Distinction in travel journalism
Is independent travel journalism important to you?
Click here to keep it independent

19 Sep, 2016

Brunei Packages Promote Grandeur of Temburong National Park

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 19 September 2016 (17 Dhul Ḥijjah 1437). Pls click on any of the headlines below to go to the story.




Penang, ranked 4th in Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Cities list for Best in Travel 2016, will host the World Tourism Conference 2016 (WTC 2016) from 17 to 19 October 2016. Listed as the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site since 2008, George Town in Penang has a unique architectural and cultural townscape ummatched anywhere in East and Southeast Asia. Among the latest attractions in Penang include: 1) The Skyway on Penang Hill, a newly-built observation deck that enhances the hilltop forest experience; 2) Entopia (formerly known as the Penang Butterfly Farm), a butterfly and dragonfly sanctuary with an indoor invertebrates discovery centre. It will become the world’s first butterfly, dragonfly and firefly sanctuary park when it is fully completed in 2018; 3) The Habitat in Penang Hill, which boasts a Nature Trail, Canopy Walk, Tree Top Walk, Red Garden, Butterfly Bank, Yellow Garden, Purple Garden, Ginger Grove and Fragrant Garden; 4) Rapid Penang CAT, a free shuttle bus service around George Town. WTC 2016 is expected to bring together world leaders in tourism, high-level policy makers, specialists and experts, academicians and media representatives. The conference is organised by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture of Malaysia, in collaboration with the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO). Registration fee is not required for those who are interested to participate. For further information http://www.wtc2016malaysia.com. Enquiries can be addressed to wtc2016@motac.gov.my.

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



The Thailand Halal Assembly, the country’s largest global event for the Thai-Muslim Community, will be held on 9-11 December 2016 at Queen Sirikit National Convention Center, Bangkok. The Assembly will include a exhibition with more than 300 booths in zone C, which is twice as big as the 2015 Assembly, seminars from world-class experts and an academic conference on various interested topics. The promotion of the Halal economy is a key component of the Royal Thai Government’s strategic direction under the 2016-20 National Economic and Social Development Plan. The country’s economic progress has advanced from an agricultural-based economy in the “Thailand 1.0 model”, to a light industry, in “Thailand 2.0 model”, and a heavy industry, in “Thailand 3.0 model”. The Halal market, which has been driven by the cooperation of business owners and the support from customers, has now reached Halal 4.0 era as well. For registration and further information, pls click here: http://thailandhalalassembly.com/index.php.

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 Receives Two More PATA Awards 2016

JAKARTA, 10 SEPT 2016 – PATA Malaysia Chapter received the Spirit of PATA Award 2016 today in recognition of its active participation in organising programmes to support the tourism industry in Malaysia. Meanwhile, the Taylor’s Student Chapter of PATA Malaysia scored the PATA

Receiving the award, the Minister of Tourism and Culture YB Dato’ Sri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz said, “This award is an acknowledgement of the hard work put in by members of PATA Malaysia Chapter. They have given their full support in ensuring Malaysia’s tourism industry continues to grow and that the industry players continue to innovate.”

PATA Malaysia Chapter has been active in conducting various educational and industry-related programmes. In 2015, it organised the PMC Fellowship Dinner held in conjunction with the PMC 35th AGM, the Travel Trade Exchange (TRAVEX) programme in Kota Kinabalu and the second Tourism Career Fair.

2016 has also been a busy year for the Chapter which started off with a Fellowship Dinner followed by a Crisis Communication Management Workshop in Kuala Lumpur, and a PATA Inter-Chapter networking session with Singapore and Thailand in Port Dickson.Forthcoming are a business networking session in Sarawak and a third Tourism Career Fair later this year.

Past PMC events of special mention are:

The PATA Hub City Forum held in Kuala Lumpur in October 2014 on the topic of ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) 2015 and its potential, opportunities and challenges.

The Tourism Career Fairs held in June 2014 and September 2015 which served as an excellent platform for the student participants to explore their capabilities and job opportunities in the tourism and hospitality industry. At the same time, it also provided a good avenue for the exhibitors from the tourism and hospitality industry to showcase their organisations and career opportunities available, as well as to attract the best talent/human capital that have the right qualifications, right competencies and the passion to be part of the tourism and hospitality industry.

Background info:

PATA Malaysia Chapter (PMC) was set up in 1975 as an extension of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) to assist in translating the global objectives of PATA into local action within Malaysia, through operating programmes and activities relevant to local communities and also avail the facilities of PATA to all chapter members. PMC has a vision to be Malaysia’s leading voice on travel and tourism within Asia-Pacific and its mission is to create value for tourism stakeholders through private and public sector collaboration and also to promote the sustainable growth of travel & tourism to, from and within Malaysia.

Since its revamp in 2012 under the leadership of Tourism Malaysia, PMC has been recognised as more relevant and effective within the tourism and hospitality sector in Malaysia. PMC currently has a total membership of 83, comprising government sectors, airlines, educational institutions, hotels, tour operators and travel agents, as well as other organisations/associations associated with the tourism and hospitality industry.

Back to top

Tourism Malaysia Launches Tourism Malaysia E-Brochure App

KUALA LUMPUR, 3 Sept 2016 – Terengganu Menteri Besar YAB Tuan Haji Ahmad Razif Abdul Rahman launched the Tourism Malaysia E-Brochure App and Beautiful Terengganu Dekat Je Holiday Packages 2017 at the Malaysian Association of Tour & Travel Agents (MATTA) Fair held in Putra World Trade Centre today.

The Tourism Malaysia E-Brochure App was developed by Tourism Malaysia to help tourists easily gain access to a range of online brochures and collaterals available online.

App users can plan and organise their trip to Malaysia based on the seven segments available in the app, i.e. packages, maps, destinations, general guide, regional guide, events and special interest activities.

The app can be downloaded for free from the Apple Store or Google Play.

Meanwhile, Tourism Malaysia has also worked with 12 travel agents and four tourism product operators in Terengganu to publish the Beautiful Terengganu Dekat Je Holiday Packages 2017 in conjunction with the Visit Terengganu Year 2017. There are 16 holiday packages to choose from, including packages for ecotourism, city tours, Islamic tourism, island holidays, edutourism, honeymoon and special interest all around Terengganu.

Each package offers various interesting activities. For example the Aqua Islamic Vacation Package is a 3 day/2 night holiday at RM329 per person for a minimum of four persons, which includes accommodation, entrance tickets to the museum and historic monuments, and eco-adventure package from Cemerung Outdoor Adventure which offers activities such as kayaking, water rafting, and mountain climbing.


A total of 90 organisations comprising 40 tourism operators, 30 hotel and resort operators, and 20 tourism product operators, are taking part in MATTA Fair 2016 under the Tourism Malaysia pavilion.

Many attractive and unique domestic tourism packages at affordable prices are being offered during the three-day event. The holiday packages can be categorised according to segments such as honeymoon, ecotourism, theme parks, islands, beaches, etc. This effort is in line with the Cuti-Cuti 1Malaysia Dekat Je campaign.

Tourism Malaysia is targeting a sale of 19,000 packages which is estimated to contribute to a sales value of RM5 million during this MATTA Fair.

In 2015, the number of domestic tourists grew by 3.3% to 62.7 million tourists from 60.7 million domestic tourists in 2014. Meanwhile, domestic tourism expenditure in 2015 was RM44.2 billion compared to RM41.4 billion in 2014, an increase of 6.9%.

For more information, please contact Ms. Laili Syahrina (Assistant Director), Information Technology Management Division at +603-88918608 or email laily@tourism.gov.my.

Back to top

Malaysia’s Jan-June 2016 Tourist Arrivals Grow 3.7%

PUTRAJAYA, 8 SEPTEMBER 2016: Malaysia’s tourism industry is indicating signs of recovery in the first half of 2016 with latest figures showing more tourists after the slowdown in 2015.

Correspondingly, tourist receipts rose by 10.7%, contributing RM37.4 billion to the country’s revenue against RM33.8 billion in 2015, which translates to an average per capita expenditure of RM2.869.6. Total receipts in shopping also recorded positive growth, with RM11.7 billion in 2016 compared to RM10 billion in 2015, an increase of 17.1%. The average length of stay of a tourist was 5.8 nights.

The top 10 tourist generating markets to Malaysia in 2016 were Singapore (6,596,452), Indonesia (1,378,699), China (992,463), Thailand (864,453), Brunei (637,369), India (359,853), South Korea (228,023), the Philippines (220,163), the United Kingdom (206,313) and Japan (198,693).

The ASEAN region continued to be the largest contributor of tourist arrivals with 75.7% share (9.87 million) of the total arrivals.

Thailand registered the highest growth of 32.1%, followed by Laos (+26.8%), Brunei (+15.2%), Indonesia (+4.9%) and Singapore (+3.2%).

Improvements in Thailand economy in the first quarter of 2016 as well as the strengthening of Baht against the dollar contributed to the growth of tourists from Thailand. Besides, the strengthening of Singapore and Brunei Dollars against Malaysian Ringgit encouraged tourists from both countries to travelto Malaysia in preparation for Ramadhan and Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

The medium-haul markets contributed 18.3% or 2.3 million tourists to Malaysia’s total arrivals.

Markets that registered positive growth included China (+32.1%), South Korea (+11.2%), Saudi Arabia (+6.9%) and Taiwan (+3.7%). Australia and New Zealand registered a decline of 22.1% and 15.1% respectively in tourist arrivals for the first six months due to the negative travel advisory against Malaysia with regards to the kidnappings in Sabah and IS activities in Malaysia. Besides, the cancellation of seven flights a week from Australia resulted in 8.5% decline of seat capacity offerings from 35,359 seats in 2015 to 32,339 seats in 2016.

Tourist arrivals from the long-haul markets reached 776,673 in 2016, constituting 6% of the total arrivals to Malaysia.

Some of the factors that influenced the arrivals trend included early effects of Brexit campaigns, travel advisories against Malaysia issued by the United States, Canada and United Kingdom with regards to the bombing incident in Puchong in June 2016 related to IS activity in Malaysia. Europeans preferred to travel domestically or to neighbouring countries due to fear of terrorist attacks as well as the weakening of the Pound Sterling for the first time in 30 years due to Brexit.

Back to top

Malaysia Airlines implements self-print baggage tags

Sepang, 16 August 2016 – Malaysia Airlines today announced the implementation of self-print baggage tag for *all its domestic and international flights to make the travel experience for customers faster and more efficient. Starting 18 August 2016, passengers on Economy Class tickets will need to print the baggage tags at check-in kiosks located around the departure level of Kuala Lumpur International Airport and self-tag their bags before proceeding to the baggage drop counter.

This move is in line with Malaysia Airlines’ strategy to leverage on technology in order to simplify and reduce the time for check in, giving customers more control over their travel experience. This is the first phase before the airline moves to introduce self-baggage drop in Quarter 4 2016. Together with its ground services handler AeroDarat Sdn. Bhd., it will continue to introduce new systems to modernize traveling and provide ease to passengers. Many global airlines around the world have implemented this service to simplify the travel experience of passengers.

With the new system, the check-in process from kiosks to baggage drop counters is expected to be significantly shorter. Passengers who check-in via web and mobile will also need to print their baggage tags at the 50 kiosks available before proceeding to the baggage drop counter. There will be instructions on the tag and standees around to educate passengers on the process. A maximum of two printed baggage tags per passenger is allowed at the kiosk.

Malaysia Airlines’ Economy Class passengers are allowed to check-in a maximum of two pieces of baggage weighing 30kg in total. Passengers are to ensure that they do not pack any dangerous goods in their check-in luggage such as lithium batteries, e-cigarettes and power banks.

For more information, customers can visit Malaysia Airlines’ website at www.malaysiaairlines.com.

Back to top

Malaysia Airports Proudly Champions Malaysia Labels

29 August 2016, KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia Airports today launched a new initiative aimed to champion Malaysian labels and entrepreneurs. The airport operator will be leveraging on its strategic role to provide Proudly Malaysian products and Malaysian talents the platform and channels to promote their offerings to an international audience.

Called #ProudlyMalaysian, the Campaign will be Malaysia Airports’ commercial division’s key focus for the long term. The Campaign was launched officially today in conjunction with the nation’s 59th Merdeka and 53rd Malaysia Day celebrations.

Malaysia Airports’ Senior General Manager, Commercial Services, Mohammad Nazli Abdul Aziz said, “Airports are often the first and last destination for visitors and Malaysians coming in and leaving the country. As the gatekeeper of these key entry and exit points, Malaysia Airports is well positioned to champion all-things Malaysia.”

“Within KLIA and klia2, we have a variety of brands and outlets that are Malaysians or Malaysian-owned. Some are established names locally and internationally. Even as we celebrate these well-known home-grown labels, let us not forget that there are also up and coming local names that deserve our attention and support. Many of them design and produce fabulous and uniquely Malaysian products. It is our objective to give these deserving Malaysian names the recognition they deserve.

“We want to come alongside these dynamic Malaysians, help to promote and nurture them so that they can go out and shout that they are proudly Malaysian and we can be proud of them because they are Malaysians,” added Nazli.

Under the #ProudlyMalaysian Campaign, Malaysia Airports will provide Malaysian entrepreneurs and social-preneurs the platform and opportunity to bring their products to market in the international setting of its airports. The airport operator will also offer enterprising Malaysians a platform for ideas and business exchange to further equip them for the challenges ahead.

Nazli added, “Going forward, we want to encourage Malaysian retailers at the airports to offer specially-packaged ‘#ProudlyMalaysian’ products at their outlets so that visitors can buy and appreciate Malaysian products with ease. We want Malaysian products to be easily identifiable and proudly displayed to heighten awareness and instill pride.”

To celebrate the launch, Malaysia Airports has also initiated an online #ProudlyMalaysian contest. Participants are encouraged to take photo at the Proudly Malaysian photo booths located at the Main Terminal Buildings of KLIA and klia2, hashtag #ProudlyMalaysian and upload via Twitter and/or Instagram with a caption in 140-characters or less — ‘#ProudlyMalaysian because …’

Participants will receive discounted e-vouchers and stand the opportunity to win customized #ProudlyMalaysian prizes. Fifty-nine (59) prizes will be given away throughout the duration of the campaign to commemorate 59 years of independence.

The celebration will also see Malaysia Airports giving away 59 cash vouchers worth RM59 each to 59 lucky visitors and Malaysians during the launch, on 31 August and on 16 September.

Malaysia Airports’ inaugural #ProudlyMalaysian Campaign will run from August 29, 2016 till September 16, 2016.

Back to top

Malaysia Halal Industry Will Complement Tourism Sector

MELAKA, Sept 16 (NNN-Bernama) — The rapid development of the halal industry in Malaysia will not only open up various opportunities but also spur the nation’s tourism industry, says Deputy Tourism and Culture Minister Mas Ermieyati Samsudin.

She said many initiatives have been taken to ensure the tourism industry took advantage of the developments occurring in the halal industry like the Halal Duty Free Outlet established by the Malaysia Inbound Tourism Association (MITA) which promotes the sale of products manufactured by halal cottage industries directly to tourists.

Malaysia has made its mark as an Islamic country with a highly reputable and certified halal industry and can supply halal products to the world’s Muslim population which stood at 2.08 billion in 2014.

The global food and non-halal halal industry is worth a whopping US$2.1 trillion, annually.

“This translates into tremendous opportunities for halal products produced by small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to make aggressive inroads into China and the Middle East,” she told reporters after officiating the ‘Go Halal Carnival! Go Domestic! here Thursday night.

Mas Ermieyati said strategic planning should be in place to ensure products manufactured by SMEs are enjoyed in target markets.

One such initiative which deserves recognition is the effort undertaken by MITA and Halal Retail Asia, which has entered into a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding with MAHIEZ Alliance Group from China, to market about 500 SME products to China and the Middle East.

In 2015, the tourism sector raked in RM67.1 billion in revenue and come 2020, it is envisaged that Malaysia would host 36 million tourist arrivals and reap RM168 billion in tourist dollars,” she said.

Back to top

Malaysia’s 108 Year Old Lingham’s Chilly Sauce Sold Worldwide

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 1 (NNN-Bernama) — To many Malaysians and even the royal households in the country as well as the United Kingdom, the authentic Lingham’s sweet and spicy chilli sauce will always have a special spot in the kitchen.

Lingham’s great recipe that use purely natural ingredients, which makes it unique and stand out from the crowd, has spiced up the world for over a century, crossing histories remarkably.

Surviving two world wars, economic downturns and a new world order, the memories of Malaysia’s homegrown brand, Lingham’s, are perhaps as thick as the throne of England.

The red and yellow color brand very close to the people’s heart, especially the old generation who are born before Merdeka (independence) witnessing Malaysia undergone a tremendous growth, prosperity, and has arguably made significant progress in race relations.

Indeed, it is an iconic brand in the country.

The story of Lingham’s business began in 1908, in the nostalgic setting of Butterworth, Penang when its founder, an Indian national, Lingham, came up with the recipe for a multi-use condiment.

A pure and genuine taste of a chilli sauce was what he dished out to delight the palates of his audience, which made up mostly by the British colonial expatriates in the state, back then.

The exquisite flavor sauce blossomed and became famous that it is regarded as one of the must-have-sauce in major local Hainanese restaurants that serves western food such as the Coliseum Cafe, Hollywood Restaurant, Senai King, Eden Restaurant, The Ship and many more.

For record, the first Kentucky Fried Chicken store opened up in Malaysia, which located at Jalan Batu Road (now Tunku Abdul Rahman), also use Lingham’s chilli sauce.

The popular sauce has ignited the taste buds of the British and was exported back to Britain. The firepower of this spicy business doesn’t stop there as it has spreaded across the region and fired up the Europeans.

Despite several change hands in the management, the humble beginning now see Lingham’s fans longing for more in over 25 countries, among others, the United Kingdom, Holland, Finland, Estonia, Norway, Sweden, Canada, the United States, New Zealand, Australia, Brunei, Singapore, India, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, and Maldives.

The first export destination was London, back in 1948 by Henry Waugh, the famous trading company during that period. Bizarrely, Lingham’s still a solid brand in the British market up till now.

Following the success in both local and foreign market, in the 70s, the then-management slowly expand Lingham’s chilli sauce to other four variations from the original Hot Sauce, namely Extra Hot, Ginger, Garlic and SriRacha.

Managing director of the current management, Lingham & Sons (M) Sdn Bhd,Yeoh Jin Beng attributed the success to the brand’s originality, quality, consistency, integrity and perseverance, which thus made the brand company/brand able to stand the test of time.

In an exclusive interview with Bernama, he said Lingham’s longevity in history that way before the competitor comes in, has somewhat strengthened its root in the country; deep and wide.

“If not because of the deep root and history that it have, I think Lingham’s wouldn’t be here today. The difference betwen the old food manufacturer and today’s, is that their thinking of sales.

“In the old days, people are thinking about how to survive. In order be able to survive, the word of integrity is there; the one that gives you the best product.

“We cook from the heart, not the pocket,” he said, explaining by moving away from the profit-oriented intention to an integrity business has helped Lingham’s deliver a great product without compromising the quality although the price of its main star – chilli, always on a swing.

General Manager, Wendy Ng Wan Loo said although competition springing up like mushrooms after the rain and create a stiff market, the increasing prices of raw materials are the biggest challenge to the company.

“Because of the legacy of the brand, we choose to stay true to the original recipe. And because we use fresh ingredients, that is a challenge for us to be able to maintain the integrity of the brand and also to manage the cost. We don’t just cut corners when time are tough,” she said.

Yeoh said although the brand has transporting more than 100 good years, the distinct taste of Lingham’s chilli sauce never ventured beyond its original recipe as its ingredients continue to be juicy red chilli peppers, vinegar, sugar and salt.

Lingham’s chilli sauce is Halal and free from genetically modified organisms, preservatives, gluten, colouring matter, artificial flavors, tomato puree and starch.

“People ask me what is Lingham’s market share? I said zero because none in the market are original or almost natural. The rest (chilli sauce manufacturers) are not really chilli sauce as they added starch and coloring. This (Lingham’s) is the real chilli sauce,” he added.

Incidentally, Yeoh said Lingham’s has received a letter from grateful British soldiers who were merely following a proud tradition of packing the product in their rations that dated back to World War II, as well as, an appreciation letter from Buckingham Palace, complimenting Lingham’s great sauce.

He noted that Lingham’s chilli sauce bottle is now embossed with the brand name, a creative way to develop sensational feeling of traditional and iconic product.

Lingham & Sons has took over the company in 2012 and ever since there were plenty marketing activities taking place that aimed at creating more awareness about Lingham’s especially among Malaysians younger generation.

The company has collaborated with advertising and branding agency, Creative Republic, for TV commercial that showed in the cinemas across Malaysia. — NNN-BERNAMA

Back to top

Malaysia’s Diversity Cause For Celebration

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 13 (NNN-Bernama) — When Sabah-born Dr Marlenny Deenerwan first set foot in Peninsular Malaysia in 1998 to pursue her higher studies at the National Academy of Arts here, she was somewhat self-conscious and was easily offended when people made fun of her strong accent.

“I was the only student there from Sabah and was often teased by my classmates. It was my accent that usually caught other people’s attention and some of them would even mimic the way I speak,” recalled Marlenny, who is of Dusun ethnicity and hails from Ranau.

Now, years later and much wiser, the 39-year-old lecturer said she has long since realised that the adage, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do” was truly relevant in a multiracial and multicultural society like Malaysia’s.

“It’s so important for us to understand one another’s culture…in fact, we should view our diversity, differences and similarities as strengths and use them as our base to forge closer ties with others,” said Marlenny, who is

attached to the Department of Drama at Universiti Malaya’s Cultural Centre.

She said more often than not, racial prejudice arose due to lack of understanding about other communities and their cultures and mores.

“Most people have the tendency to feel insecure and have negative feelings when they are amidst people of another community or race, more so when they are in a new place,” she told Bernama.


Looking back on her early days as a student in Kuala Lumpur, Marlenny said she got over her initial culture shock quickly and did not mind her friends teasing her as she knew they were only doing it in jest.

She had realised then that it was pointless for her to be overly sensitive as it could easily trigger misunderstanding between her and her new friends.

“Our sensitivities can pose a problem, especially when we find ourselves in new surroundings and are finding it hard to adjust,” she said.

On the tendency for some Malaysians to display more loyalty to their home state than to the nation on the whole, Marlenny said like the people of Sabah and Sarawak, others were also fond of their home states but she reminded them that as Malaysian citizens, they should love their country more.

More importantly, she added, all Malaysians should learn to understand and respect one another.

“Physically, Sabah and Sarawak may be separated from the peninsula and there may also be geographical, racial and cultural differences, but the truth is we are all part and parcel of 1Malaysia,” she stressed.

She added that since information technology has rendered the world more borderless, Malaysians should make full use of it to forge unity and get rid of ethnocentricity.


Universiti Malaysia Sarawak senior lecturer Asso Prof Dr Jeniri Amir, who hails from Mukah, urged Malaysians to refrain from being too parochial as it could lead to disunity among the people.

He said in a country like Malaysia, which practised a federal system of government, one certainly could not set aside the interests of the nation.

He also called for more effective strategies to be formulated at the policy level to foster unity and integration among the people of Sabah, Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia, as well as encourage people-to-people interaction at the grass-roots level.

“In other words, we have to do something to enable people from the peninsula to understand the aspirations of the people of Sabah and Sarawak, and vice versa,” he explained.

He suggested that non-governmental organisations, state authorities and associations take advantage of the low air fares offered by some airlines to organise activities and inter-state visits to promote better understanding among Malaysians.


Jeniri also reminded the public to be responsible when using social media and avoid posting comments that may trigger parochialism or anti-state or anti-peninsula sentiments as it would “derail all the national integration policies nurtured by our government for more than 50 years”.

Expressing his concern over the actions of certain people or groups bent onplaying up state sentiments, he said the people should act rationally and responsibly, and take into consideration not only the interests of their home states but that of the nation as well.

“The truth is, the people of this country live under one roof. As such, they should learn to be tolerant and strive to understand one another – this way, we can get rid of (negative) sentiments smacking of prejudice and stereotyping.

Universiti Sains Malaysia lecturer in social science studies Prof Dr Sivamurugan Pandian said Peninsular Malaysians who were either studying or working in Sabah and Sarawak should make an effort to understand the cultures of the local communities and familiarise themselves with their moral principles.

On Malaysia Day, which falls on Friday, he said it was significant as it was held in celebration of, among others, Malaysia’s diversity, which was the pillar of strength and basis of this country’s formation.

“Although it is said that Malaysia Day is celebrated more grandly by the people of Sabah and Sarawak, it’s the duty of every citizen to celebrate the occasion, in line with the government’s efforts to minimise ethnocentric attitudes.

“Malaysia Day is proof that our solidarity has enabled us to form a nation that is sovereign, independent, peaceful and prosperous,” he added.–NNN-BERNAMA

Back to top

Appreciating Diversity Helps Malaysians Foster Unity

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia Sept 14 (NNN-Bernama) — As Malaysians celebrate Malaysia Day on Sept 16, they are once again reminded of the spirit of unity of the Federation and its people.

Being a plural society, Malaysia celebrates diversity. One may be born a Malay, Chinese, Indian, Iban, Melanau, Bidayuh, Kadazandusun or others but grow up in an environment dominated by another race.

Instead of vexing or lamenting over the other group, Malaysians have learnt to appreciate them. They are ready to tolerate and learn the culture of others, and in the bigger picture contribute to national unity.

There are many Malaysians who live to tell how growing up with people from different ethnic groups has taught them to value, or even to adopt the culture and the ways of the other group without losing their own identity.


The ever smiling and easily approachable Lim Fheng Fheng, 27, is a good example of the many Malaysians who have learnt to respect diversity and foster unity.

She is a Chinese well versed in the Malay language and the Malay culture as she grew up in a Malay environment.

Born in Kampung Balai, Bachok, Kelantan state, Lim was brought up in a Chinese family that adopted the Malay culture and ways.

“Since young, I used to see my dad donning the sarong at home and eat using the hand. All of us speak in the Kelantanese dialect, apart from Mandarin and Hokkien.

“When visiting a Malay house, I learnt how to exchange greetings with them. Apart from that, we celebrate together the festivals and make use of every opportunity to get to know of each other’s ways,” said the second year MBA student at Universiti Putra Malaysia in describing how the Chinese and the Malays lived harmoniously in the village.

“As we lived in a Malay village, and interacted with the Malay neighbours, there is a strong Malay influence in every sphere of life,” she said to Bernama.

For Lim it is not just about learning the Malay culture and ways, it is about tolerating and respecting each other.


The same experience is shared by Rashidah Abu Johan, 28, whose Mandarin is fluent. She started schooling in a Chinese vernacular school at the age of six and continued there up to the secondary level.

As the only Malay student in the class, she is thankful for the friends and the teachers who helped her learn Mandarin and exposed her to the Chinese culture.

“I have no qualms in befriending the Chinese and join them in excursions, weddings and during Chinese New Year celebrations,” said the Penang born Mandarin broadcast journalist with Radio Televisyen Malaysia.

Rashidah noted that it was a two way interaction with her Chinese friends as they learnt the Malay language and culture from her.

They also learnt of my needs as a Muslim.

“For example when going out with them, being well aware of my halal requirements, they will only take me to a halal restaurant,” said the eldest of the two siblings.

Like Lim, Rashidah too concurred that learning of the others have created mutual respect and this how genuine unity can be fostered.

“When we do not understand about the other group, we feel odd with their culture and beliefs. This is how vile remarks or prejudiced views on other groups emerge.

“However, if we take the initiative to understand the others we will appreciate their uniqueness that is very much part of the identity of a nation and use the same diversity to strengthen unity,” said Rashidah.


For tour guide and dance instructor Lee Sok Yin, 29, her fascination for Indian classical dance prompted her to learn more of the Indian culture.

“I loved to watch Hindi films and their traditional dances since young, I was mesmerised by the unique dance moves.

“Moreover, I was living in an Indian dominated area and naturally I was influenced by their culture and ways,” said the Buntong, Ipoh, born lass.

She even has an Indian pet name ‘Iswari’, a name that she acquired while learning the Indian classical dance under an instructor from India.

“‘Iswari’ is a name of a goddess and means ‘someone who will be highlyrespected in the future,” she said proudly.

“Each time I attended the dance class, fellow students and the instructorwill call me ‘Iswari’,” said Lee who is also good in the Indian Henna art.

She in fact does the Henna art for brides and those who are keen to have their hands decorated with the art around her area in Ipoh.

“When my Malay or Indian friends hold wedding functions, they will request my Henna drawing services and they really like it,” she said.

For Lee, she is lucky to grow up in a plural society as there were many new things that she could learn.

“Unity and tolerance can be fostered by learning and interacting with other communities.

“Moreover, I learnt that when we get to know the culture and the ways of others, they appreciate our interest on them and this helps to deepen the bonds among us,” she added. –NNN-BERNAMA

Back to top

LEAD STORY: Brunei Packages Promote Grandeur of Temburong National Park

Media Release, Tourism Development Department Ministry Of Primary Resources And Tourism – In its continuous effort to promote Brunei Darussalam as a unique tourism destination, the Tourism Development Department under the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism has launched new eight unique and attractive 3 days 2 nights Temburong Holiday packages.

These packages were developed through a joint collaboration by the Tourism Development Department with the Temburong District Office and Temburong Tour Operators. The sale of these packages will start from 1st September 2016 and primarily targets the upcoming December school holiday period. Present to launch the ceremony was the Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism, Dato Seri Setia Awg Hj Ali bin Hj Apong.

In his speech, the Minister urged all tourism stakeholders; travel agents, airlines, accommodation providers and also local communities to step up and work together in building up Temburong and other local tourism destinations in general as a preferred holiday destination. The Ministry is very keen to make the Temburong District as a premier tourist destination in the region and in the international arena.

This is in line with the Tourism Development Department goal’s to strengthen the country’s three primary products that includes Temburong, Kampong Ayer and Bandar Seri Begawan. It is hoped that this campaign will encourage Bruneians as well as foreign tourists & visitors to go for their holiday at local destinations.

Also present at the event were Foreign Dignitaries, Permanent Secretaries, Deputy Permanent Secretaries, village heads, airline companies, travel agencies, hoteliers and the medias.

The Temburong holiday packages feature exciting accommodation options catered to honeymooners such as staying overnight at the luxurious Ulu-Ulu Resort, an exciting time at the adventurous rainforest lodge for families or enjoying a fun glamping or (glamorous camping) experience with friends along the river banks of Temburong. Holidaymakers buying these exciting packages will also get to pick unique dining experiences of tasty and delicious local food whilst enjoying the sights and sounds of the pristine tropical rainforest.

The Temburong holiday packages also include a selection of adventure activities such as kayaking, flying fox, jungle trekking and many others; as well as cultural activities such as a visit to the traditional longhouse whereby visitors will get the chance to meet and greet the ‘Tuai Rumah’ and experiencing the true hospitality of the Iban culture.

Back to top

Media Forum on Sustainable Transport in Turkmenistan

Ashgabat, Turkmenistan Jeddah (IINA) – A delegation from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) will participate in the Media Forum on Sustainable Transport, to be held in the Turkmen capital, Ashgabat, on Friday. This event comes as part of the preparations for the UN Global Conference on Sustainable Transportation, scheduled to take place in Ashgabat in November.

The conference aims to promote international dialogue and partnership for the development of stable and sustainable transport systems, and to study ways of comprehensive cooperation among all modes of transport for promoting sustainable multimodal transit corridors.

It is to be noted that the OIC has participated in a concerted and deliberate efforts to strengthen necessary transport links and logistics, in support of the establishment of an integrated transport network among the member states.

The Organization is currently implementing several key initiatives in the transport sector, including the rail line between Dakar and Port Sudan, in addition to the OIC Plan of Action for Cooperation with Central Asia and its Special Program for the Development of Africa, among others.

Back to top

Intensifying Promotion of “New Bali” Tourist Destinations

Jakarta 17 September 2016 (Antara News)- Indonesia, famous all over the world for its Bali island, is now ready to reveal its other hidden paradises to foreign as well as domestic tourists.

Trying to duplicate Bali’s tourism success, the nation is working to develop 10 new destinations located across the country.

The 10 places are Borobudur in Central Java, Mandalika on Lombok Island (West Nusa Tenggara), Labuan Bajo in Flores (East Nusa Tenggara), Bromo-Tengger-Semeru in East Java, Pulau Seribu in North Jakarta, Lake Toba in North Sumatra, Wakatobi in Southeast Sulawesi, Tanjung Lesung in Banten, Morotai in the northern region of Halmahera in the Maluku islands and Tanjung Kelayang in Belitung (Bangka Belitung).

The government has focused on developing and promoting the 10 new destinations, particularly through the “Wonderful Indonesia” promotion, to improve its tourism competitiveness globally, Tourism and Culture Minister Arief Yahya confirmed.

The various international tourism awards won by Indonesia so far has reflected the worlds recognition of countrys strength in the tourism field, he said.

The awards help promote Indonesian tourism, which is expected to lure 20 million foreign tourists and 275 million domestic tourists by 2019.

Indonesia won four PATA Gold Awards 2016 at the PATA Travel Mart (PTM) held at the Indonesian Convention Exhitibion (ICE) in Bumi Serpong Damai (BSD) in Banten Province, recently.

The four awards were respectively for the categories of marketing-primary government destination, heritage and culture, travel journalism, and travel journalism or industry business article.

The marketing-primary government destination award was given to Indonesia in recognition of the countrys success in promoting the total solar eclipse Indonesia event in March 2016 which managed to attract thousands of tourists.

Recently, Indonesia won a UN WTO (World Tourism Organization) award for the countrys achievement in developing tourism sustainable development in three districts – Pangandaran (West Java), Sleman (Yogyakarta) and West Lombok (West Nusa Tenggara).

Deputy Minister of Tourism in charge of international marketing I Gde Pitana recently revealed data showing that more than 40 percent of foreign tourists arrived in Bali.

The government believes that it is important to distribute these numbers to other regions which also have rich culture and scenic panorama.

The ten prioritized destinations will not be developed to resemble Bali as each of them has its own distinct characteristics.

“They each have their own combination of nature and culture to offer. Such diversity will make us rich in terms of attractions, culture and traditions,” Yahya said earlier.

“The uniqueness of each region can be explored,” he added.

The government hopes that tourism can account for eight percent of the nations overall GDP, generate Rp240 trillion (US$18 billion) in foreign exchange income and employ 13 million locals.

The government projects 12 million international visitor arrivals with a foreign exchange income of Rp172 trillion (US$13 billion) this year.

It also expects tourism to account for five percent of the nations GDP, and employ a total of 11.7 million locals.

Lake Toba is one of the 10 new destinations that has been given a priority in its tourism industry development.

Located in North Sumatra Province, Lake Toba area is now being developed to transform the region, often envisioned as “Monaco of Asia,” into a sustainable eco-tourism and MICE (meeting, incentive, conference, and exhibition) destination of international standard.

The government has promised funds to transform Lake Toba into a world class tourism object.

At present, the government is upgrading existing infrastructure and facilities as well as developing new ones for better connectivity, making the region more accessible.

Among the infrastructure being upgraded is Silangit Airport, which is located in Siborong-borong, North Tapanuli District, and Sibisa Airport in Toba Samosir District.

The North Sumatra administrations has provided a total of 600 ha plot of land in the Lake Toba authority zone for tourism purposes.

The government will among other things create a world-class flower garden and a botanical garden to support the Lake Toba tourism industry.

Last June, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) had signed Presidential Regulation No. 49 of 2016 on establishment of the Board of Lake Toba Tourism Area Management Authority to help expedite Lake Toba development projects.

“The Lake Toba Authority will function for 25 years, until December 31, 2041, and the period could be extended,” the regulation effective since June 13, 2016, said.

Minister Arief Yahya hoped to attract at least one million tourists to Lake Toba region by 2019.

Back to top

Dubai South to become the new address of happiness

DUBAI, 6th September, 2016 (WAM) – Master developer Dubai South, billed as the first city in the world centred around the happiness of its residents, on Tuesday unveiled its first two key real estate projects, The Villages and The Pulse at Cityscape Global, at an event at the World Trade Centre Dubai, which will conclude on 8th September.

Dubai South is an emerging 145 sq. km city situated within the emirate of Dubai that will ultimately sustain a population of one million. Launched as a Government of Dubai project in 2006, the city is mandated to embody the vision of Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum by manifesting the urban and societal themes as outlined in the Dubai Plan 2021.

One of the eight key districts of Dubai South, the Residential District is an innovative concept in urban living that aims to create a city that is based on the happiness and well-being of people. Re-imagining urban spaces Dubai South’s master-planned communities will be distinguished by their world-class design, superior build quality, and a wide range of lifestyle amenities.

Another unique aspect that makes Dubai South’s Residential District noteworthy is the fact that it addresses key concerns of residents, while providing solutions to the various issues of everyday living, such as walkability, multiple entry and exit points to avoid bottle-neck traffic congestion and ample parking.

Executive Chairman Dubai Aviation City Corporation and Dubai South Khalifa Al Safin said, “The concept behind the Residential District is rooted in the overarching societal themes of the Dubai Plan 2021 and we have aligned our strategy to converge with that of the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. At Dubai South we welcome you to the City of You, to be part of a re-invented urban ecosystem and experience, for the very first time, a city designed primarily on the happiness and well-being of its people, with the aim of providing solutions for everyday living. The time has come to Welcome Home Happiness.”

With an impressive 87 million square feet of real estate being developed at the total estimated cost of AED25 billion, the Residential District at Dubai South is the heart of an integrated dynamic city powering the emirate’s economic growth and bringing to life the fundamental goal of the Dubai Vision 2021. In close proximity to the Al Maktoum International Airport, the largest airport in the world when complete, and the future gateway to the UAE, the location of the Residential District is unique as it also adjoins the Expo 2020 Dubai site, which is expected to welcome 25 million visitors.

The pioneering residential communities, The Villages and The Pulse offer all necessary amenities from a retail centre, a sports centre and a community centre, to a school, gas station, hospital, mosque, nursery, mall and hotels, all within easy accessibility and convenient walking distances. Modern, exquisitely designed contemporary real-estate products are set amidst purpose-planned green open spaces and parks.

Acting CEO of Dubai South Ahmed Al Ansari said, “The Villages was the first residential project launched by Dubai South and is due for completion in 2018. A pedestrian-centric family-focussed community set amidst serene purpose-planned green open spaces, this master planned community offers unique real estate products such as alley-loaded townhouses and apartments catering to both the young professionals and families.”

The Pulse, as the name suggests, is a dynamic space, centred on a 70-metre wide, 6-lane boulevard. A novel integrated lifestyle concept, it brings together retail, hospitality, leisure, and all modern requirements of residents within a very urban environment.

“The Pulse is one of our exclusive mixed-use projects located in the heart of the Residential District. It will offer studio, 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments and 2 and 3 bedroom townhouses within a gated community. Plenty of parking spaces will be available dedicated for the residents and visitors. The community will also have a club house with a gymnasium, pool, children’s playground and a yoga lounge,” Al Ansari added.

The three different products being released for sale in The Villages include townhouses, residences and apartments, the products being launched at The Pulse include, The Pulse Residence, The Pulse Boulevard Apartments and The Pulse Townhouses.

A convergence of numerous factors make Dubai South a promising real estate investment. “The integrated ecosystem of Dubai South will ultimately provide more than 500,000 jobs and house one million people. All the housing developed in the residential district will ultimately support the large workforce required to deliver an amazing Expo experience. With the expansion of the passenger terminal at the Al Maktoum International Airport, and also the upcoming Expo 2020 Dubai, all roads lead to Dubai South,” Al Ansari said.

Back to top

How OIC countries fared in World Risk Report of 2016

Jeddah, 06 Sep 2016, (IINA) – The Institute for Environment and Human Security at the UN University released the World Risk Report 2016, which reveals that Qatar is the safest country on the planet.

The report, titled World Risk Report 2016: The Importance of Infrastructure, took natural disasters, relief works, and infrastructure into account. However, it did not include factors such as region stability and terrorism into account.

Out of the 171 countries in the report, Qatar was ranked as the safest place on the planet with a risk percentage of 0.08 percent as it rarely faces natural disasters.

Following in third place was Saudi Arabia with a risk percentage of 1.14 percent; Bahrain came after on 7th place with a percentage of 1.69 percent; The UAE came ninth with a 1.97 percent while Egypt got 2.29 percent and it came 14th.

Oman came 21st with 2.64 percent; Kuwait came 33rd with 3.28 percent; Kazakhstan 42nd with 3.56 percent; Libya 46th with 3.79 percent; Iraq 55th with 4.49 percent; and Jordan 57th with 4.58 percent.

Iran, Lebanon, Turkey, and Tunisia came as 61st, 63rd, 66th, and 69th, with percentages of 4.73 percent, 5.01 percent, 5.20 percent, and 5.40 percent respectively.

All the above-mentioned Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) member states had a ‘dark green’, and a ‘green’ rating, which indicates better safety levels from natural disasters. The categories are listed as dark green, green, light-red, red, and dark-red.

The following are the OIC member states that had a ‘light red’ indicator.

First was Azerbaijan which came as the 70th country on the list with a percentage of 5.40; Syria came as 73rd with a percentage of 5.69; Yemen 78th with a percentage of 5.97; Gabon came as 79th with a percentage of 6.04.

Malaysia came 86th with 6.39 percent; Turkmenistan 88th with 6.44 percent; Morocco 90th with 6.45 percent; Uganda 92nd with 6.52 percent; Tajikistan 97th with 6.72 percent; Kenya 98th with 6.77 percent; and Pakistan came as 100th with a 6.96 percent.

As for the ‘red’ indicator category, it includes Comoros, which came 108th and a 7.29 percent; Liberia, which came 116th and a 7.84 percent; Kyrgyzstan, which came 117th and a 7.86; and Mauritania, which came 118th and a 7.95.

Nigeria, Sudan, and Guinea came as 120th, 121st, and 122nd, with 7.98 percent, 7.99 percent, and an 8.20 percent. Mali came as 124th with an 8.39 percent.

Suriname, Uzbekistan, Mozambique, Cote d’Ivoire, Myanmar, Afghanistan, Albania, and Burkina Faso came from 126th through 133rd with 8.44 percent, 8.59 percent, 8.69 percent, 8.88 percent, 8.90 percent, 9.50 percent, 9.50 percent, and 9.54 percent respectively.

It is noteworthy that Myanmar is not an OIC member state; however, the OIC is keen to help Rohingya Muslims who are discriminated against in the country.

Sierra Leone came 135th with 10.21 percent, Indonesia 136th with 10.24 percent, and Burundi 137th with 10.28 percent.

This concludes countries in the ‘red’ category. The countries that fall in the dark-red are as follows.

Djibouti came 138th with 10.30 percent; Togo came 139th with 10.36 percent; Senegal came 140 with 10.38 percent; Chad came 143rd with 10.85 percent; Cameroon 144th with 10.91 percent; Niger 147th with 11.24 percent; Guyana and Benin 148th and 149th with 11.39 percent.

Guinea-Bissau had a 13.56 percent and came 157th; Brunei Darussalam had a 17.00 percent and came 165th; and lastly, Bangladesh, which had a 19.14 percent, and came 167th.

OIC member states of Somalia and the Maldives were not included in the “World Risk Report 2016: The Importance of Infrastructure”.

Matthias Garschagen, Scientific Director of the World Risk Report, said in a press release: “Sufficient and well-built infrastructure, such as high-quality power and transportation networks, can limit the impacts that natural hazards can cause both in terms of loss of life and economic damage.”

“The international community must increase investments into critical infrastructure before disaster strikes,” he added. “We currently focus too much on short-term relief after disasters, and pay too little attention to ensuring that resilient infrastructure is in place before hazards occur.”

The full UN report can be read on http://weltrisikobericht.de/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/WorldRiskReport2016.pdf

Back to top

Malaysian Olympian to compete in CIMB Classic 2016

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 15 (Bernama) — SapuraKencana Petroleum Berhad (“SapuraKencana”) will be hosting the nation’s most anticipated annual golf tournament, the SapuraKencana National Classic (“National Classic”) with an elevated stature this year.

For the first time ever, the SapuraKencana National Classic will also count towards the Professional Golf of Malaysia (“PGM”) Tour’s Order of Merit, which is the leading professional tour in Malaysia. The tournament is an opportunity for home-grown talents to enhance their standing as they compete to win the single coveted spot to play at the CIMB Classic 2016.

The National Classic, scheduled for 20-22 September 2016, will showcase nearly 100 leading Malaysian golfers and will take place at the newly accredited Tournament Players Club (“TPC”) Kuala Lumpur, Southeast Asia’s first prestigious TPC-certified golf facility.

SapuraKencana, a leading global integrated oil and gas services and solutions provider, is the title sponsor of the National Classic. SapuraKencana is also a sponsor and lead partner in the CIMB Classic 2016, the region’s richest tournament with a purse of USD7 million and PGA TOUR’s only official FedExCup event in Southeast Asia.

“The SapuraKencana National Classic 2016 has played a key role in elevating the game of golf as a sport in Malaysia, which has spurred on more home-grown talents, especially with the addition of the PGM Tour Order of Merit. In continuing to cultivate national interest in the sport, we look forward to witness our local talents as they compete amongst internationally-renowned golfers at the CIMB Classic 2016,” said Ahmad Zakiruddin Mohamed, Senior Vice President of Operations, SapuraKencana Petroleum Berhad.

Top local golfer and Olympian Gavin Green will be playing in the SapuraKencana National Classic, along with defending champion Ben Leong and 2013 champion Rashid Ismail. Leong, who won the event last year, finished T64 in his first appearance at the 2015 CIMB Classic. Ismail’s victory in 2013 qualified him for the CIMB Classic as well, where he finished T75. Green represented Malaysia in the Men’s Olympic Golf Competition during the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil.

Sanctioned by the Professional Golf Association of Malaysia (PGAM), the SapuraKencana National Classic will be held with an approximate field size of 100 players and offers a total prize purse of RM150,000. The winner will bag RM22,000, and a spot at the CIMB Classic 2016.

The CIMB Classic 2016 will return to TPC Kuala Lumpur from 20 – 23 October as the second tournament of the 2016-17 PGA TOUR schedule. Offering full FedExCup points, the CIMB Classic will feature 78 players; 60 coming from the PGA TOUR, 10 from the Asian Tour and eight sponsor’s exemptions.

Out of the eight sponsor’s exemptions, CIMB Classic accords two spots for Malaysians. The second spot will be accorded to the highest ranked Malaysian golfer on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) as of 11 October 2016. If the winner of the SapuraKencana National Classic is also the leading Malaysian in the OWGR, the second spot for the CIMB Classic will automatically go to the next top-ranked Malaysian on the OWGR.

Back to top

Indonesia Intensifies Efforts To Combat Forest Fires

JAKARTA, Indonesia Sept 13 (NNN-Bernama) — Indonesia on Monday deployed 3,500 soldiers, police and firefighters, two helicopters and one plane to combat forest fires as the number of hotspots increased to 351, Vietnam News Agency (VNA) reported.

National disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said 140 out of the total 351 hotspots were located in West Kalimantan province, with the rest across the nation.

Sutopo blamed land clearing for plantation and farming for the fires. Efforts to fight the fires have been hindered from a lack of water and long distances between water sources.

Locals also continued to burn the land after firefighters put out the fires, Sutopo said.

Last month, thick haze from fires in Sumatra Island of western Indonesia enveloped neighbouring Singapore.–NNN-BERNAMA

Back to top

Indonesia Mulls Losing Cellphone Certification For Global Brands

JAKARTA, Indonesia Sept 13 (NNN-Bernama) — Indonesia is considering scrapping its conformity certification for global cellphone brands next year in a bid to boost the country’s industry, a minister said on Tuesday.

“Hopefully starting January 2017, global brands won’t require a certification process (to launch its products in Indonesia),” China’s Xinhua news agency quoted Communications and Information Minister Rudiantara as saying here.

He said the global mobile phone brands carried out better testing process for their products compared to that of Indonesia, where the country’s tedious certification scheme can take up about a month, resulting in a long delay for the launch of any new handset.

He expected losing the certification process could expedite the launch of a fresh mobile phone in Indonesia, which is the third-largest smartphone market in the Asia-Pacific region.

“We will remain conducting investigation (into the products) in the market together with the Trade minister,” Rudiantara said, adding that the plan has already received positive feedbacks from international cellphone companies.

Mobile phone penetration in Indonesia is still low with roughly 30 per cent of its 250 million people owning cellphones.

But the country is considered one of the fastest growing markets thanks to its large number of young age population and growing income per capita. — NNN-BERNAMA

Back to top

Indonesian President Sees Maritime Sector As Key Driver Of Economy

JAKARTA, Indonesia Sept 14 (NNN-Bernama) — The maritime and fishery sector could become a key driver of the Indonesian economy, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) said, Indonesia’s Antara news agency reports.

“There is a global economic slowdown. And we want the maritime and fishery sector to become an economy driver,” the head of state said while chairing a limited cabinet meeting at his presidential office, here, Tuesday.

The maritime sector’s contribution to the GDP is less than 30 per cent, while in reality 2/3 of Indonesian area is water, according to the president. “We have a huge maritime and fishery potential that has not been utilized optimally,” he said.

He was pleased that the national fight against illegal fishing activities had shown positive results.

“The fish stock has surged, and this should be utilized for the welfare of fishermen as well to meet the domestic demand for fish consumption. It could also bring in foreign exchange from exports,” he said.

He urged the development of the fish processing, canned fish and fishery industries.

“We must make improvements. Whatever it is, it will absorb manpower,” he added.

To support these industries, relevant infrastructure and facilities must be made ready, including adequate fish supply, fishing boats, roads to harbors, electricity and land for processing industry.

Jokowi has instructed the co-ordinating minister for maritime affairs, and the maritime affairs and fisheries minister to accelerate the development of the fishery industry.

“Cut regulations that have complicated procedures and hampered investment,” he said.

The head of state also instructed the modernization of fishery industrial hubs. “We must have it in place next year at the latest. The maritime affairs and fisheries minister has promised me. I will wait until next year,” he remarked.

Among those present at the meeting were Co-ordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti, Co-ordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Darmin Nasution and Finance Minister Sri Mulyani.–NNN-BERNAMA

Back to top

Bangladesh launches upgraded intercity trains

NETRAKONA, Sept 16, 2016 (BSS)-Two intercity train services between Dhaka and Mohanganj created a unique opportunity for the passengers of Netrakona and Sunamganj districts to travel comfortably without hustle.

People of the area expressed gratefulness to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Railway Minister Mujibul Haque for introducing two intercity trains “Haor express train” and “Mohanganj express train”- between Dhaka and Netrakona and Shunamganj.

Railway sources said, the railway ministry launched the Mohanganj express train in addition to the Haor express train on Netrakona- Mohanganj route via Netrakona at the instruction of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Back to top

Iran, Bulgaria Opt For Information, News Sharing

TEHRAN, Sept 16, (NNN-IRNA) – IRNA Chief Mohammad Khoddadi and Bulgarian Deputy Foreign Minister Valentin Poriazov have in Sofia late Wednesday discussed information sharing and expansion of news cooperation.

Khoddadi said extensive and close cooperation between IRNA and Bulgarian news agency will help fill up the information vacuum and help Bulgarian and Iranian officials and nations get first hand account of tourism, economy, industry, mines, transportation, agriculture and culture.

Khoddadi said IRNA will for its part take serious steps for information, news, film and the like sharing with the Bulgarian party.

He said IRNA is ready for bilateral, regional and international cooperation with the BTA.

He added that IRNA is ready for holding photo and film exhibitions, exchange of news and information, exchange of news teams, holding educational workshops and conducting news tours.

Back to top

Kyrgyz FM Calls For Stronger Ties With Iran

TEHRAN, Sept 16, (NNN-IRNA) – Kyrgyz Foreign Minister Abdyldaev Erlan in a meeting with Iran’s Ambassador to Bishkek Ali Mojtaba Rozbahani expressed the hope that the two countries would further broaden their relations in political, economic, cultural and educational fields.

During the meeting on Wednesday, the Iranian envoy submitted his credentials to Kyrgyz foreign minister.

Rozbahani pointed to the good level relations between the two countries, and underlined the need making use of existing political and economic capacities to broaden Iran-Kyrgyzstan relations.

Back to top

Malaysia: Victims, Next-Of-Kin Of Siam-Burma Death Railway Urged To Join Symposium

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia Sept 14 (NNN-Bernama) — A non-governmental organization (NGO) which defends the fate of prisoners of war (POWs) who were forced labourers in the construction of the Siam-Burma Death Railway want more victims or their next-of-kin to come forward and share their experiences.

Death Railway Interest Group chairman P.Chandrasekaran said yesterday that the effort would help the organisation to ensure the success of its first National Symposium Commemorating Victims of the Siam-Burma Death Railway, on Friday.

“Their participation in the lecture and narrative based symposium will help to gather more information to enable the important pieces of history to be documented. As of now, there are 10 victims and next-of-kin aged between 80 to 90 attending the symposium.

“The National Archive will record the narratives and we will use the footage for documentation purposes in addition to publishing books and translating it into English to be brought to an international conference later,” he told Bernama here today.

The Japanese army had deployed thousands of POWs comprising soldiers from Britain, Australia, United States, New Zealand, and the Netherlands as well as more than 270,000 forced labourers from Asia, including Malaysians of Malay, Chinese and Indian descent to build a 415-kilometre long railway line from Nong Pladuk, Kanchanaburi, Thailand, to Thanbyuzayat, Burma, between September 1942 and Aug 1943.

Nearly 13,000 forced labourers died due to heavy workload, famine anddiseases such as cholera, malaria and diarrhea.–NNN-BERNAMA

Back to top

Bangladesh Summer Open Badminton to begin on Oct 15

DHAKA, Sept 16, 2016 (BSS) – The Summer Open (ranking) Badminton will begin on October 15 instead of October 1 as scheduled earlier at Shaheed Tajuddin Ahmed Indoor Stadium in the city. The competition will be held in two events. The events are men’s singles and doubles and women’s singles and doubles.

Interested players have been asked to send their entry by October 10 during the office hours by collecting registration form federation office room or email bbf.dhaka@gmail.com, said a press release today.

Back to top

Thai Investors Invited To Invest In Maldives

BANGKOK, Thailand Sept 15 (NNN-Bernama) — The Republic of Maldives has invited Thai business operators to invest in the island state, especially in basic infrastructure development projects, Thai News Agency (TNA) reports.

Thai Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak, who oversees economic affairs, told journalists that the Republic of Maldives’ visiting Vice President Abdulla Jihad raised the issue during his meeting with him at Bangkok’s Government House on Wednesday.

Somkid pointed out that the Republic of Maldives has been steadily growing and needs infrastructure development projects to cater for the rising number of international tourist arrivals.

Somkid said the Republic of Maldives wants foreign investment projects, especially those from Thailand, which has potential in the development of basic infrastructure, hospitals, shopping and other modern facilities.

According to the Thai deputy prime minister, the Maldivian vice president asked the Thai government to support Thai private business operators to expand their investment in his island state. — NNN-BERNAMA

Back to top

SESRIC Training Course on ‘International Trade Statistics’ in Brunei

Date : 20-22 September 2016 Venue : Bandar Seri Begawan Brunei

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 ‘International Trade Statistics’ at Department of Economic Planning and Development (JPKE) of Brunei Darussalam on 20-22 September 2016.

The Training Course will be conducted by Ms. Tan Bee Bee, Director of External Trade Statistics Division of Department of Statistics (DOS) of Malaysia with the participation of relevant officials of the JPKE.

As defined in the Classification of Statistical Activities (CSA Rev. 1 – October 2009; http://goo.gl/olg3Tz); International trade – covers topics like trade in goods and services, external positions and debt, foreign direct investment, foreign affiliated trade, tariffs, market access, foreign aid, development assistance, resource flows to developing countries.

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

(+) Introduction to International Merchandise Trade Statistics (IMTS) 2010

(+) Scope and Time Recording, Trade System

(+) Commodity Classifications, Valuation, and Quantity Measurement

(+) Partner Country, Mode of Transport, and Data Compilation Strategies

(+) Data Quality and Metadata, Dissemination

(+) Compilation of IMTS: Malaysia Experience

Sign up for an account at OIC-StatCom Forum (http://forum.sesric.org/) to join the group discussion on the Training Course on ‘International Trade Statistics’ in Brunei Darussalam available at: http://forum.sesric.org/?p=71

Back to top

SESRIC Training Workshop on ‘Liquidity Management for Islamic Banks’ in Malaysia

Date : 19-23 September 2016 Venue : Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

SESRIC will organise the Training Workshop on “Liquidity Management for Islamic Banks” in Malaysia in collaboration with the Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), Central Bank of Malaysia, at the premises of BNM in Kuala Lumpur on 19-23 September 2016. Officials from central banks or regulatory agencies involved in supervising or developing regulatory framework for Islamic banks are the main target audience of the programme.

The Training Workshop will be a blend of presentations, case studies and group exercises, and cover the following topics:

(+) Overview of Islamic liquidity management.

(+) Factors to consider in developing liquidity management infrastructure and money market for Islamic banking industry.

(+) Approaches and key considerations for the assessment of liquidity management in Islamic banks.

(+) Liquidity management, issues and challenges for Islamic banking.

(+) How regulatory requirements affect liquidity management in Islamic banks.

At the end of the programme, participants will be able to demonstrate understanding of key considerations and challenges in managing liquidity for Islamic banks, and identify key liquidity instrument structure, legal and documentation considerations in developing Islamic finance money market.

Back to top

Afghan Under 14-Year-Old Footballers Beat Indian Team

Kabul (BNA) September 16, 2016 – Afghanistan under 14-year-old national football team in his second match in Supertu competitions beat Indian, Chartizger under-14-year-old football team today.

According to BNA report, the competitions held in India and Afghan under 14-year-old football team defeated Chartizger football team 3-0.

Afghan under 14-year-old football team in his first match in the tournament could to win Sri Lanka under 14-year-old football team 22-0.

Afghanistan football federation officials claimed that Afghan under 14-year-old national football team with well preparedness participate in the competitions.

It is supposed that Afghan under 14-year-old football team in his third match to face with Indian, Panjab football team.

Back to top

S. Korea to boost use of Kazakhstan as transport hub

10.09.2016 – The South Korean government is encouraging its businessmen to ship goods to Europe through the territory of Kazakhstan. The authorities are ready to provide special discounts and benefits to exporters and logistics companies as part of the stimulating measures. This was announced by the spokesperson of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport of South Korea during the workshop. The forum brought together representatives of over 100 companies including not only the shippers but also producers. Their goal is to export South Korean products to Europe by the safest and fast routes.

Zhu Hyun Jeong, Head Of Logistics Policy Department, Ministry Of Land, Infrastructure And Transport Of South Korea, said: Our country is currently implementing the plan of President Park Geun-hye, which is called the Eurasian Initiative. The essence of the policy is the development and use of the Eurasia Logistics network. Therefore, we are creating all the necessary conditions for the implementation of this idea. We consider the railways as an alternative to sea routes. We are currently receiving applications from South Korean companies that want to ship goods through Kazakhstan. We will provide a 50% discount on consulting services to all these companies.

Over 97% of goods from South Korea are sent via sea routes. Now exporters have the opportunity to use the multi-modal transportation, when goods are delivered by different modes of transport. Kazakhstan’s railway company is ready to provide these services to local businessmen. According to experts, this kind of transportation is the most profitable for shippers today.

Aliya Akhmetova, Director, Department Of Integrated And Foreign Policy, Jsc Nc Kazakhstan Temir Zholy’ said: Kazakhstan’s transit potential is nearly 1.6 million containers per year today. The route through the territory of Kazakhstan is three days faster on average with a relatively equal value on alternative routes. “Kazakhstan Temir Zholy” takes all the necessary measures to improve the quality of services, to create competitive tariff conditions and reduce administrative barriers including the customs clearance of goods.

Back to top

40 countries participating in Iran Pharma Exhibition

Tehran, Sept 14, IRNA – Some 90 pharmaceutical companies from 40 countries and 300 Iranian companies are taking part in the Second International Pharmaceutical and Related Industries (Iran Pharma) Exhibition.

Head of the Iranian Human Pharmaceutical Industry Owners Syndicate Abbas Kebriaei-Zadeh told the inaugural ceremony on Wednesday that activities of Iran’s pharmaceutical industry in years of sanctions indicated that they could not damage local production and the country was able to meet its needs even under difficult conditions.

He further noted that the exhibition provides an opportunity to introduce pharmaceutical capabilities of the country to the world.

 It also serves as a chance for introducing educational atmospheres as 13 workshops on developing technology, promoting quality of medicines and innovation in the field will be organized on the sidelines of the ongoing exhibition.

Despite pressures and sanctions, over 97 percent of local needs are produced domestically, he said.

The Second International Pharmaceutical and Related Industries (Iran Farma) Exhibition attended by 400 companies including 90 from foreign countries opened today and will continue until September 16.

Back to top

Austrian companies ready for investment in Iranian economic sector

Kish, Hormuzgan Prov., Sept 15, IRNA – The Commercial Counselor at the Austrian Embassy in Tehran Georg Weingartner says Austrian companies are eager to invest and have economic activity in Iran and Kish Island.

Weingartner, who is on a visit to Kish Island along with a delegation from the Commercial Section of Austrian Embassy, told the investment director of Kish Free Trade Zone Organization Hamid-Reza Shirzad that Kish Island is the most distinguished hub of investment of Iran in international level.

He said Kish Island is an exceptional tourist resort and many Austrian companies are interested to get aware of the capacities of the region and different grounds for investment in the Island.
 He noted that visit of Austrian president to Iran in 2015 and presence of the representative offices of more than 200 Austrian companies in Iran encourage Austrian investors to be present in Iran’s extensive market.

We are interested in investment in Kish Island in hospital equipment, petrochemical sector, industrial machinery and tourism,’ he added. 
He hoped that following sanctions lift, problems with banking transfer will be removed completely and conditions will be prepared for banking activities in Iranian free zones, especially Kish Island.

Halal tourism has provided a good opportunity for attraction of foreign investment, he added.

Back to top

Pakistan’s Azadi Train resumes its journey

HARIPUR, Sep 15 (APP): Special Azadi Train on Thursday resumed its journey to remaining parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

A large number of people including students and Railways officials warmly welcomed Azadi Train here at Taxila and Haripur Railway Stations.

The historical galleries was also opened for the vistors. The visitors took keen interest in the cultural floats and six galleries of Azadi Train. The Railway stations were beautifully decorated.

Officer Incharge Azadi Train Muhammad Ali Chachar told APP that Azadi Train also visit Haveelian and later, return to Rawalpindi for night stay. The train will depart for Wazirabad and Sialkot on September 16.

The visitors highly appreciated Pakistan Railways for initiating Azadi Train project, saying that our youth need to know the history and culture of the country.

Back to top

Indonesia recommends Blue Economy concept for Indian Ocean Summit

Yogyakarta (ANTARA News) 16 September 2016 – The concept of a Blue Economy development will be highly recommended and discussed at the Indian Ocean Rim Association’s (IORA’s) meeting in March 2017, a Foreign Ministry official said.

The Chief of the Policy Assessment and Development at the Foreign Ministry Siswo Pramono made these remarks after the conclusion of IORA, which has come up with 11-point recommendations called the “Yogyakarta Message.”

“The concept of the Blue Economy development is the most recommended issue as IORA member states have marine territory, which must be optimized,” he said.

The “Yogyakarta Message” states that the priority of the Blue Economys development that each IORA member state must pursue in a comprehensive and sustainable way is not only limited to fisheries, but also to farming, marine biotechnology, marine industry, energy, marine tourism and sea transportation.

Siswo said almost all IORA member states have experience in applying the concept of the Blue Economy. Through the concept, marine resource potential, including that of fisheries and energy, must be used in a sustainable way.

IORA member states can share experiences, strategic advantage and fisheries management, he said.

“I believe all countries in the Indian Ocean have the experience, but they need to work together to optimize it,” Siswo stated.

He said high seas in the Indian Ocean have abundant resource potential to support the economy of each IORA member state. Therefore, through the concept, IORA member states can hopefully manage them together.

“The Indian Ocean is not a coast, but is a high sea so they must manage it together,” he said.

Founded in March 1997, IORA is made up of 21 littoral states bordering the Indian Ocean. They are Australia, South Africa, Bangladesh, Comoros, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Seychelles, Singapore, Tanzania, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, and Somalia.(*)

Back to top

Brunei creating an environment for business to flourish

September 16, 2016 – BRUNEI will continue to create an environment for businesses to flourish by improving access to financing, markets, industrial space and development programmes, as well as improving policy directions, regulations and processes, while also creating a culture where small and medium enterprises (SMEs) can grow.

This was said by Dato Paduka Awang Haji Mohamad Roselan bin Haji Mohamad Daud, Acting Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office while speaking as the guest of honour at the opening ceremony of the India Investrade 2016 event yesterday at the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Berakas.

“Brunei Darussalam has entered into a new phase of growth and development,” he said. “We have reformed the way of doing business by taking initiatives to ensure that the business ecosystem and environment is conducive and simplified for start-ups and investors, both for our local and international investors.

“We continue to work towards further improvement in our Ease of Doing Business ranking,” he said. “In prior years, we were ranked in the 100s, but as of last year, we have improved to the 84th place.

“We will also continue to create an environment for them to flourish by improving their access to financing, access to wider markets, access to industrial space and access to effective development programmes to enhance their capacity, capability and competency.

Dato Paduka Awang Haji Mohamad Roselan bin Haji Mohamad Daud, Acting Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office, delivering his remarks. PHOTOS AZROL AZMI

“We will continue to improve our policy directions, regulations and processes to ensure that we remain relevant and appropriate to address their needs and the needs of the markets,” he continued. “Above all, we will continue to create a culture where our SMEs can grow and thrive with true entrepreneurial spirit and leadership.

“We will strive to improve on our ranking in the coming years in order to provide an easier and more conducive business environment for all our local businesses as well as overseas investors.

“One of the steps we have taken in streamlining processes is by cutting down red tapes and bureaucracies,” he said. “Business registration can be done online and businesses can be set up within a time frame of only 24 hours.”

He mentioned the establishment of DARE (Darussalam Enterprise) to promote and monitor the progress of SMEs, noting that DARE has programmes to encourage and boost local SMEs.

He also noted the establishment of the Business Support Centre, where businesses can seek assistance or attain information. All approval processes are centralised at this one stop centre to cut down processing time significantly.

“Through these improvements, our aim is to increase and strengthen our private sector in the local economy and to attract more foreign investors to invest in Brunei Darussalam.”

He noted that His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam in a New Year titah in January 2016 unveiled crucial economic reforms to diversify Brunei’s economy with the setting up of the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and Downstream Industry Committee.

Among those who attended the opening ceremony of the India Investrade 2016 event

This, he said, is to streamline the approval process for all FDI projects, and also to provide investors with a single point of contact for project implementation. He noted that His Majesty also called for renewed endeavours to improve the country’s exports beyond the oil and gas sector, such as in agriculture, fisheries, manufacturing and services sector, including logistics and tourism, among others.

“Brunei Darussalam is currently focusing on sectors that capitalise on our strengths and their ability to grow the economy and provide quality and sustainable job opportunities for our people,” he continued.

He highlighted that among Brunei’s strengths are its Islamic credentials, its unique way of life based on the Malay Islamic Monarchy (MIB) philosophy, its image as one of the top 10 countries that protects its forests and environment, its highly educated young population and its macroeconomic stability.

“Capitalising on those strengths, Brunei Darussalam is now focused on delivering its five key investment priority business clusters that made up the country’s strategic initiatives to grow and sustain the economy,” he said. “These are Halal; Technology and Creative Industry; Business Services; Tourism; and Downstream Oil and Gas.”

“In addition to this, we are also promoting our culture and heritage through the development of premium hand handicraft and traditional crafts products.”

Back to top

Pakistani films released on Eid, attract huge crowd

ISLAMABAD, Sep 16 (APP): Eid week is always considered to be the most celebrated time of the year for a Blockbuster film release in the country, amid house full expectations.

The healthy trend on this Eid is that the audience have endorsed Pakistani Urdu films. The Urdu films Actor-in-law, Zindagi Kitni Haseen Hai and Janaan, are running full house during the Eid holidays in whatever space and time is allotted to them.

Movie-goers can choose between urdu movies Janaan, Zindagi Kitni Haseen Hai and Actor-in-law, Punjabi flick Lal Badsha and three Pashto project Titled Badmashi Ba Mane, Ghulaam and Badmashi Na Manum.

A student Aleezay Inaam said that,” I watched Actor-in-law with my friends and its was really entertaining, The film have all the elements of a social comedy. Coming to cinemas on Eid has always a special charm.”

This time demand of Pakistani Producers and Directors is fulfilled that only Pakistani movies should be released on Eid-ul-Azha.

A youngster Ali Manaan said,” I always prefer to watch Pakistani movies. On this Eid there is good choice of Pakistani movies. I am planning to watch Janaan on weekend.”

In traditional single screen cinemas, tickets are issued manually so it was nearly impossible to estimate total business generated form a film in such cinema. However, with the arrival of multiplexes which maintain the records of tickets sold, now a near estimate of the film total business is easily established.

Back to top

Global Voices: Kyrgyzstan’s ‘Jailoos’ Are More Than Mere Mountain Meadows. They Are a Way of Life.

Kyrgyzstan marked this week the end of its much-heralded World Nomad Games by topping the medal table in its very own equivalent of the Olympics and hosting Hollywood hard man Steven Seagal splendidly attired in nomadic warrior garb.

But flashy international sporting tournaments aren’t the only way that people in the Central Asian country of six million people recall their heritage.

Although very few Kyrgyz in Kyrgyzstan lead a nomadic lifestyle year-round, nomadism is alive and well in the summer where the country’s summer pastures play host to felt dwellings, magnificent horses and thousands of families that abandon their homes in the valleys below for the majesty of the countryside.

The jailoo is an integral part of the Kyrgyz experience, and to spend time on these elevated plateaus is to breathe the culture and history of the non-sedentary Turkic peoples.

The sharp mountain air, the perfect clarity of the spring water that flows in the glacial streams and the snow-capped mountains in the near distance mean home for many of the country’s citizens.

In total, some 3.9 million hectares of territory in the Kyrgyz Republic is occupied by officially recognised summer pastures.

And…more horses.

Once on the jailoo, traffic jams, high-speed internet and other trappings of the country’s urban life disperse into an ocean of green grass, punctuated by the occasional mountain lake and circles of smoking yurts.

The city routine is gone, and while the gradual growth of alternative energy in Kyrgyzstan means most tourist yurts feature a lightbulb, that may be all they feature. So long to the so-called digital age!

While jailoo life is unhurried it is also full of strenuous tasks. At sunrise women milk cows, while men might tend to packs of horses grazing further up the mountains.

From the milk, women produce various dairy products including kurut (salty milk product made from cow’s milk), kaymak (clotted cream), and boorsok (traditional doughnuts). The latter go wonderfully well with a dollop of kaymak when hot.

Assuming a special cultural significance, however, is kymyz, an explosively tangy fermented dairy drink reputed for its health benefits and ever-so-low alcohol content.

Specifically kymyz is said to fortify the immune system and ward off any number of fatal diseases, which explains the existence of kymyz “treatment centres” in different parts of the country. Peak consumption of the drink coincides with peak jailoo season, from around May until late July.

Jailoo folk are invariably kymyz masters, and different jailoos even compete to make a better brew. The country’s highly diverse flora — differing from meadow to meadow — is just one factor said to impact the taste of the drink.

Jailoo men, in their spare time, entertain themselves by playing the Kyrgyz national game ulak tartysh, or Kok-Boru to avoid everyday problems such as unemployment, which is widespread.

Ulak is considered quite a dangerous game, wherein anything from 24 to over a hundred men on horseback compete for possession of a goat carcass that can weigh up to 45 kilograms. This game, known as Buzkashi in Afghanistan, is one of the more brutal sides to life on the pastures.

Partly on the back of jailoo stays promoted by the massively popular Community Based Tourism initiative, Kyrgyzstan has one of the world’s fastest-growing tourism sectors. For tourists from the West or the surrounding former Soviet region, taking on for a few days at a time the life of a simple shepherd untroubled by Whatsapp is both exotic and enriching.

And then, after the sun sets on the happy jailoo and night appears like a vast, black velvet blanket studded with a billion bright stars, so too does the idea that the Kyrgyz people don’t just own their land beneath their feet, they own the sky above it, too.

Source: https://globalvoices.org/2016/09/11/kyrgyzstans-jailoos-are-more-than-mere-mountain-meadows-they-are-a-way-of-life/

Back to top

Indonesia sets Rp70 trillion for 65 dam projects

Jakarta (ANTARA News) 16 September 2016 – The government has decided to set aside Rp70.1 trillion to build 65 water reservoirs until 2022, an official said here on Friday.

“Yes, more or less Rp70.1 trillion for 65 dams,” head of the Dam Center at the Directorate General of Water Resources Imam Santoso said in a news conference.

The projects would be financed with fund from the state budget around Rp64.04 trillion and loans from China Rp4.82 trillion for the Jatigede dam and from South Korea Rp1.26 trillion for the Karian dam.

Imam said building a water reservoir would take three to four years, therefore, among the 65 dam projects, 29 are to be completed in 2019 and the rest in 2022.

“The 65 dams would increase the capacity of water reservoirs in the country to 19.1 billion cubic meters from only 12.6 billion cubic meters at present,” he said.

The additional dams would certainly increase the irrigation capacity for farm lands, he added.

Currently , the country has 7.1 million hectares of rice fields and 760,000 hectares or more than 10 percent of them are irrigated with water from dams. The rest are irrigated with water from rivers or rain fed rice fields.

With the 65 new dams , rice fields irrigated with water from dams would be 173,000 hectares wider to 933,000 hectares, he said.

“Therefore, the need for irrigation water could be meet the whole years that the water and food security would be better guaranteed,” he said.

Based on official data at the Directorate General of Water Resources in 2015, construction of five dams was already completed and 24 other dams were under construction. This year construction would start for 8 new dams .

In 2017, work would start for the construction of nine more dams , to be followed with 11 projects in 2018 and 8 more projects in 2019 bringing the total to 65 dams.

The five dams already built and completed in 2015 are Rajui dam in Aceh, Jatigede dam in West Java, Bajulmati dam in East Java, Nipah dam in East Java, and Titab dam in Bali.

The dam projects expected to be completed this year are the Paya Seunara dam in Aceh and Teritip dam in East Kalimantan.

Other dams to be completed in 2017 are the Raknamo and Mila dams in East Nusa Tenggara, Tanju dam in West Nusa Tenggara and Marangkayu dam in East Kalimantan.

In 2018, there are seven dam projects to be completed including Gondang dam in Central Java, Tugu dam in East Java, Logung dam in Central Java, Rotiklod dam in East Nusa Tenggara, Sei Gong dam in Risua Islands, Bintang Bano dam in West Nusa Tenggara and Kuningan dam in West Java.

In 2019, there are 11 more dam projects to come on stream including Passeloreng dam in South Sulawesi, Tapin dam in South Kalimantan, Ciawi dam in West Java , Sukamahi in West Java , etc.

The remaining 36 dam projects are to be completed in the following years until 2022.(*)

Back to top

Indonesian Government to build 769 km new roads

Yogyakarta (ANTARA News) – 16 September 2016 – Minister of Public Works and Public Housing Hadimulyono Basuki said the government is targeting to complete the construction of 769 kilometers (km) of new roads, including the 158 km causeway along the south coast of Java.

“Anyway, the pansela (the southern coast of Java) should be connected in 2017,” Basuki said during his address at a seminar on infrastructure at the Faculty of Engineering, the University of Gajah Mada, on Thursday.

He stated that priority will be accorded to the construction of trans Sumatra, trans Kalimantan, Sulawesi and Papua roads.

In addition, completing construction of 29 kilometer of toll road, 52 thousand kilometers of irrigation networks and 39 reservoirs is part of the target.

“Next year, 39 dams will be built besides nine new reservoirs, 105 reservoirs and 84 thousand irrigation networks,” Basuki elaborated.

Nevertheless, he admitted that it will not be easy to complete the construction of this infrastructure because land acquisition posed a difficulty.

“Every two weeks, there is a coordination meeting with the minister in charge of spatial and environmental affairs,” he explained.

As of September 2016, according to Basuki, the new infrastructure development has reached 46.49 percent of the target with physical development reaching 53 percent.

“Progress this year is higher than last year when it was only 36.46 percent until mid-September with 40 percent physical work accomplished,” he recalled.

He added that the government will continue to focus on the infrastructure work in 35 strategic development areas, including the area of Borobudur which has been integrated with the Kulon Progo airport.

“The southern coast line can support the airport. In essence, the infrastructure is being developed to improve competitiveness and productivity. Therefore, in order to be competitive, infrastructure development must be faster, better and cheaper,” Basuki reiterated.

Back to top

Increasing halal certification in West Nusa Tenggara

Jakarta (ANTARA News) 14 September 2016 – The province of West Nusa Tenggara is among several Indonesian regions that can become an icon of halal tourism but the halal certification process for hotels and restaurants in the province is still lacking.

The Lombok Island in West Nusa Tenggara has been recognized as the worlds best halal tourism and honeymoon destination, a feat that should have led to shoring up of halal certification for hotels and restaurants in the province.

Data from the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) of West Nusa Tenggara indicated that 300 hotels and restaurants in the province have not obtained halal certification that would have helped them attract tourists from Middle Eastern and other Muslim countries.

West Nusa Tenggara MUI Chairman Saiful Muslim explained in the provincial city of Mataram that hotels and restaurant owners were apprehensive that the halal certification could lead to a fall in the number of guests.

The fact, however, is that almost all the hotels and restaurants in a number of developed countries such as Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and Thailand that have long been certified as halal, have never been short of guests.

The halal certificates are issued by the Indonesian Ulema Council, the countrys highest authority on Islamic affairs, in cooperation with the Food, Drug and Cosmetics Assessment Agency (LPPOM), and the Department of Industry and Trade.

LPPOM is an institution under MUI responsible for conducting halal examination, audit and assessment.

At present, acquiring halal certification is optional but Indonesian lawmakers are trying to push for the enactment of a Halal Product Protection Bill which, if passed by the House of Representatives, will make it mandatory to ensure that all products are halal certified before they reach the market.

Once this law kicks in, halal certificates and labels will be required for all packaged foodstuffs, beverages, medicines and cosmetics produced and sold in Indonesia.

Saiful Muslim remarked that he has reminded relevant West Nusa Tenggara Regional Work Units to proactively encourage hotels and restaurant managers in the province to obtain halal certificates.

Among other regions in Indonesia that could serve as halal tourism icons are, besides West Nusa Tenggara, Aceh, West Java, West Sumatra, and South Sulawesi.

Realizing the promising prospects of halal tourism, the Department of Tourism and Creative Economy of Makassar city in South Sulawesi, has expedited a process to familiarize stakeholders with sharia-based travel packages.

“Branded halal travel packages that we offer are indeed targeted at local and foreign tourists who are Muslims,” head of Makassar Tourism and Creative Economy Department, Rusmayani Majid, said.

Rusmayani is optimistic about sharia-based travel packages becoming a success since business players and those affiliated to the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association in South Sulawesi have agreed to support such a program.

Numerous hotels in Makassar, including Pesonna Hotel, Grand Town Hotel and Makassar Aston Hotel, besides some other restaurants in the city, have expressed their readiness to support halal tourism.

Sharia-based travel packages are currently perceived as very promising, especially in South Sulawesi, because the potential for such tourism, ranging from kosher culinary tours to religious history tours, in the province is fairly large.

Makassar is one of the 12 halal tourist destinations in Indonesia being promoted by the Ministry of Tourism.

In addition to halal tourism, halal-labeled products domain is growing at a record pace, both locally and internationally.

According to the chairman of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin), Rosan Perkasa Roeslani, the growth of halal products in regional and global markets signifies a substantial increase in the number of both consumers and producers.

It is not only the growth in the global Muslim population that is responsible for the enhanced demand for halal products but also a tendency among non-Muslims to consume halal products since these are deemed clinically safe and high in quality.

Roeslani said one reason was the constant dissemination of facts regarding halal products among consumers.

In this era of technology, halal products are being traded on e-commerce platforms that have grown rapidly in the past decade.

“If we manage it properly, such internet-based trading of halal products can benefit consumers around the world as well as businesspersons. It will offer the right momentum,” he emphasized.

The chairman explained that his organization, which comprised entrepreneurs relying on regional strengths and international relations, was working towards embodying a strong business environment in Indonesia and ensuring a high level of competitiveness in both quality and production values.

The measures being adopted included building capacity and developing readiness to face challenges in a orld of ever-growing opportunities.

“The trade of halal products in the free market is no longer monopolized by Muslim countries or nations with large Muslim populations. In fact, non-Muslim-majority countries have come up with required infrastructure and established halal standards for particular products to be accepted by consumers,” he added.

Maintaining a halal lifestyle enables Muslims to gain a sense of equilibrium, modesty, sustainability, safety and stability in their lives.

Having the worlds largest Muslim population, Indonesia will soon have a halal hub comprising halal seaport and halal zone.

The financial and supporting director of PT Jakarta Industrial Estate Pulogadung, Sitta Rosdaniah, has stated that the market for halal products in Indonesia is very large, and there is high demand to lead a halal lifestyle in every strata of society, both in the country and around the world.

Sitta said the halal hub will ensure that lifestyle products, including food, clothing, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, which are imported into and exported from Indonesia, meet the halal criteria.(*)

Back to top

Indonesia to explore African tourist market

Jakarta (ANTARA News), 16 September 2016 – Indonesia is exploring African tourist markets by participating in a fair called “The Gateway Show Africa” in Johannesburg, South Africa, which will be held from September 23 to 25.

“The participation is a strategy to optimize the exploration of the African tourism market, which has huge potential,” Tourism Minister Arief Yahya said here on Thursday.

Data obtained from the Ministry and Statistics Indonesia pointed out that the number of African tourists visiting the country has increased over the years.

In 2012, 37,306 African tourists visited Indonesia, which increased to 42,607 in 2013 and 45,276 in 2014.

Most African tourists are attracted to shopping, cultural, maritime and adventuring tours.

Minister Arief noted that South Africa is one of the countries, which has been granted a visa-free entry, along with 169 other countries.

Meanwhile, the Deputy of Overseas Tourism Marketing Development at the Ministry, I Gde Pitana, said The Gateway Show will be a great chance to promote the Wonderful Indonesia tour package among the South Africans.

“The Getaway Show is an international tourism market, sponsored by Mercedes-Benz Vans, and visited by industry players, media, and communities in South Africa,” he said.

It is estimated that more than 316 industries, 142 media, 3,462 visitors and 4,127 professionals will attend the event.

Deputy Assistant of Europe, Middle East, America and Africa Market Development, Nia Niscaya said six industry players will participate in the event, namely Afronesia Tours, PT Bhara Tours, Nusa DuaBeach Hotel Bali, The Facet Tours, Maya Ubud Resort Bali, and Suburban travel and Tour Advisors.

She further said visitors, who take pictures in the Wonderful Indonesia booth and upload their pictures with #wonderfulindonesia, follow the @indtravel Instagram account, or Twitter @indtravelID, and like the Wonderful Indonesia Facebook page, will get a special souvenir.(*)

Back to top

Indonesia to host international media forum

Jakarta (ANTARA News) 16 September 2016 – Indonesia is hosting a major international media forum and the 4th international media forum 2016, titled Jakarta World Forum for Media Development 2016, is being organized by international non-governmental organizations, the Press Council and the universities in Indonesia.

It will be held at the Multimedia Nusantara University, Serpong, Tangerang, from September 20 to 22, 2016.

Hundreds of media professionals from at least 62 countries will attend the event to discuss a number of issues and challenges facing the industry, Press Council member Ratna Komala said.

“This is the first time we are hosting an event where all stakeholders, journalists, observers, organizations and business enterprises from the media world will gather together to discuss the industry,” added Ratna at a press conference at the Press Council Building here Thursday.

Indonesia was chosen as the host because the country had a long history of press freedom and embraced technological change, Ratna explained.

Indonesia is one of the largest democratic countries in the world and is a symbol of transition of press freedom, Ratna noted.

“This is a recognition for the press in Indonesia,” Ratna said.

“For us at the Press Council, the forum is important for discussing ideas and producing a joint effort for the future of media.”

The forum will issue a number of recommendations for media practitioners to survive amidst a tsunami of digital and social media.

Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD), an international NGO that initiated the Jakarta World Forum for Media Development, said that many important issues need to be addressed relating to mass media.

GFMD Chief Leon Willems hopes the forum will become a vehicle for sharing experiences, exchanging ideas and discussing the results of the research done so far on the future of mass media.(*)

Back to top

Iran’s heavyweight Paralympics weightlifter wins gold medal in Rio

Rio, Sept 15, IRNA – Iranian athlete in the 107 plus kilograms category of Rio 2016 Paralympics won gold medal on Wednesday evening.

While competing with eight Paralympics athletes, Siamand Rahman could break the record by holding up a 310 kilogram weight above his head.

In his first attempt, Rahman much easily lifted 270kg. Then in his second and third attempts, he lifted 300 kg and 310 kg, respectively.

Rahman’s performance changed all records of the Paralympics weightlifting. 

The Iranian squad has won 4 gold, 5 silver and three bronze medals in the tournament so far.

The 15th edition of Paralympic games officially began in the Brazilian capital on September 18. Iran has attended the event with 111 athletes, 88 of them are men and 23 others are women.

Back to top

Iranian celebrities launch “Together for SDGs” Campaign

Tehran, Sept 15, IRNA — The “Together for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)” campaign was launched in Tehran on Tuesday 13 September by renowned Iranian artists, according to a press release, a copy of which was made available to IRNA by the United Nations Information Center.

Its purpose was to introduce the newly-adopted SDGs to Iranian public. 
The SDGs are a set of goals which were adopted by 193 UN Member States a year ago and are aimed to ensure that the world as a whole changes course to embrace development approaches that are sustainable. The SDGs are universal and apply to all countries regardless of their level of development. There is strong recognition that now all countries, including Iran, must do their part.

The UN Information Center in Iran is currently enlisting popular celebrities to reframe the 17 official-sounding SDGs into language which tells a story and which is both personal and emotional. This was the purpose of the campaign launch.

Popular writer, theater and movie star Bahareh Rahnama, actor Kourosh Tahami and actress Kamand Amirsoleimani launched the campaign at a press conference held in the presence of UN Resident Coordinator Gary Lewis and UNIC Director Maria Dotsenko in the UN building in Tehran. 
The campaign includes video clips of renowned Iranian movie, theater and music stars who will promote 17 SDGs, using social networks and traditional media, spreading SDGs messages among their fans and general public.

Link to all three videos of celebrities and teaser:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCgbC004D48 (Teaser)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ctPRfKXYE3U (Celebrity Bahareh Rahnama)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uD3PuhX7XOg (Celebrity Dr. Mahmood Azizi)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1QYnkLR9gc (Celebrity Kourosh Tahami)

Addressing the gathering, Lewis said: “The SDGs are very relevant to Iran. National priorities – including the draft 6th Five-Year National Development Plan currently being reviewed in the Majlis – are being set in order to address major issues including poverty eradication, sustainable management of water and sanitation, renewable energy resources, combating desertification, deforestation and dust storms, energy efficiency improvement. All these are in line with what Agenda 2030 hopes to address. We have noted that 20 articles in the NDP are directly linked to the SDGs” Lewis said.
He added: “Data is key to successfully implementing the SDGs. For this to happen, there is a need to harmonize data definitions, methodologies, and sources and to publish data in common, open, and electronic formats. The UN is willing to support the government and the Statistical Center in obtaining relevant and useful data to monitor the SDGs.”

In addition to the above-mentioned celebrities, another well-known artist Dr. Mahmoud Azizi also participated in the campaign whose video was screened along with the other artists’ clips. 
Addressing a large number of journalists Dotsenko said that the campaign is a tremendous initiative and a joint effort of a group of enthusiastic and dedicated professionals, who work on pro-bono basis, since they truly believe in UN Agenda on Sustainable Development Goals.

“We really appreciate generosity of these busy people,” she added. 
Referring to the Sustainable Development Goals, she said these Goals are aimed to make our Planet better and safer to live for us and future generations, exactly as the UN Secretary General said: ‘there can be no Plan B, because there is no Planet B.’
“Together for SDGs” campaign is supported by the UN Information Center in Tehran and the UN Resident Coordinator.

It was initiated and is managed by the journalist Mahyar Javadifar who is being supported by UNIC Consultant Sepideh Asgari. Cameraman Farhad Javid as well as video-editors Davood Najibi and Tannaz Parvan are working on the clips for the campaign.
17 Goals have 169 targets covering a broad range of sustainable development issues including ending poverty and hunger, improving health and education, making cities more sustainable, combating climate change, and protecting oceans and forests. 

Back to top

Kyrgyzstan on list of 12 “must-visit’ countries

Bishkek, September 13 / Kabar /. Britain’s The Independent newspaper included Kyrgyzstan in the list of 12 countries to be visited by everyone. The list of countries was made by famous traveler Gunnar Garfors.

Gunnar Garfors visited all 198 countries in the world by the time he turned 37.

So when people ask him which country was his favorite, he has a hard time picking just one.

But there are 12 countries he thinks everyone should visit at some point in their lives.

Stunning nature, colorful markets, and very friendly people, unless they think you are an American pilot who is likely to run away with one of their beautiful girls. Bring a cup for world-class vodka, he wrote about Kyrgyzstan.

The 12 countries everyone should visit at some point in their lives are Romania, Madagascar, Iceland, Vietnam, Kiribati, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Sierra Leone, Dominica, Norway, Uruguay and Kyrgyzstan.

Back to top

North Sulawesi to export coffee to China and Italy

Manado, N. Sulawesi (ANTARA News) – North Sulawesi will export coffee from Kotamobagu City to China and Italy, as demand for it is high in those countries.

“According to a plan this year, North Sulawesi will export coffee from Kotamobagu City to China and Italy,” the Head of the Foreign Trade Department of Industry and Commerce of North Sulawesi, T Hasudungan Siregar, said in Manado on Wednesday.

Steps are now being taken to start the exports, he added.

“Currently, we are preparing recommendations for export. Later we will register exporters for the coffee,” he said.

If once a company has exported about 200 tons of coffee for a year, it would be registered as an exporter, according to him.

He hoped that people in Kotamobagu City would take advantage of this opportunity, as presently, the market for coffee is wide open.

The community must also increase production and quality of the coffee so that if demand increases in the future, they should be able to meet it.

“Consistency is very important in exporting commodities,” he said.

Currently, the Department of Industry and Commerce of North Sulawesi continues to push for the main commodity of North Sulawesi to be be marketed to different countries in the world.

This is important for generating foreign exchange for the country.(*)

Back to top

Pakistan: Over Rs 200 billion shifted to rural areas on Eid

ISLAMABAD, Sep 16 (APP): The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) said that Eid economy has been expanding in the country as over Rs 200 billion were transacted from urban centres to rural areas during the Eid-ul-Azha.

“The expansion of Eid economy is a very good omen for farmers and rural areas,” Abdul Rauf Alam, President FPCCI said in a statement issued here.

He said that some estimates suggest that around Rs 200 to Rs 300 billion have been shifted from urban centres to rural areas during Eid-ul-Azha in which 85 percent was spent on buying animals, he added.

The FPCCI President said that Eid-e-Qurban generates a great economic activity around the Muslim world.

The Eid create millions of temporary jobs, benefit unemployed, transport sector, tanners, textiles, social and religious groups etc, he said adding this promotes country’s livestock sector which is 58.5 percent of the agricultural sector and over 12 percent of the GDP.

Abdul Rauf Alam said that a little focus can help country export sizable number of cattle heads to Saudi Arabia benefitting rural economy and earning foreign exchange.

He said that livestock sector has transformed Pakistan into world’s fourth largest milk producer but lack of value addition is keeping stakeholders from full benefit.

Rural residents, who raise animals for sale on Eid, bring in billions into the rural economy which help alleviate poverty.

Back to top

Standard Chartered Bank Brunei receives ASEAN Red Ribbon

September 16, 2016 – STANDARD Chartered Bank (SCB) Brunei was awarded the first Asean Red Ribbon for Outstanding Workplace Award in recognition of the bank’s HIV and AIDS programme in the workplace. The award presentation ceremony was held yesterday in Bogor, Indonesia.

The award is conducted for the first time by the Asean Business Coalition on HIV and AIDS (Asean-BCA) and as adopted by the Asean Senior Labour Officials. Standard Chartered Bank was nominated based on the following criteria; Adherence to principles and non-discrimination and confidentiality to workers related to HIV and AIDS; Availability of policies, including its arrangement and organisation, and programmes on HIV and AIDS in the workplace; Providing workers with access to trainings on HIV and AIDS in the workplace; Implementation of HIV and AIDS education in the workplace through; Awareness programme for workers on HIV and AIDS in the workplace; Providing workers with access to service for counselling and testing; Raising community awareness on HIV and AIDS as the company’s Corporate Social Responsbility programme and; Availability and implementation of administration and reporting systems of HIV and AIDS in the workplace.

Marilyn Graeme, Head Corporate Affairs, Brand and Marketing at Standard Chartered Brunei who accepted the award on behalf the bank said, “We are extremely delighted to receive the ARROW Award in recognition of the efforts our HIV Champions at Standard Chartered Bank Brunei have made around HIV and AIDS in the country. It is a great motivator for us to continue with the education efforts as well as seek greater collaborative efficiencies to spread the facts around HIV and AIDS in order to dispel the myths and reduce stigma. With five million people in Asia Pacific region alone who are living with HIV, there is still much work to be done. HIV doesn’t discriminate. People do and we should change the way we see it.”

In 2003, Standard Chartered Bank Brunei was the first organisation to implement HIV education and training for its employees in Brunei.

Vongthep Arthakaivalvatee, Deputy Secretary-General for ASSC, Asean Secretariat, Marilyn Graeme, Head of Brand and Marketing, and Corporate Affairs (Standard Chartered Bank Brunei), in a group photo with other award recipients from the private sector and Maruli A Hasoloan, Acting General Labour Inspection and OSH Department, Ministry of Manpower, Indonesia.

The bank was also the first organisation to extend the HIV education programme to local and private higher learning institutions in Brunei through collaboration with the Ministry of Education Ministry of Health and Brunei Darussalam AIDS Council to educate more than 1,000 students, 350 community nurses as well as 100% of its staff members between 2004 and 2005.

Standard Chartered Bank Brunei has supported the Brunei Darussalam AIDS Council in the setting up of its first office and headquarters and continues to collaborate with the NGO on initiatives highlighting education and awareness on HIV and AIDS.

Standard Chartered Bank continues to offer its Positive Living education programme with external associates and organisations completely free of charge. Organisations interested in the programme can contact the bank via email to corporate-affairs.brunei@sc.com.

For more information on Standard Chartered’s sustainability initiatives, visit its website at www.sc.com/bn/sustainability/en.

Back to top

Pakistani director launches short films for social media audience

KARACHI Sept 09 (APP): Renowned TV actor/director filmmaker Shamoon Abbasi has launched short films series, especially for social media audience.

He said these films aren’t commercially attached to any TV channel, or media companies, or cinema distribution companies, but specifically made for social media.

He pointed out that it is based on a true event.

He said these short films are aimed at highlighting some of the issues that occur in society by making a series of short films exclusively for social media awareness.

The goal is to spread the public message through these films he said and added names and characters are fictional.

Shamoon Abbasi such films will be dispelling negative impression about the country and its people by anti-Pakistan elements.

He said he decided to use this powerful medium of visual arts for spreading the message that Pakistan is a vibrant and peace loving country.

He said many short films have started appearing on his social page which can be reached at facebook by writing “ Independent Pakistani Filmmakers”.

Back to top

Syria wins four medals at Iran Karate Championship

9 September، 2016, Damascus, SANA – Syria’s karate national team won one silver and 3 bronze medals at Iran International Karate Championship that will last until 13 September.

Fadi Qara Falah (under 18 category) won the silver medal in the under 68 kg weight class, while the bronze medals went to Mehyar Mtawej in the under 55kg weight class, Hashem al-Shamlat in the under 64 kg weight class and Khodr Qaddar in the under 74 kg weight class.

The bronze medal winners are all of the under 16 category.

Back to top

Three int’l food industry exhibitions open in Tehran

Tehran, Sept 13, IRNA – Exhibitions for raw materials and machinery of biscuit, sweets and chocolate of Iran, soft drinks, tea, coffee and related industries, dairy and related industries opened in Tehran on Tuesday in presence of deputy Industry Minister and head of Tehran Chamber of Commerce.

The 15th International Exhibition for Raw Materials and Machineries of Biscuit, Sweets and Chocolate were inaugurated in presence of Deputy Minister of Industry, Mine and Trade for Industries Affairs Mohsen Salehi-nia.

In the fair, 361 domestic companies as well as 85 firms from 22 countries have participated.
Countries like Austria, Germany, Spain, Britain, US, Unite Arab Emirates, Ukraine, Italy, Belgium, Turkey, China, France, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Poland, Lebanon, Malaysia, Canada, Columbia, South Korea and India attended exhibition.
The fair will last until September 15, 2016.

The 7th International Exhibition on Soft Drinks, Tea, Coffee and Related Industries was inaugurated in presence of Deputy Minister of Industry and Managing Director of Iran International Exhibitions Company Hossein Esfahbodi and Head of Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mine and Agriculture Masoud Khansari.

A number of 80 Iranian companies and 10 firms from eight countries like the United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, Italy, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Denmark, Columbia and South Korea presented their latest merchandizes and goods in the fields of soft drinks, coffee, tea, concentrated juices and permitted food additives as well as related machineries.
This fair will be open until September 17, 2016.

Meanwhile, the 1st International Exhibition of Dairy and Related Industries with aim to develop export of these products opened with participation of 29 domestic companies and one German firm, which will last until September 16.

Back to top

Young artists’ group exhibition continues at Nomad

ISLAMABAD, Sep 14 (APP): The group exhibition of five young artists, which started on September 1, continues here at Nomad Gallery evincing keen interest among visitors.

Fizza Siddiqui, Hira Shakir, Momina Momina, Samreen Asif and Usman Khalid have put on display their art work on different themes at the exhibition organized by Nomad Art Gallery and Cultural Center.

Fizza Siddiqui’s work pertains to refugees. “My work shows the pain of refugees and their life devoid of basic necessities which they have left behind at home,” she said talking to APP.

“It’s hard for refugees to forget the loss of their belongings, particularly shelter which is hard to build. It is also difficult for their kids to forget their childhood memoraries at home. It takes years to make a home, which gets vanished with the blink of an eye.”

Describing her work, Hira Shakir said, “There exist many patterns, besides our own. All these patterns are interconnected opening different life circles within a circle.”

Her work, she said, was an attempt to explore her interaction with such circles. “I float and blend within such life patterns.”

Momina said, “Being deaf, I feel art has been an integral part of my life since birth. It proved to be my mother tongue as I grew up.”

Her interest in abstract art was the result of close association with her tutor Professor Helen Baker during her stay at Newcastle, UK.

She said she developed interest in ‘colour field composition’ and ‘Asemic art’ with the passage of time.

The exhibition will remain open till September 18, except Fridays.

Back to top