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31 Oct, 2016

British woman launches first online Islamic toy store

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 31 October 2016 (30 Muharram 1438). Pls click on any of the headlines below to go to the story.




Malaysia added another feather in its cap when it was voted as the “Best Eco-Vacation” at the 5th National Geographic Traveler Awards – Top Travel Destinations of 2015 – at a ceremony held in Moscow last November. A total of 29 countries were nominated for this category and Malaysia was one of the countries in the top three positions. The Awards are organised by the Russian branch of the National Geographic Traveler magazine to recognise top travel destinations annually. The prestigious award allows nominees to highlight new trends based on the preferences of Russian tourists. Readers were asked to cast their votes online at National Geographic Russia website (http://www.nat-geo.ru). More than 240,000 online votes were cast for 12 categories, namely Beach Vacation, Family Vacation, Mountain-skiing Vacation, Sightseeing Vacation, Agrotourism, Wellness Vacation, Eco-Vacation, Adventure Tourism, Russian Tourism, Discovery of the Year, Gastronomic Tourism and Exotic Tourism. During the voting process, they also elected the Best Foreign Airline, Best Russian Airline, Best Hotel Chain, Best Beach Hotel, and Best Travel Program on TV.

For more information about what makes Malaysia one of the most popular destinations in the Islamic world, as well as on planning your next holiday or MICE event in Malaysia, please click: http://www.tourism.gov.my/ or http://www.tourismmalaysia.gov.my

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

twitter: http://twitter.com/tourismmalaysia

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




The 2nd Muslim Thai Fair “StartUp Halal Franchise” will be held on 25-27 November 2016 at the Ground Plaza, Hua Mak Stadium, Bangkok. This is a follow up to the successful and very well-received 1st Muslim Thai Fair which is designed to promote help young and well-educated Thai-Muslims seek new opportunities in the world of Halal Business Franchising, create jobs and promote social and economic advancement. It is the first expo designed to help Thai-Muslims easily set up and own their own businesses, especially in the fields of apparel, education, health & wellness, cosmetics, travel & tourism, food and beverage. The event will also include seminars and workshops on in-depth marketing franchise, investor opportunities, how to start franchise business, business consulting clinic, sales promotional games, and other activities. The event organiser is Mnet Solution Co., Ltd., Tel: 080-284-8000, 080-284-9000, 02-1168134-35, Fax: 02-1168136, Email : parichart@mnet.co.th, website: http://www.mnetorga.com/main/content.php?page=sub&category=5&id=1131

In line with the policy of the Royal Thai Government, the Tourism Authority of Thailand is promoting Thailand as a Muslim-friendly destination. 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.



Bangladesh cricketers in historic 108-run win over England

DHAKA, Oct 30, 2016 (BSS)- Youngster Mehedi Hasan Miraz continued his prolific form with the ball as he captured 12 English scalps for 159 to power Bangladesh to record a historic Test 108 run victory over England in the 2nd and final Test at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium at Mirpur.

This incredible victory enabled Bangladesh to square the series 1-1 after winning by 108 runs on Sunday. Mehedi Hasan was the hero ably supported by Shakib Al Hasan with 4 for 49 as England chasing 273 to win, collapsed from 100 for no loss to 164 all out after tea.

It was paradise for the Bangladesh spinner as they captured all 20 wickets to fall in the match but it was awful batting by England just after tea.

England went to tea at 100 for no loss but Shakib and Mehedi in a devastating bowling spell simply disseminated the famous English batting line up.

This is Bangladesh’s first ever victory over England, the first time they have ever won a Test against a top-ranked country and their only win over someone other than West Indies or Zimbabwe. The hosts set a target of 273 after a morning session in which England dropped a number of chances, but eventually bowled Bangladesh out for 296, Adil Rashid taking 4-52.

Joe Root took to the field following a stomach upset although the Yorkshire man failed to hold on to a sharp chance at slip to dismiss Imrul Kayes, who had earlier been dropped by a diving Alastair Cook at leg slip. Opener Imrul, given let-offs on 67 and 74, finally departed on 78 after missing a sweep off Moeen Ali, who rapped Shakib and Mushfiqur Rahim on the pads early in their innings, although England opted not to review the decisions that would have been overturned.

England’s run chase started in fine style, as Ben Duckett batted brilliantly to reach his first Test 50, and captain Alastair Cook joined him to put on that opening century partnership. But just after tea Mehedi set to work, bowling Duckett before Shakib trapped Root lbw from his second ball.

Gary Ballance followed shortly afterwards with an ugly shot, spooning a leading edge to mid-off, while Mehedi then dismissed Moeen for a duck and took the prized wicket of Cook for 59.

From that point it was a procession, only Ben Stokes offering resistance with 25, and the rest fell for single-figure scores, and it was fitting that Mehedi took the clinching wicket, trapping Steven Finn lbw. Mehedi, who only turned 19 shortly before this game and was appearing in just his second Test, ended with figures of 6-77 for the innings and 12-159 in the match, while Shakib took 4-49.

Miraz was named the player of the match and also player of the series for his impressive performance. Bangladesh win by 108 runs, the series is shared 1-1, and this is the most famous day in their history. They have been a Test nation since 2000 and this is their eighth victory overall, but none come as close to this for the size of scalp.

Bangladesh players began their celebrations by capturing last English scalp, and they fully deserved this historic win. Tigers showed their truer characters despite losing a close contest in Chittagong, geared back just in a week ago to tame the Lion. Hats off to them as they have captured all ten wickets in a session, just remember as England were 100 for 0 at tea. Then Ben Duckett departed first ball of the final session and the rest is history.

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MOTOGP At Malaysia’s Sepang International Circuit Until 2021

SEPANG, Malaysia, Oct 29 (NNN-BERNAMA) – Dorna Sports and Sepang International Circuit (SIC), have announced a renewal of their contract that will see the FIM MotoGP World Championship, remain at the venue until 2021.

The Sepang International Circuit was confirmed as a permanent circuit on the MotoGP Calendar, for the next five years, and will host Round 17 of the 18-leg World Motorcycle Championship.

The contract renewal sees the relationship between SIC and Dorna stronger than ever, ready to continue both showcasing and developing the future of motorcycling in both the Asia Pacific region and worldwide.

Chairman of SIC, Azman Yahya, said, they signed a contract extension for another five years ending 2021.

“I’m happy to inform that we have signed a contract extension for another five years, ending 2021, that was completed this morning. We will continue with MotoGP for the next five years.

“I think we will see even better response from the public. I’m very pleased to announce this, as it’s my first negotiation as the Chairman of Sepang, and I hope our decision is supported and welcomed,” Azman told a press conference, at the SIC Media Centre here today.

CEO of SIC, Razlan Razali, said, it was not very difficult to convince the Malaysian government, to support the Malaysian Grand Prix, because SIC achieved record-breaking crowds every year.

“MotoGP is no longer just a spectacle for Malaysians, it is now a platform for young Malaysian talent to compete in the world championship and on home ground. I think that is key to the Malaysian GP.

“At the same time, it is not just an agreement between Dorna and SIC – it’s the partnership we have and the support we have for each other; the common interest we have, to promote this event better and better every year,” said Razlan.

Meanwhile, Dorna Sports CEO, Carmelo Ezpeleta, said, Sepang was not just hosting the MotoGP race, but also the Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup selection process that takes place here every year.

“We have been here since 1999 and it has been a long road together. We’re extremely proud of the Malaysian GP, the increasing spectator numbers and the incredible spectacle.

“We are proud to renew for at least these five years. The way that SIC is understanding and supporting the motorcycling world is very important. Here the organisation is very good and we try and do everything together, and we are proud that Sepang International Circuit considers us such an asset,” added Ezpeleta.– NNN-BERNAMA

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Malaysia, China to re-establish strong trade, tourism relations

PUTRAJAYA, Oct 27 (Bernama) — The Prime Minister of Malaysia, YAB Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak, will be undertaking an Official Visit to the People’s Republic of China from 31 October to 6 November 2016 at the invitation of the Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, His Excellency Li Keqiang. During the visit to China, YAB Prime Minister is scheduled to visit Beijing, Tianjin, Gu’an and Zhangjiakou. YAB Prime Minister will be accompanied by YABhg. Datin Sri Rosmah Mansor, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, YB Dato’ Sri Anifah Aman, and other cabinet ministers, chief ministers, as well as senior government officials from the relevant ministries and agencies.

YAB Prime Minister’s visit programme in Beijing includes an official welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People, a bilateral meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, and a dinner hosted by Premier Li in honour of YAB Prime Minister and the Malaysian delegation on 1 November 2016. YAB Prime Minister will call on Chinese President Xi Jinping on 3 November 2016 followed by a dinner hosted by President Xi and Madam Peng Liyuan in honour of YAB Prime Minister and YABhg. Datin Sri Rosmah Mansor at the Diaoyutai State Guest House. YAB Prime Minister will also receive courtesy calls from the Chairman of the National People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China, His Excellency Zhang Dejiang, and other prominent provincial leaders.

In the meeting between YAB Prime Minister and Chinese leaders, issues that are expected to be discussed include bilateral cooperation in the field of education, defence, agriculture, trade and investment, tourism and culture, science and technology, and people-to-people contacts. Several Government-to-Government memoranda of understanding and documents are set to be signed or exchanged. The signing and exchange of the documents will be witnessed by both YAB Prime Minister and Premier Li.

Besides the bilateral meeting, YAB Prime Minister is scheduled to meet with prominent Malaysian and Chinese business leaders, and deliver an address at the Malaysia-China Business Forum Luncheon. YAB Prime Minister will witness the exchange of several Business-to-Business memoranda and agreements between Malaysian and Chinese enterprises. During the visit, YAB Prime Minister will also meet with the Malaysian community and students in China.

The vibrant exchange of visits at all levels between Malaysia and China has been an important agenda in strengthening the bonds of friendship; it includes the Official Visit of YAB Prime Minister to China in 2014, and the Official Visit of Premier Li Keqiang to Malaysia on 23 November 2015 in conjuction with the 10th East Asia Summit in Kuala Lumpur. This upcoming visit will also be the third official visit by YAB Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak to China since 2009.

Malaysia and China continue to enjoy close and cordial bilateral relations and cooperation in key areas such as politics, economy and trade, defence and security under the Strategic Comprehensive Partnership. China has been Malaysia’s largest trading partner since 2009. Malaysia is China’s eighth largest trading partner worldwide and the largest trading partner, the largest source of imports and the second largest export destination among ASEAN countries.

Trade with China accounted for 15.8% of Malaysia’s total trade in 2015, amounting to USD59.12 billion (RM230.89 billion). For the period January-August 2016, total trade with China increased by 1.4% to USD36.59 billion (RM149.33 billion) as compared to the same period in 2015. Total exports decreased by 9.6% to USD14.45 billion (RM58.93 billion), while total imports grew 10.0% to USD22.15 billion (RM90.40 billion) for the same period.

Malaysia is optimistic that this visit will stregthen the existing friendly ties between Malaysia and China not only in the areas of bilateral cooperation but also on regional and international issues.

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Malaysian EXIM Bank Hosted 33rd Asian EXIM Banks Forum Training Program

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 25 (Bernama) — Export-Import Bank of Malaysia Berhad (EXIM Bank), organised the 33rd ASIAN EXIM Banks Forum (AEBF) Training Program from 24-27 October 2016 which was held at The Ritz-Carlton Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The event was officiated by EXIM Bank of Malaysia’s President/Chief Executive Officer, Puan Norzilah Mohammed.

The program entitled Loan Restructuring and Recovery Management bring together 42 participants from 17 institutions within the Asian region covering India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, China, South Korea and Turkey.

AEBF was established in 1995 during the Export Credit Agencies (ECAs) meeting in Goa, India. The main purpose of AEBF is to create an institutional mechanism for regional cooperation and forge a stronger link among its member institutions within the Asian region. Its objective includes improving access to trade and investment for the Asian economy through credit enhancement and risk mitigation measures. Over the years, EXIM Banks of Asia evolved into different financial institutions depending upon the business environment in their respective countries.

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CRM As The One Stop Centre For Malaysian Clinical Research Industry

PUTRAJAYA, Oct 25 (Bernama) — Clinical Research Malaysia (CRM) once again collaborates with stakeholders for the 2nd Industry Dialogue in 2016 to update the clinical research industry players in Malaysia. Among the invited speakers are the Medical Device Authority (MDA) in Malaysia, Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA), Royal Malaysian Customs Department and Malaysian Bioeconomy Development Corporation Sdn. Bhd.

The half-day meeting organized by CRM, with featured topics from the Phase 1 Realization Project (P1RP), Classification of Medical Device, Incentives in Research & Development to GST Relief for Medical Devices. The presentations were followed by a dialogue session with the participants.

CRM Industry Dialogue provides an avenue for pharmaceutical companies (sponsors) and Contract Research Organizations (CROs) to directly convey any issues, suggestions and sharing their opinions that they may have to CRM. This dialogue is held twice a year. Besides strengthening cooperation and networking between all parties, CRM also takes the opportunity to update the clinical research industry on local laws, guidelines and regulations. By bringing together these industry players, CRM intends to connect with them and provide updates on its current and future activities.

About Clinical Research Malaysia

Established by Malaysian Ministry of Health in 2012, Clinical Research Malaysia exists to advance global health solutions for a brighter, more hopeful future for the people by providing speedy and reliable end-to-end clinical research support for quality studies.

Our innate understanding of the local clinical research landscape with the international standards of operations coupled with fundamental backing of the government ministries provide us an incomparable advantage to work with partners from the nascent stages of development to materialisation of the end product, in order to deliver better treatment and high skilled job opportunities.

Source : Clinical Research Malaysia (CRM)

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Malaysian Banker Appointed Inaugural Chair of WEF’s ASEAN Business Council

HANOI, Vietnam, Oct 25 (Bernama) — Dato’ Sri Nazir Razak, Chairman of CIMB Group, has been appointed the inaugural chair of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Regional Business Council (RBC) launched today. Through the RBC, 55 heads of major companies have joined forces to promote public-private cooperation on the most pressing issues facing Southeast Asia.

The RBC – launched at the WEF’s Mekong Region Meeting in Hanoi – is made up of 25 ASEAN businesses and 30 global companies, who will focus on areas such as building infrastructure, promoting cross-border trade and investment in ASEAN, developing a digital economy, examining the future of jobs and industry in the region, and championing the principles of inclusive growth.

“I am deeply honoured to have been appointed the first chairperson of the WEF’s ASEAN RBC. Together with my fellow committee members, the RBC will strive to give its best towards enhancing public-private partnership to uplift ASEAN’s socio-economic progress, as many of the biggest challenges in ASEAN can be overcome by getting business and government working well together. WEF – given its deep relationships with business, governments, international organizations, academia and subject-matter experts – is also a great platform for ASEAN companies to better capitalise on opportunities to collaborate and engage with ASEAN governments, as well as with the rest of the world,” said Dato’ Sri Nazir Razak at WEF’s press conference in Hanoi today.

Among the first initiatives to be launched by RBC in 2017 is a strategic infrastructure programme that promotes the concept of “blended finance” through both public and private capital. ASEAN has a large infrastructure deficit, which cannot be addressed through public investment alone. Blended finance harnesses official development assistance to mitigate project risks, making it more palatable for private capital providers to be involved. Another priority project will be promoting small and medium-sized enterprises to help them achieve regional scale and become the next generation of ASEAN-level corporates.

The RBC Steering Committee comprises several leading corporate leaders including James Riady (Lippo Group), Patrick Walujo (Northstar), Don Lam (VinaCapital), Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar (Khazanah Nasional), Tan Sri Tony Fernandes (AirAsia), Jaime Zobel Ayala (Ayala Corporation), Tevin Vongvanich (PTT) and Tessie Sy-Coson (SM Investments).

The WEF has been operating in South-east Asia for 25 years, and has achieved a number of public-private project successes like Grow Asia in 2014, a US$10 million-initiative that brings together governments, smallholder farmers and their buyers to improve productivity and profitability by adopting better farming techniques and enhancing supply-chain efficiency.

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World Bank Ranks Malaysia 23Rd For Ease Of Doing Business

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 26 (Bernama) — The World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2017 (DB 2017), released today, ranks Malaysia at 23rd position with an overall distance to frontier (DTF) score of 78.11 amongst the 190 economies surveyed, down from 22nd position on a score of 78.18 last year.

Malaysia was initially ranked 18th in DB 2016, but the ranking for that year was revised to 22nd taking into account some changes in methodology.

Overall, the Report ranks New Zealand as the most business friendly in the world, ahead of Singapore and Denmark followed by Hong Kong SAR and the Republic of Korea. Within ASEAN, Malaysia was ranked second after Singapore and ahead of economies such as Thailand (46th), Indonesia (91st), Japan (34th), China (78th), France (29th), Switzerland (31st) and India (130th).

The slight decline in Malaysia’s DTF score from 78.18 to 78.11 is mainly due to drop in performance in the following indicators:

i. Starting A Business (DTF score declined from 89.31 to 83.67)

  • The number of procedures increased from 6 to 8.5 procedures; and
  • The number of days increased from 7 to 18.5 days.

ii. Paying Taxes (DTF score declined from 79.31 to 79.2)

-The time taken in hours per year increased from 118 to 164 hours.

On the other hand, Malaysia has recorded improvement in the following indicators and sub-indicators in DB 2017:

i. Getting Electricity (DTF score improved from 94.33 to 94.34

-Cost (percentage of income per capita) reduced from 28.8% to 26.6%

ii. Getting Credit (DTF score improved from 70.0 to 75.0)

-Depth of credit information index improved from 7 to the maximum score of 8;

-Credit registry coverage (percentage of adults) improved from 57.0 to 62.4.

iii. Dealing with Construction Permits (DTF score improved from 81.08 to 81.10)

iv. Starting a Business

-Cost (percentage of income per capita) reduced from 6.7 to 6.2.

v. Paying Taxes

-Payments (number per year) reduced from 13 to 9.

vi.Trading Across Borders

-Cost to export: Border compliance (US$) reduced from US$ 321.20 to US$ 321;


-Cost to import: Border compliance (US$) reduced from US$ 321.20 to US$ 321.

PEMUDAH, the public-private sector Special Task Force to facilitate business, through its Focus Group on Starting a Business which consists of a number of private sector players, and representatives from the Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit (MAMPU), Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM) and Inland Revenue Department (LHDN), will identify the necessary areas for further improvement.

The new Companies Act 2016, which was recently passed by Dewan Rakyat, once implemented, will bring about improvements in the business registration process. This new act will simplify the incorporation process by dispensing multiple forms, common seals, Memorandum & Articles of Association as well as appointment of company secretary at the point of incorporation becomes optional, hence reducing time and cost for starting a business. We believe this will further improve the ease of doing business in Malaysia.

Likewise, the Focus Group on Paying Taxes, which consists of representatives from LHDN, Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) and Social Security Organisation (SOCSO) as well as private sector representatives, is engaging with the World Bank to understand further on the components of the time taken for Paying Taxes, and to identify, learn and adopt from best practices to improve Malaysia’s performance in this indicator.

Revisions made to the methodology since DB 2015 included the introduction of DTF scores and changes in the scope of the study in three indicators, namely Getting Credit, Protecting Minority Investors and Resolving Insolvency. DB 2016 has made further changes to the methodology to take into account five other Doing Business indicator sets, namely, Registering Property, Dealing with Construction Permits, Getting Electricity, Enforcing Contracts and Trading Across Borders.

In DB 2017, improvements were again made, this time, by expanding the Paying Taxes indicator set to cover post filing processes (what happens after a firm pays taxes) such as tax refunds, tax audits and administrative tax appeals as well as incorporating a gender dimension in the Starting a Business, Registering Property and Enforcing Contracts indicator sets. It was the result of these changes in methodology this year that Malaysia’s position has been revised from 18th to 22nd in the previous report.

The revised methodology has expanded the focus of the indicator sets in such a way that:

i. the quality aspects are considered in measuring the efficiency of a transaction or service

ii. recent good practices in the areas covered are also taken into account in assessing the quality aspects of regulation

PEMUDAH with its Secretariat at Malaysia Productivity Corporation (MPC) works closely with various Government agencies to tap on their expertise and experience to help initiate, implement and monitor the measures undertaken to raise efficiency and quality in all the areas of doing business.

The Minister mentioned that PEMUDAH, which is co-chaired by Tan Sri Dr. Ali Hamsa, the Chief Secretary of Malaysian Government and Tan Sri Saw Choo Boon, President of Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM), will continue to be the game-changer in striving for a better regulatory environment in Malaysia. Among initiatives that PEMUDAH is undertaking is the standardisation on e-consent management system at states that will reduce the cost and time in getting consent to transfer the property.

For Resolving Insolvency PEMUDAH Focus Group on Resolving Insolvency is undertaking initiatives to expedite the tax clearance letter and the court order. This will reduce the time taken for Resolving Insolvency process.

DB 2017 measures regulatory quality and efficiency using the DTF methodology and has accorded Malaysia a score of 78.11 out of a maximum of 100. The DTF score identifies the gap between the performance of an economy and best practices across 45 sub-indicators of quality and efficiency where a score of 100 represents the frontier and a zero score is the furthest from the frontier.

Malaysia recorded the highest DTF score in the Getting Electricity indicator, with a score of 94.34. Of the other nine indicators which are ranked in the report, Malaysia achieved DTF scores of at least 80.0 in 4 other indicators; Starting a Business (83.67), Trading Across Borders (82.38), Dealing with Construction Permits (81.10) and Protecting Minority Investors (80.0). For the remaining 5 indicators, DTF scores are, for Paying Taxes, 79.20, Registering Property, 76.29, Enforcing Contracts, 66.61 and Resolving Insolvency, 62.49.

Malaysia is credited alongside countries such as Germany, Hong Kong, and the United Kingdom as being the best performers on the “Reliability of Supply and Transparency of Tariffs Index” under the Getting Electricity indicator. Malaysia is one of the best performers on this index for 2 consecutive years. Malaysia is also acknowledged in the Report as having made Paying Taxes easier by enhancing the electronic system for filing and paying the goods and services tax (GST).

In terms of improving the sharing of credit information, Malaysia is recognised as one of the economies which have introduced bureau or registry credit scores as a value-added service. The positive impact of this initiative has gained Malaysia the maximum score of 8.0 on the “Depth of Credit Information Index” which placed Malaysia in the same league as the Republic of Korea, Taiwan (China) and the United Kingdom.

According to the Minister of International Trade and Industry, Dato’ Sri Mustapa Mohamed, “We take note of the areas mentioned where improvements are needed, and we will continue to work to the best of our ability to be better. The Good Regulatory Practice (GRP) initiative through the National Policy on the Development and Implementation of Regulations (NPDIR) undertaken by PEMUDAH has seen positive outcomes since its launch in 2013. As at September 2016, a total of 154 regulatory proposals were received from Ministries and agencies for MPC’s assessment,”

“Malaysia continues to be recognised for our business-friendly policy and competitive economy. The weaknesses pointed in this year’s report will be addressed accordingly and hopefully through greater public-private collaboration we will be able to improve our ranking in the upcoming Doing Business Report,” Dato’ Sri Mustapa Mohamed further added.

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Malaysia-Jordan Bid To Revive Tourism

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 25 (NNN-Bernama) — Malaysia is looking at Jordan in its efforts to entice more tourists from the Middle East, Tourism Malaysia Director-General, Mirza Mohammad Taiyab, said.

He said that since both countries were moving towards improving tourist arrivals, it would be a good time to target tourists from Jordan, which has shared diplomatic relations with Malaysia since 1965.

Another positive factor for bilateral tourism was when the Royal Jordanian Airlines (RJ), the Kingdom’s flag carrier, recommenced its operations to Kuala Lumpur in 2010, he said on the sidelines of the Jordan Tourism Business dinner co-organised by Jordan’s embassy in Kuala Lumpur and Jordan Tourism Board (JTB), here Monday. The airline suspended its operations in 2004.

“With the recommenced three direct weekly flights to Malaysia, I think Jordan can be one good prospect to promote bilateral tourism,” he said.

Touching on places to visit in Jordan, he said that Malaysians should see for themselves the major tourist attractions like the archaeological site of Petra, the Dead Sea and unspoiled natural locations like the Wadi Rum.

Meanwhile Charge D’ Affaires of the Jordanian embassy here, Dr Maen Masadeh, said that since both countries wanted to improve tourist arrivals, there were plenty of rooms for collaboration in this area, which could further enhance the current bilateral ties.

“I had some discussions with Jordanian tour operators, who are ready to cooperate in new challenges such as Umrah and Haj visa fees,” he said in his speech.

Masadeh noted that there were many positive developments in the tourism area, including the free visa on arrival for Malaysians, meaning there was no need to waste time or money for visas.

According to JTB, up to August this year, 11,030 Malaysians visited Jordan while last year, 17,562 Malaysians visited the kingdom, a slight decrease compared to 2014, which recorded 24,042.

Jordan, with a population of about 9.5 million is defined by ancient monuments, nature reserves and seaside resorts. It borders Iraq, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Syria by land and Egypt by sea.

Jordan’s main exports are textiles, potassium, phosphates, fertilisers, vegetables and pharmaceutical products while it imports mainly machinery and transport equipment, fuels, food, manufactured chemicals and electrical machines.

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Istanbul hosts OIC conf on “Employment of People with Disabilities”

26 Oct 2016, Istanbul (IINA) – The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is hosting today in Istanbul a conference on creating employment opportunities for the people with disability in its member states in collaboration with the Statistical, Economic, Social Research and Training Center for Islamic Countries (SESRIC), a subsidiary organ of OIC.

The conference with the theme of “Raising Awareness & Employment Opportunities” will continue until Friday. In a statement seen by the International Islamic News Agency (IINA), the summit will discuss the current situation and challenges facing persons with disabilities in the labor markets in OIC member countries, vocational training, and rehabilitation of persons with disabilities among other key issues of importance to the welfare of persons with disabilities.

“The OIC General Secretariat holds strongly the opinion that persons with disabilities, if empowered, can be key agents for reducing poverty, enhancing the quality of life and supporting economic growth in OIC member countries,” said Director of Social and Family Affairs in the OIC General Secretariat Dr. Fadilah Grine.

OIC General Secretariat is of strong opinion that realizing the ideals of justice and equality and providing equal employment opportunity in its member states should begin with those most at risk and in critical need. This commitment is reflected in the OIC Ten Year Program of Action 2025.

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LEAD STORY: British woman launches first online Islamic toy store

26 Oct 2016, London (IINA) – British Muslim woman Nazia Nasreen has set up the world’s first Islamic online toy store, Daily Mail reported.

Nasreen, 31, says her range of ‘Muslim Barbies’, colorful prayer mats, Qur’an cards and Arabic letter blocks fill a gap in the market and also help battle extremism. “A lot of times children learn the wrong things and that’s where the extremism kicks in. If the right educational toys and books are provided from a young age, we can instil the correct Islamic ethos and values in our children,” she said.

Nasreen, the mother-of-two, now sells 200 toys, games and other children’s products and her turnover has near-doubled to £30,000 in just a year.

Her popular products include ‘Muslim Barbies’ for £25, foam Arabic alphabet blocks for £12.99, a cardboard minaret for £22, prayer mats for £17 and Ramadan bunting for £9.

The businesswoman, whose biggest markets are Britain and America, also says the toys can ‘instil the correct Islamic ethos and values in our children’ and put them on the path of peace.

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Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan sign cooperation agreements

26 Oct 2016, Riyadh (IINA) – Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman held wide ranging talks with President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev at Al-Yamama Palace here on Tuesday.

During the session, they reviewed bilateral relations between the two countries and ways of enhancing them in all fields. They also discussed the latest developments at the regional and international arenas, according to Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

Following the talks, King Salman and President Nazarbayev attended a signing ceremony of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) and three agreements of cooperation between the governments of Saudi Arabia and Kazakhstan.

The agreements covered the fields of agriculture and livestock, the peaceful uses of atomic energy, extradition of wanted persons and the transfer of prisoners.

Nazarbayev held separate talks with Iyad Madani, secretary general of Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and Bandar Hajjar, president of Islamic Development Bank. Their talks mainly figured issues of common interest.

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OIC lists Israeli companies in occupied territories

25 Oct 2016, Tashkent, (IINA) – The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is compiling a list of Israeli companies operating in occupied Palestinian territories that will be used as a database for the organization’s 57 member countries to implement an agreement that boycotts Israeli products.

“The OIC Secretariat has been requested to provide an up-to-date database on Israeli companies that produce materials or goods in the occupied territories. The database would later be agreed upon for the boycott,” the Foreign Ministry’s multilateral affairs director general Hasan Kleib told reporters on Monday.

He was responding to journalists’ questions on the results from the recent OIC Council of Foreign Ministers in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

Kleib further explained that the boycott agreed by OIC member countries during a conference earlier this year would not be implemented on all Israeli products, but only for those produced in the occupied territories—the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem.

While the primary focus was toward Israeli companies, it would be deemed disappointing if foreign companies were also operating in the aforementioned areas, as this opposed the global dissenting voice against Israel, he said.

Kleib further said foreign companies that cooperated with Israel in the occupied territories would also be boycotted, even if they were not based on Palestinian soil.

“Products, plantation goods or textiles manufactured in the occupied territories would be labeled so that OIC member countries can implement the boycott and never buy the products,” he said. The move would hopefully deter settlers by creating an undesirable economic condition, he added.

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Russia explores technology projects in Indonesia

29 October 2016, Jakarta (ANTARA News) – The economic relations between Indonesia and Russia which are getting stronger, offer new opportunities for Russias technology projects and commodities to enter the Indonesian market.

The Russia-Indonesia Business Council will hold the Russia-Indonesia Business Forum on October 31, 2016 in Jakarta to discuss those mutually beneficial opportunities, a statement from the organization received by Antara here Saturday said.

The main purpose of this forum is to bridge the information gap between business circles of both countries amidst the economic turbulence and destabilization of the global economy, Russia-Indonesia Business Council CEO Mikhail Kuritsyn said.

The economic cooperation between the two countries complements each other and gets closer and closer after the leaders established national priorities regarding social and economic developments for the next ten years. The presidents of both countries had met on the sidelines of the Russia-ASEAN Summit 2016 in Sochi in May.

The current world economic development clearly shows that cooperation when carried out in an open way can boost competitiveness and improve the investment climate.

These two things guarantee the sustainability of economic development of every country, not just Russia and Indonesia.

At present, Russia and Indonesia actively cooperate in the fields of civil aviation, mining, mechanical engineering, metallurgy, transport infrastructure, industrial chemicals, and pharmaceuticals.

A number of new areas of cooperation which become a priority in bilateral relations between the two countries are expected to boost Russia and Indonesia trade volumes to US$5 billion this year.

Among the new sectors of cooperation are oil and gas, aviation, aerospace, maritime and shipping, agriculture, satellite technology and communications systems, high-technologies and banking.

A number of companies engaged in the fields of industry, trade, finance and investment, as well as representatives of government agencies of both countries, will participate in the forum.

The event consists of a panel discussion, presentation of the project of cooperation by the Russian participants, and Business to Business meetings.

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Indonesia’s Tour de Linggarjati to attract tourists

Jakarta (ANTARA News) – A Commission X member of the Indonesian House of Representatives, Puti Guntur Soekarnoputri, stated her hope that the Tour de Linggarjati sport event would attract tourists to visit Kuningan District in West Java Province.

“As a parliament member who was elected in Kuningan District, I should support the success of the Tour de Linggarjati,” Puti said, in a press release received here on Saturday.

She noted there were many tourism sites in Kuningan District, such as the Linggarjati Historical Site, Sanggarahiang Ancient Site, the hot springs and sulphur area.

Puti added that the event could trigger wider potential investment in the tourism sector in Kuningan District. She also supported the local administration in developing and improving services in the tourism sector.

Additionally, the Head of the District of Kuningan, Acep Purnama, said his administration has prepared to serve the participants of Tour de Linggarjati.

“We hoped the event can promote potential investment in Kuningan and develop its tourism sector,” Purnama said.

The Tour de Linggarjati competition began Friday (Oct 28). At least seven countries are participating.

The international event Tour de Linggarjati 2016 is the second competition being held in the district, which will be divided into three areas.

The participant will race at 345 kilometers and pass through 20 sub-districts and 180 villages. According to the committee, the track condition has been improved.

The chairman of the committee of the Tour de Linggarjati, Dian Rahmat Januar, said there are 20 teams, including ten national teams and ten international teams, joining the event.

Countries that are participating include Australia, Switzerland, Thailand, Austria, Viet Nam, and Philippines.

The participants will compete in three different classes, including Individual Time Trials, Road Race and Circuit Race, and Criterium. The winner will receive Rp500 million.

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Indonesia, Palestine explore closer trade, cultural cooperation

29 October 2016, Jakarta (ANTARA News) – Indonesia and Palestine have always shared a strong relationship and forged close cooperation despite the geographical distance between them.

Palestine was among the first nations to have recognized Indonesia’s declaration of independence on August 17, 1945, and Indonesia has been a staunch supporter for Palestine’s liberation from the occupation of Israel.

“As long as Palestine does not gain its independence, Indonesia will keep challenging the Israeli occupation,” President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) had said in his opening remarks at an extraordinary summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), held in Jakarta on March 7, 2016.

The president’s observation was a direct quote from the response of the country’s founding father President Sukarno given to a reporter, who asked him in 1962 as to why Indonesia did not have diplomatic relations with Israel.

So far, all seven Indonesian presidents have been consistent in supporting Palestines struggle for independence.

Such a stance is, in fact, in line with the country’s Constitution, UUD1945, which states that Indonesia is against colonialism on Earth.

Under the Jokowi administration, Indonesia realized its long overdue plan to open an honorary consulate in Ramallah, West Bank, Palestine, in March 2016.

Foreign Affairs Minister Retno LP Marsudi had traveled a long way from Jakarta to Amman, Jordan, to inaugurate Maha Alkhus Hussein, who is also known as Maha Abu Shusheh, as Indonesia’s first-ever lady honorary consul to Palestine, on March 13.

In October this year, Maha made her visit to Jakarta in her capacity as the honorary consul. She came to Indonesia with a 42-member business delegation.

She was received by Minister Retno at her office on Oct. 12. Also in attendance were five Palestinian businesspersons, the Palestinian Embassy Charge d’affaires Thahir Hamad and Indonesia’s Ambassador to Jordan.

Maha, a successful businesswoman herself, and the minister discussed improving bilateral cooperation, especially in the economic, trade, and tourism fields.

Palestine wished to explore tax exemption cooperation with Indonesia, so that Palestinian products, such as olive oil and dates, which are not produced in Indonesia, can be widely enjoyed by the Indonesian people.

In addition, Palestine hoped that Indonesian investors would invest in the Information Technology and Agribusiness sectors so that graduates from six Palestinian universities can remain and work in their homeland.

More youth employment in Palestine would be considered the better. The youth feel that if they stand their ground, they can counter Israeli policies of evicting Palestinians and claiming Palestinian land. Currently, the unemployment level in Gaza and the West Bank is pegged at between 40 and 50 percent.

Furthermore, the delegation also discussed the potential for cultural cooperation through building the Indonesia House in Palestine. Maha also proposed the opening of Indonesian language classes so that Indonesian culture becomes better known.

Indonesias stature has grown in the country, particularly after the establishment of the Indonesian Hospital, funded with donations from the Indonesian people, which was inaugurated in early 2016.

Also, two years ago, a Palestine-Indonesia Friendship Institution was established and has so far been run by volunteers.

Minister Retno noted that proposals for cooperation from Palestine will be studied since it is already part of Indonesia’s commitment of providing capacity building aid for the Palestinian people, including strengthening the economy.

In every international conference on Palestine, Indonesia continues to voice support for Palestinian independence.

The Honorary Consul and the Palestinian business delegation were in Jakarta to attend the Trade Expo Indonesia (TEI) 2016 held from Oct 12 to 16, and is expected to ink business deals with Indonesian businesspeople.

They also held a meeting with the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce’s Middle East Committee to discuss efforts to strengthen bilateral cooperation in trade and the economy.

When inaugurating the honorary consul some seven months ago, Minister Retno had expressed hope that Maha could serve effectively to promote bilateral relations between Indonesia and Palestine.

“I hope the honorary consul in Ramallah will play an active role in fostering brotherhood between the Indonesian and Palestinian people,” she had remarked in Amman.

The honorary consul is tasked with serving and protecting Indonesians and Indonesian corporate bodies in Palestine, she affirmed.

In addition, the honorary consul is tasked with intensifying bilateral cooperation in the areas of economy, trade, tourism, investment, labor issue, service, and culture, she pointed out.

“Indonesian support for the Palestinian cause has never dwindled, and today, we move one step forward with the inauguration of an honorary consul in Ramallah,” she affirmed.

The inauguration of the honorary consul followed the Fifth Extraordinary OIC Summit on Palestine and Al Quds Al Sharif held in Jakarta on March 6 and 7 this year.

President Jokowi had announced the assignment of Maha as the countrys first honorary consul for Palestine at the extraordinary summit.

“Permit me to announce that Indonesia has named Mrs Maha Alkhus Hussein as its honorary consul for Palestine,” Jokowi had said at the conference.

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Maritime festival, a vibrant event in Riau Islands

29 October 2016, Tanjungpinang (ANTARA News) – Indonesia, a maritime country with two thirds of its territory as waters, continues to develop its provinces, including the Riau Islands which is currently now holding a vivacious maritime festival.

The festival is officially called Festival Bahari Kepri 2016, or the Maritime Festival of Riau Islands 2016.

Under the Sail Indonesia program, the government is introducing the Riau Islands, expected to become the hub of maritime tourism since the provinces 95 percent area comprises waters.

Considered the second gateway for foreign tourists after Bali, the province is just the right place to hold such an enchanting maritime festival.

The festival is part of the Sail Karimata 2016 aimed at promoting the tourism potentials of four provinces, including the Riau Islands which also offers traditional cuisines including local sea foods.

The festival features 15 activities including dragon boat race, culinary festivities, cultural attractions, sky lantern festivities, diplomatic tours, traditional and modern games, seminars on tourism as well as investment forums on maritime tourism.

Dragon Boat Race

Tens of dragon boat teams from other provinces and different countries are participating in the International Dragon Boat Race in the Riau Islands capital of Tanjungpinang.

Deputy to the Tourism Minister for the Development of Foreign Tourism Marketing, I Gde Pitana, recently said at the opening ceremony of the International Dragon Boat Race that the event is the best way to augment peoples income through tourism.

Various studies have proven that by 2018, tourism will be the largest source of foreign exchange compared to other sectors, he noted.

Pitana pointed out that Tanjungpinang has the potential to be the western gateway to Indonesias tourism world.

“We believe the Dragon Boat Race can turn Tanjungpinang into a tourist destination because it helps showcase nature, culture and creativity of its human resources,” he explained, adding that its proximity to markets in Singapore and Malaysia is also a very profitable factor.

Pitana greatly appreciated the foreign participants and asserted that the dragon boat race was not just a sports competition but can help strengthen friendly relations and cooperation among nations.

The event, that witnessed participation of at least 400 players from foreign countries including Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore as well as hundreds of various provinces in Indonesia, was held for three days from October 21 to 23, 2016.

Tanjungpinang Mayor Lis Darmansyah said the race took place on the Carang River which has a long history of Malay culture.

The river is an asset of Tanjungpinang that should be preserved and exploited in order to reap benefits for the people, especially through the tourism sector, he argued.

Meanwhile, Riau Islands Provincial Secretary Arif Fadillah claimed the Dragon Boat Race has inspired several other regions in Indonesia to hold a similar event.

Incidentally, the Czech Republic has been holding a Dragon Boat Race since 2009 named after Tanjungpinang, he added.

Arif explained that the Tanjungpinang City administration had presented two dragon boats, named Gurindam and Pantun, several years ago to the government of the Czech Republic.

He hoped that the race will encourage similar maritime sports events elsewhere.

“The Dragon Boat Race is organized to preserve the traditions nurtured by our ancestors. There should be attractive packages to lure more travelers,” he stressed.

For those who want to enjoy local arts and cultural performances, the organizers have prepared a Poet Stage, a Decorative Car Parade, a Cultural Parade, an event called Sound from Motherland of Malay, Sei Carang Ornamental Boat, and the Riau Islands Carnival.

The festival will also be enlivened by a fly past by Indonesian National Air Force Hawk 100/200 fighters, a Sky Lantern show and Diplomatic Tours.

With these excitements, the government and people expect Riau Islands to become a Maritime Tourism Gateway of Indonesia.


On its way to become a marine tourism gateway of the largest archipelagic country in the world, the Riau Islands is now very accessible. The province with its 1.9 million people is close to five international airports.

In Batam, one of the fastest growing economy cities and very close to Singapore and Malaysia, is the Hang Nadim International Airport with the longest runway in Southeast Asia.

Four other world-class airports are Raja Haji Fisabilillah in Tanjungpinang, Sei Bati in Karimun, Ranai in Natuna, Dabo in Dabo Singkep (Lingga) and Matak in Matak (Anambas Islands).

In addition, another new airport will be built in North Bintan which be spread over an area of 170 hectares.

Indeed, Riau Islands will be more boisterous, crowded and bustling with businesses, trade and economic activities including those related to the maritime tourism industry.

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Padang City invites Norway man who sings “Nasi Padang”

29 October 2016, Padang, W Sumatra (ANTARA News) – Norwegian singer Audun Kvitland R’stad who creates a song called “Nasi Padang” will come to regale the audience in Padang city, West Sumatra, from December 1- 5, 2016 at the invitation the citys administration.

“Weve spoken to the Ambassador of Norway (about inviting Audun Kvitland),” the Head of Padang City, Mahyeldi Ansar, said here on Friday.

He observed that thanks to the song composed by Audun Kvitland, nasi padang (Padang boiled rice) is now well known globally, and inviting him would have a positive impact on tourism in Padang.

Mahyeldi added that Audun himself is also eager to return to publish Nasi Padang and other songs about West Sumatra.

His visit will be part of the efforts in this regard, including the Indonesian culinary festival to be held in Norway in January 2017.

“During the event, we will distribute leaflets carrying travel related information and explaining the potential of the city of Padang and West Sumatra,” he noted.

Hasnul Badri (24), a Padang resident, appreciated the governments efforts to bring singer of Nasi Padang to Indonesia again.

“We are certainly pleased with the efforts of this government, because we will be able to meet with Audun himself. So far, we have only seen him on social media as he sang the song about Nasi Padang,” he commented.

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Indonesia to deregulate aviation policies

28 October 2016, Jakarta (ANTARA News) – The government is planning to deregulate four aviation related policies that have been resulting in an economic burden for both, the airlines and the passengers, a Transportation Ministry official said.

The move is expected to relieve the business world and investors of the negative impact of these policies, Director General of Air Transportation Suprasetyo said here on Friday.

“We will also scrap lengthy and overlapping bureaucratic procedures which have caused major economic burdens to airlines and passengers,” he reiterated.

The deregulation of the aviation industry is also aimed at encouraging and increasing the role of the private sector and stakeholders in developing effective and efficient air transportation connectivity, he noted.

The deregulation exercise will include Regulation of the Transportation Minister, No. PM of 2015, concerning requirements for Capital Ownership of Corporate Bodies in the Transportation Sector and Regulation of the Transportation Minister, No. PM of 2015, concerning Rejuvenation of Airplanes.

The others are Regulation of the Transportation Minister No.64 of 2015 concerning Amendment to Regulation of the Transportation Minister No. KM 57 of 2010 concerning Civil Aviation Safety Requirements (CASR Part 141) concerning Requirements for the Certification and Operation of Aviation School, and Regulation of the Transportation Minister No. 174 of 2015 concerning Ground Support Equipment.

In addition, the government will also build certain kind of infrastructure on priority, particularly airports, in a just and proportional manner, he stressed.

“By focusing on developing airports in remote, outlying, inland, border and disaster-prone regions, the government expects an even distribution of resources which will encourage the economy,” he explained.

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Jordanian Ambassador assures safety of travel

27 October 2016, Jakarta (ANTARA News) – Jordan Ambassador to Indonesia Walid Al Hadid ensures the safety of tour and travel in Jordan, despite its geographical location that is adjacent to a number of countries involved in conflicts.

The Ambassador admitted to have received numerous inquiries asking about the safety of Jordan’s capital, Amman, as well as other tourist attraction areas in the country by potential visitors.

“Jordan have always lived peacefully,” he said during Jordan Tourism Board Business Event, hosted by the Embassy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in Indonesia and the Jordan Tourism Board in JW Marriott hotel, Jakarta, Tuesday.

He further explained that it is a common misperception that people tend to have when they think about Jordan’s geographical location, but in reality, there are no signs of civil war or terrorist actions in the country.

This is because the tourist destinations in Jordan, including the capital city, are actually a great distance away from conflict zones.

“For example, even if Amman is about 100 kilometers away from Damascus (capital city of Syria), we live a very peaceful life, and I can assure you that we have never had a single accident caused by conflicts or terrorist acts,” he remarked.

There have never been records of tourists being detained or attacked, either and this is the result of well-organized trips by Jordanian travel agents who made the necessary arrangements properly.

The Embassy, along with the Tourism Board invited a number of travel agencies from Amman, Jordan to Jakarta to attend the business event, in which they can make connections with local tour agencies.

The event aims to further promote Jordanian tourism to the Indonesian market, which ultimately strengthen the close bilateral relationship between the two countries.

“Jordan and Indonesia enjoy a very friendly and brotherly relationship, although we are very far away, we have a very close, humane relationship,” said the Ambassador to ANTARA.

Additionally, Jordan Tourism Board Area Marketing Coordinator Afanah Z. Afanah said that there are similar characteristics shared by Indonesia and Jordan, which strengthen the bond between both nations.

“The cultures of Indonesian and Jordanian public is very similar when it comes to generosity and hospitality. The warmth that you can see in Jakarta is just as beautiful as it is in Amman,” he stated.

Religion, tradition and culture are also among the aspects that he listed as the similarities between Indonesia and Jordan.

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Makassar holds jet ski championship to promote maritime tourism

27 October 2016, Makassar, S. Sulawesi (ANTARA News) – The Makassar City administration is organizing a jet ski championship in Makassar, South Sulawesi, from November 12 to 13, 2016 to promote its maritime tourism destinations in Daeng city.

Makassar’s Head of Youth and Sports Office, Ahmad Hendra Hakamuddin, said here on Wednesday that a number of athletes from various cities in the country as well as abroad will be participating in this championship.

“We hope to attract many more tourists to Makassar,” he added.

The event will be held at the Losari Beach and the Samalona Island, and will feature various local art and cultural performances, he informed.

As for the championship of jetski class endurance Open it has deliberately taken locations around the island so that it may be enjoyed by participants or athletes from both home and abroad.

The decision to not keep the event confined to Losari but to also include the Samalona Island was deliberate and thought through

Athletes will be competing in six classes in the event, namely Expert Ski Limited, Endurance Open, Novice Runabout Stock, Expert Runabout Stock, Spark Runabout Stock and Pro Open Runabout.

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Indonesia generated US$19 million during Canton Fair

25 October 2016, Jakarta (ANTARA News) – Indonesia made potential transactions worth US$19 million during the Canton Fair in Guangzhou, China, all credited to five Indonesian companies dealing in electronics and building materials.

“Electronic and building material products of Indonesia attracted international buyers,” said the Director General of the Trade Ministrys National Export Development division, Arlinda, in a press release received here on Tuesday.

Arlinda further stated that 80 percent of the total potential transactions during Canton Fair were for electronic products.

Other Indonesian products that generated significant potential transactions included wooden doors from PT Yooshin Indonesia, wood coatings from Bio Industries, various lamp products from PT Sinar Angkasa Rungkut, as well as wood and coconut flooring and panel from Golden Coco.

Some of the buyers, he continued, vouched that Indonesias wooden door products were of higher quality when compared to similar products from other countries, including China, Malaysia and Korea.

A number of consumers were interested in visiting the factories of Polytron and PT Yooshin Indonesia in Cikarang and Banten.

Meanwhile, Director of PT Yooshin Indonesia Ernest Tanzil said the exhibition gave an opportunity to introduce Indonesian construction materials to the international market.

“By participating in the 2016 Canton Fair, we are availing of a new market opportunity and introducing Indonesias products to the world,” he pointed out.

PT Yooshin Indonesia attracted potential buyers for wooden doors from Korea, Pakistan, Turkey, Iran and India.

Paviliun Indonesia, which bears the theme Trade With Remarkable Indonesia, was visited by a thousand people from South America, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and the United States.

Most business visitors to the 2016 Canton Fair came not only from China but the rest of the world.

The exhibition also allowed companies to establish partnerships and open a way for Indonesian products to enter the international market.

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Indonesia prepares for Asian Games 2018

25 October 2016, Jakarta (ANTARA News) – President Joko Widodo held a meeting to discuss the state of infrastructure readiness for the Asian Games XVII slated for 2018 in Jakarta and Palembang, South Sumatra Province.

“I urged that all preparations must proceed on time because it is a question of our pride and will underline Indonesia’s capability in hosting the games,” Jokowi said here on Monday.

The meeting was held in the Presidential Office in Jakarta and attended by Vice President Jusuf Kalla, Coordinating Minister for Development of Human and Culture Puan Maharani, Minister of Youth and Sports Imam Nahrawi, Minister of State Secretary Pratikno as well as Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung.

The president asked the ministers to focus on three main topics, namely infrastructure readiness, the competitiveness of Indonesian athletes and transportation facilities between Jakarta and Palembang, the two cities that will be hosting the Asian Games XVII.

“I ask ministers to describe the progress in the preparations being made for Asian Games,” Jokowi informed.

As for the transportation facilities, the president directed the ministers to ensure such facilities in provinces surrounding Jakarta, such as West Java and Banten. The sports event will be centered around these two areas.

He also asked ministers to submit reports in a scheduled manner about these preparations to the president.

“Please let me know if there are any obstacles in preparing for the Asian Games,” Jokowi added.

Indonesia will be hosting the Asian Games XVII from 18 August to 2 September, 2018. The Games will have at least 40 sports event.

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Oman aims to become a tourist hub by 2040

30 Oct 2016, Salalah (IINA) – Under a new investment plan worth $35 billion, Omani government plans to attract more than five million international visitors a year by 2040.

Under the new plan, the government predicts the tourism sector will employ more than 500,000 people, with a large number of them predicted to be Omanis. Oman seeks to attract more travelers, especially amid developments in Europe and Middle Eastern countries, including a rise in anti-migrant violence, bombings, and political disturbances.

Salalah, the capital of Dhofar governorate, is at the core of Oman’s tourism industry. Major hotels along the Indian Ocean coast here are filled with Gulf nationals and holidaymakers from Europe and Asia. Also known for its coconut plantations, palm orchards, quiet beaches and frankincense market, Dhofar is a crowd-puller for its religious sites, including the tomb of Prophet Ayoub’s wife, Rahima in central Salalah and the 40ft-long grave of Prophet Emran nearby. Adventure-seekers can also enjoy hiking, and humpback whale and dolphin watching.

Oman’s economy was powered by agriculture, fishing, camel and goat herding, and handicrafts, until oil was discovered, propelling the sultanate’s dramatic development over the past four decades.

“Tourism certainly can and is playing a major role in Oman’s economy,” James Wilson, CEO of the state-run developer Omran, told Al Jazeera. “The government is now focused on five key economic sectors: tourism, logistics, manufacturing, mining, and fisheries, all of which will help Oman advance from its current dependency on oil.”

“The new visa system which has yet to be adopted looks at producing a joint visa with neighboring countries, allowing tourists to obtain visa entry to Oman and its surrounding countries. This aims to ease the travel experience within the GCC,” he added.

Earlier this year, Oman’s tourism ministry announced plans to attract more than five million international visitors a year by 2040, up from 2.6 million visitors in 2015. Tourism currently contributes just 2.5 percent to the sultanate’s economy, and the government aims to raise that figure to 6 percent.

By 2040, the government aims for a total of 33,373 hotel rooms, 29,287 holiday home rooms and 17,262 rooms in “integrated tourism complexes,” according to Omran.

These clusters will be developed over the next 10 to 15 years, with an aim to become destinations in their own right.

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Abu Dhabi Launches Global Campaign To Discover Emirate’s Extraordinary Stories

Abu Dhabi, U.A.E. 31 October 2016: Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), which conserves and promotes the emirate’s heritage, culture and traditions and is developing a leading cultural landscape to support its evolution into a world-class, sustainable destination of distinction, has launched a new worldwide promotional campaign aimed at encouraging travellers to experience Abu Dhabi’s ‘extraordinary stories.’

The campaign highlights Abu Dhabi as the inspiring destination for those wanting to experience cultural authenticity and diverse natural assets aligned to the Abu Dhabi Plan’s objectives of delivering an original and attractive tourism and cultural destination.

“It tells the extraordinary story of Abu Dhabi, from its ancient past to its modern wonders, guiding audiences through breathtaking natural environments and exhilarating experiences,” explained His Excellency Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman, TCA Abu Dhabi. “Every filmed moment, every photograph and word evokes the poetic beauty and authenticity of the emirate, which invites travellers to become a part of its story.

“Audiences will also discover a dynamic, family-leisure entertainment destination and one which also holds out ambitious business opportunities. The campaign will unearth these stories and bring them to life for our potential visitors, inspiring them to journey here.”

Following an eight-month development process, the campaign comprises a two-series television commercial dedicated to GCC and international markets which will be broadcast and run across TV networks, digital channels and in-flight entertainment systems.

Also in production are five-promotional videos which highlight Abu Dhabi’s tourism, culture, MICE, events and cruise experiences which will be available to Abu Dhabi’s tourism stakeholders to be used in exhibitions, roadshows, and events.

The commercials and videos capture a range of authentic moments, landscapes and emotions shot across 40 locations throughout the emirate. These include UAE capital cityscapes and landmarks, nature reserves and island resorts, forts and palaces in Al Ain, as well as the awe-inspiring deserts and coastline of the Al Gharbia Western Region.

The campaign will be rolled out internationally from November 1 and will primarily focus on Abu Dhabi’s core markets of the UAE, India, China, the UK, Germany, USA and the GCC. Other markets will be activated through intense PR activities run via TCA Abu Dhabi’s overseas offices.

The campaign, according to TCA Abu Dhabi Director General Saif Saeed Ghobash, has been aligned to a go-to-market strategy of prioritising source market channels according to their travel booking preferences and periods.

“This means it will run heavily in the UK and Germany straight after New Year when travellers’ minds turn to sunshine breaks and in China, specifically to catch Chinese New Year and the Golden Weeks. Other markets will be addressed in a like-minded booking preference approach,” he explained.

“We will also target the USA’s high potential Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions market – the US being where many international associations are headquartered and from where bids for annual conventions emanate.”

In addition to the TV commercials and promotional videos, the roll-out of a new range of supporting destination collateral and a new image library of inspiring photography will follow.

To know more about the new campaign and to play the new TV commercial visit the official destination website visitabudhabi.ae

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Income tax fair held in Chittagong

CHITTAGONG, Oct 30, 2016 (BSS) – A weeklong income tax fair will begin in Chittagong from Tuesday with a view to encouraging people to pay taxes properly.

Housing and Public Works Minister Engineer Mosharraf Hossain, MP is scheduled to inaugurate the fair at GEC convention center in the city at 10 am on the day.

This was disclosed at a press conference held at conference hall of Agrabad Tax Zone-1 commissioner office.

Commissioner of Taxes Zone-1 Nazrul Islam in his written statement said the programmes would begin through bringing out a rally and holding a procession on the premises of GEC convention center. The fair will remain open from 10 am to 6pm everyday from November 1 to 7.

The National Board of Revenue (NBR) will also honour the highest and long-time taxpayers of Chittagong.

The authority has set a target of income tax this year for Chittagong zone Taka 9550 crore which was Taka 7052 crore in 2015-2016 fiscal year.

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Bangladesh to build new shipyard near Payra Port

KHULNA, Oct 30, 2016 (BSS)- Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan today joined the launching ceremony of a container vessel “M V Uttaran Express”, which will join the fleet of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC), on Khulna Shipyard (KSY) premises.

Speaking on the occasion he said the government would build another shipyard near Payra Port.

He said all vessels of BIWTC will be built from KSY in future and added that around 200 acres of land will be purchased to set up the new shipyard.

“Khulna Shipyard is playing a vital role for the economy of the country through constructing warships, cargoes and container vessels for Bangladesh Army, Navy, Coast Guard and BIWTC,” he said.

The minister said another container vessel will be built by KSY and handed over to BIWTC in October 2017.

KSY managing director Commodore K Kamrul Hasan delivered the welcome speech while Mizanur Rahman Mizan, MP, and BIWTC chairman Md. Mizanur Rahman addressed as special guests.

Assistant chief of Bangladesh Navy Rear Admiral S A M A Abedin, Commodore Commanding of Khulna Navy Shamsul Alam and high government officials, among others, were present.

The container vessels will be plying on Dhaka-Chittagong, Dhaka-Mongla, Chittagong-Mongla and India and Mayanmar coastal routes, KSY sources said.

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Iran, Vietnam willing to boost economic cooperation

Kuala Lumpur, Oct 28, IRNA – Iranian Ambassador to Hanoi Saleh Adibi and the Deputy Prime Minister of Vietnam Pham Binh Minh held talks on Friday on ways to boost economic cooperation.

The Iranian envoy said that Tehran aims to augment trade ties with Hanoi to the level of two billion dollars until 2021.

Pham Binh Minh who is also the Vietnamese foreign minister said that Hanoi is ready to develop cooperation with Iran in all fields including telecommunications, agriculture and trade.

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Domestic, foreign firms to take part in Kish Invex 2016

Kish, Hormuzgan Prov., Oct 29, IRNA – The Director of the 3rd International Exhibition of Banking, Insurance and Investment opportunity said that some 180 domestic and foreign firms are to participate in the event.

Aria Hamidian said that the event aims at convergence in attracting investment in domestic and foreign cooperation which is required in realizing Iran’s Sixth Development Plan.

In addition to cooperation in economic development, representatives of state and private economic sectors and foreign firms are to review obstacles and problems in post-sanction era, he added.

He referred to the presence of foreign firms as an important step in developing economic and trade ties between countries, adding that 30 foreign companies from Italy, Switzerland, India, Turkey, UAE, France, Georgia, Malaysia and England together with some 150 domestic firms will attend the meeting.

He referred to holding the 8th International Exhibition and Summit for Presenting Iran’s Investment Opportunities on November 1-2, saying that 12 expert panels will be held in the presence of over 60 speakers, economists and pundits in related fields.

He noted that different media, including Bloomberg, Xinhua News Agency, Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT), Al Mayadeen TV, TIMA London, NHK Japan have been invited to the event.

The opening ceremony of the 3rd International Exhibition of Banking, Insurance and Investment opportunity will be held in the presence of the head of Tehran Stock Exchange (TSE), manager of Central Insurance of Iran, head of Iranian Privatization Organization, businessmen and local officials on October 31st in Kish International Convention Center.

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Algeria, Iran ink three MoUs on cooperation, production of vaccines and drugs

28 October 2016, ALGIERS, (Algerian Press Service) -Algeria and Iran inked Thursday in Algiers three Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) on cooperation and the production of vaccines, medical equipment and drugs.

The signing ceremony of these MoUs was attended by Minister of Health, the Population and Hospital Reform Abdelmalek Boudiaf and Iran’s Health and Medical Education Minister Hassan Ghazizadeh Hachemi, who is on a working visit to Algeria.

The MoU on the production of drugs and medical equipment has been signed by Director of Pharmacy and Medical Equipment at the ministry of Health, Population and the Hospital Reform Hamou Hafedh and Iran’s Deputy-Minister and President of the Organization of Food and Drugs Rasoul Dinar Kand.

Director of Pasteur Institute of Algiers Zoubir Harrath inked a MoU with Director of the Iranian Institute Mustapha Kanai, which relates to the manufacturing of vaccines and serums in Algeria.

The second MoU was inked from the Algerian side by Director General of Frater-Razes Labs Abdelhamid Cherfaoui and from the Iranian side by Director of Baboush lab Darou Khir Abadi on the manufacturing of biotech drugs.

On the sidelines of the signing ceremony, Iran’s Health Minister hailed Algeria-Iran relations, particularly in the fields of industry, agriculture, health and exchanges in the field of education and scientific researches.

For his part, Boudiaf highlighted “the exceptional efforts” made by Algeria to boost domestic production,” highlighting the need for exploring foreign markets and resuming the production of vaccines locally.

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Agreement for pharmaceutical development in Africa inked

29 October 2016, (Algerian Press Service) CONSTANTINE- An agreement for the pharmaceutical development between Algeria and several Maghreb and African countries was signed Saturday in Constantine (431 km east of Algiers), on the last day of the 1st International pharmacy, parapharmacy, health and well-being show (SAIDALYA).

This cooperation agreement signed between the pharmaceutical operators of Algeria, Tunisia, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso and Senegal aims mainly at “developing throughout Africa all the activities relating to the pharmaceutical field at the training, information and commercial levels,” said the event’s organizer Yacine Fersado.

This “cooperation” network, expected to “significantly” expand, will allow the African countries to “boost” their pharmaceutical industries considered today as “a financial windfall of a major importance,” according to Fersado, insisting on the urgent need to “coordinate” all the actions to achieve the development objectives outlined for this purpose.

This agreement signed between the Maghreb and African professionals will also allow “developing competencies and expertise” of these countries in search of a “sustainable” economic development, said the head of medical tourism at the Arab Tourism Experts Union (ATEU).

The Maghreb countries, particularly Algeria and Tunisia which “managed to establish strong cooperation ties notably at the pharmaceutical and medical levels should, henceforth, pave the way for partnership relation with the other African countries to provide these industries with all the necessary development means,” said Abderrahmène Jamai who called to extend the cooperation to other sectors.

The president of the National Union of Pharmacy Operators (UNOP), who insisted on the urgent need to “strengthen the national pharmaceutical industry,” called on the different participants ( sectors of health, trade and finance) to “efficiently” get involved in the development process of this industry.

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Algerian translator receives “Ibn Khaldoun-Senghor” Award

27 October 2016, PARIS-The Algerian academic and translator Brahim Sahraoui received “Ibn Khaldoun-Senghor” Translation Award in human sciences for 2016 for the translation of “Philosophies de notre temps” book from French into Arabic, announced the International Organisation of La Francophonie on its website.

Brahim Sahraoui’s translation was jointly published by Editions El-Ikhtilef (Algiers) and Arab Scientific Publishers, Inc (Beirut-Lebanon).

The jury, headed by Zahida Darwiche Jabbour, unanimously hailed the “translation quality” and the choice of this book that “illustrates major ideas of occidental and contemporary philosophy, and allows the Arabic-speaking reader to discover them.”

According to the jury, the translation of “Philosophies de notre temps”, a collective book directed by François Dortier, is also “a relevant tool for Arab researchers and university students.”

The €10,000 worth “Ibn Khaldoun-Senghor” Translation Award will be awarded on 17 November 2016 during a ceremony at the headquarters of the Arab Organization for Culture, Education and Science (ALESCO) in Tunis.

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Algiers to host Int’l Transport and Logistics Exhibition

26 October 2016, (Algerian Press Service) ALGIERS- The 1st International Transport and Logistics Exhibition (Logistical) will take place from 21 to 24 November at the Exhibition Centre, in Algiers, with the participation of more than 50 national and foreign exhibitors.

This economic event, devoted to the logistic chain, cargo and freight transportation, will see the participation of five exhibitors from France and Germany, said the event’s organizers in a press conference held Wednesday in Algiers.

“This exhibition will bring together different contributors in the logistics to improve the activity of companies working in the transport of goods,” said Saadane Kaderi, secretary general of the Algerian Chamber of Trade and Industry (CACI) which organizes the exhibition in partnership with SAFEX and CACI-France under the theme “For the control of logistic costs.”

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Algeria awarded first Arab Environment Ministers Council prize

27 October 2016, (Algerian Press Service), ALGIERS- Algeria has received the first prize of the Arab Environment Ministers Council for 2016, following the participation of the National Centre for Integrated Building Studies and Research (CNERIB) in the contest, the ministry of Housing and Urban Planning said Thursday in a statement.

The project in which CNERIB took part in competing for the Arab League award consisted in “building walls with energy absorbing materials to preserve environment.”

The awarding ceremony will be held on December 8 in Cairo, Egypt.

In addition, the World Bank report on business climate “Doing Business” has ranked Algeria in the 77th position in housing and urban planning with 71.02 points out of 100, the statement said.

This result has been possible through the efforts made in terms of the required deadline for the abstention of a building permit and the removal of bureaucratic barriers.

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President Bouteflika inspects Algiers Grand Mosque project

30 October 2016, (Algerian Press Service) ALGIERS- President of the Republic Abdelaziz Bouteflika inspected, Sunday, the project site of the Grand Mosque of Algiers, located in the commune of Mohammadia in Algiers.

The Head of State was accompanied by Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal, Minister of Housing, Urban Planning and the City Abdelmadjid Tebboune, Minister of Religious Affairs and Wakfs Mohamed Aissa, the head of the High Islamic Council Bouabdellah Ghoulamallah and the governor of Algiers Abdelkader Zoukh.

The mosque of Algiers, under construction, is considered as the biggest mosque in Africa and the third in the world after Mecca’s Masjid al-Haram and Medina’s Masjid al-Nabawi in Saudi Arabia.

With a capacity of 120,000 places, the mosque will be equipped with a minaret of 265 meters high, the highest in the world.

President Bouteflika laid the foundation stone of the mosque of Algiers on 31 October 2011.

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On naming a day after Cyrus the Great

Shiraz, Fars Prov., Oct 30, IRNA – When Cyrus the Great, King of Persia and founder of the Achaemenid Empire, entered the land of Babylon in 539 BC as a conqueror, he treated people in a way different from that of the ordinary conquerors of that time. He never violated their dignity and human rights and this has turned that day into a historic day for humanity.

According to historical documents, new territories in Asia were captured by the Army of Cyrus the Great in an unfought war.

Upon his entry to Babylon, Cyrus adopted a different approach in treating the people living in the new captured lands, allowing them, instead, to hold on to their religious and ethnic values and live a free life.

The approach taken by the Iranian king has happened to go down in history to make him the harbinger of human rights.

Centuries after the world first charter of human rights was written on a piece of clay in cuneiform script and known as the Cyrus Cylinder, it seems that the Iranian nation consider it a significant national priority to acknowledge what the just king did to serve ‘We the Peoples’, as the United Nations puts it, and to celebrate the precious legacy left by the Iranian emperor.

While October 29 is observed by many across the world as Cyrus the Great Day or Cyrus Day, there is no special day designated on the Iranian calendar for the Persian king globally-admired for introducing what regarded by many as the first charter of human rights.

‘Cyrus is highly praised by the world nations for what he and his Army did after the capture of Babylonia,’ author and researcher of religious texts Mohammad Mehdi Jafari told the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) in a recent interview.

‘He respected the people who came from diverse ethnicities and religious backgrounds and helped reconstruction of Al Quds and allowed the Jewish exiles to return to their own homes, carrying with them their sacred temple vessels,” Jafari said referring to the fact that Cyrus treated the Jews (who were exiled in Babylonia) in the conquered territories in a civilized way and allowed them to return home in 539 BC.

Jafari also said that it seems necessary for the Iranians to designate on their official calendar a day for celebrating Cyrus in a bid to promote the doctrine of human rights introduced by the Iranian emperor for the first time in history.

One of the benefits of designating a day for remembering Cyrus the Great, the first guardian of the rights of nations, on the Iranian calendar is going to be warding off all misleading ideas surrounding the exceptional figure in the Iranian and world history.

Noting that Cyrus has made many contributions to the global human society, Jafari urged the need to develop a guideline for celebrating the Persian King.

‘By referring to the authentic views developed by the Iranian academics and historians, we can lay down a reliable guideline for designating a day in our calendar for celebrating Cyrus,’ he said.

‘This is going to be a gallant effort that will show the patriotism of the Iranian people while it will stop abusing the issue by others.’

Currently, there is no official day named after the Iranian King who is also the inventor of the world’s first human rights declaration, neither on the Iranian calendar nor on the calendar of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Regarding the respect given by the Islamic establishment of Iran to the great figures of the county, it seems quite possible that a certain day be designated to Cyrus in the Iranian calendar.

President Hassan Rouhani in a visit to the Takht-e Jamshid Palace (Persepolis) in Fars Province last year said, “These historical sites are telling us that we are a great nation capable of doing great jobs.”

Meanwhile, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei had once said in a visit to Fars Province (the land where the tomb of Cyrus is located) in 2008, “Those nations who have no great figures in their history, try to create some. We have so many great names in our history that are the source of our national pride and self-reliance so why we are not showing them?”

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Airbus, Boeing contracts with Iran at final stage

Tehran, Oct 30, IRNA – Deputy Minister of Roads and Urban Development for international affairs Asghar Fakhriyeh Kashan said on Sunday that negotiations and expert studies on contracts with Airbus and Boeing are getting to final stage for signature soon.

He said that the contracts to purchase airplanes from the two companies reached the final stage and understanding has been achieved to begin joint work.

Fakhriyeh Kashan said purchasing 111 airplanes from Airbus with credit less than 10 billion dollars and 108 planes from Boeing is close to be finalized.

The draft contract signed in Paris last year envisaged producing software and hardware for Airbus planes by Iranian companies in cooperation with office of vice-president for science and technology studies, so the Iranian companies will be placed on the list of Airbus planes spare parts suppliers, Fakhriyeh Kashan said.

Upon draft agreement, representatives from Airbus company came to Iran and the executive committee was formed to fulfill expertise works and qualified Iranian companies would produce spare parts and offer services at the universal standard.

He added that the same process is to be executed by Boeing as well.

The US Treasury Department authorized sale of passenger planes by Airbus and Boeing.

Iran Air is to buy more than 200 planes and the delivery is expected to begin at the end of the current year.

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West Asia’s dramatic arts managers gather in Tehran

Tehran, Oct 30, IRNA – The first meeting of managers of West Asia’s dramatic arts opened in the Iranian capital on Sunday.

The three-day meeting is attended by managers of 12 West Asia’s dramatic arts member countries including, Afghanistan, Syria, Oman, Qatar, Algeria, Tunisia, Azerbaijan Republic and Lebanon.

The meeting is hosted by Tehran’s Golestan Palace.

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Afghanistan seeks ways to implement Korean Development Model

October 25, 2016, Kabul (BNA) The seminar ‘Application of Korean Development Model in Afghanistan’ aimed to share the knowledge and lessons of the trainees of the invitation training program by Korean International Cooperation Agency KOICA held jointly by Afghan-Korea Alumni Association, KOICA office and Korean embassy in Kabul and the Dunya University of Afghanistan here on Sunday.

Inaugurating the seminar, Prof. Ahmad Shah Sangdel dean of the Dunya University besides welcoming Korean Ambassador to the seminar, said that Afghanistan and Korea enjoying 300 years of friendship, but the two countries diplomatic relation started 50 years ago which still going on with good spirit of friendship and mutual cooperation.

“If the Afghan people use the experiences of Korea for being self-reliance, then holding such seminars and implementation of Korean development model will help reaching the goals”, Sangdel added, saying Korea has passed so many challenges and now has been turned the 9th biggest economic power across the globe.

“Korea has helped Afghanistan in different spheres of culture, social and education. At the Brussels Conference, the country also pledged 135 million of USD to Afghanistan. From a poverty stricken nation, Korea has changed to a donor country,” dean of the Dunya University said, hoping the participants of the seminar could use such experiences and help Afghanistan reach its self-sufficiency goals. Meanwhile Ambassador of Republic of Korea to Afghanistan Chin Ki-hoon addressing the gathering applauded Dunya university of Afghanistan for hosting the seminar, saying Korea had overcome all challenges that Afghanistan currently facing with and turned to be among the leading economic powers.

“To share Korea’s economic development experiences, we have provided training facilities to over 1600 Afghan people through Korean International Cooperation Agency which received positive outcomes,” Ambassador Chin Ki-hoon said, adding Korea was one of the poorest countries in the world with GDP per capita of 70 USD a year in 1950s, but now is more than 30,000 which indicates that Koreans didn’t lose morale and tried to build their country.

The Korean Ambassador went on saying that New Village Movement in Korea was one of the development models which facilitated the cooperation between the people and government and led to the successful rehabilitation. “Today’s seminar is also to assess and examine the capability of Korean Development Modelthrough practical and academic panels. It will also have impact on new generation to take part in rehabilitation of their country,” the Ambassador added, saying participation of the young generation in such seminars will lead Afghanistan toward a developed and peaceful future.

Speaking at the event, dean of Swiss UMEF University of Afghanistan and former minister of information and culture, Dr. Sayed Makhdoom Raheen said that holding such seminars will teach to the new generation how the war-hit nations developed and how Afghans reach to self-reliance through using their experiences.

“It is immense pleasure to hold a seminar with a country that has passed years of devastating war. The nation lost all its infrastructures, but their hardships led to successful rehabilitation which is a matter of proud to all Koreans,” Dr. Raheen said, adding today Korean nation with suffering so many hardships has once again revived their pure culture and reconstructed their country.

Following the speeches, the seminar panels consisted of both the members of Afghanistan-KOICA Alumni Association and the academic people from Dunya and Swiss UMEF universities in Afghanistan discussed three important topics of community development, women’s role in economic development of Korea and Afghanistan and economic development through education. The seminar was the first and historical collaboration between the development practitioners and academia in a bid to find the proper mode of Afghanistan development.

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Ainak Area A Cradle Of Sasanids, Koshanids’ Historical Works

October 29, 2016, Kabul (BNA) Afghanistan is a rich country with ancient relics as large number of this works were recently discovered which explain the long history of this territory.

Chief of Archeology Department Abdul Qadir Timori said, over thousand movable and immovable works have been discovered since 2009 in Ainak copper mine area. On Sep24.2016, we had excavations in that area in south of Ainak mountain Logar and unearthed about 1005 silver coins, 7 gold Jewelries one silver bracelet which was the biggest gains. Timori went on to say that according to our studies, the unearthed objects belong to Sasanids and Koshanids eras of 4th and 5th centuries which were discovered in a pot. They would be registered and then would be handed over to national museum. It is planned that a museum would be built in Mohammad Agha district, Logar province in which all unearthed works will be protected. All excavations in Ainak copper mine area are taking place by professional employees of Archeology Department as 8 experts from the US are members of this team plus 4 experts from Italy who have arrived there as per the invitation of the MoIC through UNESCO for excavations. Excavations have been going on since eight years in that ancient site by Archeology department. Excavations take place in a certain period.

During cold weather, snow and rain we stop excavations to prevent the destruction of the ancient sites. Due to our excavations, extraction of copper was stopped. We try to conclude our excavations there as quick as possible so to resume mine extraction. Timori added, beside ongoing excavations in Logar Ainak copper mine, excavations were going on in Qala Cheheldokhtaran village in Bamyan by French experts that was concluded last week. Excavation in Nogonbad mosque and Tapa Naranj areas were also concluded and a number of works were discovered. Talking on their problems, Timori said, we had vast plans of excavation of ancient sites we fail to achieve our goals. Our organization is very limited while excavations are going on in 34 provinces while we have merely 24 professional employees and can’t survey and excavate in all of them simultaneously. I would like to draw attention of the relevant senior authorities. Despite of all available problems, we managed to survey ten provinces including Badakhshan, Nangarhar, Kunar, Laghman, Kabul, Nimroz, Bamyan, Paktya, Parwan and Kandahar. Up on change of weather we will resume our activities there.

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World Bank offers $120m to combat poverty in Afghanistan

October 30, 2016, Kabul (BNA) The World Bank authorities have announced that they would be beside the Afghan people in this sensitive juncture of time and in the continuation of their cooperation with the Afghan government, this time contribute US $120m for improvement of its financial system.

WB Afghanistan director Robert Saum said, WB contributes $ 120m for social services particularly reduction of poverty, people access to hygienic potable water and improvement of financial system. He added, out of this amount, US $100m will be invested within the framework of Afghan government citizenship treaty for supply of above social services in rural areas and four big cities.

Appreciating the WB contributions for Afghanistan, the MoRRD authorities said that citizenship treaty program is expected to be started in early 2017. MRRD spokesman Akbar Rostami said, at the moment work is going on, on capacity building of LDCs for effective implementation of development projects. We appreciate WB contribution for rural. The WB authority strongly believes that Afghanistan should maximally exploit its geographical location as the cross road of transit among southern, central and eastern Asia and its increasing requirements including energy and water resources, commercial opportunities and fleeing of work forces would be dealt. Saljoqi a lawmaker from Herat in the house said, the world long term support of Afghanistan would be a unique opportunity for the Afghan government to make sincere efforts to invest and spend these aids according to rural needs fairly and take practical steps towards war on corruption, good governance and improving of security.

Economist and member of Academy of sciences Sher Ali Tazri said, the Afghan government should prepare a comprehensive plan on better implementation of its economic projects to donors particularly the WB which has been the biggest donor for Afghanistan. Because lack of a precise program, good governance in the last fifteen years have caused the infrastructural projects not to be implemented properly. Safia Siddiqi a civil society activist said, no doubt, Afghanistan owns good opportunities that could attract aids of donors including WB.

She added, unfortunately in the last fifteen years, most aids of the world community have not been spent and invested in infrastructural projects, natural resources like mines, water resource and agriculture have not been suitably used.

Talking on the world support to Afghanistan, Gul Muhammad a local citizen said, unfortunately, despite of generous world assistance, no substantial change has taken place in the people living conditions specially the rural population. They are still facing serious problems.

Rafiaullah the owner of a property dealer said, improving of security situation leaves positive impacts on other sections and lack of security causes the people not to work honestly. So restoration of security should be a top priority of the NUG.

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First Fish Farming Project Launched in Afghan-Indo Friendship Dam

October 30, 2016, Kabul (BNA) The Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) announced launching of the fish farming in Salam Dam, which was built with the financial support of India in western Herat province of Afghanistan.

MAIL further added that at least 50,000 fish chicks were released in the dam to start the fish farming. According to the ministry the step has been taken to start fish farming besides the dam produce electricity and irrigates hundreds of acres of land in Herat.

According to the officials, the fish chicks will start producing more fishes after two years and will produce thousands of tons of fish. The officials also added that 1.5 million Afghanis have been invested for the establishment of the fish farm in Salam Dam.

The landmark Salma Dam project was inaugurated by the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani in western Herat province of Afghanistan earlier in the June this year. The reservoir of the dam is 20 kilometer long and 3 kilometer wide and has a storage capacity of 640 million cubic meters of water. The officials earlier said the dam is expected to produce 42 megawatt of electricity and will irrigate around 80 hectares of agricultural land.

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US$790 Million Aid Package Delivered To Afghanistan

October 30, 2016, Kabul (BNA) The first assistance package of the US committed in Brussels conference worth $790mln has come into effect.

The aim behind this assistance is to promote good governance, to pay attention to health sector and other related sections. 50 percent of the assistance is expected to be spent through the government budget for four years, and as the government officials said the government is completely accountable to consider transparency in spending of the amount. A number of experts and Kabul citizens told that this is a great issue, but on a condition if the government of Afghanistan considers transparency in the respect.

Saifuddin Saihoun, an economic expert said, ‘at the Brussels conference, the international donors have committed $15.2bln assistance to Afghanistan by 2020. Therefore, such assistances can help the country solve its economic and security problems on one hand and would surely positively affect other areas as well on the other.’

To attain the international community commitment was part of the government of national unity work as it succeeded in Brussels conference, he further said, adding effective and transparent implementation of these aids is another issue that considering administrative corruption will face the government with challenge.

However, with serious commitment to the world, the government leadership succeeded to attain financial assistance of the international community, but only raising voice on fighting corruption is not sufficient but it must put into practice. Shir Ali Tazri, another economic expert said, ‘the government of national unity has to obtain the world countries’ trust so the international community continues its assistances to Afghanistan.’

It should be mentioned that it was expected that 50 to 75 percent of the assistances to be spent through the national budget, but as US is the greatest donor to Afghanistan, it has been decided that only 50 percent of the aids to be spent through the government budget—a move indicates that still the donor countries, particularly the US don’t have complete trust on implementation of transparency in this regard.

Therefore, to fully achieve the world supports, the government of national unity has to fight corruption at any cost, or the assistances process will face deadlock.

Welcoming practicing the committed aids in Brussels conference, the people of Afghanistan are hopeful to their future and believe that the financial commitments can help their country get rid of the ongoing challenges.

Anwar, a Kabul resident said, ‘I was not hopeful to future of Afghanistan before, and decided to migrate, but now, as the international community has committed to continue assistances to Afghanistan, I became hopeful to future and want to stay in my country.’ Maryam, a private university student said, ‘this is a good opportunity to the government of national unity to bring changes in citizens’ life.’ In this case, the people will stand by their government and the world would not have other expectations from Afghanistan without implementation of transparency and to satisfy the people.

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Bishkek hosts CIS Forum of Creative and Scientific Intelligentsia

Bishkek, October 27 / Kabar /. In Bishkek, 27- 28 October holds XI Forum of Creative and Scientific Intelligentsia of the CIS member states. Delegates from all CIS countries have been invited to participate in the Forum in the capital of Kyrgyzstan.

The forum is held with the support of the State Directorate for preparation and holding of the Year of History and Culture of the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic and the Interstate Fund for Humanitarian Cooperation of CIS member states – the leading organization coordinating all areas of cooperation in the humanitarian sphere and implementing multilateral projects in the CIS space.

The forum is attended by Kyrgyz officials, ambassadors, public figures, leaders of youth organizations, representatives of science, culture, education and delegates from all CIS countries.

Kyrgyzstan Acting Vice Prime Minister Gulmira Kudaiberdieva welcomed the participants of the Forum. “We are very pleased that this forum is being held in Kyrgyzstan in the Year of History and Culture,” she said.

Deputy head of the Presidential Administration of Kyrgyzstan Mira Karybaeva read a greeting on behalf of the President of the Kyrgyz Republic Almazbek Atambayev.

This forum is being held since 2006, alternately in different countries to sum up the results of the year, discuss plans for joint activities, make recommendations on the most topical issues of cooperation in the field of science, education, culture, information, tourism, sports and youth work.

The theme of this year’s Forum is “The 25th anniversary of the Commonwealth of Independent States. Humanitarian Cooperation Prospects”. The forum is to be focus on discussion of cooperation plans in the context of contemporary realities and identification of priority areas and forms of work, cooperation in the field of education within the framework of the Year of Education announced in 2016 in the CIS, as well as the joint preparation for the scheduled the Year of the Family in the CIS the next year.

The Forum will be resulted in adoption of the final resolution.

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Kyrgyz beauty wins bronze medal in National Dresses of Miss Earth 2016

Bishkek, October 25 / Kabar /. 19-year-old Begim Almasbekova, who represented Kyrgyzstan at the international beauty contest “Miss Earth 2016”, won the bronze medal in the competition of national dresses, Almasbekova wrote on social networks.

The international beauty contest “Miss Earth 2016” is taking place in Manila (Philippines) from 6 to 29 October.

The finale of the beauty contest “Miss Earth 2016” will take place on 29 October. This is one of the most prestigious beauty pageants in the world along with the “Miss World”, “Miss International” and “Miss Universe”.

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Jordan Signs Agreement To Preserve Groundwater Resources

AMMAN, Jordan, Oct 29 (NNN-PETRA) – The Royal Scientific Society (RSS) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (EDA), have signed a cooperation agreement to preserve groundwater resources in Jordan. Under the agreement, EDA will cover 85% or JD 120,000 (USD 166,416) of the total cost of the project, according to a press release by the RSS.

Further, an interactive geographical database would be developed, to include all landfills in Jordan, and link them to the nearest cities, municipalities, roads and surface and underground water resources.

This database, according to the press release, will be a valuable tool to decision-makers, when it comes to expanding and improving management of the landfills.– NNN-PETRA

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Malaysian Fruits Penetrate Chilean Market

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 28 (NNN-Bernama) — The inaugural Malaysian Fruit Promotion at the La Vega Centro Mercardo, Santiago, Chile, recently marked the first penetration of Malaysia’s local fruits, especially rambutan and nangka (jackfruit), into the Chilean market.

The event held last Tuesday with collaboration of the Malaysian Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority saw the attendance of more than 200 guests and 13 invited Chilean fruit distributors.

Malaysian Ambassador to Santiago Dr Mohamad Rameez Yahaya in a statement said that the initiative would enable more Chilean nationals to become distributors of Malaysia’s local fruits.

“Although at present, nangka and rambutan are brought here in frozen form, its initial entrance into a nation which is very protective of its agricultural produces, remains a major huge step for more Malaysian agricultural and fruits to enter Chile,” he said.

He said it took the embassy a while to get the permission to bring the frozen fruits in, and currently, discussions were being made with the country’s authority and interested distributors to bring in other fruits, in their fresh form.

Mohamad Rameez also noted that embassy officers and the Perwakilan Santiago Ladies had also assisted in thawing the frozen fruits, which arrived into the country since Friday, to make it look as fresh as possible.

Describing the event as a success, Mohamad Rameez added that the event also saw participation of Halal Food Group, Ardenillas Group and Agricola Ballerina Chile Limitada.

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Brunei Jumps 25 Places In Doing Business 2017 Report

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Oct 28 (NNN-BRUDIRECT) — Brunei Darussalam has been named as the most improved economy in the world for the second year running, according to the Doing Business 2017 Report released by the World Bank.

According to the report, which measures the efficiency and regulation of domestic businesses, Brunei jumped a significant 25 places to 72nd position out of 190 economies worldwide from 97th position last year.

This was highlighted by Dr Awang Haji Mohammad Yasmin bin Haji Umar, the Minister of Energy and Industry at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), who is also the Chairman of the Steering Committee of Ease of Doing Business (EODB), at a conference.

This year’s rankings saw Brunei maintain its 4th place among Asean member countries, behind Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.

Within the Asia-Pacific region, Brunei Darussalam is placed at 13th, behind north Asian counterparts Republic of Korea, Taiwan and Japan, and ahead of rising Asian powerhouses -Chinas which is ranked at 16 and India at 23.

In the previous report, the Sultanate’s original ranking was 84 which saw an improvement from 105 in 2014, however, the World Bank later introduced some changes to the methodology on some indicators such as on taxes, which has resulted in the readjustment of last year’s overall ranking for all economies, placing Brunei Darussalam significantly lower at 97th place instead of 84th in 2015.

In spite of the downward readjustment of last years’ ranking, Brunei Darussalam’s performance in 2016 remains encouraging, as one of the only 10 economies, worldwide that scored improvement across three or more indicators.

The report this year included gender dimension in three out of 10 indicators, namely: Starting a Business, Registering Property and Enforcing Contracts.

The country scored big improvements across six indicators, namely: Getting Electricity, which jumped 55 positions to 21 from 76 in 2015; followed by Resolving Insolvency (57 from 97); Enforcing Contracts (93 from 115); Getting Credit (62 from 78); Protecting Minority Investors (102 from 118); and Paying Taxes (89 from 96).

These successes were achieved through the introduction of new processes, regulations and system changes to improve the ease of doing business, particularly geared towards supporting Brunei’s growing number of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), the minister said.

“We will work hard to achieve the top 20,Insya Allah. We are now in the 72nd place. We want the private sector to help us improve our ranking.” — NNN-BRUDIRECT

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Large Syrian Contingent To Attend Havana International Fair

DAMASCUS, Oct 29 (NNN-PRENSA LATINA) — A large delegation from Syria will participate in the Havana International Fair from Oct 31 to Nov 4, it was officially announced here Friday.

The Syrian delegation will be led by Deputy Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade Mohammed Samer Khalil, and include leaders of pharmaceutical, food, textiles and craft companies, the authorities here said.

The delegation also consists of executives of chambers of commerce from Syria; and Amar Matouk, president of the Syrian-Cuban Business Association.

About 4,500 exhibitors from more than 70 countries will take part in the Havana International Fair which has been held annually since 1983.

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Dubai Delegation Wraps Up Shanghai Visit

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, Oct 30 (NNN-WAM) – A delegation of 80 Dubai government officials and decision makers of public and private firms from the Gulf Arab sheikhdom, wrapped up, on Saturday, a three-day visit to Shanghai, to promote the emirate, during the second annual “Dubai Week in China.”

During the “Dubai Week,” the Dubai Chamber of Commerce opened its first trade office in China’s economic hub of Shanghai.

Hisham Al Shirawi, the second vice-chairman of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, said, the UAE and Dubai play a critical role as an investment and trade hub, along the new Silk Road, with strategic access to the Middle East, Africa and South Asian markets.

During the “Dubai Week,” a total of 11 agreements were sealed, said Dubai’s government-controlled Falcon and Associates, in an e-mailed statement.

More than 250 Chinese government officials, business leaders, entrepreneurs and investors were in attendance at the event.

Dubai’s non-oil trade with China has grown steadily in recent years, reaching 176 billion dirham (about 48 billion U.S. dollars), in 2015.

There are currently 2,829 Chinese companies registered with the Dubai Chamber. The first “Dubai Week in China” was held in Beijing in May, 2015.– NNN-WAM

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Iran Eyes Closer Cooperation With E.U. Banks

TEHRAN, Iran, Oct 30 (NNN-IRNA) – Iran underlined, Saturday, the need for the EU to create proper environment, for facilitating cooperation between Iranian and European banks.

In statements to reporters, on the sidelines of the talks held by visiting EU Foreign Policy Chief, Federica Mogherini, with Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javid Zarif, Foreign Ministry spokesman, Bahram Qasemi, said that, the two officials have discussed means to allow easy access of humanitarian aid to Syrian people.

He added that, the talks have focused on means to restore peace and stability in the region, as well as, the efforts to broker a ceasefire in Syria, to pave the way for political dialogue among warring parties.– NNN-IRNA

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Pakistani Women Cricket Team To Play Series In New Zealand

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Oct 29 (NNN-PPI) – Pakistan’s national women cricket team, will play a limited-overs series against New Zealand next month, an official from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said.

According to the official, the Pakistan team will play five One-day International (ODI) matches, and one Twenty20 encounter, against the Kiwis next month in New Zealand.

Both teams will play the five games from Nov 9 to 19. While the only Twenty20 match will be played between them on Nov 21.

Earlier, the PCB announced the women’s squad for the New Zealand tour, by retaining Sana Mir as captain.

The PCB decided to appoint Mir as the skipper of the ODI team, despite extreme opposition from within the organisation, due to Mir’s poor performance as leader, during the last couple of years. However, the board replaced Mir with Bismah Maroof, as the captain of the Twenty20 team.

The team will leave for New Zealand on Nov 2.

Following the tour to New Zealand, the same Pakistani team will feature in the Asia Cricket Cup tournament, to be held in Thailand from Nov 27.– NNN-PPI

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Algeria To Open bids For Renewable Energy Projects

ALGIERS, Oct 25 (NNN-APS) — Algeria is to issue an invitation to tender soon for the construction of electricity generation facilities from renewable energy sources, which will be conditioned by the implementation of investments in the field of industry, says Energy Minister Noureddine Bouterfa.

The call for tenders will bring into competition investors to ensure an environment conducive to the development of renewable energies and to reduce the price of renewable energies, the minister said when addressing the 7th Fair of Renewable Energies (ERA 2016) in Oran, about 410 kilometres west of here, Monday.

“For several considerations such as the reduction in the costs of equipment in the international market and the growing resort to the call for tenders and the reduction per kilowatt-hour produced from renewable energies, Algeria will resort to this mechanism to protect consumers by offering clean and sustainable energy at the lowest possible prices,” he stressed.

The call for tender will offer the possibility to the investors to build power generation facilities from renewable energies in previously selected sites, added the minister. –NNN-APS

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South Korea Constructs ASEAN Culture House In Busan

SEOUL, Oct 25 (NNN-Bernama) — To deepen bilateral understanding between ASEAN and South Korea, the Korean government came up with the idea of an ‘ASEAN Culture House’, in Busan.

The culture house, boosted by strong momentum from various areas including economic cooperation and regional connectivity between ASEAN and South Korea, is expected to open by October 2017, a monumental year for ASEAN as it would be celebrating its 50th Anniversary.

Korean Foreign Affairs Ministry, South Asian & Pacific Affairs Bureau director-general Ryu Jeong-hyun said the house would help raise awareness and understanding among Koreans about Southeast Asian cultures, thus developing bilateral diplomatic relations.

According to him, ASEAN and South Korea had developed friendly ties since the establishment of a bilateral dialogue partnership in 1989 here.

“The culture house is the first of its kind, it will play a vital role in increasing the awareness of the Korean people about ASEAN,” he said at a welcome dinner in conjunction with the ‘2016 Exchange Visit of ASEAN and Korean Media People: ASEAN Media People’s Visit to Korea’, on Monday.

Twenty-nine delegates comprising journalists from ASEAN member states – Malaysia, Laos, Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Philippines, Vietnam and Myanmar are taking part in the event organised by the Korean Foreign Affairs Ministry.

The eight-day event beginning Sunday will expose the delegates to ASEAN and South Korea’s current bilateral relations progress.

Meanwhile, Korean Foreign Affairs Ministry, South Asian & Pacific Affairs Bureau director Kwon Jae-hwan said construction of the ASEAN Culture House was currently in progress.

He said the ASEAN Culture House would be sheltered in a four-story building at a 2,640-sq metre area in Busan’s vibrant Haeundae area.

The US$20 million project is expected to exhibit items donated from each ASEAN member country, featuring their traditional and modern culture, religion and other aspects.

It will also be a venue for music concerts and performances as well as gatherings between Southeast Asians here.

“Although many Koreans are going to ASEAN countries, they have yet to understand ASEAN culture and through the house it could enhance their understanding about ASEAN,” he told Bernama.

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Azerbaijani Photographer’s Exhibition To Open In Oslo

BAKU, Azerbaijan, Oct 22 (NNN-BERNAMA) – An exhibition of young Azerbaijani photographer, Rustam Farman, will open in the Norwegian capital of Oslo this weekend, Azerbaijan’s Azertac news agency reports.

The exhibition is co-organised by the Norwegian Azerbaijanis’ Youth Organisation, Oslo-Azerbaijan House and Youth Fund, under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

It marks the 25th anniversary of the restoration of Azerbaijan’s state independence.– NNN-BERNAMA

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Belgrade Mayor Calls For Cultural Ties With Iran

BELGRADE, Oct 25, (NNN-IRNA) – Mayor of Belgrade Sinisa Mali said in a meeting with head of Islamic Culture and Relations Organization (ICRO) Abuzar Ebrahimi Turkman on Monday that MoU signed in Tehran last September was a big step to develop cultural relations.

He said that there are plenty of grounds for cooperation between Iran and Serbia.

He said that in the upcoming visit of Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf to Belgrade next year, the agreement for sisterhood of Tehran and Belgrade will be signed.

Mali said that according to agreement already signed, it is scheduled that Tehran Cultural Day to be held in Belgrade in 2017 and Belgrade Cultural Day would be held in Tehran in 2018.

Head of ICRO appreciated Belgrade Municipality for assistance during Belgrade International Book Fair, which Iran was the special guest.

The two sides agreed that more contacts between people of the two countries may help expansion of bilateral cooperation in different grounds as well as setting up direct flight between the two capitals.

Turkman arrived in Belgrade on Saturday to attend inauguration ceremony of the book fair.

The 61st Belgrade International Book Fair kicked off on October 23 by speech of Minister of Culture Vladan Vukosavljevic and will work until October 30, 2016.

Serbian culture minister and head of ICRO, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Trade, Tourism and Communication Rasim Liaich and Iran’s Ambassador to Belgrade Majid Fahimpour were present in the book fair.

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Kuwait Seeks To Enlist Landmarks In World Heritage

PARIS, Oct 27 (NNN-KUNA) — Kuwait is diligently seeking to enlist some of its landmarks, namely Kuwait Towers, Failaka Island and Sheikh Jaber Al-Abdullah Palace, in the World Heritage.

They have already been included in the preliminary list of the World Heritage Committee, said supervisor of historic buildings at Kuwait National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters (NCCAL) Abdullah Al-Bichi, in a statement to KUNA.

Al-Bichi, speaking after the second meeting of the commission’s 40th session, predicted that Kuwait Towers would be the first to be enlisted.

Work is underway to nominate an ancient site in Al-Sabbiah (slaves’ civilization) and a historic location on Failaka Island, said Al-Bichi, indicating that a lot of work involving several State departments is required for the nomination.

He hoped that the Red Palace and Dixon House would be the next to be accredited by the World Heritage.

On the session meetings, Al-Bichi indicated that the Kuwaiti delegation supported applications for listing the marsh land in Iraq, Lut Desert in Iran, Sudan’s Sanganeb marine national park and the marine national park of Dungonab Bay of Mukkawar Island, situated 125 kilometers north of Port Sudan. — NNN-KUNA

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PM Urges Algerian Publishers To Pursue International Markets

ALGIERS, Oct 28 (NNN-APS) — Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal has called on publishers in the country to look to the international book markets and further develop the production of e-books.

Speaking on the sidelines of the inauguration of the 21st International Book Fair of Algiers (SILA) here, he urged the publishers to make known their authors through exports, stating the publishing industry in Algeria had reached a “significant level”.

Sellal, who visited several stands at the fair, highlighted the need for boosting the production of e-books through strong partnerships.

He visited the stand of the University Publications Office (OPU) and urged them to broach all variants of the language, including Tamasheq, a language spoken in many regions of Africa, including Algeria, Mali and Niger.

Sellal also called on publishers to strengthen the exhibition of scientific books.

The Premier inaugurated The 21st SILA on Wednesday evening, accompanied by members of the government, including Minister of Culture Azzeddine Mihoubi and Minister of Communication Hamid Grine as well as Niger’s Prime Minister, Brigi Rafini, who is on an official visit to Algiers.

More than 290 Algerian publishers and 671 foreign exhibitors from about fifty countries are taking part in the 21st SILA, which will end on Nov 5. — NNN-APS

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Bangladesh NGOs Seek Cross Border Cooperation On River Management

DHAKA, Oct 24 (NNN-BSS) — Civil society representatives suggested to forge a common platform for cross border cooperation on human displacement and river basin management in South Asia, involving China, as many international rivers are born there.

The demand was raised at a seminar in the city Monday, little over a week before the Asia Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR) scheduled to take place in New Delhi on Nov 2-5, said a press release.

The representatives from 21 civil society organizations (CSOs) also urged Bangladesh government delegates to raise the issue in the upcoming Delhi conference. A government delegation is set to join the conference.

Sawkat Ali Tutul, a representative of COAST, proposed a six-point demand that need to be raised in the Delhi conference. The key points include: regional countries should consider the basin wise river management to reduce erosion, flood and salinity intrusion, build critical infrastructure to protect people from cyclone and tidal surge, and provide shelter to urban poor.

Others said getting official development assistance was a legitimate right for a country like Bangladesh that suffers regularly from disasters and climate induced displacements. Some other countries in the region also suffer from several other problems that need to be tackled together, they observed. — NNN-BSS

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Afghanistan Improving Ways To Settle Water Disputes – UN Report

KABUL, Oct 24 (NNN-UNNS) — The demand for water to support agricultural development in conflict-plagued Afghanistan often results in high-stakes water disputes, which underscores the need for more effective and transparent means of resolving the differences. the UN says.

“As this (new UN) report clearly outlines, the stakes involved in water disputes are high,” said the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for the country, Tadamichi Yamamoto, in a news release.

“Resolving these disputes peacefully is of critical importance,” added Yamamoto, who also heads the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

Outlining the importance of water to the country’s economy, the UNAMA report, titled Water Rights: An Assessment of Afghanistan’s Legal Framework Governing Water for Agriculture report, notes that formal and informal means are used to resolve water-related disputes in the country, including the 2009 Water Law, along with traditional customs and practices associated with the longstanding authority and community respect for water masters, or mirabs.

One key finding is that water users continue to rely predominately on local water masters to resolve disputes, largely due to gaps in the Water Law’s scope and associated administrative structure.

Michael E. Hartmann, Director of UNAMA’s Rule of Law Unit, stated that this finding “confirms that the challenge is not with the law as written but, rather, with the law as implemented,” and that “UNAMA will continue to assist in achieving broader implementation of the Water Law.”

Almost 80 per cent of Afghans derive their livelihood from the agricultural sector. Many rural communities depend on reliable access to water sources to grow the crops and nourish the livestock on which their lives and livelihoods depend.

The report documents the results of a field study designed to assess the effectiveness of dispute-resolution mechanisms, and also provides practical recommendations to facilitate the resolution of disputes without escalation to violence.

The recommendations include:

. The Water Law’s administrative structure should be fully implemented in all water basins by establishing the councils, sub-councils, and user associations the law anticipated;

. The Supreme Council of Water Affairs Management, which the Water Law established to improve coordination and implementation of water resource programs, should utilize its authority to streamline the management of water resources among the responsible ministries and departments;

. The process for dispute resolution with the possibility of judicial review thereafter should likewise be streamlined so that administrative decisions may be implemented without interfering with crop growth or harvesting. Temporary orders or forms of relief should be fashioned to ensure that crops are not lost due to delays in resolving water rights;

. To ensure adequate remedies for those whose water rights have been violated, administrative or judicial officials should award financial compensation for direct and consequential damages, including fair market value of any crops lost, resulting from the violation; and

. To promote greater transparency, the traditional practices and customs relating to water rights, such as the Taximot Hakobe Ab, should be made publicly available to all water users through provincial and district libraries or the Internet, along with copies of formal and informal decisions made by administrative bodies, courts, and mirabs. — NNN-UNNS

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Petronas Marks Diwali, Festival Of Lights With A Special Webfilm

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 27 (Bernama) — PETRONAS today launched a special webfilm to mark and celebrate the upcoming Deepavali.

This year’s Deepavali webfilm, “I am Muniandy”, conveys the message that one should never let appearances cloud one’s perception of others, while at the same time carrying positive universal values of tolerance, mutual respect and kindness for harmony and unity.

The webfilm tells the story of a young Muniandy and his friend whose good intentions are misperceived and misinterpreted. The story follows the two friends in their plan to help an old folks home prepare for Deepavali celebrations. However, along the way in the execution of their plan they meet with general suspicion, arising from society’s misperception and prejudices.

PETRONAS Senior General Manager of Group Strategic Communications, Zahariah (Liza) Abd Rahman said: “For every major festival in our multi-racial Malaysia, we at PETRONAS look forward to bringing to all Malaysians festive campaigns that celebrate the beauty and diversity of our multi-racial culture and traditions.

“It is our hope that our efforts since the past two decades have helped, and will continue to help, bring Malaysians closer together.

“The story of ‘I am Muniandy’ reminds all of us of the importance of always seeing the best in others, and to allow the light in our hearts to guide us to the truth,” she added.

Viewers may log on to the official brand channel at www.petronasofficial.com to view the special webfilm which will be available from 27 October 2016 onwards. A 60-second television commercial excerpt of the webfilm will also be aired from 29 October till 2 November 2016.

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Oman Air Wins Best Airline In Middle East, Africa, Europe

MUSCAT, Oman, Oct 25 (NNN-ONA) – Oman Air has been awarded the Signum Virtutis, the seal of excellence, from the Seven Stars Luxury Hospitality and Lifestyle Awards 2016. The airline was voted winner for the best airline in the Middle East, Africa and Europe. The competitors included leading international airlines from around the world.

The ceremony took place at a prestigious gala dinner, at the Villa Padierna Palace Hotel in Marbella, Spain, and was attended by Oman Air’s Rogier De Jager, Regional Vice President Europe, of Oman Air.

The Seven Stars Luxury Hospitality and Lifestyle Awards, celebrate the pinnacle in luxury for both hospitality and lifestyle. Both the public and trade were able to cast their votes for the award winners on: www.sevenstaraward.com. The awards evening also recognised other winners from different categories in the luxury travel and lifestyle sector, including: Best Luxury Hotel, Best Spa, Best Airport Lounge etc.

Paul Gregorowitsch, CEO of Oman Air, said, “At Oman Air, we are constantly striving ‘to become the best’ and it is immensely gratifying and motivating that we are now recognised as such. Oman Air is a successful, sustainable company, of the highest quality and is seen to be setting standards when it comes to product and on board experience. The European market is incredibly important to us and awards like these demonstrate that we are recognised as offering the best possible product when it comes to flying from Europe.”

During the evening, Oman Air took the opportunity to show their new video (Television Commercial Campaign (TVC), which is scheduled to run on the Cable News Network (CNN), until the end of Dec, 2016.– NNN-ONA

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Indonesia Allows Foreign Private Jets To Fly Domestically

JAKARTA, Oct 20 (NNN-AGENCIES) — The rich and famous can now depart on a jet plane to various Indonesian cities as the government eases a regulation on foreign registered private jets.

Traveling by private jet is now possible after the Transportation Ministry issued a Ministerial Regulation No. 109/2016 on noncommercial and chartered foreign jets, effective on Sept 14, which allows foreign-owned private jets to fly from one domestic airport to another.

Previously, private jets could only travel to one international airport in Indonesia and were barred from making domestic flights. The regulation supports strategic national interests, such as investment, tourism and other activities related to the national economy.

The jets, however, must obtain a special permit and flight approval from the Transportation Ministry’s Air Transportation Director General, as well as diplomatic clearance and security clearance from the Foreign Ministry and Indonesian Military (TNI).

Application request can be submitted online. The jets will be allowed to fly domestically for a maximum of 180 days but first must land at an international airport to undergo customs, immigration and quarantine procedures.

The regulation is good news for the tourism sector, which has become the current administration’s focus for boosting the domestic economy.

“In the past, wealthy people traveling by private jet from Thailand could only go to one destination, like Bunaken, North Sulawesi. They couldn’t also go to Raja Ampat in Papua. Wasn’t that senseless?” Tourism Minister Arief Yahya said.

Affluent individuals will play a significant role in the economy due to their capacity to spend money. The Tourism Ministry estimates that the spending amount of the jet-setters is equal to the spending of 30,000 regular tourists.

Arief went on to say that many of the wealthy tourists who travel by jet would also travel by yacht later, which is another way to boost the country’s tourism industry, as spending per yacht is estimated to reach up to US$1 million.

The Tourism Ministry hopes the regulation will pave the way for the government to reach its 20 million foreign tourists target by 2019.

The number of foreign visitors stood at 7.36 million from January to August, according to data from the Central Statistics Agency (BPS). The goal for the full year is set at 12 million.

Transportation Ministry’s senior adviser to public communications and international affairs Dewa Made Sastrawan said that the regulation was part of the government’s attempt to facilitate all stakeholders, including businesspeople.

Meanwhile, the importance of domestic flights for jet planes is also acknowledged by French jet manufacturer Dassault Falcon.

Dassault Falcon Asia Pacific president Jean-Michel Jacob said jet travellers were usually business leaders, such as chief executive officers of major corporations.

“A lot of them are business people looking to invest and establish businesses in the country,” he said.

Data from the company show that there were 52 business jets owned and operated in Indonesia in 2015, a 16 percent increase from the figure in 2014. Some of these jets are foreign owned.

The company estimates that its Indonesian market can be expanded to accommodate at least 100 companies as business people crave comfort during long flights.

The Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) welcomes the regulation. Kadin vice chairperson of transportation Carmelita Hartoto said it would boost tourism as well as positively impact many business players.

“However, we also urge the government to ensure security and safety for such flights,” she said.

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Indonesia: 15 Countries Participate In ASEAN Flower Festival

BANDUNG, Oct 26 (NNN-Antara) — Fifteen Asian countries will participate in the ASEAN Flower Festival 2016 in Lembang, West Java province that will be held Thursday to emphasize the message of friendship among Asian countries.

Organiser, Ikke Dewi Sartika, on Tuesday said that the participating countries are the ten ASEAN member states with the addition of China, Japan, South Korea, Timor Leste and Australia.

A parade of vehicles decorated with flowers will also be organised from Lembang to Bandung city.

The festival is expected to motivate local flower farmers to enhance their productivity and will underline Bandung’s claim to be known as the Indonesian city of flowers.

Furthermore, Ikke explained that the event is also aimed at building cooperation among academicians, businesses and governments of ASEAN member countries.

Besides the parade, the festival will also feature an exhibition and a workshop on flower arrangements. — NNN-ANTARA

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Etihad Expands Flights To India

NEW DELHI, India, Oct 28 (NNN-WAM) – Gulf carrier Etihad Airways and Jet Airways investment partner Etihad, announced expansion of its flight services and route network here.

The Press Trust of India (PTI) reports that, it would add 28 additional flights per week and three new destinations between Abu Dhabi and India, starting early next year.

Etihad currently operates 175 weekly flights between Abu Dhabi from 11 Indian cities.

However, together, Etihad Airways and Jet Airways offer 252 weekly flights between Abu Dhabi and 15 cities across India.

The addition of three new cities would increase Etihad-Jet Airways’ Indian network to 18 cities with 280 flights per week, a release said.

Etihad Airways holds 24 percent stake in Jet Airways, which is the second largest domestic carrier, in terms of market share.

The expansion aims at further strengthening the partnership between the two carriers in one of the world’s fastest growing aviation markets, the release said, adding it would also enhance connections between India and the rest of the world, though Etihad Airways’ convenient Abu Dhabi hub, and complement Jet Airways’ non-stop services to other cities.

As part of the expansion plans, Etihad Airways will launch a fourth daily flight between Abu Dhabi and Kozhikode, starting Mar 26 next year, which would help the two airlines better serve the important southern India market, the release said.

Etihad Airways also plans to double its frequency between Abu Dhabi and Ahmedabad from Feb 1, 2017, with the launch of a new daily service (subject to government approval).

Meanwhile, Etihad’s partner Jet Airways, also announced a number of changes in its operations to Abu Dhabi hub from India.

These include the launch of daily flights between Trichy and Abu Dhabi from Feb 1, 2017, besides introduction of daily services from Kannur in Kerala to Abu Dhabi, as well as, daily services between Chandigarh and Abu Dhabi, starting from the second half of 2017.

In addition, from Jan 15 next year, Jet Airways will introduce a second daily service between New Delhi and Abu Dhabi, in addition to the three flights which are currently in operation on the route.

Etihad currently flies to Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, New Delhi, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kochi, Kolkata, Kozhikode, Mumbai and Thiruvananthapuram from its hub in Abu Dhabi.– NNN-WAM

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Sixth Annual Dubai Women’s Run Set For Nov 4

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, Oct 24 (NNN-WAM) – The UAE Athletics Federation, is geared up for the 6th Annual Dubai Women’s Run, under the patronage of Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the UAE National Olympics Committee, which, this year, is taking place along a new route, starting off and finishing up at SKY DIVE Dubai, on Nov 4.

The race starts at 7:00 a.m. and will host both 5K and 10K runs, showcasing some of the nation’s most talented and well-known female distance runners.

This year’s race will also kick-off the Sun and Sand Sport Fitness Fest, which had a record number of over 4,500 entrants last year, and more than 5,000 are expected for the 2016 run.

A day that can be enjoyed by the whole family, the race area will have music and activities for children, with food and beverages served.

There will also be activities and sampling, focusing on Health and Fitness throughout the day.

All participants will be able to collect their numbers, chips and running packets, consisting of their bib, official shirt from Air France, KLM and gift items, on Nov 2 and 3, at Dubai’s Meydan Hotel, from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.– NNN-WAM

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G.C.C. Youth Science Forum Opens In Doha

DOHA, Qatar, Oct 23 (NNN-QNA) – The 22nd GCC youth science forum, opened on Saturday, with a delegation from the Scientific Centre of Kuwait taking part.

The seven-day event provides a networking opportunity for talented youth from the six members of the GCC, and aims to foster their scientific skills, said Abdulrahman Al-Hajeri, director of the youth affairs dept. of the Qatari Ministry of Culture and Sports.

The forum, part of the agenda of the youth committee of the Gulf Cooperation Council, gathers participants aged between 11 and 25, he said.

Al-Hajeri noted that the youth affairs dept. of the Qatari Ministry of Culture and Sports, mandated Qatar Scientific Club (QSC) to organise the forum, in the framework of the Ministry’s efforts to encourage its departments to host regional and international youth events.

On his part, Rashed Ali Ibrahim, QSC deputy chairman and head of the organising committee, said, the organising committee chose the City Centre Complex as venue of the event, in order to enable the participants to visit the National Innovation Exhibition.

“We seek to provide platform for youths from the GCC members, to establish direct contacts, network, and to share experience and views with each other,” he said.

The agenda of the forum, being held under the auspices of the Qatari Minister of Culture and Sports, Saleh Al-Ali, includes a variety of activities, such as symposium, workshops, contests and visits to the ongoing National Innovation Exhibition.– NNN-QNA

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Iran, Total To Sign A Two-Billion U.S. Dollar Petrochemical Industry Deal

TEHRAN, Iran, Oct 23 (NNN-IRNA) – Iran and France’s Total petrochemical company, will finalise a two-billion U.S. dollar deal, by the end of the current Iranian year, Mar 20, 2017, reported Tehran’s Times daily.

Adel Nejad-Salim, Managing Director of Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company, was quoted as saying that, the French company will invest in one of Iran’s downstream olefin projects.

“In recent months, Total has assessed petrochemical projects in Iran and reviewed the status of feed stock. Now, their final plan is ready and the contract will be finalised in the near future,” Nejad-Salim said.

Following the implementation of Iran’s nuclear deal in Jan, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran and France’s Total signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), paving the way for Total’s investment in Iran’s petrochemical industry.

The report stated that, in 2015, Iran had around 63 million tonnes of installed capacity of petrochemicals, which it plans to increase to 130 million tonnes by 2020, then up to 180 million tonnes in 2025.– NNN-IRNA

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Oman Hosts Symposium On Space Apps, Technologies

MUSCAT, Oman, Oct 30 (NNN-ONA) – “The Peaceful Uses of Space Applications and Technologies for Comprehensive Development” national symposium, opens today, under the patronage of Dr. Ahmed bin Mohammed Al-Futaisi, Minister of Transport and Communications, in the presence of undersecretaries and chiefs executive officers (CEOs) of companies, as well as, interested persons and specialists.

The two-day symposium is organised by the Ministry of Transport and Communications, Oman.

Dr. Saud bin Humaid Al-Shu’aili, Director General of Telecommunications and Post Services, said, the national symposium aims at raising awareness about the importance of peaceful uses of space applications of various technologies, and their role in the comprehensive and sustainable development, next to national capacity-building in this area. He added, the symposium is part of a series of seminars and workshops, conducted by the Ministry of Transport and Communications, in the field of space technology and its applications.

He pointed out that a group of international experts in this field will take part in the symposium, from six countries, namely the United States, Germany, Turkey, China and Japan, including the Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organisation (APSCO), adding that, the speakers will present their experiences on the peaceful uses of space applications and their impact on the overall development.

Experts and speakers from the Sultanate will participate in the symposium, to present their successful experiences of the use of space applications.

Dr. Al-Shu’aili further said, the speakers will talk about the use of space applications in the planning, remote sensing, and sustainable development, disaster management, telecommunications and data linking.

The symposium will showcase successful international experiences in this field, highlight the obstacles and challenges that may prevent the utilisation of different space applications and technologies, and the proposed solutions to overcome them.– NNN-ONA

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Turkey aims to triple market share of Islamic finance

28.10.2016. ANKARA, Anadolu News Agency – Turkey is committed to tripling the market share of Islamic finance, bringing it up to 15 percent by 2023, Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek said Friday.

Speaking at a conference at the Gaziantep-based Hasan Kalyoncu University, Simsek said that the Islamic finance market was growing swiftly in Turkey and the government aimed to further boost this sector.

“Islamic finance currently enjoys a 5 percent share in the market. Our target is to increase this up to 15 percent by 2023. We would like to turn Turkey into a hub of Islamic finance,” he said, adding both state and private banks needed to develop their services in this area.

Simsek also pointed out the slowdown in global trade, saying there was a discontent against globalism after the recent global crisis.

“Migration is an another important issue for the global economy beside globalism. Millions of people are now immigrants,” Simsek said.

“When other problems such as terror are added to this picture, many countries try to overcome the problems through protectionism rather than introducing reforms. But this affects the global economy negatively,” he warned.

Simsek urged countries to make immediate reforms, recalling the three main themes of the 2015 G20 summit in Turkey, which were comprehensiveness, implementation and investment.

The minister stressed the income inequality in the world, saying 62 people’s wealth was equal to 3.62 billion people. He said Islamic finance could play a positive role in addressing this problem.

“What the world needs is Islamic finance and tolerance. It needs the culture of people living together. Islamic finance curbs greediness to an extent due to profit-loss partnership. For example, debt issue becomes more manageable with this system,” he added.

Islamic or participation banks, which require interest-free lending, have been operating for over 30 years in Turkey. Five banks, two of which are state-owned, have a license to provide Islamic finance services.

According to the Participation Banks Association of Turkey, these five banks have over 950 branches operating across the country.

The total number of employees in the participation banking sector was around 16,000 as of June of this year.

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Algeria, South Korea Discuss Co-Operation In Digital Economy

ALGIERS, Oct 26 (NNN-APS) — Algerian Deputy Minister for the Digital Economy and Financial Systems Modernization, Mouatassem Boudiaf, has held discussions in Seoul with the Deputy Minister for Strategy and Finance of the Republic of Korea (ROK), In-chang Song.

Discussions between the two, held Tuesday on the sidelines of the 5th South Korea-Africa Economic Co-operation Ministerial Conference (KOAFEC), focused on the digital economy, financial systems and the prospects for co-operation in those fields, a ministry statement here said.

The KOAFEC, taking place from Oct 24 to 27 in Seoul, is being organized by the ROK Ministry of Strategy and Finance. The event this year will focus on “Transformation of African Agriculture Through Industrialization and Exclusive Financing”.

The biennial conference, initiated in 2006, will be an opportunity to discuss economic development and co-operation, sharing of experiences and the promotion of co-operation in developing resources between the Asian country and Africa. — NNN-APS

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