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17 Oct, 2016

Korea’s Gangwon province to host Islamic Businesswomen’s Forum

Compiled by Imtiaz Muqbil & Sana Shamsi

A compilation of progressive, positive, inspiring and motivating events and developments in the world of Islam for the week ending 17 October 2016 (16 Muharram 1438). Pls click on any of the headlines to go to the story.




A total of 84 celebrities and media from ten ASEAN countries participated in the fourth ASEAN Celebrity Explore Quest Malaysia, organised by Tourism Malaysia. Themed “ASEAN in My Heart”, the event combined exploration, photo & Instagram contest, telematch, product updates and group performances. The Explore Quest started at Sunway Lagoon Theme Park and ended in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, on 13 October. Participants also visited Putrajaya and Sabah, where various activities and challenges involving culture, people, nature and food, were held. It is a fun way to introduce and promote new Malaysian destinations and products through new celebrities and media who have a strong following back home. The media can produce articles to provide valuable information to their readers, while the celebrities can share their experiences and photos via social media to attract their fans and followers to Malaysia. Besides promoting Malaysia’s tourism destinations, the participation of ASEAN celebrities and media in the programme will also help raise awareness of ‘Visit ASEAN@50’ tourism campaign. Malaysia Airlines was the official airline for the ASEAN Celebrity Explore Quest Malaysia 2016 while Gaya Travel was its media partner. The event was also supported by Sabah Tourism Board, Sunway Lagoon, Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur, D’Saji Titiwangsa and Sutera Harbour Resort Sabah.

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

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

twitter: http://twitter.com/tourismmalaysia

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



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

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


Watch Islamic Travel Newswire Executive Editor Imtiaz Muqbil’s landmark TEDx lecture on “Peace through Tourism” on YouTube — the first travel industry journalist in Bangkok invited to speak at this prestigious forum. CLICK HERE.




Malaysia Views Africa With Optimism

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 14 (Bernama) — “It is my hope that from the engagements throughout this programme, we will be able to create win-win situations whereby your nations will benefit from adopting the best practices and systems Malaysia has, and our companies are able to seize the growing opportunities Africa has to offer,” said Dato’ Wan Hashim Wan Jusoh, Senior Executive Director of MIDA during the opening ceremony of the Third Country Training Programme: Investment Promotion for African Countries that was held at the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) HQ today.

“With a population size of more than 1 billion people, we view African countries with optimism and as places of opportunities for potential collaboration in areas of mutual interest and benefit. Despite Malaysia’s business presence in Africa, many other Malaysian investors are still relatively unaware of the investment opportunities in Africa due to the challenge of obtaining such information. This programme should also be a beginning to continuous engagements between MIDA and your respective investment promotion agencies. As information about investments in African countries is absolutely crucial to encourage investors, we look forward to working with you in obtaining all the necessary information required by Malaysian investors desiring to invest in African countries,” remarked Dato’ Wan Hashim as he highlighted the upcoming Seminar on Trade & Investment Opportunities in African Countries that will be held on 19 October at the Aloft Hotel, Kuala Lumpur.

The seminar, to be held in conjunction with this programme, serves to provide hands-on training for the participants in making an investment promotion pitch. More excitingly, it will also provide valuable opportunity for the Malaysian business community to better understand Africa’s growth story. More than 50 public listed companies as well as business associations in Malaysia is expected to participate in the seminar.

Malaysia is among the major investors in the African continent. Beyond crude oil, other key investment areas by Malaysians include the palm oil industry, and halal goods and services. The bilateral trade volume reached RM30.1 billion last year. In January to July, it has reached RM14.8 billion. In 2015, Malaysia recorded total exports of RM20.6 billion to the Africa continent. Exports were mainly manufactured goods such as palm oil & palm based products, petroleum products, chemical and chemical products, processed food, and machinery, appliances and parts.

Dato’ Wan Hashim shared with the participants that with clear and predictable policies in place, Malaysia continues to have the trust and confidence of foreign investors in its business environment. In the first eight months of 2016, Malaysia recorded a total of RM35.86 billion of approved investments in the manufacturing sector. Of these, 49.9% were from foreign sources. The investments were concentrated in electronics & electrical products, petroleum products, chemical & chemical products, food manufacturing and scientific & measuring equipment. These approved foreign investments for January – August 2016 have already reached 81.6% of the total foreign investments approved for the whole of last year. This includes 1 new project from Nigeria to manufacture transport equipment. As at August 2016, MIDA approved 46 manufacturing projects with participation from African countries with a total investment of RM1.3 billion. The investments were mostly in basic metal products, petroleum products including petrochemicals, chemical & chemical products, food manufacturing and paper, printing & publishing.

This year is the fourth year in a row that MIDA is collaborating with the Malaysian Technical Cooperation Programme (MTCP) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to organise this experience sharing and learning programme. The event, officiated by the CEO of MIDA, was attended by delegates from various African countries, namely Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Ethiopia, Ghana, Zambia, and Angola. Also present was Mr Shigeki Nakazawa, Project Formulation Advisor of JICA Malaysia.

The programme, held from 11 – 21 October 2016, is catered for representatives from the government agencies of various African countries. “This year we continue to bring together a dedicated line up of training sessions and activities, particularly on useful best practices and systems to attract investments. We take cognisant that by promoting greater international cooperation, Malaysia will also expand its economic interaction and thus promote greater economic growth,” said Dato’ Wan Hashim.

Within this two-week programme, participants will be learning from MIDA, particularly on its structure and investment promotion model. There will also be briefings by the MATRADE, SME Corp and EXIM Bank. Besides MIDA, the participants will also be exposed to successful investment promotion efforts by agencies at the state level, namely Johor. To better understand how the outcomes of efforts by these agencies, the participants will also be visiting Iskandar Puteri and Forest City. In addition, the African delegates will also gain a better understanding of the management of industrial parks, using AME Development as an example. Other visits include Daikin Malaysia as an example of a foreign company that has found long-term success in Malaysia.

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Eighth CIMB Fiesta To Reward Shoppers With Great Gifts, Super Value

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 14 (Bernama) — Themed “Happiness Factory”, CIMB FIESTA 2016 is set to reward CIMB Bank cardmembers with an exciting factory outlet shopping experience. Returning for the eighth year, CIMB Bank cardmembers can indulge in great value shopping and exciting rewards and promotions from 14 to 16 October 2016, 10.00am to 9.30pm daily at the Mid Valley Exhibition Centre (Hall 1-3).

At the launch today, Vipin Agrawal, Senior Managing Director & Regional Head, Cards, Retail Assets & Deposits of CIMB Group said, “This year, CIMB FIESTA 2016 brings more fabulous rewards and fun-filled surprises to our cardmembers. With CIMB Fiesta’s continuous improvement and innovative offerings, cardmembers will benefit from our partner merchants’ unbeatable bargains, offering huge savings and amazing rewards they can find nowhere else.”

CIMB FIESTA is an annual event to reward CIMB Bank credit, debit and Kwik cardmembers with special discounts and super deals. Cardmembers can also use their accumulated Bonus Points to make purchases. Throughout the event, CIMB Bank cardmembers can also accumulate 5X bonus points or 2X cash rebates for every ringgit they spend at CIMB FIESTA.

With over 270 participating merchants and discounts of up to 70%, CIMB FIESTA is a bargain galore for a wide range of products, including kitchen and household appliances, IT gadgets, living essentials, lifestyle products and accessories. CIMB Bank credit cardmembers can also pay with their accumulated points at the event.

Apart from the fantastic bargains, cardmembers also stand a chance to be a winner through the Daily Grand Prize with every RM1,000 spent, and can grab 10X Bonus Points for 0% Easy Pay, RM1 for RM50 PETRONAS gift card and goodie bags worth up to RM100. There are also special RM1 deals where they can get a second item for RM1 from selected merchants.

There will be other exciting promotions for cardmembers and visitors to look out at the CIMB Fiesta 2016. For more information, please visit www.cimbbank.com.my.

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IPICEX2016 Coming To Johor Bahru!

SHAH ALAM, Oct 14 (Bernama) — The 5th International Plantation Industry Conference and Exhibition (IPiCEx2016), jointly organized by the International Institute of Plantation Management (IIPM) and UiTM Melaka is a premier forum for the presentation of issues, new advances, and research findings in the plantation and commodities sector. Besides providing a platform for participants to establish and strengthen their network with renowned scientists, agriculturists, policy makers and plantation industry professionals, the conference will also hold an exhibition, an IPiCEx Challenge, and organize a post-conference tour.

With the theme “Shaping the Future of the Plantation Industry: Changing Trends, Opportunities and Sustainability”, topics ranging from talent management, transformation of the industry, integrated farming, challenges and sustainable solutions, technological developments and applications will be deliberated in depth by expert speakers.

The conference will be officiated by the Honourable Minister of Plantation Industry and Commodities (MPIC), Malaysia, YB Datuk Mah Siew Keong. Among the notable keynote speakers will be the highly renowned YBhg. Tan Sri Datuk Dr. Yusof Basiron of Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC), and YBhg. Datuk Dr. Mohd. Akbar Md. Said, FiiPM, the Director General of the Malaysian Rubber Board (LGM). Thirteen papers will be presented by local and international speakers. A dinner will also be held in conjunction with the IIPM Professional Fellow Membership awards, to be presented to the recipients by YAB Dato’ Seri Mohamed Khaled Bin Nordin, the Chief Minister of Johor.

Why Johor?

IPiCEx 2016 will be held in Johor in recognition of the state being a showcase of agricultural vibrancy and a top food producer in Malaysia. Johor is located at the southernmost tip of Malaysia, and close to Indonesia. Indonesia and Malaysia produces most of the world’s palm oil, are major producers of natural rubber, and forest products.

In addition, Johor Bahru is emerging as an established and much sought after venue for meetings, incentives, conferencing and exhibition (MICE) purposes. It is conveniently accessible from most parts of the world, offers modern infrastructure with a wide range of well-equipped facilities, a stable political landscape and a growing local economy with well-developed systems in banking and finance. The Iskandar Development Corridor, at the southern tip of the country, covers an area of 221,634 hectares, is one of the growth catalyst of the Malaysian economy.

With a robust economy in Johor, the MICE industry also grows – as exemplified by the Thistle Johor Bahru where this conference will be held. Thistle Johor Bahru is the only 5-star hotel in the booming Zone A of Johor Bahru City, within the Iskandar region. The hotel lies nearby to Edu City, the Persada Convention Centre and two upcoming high-end shopping malls. It is just a 10-minute drive away from the causeway connecting Johor and Singapore.

Who, and why should you attend?

We therefore invite participants from all sectors of the industry – government and private, individuals, researchers and scientists, academics and students – to join us in this highly informative biannual event not only to see the exhibits on technology and innovations, but to join in the knowledge expanding discussion as well as the educational post conference tour. The participants and audience will have the opportunity to share experience and ideas, discuss, and collate knowledge with policy makers, plantation professionals, scientists and academics on many issues in the plantation and commodities industry.

What is IIPM?

The International Institute of Plantation Management (IIPM) is a professional body representing all sectors of the plantation industry. It was founded in May 2005 as an offshoot of Universiti Teknologi Mara (UITM), registered under Trustee Company limited by guarantee. IIPM aims to upgrade and uplift the profession of planters, to provide an organization and membership for planters, to enhance their continuous professional development, and serve as a national reference centre for the plantation industry.

The established professional training programs offered by IIPM include the MQA recognized Certificate in Plantation Industry Management (CPIM), the Professional Diploma in Plantation Management (PDPM), and the Professional Qualifying Examination (PQE) in Plantation Industry Management. The CPIM is equivalent to Level 3 while the PDPM is equivalent to Level 4 in the Malaysian Qualifications Framework (MQF). The PQE is equivalent to the Bachelor’s Degree. Another prestigious program is the Specialist Professional Qualification Course for Visiting Agents and Planting Advisors, in collaboration with the Malaysian Rubber Board (LGM), specializing in oil palm and rubber. Graduates of this course will be awarded the post initial title “Certified Planter (CP)”.

For more information on IPiCEx 2016, professional courses and membership offered by IIPM, please visit our website at www.iipm.com.my.

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2017 To Be ‘Year Of Internet Economy’ For Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA, Oct 13 (NNN-NST) — Prime Minister Najib Razak has declared 2017 the ‘year of the Internet economy’ for Malaysia.

He outlined the five key strategic catalysts as being physical microcosm, risk capital funding, connectivity, talent, and regulatory frameworks.

The prime minister was speaking at the 28th MSC Malaysia Implementation Council Meeting (ICM) here Thursday.

Najib said that under the stewardship of the Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), the digital economy’s contribution to the nation’s GDP has increased over the years.

“As a result of MDEC’s relentless commitment, Malaysia’s digital economy contribution to the GDP has already reached 17.8 per cent in 2015.

“We have almost hit the 18.2 per cent target which we set for 2020,” Najib said. — NNN-NST

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Tata Communications To Expand In Malaysia, Middle East

SINGAPORE, Oct 11 (NNN-XINHUA) – India’s Tata Communications is looking to set up two new centres in Malaysia and the Middle East, for cloud data centres infrastructure, responding to strong demand for internet working, the Press Trust of India (PTI) reports.

“We continue to expand the data centre footprint. We are looking at Malaysia and the Middle East, adding to our cloud footprint in the next six to 12 months,” said Srinivasan CR, Senior Vice President, Global Product Management & Data Centre Services, Singapore-headquartered Tata Communications.

Touching on Internet of Things (IoTs) services demand, he said, “Everything is going to get connected, if not already connected home to cars, industrial environment and energy distribution among others.”

Tata Communications on Tuesday formed a partnership with Skylab, a Singapore-based technology solutions provider, to help more enterprises adopt the IoT.

Skylab has chosen Tata Communications as its cloud partner, to ensure high levels of flexibility and reliability for customers through Tata Communications’ IZO Cloud Enablement Platform, and leading global network and

partnerships, said the two companies in a joint statement.

“The digital disruption of enterprises continues as the user journey remains firmly at the forefront of business success,” Srinivasan said.

Skylab provides advanced data harvesting, processing and delivery solutions to its customers, over a scaleable platform called Data Logistics Cloud (DLC).

The partnership comes on the heels of deployments of Skylab’s solutions in the region, notably for solar farm projects across South-east Asia.

“Skylab provides critical IoT data transmission solutions to enterprises, helping them gain insights and drive proactive actions on asset optimisation and resource management,” Gary Kwang, CEO, Skylab Group said.

“We are pleased to partner with Tata Communications, to address our growing need for higher levels of system and network availability, and cost-effective storage,” he said.– NNN-XINHUA

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Malaysia To Attract RM3 Bln Investments In Biomass Projects

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia Oct 11 (NNN-Bernama) — Malaysia is expected to attract RM3 billion investments in biomass projects between 2017 and 2018, said Minister of International Trade and Industry, ustapa Mohamed.

He said currently, the local and foreign industry players were in talks on the high-technology projects which would offer lucrative returns.

“Once they start, we will have the potentials to create a biomass hub in the region because we have vast biomass resources such as oil palm wastes.

“The projects will include investors involved in the plantation and waste sectors,” he told reporters after launching the International Biomass Conference Malaysia (IBCM 2016) here today.

Earlier, Mustapa said, in the first half of this year, the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) approved 12 biomass projects worth RM151.3 million.

“The projects included the use of empty fruit bunches and palm oil mill effluents to produce organic fertilisers.

“Last year, MIDA approved 40 biomass projects worth RM724.9 million with RM423 million from domestic investment and the rest foreign investment,” he said.

The IBCM 2016 brought together local and international players in the biomass value chain to discuss the state of the industry and how to move it forward.–NNN-BERNAMA

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International Biomass Conference Held In Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 11 (Bernama) — “Biomass is one of the priority areas for development that could serve as a high value economic driver for Malaysia’s economy in the near future. In recent years, the importance of the biomass industry across sectors within various types of applications and outputs has been growing. We should continue to focus and build on our niche areas and competencies in this industry while not forgetting the importance of collaborating with various stakeholders to ensure its sustainability,” said YB Dato’ Sri Mustapa Mohamed, Minister of International Trade and Industry (MITI) Malaysia at the official launching of the International Biomass Conference Malaysia 2016 (IBCM2016), today.

The event was also graced by YB Datuk Sri Mah Siew Keong, Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities, and YB Datuk Hajah Nancy Shukri, Minister at the Prime Minister’s Department.

This year, the Conference brought together more than 900 key local and international players from the global biomass value chain.

Investments in the biomass industry in Malaysia continue to be encouraging and significant opportunities exist in downstream activities. In 2015, MIDA approved 40 biomass projects with investments of RM724.9 million compared with 40 projects and investments of RM230.6 million in the previous year. Domestic investments amounted to RM423 million while foreign investments totalled RM301.9 million. For the first half of 2016, MIDA approved 12 biomass projects with investments of RM151.3 million.

In his speech, YB Dato’ Sri Mustapa urged local stakeholders to maximise the value of Malaysia’s biomass resources. “Bioenergy, biofuels, biochemical and even biomass-based end products like bio-plastics present endless possibilities for the biomass industry. We should be leveraging on these resources to grow our manufacturing and services sector and optimise the highest aggregated value these industries can bring to the country,” said YB MITI Minister.

“Yet, we are also aware that such opportunities are not limited to Malaysia. To continue to develop this industry requires extensive collaboration and co-development efforts by the different foreign governments and business community. Malaysia can be your destination to forge these partnerships and alliances as well as become a platform for many businesses to expand in the region,” added YB Dato Sri Mustapa.

Through the National Biomass Strategy 2020 (NBS2020) launched in 2011, Malaysia has outlined its growth strategy and developmental aspiration for this industry. For this purpose, the Government has been working closely with all stakeholders to establish the right foundation and ecosystem for Malaysia to capitalise on the opportunities in the biomass industry. A dedicated unit, namely Biomass Strategy Delivery Unit (1MBAS) was setup within Agensi Inovasi Malaysia (AIM), to execute the National Biomass Strategy 2020 (NBS2020).

“The Biomass industry in Malaysia is still at the stage of infancy, where there are many areas currently still undergoing development. I believe that technological advancement is something which is in the interest of everyone as it impacts the commercial viability of projects. It is a race of innovation and technology throughout the value chain, and whoever wins the race will reap the highest rewards.” said YB Datuk Hajah Nancy Shukri in her special address.

“From an innovation standpoint, the Government is committed to ensure that Malaysian companies will participate in the real biomass value creation. In other words, rather than just supplying biomass as feedstock, these companies would be moving out of a commodity-based business mind-set into higher value-added activities that are both sustainable and commercially viable. We want to see this industry move innovatively to create sustainable biomass industries in Malaysia,” added YB Datuk Hajah Nancy Shukri.

YB Datuk Sri Mah Siew Keong also emphasised in his speech that biomass can be an important source of income for the plantation industry against the background of fluctuating commodity prices in recent years. “In the longer term, this will complement efforts to explore new sources of income to ensure long term resilience of the commodity industry,” he said.

As Malaysia has committed to address global climate change, replacing fossil-based materials with bio-based materials will be one of the key solutions to reduce the country’s carbon emissions intensity by 40 per cent by the year 2020. “With the technological advancement in the biomass industry, I am optimistic greater value can be created from these resources through production of products such as biofuels, biochemical and other bio based products, and also contribute toward reducing carbon emissions,” added YB Datuk Sri Mah.

As part of the NBS initiative, Sabah and Sarawak have their own individual biomass industry development plans that were launched in February 2016 by the Prime Minister. Both Sabah and Sarawak account for more than 50% of available biomass in the country.

The full day conference, held at MITI Tower was a collaborative effort between the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA), Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) and Agensi Inovasi Malaysia (AIM). IBCM2016 featured six panel discussions on a range of topics including business opportunities and market outlook, biomass value-chain, R&D and innovative technology development, and the industry outlook.

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CIMB Wins Most Innovative Investment Bank In Asia-Pacific 2016

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 9 (Bernama) — CIMB Group (“CIMB” or “the Group”) has won the award for Most Innovative Investment Bank in Asia-Pacific conferred by the prestigious UK-based The Banker Investment Banking Awards 2016. The Banker, part of the Financial Times Group, provides economic and financial intelligence for the world’s financial sector.

Dato’ Sri Nazir Razak, Chairman, CIMB Group was on hand to receive the accolade at the award presentation ceremony in London recently. This was the second time that the Group was conferred the award, affirming CIMB’s deep regional expertise and well-honed capability in arranging a wide range of investment banking deals in corporate finance, equity capital markets and debt capital markets in the Asia Pacific region.

Tengku Dato’ Sri Zafrul Aziz, Group Chief Executive, CIMB Group, said, “We are honoured to receive the award for Most Innovative Investment Bank in Asia Pacific from The Banker. This recognition is also testament to our clients’ continued confidence in CIMB’s ability to deliver and execute the best investment banking solutions for their needs.”

Notable deals for CIMB in the Asia Pacific region included Axiata Group Berhad’s acquisition of 80% equity interest in Nepal’s leading mobile operator, Ncell Pte Ltd, worth RM5.9 billion, for which CIMB was the principal advisor. CIMB also led Khazanah Nasional Berhad’s RM829 million IHH Healthcare block trade which was the largest in Malaysia as at May 2016. In the equity capital markets, a highlight deal was Red Star Macalline Group’s US$931 million IPO on the Main Board of the Hong Kong stock exchange, for which CIMB Investment Bank was the only Southeast Asian bookrunner, executing together with CIMB Securities as joint bookrunner and joint lead manager.

Other notable deals for CIMB during the year included the US$1.0 billion Trust Certificates under the Shariah principle of Wakala by the Government of Hong Kong (Lead Manager, Bookrunner and Shariah Adviser), the MYR 1.0 billion Sukuk Programme established under the “Sustainable and Responsible Investment Sukuk” framework as well as the first CGIFGuaranteed Bond Issued by a Thai Corporate (IVL Singapore Pte. Ltd’s first offshore bonds issued outside Thailand, for SGD195 million).

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LEAD STORY: Korea’s Gangwon province to host Islamic Businesswomen’s Forum

Kuala Lumpur, 11 October 2016 – The World Islamic Economic Form (WIEF) Foundation through the WIEF Businesswomen Network jointly with Gangwon Provincial Government is organising the WIEF Businesswomen Forum at the Lakai Sandpine Resort, Gangneung City, Korea on 8-9 November 2016.

Officiated by H.E Moon-Soon Choi, Governor, Gangwon Province, Republic of Korea, the two-day Forum strives to offer more than 200 local and foreign women entrepreneurs an effective experience and networking opportunities through its plenary sessions and intimate business matching sessions over the course of two days. The Forum will address the challenges and opportunities for women entrepreneurs in the cultural and creative industries as well as the ever growing Halal sector.

Confirmed Role Players at the Forum includes:

(+) HRH Raja Zarith Sofiah binti Al Marhum Sultan Idris Shah, Permaisuri of the State of Johor, Malaysia

(+) HRE Dr. Mom Luan Rajadarasri Jayankura, Chairwoman, ASEAN Affairs Business Council and Founder, Harrow International School, Thailand

(+) Han Moo-kyung, Chairman, Korean Women Entrepreneurs Association, Korea

(+) Evelyn Mungai, Executive Chairman, Speedy Investments Ltd, Kenya

(+) Eliana Putri Antonio, CEO & Founder of E.P.A Jewelry, Indonesia

(+) Aissa Dione, Founder, Dione Fabric Company, Senegal

(+) Attiya Nawazish Ali, Assistant Secretary General, Islamic Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture, Pakistan

(+) Isabel Romero Arias, President, Halal Institute of Spain

(+) Eunice K. Kim, Professor of ewha Law School, New York, USA

(+) Rokia Afzal Rahman, Chair, Midas Financing Ltd, Bangladesh

“Women are crucial to our economic growth. I am particularly pleased that the Gangwon Provincial Government and the WIEF are taking proactive measures to help highlight the opportunities available for women entrepreneurs in the cultural and creatives industries. A programme like the WIEF Businesswomen Forum is particularly crucial in boosting the rate of women’s participation in economy and encouraging the emergence of more women entrepreneurs, said H.E Moon-Soon Choi, Governor, Gangwon Province, Republic of Korea.

“More nations such as Korea are putting in place numerous initiatives to encourage trade and investment amongst international partners and the WIEF Businesswomen Forum provides an ideal platform to further these efforts. In doing so, we are not only promoting greater global integration but also equitable growth. Let us come together and play our part to support the economic empowerment of women around the world,” said Tun Musa Hitam, Chairman of the WIEF Foundation.

Dato’ Dr. Norraesah Mohamad, Chairman of the WIEF Businesswomen Network, expressed, “Women are indeed an invaluable asset for the well-being of the global economy. After 6 years of success in empowering women entrepreneurs from more than 30 countries through its hands-on training programmes and web-reach internet marketing workshops, the WIEF Businesswomen Forum is specially catered for women entrepreneurs who wish to explore opportunities and grow their business in the cultural and creatives market segment”

About the World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) Foundation

The WIEF Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation based in Kuala Lumpur, organises the annual World Islamic Economic Forum, a world-class business platform showcasing business opportunities in the Muslim world. The Foundation also runs programmes under the WIEF Businesswomen Network (WBN), WIEF Young Leaders Network (WYN) and the WIEF Education Trust (WET) and the WIEF Roundtable Series, aimed at strengthening people partnership and knowledge exchange between Muslim and non-Muslim communities across the globe. Some of the Foundation’s initiatives include the roundtable discussions, leadership programmes, knowledge transfer and skill development workshops, business networking forums, internship and scholarship programmes, the Young Fellows Programme and the Marketplace of Creative Arts Festival (MOCAfest). For more information on the WIEF Foundation, please visit www.wief.org.

About Gangwon Province

Gangwon Province is a beautiful place emerging as an economic hub in Northeast Asia where human and nature co-exist. It is today not only a leading business hub in ICT, biotech, food manufacturing and medical industry but also the heartland of Korea’s tourism with natural attractions such as clean sea, forests, islands, national parks and ski resorts. Gangwon is also setting its eyes overseas without being complacent. It is an optimum place for investment and trade as it launched as East Sea Free Economic Zone (EFEZ)and Great Tumen Initiative (GTI) Expo. And as it is well known, Pyeongchang is the venue of the Winter Olympics in 2018. For more information on Gangwon Province, please visit http://eng.gwd.go.kr/gw/eng

About the WIEF Businesswomen Network (WBN)

The WIEF Businesswomen Network (WBN) was mooted at the inaugural Forum in 2005. The idea stems from the premise that women constitute a very important segment of the society and thus must be given due recognition for their economic contribution to the Muslim world. The WBN is aimed at providing a networking berth for women entrepreneurs across the world, especially in Muslim countries and societies. More hands-on programmes and workshops are being organised worldwide to equip and empower women to effectively compete in the challenging business world. For more information, please visit www.wiefwomenbusiness.org.

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Direct flight between Bishkek and Doha

Bishkek, October 12 / Kabar /. Kyrgyz Ambassador to Qatar Nuran Niyazaliev on Tuesday, October 11 met in Doha with Mr. Ali Al Rais, Senior Vice President Commercial of Qatar Airways, the press service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reports.

During the meeting the sides discussed issues of cooperation between Kyrgyzstan and Qatar in the field of air communication. In particular, Ambassador Niyazaliev said that that direct flight between Bishkek and Doha is important for further enhancing the Kyrgyz-Qatari trade and economic, investment, cultural relations and mutual tourist exchanges. In this regard, he stressed the great potential for passenger and cargo transportation between the Kyrgyz Republic and the Arab countries, and informed about the new features of Manas International Airport of Kyrgyzstan.

The sides agreed to continue discussions on opening direct flight between the two capitals.

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Week of Italian language to be held in Bishkek

Bishkek, October 14 / Kabar/. The Embassy of Switzerland in the Kyrgyz Republic and the Honorary Consulate of Italy on the occasion of the Italian Language in the world week 2016, are happy to announce a movie screening to be held on 21st October 2016 in Bishkek.

The Week of Italian language in the World has been created back in 2001 by the “Accademia della Crusca”, the Italian linguistic associations, to promote the Italian language through variegated cultural activities during the month of October.

The events are organised on a worldwide scale in co-operation with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs through the engagement of their Embassies and Consulates.

The Swiss Embassy in Bishkek is proud and delighted to join the recurrence in Kyrgyzstan to showcase Switzerland character of multilingual and multicultural country being Italian one of its official languages.

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Exhibition on ‘Infra Oman 2016’ kicks off in Muscat

Tehran, Oct 10, IRNA – The 6th International Exhibition of Infrastructure and Industrial Projects dubbed as ‘Infra Oman 2016’ kicked off on Monday in Muscat, Oman, with participation of 14 Iranian companies.

In the 3-day fair, 200 companies from different world countries including Iran, Australia, Canada, China, India, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Britain, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Libya, South Korea, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates have taken part.

Construction materials, equipment and machinery, mine and roads construction machinery, infrastructure projects, electricity, power plant and renewable energies, water and waste water, transportation industry and fire extinguisher are among goods and materials displayed at the fair.

Iran has good trade relations with Oman and after the UAE. Oman is the second largest trade partner of Iran in the region.

Iran exported 283 items of goods to Oman worth more than 300 million dollars last year and imported 71 million dollars from Oman.

Steel products and livestock were on top of the export list to Oman.

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Iran, Thailand trade exchange to reach $3b in 5 years: Thai minister

Kuala Lumpur, Oct 11, IRNA – Thailand Minister of Commerce Apiradee Tatraporn has said that Tehran and Bangkok have agreed on preferential trade tariffs and intend to raise bilateral trade exchanges to 3 billion dollars in 5 years.

Iran, Thailand trade exchange to reach $3b in 5 years: Thai minister

Speaking after the two countries joint trade committee meeting on Tuesday, the Thai minister said the two sides agreed to remove customs tariffs from 100 products.

According to the Bangkokpost Website, Tatraporn said the Iranian side proposed the preferential trade tariffs and since it is a fast way to facilitate bilateral trade, Thailand agreed with the proposal.

The Thai official said the feasibility studies of the proposal take about six months and its final approval needs Thailand’s parliament green light.

Iran has so far signed preferential trade tariffs with Pakistan and Turkey and wants to sign similar agreements with China, India, Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan.

The Thai minister also said Iran plans to import Thai rice again which had been stopped due to anti-Iran sanctions.

Iran is Thailand’s 9th trade partner in the Middle East. The two countries’ trade exchange in 2015 hit $310m of which 217 million dollars was Thailand’s exports to Iran.

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Algiers, Havana ink eight agreements on health, higher education

HAVANA (Cuba)- Algeria and Cuba signed Friday in Havana eight cooperation agreements in health and higher education.

Pasteur Institute of Algeria (IPA) and the Instituto Finlay de Vacunas (IFV) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to set up, in a short term, a local unit for vaccine production with an association of diphtheria and tetanus antigen.

Two agreements on technical assistance and technological transfer are to be signed before the end of the first quarter of 2017, said the general manager of the IPA, Zoubir Harrat.

IPA and IFV also signed a MOU relating to cooperation, in the mid and short terms, on the development, production and marketing of combined vaccines.

In higher education, an agreement has been signed between Algerian universities Algiers 1 and Algiers 2 and La Havana (university).

Agreements were also signed between the national polytechnic school of Oran and the university of Cienfuegos and between the National Computer School of Algiers and Cuba’s University of Computer Science.

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China extends US$24 Billion In Loans To Bangladesh

DHAKA, Oct 14 (NNN-AGENCIES) — China is set to sign off on loans worth over US$24 billion to Bangladesh during President Xi Jinping’s visit on Friday, Dhaka’s biggest foreign credit line to date that will help it build power plants, a seaport and railways.

Xi’s trip, the first by a Chinese president in 30 years, is aimed at boosting China’s involvement in infrastructure projects at a time when India is pushing investments of its own in Bangladesh, a country New Delhi considers its area of influence.

Japan, helped by India, has also got involved in Bangladesh, offering finance at low interest rates to build a port and power complex, sharpening competition for influence in the country of 160 million people located on the Bay of Bengal.

China plans to finance around 25 projects, including a 1,320 megawatt (MW) power plant, and is also keen to build a deep sea port, Bangladesh junior finance minister M.A. Mannan said.

“Xi’s visit will set a new milestone. (A) record amount of loan agreements will be signed during the visit, roughly US$24 billion,” he said.

Among the proposed projects are highways and information technology development, he said. “Our infrastructure needs are big, so we need huge loans.”

China’s Jiangsu Etern Co Ltd signed a deal worth US$1.1 billion to strengthen the power grid network in Bangladesh, the company said on Thursday.

Beijing is especially keen to revive a plan to build a deep sea port in Sonadia which has been on hold for years, officials said.

Xi is visiting Bangladesh on his way to a BRICS summit of the world’s leading emerging economies in Goa, India.

His trip comes at a time when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is leading efforts to boost ties with neighbouring countries, from Sri Lanka to Nepal, by offering them a share of India’s fast-growing economy.

Last year Modi announced a US$2 billion credit line during a visit to Dhaka, but China looks set to go well beyond that. — NNN-AGENCIES

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Trade Expo Indonesia Generates Deals Worth US$186 Million

JAKARTA, Oct 14 (NNN-ANTARA) — Now into its second day, the Trade Expo Indonesia event has generated a total of US$186.69 million worth of transactions in the form of trade contracts.

“Transactions worth US$178.7 million were signed on the first day while US$7.99 million worth of deals were signed on the second day,” said the Trade Ministry’s Head of National Export Development Arlinda.

On the second day of the Expo, the buying mission contract signing was dominated by importers of food and beverage products from Australia.

The signings were witnessed by Suprapto Martosetomo, Indonesia’s Ambassador to South Africa as well as the Kingdom of Lesotho, the Kingdom of Swaziland and the Republic of Botswana. The deals were signed by six importers from three countries, including Nigeria, Australia and South Africa, and eight local export businesses.

In the pharmaceutical sector, Nigeria’s Jeijosh Pharma signed a deal with PT. Phapros, while Sony Trading Pty. Ltd signed a deal with PT. Mayora Indah.

In the food and beverage products sector, PT. Pondan Pangan Makmur and PT. Sarimunik Mandiri signed a deal with Eastern Cross Trading Pty. Ltd and CV. Intrafood, while Hean Corporation and PT. Dua Kelinci signed a partnership in the same sector.

Grein Australia Pty Ltd and PT. Sayap Mas Utama signed a deal for food and beverage products as well as consumer goods.

Lastly, Wemco Investment & Trading Ltd and PT. KMI Wire and cable Tbk. signed a contract for wire products.

A total of 37 trade contract signings were carried out between 30 importers from 16 countries and 34 local exporter companies based on the buying mission on the Expos second day.

Essential oils and coconut milk were among the most sought after products and generated the most transactions, along with skilled workforce contracts from the services field.

Other commodities that were also coveted by foreign importers included coffee, tea, cement, furniture, wires, food and beverage products, seafood, anti-fatigue mats, floor mats, cutting boards and modular tiles.

Arlinda believes that this event has broadened Indonesia’s export opportunities in a number of markets, especially non-traditional ones.

“We continue to work so that the Indonesian trade representatives contribute more overseas, while at the same time encouraging business makers to enhance the quality of their products because export opportunities are now very vast,” Arlinda remarked.

The Trade Ministry aims for the goods trade transactions to reach US$800 million by the end of this Trade Expo, excluding the investment opportunities and services related transactions.

It is hoped that overall, the total transactions signed can reach US$1 billion, exceeding the previous year’s figure of US$909 million of deals. — NNN-ANTARA

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World’s 3rd Largest Book Fair In Sharjah

SHARJAH, United Arab Emirates, Oct 14 (Bernama-BUSINESS WIRE) — This year’s Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) – third largest book fair in the world- will see the participation of 1,420 publishing houses from 60 countries, displaying more than 1.5 million books throughout its 11 days.

SIBF is organised by the Sharjah Book Authority, the region’s foremost literary event taking place from November 2-12 in Sharjah and held under the theme ‘Read More,’ and covering 25,000 square feet at Sharjah Expo Centre. Visitors will enjoy more than 1,417 activities from its program.

The UAE participate this year with 205 publishing houses, followed by Egypt with 163, Lebanon and India with 110 each, the UK with 79, Syria with 66, the US with 63 and KSA with 61.

SIBF has announced the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) as the Guest of Honour for 2016, being selected in view of its work in promoting culture and heritage across the world since its establishment in 1945.

A total of 228 international and Arab world luminaries will participate at SIBF 2016, including novelist Cassandra Clare, author of ‘The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones; Eric Van Lustbader from the USA, author of 10 ‘Bourne’ novels; journalist and writer Claudia Gray, author of the ‘Star Wars’ series; and Graeme Simsion novelist and screenwriter from Australia, Kailash Satyarthi, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014; and renowned actress Shilpa.

Joining from the Arab world: Egyptian star Ezzat Al Alaili; Sheikha Maysoon Al Qasimi, poet, novelist and conceptual artist; Sheikh Majed Al Sabah, an influential social media personality in addition to many more.

SIBF 2016 will also host the Professional Program Business Meetings, a precursor event that takes place from October 30–November 1. Its three days will feature a training course for Arab publishers held in collaboration with the Center for Publishing at the New York University, as well as discussion panels and business meetings. Also taking place from November 8-10 is the third edition of the annual joint conference between SIBF and the American Library Association (ALA) – the only ALA conference to be held outside of the United States.

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Kuwait’s Minister: GCC Adopts Tourism Vision

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, Oct 13 (NNN-SPA) – Kuwait’s Minister of Information and Minister of State for Youth Affairs, Sheikh Salman Sabah Salem Al-Humoud Al-Sabah, said on Wednesday, that, the meeting of the GCC tourism ministers, had adopted a single strategic vision for joint tourism cooperation.

Speaking to KUNA and TV following the meeting, he said, an executive team would be set up, to put this vision in place within one month’s time, quoting the conferees as underscoring the significance of reactivating the tourism sector in the region, thanks to its role in the promoting of Gulf identity.

He added that, the meeting had decided a set of weighty resolutions, chiefly aiming at consolidating Gulf tourism cooperation, through a single vision for culture and tourism in the GCC member states.

The Kuwaiti minister highly appreciated Saudi King, Salman bin Abdulaziz’s interest in and keenness on revamping the sector of tourism and culture in the Gulf region.

He also called for further strengthening and cementing coordination and cooperation, among the GCC countries as a key tool for safeguarding regional security and stability and maintaining Gulf gains and assets.

Meanwhile, Sheikh Salman emphasised that, it is imperative for the GCC countries to reactivate the role of national heritage, in deepening Gulf national identity and consolidating bonds among the Gulf people.

Speaking to KUNA and TV after touring the Handicraft Exhibition and National Museum at King Abdulaziz Historical Centre in Riyadh, the minister said, the exhibition shows a set of handicrafts that are meant to promote Gulf identity and belonging to link between past and present.

In this context, the minister underlined the GCC countries’ interest in encouraging and spurring handicrafts in the field of tourism and culture in the region.– NNN-SPA

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Qatar Airways Launches Helsinki Service

DOHA, Qatar, Oct 12 (NNN-QNA) – Qatar Airways announced the launch of flights to the Finnish capital, following the arrival of the airline’s first flight to Helsinki.

The launch of the new route to Helsinki, completes Qatar Airways’ network strategy of serving Nordic capitals, which currently includes Stockholm, Copenhagen and Oslo, and reinforces its commitment to serving the people of Northern Europe.

At a press conference in Helsinki, Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, Akbar Al Baker, took the opportunity to update the regional and international media on the airline’s plans for the Nordics and beyond.

The new route will also give the people of Finland the opportunity to connect to more than 150 destinations on the airline’s global network, via its hub, Hamad International Airport, in Doha, he said, adding, “Helsinki has long been on our list of destinations, to add to our route map.”

Qatar Airways flies daily to Stockholm, Copenhagen, Oslo and now Helsinki. This will give Finnish passengers the opportunity to travel seamlessly to destinations, such as Krabi and the Seychelles, which will be launched in Dec,

and Auckland, which will be launched on Feb 5, 2017, with many more new destinations to come.

Qatar Airways is one of the fastest growing airlines, operating one of the youngest fleets in the world.

Now in its 19th year of operations, Qatar Airways has a modern fleet of 190 aircraft, flying to more than 150 key business and leisure destinations, across six continents.– NNN-QNA

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Dubai Ruler Breaks Ground For World’s Tallest Tower

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, Oct 11 (NNN-WAM) – The United Arab Emirates (UAE) Vice President, Prime Minister and Dubai Ruler, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, broke ground on Monday, for the construction of the one billion U.S. dollar project, “the Tower at Dubai Creek Harbour.”

The tower, when completed by 2020, will become the world’s tallest building, topping the 828-metre-tall Burj Khalifa, also located in Dubai.

The tower, designed by Spanish-Swiss architect, Santiago Calatrava, will be developed by Dubai’s Emaar Properties, the largest real estate developer in the Middle East, who also developed Burj Khalifa, in 2010.

The exact height of the tower remains unknown, but Emaar Chairman, Mohammed Alabbar, indicated, during his tower concept presentation that, the structure would be “a notch higher than Burj Khalifa.”

Local media reports, leaked unconfirmed information, pointing to a difference of 100 metres in height.

Mohammed Al-Gergawi, UAE Minister of Cabinet Affairs, said, during the ceremony, that, the project represents “a new phase” in developing Sheikh Mohammed’s vision, to position the Gulf Arab state as a “new icon of humanity.”– NNN-WAM

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Dutch Firm To Help Lagos Authorities Harness City’s Waste

LAGOS, Oct 10 (NNN-NAN) — A Dutch firm will soon begin collaboration with the Lagos State government to harness the waste generated in Nigeria’s biggest city, says Olumuyiwa Adejokun, the chief executive officer of the Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA).

The administration of Govenor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State has invited a company from the Netherlands whose speciality is converting waste to wealth to create jobs for both the old and young, says Adejokun.

“We are expecting them anytime from now to come and collaborate with us on the project,” said Adejokun, who took over at the helm of LAWMA earlier this year. Adejokun said the project with the Dutch firm would be a public-private initiative.

“It is a veritable option to adopt in recycling our waste which we generate daily in thousands of tons,” said Adejokun, who added that the state-owned enterprise would not recycle waste, but would encourage recyclers as private initiatives.

“It is not for LAWMA to recycle waste, but to encourage recyclers; for example, we have WeeCyclers, owned by the Abiolas.”

LAWMA was inaugurated following the industrialisation and urbanisation of Lagos with the resultant high volume of waste which became an intractable problem for local councils in the state to manage.

Lagos was branded the “dirtiest” capital in 1977 when Nigeria hosted “FESTAC ’77″, and consequently in April 1977, the first waste management outfit in West Africa was inaugurated known as Lagos State Refuse Disposal Board (LSRDB) under Edict 9 of 1977, with Powell Duffen Pollution Control Consultants of Canada as managers.

In 1981, its name was changed to Lagos State Waste Disposal Board (LSWDB) because of the added responsibilities for industrial-commercial waste collection and disposal, drain clearing and disposal of derelict/scrapped vehicles.

In 1991, the board was re-christened LAWMA via Edict No. 55 with the mandate of collecting and disposing municipal and industrial waste as well as providing commercial waste services to state and local councils in the state. — NNN-NAN

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HSBC Survey: Expats Say Malaysia Offers Better Work-Life Balance

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia Oct 11 (NNN-Bernama) — About 78 per cent of expatriates say that Malaysia offers a good work and life balance, a friendly culture and lower costs for raising a child, the new HSBC Expat Explorer report reveals.

In a statement, HSBC Bank Malaysia Bhd said this was slightly more than the expatriate average across Asia-Pacific of 72 per cent, but considerably more than other emerging economies such as the Philippines, where only 59 per cent of expatriates see their work and life balance stayed the same or improved.

The bank said in the ninth edition of this annual survey, nearly 27,000 expatriates from 190 countries shared their thoughts and experiences of expatriate life, creating the 2016 Expat Explorer report titled “Achieving ambitions abroad”.

Furthermore, it said, more than 35 per cent of expatriates in Malaysia said the overall cost of raising children was less expensive than it was in their home country, which was considerably more than the global average of 19 per cent and the average across Asia-Pacific 22 per cent.

“Expatriates find it relatively easy to relocate to Malaysia. Nearly 66 per cent say finding accommodation is easy, well above the global average of 46 per cent.

“Over 52 per cent say organising healthcare is easy in Malaysia, just above the 50 per cent average of expatriates across Asia-Pacific,” it added.–NNN-BERNAMA

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Lebanese, Saudi Filmmakers Awarded At Beirut Film Festival

BEIRUT, Lebanon, Oct 14 (NNN-NNA) – Amid modest Arab presence, the 16th edition of Beirut International Film Festival, came to a close on Thursday evening with an award ceremony.

“Robert,” by the Lebanese director, Ghina Abboud, was awarded as the best documentary, while “Motorcycle,” by Mohammed Al Holayyil, of Saudi Arabia, and “Pale Mirrors,” by Salem Salavati, of Iran, shared the SGBL award for the best short movie.

The award for the best director documentary was given to “Overruled,” by the Iranian duo, Farnaz and Mohammadreza Jurabchian.

The Jury Special Mention Documentary Award was given ex-aquo to “This Is Exile,” by Mani Y Benchelah, of Algeria, and “Love,” by Waddah Al-Fahed, of Syria.

The audience vote award for the best feature film went to “Letters from Baghdad,” by Sabine Krayenbuhl and Zeva Oelbaum.

Speaking on the fringes of the award ceremony, Basem Al-Haj, in charge of information, said, the Arab films that took part in this year’s edition of the festival, reflected the reality of the situations in the region.

“The Arab cinema industry has made good progress in recent years, thanks to the Arab filmmakers who studied abroad and gained experience from renowned directors,” he said.

Al-Haj commended the participation of directors from Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Palestine, Morocco, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

However, he said, the Arab cinema industry still needs greater potentials, in terms of production and freedom of expression.

He added that the festival provided an opportunity for the Lebanese and Arab audience to watch the latest production of the international cinema industry, noting that, many of the films screened at the event are not available at commercial movie theatres.

The festival, which opened on Oct 5, featured 74 films in various categories from the Arab region and beyond.

The festival saw the jury cancelling the feature film competition for the Middle East, due to the current conditions in the region.– NNN-NNA

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Emirates Airline, Google Launch “Celebrating Arabic Reading” Initiative

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, Oct 11 (NNN-WAM) – Emirates Airline of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Google, on Monday, announced the launch of “Celebrating Arabic Reading” weeks, with an aim to reach “millions of smartphone users in the Middle East” and to support the UAE government’s “Year of Reading.”

The initiative will run during Oct, and the first week of Nov, to make Arabic books more accessible to first-time online book readers, by giving them discounts of up to 90 percent on purchases made at the “Google Play” online bookstore, Emirates and Google said in a statement.

Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, said, books can stimulate, inform, touch minds and hearts, and open up a world of possibilities for readers.

“As founding sponsors of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, we are staunch supporters of the written word,” he said.

Vice President for Large Customer Sales for Google Europe, Middle East and Africa, Ronan Harris, said, “Through our collaboration with Emirates, we hope we can make Arabic literature more accessible and enjoyable than ever.”– NNN-WAM

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South Korea To Help Iran Build Wind Power Plant

TEHRAN, Oct 13 (NNN-FNA) — Tehran and Seoul signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to broaden their cooperation on the construction of wind power plants in Iran.

The MoU was signed between the South Korean investors and the Iranian companies on Tuesday.

The South Korean investors have declared interest to help the Iranian companies to build a 100-megawatt wind power plant in the Mil-E Nader region to the North of Sistan and Balouchestan province in Southern Iran.

According to the cooperation documents signed between the local companies and Korean investors, $220 million of investment is needed to be absorbed to build the wind power plant in an area of 100 square kilometers.

Nowadays, utilizing renewable energies is considered as a solution to the energy crisis. Wind energy is one of the most available forms of renewable energies which originated from Iranian windmills in Sistan and Balouchestan which is one of the windiest provinces in Iran. — NNN-FNA

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Jordan Inaugurates 52.5-Mw Solar Power Project

AMMAN, Jordan, Oct 11 (NNN-PETRA) – Jordanian Prime Minister, Hani Al-Mulki, inaugurated Monday, 52.6 megawatts Shams Ma’an power project, the largest in the Middle East, which is designed to generate electricity using photo-voltaic cells.

The private sector venture is established on an area of two million square metres, at which, more than 600,000 solar panels were installed, under the supervision of a specialised international company, at an investment value of approximately USD 170 million.

The project, implemented by the “Shams Ma’an” project consortium, including Kawar energy companies, a subsidiary of Japan’s Mitsubishi company and Nebras Power company, a subsidiary of Qatar Electricity and Water Company’s (QEWC), will contribute to focusing on local renewable energy sources, in order to ensure energy sustainability and slash high energy bill.

Chairman of the Board of Directors of Shams Ma’an Company, Karim Kawar, said, the project will produce 160 GWh per year, or one percent of the Kingdom’s consumption of electricity.– NNN-PETRA

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PM Najib: Govt Policies Made Malaysia’s Social Mobility One Of World’s Best

SHAH ALAM (SELANGOR, MALAYSIA), Oct 14 (NNN-NST) — Pragmatic implementation of policies by the government has elevated Malaysia’s social mobility to being one of the best in the world, said Prime Minister Najib Razak.

As example, he said Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) has changed the country’s socio-economic landscape, especially for the Malays and Bumiputera.

“The sons and daughters of farmers and fishermen, in just one generation, have become professors, ministers, chief executive officers.

“Malaysia’s social engineering has advanced the development of Bumiputera and non-Bumiputera communities through fair wealth-sharing.

“There is social justice and equal opportunity for everyone to succeed, regardless of background,” said Najib in his speech, before officiating the university’s 60th anniversary celebration here Friday.

He said easy access to quality higher education is an important yardstick for a developing country in nurturing successful people.

Najib gave his guarantee that the government will continue to support UiTM’s development, together with the Higher Education Minister. — NNN-NST

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ASEAN, EU Work Towards Strategic Partnership

BANGKOK, Oct 14 (NNN-Bernama) — The 21st ASEAN-EU Ministerial Meeting (AEMM) opened in Bangkok, Thailand on Thursday, seeking to strengthen the two sides’ cooperation across the board and work towards strategic partnership.

Vietnam News Agency (VNA) reports that the meeting was co-chaired by Thailand’s Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai and Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission.

It brought together 40 delegations from ASEAN and EU member countries, and ASEAN General Secretary Le Luong Minh.

Delegates will touch upon important issues in the region and the globe and seek to elevate ASEAN-EU cooperation to strategic partnership. They will discuss preparations for the 40th anniversary of their ties in 2017.

A Bangkok statement and a Bangkok roadmap to promoting ASEAN-EU relations to strategic partnership in 2016-2017 is scheduled to be adopted.

ASEAN and the EU normalised their ties in 1977 and their trade currently has reached US$227 billion.

EU member countries have contributed US$19.7 billion into the ASEAN member countries, while 9.3 million of their nationals have travelled to ASEAN countries since 2014.

The EU is currently the third largest trade partner, the leading investor and the second biggest supplier of tourists of ASEAN.

Held biennially, AEMM provides a platform for senior officials to seek measures to improve the two sides’ relations and talk regional and global issues.

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Malaysia Eyes New Infrastructure Development Projects In Saudi Arabia

RIYADH, Oct 13 (NNN-BERNAMA) — Malaysia has identified several new infrastructure development projects in Saudi Arabia that can be carried in partnership by companies from both countries.

Deputy Prime Minister Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said among the projects were construction of roads, particularly in Makkah and Jeddah.

“We will also carry out follow-up action on projects identified to be developed by Malaysian companies with good track record in Saudi Arabia,” he added.

He told this to Malaysian journalists on arrival here Wednesday in conjunction with his five-day official visit to Saudi Arabia.

Ahmad Zahid said Malaysia is also keen to forge smart partnership involving Malaysian and Saudi Arabian companies in the construction of other infrastructure in Saudi Arabia.

“This follow-up action will certainly not only benefit Malaysian companies, but what is important is how we can contribute in terms of expertise in technical fields,” he added.

Ahmad Zahid said this was prompted by the success of Prasarana Malaysia Bhd in handling Makkah Metro and the excellent service of the company was recognised by the Saudi Arabian government. — NNN-BERNAMA

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Iran, Thailand Trade Exchanges To Hit $3B In 5 Years

TEHRAN, Oct 13 (NNN-FNA) – Thailand’s Trade Minister Apiradee Tatraporn announced that Tehran and Bangkok have agreed on preferential trade tariffs and intend to raise bilateral trade exchanges to 3 billion dollars in 5 years.

The Thai minister said the two sides agreed to remove customs tariffs from 100 products.

The minister noted that the volume of Iran-Thailand trade balance will hit $3 billion within next five years.

Tatraporn said the Iranian side proposed the preferential trade tariffs and since it is a fast way to facilitate bilateral trade, Thailand agreed with the proposal.

The Thai official said the feasibility studies of the proposal take about six months and its final approval needs Thailand’s parliament green light.

Iran is Thailand’s 9th trade partner in the Middle East. The two countries’ trade exchange in 2015 hit $310m of which 217 million dollars was Thailand’s exports to Iran.

Iran has so far signed preferential trade tariffs with Pakistan and Turkey and wants to sign similar agreements with China, India, Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan. — NNN-FNA

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Malaysia: International Exhibitors In Selangor State Expo 2016

SHAH ALAM, Malaysia, Oct 14 (NNN-Bernama) — The second Selangor state International Expo next week is expecting a large participation and to date almost 600 companies have confirmed their participation including from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, India, Iran and Europe.

Last year’s edition recorded 400 exhibitors, of which 282 were international exhibitors.

Selangor is banking on halal, e-commerce and life science industries to attract more investors to the state during at the expo.

State Investment, Industry and Trade, Small and Medium Enterprises and Transportation Committee Chairman Teng Chang Khim said the expo would focus on small and medium enterprises segment which is seen to have huge potential at both, domestic and international, markets.

Organised by Invest Selangor, the three-day expo from Oct 20-22 will be held at the Mines International Exhibition and Convention Centre, Seri Kembangan.

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Nigeria To Announce Long-Term National Development Plan

ABUJA, Oct 13 (NNN-NAN) — The report of the just ended 22nd Nigerian Economic Summit (NES) has been presented to President Muhammadu Buhari by the organizers of the summit, the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG).

NESG Chairman Kyari Bukar delivered the report to Buhari following the close of the summit here Wednesday. The report was received by Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, on behalf of President Buhari.

Buhari said the Federal Government would release a long-term National Development Plan before the end of 2016 to address the current economic crisis which triggered by the collapse in oil prices. He said the plan would articulate all programmes and plans from every sector of the economy.

“This comprehensive document will set out in one publication all the various sector plans which have already been adopted by the present administration. It will consolidate and harmonise all the sectoral plans in a single document and set out in broad detail an integrated roadmap for the growth and sustainability of the country’s economy,” the president said.

“The document will make it easier for the general public to easily access government’s overall economic agenda.”

The president also said that the country was going through a challenging period when he assumed office in 2015 and his administration had come up with a Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP) which was released early this year.

“Unlike the SIP, the new document that we will be releasing shall be more comprehensive and present clear roadmap for all the sectors,” he added.

The president had opened the summit on Monday and expressed the desire to see Nigeria shift from an import-dependent economy to a self-sufficient one.

“We are working night and day to diversify the economy so that we will never again have to rely on one commodity to survive as a country so that we can produce the food we eat, make our own textiles, and produce the things we use. We are working to create the right environment for our youths to be able to benefit and create jobs through technology,” the president said.

The theme of the summit was “Made-in-Nigeria”.

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Nigerian Banks Strong, Can Weather Crisis, Says Central Bank

ABUJA, Oct 13 (NNN-NAN) — Nigeria’s banks are facing economic challenges but have strong capital buffers to weather the crisis, says a senior Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) official, Tokunbo Martins.

Nigeria is in recession with a slump in the oil revenues that make up the bulk of its foreign earnings having hammered public finances and the naira currency.

In June the central bank dropped its peg of the naira against the US dollar, prompting the local currency to depreciate by 40 per cent, further hitting consumers’ spending power.

The non-performing loans (NPL) ratio in the banking sector hit 11.7 per cent in the first half of 2016, well above the central bank’s 5.0 per cent limit, and it has forecast a further rise in the ratio in the second half. NPLs stood at 5.3 per cent at the end of last year.

Loans to the oil and gas sectors accounted for almost a third of total bank lending, the central bank said in its latest half-year financial stability report. The fall in oil prices since mid-2014 has forced Nigerian lenders, which have long focused on loans to the energy sector, to adapt their business models.

“Banks have strong capital buffers,” Martins, who is the CBN Director of Banking Supervision, told journalists after a regular meeting with lenders, which is held every two months.

In July, the central bank sacked the management of Skye Bank, Nigeria’s eighth biggest, for failing to meet minimum capital requirements.

“Banks are feeling the headwinds,” added Martins, who said the supply of foreign exchange for manufacturers would be improved. However, she did not say how. — NNN-NAN

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Arab Rowing Championships: Algeria ranks second with 15 medals

TUNIS (Tunisia)- Algerian rowers have ranked second in the general rankings of the 11th Arab Junior Rowing Championships, which ended Thursday in the Berges du Lac in Tunis, Tunisia, by winning 15 medals (6 gold, 4 silver, 5 bronze).

Host country Tunisia has topped the rankings with 19 medals (11 gold and 8 silver), while the third place went to Egypt, which won 18 medals (3 gold, 7 silver and 8 bronze).

United Arab Emirates ranked fourth with one silver medal and one bronze, ahead of Morocco (one bronze medal).

During the event’s second and ultimate day, Algeria’s three gold medals were snatched by Abdenour Zouad-Kamel and Ait Daoud in double sculls (lightweight), Amina Rouba in Skiff, and Nawel Chiali-Amina Rouba in double sculls (lightweight).

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Algerian Prime Minister Visits Cuba

HAVANA, Oct 13 (NNN-PRENSA LATINA)–Algerian Prime Minister, Abdelmalek Sellal arrived in the Cuban capital today to pay an official visit, with the purpose of consolidating the bonds of friendship and solidarity between his country and Cuba.

At the Jose Marti International Airport, Sellal was welcomed by Cuban Foreign Vice Minister Abelardo Moreno and Public Health Vice Minister Marcia Cobas.

The visit, ending on Friday, will include official talks with the President of the Council of State and Ministers, Raul Castro.

Sellal and the delegation accompanying him will meet with other authorities, including the president of the National Assembly of People’s Power, Esteban Lazo.

Cuba and Algeria have maintained solid relations since the latter country won its independence in 1962.–NNN-PRENSA LATINA

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Nigerian Senate To Pass Bills Aimed At Tackling Recession

ABUJA, Oct 12 (NNN-NAN) — The President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, says the Senate will pass 11 Bills before the end of 2016 aimed at tackling the economic recession the country is facing.

Speaking at a dialogue at the 22nd Nigerian Economic Summit here Tuesday, he added that since the beginning of the year, the Senate had worked hard to fast-track the over 40 priority Bills in the Senate.

He said that the 40 bills were recommended by the National Assembly Business Environment Roundtable (NASSBER), an initiative in which the Nigerian Economic Summit Group was a major partner.

Saraki also said that the Senate would ensure the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) in this administration by breaking the Bill into different sections for ease passage.

According to him, with the passage of the PIB, Nigeria will generate more revenue from oil, thereby putting the nation on track to come out of the recession.

“By focusing more on outcomes, rather than processes,” Saraki said, “the Nigerian Senate has been able to pass 20 Bills for Final Reading in two weeks,” he said.

Saraki commended the organizers of the economic forum for keying into the Senate’s plan for generating more revenue from home-grown businesses with the theme ‘Made in Nigeria’.

“Earlier this year, when in the Senate we started the ‘Made in Nigeria’ campaign, we knew how important it was, but even we did not foresee how far it would go,” he added.

“To promote the patronage of our domestic businesses, the Senate has gone as far as amending the Procurement Act to urge government ministries, departments and agencies to key into this initiative.” — NNN-NAN

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China keen to speed up economic deals with Mozambique

MACAU, Oct 12 (NNN-AIM) — Mozambican Prime Minister Carlos Agostinho do Rosario says the Chinese authorities are prepared to advance rapidly with putting into practice the agreements reached between the two countries.

Last May President Filipe Nyusi visited China and witnessed the signing of a number of agreements intended to increase Mozambique’s productive capacity, to mobilize investments in the hydrocarbon sector, to create special economic zones, and to build a Mozambique-China Cultural Centre in Maputo, among other projects.

Speaking after a meeting with his Chinese counterpart, Li Keqiang, here Monday, Rosario said China was interested in making these agreements operational very quickly.

From his meeting with Li, he added, it was clear that China is increasingly confident that it will be able to assist Mozambique in lifting its productive capacity through investments in priority areas such as agriculture, infrastructures and energy.

“We had an excellent meeting with the Chinese Prime Minister,” Rosario told journalists. “The prospects for co-operation are good. As you know, we came here to make operational the agreements signed during President Nyusi’s visit.”

He added that the two sides had agreed “various ways of taking off as quickly as possible”, with the understandings already reached, and confirmed the existence of a new range of projects “which will make our co-operation ever stronger”.

“There are new, concrete projects. We shall return to Mozambique to adjust the projects with the sectors involved so that, by the end of the month, we can present them in a more systematised manner,” he said.

Li, cited by the Chinese news agency, Xinhua, confirmed that China is willing to participate in Mozambique’s infrastructure development and the operation of roads, ports and natural gas pipelines.

“The Chinese government supports Chinese businesses investing in Mozambique in line with market rules and commercial principles in order to help translate Mozambique’s resource advantages into development advantages and lay a solid foundation for self-development and sustainable development,” Li said.

While he is in Macau, Rosario will take part, on Tuesday and Wednesday, in the 5th Ministerial Conference of the Forum for Economic and Commercial Co-operation between China and the Portuguese-Speaking Countries.

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Indonesia proposes business travel card for Indian Ocean countries

15 October 2016 Yogyakarta (ANTARA News) – The Chairman of the Indian Ocean Rim Business Forum (IORBF), who is also the Deputy Head of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Division at the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce, Yugi Prayanto, has proposed to introduce a business travel card for all members of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA).

“The IORBF needs to come up with a concrete initiative to improve economic cooperation and business in the Indian Ocean region,” Yugi said here on Friday.

He pointed out that the IORBF meeting, led by Indonesia and South Africa, aims to improve interaction and cooperation among IORAs businessmen and its dialogue partners in order to develop cooperation in economy, trade and investment in the Indian Ocean region.

“The IORBF agrees that economic cooperation opportunities need to be explored further and these include the IORA Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IORA-CEPA ) and IORA Business Travel Card (IBTC),” Yugi noted.

These initiatives are supported by IORA member countries, among others, South Africa, Australia, India, Indonesia, Kenya and Mauritius.

According to him, the forum agrees that the establishment of IORA-CEPA is very important to improve economic cooperation, trade and investment in the Indian Ocean region.

The IORA-CEPA, Yugi pointed out, is expected to become an umbrella for IORA economic cooperation in order to increase trade and investment, open market access, develop industry as well as strengthen regional value chain and structural reforms.

Meanwhile, the IBTC, he underlined, is expected to ensure mobility of entrepreneurs and facilitate business interaction among the IORA member states.

“The IBTC in time will strengthen people-to-people contact, including business-to-business links among IORA member nations,” Yugi stressed, adding that the IORBF really hopes these two initiatives will be discussed at the 20th Anniversary Commemorative Summit of IORA meeting in March 2017.

He added that the agreements reached at this meeting will be reported to the Committee of Senior Officials on October 25-26, 2016 and to the Council of Ministers on October 27, 2016.

Forty businessmen from various IORA member countries are participating in this 22nd IORBF meeting.

The IORA focuses on economic, trade and investment cooperation. It comprises 21 countries, namely, South Africa, Australia, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Seychelles, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, Comoros and Yemen.

Australia passed on the chairmanship of IORA to Indonesia in 2015. Indonesia is the IORA Chairman for 2015-2017.

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Indonesia expects nationwide broadband connectivity by 2017

15 October 2016 Pontianak, W. Kalimantan (ANTARA News) – Communication and Information Minister Rudiantara said he expected that all Indonesian regions will be connected through broadband internet by 2017.

“We have been forging partnerships with various parties to achieve this goal. In West Kalimantan alone, we will build a Palapa Ring which will connect the entire regions of Indonesia to a broadband network,” Minister Rudiantara stated in North Kayong district, West Kalimantan, on Friday.

He also added that the entire Kalimantan island will be connected through the Internet.

The ministry will build base transceiver stations (BTS) from West Kalimantan to East Kalimantan at 75 locations to connect all the regions in Kalimantan.

Thirty BTS will be built in West Kalimantan to enable access to villages located outside but adjacent to the island.

“Ensuring internet connectivity will be in accordance with the third program of the nine goals or Nawacita. Under this program, the government intends to maximize the national development in the periphery regions,” he stressed.

To optimize the network development program, the minister will go straight to some remote villages in West Kalimantan.

“On Sunday, I’ll be visiting Entikong to see the communications network infrastructure in the border areas. Then, on Monday, I will be visiting Singkawang for groundbreaking ceremony of the Palapa Ring construction, which is a submarine fiber optic network to strengthen the Internet connectivity in Kalimantan,” Rudiantara informed.

On Tuesday, the minister will continue his visit to Palapasang, Entikong sub district where a BTS is to be built. This region shares the border with a neighboring country.

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Batik artisans attend financial workshop in Cirebon

Cirebon (ANTARA News) – The Economic Creative Agency (Bekraf) on Friday held a financial workshop for batik artisans in Cirebon, West Java, to train them on how to make their products more saleable and how to access capital.

The theme of the workshop was “Capacity Building Creative Business Communities”.

Sugeng Santoso, access non-banking director of Bekraf, said the workshop suggested sources the artisans could approach for capital, such as non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs).

“The participants are local artists from Cirebon region, such as Cirebon, Indramayu, Kuningan and Majalengka,” he said.

“Through this workshop, Bekraf provided opportunities for start-ups to access capital sources such as NBFIs,” he added.

He said the capital can be procured from NBFIs actors creative economy, a venture capital firm, and Revolving Fund Management Institution Cooperatives, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (LPDB-KUMKM).

Sugeng said Bekraf has signed an agreement with PBMT Ventura through the Access Non-Banking Directorate, Deputy II Capital Access Bekraf. In addition to providing financial services, PBMT Ventura also distributes funds entrusted for the financing of micro, small and medium enterprises through the BMT network.

“This cooperation includes providing technical guidance and supervision of the execution of policies and programs,” Sugeng said.

Bekraf hopes the workshop will help artists and the creative sector that has yet to get loans from LPDB and PBMT increase their business capacity, variety and the quality of export-oriented products.

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WCF 2016 concluded with Bali Declaration

Bali, Indonesia, Oct.14, 2016 (Antara) — World Culture Forum 2016 concluded on October 14, ended up with the issuance of Bali Declaration, 10 points of commitment to enable the culture to be the driver of the sustainable development and urge the UNESCO state members and civil societies to accomplish the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

Read by the Head of WCF 2016 Steering Committee, Ananto Kusuma Seta in the closing ceremony, the Declaration emphasized all the participating countries to incorporate the culture at the heart of the future development frameworks.

The Bali Declaration contains following issues:

(+) Commitment of the UNESCO’s state members and civil society to work for the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda

(+) Promote the culture of peace in order to make an inclusive, just, and tolerable society

(+) Implement the points of recommendation of WCF’s symposiums series

(+) Strengthen the role and involvement of the youth in the economics, culture, and socio-politics in respect of promoting the mutual understanding and equality

(+) Recognize the role of intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations to enable the culture to contribute on the sustainable inclusive development

(+) Increase the investment in human capital and empowerment of the local community in develop solutions to the world’s most demanding issues

(+) Partner with all of the elements of stakeholders to ensure that the effort to address the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda is is culture-oriented

(+) Support from UNESCO to protect the cultural heritage from various forms of threats, including war and social conflict.

(+) Drive the implementation of the cultural values into the report mechanism at every stage of Sustainable Development Goals

(+) Develop an action framework to be launched at the 39th UNESCO General conference on October 2017.

Director General of Culture, Ministry of Education and Culture, Hilmar Farid, stated that the Declaration will soon be followed-up in the general meeting held in 2017.

In the same occasion, the representative of youth group from 39 countries also declared the point of recommendation of IYF 2016, one of which is to develop and make benefit of the open source technology to improve the education, social, and culture over three years.

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Creative industry can contribute more to Indonesian growth

15 October 2016, Jakarta (ANTARA News) – Indonesia’s creative industry sector is currently small but has the potential to contribute significantly to the national economic growth, a senior official told a trade expo in Kemayoran, Central Jakarta.

The Head of Research and Development (ARDI) at the Ministry of Industry, Haris Munandar, said, “Currently, the creative industries contribute just 7 percent to the national industrial growth.”

Haris was speaking at a talk show on “Policies, Strategies, Opportunities and Challenges in Creative Industry in Indonesia,” at the Trade Expo Indonesia (TEI) 2016, a part of the Jakarta International Expo in Kemayoran.

Haris underlined that this potential can be seen in the form of various opportunities for the development of creative industries, particularly as the middle class population in Indonesia is rising and they are the biggest consumers of creative products.

“In recent years, the middle class is growing quite rapidly, and that becomes a great opportunity,” stressed Haris.

In addition, the socio-cultural diversity and natural resources can inspire the creative industry domain to innovate further.

“Formal and informal education for businessmen is needed,” Haris acknowledged, but pointed out that technology is one of the challenges in developing this domain.

According to Haris, Indonesia is categorized as a dynamic adopter, just one level above the marginalized countries.

This was because Indonesia continued to remain a consumer of technology that was created by another country.

“We hope that in the future, Indonesia would be able to contribute towards creating technologies that it can deploy domestically,” he concluded.

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Pakistan Forex reserves touch historic high of $24.5 bn

ISLAMABAD, Oct 14 (APP): Minister for Finance, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar here on Friday announced that the Foreign Exchange reserves of the country have reached the new historic high of $24.5 billion.

In a statement, the Finance Minister congratulated the Prime Minister and the Nation on this achievement.

“There was a time when the country had reserves equal to a few weeks payment of the import bill but now we have reached a level where we have foreign exchange reserves equal to 6 months of import bill” said the Finance Minister.

The Minister also informed that out of the total, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has $19.5 billion whereas commercial banks have $5 billion of these reserves.

“We have worked really hard to reach this new level of reserves. Pakistan is not what it was three years ago, the country is more stable and the international investors see Pakistan as new destination for their investments”, he said adding all this had happened with the constant hard work and team effort under the leadership of the Prime Minister.

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Pak China Friendship promotion Car Rally reaches Gilgit

GILGIT, Oct 14 (APP): The China Pakistan Friendship Promotion Car Rally reached here from China through Pak China border Khunjerab on Friday.

According to details, the welcome ceremony was held at zero point Khunjerab. Provincial Minister Works Dr Iqbal, Commissioner Gilgit Sebtain Ahmad, Deputy Commissioner Samiullah Fraq, Superintendent of police Hunza Asif Amin Awan and other official were accorded a warm welcome on their arrival at Khunjerab Top Pak China border. The Rally comprise 22 Cars with 52 persons.

The rally is aimed to highlight China Pakistan Economic Corridor and Silk route passing through main cities.

“The Pakistani authorities provided all facilities and their hospitality, guidance and support was remarkable,” said China car rally delegation.

Minister Iqbal said pakistan government provided all facilities, hospitality and security arrangement for Pak China friendship Car rally.

Meanwhile Chief Minister Gilgit Baltistan Hafiz Hafeezur Rehman also welcomed the Pak China Friendship car rally delegates and invited them for dinner.

DIG Diamer Region Khuram Pervais Chaired an important meeting in Diamer yesterday regarding the security of China Pakistan car rally delegation on KKH on their way from Gilgit to KPK.

In the meeting DIG deputed a special team under the supervision of Assistant Commissioner Diamer, Rescue 1122, Fire Brigade on duty with the delegation.

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Nomad art gallery exhibition in full swing

ISLAMABAD, Oct 14 (APP): The Collective Paintings and Prints exhibition being showcased in the Nomad Art Gallery, has been receiving overwhelming response, Director Nageen Hayat said Friday.

Talking to APP, the exhibition started on October 13 would be concluded on October 18. Various artists would remain present to exhibit their artwork.

From Sunday, the Gallery is set to launch Nomad Marketplace – Crafts and Health foods (including organic) from 11am – 3pm (every Sunday), she said.

The Nomad Cafe having delicious home cooked delights would remain open till 8pm daily (Except Friday), she said.

The Gallery would exhibit the latest work of brilliant miniature artist NH Kazmi’s solo exhibition at 5pm, Saturday.

It may be mentioned here that Asad-ur-Rehman, Ayesha Siddiqui, Zia Zaidi, Anjum Ayub, Iram Wani, Fizza Siddiqui, Samreen Asif, Salma Manzoor, Tayyaba Aziz, Tabassum Rizvi, Samina Akhtar, Ahmad Habib, Nadeem Ahmad, Farrah Adnan, Zahra Shamail would be the part of collective paintings and prints.

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PAL to organise two-day weekly book bazaar from Friday

ISLAMABAD, Oct 13 (APP): Pakistan Academy of Letters (PAL) will organise a two-day Weekly book bazaar here at the Academy premises from Friday.

According to an official of PAL, the publishers and book sellers of twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi will set-up their stalls at the book bazaar.It will start working from 9 am till 7 pm.

He informed books on various subjects will be available on discounted rates.

He said the Academy was making efforts to promote book reading culture in the country.It also invited students and general public to get books on discounted rates, he added.

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Pakistan Arts Council to arrange talent hunt project

ISLAMABAD, Oct 10 (APP): Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) would arranged a talent hunt project titled “Shikar” in order to promote talent of youngster in the country.

Newly appointed Director General PNCA renowned artist Syed Jamal Shah talking to mediapersons at PNCA said that the new talent from across the country can participate in the competitions in various categories.

“The categories include dance, instrumental performance, singing, comedy, comparing, drama and dialogue,” he said.

He said that PNCA would also plan to organize theater, drama, music and dance festivals to provide an opportunity to the new talent and country folk artists.

Jamal Shah said that the Council is looking for collaboration with corporate sector to launch various innovative programs.

He said that PNCA wants to achieve set targets and expand its productions and services of national art gallery.

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UAE- Tourism leads private sector recovery

MENAFN – Khaleej Times – 13/10/2016 – Dubai – Driven by an upturn in travel and tourism, business activity in Dubai remained buoyant in September, Emirates NBD said pon Tuesday as private sector output continued to rebound from soft patch recorded at start of 2016.

Dubai’s business optimism hit its highest level since June 2015 as conditions in all three key sectors monitored by an Emirates NBD survey recorded improvements, led by a robust and accelerated upturn in travel and tourism. “This helped to offset a slightly slower rate of expansion in wholesale and retail and another relatively subdued improvement in the construction sector,” the bank said.

The seasonally adjusted Emirates NBD Dubai Economy Tracker Index posted 55.1, down fractionally from 55.7 in August but still well above the 50.0 no-change threshold. On average in the third quarter of 2016, the headline index signalled the fastest upturn in operating conditions across the non-oil private sector economy since first quarter 2015.

The index is derived from individual diffusion indices, which measure changes in output, new orders, employment, suppliers’ delivery times and stocks of purchased goods.

A reading of below 50.0 indicates that the non-oil private sector economy is generally declining; above 50.0, that it is generally expanding. A reading of 50.0 signals no change. Khatija Haque, head of Mena Research at Emirates NBD, said the decline in the Dubai Economy Tracker index in September was only marginal, and overall the third quarter average indicates a faster pace of expansion compared to first quarter and second quarter.

“Output and new order growth remains strong although company margins remain under pressure as firms reduced prices to secure new work. The rebound in the travel and tourism sector in September is encouraging, although it probably partly reflects the impact of the Eid holidays,” said Haque.

Although the overall pace of activity growth eased slightly over the month, it remained close to July’s recent peak. Survey respondents attributed greater business activity to resilient demand patterns and the launch of new products. Staffing levels increased for the third month running during September, thereby signalling a continued rebound in recruitment since June. However, the rate of employment growth remained marginal and weaker than the long-run survey average. Some firms noted that a lack of pressure on operating capacity had acted as a brake on job creation at their business units.

New business volumes increased sharply in September, although the pace of expansion eased further from July’s recent peak. The report said companies reporting an upturn in new work generally cited rising consumer spending and successful marketing initiatives. A number of firms also noted that price discounting had helped to boost client demand. By sector, travel and tourism firms recorded the strongest upturn in incoming new business.

Private sector firms signalled a sharp improvement in confidence regarding the year-ahead business outlook. September data signalled the strongest degree of optimism since June 2015, driven by greater confidence across all key sectors monitored by the survey.

This was linked to improved client spending patterns and, in some cases, new work related to Expo 2020, the bank said.

Softer cost inflation and intense competition for new work resulted in another drop in average prices charged by private sector companies, but the latest fall was only modest, the report said.

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Saudi-GCC ministers of culture and tourism hold third session

Riyadh, Muharram 11, 1438, October 12, 2016, SPA — Ministers in charge of cultural affairs and ministers in charge of tourism of the GCC countries held in Riyadh today their third session as part of their first joint meeting which began yesterday in the participation of GCC secretary general Dr. Abdullatif Al-Zayani.

In a key address, Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, the President of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, highlighted the initiative and instructions of the GCC leaders, led by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, to work jointly in this sensitive pace of time on culture, tourism and legacy.

He urged the GCC member states to work toward a unified tourism policy.

For his part, the Qatari minister of Economy and Commerce Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassem bin Mohammed Al Thani said tourism is an important economic tool for the GCC path.

For his part, Dr. Al-Zayani said the number of population in all the GCC countries, including expatriates, reached more than 57 million, citing that this number would make possible for inter-GCC tourism to give harvest once good plans were put to attract this touristy momentum.

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Tunisian artiste to lead youth acting workshop

MENAFN – Gulf Times – 13/10/2016 – Tunisian director and actress Afef Ben Mahmoud will lead a ‘youth acting workshop”; for young film enthusiasts aged eight to 17 until November 23, the Doha Film Institute (DFI) has announced.

‘Our young people are at the heart of everything we do at DFI. From hosting a dedicated film event for youth to hosting creative workshops, we are focused on nurturing their skills,” DFI CEO Fatma al-Remaihi said in a press statement.

The workshop will open doors for young talents to understand the nuances of acting and learn the art of improvisation, she stressed, adding that this will help the participants not just in their creative pursuits but also to evolve as confident individuals.

The core of DFI”;s workshop is to teach acting through the power of improvisation that encourages students to perform in public without a predefined text or prior direction, according to al-Remaihi. She noted that improvisation will help develop creativity and listening skills, as well as make the participants conscious of the body and its movements.

The first half hour of the session is dedicated to body work, relaxation and breathing. The rest of the session focuses on individual and group improvisation exercises.

Under the mentorship of Mahmoud, the participants will be trained in two groups: 8 to 12 years, and 13 to 17 years. There will be two sessions every week of two-hour duration each on Monday and Wednesdays with a participation fee of QR1,000.

Mahmoud began an artistic career at the age of 12 when she joined theatre clubs and went on to win the first Best Comedian Award in Tunisia. Her television series credits include Ya Zahratan Fi Khayali, Sayd El Rim and Maktoub, among others.

She had her first big-screen role in Jilani Saadi”;s Khorma, and played the lead in Ibrahim Letaief”;s Flous Academy and Nouri Bouzid”;s Making Off, which won awards at several international film festivals. She has directed three short narrative films and a documentary, and is currently developing her first feature-length film, Backstage.

DFI said those interested in participating in the workshop can e-mail (email protected)/* */ for more details. Seats are limited and will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

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Afghanistan seeks $200m Investment In Carpet Industry

Tuesday October 11, 2016 – Kabul (BNA) A major housing project of Industrial and Residential Carpet Townships was signed between the Ministry of Urban Development, Independent Land Authority, and Union of Carpet Exporting & Production of Afghanistan here yesterday in presence of president Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, a statement from the presidential palace said.

At the outset, Jawad Paikar director of the Independent Land Authority of Afghanistan welcomed the Union of Carpet Production and Exporting of Afghanistan, adding government supports of the private sector will lead to self-sufficiency. He called the project to be named as Residential and Industrial Carpet Townships and the design would be developed in coordination with Ministries of Urban Development and Commerce and Industries, where the first phase will be 3500 acres of land, 1500 of which would be in Nangarhar, 1000 in Balkh and the remaining 1000 acres of land would be allocated in Kunduz province.

According him the second phase would contain 5500 acres of land, and would be processed in the coming 10 years based on the proposal of the exporter and producers of the Afghan carpets. The director the ILA went on saying that with implementation of the project, 180 to 200 million USD would be invested and five to ten thousands of Afghan carpet weavers would be invited to return back to their country. According Paikan, 110 thousands of people directly would be involved the project, where half a million of others would be indirectly benefited from the project.

Later on, presidential advisor on infrastructures spoke related to the project, adding the project would boost the domestic products as well would help protect the tradition culture of the Afghan people.

The Minister of Urban Development and Housing Syed Sadat Mansoor Naderi said during the signing ceremony that government has responded positively to one of the main needs and demands of the carpet weaving sector of the country by committing 8 thousand acres of land that will pave the way to attract $200 million in this sector.

Speaking during a ceremony for the inauguration of the project, Minister Naderi promised to take all necessary actions for preparing plans for the ascertained areas and establishment of infrastructures. Minister Naderi further added each thread of the Afghan carpet represents the wealthy culture and rare arts of the Afghan nation which has presented the national identity of the country on global level besides remaining one of the main exporting product of Afghanistan. He admitted that the carpet weaving sector of the country suffered the most as the other sectors during the decades of war and lack of necessary support during the past years that led to the destruction and embezzlement of the product. Naderi said the outsiders are gaining the most benefits out of the selling of the Afghan carpets besides they are given trademarks of the other countries as they are exported in global markets. According to Naderi, the government’s support towards the carpet weaving sector could not only improve the trade of Afghan carpets but will also help to develop other sectors including agriculture, livestock and trade. He emphasized that the growth of carpet weaving sector will also create job opportunities for thousands of Afghan people. Esmatullah Bator head of the Union of Carpet Production and Exporting of Afghanistan called the project unprecedented in the history of carpet industry, adding that the carpet are mostly being weaved by the ladies in their houses. At the end Sharifa Ahmadzai one of the Union’s member praised the initiative taken by the government, asking the government to further pay attention in asphalting roads connecting cities with industrial parks as well as construction of clinics and providing of a safe and sound environment for their activities.

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First Copyrights’ Popularization Meeting Held In Kabul

October 10, 2016, Kabul (BNA) Initiated by the Ministry of Information and Culture, the first copyrights polarization meeting held here in Kabul.

Cooperated by the Afghanistan Journalists’ Federation and the RTVs union of the country, the meeting, at the outset, was opened with remarks by the Deputy Minister of Information and Culture on Publications Affairs, Sayeda Mojgan Mostafavi, who called the copyrights the real right of the authors, publishers, artists and other culturists of the country. “The aim of the conference was to introduce how to explain the copyrights issue and that the Ministry of Information and Culture had many achievements in this field,” said the deputy minister adding in order to remove some challenges in this respect, there is a need for bringing some amendments in the copyright’s law. The issue has been discussed with the entire related organs after the copyright law was provided by the Ministry of Information and Culture in cooperation with the Ministry of Commerce and Industries, to help remove the challenges and problems faced by the incumbents of culture and arts, she said.

She said they can refer to the copyright section of the Ministry of Information and Culture anytime, when facing any problem in this field.

Minister of Justice, Abdul Basir Anwar also spoke in the meeting saying any legislations expected to be codified in the country, should be according to the international norms and peculiarities of the Afghan society. He said all problems have been removed and the issues not available in the past law, have now been merged in the contents of the copyright. Meanwhile, the Deputy Finance and Administrative Minister, Zardasht Shams also spoke in the meeting saying the copyright law had been provided based on the needs of time in the country and any author, artist and writer can share their suggestion and vision in this respect. Chief of NAI—Supporting open Media in Afghanistan, Mujeeb Khelwatgar, Mohammad Sayedi, political analyst and some other officials of the Ministry of Information and culture also delivered speech about the copyright law asking for implementation of the law. Seyar Ali Tarzi, a cultural analyst said scientific researchers are the need of the society, but should be used in the field cultural making. The use of the sources and norms should take place under full trusteeship. “In many cases, there has been evidences that lot of plagiarisms had taken place, which should be prevented. Director of Pajhwok News Agency, Danesh Karokhil also blamed what he said wide number of plagiarism cases had been witnessed as the technology are getting expanded day by day. He asked the ministry of information and culture for prevention of such trespasses.

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Another Bangladeshi-origin MP made UK shadow minister

DHAKA, Oct 15, 2016 (BSS) – After Tulip Rizwana Siddiq, another Bangladeshi-origin parliament member has been appointed to the shadow cabinet of UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Dr Rupa Huq, who was elected in last year’s UK general elections from Ealing Central and Acton constituency, has been inducted into the Labour Party shadow cabinet as the Home Affairs Minister.

“I am delighted to have been appointed to the Labour front bench as Shadow Home Affairs Minister. Lots of work to do to keep the pressure on the Tory government,” she said in her Facebook post.

Her appointment comes after a shadow cabinet shake-up by Jeremy Corbyn following his re-election as Labour leader.

Rupa is a senior lecturer at the sociology department of the Kingston University. Her ancestral home is in northern Pabna district.

She was elected from Ealing Central and Acton constituency by bagging 22,002 votes. With her victory, the Labour Party regained the Ealing Central and Acton constituency.

Earlier, Tulip Siddiq, the daughter of Sheikh Rehana, younger daughter of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and a niece of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, has been inducted into the Labour shadow cabinet as the Minister of Early Years Education.

Tulip was elected an MP in the May 7, 2015 election from Hampstead and Kilburn, the top of the 10 most contested seats in London. She bagged 23,977 votes against her Conservative counterpart Simon Marcus’ 22,839 votes.

Tulip, who became the first Bengali woman councillor in Camden Council in May 2010, first contested the parliamentary polls last year.

Earlier, Rushanara Ali, the first British lawmaker with roots in Bangladesh, performed the responsibility as the shadow minister of International Development and Education after being elected as an MP.

The debut of Rushanara Ali, who hails from Biswanath in Sylhet, in the House of Commons was made through the previous UK polls in 2010. The Oxford-educated Rushanara won those elections with a margin of around 12,000 votes.

With her victory, she entered the UK parliament as the first Bangladesh-origin MP. Rushanara retained her seat from East London’s Bethnal Green and Bow constituency with a majority of 24,317 votes.

For the first time in the history of Britain, 11 Bangladesh-origin candidates vied for seats in the House of Commons through this election. Seven candidates were nominated by the main opposition Labour Party, while three from Liberal Democrats and one from Conservative Party.

Of the 11, most public interest and media focus was on Tulip, Rushanara and Rupa, who were described as “three daughters” of Bangladesh. Interestingly, the three became victorious in the tightest electoral race in Britain’s recent history.

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UAE National Qur’an Memorization Contest ends

14 Oct 2016, Dubai (IINA) – The 13th edition of the UAE National Qur’an Memorization Competition, one of the main branches of the Dubai International Holy Qur’an Award (DIHQA), has come to a close, WAM reported Thursday.

The popular nationwide competition, locally known as ‘Al-Hafez Al-Muwaten Contest’, was held at the DIHQA headquarters in Al Mamzar area from October 4 to 12. Ibrahim Mohammed Bu-Melha, adviser to the Ruler of Dubai for Cultural and Humanitarian Affairs and head of the Award Organizing Committee, said up to 29 UAE participants who have memorized Qur’an in full have sat for the tests this year. “Those included 15 male and 14 female competitors,” he added.

This year, the contest has witnessed a stiff competition and high performance, in terms of memorization, intonation, or perfect reading, and beautiful recitation, he added.

“This reflects how the Qur’an study centers are being taken care of across the country, and how those in charge spare no effort to prepare competent Qur’an memorizers ready for participation in local and global contests.”

The Award organizing committee has picked a high caliber arbitration committee which included highly efficient arbitrators in terms of Qur’an memorization, intonation, and recitation, he said.

Bu-Melha said the organizing committee is to hold the concluding ceremony to announce the scores of all participants. “Valuable cash prizes and appreciation certificates will be presented to top winners on Tuesday at the DIHQA headquarters in Al Mamzar area,” he added.

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UAE promises a historic world energy congress in 2019

Istanbul (IINA) – UAE Minister of Energy Suhail bin Mohammed Al-Mazrouei on Thursday promised a historic World Energy Congress when the UAE hosts the 24th edition in 2019 in Abu Dhabi, which he said will be the world’s capital for energy, WAM reported.

The next event will raise the standards, he said at the closing session of the 23th World Energy Congress. The future will be “greener” and countries should fulfil the pledges they made at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 21), held in Paris, France, in cooperation with the private sector and building on the commitment of the coming generations.

The minister highlighted the UAE’s achievements in the energy sector, citing Abu Dhabi sustainability plans and the Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum solar park among the country’s leading projects. “The leadership and people of the UAE welcome you to Abu Dhabi where we are building the most advanced airport in the world,” the minister noted.

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12 Indonesian entities to compete for World Halal Tourism Award 2016

Jakarta, (IINA), 12 Oct 2016 – Twelve Indonesian entities are competing for the World Halal Tourism Awards (WHTA) 2016, which will be held as part of the International Travel Week Abu Dhabi 2017, the Jakarta Post reported.

The head of Indonesia’s halal tourism acceleration and development team, Riyanto Sofyan, has announced the entities that will represent the country on Wednesday.

The voting period is from October 24 to November 25, and the winners will be announced in Abu Dhabi on December 7.

Indonesia won several awards in this competition in 2015. Lombok Island was named the World’s Best Halal Tourism Destination and World’s Best Halal Honeymoon Destination, and the Sofyan Hotel Group won an award as the World’s Best Family Friendly Hotel.

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Saudi King backs renovation of historical mosques in Madinah

12 Oct 2016, Madinah, (IINA) – President of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTNH) Prince Sultan bin Salman announced that Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman has adopted a plan to renovate a number of historical mosques in Madinah, Arab News reported.

The renovations are an extension of ongoing efforts to renovate and revive a number of historical mosques throughout the Kingdom, he said.

The announcement came during Prince Sultan’s speech at a workshop on the care and rehabilitation of historic mosques held on Monday night in Madinah, under the auspices of Madinah Governor Prince Faisal bin Salman, who is also chairman of the National Tourism Commission in the region.

Prince Sultan also announced the establishment of a fund for the renovation of historical mosques in Madinah that will allow every citizen to participate in the process.

He confirmed that King Salman gives great importance to historical mosques and has emphasized that any renovation projects launched in areas like Historic Jeddah, central Riyadh, and Historic Dariyah give considerable importance to the restoration of historical mosques.

Prince Sultan urged citizens to participate in the renovation program, stressing the important role of these historical mosques in the community.

“I urge citizens, on behalf of this country’s leadership, to participate in the renovation of these mosques, as statistics show there are thousands of mosques in the Kingdom that are abandoned and this is not acceptable to us Muslims, as we must care for mosques before our own homes.”

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Book on American Muslims destroy myths, remove stereotypes

13 Oct 2016, Washington (IINA) – In recent times of rising Islamophobia, rampant misinformation about Islam, and political rhetoric against Muslims, books highlighting the positive aspects of Muslims in America are very welcome. Amir Hussain’s book titled “Muslims and the Making of America” may be a very short read, but it is a much needed one, packed with facts that destroy myths and remove stereotypes.

Many writers have written similar topics, but Hussain has a unique angle. In an environment when many Americans ask, What have Muslims ever done for America? Hussain attempts to display a wide variety of Muslims in areas that the average American cares about culture. This topic, of course, is much vaster than just one writer can or should attempt. One could point to Muslim American contributions to scholarship, technology, science, literature, and even politics, New York Journal of Books reported.

But, in today’s celebrity culture, when the breakup of Brad and Angelina Jolie gets more comments on the Internet than the refugee crisis in Syria, the average American does not identify with these areas.

Hussain starts the book with a very powerful statement: “There has never been an America without Muslims.” Of course, this is a startling statement for those (and there are many) who consider Muslims part of a new wave of immigrants to this country. He explains how the early Muslim community grew, both among whites as well as among African-Americans, and how the civil rights movement is linked with the growth and popularity of Islam.

In later chapters, Hussain identifies key figures in music, sports, and culture who were identifiably Muslim but also identifiably American. The most famous of these figures is Muhammad Ali, but there are also others in all areas of sports: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal, and many others.

Interestingly, Hussain dedicates a section of his books on Muslim music. But, there is less discussion of other areas where Muslims have left their mark art, architecture, politics, even the military but they are well-written vignettes. The reality, sketched in this book, is that Muslims have helped us to be more American, to be better Americans.

Sports and music, for better or for worse, connect Americans into one community, and Hussain proves that Muslims are not only part of the community, but have in fact created, affected, and improved it. What would boxing be without Muhammad Ali? What would basketball be without Abdul-Jabbar or O’Neal? What would rap music be without Ice Cube? There is so much that Muslims have done to “make” America, and it’s about time they were recognized for it.

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UAE to set up world’s first Shariah-compliant trade bank

13 Oct 2016, Dubai (IINA) – The UAE will establish the world’s first Shariah-compliant trade bank to bolster its ambition and to be the center of the Islamic economic world.

The Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC), under the new Chairmanship of Minister of Economy Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, and the Department of Economic Development who are in “advanced discussions” with the Central Bank of the UAE to obtain approval for a wholesale Islamic banking licence for the new entity, to be called the “Emirates Trade Bank.”

The talks are being led by a six-man committee appointed by Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid, The National newspaper reported.

A statement from DIEDC said the new bank would specialize in international trade and commodity finance. “Emirates Trade Bank will be the first of its kind, a global Shariah-compliant bank exclusively offering integrated business and international commodity financing solutions through leveraging and mobilizing the infrastructure and logistics ecosystem of the UAE.

“The bank will fulfill Dubai’s strategic goal of supporting the Islamic financial sector and integrating investments from this domain towards doubling UAE trade flows, which stood at about Dh1.4 trillion in 2014, by 2020,” it added.

Sami Al-Qamzi, director general of Dubai Department of Economic Development and Vice Chairman of DIEDC, said: “The UAE in general and Dubai, in particular, are privileged to have a diversified, open and flexible economy capable of addressing international and regional challenges.

“Emirates Trade Bank is set to reap synergies from the strategic positioning and advanced technical and logistics’ infrastructure of Dubai in its efforts to finance international trade and commodity flows, particularly through the UAE,” he added.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Global Islamic Economy Summit in Dubai, Abdulla Al-Awar, the DIEDC’s chief executive, said: “This is the first time such a bank Sharia -compliant and focused on trade finance – has been envisaged. It can revolutionize trade in halal products and will complement the initiatives we have already launched on standardization and harmonization. “It will enhance trade finance between countries in the Arabian Gulf region, in central Asia and in Africa. It will be a new source of liquidity for trading between Islamic countries.”

The value of the global Islamic economy last year was recently put at US$1.9 trillion by the international information group Thomson Reuters. Global trade in halal food alone is expected to approach $2tn by 2020; it was estimated. Talks with the Central Bank are believed to be focused on how to capitalize the new bank. Equity participation from the private banking sector is one of the propositions being discussed.

The statement said: “DIEDC will continue to support initiatives aimed at transforming Dubai into the capital of the Islamic economy.” “The UAE has always been the leader and pioneer in the Islamic finance industry, with the establishment of the first Islamic bank in the world in the 1970s.”

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Baku hosts conference on 25th anniversary of restoration of Azerbaijan`s independence

Baku, October 15, AZERTAC – A conference on the 25th anniversary of the restoration of Azerbaijan’s state independence has been held in Baku.

Titled “25th anniversary of independence – peers of independence”, the conference was attended by state and government representatives, members of the New Azerbaijan Party, and parliamentarians.

Addressing the event, deputy Prime Minister, deputy chairman and executive secretary of the New Azerbaijan Party Ali Ahmadov said Azerbaijan has made great strides in 25 years of independence. He characterized the years of independence as “the era of progress, development and growth”. “The national leader’s return to the political scene realized all those dreams of our nation. As a result of President Ilham Aliyev’s policy Azerbaijan turned into the most developed country of the region, its reputation increased at the global scale, welfare of our nation improved and serious accomplishments were made in many fields, particularly economy,” Ali Ahmadov said.

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International Environmental Exhibition to open in Baku

Baku, October 12, AZERTAC – The 7th Azerbaijan International Environmental Exhibition Caspian Ecology will take place at the Baku Expo Centre from the 18th-20th of November. This exhibition is the only significant event for ecology and environmental protection in the Caspian and Caucasus regions that is supported by the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Public Association IDEA (International dialogue in the name of environmental protection). The event is being organized by Caspian Event Organisers, CEO.

In this year the exhibition will participate by over 60 companies from 10 countries, including Azerbaijan, Great Britain, Germany, Denmark, Czech Republic and others. For the first time companies Arkon Flow Systems (Czech Republic), BLUCAST JSC (Lithuania), DIKKAN (Turkey) will take part in the Caspian Ecology Exhibition. The exhibition will also attended by government agencies such as the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Ministry of Emergency Situations of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

Among the local participants of the Caspian Ecology: Azertexnolayn LLC, Aspipe, BP, EKOL Engineering Services CJSC, Polymart LLC, SOCAR, SOCAR Polymer, SOCAR – CNG, OJSC Temiz Sheher (“Clean City”) and others.

In general, Caspian Ecology will demonstrate developments in the field of efficient use of natural resources, the system for the collection and disposal of solid waste, attracting people’s attention to environmental issues and their resolution. Debutants will present equipment for waste and recycling, water purification systems, and more.

Thus, the international Caspian Ecology exhibition will help to expand business contacts, exchange experience, enhance familiarity with new equipment and trends in the industry and will give an additional impetus to the current work being done towards improving the environment.

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Iran, Russia committed to carry out project of North-South transport corridor

Moscow, Oct 10, IRNA – Iranian ambassador in Moscow Mehdi Sanaei said on Monday that presidents of Iran and Russia stress the need to speed up carrying out the international project of North-South transport corridor.

Iran, Russia committed to carry out project of North-South transport corridor

Sanaei made the remarks in a speech to the officials and students of Dagestan State University.

Noting that the presidents of Iran and Russia have met nine times over the course of three years, he said that the current level of Tehran-Moscow relations is unprecedented.

In their latest meeting in Azerbaijan, the two presidents called for accelerating the implementation of North-South corridor, the ambassador said.

North-South corridor is the main part of 7,200 km-long Helsinki-Mumbai transit corridor which links northern Europe to Indian Ocean littoral states and Southeast Asia through Iran and Russia.

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Suez Canal highlighted in Seatrade conference agenda

The eighth edition of the biennial Seatrade Maritime Middle East (SMME) exhibition and conference, which takes place in Dubai from 31 October to 2 November 2016, will debate the latest issues surrounding the new $8 billion Suez Canal expansion and the consequences for the global maritime industry.

SMME, a part of Dubai Maritime Week, will begin the opening afternoon session of the three-day conference and exhibition, with a panel discussion led by H.E. Admiral Mohab Mohamed Mameesh, Chairman and Managing Director of the Suez Canal Authority. A panel of experts will examine what the new Suez Canal development means global trade, canal transits, inward investment and the development of the Egyptian economy.

“The Suez Canal is integral to maritime development in the Middle East and naturally at a time when the shipping industry is facing a challenging economic climate, the issues surrounding trade, shipping markets, infrastructure and investment are bound to stimulate lively debate,” said Chris Hayman, Chairman, Seatrade.

The new Suez Canal project which opened on August 6, 2015, includes a 35km parallel waterway, which runs alongside the original canal. In addition, 37km of the existing canal was made broader and deeper, to reduce transit times by up to seven hours for vessels travelling south and it now accommodates ships travelling in both directions along all 72km of the expanded route.

The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) expects to receive toll revenue of $13 billion annually by 2023, but revenue in 2015 actually dropped to $5.175 billion a 5.3% decline on 2014 revenues, due to market conditions. However, according to SCA Chairman & MD Mohab Mameesh, year-on-year revenue to 6 August 2016 showed a 4% increase to $3.18 billion up from $ 3.06 billion, despite slowing trade.

An acceleration in the growth of world trade volume will be needed for the Suez Canal project to reach its revenue targets by 2023. Some container lines, as well as tankers and bulk carriers on some itineraries, are still opting to sail via the Cape of Good Hope, even though the distance is 12,412 nautical miles (nm) from New York, compared to 10,117 nm via the Suez Canal, due to lower operating costs and low bunker prices.

“The SCA also faces renewed competition from the widened Panama Canal, which is looking to regain some of the Asia-US East Coast container trade it has previously lost to the Suez Canal,” commented Hayman.

So in a bid to recapture traffic, the SCA confirmed in June that all containerships coming from ports north of the Port of Norfolk (Virginia) on the US East Coast and heading to Malaysia’s Port Klang and ports eastwards were eligible for a 45% rebate on canal tolls up to December 31, 2016. Vessels departing from ports south of Norfolk and calling at Port Klang and eastwards can claim a 65% discount.

Other sweeteners have been added such as the an “experimental” new toll for Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs) transiting the canal from the Red Sea, which could save the ship’s operator in excess of $70,000 for each northbound trip from the Middle East to the Mediterranean.

Naturally, increased traffic through the new canal, will benefit ports throughout the Arabian Peninsula and the GCC countries continue to invest heavily in port infrastructure.

The government of Oman has invested more than $15 billion in the Sohar Port and Freezone, Qatar is building the $7.4 billion Hamad Greenfield Port project, Dubai will invest $850 million to develop Container Terminal 3 at Jebel Ali Port, and Saudi Arabia has committed $500 million to Saudi Global Ports (SGP) Container Terminal at Dammam King Abdul Aziz Port.

Held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, SMME is the largest maritime event in the regional calendar.

More than 7,000 participants from 67 countries are expected throughout the show, which is set to evaluate current market challenges, alongside a series of technical forums in association with IMarEST.

Over 240 exhibitors from more than 30 countries will also be represented on the exhibition floor this year, which extends to over 4,300 square metres – Japan, Denmark, Qatar, Singapore are participating with dedicated country pavilions. Major delegations from Saudi Arabia, UK, Egypt and China, will be visiting the 61st International Shipsuppliers & Services Association’s (ISSA) Convention, which is a partner of SMME 2016.

For more information please log on to www.seatrade-middleeast.com

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Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi is Keynote Speaker at Sharjah conf

MENAFN – Emirates News Agency (WAM) – 13/10/2016 –

SHARJAH, 12th October 2016 (WAM) – Nobel Peace laureate Kailash Satyarthi will be the keynote speaker at the second edition of ‘Investing in the Future’ (IIFMENA) conference in Sharjah. Satyarthi will be speaking at the conference’s opening ceremony on 19 October.

The renowned child right activist has been at the forefront of the global movement to end child slavery and exploitative child labour since three decades.

The second IIFMENA conference titled: ‘Building the Resilience of Women and Girls in the Arab Region’ is being organised by The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF), a Sharjah-based international humanitarian body dedicated to aiding vulnerable people worldwide. The event, being conducted in collaboration with the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), is being held in Sharjah on October 19 and 20.

Held under the patronage of H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah; and his wife, H.H. Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Chairperson of TBHF and Chairperson of the NAMA Women Advancement Establishment (NAMA), the IIFMENA conference will provide a platform for engaging discussions highlighting the need to incorporate women and young girls into decision-making through economic empowerment, paying attention to their specific needs in education, skills-training and employment.

Mariam Al Hammadi, Director of Salam Ya Seghar – a TBHF initiative – said: “We are glad to have Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi among our distinguish speakers list. Satyarthi who is a veteran in the field of rights advocacy and education has personally rescued thousands of children from the clutches of child labour and slavery in spite of several attacks on him. He has not only helped them re-establish trust in society but enabled them to get promising futures for themselves.

Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi has been a tireless advocate of Children’s rights for over three decades. The grassroots movement founded by him, Bachpan Bachao Andolan (Save the Childhood Movement), have liberated more than 85,000 children from exploitation and developed a successful model for their education and rehabilitation.

As a worldwide campaigner, he has been the architect of the single largest civil society network for the most exploited children, the Global March Against Child Labour, which is a worldwide coalition of NGOs, Teachers’ Union and Trade Unions active in 140 countries. Satyarthi’s efforts led to the adoption of ILO Convention 182 on worst forms of child labour in 1999. He was also the Founding President of the Global Campaign for Education, a civil society movement working to end the global education crisis, and GoodWeave International, which was one of the first consumer awareness programmes and the earliest examples of modern corporate social responsibility.

Kailash Satyarthi underlined that his participation at the IIFMENA Conference will help him highlight the issue of Trafficking and child slavery particularly focusing the young girls. He would also highlight on areas that ensure protection and education for them as he rightfully thinks that children who are not able to attend school will not acquire the necessary knowledge and skills needed by their communities to achieve development and progress.

The two-day forum will bring together government officials, representatives of international and non-governmental organisations, advocates of gender equality, academics and a number of experts and media personalities from across the world.

The second edition of the IIFMENA conference will strive to further cement the grounds that are being laid for women to be recognised as equals and as agents of change for peace and economic prosperity. The conference aims to support all women, including refugees and displaced persons, by working to meet their needs and to ensure full rights and justice for them.

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Chinese, Bangladeshi leaders lay foundation of tunnel, industrial zone

DHAKA, Oct 15, 2014 (BSS) – Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Chinese President Xi Jinping yesterday laid the foundation of the Karnaphuli River Tunnel and the Chinese Special Economic and Industrial Zone (CSEIZ) in the port city of Chittagong.

The foundation laying was held at the Prime Minister’s Office in the capital city following bilateral talks between the two leaders.

China finances the two mega projects involving Taka 36,000 crore. Out of the amount, Taka 20,000 crore would be spent for building a tunnel under the river Karnaphuli, keeping Taka 16,000 crore for the special economic and industrial zone.

Officials earlier said construction works of the two projects were expected to begin in 2017 and to be completed in 2020.

During the Bangladesh premier’s 2014 Beijing visit, the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on building the tunnel.

The country’s first-ever tunnel is designed to make Chittagong into a ‘One City Two Towns’ like Chinese mega city Shanghai. The multilane tunnel route will pass through the river close to Navy College on one side and Korean Export Processing Zone (KEPZ) and Karnaphuli Fertiliser Company (KAFCO) on the other.

The tunnel will also connect Chittagong Port and Anowara Upazila and is expected to ease the port city’s communication with Cox’s Bazar and particularly the traffic on two bridges over the Karnaphuli River.

Chinese Special Economic and Industrial Zone will be developed in Anwara upazila on 774 acres of land to meet the growing domestic and global demands for Bangladeshi products. On completion, the industrial park will accommodate around 371 industrial units.

BEZA already signed a MoU with a Chinese company for developing the CSEIZ in Anwara Upazila of the district. The proposed site of the zone is 39 kilometres from Chittagong port, 28 kilometres from Chittagong city and 46 kilometres from Shah Amanat International Airport.

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Start-up developing platform to help find Al-Quran teachers

Bandar Seri Begawan, October 15, 2016, Borneo Bulletin – A LOCAL start-up is developing a platform that allows people to easily find accredited Al-Quran teachers, based on their location, and the company has set its sights on becoming the world’s largest Al-Quran after-school learning service provider.

Al-Huffaz Management was formed on April 30 earlier this year, and it is an event management company owned by founder Haji Mohammad Loqman Al-Hakim bin Haji Hamdan.

The company won first prize at the Universiti Teknologi Brunei (UTB) Youth Entrepreneurship Competition 2016 last September.

Haji Mohammad Loqman spoke in an interview yesterday and shared with the Weekend Bulletin that the vision and aim of Al-Huffaz Management is to produce a generation that is literate in Al-Quran and literate in Islamic finance.

The company’s formation resulted from the idea of a number of student alumni from Institut Tahfiz Al-Quran Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah to create a company that can market religious services to the public. The idea was to create a platform to help members of the public study the Al-Quran.

As Loqman explained yesterday, he and his fellow alumni noticed that many people in Brunei actively look for Al-Quran teachers to hire and to have them teach at their homes. Through Al-Huffaz Management, users have a platform through which to find such teachers who have accreditation from the Brunei Islamic Religious Council (MUIB).

“Our company acts as a platform for the public to find Al-Quran teachers as well as to help locals to teach Al-Quran knowledge and religion correctly, accredited by the MUIB.”

The company is currently in the process of building its website, through which users will be able to send in requests for the services of Al-Quran teachers. After a customer inputs their request, Al-Huffaz Management can then provide a list of teachers to choose from, based on their location.

Development for this aspect of the business is focused only on a website so far, and while there isn’t a mobile app being developed yet, Haji Mohammad Loqman said the company is open to the idea of setting one up in the future.

He shared that the demand in the country is very high, with many customers reaching out to them for their services over social media.

He highlighted that it is a requirement for Al-Quran teachers participating under the company’s service to be registered with MUIB, and stated that prospective teachers who wish to register will need to attain MUIB accreditation, which Al-Huffaz Management will help them apply for.

As is shared in the company’s profile, Al-Huffaz Management is currently run by three people, and has around 20 teachers.

Among the services provided by Al-Huffaz Management for the public include: 30 Juzuks Khatam Al-Quran reading services; service for moving house; Doa Selamat, Tahlil and Doa Arwah; finding Al-Quran teachers; Hafazan workshop; finding Tausyeh groups; and Al-Quran classes for adults.

When asked on the experience he had in setting up the business, he said, “It was very simple.” He noted that, to begin with, he went to roc.gov.bn and pay $5 to register the business name.

Haji Mohammad Loqman was full of praise for DARE (Darussalam Enterprise) and the helpdesk at the Business Support Centre, which is located at the Design & Technology Building in Anggerek Desa, and he said they offered a lot of useful assistance and advice.

He highlighted that more people should look into opening up their own businesses. “The things you need are there. It is easy to start,” he said.

Al-Huffaz Management is also a participant of the DARE’s recently launched Startup Bootcamp.

Going forward, asked what his vision for the company is, Haji Mohammad Loqman said, “We want to become the largest Al-Quran after-school learning programme offered globally. That’s the first thing.”

The second thing, he added, is to tap into the market offered by growing Muslim populations around the world, notably in Europe.

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Flow of russian tourists expected for EXPO-2017

Astana, 15.10.2016 kazakh-tv.kz- Organizers of Expo-2017 expect a huge flow of tourists from Russia. In addition, the pavilion of the neighbouring country will be the most impressive – over 1,000 square meters. This was discussed during the practical conference by the experts and businessmen of both countries in Moscow.

B2B meetings were organized by the Trade Delegation, Kazakh Embassy and the National Chamber of Entrepreneurs ‘Atameken’. The participants intend to elaborate a concrete package of services to attract tourists. Moreover, Russia’s Federal Tourism Agency and the National Chamber of Entrepreneurs ‘Atameken’ signed a memorandum of cooperation in tourism.

Yuliya Yakupbayeva, Member Of Board, Atameken National Chamber Of Entrepreneurs: We have signed a memorandum with the Russian Tourism Agency and agreed on bilateral tourism development in our countries. Apparently, we will create a pilot project on inbound tourism for all EEC states starting from Russia. We have a huge border capacity, the market of 32 million people. There is an enormous field for cooperation with Russia.

Yuliya Lopareva, Operator Of Russia’s Team in EXPO: This is the first event of such scale in Kazakhstan and Central Asia and we see the progress in organization of events in Kazakhstan since 2012, we see how they scaled up. Russia started preparations in 2015. We would like to co-organize a very interesting business program that will yield Expo even a greater meaning and result in concrete actions.

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Kazakhstan selects best start-ups of young scientists and developers

Astana, kazakh-tv.kz, 15.10.2016 – The startups of young scientists and inventors gain momentum in Astana. The projects encompass the most prioritized spheres: social innovations, education and IT technologies, biomedicine, infrastructure and robotics. Any Kazakhstan citizen ready to propose an interesting and most importantly socially beneficial idea was encouraged to participate. There were over 130 applicants and only 10 projects will reach the final. The winners will be trained at the Nazarbayev University’s Technological Park during 12 weeks. In addition, the selected teams will receive financial support worth 3.5 million tenge.

Arman Parimbekov, Senior Advisor For Commercialization, Nuris: “This is how we try to speed up the process of projects development. We provide an extensive analysis for each project: which development direction to choose? Which markets to position? What should be the value of the product? To do everything in a way that investors had no doubt that the project is worth their investment.”

Sholpan Istayeva, Contest Participant, said: “We want to provide all children with upper limb hypoplasia with hand prosthesis until they reach the age of 18 years old. It is made from plastic. We print it on 3D printer. This is a usual mechanical prosthesis, when you bend a wrist fingers bend too and you have a grip. There are many expensive prostheses in the market but they are not good for our children because they need to be changed. It is this sort of prosthesis that is ideal for children.”

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