year, Medical Spa of the Year, Best Marketing Initiative and Excellence in Customer Service.

For the Medical Travel Destination of the Year, the judges found in Malaysia what they were looking for – all-round excellence in promoting inbound medical tourism; verified statistics of yearly growth in medical tourists served; evidence of high levels of patient satisfaction; and coordinated activities that delivered an increase in medical tourism.

Malaysia’s private hospitals also won awards for Excellence in Customer Service (Gleneagles Hospital, Kuala Lumpur), Best Quality Initiative of the Year (Imperial Dental Specialist Centre), Best Travel Website of the Year (Ramsay Sime Darby Healthcare), International Cosmetic Surgery Clinic of the Year (Beverly Wilshire Medical Centre) and International Dental Clinic of the Year (Imperial Dental Specialist Centre).

Sherene Azli, the Chief Executive Officer of Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC), a body set up in 2009 under the Ministry of Health to develop and promote Malaysia’s healthcare travel industry, says, “Malaysia has the necessary ecosystem and infrastructure for end-to-end healthcare services in place.” Being proclaimed “Destination of the Year” not only accentuates the country’s strengths but is also set to take Malaysia’s name to a higher level in the industry internationally.

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Malaysia Valuable Asset To OIC, Especially As ASEAN Chairman

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia April 15 (NNN-Bernama) — Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Secretary-General Iyad Ameen Madani sees Malaysia as a valuable asset to the Jeddah-based organisation, further elevated by its role as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Chair this year.

Speaking to BERNAMA in an exclusive interview, Madani believed that Malaysia’s central role in the regional body could help alleviate issues involving Muslims in Southeast Asia, such as the Rohingya of Myanmar and conflicts in Southern Thailand.

“ASEAN is the key in approaching this. We cannot do it without the help of ASEAN. As Malaysia is now the Chair of ASEAN, we certainly look forward to an active role, to more engagements and involvements. We need Malaysia,” he said.

Madani, who arrived here Tuesday for a three-day working visit called on Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak at Perdana Putra, Wednesday.

He said among OIC’s current commitments was to resolve the Rohingya issue, pointing out that Malaysia’s former foreign minister, Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar was selected as the organisation’s special envoy to Myanmar last year to create opportunities for dialogue.

“The best way to engage with the government of Myanmar, which is also a member of ASEAN, is through the ASEAN family,” he said.

Reports have stated that most of the 1.1 million Rohingya were denied citizenship by the Myanmar Government, with many of them living in internally displaced camps and not allowed to leave, deprived of education and occupation.

A series of violent incidents have been reported between ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims which left many dead, with the most famous incident being the ‘2012 Rakhine State Riots’.

In the southern part of Thailand bordering Malaysia, where most of the Muslim minority are found, the OIC is concerned over a series of violent incidents in the area since the 1960s between the Thai authorities and insurgent groups.

Besides regional issues, Madani hoped that Malaysia could also engage more actively in all the organisation’s activities. “All member states are important, but Malaysia is especially important by being in a dynamic region.

“Malaysians have a way of speaking not emotionally, they always come across as rational, cool and level-headed. All these traits are needed when we hold discussions,” said Madani, who has served in various posts in Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet before being appointed OIC secretary-general in January last year.

Madani noted that Malaysia had a lot to offer the organisation and other member states through sharing of experiences, especially on its success since gaining independence from British rule in 1957.

Malaysia has been a member of OIC since its establishment in 1969. Malaysia’s first prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman was the first OIC secretary-general.

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Riyadh Travel Fair: Global firms expand Saudi links

RIYADH: ARAB NEWS, 15 April 2015 – The seventh edition of Riyadh Travel Fair (RTF 2015) opened here on Tuesday.

Khalid Al-Otaibi, secretary general of the Council of Saudi Chambers (CSC), inaugurated the annual travel and tour fair at Four Seasons hotel. The world’s major tourism companies are participating in the show aiming to forge new links and tie-ups.

Al-Otaibi said the RTF happens to be an interesting platform that throws open wide space to traveling services and solutions, tour planning services, tourism guiding services, tour conducting essentials, and other products and services that are associated with the travel industry. He interacted with participants while touring the fair.

Bander Al-Gryni, general manager ASAS exhibitions, the principal organizer of the fair, said: “We are happy to open RTF 2015 as one of the biggest travel and tourism trade shows in the Kingdom specialized in B2B and B2C dealings.”

The fair, with exhibitors from all over the world, has been successful in attracting visitors, he said, adding that the fair has surpassed its boundaries to become the largest travel exhibition to date with a substantial increase of about 20 percent in the number of exhibitors as against the previous year.

This year, the UAE and Turkey have strong presence along with all the seven emirates of the UAE, which have come up with their exhibitors and information booths to forge better links and promote local tourism.

Experiencing continuous successes since RTF’s inception in 2009, Saudi Tourism has put up a huge stall with information brochures in Arabic and English, and focus on tourism related facilities .

The tourism ministries and boards participating in RTF 2015 have come from Oman, Bahrain, Jordan, Hungary, Austria, Indonesia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Korea and the Netherlands.

Speaking to Arab News, Ali Yavuz Hacimustafaoglu, general manager, esas travel, Turkey, said: “This is our second year at RTF, following our last year’s experience; we aim to expand our footprint and forge new links.

Safwan A. Makhdari, a senior executive from Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority said: “It’s a good experience to be here as the fair boasts innovative travelling solutions and services, and promises a unique experience to all visitors and participants in order to have better links.

Maher Mohammed Qaryouti of Jordan Tourism Board applauded the organizer of the fair, where major tourism companies from all over the world participate.

He, however, urged the organizer for better coordination and planning among participating travel and tourism professionals to offer better solutions to the public keen to discover exciting and exotic travel destinations.

Mohamed Shaaz Waleed, managing director of Resort Life, Maldives, which is participating in RTF for the first time, told Arab News: “It’s a good opportunity to seek better coordination as, so far, the number of Saudi tourists to Maldives is not huge, although it is a popular tourist destination with free visas for everyone.

He, however, expressed hope that the number is expected to go up, especially after the family trip last year by then Crown Prince and now Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman.

“We are positive that more people will come at RTF 2015 to inquire about Maldives,” he said.

Yamen Albassatina, trade and investment officer at the Netherlands Embassy, said: “RTF is a good opportunity to present ourselves in the best way and let the Saudi people know better about the Netherlands.”

About 200 exhibitors from 50 countries are participating in the fair, according to the organizers. The visitors this year will have direct access to participating tourism authorities, hotels, airlines and travel agents.

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BBC Muslim woman presenter Mishal named Broadcaster of the Year

London, (IINA) 16 Apr 2015 – Mishal Husain, who hosts BBC Radio 4’s Today programme and television news bulletins, has won broadcaster of the year honor at the London Press Club Awards, BBC reported.

Nominated alongside BBC’s global health reporter Tulip Mazumdar and social affairs correspondent Alison Holt, Husain won the prestigious award that is primarily dedicated to print journalists.

BBC director of news James Harding said all three honours were “much deserved”.

Born in February 1973 in Northampton, England, Husain has been met with praise by her BBC colleagues and fans who showered her with messages of support, OnIslam reported.

“It’s wonderful and much deserved,” said the BBC’s Harding of Husain’s honour and the other BBC nominations.

It is noteworthy that in 2009, Husain was named among Britain’s 50 most powerful Muslim women who were hailed for defying a prevailing stereotype that being a Muslim and a woman is barrier to success.

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Michigan Muslim man in a unique trip to enlighten on true image of Islam in 50 US states

Michigan, (IINA) 16 Apr 2015 – On a spiritually motivated journey, an American Muslim from Michigan is to visit 50 mosques in 50 states to perform the Adhan (call for prayer) with a special call to the nation’s Muslim community, amid soaring Islamophobia, according to media reports.

Jameel Syed is aiming to become the first person to perform the Adhan in all 50 U.S. states, using his voice across America to help educate the public about Islam, praise its Prophet (peace be upon him), and also honor the memory of his father, according to Detroit Free Press.

The 35-day road trip will include occasional flights to reach states like Hawaii, and will end May 8 at the Rochester Hills mosque.

“Islamophobia is real, there is no question about it,” Syed told NBC News as he traveled from Mississippi to Florida.

“It’s one thing people in our community are really aware of. And the big message here is we have to go out there and meet and interact with people.

“Give them the opportunity to let them know who you are. That’s your best shot to dispel any myths, to breakdown any stereotypes, and to make a real dent into discrimination.”

After reciting the call to prayer at each mosque in 50 states, Syed will deliver the last sermon given by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), a talk that Syed said promoted gender equity, racial equality, trust, and peace.

“It is the most eloquent speech ever delivered in the history of humanity,” Syed told the worshipers. “I want for us to be able to hear those words and take it to our family members, take it to our co-workers, take it to our neighbors and live by them.”

According to the 40-year-old marketing executive and graduate of the University of Michigan, the initiative aims to showcase the beauty and diversity of Muslim communities across America.

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Feasibility study for OIC satellite channel soon

Jeddah, (IINA) 12 Apr 2015 – The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) intends to mandate a specialized team in one of the member states to carry out feasibility study about launching its own satellite channel.

An informed source at the OIC said, “The feasibility study will include technical and financial aspects and other aspects to help determine the best option, including the estimated percentage of satellite channel viewers compared to the percentage of channel viewers via the Internet, especially in the member states of the Organization.

Commenting on the satellite channel project, Director of the Information Department at OIC Maha Mustafa Akeel stressed the need for establishing a new vision in order to look at the launch of the satellite channel, and means to strengthen solidarity among Muslim nations, highlights everything that brings them together, and reflect on the ground all the goals that lead to joint Islamic action drawn by and defined by the Charter of the Organization.

Akeel noted that the launch of the satellite channel plan includes starting the process of providing content for a period of not less than six months, includes a variety of programs that will be broadcast on the satellite channel once it is launched.

She said that the satellite channel will cooperate with companies that provide content rating, including movies and programs that are in line with Islamic values and service, and are compatible with the goals of the OIC Charter.

Akeel said that there will be a communication with selected parties from the private sector and businessmen from the member states, to explore and find out who has the ability and the desire to participate in the financing of the satellite channel, taking into account the sustainability of funding.

It is noteworthy that the General Secretariat of the OIC hosted last month the second meeting of the designated committee to complete the process of launching the satellite channel, at the request of Ministers of Information and Communications in the member states, during the tenth session of the Islamic Conference, held in Tehran in December.

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Turkey To Host Conference On Halal Tourism in December

April 18, 2015 – Halal TourismTurkey has today been named as the host of another showcase of Halal travel – a sector that is currently worth $150 billion. The Halal Tourism Conference 2015 will take place from December 1 to December 3 2015 at the Istanbul Convention & Exhibition Centre.

It will bring together delegates from across the globe to discuss and shape the agenda of one of the fastest growing sectors in the world.

Over 1,000 delegates from over 50 countries, including industry experts, international speakers, specialists and tourism suppliers are expected to attend the event which will take place in Istanbul.

It is the second international conference on halal tourism that has taken place in Europe. Last year’s inaugural event saw over 400 delegates visit Andalucia, Spain which brought together the global travel industry to discuss ways of tapping into this niche market.

Organiser Tasneem Mahmood, from CM Media, said the theme of the 2015 conference will be “Developing The Global Future of Halal Tourism” with a strong focus on Europe’s role in the future of the industry.

She said: “Since the Halal Tourism Conference was founded in 2014, enhancing the industry across its various sectors has been at the very heart of our efforts. This year’s event we want to move the debate to the next level and focus on developing the industry. This is a crucial to the future of this sector especially as Halal tourism is maturing and growing so fast.

“We will have a range of keynote speeches, panel sessions and roundtable discussions from experts around this theme including how to improve the travel experience which includes integrating new technologies and the growth of subsectors such as luxury travel and medical tourism.

“Africa is now a key player in the future of Halal Tourism from an inbound and outbound perspective contributing billions to the industry. Turkey is the biggest destination for Islamic travel after Saudi Arabia so it is fitting to host the event in Istanbul for 2015. This conference is vital for anyone who is actively engaged in halal tourism or is looking to operate in this market and will be an excellent knowledge forum.”

CM Media will partner with Tura Turizm to deliver the event which will host over 1,000 delegates and will include an exhibition, which will also be open to the public, for over 200 businesses and organisations to showcase their services.

It will attract tourism boards, tour agencies, tour operators, restaurants, media, hotels, airlines and suppliers to the travel sector. The event will feature seminars from industry experts, workshops, networking sessions and an exhibition.

A series of workshops will provide with information on developing the industry including the launch of new products, luxury travel, standardisation, finance and investment, Hajj and Umrah providers, diversifying the halal tourism offer and the growing medical tourism sector.

A number of the world’s leading experts have already confirmed their attendance to the event including Simon Coombs, President & CEO – Shaza Hotels, Fazal Bahardeen, CEO, CrescentRating & HalalTrip, Dr. Jonathan A.J. Wilson, Programme Director, University of Greenwich, London and Faisal Masood, Founder and President of the American Muslim Consumer Consortium Inc.

According to the latest figures in the “MasterCard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) 2015, the halal tourism sector was worth $145 billion in 2014. This figure is predicted to grow to $200 billion by 2020.

The conference will be followed by a two day tour of Istanbul to provide businesses with a live case study of a region that is becoming more Muslim friendly and is actively working to meet the needs of Muslim travellers.

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Applications Now Open for the Maybank GO Ahead. Challenge 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, April 17, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Applications for the Maybank GO Ahead. Challenge, Malaysia’s most prestigious talent recruitment competition, are now open. The Challenge, which is now in its fourth year, is a multi-disciplinary business talent competition open to penultimate and final-year university students and fresh graduates from Malaysia and across the world, and seeks to find the very best in future financial talent for the bank.

The Maybank GO Ahead. Challenge seeks to identify and nurture the most ambitious and promising young talent by putting them through their paces in an exciting series of challenges designed to bring out their best. Candidates will face a number of challenges over the course of the competition, testing their business acumen, problem-solving skills, mathematical ability, and their capacity to think on their feet and work in high-pressure environments.

This year, the challenge has been redesigned in terms of the selection process to offer a wider opportunity for candidates from all backgrounds. For the first time, this year Challengers can apply as a team of up to five people as well as individually.

Up for grabs at the International Grand Final at the end of the Challenge is a cash prize of USD $40,000 for the winning team, with USD $20,000 and USD $10,000 for second and third place. The best individual Challenger will win an all-expenses-paid trip to New York as part of their internship, and spending money of USD $1,000. The second and third-placed individual challengers will win internships in the London and Hong Kong Maybank offices, and additional cash prizes of USD $750 and USD $500 respectively.

Moreover, especially promising candidates may earn a fast-track entry into the highly-sought-after Maybank Global Apprentice Programme, kick-starting their careers in the Banking and Finance industry. The winning team and top-3 placed challengers will also be invited to join Maybank’s prestigious ‘Transitioning Leaders to CEOs’ Programme.

Representatives from Maybank will be visiting University campuses across Malaysia and the wider region, where students can learn more about the Challenge, register, and take part in mini-challenges to get a taste of what the GO Ahead. Challenge has to offer.

Interested applicants can find out more and apply to be part of this year’s exciting Challenge by visiting http://www.goaheadchallenge.com/.

The official launch of the Maybank GO Ahead. Challenge 2015 will be held later this month in Kuala Lumpur.

The Maybank GO Ahead. Challenge was inaugurated in 2012. The programme was developed wholly in-house by the Maybank Apprentices to seek for the right potential, energetic talents to be part of the organisation.

Now in its fourth year, the Challenge is open to penultimate and final-year students and recent graduates from 13 countries from across the world where Maybank has significant presence.

The Global Maybank Apprentice Programme is an exclusive two-year programme where Apprentices will be given a holistic learning experience with customized on-the-job rotations and even international assignments to allow them to be familiarized with Maybank’s global network operations. The programme is also aimed at accelerating participants into a management role upon their graduation from the programme.

The Global Maybank Apprentice Programme is aimed at developing individuals and includes:

(+) A holistic learning experience with customized on-the-job rotations.

(+) Enhancing leadership skills among others, via involvement in group-wide special projects.

(+) International Assignments to immerse Global Maybank Apprentices in global network operations.

(+) Experiential learning through CR initiatives, project management and presentation to top management.

(+) Face-to-face development interventions where a dedicated coach and mentor is assigned to guide Global Maybank Apprentices throughout their journey.

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Rawalpindi-Islamabad Metro buses to be running from May 1

ISLAMABAD (Associated Press of Pakistan): The government has decided to inaugurate the Rawalpindi-Islamabad metro bus service on April 30 so that the residents of the twin cities could travel on the buses on Labour Day.

The decision was taken at a review meeting of the metro bus project on Friday and the message of the Punjab chief minister and the prime minister was also conveyed to the participants.

“It is now official that the prime minister will inaugurate the bus service on April 30,” said Hanif Abbassi, the implementation committee chairman. “The time and spot for inauguration will be announced after security clearance,” he added.

The meeting held at the Convention Centre was attended by MNA Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhary, the project director, Commissioner Zahid Saeed, CDA Chairman Maroof Afzal, relevant officers and all the contractors of the project.

The sources said Mr Abbassi said the project would be a gift for the residents of the twin cities on the occasion of May 1, which is a national holiday too.

The 22.6-km-long metro bus route starts from Flashman’s Hotel, Mall Road Rawalpindi.

Since the work continues at the project from D-Chowk to Secretariat Blocks, the Bus service will initially operate up to China Chowk only.

Though the track of the bus service is almost ready, final touches are being given to the project. Besides, several minor works still pending especially at the Peshawar Mor, including the access to the underground bus station there.

Meanwhile, talking to Dawn an official of the Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA) said the only work remaining at several packages includes lane marking of roads, and other minor issues.

“These things will be done even after the bus service starts functioning – especially after 8 pm when the rush hours end,” the official added.

The other major issue was the water leakage from the roof of bus stations and the officials expect to cover this up with sealants as bus stations are made up of mostly glass panels.

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Iran projects one million Chinese tourists each year

Beijing, April 17, IRNA – Tourism expert and head of Iran’s booth at 11th China Outbound Travel & Tourism Market (COTTM) said here Friday that attracting one million Chinese tourists to visit Iran annually is the country’s objective in the long run.

Mohammad Eslami-Masrur who was speaking with the IRNA correspondent in Beijing, Fahad Dusti, said that China is one of the major tourism industry targets for the world countries with tourism attractions and close cooperation between the two countries’ tourism organization can be beneficial for boosting the Iranian tourism industry.

He reiterated that in the year 2011 China was the third top tourism destination in the world, but the top exporter of Chinese tourists to various destinations.

Eslami-Masrur said that according to estimates made by the Word Tourism Organization (UNWTO), in the year 2020 one hundred million Chinese tourists will be travelling around the globe each year.

The tourism expert said that the growing number of the Chinese tourism will definitely intrigue the world tourism destination countries to resort to all possible means for attracting those millions of tourists.

‘That is the reason why participation in this exhibition (COTTM) is of great significance for all countries, including Iran,’ he added.

The participating countries in the international Chinese tourism fair have set up 150 booths in this exhibition.

Now entering its 11th year, COTTM is regarded as the industry’s most important platform and remains the only business to business event that focuses purely on the burgeoning outbound market.

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Nahj-ul-Balagha Encyclopedia to Be Published in Najaf

Tehran, April 17, IRNA – A comprehensive scholarly encyclopedia of the Nahj-ul-Balagha will be published in the holy city of Najaf, Iraq.

The Nahj-ul-Balagha Studies Department affiliated to Intellectual and Cultural Affairs Office of the Astan (custodianship) of Imam Ali (AS) holy shrine is working on the encyclopedia, the website of the Astan reported.

It said the collection will cover studies on the scientific and intellectual aspects of the Nahj-ul-Balagha including linguistic, philosophical, jurisprudential, doctrinal and historical discussions.

Sheikh Ali Al-Shokri, head of the department, said the experts of the department have done scholarly research on the sermons and aphorisms in the Nahj-ul-Balagha.

Sheikh Ibrahim Al-‘Ibadi, one of the experts with the department, said that syntactic, rhetorical and stylistic features of all of the sermons have also been studied in the project.

The encyclopedia will serve as a useful scholarly source for researchers and those interested in studies of the Nahj-ul-Balagha.

The Nahj-ul-Balaqa is a collection of sermons, precepts, prayers, epistles and aphorisms of Imam Ali (AS) compiled by al-Sayyid al-Sharif al-Radi about one thousand years ago.

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Quran manuscripts exhibited in Tokyo

Tehran, April 17, IRNA – An exhibition showcasing manuscripts of the Noble Quran and the holy books of Divine religions was mounted at “Toyo Bunko” Cultural Museum in Tokyo, Japan.

According to IQNA, the exhibition also featured two centuries-old copies of the Holy Quran.

One of the copies, dating back to 600 years ago, was written in Syria and the other one, a 400-year old copy, includes a Persian translation.

New precious works with translations by figures such as William Moyer (Published in London, 1903), were also on display at the exhibition.

Madadi, in charge of the Iranian Cultural Center in Japan, visited the museum and discussed various aspects of mutual cooperation between the two cultural centers.

The museum officials welcomed his suggestion to hold an exhibition of the Holy Quran copies published in Iran.

Handicrafts from Islamic countries as well as Islamic books, including Imam Khomeini’s (RA) works, were also exhibited at the museum.

A part of the exhibition was dedicated to introducing historical sites, such as Iran’s Arg-e Bam before and after the 2003 earthquake.

The museum hosted the exhibition from January 5 to April 12.

It was received very well and a large number of Japanese visited the exhibition and, among other things, learned about the history and territory of the Islamic civilization, from China and Japan to the Central Asia, the Middle East and Europe.

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LEAD STORY: Middle East’s largest theater complex to open in Tehran

Tehran, April 17, IRNA – The new Khavaran Theater Complex will officially be inaugurated by the end of spring (June 20).

‘Preparations for the theater complex are underway thanks to the municipality’s cooperation in space allocation,’ art deputy at the ministry of culture and Islamic guidance Ali Moradkhani, was quoted as saying by ISNA.

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Noting that resolving all theater related matters vis-a-vis performing groups, projects, and artists is high on the ministry’s agenda, he announced that the current Iranian calendar year (started March 21) is named’ The Year of Theater’ by the ministry in line with their policies to pay attention to this field of art.

‘Many areas in theater, particularly infrastructure, need amendments as performing arts are currently short of venues,’ he stressed.

The idea of naming each year, following the tradition set by the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, was suggested at the last meeting of the ministry’s board of directors at the end of the previous year (ended March 20). The title would signify the field that will be of high regard for the ministry each year.

Located in southern Tehran (District 15) and accessible to all classes of the society, the soon-to-be- art complex ‘has the potential to multiply the current number of theater enthusiasts and encourage them to experience it firsthand.’

As the largest theater complex in the Middle East, it has an area of 210,000 square meters. Among various spaces designed within the complex are a 1,000-seat main hall, four 150-seat halls, a puppetry hall, and an amphitheater. Also, 3500 sq. meters of the building is allocated to traditional and ethnic performances.

The center is equipped with state-of-the art devices including a moving six-meter deep stage, a side-by-side shooting system and professional projectors. It is designed to host workshops, concerts and symphony orchestras. It is located at Khavaran Road, next to Khavaran Cultural Center.

Another facility named Saba Theater Complex is soon to be opened in Shariati Street of Tehran. The facility would be more appropriate for traditional and ethnic plays.

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Iranian Table Tennis star tops Luxembourg Championships

Tehran, April 18, IRNA – Iranian national table tennis team’s Nosahd Alamian beat all his competitors in 8th Luxembourg Open Table Tennis Championships to get the gold trophy and medal of the international sports event on Saturday.

In the final match of the competition Alamian beat his Japanese competitor Tonin Ziraki to get the gold medal.

Before the final match Alamian had beat the champions from France, Switzerland, Brazil, Greece, and another competitor from Japan.

Iran’s other representative, Nima Alamian, who had lost his match versus Japan’s Rio Zaki on Saturday morning beat his Finnish competitor to gain hopes for ranking 3rd in the Luxemburg Open.

But he lost the match to his Swedish competitor later on to lose all his hopes for gaining a medal. He also lost the game versus his Japanese competitor to rank no better than 8th.

The Iranian team’s other members, Afshin Noruzi and Puria Omrani, to ranked 13th and 53rd respectively.

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UAE inventor shines at Geneva expo

Geneva, 18th April, 2015 (WAM) — UAE inventor Ahmed Majan won four medals for his latest inventions at the 43rd International Exhibition of Inventions, which concluded yesterday in Geneva. The fair is recognized as the world’s most important market place for exhibitors from 45 different countries.

Majan said he presented five inventions, three of them new, in the tough competition from around 1,000 inventors and producers from across the world.

Two of his innovative creations the smart saddle, which was displayed for the first time, and a GPS for tracking a solar-powered bicycle scooped gold medals. He also won two silver medals for his remote control device of fishing nets and a smart duck trap. Majan won the highest number of accolades that an individual could harvest.

The Emirati inventor dedicated the landmark achievements to President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and other UAE leaders.

”Support and encouragement by the visionary and thought leader, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, often leads to achieving the top position and provides the key to excellence,” Majan said, adding that his participation at the exhibition was aimed at proving the UAE’s merit at the top rank and raising the country’s flag aloft at this international invention forum.

He also praised Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, for his continued encouragement and unwavering support for his career towards innovation and invention.

The UAE Permanent Representative to the UN and other International Organisations in Geneva, Obaid Salem Al Zaabi, said Majan’s participation at the Geneva exhibition of inventions reflected the bright image that the citizen has achieved in areas of innovation and invention.

The UAE, he added, always encourages innovations that serve the humanity.

Majan has also received special citation from the Chinese Innovation and Invention Society for having invented the smart saddle. Spanish inventors honoured Majan during their visit to the UAE pavilion at the exhibition.

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IFC to invest US$30 million to support SMEs, create jobs in Guinea

Africa Manager — The International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group, plans to invest US$30 million in Guinea in 2015, with a view to boosting support for small and medium enterprises in the African country, which are critical for job creation and economic growth.

Guinean President Alpha Condé said: “We need to build a strong, competitive Guinean private sector capable of creating jobs – empowering our youth and women who are the drivers of change. This is critical in implementing the transformation we need to achieve the inclusive and fast paced development Guinea needs.”

Conde was speaking when he met the IFC Executive Vice President and CEO, Jin-Yong Cai, last week at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

“It is estimated that even before the Ebola crisis began, SMEs in Guinea faced a US$900 million financing gap, with only 6% of firms able to access the credit they need,” said Cai on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

“SMEs are critical to job growth and economic recovery, and IFC is working through our financial intermediary and corporate clients to ensure SMEs have the capital and access to markets they need to grow, as well as training and capacity building to boost their competitiveness,” he said.

Over the past three years, IFC has made US$10.5 million of investments in Guinea, targeting the critical SME sector through three partner financial institutions. The Corporation has a pipeline of US$30 million targeted to reach more than 600 SMEs through risk sharing facilities.

These investments will have an increased focus on women and the agribusiness sector in particular. This is in addition to the US$17.5 million in support IFC announced November 2014 under its Ebola Emergency Liquidity Facility through two Guinean banks.

IFC’s Global Trade Finance Programme has supported a total of US$582 million in trade since its introduction in the country. IFC-support training programmes have reached 1000 SMEs through its Africa Leasing Programme and SME training tool IFC Business Edge, with plans to reach hundreds more in the near future.

IFC is also supporting public-private dialogue platforms, rolling out the IFC investment climate programme – designed to improve business regulation, investment and tax policy – and helping the energy sector improve the quality of service provided to SMEs and other private sector players.

This includes the development of a national local content policy, and technical assistance to mining companies in areas such as procurement.

For example, IFC’s partnership with Rio Tinto in the Simandou mine construction project in Guinea is expected to create 10,000 jobs at the height of construction. IFC estimates that 3,500 SMEs will be suppliers to Simandou once it reaches a steady state of operations, creating an estimated additional 20,000 jobs.

The World Bank Group is mobilizing nearly US$1 billion in financing for the countries hardest hit by the Ebola crisis. This includes US$518 million from IDA for the emergency response, and at least US$450 million from IFC to enable trade, investment and employment in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

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Chinese President to visit Pakistan, Indonesia this week

Beijing (China Daily) 2015-04-18 – President Xi Jinping is to make a long-awaited visit to Pakistan next week, his first overseas trip this year.

The visit is expected to produce wide-ranging cooperation agreements, including many concerning the economic corridor linking the two neighbors. The trip, the first by a Chinese head of state to Pakistan in nine years, has sparked media reports that Xi will launch energy and infrastructure projects related to the corridor worth $46 billion.

Liu Jianchao, assistant foreign minister, said both countries will seal agreements covering areas including energy, transportation, infrastructure, trade, finance and technology during the two-day trip, which starts on Monday.

At a news conference in Beijing, Liu said the economic corridor-a key part of China’s Silk Road initiative-is at the implementation stage.

The Pakistan Observer newspaper said Xi will see progress made on the corridor, which is a network of roads, railways and energy projects linking Pakistan’s Gwadar Port with China’s Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

Liu said the project will benefit Pakistan’s economic development, and China is willing to provide financing support to Pakistan.

Zhou Gang, a former Chinese ambassador to Pakistan, said the corridor project, first discussed in May 2013, will be an engine for cooperation between both countries.

Pervez Shah, president of the All Pakistan-China Friendship Association, said the corridor will play a crucial role in Pakistan’s development, especially as it involves infrastructure projects.

Pakistan’s development has long been hindered by political strife and unrest, with protests in Islamabad, the capital, prompting Xi to postpone a visit in September.

China, which shares a 600-km border with Pakistan, has expressed concerns over stability in Xinjiang and has worked with Pakistan to combat terrorism.

Liu said intelligence shows that members of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement-an organized terrorist group that seeks independence for Xinjiang-are operating in Pakistan. Both countries will strengthen cooperation to fight terrorists, including this group.

After Pakistan, Xi will visit Indonesia from Tuesday to Friday to attend the Asian-African Summit and activities marking the 60th anniversary of the Bandung Conference.

He will give a speech on bolstering Asian-African cooperation and have bilateral meetings with leaders of other countries, Vice-Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin said. He spoke at the same news conference with assistant foreign minister Liu, presided by Lu Kang, the new deputy director-general of the the ministry’s Information Department.

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Malaysia: Six-Star Facilities Ready For ASEAN Summit 2015 Retreat In Langkawi

LANGKAWI, Malaysia April 18 (NNN-Bernama) — Six-star facilities await delegates at the ASEAN Summit 2015 Retreat which will be held here on April 27, Foreign Minister Anifah Aman said here today.

He said the Langkawi Development Authority (LADA) which led the preparationfor the retreat here had made an impressive job to ensure the facilities provided were in accordance with the ministry’s requirements.

“We (as the host) should be proud that we can provide facilities which are of five-star and maybe, six-star (rating) but what is more important, the conference rooms to be used (for the summit) are practical…suitable and meeting the requirements,” he added.

Anifah was speaking to reporters when met after inspecting the facilities which include the Langkawi International Convention Centre (LICC), a newly-completed six-star hotel and a five-star resort.

LADA chief executive officer Khalid Ramli and several senior officers from the ministry and LADA accompanied him in the inspection.

Anifah said security preparations were also discussed in depth, ahead of his trip here today, in view of the presence of all 10 ASEAN heads of government who had confirmed their attendance for the summit.

He said about 3,000 delegates from ASEAN member nations were expected to converge in Langkawi for the retreat, after commencement of the summit in Kuala Lumpur from April 24.

Malaysia hosts the summit in her capacity as chairman of ASEAN this year, which came as an important year for the regional bloc which aimed to establish the ASEAN Community before the year-end.

Themed, ‘Our People, Our Community, Our Vision’, Malaysia’s vision throughout the chairmanship is the creation of a ‘people-oriented ASEAN’ involving all sectors of society in the grouping’s activities.–NNN-BERNAMA

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Registration open for Global Cleantech Innovation Programme 2015 Competition

KUALA LUMPUR, April 13 (Bernama) — The second Global Cleantech Innovation Programme (GCIP), is now calling cleantech entrepreneurs in the areas of renewable energy, energy efficiency, waste to wealth and water efficiency to register for the competition by 17th May through online application at http://malaysia.cleantechopen.org. The programme is seeking for the most disruptive innovation delivering solution to address the challenges of climate change and environmental problems.

The GCIP accelerator programme will help to de-risks the cleantech business especially startups, an industry long associated with capital intensive and long tenure of return, by bringing together corporation, investors and customers to the entrepreneurs. The programme runs on competition mode whereby the National Winner will be awarded with USD 20,000 plus an all-expense paid trip to attend the Cleantech Open Global Forum in November in the United States.

The first GCIP in Malaysia was held in 2014 with Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT) as the Lead Agency in a joint collaboration involving the Global Environment Facility (GEF), United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and supported by the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water (KeTTHA).

The Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT) is a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee under the purview of the Prime Minister’s Department. MIGHT, the implementing agency for Science to Action (S2A) national agenda, plays a key role in developing Malaysia’s high technology for business through its role as a think-tank, private-public consensus building and business nurturing platforms. It is an organisation built on the strength of public-private partnership with more than 100 members, both local and international, from industry, government and academia. (www.might.org.my)

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IJN’S Wellness Centre Ready To Help Those Who Love Their Hearts

KUALA LUMPUR, April 17 (Bernama) — There is an adage that says looks can be deceiving. Therefore looking good and appearing healthy does not necessarily mean one is in the best of health.

Today’s hectic and stressful lifestyle along with poor dietary habits can prove to be a silent killer for those who have taken their heart for granted.

Therefore regular screening is an important preventive step. Routine screening may uncover cardiovascular problems and other risks, which would only otherwise surface at an advanced stage.

And this where Institut Jantung Negara’s (IJN) Wellness Centre is ready to help those who love their hearts.

The Centre’s origins can be traced back to the Executive Screening Clinic that started in 1993, which was later upgraded to an Executive Screening Centre in 2009.

The Wellness Centre serves as a comprehensive one-stop heart-screening center. It not only evaluates the condition of one’s heart but also detects cardiovascular problems and those at risk of coronary heart disease (CHD).

Manned by 20 highly trained medical staff and a host of cardiac experts from IJN, the Wellness Centre located at the 6th Floor at Block A offers a host of heart screening and testing services.

As there is greater awareness now on the significance of heart screening, the number of people seeking heart screening with IJN has increased over the last two decades.

In 1995, 452 people underwent IJN’s Executive Screening Programme (ESP) and the number grew to 4,406 in 2014.

In 2014, out of the 4,406 people who underwent ESP, 1,006 (23 percent) had to undergo follow-up with IJN. In 2013, out of the 3,957 people who underwent ESP, 1,088 had to undergo follow-up with IJN.

Therefore, due to the high demand for heart screening services, IJN has taken the initiative to expand its services by dedicating one whole floor for the screening center.

IJN Wellness Centre started operations in mid February 2015 with a comprehensive range of services utilising state of the art diagnostic facilities and expertise.

The types of screening include early detection of high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol, all considered risk factors for coronary heart disease.

The new setup also offers greater comfort and privacy for those who come to screen their hearts.

As the leading heart center in Malaysia, the Wellness Centre is a natural extension in IJN’s efforts in caring for the hearts of the people.

Institut Jantung Negara (IJN) was set up in 1992 and is dedicated to the management and treatment of heart diseases by providing cardiology, paediatric cardiology and cardiothoracic surgery services for adults and children.

Today, IJN is reckoned to be among the best medical centers for cardiovascular and thoracic care in Malaysia and the region. IJN has kept abreast with the latest medical advances, from handling a simple hole in the heart surgery to heart and lungs transplantations.

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Malaysia’s Selangor State Officials On Trade Mission To Two Indian Cities

NEW DELHI, India April 18 (NNN-Bernama) — Selangor state government officials are on a four-day trade mission from April 19 to the Indian cities of Mumbai and Chennai, in an effort to lure investors from the country.

According to a statement issued by the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) in Mumbai, during the visit, the Selangor state delegation intends to give insights into investment opportunities in the state.

The delegation, headed by state executive councillor Teng Chang Kim, is targeting investments from the pharmaceuticals, medical devices and machinery sectors.

A meeting with the Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) will be held in Mumbai on Monday and in Chennai on April 22.

Invest Selangor state hief Executive Officer Hasan Azhari will make a presentation entitled, “An Investment Solution Centre In Selangor”, during the visit.

The Selangor state delegation will also meet Mida and Malaysian External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) officials, as well as the Consul Generals in Mumbai and Chennai respectively, to get further information on business opportunities in India.

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Ecuador Joins 50 Countries Participating In Malaysia’s Floral Show

PUTRAJAYA, April 16 (NNN-THE STAR) — Ecuador has announced their participation in the upcoming Malaysia’s flower show Royal Floria Putrajaya (Floria) that is happening from May 30 to June 7.

The Ecuador ambassador to Malaysia Lourdes Puma Puma shared this during a site visit, saying that Floria is a good platform to promote Putrajaya and that it is an excellent idea that combines tourism and trade.

The Ecuador booth at Floria will feature roses from the country that are famous for being long-lasting,

Meanwhile, Putrajaya Corporation (PPj) president Aseh Che Mat who also joined the site visit said that there will be about 50 countries participating in this year’s Floria.

“We have received remarkable feedback from these countries; they are very excited to join us this year,” he said.

Aseh added that there will be a new addition to Floria, which is the Spring/Winter Garden.

“The garden will be our main attraction this year, especially for those who have never experienced cold weather,” he said.

Another attraction is the Royal Garden, which previous years had seen the Kedah and Selangor-style miniature palace. This year, there will be a Minangkabau or the traditional Seri Menanti Palace at Floria.

Aseh said more than one million visitors are expected to attend the 10-day event. This year would also be the first year that Floria is organised by PPj’s subsidiary company Putrajaya Floria Sdn Bhd.

Some of the permanent components of Floria such as the China-Malaysia Friendship Garden, Fantasy Garden, Pinwheel Garden, English Garden and the Galeria D’Floria are currently being transformed for the annual flower show.

Lilies will take centre stage at Floria with the theme Tapestry of Hues. — NNN-THE STAR

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Historic Documents, Manuscripts Between Oman And France Exhibited At UNESCO

PARIS, France, Apr 16 (NNN-ONA) – Dr. Samira bint Mohammed al-Moosa, Oman’s Permanent Delegate to UNESCO, opened today, at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, an exhibition on the Historic Documents and Manuscripts between the Sultanate and France.

The opening ceremony was attended by Irena Bokova, the Director General of UNESCO, Dr. Hamad bin Mohammed al-Dhoyani, Chairman of the National Records and Archives Authority, Oman and Ambassador Filip Lilio, Permanent Delegate of France to UNESCO.

The exhibition includes historic documents and manuscripts that date back to eras from the 16th century to the 21st century, thus reflecting the deep rooted and distinguished relations between the Sultanate and France.

It also included pictures of Sultan Qaboos Bin Said, with a number of French presidents alongside, with copies of the exchanged correspondence and articles.

While delivering her keynote speech, the Sultanate’s Permanent Delegate to UNESCO highlighted the conventions that were signed between the two countries and the exchanged visits since the era of Napoleon I.

She pointed out that the first diplomatic representative office was opened in Muscat in 1894. The office is turned now to what is called “Bait Franca” Museum.– NNN-ONA

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Qatar Museum Launches Website To Support Local Talent

DOHA, Qatar, Apr 16 (NNN-QNA) – Qatar Museum, Wednesday, announced the launch of Ankaboot, a unique online platform and interactive space for all things related to art and creativity in Qatar.

The platform will connect artists with one another and with new audiences, and provide members of the local community with access to memorable artistic and cultural experiences, Qatar News Agency (QNA) reported.

Ankaboot, meaning Spider in Arabic, relates to the web of connections that the new platform will provide, to creative across a range of disciplines from photography and fashion design to multimedia visual arts and performance arts – enabling them to promote their work, gain new audiences and build their profile within Qatar’s cultural community.

The website will also support collaboration by connecting like-minded individuals to develop concepts and ideas together.

For the local community, Ankaboot provides an online meeting place for everyone with an interest in culture, as well as a space to browse and enjoy the range of art and creativity on offer in Qatar and participate in cultural dialogue.

This includes access to a wide range of arts and cultural events, exhibitions and openings staged by videographers, photographers, fashion designers and the range of disciplines represented on the platform.

From established figures, to budding creative, Ankaboot will enable artists to showcase and share their collections, inspire one another, exchange ideas, collaborate on projects or request feedback and guidance.

Over time, it will enable all kinds of artists to organise exhibitions, promote themselves and help find buyers for their art, as well as introduce them to galleries and exhibition organisers.– NNN-QNA

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Oil Painting Forum “Syria…Bridge Of Love” In Damascus

DAMASCUS, Syria, Apr 15 (NNN-SANA) – In cooperation with the Technical Institute of Applied Arts at Damascus citadel, Fine Arts Directorate of the Ministry of Culture, kicked off the fourth oil painting forum dubbed “Syria… a bridge of Love.”

Head of the Fine Arts Directorate, Imad Kashout, said in a statement to SANA that, choosing such a title for the forum brings to mind that Syria is the country of peace and love, which has published art, science and beauty to the whole world since prehistoric times.

Kashout affirmed that the invitation to establish a museum for the new art is still going on, clarifying that an electronic site about the new Syrian art is established on the Internet.

He asserted that, the site includes electronically archiving the photos of the works, acquired by the Ministry of Culture and the related information in a way that eases reaching to any artistic work, to save the national heritage of arts.

12 fine artists, known by artistic experiences and cultural presence in the Syrian Art, participate in the forum, which lasts till Apr 22.

Artist Nather Hosni, a participant, clarified that, this forum allows the participants to present their works, according to their techniques and varied artistic visions.– NNN-SANA

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Sikh Vaisakhi Festival To Be Listed In Malaysia’s Tourism Calendar

KUALA LUMPUR, April 12 (NNN-Bernama) — The Vaisakhi Festival will be listed in Malaysia’s tourism calendar to promote the rich culture and heritage diversity to put Malaysia on the map as a must visit destination.

Tourism and Culture Minister Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz said the festival with amazing music, wonderful performance, exuberance and delectable cuisine would attract more tourist to visit Malaysia.

“Our multi culturalism has made Malaysia a gastronomical paradise and home to hundreds of colourful festivals.

“I sincerely believe our warmth and hospitality is unparalleled and we do it in our truly unique Malaysian way,” he said during his speech at the official launch of the Festival Vaisakhi 1Malaysia (MyViasakhiFest2015), here.

For the first time, the MyViasakhiFest2015 was organised by the Tourism and Culture Ministry and Malaysian Punjabi Chambers of Commerce and Industries to allow tourist to experience this colorful and vibrant festival.

Viasakhi festival also known as Baisakhi celebrated by Punjabi-Sikhs marks the birth of the ‘Khalsa’ also known as the Harvest Festival that falls on April 14 of every year.

Although Viasakhi is not a public holiday in Malaysia, nevertheless Sikhs civil servants are allowed to be take unrecorded leave as stipulated in the Public Services Department circular.

MyViasakhiFest, a three day festival began yesterday, takes place at the Malaysia Tourist Centre (Matic) is packed with a host of activities to recreate the festival of ‘renewal and rebirth’ and showcase the hospitality of the Sikhs.

“We have artistes flown in from Punjab, India for this event, and they will be accompanied by talented Bhangra dancers and singers also from Malaysia who will mesmerize you with their energetic acts,” Mohamed Nazri added.

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Saudi Arabia focused on growing $45.3bn tourism market

Saudi Arabia is looking to build on domestic and religious tourism totalling an estimated $45.3 billion at this year’s Arabian Travel Market (ATM), to be held in Dubai, UAE, in May.

The country’s top 10 projects currently under development are valued at just under $11.6 billion and cover a wide range of tourism-related activities, from $4,400 million investment by Saudi Aramco into 11 stadiums to the next three phases of the Jabal Omar mega development in Makkah, which, upon completion in 2017, will have 40 hotel towers.

Other high profile projects include the $533 million MKEC Visitor complex, the $450 million Hilton Riyadh Hotel & Resort and $500 million Millennium Jeddah.

Saudi Arabia’s presence at this year’s show will be spread across more than 1,400-sq-m of exhibition floorspace with 15 participating companies already confirmed including Unique Choice, Al Khozama Management Company, Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, and E Travel Gate, among others.

“If we look just at the kingdom’s list of top 10 tourism and hospitality projects, almost $11.6 billion is being invested into supporting the country’s economic diversification plans, and our partners on the ground are eager to discuss how this year’s ATM can showcase sector growth to more than 33,000 expected participants,” said Nadege Noblet, exhibition manager of Arabian Travel Market, WTM Portfolio, Reed Travel Exhibitions

Saudi Arabia is capitalising on both new business and leisure tourism opportunities with 55 planned or under-development projects including four museums/libraries, 39 hotels and resorts, one mall, seven sports stadia/leisure complexes, two theme parks and two convention centres.

Following the announcement late last year by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities of approval of provisions to issue tourism visas and introduce new regulations to the system, this greatly enhances prospects for future sector development if the proposal achieves final approval.

“The country has a number of important historical sites and places of natural beauty that could be a magnet for tourists from around the world, such as the ruins of Madain Saleh, a Unesco World Heritage site, the stunning Farasan Islands, the mountain city of Taif and Jeddah’s restored old quarter,” said Noblet.

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Arghawan Festival A Symbol of Convergence, Institutionalization of People

Tuesday, April 14, 2015, Kabul (BNA) Afghanistan is a country with lovely nature and rich with different ornamental trees, mountainous plants and springs.

This beautiful nature has enhanced importance of this country. The Golghondi hill of Chahrikar city the provincial capital of ancient Parwan province is one of the wonderful places ornamented with hundreds Judas trees which blossom in spring and attract thousands countrymen to go there and watch it. Golghondi located on the west of Chaharikar city on the slopes of Dara Kalan area adjacent to Khawja Sayaran the home village of Emam Aazam Abu Hanifa.

During Mir Alam Khan Golghondi took today’s shape and a national poet Bahayee Jan called this Judas flower clad hill as Golghondi (The Flower Hill). Each spring which is the time of blossoming of Judas flower, thousands countrymen, women, children, old and young specially on Fridays attend this spectacular place and hill from adjacent provinces particularly Kabul with their families and enjoy its lovely weather and atmosphere full of odor and natural perfume.

Due to these peculiarities, attempts were made to celebrate Judas Tree flower as a national festival beside orange flower in Jalal Abad, Rosa flower in Mazar-i-Sharif Yellow flower in Herat, Pomegranate in Kandahar every year. Fortunately in 1392 the Judas tree flower festival was officially recognized as a national festival by the MoIC and this year, the third national Judas tree festival flower is expected to be marked. Head of Parwan department of Information and culture Abdul Ahad Hashimi said “The Judas Tree flower festival includes programs for enjoying natural beautiful scene.

During this season, since long time the people particularly the residents of Parwan gather under the shadow of Judas tree and entertain. In the past the Parwan department of information and culture had organized brief functions at local level in the name of Arghawan picnic. On sunny days, families attended there and held egg fighting, card playing, chesses playing, Karambole, music etc.

Local products of Chaharikar including ice crime, Pakawra, Kebab, Soup were sold to visitors. Local handicrafts and industries including knife, copper dishes and pots, pottery and wooden products were displayed and supplied that enhanced the magnificence of accepted festival in this natural entertainment place.

Talking on the motives behind celebration of Judas Tree flower festival, Hashimi said “The only and officially accepted reason behind celebration of this festival were natural beauties of Parwan Judas Trees fields and charming scene of this nice flower which were popular among different strata of people and they enjoyed it in one hand and the request of Parwan law makers and cultural professionals caused that the government attention be focused and officially recognize this festival.

Touching allocation of a budget for celebration of festival by the MoIC, Hashimi said “Unfortunately, due to economic reasons and dependence of the national budget to contribution of foreign donors, the government has failed to allocate a certain budget for this purpose. Since the beginning, literary and cultural functions were held with the participation of poets, writers and local government authorities in Golghondi.

The Parwan department of information and culture is intending to make efforts to register this festival in UNESCO global heritages. Hashimi went on to say that Arghawan festival has many aspects and dimensions which are very important and valuable including preservation of old cultural rites and traditions, social convergence, development of literal and artistic activities. At present circumstances the particular importance of this festival is evasion from the culture of violence and war, enjoying the beautiful and lovely nature and mental peace.

Talking on effect and role of Arghwan festival on improvement of national unity and culture of peace, Hashimi said “This festival especially in the last two years has attracted attention of large number of countrymen and women from across the country for visiting this lovely place and enjoying its natural beauties and its touristic attractions. This event could be a turning point in institutionalization of peace values, national convergence, ensuring of social justice and civil freedoms.

Talking on the measures taken by Parwan department of information and culure for magnificent celebration of this national festival, Hashimi said “Our department has undertaken essential measure in current year for this purpose including holding of exhibitions, arranging of sport competitions of Arghawan Cup. This festival well introduce Parwan and its culture to the rest of Afghan people as one of the most secure places in the country, improvement of marketing of local products and industries and increase of income of shopkeepers, restaurants. Parwan local provincial departments have also been cooperate us for better celebration of this festival according to their resources. Karima Malikzada

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Hamid Karzai’s Chapan (Coat) to be an exhibit at British Museum

Saturday, April 18, 2015, Kabul (BNA) The much-admired Afghan coat (Chapan) of the former Afghan President Hamid Karzai will be exhibited at the British Museum.

The Office of the former President said Hamid Karzai’s Chapan will be registered and added among the assets of the museum.

Nancy Hatch Dupree, director of the Afghanistan Center at the Kabul University, informed Karzai regarding British Museum’s decision during a meeting.

The Office of Hamid Karzai in a statement said Ms. Dupree delivered a written letter from the British Museum to Hamid Karzai during a meeting on Thursday morning.

The statement further added that the former President also discussed regarding the Center’s activities and pledged to cooperate at all levels with the Afghanistan Center at the Kabul University.

Karzai started wearing his much-admired Afghan coat, or Chapan, since his arrival in Kabul as the interim leader of Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban regime.

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Turkish President cycles with ‘champion’s bike’ through bodyguards, ministers

Istanbul, April/18/2015 – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has cycled a specially customized bike, based on a model used by a world biking champion, during the launch of the 51st Presidential Tour of Turkey (TUR).

Erdoğan attended the promotional event for the upcoming race in Istanbul’s Salacak neighborhood on April 18. Escorted by scores of bodyguards, Turkish President initially struggled to ride and Sports Minister Akif Çağatay Kılıç was even about to crash Erdoğan’s bike at one point.

Among the ministers who attended the event, Erdoğan’s spokesperson İbrahim Kalın was the first one who crossed the finish line.

“We still couldn’t manage to make people love the bicycle. We are not like the Western countries in this sense,” Erdoğan said in a brief speech after the event, vowing to create more bike lanes in cities and calling bicycle producers to make discounts to increase the demand.

According to Bayram Akgül, a board member of Salcano Bicycles, who is a sponsor of the TUR, the bike that Erdoğan rode had the same features as Belgian road racing cyclist Fabrice Mels’ bike.

“We are very proud to be a part of this tour,” Akgül had said in an interview on April 17, adding Erdoğan’s bike, which carries his name, has 20 gears, hydraulic brakes and a carbon body.

The TUR will enter its second half-century this year, and an international peloton of the best riders will join the opening celebrations at the Mediterranean seaside resort of Alanya, where the first of the eight stages will begin on April 26.

The 2015 TUR will host five teams from Italy, four from Belgium, two from Australia and the United States and one from Colombia, France, Kazakhstan, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Spain and the host nation, Turkey.

The TUR will start in Alanya and travel to İzmir, with seven mountain and sprint stages, ending with a final stage in Istanbul on May 3.

The Bosphorus Bridge will be crossed twice in this year’s race.

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Debunk religious misconceptions through Islamic literature: Bruneian Minister

Bandar Seri Begawan, Borneo Bulletin — April 18, 2015 – ISLAMIC literature can be an effective medium in debunking common misconceptions on the Islamic religion through high quality writing works, said the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports.

While opening the two-day Islamic Literature Festival at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports in Jalan Kebangsaan yesterday, Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Hazair bin Haji Abdullah said the misinterpretation of Islam stemmed from terrorism and extremism.

He said it was the responsibility of contemporary and young Islamic literature producers to rectify these misconceptions by clarifying the real contents of the Al-Quran and Hadiths, which clearly reject any form of oppression, cruelty and violence.

Singapore’s Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister of Foreign Affairs, Masagos Zulkifli bin Masagos Mohamad, lauded Brunei’s efforts. He said his delegation was looking forward to learn more from the festival, which will also feature an Islamic literature recitation and writing workshop today.

Last night’s event saw poetry recitations and performances by prolific national writers, including Pehin Siraja Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Yahya bin Haji Ibrahim and Pehin Jawatan Luar Pekerma Raja Dato Seri Setia Dr Ustaz Haji Awang Mohd Zain bin Haji Serudin, as well as poets from Singapore and artistic groups from Brunei.

Organised by the Language and Literature Bureau (DBP), the festival is an effort to make Brunei an Islamic literature hub at the regional and international levels.

DPB said it hoped the festival would help churn out more writers, poets and lecturers in Islamic literature. About 60 people from Brunei and Singapore are taking part in the festival, including Islamic preachers, religious teachers, students from Islamic institutions and local writers.

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Think Work Live Positive conference held in Kuwait

KUWAIT, April 18 (KUNA) — The Think Work Live conference started on Saturday in the presence of the chief of the Al-Nowair initiative Sheikha Intisar Salem Al-Ali Al-Sabah.
The event groups doctors, teachers and specialists, including the internationally renowned success guide Joe Vitale.

Speaking at the two-day event, Sheikha Intisar said that the conference seeks to help people live positively, happily and healthily through the instructions of a number of experts in this regard. 
She underlined the significance of Vitale’s participation, noting his interesting books: “The Key and The Attractor Fact” are very useful for people in the Arab world.

The gathering aims to make positivity part of people’s life, she said, adding that the positivity has not addressed in detail in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.
 “We want to educate people in Kuwait about the importance of positivity in our daily life that will benefit our society,” she said.
”Positive attitude is beneficial for our bodies and minds where scientific researches have proven that such approach cuts chances of developing cardiac diseases by 25 percent,” Sheikha Intisar said.

Being positive may extend person’s life span, increase work productivity and creativity, she said.
Sheikha Intisar expressed her gratitude to all people who supported the conference for the second time in a row, mainly the Kuwait Finance House, other institutions and media people.
 For his part, Dr. Vitale said people should expand their thinking and change their beliefs for better life, adding positivity is a key to successful life and progress.

He urged people to have positive and vital messages in their lives through changing their beliefs.
Al-Nowair is a non-profitable initiative, launched in 2013, coinciding with the International Day of Happiness. (Pickup previous) ss.tb.hm

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Young entrepreneurs hawk their products at tea houses

KUWAIT, April 18 (KUNA) — The state-sponsored chain of tea houses serving the public mostly tea or coffee will be equipped to display the products of Kuwaiti entrepreneurs newly dabbling in the world of small and medium size enterprises and businesses, said the chain’s chairman Ali Al-Roumi on Saturday.

In remarks to KUNA, he said all the tea houses will allocate space to showcase the products of these young and eager for success entrepreneurs who seek public avenues to market these products and no place is better than a tea house where a lot of patrons go to spend time and enjoy hot beverages.

He said this new added function for the state-supported tea houses reflected the authorities keenness to encourage young entrepreneurs to plunge in the world of business with confidence.

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Abu Dhabi to host Global Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies

ABU DHABI, 18th April, 2015 (WAM) — Abu Dhabi will host the second session of the Global Forum for Promoting Peace in the Muslim Societies 2015, from April 28 to 30, at the St. Regis Hotel Corniche, Abu Dhabi, in the presence and with the participation of more than 350 Muslim scholars and intellectuals from around the world.

The forum, chaired by Sheikh Abdullah Bin Bayyah, will hold a series of sessions and workshops with the participation of a group of scholars to promote the culture of peace and strengthen efforts to counter extremist ideologies contrary to human values and principles of tolerant Islam as well as address the risks of religious sectarian violence that prevails in many Arab and Muslim communities.

The convening of the second session of this forum in Abu Dhabi follows the initiative launched by Sheikh Bin Bayyah, who heads the scientific committee of the forum.

The three-day long forum will also discuss solutions to the issues facing Muslims worldwide and address the causes of the divisions in the Muslim societies.

Expressing his delight at the holding of the second session of this important forum in Abu Dhabi, Bin Bayyah said, “We hope to reach effective solutions to the causes of division, violence and chaos that prevail in our Arab and Muslim region at the moment,” stressing that “the only way to counter the forces that tear the Muslim world apart is to know the roots of misinformation and misunderstanding that feed the extremist ideologies, sectarian hatred, violence, and deadly destruction.”

He described the global forum, at its second session in Abu Dhabi, “as an important event for the entire world. Its mission aims to come to terms with the self and the other, renounce violence and lay the foundations of peace everywhere, and establish understanding among all peoples. It is an important initiative that aims to refute extremist ideologies by making provision for real understanding of Islam as a religion of wisdom, compassion, tolerance and patience, as outlined in the Quran and sayings ‘Ahadith’ of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).”

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Mohammed bin Rashid tours Arabic calligraphy exhibition

Dubai, 18th April, 2015 (WAM) — Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum today visited the Dubai International Arabic Calligraphy Exhibition at Wafi Mall, Dubai, and viewed collections of calligraphy masterpieces by accomplished artists from across the Arab and Islamic world and Europe.

Organised by the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority from April 14th to May 15th, 2015, the exhibition showcases 140 masterpieces and works of classic and modern Arabic calligraphy.

Sheikh Mohammed directed the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority to organise such cultural and heritage events in Dubai and across the UAE, particularly in central markets, parks, metro stations as well as air, land and sea ports so as to make Dubai a large diverse cultural and artistic museum.

H.H. expressed his absolute support for cultural events that promote the rich Arab culture and instil it among present and future generations as “we want them to adhere to it and taste its beauty, whether in poetry, literature, reading or written and spoken form.” “Whoever reads the holy Quran and becomes conversant in reciting its verses and comprehending their meaning will definitely be skillful in Arabic, the language of the holy Quran,” Sheikh Mohmmed said.

“Our language is our identity; we should protect, preserve and promote it so that it becomes a source of pride and dignity for our future generations,” he added.

Sheikh Mohamed was accompanied during the tour by Mohammed Ahmed Al Murr, Speaker of Federal National Council (FNC), Abdul Rahman bin Mohammed Al Owais, Minister of Health, and Chairman of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, Ibrahim Mohammed Bu Melha, Dubai Ruler’s Advisor for Humanitarian and Cultural Affairs, Khalifa Saeed Sulaiman, Director General of Dubai’s Protocol Department, and a group of cultural figures.

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Algeria’s expertise in water management presented in South Korea

DAEGU (South Korea) Wednesday, 15 April 2015 – The Algerian experience in the integrated management of water resources was outlined Wednesday during a workshop organized as part of the 7th World Water Forum, held from April 12 to 17 in South Korea’s Gyeongju.

Director General of the National Agency for Integrated Management of Water Resources (AGIRE) Mohamed Dramchi, said that the approach of Algeria was structured around three fundamental lines namely the information system, a medium and long-term planning as well as consumer awareness-raising on the rational use of water.

The establishment of registry of water catchments and the manufacturing of watershed atlases as well as the creation and the annual update of the regional data banks on water are the main achievements made as part of this approach, following 30 years of technical and regulatory adjustment, he detailed.

The integrated management of the water sector has also set up a permanent diagnosis of public drinking water supply and also to monitor the pollution of major rivers, Dramchi added.

It allowed also the realization of a mapping of points of discharge of domestic and industrial waste water from agglomerations of more than 10,000 inhabitants.

Algeria is represented by Water Resources Minister Hocine Necib at the 7th World Water Forum, which is being held in two South Korean cities of Daegu and Gyeongju, under the theme of “Water for our Future”.

Algeria’s stand at the 7th World Water Forum held in the two South Korean cities, namely Daegu and Gyeongju, was a very attractive for visitors to this event.

Thanks to its accurate design representing Algerian architectural and cultural traditions, the stand, extending over an area of ​​180 m2, managed to catch the attention of an important number of visitors, both professionals and the general public, including schoolchildren groups who all showed their curiosity to discover Algeria through this space.

“Optimism”, this is the slogan chosen for the stand of Algeria whose characters in Arabic and English are clad in red and on the top of a white façade with a halo of green lines, all symbolizing the three colors of the national emblem.

The choice of this slogan primarily reflects the vision “optimism” of Algeria over the future of the water sector, based on the progress made since the beginning of the millennium to meet an ever-increasing demand for drinking water and to improve access to sanitation, the responsible for animation told APS.

Beyond the search for information on the current situation of the sector in Algeria or the proposed equipment offers, services and solutions, some visitors were driven by curiosity to discover a far country in another side of the world, he added.

The achievements made by Algeria in drinking water and sanitation in an unfavorable geographic and climatic conditions have also attracted the interest of some official visitors to convey this experience to their countries.

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Nearly 1,200 exhibitors at Algerian building fair

Thursday, 16 April 2015, ALGIERS- The 18th international fair of building, building materials and public works “BATIMATEC 2015” will be held at Algiers exhibition centre from 3 to 7 May, said the organizers.

The trade event, organized by Batimatec Expo in partnership with the Algerian Company of Fairs and Exports (SAFEX), will bring together some 1,200 exhibitors, including 640 foreign companies from 26 countries, the source added.

This year’s edition will be marked by the participation of new countries, including south Africa, Russia, Serbia and Malaysia, alongside usual participants, namely Turkey (163 companies), China (103), Spain (90), Italy (82) and France (67), said the organizers.

The programme of the five-day fair will also include workshops and conferences on the promotion of national production.

BATIMATEC 2015 constitutes an opportunity for the sharing of information and expertise and for the presentation of new equipment and materials of the sector.

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Algeria launches National Award for Combatting Violence against Women

ALGIERS, 07 April 2015 – Minister of National Solidarity, Family and Women Condition Mounia Meslem has announced Monday in Algiers the institution of a “National Award of the Fight against Violence against Women,” which will be under the theme of “violence of the religious point of view.”

On the occasion, the minister chaired the installation of a committee for rewarding the works achieved in the field of the fight against violence against women.

This committee will be in charge of examining the scientific, social and cultural works, competing for the “National Award of Fight against Violence against Women” which will be granted on 25 November, coinciding with the celebration of the International Day of Fight against Violence against Women.

This initiative aims at”consolidating the government’s efforts in raising awareness about the dangers of this multidimensional problem” through the adoption of a national strategy to combating all forms of violence against women, both within the family and workplace.

The Minister stressed the need for “involving all components of society in a bid to strengthen the mechanisms up by the government in this direction.”

The challenge is to adapt the legal arsenalwith the developments that are occurring within the society in order to” fight against stereotypes against women.”

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Algeria opens “Constantine, capital of Arab culture 2015”

Thursday, 16 April 2015, CONSTANTINE- Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal chaired Thursday night in Constantine, on behalf of President of the Republic Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the official opening ceremony of “Constantine Capital of Arab Culture 2015” event.

Accompanied by Speaker of the National People’s Assembly, Mohamed-Larbi Ould Khelifa, an important ministerial delegation of several ministers of Arab countries, diplomats accredited in Algiers, and many local and national artists and cultural figures, as well as several senior officials and local authorities, Sellal had earlier inaugurated the large “Ahmed Bey” auditorium of 3,000 seats, in which was held the opening ceremony.

After the reading of the program of the opening ceremony by the event’s Commissioner, Sami Bencheikh El Hocine, and verses from the Koran and the execution of the national anthem Qassaman, President of the High Commissioner to the Arabic Language, Azzedine Mihoubi also ambassador of “Constantine, the capital of Arab culture ” said in a welcoming speech that the event” was not only a rehabilitation of the city, but a valuation of its long historical process.”

Immediately after the statements by Director General of the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO), Dr. Abdullah Hamad Muhareb and Secretary General of the Arab League, Nabil El Arabi, in which they paid tribute to the “enormous efforts made by Algeria, particularly in terms of the building of new infrastructure,” a message from President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, was read by Mohamed Benamar Zerhouni, Advisor to the Head of State.

Earlier in the evening, the Prime Minister offered an official dinner in honor of the guests participating in the event “Constantine, Capital of Arab Culture 2015”.

The evening will be wrapped up with the presentation of a great historical and artistic show featuring nearly 400 artists, entitled “The great epic of Constantine”, directed by Ali Aïssaoui, written by historians and academics.

“Constantine, capital of Arab culture 2015” event is part of “Algeria’s cultural, civilizational and political influence in 2015,” Foreign Minister, Ramtane Lamamra told APS Thursday in Constantine.

“Algeria is bringing a very significant contribution to the joint Arab action in all areas and certainly in the cultural field,” added the minister, on the sidelines of the visit of Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal to Constantine.

“Constantine, which has participated in the country’s ancient and recent history, is now the place where the event takes place that brings together the entire Arab world and the friends of the Arab world, is a pride,” said Lamamra.

This is also, he continued, “a just recognition of the special place of Constantine in history” and also “a tribute to our country that has always managed to take up the challenges of defending all Arab causes and its cultural renewal.”

The Foreign Minister added that the Arabs and friends in the Arab world “share many cultural and civilizational values with the countries of Africa and Europe,” and the history of the Arab world “continues in the Iberian Peninsula and extends across Europe and around the world. ”

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Baku among top ten most visited cities in CIS

Baku, April 8, AZERTAC – Azerbaijani capital Baku is among top ten most visited cities in the Commonwealth of Independent States, Russia’s Oktogo.ru online said.

Belarus, the leader of popular ranking, is followed by Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Moldova, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

The top 10 most popular cities in the CIS of trips of Russian tourists in 2015 includes Minsk, Kiev, Baku, Almaty, Yerevan, Astana, Vitebsk, Tashkent, Brest and Lviv.

The rating is compiled according to hotel reservation of Russians in the CIS in 2015.

Among the CIS cities the longest journey in 2015 was made by Russians to Tashkent – an average for five days, and the shortest – to Brest – one and a half days.


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AZERI President reviews new Liman-Narimanabad-Baligchilar highway

Lankaran, April 11, AZERTAC – President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has reviewed newly-reconstructed Liman-Narimanabad-Baligchilar highway as part of his visit to Lankaran.

The head of state first viewed a scheme of the road. Under President Ilham Aliyevs order signed in 2013, AZN 2mln was initially allocated from the Presidents Contingency Fund for the construction of the road. Last year the head of state signed another order to allocate AZN 3.6 mln from the state budget for the construction. Construction work started here in April 2013 and was completed this April.

The road, which is 18.8km in length and 6m in width, links 3 residential areas with the total population of 10,000 people.


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Dhaka University Tourism dept takes “Campus Tourism” project

DHAKA, April 13, 2015 (BSS) – Dhaka University Tourism and Hospitality Management Department today has taken a project titled “Campus Tourism” to flourish tourism industry and build efficient human resource in the country.

In this regard, the department signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation (BPC) at a function at the department office.

Chairman of Tourism and Hospitality Management Department Prof Mujib Uddin Ahmed and chairman of BPC Dr Aparup Chowdhury signed the MoU on behalf of the respective organizations.

Business Studies Faculty Dean Prof Sibli Rubayatul Islam and Project Coordinator Assistant Prof Rumana Parvin, BPC General Manager Faysal Shah and Tour Manager Subhash Chandra Nandi were present on the occasion, as the guests.

Under the project, significant establishments, history, heritage, social and cultural importance of the university will be projected to foreign tourists.

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Acupressure treatment will introduce in education institutes

DHAKA, April 17, 2015 (BSS)- Acupressure, an alternative medical treatment, will be introduced in educational institutions of the country for the physical fitness of the students.

Under a year-long project, seminars, workshops and training programmes will be conducted in selected institutions across the country to create awareness on acupressure treatment and make the students motivated to go for self treatment.

‘Bangaj Sho-chikitsha Paribar’ Chairman Sagor Sagir revealed the information at a press briefing at Dhaka Reporter Unity auditorium here today, said a press release.

Bangaj Sho-chikitsha Paribar will organize a total of 40 seminars, 120 workshops at 40 graduation-level education institutes in a year with the financial support of India-Bangladesh Foundation (IBF).

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Iran needs ‘up to 500 aircraft’ in next decade

TEHRAN, April 17, 2015 (BSS/AFP) – Iran will need to acquire 400-500 airliners over the coming decade to renew its aging fleet, suffering from years of US sanctions over its controversial nuclear programme, the country’s aviation chief says.

Those sanctions ban manufacturers from selling new aircraft or parts to Iranian companies, which has grounded much of the fleet.

Under an interim nuclear deal reached in November 2013, the sanctions were eased to allow the sale of parts and for making safety-related repairs.

The fleet consists of only 140 functioning aircraft, Ali Reza Jahangirian, head of the Iran Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), was quoted Friday by state news agency IRNA as saying.

“That is lower than the average international norms in terms of international indexes of population and area,” he said, adding that an eventual nuclear deal with world powers would ease the way toward solving the problem.

“We will need 400 to 500 airplanes over the next 10 years,” he said, without spelling out the types of aircraft involved or giving any indication of a possible budget.

Since the signature of the interim accord, Jahangirian said a number of airplane manufacturers have visited Iran to assess the market and to discuss possible agreements.

“Aircraft manufacturers are seriously working to forge interaction with Iran and not fall behind the race once the situation changes,” he said.

The United States has allowed aircraft maker Boeing Co and leading engine manufacturer General Electric Co to sell parts.

Over the years, Iran has developed a domestic manufacturing capacity for airplanes to fly domestic routes, based on the Ukrainian Antonov 140 turboprop regional airliner.

It has also been able to buy or lease used aircraft, notably from Airbus Industries.

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Protection of Bangladeshi ethnic community cultural heritage underscored

RAJSHAHI, April 18, 2015 (BSS)- Speakers at a ceremony here said the issue of ancestral festival and cultural heritage of the plain ethnic communities should be given importance for protecting those from further degradation.

They viewed the culture of the ethnic communities as heritage, resource and integral part of the society, so all quarters should take the responsibility to protect it.

They were addressing the opening ceremony of a three-day “Ethnic Community Baha Festival and Boishakhi Fair-2015” held at the Shilpakala Academy auditorium in the city on Friday.

Rajshahi Divisional Ethnic Community Cultural Academy organised the annual event where hundreds of the community people both male and female attended.

State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam, MP, and Akter Jahan, MP, addressed the session as the chief and special guests respectively with Helaluddin Ahmed, Commissioner of Rajshahi Division, in the chair.

Principal of Rajshahi Court Degree College Prof Shafiqur Rahman Badsha, district unit president of Jatiya Adibashi Parishad Bimol Chandra Rajoad and Deputy Director of the academy SM Shamim Akter also spoke.

The speakers viewed that cultural practices and other ancestral entertainment of the ethnic communities are gradually diminishing due to various reasons and called for protecting the cultural heritage from further degradation.

The state minister said he had been with the ethnic community people in the past and will remain with them in future also. He assured her cooperation for the development of them.

He underscored the need for undertaking effective measures towards the livelihood development of the plain-land ethnic people as they are adjudged as most vulnerable and underprivileged section of the society.

Shahriar Alam said Bangladesh is an instance of communal harmony as people of all the religions have been celebrating their respective religious and cultural festivals freely for long.

He observed that the present government is very positive and cautious to uphold the dignity. As a result, the country is now being widely adjudged as a unique example of communal harmony as people of all religions live with equal rights alongside peace and tranquility.

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Joint Pak-China Think Tank on Economic Corridor launched

April 19, 2015, ISLAMABAD – Prior to President Xi Jinping’s visit to Pakistan, a three-day conference in the picturesque Chinese island of Hainan decided to launch a new Joint Pakistan-China Think Tank dedicated solely to research and development of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

According to a press statement issued here on Saturday, the newly-formed think tank “Research and Development International (RANDI)” will have two co-chairpersons: Zhao Baige, former minister and currently member of parliament and vice-chairperson of the foreign affairs committee of the National People’s Congress, will be co-chair from the Chinese side and Senator Mushahid Hussain will be from Pakistani side.

“The new think tank is the first joint initiative of China and Pakistan, which will be dedicated to research on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor,” said Senator Mushahid, emphasising that it would also provide an ‘information corridor’ to promote perspectives, data and information for policy-makers, students, specialists, scholars and companies of both countries.

The ‘Information Corridor’ will be organised by China’s most prestigious university, Tsinghua University, under the supervision of Professor Li Xiguang, who is also director of the Centre of Pakistan Studies there, who also addressed the conference.

The Pakistan secretariat of the new joint think tank, RANDI, will be located at the Pakistan-China Institute in Islamabad, while its China secretariat will be co-hosted by the CASS and the China Institute of Reform & Development (CIRD), two top Chinese think tanks.

A work plan for 2015 was also approved at the conference, which was attended, among others, by former finance minister Senator Saleem Mandviwalla, Chairman, Pakistan Red Crescent Society, Dr Saeed Ellahi, energy and economic experts including representatives of the Board of Investment, and Gwadar Development Authority.

The think tank will provide the institutional and intellectual foundation of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which has now become the flagship project of President Xi Jinping’s vision of the Central Asian Economic Belt and the Maritime Silk Road.

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Syrian Tourism Minister inspects tourist facilities outside Damascus

17/04/2015 Damascus Countryside, SANA – Tourism Minister Bishr Yazigi visited a number of restaurants, hotels, and tourist facilities in Damascus Countryside, inspecting the services they provide and the scale of damage caused to some of them by terrorists.

The tour covered the lounge at Damascus International Airport, Zaman al-Khair complex, Happy Land amusement park, the 1001 Nights complex, and a number of restaurants in Sayyeda Zainab area.

The Minister affirmed that the Ministry is prepared to provide various forms of support to the owners of facilities that wish to reopen them on partial basis, noting that some investors have already expressed desire to repair and reopen their facilities with help from the government.

Accompanying Yazigi on the tour, Damascus Countryside Governor Hussein Makhlouf said a committee was formed to assess damages to tourist facilities, adding that priority in providing compensations will be given to owners of facilities that intend to reopen them partially or fully.

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Innovations in ‘Green economy’ presented at conference in Kazakhstan

19.04.2015 – Scientists from over 20 countries have introduced new innovations in the sphere of ‘green’ technology to the participants of an international conference in Shymkent. Kazakh scientists’ project for the international exhibition ‘EXPO-2017’ has interested the innovators’ community. For almost three years a team of scientists has been working on improvement of advanced bio-gas installation.

Said Botagoz Mutaliyeva, Associate Professor, Biotechnology Department, Graduate School Of Chemical Engineering And Biotechnology: This is obviously connected with saving the electricity, for instance, instead of 24 days we could minimize the use to 7 days, because the methane emissions reach its peak on the 7th day.

Said Idara Ekve, Professor, State University Of Georgia, USA: I think that science is developing very well in Kazakhstan. The country’s production can be seen. We see the work that is conducted on the green energy in the South Kazakhstan University. There are many projects on solar energy, wind energy. If all these developments are introduced, it will be a good experience. And it will have a positive impact on the development of economy in Kazakhstan.

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Social-good humanitarian train ‘My Kazakhstan’ arrives in Aksu

19.04.2015 – The train called ‘My Kazakhstan’ arrived in the Pavlodar region. The first stop is the town of Aksu. This was the 23rd stop on the itinerary.

Said Gaziz Telebekov, Chief Of Train ‘My Kazakhstan’: – The train’s mission consists of several parts; to mark the Year of the People’s Assembly of Kazakhstan together with the people of Kazakhstan.

Medical teams consisting of oncologists, endocrinologists, cardiologists, rheumatologists, ophthalmologists and more than 20 narrow specialists arrived in Aksu. They examine residents and prescribe medication. Among the passengers there are also experts from various fields. Representatives of banks and government officials educate the residents about measures to support the business sector, as well as the goals and objectives set for the Centers for Support of Entrepreneurship.

Alibek Yessenkulov, Spokesperson, Ministry Of Investments And Development: We tell people about the advantages of the government’s electronic portal. For instance, an electronic digital signature is a very convenient tool. It is not difficult to obtain it and it saves a lot of time, especially for businessmen. You can request all the needed government related inquiries from home.

The next stop will be Yekibastuz. It is worth reminding that one of the most large scale social campaigns devoted to the anniversary of People’s Assembly of Kazakhstan that started on March 23rd from the capital’s train station.

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Hashemite restoration projects at Al Aqsa mosque still ongoing

Amman, April 17 (Petra) — The Jordanian government is still carrying out the construction and restoration projects at the Al Aqsa Mosque, which come in implementation of the Hashemite custodianship of the holy mosque, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Sabah Al Rafie said on Friday.

She added that the last of these projects was laying out a new carpet donated by His Majesty to furnish the Marwani Mosque, which is located under Al Aqsa Mosque.

The ministry official affirmed that Jordan will continue its custodianships of these holy places, mainly Al Aqsa Mosque. Al Rafie made the remarks in response to statements by the Israeli minister of construction and housing, in which he claimed that the Awqaf Department was prevented from carrying out maintenance works at the holy shrine.

“The Jordanian Government, and through diplomatic channels, has protested the statements of the minister,” the official said, adding that the Israeli government affirmed that such statements do not represent its stances.

The Israeli government, she noted, has reiterated its respect of the Hashemite custodianship of the holy places in Eastern Jerusalem, as stipulated by the 1994 peace treaty.

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Kazakhstan unveils first subway line in Almaty

Kabar.kz 19 april 2015 – The first ever subway line was officially opened by Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev on Thursday in Almaty after almost 20 years of construction.

“Today is an exciting historic day for our country. This is the first such facility in Kazakhstan and it will go down in the history of our country,” Nazarbayev said at the opening ceremony.

Construction began in 1988, but was stalled several times over the lack of financing. The Almaty subway line, which has seven stations, is 8.5 kilometers (5.3 miles) long and stretches across the central part of the city.

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Lebanese singer Anthony Touma announces duet with Egyptian singer Mohamed Attia

Thu 16 Apr 2015, NNA – Multitalented Lebanese artist Anthony Touma launched his new French album entitled Maintenant c’est l’heure on April 8at 6 PM during a signing session at Virgin Megastore Beirut Downtown in the presence of fans, celebrities and the media.

The event, organized by Create motions in partnership with Virgin Megastore and with the participation of Château Nakad, was an outstanding success. More than 1200 fans of all ages were present to meet and take pictures with Anthony Touma.

The album Maintenant c’est l’heure sold out in the first hour of the Beirut launch at Virgin Megastore, a first.

Many celebrities and artists such as Tania Kassis and Aline Lahoud, with whom Anthony Touma will collaborate for the 2015 edition of One Lebanon, as well as members of the press were present at the event. They had the opportunity to taste wines proposed by Château Nakad, partner of the event.

Egyptian artist Mohamed Attia, who is competing with Anthony Touma in the television show Dancing With the Stars Middle East, was also present at the event. They took the opportunity to announce their artistic collaboration as an English/Egyptian duet, which will be launched before summer 2015.

Anthony Touma will announce the dates of his summer 2015 tours and shows in Lebanon on his social media channels in the coming days.

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Egyptian antiquities seized in Australia returned to Cairo

Canberra (IINA) Wednesday 08 Apr 2015 – Australia returned a number of antiquities having cultural significance to Egyptian authorities in an official ceremony held at the embassy of Egypt in Canberra on Wednesday, BERNAMA reported.

This is the result of a shared commitment by the governments of Egypt and Australia to protect and preserve cultural objects, Australia’s Minister for the Arts and Attorney-General Senator George Brandis said.

“The antiquities date back to significant periods in Egyptian history and were exported from Egypt in breach of its national cultural laws,” Brandis said in a statement. “This collection of antiquities includes many funerary objects such as a wooden hand belonging to an anthropoid coffin, small statuettes known as shabtis to serve the deceased in the afterlife, as well as a number of amulets to protect the deceased.

“A Coptic textile fragment and large saucer lamp were also among the relics returned to Egyptian authorities.”

The items were seized from an auction house and private residence in Australia by the Ministry for the Arts and Australian Federal Police at the request of Egyptian authorities.

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Qatari banks ink deal for Islamic finance venture in China

Doha, (IINA) Friday 17 Apr 2015 – Two Qatari banks and Chinese brokerage Southwest Securities signed a memorandum of understanding on Tuesday to establish a company handling Islamic finance deals in China, Arabian Business reported.

The new company will help the two banks, Qatar National Bank and Qatar International Islamic Bank (QIIB), to access China’s markets for financing and investment, directly or indirectly, Qatari executives said.

It will also aim to develop Islamic finance in China and support southwest securities in accessing markets in Qatar and the Middle East, they said. Details of the size of the company and when it would start operating were not disclosed.

“We want to help China set up a framework for Islamic finance or direct investment,” Abdul Basit Ahmad Al Shaibi, QIIB’s chief executive, told reporters. “We also want to encourage Qatari banks to have a presence in China.”

He added, “What we saw from the Chinese side is that there is demand for Islamic finance, and the Chinese are looking for ways to export Islamic finance beyond their borders, as well to countries in their region with large populations of Muslims.”

China’s AVIC Capital Co revealed in late December that its unit AVIC Securities had signed an agreement to advise the government of the country’s Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, which has a large population of Muslims, on the global issue of up to $1.5 billion worth of instruments such as Islamic bonds and US dollar bonds, with maturities of up to five years. Since then, no concrete progress towards an issue has been announced.

Islamic banks have proved a success because of rules that forbid investing in collateralized debt obligations and other toxic assets that cause financial crises, OnIslam reported.

The Islamic banking system is being practiced in 50 countries worldwide, making it one of the fastest growing sectors in the global financial industry.

Starting almost three decades ago, the Islamic banking industry has made substantial growth and attracted the attention of investors and bankers across the world.

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Report on Nizwa Capital of Islamic Culture 2015 in Documentary

Nizwa, April 18 (ONA) – The Wilayat of Nizwa in the Governorate of A’Dakhiliyah is one of the most important centres of science and scholars in the Sultanate through the ages. It is famous for its mosques that cohorts of scholars and thinkers, writers and Jurists (Fuqaha’a) had graduated from.

Nizwa also contributed a vital role in the prosperity of the scientific movement in the Sultanate and building of the Islamic civilization. It had a clear activity in various fields of science through its important position in the history of Oman being the capital of the country starting from the second AH Century and for a period of time.

The cultural influence of the City of Nizwa is reflected on the majestic archaeological landmarks and historic castles, like Nizwa Castle and its fortress.

The Ministry of Heritage and Culture is currently implementing within the framework of its activities and events, celebrating Nizwa capital of Islamic Culture 2015, a filming project and the production of four documentaries on the City of Nizwa that tell stories happened in the city and highlight the aesthetics of its historical and cultural landmarks through the training of 20 artists and amateurs in the field of film directing to be trained by four professional directors who train four 5-member teams for one month. They will produce 7-10-minute documentaries to be completed in April.

It is expected that some of those documentaries to be presented in September that talk about the City of Nizwa. There will also be a photo gallery and distribution of its publications written in Arabic and English. That even will be overseen by a number of members of the Technical Committee of the Ministry of Heritage and Culture.

The project includes a seminar to familiarize the participants with advertising and promotion of their documentaries, the development of special publications for those documentaries, writing the summary and the promoting expression and the important information in Arabic and English about the documentaries, in addition to visiting the Wilayat of Nizwa to familiarize themselves with the archaeological sites and historical attractions in the wilaya and the Niyabat of Al Jabal Al Akhdar, so that students can develop appropriate ideas for their films that they will write and direct them.

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Increased Passenger Traffic at Muscat International and Salalah Airports

Muscat, April 18 (ONA) – The total passenger traffic (including transit & transfer passengers) through Muscat International Airport has increased by 9% to 2,410,098 passengers until March 2015 compared to 2,213,116 passengers for the same period of 2014.

Statistics released by the Public Authority for Civil Aviation (PACA) show an increase in the arrival passengers by 9% to 1,221,704 passengers until March this year comparing to 1,116,523 passengers for the same period of the year 2014.

The number of departing passengers has also increased by 8% to 1,175,354 passengers until March this year comparing to 1,085,284 passengers for the same period of the year 2014.

The increase in arrival and departure traffic into Muscat International Airport is attributed to the increase in the number of flights operated by existing airlines, such Fly Dubai Airlines, Emirates Fly and Air Arabia.

In terms of air cargo traffic at Muscat International airport, Aviation Statistics indicate an increase in the total unloaded and loaded freight by 8%, with total shipment (32,165 ton) compared to (29,701 ton) in the same period in 2014.

Salalah Airport has witnessed an increase by 13% in the total number of arriving and departing passengers to 217,669 passengers until March 2014 compared to 193,383 passengers for the same period of 2014.

As for the movement of Air cargo at Salalah Airport, cargo traffic has decreased by 21%, bringing the loaded and unloaded cargo to (407 ton) until March 2014 compared to (336 tons) in the same period in 2014.

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