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10 Oct, 2016

Turkish President leads first drive through Europe-Asia tunnel

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 10 October 2016 (09 Muharram 1438). Pls click on any of the headlines below to go to the story.




This annual festival is a celebration of the fascinating cultures and heritage of the world’s aborigine tribes. The unique art and culture of aboriginal and indigenous people from within and outside the country will be showcased through various activities and stage performances, exhibitions, demonstrations, sales, contests and interactive programmes. This festival helps to promote Malaysia as an international culture tourism destination by featuring the arts and culture of aboriginal and indigenous people as well as the local ethnics and customs. Date: 28 Oct – 30 Oct 2016. Venue: Titiwangsa Lake Gardens, Kuala Lumpur. Organiser: National Department for Culture and Arts. Contact: +603 2614 8200. Website: www.jkkn.gov.my

In this month of October, enjoy an array of sports, art and culture events and new tourism products that reflect the Malaysia Truly Asia brand. If you’re a sports fan to the core, enjoy these much-anticipated sporting events, the 30th Mount Kinabalu International Climbathon, Moto GP and CIMB Classic 2016. A few events highlight modern and traditional art and culture such as the Nine Emperor Gods Festival, International Aborigines Arts Festival and Light and Motion Putrajaya (LAMPU) 2016. New attractions to explore are the KL Sky Tour and Kampung Morten Cultural & Heritage Guided Walk. For a full list of all activities this month, pls click here: http://www.tourism.gov.my/media/view/experience-malaysia-october-1

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

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

twitter: http://twitter.com/tourismmalaysia

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



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.



Kabir Khan To Promote Malaysia Through Magic In US, UK

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia Oct 7 (NNN-Bernama) — Renowned Malaysian magician and mentalist Kabir Khan Mohamad Reaz plans to imbue his shows with elements of the Malaysian identity as he promotes the country in his capacity as tourism ambassador.

Tourism and Culture Minister Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz yesterday announced that Tourism Malaysia had appointed Kabir Khan as the new tourism ambassador to the United States and the United Kingdom.

Kabir Khan said he was hopeful that through such performances he would be able to enhance Malaysia’s profile in the two markets to help boost the country’s tourism sector.

“We’re in talks right now and will be coming out with the dates beginning late October to December for a campaign in the US. The UK campaign will likely be in the first quarter of next year,” he told Bernama when contacted.

“It’s my aim to ensure that Malaysia is highlighted in a good way in thosetwo countries. Injecting a ‘Malaysian identity’ to the shows will hopefully make them more appealing to US and UK audiences,” he explained.

Saying that he was honoured with the appointment, Kabir Khan reckoned that there was still some way to go in terms of highlighting Malaysia’s charms toAmerican travellers and holidaymakers, while in the UK, Malaysia was known thanks to its long-standing links to the country.

He said there would be many opportunities for him to promote Malaysia as a tourism jewel in Southeast Asia, including via radio talks shows.

Kabir Khan said he would leverage his network of contacts and many followers in the two countries in fulfilling his duties as tourism ambassador.

“The Tourism and Culture Ministry through Tourism Malaysia has entrusted me with this new position and I intend to fulfill it to the best of my ability.

“At the end of the day, this is my form of national service. Definitely I would like to contribute in enhancing the good name of our country,” he said.

The Tourism Ambassador Programme is an initiative by the ministry through Tourism Malaysia to engage prominent, well-established and influential Malaysians in various fields, either living abroad or in Malaysia, to promote the country among their circle of friends, fans, and network of contacts.

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Malaysia: Medical Tourism Revenue May Hit RM4.2 Bln By 2020

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia Oct 6 (NNN-Bernama) — The government aims to generate RM4.2 billion in medical tourism revenue by 2020 through improved services, as well as aggressive marketing activities, says Deputy Finance Minister Lee Chee Leong.

He said in order to meet the target, the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC) had been tasked with developing more high-end and high-quality services in the country to attract Asian medical travellers, particularly from China.

“Last year, the industry registered RM914 million in revenue from 859,000 medical travellers, and this year we are targeting one million tourists,” he said when launching a therapy and rehabilitation centre, Your Physio Sdn Bhd, here today.

Most of the travellers were from Indonesia, India, Japan, the United Kingdom and Australia, said Lee, adding that the country had also generated interests from China, Vietnam, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

“Among medical tourists’ favourite destinations are Penang, Melaka, Johor and Kuala Lumpur,” he said.

Lee also said the government would continue to offer more incentives and tax exemptions for private hospitals to boost the medical tourism industry.

Meanwhile, Your Physio Managing Director Joshua Tan said the centre provided a wide-range of medical services, including pain management and neurological rehabilitation.

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Malaysia: Yan Floating Mosque To Be Kedah State Attraction

YAN, Kedah state, Malaysia, Oct 4 (NNN-Bernama) — Kedah yesterday performed the ground-breaking for afloating mosque that may become a major tourist attraction in the state.

The RM15-million mosque, in the Yan district, is to be built on the surface of the sea on pillars without land reclamation and is scheduled for completion in 2018, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Jamil Khir Baharom.

The mosque, to be located on 2.19 hectares, would be able to accommodate 1,021 worshippers at any one time, and would be an iconic structure, he said after the ground-breaking.

The ground-breaking was performed by the chairman of the Kedah state Council of Regency and Tunku Temenggong of Kedah Tunku Sallehuddin Ibni Almarhum Sultan Badlishah.

Menteri Besar (Kedah state Chief Minister) Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah also attended the event.

Jamil Khir said the construction of the mosque would take into consideration the level of the sea water at high tide and the height of the tsunami waves that had struck the coast in 2004.

He also said that only 1.25 hectares of land, equivalent to five lots, would be acquired for construction of the road leading to the mosque.

The structure of the mosque would be able to withstand the pressure of the waves and, later, a lagoon wall would be built to retain water below the mosque at low tide because the Yan coast is muddy, he said.

“We will assimilate modern concepts (in the construction of the mosque) but will also retain traditional features and Islamic architecture,” he said, adding that the mosque would be disabled-friendly.

He said the mosque would be about two kilometres from Yan town and the main prayer hall would be about 40 metres from land.

The mosque would have several components, among them the main prayer hall, external left and right prayer halls, imam’s office, VIP room, audio room, meeting room, office and parking area.

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Malaysia Urges Immediate Rise In Banking Ties With Iran

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 8, (NNN-IRNA) – The Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak in a joint press conference with the visiting Iranian President Hassan Rouhani stressed immediate action to boost banking cooperation between the two countries.

He said that the two countries’ central banks should immediately act to find mechanisms for shortening the time needed for banking transactions.

Referring to dimming bilateral economic cooperation between Tehran and Kuala Lumpur in the time Iran was under sanctions, Najib said that the country’s minister of Agriculture and Agro-based Industries will visit Iran in the near future to explore ways of developing mutual cooperation.

Malaysia is interested in Iran’s oil and gas sector, auto industry and road construction while it seeks to cooperate with the Islamic Republic in field of tourism, the official added.

He also called for further cooperation among the Islamic countries for establishment of peace and stability in the Islamic World.

The official visit is aimed at re-affirming and further strengthening the warm and close bilateral relations between Malaysia and the Islamic Republic of Iran. Both sides are expected to take stock of, as well as expand the scope and substance of bilateral relations in various fields such as trade, investment, oil, energy, education, capacity building and tourism.

Following the lifting of the United Nations (UN) sanctions, Iran is again the focus of Malaysian companies who are interested in exporting their goods and services to Iran, which has an estimated market worth USD406 billion. The Islamic Republic of Iran is an important trading partner for Malaysia among the West Asian countries.

The bilateral trade between Malaysia and the Islamic Republic of Iran has shown an upward trend since early this year. Between January and June 2016, the total trade was RM1.03 billion (USD250.03 million), an increase of 11.7 percent compared to the corresponding period in 2015. Malaysia’s major export to Iran in 2015 were palm oil (RM950 million), chemicals and chemical products (RM226 million), and crude natural rubber (RM222 million), while Iran’s major imports to Malaysia were agricultural products (RM61 million), petroleum products (RM35 million) and crude fertilizers and minerals (RM17 million). In this regard, Malaysia encourages its local companies to invest in Iran.

During the official visit, the President of Iran is scheduled to meet YAB Prime Minister of Malaysia at the Prime Minister’s Office in Putrajaya. After the meeting, YAB Prime Minister will host an official dinner for the President of Iran and the Iranian delegation.

Both leaders are expected to witness a signing ceremony of Extradition Treaty between Malaysia and Iran.

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Malaysia: Olympians, Paralympians, F1 Drivers Thrill Fans At Autograph Session

SEPANG, Malaysia Oct 2 (NNN-Bernama) — Formula One (F1) fans were thrilled when they were able to meet their favourite F1 racing drivers participating in the 2016 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix at an autograph session today.

National athletes who had competed at the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games and Paralympic Games were also honoured during the autograph session with F1 racing fans at the Sepang International Circuit (SIC) Welcome Centre, here.

The Olympians comprised Pandelela Rinong, Nur Dhabitah Sabri, Mohd Azizulhasni Awang, Fatehah Mustapa while the Paralympians were gold medallists Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli, Mohamad Ridzuan Puzi, Abdul Latif Romly and bronze medallist Siti Noor Radiah Ismail.

They had the opportunity to take pictures with F1 driver, Kimi Raikkonen of Scuderia Ferrari after the session.

The autograph session, which is one of highlights of the Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix, was held at the mall area of the circuit where all F1 drivers spent about an hour signing autographs.

Thousands of F1 fans had gathered at the venue as early as 8am.

The 2016 Malaysian Grand Prix race starts at 3pm today.

Besides the autograph session, lots of activities were lined up for fans at the welcome centre and mall area of the Sepang Circuit.

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Malaysian Investors Eye Secondary Cities In Australia

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 8 (NNN-Bernama) — Malaysian property investors are now looking at investment opportunities in Australian cities other than Melbourne and Sydney.

Malaysia-Australia Business Council (MABC) Chairman, Peter Tan Choon Hoo, said as demand for quality property in Australia continues, several Malaysian big players have started to make their mark in Australia.

“We have also seen leading Australian companies taking positions in iconic projects in Malaysia and this has created the current condition where there is a healthy two-way investment flow,” Tan told reporters at a luncheon ahead of the Trading Up ‘Accessing Opportunities for Australian Businesses in Asia’ conference.

MABC, which took over the chairmanship of the grouping of 17 Australian business chambers in Asia known as Australian Business Asia, is organising this major conference to be held on Nov 9-11 here.

Tan, who is also Perunding Kos T&K Sdn Bhd Managing Director, said the conference will focus on sharing ideas, stimulating investments into Australia and Malaysia, and creating business opportunities in other areas for the two countries.

Malaysian developments in Australia which are currently grabbing the headlines include Maison Carnergie by SP Setia Bhd, Aurora Melbourne Central by UEM Group, West Village in Sydney by Eco World Development Group Bhd and The Easton Burwood by MRCB.

More are in the pipeline and these companies look set to enjoy the benefits of strong demand in the property market in Australia.

A recent Australian government study found that most Australian companies prefer Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore as countries to establish operations in ASEAN.

This trend will continue because the ASEAN Australia–New Zealand Free Trade Agreement and the Malaysia-Australia Free Trade Agreement have set the groundwork for business collaboration.

This year marks MABC’s 30th anniversary. The Annual Gala Dinner, which has for many years been the highlight of MABC’s social and business calendar, will be held on Nov 10 and is set to be bigger than ever.

“The highlight of the evening, especially for those starved of Australian entertainment, is Australia’s Queen of Soul, Kate Ceberano. We are expecting approximately 600–700 guests, including prominent Malaysian and Australian business people and government officials,” added Tan.

Speakers at the conference include The Airport Economist Tim Harcourt, Glenreagh Sdn Bhd Managing Director Nordin Abdullah, AirAsia X Bhd Chief Executive Officer Benyamin Ismail, Tun Razak Exchange Managing Director Stuart Mendel and Flexiroam Ltd Managing Director Ong Kenn Tat.

Malaysia is Australia’s second largest trading partner in ASEAN and the eighth largest trading partner overall.

MABC is under the co-patronage of Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed and Australian High Commissioner to Malaysia Rod Smith.

Two-way Australia-Malaysia investments more than doubled over four years from 2010 to A$30.6 billion (A$1=RM3.08) in 2014.

In 2014, Malaysian investments in Australia totalled A$21 billion.

Australian companies continue to pursue opportunities in Malaysia, with Australian investment in Malaysia at A$9.6 billion in 2014.

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Malaysia Aims To Be 2nd Largest Photovoltaics Producer By 2020

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia Oct 5 (NNN-Bernama) — Malaysia aims to be the second largest producer of solar photovoltaics (PV) in the world by 2020, said Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water Secretary-General, Dr Zaini Ujang.

He said the current output was 12 per cent and the aim was to reach 20 per cent by then.

“Malaysia is currently ranked third in terms of solar PV production. According to market research, in 2015, total global shipment of solar PV amounted to 50.8 gigawatts. China contributed 48 per cent, Taiwan 20 per cent, Malaysia 12 per cent and Japan six per cent,” he said.

Zaini said this to reporters after opening the two-day 7th International Greentech & Eco Products Exhibition & Conference Malaysia here today.

He said in order to achieve the target Malaysia must adopt the green technology and not being left behind this lucrative markets such as in the US, European and Japan.

“Another initiative to meet the target is that Malaysia is now embarking on net energy metering (NEM) as an attractive method to drive solar energy growth,” he said.

NEM will enable more house and building owners, whether industrial or commercial, to generate electricity for solar PV and use it internally, he said.

Zaini said Malaysia has pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emission intensity of gross domestic product by 45 per cent by 2030.

PV are best known as method for generating electric power by using solar cells to convert energy from the sun.

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Overwhelming Response To Bernama’s Media Showcase 2017

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 6 (Bernama) — With just four days to go, BERNAMA Media Showcase 2017 has received overwhelming response. To-date, more than 100 captains of industry and top officials from various government and non-governmental agencies have confirmed their participation.

To be held on Oct 10 at Maya Hotel here, the event has attracted chief executive officers and decision-makers from various industries, including automotive, media, aviation, theme park, tourism, food and fashion.

The Showcase will be an ideal platform for clients eager to reach out to a wider consumer base and their target audience, taking advantage of BERNAMA’S role as “Your Global Bridge.”

The “Meeting With Industry Leaders”, will promote the Malaysian News Agency’s products, services and sales packages for the year and beyond to both potential and current clients at highly attractive rates.

During the Showcase, among the agency’s services that will be highlighted include the newly-rebranded BERNAMA News Channel (BNC), BERNAMA Radio as well as the portal, newswire and photography services.

Other media products and services of the agency include BERNAMA Media Relations and Event Management (MREM), which successfully organised last year’s ASEAN Summit, and BERNAMA Library and Infolink Service (BLIS), which offers a rich content of archival news and information for users including universities.

Guests and potential clients can also look forward for special promotions and discounted rates during the Showcase.

BERNAMA.com (www.bernama.com) and the MultiMedia Desk, through various mobile applications, also provide clients a crucial link to the social media network and a window to the world.

The inaugural showcase last year attracted representatives from private companies, government agencies, government-owned companies, non-governmental organisations and public relations and advertising firms.

BERNAMA News Channel (BNC), which offers round-the-clock news coverage, both local and international, is aired over Astro Channel 502, Hypp TV 410 and www.bernama.com globally.

BERNAMA Radio, the country’s first news radio station launched in 2007, is aired through FM 93.9 MHz.

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Indonesia Sees Bright Prospects as Visitors Numbers Continue to Grow

JAKARTA, Indonesia Oct.4 (NNN-Xinhua) — Indonesia recorded impressive foreign tourist visits in August and in previous months this year, giving bright prospect for the government to further boost the tourism sector as the nation’s essential economy propeller in coming years.

The archipelago country in Southeast Asia posted a significant foreign tourist visits figure of 1.03 million, or 13.19 percent higher than the same period last year. The total figure throughout the first eight months added up to 7.36 million, Indonesia’s central statistics agency said on Monday.

The government set the target of foreign tourists arrivals this year at 12 million people, or 15 percent higher than last year.

The goal was set based on optimistic prediction for the economy for 2016. Indonesia is expected to see a 5.2-percent growth this year, compared with 4.78 percent achieved last year.

Indonesia has seen impressive growth of foreign tourist arrivals in the past few years, with 8.8 million recorded in 2013 and 9.4 million in 2014.

Tourists from China contributed the largest number of foreign tourists visiting Indonesia in the first eight months this year at almost 15 percent, followed by Australia and Singapore.

The figures have shown huge potential for Indonesia in further tapping the tourism sector to propel the nation’s economy amid downturns in its key sectors of oil and gas, coals and palm oil.

“For this year I want the growth in tourism sector can be accelerated so as to highly support national economic growth,” Indonesian President Joko Widodo said recently.

The country’s tourism ministry is taking various measures to attract tourists.

Besides promoting domestic tour destination, the ministry also implemented digital systems to analyze tourist characteristics.

Aligning with other ministries, the tourism ministry is now developing 10 “New Bali” tour destinations, designed to have equal capabilities with Indonesia’s famous resort island of Bali.

The new destinations were Borobudur, Mandalika, Labuhan Bajo, Bromo-Tengger-Semeru, Kepulauan Seribu, Toba, Wakatobi, Tanjung Lesung, Morotai, and Tanjung Kelayang.

To provide better accommodations for visitors, the ministry has recently synergized the management of 36 hotels operated by state-run firms.

Through the management consolidation of state-run hotels under the new business flag of Hotel Indonesia Group (HIG), the ministry expected that tourists can get the best of Indonesian hospitality and services during their stay in the country.

Indonesia’s Tourism Minister Arief Yahya said recently that investments in the tourism sector continued to expand from 700 million U.S. dollars in 2014 to 1 billion U.S. dollars in 2015.

As of the first half this year investments were recorded at 858 million U.S. dollars, expected to reach 1.5 billion U.S. dollars by year end.

The minister said the tourism sector now contributes 10 percent to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the fourth largest sector to make earnings for the nation.

Indonesia’s tourism sector was expected to contribute more than 24 billion U.S. dollars to the state coffers and welcome 20 million foreign tourists by 2019.– NNN-XINHUA

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Malaysia: AirAsia X’s Inaugural Flight To Mauritius Takes Off

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia Oct 5 (NNN-Bernama) — AirAsia X’s inaugural flight to Mauritius has finally taken off and landed at Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport today with a full flight, marking the airline group’s strong presence in the African continent.

To celebrate the event, the airline is offering special all-in-fares from as low as RM199 one-way on standard seats and from RM1,599 one-way for the premium flatbeds to further stimulate demand to the paradise island.

In a statement, AirAsia Group said the promotional fares are available for online booking from Oct 5-9 at airasia.com, for travel period from Oct 5 until March 31, 2017.

“The strong entry into this market has given us the confidence we need to grow this direct flight between Mauritius and Kuala Lumpur.

“Together with our short-haul affiliate AirAsia Group, our guests can now fly into Mauritius from any of the destinations within our extensive flight network across Asia, Australia and the Middle East via Kuala Lumpur, Asia’s low-cost hub,” said AirAsia X Bhd Chief Executive Officer Benyamin Ismail.–NNN-BERNAMA

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Malaysia In Int Civil Aviation Council For 4Th Consecutive Term

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia Oct 5 (NNN-Bernama) — Malaysia has been re-elected to the International Civil Aviation Organisation council for the 2016-2019 term, said Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai.

This marks Malaysia’s fourth consecutive term on the ICAO council since it was first elected in 2007.

The country was among those picked to sit on the council at the 39th ICAO General Assembly in Montreal, Canada, on Tuesday.

“During the election, Malaysia was honoured to receive 129 out of the 172 votes cast by eligible voting member states. We’re truly heartened by this recognition by ICAO for our contributions to this global body,” he said in a statement today.

Liow said Malaysia was firmly committed to driving ICAO’s vision of the ‘No Country Left Behind’ and ‘Next Generation of Aviation Personnel’ initiatives.

“We’ll continue to fulfil the training needs of our global aviation community through our Malaysian Technical Cooperation Programme,” he said.

He said Malaysia had spared no effort in working towards enhancing the standards of safety and security in global civil aviation.

A specialised agency of the United Nations, ICAO was established in 1944 to manage the administration and governance of the Convention on International Civil Aviation, also known as the Chicago Convention.

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New GCC motorsport championship launched

DUBAI, 8th October, 2016 (WAM) — The six GCC motorsport federations, on Saturday, launched an ambitious new motorsport series in Dubai that will allow for bikes, cars and buggies compete in the Gulf Challenge in 2017.

The new series which follows a year of research is designed to reduce the costs for competitors, in particular novice drivers and to exploit the natural terrain of the Arabian Gulf region.

The launch hosted at ATCUAE was attended by Bahrain Motor Federation, Kuwait International Automobile Club, Oman Automobile Association, Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation, Saudi Arabian Motorsport Federation and Automobile and Touring club of UAE.

“This is the biggest development for the GCC motorsport community since rallying was started in the region thirty years ago, we are confident that via our collective efforts this will add real value to the motorsport community and indeed society in general ‘’ the group said in statement.

The inaugural cross country rally series in 2017 will feature rounds in Oman, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar. In what has been termed a catch all approach, cars, motorcycles and buggies will be permitted to take part with separate Championships for each.

“We see this as the perfect proving ground for the next generation of Arab Champions and the natural route for those who want to progress on to compete in the three World Cup Cross Country events held in this region,” the statement added.

In addition, each individual Federation has also undertaken to examine the creation of individual feeder National Championships in the respective countries for novice competitors with an annual budget ceiling of USD 12,000 for a motorcycle and 34,000 for a buggy.

The six Federations also stressed that they see this Championship as a platform for local engineers and preparation companies to develop vehicles for the series and so provide added value to Society. The series will be promoted mainly via Social media which the research has shown as the global trend in sport. Each round will be one day in duration and run over approximately 150 kms of desert terrain.

Each round of the Gulf Challenge will be promoted and managed by the host Federation with collective management of time keeping, safety regulations and marketing by the six founding GCC Federations.

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Abu Dhabi Equestrian Expo attracts 100,000+ visitors

ABU DHABI, 8th October, 2016 (WAM) — More than 100,000 local, regional and international visitors attended the 14th Abu Dhabi Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition, (Adihex) which blended traditional culture and heritage with the latest high tech products for hunting, as well as other outdoor sports and activities.

Organisers said Adihex is considered one of the most important international events, which is focused on the nation’s cultural heritage, and hosts a distinctive group of events that emphasise the role of Abu Dhabi as a sponsor of culture and sustainable hunting, as well as being an international economic hub.

Majid Ali Al Mansour, Chairman of the Organising Committee and Executive Director of the Emirates Falconers Club, said the marked increase in international exhibitors and visitors stood testimony to the prominence of the event globally.

“The UAE has made its presence felt internationally, not only for its cultural and tourism attractions, but also for its strategies to safeguard the global eco-balance out of its conviction that civilisation is an integral part of its rich heritage,” he added.

Adihex, which ran from 4th to 8th October at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Centre (Adnec), celebrates the deep-rooted heritage and rich culture of the region in hunting, horsemanship and falconry, providing a setting for manufacturers to display their guns, hunting vehicles, shooting, fishing, falconry, other outdoor sports equipment and accessories.

The five-day show was organised by the Emirates Falconers’ Club (EFC), under the patronage of Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler’s Representative in the Western Region of Abu Dhabi Emirate and Chairman of EFC, with the support of Cultural Programmes and Heritage Festivals Committee – Abu Dhabi.

The 40,000-square metre space was shared by 650 companies from 40 countries, including 146 exhibitors from the UAE, but also from throughout the region and as far away as Latvia, Poland, Germany, Belgium, UK, the Netherlands, China and Morocco.

Most of the manufacturers have been exhibiting at Adihex in past years, but 90 exhibitors participated in the event for the first time.

Many previously popular culture and heritage shows were back at this year’s exhibition, such as Al Ain Zoo’s bird show, the saluki beauty competition, and the dog skills demonstration by the Abu Dhabi Police K9s.

Also, the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) stand was one of the most popular exhibitions among children and adults. A number of workshops set up for children allowed school children to learn about Emirati culture and heritage by creating their own falcon masks, painting desert animals, and even learning how to draw a falcon. While on the other side of the tent, adults could be seen learning how to brew traditional Arabic coffee and watching Emirati handicrafts being made by artisans.

The exhibition has put the UAE, specifically Abu Dhabi, on the world heritage tourism map, as well as the exhibition industry, bringing together leading local, Arab and international companies in the outdoor sports, and safari sectors. Also on display were manufacturers of hunting weapons, traditional craft industries, environment protection and cultural heritage sectors, all under the same roof, where they are able to share and exchange knowledge and experiences and conduct business deals that would yield benefits to all stakeholders.

The Abu Dhabi Environment Agency’s colourful stand drew in crowds who were introduced to the protected areas in the UAE that contain animals, such as flamingos, which could be visited. Visitors also met representatives from the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital who had brought along animals that are available for adoption.

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RTA completes Dubai Parks bridges

DUBAI, 8th October, 2016 (WAM) — The Road and Transport Authority (RTA) has announced the completion of construction works on the Dubai Parks and Resorts project, in co-operation with Meraas Holding, at a cost of AED250 million. The bridges will be opened, along with the opening of Dubai Parks project, at the end of October 2016.

“The project included constructing entry and exit points linking the Dubai Parks project with the Sheikh Zayed Road, in the direction from Abu Dhabi to Dubai, in the vicinity of Seih Shoaib. It comprised the construction of a 3-lane bridge, stretching 1,500 meters, as a main entry on the Sheikh Zayed Road for vehicles coming from Dubai heading to Dubai Parks. It also included the construction of a 2-lane bridge stretching 1,000 meter as a main exit on Sheikh Zayed Road from Dubai Parks in the direction of Abu Dhabi,” said Mattar Al Tayer, Director-General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of RTA.

The project also included road works within Dubai Parks linked with the Sheikh Zayed Road and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road, extending about 16 km. These roads comprise a seven km-long dual carriageway of 2 lanes in each direction linking the Sheikh Zayed Road and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road, in addition to other works within the project zone extending 9 km. The project works also included lighting, traffic signs, rainwater drainage, and utility lines, besides shifting and protecting utility lines intercepting the project works, such as electricity, water, communication and others,” explained Al Tayer.

The new bridges have been designed to meet all needs of the Dubai Parks project, which is considered the latest addition to leisure destinations in Dubai to attract tourists from the region, and the world over.

The Dubai Parks and Resorts project comprises three theme parks: Motiongate Dubai, Bollywood Parks Dubai, and LEGOLAND Dubai, in addition to one water park, LEGOLAND Water Park.

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LEAD STORY: Turkish President leads first drive through Europe-Asia tunnel

ISTANBUL – President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday drove the first car through Istanbul’s new Eurasia Tunnel under the Marmara Sea. His passengers were Prime Minister Binali Yildirim and Ahmet Arslan, transport and communications minister. The car departed from Harem on the European side and returned back to Harem.

The $1.25 billion tunnel connecting the European and Asian sides is due to open on Dec. 20 this year. Speaking to journalists at the Harem worksite after going through the tunnel with his official car, Erdogan said: “Despite everything, I assure you we continue to invest in accordance with our 2023 vision.”

Turkey’s 2023 vision, which marks the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Turkey, sets specific targets and major improvements in the areas of economic activity, energy, health care and transport for 2023. One of the most spectacular targets is becoming one of top 10 world economies.

Minister Arslan said the tunnel will save time and fuel. Only 3.4 km (2.11 miles) of the 14.6-km-long (9.07 miles) tunnel are under the sea.

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Istanbul to host World Energy Congress starting Oct. 9

ANKARA, The 23rd World Energy Congress 2016 in Istanbul will bring together hundreds of leaders and representatives of the sector with the participation of decision and policy-makers between Oct. 9-13.

The congress will be co-hosted by Prime Minister Binali Yildirim and Energy and Natural Resources Minister Berat Albayrak, and held under the auspices of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The triennial event, for which Anadolu Agency will be the Global Communication Partner, will open at the Istanbul Congress Valley on Sunday, Oct. 9.

The congress will witness exchanges among policymakers from several countries central to the energy field. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin will also attend.

Along with Maros Sefcovic, the European Commission’s vice-president for the energy union, and Khalid El-Falih, Russia’s energy minister, ministers of energy, the environment, the economy and industry from some 54 countries, including Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Venezuela, Germany, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Algeria, Nigeria, Sudan, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Argentina, Bolivia, and Uruguay, among others, will convene at the congress to steer the global energy agenda.

Under the theme “Embracing New Frontiers,” the congress program will lead delegates through the current and critical issues facing the energy industry.

The four-day program will open with a focus on future visions for the global energy industry. Day two will focus on business opportunities and resource management, as well as responses to new challenges of adaptation and innovation to ensure a secure, reliable energy system. Day three will lead with discussions of policy implications, with sessions designed to address the necessary institutional change to balance the World Energy Trilemma – energy security, energy equity, and environmental sustainability.

Day 4: Africa

The final day will be dedicated to Africa, with sessions exploring critical drivers and innovations working to secure a sustainable energy future for the region.

The umbrella topic on the final day will be “Africa: Securing a Sustainable Energy Future,” to be discussed in eight separate sessions.

Energy giants, international finance

The 266 speakers from 80 countries at the world’s most comprehensive energy event will include CEOs and top executives of global energy giants such as BP, Gazprom, Royal Dutch Shell, GE, Total, Saudi Aramco, Rosatom, SOCAR, Lukoil, OMV, EDF, EnBW, ENGIE, TANAP, E.ON, Wintershall, VNG, DESFA, and the China National Nuclear Corporation.

Additionally, top technology companies including Bosch, Siemens, DHL, Silver Spring Networks, ThyssenKrupp, and Westinghouse will guide the debate on future innovative trends.

Top executives from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, European Investment Bank, Asian Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank, OPEC Fund for International Development, Development Bank of Latin America, Goldman Sachs, and ING will join in to discuss the financing of global energy transitions.

Paperless congress

For the first time in its history, the congress will be paperless, with all information-sharing and programming to be conducted on digital platforms.

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Turkey To Further Support Trans-Caspian Route

BAKU, Oct 8 (NNN-Bernama) — Turkey will continue its support for the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route in order to keep it preferable for carriers, said Ahmet Arslan, Turkey’s minister of transport, maritime affairs and communications, Trend news agency reports.

According to Arslan, transportation to the Central Asian countries through Azerbaijan grew substantially in 2015 as compared to previous years.

About 8,000 trucks were sent to the Central Asian countries through Azerbaijan in 2015, said the minister.

“There is no doubt that these volumes may increase even more in a short time, if the region’s countries invest in transport infrastructure,” he said.

Arslan also noted that the completion of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway’s construction will create an opportunity to transport various cargos by various methods that will benefit the carriers.

He said the non-governmental organizations must also work actively to strengthen the Trans-Caspian corridor, for which Turkey is ready to provide support.

“Turkey believes the opening of the Baku International Sea Trade Port and the adjustment of systematic voyages by RO-RO vessels will help increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the Trans-Caspian corridor,” added the minister.

“Ankara considers the joining of the Iranian and Azerbaijani railways important,” he said.

Arslan went on to add that Turkey always supports the alternative routes, because it considers them necessary for carriers in the current economic conditions.

“We think the cooperation of the region’s countries should be mutually complementary and believe these projects will help increase the prosperity of the entire region,” noted the minister.

The Trans-Caspian International Transport Route runs from China to Europe through Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey and Ukraine.

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China’s Huawei Launches Innovation Center In Nigeria

LAGOS, Oct. 9 (NNN-XINHUA) — Chinese telecom equipment giant Huawei Saturday launched an Innovation and Experience (I&E) center in Lagos, Nigeria’s economic hub with an investment of US$6 million.

The center, being the first in West Africa, is set up to be an experience center where people can witness global best practice, exchange ideas, explore business solutions through innovation and also a platform to develop win-win information and communications technology (ICT) eco-system.

“Huawei will continuously adhere to its strategic focus, investment, and the relentless pursuit of strategic breakthrough to face all challenges together with its partners,” Frank Li, the Managing Director of Huawei Technologies Company Nigeria Ltd., said at the ceremony.

The company, which has cover 16 years of experience in the Nigerian market, said it is dedicated to investment of industry innovation driven by both customer needs and new technologies.

Huawei officials told Xinhua that the center will also serve as a training platform to nurture more ICT talents thus Huawei Technologies Nigeria Limited will sign a Joint Innovation MOU with the University of Lagos for this purpose.

On his part, Nigeria’s Minister for Communications, Abdur-Raheem Adebayo Shittu, said the government is leveraging the benefits of the digital revolution with strategic partnership with Huawei as a leading global supplier of ICT products, solutions and services.

He lauded the company’s contribution in empowering Nigerian youths in ICT and the plans to establish a world class ICT center in the country.

The Chinese Consul General in Lagos, Chao Xiaoliang, said that the Chinese government has always encouraged Chinese companies to engage in corporate social responsibility wherever they invest.

Huawei Innovation and Experience Center was built on 500 square meters and established under the concept of “Cloud”, which enables visitors to share Huawei global resources.

The ICT industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in the Nigerian economy, with a 30 percent yearly increase rate.–NNN-XINHUA

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Boosting Asian Integration Is Focus Of Amir’s Visit To Thailand

KUWAIT, Oct 7 (NNN-KUNA) — The Amir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah will start an official visit to the Kingdom of Thailand on Saturday as a part of an Asian tour that also includes the Kingdom of Brunei.

The visit, the second of the Amir to Thailand since he ascended to power in 2006, is meant to give impetus to bilateral relations and cooperation among Asian countries.

During his stay, the Amir will partake in the 2nd Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) Summit, to be held in Bangkok during the period 8-10 October.

In this Summit, to be held under the theme: “One Asia, Diverse Strengths”, the conferees will tackle a plethora of key issues related to the political, economic, commercial, social and environmental cooperation among other issues, as well as integration among Asian countries and other countries of the world.

They will also discuss matters of mutual concern and will use this forum to encourage all ACD member states to utilize the strength of the Asian diversity in driving the capability of all Asian countries to balance the global economy.

The first summit was held in Kuwait in 2012 upon an initiative made by the Amir during the 10th ministerial Asia cooperation dialogue forum, hosted by Kuwait in October 2011.

The initiative reflected the Amir’s vision to make Asia an integral part of Kuwait’s ambitious plan to turn into a regional commercial and financial hub.

During Kuwait Summit, the Amir proposed the launching of a fund for finance development projects in Asian non-Arab countries with a capital of USD 2 billion, to which Kuwait pledged USD 300 million.

Policymakers from all ACD member states participate annually in discussions and exchanges of ideas on regional cooperation, which will enhance understanding and trust among members, as well as consolidating strengths and fortify competitiveness of the member countries.

With 18 founding members at its inception, ACD have expanded and now constitutes 34 members from all sub-regions in Asia. Nepal is the newest ACD member state (March 2016).

On the Kuwaiti-Thai relation, the two countries have diplomatic relations since 1963.

Thailand inaugurated its embassy in Kuwait in 1983 and Kuwait opened an embassy in Thailand in 1997.

During the Iraqi occupation of the Kuwait, the Kingdom of Thailand condemned the Iraqi move and expressed full support to Kuwait. After liberation, Thailand contributed to the UN peacekeeping forces deployed on the Kuwaiti-Iraqi borders.

Economic relations date back to 1987, when the two countries signed an economic and commercial cooperation agreement and formed a joint higher committee. In 1998, Kuwait and Thailand inked an agreement to avoid tax duplication and a third agreement was signed in 2003 to encourage mutual investments.

In 2010, Kuwait hosted a forum for enhancement of commercial partnership between Kuwait and Thailand which was attended by the then Thai premier Yingluck Shinawatra who announced that the trade exchange between the two countries surged by 185 percent in the previous five years.

On tourism, Thailand has been a favorite destination for Kuwaiti travelers due to its impressive nature and competitive services and prices.

On the humanitarian level, Kuwait was one of the first world countries to rush to help Thailand and other south Asian countries with a USD 100 million-worth of relief aid after the devastating 2004 tsunami.

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Iranian President Asia Tour In Line With Leader’s Policies

TEHRAN, Oct 8, (NNN-IRNA) – President Hassan Rouhani’s recent Southeast Asia tour is in line with the policies formulated by the Supreme Leader, says the head of Iran’s Center for Strategic Research.

Rouhani’s trip to Southeast Asian countries is in line with implementing the look east policy set by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Seyyed Ali Khamenei, said Ali Akbar Velayati on Thursday, following his meeting with the Syrian businessmen.

‘President Rouhani’s visits to Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand were very important,’ Velayati said. Based on the policies set by the Leader regarding adopting a look east policy, we all need to pay heed to the issue, he said.

A look east policy requires development of ties with nations in Asia, the head of Center for Strategic Research said. ‘This is why the recent visits by the Iranian President to Asian countries should be regarded as beneficial.’

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International Hunting, Equestrian Expo Kicks Off In U.A.E.

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, Oct 5 (NNN-KUNA) – The 14th edition of The Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition (ADIHEX), kicked off Tuesday, at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, with participation of 650 companies from over 40 countries around the world.

The five-day event, highlights the latest international innovations and creativities in equestrian, hunting sports, and camel racing, Majid Al-Mansour, Chairman of ADIHEX’s Higher Organising Committee, stated to reporters.

It provides an excellent opportunity to view the latest fishing and equestrian equipment, in addition to sea sports and hunting equipment, Al-Mansour said, adding that, the event also provides an important platform for trade and cultural exchange.

ADIHEX was launched in 2003, as a consumer and trade event, dedicated for hunting, equestrian, outdoor and marine sports, safari, arts, antiques, and culture and heritage, he said.

Al-Mansour also noted that, the exhibition is recognised worldwide, as an international leading event, among hunting exhibitions, as it attracts visitors and tourists from the GCC and all over the world.– NNN-KUNA

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MS Europa cruise ship docks at Port of Skikda

08 October 2016 ALGERIA PRESS SERVICE, SKIKDA – MS Europa cruise ship docked Friday at the Port of Skikda, coming from the Port of Halg El Ouadi (Tunisia), where he arrived in Thursday.

The cruise ship set sail from Barcelona (Spain) with 338 tourists aboard, 90% of them are Germans, while the others are from various nationalities: French, Swiss, Italian, Austrian and Japanese, Farid Boulabsal, the manager of a tour operator organizer of the trip in Algeria, told APS.

Organized in collaboration with the Ministry of Transport and Public Works, the tour is the first of its kind since 2014, he said.

Some 198 tourists, among those aboard the MS Europa cruise ship, choose to visit Skikda, while the others headed for Constantine.

The cruise ship will also dock at the Port of Oran (431-km west of Algiers) on Saturday.

Temporary visas have been granted to the tourists aboard MS Europa for their three-day stay in Algeria, explained Boulabsal.

The tourists have been impressed by Algeria’s enchanting coasts, as well as the tourist and historic sites in the eastern provinces of Skikda and Constantine.

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Specialised bus launched for UAE’s disabled students

08/10/2016 (MENAFN – Khaleej Times) The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has launched a specialised bus for people with disabilities to complement the ‘Hafelaty’ programme, an initiative of the ‘Rashid Centre for the Disabled’ to transport disabled students.

The new bus facilitates their movement and provide a comfortable means of travel to help ensure their successful completion in the qualifying programmes provided by the centre. This initiative is also part of the various programmes launched by the TRA in support of disabled children.

The bus has special features to support passengers with disabilities, such as movable stairways, wide spaces for wheel chairs, big doors, internal signals for students with hearing disability, voice commands for students with vision disability and many other features that have been designed for compliance with set global standards.

The TRA expressed its continuing commitment towards supporting people with special needs, treating them as important members of the society and affording them with the same rights that all citizens and residents of the UAE enjoy.

Mohammed Rashid Al Ketbi, acting Deputy Director General for Support Service Sector, expressed happiness on the bus launch and the successful collaboration with the Rashid Centre for the Disabled.

“We should continue to protect and take care of the people with disabilities – providing these people with the much needed facilities and required care, which in turn, will reflect the UAE’s stance towards social justice and equality. As the world today leans toward a more electronic lifestyle, the TRA has set goals of supporting them with a wide range of benefits and privileges that they can acquire and utilise minus the burden of moving around,” said Al Ketbi.

The inauguration of the bus, which will bear the TRA logo, will be led by Juma bin Hasher Al Maktoum, sponsor for the ‘Rashid Centre for the Disabled’ and will be joined by representatives from the TRA and other invited guests.

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Algerian wins Best Director Award at Malmo Arab Film Festival

MALMO (Switzerland), Wednesday, 05 October 2016 ALGERIA PRESS SERVICE – The Algerian Lotfi Bouchouchi has won the Best Director Prize of the 6th Malmo Arab Film Festival (MAFF) in Switzerland for his 90-mn film “Le Puits” (The Well), said the event’s organizers.

Lotfi Bouchouchi, who was competing along with eight others film directors in the category of feature-length film, will receive his prize Wednesday evening during the MAFF closing ceremony, according the Festival’s Facebook page.

Produced in 2015, The Well recounts the story of a village in southern Algeria and how its inhabitant, particularly women and children, had to choose the way they would die, because they were besieged for several days by the colonial army’s soldiers, who deprived them from drinking water.

The film was also awarded the prize for best feature film at the 9th Muscat International Film in the Sultanate of Oman, and four prizes at the 31st Alexandria Film Festival for Mediterranean Countries in Egypt, including the prize for best Arab film.

In addition to the Grand Prize at the 5th Maghreb Film Festival of Oujda in Morocco and recently the prize for best film director at the 9th International Arab Film Festival of Oran, Algeria.

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Qatar- New Kahramaa service

MENAFN – The Peninsula – 05/10/2016 DOHA: Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation (Kahramaa) has launched a new service on its mobile app to get feedback directly from customers about its services.

The Shoot & Send service aims to set up direct communication with customers to receive complaints and suggestions from them quickly.

To avail of the service, customers must download ‘Kahramaa”; app on smartphones, opt language and ‘Contact Us”;. They will have options to request ‘Suggestion”; or ‘Complaint”;. To send a suggestion, they have to enter data name, phone number, email) and to lodge a complaint they may select the option according to the complaint type whether it relates to reading meters or electricity and water emergency.

The user has to record the electricity and water number that existed on the external wall of his house and fill in other information and attach a ‘Shoot”;.

In case of information about a violation, the user must go to ‘Contact Us”; service, select ‘Complaint”; as a request type and choose ‘Others”; as a complaint type and mention the violation”;s site with details.

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Aqaba eyes to attract European tourists

MENAFN – 06/10/2016 – With new charter flights arriving from promising markets on the continent, Aqaba authorities are working to attract tourists from Europe to the coastal city, an official said on Tuesday.

In detail, “charter flights have recently started arriving to Aqaba, 330km south of Amman, from Budapest, bringing tourists for week-long vacations”, the chief commissioner of the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Autority (ASEZA), said.

The Jordan Tourism Board (JTB) on Monday signed an agreement with the Hungarian charter flights agency Anubis Travel to start a weekly direct flight from Budapest to Aqaba, according to a JTB statement.

The first Hungarian charter flight arrived in Aqaba on September 24, bringing 102 Hungarian tourists, and it was followed on Sunday by another carrier with 113 passengers.

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Qatar2022 World Cup To Push Development In Region

LYON, France, Oct 6 (NNN-QNA) – Qatar is participating in the third meeting of Sports Safety and Security Experts Group meeting, in the French city of Lyon.

Director General of Public Security, Major-General Saad Jassim Al Khulaifi, is heading the Qatari delegation to the meeting.

The meeting will discuss key topics related to sports security, particularly during major sporting events.

The director general of public security said that, Qatar aims by hosting the World Cup to bridge the gap between East and West, promote cultural rapprochement between the peoples, and tell the entire world what the people of this region can present to the world.

He stressed that, hosting the World Cup contributes to building social, economic and human sustainable heritage, that helps push the wheel of development, not only in Qatar, but also in various countries in the region.

Hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup also contributes to guiding young people to reject extremism and violence, and directing them towards production and creativity, he said.

He added that through organising this event, Qatar aspires to a legacy of knowledge and experience in various areas, including the legislative field.– NNN-QNA

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HDC Takes Halal Industry Development Award 2016 During GIFA 2016

JAKARTA, Oct 4 (Bernama) — Halal Industry Development Corporation (HDC), received the “Halal Industry Development Award” during the Global Islamic Finance Awards Gala 2016 held on 29 September 2016 in Jakarta, Indonesia.

“This award is an international recognition for HDC for its works in developing Malaysia’s Halal industry.” said Dato’ Seri Jamil Bidin, Chief Executive Officer, HDC. “Realising the vast potential of the Halal industry, our relentless efforts in developing this industry started in 2006 when HDC was established, as we embarked on the Halal Industry Development Master Plan (HIMP) 2008-2020, aiming to drive Halal as a new source of economic growth. This is in line with the Government’s efforts to diversify our economic activities.” added Jamil.

Credit also goes to our former Prime Minister YABhg. Tun Abdullah Badawi who was instrumental in providing leadership to promote the Halal agenda in Malaysia and also throughout the world.

According to HDC’s CEO, Malaysia and HDC will not rest on its laurels and will continue to be committed towards developing the halal sector and intensifying high valued-added activities within the industry. The country spotted the potential of the Halal economy very early on, and over the decades has nurtured a Halal eco-system that has placed Malaysia in the forefront of this burgeoning industry.

Malaysia is also committed in the pursuit of Halal Agenda and this is reflected through the formation of the National Halal Council which is chaired by YAB Dato’ Sri Dr. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia. Our approach is holistic, our mission is singular: to make Malaysia the leading Global Halal Hub.

Receiving this award is so much meaningful as HDC celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.


The Halal Industry Development Corporation (HDC) was established on 18 September 2006 to coordinate the overall development of the Halal industry in Malaysia. HDC is an agency under the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI).

HDC is Malaysia’s holistic response to the worldwide demand for better quality products and services as consumers gain confidence in the Halal process. Its key thrusts are to promote Halal standards; facilitate capacity- building for halal products and services; promote growth and participation of Malaysian companies in the trillion dollar global halal market. Today, there is an estimated population of 1.8 billion Muslims worldwide. The global halal market is currently estimated at USD2.3 trillion covering both food and non-food sectors.

In its effort to serve as an international hub for the halal industry, HDC provides manufacturers, distributors, retailers, entrepreneurs, researchers and investors with comprehensive assistance to penetrate and serve a growing global halal market through the adoption of the Malaysian experience and expertise in food and non-food sectors. For more information, please visit HDC at – www.hdcglobal.com.

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Zilzar Bagged Best Halal Industry Tech Platform Award at GIFA 2016

JAKARTA, Oct 5 (Bernama) — Zilzar Tech Sdn Bhd (Zilzar), the first global Business to Business (B2B) Halal e-Commerce platform that connects Buyers and Sellers announced today that it has been named a Winner for Best Halal Industry Technology Platform Award during The Global Islamic Finance Awards (GIFA) 2016. The event was attended by H.E. Joko Widodo, President of the Republic of Indonesia, who also received the prestigious “Global Leadership in Islamic Finance Award 2016”.

The GIFA 2016, organised by London-based Edbiz Consulting, is the leading best practices award ceremony in Islamic banking and finance and celebrates the success of institutions and individuals, with an ultimate objective of promoting social responsibility, Syari’ah authenticity and commitment to Islamic banking and finance.

Zilzar, launched in October 2014, has excelled in its category, Our vision for the halal industry is to build and promote a platform based on integrity, trust and confidence that connects SMEs globally with halal products and services to buyers.” said Dato’ Dr. Vaseehar Hassan, Zilzar’s Co-founder and Chairman.

“This award is a testament to the skill, ingenuity, and vision of its founders and most definitely its team’s extreme commitment. It is a great honor to be chosen for this award knowing that our effort has been recognized significantly,” he added.

Zilzar was honored at the GIFA 2016 Awards ceremony held on 29th September 2016, in Jakarta Indonesia.

Having achieved this impressive milestone, Zilzar is set to explore into bigger challenges to address the demand of the growing numbers of Muslims who are now spending more than $100 billion a year shopping online. As a result, the company plans to expand and open its regional office in Jakarta by end of this year.

About Zilzar

Zilzar is the first global Business to Business (B2B) Halal e-Commerce platform connecting Buyers and Sellers. We were launched on October 29, 2014 during the 10th World Islamic Economic Forum in Dubai and the founders are Dato’ Vaseehar Hassan and Rushdi Siddiqui.

Zilzar is a combination of two words: ‘Zil’ is from Zillion and ‘Zar’ is from Bazaar, hence a marketplace ‘Connecting Halal Trade’ comprising of a large number of Buyers and Sellers who are product and service providers.

Zilzar hosts, facilitates, and monitors a SME driven eco-system based upon specific rules for halal consumption of food/beverage, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, fashion, travel, agriculture and etc. Halal certification by the recognized certification bodies is strictly required to give Buyers a ‘peace of mind.’

Zilzar Life was rolled out on June 10, 2015 to uniquely connect content and commerce. It is a content based website with a special focus on the multi-billion dollar verticals of Muslim Lifestyle Marketplace and it acts as a traffic feeder to Zilzar. The tagline for Zilzar Life is ‘Connecting Muslim Millennials’ as it captures content consumption of the digitally active Muslims.

Zilzar’s vision is to build and promote a global e-Commerce platform connecting SMEs with halal products and services that is projected to reach $5.8 trillion in year 2020*.

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AirAsia X Lands in Paradise Island Mauritius

PORT LOUIS, Oct 5 (Bernama) — AirAsia X’s highly anticipated flight to Mauritius has finally taken off and landed at Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport today with a 100% full flight, marking the airline group’s strong presence in the African continent.

Kevin Ramkeloan, Director of the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority welcomed guests on board the inaugural flight including Mr Issop Pattel, High Commissioner of Mauritius to Malaysia; Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz, Chairman of AirAsia X Berhad; Datuk Kamarudin Meranun, Group CEO of AirAsia X; Dato’ Fam Lee Ee, Board of Director for AirAsia X Berhad; Kathleen Tan, President of North Asia, AirAsia and Benyamin Ismail, CEO of AirAsia X Berhad.

A celebratory event was held following the arrival of the inaugural flight where the airline group announced special all-in-fares from as low as RM199* one-way on standard seats, and from RM1,599* one-way for the Premium Flatbeds for all guests to further stimulate demand to the paradise island.

These promotional fares will be available for booking online from 5 to 9 October 2016 at airasia.com with the travel period from 5 October 2016 until 31 March 2017.

Benyamin Ismail, CEO of AirAsia X Berhad said, “We’re very excited to be here today, charting a new continent on the route map of AirAsia X with a 100% full flight. The strong entry into this market has given us the confidence we need to grow this direct flight between Mauritius and Kuala Lumpur, operated exclusively by AirAsia X. Together with our short-haul affiliate AirAsia Group, our guests can now fly into Mauritius from any of the destinations within our extensive flight network across Asia, Australia and the Middle East via Kuala Lumpur, Asia’s low cost hub.”

Located on the southeast coast of the African continent, Mauritius was once a volcanic island and is famous for its beautiful beach setting with white sand, warm sub-tropical climate and a topaz shoreline of the Indian Ocean. This tropical island indeed is an all-year-round destination that hosts many exciting things to see and do while addressing the needs of all types of travellers such as adventure seekers, honeymooners, families, or solo travellers.

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Sharjah: A place for expats to call home

MENAFN – Khaleej Times – 06/10/2016 – Sharjah, the nation’s cultural capital, is a family-friendly destination attracting people from various countries to make it their home. From affordable rents, lower electricity and water tariffs to a ban on alcohol and a disciplined law, Sharjah is the preferred location for many families to live even if they work in other emirates. Its calmness, safety and strategic location have added to its attractions. Afkar Abdullah speaks to top officials, heads of government departments and families to find out what makes it their favourite destination to make a home.

Sharjah’s strategic location

For Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, CEO Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), Sharjah’s strategic location as a connecting point of all emirates has played a great role in attracting families.

“For us at Shurooq, we see ‘family friendly’ destinations and projects as a key focus while positioning Sharjah as one of the top-tier tourism and family destinations in the travel industry.

“We also focus on research and implementing initiatives that cater to the needs of families, as well as a host of entertainment events that promote the experience of families coming together under one of the most symbolic tourism destinations,” he added.

For instance, the beautiful Al Majaz Waterfront, one of the most popular destinations in Sharjah was developed by Shurooq. It continues to attract families with children of different ages.

Al Qasba, yet another premiere destination, offers families a unique mix of gastronomy, entertainment and a cordial and safe atmosphere, all under one roof.

For the water babies, Al Montazah Amusement and Waterpark continues to attract tourists and residents alike, all of whom are on the look out for some fun moments with the family.

“Aligning our development strategy with that of Sharjah in terms of spreading education and engagement, Heart of Sharjah is one of our culturally authentic destinations offering tourists and residents the most engaging and educational experience of Sharjah’s history and its heritage and cultural values,” he added.

Municipal services that offer comfort

Distinguishing features that blend originality, heritage and history with modern, luxurious architecture and amenities is what attracts families to Sharjah according to Riyad Al Ailan, Director-General of Sharjah Municipality.

Its museums, traditional souqs, modern shopping malls and other forms of entertainment keep the city alive. The emirate has as many as 53 residential parks offering the much needed lung space and various types of rides and play areas for children. The emirate’s women-only parks are also popular.

Sharjah Municipality works for the convenience of its residents and visitors and it is towards this end that it converted many areas into paid parking zones. The Sharjah International Airport is located 15km east of the city centre, and buses are accessible throughout the city and run from 5.30am to 23.30pm.

The orange buses are easily identifiable, and stops have covered booths with signs in Arabic and English.

The government also provides special services to those with special needs. Schools, rehabilitation centres and entertainment activities are just a few examples.

Special areas are earmarked for such people especially in parking areas for easy accessibility In addition to this, special rides have been earmarked for special needs children.

“Sharjah Municipality is keen on implementing international standards and measures to provide safety, services and facilities for people with special needs, pregnant women, elderly and people with vision impaired disability,” he added.

Lowest power tariff in UAE

The services provided by government entities including the Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority (Sewa) have made it the most favoured emirate, according to Dr Rashid Al Leem, Chairman of the Sharjah Electricity & Water Authority.

“Sewa has succeeded in satisfying Sharjah residents through its reliable services of supplying power, water and natural gas,” said Dr Al Leem. The Sewa follows the best international standards and most advanced technologies supervised by qualified and skilled workers. One of the factors that attracts families to live in Sharjah is the electricity tariff which is amongst the lowest in the UAE.

Sewa recently brought the tariff under a unified structure to make it affordable to all residents and match with the tariff of the Federal Electricity and Water Authority (Fewa).

The other achievements of Sewa, under the guidance and instruction of His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of Supreme council and Ruler of Sharjah, are the ambitious expansions and development projects to cope with the pace of the constructional expansions in the emirate.

It has upgraded its water supplies and developed more desalination plants and well fields. Sewa produces water based on best international water quality standards and specifications. “The average salt in the water is only 500mg for one litre,” said Al Leem.

Dr Al Leem pointed out that Sewa has also established the Zulal Water Factory as a non-profitable government establishment to produce quality bottled fresh water with best international standards and specifications for residents.

Safety and security

It is the safety and security of the place that attracts visitors to the emirate, according to Brigadier Saif Al Shamsi, Commander-in-Chief of the Sharjah Police. Cameras have been installed on all roads and are monitored 24/7 by officers at the operations room. All commercial centres, malls, big outlets, gold souqs as well as residential buildings have been instructed to instal cameras. Traffic, security and community patrols have also been deployed round the clock in various parts of the emirate.

The police have also allocated emergency and non-emergency numbers for residents to report incidents, accidents and crimes. There are also plans to increase patrols and the number of cameras to cover the entire emirate by 2017.

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Regulatory reform launched by Ministry of Tourism in Morocco

MENAFN – Morocco World News – 05/10/2016 – Morocco’s Ministry of Tourism has launched regulatory reform in the tourist guide service and supports the mandate for all licensed tourist guides to attend ongoing training.

The initiative, launched by the Ministry, aims at enhancing the quality of tour guide service and tourist support as well as emphasizing the importance of both in the tourism sector.

According to Law No. 05-12 and its implementation regulating the profession of tourist guides, the renewal of working documents of tourist guides is subject, among other things, to enrollment in training.

In an environment of constant changes, the guides face several challenges through delivering high quality and competitive services and contributing to sustaining the dynamism of tourism in their region and country.

Accordingly, in order to complete the initial training, and to enroll in a continuous improvement dynamic and be in tune with international standards in their field, the new amendment makes it necessary for tourist guides to get additional yearly training, with the purpose of updating their knowledge and skills.

These training sessions will ensure that the guides overcome any crucial shortcomings.. Thereby, there will be two types of trainings designed: the ‘Guide of Cities and Tourist Circuits’ and ‘Guides of Natural Spaces’.

To this end, the Ministry of Tourism, in collaboration with the Regional Associations of Tourist Guides, will organize continuous training sessions for tourist guides beginning on October 4, 2016.

For guides in cities and tourist circuits, the training will focus on ‘the methodology and techniques of oral heritage mediation.’ The challenge is to put the human relationship at the heart of business by fostering a strong sense of hospitality and building life skills, interpersonal skills, openness, basic general culture, and a more positive sense of duty.

As for guides of natural areas, training will focus on ‘first aid’. The aim is to remind the guides of the techniques of first aid and emergency care, and to spread within the profession a culture of prevention that can contribute to avoiding potential casualties, accidents, or major disasters, thanks to the knowledge of first aid and assistance to victims.

This accelerated training course, lasting two days, will be supervised by recognized trainers and concluded by a training certificate.

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Nigeria: State Targets US$4 Billion Chinese Investment For Oil Industry

LAGOS, Oct 7 (NNN-ALLAFRICA) — Nigeria says it expects to get as much as $4 billion in investment facilities for oil industry infrastructure as a 40-member Chinese investment team arrives the country at the end of the month.

This is a fallout from the July road show in China where Nigeria signed a $75.6 billion Memorandum of Understanding in investment in the oil sector, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Emmanuel Kachikwu, said after the Federal Executive Council meeting.

Briefing journalists alongside the Ministers of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed; Interior, Abdurahman Danbazzau; and Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, after the FEC meeting, Kachikwu explained that the MOUs signed during the road show generally have a gestation period of about one year as both countries set up their teams on bilateral lines to look at specific areas of investment interests.

“We are having a team of over 40 Chinese … visiting Nigeria by the end of this month,” he told reporters.

“I will say we have a one year period to work on this. We expect that some (investment) will come earlier,” he said, when asked about the agreements signed in June.

Nigeria, an OPEC member which was until recently Africa’s biggest oil producer, relies on crude sales for about 70 percent of national income but its oil and gas infrastructure is in need of updating.

Its four refineries are mostly out of action because of poor maintenance, forcing Nigeria to rely on expensive imported fuel for 80 percent of energy needs.

These problems have been exacerbated by a series of attacks on oil and gas facilities by militants in the southern Niger Delta energy hub.

Last month, the head of the upper house of parliament said Nigeria needed to consider selling oil and other state assets to help plug a budget deficit, caused by a collapse in oil revenues that has plunged Nigeria into recession.

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Dubai Ports World Launches Biggest Solar Rooftop Project In Mideast

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, Oct 6 (NNN-WAM) – Dubai Ports (DP) World said, it will install 88,000 solar panels on its facilities across Dubai, the biggest such project in the Middle East.

The phase one will be completed in 2017, with a total capacity of 22 megawatts, DP World said in a statement.

Another two phases will follow with further solar installations due in Dubai’s Jebel Ali Free Port Zone, and the port of Mina Rashid, it added.

“With 77 marine and inland terminals in over 40 countries, there is significant scope for DP World to implement the learning from this project, across its operations,” the port operator said.

“This landmark initiative will have major environmental benefits, and we are pleased to contribute to Dubai’s Integrated Energy Strategy 2030, as well as, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) vision 2021, for a sustainable environment,” DP World Group Chairman and CEO, Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, said.

Dubai’s Integrated Energy Strategy seeks to reduce energy demand by 30 percent by 2030.

The UAE vision 2021 for a sustainable environment, launched by UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Dubai Ruler, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, aims to increase the share of clean energy across the Gulf Arab state, a major oil supplier, to 27 percent by 2021.

DP World said, this solar scheme is one of the largest initiatives to be implemented under the recently launched Shams (Arabic for sun) Dubai programme, launched by Dubai Electricity and Water Authority.

DP World has appointed Green Energy Tomorrow, Phanes Group’s rooftop solar specialist, to deliver the solar panels on its warehouses, office buildings and car parks.

The Swiss Phanes Group has executed solar plant capacity across 23 projects in six countries, according to the firm’s website.

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Etihad Airways Celebrates World Animal Day

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, Oct 6 (NNN-WAM) – Etihad Airways has launched a new Animal Welfare and Conservation Policy and an #Etihad4wildlife social media competition, as part of the airline’s ongoing efforts to promote wildlife conservation.

The policy establishes best practice for excursions offered by Etihad Holidays involving animals.

It also outlines new criteria for the carriage of endangered and threatened species, hunting trophies containing any animal parts, shark fins, and live animals, intended for use in scientific research, which will not be permitted on its aircraft.

The policy also sets out commitments to the Declaration of the United for Wildlife International Task force, on the Transportation of Illegal Wildlife Products, to which Etihad Airways became a signatory in Mar of this year, at an official ceremony at Buckingham Palace in London.

Six equity partner airlines followed suit in Apr and June, to support efforts to prevent the growing trade in wildlife products.

To mark World Animal Day also, Etihad Airways is running a social media competition – a chance to win a trip to Sri Lanka, including flights, hotels, tours and transfers up for grab.

To be in with a chance of winning, entrants should share their best travel photos of animals in the wild, using the #Etihad4wildlife hashtag on Instagram and Twitter.– NNN-WAM

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Medical Tourism Tops Agenda At Dubai Conference

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, Oct 5 (NNN-WAM) – The second Dubai Health Regulation and Medical Tourism Conference, brought together professionals involved in the medical tourism industry.

It aims to explore the many opportunities for expanding Dubai’s role as a global hub for medical tourism and the development of DHX – Dubai health experience programme.

“Health regulations are very important to ensure we provide high-quality care and patients’ safety. Dubai has a strong health regulation framework and this has helped ensure quality healthcare, which in itself is a catalyst for medical tourism,” said Humaid Al Qatami, Chairman of the Board and Director-General of the Dubai Health Authority (DHA).

The two-day conference, organised by the Dubai Health Authority, aims to discuss the latest advances in health regulations and ways to strengthen regulatory mechanisms, to ensure high-quality healthcare and patients’ safety.

The conference will discuss regulations for medical tourism and the World Health Tourism Conference and will facilitate a networking session, Wednesday.

“Health regulations are the cornerstone to achieving high quality services and patients’ safety. The conference provides an opportunity for stakeholders to compare regulatory models, examine ways of promoting best practices in regulatory governance and performance, discuss the latest advances in the field and facilitates knowledge exchange,” said Dr Layla Al Marzouqi, Director of Health Regulation at the Medical Tourism Project, at the DHA.

More than 500 participants and high-level officials, including the president of the International Organisation of Medical Tourism, president of the International Association of Medical Regulatory Authorities (IAMRA), Dr. Abdul

Rahman bin Mohammad bin Nasser Al Owais, Ministry of Health and Prevention, Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD), Emirates Medical Association, and World Health Regulatory Authorities, are attending the conference.– NNN-WAM

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Dubai Airports Raises Millions For Orbis Flying Eye Hospital

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, Oct 6 (NNN-WAM) – Dubai Airports and its partners have raised AED 1.25 million (approximately US$ 340,600) for Orbis, the international eye care charity organisation, best known for its flying eye hospital, through their ‘Your Sight, Our Happiness’ campaign.

The amount raised is enough to help restore the sight of as many as 31,000 children, suffering from cataracts, worldwide.

Launched in Mar this year, under the patronage of Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman of Dubai Airports, the campaign involved a number of activities to raise funds for the noble cause.

The event hosted a special charity luncheon, sponsored by Emirates Flight Catering, where corporate entities could donate by sponsoring tables, while individuals attending the event were offered the opportunity to sponsor cataract eye surgeries, through donation coupons worth AED 40 per surgery.

The highlight of the campaign was the Plane Pull contest, where 10 teams from across the airport community took the challenge to pull National Air Cargo’s 747 aircraft the furthest distance. Each team also made a contribution for the Orbis charity via the UAE Red Crescent. Sporting contests such as basketball, football and bowling were also organised, with participants playing blindfolded to raise awareness about daily challenges faced by those with visual impairments.

Describing the campaign as a huge success, Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports said, “We are very happy with the outcome of the campaign. It is deeply satisfying to know that the collective efforts and generosity of employees of Dubai Airports and our partners, as well as the support and contribution from corporate entities, will help improve the lives of thousands of children by restoring their sight.”

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Iran’s Mahan Air To Launch Flights To Baku

BAKU, Oct 8 (NNN-Bernama) — Iranian Mahan Air airline will launch regular flights on Tehran-Baku-Tehran route from October 31.

Azerbaijan’s Azertac news agency reports that Azerbaijan State Civil Aviation Administration issued the relevant permission after receiving a request from the airline to perform flights three times a week.

Flights are scheduled three times a week on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Sundays with Airbus A310.

Azerbaijan Airlines and ATA Airlines also carry out flights to Tehran.

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Indonesia To Learn Lake Management from China’s Hangzhou

JAKARTA, Indonesia Oct. 7 (NNN-Xinhua) — Indonesia will send a delegation to China’s Hangzhou city to learn how the city manages its famous tour destination Xi Hu lake, seeking more cooperation with China in tourism sector.

The assignment was related to Indonesia’s plan to further develop Lake Toba in North Sumatra province as one of ten new tour destinations developed by government to boost tourism sector.

The Indonesian delegation was scheduled to undergo the visit to Hangzhou from Oct. 10 to 13, consisted of officials from ministries tasked to develop Indonesia’s new tour destinations and from regencies around Lake Toba.

“Indonesian government would also look forward for possibilities to establish more cooperation with China (in tourism sector). Arranging a MoU on Sister Lake between Hangzhou and regencies around Lake Toba was among them,” a statement released on Friday by Indonesian tourism ministry said.

In the visit, Indonesian delegation would learn how Hangzhou develops Lake Xi Hu and has successfully made it among the most favorite tour destinations in China.

Indonesia’s Lake Toba was Indonesia’s largest natural lake existed in Sumatra. The 3,000 kilometer square lake was created from prehistoric volcanic eruption.

By improving the accessibility, accommodations and amenity for tourists visiting Lake Toba, Indonesia expects to see 2 million visitors to come to the landmark lake by 2019.

Besides Lake Toba, projects to develop nine other new major tour destinations have been carried out by the government in Borobudur temple, Mandalika, Labuhan Bajo, Bromo-Tengger-Semeru, Kepulauan Seribu, Wakatobi, Tanjung Lesung, Morotai, and Tanjung Kelayang.

Those new tour destinations were expected to produce significant earnings at a scale of resort island of Bali which has been favored by tourists from across the world.

Indonesia has set tourism as a major earner sector, is highly expected to significantly contribute the nation’s effort to propel the economy amid the ensuing downturns in large-earner sectors of oil and gas, coal and palm oil.

Tourism sector has demonstrated growing records with increasing contribution to Indonesia’s GDP were also seen in the last few years.

Indonesia has set target to see 20 million visitors by 2019 from 12 million ones expected this year.

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Sharjah Int’l Book Fair to host acclaimed Egyptian actor

MENAFN – Khaleej Times – 06/10/2016 – The 35th edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF), taking place on November 2, 2016, will play host to renowned Egyptian actor Ezzat Al Alaili in appreciation of his significant contribution to Egyptian Cinema over the decades.

Known for his highly creative film and TV interpretations of the best Egyptian and Arabic novels, the acclaimed actor has also been a witness to the Arab world’s cultural and intellectual transformations.

The importance of Al Alaili in a cultural context is in line with the vision of SIBF, where pivotal issues in the Arab cultural landscape are paramount.

He has portrayed unique Arabic cracters throughout crucial transitions in history, in movies starting from the 1950s until now. The now 82-year-old actor also played the central character in Al Ikhtiar (The Choice), which was based on a novel by Naguib Mahfouz, winner of 1988 Nobel Prize for Literature.

Al Alaili played the lead role in Al Saqa Mat (The Water Carrier is Dead), based on a novel of the same name, revolving around the concept of death in the 1920s and 1930s. Among his other key roles were Aad Li Yantaqim (Back with a Vengeance), Al Qadisiyya (Battle of Al Qadissiya), Al Faas Fi Al Raas (Too Late), Thiaab La Takol Al Lahm (Wolves Which Do Not Eat Meat) and many more.

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Iran to become Peugeot’s top supplier in the region

MENAFN – 06/10/2016 – IRNA reported that the Chairman of the Managing Board of PSA Peugeot Citroen stated that “Iran will become Peugeot top supplier in the Middle East and North Africa”.

While Peugeot’s manufacturing plan for its market of Middle East and North Africa is one million cars in 2025, 75% of which will be produced in the region.

Also, he confirmed: “After two years of negotiations, we have reached satisfactory conclusions with IKCO, and all the expectations of the Iranian Ministry of Industry have been fully met.”

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UAE, Niger explore prospects for joint partnerships

ABU DHABI, 5th October, 2016 (WAM) — His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger, on Wednesday, explored prospects for building joint constructive partnerships in economic, trade, investment and developmental areas by harnessing diverse resources and potentials available in both countries.

During a meeting in Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohamed and President Issoufou tackled regional and international efforts to counter terrorism and extremism, emphasising the importance of intensifying international co-operation and co-ordination to confront terrorist groups and their sponsors. They also affirmed the need for consolidating pillars of stability and security in the region and beyond.

Sheikh Mohamed affirmed the UAE’s desire to build and expand close friendship ties with friendly countries. He said relations with the Republic of Niger were growing steadily and hoped these ties would scale to new heights of progress for the best interest of the two friendly countries and their people.

The President of Niger said he was delighted at visiting the UAE and at meeting with HH, expressing his country’s interest in developing ties of co-operation with the UAE, particularly in developmental and economic areas.

During the meeting, they also took stock of the latest regional and international developments and exchanged views on a variety of issues of mutual concern.

Present from the UAE side were Ali bin Hammad Al Shamsi, Deputy Secretary-General of the National Security Council, Mohammed Mubarak Al Mazrouie, Undersecretary of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court, and Lt. General Isa Saif bin Ablan Al Mazrouei, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces.

From the Niger side, the meeting was attended by a high-level delegation including Ibrahim Yacoubou, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and African Integration.

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DP World Dubai starts work on mega solar project

MENAFN – 06/10/2016 – DP World, the Dubai-based global shipping terminal operator has started building the largest solar rooftop project in the Mideast with the application of 88.000 rooftop solar plants.

The scheme of the project will have major environmental benefits and is part of DP World”s commitment to being a world lader in sustainability.

Moreover, once phase one is finished by 2017, the project will offer enough clean power for 3.000 homes a year.

The DP World Solar Program will contribute to energy diversification in the region as part of Dubai”s Integrated Energy Strategy 2030 to cut energy demand by 30pct.

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Sixth edition of ‘EXPO FINANCES 2016’ opens in Tunis

Tunis, Tunisia, October 8, 2016 – The Sixth edition of “EXPO FINANCES 2016”, the International fair of Bank, Electronic Banking and Financial Services, opened on Friday in Tunis.

Chaired by Minister of Finance Lamia Zribi, the official inauguration which took place was for some exhibitors the opportunity to present their main innovations in Financial services.

For the Minister, this fair is rather “an initiative to both citizens and companies, to learn about new developments in financial services, and communicate the new guidelines aimed to improve the financial sector’s contribution in financing the economy, especially small-and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs),” she said.

Emphasis was placed on the need to promote banking services, through development of means of payment, particularly mobile banking, and the use of new technologies in this field, according to the Minister.

Regarding the banking sector, the Minister said that a dynamic of modernization and restructuring is now underway within the banking institutions, including public, in order to consolidate their capital base and solve the problem of hanging debts of these banks for a long time.

The objectives of this dynamic being, a better response to the citizens’ needs and a better support for investors, both inside and outside the country.

The 6th edition of the exhibition “EXPO FINANCE 2016”, is held on October 6 – 8, at the initiative of the Tunisian Professional Association of Banks and Financial Institutions (APTBEF).

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Pakistan seeks $1.7 Billion bids for Southern Highway

ISLAMABAD, Oct 7 (APP): Pakistan is seeking foreign investment of $1.7 billion to build a new highway in the southern province of Sindh to supplement a Chinese funded infrastructure network being laid across the country, reports Bloomberg.

The Bloomberg, report said that the National Highway Authority will ask for bids next week for the 296 kilometers (184 miles) highway between the cities of Hyderabad and Sukkar, the agency’s Chairman Shahid Ashraf Tarar said in an interview.

“Other than the Chinese, this time we expect that Turkish, Malaysians and South Koreans will come and bid,” Bloomberg said quoting Mr.Tarar.

The Bloomberg further reported that Pakistan’s economic growth has accelerated to almost 5 percent in the past three years after averting a balance of payments crisis in 2013 by submitting to an International Monetary Fund loan program worth $6.6 billion, which ended last month.

The Bloomberg news report said that along with an easing of inflation and as domestic security threats have abated, China announced last year it would invest in projects worth about $46 billion in Pakistan as part of China Pakistan Economic Corridor.

The report further said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is pegging his 2018 re election campaign on bridging chronic energy and infrastructure gaps as his administration targets a 7 percent economic growth rate within two years.

The construction of a six lane highway on the eastern route of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor is expected to start in the first quarter of next year, the Bloomberg said.

“There is big gap between the potential and the actual road network,” said Mohammed Sohail, chief executive officer of Topline Securities Pakistan Ltd. in Karachi.

“Investors will look into this opportunity” as the economy continues to expand, he said. Start your day with what’s moving markets.

The Bloomberg further said that the highway authority has so far started over $9.5 billion worth of projects in the past three years and is hoping to attract another $5 billion investment in the next five, more than half of which will be pegged to upgrade the China corridor routes, Tarar said.

The length of the main highway will be tripled to 1,800 kilometers by linking all road arteries with industrial zones on the route, he said.

The 3,000 kilometer long corridor stretches from Xinjiang in western China to Pakistan’s Gwadar on the Arabian Sea. Of China’s planned investment, $11 billion is allocated for infrastructure projects and big chunk of it will be spent in Balochistan province, home to the deep sea port in Gwadar.

“The landscape of infrastructure is going to be transformed in the next three years,” said Tarar. “Imagine you travel from Karachi to Peshawar on the motorway, the time and energy it’ll save with security ensured. Unless you have good infrastructure the economy will drag.”

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Pak-Turkey should establish direct road, railways links: ICCI

ISLAMABAD, Oct 6 (APP): The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) has proposed that Pakistan and Turkey should establish direct road and railways links to further enhance economic relations and bilateral trade.

“The direct links will greatly help in further improving bilateral trade and economic relations between Pakistan and Turkey,” President, ICCI, Khalid Iqbal Malik said.

Talking to a Turkish delegation led by Vice Chairman for Fair, Forum and Organization Commission, Omur Yildiz which recently visited the ICCI, he said that Pakistan and Turkey enjoyed very cordial relations since long. He stressed that these good relations should be transformed into strong business partnerships for the mutual benefit of both countries.

He said that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) offered huge investment opportunities and Turkish investors should focus on energy, infrastructure development, construction, information technology, food processing, agro-based products, dairy development, furniture and hotel industry, tourism and resorts development sectors in Pakistan for joint ventures and investment.

He said the potential for economic cooperation between Pakistan and Turkey has not been fully exploited as yet because the bilateral trade of less than US$ 1 billion was far less than their real potential.

He emphasized that both countries should focus on frequent exchange of trade delegations and organize single country exhibitions to improve two-way trade.

Khalid Malik Senior Vice President and Tahir Ayub Vice President, ICCI also spoke on the occasion and urged that Pakistan and Turkey should focus on signing a Free Trade Agreement to facilitate trade promotion.

The head of Turkish delegation invited Pakistani businessmen to participate in Istanbul Expo to be held from November 9-12 to enhance their business prospects.

He said, the Expo would offer good platform to Pakistani business community for trade cooperation and global partnerships with businessmen and investors of Turkey and other countries.

Khalid Malik assured that ICCI delegation will try to participate in the Expo 16 to explore business opportunities.

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Two day Kalash language exhibition concludes

ISLAMABAD, Oct 8 (APP): A two day Kalash language, artisans at work exhibition and seminar was concluded here at Lok Virsa Heritage Museum Hall on Saturday.

Around 25 people from Kalasha community participated in the two day event and presented their culture, lifestyle and language.

The event was arranged by Ayun and Valleys Development Programme (AVDP) a local support organization of Kalash Valley in collaboration with Lok Virsa.

One of the important part of the event was Kalasha language such as folk songs, tales and first ever, Kalasha Proverbs were part of the discussion. Kalasha script and orthography were also touched slightly.

An official of Lok Virsa told APP that the exhibition and seminar was arranged with an objective to create ownership among children regarding Pakistan’s languages and cultural heritage, provide them an orientation about regional languages and indigenous folk cultures and re affirm our identity of being a multi cultural and pluralistic country,”

The purposes of AVDP is to improve the quality of life of the rural populace of UC Ayun.

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Architectural style calligraphy showcased at Rawalpindi Arts Council

RAWALPINDI, Oct 4 (APP):- In connection with the sacred month of Muharam-ul-Haram, a calligraphic exhibition by Abbotabad based senior calligrapher Jahanzeb Malik Tuesday was arranged under auspices of Rawalpindi Arts Council (RAC) here.

Member Punjab Assembly (MPA) Raja Muhammad Hanif Advocate accompanied by Naheed Manzoor, Aftab Ahmed Khan, Mansoor Rahi, Director NCA Nadeem Umer and Resident Director Waqar Ahmed inaugurated the exhibition.

The artist has introduced new calligraphic style in Architectural form. There were 99 names of Allah and 40 ayatsout of 140 unique art pieces have been scribed in tilt and pane shape.

Jahanzeb Malik used no traditional “khats” having his own creation of mind which made different from others.

The artist who is an engineer by profession used Architectural style in calligraphy.

Addressing at the inaugural session, Raja Muhammad Hanif said that Jahanzeb Malik succeeded to introduce new technique of calligraphy which is a unique style.

Waqar Ahmed said Jahanzeb Malik is an amazing artist and calligrapher and due to his work, the people of twin cities have witnessed new form of calligraphy.

The exhibition would go on display till October, 8.

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Vice president opens Tafisa Games 2016 in Ancol

9 October 2016, Jakarta (ANTARA News) – Vice President Muhammad Jusuf Kalla on Saturday night officially opened the 6th Association for International Sport for All (TAFISA) Games 2016 at the recreational park Taman Impian Jaya Ancol.

The opening ceremony was also attended, among others, by TAFISA president Ju-Ho Chang, Youth and Sports Affairs Minister Imam Nahrawi and the chairman of the organizing committee of TAFISA Games 2016, Hayono Isman.

Athletes from more than 84 countries are participating in this international sports event.

The opening event was marked by a drizzle.

“When I was a child, the most interesting game for me was to play with a ball when it was raining. Tonight, the rain has become a part of the opening ceremony of TAFISA,” the Vice President stated.

A total of 54 traditional sports will be played at this international event. The theme of the games is Unity in Diversity, a motto that Indonesia has adopted.

Jusuf Kalla further said the recreational games are expected to inspire Indonesians to adopt a better life style and will motivate the youth through sports.

The Indonesian martial arts, poco-poco dance and Dol music highlighted the opening of the sports event.

Previously, the chairman of the organizing committee of TAFISA Games 2016, Hayono Isman, had stated that the event is aimed at generating a feeling of togetherness. Competing against each other is not the primary target of these games, he added.

Apart from the traditional sports, TAFISA will also feature a sports-related fashion show, “Indonesia Sport Fashion Week.”

As many as 325 athletes from West Java will represent Indonesia at these 6th TAFISA that will continue till October 12, 2016.

The Tafisa World Sport for All Games 2016 is a community recreational sports competition involving traditional sports and concepts such as adventure, challenge, health and fitness, the West Java provincial governor, Ahmad Heryawan (Aher), explained in Bandung on Wednesday (Oct 5).

This sports event is an effort to publicize and preserve the traditional sports, especially those from various regions in Indonesia which have almost become extinct.

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Halal zone to appear in Pulogadung Industrial Area

7 October 2016, Jakarta (ANTARA News) – Halal Zone will soon arrive in Pulogadung Industrial Area, East Jakarta, serving as a showcase for Indonesias halal industrial products, officials said.

“Halal Zone will have facilities that support halal management and halal product distribution,” Financial and Supporting Director of PT Jakarta Industrial Estate Pulogadung (JIEP) Sitta Izza Rosdaniah stated here on Friday.

The zone will feature Muslim Fashion Hub, MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Events), Halal Warehouse, Halal Laboratory, Shariah Finance Centre, National Creative Industry and Training Centre, Halal Lifestyle Showcases, National Logistics Centre, Halal Culinary Centre, and Organic Urban Farming.

“We want establish a halal laboratory in the industrial area,” Sitta noted, adding that the facilitys management will prioritize small and medium enterprises to help them develop their businesses.

According to her, these enterprises need support to meet halal standards for their products.

“This is the meaning of a halal zone, where people can get assistance and the opportunity to consult with experts,” Sitta remarked.

JIEP also provides special facilities for all business sectors in the industrial area.

On August 2016, in Jakarta, JIEP signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with the Indonesian Port Corporation (IPC) on the Study of Development and Operation Cooperation in the Pulogadung Industrial Area.

The agreement was for the preparation of a study of an Integrated Logistics Area for an International Halal Hub in the JIEP area.

The MoA is aimed at establishing a partnership and synergy between JIEP and Pelindo to develop the International Halal Hub and Halal Port.

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Indonesia’s foreign exchange reserves hit US$115.7 billion

Jakarta, 7 October 2016 (ANTARA News) – Indonesia’s foreign exchange reserves had increased by US$2.2 billion to US$115.7 billion by the end of September 2016 from US$113.5 billion earlier.

Bank Indonesias senior deputy governor Mirza Adityaswara said here on Friday the countrys foreign exchange reserves continued to increase, thanks to the strong flow of foreign capital into the capital market.

He explained that this was on account of the fact that the changes in the interest rate of the US Federal Reserve have become more predictable lately.

“The foreign capital is flowing to the emerging markets. When foreign capital enters BI (Bank Indonesia), it strengthens our foreign exchange reserves,” he noted.

The market players also have more confidence now following the success of the first period of the tax amnesty program. During this first phase that ran from July to September, redemption funds worth Rp97.2 trillion were collected while Rp137 trillion came in the form of repatriated funds.

He disclosed that most of the foreign capital that flowed into the country came from market players. That basically meant that it was not sure if the rise in the foreign exchange reserves was on account of foreign capital inflow through repatriation.

“We are still awaiting funds from the repatriation exercise. Therefore, the impact of realization from the tax amnesty program was still to be seen,” he added.

In a statement, Bank Indonesia said the rise in foreign exchange reserves was courtesy receipts from tax and oil and gas foreign exchange as well as foreign debts of the government.

It was also the result of the auction of Bank Indonesia Securities (SBBI) in foreign currencies that surpassed the need to pay the governments foreign debts and the SBBI that have attained their due date.

The foreign exchange reserves until the end of September 2016 were enough for financing 8.9 months of imports (or 8.5 months of imports and government’s foreign debt payment) and were above the international adequacy standard of around three months of imports.

“Bank Indonesia thinks the foreign exchange reserves could support the external sectors resilience and maintain the sustainability of the countrys economic growth in the future,” BIs director of communications Arbonas Hutabarat underlined.

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VP urges environment forestry ministry to familiarize people with peatland restoration

Jakarta (ANTARA News), 7 October 2016 – Vice President Muhammad Jusuf Kalla has instructed the Environment and Forestry Ministry to familiarize all sections of the society with the importance of restoring the peatland.

“The vice president has urged the ministry to disseminate information about peatland restoration in all regions of Indonesia,” Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya said here on Friday.

The discussion on peatland restoration was led by the vice president himself.

The minister remarked that mutual understanding among the central government, the local administration, and the investors was needed to avoid any problems in the future.

“Restoration of peatland was aimed at preserving the environment,” the minister pointed out.

The government will release a government regulation (PP) on environmental economy.

“Currently, 15 companies have expressed an interest to carry out restoration of the ecosystem in Indonesia, but some of them are not into peatland restoration,” the minister stated.

Indonesia’s peatland area is estimated at 20.6 million hectares, or about 10.8 percent of the countrys total land area. Of this, approximately 7.2 million hectares, or 35 percent, is located on the Sumatra Island.

The Indonesian government had earlier issued a presidential regulation for the establishment of a peatland restoration body to prevent fires in the future.

Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar remarked here on Wednesday that the Presidential Regulation (Perpres) Number 1 of 2016 was issued on January 6, 2016.

“Actually, much of the peat body’s task comprises restoring the landscape and the peatland ecology, thus saving and protecting the environment and preventing any fires,” she affirmed.

She explained that the institution was tasked with safeguarding, managing, and restoring the peatland areas.

She informed that two to three million hectares of peatland areas will be restored.

The minister explained that several institutions and ministries such as the Environment and Forestry Ministry, the Public Works and Housing Ministry, the Agriculture Ministry, the Agrarian and Spatial Affairs Ministry, and the National Development Planning Board will be involved in the effort.

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Indonesia expects food self-sufficiency in 2018

Jakarta (ANTARA News), 7 October 2016 – Food self-sufficiency is expected to be realized in 2018, and there will be no imports in 2016, Vice President Jusuf Kalla asserted.

“Food-sufficiency is expected to be realized within three years for which the efforts have started a year ago,” Kalla said here Friday.

In order to reach the target several steps have been implemented, including improvement of irrigation methods, and seedling and fertilizer preparation, he added.

Food security and resilience have been an issue for Indonesia for some time now. It was once a major rice exporter in Asia but is now relying quite heavily on rice imports to meet peoples staple food requirements.

Food security is also an important social objective.

Therefore, relying on food markets outside the country in order to meet the needs of Indonesias growing population is critical.

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Attica Zoological Park inaugurates Sumatran tiger exhibit

7 October 2016, Jakarta (ANTARA News) – The Attica Zoological Park in Athens, Greece, announced the inauguration of its new Sumatran tiger exhibit on October 4 to mark World Animal Day.

The Sumatran tiger was given special treatment at the Attica Zoo on World Animal Day, an international awareness day aimed at spotlighting the cruel treatment of animals by humans, to support the rights of animals on a global basis, and to treat them like living creatures and not as products or things.

The inauguration of the Sumatran tiger exhibit was led by Indonesias Ambassador to Greece in the presence of students from Byron College, environmentalists, animal lovers, friends of Indonesia, and the visitors to Attica Zoo.

John Admiral, First Secretary of the Indonesian Embassy in Athens, stated that the inauguration of exhibit in conjunction with the World Animal Day will help boost public awareness and education about protecting critically endangered animals.

Protecting critically endangered animals, including the Sumatran tiger, is necessary for creating a safe and comfortable world for all animals.

The Sumatran tiger is classified as a critically endangered animal by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which said that the tiger is the face of Asias biodiversity and an emblem of the worlds natural heritage.

IUCN President Ashok Khosla stated that the international trade in tigers and tiger parts is universally illegal, and it must be stopped immediately.

The countries of origin or destination of such trade must enforce their laws with utmost rigor.

He noted that action to save the tiger must be launched now, so that next year, which has been declared as the Year of the Tiger, efforts begin to ensure that the tiger’s world is not in a crisis, but can become a symbol of celebration and a model of success.

To raise awareness and love for the animals, as well as knowledge about the Sumatran tiger, visitors to the Attica Zoological Park were given a brochure and an explanation about the diversity of the endemic fauna of Indonesia and the characteristics of the Sumatran Tiger.

The pair of Sumatran tigers in Attica Zoo was brought from zoos in Sweden and France through the European Endangered Species Program (EEP), which manages the development of the population of endangered animals.

Currently, there are only 122 Sumatran tigers in zoos in Europe, and therefore, the development of its population has become one of the main programs of the EEP.

In Indonesia, the landscape is critical for the long-term survival of Sumatran tigers as it serves as both a tiger source site and a critical corridor for tiger movement across the region.

Rampant poaching, coupled with the opening of massive plantation areas and forest fires, has led to a continued drop in the number of protected Sumatran tigers.

The Sumatran tiger is one of the last remaining tiger species in Indonesia after the Balinese and Javanese tiger species were declared extinct, but now, its existence remains under threat because its habitat has shrunk and it is being hunted for trading.

Environment and Forestry Ministry (KLHK) officials recently apprehended two men in possession of a Sumatran tiger’s skin in the Indragiri Hulu District, Riau Province, according to Security and Law Enforcement Center for Environment and Forests spokesman Edward Hutapea.

He stated that the two men are known by their initials as AH (51) and JO (35). The intact Sumatran tiger skin they were carrying was seized as evidence.

After a two-week coordination effort between the KLHK, Jambi Natural Resources Conservation Agency, and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and reconnaissance in Jambi, the officials apprehended the duo for illegally possessing the Sumatran tiger skin.

WWF said there is still a substantial market in Asia for tiger parts and products.

Both actors are still being questioned as witnesses, but it is possible that their status will be upgraded as suspects if the investigators find any evidence of criminal activity.

The confiscated Sumatran tiger skin was some two meters long and was intact, with no defects from head to tail, indicating that the poachers were professionals.

A South Sumatran police team had also caught a man named Suharno alias Reno, a trader in Lubuklinggau city, South Sumatra, earlier this year.

When Suharno was caught, he was in possession of a tiger skin that was 120 centimeters long in a plastic bag containing preservatives and some tiger bones weighing two kilograms.

The man claimed he receive these parts from a tiger hunter in Jambi.

An intact tiger skin can be sold between Rp50 million and Rp100 million, depending on its size and condition.

Suharno was later sentenced by the district court of Palembang to six months in jail while he could have been given a maximum sentence of five years and fined Rp100 million, based on Law Number 5 of 1990 on Ecosystem and Conservation of Living Natural Resources.

However, Animals Indonesia, a social community institution for animal conservation, deplored the fact that the Palembang district court meted out a light sentence to Suharno, the man involved in the tiger skin trade.

For Animals Indonesia, the light sentencing of Suharno was very disappointing because the defendant was clearly proven to be indulging in trading skin and bones of the Sumatran tiger, a species falling under the protected animal category.

Therefore, every effort must be made to raise public awareness of wildlife protection after many large mammals, such as Sumatran tigers are killed each year, their tusks hacked out, and their bodies left to rot.

Public awareness must also be raised to curb the illicit trade involving wild animals and their products, which is currently the worlds fifth largest business, with a turnover of US$19 billion each year.

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Flower of world’s tallest flowering plant to blossom in Bengkulu

7 October 2016, Bengkulu (ANTARA News) – The flower of the worlds tallest flowering plant Amorphophallus gigas, four meters tall, will blossom in a breeding place in Kepahiang, Bengkulu, Sumatra.

“In our estimate, the flower of the plant will blossom in two or three days. It is four meters tall,” Holodin, the owner of the breeding place in the village of Tebat Monok, Kepahiang, said on Thursday.

Amorphophallus gigas is locally known as Bunga Bangkai (Carrion Flower ) as it issues unpleasant smell.

Bunga Bangkai is an endemic flowing plant in Bengkulu beside Rafflesia arnoldii.

In the 3 hectare breeding place near the protected forest of Bukit Daun, two hours away by car from the city of Bengkulu, Holidin also grew three other species of Amorphophallus, including Amorphophallus titanum, Amorphophallus variabilis and Amorphophallus paeonifolius.

“This is the third Amorphophallus gigas to blossom in this breeding place,” he said.

Earlier , in the same location Amorphophallus gigas, 4.1 meters tall, blossomed in in March 2016.

The first gigas type to blossom in that place was in March 2013 with plant three meters tall.

Holidin said he did not ask visitors to pay any but hopes them to give donation voluntarily he needed to tend the garden with rare plants.

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Indonesian music duo Stars and Rabbit to perform in UK

Jakarta,5 October 2016 (ANTARA News) – Indonesian folk music duo Stars and Rabbit have announced that they will be conducting a UK tour in October.

Their “Baby Eyes” tour will kick off at Gwdihw in Cardiff on October 12, before heading to The Good Ship in London on October 14, Green Door Store in Brighton on October 17 and The Dublin Castle in London on October 20.

This is a dream trip for the musicians, who formed their band in 2011 in Yogyakarta.

“Only by looking through it can you see the beauty of something,” said vocalist Elda here on Wednesday.

At the beginning of their career, Stars and Rabbit received a lot of positive responses from the United Kingdom, especially for their three-song demo that they released through social media.

“Thanks to the help of friends in the United Kingdom and Indonesia and support from the UK government, we have been able to finish the tour process easier and faster,” she remarked.

The duo have invited three additional musicians to join their tour — bassist Natural Segara, drummer Andi Irfanto, and keyboardist Vicky Unggul.

The Baby Eyes tour was initially scheduled for 2017, but because plans to hold a solo concert outside Yogyakarta were cancelled, the UK tour finally came to fruition.

“We have to move. Art is limitless; limiting art actually makes it hard to develop,” said guitarist Adi.

The band had an Asian tour in 2015 where they visited seven cities in three countries to promote their debut album “Constellation.”

The UK tour will work in coordination with Starcross, a local clothing brand from Yogyakarta. For more information on concerts and other info, please visit www.starsandrabbit.com/

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Indonesia’s biosphere reserve management for sustainable development

3 October 2016 Jakarta (ANTARA News) – Foreign Affairs Minister Retno LP Marsudi has said managing the biosphere reserves in Indonesia is part of the governments commitment to sustainable development.

The minister made the statement while receiving Indonesian Ambassador to France and the Permanent Representative to UNESCO, Hotmangaradja Pandjaitan, who delivered a certificate of UNESCO Man and Biosphere (MAB) for Indonesia, here on Monday.

The designation of Belambangan as the worlds 11th biosphere reserve reflects the recognition that the international community accords to Indonesias natural wealth which must be protected, Minister Marsudi stated.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has designated Belambangan, spread over four districts—Banyuwangi, Jember, Bondowoso and Situbondo— in East Java, as a biosphere reserve.

The decision was taken during a session of the International Coordinating Council (ICC) Program of Man and the Biosphere (MAB), held in Lima, Peru, in March 2016.

The Blambangan biosphere reserve comprises three national parks, namely, Alas Purwo, Baluran and Meru, as well as one nature reserve – Kawah Ijen.

The reserve consists of terrestrial and marine ecosystems featuring karst landscapes, savannah and different types of forests including alpine/subalpine, upper, dry and lower montane (mountain), lowland, coastal and mangrove.

The site also features seagrass beds and coral reefs. The main economic activities of the biosphere reserve are agriculture and horticulture, as well as agroforestry (teak and mahogany).

Mangroves are also present in the biosphere reserve and coral reef ecosystems can be found in the buffer zone. More than 300 species of fish have been identified and the reefs are dominated by coral species of the Acropora genus.

The region is a biodiversity hotspot with many faunal species including the Banteng or Javanese wild bull (Bos javanicus), the Christmas frigatebird (Fregata andrewsi), the green peafowl (Pavo muticus) and the endangered Javan leopard (Panthera pardus). In addition, four species of sea turtles nest on the south and east coast of Alas Purwo National Park: the olive Ridley turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea), the leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), the hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) and the green turtle (Chelonia mydas).

“The inclusion of Belambangan in the world biosphere reserve network is expected to benefit conservation and research, and to support sustainable development beneficial to local communities,” she noted.

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Bangladesh digitizes government public services

SUNAMGANJ, Oct 8, 2016 (BSS)- State Minister for Finance and Planning M A Mannan today said that the present government ensured providing all services, including digital ones, to the doorsteps of the common people.

As part of digitization process of the government, he said, the people were now getting all information using internet services from their homes.

The state minister said this while inaugurating the 500-seat “Jhilmil Auditorium’ at the South Sunamganj Upazila headquarters. The auditorium was constructed at a cost of Taka 4 crores.

The state minister said that the government had taken up massive development works to turn the country into a developed one and added “We have a policy that there would be no neglected area in the country.”

He said the government is constructing new schools, hospitals, madrashas, auditoriums, roads and bridges across the country to reduce pressure on the capital Dhaka.

Local elite and Awami League leaders addressed the function with South Sunamganj upazila chairman Abul Kalam in the chair.

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Afghanistan Uplift Projects Benefits Rural Areas

October 9, 2016 Kabul (BNA) 150 public utility projects were recently exploited in Nangarhar province by government departments for improving of people living conditions. Saifuddin Saihoon a lecturer at the Faculty of Economics, Kabul University said, generally launching of public utility projects are very effective for improving of rural living conditions especially in remote villages.

He added, the sectorial ministries including MRRD, MoPH, MoE and MoPWs who are responsible for construction and reconstruction of roads, health clinics, schools, bridges, libraries…etc should closely coordinate their plans on the fields and cooperate each other’s in remote provinces. Because inhabitants of these areas are in urgent need of abovementioned facilities. Most of rural population have no access to medical facilities, schools, roads, job opportunities. So the logic of rural development is in this point.

According to experts, one of the advantages of these projects is providing of small loans for rural inhabitants who are involved in agriculture, livestock breeding. They benefit these loans and improve their living conditions. It should be said that the rural development program which was once called as NSP created the mentality of development, jobs and social services among rural and encouraged them to take part in these projects implementation.

Massoud another economist said, majority of rural population are involved in agriculture. So the MoALD and MRRD should coordinate their plans and projects for construction of concerned projects in close cooperation of provincial departments. But transparency is an essential element in these projects quality.

According to him, if the MRRD properly supervise these projects, it would attract the people confidence and support. Otherwise rural would not trust it. As it has been seen in some districts and villages often rural are not satisfied. Because the bridges or roads that were constructed were destroyed in a short time after completion due to carelessness of project managers and use of low quality raw materials as well as lack of transparency.

These projects include water dams, submergible, roads, supporting walls, irrigation canals etc. Ahmad Jan a farmer said, the Afghan government especially the sectorial ministries who are involved in rural development projects, should provide employment opportunities to rural population because they are leading daily life with minimal resources. Due to lack of job facilities large number of able population specially educated youth leave the country and travel outside in seeking jobs despite of potential risks of life.

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Implementation of Trans-Hindukush Road In Planning Stages

October 09, 2016, Kabul (BNA) Chaired by special envoy to President on reforms and good governance, Ahmad Zia Massoud, the leading body’s session for trans-Hindukush road project was held yesterday.

In the session, minister of public works briefed related to work development of the project, saying that work on the first and second parts such as environmental, social, clearing and engineering work have been completed, while other parts of the project would be delivered to cabinet session for approval.

Minister of public works added that according to the timetable, the project would be completed in seven years with total amount of $250 million funded by Asian Development Bank.

Minister of public works also reported of reconstruction project of 86km of Salang road (Jabal-ul-Seraj – Khinjan), adding that tender process for employment of a company has begun. Related to construction of a new Salang tunnel, minister of public works asserted that employment of a company for studying and reviewing the new tunnel with 12 km length has begun and would be completed in three coming years.

After hearing report and stressing on importance of implementation of the project, special envoy to president on reforms and good governance said for better implementation of the project, professional individuals should be appointed.

Meanwhile, special envoy to president stressed that meritocracy and transparency should be considered in employment of employees.

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Afghanistan, EU Sign Contract Worth €200m On State Building

October 08, 2016, Brussels (BNA) Minister of Finance Eklil Hakimi and Neven Mimica, European commissioner for international cooperation and development signed a €200 million contract of state building on the sideline of Brussels Conference on Afghanistan.

The European commissioner for international cooperation and development said during the signing ceremony that the contract suggests their commitments in further functionality of EU´s aids to Afghanistan and that they have confidence on implying reforms by Afghan government.

Eklil Hakimi, Minister of Finance described EU as one of Afghanistan´s major donors and added that it has committed an amount of more than € 3 billion aids to Afghan government. He also added that about 78% of EU’s aid is being provided via Trust Fund to the Afghan Government.

Minister Hakimi further stated that the contract will provide more funding to implement Afghanistan’s strategic development priorities and policies.

The Brussels conference on Afghanistan is already begun in Belgium Capital where more than 100 world leaders and international organizations are supposed to announce civil aids over the four coming years for Afghanistan.

The assistance amount will be made during the years 2017 and 2018.

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Over 300 Projects Completed in Nangarhar, Afghanistan

October 9, 2016, Jalalabad City (BNA) With a cost of AFG 183, 952, 000 funded by the National Solidarity Program of the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD/NSP) more than 300 infrastructural projects have recently been executed in various parts of eastern Nangarhar province.

These projects have been implemented in Behsoud, Sarkhroaud, Koz-Konar, Dary-Noor, Kama, Goshta and Naziyan districts of the province.

The projects include the construction of irrigation canals, protection walls, Kariz (underground canals), dikes, gabion walls, retaining walls, bridges, culverts, side ditch, pathways, micro-hydraulic power dam, extension of water supplies and gravelling of rural roads.

NSP has been able to cover 377 villages and completed more than 308 welfare projects in various sectors throughout the province.

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Mountain Cycling Competitions To Be Held In Kabul

Kabul (BNA) Cycling federation in National Olympic Committee has plan to launch mountainous cycling tournaments in capital Kabul city.

Mohammad Sadeq Sadeqi head of cycling federation today told BNA reporter, it is supposed that the third round of mountainous competitions to be held in Ameed Sabz township and Karkh mountains in the current week.

40 boy athletes will participated in the matches, Sadeqi added.

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Saudi Prize for Water Studies Announces Winners of Its 7th Session

Riyadh, Muharram 4, 1438, Oct 5, 2016, SPA — The Council of Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water has approved the winners of its 7th session based on the recommendations of the selection’s committees and arbitrators for each of the innovation award and four specialized prizes for creativity in various areas of water.

The one million Saudi riyals Innovation Award was equally won by two teams from the United States of America: the first consists of Dr. Rita Colwell of the University of Maryland at College Park, United States of America, and Dr. Shafiqul Islam from Tufts University, United States of America, where this team has developed and tested a model for extracting information on Chlorophyll through satellite data to determine the expected spread of cholera up to six months before it happens.

The other half of the prize was won by Dr. Peter J. Webster of Georgia Institute of Technology, United States of America for its excellence in climate interactions in the oceans and their impact on monsoons, which are useful in early expectation of seasonal flooding a week or two weeks before they happen, helping to mitigate the disastrous effects of the floods in the coastal areas of high dense population.

As for the four specialized awards of 500,000 Saudi Riyals each, the surface water’s award was won by Dr. Gary Parker of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, United States of America in recognition of his innovative work to clarify the complex characteristics of the winding rivers and some of geomorphologic manifestations, and mechanism of sediment tranfer as well as changes in the forms of these rivers and their flood plains as a result of the movement of water and the subsequent process of erosion and the developing of new forms of geomorphology through sediment tranfer.

On groundwater Award, it was won by Dr. Tissa H. Illangasekare from Colorado School of Mines, USA in recognition of his improvement of the basic concepts of the movement of fluid flow and what they carry of chemical pollutants and the way of their travel over the seeping aquifers by performing experiences and building advanced models, allowing the possibility of building good outlook on movement of chemical contaminants in the various hydrological systems.

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Istanbul host 3rd OIC Youth and Sports Ministers Conference

Istanbul 07/10/2016, IINA – The OIC Conference of Youth and Sports Ministers opened on Thursday, October 6, 2016 in Istanbul, Republic of Turkey, with the issues of youth empowerment, participation and involvement; and capacity building, as key agenda items.

His Royal Highness Prince Abdullah bin Musaed bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, President of the General Authority for Sports in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Chairman of the Second Islamic Conference of Youth and Sports Ministers, delivered a keynote speech in which he underscored the role of the youth in the OIC Member States, especially in reinvigorating and exploring the values of Islam, and present a living example the essence of Islam.

HRH underlined the changes and challenges that face the world today; and the sense of responsibility and accountability needed for the effort to turn them into opportunities and development.

He further stressed the role of civil society and NGOs in creating stages and outlets for youth to contribute and unbolt their potential and capacities in the areas of sports, more dialogue, deeper tolerance; and network and relate to relevant experiences across the world.

Prince Abdullah bin Musaed bin Abdulaziz Al Saud then handed over the chairmanship of the ICYM to the Republic of Turkey.

Speaking on the occasion, the Turkish Youth and Sports Minister, Mr. Akif Cagatay Kilic, pointed out that the Member States, representing the entire Muslim world, have the onerous responsibility to redress misconceptions about Islam and maintain a clear distinction between Islam and terrorism.

Turkey has 29 youth centers that cater to 6 thousand young people from 30 of the OIC Member States who come to these centers and learn the magnanimous values of Islam, Mr. Kilic said.

At the end of his statement, he proposed that the Republic of Turkey plays host to the next tournament of the Islamic Solidarity Games in 2021.

Ambassador Naeem Khan, OIC Assistant Secretary General for Science and Technology, and head of the OIC delegation to the Conference also delivered remarks in the inaugural session. Addressing the Conference on behalf of the OIC Secretary General, he underscored the importance of role of the youth in the Muslim world, pointing out that the latest demographic projections suggest the share of the youth will increase in the OIC countries while it will continue to decline in the rest of the world.

He emphasized the need to harness the capabilities of youth so that they become a catalyst for socio-economic development and stability in the Member States. He expressed optimism that the “Youth Strategy” under discussion by the conference, would be a mean to unlock energies of youth for a better and more prosperous future in the OIC Member States.

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Oman hosts international photography circuit

Muscat, Oct. 3 (BNA): The First Oman International Photography Circuit (OIPC) continues at the headquarters of the Omani Photographic Society (OPS).

The exhibition was opened Wednesday last week and runs until mid-October. It includes 210 pictures by photographers from 60 countries, according to Oman News Agency (ONA).

The OIPC is organized for the first time in the Sultanate as an open international contest to all photographers the world. The competition includes four private salons with four themes where participants compete in two main themes of nature and people lives and two sub-themes, one in colors and the other in black and white

The competition aims at creating a competitive environment for Omani photographers that help them to socialize and compete with their counterparts from all over the world, which helps them to raise their artistic level.

The competition will also be an important asset to the cultural events in the Sultanate and the confirmation of the ability of the people of the Sultanate to organize international cultural events that reflect the cultural development of the Sultanate and its sons.

This competition is internationally accredited as it is organized under the umbrella of the three international organizations, namely International Federation of Photographic Art (Fiab), Global Photographic Union (GPU) and the International Association of Art Photographers (IAAP). At the local level, the contest is supported and hosted by OPS of the Sultan Qaboos Higher Centre for Culture and Science. OPS in turn has an international weighty as its FIAP Middle East Accredited Centre, ONA reported.

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Family shopping exhibition held in Muscat

Muscat, Oct 5 (BNA): Family Shopping Exhibition was concluded at Oman International Exhibition Centre (OIEC) in Muscat.

The exhibition was organized by City International Exhibitions during 27th September till 3rd October. As many as 450 companies from inside and outside the Sultanate took part in exhibition, according to Oman News Agency (ONA).

The exhibition included various products, such as electrical goods, ready-made textiles and decorations, besides organizing the light village and staging some traditional arts, ONA reported.

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Largest Kyrgyz kalpak head-dress to be included in Guinness Records

Bishkek, October 7 / Kabar /. The Guinness World Records accepted the request for registration of the world’s largest Kyrgyz national headdress – kalpak, one of the manufacturers of the headdress Soltobek Erkin told Kabar Agency.

He said that a group of students produced the kalpak with 2.7 meters height dedicated for the Day of the national headdress, then applied to the Guinness Book of Records as “The largest kalpak”.

“I applied in April, and yesterday received a letter, that now I must obtain a certificate to confirm the record. To do this I need to collect nine documents. For example, Book of Records team needs a proof, video demonstration, pictures and articles in the media about this kalpak, the testimony of two witnesses,” he said.

Also Soltobek Erkin said that the kalpak was made from natural felt and they plan to give it to the National Museum, so that tourists could also see it.

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Korea to Promote Food Security in Kyrgyzstan

Bishkek, Khabar Agency. Kazakh-tv.kz. The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) signed a three-year agreement to improve food security, nutrition and resilience to climate-related and economic shocks for more than 80,000 vulnerable people in four Kyrgyz provinces, Relief Web reported.

Under the agreement, KOICA will provide WFP with US$4 million to design and implement, in partnership with the Ministry of Labour and Social Development, projects that focus on creating or restoring community assets to improve food security and resilience to climate risks and agricultural productivity.

The grant will also fund vocational training for people to learn skills to help increase their incomes as well as training on nutrition and hygiene practices to improve families’ nutrition.

These projects will be implemented in the poorest areas of the Batken, Jalal-Abad, Osh, and Naryn provinces.

“This valuable partnership with KOICA enables WFP and the Ministry of Labour and Social Development to extend their existing productive safety nets project to new areas,” said WFP Kyrgyz Republic Country Director Ram Saravanamuttu. “This ensures that our activities, which are widely recognized for enhancing social development, have a broader impact on rural communities and economic growth across the country.”

The grant highlights KOICA’s strategic vision “to address global development by pursuing global harmony and facilitating the socio-economic development of partner countries” and underscores the need to enhance food security and nutrition as a foundation for sustainable development.

“The Government of Korea and KOICA support our partner countries in achieving sustainable, indigenous development of rural areas by enhancing food security, income levels and quality of life,” said Ambassador of the Republic of Korea Jung Byeong-hoo. “We look forward to our partnership with WFP and the Ministry of Labour and Social Development contributing to the socio-economic empowerment of the poorest.”

KOICA’s Country Director Park Sun Jin and WFP’s Saravanamuttu signed the agreement at a ceremony today at the Ministry of Labour and Social Development.

“Our key objective is to create a conducive environment to empower the poorest households in the country,’ said Minister of Labour and Social Development of the Kyrgyz Republic Kudaibergen Bazarbaev. “I can see this agreement opening up new opportunities to expand social support to the most vulnerable while contributing to food security, poverty alleviation and local economic development.”

In 2016, WFP plans to assist about 200,000 people through school meals and productive safety nets programmes across the Kyrgyz Republic.

KOICA’s bilateral assistance in the Kyrgyz Republic cover fields such as governance, public administration, agriculture and rural development, health and education. In 2016, it is assisting the “Election Management Capacity Building in the Kyrgyz Republic”, the “Establishment of Land Information System in the Kyrgyz Republic” and the “Establishing an e-NID System in the Kyrgyz Republic”. KOICA also operates civil society-based cooperation, overseas volunteer programs as well as training programs for the capacity building of government officials.

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Kazakhstan increases volume of exported clothing

08.10.2016 Khabar Agency. Kazakh-tv.kz. In H1 2016, exports of textiles and textile products amounted to $52.5 million and increased in comparison to the same period last year by 18.3%, media reports citing ‘KAZNEX INVEST’ National Agency. According to the Agency, the exports of the Kazakh textile factories amounted to $108.6 million in 2015. An increase in the export of garments and clothing accessories amounted to $23.6 million in 2015, which is higher by 23.6% compared to 2014.

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OIC to hold 4th Conference on Jerusalem in Azerbaijan

2 Oct 2016, Baku (IINA) – The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP) will jointly hold the 4th International Conference on the Question of Jerusalem in the Azerbaijani capital of Baku, early next spring 2017.

Speaking to the International Islamic News Agency (IINA), Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations Riyad Mansour said that the political and cultural conference will coincide with the Palestinian, Arab, Islamic and international efforts to declare 2017 the year to end the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.

He pointed out that the State of Palestine and the Arab Group have mobilized enough support for the adoption of such declaration in the next session of the United Nations General Assembly.

It is noteworthy that Senegal, Turkey and Indonesia have hosted the previous editions of the International Conference on the Question of Jerusalem, which discusses the latest developments in Jerusalem and the Israeli encroachments on the holy city.

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OIC, Anadolu Agency sign cooperation agreement

Ankara (IINA), 06 Oct 2016 – Turkey’s state-run news agency, Anadolu Agency, signed here on Wednesday a partnership agreement with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

Anadolu Agency Deputy Director-General and Editor-in-Chief Metin Mutanoglu and OIC Information Department Director Maha Akeel signed the agreement at the agency’s headquarters in the capital Ankara.

The agreement mainly covers general partnership, news exchange, information exchange, and information circulating inside the OIC.

Mutanoglu said Anadolu Agency’s groundbreaking Muslim World News package is “very important for us, because there is a vacuum right now, which was identified by us”.

He added, “So, of course, we need each other, and this is actually the reason why we created the Muslim World News Package. Because we are trying to establish and strengthen connections with all Muslim countries”, Mutanoglu said.

“We believe that the missions of the OIC and Anadolu Agency come together at this point. We can succeed at it. Because we have offices in 43 countries and representatives in 80 countries. We are in important and critical capital cities. We formed this link”, he stated.

“Our goal is to strengthen ties between Muslim countries,” said the agency’s deputy director general. “We are happy to work together with the OIC. It’s a big advantage to sign this agreement together with the OIC”.

For her part, the OIC’s Akeel said, “For us it’s very important to have this cooperation with Anadolu Agency because it gives us access and communication to know about the issues and follow them.”

On covering news on Muslims focusing on problems such as Islamophobia, she said, “The media plays a very important role, it’s our duty to counter this negative images, perceptions.”

“I look forward to cooperating on projects, programs, training, raising awareness, focusing on particular issues about Muslim communities around the world,” Akeel said.

Akeel also praised Turkey’s Chairmanship of the Islamic Summit Conference in April.

After the signing ceremony, Akeel was presented a ceramic vase as a gift.

Founded in 1969, the OIC, with a current membership of 57 states, is an international organization working to protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony.

The second largest inter-governmental organization after the UN, the OIC says, “The Organization is the collective voice of the Muslim world.”

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Turkey pledges $150 million to Afghanistan

06 Oct 2016, Brussels, (IINA) – Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced Wednesday that his country will pledge $150 million towards Afghanistan’s future, Anadolu Agency reported.

The foreign minister made the announcement at a Brussels conference on Afghanistan. “Turkey will continue supporting the Afghan government within the security and development agenda,” he said in a speech to delegates from more than 70 countries and dozens of international organizations.

The sum covers the period 2018 to 2020. Turkey has supported Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2002 and Cavusoglu said the country had changed considerably in the last 14 years, although security remained fragile and the support of the international community was still critical.

“Our official development aid to Afghanistan reached $1 billion between 2002 and 2015, which is the highest aid amount Turkey has extended to another country,” he said. The minister pointed to terrorism, drug smuggling, and poverty as the main problems facing the government.

He added that Turkey would contribute to projects relating to women’s rights. “We, with the help of Afghan officials, are now working on establishing a women’s university in Kabul,” he said.

Afghan women have been provided with military and police training in Turkey, Cavusoglu noted.

He also welcomed the peace agreement between the government and Hezb-i Islami insurgents. “Successfully implemented reforms will bring more political and social coherence in the country,” he said.

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Islamic food, lifestyle expenditure to hit $3 trillion by 2021

05 Oct 2016, Jeddah (IINA) – Muslim spend on food and beverages expected to reach $1.9 trillion by 2021, according to the fourth State of the Global Islamic Economy Report (SGIE), prepared by Thomson Reuters, the world’s leading provider of intelligent information for businesses and professionals, in partnership with the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC), and in collaboration with DinarStandard.

The report estimates global Muslim spend across sectors at over $1.9 trillion in 2015, while the Islamic finance sector has around $2 trillion in assets. Food and beverage tops Muslim spend by category, at $1.17 trillion in 2015, followed by clothing and apparel at $243 billion, media and recreation at $189 billion, travel at $151 billion, and spending on pharmaceuticals and cosmetics at $78 billion. The report also estimated that the revenue generated by Halal Certified Food and Beverage companies world-wide to be at $415 billion.

Halal food, the largest Islamic economy pillar by revenue has shown clear signs of maturity with increased private equity investments in the sector. Upgrades in regulations are also occurring, with the introduction of accreditation to oversee certifiers set to reduce complexity and encourage more players to enter the Halal food industry. The Islamic finance sector has shown robust growth and increasing sophistication. This has been coupled by the emergence of crowdfunding and platforms. While the sector has been held back by a lack of awareness of Islamic Finance product offerings, there is considerable opportunity for sector growth to reach $3.3 trillion by 2021.

Halal travel continues to broaden its reach with tremendous growth in Halal beach resorts, the launch of several dedicated airlines and the launch of the Muslim answer to Airbnb, Bookhalalhomes, and TripAdvisor, Tripfez. While Halal travel is a niche sector building momentum, it is expected to grow with Muslim spend on outbound travel expected to reach $243 billion by 2021. Modest fashion is gaining mainstream interest with several retailers and brands such as Dolce & Gabbana, Uniqlo and Burberry entering the industry and several notable investments driving the sector forward. As the sector gains traction, spend on Modest Fashion is projected to reach $368 billion by 2021.

The Halal pharmaceutical and cosmetics sector continues to expand as awareness about ingredients rises and new product development, such as permeable nail polish, the development of Halal vaccines and new ranges of nutraceuticals. Muslim spend on Pharmaceutical and Cosmetics products is expected to reach $213 billion by 2021 in aggregate.Halal Media and recreation is driving a positive reinforcement of Muslims, as new genres are addressed, Muslim spend is expected to reach $262 billion by 2021.

Majid Saif Al Ghurair, Chairman, Dubai Chamber and Board Member of the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre, said: “The Islamic economy continues to mature, growing more complex and more stable each passing year. The sector is proving itself to be one of the most viable solutions to the stagnation that is plaguing global markets. This is where the Global Islamic Economy Summit can play a productive role, gathering decision makers and key stakeholders in one high-profile event to exchange knowledge and insights, enabling them to synergistically work together to drive the sector forward and achieve sustainable economic growth.”

He added: “The State of the Global Islamic Economy Report puts matters into perspective, proving, with numbers, the staggering growth and immense potential of the Islamic economy.” Abdulla Mohammed Al Awar, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre, said: “For the fourth consecutive year, the State of the Global Islamic Economy Report presents new facts that further strengthen our conviction in Islamic economy’s ethical and regulatory framework and its ability to drive global economic growth.”

Al Awar added: “A core challenge for the Islamic economy is the need to motivate more Muslims across the globe, especially the youth, to participate in developing this ecosystem and play an integral role in the production process. In doing so, Muslims can transform from being the largest consumer base in the world to a sizeable production base capable of achieving a more sustainable future.”

Nadim Najjar, Managing Director, Middle East and North Africa, Thomson Reuters, said “Islamic Economy is one of the fastest growing tranches of the global economy. The convergence between the Islamic economic sectors is strongly expected to enhance the Islamic economy space going forward. This annual report is now a point of reference for professionals and industry players looking at the current and forecasted trends in this area.”

The Islamic economy continues to evolve, driven by young Muslims asserting their values, and requiring companies to provide products and services that meet their faith-based needs and no longer being considered niche segments in the global economy. The Islamic economy estimated to be worth $1.9 trillion and Islamic finance sector has around $2 trillion in assets in 2015.The report is released in the lead up to the Global Islamic Economy Summit 2016 (GIES) set to take place on Oct. 11-12 at Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai.

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IDB extends financing worth of over $60 billion to SMEs

04 Oct 2016, Geneva, (IINA) – The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC), a member of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group, announced that the IDB had financed more than $60 billion of trade transactions to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs), Saudi Gazette reported Tuesday.

The announcement was made by the CEO of ITFC, Engineer Hani Sonbol, who represented the corporation at the World Trade Organization’s Public Forum last month in Geneva. He called for more efforts to support development in member states “specifically during this critical time and all the economic challenges we are facing today.”

“As of today, the IDB Group has financed more than $60 billion of trade transactions all over the world. Since inception in 2008, ITFC has on its own extended trade financing worth of more than $33 billion,” he added.

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Promoting PenBorneo as research centre of choice

Bandar Seri Begawan, October 09, 2016, Borneo Bulletin THE role of international relations of a government with other governments in strengthening and developing a nation’s progress is found recorded in the history of human civilisations.

Studies have proven the important role of scholars of Islam in the archipelago and in the context of Johor Bahru and Brunei Darussalam, the relationship between the two countries have been long established in both the monarchy and the people.

This was stated by Dr Haji Abdul Kadir bin NC Mohamad, Researcher and Translator of the Brunei History Centre, in his speech at the fourth series of the ‘PenBorneo 2016’ talk held yesterday at the Borneo Research Centre in Anggerek Desa.

The talk titled, ‘Role and Contribution of the late Yang Dimuliakan Pehin Datu Seri Maharaja Dato Seri Utama (Dr) Haji Ismail bin Omar Abdul Aziz in Religious Education in Brunei Darussalam’, was a working paper which examined the role of the late scholar, in upholding the teachings of Islam through strengthening education and religious administration.

The event was organised by the Borneo Research Centre in efforts to spread the importance of history and promote ‘PenBorneo’ as the selected destination to do research and studies in line with its vision and mission.

According to Dr Haji Abdul Kadir, Yang Dimuliakan Pehin Datu Seri Maharaja Dato Seri Utama (Dr) Haji Ismail’s research methodology was based on a qualitative approach which included reviews of literature and interviews.

In the context of Islamic education in Brunei, the late scholar was instrumental in the development of religious education from the basic level, which was proved through the establishment of the first formal religious school in 1956, followed by the establishment of Arabic streams in religious schools.

He added that the late scholar’s Fatwa also played a significant role in the development of Islamic education and administration either in terms of physical development or the basic education of the country.

Through his studies, education and Islamic administration in Brunei were successfully strengthened through diplomatic relations between the Governments of Johor Darul Ta’zim and Brunei Darussalam.

His dedication and effort showed his stance on the importance of a holistic administration as a basis to prepare the next generation of quality Islamic scholars and leaders in the future.

Besides promoting ‘PenBorneo’ as a research centre for history and reference, the event also gave a clear understanding to government officers, undergraduates and the public on the importance of learning historic knowledge and research.

The talk was attended by officers from the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, Brunei Museums Department, Language and Literature Bureau, Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali and Universiti Brunei Darussalam students.

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Resident artist at Rainforest Gallery gets her own art exhibition

Bandar Sri Begawan, Borneo Bulletin, October 09, 2016 – ALLIANCE Francaise and the Rainforest Gallery yesterday held the official launching for the Pei Yee Art Exhibition, at the Alliance Francaise de Brunei headquarters in Batu Besurat.

Present as the guest of honour at the event was Dr Hajah Romaizah binti Haji Mohd Salleh, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Education.

Also among those in attendance were Pengiran Dato Paduka Haji Idris, the President of Alliance Francaise; and Loan Forgeron, the French Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam.

The launching ceremony began with a welcoming speech by Fabienne Sylla-Pousse, the former director of Alliance Francaise.

This was then followed with a speech by Dato Paduka Haji Shofry bin Haji Abdul Ghafor, the owner and manager of the Rainforest Gallery, in which he described Pei Yee’s incredible talents as an artist.

Born in 1995, Pei Yee has lived in Brunei since she was a year old. At the age of two, she contracted a high fever leaving her with reduced hearing.

She attended primary school at Seri Mulia Sarjana School, and secondary school at Sayyidina Hasan. In 2014, Pei Yee achieved a Grade B in Art during her ‘O’ Levels and won an art competition organised by the Special Education Unit of the Ministry of Education, which led to the recognition of her exceptional talents by the manager of the Rainforest Gallery.

She later joined the Rainforest Gallery as a resident artist.

A total of 22 art pieces are currently being exhibited at the Alliance Francaise de Brunei and will go on display for the entire month of October.

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UNESCO to open Regional Office in Doha

Doha, October 06 (QNA) – Qatar Fund for Development (QFD) signed a grant agreement to support the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Regional Office in Doha.

The agreement was signed on behalf of QFD by its General Manager Khalifa Jassim Al Kuwari and by Director of UNESCO Regional Office in Doha Dr Anna Paolini on behalf of UNESCO.

The grant agreement increased the State of Qatar’s contribution to support the budget of UNESCO Office in Doha to USD 500,000 to cover operating costs, meet logistics needs and support the annual Office budget for 2016.

In a press statement, QFD General Manager Khalifa Jassim Al Kuwari confirmed the joint cooperation between QFD on behalf of the State of Qatar and UNESCO, adding that QFD attaches great importance to UNESCO programs and activities aimed at supporting education, culture and science sectors, which stems from its vision to achieve comprehensive and sustainable development in developing countries.

Al Kuwari said that Qatar appreciates UNESCO’s efforts in the region, stressing QFD’s keenness to participate along with UNESCO in promoting the right of people in developing countries to preserve their heritage, culture and rights to knowledge and education.

From her part, Director of UNESCO Doha Regional Office, Dr Anna Paolini, expressed appreciation for the State of Qatar’s continued support to UNESCO, especially the UNESCO Office in Doha, stressing the importance of cooperation with QFD to support the Government’s vision to provide quality education for all as well as to continue cooperation in the fields of science and the protection of cultural heritage in all around the world.

This long-term cooperation between the State of Qatar and UNESCO’s Office has made many achievements in promoting sustainable development and addressing social, environmental and economic challenges at the regional and international levels, Dr. Paolini said, stressing that QFD’s contributions reflects Qatar’s commitment to supporting further efforts to build peace and strengthening solidarity between nations. (QNA)

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Qatar Green Building Council Launches Qatar Sustainability Awards

Doha, October 03 (QNA) – Qatar Green Building Council (QGBC) has launched the Qatar Sustainability Awards, established to commend the commitment and contributions of organizations in advancing sustainable development and environmental protection in Qatar and beyond.

The Qatar Sustainability Awards comprise six categories: green buildings, for buildings constructed or remodeled in accordance with sustainability standards; green hospitality, open to hotels that apply sustainability best practices; green service provider, honoring construction companies committed to sustainability; sustainability initiatives, recognizing start-ups furthering sustainability within societies; building products and technologies, technologies that contribute to the green building industry; and applied green research, recognizing completed research projects that have released significant research findings.

All nominations will be reviewed by an expert panel of judges comprised of senior sustainability practitioners and academics. Shortlisted nominations will be announced on October 30. The winners will be announced at the Qatar Green Building Council Conference taking place from November 13-15. “In recent years, the sustainability movement in Qatar has really begun to gain traction, with more organizations across all sectors actively seeking out ways to advance their sustainability practices,” QGBC Director Engineer Meshal Al Shamari said.

“We believe it’s time that these efforts are brought to light and given the recognition they deserve. The Qatar Sustainability Awards also serve to raise awareness about sustainability and encourage the wider community to do their part towards building a greener future,” he added. (QNA)

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Azerbaijan President visits new public parks in Baku

Baku, October 6, AZERTAC – President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, president of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Mehriban Aliyeva and vice-president of the Foundation Leyla Aliyeva have viewed the conditions created at the newly-constructed Rose Garden Park in Nasimi district, Baku.

Chairman of the Azerbaijan Caspian Shipping Closed Joint-Stock Company (ACSC) Rauf Valiyev informed the head of state and his wife about the work done here.

The new park was constructed in the area of the Radio Center of the Azerbaijan Caspian Shipping ACSC which was built in 1906. The park occupies a total area of 6,300 square metres. There are a cafe, a special leisure room, a play-ground and a fountain in the park.

More than 200 trees and flowers were planted here.

The President and his wife also attended the inauguration ceremony of “Sevirem” the park complex in Khatai district, Baku.

Executive Director of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Anar Alakbarov informed the head of state of the conditions created at the park. The complex occupies a total area of 3.2 hectares. The park is 288 metres in length and 110 metres in width. The park has three entrances. More than 4,000 trees were planted here. Modern lighting system and surveillance cameras were installed in the park. There are 14 sculptures here that were made by participants of the 1st International Sculpture Symposium “Music in Stone”, which was organized by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation in Baku.

There is also a charging station for electric cars in the complex.

President Ilham Aliyev, first lady Mehriban Aliyeva and Leyla Aliyeva planted a tree in the park.

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Trans-Caspian Transport Route committee convenes in Astana

Astana, October 8, AZERTAC – Astana has hosted a meeting of the Coordination Committee of the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route, organized by Kazakhstan Railways. The event was attended by heads of sea and railway transport authorities and seaports of member states of the committee.

Head of Azerbaijan Railways Javid Gurbanov, chairman of Azerbaijan Caspian Shipping Company Rauf Valiyev, Director General of Baku International Sea Trade Port Taleh Ziyadov and other officials represented Azerbaijan at the event.

Chaired by head of Kazakhstan Railways Kanat Alpisbayev, the meeting discussed the establishment of a union of legal entities of the Coordination Committee.

The participants stressed the importance of attracting transit and foreign cargo to Trans International Transport Route, implementing a coordinated policy for determining tariffs for cargo transportation, and increasing the efficiency of transport links.

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Japanese tourism industry reps to visit Azerbaijan

Baku, October 8, AZERTAC – A group of Japanese tourism industry representatives will be visiting Azerbaijan from October 10-14.

The trip is organized by Azerbaijan’s Culture and Tourism Ministry in partnership with the Japanese Embassy, Baku Office of Turkish Airlines and Gilan Hospitality Group.

The group will visit Baku, Shaki, Ismayilli and Qabala.

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Tourist arrivals in Azerbaijan on rise

Baku, October 7, AZERTAC – During the first three quarters of the year the number of tourists visiting Azerbaijan has reached 1,719,015, Culture and Tourism Ministry said. According to official figures, this is 169,30 people or 10 per cent more than in 2015.

The number of tourist arrivals from Arab countries increased 34 times, the ministry said. The tourist flow from Iran grew 62.9 per cent, while from Kazakhstan and Russia 17.2 and 7.6 per cent respectively.

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Kazakhs double activity of online shopping

01.10.2016, Khabar Agency. Kazakh-tv.kz. Kazakhstanis have doubled the activity of online shopping this year. For seven months of 2016, the number of transactions in the Internet has grown twofold up to 16.7 million units. According to analytical portal Ranking.kz, the financial sector strengthens its position in the competitive online market trading. If in the early 2010s only few banks were able to propose internet banking for retail customers, but nowadays there are 23 among 34 second tier banks offer their customers the possibility of non-cash payment of their bills and purchases over the Internet.

With the growing popularity of online banking among Kazakhstanis, the average payment check is also increased. During January-July, the average size of the online payment reached 8,100 tenge. The total retail market size of online banking is estimated at 136.7 billion tenge.

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Astana Ballet theatre on tour in Tokyo

06.10.2016 Khabar Agency. Kazakh-tv.kz.The first gala concert of Astana Ballet Theatre was held in Japan. The full house reigned in two-thousand seats hall. A new performance of choreographer Ricardo Amarante ‘A fuego lento’ was premiered in Tokyo. The touring program also includes one act ballets ‘Gaia’ and ‘Alem’. Japanese audience was impressed by an unusual combination of different genres, such as classical, modern and Kazakh folk dances, as well as skillfully chosen lighting and music.

Yasuo Fukuda, Former Prime Minister of Japan, said: This is the first time when I discover the Kazakh ballet for myself. I know that this is the first performance here, but I thought otherwise due to the high level of training. I liked the use of video graphics and lights. It was just a marvelous evening. It seems that Kazakhstan is located close to us. Kazakh creative teams do not often perform such musical shows in Japan. And from this point of view, today’s event has great importance for the development of relations between our countries. Although, this was the first performance of Astana Ballet Theatre in Japan, the number of visitors was impressive. The organizers received almost 20,000 applications, but after studying the profiles of potential viewers only 4,000 of them were able to attend to the Gala concert given by the Astana troupe.

Natsuo Yamaguchi, Member Of Japan’s House Of Councillors, said: I’m glad that I was able to see firsthand the modern ballet of Kazakhstan. They gave an excellent performance, dynamic and beautiful. Today’s program combines elements of both European and national culture in combination with the new ballet style and the use of modern technologies. These are the cultural achievements of Kazakhstan during the years of Independence.

Valery Kuzembayev, Director, Astana Ballet Theatre: This is the success of our country, the success of our President’s policy that our country is cognizable. That’s why people are interested in our arts. I think, this is due to the increasing interest to our country and, we try to maintain it. The next performance of Astana Ballet Theatre artists to the Japanese audience will take place in Shinjuku Bunka Senta, which will undoubtedly be another fascinating performance.

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Indonesia to host World Culture Forum

JAKARTA, 5 October 2016, (Xinhua) — Indonesia’s resort island of Bali was scheduled to host the 2nd World Culture Forum (WCF) mid this month, to be attended by more than 1,500 delegates from 65 countries.

The Indonesia-initiated international forum was originally intended to seek ways in developing cultures in the world which would eventually useful to further boost people’s life quality, world peace, prosperity and conservancy of global civilization.

“This forum would give the chance on how would cultures assist the sustainable development drive,” Indonesia’s National Education and Culture Minister Muhadjir Effendy said in a statement released on Wednesday.

The minister added that culture has an underlying role in sustainable development drive as it may act as the propeller and value adding agents to the drive.

He expected that results from the forum would essentially useful in the development of human resources globally.

The international cultural forum, which was initially held in Bali in 2013, would be attended by international top level figures, cultural experts, cultural ministers, regional leaders and representatives of non-government organization (NGO) from several countries.

The United Nations (UN) Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Director General Irina Bukova were scheduled to deliver their remarks through teleconference as keynote speakers in the upcoming event.

The other keynote speakers expected to attend the second WCF were Jordan leader King Abdullah II and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The second WCF was scheduled to be officially opened by Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Oct. 13. The whole activities related to the event would run from Oct. 10 to 14, the organizer said.

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Afriqiyah Airways acquires 20 percent of Tunisia’s aviation training company

Tunisia, October 8, 2016 — Afriqiyah Airways has acquired 20 percent of the Aviation Training Center of Tunisia (ATCT) in a deal signed today by Abubaker Elfortia, the airline’s chairman, and Chokri Zarrad, the CEO of Nouvelair, one of the existing stakeholders. He signed on behalf of the others.

The price has not been disclosed although Afriqiyah officials said that it have been “a major investment”. The stake was acquired from two Tunisian banks.

The other shareholders are Tunisair, Airbus and Thales.

The deal will bring a valuable additional income stream to Afriqiyah which has been looking to expand and diversify its income base, particularly at the present with the difficulties in converting Libyan dinars to hard cash.

The deal is also seen as making financial sense in relation to Afriqiyah’s own regular training needs. With ATCT’s two Airbus A320 flight simulators, it will ensure reduced costs for the training of Afriqiyah’s pilots who have to undergo two courses a year, each in two sessions. At present Afriqiyah pilots, as many as 150, are being trained with Lufthansa in Germany.

Today’s official signing was attended by representatives from the Libyan aviation sector and both the GNA Transportation Minister Milad Matouk and his Tunisian counterpart. Both spoke about the importance of the deal and of Libyan-Tunisian cooperation. Earlier in the day Matouk was given a tour of ATCT and a demonstration of one of the flight simulators.

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Hammamet to host Mediterranean Meetings on Human Resources, Novembe 4-5

Tunisia, October 8, 2016 – “HR Prospective: Context and Challenges,” is the theme of the 1st edition of the Mediterranean Meetings on Human Resources (MEDHR) scheduled to be organised, November 4-5 in Hammamet.

“International renowned speakers, specialists in human resources and heads of Tunisian and foreign enterprises will take part in the event, said Lotfi Darragi, Innovation Business Network (IBN) Director, at a news conference held, Friday in Tunis.

Organised by IBN and the Business Reform & Competitiveness Project (BRCP) in partnership with the Tunisian Institute of Strategic Studies (ITES) and the National Association of Human Resources Managers and Trainers (AGEF- Morocco), the event will be held in a context marked by several transformations in the world of work notably in Tunisia.

“It is time to lend the required importance to the HR function for the development and sustainability of the human capital in any enterprise,” he added, pointing out that Tunisia is facing numerous challenges in matters of HR development, mainly, the improvement of its human capital’s employability and the professionalisation of young job seekers’ skills.

“Actually, several enterprises are today in need of particular profiles they cannot find,” he added.

According to MED HR steering committee president Maha Chhata Meddeb, “the event will gather about 300 HR professionals from the Mediterranean basin and will be a lever to devise a new employment strategy in the country and democratise the human resources management sector within State in particular and private in general.”

“Rich by its human capital, Tunisia should become an eldorado of competences,” she estimated, acknowledging that the civil service has not attached the required importance to the posts of human resources director and information technology director which, according to her, are key posts to develop the enterprise’ competitiveness.

Twenty international plenary conferences and 4 strategic workshops are on the agenda of MEDHR.

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