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21 Nov, 2016

Education & Science in OIC Countries 2016 Report Released

Compiled by Imtiaz Muqbil

A compilation of progressive, positive, inspiring and motivating events and developments in the world of Islam for the week ending 21 November 2016 (21 Safar 1438). Pls click on any of the headlines below to go to the story.



1MALAYSIA YEAR-END SALE IS BACK! Grab the best year-end deals

Malaysia’s annual year-end shopping event, the 1Malaysia Year-End Sale, is here again with participating retailers and malls throughout the country all set to entice shoppers with attractive bargains and exciting programmes. The two months shopping extravaganza, from 1 November until 31 December, was officially launched today by the Deputy Minister of Tourism and Culture Malaysia Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin at Freeport A’Famosa Outlet, Alor Gajah. Tourism Malaysia has embarked on promoting Experiential Shopping packages that enable shoppers to go on a shopping spree while enjoying Malaysia’s best cuisines, entertainment or leisure activities, and visiting attractive tourist spots located near the malls or retail hubs.

The 1Malaysia Year-End Sale is the peak time for shoppers to get the most out of Experiential Shopping as most of the major shopping malls and retail outlets are offering attractive bargains, discounts and in-store redemptions that are too hard to resist. Besides shopping, there is also a line-up of various exciting entertainment events that promises lots of fun and adventure for shoppers to enjoy with their families. Freeport A’Famosa Outlet is among the retailers that offer the best Christmas deals during the sales campaign. For those who love unique art pieces, Kraftangan Malaysia is showcasing a wide array of beautiful craft and textile products from various countries at the Kuala Lumpur International Craft Festival, held at Kompleks Kraf Kuala Lumpur from 24 to 27 November. A Journey Through Time, an exclusive annual event that showcases luxury timepieces and jewellery, is among the major highlights of the 1Malaysia Year-End Sale. This year marks the 10th anniversary of this grand event, which is held from 4 to 13 November at Starhill Gallery.

The three annual sales carnivals in Malaysia have helped spur economic growth in the past years. In 2015, shopping registered the highest tourist expenditure, overtaking accommodation for the first time, with a share of 31.3% of the country’s total tourist receipts.New excitement awaits shoppers as new malls and lifestyle hubs are ready to jazz up the local retail landscape. Apart from Freeport A’Famosa Outlet (opened in January 2016), other new line-ups include DA MEN Mall, Isetan Mitsukoshi concept store and Pavilion Elite (all in the Klang Valley), as well as Design Village Outlet Mall in Penang. A new premium outlet centre, Genting Premium Outlets, is set to open soon in Genting Highlands, Pahang.

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

twitter: http://twitter.com/tourismmalaysia

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


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



Malaysia’s Halal Products Welcomed in China

BEIJING, China, 18 November 2016, (NNN-Bernama) — ‘Halal headscarves’“ Malaysians will find it ridiculous hearing this as there is no such thing as ‘halal headscarves’.

However, at the International Malaysia Product Centre (IMPC) in Erdaoqio Bazar in Urumqi City, the capital of China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, customers have been looking high and low for the ‘halal headscarves’.

Winston Chia Sze Wei who runs the IMPC said when he first conducted a study on the acceptance of Malaysian products in Urumqi where half of its population is Muslims, he learnt that the locals there have high regards for halal products from Malaysia.

“They asked me whether if I will be bringing in ‘halal headscarves’ from Malaysia. The Chinese Muslims are very confident of the products endorsed by the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (JAKIM) and are ready to pay a premium for the products,” said Chia.

Chia said this when he met the Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Minister Ahmad Shabery Cheek who was in Beijing recently during Prime

Minister Najib Tun Razak’s visit to China. Chia who has been residing in China for the last 22 years, dealing with halal products.

Chia is not alone in capitalising on China’s vast halal market. Chia’s contemporary Loh Wee Keng, dubbed as the “China’s King of Durian” also noted of the high demand for halal agricultural produce in the country.

Loh felt Malaysia has to venture into the much untapped Chinese halal market by holding discussions with Chinese government to allow more halal agricultural produce to enter the country.

Loh, is the first one to bring the deep freezed durians to China in 2010. He has been in the halal agro food industry for more than a decade and operates the Malaysia Halal Pavilion at the International Commodity Market, Yiwu City, Zhejiang Province.

Chia and Loh are among the Malaysians doing business in China who met up with Ahmad Shabery during Najib’s visit there.

During the visit, Malaysia signed an MoU with China on the cooperation in agriculture and the examination, quarantine and hygiene protocol in exporting unprocessed bird’s nest.

Through the MoU, Malaysia could export its agricultural produce to China and help bolster two way trade.

Currently among the agricultural produce from Malaysia allowed into China are mangosteen, watermelon, rambutan, coconut, papaya, deep freezed durian pulp, and processed bird’s nest.

Under the new protocol, Malaysia will be allowed to export unprocessed bird’s nest.

Meanwhile, Ahmad Shabery said his ministry would continue discussions with China to enable more Malaysian agricultural produce to make inroads into China.

Among the items being considered are pineapples, jack fruit, durians (whole fruit), ornamental fishes, and chicken feet and organs.

Shabery is confident that Malaysian halal industry players will tap into the vast Chinese market.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Agricultural Attache in China Aszmy Mahmood Yusof Mohamad noted that Malaysian food and agricultural produce, especially halal producers, have huge potential in the nation of 1.3 billion people.

However, he reminded Malaysian exporters that Chinese consumers were very discerning and hence the products have to be of quality and competitively priced.

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Malaysian Cities Urged to Organise Design month

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, 14 November 2016, (NNN-Bernama) – Kuala Lumpur mayor Mhd Amin Nordin Abd Aziz proposed that a Design Month be held in other cities in Malaysia to promote the respective cities’ unique art and design.

He said as per the Kuala Lumpur Design Month (KUL Design Month) being held in the capital every October, local authorities (PBT) could also adopt the same idea to attract more foreign tourists.

“As Kuala Lumpur has often been the benchmark for other local authorities, I therefore recommend that other cities like Ipoh for example, organise an ‘Ipoh Design Month’,” he said at KUL 2016 Design Month Appreciation Ceremony here, today.

KUL Design Month held throughout the month of October aims to provide a knowledge sharing platform on design transformation including architectural, engineering, landscape and interior designs which are actively happening in the capital city.

Among interesting events organised during KUL Design Month are photography competition, Kuala Lumpur heritage trail, building design competition, exhibitions and seminars.

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Malaysia’s EPF wins World Pension Summit Innovation Award

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, 17 November 2016, (NNN-BERNAMA) — The Employees Provident Fund’s (EPF) Retirement Advisory Service (RAS) has been awarded the 2016 Pensions & Investments World Pension Summit Innovation Award in the Communications category during the award presentation ceremony at the Louwman Museum in The Hague, Netherlands, last week.

EPF, in a statement here today, said the ceremony was held on Nov 10 in

conjunction with the World Pension Summit to honour institutions with great initiatives and solutions in pensions.

“We are truly honoured to receive this award as it recognises and endorses

our initiative of providing first-of-its-kind advisory service that is free of charge, provides independent advice, and open to all in a bid to empower members to take charge of their own retirement and ensure financial security in their golden years,” EPF deputy chairman Siti Zauyah Mohd Desa, who accepted the award, was quoted in the statement.

RAS was first introduced on July 1, 2014, as a pilot project at two main branches of the EPF in Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya, and to serve as a platform for members to obtain personalised advisory from EPF’s trained officers pertaining to retirement planning.

Currently, there are 18 RAS counters in EPF branches nationwide and by 2018, the advisory service will be offered at all branches, including establishing a mobile RAS, which is an outreach service to rural areas.

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Malaysia Reaffirms Commitment to Forest Conservation

MARRAKECH, Morocco, 17 November 2016, (NNN-Bernama) — Malaysia has reaffirmed its commitment to sustainable forest conservation and management at the ongoing United Nations conference on climate change here attended by heads of state and government and ministers in charge of environment from over 190 countries.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, in addressing the conference late Wednesday (early Thursday in

Malaysia), also reiterated Malaysia’s strong commitment in pursuing its climate objectives through the implementation of sustainable development goals.

“One of our core strengths is in the area of forest and sustainable forest management. Our forest management records date back to 1905, including the Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve (in Sarawak). Today this site has been acknowledged as one of the best-managed mangrove forests in the world,” he said.

Malaysia’s forest cover now stands at 54.5 per cent and at least 50 per cent of the total land area will be maintained as forest and tree cover.

Wan Junaidi, who leads the Malaysian delegation to the conference, said the country was also committed to the reduction of emissions from deforestation and forest degradation as well as promoting the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries, otherwise known as REDD .

For this, Malaysia presented the latest REDD outcome report to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat and hosted the REDD Day on Monday here.

“Malaysia has an ambitious REDD Strategy to address the holistic forest management requirement and looks forward to accessing the international finance and support required for its successful implementation,” he said.

He said extreme weather events were already taking a toll on the sustainable development gains achieved by Malaysia.

Wan Junaidi told the conference that Malaysia experienced one of its worst floods in 2014 that devastated entire settlements in several states with losses estimated at US$250 million and affected two million people.

“Malaysia remains concerned about the impact of climate change in agriculture and food security. Malaysia believes in maintaining a balance between natural area conservation, food security and sustainable development,” he said.

The minister also urged developed countries to scale up their financing commitments under the Green Climate Fund worth US$100 billion up to 2020 and for developed countries to simplify the guidelines and processes for developing countries to access these funds.

To underscore Malaysia’s commitment in realising the UN’s targets on reducing greenhouse gas emissions to tackle global warming under the Paris Agreement signed by all countries last year, it has completed domestic arrangements to send the country’s instrument of ratification of the agreement to UN headquarters in New York.

Once again, Wan Junaidi reminded developed countries of their continued responsibility to provide clear leadership in reducing their domestic greenhouse gas emissions especially in the pre-2020 era so as to build confidence and set the stage for the much-needed ramping up of action in facing the threat of climate change.

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Seminar to help Malaysian SMEs Understand Competition Law

KUALA LUMPUR, 14 November 2016, (Bernama) – This year marks the fifth year of the Malaysia Competition Commission’s (MyCC) existence as an independent body established to implement the provisions of the Competition Act 2010 (the Act). As a young regulator, MyCC faces challenges in ensuring the effective implementation of the Act and have engaged no less than a dozen of events involving Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to promote the Act to the SME community nationwide.

For that purpose, MyCC in collaboration with SME Corporation Malaysia (SME Corp. Malaysia) is organising a “Seminar on Helping SMEs Understand the Competition Law”, today.

The main objective of this Seminar is to support the Government’s agenda in helping local SMEs to understand Competition Law and its implication to their businesses. It is hoped that SMEs will be able to obtain a better understanding of the processes and procedures involved, as well as the roles and functions of the MyCC. In addition, SMEs will be able to hear insights on the impact of Competition Law towards their businesses from speakers of various backgrounds through the panel of discussions.

The speakers and moderator for the sessions include Iskandar Ismail, Director of Enforcement Division MyCC; Karunajothi Kandasamy, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Policy and Coordination SME Corp. Malaysia; Dr. Nasarudin Abdul Rahman, Deputy Dean of Student Affairs, International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM); Dato Ir (Dr) Andy Seo, Vice President, Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM); and Prof. Dato Dr. Sothi Rachagan, Member of the MyCC.

About Malaysia Competition Commission (MyCC)

Established in June 2011, MyCC is an independent body responsible for enforcing the Competition Act 2010, which was implemented to create healthy competition which would in turn stimulate productivity and innovation, thus creating wider choices of products for consumers with better quality at reasonable prices. The Act applies to all commercial activities undertaken within and outside Malaysia that affect competition in the Malaysian market. It provides a regulatory framework including powers to investigate, adjudicate and impose penalties on the perpetrators of anti-competitive practices/ conduct under the competition laws. For more information on the Act and the MyCC’s activities, log on to www.mycc.gov.my.

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Malaysia Offers to Become Advisor to Japan’s Halal Industry

TOKYO, Japan, 17 November 2016,(NNN-Bernama) — Malaysia has offered to become the advisor to Japan’s halal industry that holds great potential for halal products.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak said the demand for halal products was expected to increase during the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

“Athletes and tourists from Islamic countries will need halal food and products during the Olympic Games in 2020,” he told Malaysian journalists Wednesday night at the end of his three-day working visit to Japan.

Tokyo will host the Summer Olympics in August 2020. The city last hosted the Olympic Games in 1964.

Najib said he conveyed the offer to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a meeting at the latter’s office here.

He said he had informed Abe that there was a growing interest among tourists, including from Malaysia, to visit Japan and this created a great demand for halal products.

The halal standards of the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) had high credibility and were accepted by the World Trade Organisation and the United Nations, he said.

“Halal products here will be easily accepted if Malaysia is appointed as advisor to Japan’s halal industry,” he said.

During a visit to Japan last May, Deputy Prime Minister Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is also chairman of the Malaysian Halal Council, raised the matter of Jakim halal standards at a meeting with his counterpart Taro Aso, who is also Japan’s Minister of Finance.

A total of 54 certification bodies in 32 countries and four authorities from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation have obtained halal certification from Jakim.

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World Bank lauds Malaysia as home for Global Investors

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, 18 November 2016, (NNN-Bernama) – The World Bank contends that Malaysia remains a good destination for global investors and will continue to be, given its open economic policies, coupled with good infrastructure and strategic location.

The World Bank Representative to Malaysia/Country Manager Faris Hadad-Zervos said the good investment climate and competitive costs also provides global investors a conducive business environment.

“Malaysia is always ranked close to the top 20, across different types of international rankings, including that of the World Bank in Doing Business.

“It has also very developed infrastructure and connectivity, a highly-diversified economy, proactive government policies and multilingual workforce.

“All these make Malaysia a good investment destination,” he told Bernama on the sidelines of the MIA International Accountants Conference 2016 here today.

Faris said Malaysia had historically received a considerable amount of foreign direct investments (FDI) and portfolios.

Malaysia posted a net FDI inflow of RM43.4 billion in 2015.

Asia was the main source of FDI flows (64.7 per cent), followed by the Americas (16.4 per cent) and Europe (14.1 per cent).

Faris said this endorsement dissolves any lingering misperceptions about Malaysia, while demonstrating the country’s improving economic fundamentals.

He also pointed out that in any country globally, it was crucial to focus on the bigger picture of the ecosystem and without prejudice to the situation in Malaysia.

“If you look at the numbers, there continued to be a vast amount of investments into Malaysia. In fact, last year, net investments was

positive,” he added.

Meanwhile, Ministry of International Trade and Industry (Miti) Deputy Secretary General(Strategy & Monitoring) Wan Suraya Wan Mohd Radzi said every effort is being made to provide an open and transparent environment for foreign companies in respect of investments.

“People know what Malaysia offers in terms of our trading environment.

“So, it is easy for them. The Malaysian Investment Development Authority is also able to ensure the necessary information facilitation for potential investors,” she added.

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Malindo Air Voted 2016 Asia Pacific Regional Airline of the year

KUALA LUMPUR, 16 November 2016, (Bernama) — Malindo Air was unanimously voted Asia Pacific Regional Airline of the Year at the 2016 CAPA Asia Pacific Aviation Awards of Excellence held last night in Singapore during the CAPA Asia Pacific Summit.

Chandran Rama Muthy, CEO of Malindo Air said, “We are deeply honoured to receive the prestigious CAPA award this year. This significant victory is a validation of our team’s dedication throughout the region, which ensures that Malindo Air remains competitive in the industry. Malindo Air has always placed customers at the heart of what we do, and we work towards creating the very best experience possible for our customers at every touchpoint. We take pride in our product and services and relentlessly motivate ourselves to exceed expectations. With a rapid expanding network through the continents of Asia and Australia, I personally believe we are receiving global recognition for the indisputable comfort and premium in-flight services that are offered with economical flight rates.

The airline has also previously bagged the Airline of the Year (Passenger) at the KLIA Awards 2014 and Top Performing Airline 2015 by Travelport.

To celebrate this favourable milestone, Malindo Air now offers 1 million promotional seats with air fares starting from only RM69 one way all-inclusive for economy class KLIA/Subang to Penang, Kuala Terengganu, Langkawi and Johor Bahru; RM109 one way all-inclusive for economy class from KLIA to Singapore, Bangkok and Hanoi; RM299 one way all-inclusive for economy class from KLIA to Perth, Mumbai and Hong Kong; available for purchase from now until 27 November 2016 for travel period between 1 January until 30 September 2017.

CAPA’s Asia Pacific awards recognize strategic leadership in the industry and are given out annually at a gala dinner during the CAPA Asia Aviation Summit. The Summit this year is in Singapore on 15-16 November 2016. Candidates for the awards are short-listed by the CAPA team of analysts and by the Heidrick & Struggles team of aviation partners. The candidates are then reviewed by an esteemed panel of eight independent judges.

Centre for Aviation (CAPA) and the CAPA Aviation Awards for Excellence were established in 1990. CAPA is a leading provider of independent aviation market intelligence, analysis and data services, covering worldwide developments.

CAPA’s Aviation Awards for Excellence are intended to reward airlines and airports that are not only successful but have also provided industry leadership in adjusting to a new environment. At a time of industry upheaval, our winners are adopting strategies that offer new directions for others to take up.

The CAPA Awards for Excellence are independently researched by CAPA and Heidrick & Struggles, and selected by an independent international panel of judges.

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Malindo Air Offers 1 Million Seats

KUALA LUMPUR, 18 November 2016,(Bernama) – In celebrating Malindo Air’s success as being voted Asia Pacific Regional Airline of the Year at the 2016 CAPA Asia Pacific Aviation Awards of Excellence held recently in Singapore during the CAPA Asia Pacific Summit, Malindo Air is now offering very attractive low fares with one million seats available for grabs departing primarily from Subang and Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) to almost all destinations in the network.

Promotional air fares for the one million seats start from only RM69 one way all-inclusive, for economy class KLIA/Subang to selected domestic destinations. Some of the fares ton destinations on offer are as follows:

From KLIA/Subang to Penang or Kuala Terengganu or Langkawi or Johor Bahru – Economy Class (RM69); Business Class (RM199) – one way all-inclusive

From KLIA to Singapore or Bangkok or Hanoi – Economy (RM109); Business Class (RM359) – one way all-inclusive

From KLIA to Perth or Kochi or Hong Kong – Economy (RM299); Business Class (RM799) – one way all-inclusive

The promotion is available for purchases from now until Nov 27, 2016 for the travel period between Jan 1 to Sept 30, 2017.

Chief Executive Officer Chandran Rama Muthy said, “Following our recent global recognition for the indisputable comfort and premium in-flight services offered at economical rates, we decided to reward our customers with one million seats. We are expecting very encouraging response because our attractive fares certainly come with value added offerings and services throughout our rapid expanding network in the continents of Asia and Australia.”

Chandran also said that the initiative taken was also to meet higher demand for services during the upcoming school break plus year-end festive season and the New Year holiday. He added, “The year-end travel sale is a highly-anticipated event for Malaysians and tourists from abroad. We also want to encourage people to travel and explore places with families and friends. Go out there and create good memories with your loved ones.”

For bookings and enquiries, visit www.malindoair.com, write in to Customer Care Centre at customer_care@malindoair.com or call +603-7841 5388 from 7am to 11pm daily.

For purchases through mobile phones, use mobile.malindoair.com or download the Malindo Air App on Google Play and App Store.

Connect with us on virtual space via Twitter (twitter.com/Malindo_Air), Facebook (facebook.com/MalindoAirMalaysia) or Instagram (instagram.com/malindoair).

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LEAD STORY: Education & Science in OIC Countries 2016 Report Released

Date : 18 November 2016

(SESRIC Media release) Education is one of the most important investments a country can make in its people and its future. It is the core of human capital formation and central to development of a society. Investment in education and quality research at various national institutions are vital in achieving higher economic growth and reducing poverty and inequality. Quality education generates benefits to the society that go beyond the gains secured by the individuals involved. Similarly, research in science and technology (S&T) is of great importance and key to progress towards a knowledge-based and innovation-driven economy. It promotes better understanding on different aspects of life, and helps to improve the standard of living by generating new knowledge and technological innovation.

In this framework, SESRIC prepared the Education and Scientific Development in the OIC Member Countries 2016 report, primarily for the 8th Islamic Ministers of Higher Education and Scientific Research held in Bamako, Mali during 14-15 November 2016. The report analyses and examines the trends in the major indicators in the field of educational and scientific developments in the OIC Member Countries. The report investigates these trends in a comparative manner with their counterparts in the group of developed countries, non-OIC developing countries as well as the world as a whole. In so doing, the report highlights a number of constraints and challenges confronting the member countries in their efforts to foster their educational and scientific development.

The report consists of five sections. In addition to an introductory section, it includes sections on participation to education, completion and progression in education, educational resources and teaching conditions, and research and scientific development. Thereby, the report covers important indicators of education, including, among others, average years of schooling, participation and progression in education, public expenditures on education, educational resources and teaching conditions, quality of education, and international student mobility. It also highlights the current stance of research and development (R&D) and S&T in the OIC Member Countries in terms of their average performance on some related indicators such as human resources in R&D, R&D expenditures, high technology exports, scientific publications and patent applications.

Demand for education in many parts of the world continues to increase, which in turn offers developing countries an invaluable opportunity to prepare a well-trained workforce for growth and development. Educated, or skilled, workers are able to perform complex tasks and thereby contribute to producing more technologically sophisticated products. Especially in developing countries, skilled workers increase the absorptive capacity of the country by acquiring and implementing the foreign knowledge and technology, which is of crucial importance in successful economic diversification and development in OIC Member Countries.

However, it is found that OIC Countries as a group are lagging far behind the other country groups in terms of educational outcomes. Although great achievements have been observed in many OIC Countries in improving access to education, it appears that there is still a long road ahead to improve the teaching conditions and quality of education in order to realise more concrete achievements in the area of science and technology.

Click here to download: Education and Scientific Development in OIC Countries 2016 (English) (Arabic) (French)

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Indonesia offers Surabaya-Malang train project to Russia

Jakarta (ANTARA News) 16 November 2016 – The Railway Directorate General of the Ministry of Transportation has offered the development of the Surabaya-Malang railway development project in East Java to Russia.

The Railway Directorate General expressed hope in a press statement here on Tuesday that Russia will continue the development of railway project in East Kalimatan, after Russian companies had expressed their interest earlier.

“The Ministry of Transportation has invited the Russian side to discuss the follow-up efforts on the railway development,” Director General for Railways, Prasetyo Boeditjahjono, said.

Prasetyo said his ministry prioritized the development of the Surabaya-Malang railway project. To show its interest in the project, the Russian side has sent representatives to observe the project site and conducted surveys in the locations.

He said that the railway project was a commercial project that was directed to the Russian investors. However, the form of cooperation and the investment needed could not be revealed, as it was still in the negotiation process.

He added that the government was still focusing on considering the single track of the railway project.

In the meantime, the Indonesian government will give preference to Japan to build the Jakarta-Surabaya semi-high speed train project, Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi last week.

“Japan will receive preference,” he said, after a coordination meeting at the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs, here on Friday.

Despite receiving the preference, Japan must continue to meet the qualifications set by the Indonesian government, Sumadi, one-time president director of state airport operator Angkasa Pura II, said.

He made it clear that at the coordination meeting with Luhut Binsar Panjaitan, Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs; Bambang Brodjonegoro, National Development Planning Minister/National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas) Head; and Sri Mulyani, Finance Minister, the government decided to expedite the construction of the semi-high speed train project.

The government will soon complete a plan for the construction of the semi-high speed train line and will discuss it with Japan in the next few months, he said.

Meanwhile, Bambang said at the meeting that the government still had to assess the semi-high speed train project.

“We are still discussing whether the project will use an ordinary loan scheme, government project or private sector participation scheme,” he said.

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Indonesia to support Dirgantara aircraft exports

Jakarta (ANTARA News) 16 November 2016 – The Ministry of Industry is supporting PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PT DI) to export its aircraft through buyers credit financing under the National Interest Account (NIA) scheme of Indonesian Export Financing Institution (LPEI), or Indonesia Eximbank.

“Its about financing. The governments support for its first stage is in the form of buyers credit for some countries that need such funding. We give loans to countries which want to buy our aircraft,” head of the industrial research and development in the ministry, Haris Munandar, said.

He earlier accompanied Industry Minister Airlangga Hartarto in a meeting with PT DIs board of directors here on Wednesday.

Haris disclosed that the buyers credit could reach Rp400 billion (US$30 million) for aircraft export to some countries, such as Thailand, the Philippines, Nepal, Senegal and the United Arab Emirates.

“Such funding would not be available to all buyers. Only some countries in need, such as Nepal and Senegal, can enjoy this facility. Rich countries would not need this,” Haris explained.

However, the funding could also be used by PT DI to improve its exported products competitiveness.

“Thailand and the United Arab Emirates will not need such credit. The buyers credit will be submitted towards working capital so that the aircraft can compete in the global market in terms of price,” he noted.

Meanwhile, President Director of PT DI Budi Santoso revealed that the company has been making efforts to boost exports by 2018.

“If we look at our national market share, we cannot depend on the state budget or on government buying. Our target is to increase exports in 2018,” he stressed.

The company would target African countries next, considering the high demand potential there. The LPEIs financing scheme will help in this endeavor.

“Under the NIA scheme, we sould be pusing exports to earn more state revenue. It can be used for funding or, as producers, we can use it as working capital,” he added.

Currently Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand have been using the companys NC212 type aircraft.

The United Arab Emirates and South Korea bought its CN235 aircrafts.

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Indonesian President launches “Fruit Eating Habit”

Jakarta (ANTARA News) – President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) launched “Fruit Eating Habit” in the framework of Fruit Indonesia Festival 2016 at East Senayan Parking Area here on Thursday.

Held from November 17 to 20, the Fruit Indonesia Festival 2016, is organized by the Ministry of Agriculture in cooperation with the Bogor Institute of Agriculture (IPB).

The festival is part of the governments effort to encourage the competitiveness of the tropical fruits of the country, both at national and international levels.

“It is time for Indonesia to show its superiority, both at national and international levels, on increased consumption of fruits from around the world,” Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Darmin Nasution said during the familiarization of the festival.

Meanwhile, IPB Rector Herry Suhardiyanto remarked that the festival was part of the governments efforts to introduce superior fruits with export potential to attract international buyers.

Oranges ranging in color from flame to dark green, mangoes of more than 10 varieties, several kinds of bananas, pineapples, melons and mandarins, the pearly mangosteen, the aromatic Durian and many more fruits are found throughout Indonesia.

There are wonderful varieties of delicious fruits found in Indonesia. Much of it is seasonal, while other fruits are available throughout the year.

Many of the varieties of fruits, that people are familiar with, are also found in Jakarta supermarkets, either imported from other countries or local varieties of the same fruits.

The most common and cheap fruits in Indonesia are the bananas of wide varieties.

Indonesia also has many varieties of citrus fruits (jeruk). The largest is jeruk Bali, pomelo or shaddock, which is a seasonal fruit.

It is larger than a grapefruit and has a green skin and a thick whitish membrane, which is peeled or cut off to expose segments of pink or yellowish pulp.

Jeruk manis is the Indonesian version of an orange, but the outer skin is green when the fruit is ripe. They are best for juicing.

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Indonesia aims to become major fruit exporter

Jakarta (ANTARA News) 18 November 2016 – Fruit is an integral part of Indonesias culture, as many local rituals and ceremonies make use of fruits.

Every region in Indonesia has its respective specific tropical and exotic fruits that have been cultivated in large scales.

Therefore, fruit plantations are not only good to produce fruits for domestic and international markets but also for agro-tourism.

Agriculture Minister Amran Sulaiman said at least 12 varieties of local fruits have been recognized as Indonesias endemic fruits.

“They are Balinese keprok pomelos, durians, mangoes, mangosteens, avocados, pineapples, rambutans, salaks, bananas, papayas, melons and watermelons,” the minister said.

Indonesia is believed to have a huge potential to become one of the world’s largest fruit exports, because the country has been blessed with fertile land and fruits that are abundant both qualitatively and quantitatively.

In 2014, Indonesia produced 1,999 tons of oranges, 856,000 tons of durians, 2,464 tons of mangoes, 111,000 tons of mangosteens, 306,000 tons of avocados, 1,874 tons of pineapples, 733,000 tons of rambutans, 1,036 tons of salaks, 1,080 tons of bananas, 830,000 tons of papayas, 184,000 tons of melons and 684,000 tons of watermelons.

“Having a huge amount of fruit productions, we could export them and thus reduce fruit imports. According to data of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), in 2014, Indonesia ranked 20th in the world fruit exporter list,” he said.

A similar hope was expressed by President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) in his opening remarks of the Fourth Fruit Indonesia 2016 festival held at Senayan eastern park area, Jakarta, on Nov 17.

“I hope Fruit Indonesia 2016 expo will be an initial step in making Indonesia a major fruit exporting country, thus improving the welfare of fruit farmers,” the Head of State said.

He asked state-owned plantation firms to cultivate fruits, in addition to the current oil palm and rubber estate, in a bid to boost local fruits export.

Jokowi recommended state-run companies to prepare 10 thousand to 50 thousand hectares of lands to cultivate fruits.

The president disclosed that last year he had asked the Bogor Agriculture Institute (IPB) to start establishing fruit plantations with minimum area of 5-50 hectares in some regions with fruit production potential.

“We want our local fruits to enter the export market,” Jokowi added.

He admitted that Indonesia could not meet the demand from the huge fruit export markets, especially for mangosteens, pineapples and avocados.

“I have told the Agriculture Minister to expand fruit plantations. If we have 14 million hectares of oil palm plantation, we can have it for fruit cultivation too. By doing this, Indonesia can dominate the worlds fruit market,” he said.

Various varieties of delicious fruits are found in Indonesia. Much of it are seasonal, while other fruits are available throughout the year.

Some 25 to 35 typical Indonesian fruits are offered in Fruit Indonesia 2016 festival which is being held until Nov 20, Meika Syahbana Rusli, chairperson of the organizing committee, said.

They include avocados, mangoes, pineapples, rambutans, durians, papayas, mangosteens, star fruits, bananas, salaks, litchis, guavas, sawos, kedondongs, passion fruits, jackfruits, Ambon bananas, tangerine oranges, watermelons, dukus, lemons, dragon fruits, melons, crystal guavas, bengkoangs, soursop fruits and yellow watermelons.

Many exotic but rare Indonesian fruits are also available in the expo, such as kecapis, Bunis, jamblangs, binjais, cermais, gandarias, diospyros blancois, pomegranates, cantaloupes, kaffir limes, passion fruits, cempedaks, Dutch eggplants, purple passion fruits, matoas, persimmons, breadfruits, rukems, langsats and red durians.

Some 500 exhibitors from 82 districts and cities in 19 provinces are taking part in the fruit festival, which was organized for the first time in 2013 but was called the Nusantara Flower and Fruit Festival.

The festival is expected to be visited by at least 15 thousand people, including from ASEAN member countries such as China, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan, Australia, New Zealand, as well as European and American countries.

IPB Rector Herry Suhardiyanto remarked that the festival was part of the governments efforts to introduce superior fruits with export potential to international buyers.

Oranges ranging in color from flame to dark green, mangoes of more than 10 varieties, several kinds of bananas, pineapples, melons and mandarins, the pearly mangosteen, the aromatic Durian and many more fruits are found throughout Indonesia.

Coinciding with the festival, organized by the Agriculture Ministry in cooperation with IPB, Jokowi also launched “Fruit Eating Habit” to encourage Indonesians to consume more domestic fruits.

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Indonesia develops people’s forest certification

Kuta, Bali (ANTARA News) – The Indonesian Forestry Certification Cooperation (IFCC) is developing a certification for community-managed forest, so that their products can be accepted in international markets that implement verification of wood products.

“I personally do not want IFCC as it is only serving a large group. Therefore, we are also developing a forest certification,” IFCC Chairman Dradjad Hari Wibowo said in a dialogue under a theme of the Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) here Thursday.

At the present juncture there are only 1.8 million hectares of forest lands in Indonesia that have been certified, according to him. Those forest lands are managed by APP and APRIL, two large companies, one of which runs a paper business.

IFCC will seek funding to finance the certification process for the people so that will not have to pay a cost since certification requires a lot of funds, he added.

“We raise funds and we have got some. We are now developing certification for community forests,” Dradjad noted.

The community-managed forest is usually planted with several types of woods such as teak and coconut that can be processed into furniture, he said.

The certification for peoples forest is still in the stage of mapping, Drajad explained.

The mapping of community forests is located in several areas in Java and the pilot project for the certification will be in Bali.

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Indonesian Military, police hold massive prayer for peace

Jakarta, Nov 18 (Antara) – Thousands of military and police officers, as well as local communities held a joint mass prayer at the National Monument (Monas) here on Friday morning.

Similar joint prayers were also organized in other locations including churches, temples and other places of worship, according to a statement of the Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) headquarters.

The joint prayer was aimed at seeking help from God the Almighty to maintain peace across Indonesia.

TNI Chief General Gatot Nurmantyo attended the event in Monas organized for Muslims.

Among prominent religious figures attending the joint prayer were Arifin Ilhan, Nabil Al-Musyafah, Father Kristoporus Puspo, Priest LTB Pasaribu, Hindu Priest I Made Putra Yadnya and Colonel Caj I Gede Suandiyasa.

Among officers joining the event were 16,583 Army personnel; 2,500 Naval officers; 1,065 Air Force officers; and 3,000 police officers.

Also participating were 5 thousand orphans and 3 thousand members of Al Quran recital groups.

Other locations holding similar events were Immanuel Church in Gambir, Catholic Cathedral, HKBP Church in Cililitan, Indonesia Church in Kwitang, and Mustika Dharma Temple in Cijantung.

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Indonesia, Singapore to boost tourism cooperation

Semarang (ANTARA News) 14 November 2016 – Indonesia and Singapore agreed to develop cooperation in the tourism sector through the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in Semarang, Central Java, on Monday.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong witnessed the signing of the MoU by Indonesian Minister of Tourism Arief Yahya and Singapore Industry Minister S. Iswaran, representing the Singapore Tourism Board (STB).

Jokowi, in his statement after the signing of the MoU, said the cooperation will strengthen ties in the tourism sector, including the development of new tourism destinations in Indonesia.

“We hail the cooperation in the tourism sector that has just been signed,” Jokowi said.

In the meantime, Minister Arief Yahya said the cooperation, which will be developed, covered three areas. “There are three areas of Indonesian-Singapore cooperation in the tourism sector, namely joint marketing, cruise ships and MICE (Meeting, Incentive, Convention, Exhibition).

Works that could be done are the development of ports and destinations, the development of human resources, cooperation in the private sector, and exchange of information.

Yahya said that both countries did no need a long time in the process of reaching the signing of the MoU.

“This is the fastest signing of MoU that Singapore has ever made,” said Leong Yue Kheong, Assistant Chief Executive of Singapore Tourism Board.

Since 2010, Singapore has shown its interest to cooperate in the development of cruise ship business, but Indonesia was still calculating the advantages and disadvantages of the cooperation with Singapore.

It was in the era of Jokowi did Indonesia decide to give priority to cooperation in the tourism sector with Singapore.

Earlier, Jokowi and Lee Hsien Loong held a bilateral meeting at Perdamaian Guesthouse, Semarang, Central Java.

Jokowi, who was accompanied by First Lady Iriana Joko Widodo, arrived at the guesthouse at 9.30 am after flying directly from Jakarta. He arrived ahead of the Lees arrival.

Lee and his wife Ho Ching arrived at the guesthouse at around 9:50 am. He was accompanied by Central Java Ganjar Pranowo to walk into the guesthouse.

After the welcoming ceremony, Jokowi and Lee directly held a bilateral meeting at the guesthouse.

As planned, the meeting includes a number of activities, including Indonesia-Singapore “Leaders Retreat Tete-a-Tete,” a bilateral meeting, as well as signing of the MoU on the results of cooperation between the government of Indonesia and Singapore.

After luncheon, Jokowi and Lee and his entourage are also scheduled to attend the official opening of Kendal Park Industrial Estate By the Bay, which is located in Kendal District, Central Java Province.

The president and Lee are scheduled to make an observation tour in this area before returning to Semarang.

The president and the First Lady are scheduled to return to Jakarta at night by the Indonesian Presidential Aircraft-1.

Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Binsar Panjaitan, Minister/State Secretary Pratikno, Tourism Minister Arief Yahya, and the Head of Capital Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) Thomas Lembong accompanied the president during the flight to Semarang.

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Indonesia tourism can benefit from maritime silk route

Fuzhou (ANTARA News) 14 November 2016 – Indonesia has an important role and can take advantage of tourism development in the maritime silk route of the 21st century in China, according to China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) Information Center Director Cai Jiacheng.

“Indonesia has its own uniqueness as a global tourist destination, especially for the countries along the maritime silk road of the 21st century in China,” Jiacheng told ANTARA News here.

According to him, Indonesia has a lot of cultural diversity and unique and attractive natural sceneries that can make the country a world tourist destination.

“However, Indonesia must fix the infrastructure and build good connectivity with a number of other countries, particularly with countries along the maritime silk road,” Jiacheng noted.

“Indonesia should actually be able to provide maximum services, ranging from easing visas and providing adequate infrastructure, including connectivity, to attract tourists to come to the country,” he added.

Jiacheng added that Chinese travelers can visit other countries through the ASEAN countries such as Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore.

“Therefor e, Indonesia has opened the path for China to ASEAN, because of its strategic position to support tourism development in the maritime silk road of the 21st century that can also provide a great advantage for the country,” he said.

Tourism is playing an increasingly important role in the economic growth of China. Tourism sector accounted for about 10.8 percent of the total growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 10.2 percent of the national job last year.

CNTA is targeting 137 million foreign tourists to visit China in 2016, or up to 2.5 percent compared to that of the previous year, while the amount of targeted revenue from foreign tourist arrivals is US $ 121 billion, up by 6.5 percent over the previous year.

“Therefore, China is serious to work on the tourism sector by using destination packages, connectivity, and the use of information technology for marketing and promotion,” he said, adding that Indonesia can take advantage of the tourism development in the maritime silk road of the 21st century.

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Jokowi-Lee carry out batik diplomacy

Semarang (ANTARA News) 14 November 2016 – President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) and Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong carried out Batik diplomacy to further strengthen the bilateral relationship between the two countries.

The state leaders witnessed the process of Batik making in Wisma Perdamaian, Semarang, Central Java, on Monday.

The activity was performed following a bilateral meeting between the president and his Singaporean counterpart.

In the friendly atmosphere, Jokowi took time to introduce Lee to Batik handicrafts. He also invited Lee to try a hand at creating the handicrafts.

Meanwhile, First Lady Iriana Joko Widodo appeared to introduce Lee’s wife to the innovative handicraft as well. Lee was repeatedly seen taking out his cellphone to capture the craftsmen and their activities.

Their enthusiasm prompted Jokowi, who was accompanied by Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo, to invite Lee and his wife to try creating a batik pattern on a fabric.

Despite being unfamiliar with the activity, both the PM and his wife looked steady in holding the canting, a pen-like equipment used in Batik making.

They looked very enthusiastic while using their canting to create their patterns, while Jokowi and the First Lady were busy watching them.

Close, friendly ties between the two countries were very much apparent that afternoon.

For almost 50 years, both countries have maintained diplomatic bilateral relationship, and the rare moment shared by Widodo and Lee showed the close and friendly ties between Indonesia and Singapore.

It is hoped that the Batik diplomacy and friendliness exuded by both the state leaders would enhance the ever-advancing relationship between the two countries.

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Indonesian student wins int’l technology award

Yogyakarta (ANTARA News) 15 November 2016 – An Indonesian student from the Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta, Ramadhan Chairan Maulana, has won an award at the 6th International Symposium on Technology for Sustainability 2016.

“We are proposing a paper on a technology that helps climbers in getting information on weather around the mountain,” Ramadhan said here on Monday.

The technology named Arduino based Safety Information Guidance for Climbers displays weather information around the mountain, including temperature, humidity, and air pressure.

“Also, the tool displays a security level and health impacts that are possible to occur to climbers according to the data,” he explained.

Ramadhan added that the tool, which is also called “Duo Serigala” or two wolves has a navigation system that shows the starting point and the peaks.

There is also a S.O.S button that functions to call an emergency help. “This feature works based on radio frequency. I hope this equipment helps climbers in completing their climbing and prevent accidents,” Ramadhan said.

The international symposium has been participated in by 200 university students from Japan, the Philippine, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia.

It was a collaboration of the Gadjah Mada University and Japan National Institute of Technology (NIT).

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Bank Indonesia launches financial technology office

Jakarta (ANTARA News) 15 November 2016 – Bank Indonesias governor Agus Martowardojo has launched the Financial Technology (Fintech) Office that will serve as a think-tank in developing the financial services industry.

“Technology innovation in financial sector is now a must. Therefore, innovation must be a continuous process,” Agus said in his speech while opening the Fintech Office here on Monday.

He explained that the Fintech Office will have four roles to play. First, it will serve as a facilitator in ideas exchange among Fintech regulators and industry players.

Second, Fintech Technology will contribute with business intelligence that will facilitate the system and generate tools to transform raw data into new information for analysis material.

The third role that the Fintech will play will be to provide assessments besides testing various ideas and regulations. It will also help as a coordination and collaboration platform for Fintech stakeholders.

“We will make it a one stop service accessible to the financial players where we will explain the policies that we issue,” Agus noted.

The Fintech Office, he added, would also act as a regulatory sandbox or a policy formulating laboratory.

“Such a sandbox will be a restricted platform for innovation development as well as policy testing and evaluation,” Bank Indonesia’s Deputy Governor Ronald Waas noted.

However, he added, not all Fintech business segments will be included in Fintech Office as it has been specified that the facility will be for the new Fintech businesses which are not regulated by Bank Indonesia as a payment system authority.

“The businesses included in Fintech Office will be the breakthrough ones or the new ones” Ronald noted.

Data obtained from Financial Service Authority shows that currently, 120 Fintech companies have a total asset value of Rp100 billion (about US$7.4 million), a 50 percent increase over the early 2015 figure.

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IAEA assigns Indonesia to be plant breeding center

Jakarta (ANTARA News) 15 November 2016 – The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) assigns the Indonesian National Nuclear Energy Agency (Batan) to be a radiation mutation plant breeding center in Southeast Asia region.

“IAEA has a huge attention to the mutation plant breeding, and therefore we assign Batan to be the center as it is highly skilled in that field,” an IAEA representative, Stephen Nielen, said here on Monday.

He hoped the assignment of Batan to be a center for radiation mutation plant breeding could be a way for technology transfer to the developing country.

The nuclear technology has been intensively applied in Indonesia by using the gamma ray.

The objective of the radiation mutation plant breeding is to fix the genetic characteristics in order to improve plants productivity and immunity to pests.

The radiation method has a significant advantage compared with other techniques because the breeds have various characteristics.

“Batan has produced 22 rice varieties, ten soybean varieties, two varieties of green beans, three varieties of sorghum, and one variety of wheat,” Batans head Djarot Wisnubroto pointed out.

Currently, the bean variety is being tested and assessed by a team of the Agricultural Ministry.

Meanwhile, the rice varieties have been planted in 24 provinces to support the governments national food self-sufficiency and the sorghum varieties have been apploied in several marginal and arid lands.

“Batan is also successful to improve local paddy plants genetic characteristics, including the age of harvesting, immunity and adaptability,” Djarot said.

IAEA also considers Batans Isotope and Radiation Application Center has met international standards.

Currently, Batan is providing a workshop on radiation mutation plant breeding to young researchers from Cambodia, Laos, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, and Tanzania.

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Non-oil sector boosts Indonesia’s trade balance

Rabu, 16 November 2016 03:54 WIB | 1.860 Views

Yogyakarta (ANTARA News) – Indonesias trade balance recorded a surplus of US$1,206.8 million in October 2016, thanks to the non-oil/non-gas sector, Head of the Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS), Suhariyanto, said.

“The trade balance in October 2016 increased as the non-oil/non-gas sector recorded a surplus of US$1,710 million,” he stated on Tuesday.

He noted that several groups of goods contributed to the increase in the trade balance in October 2016.

The first group of goods was ships valued at US$86 million, a 537.95 percent surge compared to the previous month, he noted.

The second group was iron and steel, accounting for US$221.9 million, up 31.76 percent. The third group of animal/vegetable fat and oil recorded US$ 1.797 million, up 19.02 percent.

The fourth group of footwear claimed US$394.7 million, up 15.65 percent while the fifth group of mineral fuels was worth US$1,376.3 million, up 8.43 percent.

According to BPS, Indonesia’s exports in October 2016 rose 0.88 percent to US$12.68 billion compared to a month earlier and 4.60 percent compared to the same month last year.

Non-oil/non-gas exports in October 2016 increased 1.22 percent to US$11.65 billion compared to the previous month and 8.43 percent compared to the same month last year.

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180 Local And Global Firms Joined Abu Dhabi Global Market

ABU DHABI, Nov.18 (NNN-WAM) — The Abu Dhabi Global Market, ADGM, an international financial centre for local, regional and international businesses, is now home to more than 180 Emirati and global companies, said ADGM Chairman Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh while speaking at a forum last night.

The event was organised by the Indian Business and Professional Council, IBPC, under the theme: Abu Dhabi Global Market – An Oasis of Opportunities.

ADGM was launched a year ago to support Abu Dhabi’s economic vision of developing a diversified and sustainable economy and to realise Abu Dhabi’s ambition as an international finance centre.

“The Abu Dhabi chapter of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in India, ICA-I, was one of the first entities to join the ADGM family. We have also successfully approved 13 financial services licence applications and are currently processing another 13,” Al Sayegh said.

Highlighting the deep-rooted relations between the UAE and India, he said that there are huge potentials for commercial partnerships among businesses in the two countries.

“When I was first invited to the event, I knew I had to say “yes”, considering how India and the Indian community here have been among Abu Dhabi’s and the UAE’s closest and long-term friends and business partners. As we have to encourage commercial partnerships that will inspire entrepreneurship, networking, globalisation, innovation and job creation, I decided to speak about Abu Dhabi Global Market, the new international financial city here in our capital,” he added.

Al Sayegh said that for the next two days, ADGM is also hosting the ICA-I’s 28th Annual International Seminar on Maryah Island.

“There are just some examples of ADGM’s commitment to supporting the business and professional community in India and the UAE,” he noted.

“We are in a fast-growing region where the Middle East, Africa, India and Asia remain the key growth engines for the next few decades. The strong macroeconomic fundamentals will create a huge demand for financial intermediation and services such as corporate banking, treasury services, foreign exchange and capital markets,” Al Sayegh pointed out while underscoring the opportunities for financial services businesses.

“Only this month we have launched the first financial technology (fintech) regulatory laboratory, RegLab, in the MENA region to foster innovation by enabling fintech companies and participants to develop business solutions to address the needs of financial institutions in the UAE and beyond and well into the future,” he said.

Al Sayegh also said that during their recent trip to several cities in India, ADGM’s registration authorities met hundreds of Indian business leaders representing a broad range of sectors such as financial services, professional consultancies, fintech, technology and more. They were excited about the growth opportunities in Abu Dhabi and related to the synergies between the two markets. Many are interested in setting up businesses in ADGM.

“As you strategise for the future, Abu Dhabi and ADGM will be your partners, standing ready to support you in your local, regional and global aspirations. We are an important gateway for this. We are an important gateway for local and international institutions seeking opportunities in the MENA, India and Asia regions. I am optimistic of the region’s long-term prospects and tremendous economic potential,” he said.

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200 trade delegations visited Iran in post-JCPOA era

Abadan, 15 Nov 2016, (IRNA) – Some 200 trade delegations visited Iran after the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to develop trade and commerce with Iran, deputy head of Trade Development Organization for Arab-African affairs said on Tuesday. Farzad Piltan told reporters on the sidelines of the Fourth Conference Commemorating Exemplary Exporters, Economic Activists and Exports Servants of Arvand Free Zone that JCPOA was certainly successful in removal of negative atmosphere in the field of trade and economy about Iran.

After the nuclear deal between Tehran and Group 5+1, most foreign countries developed interest to start negotiations with Iran and therefore, they dispatched trade teams to Iran, he said.

The official further noted that given the quality, price and competitiveness of the Iranian goods in the markets, over 200 trade delegations came to Iran seeking to promote commerce with Iran in the post-deal era and it happened as Iran’s exports improved.

Describing free zones as a bridge for promoting exports, he said that one of the major goals is to attract foreign investment and easy and inexpensive production for exports.

Arvand Free Zone is one of the successful examples to attract foreign investments, he said.

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3D Photographing of Mis-E-Aynak Historical Site Concluded

Kabul, 19 November 2016,(BNA)- The 3 dimension (3D) photos of the Mis-e-Aynak historical site were displayed during a meeting to officials of the Ministry of Information and Culture here on Wednesday November 16, BNA reported.

According to the agency, the agreement on 3D photographing of the site was already reached between the Ministry of Information and Culture and a French organization. Pointing to Mis-e-Aynak historical site, Acting Minister of Information and Culture and deputy minister on youth affairs Dr. Kamal Sadat said that the photos would ease the archeologists with their excavations and specification of the sites.

Director of the Archeology, Abdul Qadir Temori briefed the participants on the taken photos, adding the 3D photos specifies those immovable relics which would be transferred to new museum in Mohammad Agha district of Logar province.

According to Temori the 3D photos would be preserved in archive of the Archeology directorate as the precious document on Mis-e-Aynak historical site. The session was also attended by the acting deputy minister of culture for MoIC Abdul Ahad Abbasi, acting director of National Museum Mohammad Fahim Rahimi, representatives of the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum, French organization and the UNESCO office in Kabul.

According to another report, an agreement was reached between MoIC and the Chicago University’s Oriental Institute on vocational training of the cultural related staffs of the Ministry of Information & Culture.

The Oriental Institute would train the vocational cadres of the national museum, archeology institute and historical monument department on survey and excavation of the historical sites.

The agreement was signed by the acting deputy minister of culture Abdul Ahad Abbasi on behalf of the MoIC and prof. Eagle Stein on behalf of the Oriental Institute.

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5th News Agencies Congress ends in Baku

BAKU, 17 November 2016, (Algeria Press Service)- The 5th News Agencies World Congress wraps up Thursday in Baku (Azerbaijan) reaffirming the principle of protecting journalists” mission.

The “Baku Declaration” adopted following two days of sessions put a stress on the use of new technologies for better performance by media professionals.

The Congress has been inaugurated Wednesday by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, in the presence of the managers of nearly 100 news agencies, including APS, delegates of UN organizations and world experts.

General Manager of Algeria Press Agency (APS) Abdelhamid Kacha attended the Congress, which was organized by Azerbaijan News Agency (AZERTAG), under the theme of “New Challenges for News Agencies.”

The Congress included several sessions on “the future of news consumption, ” “News Agencies- challenges and opportunities of new technologies and social media”, “News Agencies Innovation”, “training journalists for multi-media future”, “Protecting the journalists” mission: freedom, access, safety and conflict zones.”

The participants have also broached the problems facing journalism, which is rapidly changing. They also discussed forms of cooperation among news agencies and the various platforms of social media.

AZERTAC assumes presidency of News Agencies World Congress for three years (2016-2019)

The 6th Congress will take place in 2019 in Bulgaria’s capital, Sofia.

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Dimajazz festival to be held in Algeria

18 November 2016, (Algeria Press Service)- CONSTANTINE-The 14th international Dimajazz festival will open Saturday evening at Ahmed Bey concert hall in Constantine, said Friday president of Limma association (organize of the event) Zouhir Bouzid.

Limma association and the National Office for Culture and Information (ONIC) agreed to make this edition “one of the most successful,” stressed Bouzid.

Dimajazz, which will take place for the second consecutive time at Ahmed Bey concert hall inaugurated in 2015 part of “Constantine, capital of Arab culture” event, offers a rich and diversified program.

Famous troop “The Celtic Social Club” will open the festival that which will last until 24 November.

The agenda of Dimajazz 2016 includes Cairo Jazz Station band, which will perform on the 2nd day with ambassador of Malian music Salif Keita.

On Monday, fans of soul music will enjoy the performance of American Martha High, main member of the James Brown chorus, and Algerian Djamel Sabri (Djo) with his troop Berberes.

Senegalese bass guitarist Alioun Wad˚”, Cuban pianist Harold Lopez-Nussa and Ifrikia troop will host the 4th evening of the festival.

The program of the 5th evening of the festival (Wednesday) includes jazz spectacles performed by Italian violinist Luca Ciarla and British saxophonist Courtney Pine.

Smoke band from Constantine, which had already took part in precedent editions of Dimajazz and French troop “No Jazz” will also participate in this event.

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180 Local and Global Firms Joined Abu Dhabi Global Market

ABU DHABI, 18 Nov 2016,(NNN-WAM) — The Abu Dhabi Global Market, ADGM, an international financial centre for local, regional and international businesses, is now home to more than 180 Emirati and global companies, said ADGM Chairman Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh while speaking at a forum last night.

The event was organised by the Indian Business and Professional Council, IBPC, under the theme: Abu Dhabi Global Market – An Oasis of Opportunities.

ADGM was launched a year ago to support Abu Dhabi’s economic vision of developing a diversified and sustainable economy and to realise Abu Dhabi’s ambition as an international finance centre.

“The Abu Dhabi chapter of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in India, ICA-I, was one of the first entities to join the ADGM family. We have also successfully approved 13 financial services licence applications and are currently processing another 13,” Al Sayegh said.

Highlighting the deep-rooted relations between the UAE and India, he said that there are huge potentials for commercial partnerships among businesses in the two countries.

“When I was first invited to the event, I knew I had to say – ‘yes’, considering how India and the Indian community here have been among Abu Dhabi’s and the UAE’s closest and long-term friends and business partners. As we have to encourage commercial partnerships that will inspire entrepreneurship, networking, globalisation, innovation and job creation, I decided to speak about Abu Dhabi Global Market, the new international financial city here in our capital,” he added.

Al Sayegh said that for the next two days, ADGM is also hosting the ICA-I’s 28th Annual International Seminar on Maryah Island.

“There are just some examples of ADGM’s commitment to supporting the business and professional community in India and the UAE,” he noted.

“We are in a fast-growing region where the Middle East, Africa, India and Asia remain the key growth engines for the next few decades. The strong macroeconomic fundamentals will create a huge demand for financial intermediation and services such as corporate banking, treasury services, foreign exchange and capital markets,” Al Sayegh pointed out while underscoring the opportunities for financial services businesses.

“Only this month we have launched the first financial technology (fintech) regulatory laboratory, RegLab, in the MENA region to foster innovation by enabling fintech companies and participants to develop business solutions to address the needs of financial institutions in the UAE and beyond and well into the future,” he said.

Al Sayegh also said that during their recent trip to several cities in India, ADGM’s registration authorities met hundreds of Indian business leaders representing a broad range of sectors such as financial services, professional consultancies, fintech, technology and more. They were excited about the growth opportunities in Abu Dhabi and related to the synergies between the two markets. Many are interested in setting up businesses in ADGM.

“As you strategise for the future, Abu Dhabi and ADGM will be your partners, standing ready to support you in your local, regional and global aspirations. We are an important gateway for this. We are an important gateway for local and international institutions seeking opportunities in the MENA, India and Asia regions. I am optimistic of the region’s long-term prospects and tremendous economic potential,” he said.

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Abu Dhabi to Host Special Olympics 2019 World Summer Games

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, Nov 17 (NNN-WAM) – The Special Olympics International (SOI), announced on Wednesday, that, its board of directors chose Abu Dhabi, as venue of the 2019 World Summer Games, the flagship event for Special Olympics.

The SOI Board unanimously voted to award the World Games to Abu Dhabi, based on a comprehensive bid proposal, a site visit by a Board Committee, and the country’s vision, to create inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities.

That vision begins with the United Arab Emirates and extends to their region and the world.

The UAE is close to Asia, the Middle East and Africa, so the Games are expected to have a very broad benefit.

“Having the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi is revolutionary for our movement and for the Middle East Region,” said Timothy Shriver, Special Olympics Chairman.

The Games, be held in Mar, 2019, will be the world’s largest humanitarian and sporting event of 2019, according to a statement by the SOI.

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Ajman Ruler opens Quran Centre

AJMAN, 19 November 2016, (WAM) – H.H. Sheikh Humaid bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ajman opened on Saturday Hajir Quran Memorisation Centre at Al Talla area in Ajman.

Sheikh Humaid unveiled the plaque to open the centre which is built on a 22,000 square-foot plot, donated by him.

The centre consists of 10 classrooms that can accommodate 250 students and a multi-purpose 120-seat hall.

The centre will provide services to the residents of Al Talla and neighbouring areas.

Present at the opening ceremony were Sheikh Rashid bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, Chairman of Ajman Municipality and Planning Department, Dr. Mohammed Matar Al Kaabi, Chairman of the General Authority for Islamic Affairs and Awqaf, senior officials and dignitaries.

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Algeria, DPRK Sign Agreement on Cultural Co-operation

ALGIERS, 15 November 2016, (NNN-APS) – Algerian Minister of Culture Azeddine Mihoubi and Choe Hyok Chol, the Ambassador of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to Algeria, have signed an agreement on cultural co-operation between the two countries spanning the period 2017-2019.

The Minister of Culture said at Monday’s signing ceremony here that the co-operation programme would cover different fields including the arts, heritage and books.

Stressing that the agreement aimed to reinforce relations with a friendly country, he welcomed the conclusion of the agreement between two countries linked by long-standing relations at the cultural level.

The agreement will allow Algeria to benefit from the Korean experience in the arts and letters, Mihoubi added.

The ambassador recalled the diplomatic relations between the two countries dating back to 1958 and the first cultural convention concluded between the two countries in 1964.

In building the relations with Algeria in an exceptional, historical and fraternal manner, he looked forward to future exchanges of visits by artistic delegations of the two countries.

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Algerian Revolution model can help Palestine freedom struggle

ALGIERS, 18 November 2016,(Algeria Press Service)- Palestine’s ambassador to Algiers, Louai Aissa, said Thursday that the Algerian Revolution (1954-1962) had paved the way for a platform of human, intellectual and activist values and is a model for Palestine in the struggle against Israeli occupation and for liberation movements worldwide.

The Palestinian ambassador, speaking on the occasion of the 12th anniversary of the death of President Yasser Arafat and the 28th anniversary of the proclamation of the State of Palestine in Algeria, said the Palestinian people in their struggle against Zionist occupation “are taking the Algerian Revolution as a model.”

Algeria has left “its mark” on each stage of the Palestinian struggle, he said, adding that “Algeria has contributed to the development of a national programme despite the internal division in Palestine.”

Aissa, speaking at Palestine’s embassy in Algiers, greeted “Algeria’s diplomatic role in drawing up the Palestine State’s proclamation document after huge efforts on different levels during a conference in Algiers, in November 1988.”

The Palestinian diplomat praised Algeria’s hosting of the late President Yasser Arafat and the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) National Council meeting, at the end of which the State of Palestine was proclaimed.

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Bangladesh to Slash Fuel Prices, Increase Electricity Tariff

DHAKA, Bangladesh, 18 November 2016, (NNN-Xinhua) — Bangladeshi Finance Minister AMA Muhith Thursday said the government will soon slash fuel oil prices and increase electricity tariff.

“We’ve decided in principle to reduce fuel oil prices. Steps are underway to increase electricity tariff.”

The minister, however, said tariff adjustment of electricity will only be considered after deciding on the fuel price cut.

The Bangladeshi government in April slashed the furnace oil price from 60 taka a liter to 42 taka a liter.

The prices of diesel and kerosene were also then brought down by 3 taka a liter, and octane and petrol by 10 taka. (1 U.S. dollar equals 79 taka).

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Belgian company to present projects at Astana EXPO 2017

18 November 2016, (Khabar Agency) – CMI Group and a number of other Belgian companies will represent Belgium at Expo 2017 in Astana. Large metallurgical corporation plans to implement projects in Kazakhstan in construction of gas turbine power plants and other facilities of renewable energy in Kyzylorda region. The corporation will present all the projects in the field of – “green” energy technologies at the specialized exhibition.

According to investors, stable development of Kazakhstan’s economy and its unique geographical position are an important factor for companies’ joining the energy sphere of Kazakhstan.

Andrey Kashechkin, Commissioner Of CMI Group Section: At the end of this year, in early 2017 the latest, we are planning to present the products and the technologies, so that then to show them to the whole world. And Expo 2017 is a good platform for leading companies, countries. Belgium has a lot of technologies in the renewable energy sector.

Pierre Melin, Executive President, CMI Energy: CMI is an industrial group specialized in energy. And Astana exhibition 2017 is based on Energy of the Future. So we like to contribute to the energy development in your country, especially based on gas, gas turbine combine cycle, and of solar, concentrated solar plant. So we have signed an agreement, memorandum of understanding with the government. So, we hope that by coming June we will jointly develop projects for renewable energy based on solar.

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Bangladesh Boutiques boost for underprivileged women

RAJSHAHI, 19 November 2016, (BSS)- By dint of establishing boutique houses, many underprivileged and distressed women have become self-reliant in the metropolis contributing a lot to the society in many ways.

With training and financial support from the government they established boutique houses and running their business successfully.

“We have founded ‘Angona Boutique and Fashion’ and being operated by our Angana Mohila Samity successfully making more than 100 women income-generator,” said Iffat Ara, director of the samity.

Similarly, Daudpur Mohila Koliyan Samity is running Shefali Boutique and Mohona Mohila Kolyan Samity’s Mohona Boutiques transformed at least 175 other women self-reliant.

“We have linked around 50 women with skill development training for their livelihood,” said Anwara Begum, President of Dashmari Distressed Women Welfare Association.

After completing their training they are doing block, boutique and embroidery works in their respective areas and many of them attained their long-cherished economic emancipation.

Anwara Begum told BSS that the boutique houses were established and operated with assistance of district women affairs office.

The office is implementing a project titled “Women Skill-based Training for Livelihood” in order to make the underprivileged and neglected women especially divorcee, widow and financially backward self-reliant.

Under the project, the targeted women are given three-month training on various trades like sewing, block-boutique, embroidery, beautification, food processing and mobile phone servicing. They were also given financial and some other requisite supports after training.

“Raziya Sultana, 25, of Dharampur Bazekazla earns around Tk 400-500 per day after making and selling cloth bags for shopping and now she is on the afoot to divert her long-lasting poverty and hunger,” said a local community leader.

Rahima, 30, wife of Rustam Ali of Hetemkha area, told BSS that she received the training on tailoring.

Now, she has brought some happiness in her four-member family as she earns Tk 500-600 per day after operating a sewing machine at present.

District Women Affairs Officer Shahnaj Begum told BSS that the project intends to involve the socially backward women to the country’s overall development process and the beneficiary women are becoming self-reliant and part of the development.

Sharing views on the issue Kolpona Roy, local unit president of Bangladesh Mohila Parishad said supporting skills development of the poor women in the society for better economic condition is very important.

More emphasis should be given on helping the women to earn additional income and reduce vulnerabilities by making market work better for the poor women.

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Egypt Discovers Another Ancient Tomb in Luxor

CAIRO, 14 November 2016, (NNN-XINHUA) – Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities has announced a new discovery of a Pharaonic tomb at a temple in Upper Egypt’s ancient city of Luxor, the official MENA news agency reports.

“The Spanish mission working at the Millions of Years Temple of ancient Egyptian King Thutmose III uncovered the tomb at the external part of the southern wall of the temple,” MENA Sunday quoted Mahmoud Afifi, head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Department of the ministry, as saying.

He added that the mission found a coffin with a mummy in very good condition inside the tomb and that the initial studies indicated they belonged to a royal house servant named Amenrenef, which means the tomb may date back to the Pharaonic Third Intermediate Period around 1,000 years BC.

“The mission will do in-depth studies of the tomb and its contents to find out more about its owner,” Afifi noted.

Myriam Seco Alvarez, Egyptologist and head of the Spanish mission, said the significance of the discovery lies in the mummy found inside the coffin, “as it contains many coloured ornaments and carries a group of religious symbols of ancient Egypt.”

She noted that the symbolic inscriptions include the two protective goddesses, Isis and Nephthys, with their wings spread, the four sons of the god, Horus, the symbol for the sun disk and others.

Luxor, which is said to contain one-third of the world’s antiquities including the tomb of super famous King Tut, was named by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) as the World Tourism Capital for 2016.

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Four new books preserving the Kazakh cultural heritage

18 November 2016, (Khabar Agency) – Four new books aimed at preserving the Kazakh cultural heritage and identity have been presented in Astana. The publications talk about Kazakh jewelry-making, the history of weapons. The new books have entered the series of the Research Institute of the Kazakh National Museum. Another book is a historical biography – “Shokan Ualikhanov” by writer Zharylkap Beisenbaiuly, which reveals interesting details of life of the great Kazakh scholar.

Zhaken Taimagambetov, Doctor Of Historical Sciences, Honored Worker Of Kazakhstan, said: Many people think that there are a lot of books about Shokan Ualikhanov. But in this book the author himself took the route the ethnographer and traveler Ualikhanov had taken. Based on this, and previously known facts, uniting all the details, a very exciting and unique book was published in Russian.

The book presentation was held as part of the 2016 Eurasian Book Fair. 80 publishers from 14 countries presented their works at the fair. Eurasian Book Fair is held for the first time and is dedicated to the 25th anniversary of Kazakhstan’s Independence.

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Growing foreign direct investments in Kazakhstan

18 November 2016, (Khabar Agency) – The volumes of foreign investments are growing in Kazakhstan. Only in six months, the gross inflow of direct capital from abroad grew by 25% and amounted to $9.3 billion. Moreover, almost 60% of the investments accounted for mining and exploration, 15% – for the processing industry, trade and construction. The figures were announced by the Kazakh Minister of Investments and Development Zhenis Kassymbek.

Zhenis Kassymbek, Kazakh Minister Of Investments And Development: This year, the Committee on Investments of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development decided to recommend to the OECD Council to invite Kazakhstan as a member of the Committee. It is a sign of great trust to Kazakhstan and indicates that the investment climate in Kazakhstan complies with international standards, as well as high level of the business environment, competition and investors” right protection.

Kazakh diplomats are also conducting the work on attraction of foreign investments into the Kazakh economy. There are many tools created with this aim. As Kazakh Minister of Foreign Affairs, Erlan Idrissov said, from January, entry into Kazakhstan will be facilitated for citizens of 55 countries.

Erlan Idrissov, Kazakh Foreign Minister: Starting from January 1 2017, we will launch the projects allowing a 30-day visa-free entry for citizens of EAEU, OECD, Monaco, Malaysia, United Arab Emirates, and Singapore. The Kazakh officials are taking on a targeted and individual approach to cooperation with every large investor and multinational company. The plans include establishing contact with the world’s two hundred large corporations over the next two years. Active work is already under way with ten such investors. Meanwhile, Kazakhstan has launched investor service centers and from next year the principle of a single window will go an online.

Zhenis Kassymbek, Kazakh Minister Of Investments And Development: Entry of big investors, including transnational companies, requires an individual approach. These may be tax subsidies, preferential customs tariffs, land with infrastructure, access to mineral resources, and quota for foreign labor. We are proposing to create a special working group under the leadership of the First Deputy Prime Minister for review of every transnational company’s entry conditions separately. To date, the country has implemented a number of major industrial projects with foreign capital. The investment attractiveness of Kazakhstan is growing, the CEO of France Cleantech David Dornbusch says.

Said Dornbusch: Many people in France know that Kazakhstan is an excellent place to make business. I know a lot for example in the solar business, solar farm. And many people said Kazakhstan is what we call bankable; it means that bank can lend you money to develop projects. It seems that President of Kazakhstan has made some quiet place for business. Kazakhstan’s investment attractiveness and other indicators suggest overall growth. Thus, in the last report Doing Business by the World Bank, Kazakhstan has improved its position, rising to 35th place. At the same time in terms of “protection of minority investors” the country has moved from 25th position to 3rd. Kazakhstan has also entered the top ten countries, by improving the legislation in business.

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Bangladesh to hold “Income Tax Week”

DHAKA, 19 November 2016, (BSS) – National Board of Revenue (NBR) is going to organize an “Income Tax Week” for the first time from November 24 to 30 to provide taxpayers with all tax related services including filing up of income tax return under a single roof.

“We have decided to hold Income Tax Week to provide services among the taxpayers for completing their all tax related tasks within stipulated time as there will be no scope for submission of tax return after November 30,” NBR Chairman M Nojibur Rahman told BSS.

The NBR officials, he said, will provide all sorts of tax related supports including submission of income tax return and e-TIN and user ID and password for online return submission under a single roof as like income tax fair.

“Taxpayers will get all tax related services if they bring necessary papers for filling up of income tax return,” he added.

He expressed hope that the taxpayers will made widespread response during the Income Tax Week as like as income tax fair.

The Income Tax Week will be held at 649 field level circle offices under 31 tax zones of the NBR. NBR will also observe the National Income Tax Day on November 30.

According to the NBR data, around 9,28,973 visitors received services during this year tax fair compared to 758,000 of last year while 1,94,598 submitted their returns.

The fair managed to collect Tk 2,129.68 crore as income tax, compared to Tk 2,035.32 crore of last year.

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Int’l Transport and Logistics Exhibition 21- 24 Nov in Algiers

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

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

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

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Iran Air Show kicks off In Kish Island

Kish, Hormuzgan prov, 16 November 2016, (IRNA) – The 8th Iran Air Show aiming at presenting aviation and aerospace industries capabilities and introducing the latest aviation achievements and technologies started work on Nov 16 in the Persian Gulf Kish Island.

The opening ceremony of the event was held in the presence of Iran’s Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan, Head of Civil Aviation Organization of Iran Ali Abedzadeh, Kish Free Zone Organization Managing Director Ali Asghar Moonesan, deputies of the Ministry of Road and Urban Development, ambassadors of Senegal and Russia, and heads of aviation firms and some other officials.

Over 100 domestic firms from aviation and aerospace organizations, institutions, research centers, universities and higher education centers and production companies and foreign firms from Germany, Russia, Italy, England, Japan, Poland, Latvia, Singapore, Malaysia, Turkey, France and Ukraine participated in the event.

The event is being held in two sections of exhibition and air show.

In exhibition section, potentials of aviation industry, knowledge-based firms, and air plane parts designers is shown while in air show section, fans will see aircraft flying in the sky.

The sub-events consist of unveiling some innovative and knowledge-based plans, holding a meeting on Iran-Russia cooperation, holding Aerospace National Day and workshop.

The event is supported by Kish Free Zone Organization, Ministry of Defense, Iran Aviation Industries Organization, Iran Civil Aviation Organization, Iranian Airports Holding Company (IAC), The Airline of Islamic Republic of Iran (Iran Air) and Presidential Deputy for Science and Technology.

The 8th International Iran Air Show will be underway until Nov 19 in Kish International Exhibitions Center.

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Iran main supplier of oil to India in October: Report

New Delhi, 18 November 2016, (IRNA) – Iran has become the top oil supplier to India in October 2016 and replaced Saudi Arabia, it was reported on Thursday.

Latest shipping data of India showed that New Delhi oil imports from Iran ‘surged more than threefold compared with the same month last year, rising to 7,89,000 barrels per day (bpd),’ India local media said quoting a report compiled by Thomson Reuters Oil Research and Forecasts.

Before imposing of unfair economic sanctions, Iran was the second main supplier of oil to India, after Saudi Arabia. However, Tehran’s oil exports to New Delhi have decreased during the unfair sanctions imposed on the country by Western states for its peaceful nuclear activities.

Following the removal of economic sanctions against Iran after the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) between the country and world six major powers (US, Britain, Russia, France and China plus Germany) in January 2016, Tehran’s oil exports to New Delhi has mad a dramatic growth, the report said.

It added that Saudi Arabia’s oil exports to Inida stood at 6,97,000 bpd in October.

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Iran calls for foreign investment in oil industry

AHVAZ, Iran, 14 November 2016, (NNN-Bernama) – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, sunday hailed the country’s oil industry as a leading industry in tapping post-JCPOA opportunities, and said that foreign investment was needed for full prosperity, Iran’s Mehr news agency reports.

President Rouhani made the remark at the opening ceremony of a development plan for West Karun joint oilfields in Ahvaz.

“The nuclear deal created a new situation that ushered in fresh breathing air for Iran,” Rouhani continued, “the oil industry has been a leading body in taking advantage of the new opportunities.”

“Just as the JCPOA was a source of great bewilderment to the world as it pitted Iran against world powers, the increase of our oil production to the level prior to the sanctions was also seen as miraculous,” he said.

“In the post-sanction era, many said it would take years before Iran’s oil production could reach 2 million barrels in a day, but within a few months, the hardworking managers and engineers at the oil industry worked miracles and returned the country’s production to the level before the sanctions were imposed,” he noted.

The President maintained that the production of West Karun joint oilfields after Iran-Iraq war barely reached 65,000 barrels per day, adding “today, and after three years of concentrated efforts during my administration, the production figures have reached 300,000 barrels per day.”

Rouhani however stressed that this figure should be increased to 1 million barrels per day, adding that this is possible, but Iran needs foreign investment and technology.

“Our resources are limited because this is a massive project. We need US$18 billion of investment to gain full prosperity in our oil production,” he noted.

President Hassan Rouhani inaugurated three projects to increase crude production at West Karun joint oilfields on Sunday.

The projects include the first phase of the development project in North Azadegan with a daily production capacity of 75 thousand barrels as well as the first phase of Yadavaran and North Yaran oilfields with a capacity of 85 and 30 thousand barrels per day respectively.

An aggregate total of 6.15 billion dollars of investment have been made within the framework of buyback contracts for development of the three shared fields.

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IsDB okays US$592 million for development projects

Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 14 November 2016 – The Board of Executive Directors of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) has approved US $592.2 million in financing for new development projects in several member countries and some Muslim communities in non-member countries.

The major approvals include:

(+) US $105 million, for the Fadhili Combined Heat and Power Project (FCHPP), Saudi Arabia

“(+) US $338.5 million, for the High-Speed Train Sets Project, Turkey

“(+) US $74 million, for the Kabul City Ring Road Project, Afghanistan

“(+) US $43.4 million, for the Franco-Arabic Bilingual Education Support Project, Niger

“(+) US $20 million, to help construct the Kulob-Kalai-Khumb Road on the west-east corridor of the country, Tajikistan

“(+) US $10 million, to study measures that prevent any possible outbreaks of Avian Influenza, Egypt

The Board also approved four grants totalling US $775,000, under the IDB Waqf Fund, for educational projects for Muslim communities in non-member countries in Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi and Sri Lanka.

Two technical assistance grants were approved by IsDB’s President:

“(+) US $278,000, to finance IsDB Group’s contribution to the COP22, Morocco

“(+) US $294,000, to build capacity on Epidemiological Surveillance and Communicable Disease Control in 15 West African countries

The financing was approved at the end of the Board’s 315th meeting at IsDB headquarters in Jeddah, which took place from 13 to 14 November, 2016.

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Kyrgyz artisans present their products at the fair in Berlin

Bishkek, 19 November 2016, (Kabar) – An annual international exhibition-fair “Bazaar-Berlin” is taking place from 16 to 20 November 2016, in the largest exhibition center in Berlin. The exhibition features products of handicrafts, art and design of representatives of various companies from more than 60 countries, the press service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reports.

Several companies producing products from felt, silk, leather and other domestic products represent Kyrgyzstan at the fair. In addition, the participation of two groups of artisans from Naryn and Osh cities in the exhibition became possible with the support of the German Society for International Cooperation in Kyrgyzstan. Our compatriot Asel Temiralieva-Mayer, representative of the exhibition center “Messe Berlin” for Central Asian countries conducted the corresponding organizational work for the participation of Kyrgyz representatives in the fair.

On November 17 the Embassy of the Kyrgyz Republic in Germany organized the opening of the Kyrgyz stand with the participation of member of the Kyrgyz Parliament Ainuru Altybaeva and Kyrgyz Ambassador to Germany Erines Otorbaev. Altybaeva noted the importance of development of the sphere of artisans in Kyrgyzstan, which is one of the promising areas of the economy. Participation of Kyrgyz representatives in this prestigious fair will further promote national products of artisans and the general promotion of Kyrgyz culture on German land.

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Jyrgalan festival kicks off new ski season

Bishkek, 18 November 2016,(Kabar) – On November 18-19, Jyrgalan Valley is hosting a festival to kick off the 2016-2017 ski season, featuring concerts, games and other activities showcasing winter sports, local handicrafts, and guest houses in the burgeoning Tian Shan backcountry ski destination located 60 kilometers east of Karakol. The festival is being organized with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

The Jyrgalan Festival (J-Fest) seeks to promote the destination by engaging local and international representatives of the tourism industry, media, and local community, while demonstrating economic opportunities available through tourism development to local residents and youth.

“We are positioning Jyrgalan as a tourist destination with unique natural resources to become a center for winter and summer tourism. I am sure that tourism will be an engine for job creation and promoting the rural economy, throughout the region and the country as a whole,” said Bermet Dzhaparova, owner of one of the new guest houses supported by USAID in Jyrgalan.

J-Fest debuted at the opening of the 2015-2016 ski season, and was aimed at promoting the village as a tourist destination for extreme skiers. While J-Fest promotes Jyrgalan as a winter destination, local residents are optimistic about the area’s summer trekking potential.

Jyrgyalan is one of four tourist destinations supported by USAID in Kyrgyzstan through the Business Growth Initiative (BGI). USAID BGI is a four-year, multi-faceted project that strengthens the competitiveness of Kyrgyzstani firms and value chains to promote business growth, job creation and economic development.

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Amman Rotana Hotel Opens

AMMAN, Jordan, 15 November 2016, (NNN-PETRA) – Deputising for King Abdullah II, Jordanian Prime Minister, Hani Al Mulki, Monday, attended the opening ceremony of Amman Rotana Hotel, in downtown Amman.

Al Mulki unveiled the hotel’s commemorative plaque, in the presence of Speakers of the Senate and the Lower House, a number of ministers and officials and Lebanese businessman, Bahaa El Dine Al Hariri.

The $280-million 5-star hotel, houses 412 rooms, a gym, a spa, a pool deck and a number of restaurants, spread over fifty floors.

Chairman of Rotana Hotel Management Corporation Ltd, Nasser Al Nowais, said, the hotel mirrors the importance of the Kingdom as a tourist, cultural and historical destination.

“Jordan is one of the most important tourist destinations in the region, and we look forward to strengthening our footprint in the Kingdom’s tourism sector,” said Al Nowais.

Rotana Hotel Management Corporation, is a hotel management company in the Middle East, Africa, South Asia and Eastern Europe region. It has a portfolio of over 100 properties in 26 cities, and operates five sub brands which include Rotana Hotels and Resorts.

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Japan Seeks More Student, Tourism Exchange with Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, 16 November 2016, (NNN-Bernama) — Japan hope more student and tourist exchange programmes can be engaged between the ‘land of the rising sun’ and Malaysia, said an official from the Wakayama prefecture.

“At present, the Wakayama and Malaysian student exchange programme is already going forward, and we hope to have more of such exchanges,” Osaichiro Asai told Bernama during the Wakayama Prefecture Promotional reception, at theJapanese Ambassador’s official residence, here last night.

Asai who is a speaker of the Wakayama Prefectural Assembly also hoped that more Malaysian students would be sent to Japan for internship programmes.

“We managed to visit the Malaysian-Japan International Institute of Technology yesterday and are calling for Malaysian students to intern in various Japanese companies,” he added.

The Wakayama prefecture was declared a UNESCO heritage site, famous for its Buddhist temples, also happens to be a prefecture where Buddhism began in the country.

Since 2012, the Tourism Bureau of the Wakayama prefectural government has been promoting its tourism to Malaysians at the annual MATTA fair.

Wakayama said special packages are currently offered for Muslim travelers.

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Italy through the eyes of Kyrgyz artists

Bishkek, 18 November 2016, (Kabar) – An exhibition “Italia nel Cuore” is opened in Bishkek, in the exhibition hall of the Union of Artists of the Kyrgyz Republic. The exhibition presents works from the series “Italy through the eyes of Kyrgyz artists.”

The organizers said that, the works presented at the exhibition are unique. “All the paintings can be purchased here in the gallery, but unique works of our artists are priceless. There are more than 40 works in various genres of painting and watercolors,” the organizers said.

The event was attended by Ambassador of Italy to Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan Stefano Ravnyan, artists and representatives of the Kyrgyz intellectuals.

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Afghanistan Build 60 Modern Raisin Storehouses

Kabul, 19 November 2016, (BNA)- Calling on promotion of modern traditional agriculture to farmers, the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD) said that the move could be beneficial in farmers” crops growth.

Mohammad Haroun Wafa, the international relations in-charge of CARD-F institution for MRRD said that CARD-F is a national green program to farmers which will practice different sections including, vegetables, dairies, beekeeping, cotton and grape in fourteen provinces of the country. As an important step, the CARD-F has recently covered saffron and pomegranate in Kandahar and Herat provinces, he further said. It is to be mentioned that the program on rural agriculture development is operational in Afghanistan since 2009 and will continue until 2018, he added. He added that the program will surely attract the private sector to invest on agriculture sector and it will provide job opportunities to thousands of villagers.

On new horticulture way, he said that through this way, we could double the grape productions in northern Parwan province. Beside increase in grape productions, the CARD-F has built more than fifty raisin storehouses in Northern provinces, he went on to say. In these raisin storehouses, different types of raisins are being dried through standardized ways, he continued. Furthermore, the CARD-F has planned to establish a grape process factory in Bagram, where it will produce grape juice – åa move that will be positive on horticulture sector and will help beef up economy of the country, he added. This is while that the agriculture sector is getting modernized by each passing day in Afghanistan and the farmers are seen to be satisfied with such a situation.

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Iranian MP urges lifting visa issuance

Tehran, 19 November 2016, (IRNA) – Head of Majlis (parliament) Research Center Kazem Jalali said on Saturday that remarkable number of Iranian and Iraqi pilgrims visit the either country, so measures should be taken swiftly to cancel visa issuance.

MP urges lifting visa issuance Jalali made the remarks in a meeting with the First Deputy Speaker of Iraqi House of Representatives Sheikh Humam Hamoudi on Saturday. Jalali said Iran’s policy in Iraq is supporting Iraq territorial integrity and unity among all the ethnic groups, including Sunnis, Shiias and Kurds.

He congratulated his guest on victories of Iraqi armed and popular forces in fight against terrorist groups and said the victories indicate final victory is achievable in the near future. The MP said security in Iraq and Syria affects security in the Middle East and the world and added that Iran is standing with Iraqi and Syrian governments and nations to restore security and to eliminate terrorists.

To the request of Hamoudi from Majlis Research Center to transfer experience to such newly established center in Iraq, he said the center is ready to offer all its experience to Iraqi parliament research center. Sheikh Hamoudi appreciated Iran for assisting Iraqi nation and government and said hopefully Iraqi fighters will in a near future cleanse all terrorists from Iraqi soil.

He said, ‘We felt lack of research center in Iraqi parliament and we are hopeful to establish the center through help of the Iranian body.’ Sheikh Hamoudi also appreciated and thanked the supreme leader, government, Majlis and Iranian people for their support for Iraqi government and nation.

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Mayors Look to Turn ASEAN Capitals into Worth-Living Cities

VIENTIANE, 16 November 2016, (NNN-Bernama) – Governors and mayors from ASEAN countries” capitals discussed and shared experience in developing peaceful and worth-living capital cities at their fourth meeting in Vientiane, Laos, on Tuesday, Vietnam News Agency (VNA) reports.

With focus on the commitments and responsibility of the ASEAN capital cities towards an integrated association , the participants mulled over the building of the capitals into worth-living cities; public security in the capitals; traditional cultural heritage preservation and promotion and tourism development; and cooperation in enhancing workforce and mutual support.

They agreed that developing the ASEAN capitals into worth-living cities is important.

This is due to the fact that the capitals are the centres of political, economic, cultural and social activities and also gateways to the world of each nation.

Security in the ASEAN capitals is critical, particularly ensuring local residents” security and safety in terms of traffic, fire-fighting, agriculture, and food.

Meanwhile, tourism development and promotion is a prioritised issue that will help with the socio-economic development of the capitals and their countries.

During the formation of the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community, the regional capitals are also required to preserve cultural heritage and increase cultural and information exchanges among its dwellers, officials said.

Concluding the meeting, the ASEAN capital chiefs signed the Vientiane declaration in which they vow to share experience and support each other in building the ASEAN capitals into worth-living cities.

The document also affirms their commitments on closer cooperation in the matters tabled at the fourth meeting.

The Philippine capital city of Manila will host the next meeting of governors/mayors of the ASEAN capitals in 2017

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Over 10,000 professionals visit Hassi-Messaoud Expo 2016

HASSI-MESSAOUD, 17 November 2016, (Ouargla)- More than 10,000 professionals have visited the sixth International Oil and Gas Products and Services Suppliers Trade Show, Hassi-Messaoud Expo 2016, which will wrap up Thursday, said the organizers.

The trade show was a “real success” in terms of organization and in view of the record number of visitors as well as the large participation of foreign companies from about twenty countries in addition to the Algerian exhibitors, the head of the organizing company, Petroleum Industry Communication, Djaafar Yacini told APS.

All the 200 exhibitors expressed “great satisfaction” at their participation in Hassi Messaoud Expo 2016, he added.

Several seminars were held on the sidelines of the trade show by national and foreign experts on various themes related to the field of hydrocarbons.

Hassi Messaoud Expo is intended for professionals of the hydrocarbon sector, especially those operating in the field of oil and gas activity, including drilling, maintenance of facilities, support services, support services, civil engineering, telecommunications, construction, refining, hygiene and safety, in addition to the protection of environment.

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Over 2m Iranian pilgrims depart for Karbala

Tehran, 19 November 2016, (IRNA) – Head of Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization Saeed Ohadi said over 2 million Iranian pilgrims have departed for Karbala to take part in Arbaeen mourning ceremonies.

Over 2m Iranian pilgrims depart for Karbala

He referred to issuing 2 million visas for pilgrims by 16 consulate offices of Iraq as a great measure and as a record among other countries’ consulates.

Ohadi appreciated all efforts of police officers, IRGC forces, Basij, the governorate offices and the municipalities of Khuzestan and Ilam provinces.

He added that some 150,000 pilgrims have returned to Iran through Mehran border, some 150,000 from Shalamcheh, and some 100,000 through Chazzabe borders.

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Oman Launches Phase One of Waterfront project

MUSCAT, Oman, 17 November 2016, (NNN-ONA) – The Oman Tourism Development Company (Omran), launched phase one identity details of the Mina Al Sultan Qaboos Waterfront Project, at an official ceremony at the Mina Al Sultan Qaboos Waterfront in Muscat today.

Phase one of the integrated mixed use Waterfront destination, is projected to be completed by 2020, and will transform the current commercial Port Sultan Qaboos area, into a major tourism-based development, spanning a 64-hectare area. The Mina Al Sultan Qaboos Waterfront will include business and residential zones, destination mall, six hotels (including three, four and five star), recreation amenities, tourist attractions, as well as, docking facilities for cruise liners and yachts.

The development will take place over four separate phases. The master development plan was conceptualised in 2015, with significant inputs received from private sector investors, who are keen to capitalise on the tourism and hospitality opportunities, presented by the grand Waterfront scheme.

Dr. Ali bin Masoud al-Sunaidy, Minister of Commerce and Industry and Board Chairman of Omran, said, “Our Vision for the Mina Al Sultan Qaboos Waterfront is to create a world-class waterfront development of outstanding beauty and interest, that celebrates the maritime history of Muscat and showcases the very best of Omani culture, heritage and innovation, to a global audience. Upon completion it will provide an extraordinary year round tourism hub, that is rich in activities, entertainment and experiences, and is accessible to all.

“It will also provide a pedestrian friendly lifestyle community, that provides the people of Muscat a true “downtown hub” that serves as a catalyst for the broader regeneration of Muttrah, and serve as an important platform for successful business enterprise and a stimulus for significant job creation.”

On his part, Ahmed bin Nasser al-Mahrizi, Minister of Tourism and Omran Board Member, stated, “The Mina Al Sultan Qaboos Waterfront, represents arguably the most exciting and high potential real estate project, currently underway in Oman. In this spectacular and historic setting, we are confident that it will soon establish itself as a premier destination in Oman, and one of the most high profile and celebrated tourism infrastructure projects across the GCC. Not only will it enrich the lives of the local community, it will play a pivotal role in the growth of the national tourism industry over the next 20 years and beyond.”

Dr. Ahmed bin Mohammed al-Futaisi, Minister of Transport & Communications and Omran Board Member said, “This is a very exciting day for Muscat and for the expansion of Oman’s tourism infrastructure as an integral part of Oman Vision 2020. Today’s launch is all about explaining how phase one will set in place the regeneration of the historic former port area of this great city, into a true tourism gateway for the country, providing sustainable economic development and job opportunities for many generations to come.

James Wilson, CEO of Omran commented, “Constructing this project is a challenging proposition, but the success of that endeavour rests on how the project is established from the outset. Much of the architectural design will be concerned with providing low energy sustainable solutions that draw inspiration from the rich architectural and cultural traditions of Oman.

“Scheduled for completion in 2020, the Mina Al Sultan Qaboos Waterfront will integrate with and enhance the historical area of Muttrah, and combine traditional Omani aesthetics with modern technology, focusing on sustainability and harmony with the environment. Muttrah was, for centuries, the centre of commerce in Muscat and one of the largest seaports in the region, with its location serving as an ideal hub for the Gulf region, Africa and the Indian sub-continent.

The Souq Al Mina area is scheduled for completion in the second quarter of 2017, and will be situated alongside a still functioning harbour for cruise ships and yachts, which will celebrate Oman’s rich cultural heritage with contemporary aesthetics. Over 150 cruise ships are set to dock in Muscat, in the next cruise ship season, as they come to experience a true jewel of Arabia.

At the ceremony, a number of strategic commercial agreements were signed, including Blizzard Brothers, who have been appointed to manage the first construction activity of Souq Al Mina. Omran also announced, it has appointed Omani company HD23, a joint venture with Nadia Al Lawati, Architect and Owner of 23 Degrees North, and Harper Downie, as lead consultants and master planners. The 50/50 joint venture will ensure that 100% of the project design is completed in Oman, led by Omani architect, Nadia Al Lawati. HD23 will embrace and mentor young Omani architects and recruit them based on Omran’s “Design League” initiative, which was formed to become the leading independent forum for architecture, design and urban planning in the Sultanate.

Omran also announced that an agreement has been reached with the first investor for the Mina Al Sultan Qaboos Waterfront project. The investor will be developing a four star hotel in proximity to the Muttrah fish market.

In addition, in furtherance of their mutual interest in the field of further education, training, research and consultancy, and as a contribution to increased institutional cooperation, Omran also announced that a Letter of Understanding has been signed between Omran and the Sultan Qaboos University (SQU), to work together in order to produce graduates that can serve Oman’s economic development.

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Iran signs Euro70m-Euro radio-medicine deals

Bushehr, 19 November 2016, (IRNA) – Head of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi said Iran has signed deals with a number of foreign companies to produce radio-medicine.

Talking to reporters here on Saturday in south of the country, he said the contracts are worth a total of 70 million in Euro.

He said the project, which is sponsored by the National Development Fund will be completed in three years.

Iran will be able to even export radio-medicine to foreign countries once the project, labeled as GMP, becomes operational, the official said.

According to the official, over one million Iranian patients are currently using nuclear medicine.

Noting that producing vaccines and radio-medicine is a top priority for his organization, Salehi said good progress has been made in the area thanks to efforts of domestic experts.

He said good planning is already in place as well to produce pesticides and resistant seed.

The AEOI chief also noted that a nuclear emergency center has already been established in Isfahan with two others to follow in Bushehr and Arak cities.

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Afghan Raisin Production Increases

Kabul, 18 November 2016,(BNA)- Officials of the agriculture department of Parwan said, – “to produce quality raisin and to provide the way to export it to foreign markets, many standardized raisin storehouses have been built in northern Parwan province.”

This is while that raisin can easily be found in all Kabul city markets and it goes to increasing vineyards this year in compare with last year in all provinces of the country.

According to Raisin sellers, the attention of agricultural entities to this production has caused many standardized raisin storehouses to be established.

Mohammad Nadir and Ahmad Wali, two raisin sellers in Kabul said, – “raisin is a dried and delicious fruit which is made by grape.”

This year, the raisins have been kept in standardized raisin storehouses and their productions have climbed in those provinces where vineyards existed.

Raisin is dried in two ways based on its type, one is green raisin which is popular and gets dried in cold and dark atmosphere and the next one is red raisin which is dried in open and under sunlight environment.

Parwan province enjoys a special position on raisin production.

Head of Parwan agriculture department, Abdul Kabir Farzam told media that they could build 76 standardized raisin storehouses in this province.”

It seems that the farmers are satisfied with building these storehouses.

A number of famers said, – “storehouses will not only increase the quality of this fruit but its price as well.”

Parwan raisin can compete other countries” raisin and has become famous worldwide.

A number of raisin merchants in Parwan believe that familiarity of farmers with gardening modern ways will be undoubtedly useful.

Haji Shasullah, a trader said, – “raisin production has become better in compare with the past. Because, it was getting dried on the ground in the past, but it is getting dried with modern ways now – åa move that has caused Afghanistan raisin to be more familiar not only inside but outside the country as well.”

Parwan agriculture department officials said, – “currently, Parwan raisin enjoys special position in India and the department is making effort to expand it.”

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Qatar plans direct flight from Doha to Bishkek

Bishkek, 16 November 2016, (Kabar) – Kyrgyz Ambassador to Qatar Nuran Niyazaliev met on Monday with head of Qatar Airways Akbar Al Baker, the press service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kyrgyzstan reported.

During the meeting Ambassador Niyazaliev informed about the current state and prospects of cooperation between the Kyrgyz Republic and the State of Qatar.

He stressed that the establishment of direct flight between Bishkek and Doha will contribute to further deepening of the Kyrgyz-Qatari relations in priority areas. In this regard, he suggested Qatar Airways the possibility of opening a direct flight from Doha to Bishkek.

Mr. Akbar Al Baker briefed on plans to increase the flying stock and expand the geography of air travel, within the framework of which Bishkek will be one of the directions of flights of Qatar Airways.

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UNESCO Publishes Collection on Islamic Culture

PARIS, 15 November 2016, (NNN-UNESCO) – The last two volumes of UNESCO’s collection Different Aspects of Islamic Culture will be presented at UNESCO Headquarters on Nov 17.

This unique collection of six volumes totaling over 5,700 pages has mobilized more than 150 researchers and specialists who have compiled a comprehensive account of the complexity and diversity of Islamic culture.

Launched in 1977 in the spirit of UNESCO’s General and Regional Histories and completed this year, the collection, overseen by an International scientific committee, is the fruit of 40 years of debate among researchers and experts from varied backgrounds, both Muslims and non-Muslims.

It offers readers a large amount of knowledge on Islam and its contribution to the world from a pluralistic and global perspective.

The final two volumes just published (I and VI), contribute to the current debate on Islam. Volume I (The Foundations of Islam) focuses on the pillars of Muslim faith and explores the principles, concepts of God and humanity, ideas and the ideals that shaped the Islamic view of the world across time and space. It presents different interpretations of the Koranic text and their philosophical, legal and political implications in Muslim societies.

Volume VI (Islam in the World Today) sheds light on the dynamics of Islamic culture and the practices of Muslim communities around the world in a rigorous analysis of their economic, political and socio-cultural characteristics.

The other volumes, published in previous years, turn to the status of the individual and society, science and technology, culture and education in the Islamic world.

Together, these volumes demonstrate how through the centuries Islam was a driving force in the rapprochement between cultures, and how it provided a framework for diverse cultures to flourish and interact.

A veritable tool for intercultural and interfaith dialogue, the collection embraces a holistic approach and multiple perspectives challenging false clich˚’s and stereotypes associated with Islam.

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Iran gets new terminal hall at Shalamche border point

Ahvaz, Khuzestan Prov. 13 November 2016, (IRNA) – President Hassan Rouhani inaugurated new terminal hall on Shalamche border point on Sunday.

President inaugurates new terminal hall on Shalamche border point

President visited the border point of Shalamche with Iraq and inaugurated a new terminal hall for the pilgrims going to Karbala, Iraq, from the border post.

The northern site of the terminal covers an area of 7,500 square meters, built at a credit of 282 billion rials at a period of 16 months.

The terminal hall has the capacity of stopover services for 50,000 pilgrims going to Iraq a day.

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Sharjah Welcomes 2.31 Million To Book Fair

SHARJAH, United Arab Emirates, 15 November 2016, (NNN-WAM) – More popularly Known among international circles, as the cultural and artistic capital of the Middle East and North Africa, Sharjah – the third largest emirate in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has welcomed 2.31 million visitors, at the 35th edition of one of the world’s top book fairs – the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) 2016.

The 35th edition of the 11-day fair, that was open to the general public, turned out to be SIBF’s biggest year yet.

Showcasing a global audience of book publishing industry professionals, ranging from the USA to China, and everything in between, SIBF has broken all its previous records this year, by hosting 1,681 publishers and 1.5 million titles from over 60 countries.

“In line with the vision and directives of Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, The Ruler of Sharjah, UAE, we have established Sharjah as a premier hub of literature and culture, and a critical meeting point for the Eastern and Western civilisations,” said Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) Chairman, Ahmed Al Ameri, as he vowed to take the Sharjah International Book Fair to the top, in a few years.

Over the years, SIBF has established itself as a critical event, for the buying and selling of copyrights and subsidiary rights: reprint rights for foreign editions, paperback rights, along with being a professional meeting place for publishers, rights managers, booksellers, agents, authors, translators, publishing technology experts and media professionals.

In accomplishing a series of firsts, the SIBF Professional Programme has made history with 1,239 interest of agreements being discussed, between publishers and rights professionals.

The fair’s official hashtag, has received more than one billion impressions, cumulatively in English and Arabic, during the first five days of the fair, and has been seen trending fiercely on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.

Sharjah has been at the forefront of the Arab world’s cultural growth and development, since the nation’s independence.

From humble beginnings in 1982, featuring less than 10 publishers, SIBF has grown exponentially, and plans to move to a new 60,000 sqm venue, next year.

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US Scholarships for 156 Algerian students in 2015-16

ALGIERS, 16 November 2016, (Algeria Press Service) – 156 Algerian students registered to various training programs and scholarships delivered by American universities in the US during the academic year 2015-2016, announced Wednesday in Algiers, PR official at the US embassy in Algiers Ana Escrogima.

Speaking at a roundtable on the US exchange and scholarships programs on the occasion of the international week on education, Escrogima expressed the hope that his number “will increase” and encouraged students and professionals to seize the opportunities offered in various trainings.

She stated that this small number of Algerian students in the US is due to some considerations like the language, ignorance of the American educational system and the obligation of equivalence between the degrees delivered in the two countries.

The same official recalled that since 1986, nearly 4000 Algerians travelled to the US to round off their university course and develop their professional career. Some of them have become senior executives, ministers, businesspersons, artists, teachers and representatives of the civil society, she said.

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Iran seeks e-commerce agreement with Thailand

Kuala Lumpur, 14 November 2016, (IRNA) – Minister of Communications and Information Technology Mahmoud Vaezi in Bangkok on Monday held talks with Thai Deputy Prime Minister Prajin Jantong on drafting agreement for cooperation on information technology.

Vaezi is currently on a visit to Bangkok to attend World Telecom 2016.

In his meeting with deputy prime minister and head of Ministry of e-commerce community, Vaezi put forward proposals to be included in draft agreement about cooperation between Iran and Thailand on information technology.

Vaezi said that post-JCPOA era serves as appropriate opportunity for cooperation with Thailand on energy, tourism, banking and trade.

Prajin Jantong said that the Thai government is keen on finalizing the agreement for signature soon.

The Thai deputy foreign minister said that Thailand prime minister will pay a visit to Iran early next year.

World Telecom 2016 Exhibition kicked off in Bangkok, Thailand, on November 14 and will work for three days.

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Qatar- Entrepreneurship Award for SAK

16 November 2016, (MENAFN) – The Peninsula) Abdul Rahman Al-Najjar, SAK Holding Group Deputy CEO (left) receiving the coveted Entrepreneurship Award instituted by the Enepreneur Magazine for excellence in real estate sector. SAK won the award for producing ground-breaking Real Estate Products such as ‘ Sharekna’.

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ADB to clear four Pakistan projects worth US $ 750 million

ISLAMABAD, 19 November 2016, (APP)- Country Director Asian Development Bank (ADB) Dr.Werner E.Liepach has disclosed that the bank would approve a soft term financing amounting to US $ 750 million for four projects to Pakistan next week.

The Country Director of ADB told a group of journalists that his banks would approve four projects namely Pehur High level canal extension project, Access to clean energy investment programme, National disaster risk management fund,and public-private partnership investments in Sindh province.

“We have recommended four soft term loan projects worth US$ 750 million and these projects would be finally approved by ADB board in Manila next week,” Dr.Werner E.Liepach said.

Under the energy project thousands of schools would be equipped with solar system while under the disaster risk management fund initiative would help reduce life and properties in case of any disaster like earthquake and would be a model project, he added.

He also appreciated the government for the implementing the development project for welfare of people of the country.

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Azerbaijani mugham master to give concert in Turkey

Baku, 19 November 2016, (AZERTAC) – Azerbaijani people’s artist Alim Gasimov and his daughter Fargana Gasimova will give a concert in Izmir, Turkey, late November.

They will perform together with Camerata Izmir local band.

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Buses, trucks output increase 63%, 60% in two months

ISLAMABAD, 19 November 2016, (APP) – The production of buses and truck increased by 62.82 percent and 59.95 percent during the first two months of the current fiscal year (2016-17) compared to the corresponding period of last year.

As many as 256 buses were manufactured during July-August(2016-17) compared to the production of July-August (2015-16), according to Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS). The truck production during the period was recorded at 1,198 units compared to the output of 749 units last year. On year-on-year basis, the production of buses and trucks during August 2016 increased by 47.87 percent and 61.08 percent respectively compared to the same month of last year.

As many as 139 buses and 686 trucks were manufacture during August 2016 compared to the production of 94 and 426 units respectively in August 2015. Meanwhile the production of tractors during the first two months of the fiscal year 2016-17 decreased by 9.68 percent by going down from 5,295 units last year to 4,784 units this year.

The production of jeeps and cars witnessed negative growth of 2.14 percent during the period under review compared to the corresponding period of last year. As many as 29,365 jeeps and cars were manufactured during the period compared to the production of 30,008 units last year.

The production of Light Commercial Vehicles (LCVs) also witnessed decline of 30.71 percent by going down from the output of 6,910 units during last year to 4,788 units during the current year. It is pertinent to mention that the country’s large scale manufacturing (LSM) witnessed growth of 1.97 percent during July-August (2015-16) compared to the corresponding period of last year.

The Quantum Index Numbers (QIM) of large scale manufacturing industries was recorded at 122.18 points against 119.82 points during same period of last year.

The highest growth of 1.24 percent was witnessed in the indices monitored by Provincial Bureaus of Statistics (PBOS) followed by 1.10 growth in the indices of Ministry of Industries and 0.37 negative growth of Oil Companies Advisory Committee (OCAC) indices.

On year on year basis, the industrial growth increased by 1.49 percent during August 2016 as compared to same month of last year while on month on month basis, the industrial growth decreased by 6.03 percent during March 2016 when compared to growth of February 2016, the data revealed.

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Egypt approves $3.5bn for int’l cooperation agreements

16 November 2016, (MENAFN – Daily News Egypt) – The House of Representatives approved on Tuesday four agreements signed by Minister of International Cooperation Sahar Nasr with Germany, Korea, Japan, and the Kuwaiti Fund for Arab Economic Development worth 3.5bn.

The parliament approved the report submitted by a joint committee, formed of the committees of economic affairs, foreign relations, and planning and budget. This committee approved the agreement signed in Cairo on 29 May between the Egyptian and German governments concerning the 2014 financial cooperation worth 65m or 70m.

Nasr said that the goal of this agreement is to develop the skills of young people in all sectors, and finance a number of important projects that serve citizens on the national level. This will be done through supporting small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the field of new and renewable energy, energy efficiency, water irrigation and sanitation resources management, empowering women, developing ashwa’yat (informal housing), and improving public services.

The parliament approved the report of the joint committee based on presidential decree No. 408 for 2016 with regards to approving the agreement signed in Seoul on 3 March between the Egyptian and Korean government worth 3bn.

The agreement serves as a genera framework for a future cooperation with the Korean Export and Import Bank to benefit from soft loans offered by the bank for developing countries, through the cooperation fund for economic development.

A larger joint parliamentary committee was formed of the committees for housing, utilities and reconstruction, economic affairs, planning and budget, defence and national security, based on the president’s decision to approve the financing agreement for the construction of five water desalination plants in southern Sinai. This agreement was signed between the Egyptian government and the Kuwaiti Fund for Arab Economic Development in Cairo on 31 May and is worth KWD 29m or 100m.

Parliament approved another joint committee report, formed of the committees for tourism and civil aviation, economic affairs, foreign relations, and planning and budget. This was based on presidential decree No. 284 for 2016 with regards to approving mutual letters signed in Tokyo between Egypt and Japan.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) offered to finance the Egyptian government with 18.2bn (about 152m) to expand Borg El-Arab airport. This project aims to serve passengers on low-cost flights, and a new terminal will be constructed with an annual capacity of up to 4 million passengers.

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Free WiFi in Dubai taxis from December

16 November 2016, (MENAFN – Khaleej Times)- Dubai has taken a ‘smart’ step further, with taxi customers now able to calculate their fare before embarking on the journey. Not only that, customers will also get free Wi-Fi and access to LCD screens within the cabs, Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), has announced.

RTA’s Dubai Taxi Corporation (DTC) has started fitting interactive LCD touch screens together with free Wi-Fi service to its taxi fleet, it noted in a media statement. “Customers will also be able, for the first time, calculate taxi fares in aance,” said Dr. Yousef Mohammed Al Ali, CEO of RTA’s Dubai Taxi Corporation.

“The debut of interactive LCD screens and Wi-Fi service on board taxicabs is the first of its kind in Dubai,” he said. The touch screens will promote Dubai’s major tourist attractions as well be a medium for users to offer feedback and rate the service.

The test-run of screens will be commissioned this December. The move is in line with the strategy of Dubai Government to rank Dubai as the smartest city worldwide and realize RTA’s First Strategic Goal ‘Smart Dubai.’

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Indonesian Cultural Festival opens in Baku

Baku, 19 November 2016, (AZERTAC) – The first Indonesian Cultural Festival has opened at the International Mugham Center.

A display of the diversity of Indonesia, the two-day festival is organized by the Indonesian Embassy in Baku.

In his remarks at the opening ceremony, Indonesian Ambassador Husnan Bey Fananie described the exhibition as a good opportunity to promote a diverse, colorful and multicultural Indonesia. He said a 150-man Indonesian delegation attends the festival.

Azerbaijani Culture and Tourism Minister Abulfas Garayev said the exhibition is part of a series of events under a Year of Multiculturalism in Azerbaijan.

The festival will present the cultural performances such as dances and musical performances from several part of Indonesia.

The event will also serve as a showcase of the people-to-people relation between Indonesia and Azerbaijan.

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Nomad painting exhibition ‘Embodiment” concludes

ISLAMABAD, 19 November 2016, (APP) – Nomad Art Gallery’s 12-day painting exhibition ‘Embodiment” concluded here on Saturday which was started on November 8, by two creative artists Abrar Ahmed and Rukh-e-Neelofer at Art and Craft Village. The work of artists exhibited at Nomad for last two decades and their paintings are a source of inspiration

for art lovers.

The exhibition was truly rewarding and memorable experience, according to a press release issued here. Abrar’s unique artwork had received worldwide acknowledgment. Many leading art galleries in different corners of the world display his paintings. His solid, bold and sharp colours with spontaneous strokes and skillful fine lines create unique art.

He celebrated the feminine beauty and well-recognized for his figurative drawings in addition to oil on canvas. My favorite mediums include oil on canvas, pen on paper & mix media on canvas.”

Rukh e Neelofer had keen understanding and appreciation of her country’s rich cultural heritage, powerful and eye-catching work that communicates the different traditions of Pakistani society in a unique artistic style.

Her paintings were refreshing to the eyes because of the strong and vibrant colours, which do not jump at the viewer because of her skillful handling.

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Pakistani doctor transplants hope to millions for free

17 November 2016, (MENAFN – AFP) Camped on the baking concrete outside a gleaming transplant centre, Karachi’s sick have come from miles around in desperate hope for a last chance at life.

There, Dr Adibul Rizvi provides free medical care to hundreds of thousands of people each year, providing a much-needed alternative to Pakistan’s public health sector, which critics dismiss as chaotic, corrupt and vastly under-resourced.

Rizvi, with a thatch of white hair as springy as his step, roams the crowded halls of his life’s work every day from 8:00 in the morning until midnight or later, visiting the bedsides of patients — children, criminals, VIPs alike.

At 79 he is fuelled by love of his job, his enthusiasm evident as he recounts his 42-year odyssey from starting with an eight-bed ward to building one of the largest treatment networks in South Asia.

The achievement cannot be understated. His Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SIUT) is funded largely by charitable donations, some as small as 100 rupees (1) at a time, and has treated millions of people over the last four decades.

More than 300 transplants and 260,000 dialysis sessions were carried out in 2015 alone, with follow-up treatments and medications provided for as long as it takes — all entirely for free.

“Governments in a developing country… they cannot afford a state-of-the-art health service,” says Rizvi, describing the unimaginable poverty that staff in some of his 10 health centres across the country encounter.

The government does give money, its funding accounts for some 30 percent of SIUT’s budget, but not enough to fulfil Rizvi’s philosophy that “every human being… has got a right to access healthcare, to live with dignity”.

The solution Rizvi, inspired by Britain’s National Health Service, “went to everyone, and we made them partner”.

But, when SIUT was founded in 1974, convincing Pakistanis to donate their hard-earned money for such a mission in the conservative Muslim country was a challenge.

While the giving of zakat, or charity, is one of the five pillars of Islam, many believed organ donation went against sharia, or Islamic law. No organs; no transplants. To break the impasse, Rizvi had to get the clerics on his side.

“Luckily they all agreed… that organ donation is quite Islamic and should be done,” he says — though with the caveats that all heirs must agree to the donation, and that a Muslim’s organs could not be transplanted into the body of a nonMuslim.

Even so, a lack of awareness in Pakistan about the value of organ donation is “pushing back our progress”, Rizvi admits.

  • Next target: cancer –

Pakistanis who enter SIUT’s main centre in Karachi are taken aback by its spotlessness and efficiency, traits virtually absent in many of the country’s other hospitals.

In a bright paediatric ward the young patients receive dialysis, resting on white sheets set off by sky-blue walls painted with cheerful murals.

Roaming the ward is medical social worker Sanober Ambreen, who describes her job as keeping the patients “calm and cool” throughout the uncomfortable procedure with music classes, paintings, even talent quests.

Children face an added hurdle: coming to the hospital at least twice a week for hours on end can see them drop out of school entirely, she says.

Diminutive 17-year-old Hina Hameed, lying in her bed in a corner of the ward, is one of them. She has been on dialysis since she was four and quit school in seventh grade.

“I wish I could resume my studies,” she says, vowing to do so if she ever gets a transplant. “I want to become whatever my mother and father dream for me.”

Several wards over, Ejaz Mushtaq lies chained to the bed, an armed policeman seated at its foot beneath whirring fans, as his blood rushes through the dialysis machine.

Mushtaq is awaiting trial on so-called “encounter” charges — accusations of targeting police that he claims are false.

His kidneys began to fail while he was in custody. Now he comes to SIUT twice a week for dialysis. “This is a good facility, especially for the poor,” he says.

A patient like Mushtaq receives the same treatment as any other patient, including VIPs, Rizvi says. “Same type of food, same type of bed.”

This, he admits, was difficult for some to accept — so difficult that he has received some threats, though he shrugged them off.

“We sit and talk to them and we just show them that, see this man, we are treating him, he is like you and me. Should I let him die”

Bustling through the hospital, Rizvi insists he has achieved nothing yet, and vows to take on no less an enemy than cancer itself next, calling it “doable”.

He brushes off any suggestion of retirement.

“My colleagues, they are working (the) same way. Most of them have become hypertensive, I have not,” he laughs.

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New cargo ships launched in Azerbaijan

Baku, 18 November 2016, (AZERTAC) – President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has attended a ceremony to launch “Rashid Behbudov” fast passenger ship, “Ganja” tanker and “Gafur Mammadov” dry cargo ship of Azerbaijan Caspian Shipping Company.

Chairman of Azerbaijan Caspian Shipping Company Rauf Valiyev informed the head of state of the new vessels.

The President first viewed “Ganja tanker”, which is one of the two tankers ordered by Azerbaijan Caspian Shipping Company and Caspian Marine Services Alliance. Its deadweight is 7,000 tons. The tanker measures 140.9 m in length, and 16.7 m in width. The head of state pressed the button to commission “Ganja” tanker.

President Ilham Aliyev was informed of two Ro-Pax vessels that will be constructed at Baku shipyard.

Then Azerbaijan Caspian Shipping Company and Baku shipyard signed an agreement on the construction of two “Ganja” type tankers.

The head of state then met with family members of outstanding singer Rashid Behbudov and posed for photographs with them.

President Ilham Aliyev was informed of Rashid Behbudov fast passenger ship, whose construction was ordered by Azerbaijan Caspian Shipping Company and Caspian Marine Services Alliance. Built by Australian Austal ship building company, the vessel features more than 400 square meters of cargo deck area and the ability to carry 150 passengers (plus 16 crew) 400 nautical miles at 30 knots. It features DP2 (DYNPOS-AUTR) dynamic positioning and an Ampelmann – “walk to work” gangway.

Rashid Behbudov’s grandchild cut the ribbon symbolizing the launch of the vessel.

The head of state was informed of the newly purchased Gafur Mammadov” dry cargo ship. The vessel’s deadweight is 5,500 tons. It is 108.3 m in length, and 16.5 m in width.

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Restaurants in Dubai to declare calorie content

16 November 2016, (MENAFN – Khaleej Times)- A policy being developed by Dubai will soon make it compulsory for restaurants to write the calorie content alongside the prices on the foods listed in their menu. As the UAE struggles to fight the battle of the bulge with a prevalence of 37 per cent of obese adults considered among the highest in the world, policy makers and health officials attended a dialogue organised by The Economist to discuss the Global Crisis of Obesity on Wednesday.

A senior official from Dubai Health Authority (DHA), Dr Manal Taryam said that obesity was no longer a personal issue. “There should be a strategy and it should be handled by the government. It should be a holistic approach that involves many entities,” said Dr Manal who is the Chief Executive Officer, Public Healthcare Services.

“We are working on developing a policy whereby majority of the restaurants will be required to write the calorie count along with the listed price. This will empower people to make a choice,” she said.

Dr Ramadan AlBlooshi, CEO at the Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC), who experienced health issues due to obesity, said that a Law of Public Health had been proposed. “Though it is too early to talk about this and there are many stakeholders involved, we would like to encourage companies to participate in initiatives and make it easier for their employees to maintain their health,” he said.

He suggested tips such as offering healthy foods in canteens as well as giving incentives and rewards to employees to lose weight.

He also said that among others law being looked into were those that push for a stricter control on food advertising on social media without a licence.

Sugar taxes would also be discussed, he said.

Tackling obesity in children

A pilot project started in two schools in Dubai has already shown results. “When we first started the project earlier this year, the rate of obesity among children was between 13.5 to 14 per cent which is high,” said Dr Manal.

“But we engaged students and parents through counselling sessions while educators monitored them and within six months results showed tha obesity rates fell by 3.5 per cent in school A and by four per cent in school B.” The project’s success will now be expanded to a federal level and by next year, according to our strategy we will see a reduction in obesity among school children, she said, adding that labelling of food in school canteens was also an important aspect. “Smiley faced stickers were used to indicate healthy food in canteens and it worked,” she said.

The event was opened by a special address delivered by Chairperson of Dubai Healthcare City Authority Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, wife of His Highness Shaikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, titled “Towards a national culture of health and wellbeing: the importance of youth engagement.

‘It never crossed my mind that I was fat’

Bollywood actress and healthy lifestyle advocate Zareen Khan, who fought obesity as a teenager, talked about her fight to lose the flab.”As a teenager I weighed more than 100kgs because I was an avid junk food eater. Life was about eating and enjoying until circumstances at home forced me to look for a job and I decided to become an airhostess,” she said.

“But who wants an airhostess who weighs 100kg and has a waist measuring 44 inches!”

She said, “I had never exercised, let alone walked, so it never even crossed my mind that I was fat. I was just happy the way I was even though I could not wear the clothes all girls my age wore.”

She said that she started disciplining herself once the need for the job grew by changing her eating habits and exercising daily. “I started fitting in many clothes and started feeling good.and within a few months I had lost around 40 kg which is equal to the weight of another person.”

Today, she is addicted to fitness. “If I had better knowledge, I wouldn’t have been what I was.”

Eating right is important and the battle with obesity starts in the brain, she added.

Asma Ali Zain Associated with KT for 15 years. Covers health issues, Pakistan community, human interest stories as well as general topics for daily news or features.

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Tunisia top Maghreb country in “Legatum Prosperity Index”

17 November 2016, (African Manager Economic & Financial News) – Tunisia was ranked 93th among the most prosperous countries in the world in 2016, according to the report prepared by “Legatum Prosperity Index,” published Thursday, November 3 by the Dubai-based investment company and think tank Legatum Institute.

At the top of the ranking, New Zealand, Finland and Norway are the three most prosperous countries in the world.

In this ranking, Tunisia came ahead of Morocco (101th in the world) and Algeria (111th), which is ranked third more prosperous Maghreb and North African country, ahead of Libya and Egypt.

According to the criteria identified in the report, Algeria is 53rd in health (63rd in 2015), 60th in Security (82nd in 2015), 75th in natural environment (no data in 2015), 90th in education (81st in 2015), 116th in economic openness (50th in 2015) and 120th in governance (102nd in 2015).

As for Tunisia, the country has lost one place from the 2015 ranking due primarily to the deterioration of economic indicators and political and social instability.

At the Arab level, Tunisia was ranked sixth. It lags behind the UAE listed in the first position in the Arab world by ranking 41st, Qatar 46th, Bahrain 67th and Oman and Kuwait 70th and 71st, respectively.

At the top of the ranking, there are mainly Western European countries, the first place, however, being occupied by New Zealand, followed by Norway and Finland. The UK is 10th, France 18th and the US 17th.

At the bottom of the ranking are mainly African countries and conflict-affected countries in the Middle East, including Nigeria, Libya, Iraq, Sudan, Central African Republic, Afghanistan and Yemen.

The Legatum Institute ranks 149 countries in this Prosperity Index based on more than 90 criteria.

This investment company groups them into several categories, including the economy, business climate, governance, education, health, safety, personal freedom and social capital.

The Prosperity Index is designed to evaluate the national success and prosperity in terms not only of material wealth but also future prospects.

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Tunisia: EBRD to provide EUR 14 MLN SMEs

11 November 2016, (African Manager Economic & Financial News) – The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) will donate, in the next three years, EUR 14 million under technical assistance for the benefit of 700 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and some professional structures, according to Small Business Support – National Programme Manager at EBRD, Anis el Fahem.

El Fahem told TAP on the sidelines of a meeting organized, Wednesday, by the Confederation of Tunisian Citizen Enterprises (CONECT) on EBRD’s support mechanisms to SMEs, that the Bank will soon sign agreements on funding public projects in the energy sector on the fringes of the International Conference on Investment.

Since 2012, about 320 Tunisian enterprises have received donations under the form of technical assistance worth 8.5 million Tunisian dinars to benefit of local and foreign consulting services to strengthen their competitiveness, said el Fahem.

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Tunisian Thalassotherapy sets sights on global markets

4 November 2016, (African Manager Economic & Financial News) – Making Tunisia a privileged place for Thalassotherapy and a destination to attract spa guests from around the world remains a major concern of the National Office of Hydrotherapy and Hydrotherapy (ONTH).

To achieve this, the Office has, for some time now, set sights for new markets, head of the Office Rzig Oueslati told AfricanManager.

He stressed the need to no longer be limited to traditional partners, but to open up to the Gulf, Asia and Africa, which could become a privileged partner for Tunisia.

This trend is confirmed more and more, especially China’s appeal to the Tunisian expertise in the creation of its first spa. Indeed, Tunisia has been selected to oversee this major project because of its capacity and its long experience in the field.

According to the official, this is a great opportunity to attract Chinese investors and open up to promising new markets.

Several markets are at the heart of this strategy, starting with the Swiss market where the Tunisian diplomacy is working hard to regain the trust of the customer representing 15% of the target. This is also the case for the Austrian market, not to mention the desire to tackle the African market.

Actually, 2017 will be the year of implementation of programs as actors involved, namely UTICA Sfax and CEPEX, want to achieve this goal by capturing this market with big potential.

The Director General of the Office was very ambitious: Tunisia wants to attract 375,000 spa visitors by 2020 with revenues of around 200 million dinars.

Everything is possible for a country that enjoys sunshine throughout the year, quality spa services to attract more tourists seeking wellness, assured the official, noting that “we will reach 100 units in 2020, by creating 54 new centers with in perspective 3,500 additional jobs created thanks to the sector upgrade.

For advanced thalassotherapy

It is feasible in so far as Tunisia has managed to move to the top of the podium in the world thanks to the standardization of its services.

This action further enhances the reputation of Tunisia on the international market and propels a tourism industry that is in trouble. This is provided that the quality of services offered over the entire tourism chain follows, noted Rzig Oueslati.

In other words, “it is important to engage in a quality approach and consolidate the achievements,” said our interlocutor, noting that the National Office of Hydrotherapy undertook a comprehensive study of the sector, with an inventory and a development plan by 2020 and an upgrade program for thalassotherapy centers, often located in hotels.

This approach is important insofar as it comes not only promote the business opportunities offered by this sector but also the ambitions of Tunisian tourism. This sector, it should be recalled, is in big trouble since Bardo attack: declining revenues and occupancy rate (30%) not to mention the closure of several hotels and a major shortfall for several craft operators, many of whom forced onto unemployment.

Spa present at Investment Conference

Rzig Oueslati also indicated that investment opportunities in tourism and new tourist areas will be at the heart of the International Investment Conference to be held in Tunisia on November 29 and 30.

Four projects with a value of 300 million will be thus presented at this major event that will see the presence of about 1200 guests representing different countries of the world and different sectors expected to attend the conference, including 150 speakers.

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Tunisia tourism indicators up until October 2016

10 November 2016, (African Manager Economic & Financial News) – Tourism Minister Selma Elloumi Rekik said the “tourism sector indicators have registered an increase until the end of October 2016 compared to the same period of 2015, with the number of tourists reaching 4 million 10 thousand and 760 tourists, up 3.3% compared to the same period last year.

Speaking at a parliamentary hearing session, the minister added that this increase has particularly concerned the Algerian market (one million 375 thousand and 670 visitors) which grew 15.6% and the Russian market (617,093 tourists) which posted a rise of 1100%.

The number of overnight stays increased to 16.5 million in Tunisian hotels, representing a growth of 10% over the first ten months of 2015. Tourism revenues reached about 2 million dinars during the same period.

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Turkey plans furniture industry boost with Pakistan

LAHORE, 18 November 2016, (APP) – Leader of the visiting Turkish furniture manufacturers delegation, Mehmat Kirtas has said that Turkish furniture companies wanted to enhance business activities with Pakistan Furniture Council (PFC) by holding business to business (B2B) meetings.

“We want to do business by undertaking joint ventures either in your country or in our country and we are looking forward to sharing technology with Pakistan,” Kirtas during his visit to PFC head office along with delegation members including Musoot, a leading Turkish furniture tycoon.

The high level Turkish furniture delegation which was on a 2 day visit to Pakistan held a comprehensive business meeting with PFC Chief Executive Mian Kashif Ashfaq.

Mehmat Kirtas said Turkish companies want to further enhance collaboration with the PFC to promote furniture business and pave way for improved trade ties between the business communities of the either countries. The delegation took keen interest in various made in Pakistan furniture products and thoroughly discussed the ways and means for boosting the furniture trade especially office furniture and strengthening the existing business relations among the corporate sectors of two countries on modern lines.

Mehmat said Pakistan’s furniture with calligraphic engraving had great demand in international markets, which seems to be the dominant one in Pakistan, therefore Pakistani craftsmen should focus on working in this particular area to earn the much needed foreign exchange. He said Pakistan had excellent craftsmen and designers, who could virtually give life to a piece of wood.

Pakistan also has potential to capture its share in the international market because local industry in Pakistan has the finest wood available in country, he added.

Musoot, another Turkish leading furniture producer, said that he was confident that trade relations between Pakistan and Turkey would grow in days to come. He suggested the exploration of avenues other than textiles such as leather products, surgical goods, sports goods, fresh and dry fruits, furniture, fans, air conditioners, marble, handicraft, pharmaceuticals, cement, etc.

He said the involvement of Turkish enterprises, both in terms of technical and financial assistance in several development projects was reflective of cordial relations based on mutual trust and sincerity. He said Turkish furniture sector was willing to enhance its trading ties with Pakistan and there were many areas which could be explored with mutual enterprises in furniture sector in Pakistan.

PFC Chief Executive Mian Kashif Ashfaq while briefing the delegation about the prospectus of furniture trade between both the countries proposed the setting up of a regular charter vessel between PFC and Istanbul, regular exchange of trade delegations and the establishment at Istanbul of a permanent display centre of Pakistani furniture products. He said most of the country had great scope for Pakistani Furniture, because they like Pakistani Traditional Hand Carved furniture designs with classic finishing and similar designs can be replicated in Turkish market, therefore efforts must be made to promote furniture exports by more regular participation in international shows.

“All this can happen if there is government’s will and a vision amongst furniture traders. Joint ventures with Turkey through trade omissions for providing machines on lease can bring product quality at par with highest international standards. But for this to happen, the furniture industry in Pakistan must vigorously transform from cottage or small scale industry to innovative industry through training, upgrading supplies and imports,” he added.

Pakistan and Turkey have the trade volume well below the potential as Pakistan exported commodities worth $322.60 million and imported commodities valuing $238.45 million during 2014 15, showing a trade

balance of $84.15 million in its favour.

Earlier, the delegation visited the ChenOne Furniture factory at Kurrianwala near Faisalabad where GM PFC Hamid Mahmood briefing the members of the delegation said that it was spread over an area of 49 acres of land with nearly 250 highly trained skilled manpower.

They evinced keen interest and expressed satisfaction over the high standard of the products.

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Waheed Murad Film Festival from Nov 18

LAHORE, 17 November 2016, (APP) – Waheed Murad Film Festival will start on November 18 here at Odeon Cinema, where his films with famous heroine Rani (late) will be exhibited daily for seven days.

This festival has been arranged by all Pakistan Waheedi Club Lahore, and his film “Naag Mony” will be screened.

Then, film “Dil Mera Dhadkan Teri”, Mustana Mahi”, Suhaili”, “Dewar Bhabhi” and “Baharo Phool Barsao” will be screened.

After the end of the film festival, the death anniversary of Waheed Murad will be observed at Alhamra Lahore on November, 23, where a large number of artistes and fans of the late Waheed Murad will participate.

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Egypt pursuing more floating hotels

16 November 2016, (MENAFN – Daily News Egypt) – The cabinet intervened again to solve the ongoing problem of floating hotels, as the River Transport Authority has wanted to stipulate that the hotels be pulled out of the water onto dry docks so as to ensure their suitability for navigation.

In its meeting last week, the cabinet allowed floating hotels to use underwater filming to ensure their safety, instead of dry dock inspections.

There are no dry docks in the country big enough to lift large-load ships in the country, nor are there specialised workshops for this purpose, Nagy Erian, the deputy chairperson of the Tourism Facilities Chamber at the Egyptian Federation of Chambers of Tourism, told Daily News Egypt.

He noted that lakes in Egypt do not include dry docks or workshops dedicated to that type of inspection, adding that there is no safe means to lift the boat in unspecialised workshops. Nevertheless, the Ministry of Transport, represented by the River Transport Authority, clung to its decision to lift hotel boats onto dry docks for inspection.

Former prime minister Ibrahim Mehleb had previously intervened to solve the dispute between the authority and floating hotels, enabling the later to carry out underwater filming inspections.

Erian said that lifting the hotels onto dry docks would be very expensive, at a cost exceeding EGP 300,000 — a sum most hotels cannot afford now amid the stagnation of the tourism sector.

He urged the government to abandon international law “which states that floating hotels must be inspected on dry docks every five years” as Egypt enjoys an abundance of river water and lakes, which provides alternatives, such as underwater filming inspections and maintenance.

He pointed out that oil pumps and ports are inspected the same way and called upon the government to follow the same protocol for inspecting floating hotels. He noted that cooperation could be held between filming companies in ports of Port Said and Suez.

Dry docks inspections are a protocol followed worldwide to ensure the safety of vessels, explained Mohamed Farouk, head of the Navigation Licensing Department at the River Transport Authority.

“We cannot bypass the law when it comes to saving lives,” he noted. “We cannot endanger the lives of tourists.”

He added that there are 282 tourist boats working, yet only 180 are licensed.

All insurance companies stipulate valid licences to renew insurance on ships, vessels, and floating hotels, said Auman Nassif, member of the Ship Bodies Insurance Committee of the Insurance Federation of Egypt and head of the Ships Insurance Department at the Suez Canal Insurance Company.

He added that obtaining navigation licences for floating hotels proves they are safe to operate. He wondered why this licence does not suffice for the Egyptian Authority for Maritime Safety (EAFMS).

He noted that conducting an underwater filming inspection fulfils the purpose of proving safety and would be accepted by insurance companies to renew floating hotel licences, if the EAFMS approves it.

A source at the Inspection Department at the EAFMS told Daily News Egypt that the authority is not responsible for inspecting river vessels or floating hotels, as its scope of work is limited to inspected sea vessels.

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Tunisia to launch direct air link with China

7 November 2016, (African Manager Economic & Financial News) – Minister of Tourism, Salma Elloumi Rekik, announced on the sidelines of societal dialogue on youth affairs in Nabeul, the upcoming opening of a direct route between Tunisia and China.

The minister also added in a statement to Jawhara FM that the establishment of this new air service comes to attract new tourism markets such as China and India.

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Islamic Trade Finance Corp to Push Climate Change Policies

10 November 2016, (Islamic Development Bank Group News) – Marrakech – Morocco, Under the theme of climate change and its impact on trade, the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) in collaboration with the Ministry in Charge of Foreign Trade in the Kingdom of Morocco, are organising a Seminar on “International Trade and Climate Change” on Monday, November 14th, 2016, in COP22 Green Zone, Marrakech.

The seminar will take place on the sidelines of the United Nations Conference for Climate Change (COP22), held between 7 to November 18, 2016 in Marrakech – Kingdom of Morocco, where the opening will be under the auspices of the Ministry in Charge of Foreign Trade delegated to the Minister of Industry. Trade and Investment and the Digital Economy, Eng. Hans Salem Sonbol, Chief Executive Officer of the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) and Mr. Roberto Acevedo, Director General WTO.

The seminar will shed the light on how international trade helps in reducing the climate change impact and financial instruments that contribute to sustainable trade finance. The speakers include representatives from international organization such as United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the International Trade Centre (ITC), the Islamic Development Bank, Portent Morocco, Africa Exim Bank, in addition to representatives of international financial institutions and leading initiatives int he field of trade and environmental protection standards.

The Kingdom of Morocco’s was delegated during COP21, held in November 2015 in Paris, to host the COP22, for its prominent role in sustainable development and sustainable energy.

For this occasion, Eng. Hans Salem Sonbol opens an invitation to this seminar and says; “This is the first time that ITFC addresses the subject of climate change impact on trade given the extreme importance of this subject, including its major impact on trade finance operations, especially in sectors like agriculture and food security. A large number of our Member Countries depend on the agricultural sector as their primary source for the development of economy, which is the most vulnerable sector to climate change. ITFC looks forward to work together with its Member Countries and its partners in the region to achieve its goal with regard to International Sustainable trade promotion. We invite everyone to join us to insure the success of this important step.”

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USD75m Islamic Finance loan for Senegal groundnut campaign

Senegal, 13 November 2016, (Islamic Development Bank Group News) – With the objective of supporting strategic sectors, the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC), member of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group signed a Syndicated Murabaha Financing for USD75 Million (CFA Franc 45 billion), in favour of the Government of Senegal, with SONATAS as executive agency. The financing is a major step for 2016-2017 groundnut campaign, SONACOS being the leading player in the Senegalese groundnut sector.

Given the critical important of groundnut to the socio-economic situation of the country, the Government of Senegal has requested ITFC to cover part of the required funding for this groundnut season. Indeed, a substantial part of Senegal’s arable land is used to grow groundnuts and SONATAS is expected to collect between 200,000 and 300,000 tons for the new season.

The Groundnut sector, directly and indirectly, employs a significant percentage of the population which depends on the sector to make a living. It is not only a basic ingredient used in local cuisine, but also and above all, the main cash crop for farmers and an important export and revenue generating commodity for the country.

The financing agreement is now effective and ready for disbursement. The funds will be used to purchase the groundnuts from farmers and cooperatives, before processing into oil and animal feed by SONACOS. The financing is consequently expected to have a significant impact on the income of the farmers and improve their living conditions. Growth in export of finished products (groundnut oil and animal feed), will improve the country’s overall export revenues and employment level, thus contributing to poverty alleviation.

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“BakuTel-2016” to be held Nov 29 to Dec 2

The latest innovations in the sphere of telecommunications and information technologies are expected to be showcased at the International Telecommunications and Information Technologies Exhibition & Conference “BakuTel-2016”, which will be organized by the company “Iteca Caspian” with the support of the Ministry of Communications and High Technologies of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

The opening ceremony of the Exhibition will take place at the Baku Expo Center on November 29. The Exhibition will continue until December 2.

The Ministry of Communications and High Technologies has already approved the Action Plan of the Exhibition “BakuTel-2016”.

The Exhibition will serve as a platform for demonstrating all the achievements of the telecommunications and information technologies sector, presenting progressive ideas and projects, conducting important discussions on the development of the sector and building new business relations.

The event will be attended by representatives of the leading ICT companies, mobile network operators, internet service providers, system integrators and distributors of well-known brands.

The Exhibition will feature innovative solutions and technologies employed in the fields of communications, networking, IT infrastructures, satellite communications, TV & radio broadcasting, banking, business, services, etc.

Presentations of such projects as “Audio library for visually impaired children” and “Digitalization of museums” will be made at the event.

At the same time, a number of conferences and forums will be held on the sidelines of the Exhibition.

Also, during the working days of the Exhibition & Conference “BakuTel-2016”, the “Agreement on cooperation in the field of information and communication technologies between the Ministry of Communications and High Technologies of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications of the Russian Federation” and the “Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in the field of e-government between the Ministry of Communications and High Technologies of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Ministry of Communications and Information of Singapore” will be signed.

Besides, the 4th meeting of the High Level Working Group on the Development of Information Society of the Regional Commonwealth in the field of Communications (RCC), the first meeting of the Working Group on the Development of ICT of the Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States, the Ministerial Meeting of the Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States, the 2nd British – Azerbaijani Forum on High-Technologies and the 4th Regional Forum on Internet Governance will be held within the Exhibition & Conference “BakuTel-2016”.

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180 Firms Joined Abu Dhabi Global Market

ABU DHABI, Nov.18 (NNN-WAM) — The Abu Dhabi Global Market, ADGM, an international financial centre for local, regional and international businesses, is now home to more than 180 Emirati and global companies, said ADGM Chairman Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh while speaking at a forum last night.

The event was organised by the Indian Business and Professional Council, IBPC, under the theme: Abu Dhabi Global Market – An Oasis of Opportunities.

ADGM was launched a year ago to support Abu Dhabi’s economic vision of developing a diversified and sustainable economy and to realise Abu Dhabi’s ambition as an international finance centre.

“The Abu Dhabi chapter of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in India, ICA-I, was one of the first entities to join the ADGM family. We have also successfully approved 13 financial services licence applications and are currently processing another 13,” Al Sayegh said.

Highlighting the deep-rooted relations between the UAE and India, he said that there are huge potentials for commercial partnerships among businesses in the two countries.

“When I was first invited to the event, I knew I had to say “yes”, considering how India and the Indian community here have been among Abu Dhabi’s and the UAE’s closest and long-term friends and business partners. As we have to encourage commercial partnerships that will inspire entrepreneurship, networking, globalisation, innovation and job creation, I decided to speak about Abu Dhabi Global Market, the new international financial city here in our capital,” he added.

Al Sayegh said that for the next two days, ADGM is also hosting the ICA-I’s 28th Annual International Seminar on Maryah Island.

“There are just some examples of ADGM’s commitment to supporting the business and professional community in India and the UAE,” he noted.

“We are in a fast-growing region where the Middle East, Africa, India and Asia remain the key growth engines for the next few decades. The strong macroeconomic fundamentals will create a huge demand for financial intermediation and services such as corporate banking, treasury services, foreign exchange and capital markets,” Al Sayegh pointed out while underscoring the opportunities for financial services businesses.

“Only this month we have launched the first financial technology (fintech) regulatory laboratory, RegLab, in the MENA region to foster innovation by enabling fintech companies and participants to develop business solutions to address the needs of financial institutions in the UAE and beyond and well into the future,” he said.

Al Sayegh also said that during their recent trip to several cities in India, ADGM’s registration authorities met hundreds of Indian business leaders representing a broad range of sectors such as financial services, professional consultancies, fintech, technology and more. They were excited about the growth opportunities in Abu Dhabi and related to the synergies between the two markets. Many are interested in setting up businesses in ADGM.

“As you strategise for the future, Abu Dhabi and ADGM will be your partners, standing ready to support you in your local, regional and global aspirations. We are an important gateway for this. We are an important gateway for local and international institutions seeking opportunities in the MENA, India and Asia regions. I am optimistic of the region’s long-term prospects and tremendous economic potential,” he said.

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Minnesota school students, teachers wear hijab to back Muslims

Duluth, Minnesota (IINA) 17 Nov 2016 – On Wednesday morning, more than 30 female students and a couple of teachers gathered before class at East High School in Duluth, Minnesota, USA, and put on colorful headscarves in a display of unity.

Shanze Hayee, the only student at East who wears one, climbed onto a chair and explained the hijab and what it signified and then helped students learn how to wear the scarf.

No one can force a Muslim woman to wear a hijab, she said, but to her, wearing it sends a message “that a woman is more than her beauty and sexuality.”

“It’s not just about what’s on the outside,” Hayee said. “When we cover up our beauty, we are basically saying focus on our minds and our hearts.”

Duluth East High School student Shanze Hayee has worn a hijab, or headscarf, to school every day since she was in sixth grade, Duluth News Tribune reported.

She’s endured stares and the occasional “off” comment, she said, but she was better prepared for high school by wearing a headscarf from a young age.

Image from Duluth News Tribune

“Overall, the city is great and my experience has been great,” Hayee said, since she started wearing a hijab, which can be a large part of a Muslim woman’s identity. But frustration has emerged in the wake of President-elect Donald Trump’s proposals that first called for a ban on Muslims entering the U.S., scaled back later to “extreme vetting” of those coming from certain parts of the world, said East senior Rana Imtiaz, also Muslim.

Imtiaz organized the effort. While inspired by Trump’s anti-Muslim campaign rhetoric, the effort isn’t “an anti-Trump movement,” she said.

“It’s a movement for love and peace and solidarity,” Imtiaz said, explaining her frustration with reports that many women are now afraid to wear a hijab.

“I also felt like there wasn’t a lot of support and love for the Muslim community, and that was something important to me,” she said. “I am so grateful to all these people who are willing to do something that might make them uncomfortable, but is for the greater good.”

English teacher Danielle Westholm also wore a hijab on Wednesday. Being the only student in school who wears a headscarf, Hayee can be singled out, she said. By a large showing of support for her, “it normalizes it,” Westholm said.

Only about 150 Muslims live in Duluth, or less than two-tenths of a percent of Duluth’s population, according to Ibrahim Al-Qudah, president of the Islamic Center of the Twin Ports. “In the wake of Trump and all of this rhetoric against Muslims, and painting everyone with the same brush, it heightened the sensitivity of the Muslim woman to the dress code,” said Sabah Alwan, a professor in the School of Business and Technology at the College of St. Scholastica and a Muslim, who writes about his Islamic studies.

“They want people to know they are normal human beings. If you choose to dress a certain way, it is your choice.”

Junior Isabelle Schomberg said the election season caused some tension at East, with many students differing on their preference for president of the United States.

“There were some sharp divides here, but it’s calming down a bit,” she said.

Reports of racist and other intolerant language and graffiti aimed at students have come from Duluth schools, including East and Denfeld. On Tuesday, a picture of Trump with an inflammatory message was found inside a trophy case at Ordean East Middle School. The school and its police resource officer are investigating.

East students also planned a “safety pin” campaign to begin Wednesday, with the intention of handing them out to willing students who will wear them to indicate they are a “safe” and accepting person. Students throughout the city have started or are planning supportive events. At Denfeld, inspiring and positive Post-it notes have been placed around the school. A group of Marshall School students has planned a walkout today in protest of discrimination in the community and expects to meet up with students from East and Harbor City International School.

East achievement center coordinator Cal Harris said things like the hijab event are needed in Duluth schools.

“The more students come together to combat some of this stuff, that’s how things change,” he said.

Hayee prepared hijab-wearing students for stares and questions.

“But I think people are going to ask good questions,” Imtiaz said, “and maybe open up their eyes to the world” and have a deeper understanding of Muslim people.

Hayee said she was grateful as more students joined the group, donning headscarves.

“It is a fantastic idea I never would have thought of,” she said. “Really, I am going to enjoy today.”

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Morocco’s OCP, Ethiopia partner to build $2.5bln fertilizer plant

Casablanca (IINA) 17 Nov 2016 – The Ethiopian government has announced that it will partner up with Office ChÇrifien des Phosphates (OCP), the Moroccan world leader in the phosphate industry, in a joint $2.5 billion venture aimed to build a fertilizer plant in East Ethiopia, according to Moroccan media reports.

An officer from the Ethiopian Institute of Chemical and Construction Development told local press that “the factor, in partnership with the OCP, will be built in the zone of Shinile, bordering with the city of Dire Daoua and the Somali province, in east Ethiopia.”

The officer also indicated that the factory will be built over 100 acres and is expected to produce 1.1 million tons of urea and 1.5 million tons of fertilizer.

Construction will start next year, according to the same source, and should take place over the three years.

Sixty percent financing will be provided by bank loans while the remainder will be covered by the OCP and the Ethiopian government, according to Yabiliadi news.

OCP has been extremely active recently. Just last month, it announced the creation of a joint venture with India’s fertilizer cooperative, Kribhco, aiming to build a large-scale fertilizer manufacturing plant in Krishnapatnam, India.

The OCP has a financing budget of 18 billion dollars to be invested by 2025. This budget aims to finance phosphate and fertilizer production as well as the distribution of phosphoric acid. These joint ventures and investments will be beneficial for all parties involved.

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OIC gets new Secretary General

Makkah, (IINA) 18 Nov 2016 – Foreign ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member states unanimously approved Thursday, during an emergency meeting held in Makkah, the election of Dr. Yusuf bin Ahmed Al-Othaimeen as the new secretary general of OIC, based on the nomination of Saudi Arabia.

For his part, Dr. Al-Othaimeen expressed deepest thanks and gratitude to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman, the Crown Prince and the Deputy Crown Prince, on his nomination as Secretary General of the Organization.

He stressed that this is great confidence reposed on him, praying that Allah, the Almighty, to enable him to perform the mission in the service of the Islamic Ummah and promote solidarity amongst member states and bolstering joint Islamic action.

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Abdullah bin Zayed opens Abu Dhabi Art 2016

ABU DHABI, 15th November, 2016 (WAM) – H.H.Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, today opened the eighth edition of Abu Dhabi Art, which welcomes the public from Wednesday 16 November to Saturday 19 November, from 2pm-10pm at Manarat Al Saadiyat in the Saadiyat Cultural District.

Sheikh Abdullah toured the galleries at Manarat Al Saadiyat, meeting with the leading curators and artists who will be providing exceptional contributions to the extensive programme for Abu Dhabi Art 2016.

Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, Abu Dhabi Art presents an art fair with a distinctive public programme that connects with the wider community through a dynamic schedule of performing arts, talks, collaborative community initiatives, and a diverse range of international galleries showcasing a variety of inspiring artworks and iconic installations.

The opening was attended by Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, Minister of State for Tolerance, Sheikh Mohammed bin Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Sheikh Shakhbut bin Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Noura Al Kaabi, Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs, Saeed Eid Alghafli, Chairman of the Executive Office, in the presence of Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority, Dr. Ali bin Tamim, Cultural and Media advisor at the Deputy Chairman’s office of Abu Dhabi Executive Council, Mansour Al Mansouri, TCA board member, Acting Director General of National Media Council, accompanied by Saif Saeed Ghobash, Director General, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority, as well as ambassadors, senior officials, artists and art enthusiasts.

Commenting on the opening of Abu Dhabi Art 2016, TCA Abu Dhabi Chairman, Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak said: “Abu Dhabi Art was created to reflect the thriving artistic spirit in the emirate, showcasing a diverse programme of creative expression that serves as a platform to engage with a global audience. As we present this year’s edition, we look ahead to bringing together leading artists from the UAE and abroad in order to foster Abu Dhabi’s growing artistic awareness for international art trends and strengthen the emirate’s position as a global centre for cultural and artistic expression.”

Abu Dhabi Art once again brings together leading artists, curators, museum directors, art historians and galleries exhibited across the fair’s main sections; Modern & Contemporary, Bidaya, and Beyond.

In this year’s edition of Abu Dhabi Art, a new exhibition concept “Gateway” is introduced. Abu Dhabi Art offers a dynamic programme of talks by influential figures in the global art world, and a variety of live performances and installations at Manarat Al Saadiyat and across the capital to engage with the communities of Abu Dhabi and celebrate its cultural and artistic diversity.

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