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1 Aug, 2016

Jakarta all set for 12th World Islamic Economic Forum

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 01 August 2016 (27 Shawwal 1437). Pls click on any of the headlines below to go to the story.




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



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


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.




Malaysia Retains Position As Top Muslim Tourist Destination

ALOR GAJAH, July 26 (NNN-Bernama) — Malaysia has retained its number one position on the list of Muslim tourist destinations for six consecutive years.

Deputy Tourism and Culture Minister Mas Ermieyati Samsudin said the position was based on a research conducted by an Islamic tourism portal CrescentRating.

She attributed the achievement to Muslim-friendly services including availability of surau and prayer paraphernalia at hotels, besides theme parks and rest and recreation areas along highways in the country.

“Other factors are easy access to halal food and the friendly-visa policy adopted by our government especially for tourists from Muslim countries.

“The number of direct flights from the Organisation of the Islamic Conference countries to KL International Airport is also a reason for them to choose Malaysia,” she told reporters here.

Earlier, she launched the Islamic Tourism seminar at Kolej Universiti Islam Malaysia (KUIM), here. Islamic Tourism Centre director-general Zulkifly Md Said and KUIM vice-chancellor Prof Dr Mohd Taib Dora were also present.

Mas Ermieyati said Saudi Arabian tourists spend an estimated RM9,459, Kuwait (RM8,490), Oman (RM7,900), United Arab Emirates (RM7,390) and Iran (RM5,880) per capita while in Malaysia.

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Chartered Cruise a big hit with tourists in Malaysia’s Langkawi

LANGKAWI (Kedah, Malaysia), July 27 (NNN-Bernama) — Langkawi’s popularity as a tourist destination is undeniable, with local and foreign tourists flocking to the legendary island year in and year out.

Besides basking in the sun by the beach, indulge in duty-free shopping and soaking up the natural scenic beauty, tourists could also charter short cruises while enjoying the islands around Langkawi.

For those who want to experience a beautiful sunset from onboard the boat, Tropical Charters Langkawi offers enticing packages to suit any holidaymaker.

Package prices range from about US$67 (RM275) per person, including meals, and will take tourists on a cruise to see the small islands surrounding Langkawi before settling down for a view of the sunset on a catamaran.

The two-storey sailboat measuring 17 metres long and nine metres wide can ferry 65 passengers at a time.

A cool breeze accompanies participants of the cruise as they feast their eyes on the breathtaking views from the top of the deck, making sure to enjoy every second of the three-hour ride which started at 5.00pm from the Resort World Langkawi marina jetty.

Along the way passengers can partake in a variety of activities before stopping for the sun to set, just make sure to bring along a swim suit, towel,sunblock and camera.

Passengers can opt to relax in the salt water jacuzzi net as the sailboat moves along the water or dive from the deck and into the sea, followed by swim experts from the company’s crew.

If one is up for it, one can also re-enact the ‘I’m flying’ scene from Titanic as the day gets darker.

Some also choose to loiter around sipping cocktails and mocktails casually while the music blasts from the boat.

A barbeque dinner awaits cruise participants with a luscious selection of prawns, chicken, beef, satay, salad and more as they wait for the cruise to finish off with a magnificent sunset.

Meanwhile, Tropical Charters Group chief executive officer and executive chairman Alexander Isaac said his charter operations have received overwhelming response from tourists since it was offered in 2009.

So far the company has six boats operating to cater to clients.

The cruise, he said, was one of the many tourism products available on Langkawi besides the island’s places of attractions and shopping.

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Malaysia To Singapore Water Taxi Services Proposed

JOHOR BAHARU, Johor state, Malaysia July 27 (NNN-Bernama) — The Johor state government is proposing water taxi services from the new Kong Kong ferry terminal near Pasir Gudang here to the Changi Ferry Terminal in Singapore.

State Menteri Besar (Chief Minister) Mohamed Khaled Nordin said the proposal would be brought to the federal government soon for approval.

He said the implementation was necessary as an alternative mode of transportation which would reduce travelling time for people from both countries who now face traffic congestion at the Johor Causeway and the Malaysia-Singapore Second Link.

Meanwhile, Mohamed Khaled said the state government was willing to consider requests for allocations from the Johor Baharu-Singapura Taxi Drivers Association to take language courses.

He said this shows the taxi drivers were willing to improve themselves so that they could interact in various languages to tourists. — NNN-BERNAMA

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Malaysia may emulate Indonesia’s anti-poaching measures

JAKARTA, Indonesia July 28 (NNN-Bernama) — Malaysia has expressed the desire to emulate Indonesia’s radical measures against poaching that have resulted in bountiful catches for the local fishermen and reduced prices of fish for consumers.

Its Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Ahmad Shabery Cheek said, however, that Malaysia would not burn the seized illegal fishing vessels but would sink them to form artificial reefs to encourage fish breeding.

“We notice that Indonesia’s radical measures against poaching had contributed to deflation and lowered fish prices due to bountiful catches,” he told Bernama after attending the two-day Southeast Asia and Pacific Regional Fisheries Summit here today.

Ahmad Shabery said Malaysia would opt to sink seized illegal fishing vessels to make them artifical reefs to protect the environment from pollution and prevent harm to the marine eco-system.

The minister also said that Malaysia could not be the advocate for its fishermen who trespass into the waters of other countries, and it was for this reason that Malaysian fishermen were required to use the radar system to determine their position at sea at all times.

He said the radar system was a mandatory requirement for Malaysian fishing vessels and the authorities would not accept the excuse from arrested fishermen that the system on their boats was faulty.

Indonesian Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Susi Pudjiastuti said the authorities had seized and burned hundreds of foreign fishing vessels caught poaching in the country’s waters over the past two years.

The trespassing fishermen were prosecuted and imprisoned, she said.

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LEAD STORY: Jakarta all set for 12th World Islamic Economic Forum

Jakarta — National leaders and business communities from around the world are in Jakarta this week for the 12th World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) from 2 to 4 August. Jakarta will be hosting the event for the second time, following the successes of WIEF forums that had been held in major cities including Kuala Lumpur, Astana, Dubai, Kuwait, and London.

The 12th WIEF aims to further explore the crucial role of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in driving economic growth in economies around the world, in line with its theme of “Decentralising Growth, Empowering Future Business”. Decentralisation of growth empowers MSMEs by facilitating a larger participation in mainstream economy that ensures inclusive economic development, spurs innovation and improves efficiency, giving enterprises the competitive edge to navigate through the ever-evolving business landscape.

Emerging markets will stand to benefit at the 12th WIEF as the programme is designed to provide various avenues for delegates to interact and connect with like-minded individual who are looking at prospective business and investment opportunities.

At the Opening Session, country leaders will share nations’ economic strategies and foreign direct investments. Emerging markets are able to engage with a specific group to showcase their key business and investment opportunities during the Investment Programmes. The Business Exchange is designed for entrepreneurs and corporations with new business ideas to extend their reach to the international business community, and to serve as a gateway to galvanise support, raise funds and establish new partnerships. Startups will have a unique opportunity to pitch their ideas and concepts to top industry professionals and leading investors.

SME Business booths at the Exhibition provide a stage for MSMEs to promote their products and to engage with MSMEs from other countries and relevant stakeholders. At the Business Networking Breakfast, like-minded individuals can meet informally to discuss current trends and issues relating to their respective industries. There are 10 Country Desks where businesses and industries from 10 nations will be represented, which is also a platform for exploring potential trade opportunities.

Tun Musa Hitam, Chairman of WIEF Foundation said, “Our focus at the 12th WIEF, as in our previous Forums, will continue to be on promoting business and economic collaboration as a fundamental doctrine to improving the economic well-being of the global community.”

Key issues that will be discussed at the 12th WIEF include shariah bonds for infrastructure financing, integration of Halal sectors and Islamic Finance, expansion of the global Halal food industry, development of the global modest fashion industry, improving funding access for MSMEs, integrating MSMEs into the digitized trade, building more equity crowdfunding platforms, spurring innovation by linking startups to corporations, enhancing the quality of regional competitiveness, internationalization of women-led businesses, and inculcating the culture of design-thinking for business.

According to Tun Musa, Malaysia and ASEAN had become the pioneer market for driving the global community to discuss and act upon this year’s theme of ‘Decentralising Growth, Empowering Future Business’. “Malaysia also plays a very strategic role in ASEAN as in ensuring its growth and penetration to the global market as well as a leading example of Muslim businesses and innovations, while also strengthening the bond between Muslim and non-Muslim business communities in the region.”

“Emerging markets should tap into the abundant business and investment opportunities in Indonesia. The Indonesian government has a key focus on Halal tourism, infrastructure development, MSME development, Islamic finance, human capital development and creative economy, areas to drive her economic growth.”

The 12th WIEF is expected to bring about positive global impact, as it provides an ideal avenue for world leaders, captains of industries, academicians, key opinion leaders and business experts to exchange views and experiences as well as generating fresh insights, and innovative and sustainable solutions to respond to challenges and opportunities surrounding the huge potential of consumer economy, and how it will shape the global business environment.

This year’s Forum will continue to build bridges through business by providing various networking platforms to delegates who wish to engage with potential business collaborators and investors, and to countries that intend to showcase trade opportunities and expand their business outreach. These platforms include Complementary Programmes, Exhibition, IdeaPad, Business Exchange, 12th WIEF Linked Up and Business Networking Breakfast (BNB). Forum delegates can also look forward to the Marketplace of Creative Arts (MOCAfest) from 3-4 August 2016 to experience the dynamic relationships between business and the arts.

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World Islamic Economic Forum lists its Ten Top Muslim-Friendly Destinations

The number of Muslim tourists and travellers has been increasing steadily every year, and their travel-related expenditure is estimated to grow from US$145 billion in 2014 to US$200 billion by 2020. Many countries have made changes to their tourism industries to cater to this expanding market, providing a number of destinations for Muslim travellers to choose from:

INDONESIA: As one of the largest Muslim-majority countries in the world, Indonesia is teeming with attractions and activities such as the lush beaches of Bali, dive sites in Komodo and Lombok islands, ancient monuments in Borobudur for history lovers and city lights and luxurious shopping malls in Jakarta. The country is also actively promoting halal tourism by designating at least 10 regions and provinces as halal tourist destinations. Some of the provinces chosen include Jakarta, West Sumatra, Aceh, Central Java and West Java and a few others. In the country’s drive for Islamic tourism, Lombok, known as an “island of 1000 mosques”, has aptly taken centre stage. Fast becoming a favourite of tourists from the Middle East, there are plans to build an Islamic centre that will have a mosque, hotel and a study centre. Guides are being trained to have useful visitor information, such as the nearest mosque, at their fingertips. Alcohol-free hotels and Muslim-friendly zones are also being encouraged on the island.

MALAYSIA: A quick search of top Muslim-friendly places to visit on any search engine usually lists Malaysia. The country is known for its friendly locals, mouth-watering food choices, diverse wildlife and breathtaking beaches and dive sites. It is also home to the former tallest buildings in the world, the Petronas Twin Towers, located in the capital city of Kuala Lumpur.

Turkey: A meeting point of Western and Eastern cultures, Turkey has an abundance of historical monuments and stunning architecture from its Byzantine and Ottoman Empire past. It is also famous for the Hagia Sophiabasilica-turned-mosque which was finally turned into a museum in 1935.

SPAIN: Spain has long been a tourist magnet but recently, halal tourism has been given a boost in this country and it’s no surprise as historically Spain has had much Muslim influence. For more than 700 years, the Moors ruled in Granada and left a legacy of Islamic-influenced architecture and culture. There are special tours too that focus on Islamic heritage, bringing tourists to other regions like Andalucia and ensuring that meals are arranged at halal or seafood restaurants.

MOROCCO: Discover the best combination of European and African/Arab heritage in Morocco. The Kingdom is known for its diversity in geography, architecture, Islamic-influenced music and dance. A major centre of the Islamic Civilisation, it has produced poets, philosophers and thinkers for many generations. Of course, don’t forget to indulge in the culinary delight of the tagine—where all the varied flavours of Morocco come together in one deeply satisfying dish.

BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA: The country was long known for a rather grim past: its capital city of Sarajevo, for example, was where the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife were assassinated, triggering the events of the First World War. Today the city boasts numerous beautiful mosques and is surrounded by lush, green countryside.

JORDAN: Home to more than 100,000 archaeological tourist sites, Jordan is rich in religious landmarks and ancient architecture. Swim—or rather float—in the Dead Sea and visit one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, Petra or Rose City, the most visited tourist attraction in the country.

MALTA: The country’s history is a blend of several cultures, all of which have left their unique marks. Featuring baroque architecture and ancient venues, Malta’s capital city of Valetta is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

OMAN: A place of untouched beauty, Oman is home to honey-coloured dunes and blue waters and is ideal for nature lovers. Other attractions include the country’s renowned desert safari and opportunities to either watch turtles lay their eggs on the beaches of Ras al Hadd or wild bottlenose dolphins frolic off the coast of Fahal Island.

SINGAPORE: Singapore is gaining traction in the global Muslim tourism industry despite not being a Muslim nation. Thanks to its increasing numbers of halal eateries and prayer rooms, the home of the Merlion is slowly becoming a popular destination, complementing its attractions with contemporary architecture across the Marina Bay, high-end shopping malls stretched across Orchard Road and world-class services.

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Indonesia to establish international Islamic university

Jakarta, (IINA) 31 Jul 2016 – Indonesian President Joko Widodo (“Jokowi”) has issued a presidential decree on the establishment of an international Islamic university in the country in a bid for the world’s largest Muslim-majority country to become a center of global Islamic thought, The Jakarta Post reported.

“I expect this university to be a source of knowledge, Islamic studies, the moral light of Islam and a bastion of balanced Islamic values, tolerant and egalitarian Islam,” he said at the opening of the National Qur’an Recital Competition (MTQ) in Mataram, West Nusa Tenggara, on Saturday.

It is high time, the President said, for Indonesia to become a center of Islamic teachings, adding that citizens of other countries should study Islam in the country with the largest Muslim population in the world.

“Islam in Indonesia is like a patent medical prescription, which is moderate Islam, while other countries are still seeking the formula,” the President said.

During the event, Jokowi also urged people to hold fast to the teachings of Qur’an to create peaceful and beautiful lives in Indonesia. He also asked citizens to maintain harmony by staying optimistic in the face of global challenges.

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Second ECO-Silk Road Food Festival to be held in Zanjan, Iran

The Second ECO-Silk Road Food Festival will be organized in Zanjan – (Iran) on 26-29 September, 2016 in cooperation with ECO Secretariat. The Festival, to be organized by Iran Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHTO) in close collaboration with Economic Cooperation Organization ( ECO), aims to revitalize the ancient gastronomic traditions of the Silk Road and showcase the substantial contributions that tourism industry can make to economic growth through job creation and low cost employment.

To contribute to this cause and also to promote friendship and peace among nations, the Iran Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts, and Tourism (ICHTO) and Economic Cooperation Organization initiated the ECO-Silk Road Food Festival in 2015. Building on the first successful experience, the Event is scheduled to continue on annual basis in Zanjan. The Second International ECO-Silk Road Food Festival will be organized on 26-29 September, 2016 celebrating also the World Tourism Day 2016. This Event is the manifestation of the will and desire of the organizers to contribute to preserving and extending the ancient traditions, and to help people better understand each other through ECO as an established regional framework.

ECO Member States, namely, Islamic Republic of Iran, Afghanistan, Republic of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, as well as Members of UNWTO Silk Road Programme, namely, Bulgaria, Albania, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, China, Croatia, Republic of Korea, Georgia, Greece, Indonesia, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Romania, Russia, Spain, Syria, Ukraine and Lebanon have also been invited to the Event.

The First ECO-Silk Road Food Festival was held in Zanjan (Iran) on 31 August – 04 September 2015 in cooperation with ECO Secretariat. The Festival, hosted by Zanjan Provincial Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization, was greatly welcomed by the local and arriving tourists from other parts of the country.

The event is an excellent opportunity for ECO and Silk Road members to share their food and culinary culture with each other and with the rest of the world.

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Pakistan exports rice worth $1.860bln in FY 2015-16

ISLAMABAD, Jul 28 (APP): The country earned US$ 1.860 billion by exporting rice during financial year 2015-16 as compared to the exports of corresponding period of last year.

About 4,262,216 metric tons of rice exported during the period from July-June, 2015-16, according the data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.

However, rice export witnesses decrease of 8.60 percent during financial year 2015-16 as its export was recorded at 3,861,406 metric tons valuing US$ 2.035 billion during financial year 2014-15.

During the period under review, 503,037 metric tons of basmati rice worth US$ 455.249 million exported as compared to the export of 523.450 metric tons valuing 601.268 million of same period of last year.

Meanwhile, about 3,759,179 metric tons of rice other then basmati costing US$ 1.405 billion were exported during financial year 2015-16 as compared to the export of 3,337,956 metric tons valuing US$ 1.433 billion of financial year 2014-15.

Same time, exports of spices from the country were recorded at US$ 76.160 million during July-June (2015-16), compared to the exports of US$ 66.216 million in July-June (2014-15).

In terms of quantity, the exports increased by 8.29 percent by going up from 6,713 metric tons to 20,281 metric tons.

In June 2016, the total exports of spices were recorded at $4.551 million compared to the exports of $6.276 million in June 2015.

It may be recalled that overall food exports from the country during the FY 2016 decreased by 12.56 percent compared to FY 2015.

The food exports during the FY 16 were recorded at US$$ 3.990 billion compared to the exports of US$ 4.563 billion in FY 2015.

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Two-day international culture conference opens in Pakistan

LAHORE, July 27 (APP): A two-day international cultural conference was inaugurated here on Wednesday under the auspices of of the Punjab government, Australian High Commissioner, the Urban Unit and City and District Government, Lahore.

Speaking on the occasion, Minister for Education Rana Mashhood Ahmad Khan briefed the audience about the economic development of the country and the increasing interest among investors from the UK, Australia and Turkey among others.

Later on, president of the conference, Peter Mousaferiadis, the founder of cultural infusion Australia, highlighted the power of arts and culture in building communication, understanding and peace.

He paid tribute to the late Abdul Sattar Edhi, famous social worker and founder of Edhi Foundation.

Abdullah Khan Sumbal highlighted the tourism potential of Lahore and the security concerns that hamper the growth of the tourism industry.

Speaking on the occasion, Vibeke Jenson of UNESCO representative of Pakistan talked about the importance of cultural places in sustainable development goal agenda. She also highlighted the importance of teaching children about cultural diversity, engaging young people in protecting and transmitting the cultural heritage of Pakistan.

The session concluded with the address of Ms Margaret Adamson, the high commissioner of Australia.

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China’s Jilin province to invite Pakistan in Int’l Goods Exhibition

KARACHI, July 29 (APP): China will invite Pakistan to participate in The China-Northeast Asia Expo and the International Goods Exhibition.

The 4-day Expo will get underway on September 15 in the agriculture expo park of Changchun, the capital city of Jilin province.

Its purpose is to encourage foreign trade in Northeast Asia, promote international brands, and consumer goods and the Jilin economy, the official Chinese media has said.

The expo brings in both Chinese and overseas merchants to its 30,000-squaremeter site with 1,100 booths and five main halls, one for goods from the DPRK, Japan, Korea, Mongolia, and Russia, such as electronics, textiles, foodstuff, daily goods, special cultural items; another for goods from Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan and from abroad, such as Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Pakistan, Europe, and the US; a third is for goods from Jilin and other provinces; a fourth for electronic business service; and one for recreational and health care items. There is also an area for business talks.

To maintain standards, the expo has strict requirements for participants in hygiene, licensing, trademarks, and other documents. Chinese participants are expected to be able to handle online sales and guarantees on their products, especially foodstuff.

The organizers say that preparations are going well and that about 600 companies from Taiwan, HK, and Macao, and the ROK, DPRK, Japan, Russia, Mongolia, and Thailand have registered and will be bringing tens of thousands of products in light industry, foodstuffs, image and branding, arts and crafts, home supplies, medical instrument, and other areas.

The organizers are the China-Northeast Asia Expo secretariat, China’s Commerce Ministry foreign trade development council, the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade – Jilin branch, and the China Chamber of International Commerce – Jilin branch.

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Children music classes in full swing at Pakistan Arts Council

ISLAMABAD, July 28 (APP): The Summer Music Classes are in full swing here at Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) with an aim to explore new talent.

An official of the PNCA said that these classes would continue three days a week from Monday to Wednesday in the morning at the National Arts Gallery.

He said that six-week music classes would conclude on August 18 and children aging from 6 to 16 years are participating in the classes.

The programme is a regular feature of the PNCA aiming to provide opportunity to children to explore their talent through artistic activities during summer vacations, adding that such activities provide opportunities to them for improving their artistic skills, he mentioned.

“Music classes are covering three areas including singing, guitar and key board,” he said.

On completion of course, certificates will be distributed

among the participants. Prizes would also be given on the basis of outstanding performances, he said.

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Sufi Museum Album to be launched July 30

ISLAMABAD, Jul 24 (APP): Indus Cultural Forum (ICF) would launch Sufi Music Album `You’ at Lok Virsa, a National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage on July 30.

The Organizer of the event said that in order to support the band and the music, participants only need to buy and show the music album ‘You’ to enter the launching ceremony hall.

He said that the music album (CD) will be available on discounted price of Rs.500/- through stalls near to entry gates.

“Each group of up to 4 persons (family or friends) may buy and show one CD of the album,” he added.

Indus Cultural Forum (ICF) is a community platform of culture and arts-lovers.

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Singapore keen to invest in Tanjung Api-Api in South Sumatra

Palembang (ANTARA News) 27 Juli 2016 – Singapore’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Mohamad Maliki Osman expressed his country’s interest to expand its current industries and invest, especially in the Tanjung Api-Api area, Banyuasin, South Sumatra.

Osman said that based on the information provided by South Sumatra Governor Alex Noerdin at a meeting in Palembang on Wednesday, the Tanjung Api-Api area was an interesting investment destination.

According to Osman, matters related to investment in Tanjung Api-Api will be discussed in Singapore. Joint discussions will be held to explore investment opportunities.

He said South Sumatra has abundant natural resources and needs investors for development.

Moreover, Singapore and South Sumatra share several cultural similarities, he pointed out.

Therefore, this visit to South Sumatra was undertaken to explore investment opportunities, he remarked.

However, more importantly, the visit aims at enhancing relations that have existed so far.

The South Sumatra governor stated that Singapore was a small but advanced nation.

Therefore, Singapore offers a wide range of investment opportunities, especially in Tanjung Api-Api, he emphasized.

Through this meeting, we expect that large employers in Singapore will invest in this area, he added.

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BRI targets to collect Rp60 trillion from tax amnesty program

Bandarlampung (ANTARA News) 29 Juli 2016 – State-owned bank PT Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI) has set a target to collect funds worth Rp60 trillion from the tax amnesty program, through both bank and non-bank products.

“The target would not be achieved without the dissemination of information that the BRI is ready to offer tax amnesty services to the clients and public, both in the country and overseas,” PT BRI Director Sis Apik Wijayanto noted at an event to raise awareness on the tax amnesty program here on Thursday evening.

Banks should benefit from the tax amnesty program by attracting as much funds as possible from the rich, who have stashed their money in banks overseas, he remarked.

“We have prepared several products to attract such money. One of them is BRI Prioritas (Priority). This step offers alternative means for investment,” he revealed.

The BRI has disseminated information on its tax amnesty-related products and services across all its branches in the country.

In Lampung Province alone, 14 branches and 97 units of BRI are ready to offer tax amnesty services, he remarked.

The event was attended by 100 people, mostly businessmen from Lampung.

The Indonesian government has implemented a new tax amnesty program since July 18, as it seeks to boost tax revenues by encouraging the repatriation of funds stashed abroad.

The government will impose a two to five percent tax on assets repatriated to the country by March 2017.

These assets must be invested in Indonesia for a period of three years in funds managed by appointed banks and can be invested in several ways, including government bonds.

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Mentawai Islands offer some 400 surfing spots

Padang (ANTARA News) 30 Juli 2016 – Mentawai Islands, a chain of dozens of islands and islets off the western coast of Sumatra, offers some 400 surfing spots with some of the best waves to be found anywhere in the world.

District Head of Mentawai Islands Yudas Sabaggalet said here on Saturday that Mentawai Islands have become one of the most sought after surf destinations for the world class waves, a natural feature that holds a huge potential for its tourism industry.

“Some 23 of the 400 surfing spots have world class waves,” the district head added.

Sabaggalet also proudly said Mentawai has the second best kind of waves in the world after Hawaii.

Around 7,000 international tourists visited Mentawai Islands for surfing each year, he revealed.

The region earned around Rp583.2 billion (US$44 million) each year from its tourism sector alone.

The local administration will be setting up a special economic region to boost the economy and tourism sector in Mentawai by developing the Trans Mentawai road to provide access and connectivity to the people in the islands.

Around 80 percent area in Mentawai Island is forest, and infrastructure development has become a challenge for the local administration in its efforts to boost its tourism sector.

Meanwhile, Chair of Indonesian Tours and Travel Association of West Sumatra Ian Hanafiah suggested that local people of Mentawai should also be involved in the development of the local tourism sector.

Foreign investment is necessary, but synergy with the local human resource and society is a must, he advised.

“In 2016, West Sumatras tourism grew quite rapidly. What is required is synergy to keep it growing,” Hanafiah stressed.

The islands, which lie approximately 150km off the Sumatran coast, across the Mentawai Strait, have waves which vary in size from 2 to 15 feet.

Its broad exposure towards the vast southern Indian Ocean provides these islands with great waves all year round.

A group of indigenous people, called the Mentawai people, are still living in the islands.

The tribal people of Mentawai Islands are also known for their traditional tattoo art.

Several tribes in Mentawai are still practicing the tattoo art, a uniqueness of Mentawai special arts.

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Qatar Airways Raises Flights to Saudi Arabia

DOHA, Qatar, July 27 (NNN-QNA) – Qatar Airways has announced an increase in services to Jeddah and Medina, connecting travellers from Saudi Arabia to more than 150 worldwide destinations.

From Aug 1, Qatar Airways will double its frequencies to Jeddah, increasing from 14 flights a week to 28, between King Abdulaziz International Airport and Hamad International Airport in Doha.

From Sept 1, the airline will introduce an additional seven flights a week, to Medina’s Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz Airport, increasing its total flights into the Kingdom to 137 weekly.

“We are pleased to announce our increased services to these two cities within Saudi Arabia. By adding an extra 21 flights a week, we are giving travellers even more flexibility to explore the world through our hub, the Hamad

International Airport, in Doha,” said Qatar Airways Senior Vice President, Commercial GCC, Levant, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Africa and Indian Subcontinent, Ehab Amin.

As the official sponsor of the Jeddah-Based club, the addition of two more daily flights to Jeddah, to a total of four daily flights will also enable Al-Ahli Saudi Football Club fans, to travel to watch their favourite team play, while also

opening up a world of more than 150 destinations to customers who want to travel abroad.

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Oman Opens National Museum

MUSCAT, Oman, July 27 (NNN-ONA) – The National Museum of Oman announced that from Saturday, July 30, 2016, it will be open for visitors for four days a week (Saturday to Tuesday), till Sept 30, 2016.

Jamal bin Hassan al-Mosawi, Acting Director General of the Museum, today said, in a press conference, that the entry fees will be RO 1 (US$ 2.6) for Omanis and GCC nationals, and RO 2 (US$ 5.2) for expatriate residents and RO 5 (US$ 13) for non-residents and other tourists.

He added that, school students up to 25 year old, of all nationalities, will be exempted from entry fees, whether they visit individually or in groups. He pointed out that visiting hours will be from 9.00 am to 3.00 pm and that the tickets will be sold up to 2.30 pm only.

“The vision of the Museum is to be a leader of museum industry in the Sultanate and achieve a qualitative leap in the museum sector, in line with the best museum practices in the world,” he further said.

“The aim of the Museum is to promote public awareness and activate the sense of loyalty by Omanis, expatriates and visitors,” he noted.

The National Museum aims to preserve the components of Omani cultural heritage by supporting research and scientific and historical studies, and plans for the conservation.

The museum is 13,700 square metres in size, of which 4,000 square metres are dedicated to 14 fixed display halls, including The Land and the People, Maritime History, Arms and Armour, Civilisation in the Making, Aflaj, Currency, Timeline, Prehistory and Ancient History: Bat, Al Khutm and Al Ayn, Prehistory and Ancient History: Land of Frankincense, Prehistory and Ancient History, Splendours of Islam, Oman and the World, the Renaissance, Intangible Heritage.

The museum houses a number of firsts in Oman, including a fully equipped learning centre, state-of-the-art, preventive conservation facilities, that have been designed as per International Council of Museums Standards. It is also the first museum in the Middle East to adopt Arabic Braille script for the visually impaired, and houses the first open-plan storage concept in the region.

The number of collectables on display at the museum is 5,466 and the number of collectables in the stores is 7,117 (total collectables 12,583).

The museum has started preservation programmes for the collectables since 2010.– NNN-ONA

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Malaysia donates US$100,000 for Islamic Centre in Colombo

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka July 22 (NNN-Bernama) — Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister DrAhmad Zahid Hamidi today announced a US$100,000 (RM406,500) donation from afoundation to establish an Islamic and Malay centre in this capital of Sri Lanka.

“The centre can help more than 70,000 Muslims and Malays to gather and conduct various activities such as learning the Malay language,” he told Malaysian journalists at the end of his two-day visit to the South Asian country.

Earlier, Ahmad Zahid met representatives and members of the Sri Lankan branch of the Malay World Islamic World (DMDI) based in Melaka.

He said DMDI Sri Lanka had sought the assistance of the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) and the Malaysian Ministry of Education to teach the Malay language to the Malays in Sri Lanka.

He also said that he would discuss with DBP, Gapena (the Federal of National Writers Associations of Malaysia) and other associations on how to assist the Sri Lankan Malays, such as by sending Malay language teachers.

“They are determined to study Malay and revive the language and Malay culture. I am confident this can be done … I will also help them in a personal capacity,” he said.

Ahmad Zahid said the Malays in Sri Lanka had originated from Malaysia.

He said many of them were engaged in business and they strived to be middle-income earners who could contribute to national development and the development of the language and Islam. — NNN-BERNAMA

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Kuwait-America Foundation Marks 25th Anniversary

WASHINGTON, July 26 (NNN-KUNA) – The Kuwait-America Foundation (KAF), has marked its 25th anniversary and held a prize-giving ceremony for 50 winners of the “Do the Write Thing” Challenge Programme (DtWT).

The ceremony, held Monday evening, was attended by Kuwait’s Ambassador to the United States, Sheikh Salem Al-Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, KAF Chairman and former education minister, Hassan Al-Ibrahim, and KAF Deputy Chairman, Fawzi Al-Sultan.

The number of students taking part in the contest has been growing, this year nearly 70,000 students, from across the United States, have contributed to the event, Al-Ibrahim told KUNA.

He added that, the jury has chosen 50 students as winners of this year’s edition. In addition to the KAF’s honouring, winners will get a flight ticket to Washington, where KAF will organise meeting for the students, with congress and senate members, as well as, judges in the Supreme Court.

The “Do the Write Thing” Challenge Programme (DtWT), is a unique education programme, designed to give middle school students an outlet to communicate in classroom discussions and written form, how violence impacts their daily lives.

In addition to exposing the causes and impact of violence, students are asked to identify what they will do, to address these problems. By emphasising personal responsibility, the Challenge ultimately seeks to empower young people to reduce violence in their communities.

Recognised by educators, juvenile courts and police forces, as a valuable programme, the “Challenge” works with students in more than 30 communities.

Since its inception, it is estimated that nearly 1.6 million students have participated in the “Do the Write Thing” Challenge.

More than 675,000 of these students have accepted the “Challenge” by making a written personal commitment, not to engage in violence and by preparing writings on the causes of and solutions to youth violence. Their words have motivated thousands of adults across the country, to volunteer their services to the programme.

Meanwhile, Al-Ibrahim asked Kuwaitis, to show more support to KAF and its activities, to cement relations between Kuwaitis and the American people.

The Kuwait-America Foundation (KAF) was established in May 1991, in Washington, D.C., as a charitable organisation. Its mission, inspired by Kuwait’s liberation by Allied Coalition forces in the Gulf War, is to express gratitude for American sacrifice during the Gulf War and strengthen ties among the peoples of the two countries.

Since its beginning, KAF has acted as the catalyst for a wide range of events and programmes. However, it has particularly focused its resources on education, cultural exchange and programmes for youth and disabled persons.

All KAF events and programmes communicate the sincere desire of the people of Kuwait to have a lasting and strong relationship at a grass-root level with the United States.– NNN-KUNA

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Ras Al Hadd Fort in Sur a testimony to greatness of Omani People

Sur, July 30 (ONA) — Castles and forts in the Sultanate are an extension of the Omani civilized, cultural and military history, which date back to more than five thousand years.

The geographical location of the Sultanate and the maritime and commercial activity of its people expose it to many civilizations of that era. Those castles and forts are one of the most prominent historical and cultural monuments that stand witness to the greatness of the Omani people and they are the pride of architecture.

The forts in the Governorate of South A’Sharqiyah are one of the intangible heritage elements that have long been cherished by the governorate. They reflect the development and prosperity that were experienced by Oman at that time. This is evident in the richness and diversity of historic buildings and their content of the defensive, architectural and aesthetic elements.

Ras Al Hadd Fortress is one of the tourist and historical attractions in the Wilayat of Sur in particular and the Governorate of South A’Sharqiyah in general. It is located in the Nayabat of Ras Al Hadd about 35 kilometers away from the center of the wilayat.

The sun first rises on the Niyabat of Ras Al Hadd in the Arabian Peninsula, and it is the separation between the Sea of ​​Oman and the Arabian Sea. The fort is located on a high plateau overlooking the residential areas of the Niyabat, as well as naval locations of the ships and the entrance of Al Hajar creek that runs from the Gulf of Oman.

The fort was built during 1560 to 1590 by all tribes of the Niyabat, which took about 30 years of construction.

The fort consists of castle and two towers connected by a large wall. The base is about 3 meters in width. It is a solid foundation built of plaster and stone. When one arrives to the fort, he is faced by a large gate, which is 2.5 meters in width and 3 meters length.

In the east of Ras Al Hadd Fort, there is an open room with large seat. The room is of 3 meters in width, 6.5 meters in length and 3.5 meters in height. It was used as a waiting hall, in addition to Al Sabla room “Majlis,” which was used to settle disputes. It is of 3 meters in width, and 4.25 meters in length and 3.5 meters in height. There is also another room that was used as a temporary prison, of 3 meters in width, 5.25 meters of length and of 3.5 meters in height.

The fort also includes a castle, a last line of defense. It is of 13.25 meters in height, 13 meters in width and 16 meters in length. There is a tower that has a diameter of 7 meters. There is also an 8 meter basement, and then turns eastward and out of the borders of the eastern wall extending about 500 meters.

Saud bin Hamad al-Alawi, Director of Tourism Department in the Governorate of South A’Sharqiyah said that the Ministry of Tourism has paid most attention and care to Ras Al Hadd Fort, along with forts and other scenic spots in the governorate. The fort was renovated twice; the first was in 1989 by the Ministry of Heritage and Culture and the second time was in 2008 by the Ministry of Heritage and Culture, in coordination with the Ministry of Tourism.

He added that Ras Al Hadd Fort is one of the important tourist attractions in the Wilayat of Sur. It is opened before local and international tourists alike, to be a witness to the glorious history of Oman, and its shining present under the prosperous era of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said.

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Agriculture to be Nigeria’s ‘New Oil’

25 July 2016, Daily Trust (Abuja) – Agriculture is the “new oil” for Nigeria and the only way to get the country out of the present economic downturn, the Director General, Budget Office of the Federation, Ben Akabueze, has said.

He spoke Thursday night at the Lagos Business School Alumni Association Abuja Zonal dinner at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja.

Akabueze said there were two alternatives to oil-agriculture (as Nigeria’s best shot to improved economy) and solid minerals, where Nigeria still had a long way to go.

Explaining the opportunities in agriculture, he said over 79million hectares of the total land mass in Nigeria were arable with less than 50% already being cultivated. “Nigeria is only behind Brazil with this much arable land mass,” he said.

He said Ethiopia’s economy that was built on agriculture and had been growing on an average of 11% was a challenge to Nigeria. He said the country which had half the population of Nigeria could boast of about 45,000 extension workers while Nigeria had fewer than 10,000. As a way forward, about 100,000 Nigerians would be trained as agricultural extension workers, he said.

As an introduction, he said for the first time since 2004, Nigeria had recorded negative growth in its economy, adding that although the result for the second quarter was not yet out, Nigeria would be officially in recession, a situation which last occurred in 1994. He added that despite the negative growth in the economy, agriculture grew at about 3%.

He highlighted some of the factors that led to the present economic downturn to include a global growth slowdown which averaged 3.1%. Nigeria closed 2015 at 2.9%.

Others include the slump in oil price and insurgency. He said Nigeria was not able to take advantage of the increase in the price of oil at the global market which had risen to N42 per barrel as against the benchmark of N38 per barrel because of the drop in production from the projected 2.2 million per barrel as a result of the activities of militants in the Niger Delta.

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Emigration clearance services to opened in Chittagong

DHAKA, July 30, 2016 (BSS) – The overseas jobseekers of Chittagong region will not have to come to Dhaka for emigration clearance certificate and smart card services.

Now they will get these services in the country’s commercial capital as the Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Nurul Islam BSc will formally inaugurate the services at District Employment and Manpower Office (DEMO), Chittagong tomorrow.

“The emigration clearance and smart card services are being introduced in Chittagong, outside of capital Dhaka, for the first time. This service will lessen the sufferings of overseas jobseekers,” said Mohammad Zahirul Alam Majumder, assistant director of Chittagong DEMO.

He said the jobseekers of Chittagong region had to collect smart cards and emigration clearance certificates from principal office of Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training (BMET) in Dhaka.

Majumder said every people living in Chittagong division can apply for emigration clearance certificate and smart cards from the DEMO in Chittagong while initially this service would be provided for single visa alone.

“Introduction of these services at Chittagong DEMO will highly benefit the jobseekers living this region as their time and money of going to Dhaka will be saved,” he observed.

Talking to BSS, information officer of the ministry Jahangir Alam said the government by phases will introduce the service to all divisional cities and other districts with high population of overseas jobseekers.

The smart cards, a tag with computer chip, contain all the information furnished in the passport, a jobseeker’s fingerprints and the name, photograph and other necessary information.

With a smart card a migrant do not have to fill up embarkation form at the airport. The form will be automatically furnished when the smart card is inserted in a card reader.

The card is issued as part of emigration clearance certificate. Generally, the card is provided to a jobseeker within maximum two working days after the submission of application.

According to BMET, Chittagong is the second district in terms of exporting manpower abroad in the last decade while Comilla secured the first position.

From 2005-2015, a total of 5,41,112 jobseekers went abroad from Chittagong. Some 32,399 jobseekers including 1,411 women went overseas in last year from this port district.

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Dhaka-Sylhet improved bus services launched

DHAKA, July 30, 2016 (BSS) – Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Qauder today inaugurated Dhaka-Sylhet comfortable bus service.

“Our big challenges are to bring discipline in the transport sector and the roads and highways,” he said while speaking as the chief guest at Mohakhali bus terminal in the city.

The inaugural ceremony was also addressed, among others, by Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan, Mayor of Dhaka North City Corporation Anisul Haq and state minister for LGRD and Cooperatives M Mashiur Rahman Ranga.

Obaidul Quader said stressed on taking measure to fulfill the government’s target by coming down accident rate under 50 percent by 2020.

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Cameroon: Bangangté – Medumba Festival Ends On Thrilling Note

Governor Awa Fonka chaired the event, calling for culture to be promoted alongside solidarity and development.

Thousands of people who attended the closing of the 13th Medumba Festival in Bangangté, Nde Division of the West Region on July 23, 2016, were thrilled with charming melodies from traditional dances, especially the multi-cultural group of the Université des Montagnes, musician Chally Yankeu and others.

The Festival Village, which for one week became a melting-pot of sounds and entertainment, helped to give the event the fanfare it deserved. Six podiums were erected to accommodate Jazz bands and other music groups and musicians who took turns to thrill the public with various international musical genres. Many organisations set up stands for business and public awareness. The most outstanding were the 22 stands by traditional Chiefs from Nde Division and others from West Region that showcased their precious antiquities as a way of preserving the rich Bamileke traditions and cultural heritage.

The artefacts on display by the custodians of tradition indicated their interest in cultural revival and promotion. Presiding at the closing ceremony, the Governor of the West Region, Awa Fonka Augustine, said culture must be promoted alongside solidarity and development. He noted that only aspects that are useful in character-building, national integration, social interaction and generally accepted life style, should be practised.

The Director General of Medumba Festival, Martin Yankwa, said it was started 13 years ago by Senate President Marcel Niat Njifenji. He added that the event has since become a strong liaison for Nde development partners, taking centre stage as basis for future national integration. Trophies were handed to cultural and sports competition winners.

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Cameroon: Tourism Board – Modernising Hotels for Emergence

26 July 2016, Cameroon Tribune (Yaoundé) – Prime Minister, Head of Government Philemon Yang will today July 27, 2016 chair the 14th session of the board at the Star Building.

The National Tourism Board, set up in 1999, as an advisory body for tourism development in the country, holds its fourteenth session today July 27, 2016 in Yaounde. The deliberations to be presided at by the Prime Minister, Head of Government, Philemon Yang, will centre on the theme “Developing the hotel industry in the perspective of Cameroon’s Emergence”.

The choice of the theme could not have been any better given the present context of Cameroon’s drive towards emergence and the upcoming continental football events in 2016 and 2019. Modernising the tourism industry ahead of these two important African female and male football events coupled with country’s quest to attain emergence, is a necessary impulse.

During the 13th session of the board in December 2015, the Prime Minister, Philemon Yang who is the chair of the National Tourism Board gave instructions in view of modernising the tourism and leisure industry. The Prime Minister stressed on the intensification of dialogue between the public and private sector as well as the drawing up of a common training programme for operators to boost performance which will induce economic growth. Government’s policy on training of actors (proprietors, managers and personnel) of the tourism and leisure industry is already being implemented.

The Ministry of Tourism and Leisure has been organising a series of regional seminars for stakeholders of both public and private sector to upgrade skills and meet international standards. One of such seminars opened in Bafoussam, West Region on July 25, 2016 and will last for one week. The creation of a reference school for tourism and leisure would further consolidate government’s policy on harmonising training and boosting performance in order to spur economic growth. Thus, today’s session would examine ways of developing the hotel industry so that its pivotal role towards emergence is clearly diagnosed.

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EgyptAir flights may be rescheduled to New Valley

MENAFN – Daily News Egypt – 27/07/2016 – The Egyptian Travel Agents Association (ETAA) asked its members in New Valley governorate whether or not there is a local or external demand to visit the archaeological areas in the governorate at this time. A significant demand means that these areas can be listed in the tourism programme plan the Ministry of Tourism launched in cooperation with the Ministry of Civil Aviation for the archaeological areas in Luxor, Hurghada, and Sharm El-Sheikh.

An ETAA official said that a demand to visit archaeological areas or for safari tours in the governorate would prompt studies about organising and rescheduling EgyptAir flights to the area again, in cooperation with EgyptAir Holding Company.

The association has given the companies one week to respond with information about the tourism movement in the area.

Tourism movement to the area is very weak, especially amid the recent decline of foreign tourism movement to Egypt. The occupancy rate in Luxor and Aswan’s hotels currently does not exceed 30%, acording to the official.

However, the average rate of reservations in both cities has begun to increase, especially from September. The official said that he is expecting occupancies in Aswan’s hotels to reach more than 40% by the end of October and 50% in December.

The Ministry of Tourism has made efforts to support the area in the next period and will work on organising touristic trips to New Valley, and neighbouring Aswan and Luxor.

The hotel capacity in Upper Egypt, according to the Ministry of Tourism, totals approximately 25,000 rooms, most of which are in Luxor and Aswan. The floating hotels in Luxor and Aswan include more than 17,000 rooms.

Hotels in this area have been the worst affected over the past five years, deputy chairman of the Floating Hotels Investors Association Abd El-Rahman El-Anwar said.

El-Anwar is hoping the movement of travel to the area will start improving from October as the temperature becomes cooler, which increases the flow of the local and foreign tourism.

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IsDB signs US $4.9 million agreement to support higher education in Somalia

Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 26 July 2016 – The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) has signed $4.9 million agreement with Towfiq Welfare Trust to support higher education in Somalia.

Dr. Ahmet Tiktik, Vice President (Human Resources & Corporate Services) signed the agreement on behalf of IsDB, while Dr. Mohamed Abdi Aden, Chairman of Towfiq Welfare Trust, represented his organization.

The agreement finances the purchase of a building as a Waqf (endowment) for Kismayo University in Somalia under the umbrella of Towfiq Welfare Trust. The project will support 6000 students along with 1500 orphans who receive funding from Somali expatriates and global philanthropists for higher education. The university provides training in education, medicine, community development, economics and management.

Dr. Tiktik expressed his satisfaction with the agreement and congratulated Towfiq Welfare Trust for serving the people of Somalia. The Vice President also thanked the Awqaf Investment Division for visiting Somalia to appraise the project.

Dr. Aden noted that as peace returns to Somalia, his organization is working with other international stakeholders to support the education of both males and females, especially in the areas of health and medicine.

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Africa50 to mobilise US$1 billion for infrastructure projects

23/07/2016 – Africa50 held on 21 July 2016 its first Annual General Meeting (AGM) following its historic Constitutive General Assembly which took place in July 2015 and where twenty (20) African countries and the African Development Bank subscribed to a total of USD 830 million in its initial share capital. The AGM saw the participation of African governments and central banks with delegates discussing the progress to date and future prospects of the Fund as well as approving the audited financial statements over the first 5 months of operations from 29 July 2015 to 31 December 2015.

Speaking at the AGM, the Chairman of Africa50, Akinwumi A. Adesina thanked delegates for their continued support to date and also welcomed additional founding shareholders who came on board subsequent to the Constitutive General Assembly. Adesina presented to shareholders the many milestones reached by Africa50 in its first five months of operations together with the outlook for 2016, including a target to reach the 1 billion dollar mark within the next 6 to 9 months, and committing its first investments within a short timeframe.

Further to today’s new subscriptions to the shares of Africa50 by two (2) countries and two (2) institutional investors, Africa50 now has a total of twenty five (25) shareholders consisting of twenty two (22) African countries, the African Development Bank, and two African Central Banks (Bank Al Maghrib of Morocco, and the Central Bank of West Africa States – BCEAO). It is worth noting that the number of shareholders is expected to grow further on the back of ongoing discussion with other prospective state participants and planned discussions with institutional investors. The AGM adopted a number of resolutions among which the approval of the annual report and audited financial statements.

The AGM also welcomed the incoming Chief Executive Officer, Alain Ebobisse who takes up the role effective from the August 8th 2016. Ebobisse was previously Chief Investment Officer in the International Finance Corporation (IFC)’s Global Infrastructure and Natural Services Department and Global Head of the World Bank Group’s Global Infrastructure Project Development Fund also known as IFC InfraVentures. The Chairman paid tribute to the outgoing Acting CEO Alassane Ba who held the reins of Africa50 during its establishment and capital raising phases of the Fund.

About Africa50: Africa50 is an innovative vehicle, initially sponsored by the African Development Bank with a vision to accelerate the provision of much needed infrastructure on the African continent, by supporting the development of private projects and public-private partnerships and by mobilizing and leveraging long-term savings and resources within and outside Africa for the financing of commercially viable infrastructure projects, across Africa. Africa50 has two operating windows, Project Development and Project Finance, which are both incorporated in Casablanca, Morocco, and enjoy certain privileges and immunities. While adopting a strong private sector approach in its business operations, Africa50 is founded on the highest standards of corporate governance and ethical, financial, environmental and social responsibility. For more information please visit:www.africa50.com

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AfDB and Morocco, a model partnership for nearly half a century

22/07/2016 – The day after his arrival in the Kingdom on his first official visit as president of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina attended many high level meetings with the Moroccan authorities in Rabat on Wednesday 20 July.

He was accompanied by a delegation that included Executive Director representing Morocco, Tunisia and Togo, Abdelmajid Mellouki, Resident Representative in Morocco, Yacine Fal, AfDB Acting Vice President responsible for operations, Janvier Litse, and Vice President responsible for finance, Charles Boamah.

In addition to paying a courtesy visit to the Head of Government Abdel-Ilah Benkiran, Adesina met Mohammed Boussaïd, the Minister of Economy and Finance and AfDB governor for Morocco and also with Salaheddine Mezouar, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, who is chair of COP22, taking place this year in Marrakesh.

The meeting at the Ministry of Finance was followed by a working session attended by Minister of Agriculture and Marine Fisheries Aziz Akhannouch, Minister of Infrastructure, Transport and Logistics Aziz Rabah, and the Minister attached to the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Investment and the Digital Economy, Mamoune Bouhdoud, responsible for small businesses and the integration of the informal sector. A final working meeting was held in Rabat with director of the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (MASEN, from the French) Mustapha Bakkouri.

Adesina was keen to stress from the outset the outstanding cooperation that unites the Bank with Morocco, one of its founding members and, especially, its first client. “Morocco is one of AfDB’s best performing portfolios on the continent,” he said, taking particular pleasure in the disbursement rate of 52%. The AfDB president also hailed Morocco’s economic performance and its development strategies, on top of the importance of its role on the continent: “85% of your foreign direct investment is in Africa,” said Adesina, who also applauded the wish expressed by Morocco a few days previously to re-join the African Union. The Kingdom of Morocco is the third largest exporter in Africa, after South Africa and Egypt.

AfDB cooperation with Morocco “is not merely a financial relationship,” added the Moroccan Minister of Economy and Finance. “The AfDB contribution to Morocco goes beyond that.”

The numerous exchanges that took place in the course of this day of engagements and working meetings highlighted the convergence of views between the Bank and the Moroccan authorities, particularly around the 4 of the Bank’s High 5 priorities: “Lighting up and powering Africa”, as witnessed by the great progress Morocco has made in the last 20 years in regard to electrical connections; “Feeding Africa”, echoed in the Moroccan Green Plan, which focuses on the development of agriculture and agri-business (and thanks to which the impact of this year’s serious drought was greatly reduced); Industrializing Africa, met by Morocco’s industrial strategy; and Integrating Africa.”

On COP22, which will take place in November 2016 in Marrakesh, “you can count on the full support of the Bank”, assured Adesina (AfDB, which is already financing the extension of Marrakesh airport, is co-organizing the Africa Pavilion and working very closely with the Moroccan authorities throughout the preparations for this event “on African soil”.

“My wish is that we work together”, said Akinwumi Adesina in his address to Moroccan authorities, referring in turn to the challenges of climate change and requisite funding, the need for differentiated loan pricing for climate investments in fragile countries, agriculture and agribusiness, water and sanitation, financial integration (AfDB and ASEA have just signed, in mid-July, a memorandum of understanding that includes the Casablanca stock exchange)…

Among other pathways for enhanced collaboration, Adesina made a first concrete proposal: “To create with Morocco a private equity fund to boost investment in agriculture in Africa.” The Moroccan authorities received this warmly and promised to reflect on it.

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‘85% of Morocco’s Foreign Direct Investment is in Africa’ – AfDB

Morocco is not only in line with the African Development Bank’s High 5 priorities, the Kingdom is also “one of the Bank’s best performing portfolios on the continent,” said AfDB president Akinwumi Adesina during his first official visit to Morocco as AfDB president. He also hailed Morocco’s role on the continent: “85% of your foreign direct investment is in Africa” and applauded the wish expressed by Morocco a few days before his visit to re-join the African Union (AU).

AfDB cooperation with Morocco “is not merely a financial relationship,” added the Moroccan Minister of Economy and Finance. “The AfDB contribution to Morocco goes beyond that.”

The numerous exchanges that took place in the course of this day of engagements and working meetings highlighted the convergence of views between the Bank and the Moroccan authorities, particularly around the 4 of the Bank’s High 5 priorities: “Lighting up and powering Africa”, as witnessed by the great progress Morocco has made in the last 20 years in regard to electrical connections; “Feeding Africa”, echoed in the Moroccan Green Plan, which focuses on the development of agriculture and agri-business (and thanks to which the impact of this year’s serious drought was greatly reduced); Industrializing Africa, met by Morocco’s industrial strategy; and Integrating Africa.”

On COP22, which will take place in November 2016 in Marrakesh, “you can count on the full support of the Bank”, assured Adesina (AfDB, which is already financing the extension of Marrakesh airport, is co-organizing the Africa Pavilion and working very closely with the Moroccan authorities throughout the preparations for this event “on African soil”.

“My wish is that we work together”, said Akinwumi Adesina in his address to Moroccan authorities, referring in turn to the challenges of climate change and requisite funding, the need for differentiated loan pricing for climate investments in fragile countries, agriculture and agribusiness, water and sanitation, financial integration (AfDB and ASEA have just signed, in mid-July, amemorandum of understanding that includes the Casablanca stock exchange)…

Among other pathways for enhanced collaboration, Adesina made a first concrete proposal: “To create with Morocco a private equity fund to boost investment in agriculture in Africa.” The Moroccan authorities received this warmly and promised to reflect on it.

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Omani, Dutch unite to dominate as global logistics hubs

MENAFN – 28/07/2016 – Oman and the Netherlands are extensively exploring all available opportunities to incorporate innovation in a various range of sectors, based on recent reports.

Accordingly, the goal they ultimately aim to reach and achieve is helping push and develop the economy and more importantly to create quality jobs to numerous group of citizens.

Furthermore, both natons are certainly keeping up with the developments of the 21st century, and working very hard on infrastructure to become recognizable international logistics hubs.

“We believe that innovation is not something that you do in abstract, that is just academic exercise, but needs to be applied to business and to practical solutions,” said the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs.

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Bangladesh Bank to boost farm loans

DHAKA, July 30, 2016 (BSS)- Bangladesh Bank (BB) is set to announce agriculture loan policy tomorrow (Sunday) with an increased disbursement target for the 2016-17 financial year (FY17).

Governor Fazle Kabir will announce the farm policy at 11am at the central bank headquarters in the city, BB general manager for public relation FM Mokammel Haque told BSS.

The central bank last year rolled out the agriculture and rural credit policy for the financial year 2015-16 (FY16), setting a target of disbursing farm credit of Taka 16,400 crore.

This year the policy would be announced with a projection of over 5.0 percent rise in the loan disbursement target, a BB source said.

The policy would incorporate some new issues and strategies like introducing agents for loan disbursement, taking strategic steps to spread out rural banking, bringing farmers under the institutional financial services, encouraging production of export-substitute crops and emphasising development of fisheries and livestock.

Like previous years, the new policy would also have focus on driving agriculture growth providing farmers with necessary financial support from institutional sources.

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Bangladesh leaders urge tree plantation for clean environment

DHAKA, July 30, 2016 (BSS) – The National Tree Plantation Campaign and Tree Fair 2016 begins tomorrow with the theme ‘Tree is for livelihood, tree is for life.’

The ministry of environment and forests is holding its annual event to create awareness about plantation, protection and nurturing of trees in the country.

President M Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today issued separate messages on the eve of National Tree Plantation Campaign and Tree Fair 2016 wishing success of the event.

They called upon all to strengthen tree plantation campaign across the country.

They felicitated those who got Prime Minister’s National Award-2015 for tree plantation and Bangabandhu Award for Wildlife Conservation-2016.

In his message, President Abdul Hamid said trees are important for livelihood and maintaining environmental balance. Trees supply oxygen and play an important role in the prevention of natural calamities, he added. It is not possible to live on the earth without tree, he said and called for making the tree plantation campaign a success.

In her message, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said the importance of trees is immense in life and livelihood. Besides providing oxygen and meeting fundamental demands of mankind, trees play an extraordinary role in environmental development and poverty alleviation, she added.

The Prime Minister appreciated social forestation in the country and said it is not only contributing to economic development, but also playing a significant role to ensure a clean environment for the future generations.

She called for building a prosperous green Bangladesh through tree plantation.

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Dubai Chamber workshop weighs Kenya investment options

DUBAI, 28th July, 2016 (WAM) — The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) organised a workshop on Kenya Country Overview, at the Chamber premises on Wednesday.

Organised in cooperation with Coface Emirates Services as part of the Business Beyond Borders Series, this third workshop on risks and opportunities in Kenya follows the two successful workshops held earlier in March and June on Africa – Turn Risks Into Rewards and Trade Credit Management Solutions.

The aim behind the series, which initiated from the Chamber’s Africa Global Business Forum signature event, is to help the business community in expanding into the most promising and emerging markets of the world while stimulating joint cooperation ties between the global business communities.

Attended by Kariuki Mugwe, Consul-General of Kenya in Dubai, and Akash Kumar, Managing Director, MiDCOM Group, the workshop had larger participation by the Chamber’s members looking to enter the international markets particularly company owners and businessmen interested in reaching out to the private companies operating in Africa.

In his welcome address, Omar Khan, Director, International Offices, Dubai Chamber, stated that these workshops enlighten the Chamber’s members with crucial information including the opportunities and risks involved in entering and expanding into new African markets.

“These workshops help UAE-based investors to grasp on-the-ground, practical, and real-time information on opportunities to trade credit, success stories and major challenges as emerging markets in Africa have a higher return but also a higher risk,” he said.

Highlighting the recent trends in Dubai’s trade with Kenya, Khan informed that over the past few years Dubai-Kenya trade has increased significantly as the non-oil trade between the two sides was AED936.4m in Q1-2016, making Kenya Dubai’s 49th major trade partner as presently, there are 262 Kenyan companies registered with Dubai Chamber, he said.

The Director of Dubai Chamber International Offices further stated that the Chamber’s three African offices, which are part of the five international offices, not only provide access and information on their particular countries’ markets, but also serve as a gateway to neighbouring countries in the region.

“Also, these Business Beyond Borders workshops complement the efforts of our international offices in Africa in consolidating bilateral trade ties and economic cooperation between UAE businesses and their African counterparts,” said Khan.

In light of the international office’s crucial role in stimulating two-way trade flow between Dubai and the countries they operate in, Dubai Chamber is preparing to open its fourth African office in Kenya this year, said Khan adding that this new office will help enhance Kenya’s trade into the region through Dubai which offers excellent infrastructural, logistical and financial facilities to overseas investors looking to expand their business activities in the region.

Massimo Falcioni, CEO of Middle East Countries, Coface, said, “The ramifications of modern trade make it imperative to conduct a risk assessment for companies looking to enter a new market. Safeguarding business interests and weighing risks empower trade partners to engage with each other without hesitation, thus, fulfilling their potential. Coface is able to support companies across various sectors through trade credit management and risk information which are all vital elements in trade promotion.

“We are pleased to once again jointly organise workshops such as this with the Dubai Chamber. All these are aimed at sustaining the non-oil real GDP growth and the small and medium-sized enterprises’ export development, which are in line with one of the six pillars of the UAE Vision 2021 national agenda launched the Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum,” he said.

At the workshop, Haitham Al Khazaleh, Director of Risk and Information, Coface Emirates Services, who gave a presentation on ‘Kenya Country Overview’, said, “As is the case with many emerging economies, doing business in Africa carries risks. Nevertheless, there are solid businesses and dynamic entrepreneurs in these African nations, especially in Kenya, which have had long involvements in international trade and supported large business communities. The economic studies of Coface include country-wise risk analyses and evaluations which reveal the macro-environment of a country and the risk of defaulting by businesses based there. Through these information, we endeavour to assist companies to be more equipped in finding more viable business opportunities even outside the UAE.”

During the 3rd Africa Global Business Forum (AGBF) last November, Dubai Chamber signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Coface and the National General Insurance Company (NGI) to cooperate in supporting Chamber members in African trade and exports as well as those exporting to Africa with access to NGI trade credit insurance products while Coface will provide various value-added services that aim to assist companies entering or expanding their businesses in the continent besides organising a series of workshops and training course.

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Emirates Auction, Al Jalila Foundation pact to boost humanitarian work

DUBAI, 30th July, 2016 (WAM) – Emirates Auction, the world leading company in hosting, organising and managing public auctions of all kinds, and Al Jalila Foundation, the leading institution in support of education and research in the medical sector, signed a cooperation agreement that aims at consolidating their partnership in organising and conducting auctions dedicated to humanitarian work in line with the foundation line of activities.

The agreement reflects both sides’ efforts and anticipations in consolidating noble values and community objectives in social responsibility. The agreement is expected to activate and utilise both sides’ efforts and experiences in strengthening and expanding the culture of giving and caring among society’s individuals so it becomes more effective in developing education and fostering scientific and medical-focused research.

The agreement was signed by in Dubai by Dr. Abdulkareem Al Olama, Chief Executive Officer of Al Jalila Foundation, and Abdulla Matar Al Mannai, Executive Director of Emirates Auction, with the attendance of various directors and executives from both sides.

Cooperation between both sides will include the handing of “Guinness World Records” certificates that were received after some collectibles were sold at the charity auction that the foundation and Emirates Auction have hosted in November 2015 for bringing support to medical research.

Dr. Abdulkareem Al Olama said: “As a non-profit international leading body, the foundation exerts its efforts in elevating the level of life of individuals whom represent the pillars of any society through empowering them in education and strengthening research in medical and healthcare areas to foster treatment capabilities and qualifications in the UAE that come in line with the wise vision of Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.”

Al Olama expressed his gratitude to Emirates Auction and his confidence in its capabilities in organizing series of charity auctions urging various segments of society, individuals and institutions, to donate to possess big sets of collectibles that are put on display for the interested public who cares.

From his side, Abdulla Matar Al Mannai stressed that signing the agreement and announcing the “Guinness World Records” certificates represent a strong support from Emirates Auction to Al Jalila Foundation, which sponsors and supports healthcare research dedicated to curing various intractable diseases such as Diabetes, Obesity, Cancer and Heart that deserve the kind of support for its noble goals.

Al Mannai added: “Emirates Auction will work in coordination with Al Jalila Foundation in organizing charity auctions that will contribute in supporting humanitarian and medical work and consolidating social responsibility, in line with the directions of the UAE and its wise leadership in boosting the culture of giving, caring and supporting charity work and initiatives.”

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IFSB, AMF sign MoU to boost Islamic finance in member countries

KUALA LUMPUR, 25th July, 2016 (WAM) — The Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) and the Arab Monetary Fund (AMF) signed today in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for an initial period of three years, to establish and implement a non-exclusive framework for the cooperation and collaboration to promote programmes and initiatives that foster the development of the Islamic finance sector in the Arab region.

Jaseem Ahmed, Secretary-General of the IFSB, and Dr. Abdulrahman A. Al Hamidy, Director General and Chairman of the Board of the AMF, inked the agreement in the presence of the IFSB Assistant Secretary-General, Zahid ur Rehman Khokher.

On this occasion, Dr. Al Hamidy stressed the importance of the MoU in increasing capacity-building, promoting knowledge-sharing and supporting greater sustainable access to finance across AMF members’ countries, “Providing assistance to the development of the Islamic finance industry and supporting capacity development in the region has always been among our top priorities, and we look forward to pursuing and intensifying this effort to better tackle the needs of Arab region to building up innovative, robust and competitive financial systems at both domestic and regional levels. Our ongoing cooperation with the IFSB has always been successful and we are glad that today it’s being reinforced and strengthened.”

On his part, Ahmed said, “The IFSB welcomes the formalisation of our cooperation with the AMF. This MoU provides an excellent platform for the IFSB to engage and build relationships with its members in the Arabic speaking jurisdictions. It is an opportunity to benefit from both institutions’ expertise, especially for enhancing the outreach to member countries for awareness building, exchange of information and knowledge-sharing. Other than conducting joint workshops and training programmes to create awareness on Islamic finance and support the implementation of IFSB Standards, I also look forward to joint research with the AMF on stability and macroprudential supervision of the Islamic finance sector, as well as issues related to financial inclusion in member countries”.

In line with their strategic plans for the coming years, the established mutual cooperation aims to strengthen the AMF and the IFSB efforts to leverage their respective core competencies and comparative advantages to promote programmes and initiatives that drive ways to expand Islamic financial and banking sector, with a view to fostering financial stability and promoting increased access to Islamic financial services in the Arab countries.

More specifically, the MoU identifies areas of joint work which will include, but are not limited to, advocacy efforts and knowledge sharing to identify and disseminate sound practices in the Islamic financial services industry by organising joint awareness programmes, such as workshops, conferences and seminars; build the capacity in the Islamic financial services industry in the Arab region with a view to fostering financial stability and promoting increased access to Islamic financial services by organising a dedicated joint training courses and expanding the availability of e-learning programmes and Islamic finance database; and encourage research and promote awareness of the appropriate legal, regulatory and institutional foundations and proper risk management framework for Islamic financial institutions in particular and the Islamic finance industry in general by cooperating in the development and implementation of international standards and guidelines and providing expertise for joint technical assistance missions and policy dialogues.

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Kuwaiti folklore music performed at the Spanish-Kuwaiti festival in Marbella

MADRID, July 30 (KUNA) — Activities of the Spanish-Kuwaiti festival kicked off Friday night in Spain’s southern city of Marbella.
The three-day festival opened its doors under the slogan (Kuwaiti-Spanish Festival in Marbella). The event is held in collaboration with the Kuwaiti Foreign Ministry represented by the Embassy in Madrid with the participation of Kuwait’s National Council for Culture, Arts, and Letters (NCCAL), the municipality of Marbella, and the Spanish Ministry of Tourism.

Kuwait’s Ambassador to Spain Dr. Suleiman Al-Harbi told KUNA that the embassy’s participation aimed at highlighting Kuwaiti culture and heritage.
The Ambassador stressed that the embassy in Madrid was keen on the success of any gathering which highlighted the traditions and heritage of the State of Kuwait.

He pointed out that the diplomatic mission did not hesitate to offer all sorts of support to any activity aimed at boosting tourism between Kuwait and Spain.

Al-Harbi said the festival promoted his country as a unique global tourist destination in the Gulf region, affirming that this was in line with Kuwait’s development plan which focused on diversifying the nation’s economic resources and national income.

On her part, the Director General of Kuwait’s Future Communications Company Global (FCCG), Abrar Al-Masoud described the festival as “Kuwait’s gift to Spain,” saying it is an opportunity “to familiarize Spaniards with Kuwaiti culture.” Furthermore, she noted that the festival would feature a slew of exhibitions and activities that will go on well into midnight, particularly, the ones where visitors would get to relish on Kuwaiti and Spanish delicacies.

She also revealed that an even bigger Gulf gala was in the works for next year. The FCCG is one of sponsors of the festival.

Meanwhile, Marbella’s tourism official Miguel Luna called on residents of the city to come out for the festival, saying it was a chance for them to get acquainted with Kuwaiti culture.
The first of its kind festival, set to take place in Antonio Banderas Plaza in Puerto Banus, Marbella, opened its doors at 07:00 p.m. local-time Friday. (end).

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Kuwait launches electronic health guide for travellers

KUWAIT, July 30 (KUNA) — The Ministry of Health (MoH) has launched a comprehensive electronic health guide in Kuwait International Airport for travelers, in an effort to help globetrotters stay healthy.

The guide consists of brief informative health films put together by specialists from the MoH, which will be shown on screens all across the airport, in conjunction with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation and Kuwait Airways, said a press statement by head of the MoH’s media department Ghalia Al-Mutairi.

Moreover, the guide features advice on immunity measures against some of the most pervasive diseases encountered by travelers, in addition to information on health clinics and emergency numbers, the statement added.

The statement also urged those with chronic diseases to ensure that all precautions are in place prior to travel.

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Arab-China Cooperation Forum to convene in Beijing

ALGIERS, 27 July 2016, Algeria Press Service – Minister for Maghreb Affairs, African Union and Arab League, Abdelkader Messahel, will lead the Algerian delegation at the works of the ministerial meeting in charge of implementing and monitoring China-Africa Cooperation Forum Johannesburg Summit recommendations, planned on July 28-30 Beijing (China), said Wednesday a statement from the Foreign Ministry.

During this important meeting of evaluation Messahel will give a comprehensive presentation on Algeria vision on the development of cooperation and exchange between Africa and China, so to reinforce the development and growth dynamics in the African countries,” said the source.

On the sidelines, the Minister will have “talks with several senior Chinese officials in connection with the pursuit of political dialogue and the search for ways likely to raise bilateral cooperation and consolidate the strategic partnership between the two countries.”

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Investors sought for DZD38 billion waste recycling market in Algeria

MASCARA (Algeria), 29 July 2016 – Minister of Water Resources and Environment Abdelkader Ouali on Thursday called investors to seize the opportunity offered by the waste recycling market in Algeria, valued at 38 billion dinars.

During his inspection of a waste treatment project at the cement works Lafarge in Oggaz, Mascara (360-km west of Algiers), the minister said investments in waste recycling in Algeria may yield a significant financial benefit reaching DZD38 billion, adding that this area is still untapped.

“In addition to its contribution to the improvement of citizens’ living conditions, through the elimination of wastes, investments in environment will lead to the recycling of various materials thrown in nature, like iron, plastic, aluminium and paper, and which are expensively imported from abroad.”

Ouali praised Lafarge Group’s initiative to eliminate wastes through the furnaces of the cement works.

These operations have allowed the elimination, over the past two years, of 106 tonnes of expired medication, collected in 12 provinces.

They have been carried out in cooperation with the ministry of Environment and the Algerian national union of pharmacies and dispensaries.

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Algeria labels 19 new locally-made products to cut imports

ALGIERS, 28 July 2016, Algeria Press Service – The Managers Forum (FCE) awarded the Origin Algeria Guarantee label (OAG) to 19 new products from 10 domestic companies, an initiative to encourage domestic production and reduce the import bill, said Thursday the Employers’ Organization.

This label, called “Bassma Djazairia” (Algerian footprint) is awarded to companies which products meet quality standards set by a specification developed by the FCE in collaboration with consulting firms and independent audit.

The new companies selected by the Forum are Gipâtes, Global Food, Grands Moulins du Sud, Biscofruits, Raja Food and Bellat (food-processing industry), Slericlean and PPC Médical (pharmaceutical industry), EJC construction (building) and Woroud (cosmetics), said FCE in a communiqué.

The Forum welcomes “the interest shown by the companies to value their products by subscribing to labeling process.”

He underlined that this labeling tool “responds to a very strong need of the Algerian companies and constitutes a plus for producers who contribute to wealth and job creation.”

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New economic growth model: Revising budget policy, encouraging investment

ALGIERS, 26 July 2016, Algeria Press Service – The new economic growth model, debated and adopted by the Council of Ministers on Tuesday, is based on a revised budget policy with the improvement of ordinary taxation and the mobilization of additional financial resources, while encouraging high added-value investment.

The new model, according to the communiqué issued at the end of the Council of Ministers’ meeting, is based on a revised budget policy backed by the improvement of ordinary taxation, so that it covers, by the year 2019, operating expenditures as well as irreducible expenditures of public infrastructures.

In addition, the new budget policy is based on “significant reduction” of Treasury deficit by the year 2019 and the mobilization of additional local financial resources, like the bond issue, launched last April, and whose results show the participants’ trust in the promising prospects of the national economy, said the communiqué.

The new model aims at encouraging public investments that would boost the country’s production capacities, as well as high added-value investments in the sector of renewable energy sources, agro-industries, services, digital economy and hydrocarbon and mining downstream industries, added the Council of Ministers’ communiqué.

The new economic growth model, which was drafted by national experts, was debated at the tripartite (Government-Central Union-Employers) meeting in June and consolidated by the Government.

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Egyptian film Nawara wins Gold Lion at Arab Film Festival

ORAN (Algeria) 28 July 2016 – Egyptian Hala Khalil’s feature film Nawara has won the Gold Lion of the 9th Arab Film Festival of Oran (FIOFA), which wrapped up Wednesday evening at the open air theatre Hasni Chekroun in the country’s western capital.

The movie, whose screenplay was written by the filmmaker herself, relates the story of a woman, Nawara, which goes every day to work from her poor district to a high-class neighbourhood, taking with her concerns and dreams.

The spring of 2011 brings with it additional worries to her.

The feature film section’s Jury Award went to “Massafat mil bi hidaii,” a movie by Moroccan filmmaker Said Khellaf, while a special award was given to “Samt erraii,” by Iraki director Raad Mechtet.

Algerian Lotfi Bouchouchi snatched the Best Director Award for his film “El Bir” (The Well).

Best Actress Award went to Menna Shalabi, for Nawara, and the Best Actor Award to Lebanese Alain Saada for the Kathir Kabir.

The Best Screenplay was awarded to Joud Said, from Syria, for “Fintidhar el Kharif”.

The Grand Prix of short films was bestowed on Egyptian filmmaker Charif El Bandari, for Har Jaf Saifan (Hot and Dry in the Summer).

The Jury Award went to Algerian movie “Kindil el Bahr” (the Jellyfish), by director Damine Ounouri.

A special award went to Ghadra, a movie directed by Tunisian Djamil Ennadjar.

The Grand Prix in the documentary section was bestowed on Algerian Director Hassan Ferhani for his movie Fi Rassi Rond Point (Turnaround in my Head).

It is a coproduction between Algeria, France, Qatar, Lebanon and the Netherlands.

The documentary section’s Jury Award was given to Abaden Lam Nakoun Atfal (We have Never Been Chdildren), directed by Egyptian Mohammad Suleiman.

The movie is a co-production by Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Lebanon.

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“Beyond Bollywood”, Indian splendid culture opens Opera of Algiers season

ALGIERS, 26 July 2016, Algeria Press Service – “Beyond Bollywood”, a colorful show of authentic Indian sounds, mixing traditional and modern dance was staged Monday night at the newly inaugurated Opera of Algiers.

The show, which one can classify either as a theater play, ballet, film and musicals, is held for the first time in Algeria as part of the inaugural “season” of the Opera of Algiers.

14 others shows are scheduled in collaboration with the National Office for Culture and Information (ONCI).

“Beyond Bollywood”, designed by choreographer and director Rajeev Goswami, recounts the return of a young Indian dancer to her country of origin, India.

Shailly, portrayed by Ana Ilnu born and raised in France, travels to India to discover the culture of her homeland.

Presenting various brilliant scenes, between modern and traditional dance, 30 dancers and comedians, like Pooja Pant, Sideep Modak or Sanjay

Sharma, have thrilled the Algiers crowd, came in large numbers to discover the Indian “colorful” art.

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Malaysia’s Nasi Kandar Pelita plans 3 outlets in India

BUTTERWORTH, Malaysia July 30 (NNN-Bernama) — Pelita Samudera Sdn Bhd, owner of the Nasi Kandar Pelita restaurant chain, plans to open three more branches on a franchise basis in India next year.

Chief Operations Officer Sihabutheen Kirudu Mohammed said negotiations are ongoing over the new outlets, set to open early next year in South India.

“We have had a branch in Chennai, India since 2003 and response has been good,” he told reporters today at the company’s Hari Raya open house where it handed over hampers and cash contributions to some 1,000 poor and needy recipients.

He said the company opened a branch each in Ipoh, Perak and Seremban, Negeri Sembilan in May and June respectively, bringing its total number of branches to 30.

The chain, which began operations in 1994, employs some 1,600 workers including locals and foreigners, and has obtained halal certification from the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim), he noted.

To a question, he said business is still good despite the rise in operating costs due to rising prices of raw materials.

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Malaysian Media Practitioners Scale Mount Pulaq In Philippines

MANILA, July 29 (NNN-Bernama) — A total of 39 Malaysian media practitioners successfully scaled Mount Pulaq, in Baguio, Philippines, in a six-day expedition which began July 24.

It was the fifth expedition organised by the Pahang state Media Recreation andWelfare Club which was participated by media personnel from Pahang, Perak, Putrajaya, Terengganu and Kuala Lumpur.

Pahang Media Club president Nik Naizi Husin said the programme was also participated by personnel from the Pahang Fire and Rescue Department of Malaysia, Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Hospital (Hoshas) in Temerloh, and the Malaysian Maritime Department.

“This annual programme is held to encourage a healthy lifestyle among media practitioners.

“In fact, we also involved several other government agencies in order to further strengthen our existing ties over the years,” he said after presenting certificates to all participants here, last night.

The certificates and souvenirs were presented to the participants by the Malaysian Embassy’s Defence Attache Col Hamzah Ali.

Pahang state Fire and Rescue Department director Abdul Wahab Mat Yassin and Hoshas’ Otorhinolaryngologist Dr Eshamsol Kamar, and Kuala Kubu Baharu Fire and Rescue Academy Malaysia assistant commissioner Md Ali Ismail also participatedin the expedition to climb the 2,926-metre high peak.

The climb started from the Mount Pulaq Ranger Station at 1 pm on Tuesday, before heading up to Camp 2 for the night before the climb to the summit continued at 3.45 am the following day.

“During the night there were heavy rains and cold temperatures of up to seven degrees Celsius, but it did not prevent the participants from reaching the summit of the third highest peak in the Philippines about an hour later,” he said.

Meanwhile, Abdul Wahab said the expedition this time tested the physical and mental strength of the participants, as well as promoted good discipline,leadership, and teamwork among them.

“As a first time participant in this programme, I could feel the challenge when climbing, with the terrain and weather factors testing our endurance,” he said.

Dr Eshamsol said the programme was the best medium to strengthen inter-department ties.

“There was collaboration among teammates and we could see participants helping each other, regardless of rank and age,” he said.

Among the sponsors of the programme were the Pahang state government, the Paya Besar, Bera, Jerantut UMNO divisions, Anih Berhad, and Tenaga Nasional Berhad. — NNN-BERNAMA

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Third terminal of Jakarta Airport set to open

Jakarta (ANTARA News) 29 Juli 2016 – The third terminal of the Soekarno Hatta International Airport is to be operational in mid August.

“Terminal 3 would be verified God willing in the second week of of August to coincide with the National Day commemoration,” Transport Minister Budi Karya Sumadi said in a news conference here on Thursday.

Air Transport Director General Suprasetyo said his office is ready for the official commissioning earlier as scheduled on Sept. 9.

“But it depends on the president. We are ready if the official commission is to take place in early or in mid August,” he said.

The commissioning ceremony will include over all domestic routes of the nations flag carrier Garuda Indonesia, he said.

Corporate secretary of port operator PT Angkasa Pura II Agus Haryadi said the state company will seek to meet all standards of safety, security and services set by the regulator.

“We have discussed this matter at meetings with the transport ministry on 9 August 2016,” he said.

He said actually President Joko Widodo wanted the terminal to be operational before Idulfitry earlier this month , but it was not yet ready in safety, security and service aspects.

The ministry, therefore, announced that operation of the terminal was postponed.

Chief spokesman of the Transport Ministry Hemi Pamurahardjo linked the postponement of the operation of the terminal to a number of factor including psychological aspect.

The government did not want to take risk when it was set to bring to reality Idul Fitri days with zero accident, he said.

In addition there was political technical factor with the government set to improve its aviation reputation after sinking low marked with the ban on Indonesian airlines to fly to Europe by the European Commission in 2007.

“Currently we are endeavoring hard to pass through to Category I of FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) and ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization),” he said.

He said hard work has produced good result with ICAO giving a good value of 94.5.

“We dont want Garuda Indonesia, as the only airline which is allied to global Sky Team, has its reputation falling again only because of a mistake in the operation of the third terminal,” he said.

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Malaysia’s New Sprint Champion Smashes 18-Year 100M Record

KUCHING, Malaysia, July 28 (NNN-Bernama) — Malaysia’s wait for a new sprint champion to emerge from the ruins of athletics in the country ended when Khairul Hafiz Jantan set the Sarawak Stadium ablaze by smashing the 18-year-old national 100m record held by Watson Nyambek in an exciting final at the national games here Wednesday.

Khairul Hafiz from Melaka state became the country’s fastest man and claimed the undisputed ‘Sprint King’ title after crossing the finish line in 10.18 seconds, well ahead of his two rivals and the old record of 10.30s set by Watson at the 1998 Pre-Commonwealth Games meet.

Sarawakian Jonathan Nyepa and Badrul Hisyam Abdul Manap from Melaka crossed the finish line with identical times of 10.36s but the silver was awarded to Nyepa after a photo finish.

The 100m sprint, always the blue ribbon event of any major games, gave thousands of fans who had filled the Sarawak Stadium their ‘money’s worth’ although entrance was free.

The time set by Kahirul Hafiz was also a mere 0.01s away from the SEA (Southeast Asia) Games 100m record set by Indonesian Suryo Agung Wibowo at the 2009 Laos SEA Games but well below the 10.25s winning time in Singapore last year.

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ISESCO to hold meeting of Islamic heritage experts in Istanbul

Rabat (IINA), 28 Jul 2016 – The Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) will hold a meeting of experts in Islamic heritage, in cooperation with the OIC Research Center for Islamic History, Art and Culture (IRCICA), in the Turkish city of Istanbul on August 1-2.

The meeting will be devoted to the study of the procedures and measures for the International Seminar on the Heritage of the Islamic World, under the theme of “Risks and Protection Mechanisms”, scheduled to be organized during 2017. The meeting will also discuss the topics of this seminar and its intended objectives, as well as the venue and date of its convening.

The meeting will further discuss the seminar’s role in addressing the destruction and sabotage being suffered by the cultural heritage, in addition to promoting ways of concerted efforts to come up with the best proposals that would protect the heritage in times of crises.

Participants in the meeting will comprise six experts from Palestine, Morocco, Senegal, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Azerbaijan, as well as two experts from IRCICA.

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Malaysia to host two forums on Islamic finance, Shari’ah governance

Kuala Lumpur, (IINA) 24 Jul 2016 – The Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) and International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance (INCEIF), and the Global University of Islamic Finance in Malaysia are organizing here the ninth and tenth Executive Forums (EF) on Islamic Finance in October and November.

The IFSB-INCEIF Executive Forums aim to provide a platform for global leaders in Islamic finance to discuss selected emerging issues facing the global Islamic financial services industry, emphasizing on issues related to supervision and prudential regulation, both at national and international levels, harnessing from the experiences of a distinguished pool of global experts, academics and practitioners, CPI Financial news reported.

The 9th edition of the Executive Forum (EF) with the theme of “Promoting Sound and Effective Shari’ah Governance Practices” will be held on October 5-6 in Sasana Kijang, Kuala Lumpur.

The EF will discuss the strategic imperative of corporate and Shari’ah governance systems by bringing together experienced practitioners, banking supervisors, Shari’ah board members, and thought leaders of the Islamic financial services industry to participate in active knowledge-sharing sessions. Participants are expected to have in depth discussions on a wide array of issues related to Shari’ah governance, the growing demands of stakeholders for a robust governance framework and the roles that can be played by the board of directors, supervisors and others to strengthen this framework.

While the 10th edition of the EF with the theme of “Financial Inclusion and Islamic Finance: Aligning objectives and methodologies” will be held on November 16-17. The EF will bring together the advocates of financial inclusion from among experienced practitioners, supervisors and thought leaders as well as Islamic finance industry players.

Participants will be exposed to discussions on new methodologies and techniques in the field of microfinance, infrastructure and capability building for financial inclusion as well as the role of the regulatory and supervisory authorities in ensuring market integrity, stability and consumer protection from the financial inclusion perspective. The panel session, a key feature of this EF, will discuss the key issues and challenges in penetrating the unbanked segments of population, and the availability of infrastructures pivotal in financial inclusion development, as well as policy recommendations from supervisors and market practitioners from the banking, Takaful, Islamic Microfinance and SME sectors.

The Executive Forums are targeted for mid to senior-level management who seeks to sharpen their skills and deepen their knowledge of the industry’s driving factors, as well as broaden their cross-border perspective. They are ideal for regulators and supervisors of the Islamic financial institutions, key personnel in multilateral organizations and governmental agencies involved in policy planning and development as well as Chief Executive Officers, Board Members or senior management of the Islamic financial institutions, Shari’ah board members, auditors, lawyers, advisers, academics and researchers in Islamic finance.

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Afghan Disabled Cricket Team Achieves Championship Cup

Kabul (BNA) July 26, 2016 – Afghanistan national disabled cricket team with defeating India disabled cricket team won the championship cup of the competition late yesterday.

Farid Hotak spokesman of cricket board today told BNA correspondent, first Afghan disabled cricket team started bowling and with losing his all wickets targeted 164 runs in 20 overs, but India cricket team completed the chosen target and the match became equal.

In extra over India disabled cricket team started bowling and targeted 11 runs, which Afghan disabled cricket team easily completed the chosen target and won the championship cup of the competition.

It is mentionable that Afghan disabled cricket team had perform two other matches with India disabled cricket team as well, which had won one and lost another.

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Construction Work of Sport Stadium Begins In Samangan

Aibak City (BNA) July 26, 2016 – For the first time the construction work of a sport stadium was started in Aibak city the provincial capital of northern Samangan province yesterday.

Akhtar Mohammad Khairzada deputy of Samangan governor while laid down the stone of sport stadium told BNA, already the sportsmen of the province has faced with lack of sport grounds, so with construction of the sport stadium the problems of numerous players will be settled.

Noor Ahmad Samey mayor of Aibak city said, the sport stadium will be constructed in 6000 m2 land with a cost of AFG 11 million, which 25% of the cash distributed by Aibak municipality and 75% other will paid by city program.

Mohammad Samim an athlete with expressing pleasure regarding the construction of the sport stadium said, earlier we played football in dusty grounds and several times my friends were patient.

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Forty-Eight Development Projects Executed in Northern Baghlan

Pul-e-Khumri City (BNA), July 29, 2016 – At a cost of over AFN 80,400,000 funded by the National Solidarity Program of the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD/NSP) 48 public utility projects have been completed in the districts of Nahreen, Dand Ghori, Doshi, Pul-e-Khumri, Borka, Desalah and Talo-e-Barka of northern Baghlan province.

Eng. Nasratullah Shahidi in-charge of NSP in rural rehabilitation and development department of Baghlan said BNA, these projects comprise the construction of excavation of drinking water wells, graveling of rural road, culverts, bridges, protection walls, community centers, schools, retaining walls and hydroelectricity network.

Approximately, 7,000 families in different communities had an opportunity to gain access to basic human needs upon completion of these projects.

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Suriname to host SESRIC Training Course on ‘Tourism Statistics’

In accordance with its 2016 Annual Work Plan and within the framework of Statistical Capacity Building (StatCaB) Programme, SESRIC will organise the Training Course on ‘Tourism Statistics’ at Suriname Tourism Foundation of Republic of Suriname on 9-11 August 2016.

The Training Course will be conducted by Mr. Akhmad Tantowi, Directorate of Financial, Information Technology and Tourism Statistics of BPS-Statistics of Republic of Indonesia with the participation of relevant officials of the Suriname Tourism Foundation.

As defined in the Classification of Statistical Activities (CSA Rev. 1 – October 2009; http://goo.gl/olg3Tz); Tourism – covers statistics regarding visitor activity (such as arrivals/departures, overnight stays, expenditures, purpose of the visit, etc.) associated to different forms of tourism (inbound, domestic and outbound), tourism industries activity and infrastructure, employment and tourism satellite accounts.

The Training Course on ‘Tourism Statistics’ will include discussion activities with a focus on the following topics:

Overview of the International Recommendation on Tourism Statistics 2008 (IRTS 2008)

Inbound Tourism Statistics

Outbound Tourism Statistics

Domestic Tourism

Accommodation Statistics

Tourism Satellite Account (TSA)

Sign up for an account at OIC-StatCom Forum (http://forum.sesric.org/) to join the group discussion on the Training Course on ‘Tourism Statistics’ in Republic of Suriname available at: http://forum.sesric.org/?p=65

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Iranian film on Prophet Mohammad to be released shortly

Baku, July 29, AZERTAC – “Mohammad, Messenger of God”, the Iranian epic film directed by Majid Majidi will be demonstrated in the upcoming months. The film is said to be demonstrated in late October current year, the Anatolian News Agency informed.

The state-sponsored “Mohammad, Messenger of God”, screened by the Iranian film director, is at $30 million Iran’s most expensive movie to date.

The 171-minute movie, the first part of a planned trilogy, focuses on the Prophet’s childhood. His face will not be shown on screen.

About 40 films have been shot about the life of Islam’s Prophet so far.

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European Film Festival to be held in Baku

Baku, July 30 AZERTAC – The Seventh European Film Festival will start in Baku on November 3.

Organized by EU Delegation to Azerbaijan and EU embassies accredited in the country films of famous directors from Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden and UK will be demonstrated during the event. The European Film Festival has been organized since 2010 and serves to further build and strengthen the cultural links between the countries of the European Union and Azerbaijan, contributing to a better mutual understanding.

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Azerbaijan-China ties ‘develop’ in all areas

Baku, July 30, AZERTAC – Director of the Political Department of the Chinese Embassy to Azerbaijan Chen Xinyin has hailed the relations between the two countries. “Chinese-Azerbaijani ties are developing on all fronts,” he told “Ensuring security of the Great Silk Road” seminar, which was organized by the Confucius Institute at Azerbaijan University of Languages (AUL). He also provided an insight into China’s role in global military, political and geo-economic processes.

Azerbaijan’s former military attaché to China Nurulla Aliyev said the two countries enjoy “strong, friendly” relations. “Our countries maintain fruitful cooperation in a variety of areas, including military one. Over hundred Azerbaijani servicemen have attended different courses in China since 2004.”

Director of Confucius Institute on behalf of Azerbaijan Rafig Abbasov hailed Azerbaijani-Chinese ties as “friendly”. He stressed the necessity of expanding relations between the two countries within international and regional organizations. Emphasizing the geo-strategic role of Azerbaijan in the restoration of Silk Road, Abbasov pointed to the importance of ensuring security of the Eurasian transport corridors.

Students studying Chinese at AUL highlighted China’s defense strategy and military reforms.

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Kazakh traditional handcrafts presented at Bursa festival

Astana, 26.07.2016 – Kazakh traditional dishes and handcrafts were presented at the festival of Turkic national sports in the Turkish town of Bursa. On Keles mountain pastures, where once the founder of the Ottoman Empire Osman Gazi Khan’s set his residence, a special six-winged yurt and 16 tents have been installed. All the homes have been richly decorated in a traditional style. The Turkic nations have tried to show their culture and traditions.

Serkan Dincturk, Chairman, Research And Educational Association of Kazakhs in Turkey, said: Our people play the dombra and demonstrate the Kazakh national costumes, hats here. They hand out newspapers and magazines published by our Kazakh community. We are seeing many visitors. There is a huge interest in the exhibition. We have installed the yurt to show the Kazakh culture to all Turkic-speaking people. The festival guests have expressed interest in the history, culture, and tourism destinations of Kazakhstan. Many have appreciated the national-style goods presented at the exhibition. Silver jewelry and hats have won special admiration. Moreover, many visitors have tasted dishes of Kazakh cuisine for the first time.

Mukhammed Aidyn, Bursa Resident, said: It tastes like whipped buttermilk and has sour taste. Or so I think? I’ve heard a lot about kymyz, but this Kazakh national drink is not often found in Turkey. And today, I was lucky to try it. I liked it very much. Visitors of the festival of the national Turkic sports watched with the pleasure the competitions on the Kazakh national games. Interested guests were offered to attend master classes on horse riding and archery.

EMREBEK ARU: Our aim is to attract more people into archery and to increase their interest in the sport. And our efforts are not in vain. For example, there were only a few people engaged in it just two years ago, but now their number has exceeded a few hundred. We want to attract more people. Such festivals help to revive and promote some of the forgotten traditions and customs. The organizers are planning to hold national sports festival every year and, turn it into a popular folk festival.

Source: http://kazakh-tv.kz/en/view/culture/page167659kazakh-traditional-handcrafts-presented-at-bursa-festival

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Premiere of musical ‘We Will Rock You’ to be held in Astana

23.07.2016 – The famous musical ‘We will rock you’, based on the songs of Queen will be staged in Astana to mark Expo 2017. The premiere will be held in the Palace of Peace and Reconciliation next summer. The famous British film producer Edward Simons was invited to help arrange the project. The musical has already been staged in 15 countries, quite successfully. The best vocalists of Kazakhstan, including the first graduates of the new ‘Artist of the musical’ department of the Zhurgenov Kazakh Academy of Arts and of the National University of Arts in Astana will perform the parts in the musical.

Galym Akhmediyarov, Kazakh Deputy Minister Of Culture And Sports: Today, the musical is considered to be a specific genre, which includes the ability to be a professional actor, working in a dramatic way. We can confidently say that Kazakhstan has great creative potential, which could be represented on such a high international level.

Source: http://kazakh-tv.kz/en/view/culture/page167350

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Kazakhstan National museum plans to hold about 20 major events in 2017

11.07.2016 – National Museum of Kazakhstan prepares a rich cultural program during the EXPO-2017. According to spokesmen of the country’s largest museum complex about 30 major events are planned to be carried out next year. The Louvre and the Hermitage exhibitions will be represented in our Museum. Moreover, exhibitions from the State Pushkin Museum, the Smithson Institution, as well as the Ottoman Sultans Fund will be presented to residents and guests of the capital.

Abai Satubaldin, Deputy Director, Kazakhstan National Museum: We plan to bring the exhibition ‘Cultural monuments of the Terracota Army of Qin Shi Huang Emperor’ next year. We also show our culture abroad. We are negotiating about the organization of Gold of Saks’ exhibition in the British Museum. They initiated it themselves. It is planned to implement in the end of this year or early next year. Moreover, the issue of organization of exhibitions in the Hermitage is also working over.

Roza Abenova, Director, Center For Contemporary Arts, National Museum, said: People always want to see the local and regional art. That’s why the National Museum has prepared an exhibition ‘In search of identity’ which will exhibit paintings, cultural graphics since the 30s to the present day. Our project is to show the full-scale contemporary art of Kazakhstan.

Source: http://kazakh-tv.kz/en/view/culture/page165889

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Air Astana launches Astana & Almaty Stopover Holidays

Whether you are in transit or a visiting traveller enjoy the Jewel of the Steppes, Astana, and the City of Apples, Almaty, with an Air Astana Stopover Package* starting from $1 a night:

1 night stay in 3-4-star hotel*

Buffet breakfast

Arrival and departure airport transfer

You can also book additional nights starting from $65 and receive free seasonal tour of your choice in Almaty.

*only Air Astana passengers are eligible for the programme

*offer is available for limited number of hotels


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