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14 Sep, 2015

Australian designers launch Islamic fashion collections in Indonesia

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 14 September 2015 (30 Dhul Qa’dah 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, is witnessing 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.



Oman Air Steps Up Support For People With Special Needs

In a new initiative Oman Air had made exclusive arrangements to assist people with special needs, who are on low incomes, to make their air travel easier. The initiative is being organized in partnership with the Oman’s Ministry of Social Development and underlines the carrier’s commitment to corporate social responsibility.

Announcing the move, Oman Air’s Chief Executive Officer, Paul Gregorowitsch, said:

“Oman Air is pleased to be working closely with the Directorate General for People with Special Needs, for the benefit of the people with Special Needs, who are also on the low-income brackets on their airline tickets requirement. The tickets will enable them to access treatment or education or take part in other relevant activities.

“This initiative underlines Oman Air’s long-standing commitment to working with public and private institutions to offer a helping hand to those who are in need. As the national carrier of the Sultanate of Oman, we have a duty to support and enable the people Oman. This is an important element of our corporate social responsibility programme and we are proud to be working with the Ministry of Social Development in achieving it.”

Hilal Mohamed Al Abri, Director General for People with Special Needs at the Ministry of Social Development added:

“This new initiative with Oman Air will provide vital support for people with special needs who are living on low incomes. It will mean that they can more easily access the help and services that they need. We are grateful to our national carrier for their commitment.

“The Ministry of Social Development works as a strategic partner with Oman Air on many projects and in many cases the airline takes the lead. Together, we aim to adopt initiatives that deliver positive, long-term impact within our communities, and create a cooperative, united society in which all citizens are enabled to achieve their full potential.”

Oman Air has provided support for people with special needs for some time. Most recently, the airline partnered with the Public Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises and the Al Raffad Fund to run a workshop in Muscat. Here, the importance of providing financial backing for students with special needs was emphasized, and students learned about the significance of economic independence. The steps necessary for creating one’s own business, and the availability of practical and financial support provided by the Al Raffad Fund were also outlined.

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Bangladesh PATA Chapter wins Next-Generation Award

PATA Bangladesh chapter has received the prestigious PATA next generation engagement award by the PATA head quarters for the first time in Bangladeh tourism history. 2 years before when the present executive committee of Bangladeh chapter took over the new positions that time there were 12 head quarters members from Bangladesh.

With the great initiative of the Chapter Chairman Mr. shahid Hamid and the Secretary General Mr. Taufiq Rahman the Bangladesh chapter head quarters members has increased now 36 and they have a plan to increase it 50 by this year.

The present Bangladesh chapter’s great achievement is to form the PATA Student chapter. At present the Student chapter has 185 members and the membership is still increasing day by day. They also taking so many activities like Seminars, road shows, organize student career fairs, celebrate Tourism years, work as a trainee at Hotel and guides etc. for this great work, the PATA head quarters have given the Next Generation Engagement award – which was awarded on 5th September at a function during Srilankan nights at Taj Vivanta.

Mr. Kevin Murphy the Chairman of PATA along with the CEO PATA Mr. Mario Hardy presented the award to PATA Bangladesh chapter Chairman Mr. shahid Hamid while the Secretary General Mr. Taufiq Rahman and a senior member of PATA Bangladesh chapter Syed Ghulam Qadir were also present on that occasion. PATA award also given to PATA German chapter, PATA Hong Kong chapter and PATA Hawaii chapter for their outstanding activities.

A group of 8 members from PATA Bangladesh chapter along with 2 Government officials and 6 private sector stakeholders were attended the Mart- which ended on 8th September at Taj Vivanta with the new Hope to be the next Mart at Jakarta 2016.

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1Malaysia Year-End Sale Packages Unveiled At PATA Travel Mart 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia Sept 7 (NNN-Bernama) — Tourism Malaysia has announced special packages for the ‘1Malaysia Year End Sale (1MYES)’ at a three-day Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Travel Mart 2015 in Bangalore, as a part of its continuing efforts to promote awareness on the celebration of the Malaysia Year of Festivals (MyFest) 2015 in India.

The packages were unveiled at a special dinner hosted for the travel trade by Tourism Malaysia’s Deputy Director-General (International Promotion) Azizan Noordin during the 38th PATA event which began on Sept 6.

“India is a significant contributor to tourism in Malaysia. In fact, India is the sixth top tourist market for us. Last year, we had 770,108 Indian visitors, which is an 18 per cent growth from 2013 (650,989).

“We are hopeful that MyFest 2015 will keep Malaysia as a top-of-mind tourist destination, encouraging Indian tourists to stay longer in order to enjoy the sale offerings nationwide,” he said in a statement here Monday.

Addressing top outbound Indian tour agents and updating them on new tourism developments and products in Malaysia, he emphasised that besides Shopping and Moto-GP, leisure and luxury holidays were also key focus areas this year.

Azizan, who is also chairman of PATA Malaysia Chapter and Government, Destination Committee, is accompanied by Malaysian sellers to promote the country to the global tourism market.

Among the sellers include big names in the local tourism industry, such as Tourism Johor, Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA), Lexis Hotel, Tourland Travel, Borneo Nature Tours, Asian Overland, World Express, Planet Borneo Tours, Legoland Malaysia, Theme Attractions & Resorts, and Flexiroam.

Tourism Malaysia is also organising various programmes for travel trade players to meet up and network among themselves, providing Malaysia’s tourism industry players the opportunity to strengthen ties with their Indian counterparts at the PATA Travel Mart.

Azizan said this year, the PATA Travel Mart attracted more than 1,000 delegates from over 60 countries and facilitated over 10,000 pre-matched appointments, as well as brought together qualified international buyers and sellers for face-to face meetings, educational forums and networking functions. Last year, Malaysia received 27.4 million tourists, which was an increase of 6.7 per cent.

This year, Malaysia is expected to welcome 29.4 million tourist arrivals and garner RM89 billion in tourist receipts, he added.

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Langkawi To Become Malaysia’s First ‘Low Carbon Island’

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia Sept 11 (NNN-Bernama) — The government, through the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water, has embarked on a pilot project to transform Langkawi into Malaysia’s first ‘low carbon island’, said Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.

He said a feasibility study on Low Carbon Langkawi 2030 is being undertaken under a collaboration with the government of South Korea, with Jeju Island used as a comparative benchmark.

“If Langkawi can be a showcase for renewable energy, electric mobility, waste management and green buildings, it will create a ripple effect on local industries.

“(It will) create more job opportunities for locals and increase the island’s income by promoting green tourism,” he said at the 6th International GreenTech and Eco-Products Exhibition and Conference Malaysia here Friday.

Najib, who is also Finance Minister, said he looks forward to further collaborations with global partners to expand Malaysia’s capacity in green technology.

Also present at the event were Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Maximus Ongkili and Minister of Environment of Cambodia Dr Say Samal.

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Australian designers launch Islamic fashion collections in Indonesia

10 September 2015 Jakarta (ANTARA News) – Four of Australia’s most talented Islamic fashion designers launched their latest collections in Jakarta at the Indonesia International Islamic Fashion and Products exhibition being held from September 9 to 13 at the Jakarta Convention Centre.

malaysia logo

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

Amalina Ama, and Eisha Saleh (Baraka), and Howayda Moussa and Hanadi Chehab (Integrity Boutique) are Australian designers, whose beautiful ready-to-wear collections combine simple cuts and comfortable styles for day to evening occasions, the Australian Embassy said on its official website on Thursday.

Their styles vary from the classy to feminine and the dramatic and mesh perfectly with this years theme Ethnic Urbanovative. “Australia is very proud of its Muslim community, which comes from a wide variety of backgrounds, including the Middle East, South Asia, Eastern Europe and South East Asia,” said Alison Purnell, Counsellor, Advocacy and Outreach.

“These Muslim communities have brought with them a wealth of different ideas, skills and talents. Our four designers are an example of this,” Ms. Purnell said. The event will allow the designers to explore their creativity further with their Indonesian counterparts.

In conjunction with the Indonesia International Islamic Fashion and Products 2015, Women-In-Global-Business Indonesia (WIGBI) will hold a workshop on Friday, September 11, to provide technical assistance to established female business owners or female directors in the fashion industry, who are working towards becoming export-ready.

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New incentives to promote Iran’s non-oil exports

Tehran, Sept 9, IRNA – In line with its policy to boost non-oil exports in the coming years, the government has approved new incentives to support exporters and protect them against possible risks.

Head of the Trade Promotion Organization of Iran, Valiollah Afkhamirad, made the announcement on Monday, adding that the new measures will be implemented as soon as they are declared by the executive bodies, ISNA reported.

Facilitating the issuance of bank guarantees and loans and shortening the time for refund of value added tax on exported commodities to one month are among the incentives approved by the government, said the official.

As part of the measures, the Export Development Bank of Iran has been obliged to allocate at least 80% of its loans for export of goods and services, Afkhamirad added.

‘Moreover, it was decided to allocate $1 billion of credit from the National Development Fund to major export destinations to be used for purchase of goods and technical services from Iran,’ he said.

Afkhamirad also announced plans to add $200 million to the working capital of Export Guarantee Fund, a state-owned export credit agency that supports Iranian exporters and investors in international markets.

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China ready to invest in Iran’s Salmas Special Economic Zone

Oroumiyeh, Sept 11, IRNA – Managing Director of Salmas Special Economic Zone Ali Rahimi said China has declared interest in participating in different projects in the zone. He made the remarks here on Friday on the sidelines of meeting with a group of Chinese investors from SMI Company.

Referring to exclusive potentials of Salmas in production and investment, especially production of machinery and automobiles, Rahimi said that Salmas is ready to absorb investment in all these sectors.

He said that the Chinese delegation is here to invest 500 million dollars in the fields of textile, information technology, mining machinery, car, as well as construction materials.

Concerning supportive actions for producers and tax exemptions in the zone, Rahimi said facilities will be offered to industrialists on imports, clearance from custom houses, and also customs and financial exemptions.

Deputy Governor of Salmas Amir Teymouri also said that in this special zone there is no problem in infrastructures.

He said that the Chinese investing companies will sign an MoU after negotiation and consultations with west Azarbaijan foreign investment services center and special economic zone.

Considering closeness of Salmas Special Economic Zone to Khoy and Orumieyeh airports, railroad, border points of Jolfa, Bazargan, Razi and Sero as well as closeness to two capitals of provinces west and east Azarbaijan, the place could be an important economic zone in the country.

Salmas with the population of 200,000 is located in north part of west Azarbaijan province.

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Persian culture greatly impacts world literature

Tehran, Sept 10, IRNA – Iran’s rich culture and literature highly influenced world and Serbia’s poetry and prose, observed the director of National Library of Serbia.

Laslo Blaskovic made the remarks in a meeting with Iran’s Cultural Attaché in Serbia Mahmoud Shalooei on Wednesday.

‘We respect Iran’s rich culture which has a long history and that’s why National Library of Serbia is always open to introducing Iran’s culture,’ he said.

Speaking on the agreement signed between the National Library of Serbia and Iran’s National Library in 2008, Blaskovic added that the deal is not time-bound, but requires annexations to expand bilateral ties.

Shalooei said that cooperation among national libraries of both countries as well as other public organizations can pave the way for further scientific and cultural benefits.

He also thanked the National Library of Serbia for holding Iran’s cultural programs, namely ‘Cultural and Artistic Night’ on celebrating the victory of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, known as ‘Ten-day Dawn’ and the ceremony to launch Persian language courses last year.

Dispatching technical and executive delegations, setting up specialized workgroups as well as exchanging written works and research programs will boost relations, he noted.

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WHO, WAHO to Strengthen Traditional Health Practitioners in Africa

9 September 2015 – The Point (Banjul) – The World Health Organisation country representative in The Gambia, Dr Charles Sagoe-Moses, has said that WHO would continue to work with the West Africa Health Organisation (WAHO) to support African countries to strengthen regulatory bodies for traditional health practitioners.

The WHO country representative was speaking at the recently-ended 7th Scientific Congress of Traditional and Conventional Medicine Practitioners held in Banjul.

Dr Sagoe-Moses said as part of efforts to support countries, WHO had developed a range of tools and guidelines, including the model legal framework for the practice of traditional medicine.

“Countries could adapt these important tools to their specific contexts, as an important step towards protecting patients against potentially harmful practices,” he said.

WHO’s country representative further said that traditional health practitioners are an important source of healthcare for many Africans, with an estimated 80 per cent of people seeking treatment from them.

“The benefits of traditional medicine are evident to all,” Dr Sagoe-Moses said.

However, he added, there is no doubt that proper regulation is essential to the provision of quality, safe and effective healthcare products and services.

He said this is important especially in rural areas where traditional medicine is sometimes the only affordable and available source of healthcare.

“Adherence to strict regulations would protect public safety by ensuring that traditional practitioners are properly trained, and that their practice is endorsed by a regulatory body.”

According to the WHO country representative, commendable progress has been made by countries in the region to promote the safety and effective use of traditional medicine.

Since the year 2000, the number of countries with traditional medicine policies has surged from a mere 8 to 40, and the number of countries with research institutes dedicated to traditional medicine has increased from 18 to 28, he said.

Despite this progress, only 21 out of the 47 countries in the African region have laws or regulations governing traditional medicine practice, he added.

Some of the factors hindering progress are non-regulation or weak enforcement of regulations for practitioners and their practices, and limited evidence-based assessment of the safety, efficacy and quality of practices and products, he further stated.

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Cameroon Gains Korean Assistance to boost Customs E-Clearance

Cameroon Tribune – 7 September 2015 – Negotiations that started in 2012 between the governments of Cameroon and Korea through the Korea Customs Service, KCS, to have the latter export its ‘one-stop’ customs service system is beginning to yield fruits.

Both governments, represented by Cameroon’s Minister of Finance, Alamine Ousmane Mey and the Korean Ambassador to Cameroon, Lim Jae Hoon, on Friday September 4, 2015 in Yaounde, chaired the signing of a Public-Private Partnership on the one hand and a Memorandum of Understanding between the Director General of Customs, Minette Libong Li Likeng and the Vice-Commissioner of the Korea Customs Service, Lee Don-Hyun. The Partnership was signed between government and Compass, a Korean company.

The e-clearance system, according to Lee Don-Hyun, is a seven-module internet clearance portal that provides a convenient and cost-effective solution to customs clearance. It allows users to access the portal at anytime, anywhere, using an internet-compatible device to connect to the system and access powerful features with the highest security standards. The 20-year-old system, with its wealth of experience and knowhow, is what the Korean government is ready to share with the Cameroon Customs.

From the initial import and export declarations to the required permit and point where goods are finally released from customs control, all operations are automated without any human intervention. Lee Don-Hyun said, “My personal experience with the system has been the increase in revenue collection and customs transparency, and this will definitely increase the cooperate competitiveness as well as help the modernisation efforts which will lead to the national competitiveness level.”

For What Input?

Alamine Ousmane Mey and Lim Jae Hoon said both countries were ready to take their cooperation ties to any level. The introduction of the e-clearance system, they said, is in line with government’s commitment to link the Cameroon Customs system to the developed benchmark performance scheme. The use of Information and Communication Technologies stands out as an indispensable tool to Cameroon’s vision of attaining an emergent status by 2035 and Alamine Ousmane Mey sees in the e-clearance or UNI-PASS system, ranked as one of the best in the world, a leeway for Customs modernisation.

Cameroon’s future customs clearance system based on the Korean model is expected to usher in security, productivity, increased competitiveness, reduce complexities while maintaining the country’s aspirations, the Minister noted. “We hope to harness the know-how and efficiency in the transfer of this technology,” Alamine stressed.

The Director General of Customs, Minette Libong Li Likeng, pledged commitment to the implementaion of the system. “We have challenges in clearing goods,” she said. The ‘one-stop’ system is going to improve and facilitate the way of collecting customs duties and ensuring transparency.

When Will It Be Operational?

Minette Libong li Likeng explained that at least two or three years were needed for the system to be put in place but they were going to begin module by module. “It is not a one day issue,” said the Director of Customs. She explained that it is not a ready-made system whereby they are only expected to plug in and out. On the contrary, “We need to build the system, taking into consideration the reality of Cameroon.”

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Nigeria Projects Its Airports Will Be Africa’s Aviation Hubs

Daily Trust – 8 September 2015 – Lagos — The new terminals at Nigeria’s major international airports in Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Port-Harcourt and Enugu will make Nigeria the hub of aviation in Africa, when they are completed in 2016, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has said.

Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of FAAN, Engr. Saleh Dunoma, spoke at Panama during the Annual General Assembly Conference and Exhibition of the Airport Council International (ACI).

Dunoma who was a panelist at the event stressed that the completion of these terminals would stimulate robust traffic growth in passenger and cargo traffic.

“These airports will improve passenger comfort, increase capacity and improve facilitation,” Dunoma said as quoted in a statement by FAAN General Manager, Public Affairs, Yakubu Datti.

Earlier during the opening ceremony, the President of Panama, Mr. Juan Carlos Varela Rodriguez welcomed members to the city, highlighting the importance of aviation which contributes significantly to Panama’s Gross Domestic Product.

In his welcome address, Joseph Fidanque III, the General Manager, Tacuma International Airport, said the Tacuma Airport was building a new terminal to accommodate growing traffic as the hub of region.

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Africa: High-Speed Fibre Cable to Connect Kenya, S.Sudan in 2 Years

Capital FM – 9 September 2015 – Nairobi — Kenya and South Sudan will be connected to a high-speed fibre optic cable within the next two years enhancing communication and inter-border trade.

The two governments are implementing the optic fibre cable system as part of the Eastern Africa Regional Transport, Trade and Development Facilitation Project.

The project will also build a road linking the two countries from Eldoret to Lodwar and Juba and a common border post built at the interconnection of the two countries.

“As you are all aware, roads and information superhighways are two of the most effective means of realising accelerated development of any modern economy. Today we are witnessing the implementation of both at the same time in this region,” Shared Services Director at the ICT Authority Robert Mugo said during the project commissioning in Lodwar town, Turkana to inaugurate the project on the ground.

South Sudan will similarly extend the cable from the Kenya-South Sudan border to Juba.

The ICT Authority is implementing the Kenyan-side of the project through a World Bank fund estimated at a cost of Sh2.6billion, while the Sudan side is estimated to cost Sh1.5bilion.

The road construction between Lokichar and Nedapal is worth Sh52.5billion and will be funded by the World Bank.

The full cost of the road construction from Eldoret to Sudan border is an estimated $1.2 million dollars. The real construction work will start in May 2016 and will be completed in February 2019.

Once completed, the two countries are set to benefit from fast movement of goods and people and enhanced internet connectivity.

The connectivity will be used by towns and facilities along the corridor including schools, hospitals, government offices and telecommunications operators.

“This development will increase inter-border trade between Kenya and South Sudan as well as link Turkana County to the rest of Kenya. We see the prices of commodities coming down,” said Turkana County Governor Josphat Nanok.

Kenya through the Ministry of ICT has already entered into an MoU with South Sudan through the Ministry of Telecommunications and Postal Services on January 23, 2015 in relation to the construction of the fibre optic cable that will interconnect both countries.

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Sierra Leone Launches Project to help SMEs boost competitiveness

9 September 2015 – Concord Times (Freetown) – The Sierra Leone Import and Export Promotion Agency (SLIEPA) has launched a project to increase the country’s export competitiveness through improved product packaging for small and medium scale enterprises.

The programme is being undertaken by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, in collaboration with the Commonwealth Secretariat, according to the Chief Executive Officer at SLIEPA, Raymond K. Gbekie, who was speaking during the launch at the Hub Hotel, Wilberforce. He said the project would examine packaging in the country, looking at constraints and making recommendations to the government.

Gbekie said the project has several phases with the first being to diagnose packaging constraint in the country, identify gaps in developing the project as well as national deficiencies in the trade sector, adding that after that phase consultants will proffer recommendation for implementation by the government.

He said SLIEPA would not pre-empt the study, while admitting that definitely the government was having problems with the packaging of local products both for national and international markets.

He said the project was significant as Pillar Four of the ‘Agenda for Prosperity’ deals with the competitiveness of local products in the international market.

While launching the project, acting Minister of Trade and Industry, Mabinty Daramy, said government was very keen about the project as it would foster growth in the country’s market and put out local products to compete with others in the sub-region.

The project has a 19-month life-span which is expected to be completed by July next year.

A comprehensive presentation on the project was done by Treglor consultants, led by Ebenezer Consult, while the Adviser of Trade Competitiveness at the Commonwealth Secretariat, Krik Haywood, spoke on the benefits of the project to the trade sector and the Gross Domestic Product.

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Mozambique: Special Economic Zones Identified

3 September 2015 – Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique (Maputo) – The Mozambican government has identified 24 “development hubs” where Special Economic Zones for agro-business can be established, according to Agriculture Minister Jose Pacheco.

The Special Zones will promote investment in key sectors to raise agricultural production. The establishment of these zones is being coordinated with the Ministry of Economy and Finance as investors could be offered tax exemptions.

The 24 Special Zones are located along Mozambique’s six agricultural development corridors. These are the Maputo and Limpopo corridors in the south, the Beira and Zambezi Valley corridors in the centre, and the Nacala and Pemba-Lichinga corridors in the north of the country.

Opportunities in the six corridors have been identified for the value chain of products such as potatoes, wheat, beans, maize, soya, rice, poultry, cattle, and forestry products.

Several Special Economic Zones already exist – but these are mostly for industries and tourism. The best known is the Beluluane Industrial Park on the outskirts of Maputo, where the MOZAL aluminium smelter is located.

In addition to the Special Zones, Pacheco said his Ministry is negotiating with the Tax Authority (AT) to exempt from customs duties and value added tax (VAT) the import of spare parts for agricultural equipment. This includes tractor tyres and irrigation tubing, which will fall substantially in price, if the AT accepts the Ministry’s proposal.

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Mozambique PM Encourages Expansion in Exports

6 September 2015 – Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique (Maputo) – Maputo — Mozambican Prime Minister Carlos Agostinho do Rosario on Saturday challenged Mozambican businesses to expand and diversify the products they export, and increase their level of processing.

He was speaking at the Maputo International Trade Fair (FACIM), held at Marracuene, 30 kilometres north of the capital, during the ceremony at which prizes were awarded to the best exhibitors.

Rosario repeated the appeal made at the opening of the Fair, last Monday, by President Filipe Nyusi, who had urged companies to concentrate on activities with the greatest potential for job creation and for added value – notably in agriculture, livestock, agro-industry, tourism and fisheries.

The Prime Minister also urged the Export Promotion Institute (IPEX), which organizes FACIM, to commit itself to seeking better ways to support Mozambican enterprises, stimulating productive capacities, and favourable conditions for exports.

From the goods exhibited at FACIM, “it has been possible to gauge the real potential for increasing business opportunities and investment in our country as well as the real achievements made in the affirmation of Mozambique as a competitive economy in the region and in the world,” he said. “The government reiterates its commitment to continue implementing the reform package, in order to provide a more attractive business environment”.

Rosario was also pleased at the increase in the number of foreign countries and hence of foreign companies exhibiting at FACIM. 30 countries were represented, including newcomers such as South Korea and Vietnam.

The Prime Minister was optimistic that this would lead to the establishment of further business partnerships between Mozambican companies and foreign counterparts, which should also help to promote and diversify Mozambican exports. Such partnerships would allow an ever greater presence of Mozambique in international trade, he said.

Increased exports of goods and services, Rosario stressed, were crucial for the development of the national economy, and for reducing the deficit on the balance of payments.

In his conversations with Mozambican exhibitors, Rosario encouraged them to improve their productivity and competitiveness, with the end goal of improving Mozambican living conditions.

The prize for the country with the best exhibition at FACIM went to Germany, followed by South Africa and France. But the country that brought the largest business delegation to FACIM was Italy (followed by Portugal and Turkey).

Each of Mozambique’s provinces had its own exhibition. The prize for best provincial exhibition went to Maputo province, followed by Inhambane and Manica

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Gambian-Sudanese Traditional Musicians Create Joint Album

4 September 2015 – The Daily Observer (Banjul) – In what is regarded as another milestone in the development of the country’s traditional music, Gambian traditional musicians have collaborated with their Sudanese counterpart in a major album entitled “Kabeng” a local parlance meaning (Meeting together).

‘Kabeng’ album, which comprise of 8-tracks sound featured artistes like Tatanding Jobarteh, Pabobo Jobarteh, Dembo Jobarteh, Dawda Camara, Kebba Suso, Karamo Kuyateh, Musa Pierra, Bai Jobarteh and their Sundanese counterpart-Mohamad Badawi. A Sudanese national in Brikama, superbly produced the Afro-beat masterpiece.

Mohamad Badawi, an instrumentalist cum the brainchild behind the project, said the aim of the project is to discover Gambian traditional music by collaborating with African traditional musicians. “African traditional artists need to come together and collaborate by bring freedom unity into our music,” he said.

He disclosed that they would further promote the album in Germany by inviting all artists who were featured in it to perform in mega festivals, as there is a need for more exposure for the cultural fun in the songs and melodies, which he would like to be exposing in that part of the world. The video he went on, will be shot in The Gambia, adding that the project is not only about to create a CD’s, but rather is meant to create a strong link between Gambian traditional musicians and their Sudanese counterparts to the world.

“I would like to thank Lucas a German national who is learning Gambian traditional music in Jobarteh Kunda, who introduced me to The Gambia to come and embark on such a wonderful,” he said.

Dembo Cora Jobarteh, an artist expressed optimism that this partnership will go a long way in enhancing more cultural exchange between the two African nations.

He said there is need for Gambian to cherish traditional music and went on to thank all artistes, producers who have contributed immensely towards the success of the project.

Earlier this year Kabaka Pyramid released a a hit social commentary track, titled ‘Well Done’ produced by Damian ‘Junior Gong’ Marley. The single ‘Well Done’ highlighted the ineffectual government, while using sarcasm to speak directly to politicians of the world, exposing their abuse of leadership. The single garnered a lot of attention world wide, which created the anticipation for the release of the video. Set to premiere Friday August 28th on billboard.com ‘Well Done’ video will definitely spark conversation.

Directed by Benjamin Lidsky and illustrated by Ikem Smith, ‘Well Done’ video captures the true essence of the song. Providing thought provoking visuals and streamlined messages throughout the video.

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Cameroon’s $20 Million Plan to Upgrade Agricultural Development

4 September 2015 – Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (Rome) – Cameroon and FAO today signed two agreements: one creating a $20 million, five-year Partnership Programme aimed at promoting agricultural development in the Central African nation, the other establishing an expanded Partnership and Liaison office here in the capital.

The agreements were signed by Pierre Moukoko Mbonjo Cameroon’s Minister of External Relations, Essimi Menye, the country’s Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, and FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva, during a two-day official visit.

The new FAO/Cameroon Partnership Programme (FCPP) will focus on national priorities as set forth in the FAO Country Programming Framework for Cameroon. Priorities include implementing national strategies to boost rural growth, promoting agricultural jobs for youth and women, and developing and implementing policies and strategies to build the resilience of rural populations to disasters and crises.

The Programme also foresees the possibility of support to South-South Cooperation activities in other African countries, funded by Cameroon. The new FAO office will be responsible for the Programme’s overall coordination.

“As partners, the government and FAO will continue to keep each other informed about their respective policies and programmes on food security, nutrition, agricultural and rural development,” said Minister Moukoko Mbonjo.

“This historic financial commitment highlights Cameroon’s strong commitment to food security and rural development. This generous contribution is an important recognition of Africa’s potential in the fight against extreme hunger and poverty,” FAO’s Director-General said.

“It has become clear that while we have the power to end hunger in our lifetime, we will only succeed if we work together, including through Southern countries assisting one another,” he added.

“Cameroon is committed to strengthening agriculture in-country and beyond, which is the sector at the basis of Africa’s development,” said Minister Menye. “We are delighted to increase the already long existing cooperation with FAO. It will strengthen our ongoing work and open new opportunities to work together in pursuit of our common goals,” he said.

Cameroon has been member of FAO since 1960 and the Organization has maintained an Office in Yaoundé since 1978.

Cameroon has already achieved both the MDG target of halving the proportion of the population suffering from undernourishment by 2015, and the more stringent World Food Summit target of 1996 of halving the absolute numbers of the hungry by 2015.

Moving forward, a key focus of the new partnership established here today will be joint efforts to work towards achieving new hunger targets outlined under the post-2015 development agenda to be established later this year.

FAO has commended the efforts of the Government of Cameroon and recently awarded the country for its fight against hunger and malnutrition at a ceremony at its Rome headquarters.

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Nigeria’s Arik Air Resumes Flights to Benin

4 September 2015 – Daily Trust (Abuja) – Lagos — Arik Air, Nigeria and West Africa’s largest carrier, has announced the resumption of flight services to Benin Airport, effective from Sunday, September 6, 2015.

This followed the re-opening of the airport by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), according to the airline’s spokesman, Adebanji Ola, in a statement he issued on Thursday.

It would be recalled that Benin Airport was temporarily closed by FAAN on June 20, 2015, to facilitate rehabilitation works on the airport’s runway.

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Guyana’s zoo to benefit from $30M rehabilitation

Georgetown, GINA, September 9, 2015 – Guyana’s Zoological Park will benefit from a $30M financial support towards rehabilitation works along with fifteen animals from the Hyde Park Zoo Sanctuary and Tropical Gardens of Great Britain.

Minister of Governance, Raphael Trotman today at a press conference made the announcement. He said the benefits come as a result of Cabinet agreeing to proposals for a Zoo-to-Zoo exchange programme following negotiations between Guyana’s National Parks Commission and the Hyde Park Zoo.

“Under this programme four manatees will be loaned. In return, Guyana will receive fifteen animals in a few months. These includes, two peacocks, two pairs of ostriches, one pair of antelopes, a pair of lion cubs and three zebras.” Trotman said.

He added that while many myths and legends surround the operation of the zoo, the idea is to restore the park and the botanical gardens to a pristine state. “This is in keeping with the administration’s thrust for a greener environment and economy,” Trotman said.

Further, the administration is collaborating with the World Wildlife Fund to increase Guyanese knowledge of local animals, flowers, and plants. Towards this end, the special characteristics of the animals will be explained and highlighted so that they can be respected and protected thereby making the zoo a place of learning rather than just an exhibit.

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Kaietuer Park reopens, safety initiatives to be implemented

Georgetown, GINA, September 9, 2015 – The Kaieteur National Park was this morning reopened to the public, following the closure that was made to facilitate the search for female tourist, Dr. Gyaneshwarie Laleta Sivanand.

During the post-Cabinet press briefing at the Ministry of the Presidency today, Minister of Governance, Raphael Trotman disclosed that following the incident, several initiatives to improve safety were discussed. This is to help prevent future occurrences of this type of incident.

Minister of Governance, Raphael Trotman, and Minister of Tourism, Cathy Hughes representatives of The Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana (THAG), Air Services Limited (ASL), the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA), the Protected Areas Commission (PAC) and the Guyana Police Force (GPF) met on September 08 to determine new measures and protocols for visiting guests.

According to Trotman, one of the measures that may be put in place is, the recording of visitor’s personal data. “We are still in the process of refining and defining exactly what it is we are going to do. We decided to introduce a manifest system, so that everybody who comes has to display a form of identification to the park ranger.”

He added that tour guides will be on the ground to assist tourists and make sure that no one wanders off. In addition, there will be a zero tolerance for persons who want to enter the water or who want to consume alcohol.

Minister Trotman noted that there is a possibility of putting rails along the water. Government will be seeking advice from parks across the world in dealing with the issue.

Even though rescue search for the missing tourist was called off, surrounding communities were urged by Government to be vigilant.

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Arab Tourists to Egypt Up in First Half 2015

DUBAI, Sept. 7 (NNN-AGENCIES) –The Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and the Egyptian Tourism Authority said on Monday that the number of tourists who visited Egypt during the first seven months of 2015 has increased by 7.3 per cent. The number of Arab tourists has rose by 18.7 per cent during the first half of 2015.

The number of tourists who visited in July 2015 increased by 2.9 per cent. According to the organisations, Arab tourists who visited Egypt in July this year increased by 39.5 per cent.

According to a statement, July’s statistics show an increase of 65.6 per cent in the number of Emirati tourists during the first seven months of 2015 compared with the same period in 2014.

Meanwhile, in July 2015, the number of Emirati tourists who visited Egypt increased by 43.3 per cent compared to July 2014.

The number of Saudi tourists increased by 53.1 per cent during the first seven months of 2015 compared with the corresponding period in 2014. In July, the number of Saudi tourists who visited Egypt increased by 95.5 per cent compared to July 2014.

The number of Kuwaiti tourists increased by 41.4 per cent in the first seven months of 2015 compared with the same period last year. In July, the number of Kuwaiti tourists who visited Egypt increased by 77.9 per cent compared to July 2014.

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Tourism Malaysia Wooing More Travellers From Singapore

SINGAPORE, Sept 8 (NNN-Bernama) — Tourism Malaysia is intensifying efforts through joint promotions and tactical campaigns to woo more travellers from Singapore following a drop in the arrivals in the first quarter of 2015.

“We need to carry out various initiatives, including through joint promotions and tactical campaigns, to drive growth from Singapore for the remaining months of the year,” Tourism and Culture Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz told reporters here Tuesday.

Singapore’s tourist arrivals into Malaysia last year was 13.9 million, a growth of 5.7 percent, but the figures for first three months of 2015 dropped 8.6 per cent drop.

Nazri, who is on a working visit to met Singapore’s top travel agents and the media here, was accompanied by Malaysian High Commissioner to Singapore Husni Zai Yaacob, Tourism Malaysia (TM) Chairman Wee Choo Keong and TM director for Singapore Noor Aine Ismail.

Speaking at a luncheon with Singapore trade and media representatives here, Mohamed Nazri outlined Tourism Malaysia’s efforts to boost arrivals from Singapore, including forging ties at the Travel Malaysia Fair 2015.

He said Tourism Malaysia would collaborate with Malindo Air, hold a Durian Fiesta initiative, develop special diving packages, and promote Malaysia as a music and entertainment hub.

On the latest offering from Malaysia, he said KTM Bhd would introduce a daily train shuttle service between JB Sentral (Johor Baharu) and Woodlands (Singapore).

“The train service, which operates seven times a day from Singapore to Malaysia, offers Singaporean tourists more travel options to Malaysia.

“This service provides great convenience to Singaporean tourists, and complements the existing connectivity that our two destinations currently enjoy besides 489 flight frequencies per week with 73,314 seating capacity.

“With all these efforts and new developments in place, along with your assistance and strong support, I am confident that we will be able to achieve our target arrivals from Singapore this year,” he said.

Nazri said the visit was also aimed at strengthening Malaysia’s presence in Singapore and building a stronger relationship with travel agents and the media.

He urged local travel agents to work closer with their Malaysian counterparts to develop more creative and innovative holiday packages to Malaysia.

Nazri last left for Batam to meet travel agents and the media there.

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Bangladesh Expects 1 Mln Chinese Tourists in 2016

DHAKA, Bangladesh Sept. 11 (NNN-Xinhua) — Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said she expected about one million Chinese tourists will visit Buddhist Heritage sites in the country in 2016, which is declared as tourism year.

“We sought Chinese cooperation for welcoming one million Chinese tourists targeting the Tourism Year 2016,” Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister Rashed Khan Menon told press after a meeting with ambassadors of different Buddhist-dense countries at the state guest house Padma in the capital Thursday.

The government will organize a National Buddhist Workshop and International Buddhist Circuit Conference with participation of 13 Buddhist-populated countries in the capital from Oct. 27 aiming at showcasing the Bangladesh Buddhist heritages to the foreigners for further flourishing overall tourism.

The conference, organized by the Civil Aviation and Tourism Ministry in collaboration with the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), will be participated by UNWTO secretary general Taleb Rifai along with high officials from China, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, Bhutan, Nepal, India and Sri Lanka.

Menon said his ministry would uphold the centuries-old Buddhist heritage in Bangladesh to the people of the participating countries during the conference.

He said Bangladesh received only 10,000 Chinese tourists last year though presently the Chinese tourists are dominating the world tourism industry in terms of tourist numbers.

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Indonesia To Launch Investment-Promotion Policy Package

JAKARTA, Indonesia Sept 7 (NNN-Bernama) — The Indonesian government will unveil a policy package on Wednesday designed to lure foreign investment, Xinhua news agency reported a senior minister as saying on Monday.

Economic chief Minister Darmin Nasution said that the package would include the efforts to build industry, attract foreign investment and development of economy in special economic zone.

“Tomorrow (Tuesday), we will deliver it to the president. On Wednesday, it is likely to be announced,” he said at the parliament building.

“The big theme is how to build industry and lure investment,” Nasution said.

The government has been struggling to stabilise rupiah which hit a fresh 17-year low of 14,234 against the US dollar on Monday. The Indonesian central bank scaled down earlier this week its GDP growth forecast to 4.7 to 5.1 per cent this year from the initial estimate of 5 to 5.5 per cent.

The biggest economy in Southeast Asia grew at the lowest pace in six years to 4.71 and 4.67 per cent for the first and second quarters this year, respectively.

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“Belt And Road” Initiative Facilitates China-Kuwait Cooperation

KUWAIT CITY, Kuwait, Sept 10 (NNN-XINHUA) – China stands ready to work with Kuwait, in ushering in a new chapter in bilateral friendship through the “Belt and Road” initiative, Chinese Ambassador, Wang Di, said.

The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road Initiative, first put forward in 2013 by Chinese President Xi Jinping, concur with Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah’s “Kuwait Vision 2035,” Wang said in a recent interview with Xinhua.

He said, Kuwait is an important country in the Gulf and the Middle East and that friendly exchanges between the peoples of China and Kuwait date back to the ancient Silk Road, where Kuwait’s Failaka Island was a vital stop. The island was also an important point for the convergence of the Mesopotamian and Gulf Arab civilisations, Wang said.

Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Kuwait and the People’s Republic of China in 1971, the two countries have seen sustained advances in their ties, becoming excellent partners with mutual trust and sincere cooperation, the diplomat said.

Kuwait was the first Gulf Arab state to set up full diplomatic ties with New China.

Madinat al-Hareer (Silk City), a key project envisioned in “Kuwait Vision 2035,” offers opportunities for a breakthrough in Sino-Kuwaiti cooperation, in implementing the “Belt and Road” initiative, Wang said.

China is ready to work with Kuwait to make Madinat al-Hareer a model of cooperation among states along the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road, he added.

Wang sees great potential in industrial capacity collaboration between China and Kuwait, which seeks to develop the non-oil sectors, to ease the bottleneck in developing manufacturing, to optimise its industrial mix, and to diversify its economy, as prescribed in its 2016-2020 action plan.

The two sides can also work together to tap the huge potential of industrial capacity cooperation in Africa, where China has already engaged in many infrastructure projects, while Kuwait commands abundant capital and ample experience in investment overseas, Wang said.

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Indonesia Announces Economic Stimulus Package

JAKARTA, Indonesia Sept 10 (NNN-Bernama) — Indonesia, the largest economy in Southeast Asia, announced a large economic stimulus package on Wednesday to revive the slowing economy, reports Vietnam News Agency (VNA).

The package includes a variety of measures such as the removal of unsuitable administrative regulations, tax incentives and the promotion of mechanisms for attracting foreign investments and boosting economic development given the Rupiah is at its weakest in the last 17 years.

It also included policies to stabilise the domestic currency by allowing foreigners to open bank accounts in Indonesia, continue the central bank’s policies on the monetary market to keep the Rupiah stable and limit purchases using the US dollar.

Accordingly, the Indonesian financial authority (OJK) will allow foreigners to open bank accounts within the next week.

Statistics showed Indonesia welcomes between 10 and 20 million tourists each year.

The first package is planned to be implemented in September or October and the second will be announced by the end of September with the third in October.

On the same day, the Indonesia Central Bank also submitted five financial policy packages to protect the domestic currency and maintain the economy’s indicators in order to improve its effectiveness.

The measures included increasing inflation control, financial and economic cooperation between the Indonesian Bank and the central government; increasing the stability of the Rupiah and maintaining confidence in the foreign exchange market by controlling the fluctuation of the domestic currency; increasing the management of supply and demand for foreign currency with the exchange rate adjusted twice a week instead of once; and reducing the cap for foreign currency purchases from US$100,000 to US$25,000 per customer per month.

Other measures included accelerating the approvals of foreign debts from banks and increasing the stability of the financial market by providing software to assist infrastructure investment while strengthening the foreign currency reserves.

Indonesia posted slowing growth in the year’s first six months with 4.71 per cent in the first quarter and 4.67 per cent in the second quarter.

Meanwhile, the value of the Rupiah has been declining since March.

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Morocco To Benefit From 26 Euro- Mediterranean Projects

MIAMI, Sept. 11 (NNN-AGENCIES) — The Union for the Mediterranean (UpM) has recently announced the allocation of 26 development projects designed to benefit Morocco.

The Euro-Mediterranean multilateral partnership created to foster the integration of the region has incurred a reported budget of nearly EUR 600 million (6.5 MMDH) in the new Moroccan projects.

According to the French daily Les Eco, UpM held a press conference at Union headquarters in Barcelona September 8-10, which was attended by members of the Moroccan press. UpM informed the media of the organization’s several action plans and future endeavors.

The 26 projects were allegedly designed to benefit Morocco’s youth, promote women’s skills, support sustainable development as well as the environment, said the UpM.

The Union for the Mediterranean’s Director Fatallah Sijilmassi said they aim to “reinforce the complementary capacity” among Euro-Mediterranean countries, where UpM represents 43 nations.

According to UpM’s official website, their priority focus areas are: Business Development, Transport & Urban Development, Energy, Water & Environment, Higher Education & Research, and Social & Civil Affairs

At the Wednesday press conference, the French daily reports UpM revealed its Moroccan plan in detail, in which 37% will deal with youth and employment, 15% will be on women’s issues, 19% on the environment, and 18% will target Morocco’s SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises).

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IDB to organize WTO-preparatory meeting with African member countries

Thursday, 10 September 2015 Jeddah, 10/9/2015 (ISDB): H.E. Jean-Louis Billon, Côte d’Ivoire Minister of Commerce, is to inaugurate a coordination meeting of the African member countries of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) on 14 September 2015 in Abidjan.

The 3-day meeting, co-organised by IDB and the Ivoirian Ministry of Planning and Development comes as part of IDB’s efforts towards preparation for the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference to be held in Nairobi during 15-18 December 2015. The meeting is also part of IDB’s program for capacity building and provision of technical assistance on matters relating to WTO and regional integration among IDB MCs.

The meeting is an opportunity for participants to discuss the agenda for the Nairobi meeting, analyse issues raised in the Doha Agenda as well as the agreements reached during the 9th Ministerial Conference at Bali. The meeting is also expected to facilitate means to promote a common platform of interests, analyse the challenges encountered by African countries in implementing the Trade Facilitation Agreement. as well as review the implications of major regional trade agreements in terms of realising regional integration .

Around 30 officials representing 26 African member countries of IDB are expected to participate in this meeting. Four experts from specialized international and regional organizations will present papers on the agenda.

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Muslim World Congress to spread scientific culture

Sunday 06 Sep 2015 – Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia (IINA) – The Muslim World Congress has begun its activities in the capital of Malaysia’s Sabah state Kota Kinabalu on Saturday. Delegates from Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Cambodia are participating in the conference.

Adressing the conference, Chief Minister of Sabah state said that the conference aims to spread scientific culture among Muslims in the world in order to regain the past glories of the Islamic nation, as well as to promote the efforts of the Islamic world and disseminate a better image of Islam among the Westerners.

He also pointed out that the world faces a phenomenon called Islamophobia (fear of Islam), but this phenomenon should not stop the Islamic Ummah from spreading the divine religion, noting that “Islam is a religion of mercy, and that it did not teach its adherents to be extremists “.

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Multi-language Hajj applications launched

Tuesday 08 Sep 2015 – Riyadh, (IINA) – The first two multi-language Hajj mobile applications were launched recently In Saudi Arabia. Dr. Najeeb Qasmi launched the applications, which were prepared by Dr. Mohammad Azmi, a renowned Hadith scholar.

The first application “Haj e Mabroor” is in the languages of Urdu, English and Hindi and it contains 3 books, 9 speeches, a presentation and 21 articles as well as hundreds of informative Q&A about Hajj and Umrah. This app is expected to be a useful guide for pilgrims as they can read the books and articles available in it at any time even without an internet connection.

The second app “Deen e Islam” also comes in 3 languages and it consists of 175 articles, 75 speeches and 7 books that deal with 21 different aspects of the religious life, Saudi Gazette reported. Dr. Azmi said: “Today, anti-Islamic elements are criticizing Islam and striving hard to create doubts in the minds of Muslims about the origin and authenticity of the Qur’an and Hadith.

“Since theses conspiracies by Orientalists against Islam and the Qur’an are being carried out in different European languages, our Islamic scholars are unaware of them and are not able to counter them. About 70 organizations in Germany alone have collated currently and are working on a 20-year project of creating doubt in the minds of Muslims about the compilation of the Qur’an and weakening their faith in the authenticity of the Islamic resources”.

Highlighting the features of these two apps, Dr. Qasmi said: “New technology has been used to develop these apps. Users can find them in Play Store or App Store by simply typing “Najeeb Qasmi” or “Hajj e Mabroor” and install them within two minutes.

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Saudi businessman gifts $10 million to Islamic center at Yale

Wednesday 09 Sep 2015 – New Haven, US (IINA) – Yale University President Peter Salovey and Yale Law School Dean Robert C. Post announced on Tuesday a $10 million gift to create the Abdallah S. Kamel Center for the study of Islamic law and civilization at Yale Law School, according to Yale Law School News.

This generous gift is from Abdallah S. Kamel, chief executive of the Dallah Albaraka Group, LLC, a banking and real estate enterprise based in Saudi Arabia.

“Mr. Kamel’s extraordinary generosity will open up exciting new opportunities for Yale law school and for the entire university,” said President Salovey. “The Abdallah S. Kamel Center will enhance research opportunities for our students and other scholars and enable us to disseminate knowledge and insights for the benefit of scholars and leaders all over the world.”

The center will bring prominent scholars of Islam to the Yale campus for public lectures, seminar discussions, visiting fellowships, and visiting professorships, attracting students from the Law School and other schools at the university to its lectures and other opportunities for collaboration.

The gift to establish the center stems from an earlier gift to support the Dallah Albaraka lectures on Islamic Law & Civilization at Yale Law School.

Under the direction of Law School Sterling Professors Owen Fiss and Anthony T. Kronman, the center will consist of the following components, a lecture series on Islamic law and civilization, research fellowships for fellows in residence at the Law School, visiting professorships, student fellowships for advanced studies, and professorship in Islamic Law.

“The Abdallah S. Kamel Center will benefit the entire world. It will enable our students and faculty to form lasting connections with scholars and experts in the Middle East and elsewhere,” Dean Post noted. “It will make a vital contribution to the study of law at Yale and beyond.”

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Morocco to host World Tourism Cities Federation summit

Wednesday 09 Sep 2015 – Beijing (IINA) – Li Baochun, general secretary of the World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF) expressed his confidence in Morocco’s capacity to successfully host the WTCF Annual Summit, to be held in Rabat and Fez on September 20-22, given its proven expertise in holding international events, Maghreb Arab Press (MAP) reported.

Speaking at a press conference here on Monday on the announcement of the event, Li Baochun said during his visit to Morocco last January, he was reassured about the capacity of Morocco to successfully host the WTCF Annual Summit, which will be held for the first time in a foreign country, thanks to the security and stability enjoyed by the Kingdom of Morocco.

The Moroccan cities of Rabat and Fez were chosen in September 2014 to host the next Summit of the World Tourism Cities Federation, ahead of other cities which enjoy a huge tourist potential such as Rome, Washington and Los Angeles.

“Morocco deserves this tribute, thanks to the hospitality of its people and its openness to the other, its cultural wealth, culinary art, enormous tourism potential and geographical location,” the Secretary General told MAP.

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Mashaer Railway project completed in Makkah

Wednesday 09 Sep 2015 – Jeddah (IINA) – The Chinese construction company responsible for the Mashaer Railway at the holy sites has completed the project after six years, according to media reports.

China Railway Construction Corporation Limited (CRCC) signed off on the project this week and handed it over to the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs, according to a report published by an online publication, Arab News reported. The CRCC said the project was implemented in a short time using world-class technology. Over the past 16 months, it deployed 10,000 people to complete it.

The first stage was completed in November 2010. The railway has lines running over 18.5 kilometers and cost $1.773 billion. Nine railway stations and an area for parking was built. The train lines cross Mina, Muzdalifah and Arafat. Five trains can transport 72,000 passengers in an hour one way.

The project included the first contract in the Kingdom covering design, supply, construction, operation and maintenance. The project won the annual merit award of the International Federation of Consulting Engineers for 2012/13.

The company said it had provided 30,000 jobs for Saudi youth and ensured training and skills development for managers. It also trained about 2,000 Saudi students at various universities in the Kingdom. It has helped remove 12,000 buses from Makkah resulting in less traffic jams and reduced levels of pollution. The company said that it successfully operated the train over five Haj seasons from 2010 to 2014 and transported 16 million pilgrims during that time.

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Egyptian scientists unveil cost-effective desalination technology

Thursday 10 Sep 2015 – Alexandria, (IINA) – Researchers at Alexandria University in Egypt have unveiled a cost-effective desalination technology, which can filter highly salty water in minutes, OnIslam reported.

The technology is based on membranes containing cellulose acetate powder, produced in Egypt. The powder, in combination with other components, binds the salt particles as they pass through, making the technique useful for desalinating seawater.

“The membrane we produced can easily be made in any laboratory using cheap ingredients, which makes it an excellent option for developing countries,” says Ahmed El-Shafei, an associate professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering in Alexandria University, and an author of the study.

The technology uses pervaporation, a technique by which the water is first filtered through the membrane to remove larger particles and then heated until it vaporizes. The vapor is then condensed to get rid of small impurities, and clean water is collected.

According to the research paper, published in Water Science and Technology last month, this method can be used to desalinate water, which contains different types of contamination, such as salt, sewage and dirt. This kind of water is difficult to clean quickly using existing procedures.

The membrane technology in combination with vaporization can be applied in remote settings, as it requires only the membranes for the filtering process, and fire to vaporize the filtered water, the researchers say.

“Using pervaporation eliminates the need for electricity that is used in classic desalination processes, thus cutting costs significantly,” says El-Shafei.

Pervaporation is used to separate organic liquids, like alcohols, and is one of the more common systems used in sewage treatment to separate water from organic solvents.

The technology has been around since the mid-90s, Helmy El-Zanfaly, a professor of water contamination at Egypt’s National Research Center. But, he says, “What is new is making the membrane locally, using materials abundant in Egypt and developing countries.”

The technology can be adapted for commercial use by producing larger sheets of the membrane and cutting these into suitable swathes, according to El-Shafei.

The next step for the team is to establish a small desalination unit as a pilot project for the technology.

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Cleopatra Festival to be held in Marmaris

MUĞLA – Doğan News Agency – A 2,500 year-old amphitheater on Cleopatra (Sedir) Island in the western province of Muğla’s Mamaris district, will host a music festival for the first time. The festival artists will all wear Cleopatra dresses during the event.

The International Cleopatra Music Festival will be held between Oct. 10 and 13, with the slogan of “Cleopatra is in Marmaris after 2,000 years.”

The head of the Philharmonic Association, the organizer of the festival, Ahmet Altınöz said they decided to make a festival to promote the district. “The festival will host Turkish and foreign artists as well,” he added.

Altınöz said the artists would come to the district by boat, wearing Cleopatra dresses, adding, “We will walk to the Marmaris Castle and organize a small concert there, too. All the festival events will be open to the public for free.”

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Tourists flock to 3,000-year-old underground city in Bayburt

BAYBURT – Doğan News Agency – Foreign and domestic tourists are continuing to flock to the famed “Underground City” claimed to be around 3,000 years old in the southeastern province of Bayburt. The ancient figures on the walls, in particular, draw great attention from visitors.

The underground city was brought to light in 1988 during construction work in the Aydıntepe district, 25 kilometers outside of Bayburt.

The district mayor and museum directorate decided to extend the visitor path to 850 meters after excavations in 2008.

In the first eight months of 2015, around 25,000 foreign and domestic tourists visited the city.

The work at the underground site has not involved any building materials and the city was engraved in a single section of bedrock consisting of tuff, some 2.5 meters under the ground.

The underground city consists of rooms, large areas, corridors, ventilating slits and lamp holes in conic shapes, along with a castle and galleries with vaulted covers.

The archaeological works have unearthed 4,000-year-old tombs and 3,000-year-old wall figures, showing how ancient the settlement is.

The underground city is thought to have been used by Christians, particularly for sheltering from danger, with a number of rooms, a kitchen and a pool for water.

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10-meter-wide pedestrian lane to be set up in the Bosphorus

ISTANBUL – Doğan News Agency – The construction of a 10-meter wide public road project, which is set to include separate lanes for pedestrians, runners and cyclists, has begun on the Anatolian side of the Bosphorus.

Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality collaborated with the municipality of Beykoz, a district on the Anatolian coast of the Bosphorus, in the city’s latest land reclamation project to construct a public road stretching for three kilometers between Çubuklu, Kanlıca and Beykoz.

The road is designed to include separate lanes for pedestrians, runners and cyclists. Once the construction is complete, fishing ports will also be added for fishermen to avoid disturbing pedestrians – a common problem on the coasts of Istanbul.

The construction will be carried in two stages; the initial step will be to construct a 1.2 kilometer road between the Çubuklu pier and the Kanlıca district. The road will then be extended until Beykoz for a total of 3 kilometers.

The plan is the latest in a series of controversial land reclamation projects, criticized for further narrowing the Bosphorus. Late July 2015, a 700-meter long public road project began in Emirgan, located on Istanbul’s European coast.

The first land reclamation project on the Bosphorus Straits, which is now 900-meter wide, was realized in 1956 when a coastal road was built between the Emirgan and Sarıyer districts.

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Int’l Infrastructure Summit 2015 held in Dhaka

DHAKA, Sept 06, 2015 (BSS) – International Infrastructure Summit-2015 is going to begin on September 9 with the theme “Infrastructure Technology and Innovations” aimed at transforming Dhaka into the Center of Innovation and Excellence.

Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu and Prime Minister’s Political adviser Hossain Toufique Imam will be gracing the event as guests of honor that will take place at Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel with support of edotco Bangladesh.

Stephen D Weiss of Protelindo and Rohan Dhamija of Analysys Mason are among the international speakers to participate in the summit, said a press release.

In this year’s International Infrastructure Summit, edotco Bangladesh Co. Ltd will be displaying the latest advancements of products and offerings, while taking the podium to share its aspirations to contribute to the achievement of a Digital Bangladesh.

This is a platform for the nation’s leading minds in technology and international industry speakers to gather and exchange thoughts, ideas and discuss the future of innovative technology.

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Minister Launched Seri Tanjung Tourism Service Centre

Sunday, 06 September 2015 BruDirect.com KG SUNGAI BUNGA, KOTA BATU: Kampong Sungai Bunga in Mukim Kota Batu now has its own attraction with the opening of the Seri Tanjung Tourism Service Centre. With its launch, villagers in the area can promote their products and wares. The centre’s official opening coincided with the launch of Seri Tanjung Water Festival 2015.

The centre was officiated by the Minister of Home Affairs, Yang Berhormat Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Badaruddin bin Pengarah Dato Paduka Haji Othman.

A number of activities have been organised to add fun and excitement to the festival. They include traditional boat, motorboat and speedboat races. The traditional Bermukun which is singing in quatrain and dancing the Malay Joget is another main attraction.

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Trade & Investment Grow in Brunei’s Halal Market

Tuesday, 08 September 2015 BruDirect.com JALAN MENTERI BESAR, BRUNEI-MUARA: Investment and trade opportunities in Brunei’s halal industry continue to grow with strategic new initiatives especially in areas of food, cosmetics and pharmaceutical. “Brunei Darussalam’s initiative would include the establishment of Brunei Halal Brand for food, cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries.

“We are capitalising on our strength as a country with strong Islamic credentials,” said Haji Khairuddin bin Haji Abdul Hamid, Deputy Permanent Secretary (Industrial Development and Entrepreneurship) at the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources (MIPR) yesterday, at a seminar on “Investment Opportunities in Halal Industries”, hosted in collaboration with the Thai Embassy.

“Brunei Halal Brand certification gives you the assurance of a system that is not only credible, but also honest, transparent and decent,” he added.

Haji Khairuddin went on to say that another initiative undertaken by the government is the development of the BioInnovation Corridor (BIC). This is a Halal themed industrial park of 500 hectares, specifically developed for Halal certified products and related products.

BIC is capitalising on Brunei Darussalam’s stance on high-quality Halal certified food products, and its gateway status into the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA).

The purpose of the mini-seminar was to give a better understanding of Brunei Darussalam’s Halal certification process for the Thai entrepreneurs and halal practitioners who attended the recently concluded “Thai Halal Product Fair”.

The Deputy Permanent Secretary at Industry and Primary Resources, Awang Haji Khairuddin bin Haji Abdul Hamid in a group photo with fellow investors in the local Halal market.

Yesterday’s seminar began with a briefing on “Brunei Halal Initiative” by Haji Sabri bin Haji Mohd Taha, the Head of Halal Industry Innovation Centre at MIPR; and Feby Latif, the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Ghanim International Food Corporation, a marketing arm of the Brunei Halal brand.

This was followed by a briefing on the “Brunei Halal Certification Process”, by a representative from the Ministry of Religious Affairs (MoRA).

A presentation on “New Era of Borderless Halal”, was delivered by Hajah Sulinda Wangchi, the assistant director at the Halal Science Centre of Chulalongkorn University. Khathawat Lohmud, representing the Central Islamic Council of Thailand (CICOT), then gave a talk on the ‘Thai Halal Certification System”.

Present at the mini-seminar was H. E. Chirdchu Raktabutr, the Ambassador at the Royal Thai Embassy in Brunei Darussalam. Also in attendance were representatives from Brunei and Thailand halal agencies, along with investors and business executives from related agencies.

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Indonesia plans mass-transit infrastructure in Sulawesi, Papua

9 September 2015 Jakarta (ANTARA News) – Mass transportation infrastructure will be constructed in Sulawesi and Papua following completion in Greater Jakarta, according to President Joko Widodo (Jokowi).

Mass transportation infrastructure is not solely being constructed on Java Island, President Jokowi stated after officiating a groundbreaking of a Light Rail Transit (LRT) in East Jakarta, Wednesday.

“By the end of this month, the development of a railway line will begin in Sulawesi. The groundbreaking was initially scheduled to be held in August, but I will officiate it only after the construction work has reached at least five to seven kilometers long,” he noted.

The construction work must be carried out seriously, he emphasized. A railway line will be built in Papua, he stated.

“Feasibility study for the railway construction plan in Papua is now underway and is expected to be completed in December this year. So, we will start the development work next year,” he remarked.

The president expressed the need to elaborate on the plans as he did not want to give an impression that infrastructure construction work is only being carried out on Java Island.

The government will, in stages, construct mass transportation infrastructure across the country, he remarked.

“Everybody must help to make the infrastructure development projects a success. No mass transportation project should be delayed. It has to begin and be completed soon,” Jokowi affirmed.

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Indonesia wins “ASEAN Favorite Destination” Award

4 September 2015 Jakarta (ANTARA News)- Indonesia will be awarded the ASEAN Favorite Destination Award at Malaysia’s biggest tourism expo MATTA Fair 2015, to be held at the Putra World Trade Center in Kuala Lumpur from September 4 to 6.

The Overseas Tourism Marketing Deputy for the Ministry of Tourism, I. Gde Pitana, said on Thursday that he would lead the Indonesian delegation to receive the award.

“We will use the opportunity to display Indonesias tourism potential during the event to attract more tourists from Malaysia and from other countries, who are taking part in the Malaysian tourism expo,” noted Pitana.

He plans to invite representatives from 80 tourism companies and 10 heads of regional tourism services.

The MATTA (Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents) Fair is one of the most reputable tourism exhibitions in the Association for Southeast Nations (ASEAN) region and is attended by sellers from various countries.

As a country, which is recognized as an ASEAN Favorite Destination, Indonesia will display various new aspects as the worlds biggest island country. It will also showcase Indonesian hospitality and traditions.

The 207-square meter booth of the Indonesian pavilion will exhibit the diversity of its tourism destinations from Sumatra, Java, Bali, Sulawesi, Nusa Tenggara and Papua, with delegations comprising of travel agents, hotels and regional tourism services. They will directly interact with visitors and consumers from Malaysia.

Visitors to the Indonesian pavilion will be entertained with cultural performances, traditional dances, Sasando music, violin and an instant photograph corner.

The pavilion will also present the best Arabica coffee from Toraja and from Sumatra, as well as Indonesias special Civet coffee.

“There will be a spa corner for visitors who get tired and want to experience and enjoy Indonesian traditional health care. Visitors, who purchase tickets from the local travel agents, are requested to exchange it with prizes at the Indonesian pavilion,” Pitana said.

At the opening of the Matta Fair on September 4, the Indonesian pavilion will play Indonesias newest tourism video, showing the Rampak Kendang cultural dance from West Java.

A total of 24 dancers from Jakarta, Aceh, Central Java and Riau provinces will also perform on a common stage during MATTA Fair.

Bali, for example will stage the Penyoet Ratoh Meutalo and Piasan Raya dances, while Aceh will present the Marhaban dance. The Piring dance will be performed by dancers from Minangkabau (West Sumatra), the Rara Ngigel dance from Solo (Central Java), and the Melay arts performance will be staged by Riau, along with many other such performances.

Indonesia will also hold an Indonesia-Malaysia tourism industry meeting dubbed as Indonesia Tourism Table Top on September 2, two days before the opening of the MATTA Fair.

The event is a forum aimed at bringing together sellers from Indonesia and buyers from Malaysia to promote Indonesian tourism packages in Malaysia.

The Indonesian delegation is composed of 100 sellers, including travel agents, hotels, accommodation providers and tourism destinations from several regions in Indonesia, such as Aceh, North Sumatra, West Sumatra, Riau Islands (including Batam), South Sumatra, Jakarta, West Java, Central Java, Yogyakarta, East Java, Bali, East Nusa Tenggara and Southeast Sulawesi. They will get a chance to mingle with 130 buyers from Malaysia.

Pitana said the Malaysian market is very important for Indonesia. It is the second biggest market for Indonesia after Singapore. “Last year, a total of 1.276 million tourists from Malaysia visited Indonesia and this year Indonesia has set a target for attracting 1.7 million Malaysian tourists,” Pitana stated.

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Indonesia plans airport in Adonara island, East Nusa Tenggara

11 September 2015 Kupang (ANTARA News) – The Indonesia Ministry of Transportation has agreed on a plan to develop an airport on the island of Adonara in the district of East Flores in eastern East Nusa Tenggara province.

“In principle, the Ministry of Transportation has agreed to the plan to develop an airport in Adonara. If no problem is encountered, the work may be started in 2016,” Ricard Djami, the head of the regional office of the Ministry of Transportation, noted here on Friday.

He gave the statement to Antara when contacted from Jakarta after presenting the results of a survey on three prospective locations identified for the development of the airport. He remarked that the transportation ministry would immediately issue the principle permit for the Adonara airport project.

“After the principle permit is issued, indeed some stages of the process have yet to be completed, including the preparation of the master plan, study to analyze the environmental impact, and a detailed air and land technical plan,” he explained.

For preparing the master plan and environmental impact analysis report, Djamis office had already proposed to allocate funds in the East Nusa Tenggara revised budget for 2015.

Speaking in connection with the environmental impact analysis report, he affirmed that construction could be started while the analysis is still being carried out.

“We will continue to coordinate, so that the construction could be started in 2016. At least, we can begin preparing the site of the project,” he added.

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W. Nusa Tenggara invites Italy to develop Mandalika Economic Zone

11 September 2015 Mataram (ANTARA News) – The provincial administration of West Nusa Tenggara has invited Italian investors to develop the Mandalika Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in the Central Lombok district, Governor TGH M Zainul Majdi said.

The Governor revealed this while speaking at the Indonesia Investment Day 2015 Forum, a press release received by ANTARA News on Friday pointed out.

“This forum is very important for promotion, as well as accelerating the development of the Mandalika SEZ,” the Governor Majdi said.

The Indonesia Investment Day 2015 event was attended by the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy, and the Italian Trade Agency (ITA) with 200 members, who are investors worldwide.

The Governor said the event, held in the city of Milan, has strategic value because it can promote the potential of and investment opportunities in West Nusa Tenggara, particularly in the Mandalika SEZ.

The Head of the Investment Coordinating Board and the Integrated Licensing of West Nusa Tenggara, Ridwansyah explained that various sectors, such as tourism, trade, industry and real-estate could attract potential investment from the Italian and European investors.

“The total investment of the European countries in the province in the first half of 2015 amounted to US$ 90.6 million, most of it coming from Italy, the Netherlands, France, England, Germany, Belgium and others,” Ridwansyah noted.

The Head of the Provincial Industry and Trade office, Husni Fahri said trade relations between West Nusa Tenggara and Europe have been longstanding.

Various commodities are exported to Europe, to countries, such as England, Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands, France, Belgium, Hungary and Italy, including pottery, pearls, woven grass, wood crafts, woven fabric, dried fruit, lobster, grouper and shrimp.

“Until July 2015, the total value of exports from the province to Europe was pegged at US$ 69.7 million, up significantly from 2014, when it was estimated to be US$ 62.06 million,” he added.

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Bengkulu to host Int’l Rafflesia Symposium

7 September 2015 Bengkulu (ANTARA News) – The Bengkulu provincial administration, in cooperation with the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), will host the International Symposium on Rafflesia and Amorphophallus on September 14-16, 2015, in Bengkulu city.

“The preparations are 99 percent complete, and we are now awaiting confirmation from the participants,” Head of the Research and Development Agency of Bengkulu Iriansyah noted here, Monday.

He revealed that representatives from countries, especially those endowed with tropical forests, will be attending the symposium.

Earlier, the Research and Development Agency, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, and LIPI had formulated a strategic plan to protect the rare Rafflesia and Amorphophallus flowers.

Bengkulu gained eminence in the botanical world since Thomas Stamford Raffles and Joseph Arnold conducted a botanical expedition in the forests of Sumatra in Bengkulu in 1818.

The flower Rafflesia arnoldii, which has become the mascot of Bengkulu province, is named after Thomas Raffles and Joseph Arnold.

According to Iriansyah, the symposium will be held to discuss the potential of biodiversity and sustainable development policies to preserve the diverse flora and fauna of Bengkulu.

The uniqueness of Rafflesia and Amorphophallus has continued to appeal to the scientific communities and has attracted several tourists from around the world.

Rafflesia researcher from LIPI Sofi Mursidawati remarked that the speakers at the symposium are botanical experts from six countries.

The main program in this symposium is to review the research and conservation efforts undertaken by Indonesian researchers and practitioners around the world for protecting Rafflesia and Amorphophallus flowers.

The experts hail from various institutions around the world from 10 countries in Asia, Europe, and America.

“Approximately 150 to 200 people are participating in the event, and English will be the preferred medium of communication for conducting all activities,” Sofi added.

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Consortium to build 83.6 km Light Rail Transit in Jakarta

9 September 2015 Jakarta (ANTARA News) – Nine state companies will cooperate in the development of 83.6 kilometer Light Rail Transit (LRT) in the Greater Jakarta area .

“The synergy between the state companies would be needed in land development, financing, construction, and operation, to create added value both for the corporations and the people,” Kiswodarmawan, the president of Adhi Karya, one of the nine companies, said on the sidelines of the ground breaking ceremony of the project held at Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, here on Wednesday.

The other 8 companies are PT Jasa Marga Tbk , Perum PPD, PT Rajawali Nusantara Indonesi (RNI), Perum Bulog, PT Bank BNI Tbk, PT Bank Mandiri Tbk, PT Bank BRI Tbk, and PT Bank BTN Tbk.

PT Jakarta Propertindo, a company owned by the Jakarta city administration is also involved in the construction of the Rp23.8 trillion mass transport project.

The ground breaking ceremony was inaugurated by President Joko Widodo and attended by a number of cabinet ministers and Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, and West Java Governor Ahmad Heryawan.

The first phase of construction would cost around Rp11.9 trillion for three tracks — Cibubur-Cawang 13.7 kilometers long, Cawang-Dukuh 10,5 kilometer and Bekasi Timur-Cawang 17.9 kilometers.

The second phase –Cibubur-Bogor, Dukuh Atas-Palmerah-Senayan and Palmerah-Grogol totaling 41.5 kilometers the same as the first phase in cost.

“Work in the first phase is to start in the last quarter of 2015 to be completed in 2016 and the second phase to start in the last quarter of 2016 to be completed by the end of 2018,” Kiswodarmawan said.

There would six trains to carry 24,000 passengers every day with a speed on 60-80 km per hour. President Joko Widodo said the ground breaking ceremony will mark the start of work to build the mass transport infrastructure in the greater Jakarta area .

“The LRT is integrated with all other means of public transport in Jakarta including TransJakarta, airport railway Jakarta-Bandung speed train , etc,” the president said. For that purpose work to build mass transport infrastructure should be completed as scheduled , he said.

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Foreign scholars to attend tourism conference in Tehran

Tehran, Sept 9, IRNA – Scholars from different countries will attend a two-day international conference on ‘World Tourism Day’ on September 27 and 28. The conference, which is arranged by Allameh Tabatabai University and Tehran Municipality, will be held at Milad Tower on September 27 and the Management and Accounting Faculty of Allameh Tabatabai University on September 28.

Professors of Tourism Research at Griffith University David Weaver and Ralf Buckley, Associate Professor at the Center for Advanced Studies on Islam, Science and Civilization (CASIS) at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia Syamsuddin Arif and Professor of Hospitality and Tourism at the University of Wisconsin-Stout Jafar Jafari will hold workshops during the event.

The festival aims to create a permanent platform for local and international researchers in order to work on the main subjects of Iran’s tourism industry to present the findings in an international conference.

It also recommends policy-making packages for planners, decision makers and main and active figures in the state tourism in public and private levels including municipalities, chamber of commerce, professional institutes and specialized parent companies.

World Tourism Day is celebrated each year on September 27. It aims to foster awareness among the international community on the importance of tourism and its social, cultural, political and economic values, Tehran Times reported.

The day seeks to address global challenges outlined by the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and to highlight the contribution the tourism sector can make in reaching these goals.

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Abu Dhabi a rapidly-growing cruise destination

Gulf Today – 11 September, 2015 – Major developments in Abu Dhabi’s cruise sector and an international marketing and promotional campaign rolled-out at Europe’s leading business-to-business cruise event, Seatrade Europe 2015 in Hamburg, Germany, taking place from Sept.9 to 11..

The dual promotional push is set to demonstrate that Abu Dhabi is well placed to add value to cruise operator itineraries through compelling shore excursions opportunities and state-of-the-art port and air facilities, anchoring Abu Dhabi’s growing reputation as of one of the world’s fastest growing regional cruise destinations.

Presenting a unified destination approach, a five-strong delegation of organisations spearheaded by Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) – including Abu Dhabi Ports, Etihad Airways and a number of private sector shore excursion providers and ship handling agents – will set out to assert the emirate’s commitment to regional cruise development as part of a coordinated Cruise Arabia stand.

“Our presence in Hamburg will launch a series of international cruise promotional marketing activities to build on our successes, celebrate the forthcoming terminal facility at Zayed Port and press the emirate’s case as a leading winter-sun cruise destination,” said Sultan Al Dhaheri, TCA Abu Dhabi’s Acting Executive Director of Tourism.

The international Cruise Abu Dhabi promotional push coincides with the opening of the capital’s new permanent cruise terminal which will deliver both tactical and strategic benefits to the emirate.

“We are looking forward to a promising cruise season. The increased number of vessels calls, especially of major global cruise lines, and the scheduled opening of the new cruise terminal will make this season an exciting one. The new terminal will expand Zayed Port’s existing status as a premier cruise hub in the region,” said Gary Lemke, Executive Vice President at Abu Dhabi Ports.

A landmark partnership co-operation agreement forged with MSC Cruises will be a priority for the emirate’s presence in Hamburg. From December, the UAE capital is set to host the luxury MSC Musica vessel as its Arabian Gulf home port for the 2015/16 season, becoming the first cruise line to choose Abu Dhabi and the new Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal.

“The selection of Abu Dhabi for MSC Musica’s regional Arabian Gulf rotations validates our efforts to elevate Abu Dhabi’s standing as one of the world’s must-experience cruise destinations,” added Al Dhaheri.

For Etihad Airways, participation at Seatrade Europe is an opportunity to gain traction for its ‘Fly & Cruise’ packages from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and the UK.

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