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8 Aug, 2016

China launches first organised tours to Kazakhstan

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 08 August 2016 (05 Dhul Qa’dah 1437). Pls click on any of the headlines below to go to the story.

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A WORD FROM MY SPONSORS: TOURISM MALAYSIA

AUGUST MARKS INDEPENDENCE DAY FOR MALAYSIA

Proclamations of “Merdeka” or “Freedom/Independence” are often heard nationwide this August as it is Malaysia’s Independence Day on 31st August. The country marks its independence in 1957 with the Merdeka Day Parade at Dataran Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur. K-Poppers mustn’t miss the first ever iKoncert Showtime Tour in Kuala Lumpur. But if you are looking for local culture engagement and music, then head to Penang for the Boria Festival. Meanwhile, mark the date for these home-grown music festivals, i.e. Sarawak’s Rainforest World Music Festival or Good Vibes Festival in Pahang. Love sports? Challenge Iskandar Puteri 2016, Merdeka Day Open Regatta 2016 and Padawan Raft Safari 2016 are events you shouldn’t miss. Have fun, stay healthy, enjoy quality time with the family and explore the surrounding of Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur Fashion Week returns to Pavilion, KL with up-to-date and exclusive fashion trends. Meet your favourite designers and celebrities while you feast your eyes on amazing fashion collections. To give you some ideas of what to do in August, here’s a line-up of well-balanced events to enjoy in Malaysia. http://www.tourism.gov.my/media/view/experience-malaysia-august-1

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.malaysia.travel.

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

twitter: http://twitter.com/tourismmalaysia

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

A WORD FROM MY SPONSORS – THE TOURISM AUTHORITY OF THAILAND

INDONESIAN VISITORS TO THAILAND ON THE RISE

Visitor arrivals from Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim country, to Thailand are rising steadily in the first half of 2016, thanks to low-cost airlines and growing promotions of the availability of Muslim-friendly services and facilities. The launch of the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s app promoting Muslim-friendly products and services, growing availability of halal food and new flights by AirAsia and Thai Lion Air are among the major factors contributing to a 16% increase in Indonesian visitors in May 2016 and 10% increase in June 2016. As citizens of a fellow ASEAN country, Indonesians don’t need visas to Thailand. They love to shop for clothes and enjoy Thai food. The TAT is seeing a growing number of first-time visitors, especially to Bangkok and the beach resort of Pattaya. The TAT marketing office in Jakarta is stepping up promotions of Muslim packages, and Family & Children packages covering attractions such as the Dinosaur Planet, Dream World, Cartoon Network, Pipo Pony, Madame Tussauds, and Sea Life. Destinations surrounding Bangkok are getting popular, namely Hua Hin and Nakhon Pathom. Honeymooners like Krabi and Ko Samui. The TAT is also targetting the ladies and friends market, including housewives and office workers, and young travellers.

A special app has been created by the TAT to help Muslim visitors find the appropriate facilities and services. It can be downloaded by clicking here: http://www.tourismthailand.org/muslimfriendly

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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.

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STORIES IN THIS DISPATCH. PLS CLICK ON ANY OF THE HEADLINES BELOW TO GO DIRECTLY TO THE STORY

Asia’s Best Baristas To Compete In Kuala Lumpur

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, Aug 4 (Bernama-BUSINESS WIRE) — The most talented baristas from across Asia will converge on Kuala Lumpur on Saturday 6 August 2016 to determine who can make the very best espresso as Gloria Jean’s Coffees searches for its best coffee maker, including Jack Muhammad Hafiz Iman, Shift Leader and Mohd Azfar Bin Azlan, Head Barista from Gloria Jean’s Coffees Malaysia.

The winner from the Regional Final will progress to the Global Grand Final, held on the Gold Coast, Australia in September this year.

Gloria Jean’s Coffees International Barista Championship invites the brand’s dedicated and skilled baristas from across the globe to create their best espresso, latte and espresso-based signature beverage, with competitors judged on beverage taste, technique and presentation.

Gloria Jean’s Coffees Market Development Manager Phi Nguyen said she is proud to have more than ten competitors competing in the Asia regional finals, representing eight Asian nations.

“At Gloria Jean’s Coffees we are dedicated to serving our customers the perfect cup of coffee, and our baristas are training every day and refining their skills,” said Phi.

“We are proud to have so many talented baristas competing in the Asia final, and are excited to send one lucky coffee lover to Australia to take on other competition finalists from Europe, Middle East, Africa and the South Pacific.”

As well as the title of Asia Barista Champion, the winner will receive flights and accommodation in Australia to attend the RFG International Barista Championships, where they will compete for the chance to win AUD$3,000 cash and the title of RFG International Barista Champion.

The Global Grand Final extends to all coffee brands in the portfolio of Retail Food Group (ASX:RFG), the franchisor of the Gloria Jean’s Coffees system, including Donut King, Michel’s Patisserie and Cafe2U.

About Gloria Jean’s Coffees: Gloria Jean’s Coffees is Australia’s leading specialty coffee house and community success story. Since 1996, the brand has brought award-winning coffee quality, world-class barista expertise and the choice of single origin, blends and estate whole bean coffees and specialty teas to communities across the globe. Now available in over 40 markets worldwide, Gloria Jean’s Coffees is well-known for coffee excellence and community values.

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Health Malaysia Enhancing Daycare Services In Govt Hospitals

PUTRAJAYA, Aug 5 (Bernama) — Today the Ministry of Health Malaysia launched the Standard Operating Procedure Daycare Surgery and the Polisi Perkhidmatan Rawatan Harian di Hospital-hospital Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia, in conjunction with the 4th National Daycare Conference 2016 at Selayang Hospital. The concept of Daycare Services implies that the patients come into the hospital to undergo diagnostic or therapeutic procedure and go home on the same day.

As people live longer, chronic diseases increases, and the frequency of patients visit to hospital increases. Therefore the ability for the physician to manage clinical conditions play an increasing role in the development of Daycare service. Over the last two Malaysia Plans, the Ministry of Health has built dedicated “Ambulatory Care Centres” (ACC) for this purpose at some of our state and major specialist hospitals. At present the Ministry of Health have 9 such purpose built ACCs consisting of multi-disciplinary units and over 130 public hospitals providing Daycare services.

Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah Director-General of Health Malaysia outlined the objectives of Daycare services as follows:

  • To allow the patient to return home on the day of surgery with minimal disruption to daily life
  • For elderly person, avoiding the disorientation and decreased functionality associated with hospital admission
  • Decrease costs associated with inpatient hospital stay
  • Reduce surgical waiting time for patients
  • Avoiding risk of nosocomial infections
  • To encourage increase utilisation of daycare services for peadiatric group of patients, because it provides minimal separation from parents and minimal exposure to hospital environment
  • To reduce inpatient admission

The benefits from Day Care Surgery was evident in reducing surgical waiting time to 2–10 weeks for selected elective procedures and the reduction of inpatient admission to the surgical based departments by 28.2%. The Daycare service centres in the United States has managed to reduce the cost of Medicare by USD7.5 billion from the year 2008 to 2011. Unsurprising, the Daycare surgery rates in advanced countries are as high as 70-80%. However, at the moment in Malaysia it is only around 5-15%. As we move towards achieving developed country status, the Ministry of Health is serious about promoting Daycare as it has been proven to be cost effective, patient-centred approach and safe.

Daycare services has now come to be an accepted modality of treatment for most surgical patients and it has multiple advantages to patients. However, there are strict criteria for patient selection to ensure patient safety and quality of care is maintained. Among common patient selection criteria for Daycare services are:

  • Patient must be willing to undergo treatment or procedure at Daycare
  • Patient must be able to understand and cooperate with instruction at the Daycare service
  • Patient must reside within one hour away from the Day Care facility, has suitable transportation means and accompanied by a responsible family member or carer.

Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) of Day Care Surgery is the first of its kind in Malaysia. This SOP will be benificial to the surgeons and other medical staffs as a guideline in selecting suitable procedure for Day Care surgery. This will ensure patient safety and the patient can be discharged on the same day safely.

Traditionally the patient that would be suitable to undergo procedure as day case would need to be admitted one day prior to it. In the advancement of technology, availability of expert health professionals and state-of-the-art facilities available in MOH ACC buildings, the patient would have the benefit of coming to the hospital on the same day and discharge home later that day. Therefore the Ministry of Health encourages the implementation of “True Day Care Surgery” as this service reflects the use of the Daycare facilities in full.

Public are encouraged to enquire about the Daycare service to their attending physician or surgeon when they need to undergo such procedures at MOH hospitals. Afterall it is the MOH vision to empower the public with information and knowledge on health to advance the health status of the country.

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Malaysia: World #Quranhour, Platform Of Muslim Solidarity

SHAH ALAM, Malaysia Aug 2 (NNN-Bernama) — For the first time, recitation of the Quran will be done simultaneously for an hour worldwide in an event known as World #QuranHour with the theme of love and gratitude, on September 11 between 9am and 10am.

Karangkraf Media Group chairman, Hussamuddin Yaacub said the programme aims to gain the participation of Muslims worldwide, continuing the success of the #MalaysiaNgaji campaign organised since 2013.

Hussamuddin said World #QuranHour is an initiative to strengthen the faith of the ummah (Muslims) in the teachings of Quran while becoming a platform of solidarity, showing appreciation towards the Quran at a higher level.

“To date, 117 countries and hundreds of associations as well as Muslim non-governmental organisations have participated in this programme, and participation from all 57 member countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is also expected,” he said at a media conference after discussions with media agency representatives on the hosting of World #QuranHour, here today.

Hussamuddin added that media agencies nationwide had also agreed to cooperate efforts in doing coverage and making announcements towards ensuring the success of the programme.

In support, Malaysian National News Agency (Bernama) chairman Azman Ujang said Bernama would assist in promoting World #QuranHour to attract as much participation as possible locally and abroad.

He said Bernama will utilise all of its media platforms such as Bernama Radio, Bernama News Channel, its social media sites and its contacts with other agencies.

Azman also commended the effort taken by Hussamuddin and the unity and close collaboration of media from diverse channels, and expressed his hope that the activity will be carried out in a positive momentum.

Co-host of #MalaysiaNgaji, Marhaini Yusoff, who is also the CEO of Yayasan Warisan Ummah Ikhlas, said the inaugural edition of World #QuranHour will involve several ‘hotspot’ areas for group recitation of the Quran.

Marhaini said, the main location of the programme will be the Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Mosque, International Islamic University Malaysia, and will also be held at certain locations in the states.

“The chosen date, September 11, according to the Islamic calendar falls on Zulhijjah 9, during the Haj pilgrimage season when pilgrims would primarily be at the Arafah Desert in Makkah, and as such Malaysian pilgrims will unite with those from other countries joining in this campaign there,” she explained. — NNN-BERNAMA

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Malaysia Continues To Practice Sustainable Forest Management

PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia Aug 4 (NNN-Bernama) — Malaysia continues to practice sustainable forest management on both its production and protection forests and promotes independent third party certification to ensure sustainability.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Wan Junaidi TuankuJaafar said Malaysia had also identified strategic areas for gazettement aspermanent forests under the Central Forest Spine and the Heart of Borneo Initiatives.

Malaysia also hopes to enhance forest conservation and strengthen connectivity between forest types.

“Retaining land as forests has high opportunity cost, and there is alwayspressure from interested parties to convert forests to other land uses, that can generate long term economic activities.

“For this reason, Malaysia regards the international support for forests as vital and has implemented REDD to gain access to payments for result based actions,” he said in his speech at the 2nd Asia Pacific Forest Summit in Brunei Darussalam. The text is made available to Bernama today.

REDD stands for efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and foster conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries.

Malaysia had submitted its forests reference levels for sustainable management of forests and had completed the technical assessment process.

Wan Junaidi Malaysia had kept its pledge made at Rio Earth Summit in 1992 to keep at least half of its land area under forest and green cover.

The ministry’s data for 2014, shows that Malaysia’s natural forest coverstands at 18.27 million hectares or 55.23 per cent of total land area.

On the readiness to implement REDD , he said Malaysia had implemented its national forest monitoring system and was in the advanced stages of preparing its Safeguards Information System (SIS) dan National REDD Strategy. — NNN-BERNAMA

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Malaysia, Indonesia to boost Trade, Investment Collaboration

JAKARTA, Indonesia Aug 6 (NNN-Bernama) — Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s presence at the just-concluded back-to-back meetings with Indonesian President Joko Widodo, as well as other heads of state here, is timely in view of the excellent progress in bilateral relations and current developments in the region and the global fora.

The discussions between both Najib and Widodo, fondly known as Jokowi, would definitely further strengthen Malaysia’s and Indonesia’s commitments towards a more comprehensive collaborations in trade and investment.

Thus, it is equally important for Malaysia and Indonesia not to let any petty issues raised by certain quarters to sour ties between them but instead further work to strengthen the already-closed bilateral ties.

It is clear that relations between the two nations are unique and vital as the people of both countries are like one big family who share the same history, border, language and culture.

And these similarities should be an important factor to strengthen unity and cooperation between both countries.

Both countries shared the view that bilateral ties should be nurtured, encouraged and made more relevant in tandem with the local and international environment.

To this end, during the 11th Malaysia-Indonesia Annual Consultation, both leaders welcomed the outcome of the 14th Meeting of the Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC), which was held in Kuala Lumpur in October 2015.

The JCBC has been an effective mechanism to review the state of bilateral relations and further explore new potential areas of cooperation for the continued welfare of the people of both countries.

“Both leaders underscored the commitment to further strengthen bilateral relations and cooperation, as well as to intensify efforts in addressing the challenges in the region,” said Najib, who is also Finance Minister, in a joint statement released after the annual consultation.

He said relevant officials had been tasked to further seek ways and means to achieve the bilateral trade target of US$30 billion (US$1 = RM4.06) soon.

Malaysia and Indonesia had set a bilateral target of advancing trade to as much as US$30 billion by 2015, but it could not be reached due the unfavourable economic scenario.

In terms of trade, Indonesia is Malaysia’s seventh largest trading partner and the third largest country among ASEAN members, with total bilateral trade of RM60.16 billion in 2015.

Both leaders have also encouraged the Indonesia-Malaysia Business Council to continue its active contribution in identifying and enhancing investment in new potential sectors.

Meanwhile, recognising the enormous potentials of the global halal trade and industry and opportunities it could bring to the private sectors, Indonesia took note of Malaysia’s proposal on the basis of reciprocity to simplify the halal certification process between the two countries.

On palm oil, the leaders hailed the strengthening of cooperation among palm oil-growing countries.

They encouraged the Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries secretariat here to plan and implement comprehensive programmes to promote the image of palm oil globally.

The two countries also witnessed the signing of a bilateral agreement between Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) and the Financial Services Authority of Indonesia under the ASEAN Banking Integration Framework. (BNM is Malaysia’s central bank)

Through this agreement, Najib hoped the financial services between the two countries would grow in a more efficient and systematic manner.

On investment, Najib thanked the Indonesian government for the opportunities given to Malaysian government-linked companies (GLCs) to participate in the republic’s infrastructure projects.

He said Jokowi was confident in the GLCs’ abilities to shoulder their tasks in terms of building infrastructure projects.

Hence, Najib said, there was a possibility that Malaysian companies could be considered for other projects in Indonesia soon.

He cited the Cikopo-Palimanan Toll Highway by PLUS Expressways International Bhd, which was opened by Jokowi recently, as one of them.

This was further attested to with the signing of a memorandum of understanding by Sime Darby Bhd, I&P Group Sdn Bhd and SP Setia (Indonesia)Sdn Bhd with PT Hanson International Tbk to jointly develop an affordable housing project, comprising 40,000 units, with a gross development value of RM3.5 billion.

“These are among the examples of Malaysia’s contributions to the infrastructure development of Indonesia which is the main agenda under Jokowi’s leadership and it was given to us based on good relations between the two countries”, said Najib.

Najib said besides issues on economic cooperation, other matters being discussed in the consultation included Indonesian workers, maritime, trans-boundary haze pollution.

Another was to settle the issue of Sulawesi Sea waters completely as it had been deferred for too long, he said.

Both leaders also took this valuable meeting opportunity to exchange views on regional and global issues, paying particular attention to the ASEAN Community 2015 and the work towards ASEAN Vision 2025.

They exchanged views on, among others, the increasing of security challenges and threats in the region, South China Sea, radicalisation and other global issues.

The prime minister was in Jakarta to attend the 11th Malaysia-Indonesia Annual Consultation in Aug 1, followed by the three-day 12th World Islamic Economic Forum from 2-4 Aug, 2016.

Meanwhile, the next 12th Annual Consultation will be held in Malaysia next year, at at date to be mutually-agreed upon and communicated through diplomatic channels.–NNN-BERNAMA

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Malaysian Johor Halal Park signs 3 MoUs

05 Aug 2016, Johor Bahru, (IINA) – Malaysian-based Johor Halal Park (JHP) has recently signed three memoranda of understanding (MoU) that are expected to propel its growth towards becoming one of the best halal industrial parks in the world, Bernama reported Thursday.

UMLand J-Biotech Park (UJP), a joint-venture company between United Malayan Land Bhd (UMLand) and Johor Biotechnology & Biodiversity Corporation (J-Biotech), have signed the MoUs during the World Islamic Economic Forum 2016 which was held in Jakarta.

The entities were Johor Toyyiban Laboratories (JTLab), Johor Islamic Religious Council (MAIJ) and SME Corporation Malaysia (SME Corp), said UMLand in a statement.

UJP was set up to lead the development of JHP, which is envisioned to become the first premium bio-halal industrial park in Malaysia that has world-class facilities and halal eco-system.

Under the agreement, JTLab will formalize the establishment of an international scientific and halal laboratory in two stages by 2017 and 2018 with international standards of incubator facilities within JHP.

“The agreement is a commitment by JTLab to provide comprehensive scientific services for regional and international markets in Johor valued at about RM20 million ($4.95 million)”, said UMLand.

Components in JHP will include a regional marketing and clearing house, an integrated packaging, warehousing and logistic one-stop center, as well as a scientific and halal laboratory.

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Iran, Malaysia to expand cooperation in archive, document management

Kuala Lumpur, Aug 5, IRNA – Iran’s Cultural Attaché in Malaysia Ali Akbar Ziyaei met on Friday with the Head of Malaysian National Archive Center Azemi Bin Abdul Aziz to broaden cooperation in management of archives and documents.

In the meeting, both sides underlined the significant status of archives and documents in the world and studied grounds to broaden cooperation in the sector.

Since the two countries are members of the International Archive Organization, they had established cooperation but due to some various reasons, they ignored to do so, Ziyaei said.

They also voiced readiness to broaden close cooperation in the field more than before.

Malaysian National Archive with ordinary and digital archives is regarded as one of the most important centers in the country.

The center was established in 1957 and in 1963 changed its title and now is operating with some 500 staff under direct supervision of Malaysian Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

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Registration for Omani Aquaculture Projects to Start

Muscat, Aug 4 (ONA) — Registration of applications for both land and sea commercial aquaculture projects will start next Sunday for Omani institutions and companies wishing to establish commercial aquaculture projects.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries allocated several aquaculture locations belonging to the ministry to commercial projects in the Governorates of Muscat, South A’Sharqiyah and Al Wusta. The registration period extends for one month between 7th August and 8th September.

Among the list of the ministry’s locations allocated for aquaculture projects that could be applied for are: Land Fish Farming, including Ras Madarka, Al Sa’adanat, Hitam Al Barr in the Wilayat of A’Duqm in Governorate of Al Wusta; Al Ruwais, Al Suweih, Sarj 2 in the Wilayat of Ja’alan Bani Bu Ali in Governorate of South A’Sharqiyah; and Al Jiri location in Governorate of Muscat. The sea locations include Dhabab in the Wilayat of Quriyat in Governorate of Muscat. The area of the locations ranges from four and a half hectares sites to 452 hectares and a half.

Fish farming, as well as natural fisheries contribute to the provision of fish in the Sultanate and various countries around the world, in addition to the local market.

Fish farming sector is one of the major productive sectors in the world; which contributes 50% of fish production in the world. It is hoped that this percentage will increase to up to 60% of fish production.

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Oman History and Civilization Exhibition Opens in Salalah

Salalah, Aug 4 (ONA) —The National Records and Archives Authority (NRAA) opened at the Municipality Recreation Centre in Salalah today “Oman: History and Civilization” exhibition under the patronage of Sheikh Salim bin Oufait al-Shanfri, Head of Dhofar Municipality in the presence of Dr. Hamad bin Mohammed al-Dhoyani, Chairman of NRAA.

The exhibition comes as part of activities of Salalah Tourism Festival 2016.

The exhibition includes more than 240 documents and manuscripts along with many rare stamps held by the NRAA. The exhibition will run until 9th August.

The exhibition reflects the NRAA keenness to provide an opportunity for various visitors coming from inside and outside the Sultanate to familiarize with the history of the Sultanate in various eras.

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Dubai airport passenger traffic hits record 40.5 million in H1

Dubai, UAE – August 7, 2016 – Dubai International’s (DXB) passenger traffic reached a record 40.5 million passengers in the first half of 2016 according to the traffic report issued today by operator Dubai Airports.

According to the report, DXB handled a total of 40,506,456 passengers during the first half, up 5.8 per cent compared to the corresponding period in 2015 when the airport welcomed 38,299,288 passengers. Owing to the impact of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan on travel patterns during an already traditionally slow month, traffic in June dipped 1 per cent to 5,857,503, compared to 5,914,671 recorded during June 2015.

In the first half of the year, the top five country destinations in terms of total passenger volumes were India (5,677,188), Saudi Arabia (3,213,868), the UK (2,850,437), Pakistan (2,134,012) and the US (1,626,032). Aircraft movements in the first half totalled 207,439, up 3.8 per cent compared to 199,820 recorded during the corresponding period last year. In June aircraft movements totalled 32,368, up 0.6 percent compared to 32,166 during June of last year.

During the first half of 2016, air cargo volumes rose 3.8 per cent to 1,282,025 tonnes compared to 1,233,378 tonnes during the same period in 2015. Dubai International handled 226,175 tonnes of freight in June compared to 217,896 tonnes during the same month last year, an increase of 3.9 per cent.

“We’ve had a record first half and the second half is underway with what could be a banner month thanks to the start of the holiday season in July and the week-long break for the Islamic festival of Eid Al Fitr,” said Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports.

“In July we have seen very high volumes, particularly in connecting traffic as vacationers increasingly choose Dubai as an intercontinental hub as well as being a popular destination in itself. We deployed additional staff at touchpoints across the airport and launched the Hangout@DXB campaign to reach out to travellers, keeping them informed of the latest DXB, and travel tips to make their journey easier,” he added.

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LEAD STORY: China launches first organised tours to Kazakhstan

URUMQI, Aug. 6 (Xinhua)– The first Chinese tour group to go on an organized trip of Kazakhstan left on Saturday for the central Asian neighbor.

The 55 tourists, organized by China National Travel Service (HK) Group, flew to Astana, capital of Kazakhstan, from the international airport in Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, at 1:36 p.m. Saturday.

They are among nearly 300 tourists to visit the region, a trip organized by six travel agencies. The other groups will start their trips over the following three days.

The tour follows a memorandum on Chinese-Kazakhstan tourism cooperation, signed between the two countries in December.

“My parents studied in Almaty, so my sisters and I have always wanted to go there,” said Tong Nina, 70, from Urumqi, who went on the tour with her sisters.

Shi Dagang, vice chairman of Xinjiang regional government, said the tour was an important stage in the China-Kazakhstan tourism development story and the construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt.

A senior tourism official with Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Investment and Development came to Xinjiang to welcome the first tour group.

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New Forum for Aftercare of Racehorses unveiled

DUBAI, 1st August, 2016 (WAM) – A new international forum that will bring together the official and national operations based around the world that facilitate and promote the retraining of racehorses has been formally unveiled at the ‘Lifetime Care for Thoroughbreds: Godolphin Forum’ in Newmarket, United Kingdom.

The International Forum for the Aftercare of Racehorses (IFAR) will include representatives from Australia, France, Great Britain, Ireland, Japan and the United States.

Di Arbuthnot, Chief Executive of the leading equine charity, Retraining of Racehorses (RoR), introduced the concept for IFAR on the final day of a three-day conference, organised and hosted by Godolphin.

In recent years a number of initiatives in various international regions have been successful in promoting the versatility of racehorses and their ability to adapt to alternative careers after racing. The establishment of an international forum will enable these experiences to be shared, for best practices to be adopted and for advice to be given to all racing jurisdictions regarding caring for and the retraining of former racehorses.

IFAR will work alongside the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) and act as an assembly for discussion, recognising geographical and industry differences, to help take racing aftercare to a new level all around the world.

Paul Roy, Chairman of Retraining of Racehorses, said: “RoR has developed into a vehicle for the practical retraining of horses for different disciplines and works to pursue this proactive approach with benefit of consulting like-minded international bodies while recognising cultural differences across the globe. IFAR is a natural next step in our journey.”

Diana Cooper, Strategic Advisor, Charities at Godolphin, said: “As one of the largest racing stables and breeding operations in the world, Godolphin works tirelessly to take the lead in both the lifetime care of horses and in the professional development of people working in our industry. The passion for the sport extends beyond the racetrack as Godolphin aims to have a positive long-lasting impact on the industry and racing communities worldwide.”

“Godolphin organised the ‘Lifetime Care for Thoroughbreds Forum’ in Newmarket to build on the progress made in Kentucky last year, when we first brought key advocates together to discuss these important issues. We are still very much at the start of a journey but we are greatly encouraged by what has been achieved in the last few days and that it has culminated in Retraining of Racehorses unveiling IFAR. We want to continue on this journey and we look forward to supporting IFAR when it hosts its first international conference in October 2017.”

Jamie Stier, Chairman of IFHA’s Horse Welfare Committee, welcomed the launch of IFAR: “Encouragingly, there is now a better understanding and greater recognition that our shared responsibility for the welfare of racehorses extends beyond their career on the racetrack. With awareness of the versatility of former racehorses increasing and more success stories being promoted, the time is right to pool learnings from around the world so that best practice and standards can be applied internationally.”

From the United States, Jim Gagliano, President of The Jockey Club and Vice Chairman of IFHA, said: “Through initiatives such as the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance and the Thoroughbred Incentive Program, The Jockey Club is playing an active role in promoting the retraining of racehorses in North America and we are delighted to be one of the founding members of IFAR.”

“Promoting equine welfare both during and after a horse’s racing career is vital in ensuring the public’s confidence in the sport is maintained and is integral to the future health of horseracing. I would also like to thank Godolphin for hosting this forum and for bringing together like-minded parties from around the world.”

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Turkistan’s historical and cultural center keeps unique exhibits

Astana, Khabar News Agency, 04.08.2016 Throne of the Kazakh people rulers dating back 17-18 centuries is one of the most unique and valuable exhibits in the historical and cultural center of Turkestan. It was reconstructed from written sources, based on the documents and the results of archaeological and scientific research. Nearly half a million tourists come to see it and other artifacts every year.

Raihan Kurmanbaeva, visitor of museum, said: Everything is so magnificent: “Khan’s throne, the things that were used in ancient times by our ancestors, and the yurt in which they lived. And if before our children learned about all of this only from books now they can see all that with their own eyes, it brings them up, expands their knowledge and horizons.”

Saken Nurymbetov, Guide-Interpreter, said: “The Americans, the French, British, Australians and even Turkish tourists come to visit. We have a yurt on the ground floor, the tour is very interesting. When they come here, they become surprised when they enter inside and see all the housewares and decoration, they ask a lot of questions: what is this? What does this mean? There are many unique artifacts found during excavations in the ancient city of Turkestan, Sauran and on the banks of the Syr Darya.

“For example, these copper coins were in circulation in the 14th, 17th and 18th centuries. People used arrowheads and bronze knives in the 18-12 centuries BC. This golden coronet that was embellishing the heads of beautiful women is more than fifteen hundred years old, the guides say.”

There are about six thousand artifacts in the center’s fund. According to museum curators, many of the items were given by patrons; others are copies of the relics made by local craftsmen. They are made by hand from natural materials.

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Thailand to take part in EXPO-2017

Astana, Khabar News Agency, 05.08.2016 – Thailand will take part in EXPO-2017 in Astana. The Kingdom has already reserved the individual pavilion area of ​​734 square meters. This was announced during the meeting of the chairman of the National Company “Astana EXPO-2017″ Akhmetzhan Yessimov and Minister of Tourism and Sports of Thailand Kobkarn Vattanavrangkul.

The interlocutors discussed the thematic concept and the exposure draft of Thai Pavilion. However, the Kingdom’s participation is not limited only to the exhibition. Thailand is ready to share with Kazakhstan its knowledge and experience in the hospitality industry, organizing events and leisure activities for tourists from around the world.

Mrs Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, Thai Minister of Tourism and Sports: I think we have certain expertise that we use for certain nationalities. Because each nationality demands certain things, characters change from nation to nation. So, I think we can share and recommend how to take care of Chinese tourists, Thai tourists, Asian and European tourists. It is something that we can exchange. Today, Kazakhstan and Thailand are expanding cooperation in different industries and areas, including developing tourism potential.

According to the Thai Minister, Kazakh tourists are always welcome in the kingdom. More than 55,000 Kazakhstan citizens visited Thailand last year. It is worth noting, tourism industry is not the only point of contact between the two countries. States are planning to exchange experience in sports.

Mrs Kobkarn added: We are looking forward for further collaboration, if Kazakhstan is looking for sport training camp, we can have some facilities, great weather and good food in order to take care of some of the sport training. We have already established ski association, we are thinking about our athletes to participate in future Winter Olympics, and we seek for the place to practise as well, and I think Kazakhstan has great facilities.

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New park marks 25th anniversary of Kazakhstan’s independence

Astana, Khabar News Agency, 05.08.2016 – Residents of Aksuat village of East Kazakhstan region will be able to visit new recreation park with the space of 7,000 square meters, which is dedicated for the 25th anniversary of independence of Kazakhstan. Special attraction of the Park is the ‘dancing’ fountain, which works to classical, pop and traditional music. Spectacular space is considered by locals as a place of unity and harmony. It’s planned to establish the yurt in the territory of the park, where the national drink will be sold.

Kandanisha Murzatayeva, Resident of Aksuat, said: I am a teacher with 45 years of experience. I’ve never seen such a beautiful look to our Aksuat. It’s incredible now and, it’s impossible to express by words, it’s seems like a fairy tale. This is fruit of our independence!

Dildabek Orazbayev, Governor of Tarbagatay District, said: According to design and estimating documents it takes about 25 million tenge for the construction of such a park. We built it using 8 million tenge, because we bought only building materials. And, all the work was done by themselves together with the whole village. Now we are planning to build another park.

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Turkey confirms participation in EXPO-2017 in Astana

Astana, Khabar News Agency, 05.08.2016 – Turkey has officially confirmed its participation in the international exhibition EXPO-2017 in Astana. The agreement was signed in Ankara during the official visit of the Kazakh President to Turkey. Turkish Pavilion will be one of the largest at the exhibition; it will feature the best achievements in the field of renewable energy. Turkey was hosting Expo this year, so its experience in carrying out similar activities is particularly interesting for Kazakhstan.

Tarik Sonmez, Assistant Secretary Of Ministry Of Economy, said: We have officially confirmed the country’s participation in Expo 2017 and signed a contract. We know about Kazakhstan’s great investment opportunities. I am sure that participation in the event will contribute to further strengthening of business ties between the two countries. 96 countries have officially confirmed their participation in Expo 2017, 62 States signed the agreement on participation.

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Passenger traffic up 11.55 % at Sharjah Airport in H1

Sharjah, 31/07/2016 – Passenger traffic up by 11.55% at Sharjah International Airport in H1 SHARJAH, 31st July, 2016 (WAM) – The Sharjah International Airport reported an 11.55 percent increase in passenger traffic in the first half of 2016, compared to the same half of 2015.

The Sharjah Airport Authority said the airport welcomed more than 5.35 million passengers from January to June, compared to 4.79 million passengers for the same period last year.

There were more than 36,000 aircraft movements registered in the first half of this year, reflecting an increase of 5.74 percent, compared to 34,000 in the same period last year. The freight handled in the same period of this year was recorded as being more than 92,000 tons, and the Sea-Air cargo was recorded as being more than 6,000 tons.

Commenting on the traffic report, Ali Salim Al Midfa, Chairman of the Sharjah Airport Authority, stated: “The positive performance in passenger traffic in this period was due to the opening of new airlines and flights to new destinations. It also reflects the attractiveness of the emirate as a business and tourism destination with more passengers choosing Sharjah International Airport as their gateway to the rest of the region and other destinations.”

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WETEX 2016 urges companies to set up in ‘Dubai Green Zone’

DUBAI, 5th August 2016 (WAM) — The 18th Water, Energy, Technology, and Environment Exhibition (WETEX 2016), organised will showcase the ‘Dubai Green Zone’ project to encourage established and start-up companies, to set up their presence in the emirate and provide them with an ideal business environment to develop and market their green, sustainable technologies.

WETEX 2016 is organised in line with directives from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Minister of Finance, and President of Dubai Water and Electricity Authority (DEWA). The event will be held from 4-6 October 2016 at Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre and will coincide with the first Dubai Solar Show 2016 under the umbrella of the third Green Week.

This will be assured by providing a comprehensive solution spanning state-of-the-art infrastructure through a ‘Dubai Green Zone’ as Dubai aims to become the city with the least carbon footprint in the world by 2050.

Dubai Green Zone comes under the infrastructure pillar of the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 launched by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid that aims to transform Dubai into an international hub for clean renewable energy and green economy. WETEX will play an instrumental role in familiarising global organisations and international research bodies with the concept of the Green Zone to discuss setting up regional headquarters within the zone.

“Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 launched by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has set an ambitious target of generating 5,000 MW of solar power through the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park by 2030, which will represent 25 per cent of Dubai’s total energy production. Upon completion, the Solar Park will contribute to reducing more than 6.5 million tonnes of carbon emissions yearly,” said HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, DEWA’s MD and CEO and Founder and Chairman of WETEX.

“The infrastructure pillar of Dubai Clean Energy includes the establishment of Dubai Green Zone, a free zone dedicated to attracting R&D centres and emerging companies in the field of clean energy. The strategy’s third pillar is also related to finding funding solutions for investment in R&D in clean energy applications. Under this pillar is also the establishment of the Dubai Green Zone. The Fund worth AED 100 billion, will provide easy loans for investors in the clean energy sector in the emirate,” Al Tayer added.

“Dubai Green Zone will meet those expectations as it will bring together manufacturers, solutions and technology providers, to set up a 360 degree cycle to activate a sustainable development process. During WETEX, we will showcase the complete concept of the Green Zone,” Al Tayer concluded.

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90th anniversary of First Turkology Congress in Baku

Baku, August 2, AZERTAC – Baku will host an international conference in October, marking the 90th anniversary of the First Turkology Congress.

Titled “Shared values and new challenges in cultural and scientific Turkology movement”, the conference will be co-organized by Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences Presidium, institutes of Linguistics, Literature and Oriental Studies, and the Ministry of Education.

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“The Incomplete Manuscript” by Kamal Abdulla to be published in Japan

Baku, August 5, AZERTAC – “The incomplete Manuscript” novel by celebrated Azerbaijani writer Kamal Abdulla will be published in Japan as he received a proposal from well-known Suisei-sha publishing house.

Professor Ichiro Ito translated the novel from Russian into Japanese.

This is Abdullas second novel to be published by Suisei-sha, which previously published his "The Wizards Valley”.

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Passenger traffic of Heydar Aliyev Int’l Airport up 27%

Baku, August 5, AZERTAC – Heydar Aliyev International Airport serviced 391,000 passengers in July this year, which is 27 percent higher than the same period of last year.

According to the press service of the Azerbaijan Airlines CJSC, over seven months of 2016 the Baku Airport provided services to 1.69 million passengers in total.

During the same period, the cargo terminal of airport transported 8.9 million tons of cargo, 88 percent of which falls on the cargo and 12 percent on postage sending.

Airport’s passenger traffic increased mainly due to the international air traffic. Heydar Aliyev International Airport transported 302,000 passengers through domestic flights (an increase of 8 percent compared to 2015), of which 292,000 accounts for the Baku-Nakhchivan route.

Istanbul, Moscow, Dubai and Kiev have become the most popular international destinations from Baku. Azerbaijani, Turkish, Russian, Ukrainian and UAE airlines transported about 800,000 passengers in these directions this year. The passenger traffic to the popular Turkish resorts Antalya, Bodrum, Izmir and Dalaman amounted to 56,500 passengers this year.

The new airport terminal of Heydar Aliyev Airport (Terminal 1) was put into operation in April 2014. Its total area is 65,000 square meters.

Heydar Aliyev International Airport was awarded the category of “4 stars” by the Skytrax, which is an influential British consulting company specializing in the study of the quality of services provided by various airlines and airports worldwide. Heydar Aliyev International Airport has been designed for servicing 9 million passengers per year.

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Azerbaijan leader launch road and transport projects

Baku, August 4, AZƏRTAC – President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has laid a foundation stone for a new road and transport infrastructure in former “Sovetski” area in Yasamal district, Baku.

The head of state was informed of reconstruction and landscaping work carried out in the area by Azeravtoyol.

The first phase of the work to be carried out here will see the construction of roads in a 3-hectare area and landscaping in a 23-hectare area.

Chairman of Azeravtoyol Saleh Mammadov told the head of state that the owners of 3,827 residential and non-residential areas were provided with compensations.

The reconstruction work here will be carried out in five streets measuring more than more than 6,000 km in length.

Modern lighting system will be installed and bus stations will be built along the roads.

President Ilham Aliyev gave relevant instructions and recommendations.

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Pakistan urged to boost SMEs for achieving economic revitalization

ISLAMABAD, Aug 5 (APP): Rehabilitation of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) was key tool for achieving economic revitalization in the affected the most by militancy crisis in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK).

“We are witnessing a transformation of economy from low to middle income groups. As more jobs are being created and educational skills are being strengthened, we also see a stronger engagement and empowerment of the local communities, who are now making decisions that will promote peace, stability and economic growth in their areas.

This is indeed remarkable progress”, said Jakob Jakobsen, Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of Denmark to Pakistan, during a visit to the Islampur Handlooms Weaving Cluster in Swat district on Friday.

According to a statement issued here Mr. Jakobsen was accompanied by Patchamuthu Illangovan, Country Director World Bank Pakistan as part of a three day visit to Swat to meet local beneficiaries of the Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF), which is being supported by the Government of Denmark and administered by the World Bank.

Islampur was one of the worst hit areas by insurgency and most of the inhabitants left the area during the military operation in 2008-09.

During the period, all handlooms were shut down and the stored raw material was damaged.

Upon normalization of the situation, more than 400 SMEs of the Islampur cluster applied for rehabilitation grants under the Economic Revitalization of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa & FATA (ERKF) Project being implemented by MDTF.

The Project has so far provided matching grants up to Rs 9.885 million resulting in rehabilitation of around 152 handlooms leading to growth in business and jobs opportunities now and more for the future.

The delegation also visited the Al-Falah Public High School, which was one of the many educational institutes, which was blown up by militants and had to close down.

Once it did reopen, the school was, like many other schools, fully or partially damaged and lacked basic infrastructure and facilities.

With the support of the MDTF, the school is now fully operational with more than 650 students enrolled and 33 teachers.

Commenting on support to education, Mr. Jakobsen said that the damage that has been done to educational infrastructure has also led to a low level of education attainment and increasing gender disparities.

He highlighted that if all children were given access to education, global poverty would drop by 12%.

In response to the 2009 militant conflict that displaced an estimated 2 million people, the Government of Denmark has since 2010 contributed a total of US$ 12.1 million to MDTF to support the rehabilitation efforts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Balochistan.

Through eleven projects, the MDTF is supporting local services, growth and job creation and working on policy reform and governance including other interventions needed to build state-citizen trust and create conditions for sustainable development in the conflict affected areas.

Patchamuthu Illangovan, Country Director World Bank Pakistan said that “The Multi Donor Trust Fund for KP, FATA and Balochistan has reached an estimated 5.7 million people by improving services, supporting livelihoods and empowering communities. This has been possible through concrete partnerships, including with the Danish government.

“As we witness the impact of our work in Swat, we commit to sustained results in the coming years”.

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Construction of Afghanistan’s Bamyan Eastern Gate Completed

August 3, 2016, Bamyan City (BNA) At a cost of AFG 4, 250,000 the construction work of Bamyan eastern gate was inaugurated and implemented.

Mohammad Taher Zaheer governor of Bamyan during the inauguration ceremony of the gate said BNA, the gate was constructed by municipality of Bamyan in honor of that the province selected as SAARC first capital cultural.

Zaheer added, traditional architecture use in the construction of the gate, which represents architecture industry of the province and asked people to protect and keep the gate.

Governor of Bamyan mentioned that trying to implement other cultural plans in different parts of the province in future.

Zaheer also remind the construction work on Bamyan western gate told the gate will be inaugurated in near future.

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20 Development Projects Inaugurated In Panjshir

August 03, 2016, Kabul (BNA) The National Solidarity Program NSP has completed and inaugurated 20 projects in Panjshir province yesterday.

Public Communications Department press office of National Solidarity Program Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development reported BNA, the projects included irrigation canals with the length of 466m, two community centers, protection wall with the length of 405m, a footbridge base, small hydro-electric dams with the total capacity of 22 kw electric, drinking water reservoir, extending of 5 piped water supply network with capacity of 13827 cubic meters of water and gravelling roads with the length of 332m which more than 3 thousand families benefits from ease of the projects.

National Solidarity Program of Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (NSP/MRRD) have covered 335 villages of Panjshir province, so far succeeded to inaugurate and complete 110 welfare projects in the province.

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Prof. Amarkhil’s Cultural Works Appreciated

August 03, 2016, Kabul (BNA) During a ceremony held at the international conference hall of the ministry of information and culture, the cultural works of the country’s well-known and great personality of Prof. Najibullah Amarkhil was appreciated, Bakthar News Agency reported on Tuesday.

At the meeting attended by Zardasht Shams, the Deputy Finance and Administrative Minister of Information and Culture, some higher education ministry’s authorities, a number of university teachers, scientific and cultural figures, Gulbat Khan Momand, founder of Wazir Mohammad Gul Khan Momand Cultural Society spoke about the political, social, cultural and civil activities of the Najibullah Amarkhil and reminded some of his scientific and literature works.

Prof. Shirin Aqa Zarif, Dean of the Kabul Medical University, Dr. Wahidullah Momand and some other university lecturers spoke about the great personality of Prof. Amarkhil and called him the leading teacher of surgical universities of Kabul, surgical faculties of Kandahar, Herat, Balkh, Paktia, Paktika, Khost and member of medical sciences department of Afghanistan academy of sciences, said the agency.

Meanwhile, Deputy Minister of Information and Culture on Finance and Administrative Affairs, Zardasht Shams spoke about the cultural personality of Prof. Amarkhil and called him a sympathetic person to serve his people, particularly those needy ones.

At the end, the cultural foundation of Wazir Mohammad Gul Khan awarded Prof. Amarkhil with appreciation letter, according to the agency.

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Afghanistan Receives WTO Membership

August 03, 2016, Kabul (BNA) The officials of the government said Afghanistan has received the membership of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Mosafer Qoqandi, spokesperson of the ministry for commerce said, ‘accession to WTO can cause Afghanistan to use all advantages as like as other 163 member countries.’

It is to be that Afghanistan should also implement the WTO regulations.

One of the regulations is that Afghanistan should open its markets to exporting commodities of other 163 member countries—a move that is not in the benefit of the country, according to economic experts. The organization is making effort to pave the way for free business, the experts added.

In fact, Afghanistan is an importing country, through which it provides 90 percent of its needs.

Afghanistan doesn’t have extensive exports to be able to benefit the organization’s advantages; therefore, the contract won’t be beneficial to the country.

Najibullah Mahmoud, a Kabul University lecturer said, ‘currently, Afghanistan needs the international community support to improve its business sector.’

Welcoming Afghanistan’s membership to the WTO, Mahmoud said, hereafter, the Afghan investors can invest any country they want.

An Afghan trader, Taj Mohammad believes that if the government of Afghanistan paves the way for better exports and imports, there is no doubt the country can export better products to the world markets.

But unfortunately, some exporting goods such as Afghanistan’s carpets are being supplied to the world markets by the name of Pakistan, an action that harms the country’s economy, Taj Mohammad further said. He asked the government to solve the Afghan traders’ problems, so they can easily invest inside and outside the country. Meanwhile, the U.S. ambassador to Kabul welcomed Afghanistan’s membership to the WTO, adding this is good news and Washington is looking forward to further cooperate with Afghanistan through the organization.

It is worth mentioning that in a declaration released by the U.S. embassy called the move a great historical achievement after more than a decade of cooperation between the U.S. and Afghanistan.

Afghanistan is 164th in the world and 36th among the less-developed countries that have received WTO membership.

The World Trade Organization has been established in 1995 and its main headquarter is located in Genève, Swiss.

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Algerian films screened at International festival in Lausanne

04 August 2016, LAUSANNE (SWITZERLAND) (Algeria Press Service) – Three Algerian films will be screened during the 11 International African Film Festival “Cinémas d’Afrique,” planned from 18 to 21 August in Lausanne (Switzerland).

The Sahrawi cinema is the honorary guest of the Festival, said Swiss media.

The schedule of the festival includes screening of Merzak Allouache’s film “Madame courage” and documentary films “Babor Casanova” of Karim Sayad and “Contre-pouvoirs (counter powers)”of Malek Bensmail.

The International African Film Festival “cinémas d’Afrique” pays tribute to the Sahrawi cinema with the projection of four Sahrawi documentary films namely Life is Waiting, Kiosk, Retrato and Leyuad.

A round table on “audiovisual training in Africa” will be hosted by several Sahrawi directors.

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Algeria cites ways to boost cooperation at World Islamic Economic Forum

02 August 2016, ALGIERS (Algeria Press Service) – Minister of Industry and Mining Abdesselam Bouchouareb called, Tuesday in Jakarta, for the strengthening of economic cooperation between Islamic countries, in order to enhance it up to the level of a “genuine strategic partnership,” said the Ministry in a communiqué.

In his address at the opening session of the World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF), which will run until Thursday in Indonesia’s Jakarta, Bouchouareb underlined the need to mobilize “all energies to bring about a qualitative and quantitative leap in the economic cooperation between Islamic countries, with a view to enhancing it to the level of a genuine strategic partnership (…) likely to help Islamic countries to overcome the current (economic) crisis.”

In this regard, he cited the agreements signed recently in Algiers between Algerian and Indonesian groups for the exploitation of phosphate.

Bouchouareb said that “the shared willingness, the appropriate framework and trust will allow us to move very swiftly towards major mutually beneficial partnerships.”

The minister also underlined the recent changes that occurred in Algeria, especially the revision of the Constitution and its new provisions related to the economic field as well as the new economic growth model and the new laws on the promotion of investments and standardization.

Bouchouareb invited the international firms present at the WIEF to get interested in the destination Algeria and its opportunities.

On the sidelines of the three-day Forum, the minister has had an intense official activity.

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Tamazight language receives State support

31 July 2016, ALGIERS, (Algeria Press Service) – Minister of Communication Hamid Grine said Sunday that Tamazight language receives the State’s logistic support as it is a national and official language.

“Since it is a national and official language, Tamazight enjoys a full State support and logistics,” the minister said in an opening address at a workshop on translation of the basic statutes of the State into Tamazight language, organized by the High Council of Amazighity (HCA).

The minister said “Tamazight language has the lion’s share in the communication sector, as 25 to 30% of national and local radio stations have Tamazight departments with time slots for news in this language.”

In May 2015, Agence Presse Service (APS) launched a website in Tamazight language, Grine noted.

Regarding translation, the minister called for a “progressive method with more lucidity,” in order to “preserve the spirit and the letter of the source document.”

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Central Sulawesi holds international paragliding championship

3 Agustus 2016, Palu (ANTARA News) – Central Sulawesi is set to host an international and national paragliding championship in the Matantimali Mountains in Sigi District, Central Sulawesi Province, on August 13-20, 2016.

“Domestic and foreign athletes will participate in the event,” the Indonesian Aero Sport Federation secretary of Central Sulawesi Asgaf stated here on Wednesday.

The paragliding event will take place in the Matantimali Mountains at an altitude of some 800 to one thousand meters above sea level, and the take-off location is 1.2 thousand square meters wide.

The committee has prepared the location and also made arrangements for providing accommodation and transportation.

“The preparations are 90 percent complete,” Asgaf remarked.

Asgaf stated that the police had expressed readiness to support and secure the landing sites.

“There are seven landing sites spread across several districts in the region,” Asgaf pointed out.

The location meets the required international standards.

“Some foreign athletes say this location is perfect for holding the international paragliding championship,” Asgaf pointed out.

From the city of Palu, paragliding locations can be reached by motorcycles and cars.

“From that site, we can enjoy the wonderful views of Palu and villages in Sigi District. The event is expected to attract domestic and foreign tourists,” Asgaf noted.

Earlier, on March 9, 2016, several tourists and western scientists had thronged Sigi District to watch the rare and beautiful phenomenon of the total solar eclipse (TSE).

The province received some three thousand tourists, most of them arriving in Sigi to observe the TSE as the district was considered one of the best spots to witness the event.

Sigi has four observation points, respectively, located in the villages of Ngatabaru, Kotapulu, Pakuli, and Wayu Matantimali.

During the TSE that occurred on the morning of March 9, thousands of local villagers, domestic and foreign tourists, including those from Iran, Vice President M. Jusuf Kalla, and western scientists, as well as Dutch physicist and astronaut Andre Kuipers gathered in a football field in Kotapulu, Sigi, to witness the extraordinary phenomenon.

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Muslim World League seminar held in Jakarta

4 Agustus 2016, Jakarta (ANTARA News) – Vice President Jusuf Kalla inaugurated an international seminar of the Muslim World League (WML), or “Rabithah Al Alam Al Islami,” at the Buya Hamka Hall of Al Azhar Mosque here on Thursday.

The seminar, themed the role of mosques in preventing heresies, was highlighted by a dialog and discussion led by several key persons, including MWL Secretary General Prof. Abdullah A At Turki, Indonesias third President B.J. Habibie, deputy chairman of the Peoples Consultative Assembly Hidayat Nurwahid, and great imam of Istiqlal Mosque KH Nasaruddin Umar.

MWL is the world’s largest non-governmental organization established on May 18, 1962, and is headquartered in Mecca.

It is officially present in Indonesia based on a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Religious Affairs. The MoU acts as an umbrella for all MWL activities in Indonesia, and the MWL representative in Indonesia is led by Fahd M.S. Al Harbi.

MWLs activities in Indonesia include developing mosques and sanitary facilities as well as offering charity to the poor.

One of MWLs latest activities in Indonesia was holding an international seminar on “Moderating Islam, Terrorism and Sectarianism” in Lombok, on July 25-29, 2016, in cooperation with the provincial government of West Nusa Tenggara and the Indonesia Council of Ulemas and was officially opened by President Joko Widodo.(*)

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Indonesia seeks more integrated national connectivity

4 Agustus 2016, Jakarta (ANTARA News) – Minister for State-Owned Enterprises Rini Soemarno is making sure that the government continues to boost their effort of resolving national connectivity issues by increasing the quality of the transportation system, ensuring its ability to support economic growth.

“Integrated connectivity is guaranteeing an accelerated mobility for goods and people so that high additional costs can be avoided,” said the Minister after a meeting with Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi at the Transportation Ministry offices in Jakarta, Thursday.

Rini said high transportation expenditure could lead to inflation that is caused by the rise of both goods and services costs.

For that reason, Rini added, it is imperative that the government find a solution for the countrys infrastructure from airports and harbors to land infrastructure.

There are a number of state-owned corporations in the transportation, harbor and logistic sectors, such as the Indonesian Harbor number 1 to 5, the Garuda Indonesia airline as the national carrier, Indonesian Railway, DAMRI bus, Djakar Lloyd and Pelni ships.

In this particular meeting with the Transportation Minister, the agenda was to discuss the progress of the Jakarta-Bandung streamliner.

“The progress of this Railway project is rather fast, it is just awaiting development clearance, which includes a number of requirements that need to be fulfilled and a number of notes regarding the land, but otherwise development can be executed entirely,” she revealed.

On the same occasion, Transportation Minister Budi, said the meeting with Rini will be part of a routine agenda to settle land, sea and air infrastructure issues.

“We discussed issues regarding airports, harbors and railways as the President has mandated us to wholly take care of infrastructure development,” he stated.

The Transportation Ministry is currently making note of their infrastructure inventory and determining the funding, whether they will be supported by the state budget, state or private-owned enterprises, or foreign corporations.

“The point is to open the opportunity for private partnerships in advancing national infrastructure,” he concluded.(*)

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Exhibition “Beautiful Pakistan” showcased at RAC

RAWALPINDI, Aug 4 (APP):- Rawalpindi Arts Council (RAC) in collaboration with Government Shuja Khanzada Degree College Hazro arranged a photographic exhibition based on Pakistan Movement at Hazro here on Thursday in connection with Independence Day Celebrations.

District Coordination Officer (DCO) Attock Rana Akbar Hayyat, Principal Prof Majid Waheed and Resident Director RAC Waqar Ahmed inaugurated the exhibition.

More than 100 rare photographs of Pakistan Movement were put on display and the exhibition was visited by the people from different segment of the society.

On the occasion, Rana Akbar Hayyat said that the importance of Pakistan can be judged by watching these rare photographs that how Pakistan was achieved.

He said, in past there was classification of Muslim, Hindu, Christians but it is unfortunate that we have separated by sectarianism.

Waqar Ahmed said that these photographs encompassed the history from 1857 to establishment of Pakistan.

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Lok virsa, PBC for joint venture to promote culture, art

ISLAMABAD, Aug 4 (APP): National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage Lok Virsa and Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation (PBC) on Thursday agreed to initiate joint culture programmes for promoting culture and art.

Executive Director Dr. Fouzia Saeed visited PBC and discussed joint working plan with senior officials of the Corporation Controller PBC Dr. Hassan Farooqi and Director Programmes Khurshid Ahmed Malik, said a press release.

Dr. Fouzia Saeed briefed Radio Pakistan officials about the Lok Virsa on-going programmes started for the promotion of regional languages.

Later, she visited Central Production Unit of the PBC during which Controller Central Production Gul Hassan Qureshi briefed about the preservation of Radio archives and plans for digitizing all the recordings.

Dr. Fouzia Saeed highly appreciated the role of Radio Pakistan, saying that PBC was not only the holder of history of Pakistani music but also the whole history of Pakistan was saved by it for the generations to come.

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Iran joins 3 global specialized theatre centers

Tehran, Aug 5, IRNA – Iran became the member of three international and specialized theatre centers namely International Theatre Institute (ITI), UNIMA (Union Internationale de la Marionnette/ International Puppetry Association) and International Association of Theatre Critics (IATC).

The 22nd edition of the UNIMA Congress participated by over 100 countries from five continents was held on May 28-June 5 in Tolosa, Spain and Head of Iran’s UNIMA Hamidreza Ardalan became the member of the executive committee and heritage conservation.

The UNIMA in voting participated by members’ representatives elects 18 people in the format of the executive committee and 16 expert committees to manage this union for four years.

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Turkish investors to build hotels in 10 Iranian cities

Tehran, Aug 3, IRNA – Turkish tourism investment firm decided to build up to 10 four- and five-star hotels in different Iranian cities, including Ahvaz, in the next two months, Turkish tourist resort executive said on Wednesday.

He made the remrks in a meeting with Iranian Vice-President and head of the Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization Masoud Soltanifar.

Representatives of the group of Turkish Intercontinental Hotels said that the cities are Tehran, Shiraz, Isfahan, Mashad, Tabriz, Yazd, Kerman, Bandar Abbas, Ahvaz and a city north of Iran.

The plan will be carried out on the joint venture investment scheme with Iranian partners.

Over the past months, different groups of investors from Germany and Turkey have announced readiness for investment in Iranian hotel industry.

German Steinberger hotels group inked an agreement with Iranians to build 10 to 15 four- and five-star hotels in Iran in seven years and respective MoU was signed with Turkish minister of tourism.

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Iran, Indonesia target $2bn trade

Shiraz, Aug 3, IRNA – Head of the Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture of Shiraz Jamal Razeqi said on Wednesday that Iran and Indonesia target two billion dollars trade a year.

Razeqi made the remarks in a meeting with Indonesian Ambassador to Tehran Kata Venu Alimudin.

He said that given the capacity available in Indonesia and since the country is a major oil producer in southeast Asia, there can be a suitable ground available for export of technical and engineering services in energy.

He said that Indonesian membership in OPEC and its sensitive standing in the international energy market are two important issues.

He underlined expansion of relations between Iran and Indonesia in energy and technology.

Razeqi emphasized expansion of commercial relations between Iran and Indonesia in fresh fruits and vegetables, paper and export of petrochemical products, bitumen and non-ferros and chemical mineral substances.

According to the economic activist, Indonesia enjoys 6,000 islands and due to its seasonal rainfalls, it enjoys special natural environment. On the one hand, Indonesia is among major G20 states and can be of importance for development of Islamic tourism.

He highlighted economic advantage of Indonesia and said the advantages provide a suitable ground for promotion of their trade.

The Iranian official said that forest reserves of Indonesia, which account for the world’s second forest reserves covering 120 million hectares of lands, serve as a suitable potential to provide cellulosic raw materials, especially caoutchouc, needed by Iranian industries.

The Indonesian ambassador for his part underlined expansion of bilateral trade ties, including import of different kinds of dates, exchange of capital and introducing Indonesia’s potential for export of different kinds of marine and mineral products, tropical fruits and textiles.

He noted a deal for joint investment will be soon signed by Iranian and Indonesian companies in oil and gas.

Iran and Indonesia are the two trade partners: Iran exports bitumen, different kinds of gas, dates and tea to Indonesia and Indonesia exports cellulosic products, especially paper and cardboard to Iran.

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Each tourist brings in revenue equal to 30 barrels of oil

Tehran, Aug 3, IRNA – Deputy Head of the Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization for Management Development Affairs Samiollah Hosseini Makarem said on Wednesday that each tourist brings in revenue equal to 30 barrels of oil, tourism can serve as an important pillar of the Economy of Resistance.

Makarem told the exclusive meeting of Definition of Programs of the Economy of Resistance that contrary to oil, tourism neither needs to be sold in crude form nor others’ investment.

He said handicrafts need both basic materials and local human source, being the least costly but with highest amount of productivity.

‘So, tourism and handicrafts are two important pillars of the Economy of Resistance.’

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Mashhad World City of Precious Stones Festival planned

Tehran, Aug 2, IRNA – Mashad World City of Precious Stones Festival will be held in the holy Iranian city in presence of Chairman of World Crafts Council Asia-Pacific Region Ghada Hijjawi-Qaddumi on August 9.

After designation of Mashad and Lalejin as the global cities of gemstones and pottery in 2016 by the World Crafts Council, two festivals to mark the event will be organized in the Iranian cities on August 9 and August 13 respectively.

Head Iran Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization Masoud Soltanifar and his deputy, Bahman Namvar-Motlaq as well as jurors from Australia and Oman are to attend both festivals.

Designations made by the World Crafts Council will provide a valuable opportunity for promoting activities pertaining to precious and semi-precious stones and pottery in the cities. It will also help upgrade Iran’s global status in the field of handicrafts.

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Chabahar port to be commercially exploited in less than 2 years

New Delhi, Aug 5, IRNA – Indian Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Shipping Radhakrishnan P. announced that Chabahar port will have been commercially exploited by one year and a half later.

Iranian, Indian and Afghan senior officials signed Chabahar’s agreement on May 23 in Tehran.

The mentioned agreement was inked in the presence of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

Speaking in the signing ceremony of the agreement, Rouhani said that as a transit corridor among south-east and north-south, Chabahar port is capable of being change into a connecting point among different countries like India to Afghanistan, Central Asian Countries, Caucasus and Eastern Europe.

Speaking in a visit with his Iranian counterpart Bijan Zangeneh, Indian Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Shri Dharmendra Pradhan expressed India’s readiness in having a $20b-investment In Chabahar port.

The port of Chabahar is located on the Makran coast of Sistan and Baluchistan Province, next to the Gulf of Oman and at the mouth of Strait of Hormuz. It is the only Iranian port with direct access to the Indian Ocean.

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Chinese Halal industry agrees to employ 10,000 poor families

Guangxi, China (IINA) 05 Aug 2016 – One of China’s biggest producers of packaged halal meat products is bringing meat factory jobs to one of the country’s poorest regions in a deal with the local government that includes cattle farms and processing plants, Global Meat News reported Wednesday.

Henan Dayong Bangjie Food has signed a deal with the government of Xincheng County, Guangxi province, for an RMB250 million ($37 million) investment in feedlots, processing plants, and cold chain facilities. The firm will target the domestic market for packaged meat as well as the international halal market.

Guangxi province is one of China’s poorest and most rural regions, but in recent years has become a magnet for meat companies forced to shift feedlots and plants from more wealthy regions that are cracking down on pollution.

The new deal will see 10,000 “impoverished” families brought into the Bangjie scheme as farm hands and factory workers.

Li Chao Hui, deputy secretary general of the local Communist Party office, stated that the local government would “support the project with favorable policies”, but did not elaborate on what they were.

Typically, such inducements include access to local land as well as low-cost rates for utilities like electricity.

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Indonesia to build new Halal hub

05 Aug 2016, Jakarta, (IINA) – Indonesia will soon have a halal hub comprising of a seaport and a zone, Financial and Supporting Director of PT Jakarta Industrial Estate Pulogadung Sitta Rosdaniah stated Thursday.

“The market for halal products in Indonesia is enormous, and there is high demand to lead a halal lifestyle in every stratum of society, both in Indonesia and around the world”, Sitta remarked on the sidelines of the 12th World Islamic Economic Forum, which was held in Jakarta on August 2-4.

According to Antara News, Sitta stated that the halal hub will ensure that lifestyle products, including food, clothing, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals, which are imported by and exported from Indonesia, meet the Halal criteria.

The halal hub will be located in the Tanjung Priok seaport, Jakarta, while the halal zone, which will function to check the products, will be in Rawamangun.

“Hence, when goods, such as meat, which require special handling, arrive at the port, they will be segregated from other goods. Furthermore, they are immediately taken to the halal zone for further checking”, Sitta noted.

“We will also conduct training for people, who work in a halal zone, to ensure that each product meets the same halal standards”, he added.

Sitta noted that the operations of Indonesia’s halal hub would be supported by digital technology to conduct checks, so that the products are made available to consumers promptly.

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Arab Arts Festival in Liverpool highlights the lighter side of Mideast

Liverpool, England (IINA) 03 Aug 2016 – The recent celebration of the 15th anniversary of Liverpool Arab Arts Festival (LAAF) was a celebration of all things Arabic.

The festival highlighted stand-up comedians, talks, film, live music and spoken word across different venues and spaces throughout Liverpool, Middle East Eye news (MEE) reported.

Under the theme of “Undocumented” – it explored the various ways art can provide a deeper insight into the human experience of lives devastated by war, displacement and conflict. It opened with The Queens of Syria, a play written and performed by an all-female cast of Syrian refugees, while the one-man-show Love, Apples and Bombs by Hassan Razzulrazak brought social commentary to the stage with his award-winning style.

Liverpool was the first city in the United Kingdom to be awarded the title European Capital of Culture in 2008. It is also home to a sizeable Arab population, particularly Yemenis who were the first known Arab community to arrive in Britain, settling in Liverpool in the early 1900s.

Taher Qassim MBE, the chair and founder of LAAF, is a Yemeni who has been living in Liverpool for 20 years. Qassim, who launched the first Arab Arts Festival 15 years ago, proclaimed this year’s event was already the most successful to date with “the depth of the programme of the ten days being very rich”.

Speaking to Middle East Eye, Qassim explained how it all began. “Many years back, we were invited to a venue called The Bluecoat, in the centre of Liverpool, where they needed translators for a Palestinian singer who played there. A couple of meetings later following that show, we organized a weekender where we put on some singers and dancers. In 2001, between the Liverpool Arabic Centre and the venue, we launched the first Arab Arts Festival officially.”

At the nearby World Museum, storyteller Alia Alzougbi shared traditional Arabic stories in front of adults and small toddlers alike, but not before teaching the natives a few Arabic words such as Marhaba (hello) and Ahlan (welcome). Alzougbi colorfully proceeded to tell the tale of a man from Baghdad with stinky slippers who could not get rid of the smell, despite dousing himself with expensive rose oil, whilst encouraging the young kids to interact with sound effects and cracking jokes.

The Liverpool Arab Arts Festival, seeks to be a beacon of light leading the way on how all Arab cultural events should be run not just in the UK, but throughout the world.

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Indonesian Govt To Auction Sukuk Worth Rp4 Trillion

JAKARTA, Aug 5 (NNN-ANTARA) — The Indonesian government is set to auction five series of sharia state bonds (sukuk) worth Rp4 trillion on Aug 9 to meet part of the financing target in the 2016 state budget.

The five series of sukuk are SPN-S 27012017, PBS009, PBS006, PBS011 and PBS012, the Directorate General of Financing Management at the Finance Ministry said in a press statement released on Thursday.

The sukuk series SPN-S 27012017 due on January 27, 2017 will be issued at a discount yield, with underlying assets in the form of state-owned goods such as land and buildings.

The sukuk series PBS009 due on January 25, 2018 will be issued at a yield of 7.75 percent, with underlying assets including projects and activities funded by the 2016 state budget and state-owned goods.

The sukuk series PBS006 due on September 15, 2020 will be issued at a yield of 8.25 percent, with underlying assets in the form of activities funded by the 2016 state budget and state-owned goods.

The sukuk series PBS009 due on January 25, 2018 will be issued at a yield of 7.75 percent, with underlying assets in the form of projects and activities funded by the 2016 state budget and state-owned goods.

The sukuk series PBS011 due on August 15, 2023 will be issued at a yield of 8.75 percent, while the sukuk series PBS012 due on November 15, 2031 will be issued at a yield of 8.875 percent. — NNN-ANTARA

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Rouhani To Attend Iran, Azeri, Russia Summit

TEHRAN, Iran Aug.6 (NNN-Xinhua) — Iranian President Hassan Rouhani will visit Azerbaijan on Sunday for a trilateral meeting with his Azeri and Russian counterparts, official IRNA news agency reported on Friday.

Rouhani will attend the summit in Azerbaijan’s capital Baku to exchange views with Ilham Aliyev and Vladimir Putin about the ways to bolster relations and discuss the latest regional developments, it said.

The sides will confer on expansion of trilateral cooperation in commerce, energy, telecommunications, environment, transportation and transit of goods, as well as fighting terrorism, it added.

During his two-day visit to Baku, Rouhani will also hold separate meetings with his Azeri and Russian counterparts to exchange views on issues of mutual interest.

Iranian and Azeri presidents will discuss implementation of already reached agreements and bolstering cooperation in commerce, industry, energy, culture, banking, consular facilities, telecommunications, and railway transportation.

The Baku meeting is held upon the proposal by Aliyev for talks about the issues of common interests.

In April, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his Russian and Azeri counterparts, Sergei Lavrov and Elmar Mammadyarov, held talks in Baku on ties and cooperation.

During their meeting, they stressed the importance of strengthening security, political and economic cooperation among the three countries.– NNN-XINHUA

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Community-Based Initiatives Driving Growth In Indonesia’s Islamic Finance

JAKARTA, Aug 5 (NNN-ANTARA) — The Islamic finance industry in Indonesia has largely grown as a result of community-based initiatives, Head of Islamic Finance at Thomson Reuters Mustafa Adil stated here.

“Unlike other countries, the Islamic finance industry in Indonesia is growing due to the initiatives taken by the community, which has developed unique Islamic financial institutions, such as rural Islamic banks, retail sukuk, Hajj funds, and other innovative social finance initiatives,” he affirmed.

Although Indonesia has only 131 sharia scholars, which is still less than 205 in Malaysia, there are 150 Islamic financial institutions in the country. This number exceeds Malaysia, which has 100 Islamic financial institutions, Mustafa noted.

He added that even Bangladesh, with 174 Islamic economic scholars, has only 50 Islamic financial institutions.

According to Mustafa, a strong correlation exists between the number of sharia scholars and the comprehensiveness of Islamic finance regulations in a country. In this case, Indonesia has strong Islamic finance regulations and ranks second to Malaysia.

Mustafa pointed out that Indonesia’s abundant natural resources and strategic geographical location offers huge opportunities for economic growth, particularly for the Islamic finance industry.

Sharia system-based business sectors continue to grow worldwide, one of which is the halal food industry.

Thomson Reuters has ranked Indonesia as the top Muslim consumer food expenditure market, with a value of US$157.6 billion in 2014.

“Now with the development and implementation of sharia economic regulations by the government, the Islamic finance industry is expected to grow into a strong and sustainable sector without losing the unique values of Islamic products and services,” Mustafa added. — NNN-ANTARA

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Iran to supply gas to 2,800 villages

TEHRAN, Aug 1 (NNN-FNA) — Deputy Minister of Petroleum for Gas Affairs Hamid-Reza Araqi said on Monday that gas will be supplied to 2,800 villages all over the country by March 20, marking end of the current Iranian year of 1395.

Araqi made the remark in an address to the ceremony marking the 50th Anniversary of Establishment of National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC).

He said last year a project began to supply gas to 5,000 villages and 2,000 out of the total were provided with the energy.

He said that for the time being, a project is underway to supply gas to 5,000 more villages.

Elsewhere in his address, Araqi said last year, 57 billion cubic meters of gas was delivered to the country’s power plants and this figure will reach 67 billion cubic meters this year.

Meanwhile, Managing Director of National Iranian Oil Terminals Company (NIOTC) Pirouz Moussavi says oil tankers with 320,000 tons capacity berth at Asalouyeh Gas Condensates Exports Terminal.

Moussavi said thanks to round-the-clock efforts of the terminal staff, the Islamic Republic of Iran is now ready to raise exports of gas condensates.

Addressing a group of the NIOTC directors, Moussavi said his company is now among the world top companies in construction and renovation of the crude and gas condensate exports infrastructures.

He said that 320,000 ton oil tankers can berth or receive their consignments at Asalouyeh Gas Condensate Exports Terminal through three SBMs.

National Iranian Oil Terminals Company owns and operates oil carrier tanker loading terminals. The company is based in Tehran, Iran. It operates terminals at Kharg Island, Asaloyeh, Mahshar, and Neka, Iran. National Iranian Oil Terminals Company operates as a subsidiary of National Iranian Oil Company. — NNN-FNA

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Algeria Expanding Use Of Tamazight Language

ALGIERS, Aug 1 (NNN-APS) — Expanding the use of the Tamazight language, a Berber language, in Algerian public institutions is “a strong political choice of the State and the government”, says the Secretary-General of the High Council of Amazighity (HCA), Si El Hachemi Assad.

“The objective of translating our country’s basic texts into Tamazight is a contribution to the concrete implementation of the new provisions of the Constitution, amended in February 2016,” he said at a workshop organized here Sunday by the HCA on the translation of the Algerian State’ basic texts into Tamazight.

“It also aims to strengthen patriotism as well as social and cultural cohesion of Algerians in all its forms,” he added.

Calling for the gradual expansion of the use of the Tamazight language, Assad underlined that use of the language had witnessed significant progress since its adoption as a national and official language in the recent constitutional revision.

In this regard, he said this progress had been possible owing to the clear-sightedness of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who overcame all hesitation and resistances in the society.

Assad also underlined the HCA’s approach for an effective promotion of the Tamazight language, through targeted activities in the fields of publishing, translation, communication and training. — NNN-APS

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Projects valued at US$10 bln under way China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

ISLAMABAD, Aug 2 (APP): Out of US$ 46 billion under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) framework, projects worth more than US$ 10 billion had already hit the ground, while remaining schemes were in advanced stages of the pipeline.

The remaining projects amounting to US$ 36 billion would soon be launched, according to a senior official in the ministry of planning, development and reforms here on Tuesday.

Chinese President, Xi Jinping during his visit to Pakistan in April last year, signed several memorandum of understandings and so far a huge amount of US$ 10 billion had been invested in Pakistan, he added.

He said, a CPEC summit would be held on August 29 in the Federal Capital to further enhance business to business cooperation between the two brotherly countries.

He said, the Chinese companies were also working on two mega projects including Thakot-Havailian section of Karrakurm Highway (KKH) and Sukkur-Multan section of Lahore-Karachi motorway at a cost of US$ 3 billion.

Gwadar would be connected with Quetta in December this year while D.I. Khan to Burhan section of the road would be completed in June 2018.

Energy, road infrastructure, railway and Gwadar airport projects were being completed under CPEC framework.

The construction work on various projects of various sections of Western route were being completed as per timeline to operationalize it at the earliest.

Work on Port Qasim Power Plant, Thar Power Plant, HUBCO coal Project, Sahiwal Power Plant and other hydro power projects was on track and these would be completed as per the schedule.

The fast track work on these projects would help tackle energy crisis and power needs of industrial zones in future under CPEC.

According to a senior official of the Chinese Embassy in Islamabad, as many as five new projects, in addition to 30 infrastructure and energy projects being completed by the Chinese companies in Pakistan, would be launched under CPEC initiative this year.

“Eight coal, solar, wind and hydro-power energy projects are already under construction to meet the energy requirement of Pakistan,” added.

He said, prior to signing of CPEC between China and Pakistan in 2013, China was at number 16 in terms of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Pakistan, adding, now China is largest investor in Pakistan after initiating multi-billion dollars project under the CPEC framework.

He said, this project would not only change the life of people of Pakistan in days to come but also prove beneficial for the whole region.

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“China-Pakistan Economic Corridor – one of world’s largest projects”

ISLAMABAD, Aug 1 (APP): With an investment of $46 billion and scores of infrastructure projects, the ongoing construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is undoubtedly one of the largest endeavors now taking place on the planet.

Roads, energy projects, industrial parks and the Gwadar port are all included in the basket, satisfying Pakistan’s immediate needs as well as helping the south Asian country get back on its feet after years of anti-terror campaigns wrecked its economy.

Three years after the initiative on the construction of CPEC was jointly announced by China and Pakistan, Xinhua has learned that the project is yielding its early fruits as new roads and power plants have put Pakistan’s growth in the first gear.

ELECTRIC POWER

Located 20 km east of Pakistan’s largest city of Karachi, the Bin Qasim power plant is one of the pioneer and flagship projects of CPEC planned to begin operating at the end of next year.

The Pakistan government hopes the plant would significantly cut power shortage as both population and economy boom.

In the capital city of Islamabad, there is virtually no supply of electricity for almost half a day, with the rural areas in even worth conditions, supplied by electricity only six hours a day.

The lack of electricity has made the poor vulnerable to extreme heat which smothers the country every summer, and has the manufacturing industry on a leash.

For the coal-fired plant built by PowerChina, the Chinese

construction company commissioned to undertake the construction of the project, two 660-megawatt generator units will be installed, which would generate 1,320 megawatts of electricity per year, more than a quarter of the 4,500-5,000 megawatts of power shortage estimated for the year 2012.

“With three more plants like this one, Pakistan would have no more energy woes,” said Chen Enping, a manager at PowerChina.

A little further away from Karachi, the operation of the first phase of a Chinese wind farm is already in full swing. Thirty-three windmills erected by China Three Gorges Corporation churned out 140 million kwh of electricity last year, powering 60,000 families in the region.

“Before this, we had blackout most of the time. Now we can enjoy three or four more hours of power each day, which means a running fan can help us get through the night,” Hassan, a local resident, told Xinhua, adding that he hopes the second phase of the wind farm, under construction in January, will make the next summer more comfortable.

LIFELINES

For Sher Afzart, a shop owner in northern Pakistan’s Hunza Valley, the Karakorum Highway is what he owes his livelihood to.

The two-lane highway, originally built by the Chinese in the 1970s and recently renovated by China Road and Bridge Corporation, connects Kashgar, a commercial hub in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uigur Autonomous Region, and Pakistan.

Afzart can save days on trips to Kashgar to buy goods as the road cuts through the Karakorum mountains. There is a steady flow of business as thousands of Chinese workers labour around Hunza.

Following the completion of the Karakorum Highway renovation project, more business opportunities are created, Afzart said.

“With the convenience of road traffic, I’m thinking of opening

branches in Islamabad and even in cities farther south,” he said.

The Karakorum Highway is just one of the roads that falls under CPEC. The M-4 National Motorway, a strategic artery in central Pakistan, is also being paved by the Chinese.

Wang Feng, chief engineer of China Railway First Group Co. Ltd., which was commissioned to construct a segment of the motorway, said despite the temperature at the site often running up to more than 50 degrees Celsius during summer, his team is beating the odds to complete the project on time.

“We were touched by the generous local people, who offered us fruits and tea when we first arrived. To repay their kindness we built two bridges and water ducts at our own cost to help local farming,” Wang said.

Aside from highways, railways and light rails are also part of the grand plan to upgrade Pakistan’s road network, as the current one, constructed in the British colonial era, is putting a strain on the economy.

GWADAR PORT

The Gwadar port, located in the southern coast of Pakistan, is where CPEC meets the Indian ocean. From here resources can commence their journey onto the hinterlands of Pakistan and western China, and Chinese and Pakistani products can be shipped out to every corner of the world.

Viewed from above, the port is like an anchor protruding into the emerald waters, forming two natural bays that are as deep as 14.5 m, making them perfect harbors.

After the CPEC cooperation programme was launched in 2013, a plan was developed in the following years to comprehensively transform the fishing town into a modern metropolis complete with industrial zones, a harbour and recreational zones.

Gwadar Port Authority Chairman Dostain Jamaldini has big ambitions for the port, eyeing Dubai, which is just across the Arabian Sea, as a model.

Near future plans for the port area include the construction of a Free Trade Zone, a Special Economic Zone, a coastal expressway, an international airport and a pipeline linking Iran, which are all parts of the CPEC plan remodelling the town which will be the hinge of the corridor.

“Pakistan is ready to offer the most generous terms for companies investing in the port,” Jamaldini said. “We believe the favourable policies and the superb location of the port will soon attract the interest of investors worldwide.”

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Bangladesh to provide free bus service to hajj pilgrims

DHAKA, Aug 04, 2016 (BSS)- The Traffic North of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) will provide free transport services for the hajj pilgrims to facilitate their travelling from Ashkona Hajj camp to Airport, said a DMP press release here today.

Deputy Commissioner of Dhaka North Traffic Probir Kumar Roy inaugurated the free transport services at Ashkona Hajj camp at 12 noon.

Under the arrangement, two big buses will provide for 24-hour to the hajj pilgrims. The DC traffic has requested all the hajj pilgrims to take the free transport services.

High police officials including Assistant Deputy Commissioner (ADC) Traffic (north) Humayra Parvin, Assistant Commissioner (AC) Zinnat Ali Molla and Abu Yousuf, among others, were present.

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Signal No. one for Bangladesh river ports

DHAKA, Aug 5, 2016 (BSS) – In association with rain or thunder showers temporary South or South-Easter’ly squally wind speed 45-60 kilometer per hour is likely to occur over different parts of the country.

The regions are Rangpur, Rajshahi, Pabna, Bogra, Tangail, Mymensingh, Dhaka, Faridpur, Jessore, Kushtia, Khulna, Barisal, Patuakhali, Noakhali, Comilla, Chittagong, Cox’s Bazar and Sylhet.

The river ports have been asked to hoist cautionary signal No. one by Met office.

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International Orthodontic Symposium held in Dhaka

DHAKA, Aug 5, 2016 (BSS) – Two-day International Orthodontic Symposium and Training programme “Next Generation Orthodontics” began today at Krishibid Institution, Bangladesh (KIB) convention centre in city’s Farmgate area.

Bangladesh Orthodontic Society (BOS) organised the programme, said a press release.

Professor Emadul Haque was the chief guest of the symposium while BOS President Professor Zakir Hossain presided over the inaugural session. Prof. Gazi Shamim delivered the welcome speech.

Prof. Zakir said, “This symposium is a great opportunity for the participants to update the current knowledge of Orthodontic techniques”.

President of Asia Pacific Orthodontic Society (APOS) Professor Nikhilesh Vaid and Professor Meghna Vandekar of Mumbai, India delivered their speech on contemporary Orthodontics techniques.

Around 200 qualified Orthodontists, post-graduates, trainees are attending the programme.

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Above 6,700 youths contribute to society in Rajshahi

RAJSHAHI, August 6, 2016 (BSS)- More than 6,700 youths, most of them are women, from poor and extreme poor communities have become workforces towards making them self-reliant besides contributing to the society in Rajshahi city.

They are now either rendering their services as fulltime workers or apprentices on various trades and vocations like welding, motor mechanics,plumbing, auto electric and embroidery or tailoring almost everywhere in the metropolis.

“Personally, I’m happy over the pro-people activities as many of the unemployed people have become social contributors in the city,” said Nur Islam Tusser, Executive Engineer of Rajshahi City Corporation (RCC).

He said the promotional activities are done by the recently concluded Urban Partnership for Poverty Reduction Project (UPPRP), a seven-year anti-poverty scheme funded by UNDP, implemented in the city.

He viewed time has come to generate more and more youth leadership in the society for making them time-fitting social actor to free the society from various crimes and malpractices like drug-addiction.

Enriching youth leadership along with their capacity building is the precondition to generate job opportunities, social development and free the society from gender discriminations and vicious cycle of poverty, he added.

Mahbubul Alam, former UPPRP Town Manager, told BSS that some 5,792 youths including around 4,800 female were given six-month apprenticeship training on the need-oriented trades and vocations after linking them with the factory and shop owners.

Around Taka 5.21 crore were spent for the purpose. During the period, each of them was provided Taka 1,500 per month as apprenticeship allowance in addition to some assistance from the shop owners.

“Raziya Sultana, 25, of Dharampur Bazekazla earns around Taka 400-500 per day after making and selling cloth bag for shopping and now she is on the afoot to divert her long-lasting poverty and hunger,” said a local community leader.

Rahima, 30, wife of Rustam Ali of Hetemkha area, said she received six- month training on tailoring. Now, she has brought some happiness in her four-member family as she earns Taka 500-600 per day after operating a sewing machine at present.

“We worked here improving living and livelihood condition of some 73,000 households including 61,000 extreme poor and poor families through multi- sectoral anti-poverty interventions,” said Mahbubul Alam, adding that the apprenticeship is one of the major components to help the unemployed youth self-reliant.

Nizam-ul Azim, acting mayor of RCC, stated that the city area is the home of around eight lakh population and around 65,000 households are poor and extreme poor categories who needed special support for uplifting their livelihood condition.

So, such type of poverty reduction programme should be expanded more for transforming the poor and extreme poor youths into skilled human resources coupled with mainstreaming them as they are more vulnerable towards creating various social crimes.

He said some other government organisations especially Department of Youth Development, Women Affairs, BRDB and Social Service are working for making the unemployed youths into skilled human resources.

Creating job for the vulnerable sections of the society has become an urgent need to bring them out from the vicious circle of poverty. If we make the vulnerable section of the society money-makers through such type of anti-poverty intervention the existing rate of urban poverty could be reduced to a greater extent, mayor Nizam added.

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Padma bridge piling in Jajira point on Aug 8

MUNSHIGANJ, Aug 05, 2016 (BSS)- Minister of Road Transport and Bridges Obaidul Quader today said the piling of the Padma bridge in Jajira point will start from August 8.

Besides, the four lane works from Mayor Hanif flyover to Mawa and up to Banga will be completed before opening the bridge, said the minister while distributing relief at Panchgao Union council and Hasail Bazar of Tongibari upazila this afternoon.

He said the work of four lanes from Chanbari of Srinagar to Madanpur via Muktarpur will also start very soon.

The government would take necessary steps to check the river erosion, said the minister, adding that the government will rehabilitate those people who have lost their resources in river erosion.

Former whip and local lawmaker Professor Sagupta Yasmin Emili, Advocate Mrinal Kanti Das, MP, Deputy Commissioner M Saiful Hasan Badal, Police Super Mohammad Zayedul Alam and District Awami League General Secretary Sheikh Lutfur Rahman, among others, were present.

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