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23 Nov, 2015

Majestic Mughal Jewellery on display at V&A Museum, London

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 23 November 2015 (11 Safar 1437). 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.



Majestic Mughal Jewellery on display at V&A Museum, London

London, — “Bejewelled Treasures: The Al Thani Collection” is the theme of a spectacular exhibition now under way at V&A Museum, London. The exhibit opened on 21 November and will continue until 28 March 2016.

Spectacular objects, drawn from a single private collection, will explore the broad themes of tradition and modernity in Indian jewellery. Highlights will include Mughal jades, a rare jewelled gold finial from the throne of Tipu Sultan, and pieces that reveal the dramatic changes that took place in Indian jewellery design during the early 20th century.

malaysia logo

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

The exhibition will examine the influence that India had on avant-garde European jewellery made by Cartier and other leading houses and will conclude with contemporary pieces made by JAR and Bhagat, which are inspired by a creative fusion of Mughal motifs and Art Deco ‘Indian’ designs.

Founded 150 years ago in North Wales, Wartski is celebrating its anniversary by sponsoring this major exhibition of jewellery. Wartski is a family business specialising in goldsmiths’ work, antique jewellery, Russian works of art and especially that of Carl Fabergé. Its customers have included six generations of the British Royal family as well as celebrated artists, musicians, actors and museum curators throughout the world.

More info: http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/exhibitions/exhibition-bejewelled-treasures-the-al-thani-collection/about-the-exhibition/

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Exhibit at Aga Khan Museum, Toronto: “Abbas Kiarostami: Doors Without Keys”

Dates: Nov 21 2015 to Mar 27 2016

Prepare yourself for a journey through memory and imagination with this remarkable installation piece by acclaimed Iranian photographer, poet, and filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami.

Walls and doors are both boundaries and barriers. Yet doors offer us hope of entry or of escape — hope for connection, for finding another world, for finding freedom. With this evocative premise, Abbas Kiarostami presents the world premiere of his installation piece, Doors Without Keys.

Photographed over two decades in Iran, Italy, France, and Morocco, these weathered doors have been witnesses to the many lives lived behind, through, and before them. Presented at life size on canvas, they are works of art that transcend their origins of time and place.

This is the first solo artist exhibition at the Aga Khan Museum and a rare opportunity for visitors to explore Kiarostami’s prolific multidisciplinary practice. Examples of Kiarostami’s tremendous achievements as a filmmaker will be shown throughout the exhibition’s run. A selection of his work will be screened in a space adjacent to the installation, and in early 2016 the Aga Khan Museum and TIFF will co-present a series of Kiarostami’s films in the Aga Khan Museum Auditorium and at TIFF Bell Lightbox.

See more at: https://www.agakhanmuseum.org/exhibitions/abbas-kiarostami-doors-without-keys#sthash.4y4pdKxf.dpuf

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SESRIC Workshop on ‘‘Exploring Tourism Potential of Al-Quds Al-Sherif City”

The Statistical, Economic and Social Research and Training Centre for Islamic Countries (SESRIC) in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities of State of Palestine will organize a two-day workshop on ‘‘Exploring Tourism Potential of Al-Quds Al-Sherif City” on 24-25 November 2015 in Istanbul, Turkey. The representatives and related experts from OIC Member Countries, Associations of Tourism and Travel Agencies in Palestine, representatives of private sector and relevant international institutions and academicians will attend the workshop.

The objective of the workshop is to provide the participants an opportunity to deliberate and to exchange views, knowledge and expertise with a view to determining ways and modalities for tapping into the tourism potential in Al-Quds Al-Sherif City and formulating concrete recommendations for action at the OIC level to be presented to the 9th Session of the Islamic Conference of Tourism Ministers (ICTM) that will be hosted by Niger in 2015.

The workshop will include the following four working sessions:

Tourism in Al Quds Al Sherif City: Current State, Challenges and Prospects

Tourism and Heritage Preservation in Al-Quds Al-Sherif City

Tourism Policy, Planning and Capacity Building in Al-Quds Al-Sherif City

Marketing, Promotion and Competitive Positioning of Al-Quds Al-Sherif City in the Domain of Tourism

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SESRIC Training Course on ‘Labour Statistics’ in Maldives

In accordance with its 2015 Annual Work Plan and within the framework of the Statistical Capacity Building (StatCaB) Programme, the Statistical, Economic and Social Research and Training Centre for Islamic Countries (SESRIC) will organise the training course on ‘Labour Statistics’ at the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Ministry of Finance and Treasury of Maldives on 24-26 November 2015. The course will be conducted by Mr. Kabir Uddin Ahmed, Joint Director, Industry and Labour Wing of Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), with the participation of relevant officials of the NBS of Maldives.

The training course will focus on the following topics:

A. Labour Force Framework

Concepts and definitions



Under employment

Productive and non-productive activities

Key Indicators of the Labour Market

B. Labour Force Survey


Basic statistics of the survey

Industry classifications

Occupation Classifications


C. Resolutions of 19th International Conference of Labour Statisticians (ICLS)

Work statistics

Employment work

Unpaid trainee work

Own-use production work

Other work

Volunteer work

Implications of the resolutions of 19th ICLS

Sign up for an account at OIC-StatCom Forum (http://forum.sesric.org/) to join the group discussion on the training course on ‘Labour Statistics’ in Maldives available at: http://forum.sesric.org/?p=44

For other activities of the Statistics and Information Department within the Statistical Capacity Building (StatCaB) Programme, please visit: http://www.oicstatcom.org/statcab.php

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Azerbaijan becomes member of World Heritage Committee of UNESCO

Baku, November 19 AZERTAC – Azerbaijan has become member of the World Heritage Committee of the UNESCO.

The 20th General Assembly of States Parties to the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage was held at the UNESCO headquarters within the 38th General Conference of the Organization.

The elections to the World Heritage Committee took place and Azerbaijan was elected a member of the committee.

The success at the elections, in addition to increasing the role of Azerbaijan in protecting the world heritage plays a major role in promoting its own heritage.

Maiden Tower and Shirvanshah’s palace the Old City complex in 2000 and in 2007, the Gobustan National Historical-Artistic reserve was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The World Heritage Committee is responsible for the implementation of the World Heritage Convention, defines the use of the World Heritage Fund and allocates financial assistance upon requests from States Parties. It also decides on the inscription or deletion of properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

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OFSP farming progressing fast in Gaibandha

GAIBANDHA, Nov 22, 2015 (BSS) – Orange fleshed sweet potato (OFSP) farming among the marginal and flood affected farmers of Sadar and Fulchhari upazilas here has been progressing fast for a couple of weeks.

Office sources said in cooperation with BARI and DAE an initiative has been taken to farm OFSP on about 380 bighas of loamy land owned by 2,500 affected farmers of the upazilas during the current season for the first time under SUSTAIN Project funded by UKAID

The objective of the farming of eco-friendly and climate resilient crop OFSP is to change the socio-economic condition of the farmers and meet up the gradually increasing demands of nutrition particularly Vitamin A in the country.

To help involve the rural women in income generating activity for empowering themselves economically through the OFSP cultivation is another objective of the project side by side with eradicating gender discrimination from the society, sources said.

International Potato Centre (CIP) Bangladesh in partnership with Brac is implementing the project in field level and till November 20, some 257 bighas of land owned by 1,701 farmers were brought under the farming and the rest 123 bighas would be brought by November 30.

Like other beneficiary farmers, Shahana Begum, a farmer of Adarshapara under Ghagoa union of Sadar upazila, said she farmed the variety on her 5 decimal of land being motivated by the project officials to get desired output against the crop to change her fate.

Sector leader of CIP Bangladesh Dr. Shofiur Rahman said as the soil of the district is very suitable for OFSP farming; the initiative had been taken here for the first time under a pilot programme.

To make the farming a grand success and help the farmers get good returns against the crop, training programmes are also going on in full swing among the enthusiastic farmers of the remote areas of the upazilas from October 26, he also said.

Field coordinator M. Enamul Haque said not only that, training allowance of TK 200, production cost of TK 715 and free quality vines including technological supports were being provided to the farmers from the project to make the farming fruitful.

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Gulf-Indian Forum Recommends holding the Forum Annually

Riyadh, Safar 10, 1437,November 22, 2015,SPA — The 4th Gulf-Indian Forum for Gulf and Indian businessmen, which concluded its works last Thursday at King Abdullah Economic City, recommended that the Forum be held annually in both India and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)for Arab states.

The Forum stressed in its final statement the importance of establishing partnerships between Indian and the Gulf sectors in various fields and disciplines, the use of Indian expertise in telecommunications and information technology for the development of the private sector, the provision of solutions for small and medium enterprises and entrepreneurs, intensifying visiting economic delegations between the GCC states and India, and the use of various technical means in the development of trade between the two sides taking advantage of the investment opportunities available, particularly qualified human resources to work in the GCC states.

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More International Events Secured For Malaysia Business Tourism

BARCELONA, Nov 19 (Bernama) — Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB) has secured a total of 109 international events for the period Jan until Sept 2015, which is expected to bring in 64,810 delegates and deliver an estimated 144.3 million euro (RM667m) economic impact to the country’s business events industry.

With the number of bids won, Malaysia is ready to play host to several notable events such as the WTM Connect Asia 2016, World Cancer Congress 2018, World Urban Forum (WUF 9), ISI World Statistics Congress – ISI2019 and the World Federation of Haemophilia World Congress 2020.

“2015 has been a successful year for Malaysia. These positive business statistics demonstrate the continued success of Malaysia as a business events destination. Covering a number of industry sectors, this underlines Malaysia’s growing appeal in attracting international world conferences”, says Ho Yoke Ping, General Manager of Business Events, MyCEB.

Malaysia currently ranked number 30 in the World Ranking and number 7 in Asia Pacific according to the International Congress & Convention Association (ICCA), attracting 133 meetings to its shores with a total of 71,157 delegates. It also recorded a higher average size of 535 delegates per meeting. Malaysia will again add another milestone as it will be hosting the 55th ICCA Congress, expected to be held in Kuching, Sarawak from 12 – 16 November 2016.

This year marked MyCEB’s fifth year participation in IBTM to further promote Malaysia in the European business events market. By participating in IBTM World 2015, it hopes to strengthen MyCEB’s presence in the European market and increases Malaysia’s visibility as a preferred business events destination.

MyCEB will showcase its newly launched corporate incentive campaign “Malaysia Like Never Before” at the Malaysia Pavilion. Visitors are invited to visit the Pavilion at booth H60.

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Selangor to host two major Conferences and seminar

SHAH ALAM, Nov 19 (Bernama) — Selangor State Government through Invest Selangor will organize Selangor International Expo (SIE) 2015. This expo will be held from 26 to 28 November 2015, at the Mines International Exhibition and Convention Centre (MIECC). There will be three seminar conducted during SIE 2015, Asean Investment Conference 2015, International Halal 4 All and SITEC Southeast Asia e-Commerce Conference.

Asean Investment Conference 2015’ ASEAN Investment Trends, Opportunity and Challenges (26 November 2015) by Invest Selangor Berhad

The conference provide insights to the vast opportunities in ASEAN countries and latest updates on investment policies in ASEAN countries. The purpose of this conference is sharing knowledge and experience about investing in ASEAN countries. The seminar also discuss the current status and future prospect of investing in ASEAN countries. provide participants the understanding and the roles of ASEAN in attracting Foreign Direct Investments. We will also discuss and analyze the trends, opportunity and challenges on the three focus sector in ASEAN countries: Life Sciences Industry, Automotive Industry & Aerospace Industry.

Among prominent speakers that will present is Y.Bhg Datuk P.Ravindran, Senior Director , ASEAN Economic Integration Division, Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MIDA), Y.Bhg Prof.(E) Dato’ Dr.Abdul Latif Bin Ibrahim, Director, Institute of Bio-IT Selangor, Universiti Selangor (UNISEL), Mr. Razwin Sulairee Hasnan Termisi, Chief Executive Officer , Malaysian BioXcell Sdn Bhd, Mr. Ezani Mansor, Representative, Defense Security Malaysia US- -Asean Business Council

International Halal Seminar Halal 4 All by Dewan Perdagangan Islam Malaysia Selangor

In this seminar we will discuss what are the opportunities and challenges for the industrial players in the Global Halal Market. We will intends to discuss the latest trends in the Halal Emerging Markets. The people that should attend are Halal Industrial players, scholars, academician and students.

The speaker who will present is Tan Sri Muhamad Ali Hashim (Prsesident of the Malaysian Islamic Chamber of Commerce, Pof.Dr.Saim Kayadibi (Chairman of the European Union (EU) Halal Standards Committee, Mr. Asad Sajjad (CEO of Halal Gulf Centre) , Mr. Rafi–Uddin Shikoh and Mdm. FE Jazzareen Mor Japar Khan (CEO of Persis Management Snd Bhd). The conference website can be found at http://bit.ly/selangorexpo2015


Selangor Information Technology and E-Commerce Council (SITEC) will organise “Southeast Asia E-Commerce Conference” on 28 Nov 2015 (Saturday) from 8AM to 5:30PM at Mines International Exhibition Convention Centre. Influential e-commerce players in Southeast Asia are invited to share their insights at the conference such as Steven Scrive Head of Business Development of Amazon Global Selling, Yotsan Srisuchat, CEO of Comparison.Asia, Thailand, and Robertson Chiang, CEO of Dragonpay Corporation, Philippines.

Southeast Asia E-Commerce Conference brings leaders in e-commerce together to address SEA’s most pressing challenges and opportunities. The event is also a platform for learning and networking with over 300 representatives of business, multimedia and digital sectors.

Home to 620 million people, Southeast Asia (SEA) is one of the most populated regions in the world. E-commerce in SEA is rapidly growing as Internet users in SEA are amongst the most active in the world. SEA is a hotbed for e-commerce, and is already drawing global e-commerce players.

The conference website can be found at seaec.sitec.com.my. Tickets available at http://sitecseaec.eventbrite.com.

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Malaysia Shares Investment Promotion Model With IDB And OIC Member Countries

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 20 (Bernama) — The Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) in collaboration with the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs under the framework of the Malaysian Technical Cooperation Programme (MTCP) is conducting a 10-day Capacity Building Programme for officials of IDB and OIC member countries from 17 – 27 November 2015.

The participants of the programme consist of 16 senior government officials, representing investment promotional agencies from 14 countries. They are from Algeria, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Maldives, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestine, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkey and Uzbekistan.

Dato’ Wan Hashim, Senior Executive Director of Strategic Planning and Investment Ecosystem, MIDA, during the opening ceremony said that, “The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and OIC member countries have always been in Malaysia’s radar for investment missions and various capacity building cooperation initiatives. This is the tenth year that we organise such an event. This reflects Malaysia’s unwavering commitment towards the promotion of technical cooperation among developing countries, strengthening of regional and sub-regional cooperation, as well as nurturing collective self-reliance among developing countries.

We continue to encourage the enhancement of economic linkages with the IDB and OIC countries. Several exchange of high level visits were also undertaken by MITI and MIDA to countries such as Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, UAE, Oman, Kuwait, Turkey and Qatar in an effort to foster economic ties between Malaysia and these emerging markets. We hope that through this programme, we will be able to increase more collaboration in the future. We are aware that there are a lot more opportunities for investments that will be mutually beneficial for all of us.”

“For the period of 2010 – September 2015, total investment approved in the manufacturing sector with participation from IDB and OIC member countries amounted to RM7.9 billion (US$2.5 billion) in 94 projects. These investments were mainly in the chemical & chemical products, food manufacturing, machinery & equipment (M&E), basic metal products as well as scientific & measuring equipment. While investment levels are still relatively low, there is still much room for further growth. This programme is timely for us to also strengthen our interest to increase trade and investments between our countries,” added Dato’ Wan Hashim.

With the theme “Malaysia Investment Promotion Model”, the main scope of the programme will cover the best practices of MIDA as the Government’s principal investment promotion agency as well as sharing of Malaysia’s experience on its economic development and transformation journey. Participants will also visit selected foreign companies operating in Malaysia, such as Texas Instruments, Hokto, Coca Cola Bottlers, Akashi Kikai and Nestle, as well as two technology parks in Negeri Sembilan namely Techpark@Enstek and Sendayan Tech Valley.

As the programme is designed to be mutually beneficial for the participating countries and Malaysia, a Seminar on Trade and Investment Opportunities for IDB and OIC Member Countries will also be organised. In the Seminar, participants will share the investment opportunities available in their respective countries that could be explored by the local companies. This initiative is expected to contribute towards the internationalisation of local companies to become global champions. Other than the seminar, MIDA will also be leveraging on the member countries’ experience in the Case Study on Renewable Energy: “Towards a Low Carbon Nation through Investment in Solar Photovoltaic”, to explore areas of potential collaboration between Malaysia and the participating countries.

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Qatar Tourism Authority Unveils Business Destination Brand

DOHA, Qatar, Nov 17 (QNA) – Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) is set to reveal its initial sub-brand, Qatar Business Events, today (Tuesday), at the International Business Travel Management, IBTM World, the most highly attended global meetings, incentives, conferences and events expo, specific to business trade, held annually in Barcelona.

The launch follows the international unveiling of the Qatar Destination Brand at the World Travel Market in London on Nov 2.

The new brand aims to consolidate the image and promotional efforts of stakeholders in Qatar’s business events sector, and is supported by visuals, highlighting the extraordinary art of business offerings in Qatar, focusing on the world-class facilities and attractions that underpin Qatar as a leading choice for business events.

In Qatar, a country heavily reliant on its hydrocarbon wealth, tourism is playing a pivotal role in diversifying the nation’s economy, providing a shield from oil price fluctuations.

Qatar’s tourism strategy seeks to triple the number of business events tourists by 2030, contributing to at least half of the country’s revenue from tourism spending.

“It is very fitting for this to be the first sub-brand we launch, in line with the substantial number of visitors to Qatar being business tourists, attending a vast business spectrum of more than 150 events staged annually,” QTA Director of Exhibitions, Hamad Al-Abdan said.

“We believe our business events tourism sector is set for success, with growing event management services, exhibition capacity of 70,000 square metres, including world-class venues such as QNCC and the recently opened Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre, an expanded transport network, as well as, exceptional accessibility via Qatar Airways’ reach to 150 destinations worldwide.”

According to QTA’s Chief Marketing and Promotions Officer, Rashed Al Qurese, “QTA has articulated a destination brand, in line with the country’s persona, vision and actions. The word mark is a timeless classic; elegant, warm, accessible, and reflective of Qatar. By unifying the voices of the business events sector, this sub-brand will contribute to consolidating all promotional efforts, and provide innovative impetus to a sector crucial to the growth of tourism in Qatar.”

Al Qurese added that the Arabic word mark construct was designed by renowned Qatari calligrapher Ali Hassan, who sought to express his love for Qatar’s history and traditions, juxtaposed with its dynamic vision and speed of development.– NNN-QNA

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Oman Air To Fly Double-Daily To Key Indian Destinations

MUSCAT, Oman, Nov 18 (NNN-ONA) – Oman Air is set to increase frequencies on four of its key destinations to India.

According to a press release issued by Oman Air, the number of flights from Muscat to Goa will increase from six per week to one a day.

And in a major move for the national carrier of the Sultanate of Oman, daily flights from Muscat to Bangalore and Kochi and will increase from daily to double-daily and will operate 11 flights weekly to Lucknow and 10 to Jaipur.

The additional flights will offer a total of 5,131 more seats, to the four named destinations, and will be operated using Boeing 737-800 and 737-900 aircraft.

Once the uplift in frequencies has been introduced, Oman Air will operate a total of 126 frequencies per week between Muscat and its destinations in India.

Oman Air flies to 19 destinations in the Indian subcontinent that include the core lands of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives, out of which 11 destinations are in India.– NNN-ONA

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Saudi Tourism Earned More Than US$2.93 Billion

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, Nov 19 (NNN-SPA) – Tourism activities in Saudi Arabia siphoned as much as SR 11 billion (USD 2.93 billion) last year, as diversifying touristy activities have orchestrated the country, including more than 300 festivals and events that produced sales, picnics, accommodation, markets, restaurants, and services worth billions of Saudi currency.

In a press release, the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage said, the size of investment in this sector last year hit more than SR 100 million (USD 26.67 million), pumped by more than 130 touristy companies and institutions, noting that the festivals held have been attended by more than 11.7 million visitors, an increase of 15% compared with last year, while expenditure on festivals soared to 30% compared to 2013.

The Commission expected the increase in financial revenues of touristy events to SR 15 billion (USD 4 billion) during the coming two years, noting that the touristy festivals held since 2005 have contributed to the creation of more than 70,000 temporary job opportunities, due to the event held on the sidelines of festivals.

The Commission organised, supported and patronised as many as 855 touristy events over the last four years throughout the Kingdom, with 139 held in 2011; 209 in 2012; 247 in 2013; and 300 in 2014, the report said.

The report said, the number of touristy events held last year in Makkah Region amounted to 99, in Taif province 42, Al-Baha Region 33, Najran Region 31, Riyadh Region 96, Northern Border Region 34, Eastern Region 123, Hail Region 23, Al-Joaf Region 41, Jazan Region 45, Qassim Region 173, Tabuk Region 43, Assir Region 38 and Al-Madinah Al-Munawarah Region 34.

Owners of organisations working in the field of convening touristy events suggest that this industry, a new economic activity, is on the increase, as it is timed with fast-growing annual festivals.

On their part, a number of investors view that, investment in tourism is a major pillar of economic investment, which is set to force its way deep in future, with the help and patronage of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, to make the industry a new profession after it was previously done by individuals.– NNN-SPA

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Malaysia Wins Best Stand And Excellent Organisation Awards In China

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 20 (NNN-Bernama) — Malaysia has won the Best Stand Award and Excellent Organisation Award at the China International Travel Mart 2015. Tourism Malaysia Chairman Wee Choo Keong and Tourism Malaysia Senior Director of International Promotion Division (Asia & Africa) Musa Yusof received the awards at the close of CITM in Yunnan on Nov 15.

This year’s CITM, which is the largest travel mart in China, was held from Nov 13 to 15 at the Kunming Dianchi International Convention and Exhibition Centre.

A statement from Tourism Malaysia said the Malaysia Pavilion design focused on shopping, food, beach and island. Malaysia’s multi-cultural elements figured prominently with the 14 state tourism boards and industry players showcasing products and services that attract people.

Tourism Malaysia said it hoped to promote its latest offerings and boost visitor arrivals from China.

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Queen Rania Of Jordan Inaugurates Tiraz Exhibition

AMMAN, Jordan, Nov 18 (NNN-PETRA) – Jordan Queen Rania Al Abdullah inaugurated the TIRAZ Exhibition: ‘Ya Hafeth Ya Ameen,’ the collaboration between the collections of Widad Kawar and Sami Moawiyah Yousef, in an exhibition on protective silver adornments from Jordan, Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen, and Oman.

The exhibition holds a wide selection of silver jewellery, incorporating amulets and talismans from the early 20th century; a full costume of each representative country, outlining some of the superstitions of people from that era. The various pieces were used in a time when people widely believed in supernatural powers.

TIRAZ Widad Kawar, Home for Arab Dress’s permanent collection, was also on display and has evolved to include a more extensive collection of costumes and home utensils from mainly Jordanian and Palestinian cities; this was done with the help of TIRAZ’s foreign consultant.

During the time in which the exhibition is on display, visitors will be able to create replicas of their favourite amulets, while a treasure hunt among the showcases of different areas is under way and will be launched for children to enjoy during their visit.

TIRAZ is a non-profit organisation that aims to preserve and promote the region’s rich cultural heritage, and is able to do this with the help of the public, the sponsors’ contributions to the exhibition, including Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation, Kawar Group, Ard Canaan, Mazaj FM, Trendesign, Intercontinental Hotel, and Al-Aydi.

Ya Hafeth Ya Ameen will run until Monday, Mar 28, 2016.– NNN-PETRA

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UNCTAD Conference On Oil, Gas And Mining to be held in Sudan

KHARTOUM, Nov 22 (NNN-SUNA)– President of the Republic Field Marshal Omer al-Bashir is due to address on Monday the UNCTAD Conference Oil, Gas and Mining, which is to be hosted by the Sudan and organized by the United Nations during the 23rd and 26th of the current month of November with participation of 400 personalities representing 17 countries as well as the international and regional organizations, experts, academics and representatives of relevant companies.

The Minister of Oil and Gas Dr. Mohamed Zayid Awad described the conference as an opportunity for with workers in the oil, gas and mining sectors to meet and exchange views and experiences with each other, calling facing the challenge of training after creating jobs, expressing Sudan happiness to host the most important conference organized by the United Nations at the level of the African continent.

The Minister of Oil and Gas Co-Chairman of the Conference added, in a statement to SUNA, that Sudan with its expertise in the field of oil and minerals extended for more than fifty years is fully qualified to host the conference, stressing completion of all preparations of holding the conference, which will achieve several technical, investment and political gains for Sudan.

Meanwhile, the Director General of the Geological Research Corporation and Chairman of the Preparatory Committee for the Conference Dr. Yousuf Al-Samani affirmed that the conference will be held under the auspices of the President of the Republic and participation of 8 federal ministries under the slogan “Creation of Continuous Jobs in the Field of Extractive Industries”.

He revealed that 55 working were ready and would be presented by a number of experts participant at the conference covering the areas of investment, finance and job creation, besides the Arab-African relations, legislation, tightening of controls, participation of women and the development of traditional mining as well as displaying of state potential in the oil and gas and mining.

Dr. Al-Samani explained that the programme accompanying the conference includes a visit to Khartoum refinery, gold refinery and the Museum of Sudan as well as an exhibition for the exchange of experiences among the participating countries and the capabilities of the country.–NNN-SUNA

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Brunei’s Syababul Iman Group organises religious motivational programme

November 22, 2015, Borneo Bulletin — A THREE-DAY, two-night religious motivational programme for male youths called ‘The Mu’min Runners’ was launched yesterday at the Berakas Forest Reserve Recreational Park. The event was organised by the Syababul Iman Group of the Sultan Sharif Ali Sengkurong Mosque.

Present as the guest of honour was Haji Amir Hisham bin Haji Masri, Acting Assistant Director of Mosque Affairs.

The event began with a recitation of Surah Al-Fatihah and a Tilawah Al-Quran by Md Nabeel Min Fadhillah bin Haji Abdul Majid.

This was followed by a welcoming speech from the Head of Youth, followed by the speech of the guest of honour.

A video presentation was then carried out to officiate the programme, this was followed by a pledge by the participants and the presentation of Token of Appreciation to the guest of honour. The launching was then concluded with a recitation of Doa Selamat.

The participants will be involved in consistent acts of worship and religious activities such as Al-Quran recitation and understanding the meaning, and dawn lectures.

They will also be involved in an Explorace and Team-building games.

The participants will be facilitated by youth experienced in carrying out motivational programmes.

The programme was organised for the youth to be prepared mentally and physically in facing the era of globalisation with religious knowledge and to produce youths who are responsible, caring and trustful to their leader, nation and religion.

Prior to the programme, it is hoped the participants will be able to begin transitioning to being Muslim youth who are ready for the challenges of the era of globalisation.

The programme’s participants comprise of 30 youths aged 17 to 22 years old who are students from sixth form centres and those who have finished their ‘O’ Level examinations.

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Algerian wins Qur’an-reading competition

ALGIERS, 13 November 2015 – Algerian Abdullah Aribi won the first prize of 37th King Abdulaziz International Competition for Memorization, Recitation and Interpretation of Holy Quran organized in Mecca (Saudi Arabia), announced Thursday the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Waks in a communiqué.

A native of Setif (300-km east of Algiers), the winner was selected by the ministry of Religious Affairs and Wakfs to represent Algeria in the category of learning, recitation and exegesis of Quran, added the communiqué.

The second prize was won by Nigerian Mohammed Doko, the third by Somalian Abdenacer Mohammed Youcef, and the fourth by Saudi Tarik Salah Hadaoui and the fifth by Egyptian Mustapha Abou Zeid, said the source.

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Algerian film-maker competes in Brussels festival

ALGIERS, 19 November 2015 – “The Well,” a movie by Algerian filmmaker Lotfi Bouchachi, is competing at the first International Film Festival of Brussels (FIFB), to run until November 21 with the participation of 20 productions from over ten countries, according to the event’s website.

Lotfi Bouchouchi’s first film, The Well (90mn), is competing with five other productions made between 2014 and 2015, including “Today,” by Iranian Reza Mirkarimi, “The Orchestra of the Blind,” by Moroccan Mohamed Mouftakir, and “The Pearls of the Stone Man,” by Japanese Yuzo Asahara.

The Algerian film, a drama about an Algeria’s southern village besieged by the French Army during the national liberation war (1954-1962), have won four awards at the 31st Mediterranean Film Festival of Alexandria, Egypt.

“The Well” and Merzak Alouache’s “Madame Courage” will also compete for the Golden Tanit at the 26th Film Festival of Carthage (JCC), from 21 to 28 November 2015.

The Brussels film festival has honoured the French film industry and independent film industry.

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FAO hails Algeria’s efforts to develop rural areas

19 November 2015, ALGIERS- The Sub-regional Coordinator of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for North Africa, Lamourdia Thiombiano, hailed Thursday Algeria’s efforts for the development of agriculture and rural areas.

At the end of his discussions with Water Resources and Environment Minister Abdelouahab Nouri, the FAO representative told the press that he discussed with Nouri the investment projects launched by Algeria for the building of dams and the electrification in rural areas.

In this regard, Thiombiano underlined that Algeria’s experience in the field should be “better highlighted.”

“Our role in the promotion of South-South cooperation is to highlight this experience across the African continent,” he explained.

He said that FAO will continue to support and strengthen cooperation with Algeria, especially in the field of rural development, and enhance the support of partners to the agricultural sector.

For his part, Nouri said that “many projects have been launched in rural areas over the past 30 years to improve the living conditions of the population.”

Algeria seeks to further develop this cooperation and make of it a model for the region, he added.

“We have expressed the desire of the Algerian authorities to increase FAO representation in Algeria, in order to allow the organization to extend its action not only in Algeria but also over the Maghreb and the Sahel regions, he added.

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Egypt gets back ancient mask retrieved from Germany

Cairo, AlAhram Online, 20 November 2015 — An Egyptian archaeological committee received on Wednesday an ancient mask that was retrieved from Germany recently. The mask dating back to the Greco-Roman era was kept at the headquarters of the Egyptian Foreign Ministry.

Director General of the Restored Antiquities Department at the Antiquities Ministry Ali Ahmed said the restored mask was sent to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo for maintenance and restoration.

The mask will be put on display at an exhibition to be held later for the restored Egyptian antiquities. A German citizen had handed over the mask to the cultural bureau in Berlin, upon a commandment of his mother after her death.

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Cairo International Film Festival wraps up

Cairo, AlAhram Online, 21 November 2015, The 37th Cairo International Film Festival concluded on Friday 20/11/2015 in a ceremony at the Egyptian Opera House. The ceremony was attended by Egypt’s Culture Minister Helmi Namnam and a number of artists and public figures.

The festival, going on since November 11, hosted a large number of Egyptian, Arab and international actors and artists. Established in 1976, the annual Cairo International Film Festival is the first of its kind in the Arab world.

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Moroccan Scientist Elected Member of Academy That Awards Nobel Prizes

21 November 2015, New York, Morocco World News – Moroccan professor Abdeljabbar El Manira was elected member of the prestigious Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences that awards the Nobel Prizes in physics and chemistry.

The academy selected El Manira during its General Assembly on November 11. He will become an official member after an induction ceremony to take place during a scheduled conference where he is to speak on “how the brain controls our movements”, according to Maghreb Arab Press (MAP).

“It may be that I am required to take part in the discussions for the Nobel Prize in chemistry, in terms of biology,” the Moroccan professor said.

El Manira is a native of Rabat where he grew up and studied most of his life. He left for France to obtain a PhD in Neuroscience from Marseille. He later moved to Sweden where he has lived since 1992.

El Manira remains “very attached to Morocco”. King Mohammed VI decorated him in 2010 when he became a distinguished professor at Karolinska Institutet.

The professor’s research in the treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders such as Parkinson’s disease has been widely-acclaimed.

“The goal of our research is to decipher the organizational logic together with the intricate coding and processing that allow the spinal network to produce locomotor movements with varying speed and force,” El Manira Lab Group site reads.

The Moroccan professor discovered that two neurological structures control movements acting as a “gearbox”, one for delicate movements and one for quick responses. He has been instrumental in the “reeducation and relearning of human movement”.

According to the same source, his second discovery found that neurons work and communicate in two directions, from the brain to motor organs and in the opposite direction.

“We thought they were independent, but in fact the neurons are part of a global system”, he highlighted.

El Manira’s extensive research and world-known scientific discoveries, which have corrected biological ambiguities, have earned him a spot as member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

The academy was founded in 1739 under the King of Sweden of the time. It is located in Stockholm and consists of 460 fellows and 175 foreign members.

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Marrakech International Film Festival to Honor two American Film Stars

Fez, 19 November 2015, Morocco World News – Two American film celebrities, Bill Murray and Willem Dafoe, and Moroccan cinematographer, Kamal Derkaoui, are among those to be honored at the 15th Annual Marrakech International Film Festival to be held December 4-12. Others include Korean filmmaker Park Chan-Wook and Indian film star Madhuri Dixit.

Bill Murray is a comedian actor and director who has played important roles in successful comedy films. He is famous for his sober and moving performance in “Lost in Translation” by Sophia Coppola, which left an indelible impression on cinema lovers. The iconic figure of American cinema recently shot ‘’Rock the Kasbah” in Morocco.

The Festival will also pay tribute to American actor Willem Dafoe who has played in more than 80 films including “The Last Temptation of Christ,” also filmed in southern Morocco, and ‘’Spider Man 2″ in which he played the Green Goblin. Dafoe was nominated for Academy Award Best Supporting Actor in Platoon (1986) and Shadow of the Vampire (2000).

The Festival will also celebrate Park Chan-Wook, a film-maker, director, screenwriter and producer who received the Cannes Grand Prix in 2004 for “Old Boy.” He is also the author of “Stoker,” a film released in 2013.

The Festival will also honor Madhuri Dixit, an Indian dancer and actor who is a key figure in Indian cinema. Dixit is a national hero in her country for her role in “Devdas” which met with great success internationally.

Morocco will be represented by cinematographer Kamal Derkaoui. Derkaoui was born in Poland and trained at the National Film Institute of the Russian Federation (VGIK). He lives in Canada, but is best known for his talent in Morocco.

Derkaoui was nominated for Best Cinematography for the CSC Awards (Canadian Society of Cinematographers) in 2005, awarded for Best Cinematography at the Casablanca international film festival in November 1998 for Saad Chraibi’s feature film, “Femme et femmes,” and received the award for Best Cinematography at the International Film Festival in Athens, Greece, in 2000 for Nordine Lakhmari’s Moroccan-Norwegian film, “Le dernier spectacle.”

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Morocco to Make History With Ouarzazate Solar Complex: WB

21 November 2015, Morocco World News – Washington – Morocco is poised to make history soon when the first phase of one of the world’s largest concentrated solar power plants starts generating electricity, said the World Bank (WB) in an article on its website.

“Morocco is poised to make history soon when the first phase of one of the world’s largest concentrated solar power plants starts generating electricity.

When fully operational, it will produce enough energy for more than one million Moroccans, with possibly extra power to export to Europe,” it noted, adding that the Noor-Ouarzazate power complex is putting Morocco on the map as a solar superpower.

The Bank stressed that the project underlines the country’s determination to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, turn to increased use of renewable energy, and move towards a low carbon development strategy.

The WB also noted that the Noor project is Morocco’s first utility-scale solar energy complex and a critical step in the Moroccan Solar Energy Program, which aims to install 2 GW of solar power by 2020.

The three-plant Noor-Ouarzazate complex expects to achieve over 500 megawatts (MW) installed capacity, ultimately supplying power to 1.1 million Moroccans by 2018.

The plant is expected to reduce carbon emissions by 760,000 tons per year which could mean a reduction of 17.5 million tons of carbon emissions over 25 years, it explained, underlining that efforts were designed to accelerate cost reduction and the commercial adoption of large-scale low-greenhouse-gas emitting generation technologies.

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Tunisia: Maghreb Investment Bank operational before end of 2015

Tunis, AfricanManager – Nov 12, 2015 – The Maghreb Bank for Investment and Foreign Trade (Bcmice) will be operational by the end of December in Tunis, Kouider Lahoila, expert of the direction of economic affairs at the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU), has announced. He stressed that UMA is taking a concrete step in the financial sector.

This is good news for Maghreb states, businessmen and entrepreneurs who will thus gain access to a new funding source for their activities.

The new bank, with a capital of 500 million dollars, will have as a fundamental mission to finance projects promoting common infrastructures for the five UMA member states – Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya and Mauritania – develop commercial exchanges within the Maghreb area, considering the strong potential of a market of 90 million consumers.

The agreement that set up UMA dates back to 1989 but the Union only became effective in 2006. Its implementation, however, was long halted due to tensions over Western Sahara between Morocco and Algeria.

The new bank should allow harmonizing trade between the whole Maghreb are a and European Union countries, currently regulated by accords with single states.

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Tunisia, AfDB sign 6 financing agreements totalling EUR 377 million

Tuni, AfricanManager, Nov 20, 2015 – Tunisia and the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group signed, Thursday in Tunis, six financing agreements totalling EUR 377 million, i.e. nearly 830 million Tunisian dinars (MTD) allocated to road projects, regional development and employment.

The agreements provide for funding Tunisia’s Road Infrastructure Modernisation Project (PMIR) to the tune of EUR 191 million (418 MTD) and financing of the budget support programme for regional development and job-creation in Tunisia (PADRCE) with EUR 183 million (400 MTD).

These projects involve conducting a study on strengthening the design of an industrial and innovation policy with a budget of 2.2 million dinars and another on structuring and strengthening the competitiveness of growth sectors with 2.2 MTD.

The agreements were signed by Minister of Development, Investment and International Co-operation Yassine Brahim and AfDB Regional Director North Africa Jacob Kolster.

Brahim said the AfDB has met its commitments to Tunisia in 2015 by lending it EUR 465 million, i.e. nearly 1 billion dinars to fund priority projects.

He also commended the role played by the bank in terms of technical assistance which has affected nearly 30 strategic fields with a value of nearly 50 million dinars in the past five years.

For his part, Kolster noted that the budget support programme for regional development and job-creation in Tunisia is likely to contribute to providing equal changes in access to social services and therefore reduce social and regional imbalances.

The programme aims to upgrade administrations in regions through better targeting of social assistance programmes and contribution to reducing unemployment from 15% in 2015 to 14% in 2017.

Tunisia, which had been the seat of the AfDB from 2003 to 2014, is among the top three funding recipients of the bank with 1.5 million Euros, i.e. 3.3 billion dinars since 2011, said Kolster.

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Afghanistan participates in Technical Conference For Trust Building On Trade, Investment

November 22, 2015, Kabul (BNA) The sixth technical conference for trust building on the fields of trade and investment among countries of Heart Asia process was held in New Delhi of India, BNA reported.

Chaired jointly by India and Afghanistan, in the conference the activities of one year of the member countries and international partners in the fields of trade and investment in the region, between Afghanistan and neighboring states were reviewed and new plans and suggestions to build political, trade and economic confidence were discussed.

Delegates and officials from 14 member countries of Heart Asia process attended the conference.

The immediate and far neighbors of Afghanistan presented short, medium and long-term programs for supporting investment in Afghanistan at the conference and in this regard, India proposed holding conference in early 2016 in New Delhi to attract investment in the field of mining, supporting women businesswomen and training cadres in the field of investment and trade in Afghanistan by Indian institutions.

Taking steps for building confidence in the sector of trade and investment is one of the principles of Heart Asia process began four years ago.

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Turkish watchdog to revise Islamic banking regulations

ANKARA/ISTANBUL – Anadolu Agency, November/20/2015 – The head of Turkey’s banking watchdog has pledged to revise the regulations governing the Islamic banking sector to increase the popularity of the sector in the country.

Mehmet Ali Akben, president of the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK), said there was a strong need for changes to the rules governing what are known as “participation banks” in Turkey.

“We are trying to readjust those rules,” he told an Islamic finance conference in Istanbul on Nov. 19. “We believe this system will shine on both a local and global scale in the coming years.”

He said there was a demand for a financial model working under non-interest-based rules and that the BDDK had launched a separate body to analyze how Islamic finance could be developed and popularized in Turkey.

Akben said the BDDK would launch the required regulations enabling the system to grow further in Turkey and to become exemplary around the world.

“In this vein, should the sharia boards be under the direction of the BDDK? … There have plans to launch these boards under the Association of the Participation Banks, but this issue could be reassessed to determine which option is best,” he said.

Talat Ulussever, chairman of the Borsa Istanbul exchange, called for a system in which members of the public could invest in major projects.

“We need to exert effort to establish financial structures in which Turkey’s big projects in areas such as energy, communication, defense and infrastructure will be financed by people as profit is shared by them,” he said.

Ulussever said the 2008 financial crisis showed that conventional finance could not absorb volatility in global markets.

“There is a recent survey by the OECD that indicates financing through credit has a negative affect while economies that prefer stock exchanges for their financing needs grow faster and sustainably,” he said.

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Turkish actor Akyürek nominated for International Emmy Award

NEW YORK, Anadolu Press Agency – The International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences recently announced that Turkish actor Engin Akyürek has been nominated in the “Best Performance by an Actor” category for the 2015 International Emmy Awards.

This is Akyürek’s first nomination for the prestigious prize, which was bestowed up on him for his stirring performance in the popular Turkish television series “Kara Para Aşk” (Black Money Love).

Set in Istanbul, the series follows police officer Ömer Demir (played by Akyürek) as he investigates his fiancé’s murder. Widely acclaimed for his raw, believable performance in the role, Akyürek was named Turkey’s most promising actor by the Turkish Film Critics Association. He was also recently named Best Actor at the Seoul International Drama Awards.

A total of 40 nominees have been selected, spanning 10 categories and 19 countries, for the International Emmy Awards. Winners will be announced at a black-tie ceremony on Nov. 23 in New York.

In 2014, Turkish actress Tuba Büyüküstün was nominated in the “Best Performance by an Actress” category at the International Emmys, Turkey’s first nomination for television’s highest honors.

Büyüküstün had been nominated for her role as a young mother of two who runs a pastry shop and leads a happy life with her husband, a history teacher, in the Star TV drama series “20 Dakika” (20 Minutes).

Turkey’s domestic television business, booming in recent years due to substantial investments from the country’s major broadcast networks, has certainly caught the attention of international producers. Recent high-profile films filmed in part in Turkey include the James Bond hit “Skyfall,” Russell Crowe’s “The Water Diviner” and Ben Affleck’s “Argo.” With its hard-working, inexpensive crews and stunning urban and rural locations, the country hosts an array of opportunities for the industry.

Istanbul alone is home to such marvels as the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Topkapı Palace. Outside the city, sites like Cappadocia, the thermal pools in Pamukkale and the Turkish Riviera provide fantastic film backdrops.


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Jordan launches Eight new e-Government services

Amman, Nov 21 (Petra) –– The e-Government National Steering Committee Saturday launched eight new integrated electronic services for three entities, during a meeting at the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology chaired by Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour.

The new services include two for the Greater Amman Municipality, traffic ticket and real estate tax inquiries, five for the Income and Sales Tax Department and one for the Ministry of Justice, the issuance of certificates of no criminal conviction.

These services, the first package of integrated electronic services which will be 18 in total this year, will bring to 100 the overall number of e-Government services available to the public by the end of 2015.

Furthermore, Ensour said that over three years, 350 digital services will introduced and will be felt by the citizens, adding “this is not all, the number of governmental services is nearly 2,000, which means we need a number of years”.

The e-Government project is aimed at improving the level of service to the public and ensure easy and quick service to save them time and effort, Ensour said.

“The IT sector is of great importance to our country and its progress as it facilitates tasks and simplifies procedures for citizens, in addition to the accuracy of data and the prevention of intended or unintended human errors. This will help to create an advanced and civilized Jordan, characterised by the accurate and control of its transactions, enhanced oversight and less corruption”, Ensour said in remarks at the meeting.

He acknowledging that the e-Government project had been slow in the past years, “for which we made big losses”, adding that the communications ministry and the rest of the ministries had speedily drawn up a plan to make up for the delay.

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Turkish CEO takes ‘Businesswoman of the Year’ award

ISTANBUL – Doğan News Agency – Doğan Holding Chairwoman Begümhan Doğan Faralyalı was awarded “businesswoman of the year” at the Bosphorus Business World Awards in a ceremony on Nov. 21.

“The main source of your dreams should not be your mother, father, teacher or neighbors, but you. Find the seed within yourself, plant it and grow it,” she said at the ceremony.

“This award made me so happy and honored. I started university in 1995. When I was on my way here tonight, I asked myself whether there was anything I wish I could have known some 20 years ago. Two things came to my mind: One of them is about how important it is for a person to discover and know oneself. It is quite difficult for anyone to live without knowing his or herself… Secondly, seek and find the mentors who will really listen to you and to direct you,” she said.

Yıldız Holding Chairman Murat Ülker has been chosen as businessman of the year by the Bosphorus University’s engineering club. The winners were named according to the votes of club members and graduates in the framework of the Management Study with Executives (MSE) business, management and leadership conference.

Yemeksepeti.com CEO Nevzat Aydın, who gave over 100 of his employees bonuses totaling $27 million following the company’s sale last May for $589 million, was named by employee of the year. Turkey’s refinery, TÜPRAŞ, was chosen as the industrial company of the year, TURKCELL the technology company of the year and EMAAR Turkey the property development partnership of the year.

Leading businesswoman Demet Sabancı Çetindoğan, Geidk Holding Chairman Hülya Gedik and Acıbadem Health Group Chairman Mehmet Ali Aydınlar received lifetime achievement awards.

A total of 14 awards were given at the ceremony.

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Experts should develop smart Islamic microfinance, says IDB President

Kuwait City, Kuwait, 11.11.2015 – The President of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group, Dr. Ahmad Mohamed Ali has called on experts in Islamic finance to take advantage of existing technologies and business approaches like mobile banking to develop smart Islamic microfinance. Such efforts, according to Dr. Ali, could help the Islamic finance industry to be a leader in the global economy, and stay ahead of the competition.

Dr. Ali made the remarks on Wednesday while addressing the opening session of a conference on ‘Islamic Finance: Meeting Global Aspirations’, held in Kuwait City, Kuwait. It meant to prepare ground for increasing financial inclusion and growth, by providing access to finance, regulation and control to support financial stability, development of Sukuk (Islamic bonds) as well as other instruments and forms of long-term financing required to materialize sustainable development. The conference was inaugurated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Chief HE Ms. Christine Lagarde, and the Governor of the Central Bank of Kuwait HE Dr. Mohammad Y. Al-Hashel.

The IDB Group President commended the role of the Central Bank of Kuwait in fostering the growth of Islamic finance industry. He also appreciated the role of IMF in developing Islamic finance as a viable equivalent mode of finance. Dr. Ahmad Mohamed Ali emphasized that Islamic finance encourages a fair socio-economic system and can address financial inclusion via a two-pronged approach: (i) using risk-sharing financing instruments as viable microfinance, and micro-Takaful tools for individuals, micro-enterprises & SMEs; in addition to (ii) using Islamic redistributive instruments like Zakah, Waqf, Sadaqa and Qard-al-Hasana to provide basic social safety nets (food, shelter, etc.) to the very poor in the society, helping them graduate into economically active individuals.

Dr. Ahmad Ali further stated that “providing microfinance to individuals lacking entrepreneurial skills may lead to less than the desired outcomes”. “What is needed is an integrated finance-plus approach i.e. provision of financial services along with provision of related technical skills, regulatory support, assistance for product development and marketing, and increasing market access to SMEs’ products.”

Dr. Ali further underlined the need to develop unique models for increasing access to finance for the SMEs, like creating dedicated SME-financing business units in Islamic banks, and developing the capital markets, Islamic equity and venture capital funds for SMEs. While shedding light on the role played by IDB Group in fostering financial inclusion in IDB Member Countries, Dr. Ali mentioned that as part of the next 10 years strategy, the bank has a dedicated pillar on social inclusion.

The conference, co-hosted by the Central Bank of Kuwait and the IMF Middle East Center for Economics & Finance, provided an opportunity for global policy dialogue among high-level policymakers, including governors of central banks and ministers, regulators, conventional and Islamic standard setters, leading private and public sector financial institutions’ executives, and academics.

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Bahrain conference to provide insights into global Islamic finance

19 Nov 2015, Manama, (IINA) – An expert in Islamic finance unveiled salient features of the “Finance Forward Islamic Finance Outlook Report 2016″ which will be presented at the World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC), scheduled to be held in Bahrain next month.

Dr. Sayd Farook, Vice Chairman and CEO of Middle East Global Advisors, said that the report, which will be launched at WIBC on December 2, will give cutting-edge insights on the outlook of the global Islamic financial industry, Bahrain News Agency (BNA) reported.

Farook, who is also convener of the forthcoming three-day WIBC, said: “The Outlook Report is expected to serve as a compass for Islamic finance leaders who are undertaking key decisions that will fundamentally shape their business strategies for 2016.”

The uniqueness of the report, he continued, is that it combines meaningful insights from Islamic finance leaders – gathered from an extensive survey of practitioners’ sentiment with robust analysis of the performance of Islamic financial institutions.

According to the report, three major global macro developments of 2015 will shape the outlook of the industry: commodity prices (particularly oil), development in global interest rate policy, and a slowdown of the Chinese economy. Low commodity prices do not bode well for either the Gulf Cooperation Council or Southeast Asian economies, home to most of the world’s Islamic banks.

Survey results of the Outlook Report highlighted two key trends: the development of ethical business models and that of digital banking. Speaking about the importance of these trends, Blake Goud, Chief research officer at Middle East global advisors added that “Sharia compliance is necessary but not sufficient for consumers demanding ethical financial services. This implies that corporate social responsibility is not enough consumers want their financial institutions to integrate an ethical approach into their core business mode.”

On technology, he noted: “Bankers told us that internet and mobile banking (40 percent and 38 percent respectively) were the priorities in reaching their customer, higher than the share who said they used branches (25 percent) and ATMs (15 percent).”

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Luxembourg to host Islamic finance workshop

18 Nov 2015, Luxembourg (IINA) – Luxembourg for Finance and QInvest (Qatar Invest) are hosting an Islamic finance workshop on Tuesday. Luxembourg for Finance is the agency for the development of the Luxembourg financial centre, CPI Financial news reported.

The event, which will be held in Luxembourg, will bring together investment fund professionals, bankers corporates and industry practitioners to discuss Sukuk issuance and ways of promoting the Sukuk market as well as the emergence of Islamic high yield financing as an alternative. It will also examine the salient trends and challenges facing the fast-growing Islamic asset management industry.

The workshop will have presentations from a number of senior figures at QInvest, namely, Hani Ibrahim, Head of Debt Capital Markets at QInvest, Alexander Armstrong, Head of Financial Institutions & Structured Finance and Dr Ataf Ahmed, Head of Asset Management. They will be joined by Luxembourg and international panelists from the industry, including the CEO of the Luxembourg stock exchange.

“QInvest is very pleased to be working with Luxembourg for Finance for this event. The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg has been a significant contributor to the growth of the Islamic finance sector with its EUR 200 million five-year Sukuk last year,” said Hani Ibrahim commenting on the event. He added that “this workshop will provide the opportunity to debate some of the pressing themes in the Islamic finance industry, at a critical moment in its development. At QInvest, we continue to see growing interest in Islamic finance, across Sukuk and Islamic asset management, as investors look for new means to diversify their portfolios and generate returns.”

For his side, Deputy CEO of Luxembourg for Finance Tom Theobald said, “This workshop is an opportunity for Luxembourg practitioners to deepen their knowledge of Islamic finance products and discuss current and future trends. As the second largest fund centre in the world and home to the world’s leading stock exchange for international securities listings, Luxembourg is today a key centre for the development of Islamic finance in Europe. As in other areas, such as the internationalization of the Renminbi, Luxembourg has been successful by building on its openness and innovation, as well as its unique expertise in cross-border financial services. The Grand Duchy has played a pioneering role in Islamic finance in Europe for more than 35 years, as it was not only the first country in Europe to host an Islamic finance institution and a European Shari’ah compliant insurance firm, but also the first to list a Sukuk in Europe and to issue a sovereign Sukuk in Euro.”

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Baku to host 12th ISESCO General Conference, Executive Council

Baku (IINA), 22 Nov 2015 – Azerbaijan will host the 12th General Conference of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) and the 36th session of the Executive Council, scheduled to take place in Baku from November 23 to 27, AZERTAC News reported.

The conference will discuss administrative and legal matters regarding amendments to organizational chart and the situation of regional offices.

The participants will also review the activity report of the Executive Council for the period between the 11th and 12th General Conference sessions.

The General Conference will elect the Director General, confirm membership of the Executive Council, and determine the date and venue for its future meeting.

The General Conference, composed of member states’ ministers working in ISESCO’s fields of competence, meets at a regular session every three years, with the presence of representatives of regional and international organizations.

The General Conference will be preceded by the 36th session of the Executive Council on November 23-24. The session will discuss the draft action plan and budget for 2016-18, Director General’s activity report for 2014, Report of the Director General for the Years 2010-2012 and Progress Report for the Years 2013-2015 on the Evaluation of the Organization’s Action.

Also placed on the Council’s agenda are the Financial Report of the Director General and Closing Accounts, Report of the Audit Company and Report of the Financial Control Committee for 2014; Report of the Director General on the Member States’ Contributions to the Organization’s Budget for the Year 2014.

ISESCO counts 52 member states, in addition to three states with observer status. It is noteworthy that Azerbaijan has been a member of ISESCO since 1991.

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Qatar cruise gets fillip with three ship-calls in a week

MENAFN – Gulf Times – 22/11/2015 – Hundreds of tourists exploring the Arabian Gulf on board regional cruises visited Qatar last week.

The visitors, who arrived on three ships at Doha Port, received a warm welcome with Arabic coffee, a traditional Ardha performance, and photo opportunities with a falcon. They participated in organised tours of Qatar’s key landmarks before returning to their ships at the end of the day and continuing a region-wide cruise.

The ships included the Seabourn Sojourn, which was making its maiden voyage to Qatar, the MS Island Sky, which is the first ship to dock in Qatar as part of the Cruise Arabia Alliance, and the MS Europe 2.

“We are excite to be calling in the dynamic city of Doha, Qatar for the first time,” said John Delaney, Seabourn’s senior vice president of global marketing & sales. “It is a world class destination with a wonderful blend of historic and cultural sites combined with a beautiful, modern landscape.”

The dockings come as Qatar ramps up efforts to expand its cruise tourism sector. In December this year, Qatar Tourism Authority will host the Seatrade Middle East Cruise Forum, where cruise line executives, government representatives and industry stakeholders from the ports, tourism, immigration and security departments will gather to discuss the future of cruising in the Arabian Gulf.

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Iran to hold international auctions for its prized art-works

Tehran, Nov 22, IRNA – Iran’s minister of culture recounted the prospect of post-sanctions cultural ties and venues at a ceremony in Tehran.

An international auction was coordinated to be held in Kish Island and now the pre-requisitions are met, said Iran’s Minister of Culture Ali Jannati in a ceremony for the new public show of paintings of Farideh Lashai – an Iranian artist and designer (1944-Feb. 2013) with more than 4000 pieces and a novel in Farsi- at Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art in Tehran on Saturday.

He added that many international museums across the globe have requested to borrow works of contemporary Iranian art stored in the treasury of Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art and some agreements have been made with German and Italian museums, MNA reported.

The Iranian minister voiced hope that the positive atmosphere after the landmark Iran-Sextet agreement of July 14, would bring many merits to Iranian art arena in terms of international cooperation.

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“Woman in Islam” conference held in Venezuela

Tehran, Nov 21, IRNA – A conference titled “Woman in Islam; The End of Myths” was held by Iranian Cultural Center in Caracas, Venezuela.

According to the website of the Islamic Culture and Relations Organization, the Center for Cultural Interactions of Iran and Latin America, the representative of Al-Mustafa International University in Venezuela, cooperated in holding the program.

The National Art Gallery of the capital city hosted the conference on November 19.

The Activities of Iranian women were also introduced in an exhibition held by the cultural center on the sidelines of the conference.

There are approximately 100,000 Muslims in Venezuela making up less than one percent of the nation’s population.

Venezuela is a country located on the northern coast of South America. It is bordered by Colombia, Brazil, Guyana, and Trinidad and Tobago.

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Sweet-potato farming progressing fast in Gaibandha

GAIBANDHA, Nov 22, 2015 (BSS) – Orange fleshed sweet potato (OFSP) farming among the marginal and flood affected farmers of Sadar and Fulchhari upazilas here has been progressing fast for a couple of weeks.

Office sources said in cooperation with BARI and DAE an initiative has been taken to farm OFSP on about 380 bighas of loamy land owned by 2,500 affected farmers of the upazilas during the current season for the first time under SUSTAIN Project funded by UKAID

The objective of the farming of eco-friendly and climate resilient crop OFSP is to change the socio-economic condition of the farmers and meet up the gradually increasing demands of nutrition particularly Vitamin A in the country.

To help involve the rural women in income generating activity for empowering themselves economically through the OFSP cultivation is another objective of the project side by side with eradicating gender discrimination from the society, sources said.

International Potato Centre (CIP) Bangladesh in partnership with Brac is implementing the project in field level and till November 20, some 257 bighas of land owned by 1,701 farmers were brought under the farming and the rest 123 bighas would be brought by November 30.

Like other beneficiary farmers, Shahana Begum, a farmer of Adarshapara under Ghagoa union of Sadar upazila, said she farmed the variety on her 5 decimal of land being motivated by the project officials to get desired output against the crop to change her fate.

Sector leader of CIP Bangladesh Dr. Shofiur Rahman said as the soil of the district is very suitable for OFSP farming; the initiative had been taken here for the first time under a pilot programme.

To make the farming a grand success and help the farmers get good returns against the crop, training programmes are also going on in full swing among the enthusiastic farmers of the remote areas of the upazilas from October 26, he also said.

Field coordinator M. Enamul Haque said not only that, training allowance of TK 200, production cost of TK 715 and free quality vines including technological supports were being provided to the farmers from the project to make the farming fruitful.

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Massive agri-rehabilitation nearing completion in Rangpur region

RANGPUR, Nov 22, 2015 (BSS) – Distribution of assistance by the government under massive post-flood agriculture rehabilitation programmes has been nearing completion in three flood-hit districts under Rangpur Agriculture Region, officials said today.

The Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE), with assistance of BADC and other organisations, has completed over 95 percent distribution of seed and fertilisers worth 10.17 crore to assist 1.20 lakh flood-hit farmers in recouping the crop losses during recent floods.

After getting the post-flood government assistance in terms of seed and fertilisers, each of the beneficiary farmers of Rangpur, Gaibandha and Kurigram districts has been cultivating early varieties Rabi crops on one bigha of land each.

Under the programme, the flood-hit farmers have got cost-free seed, Di-ammonium Phosphate (DAP) and Muriate of Potash (MoP) for cultivating early Rabi crops like wheat, maize, mustard, potato and mungbean.

The government has distributed 484 tonnes wheat seed worth Taka 1.64 crore for distribution among 24,200 flood-hit farmers with 20 kilograms (kg) each to assist each of them for cultivation of the crop.

Under the programme, 25.058 tonnes maize seed worth Taka 75.17 lakh has been distributed among 12,529 flood-affected framers of these districts with two-kg each for cultivation of the crop on one bigha land by each.

A total of 81,600 flood-hit farmers have got 81,600 kg mustard seed with one kg each for cultivation of the crop on the same land where the standing crops were totally damaged during the recent floods.

Some 1,000 flood-affected farmers of Kurigram and Gaibandha districts have also got 80 tonnes potato seed worth Taka 20.80 lakh with 80 kgs each for cultivation of the crop on the land each.

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Habiganj Economic Zone main work to begin in Aug 2016

HABIGANJ, Nov 21, 2015 (BSS) – The main work of Habiganj Economic Zone will begin in August next year (2016).

Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA) Executive Chairman Paban Chowdhury said this after visiting demarcation work of Habiganj Economic Zone here today.

Work is going on in full swing to develop the economic zone on 511 acres of land beside old Dhaka-Sylhet road in Chunarighat upazila.

Currently demarcation of borders of the zone is going on, which will complete in 15 days.

After the visit, the BEZA executive chairman took interview of five students and 21 job-

seekers from among the affected workers of adjacent tea gardens.

Of them, one student will get an annual stipend of Taka 25,000 and five people will get

job in BEZA.

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Kazakh folk dances included in Chinese school curriculum

KazakhstanTV – 22.11.2015 – Kazakh schools in China included classes of Kazakh Folk dances into school curriculum. Now students learn to dance Kara zhorga and kamazhai.

The classes are held every day instead of physical training. Local authorities have supported the initiative of the Kazakh Diaspora and officially included the dances in the curriculum.

Zhanar IMANALIKYZY, DIRECTOR, KAZAKH SCHOOL NO. 1 said:: Girls are future mothers. Therefore we do not just give them knowledge but teach them to be humble, sympathetic and humane. This is a sort of a memo. We mark their behavior at the end of each term.

There were a lot of transformations in the 80-year history of this Kulja school: the curriculum was changed in accordance with Kazakh traditions. Lessons are taught in the Kazakh and Chinese languages, plus in additional English classes. Schoolchildren have lessons of folk crafts. Girls learn to knit, sew, and boys make musical instruments.

Nurkamal TILEUKABYLULY, 10TH GRADE STUDENT, said: The school has all conditions for us to become more creative. Everyone chooses a subject of interest. For example, I was very happy when crafts lessons entered the curriculum. It’s a very ancient craft.

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New dnata lounge opens at Singapore Airport

DUBAI, U.A.E., & Singapore, 17 November 2015: Passengers departing from Changi International Airport Terminal 1 will have a new premium lounge option when dnata opens its doors to its pan-Asian, Singapore-influenced lounge today.

Located at the Transit Area of Terminal 1, the lounge can seat more than 200 passengers within its 860 square meter footprint. Facilities include a dedicated dining area, generous shower and toilet facilities, a branded coffee and cocktail bar, fully equipped work zones, and a dedicated AV lounge. Airline customers that offer lounge access to their passengers at dnata’s Terminal 1 lounge are Cathay Pacific, Air France, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Delta, Finnair, Air Asia, Air Mauritius, Bangkok Airways, Drukair, and Myanmar Airways International.

Mark Edwards, Chief Executive Officer, dnata Singapore, believes that the air travel experience is about more than just the in-flight journey. He says transitional customer touch-points such as airport lounges are increasingly important and contribute to shaping a positive and pleasant travel experience. “dnata’s new Terminal 1 lounge is a premium product designed to exceed the expectations of travellers when flying out of one of the world’s top airports. Our airline customers and their passengers took time to tell us what they wanted to see in a new lounge and we listened. Travellers today are increasingly sophisticated and we have incorporated many aspects of the feedback in our new lounge, from ease of access, selection of food and beverage to the all-important charging points for electronics,” says Mr. Edwards.

The new lounge reflects a pan-Asian theme, with subtle references to Singapore’s history and culture. Modern Peranakan-styled wall tiles, wallpaper and glass are used throughout the lounge and complement the Singaporean and Asian food offerings. A mixture of hard wood floors and carpets are used to reduce the ambient noise and the lounge adopts a ‘silent’ no-announcement policy to maintain a quiet environment.

Food is something that Singaporeans are passionate about and proud of. Keeping in mind the unique Singapore food culture, the executive chef at dnata Singapore has designed a menu that enables customers to sample local dishes such as laksa, satay and chicken rice, as well as more regional cuisine. Western meal options are also offered which reflects the diversity in customers and their tastes.

“The theme of the lounge is pan-Asian, and built around references to Singapore’s unique cuisine, history, architecture, and landmarks. My family and I came to Singapore nearly four years ago and we are still discovering this island. Singapore and Changi Airport have much to celebrate about their culture and heritage and we at dnata want to share what we love about this country with travelers that pass through dnata’s lounges,” says Mr. Edwards.

The culinary experience is further enhanced in a partnership with major international brands. A first for lounges at Changi, dnata is partnering with Hudson’s Coffee to introduce café-grade coffee machines, superior coffee beans, and baristas in the lounge during the morning hours. Those that want to enjoy a tipple before their flight can sample signature cocktails at the lounge mixed by a bartender during evening hours.

New sofa seating options offer individual and couples seating with improved comfort, while providing privacy to the passenger. The seating is equipped with universal power outlets and USB charging points for mobile phones, tablets and laptops. Complimentary high-speed WiFi is available throughout the lounge. Other features of the facility include five toilets and five showers with a dedicated facility for customers with reduced mobility. A new VIP room is also available exclusively for pre-bookings.

The dnata lounge is opened 0330hrs to 0230hrs 7 days a week and is expected to accommodate over 250,000 customers passing through its doors annually. dnata operates another lounge in Terminal 3, which was recently voted ‘World’s Best Independent Airport Lounge’ at the Skytrax Awards 2015.

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Turkish Airlines Calls Everyone to “See” Istanbul in Its New Video

Turkish Airlines Inc.Media Relations, 13 11 2015 — Istanbul, the main hub of Turkish Airlines, now shows itself to also be a stunning global hub as displayed on a new video.

In order to promote “The City of Istanbul”, described by poets as “priceless and peerless”, Turkish Airlines collaborated with a world-famous talent, well-qualified to display the city’s best aspects to produce a powerful promotional video for Istanbul, portraying the many facets of the city.

To that end, Turkish Airlines collaborated with Rob Whitworth, a famous British Director and an expert urban filmmaker who constantly develops and integrates new shooting techniques and film editing methods for his work. His previous projects include films for major brands and promotional pieces for Barcelona and Dubai. His work has drawn wide attention and he has received many awards at global film festivals and gained widespread critical acclaim in the global press. In this work, Whitworth captured the most spectacular views of the city to present the viewer with a wonderful experience of Istanbul, whetting their appetite for a visit.

The video combines the historical, cultural and social aspects of Istanbul; each being distinctive, but creating a unique whole when brought together. In developing the promotional film designed to introduce the city to a global audience; the goal was to to bring together the unique historical texture and unifying elements of Istanbul by using the latest and most impressive shooting techniques. The result is a video that intrigues and attracts the attention of people across the globe, tempting them to visit Istanbul.

The video, sponsored by Turkish Airlines, is available in 4K on YouTube.

The link of the video as well as the ones of the relevant pictures can be found below:



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Turkish Airlines signs pact with Jordan’s Petra Tourism Authority

Turkish Airlines Inc.Media Relations, 18 11 2015 – Turkish Airlines has signed a partnership agreement with the Petra Development and Tourism Authority in the presence of Nayef Al-Fayez, Jordan’s Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Mohammad Al-Nawafleh, the Chief Commissioner of the Petra Development and Tourism Authority, Ahmet Olmuştur, Turkish Airline’s Chief Marketing Officer, and other senior management officials from across the Middle East as well as representatives from the airline’s offices in Amman and Aqaba. The agreement was signed in front of Petra’s famous ‘Treasury’ – the impressive 2000 year old rock-cut tomb – further symbolising the importance of the friendly ties between the two sides.

Upon visiting Petra, Turkish Airlines passengers will now receive a 15% discount on entry tickets into Jordan’s most unique heritage site by submitting their boarding passes. Turkish Airlines will also be promoted at the entry of the ‘Petra Visitor Centre’ by the Jordanian authorities. In exchange, Turkey’s national flag carrier will give special discounts to tour agents for events organized in other countries by the Petra Development and Tourism Authority.

Turkish Airlines Chief Marketing Officer, Ahmet Olmuştur said, “Turkish Airlines will work to promote Petra as one of the wonders of the world through various channels. We plan to support this historic destination by promoting Petra through our internal channels, and Skylife, our inflight magazine. We will also promote the city in our external communications by supporting their marketing and development projects*.”

Jordan’s Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Mohammad Al-Nawaflef said, “We are delighted to be working with Turkish Airlines, one of the world’s leading airlines.

We’re supporting the airline in our communication at Petra, which is a national treasure that we believe people from every corner of the world should have access to. As Turkish Airlines flies to 111 countries, and Petra is a traveller’s delight, this is a truly strategic and mutually beneficial partnership.”

As the partnership unfolds, Turkish Airlines and Petra Authority will jointly participate in international tourism fairs. They will invite and host agencies, press, and public figures from other countries across the world to promote the beauty of and historical significance of Petra.

Turkish Airlines flies 14 times weekly flights to Amman and 4 times weekly to Aqaba. To view the flight schedules please visit www.turkishairlines.com, contact the call center at +90 212 444 0849 or visit any Turkish Airlines sales office.

Turkish Airlines will be sponsor for smartphone application called “Visit Petra” (including a map and virtual tour of Petra)

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UAE and Australia agree to boost flights

Source: Reuters, 20 November 2015 – Australia announced a deal with the United Arab Emirates that will significantly boost flight numbers between the two countries.

The bilateral agreement allows carriers based in Dubai and Abu Dhabi to operate an extra 14 flights a week to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth, bringing the total number of weekly services to 161.

Australian airlines receive an extra 14 flight slots in return to the UAE, bringing the total to 56 weekly flights.

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Gulf Air goes daily to Hyderabad from 2 December

Source: Gulf Air, 18 November 2015 – Gulf Air will increase its flights between Bahrain and Hyderabad from 5 weekly flights to daily flights from 2 December 2015 to meet high passenger demand.

Catering to over 5 million Indian nationals residing in the Arabian Gulf region, Gulf Air has provided direct air services between India and Bahrain since 1960.

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Tassili Airlines launches Paris flights

19 November 2015 – Tassili Airlines will operate as of 11 December two weekly flights between Algiers and Paris Charles de Gaulles (Terminal 2) on board Boeing 737-800 NG aircraft that includes 20 business class seats and 135 economy seats.

Paris will be the fourth international scheduled route for Tassili Airlines, after it has already launched flights to Marseille and Strasbourg on 13 November 2014 and Lyon on 10 July 2015.

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