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25 Apr, 2015

Government names 18 ‘Japan Heritage’ sites in tourism drive | The Japan Times

The Cultural Affairs Agency said Friday it has chosen 18 sets of cultural assets spread across more than half of the 47 prefectures to attract more tourists and revitalize communities and economies overshadowed by Japan’s biggest cities. The first batch of so-called Japan Heritage sites includes the well-known Shikoku Henro pilgrimage trail and former educational […]

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23 Apr, 2015

Leaked Sony emails reveal Hollywood execs efforts to support Israel – Mondoweiss

Top Hollywood bosses enjoy a strong relationship with the Israeli government and various pro-Israel lobbying groups across the United States, according to a cache of Sony internal emails leaked to Wikileaks and published for the first time last week. The emails reveal a dinner between Sony executives and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; the presenter of […]

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23 Apr, 2015

Shiv Sena forces cancellation of Pak singer Atif Aslam’s Pune concert – The Hindu

The Shiv Sena has once again forced the cancellation of a concert by Pakistani singer Atif Aslam that was scheduled to be held at Hadapsar in Pune city this Saturday. The Sena has threatened to disrupt the event if it proceeded as per schedule. Confirming the cancellation of the April 25 event, the Anjaneya Sathe […]

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20 Apr, 2015

Mumbai: When a great city dies | The Indian Express

Mumbai has an active civic culture of debate and dissent that has enabled it to withstand poor governance and political ineptitude, but violence and intimidation are of a different order and they threaten to completely denude the already shrinking space for democratic processes. Educated young people in the city eschew political engagement precisely for this […]

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20 Apr, 2015

Middle East’s largest theater complex to open in Tehran

Compiled by Imtiaz Muqbil & Sana Shamsi

A compilation of progressive, positive, inspiring and motivating events and developments in the world of Islam for the week ending 20 April 2015 (01 Rajab 1436). Pls click on any of the headlines below to go to the story. ============ A WORD FROM MY SPONSORS: TOURISM MALAYSIA MALAYSIA TO CELEBRATE A YEAR OF GREAT FESTIVALS […]

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20 Apr, 2015

Two decades after Oklahoma City bombing, the crime still sears workers – The Washington Post

Sunday marked the 20th anniversary of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. The crime still sears federal employees. Timothy McVeigh, an Army veteran of Operation Desert Storm, was executed for what the FBI called “the worst act of homegrown terrorism in the nation’s history.” Terry Nichols, an Army buddy, […]

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20 Apr, 2015

California drought spurs protest over ‘unconscionable’ bottled water business – The Guardian

Californians facing the prospect of endless drought, mandated cuts in water use and the browning of their summer lawns are mounting a revolt against the bottled water industry, following revelations that Nestlé and other big companies are taking advantage of poor government oversight to deplete mountain streams and watersheds at vast profit. An online petition […]

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20 Apr, 2015

Australia charts 10-year plan to boost international education, training

Canberra, 20 April 2015, Austrade media release – Austrade, the Australian Government’s international education promotion agency, is holding a series of open workshops across Australia seeking input on future directions for Australia’s international education and training sector. The workshops are part of the AIE 2025 Roadshow and will help develop a long-term market plan, Australian […]

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20 Apr, 2015

India’s socio-political fabric faces “twin threats of communalism, neoliberalism” | GulfNews.com

Subhashini Ali, yet another first-time entrant in the politburo was of the view that the party has to strengthen its base by involving people from the backward classes in mass movements. “We must be strong from within by expanding the support base and the best way to do that is to protect the interest of […]

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20 Apr, 2015

Alwaleed foundation buys 100 artworks by special-needs children | Arab News

Alwaleed Bin Talal Foundation purchased all the 100 artworks that had been put for auction at the “Salman In Their Eyes” exhibition which concluded here on April 16. The three-day exhibition, organized by the Disabled Children’s Association (DCA), was the first of its kind to deliver a message of love and loyalty to the king […]

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19 Apr, 2015

In memoriam: Thai tourism and aviation pioneer Chatrachai Bunya-ananta

One of Thailand’s most eminent aviation and tourism pioneers, Mr. Chatrachai Bunya-ananta, the first civilian to become President of Thai Airways International, passed away on April 18 at the age of 82. Ailing for several months with a blood infection, he had been in and out of hospital since December 2014. Mr. Chatrachai was one […]

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19 Apr, 2015

Kingfisher fined for ‘duping’ flyers to take low-cost flight – The Times of India

MUMBAI: The problems don’t seem to be ending for Vijay Mallya. Sending a strong signal to all airlines, the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission on Thursday ordered the defunct Kingfisher Airlines to deposit Rs 25 lakh in the Consumer Welfare Fund of the Government of India as fine for making fliers take the low-cost airline, […]

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19 Apr, 2015

China flags another 11.7% budget cut for official travel, transport & receptions

By WANG XIAODONG

Beijing, (China Daily) 2015-04-18 – Government budgets for overseas travel, official vehicles and receptions will be reduced by 11.7 percent this year to promote frugality, the Ministry of Finance said on Friday. It said 6.31 billion yuan ($1.03 billion) has been allocated to cover expenses related to these three categories. The budget for government vehicles, […]

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18 Apr, 2015

Philippines crafts roadmap to boost handicraft industry – Manila Bulletin

Manila – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the University of the Philippines Institute for Small-Scale Industries (UP-ISSI) have signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to formulate the “Strategy Roadmap for Gifts, Decors and Houseware Industry” for 2013-2030. During the recent “GDH Gifts, Decors and Houseware Industry Situationer and Workshop”, DTI and UP-ISSI […]

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18 Apr, 2015

Grape picking boosts tourism in La Union | Manila Bulletin

Bauang, La Union — Grape picking straight from the vines of a plantation in Barangay Urayong here has been attracting foreign and local tourists in this town thereby contributing to the province’s tourism industry. This town, known as the “Fruit Capital of La Union,” has been promoting various high-grade varieties of fruits like guapples or […]

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18 Apr, 2015

No More Excuses on Patriot Act Surveillance Reform | Human Rights Watch

This week, Human Rights Watch took two major steps to challenge the US government’s invasive and unrestrained collection of our personal data. HRW, along with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, sued the US Drug Enforcement Agency for illegally collecting records of our international calls as part of a secret mass surveillance program that has been ongoing […]

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18 Apr, 2015

Work-life balance now an important criteria for Chinese job-seekers

By SHI JING

Beijing, (China Daily) 2015-04-09 – Companies need to take personal concerns into account when advertising for staff, because job hunters in China now think a work-life balance is as important as a higher salary, according to a survey from human resources firm Hudson Global Inc. The Hiring Report 2015 said that 61 percent of the […]

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18 Apr, 2015

Indonesian Bill on alcohol ban gets secular backing | The Jakarta Post

Lawmakers from secular parties have added their voices to those of their counterparts in Islamic parties in support of a bill prohibiting the consumption of alcoholic beverages. The ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), the Golkar Party and the Democratic Party respectively the largest party and second- and fourth-largest parties in the House of […]

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18 Apr, 2015

Bali tourist areas exempt from beer ban | The Jakarta Post

The Trade Ministry’s new regulation on alcoholic beverages, scheduled to take full effect on Thursday, will not be enforced on Bali as the ministry has decided that tourism areas would be exempted from the ban. On Thursday minimarkets, small vendors and beachside beverage vendors across the country were to stop selling beer. Bali administrations, retail […]

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18 Apr, 2015

How to respond to nasty emails – Sydney Morning Herald

Catherine Gerhardt had just launched her business when she received an email so nasty she still hasn’t forgotten it. “It really felt like that person had kicked me in the guts,” she says. “I honestly felt physically unwell – not only when I read the email, but also afterwards as you find you keep mulling […]

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18 Apr, 2015

Noam Chomsky: ‘Any reader of Orwell would be perfectly familiar’ with US maneuvers – RT USA

Major American media organizations diligently parrot what US officials want the public to know about global affairs, historian Noam Chomsky told RT. To US leaders, any news outlet that “does not repeat the US propaganda system is intolerable,” he said. The culpability of the West – namely the United States – for world affairs, such […]

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18 Apr, 2015

China: Upcoming Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to operate in ‘transparent way’

By ZHENG YANGPENG

Beijing (China Daily) 2015-04-16 – Financial transparency, corporate governance and high standards in top management skills will be the cornerstones of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Already 57 countries have joined the AIIB with South Korea, the United Kingdom, Australia, France, Germany and Italy all signing up as founding members. In keeping with such a […]

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16 Apr, 2015

Seattle CEO cuts his salary by 90% to pay every worker at least $70,000 – The Independent

A chief executive has announced plans to raise the salary of every single employee at his company to at least $70,000 (£47,000) – and will fund it by cutting his own salary by 90 per cent. Dan Price, the CEO of Seattle-based tech company Gravity Payments, gathered together his 120-strong workforce on Monday to tell […]

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16 Apr, 2015

India tops in remittances, receives $70 billion – Hindustan Times

The World Bank has said India continues to be the leading nation in remittances pulling in $70 billion from its global migrant workforce in 2014. World Bank’s study of remittance, the money workers and professionals working in foreign lands send back to their native countries, attributed this mainly to weak economic growth in Europe, deterioration […]

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16 Apr, 2015

Re-energised PATA Travel Mart 2015 now a far better deal than ITB Asia

Bangkok — The 2015 PATA Travel Mart to be held in South Indian high-tech metropolis of Bengaluru between Sept 6-8 is set to offer far more value for money than the ITB Asia. A comparison of the rates of the two events shows that the Singapore-based ITB Asia 2015 has more than doubled its basic […]

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15 Apr, 2015

Study: Financial-related suicides on the rise in Italy – PressTV

A study by the Link Campus University of Rome has found that financially-motivated suicides have more than doubled in Italy in the last three years. A Link Campus University sociologist says that the number of such suicides were 89 in 2012, 149 in 2013 and 201 in 2014. The study has revealed how suicidal individuals […]

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15 Apr, 2015

New tourists’ court in Dubai to hold swift trials for minor crimes | GulfNews.com

Dubai: A new misdemeanours court to handle cases involving tourists will be set up soon to look into minor crimes committed by holidaymakers. It will hold swift trials keeping in mind their visit visa’s expiry date. The Dubai Courts Department [DCD] will set up the new misdemeanour court later this year, said Mohammad Abdul Rahman, […]

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15 Apr, 2015

PressTV – US trying to colonize Europe: Russia

Russia’s top lawmaker has accused the United States of trying to colonize Europe through its policies, stating Washington has already put Europe’s military and political spheres under its control and now trade and finance sectors are being targeted. Sergey Naryshkin, the speaker of Russia’s lower house of parliament, made the remarks in an article posted […]

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15 Apr, 2015

Pakistani novelist shortlisted for Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction – DAWN.COM

Pakistani novelist Kamila Shamsie of Kartography and Salt and Saffron fame has been shortlisted for the 2015 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction for her novel A God in Every Stone. Published in 2014, The Guardian described A God in Every Stone as a story that “follows a young Londoner, Vivian Rose Spencer, from an archaeological […]

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15 Apr, 2015

China gets 40-year rights at Pakistani port

By Wang Ting

(chinadaily.com.cn) 2015-04-14 – China has been granted operation rights for 40 years at a port in Gwadar, a strategic deep-water seaport in Pakistan, Hong Kong-based Pheonix TV reported on Tuesday. Infrastructure construction is nearly complete and the port could be put into full use by the end of the year, Dostain Khan Jamaldini, chairman of […]

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14 Apr, 2015

State trips cater for Xinjiang pilgrims heading to Mecca

By GAO BO

(China Daily) Updated: 2015-04-14  – Arrangements for Muslims in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region who wish to take part in State-organized visits to Mecca for the annual hajj pilgrimage are being enhanced by the local authorities. Aisha Imish, a senior religious leader in Baicheng in the south of the region, participated in one of the […]

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14 Apr, 2015

In rich Qatar, an Indian restaurant lets poor eat for free – DAWN.COM

DOHA: In a dusty corner of Qatar’s booming capital, a sign outside a modest restaurant popular with migrant labourers reads: “If you are hungry and have no money, eat for free!!!” Sixteen kilometres (10 miles) from the gleaming glass towers of Doha, one of the richest places on the planet, sits the “Industrial Area” of […]

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14 Apr, 2015

Shashi Tharoor: Indian decision-making now needs “ok” from PM’s Office – The Hindu

Washington DC — The office of Prime Minister Narendra Modi exercises such an extent of control over policy matters that it could be impeding implementation, suggested to Shashi Tharoor, Member of Parliament from Thiruvananthapuram, who is on a brief visit to the U.S. Speaking at a private event at the World Bank focused on his […]

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14 Apr, 2015

Int’l students promote peace via dance performances | The Jakarta Post

n the spirit of peace and global friendship, around 100 secondary school students from 20 countries around the world introduced their cultures during the International Festival of Language and Culture (ILFC) at Teater Jakarta in the Taman Ismail Marzuki cultural center on Saturday. The countries comprised Turkey, Tunisia, Jordan, Australia, Kazakhstan, Nepal, Ethiopia, Ukraine, Myanmar, […]

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14 Apr, 2015

“Pretties” and children models banned from Shanghai auto show

By Liu Wei

Beijing (chinadaily.com.cn) 2015-04-09 -Scantily clad models and children are banned from the 16th Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition opening on April 22, the Shanghai Morning Post reported on Thursday. Models at auto shows have often been criticized for causing distractions by wearing fewer and fewer clothes. Pretty women could certainly attract the crowds but prevented […]

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13 Apr, 2015

Jakarta To Host 60th Anniversary Asia-Africa Conference April 19

Compiled by Imtiaz Muqbil & Sana Shamsi

A compilation of progressive, positive, inspiring and motivating events and developments in the world of Islam for the week ending 13 April 2015 (23 Jumaada al-Thaani 1436). Pls click on any of the headlines below to go to the story. ============ A WORD FROM MY SPONSORS: TOURISM MALAYSIA MALAYSIA TO CELEBRATE A YEAR OF GREAT […]

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12 Apr, 2015

Mobile phone among 5 main causes of Saudi road accidents | Arab News

Use of mobile phones while driving is among the top five causes of accidents in the Kingdom, a Saudi organization that deals with traffic accidents has said. Motorists jumping the signal is another leading cause of mishaps, the figures available with the organization show. This revelation by the organization’s specialist was made following an ordinance […]

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12 Apr, 2015

French visa for Indians in 48 hours – Hindustan Times

French President Francois Hollande has informed Prime Minister Narendra Modi of his government’s decision to implement a scheme to issue visa for Indians within 48 hours, besides allowing Indian students to stay on for two more years after completing courses here. The post-study facility for Indian students to gain professional experience was closed in Britain […]

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12 Apr, 2015

Mumbai stung by Marathi chauvinism, Hindutva | Gulf News.com

Mumbai/New Delhi: With the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) far right social agenda based on Hindu fundamentalism, also called Hindutva, and its hardline ally Shiv Sena sounding the war cry “Maharashtra for Maharashtrians” Mumbai — the glamour and commercial capital of India — is fast losing its sheen. Just two days ago, Shiv Sena workers […]

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12 Apr, 2015

Pakistan all set to welcome Sikh pilgrims – DAWN.COM

LAHORE: Around 2,000 Sikh pilgrims from India intending to participate in the annual Baisakhi festival in Pakistan have so far been issued visas by the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi. More pilgrims (yatrees) are likely to be issued visas very soon, according to the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) chairman. “In addition to this, […]

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11 Apr, 2015

American grovelling before Israel reaches new low – Gideon Levy

The top headline of Haaretz in Hebrew on Tuesday should have reverberated in Washington and shocked America. It also should have worried many Israelis. One day it might even be taught in history class in our schools, marking the time that Israel crossed all of the red lines. A headline is only a headline, but […]

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11 Apr, 2015

PressTV – Bahrainis stage rallies against F1 race

Anti-regime demonstrators across Bahrain have held massive protest rallies, demanding the cancellation of the upcoming Formula One Grand Prix. On Friday, a large number of protesters took to the streets in several areas across the Persian Gulf kingdom to voice their outrage against the upcoming event. The fresh demonstrations came one week ahead of the […]

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11 Apr, 2015

Islamic fashion’s expanding market attracts Sharia financiers | GulfNews.com

London: For Anas Sillwood, a British convert to Islam who moved to Jordan in the 1990s, Sharia-compliant fashion was initially just a way to support himself while he studied Arabic and the religion. Sillwood, who set up Shukr LLC in 2000, says he saw a gap in the market for elegant and modest clothing that […]

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11 Apr, 2015

VHP, RSS force Muslim to sell home in Hindu locality | The Indian Express

Barely a year after he bought a bungalow in a predominantly Hindu neighbourhood of Bhavnagar, prompting Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Pravin Togadia to ask neighbours not to allow him to move in, a Muslim businessman was forced to sell it off with functionaries of Hindu Right-wing groups brokering the deal. Scrap dealer Aliasgar Zaveri […]

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10 Apr, 2015

Pakistani short-film ‘Baat Cheet’ goes to Cannes – DAWN.COM

2015 seems like a good year for Pakistani films because not only are we seeing multiple releases but our short-films are also hitting the right chords. Director Rayika Choudri’s short-film Baat Cheet is on its way to be screened at the 68th Cannes Film Festival held annually in the French city of Cannes. The ten-minute […]

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9 Apr, 2015

California man charged in global child sex case – The Independent

A federal grand jury last week charged a California man with child sexual-exploitation crimes after investigators allegedly found hundreds of explicit images of underage children on the man’s laptop. Blake Robert Johnston, from Martinez, California, now faces charges of transporting a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, online coercion, sexual exploitation involving […]

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9 Apr, 2015

Robert Reich: How Big Money Is Buying Off Criticism of Big Money – Truthdig

Not long ago I was asked to speak to a religious congregation about widening inequality. Shortly before I began, the head of thecongregation asked that I not advocate raising taxes on the wealthy. He said he didn’t want to antagonize certain wealthycongregants on whose generosity the congregation depended. I had a similar exchange last year […]

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9 Apr, 2015

Ex-greats call for promoting sports culture in Pakistan – DAWN.COM

LAHORE: A number of renowned international players attended a grand function arranged by the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) to celebrate the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace at a local hotel on Monday night where they urged the need to promote sporting culture in the country. Hockey Olympians Tariq Aziz, Akhtar Rasool Chaudhary, […]

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9 Apr, 2015

Pak ghazal singer Ghulam Ali to perform at Varanasi temple — Hindustan Times

Renowned Pakistani ghazal singer Ustad Ghulam Ali will be performing at a music festival in Varanasi beginning April 8. The event will take place at the ancient Sankat Mochan temple. This is the first time a Pakistani artiste will be performing in the temple premises. Wishing that he could be present at the festival, Prime […]

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9 Apr, 2015

US may have lost its role as the world’s economic leader: Lawrence Summers

Tehran, April 8, IRNA – An American economic expert stressed that the end may have come for the US as the world’s economic leader. Larry Summers who used to serve as an Obama economic adviser from 2009 through 2010 wrote in Business Insider that “this past month may be remembered as the moment the United […]

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9 Apr, 2015

U.S. H1-B visa application cap reached within 5 days – The Times of India

NEW YORK: The US said it has reached the cap for the much-coveted H-1B work visas for 2016 within the first five days for the third consecutive year and will now conduct a lottery system to allocate the visas highly popular among IT professionals from countries like India. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) […]

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9 Apr, 2015

People leaving UK face tighter passport checks – The Independent

Passport checks on people leaving Britain are coming into force. People arriving in the port of Dover will have their passports scanned and exit checks will be made on cross-Channel and Channel Tunnel travellers. Exit checks were dropped in 1998 but were re-introduced as part of a new system in the Immigration Act 2014. The […]

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9 Apr, 2015

PATA CEO steps up to the plate, denounces racial profiling in travel

Bangkok – Pacific Asia Travel Association CEO Mario Hardy has become the first head of a major international travel organisation to speak out against the scourge of racial profiling in the travel & tourism industry. Writing in his April 8 blog headlined “Ambassadors for Tourism, for good and for peace…”, Mr Hardy said, “Today, I […]

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7 Apr, 2015

11 Ways The Cricket World Cup Can Make the World a Better Place

The recent Cricket World Cup competition in Australia and New Zealand was watched by more than two billion people worldwide. Amidst the sporting frenzy and the heavy-duty competitive pressure, there was much to learn. Constructive, well-meaning competition is good for the system. Although all tournaments must end with only one winner, they are accompanied by […]

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6 Apr, 2015

Islamic Yoga boosts Energy, Happiness and Health

Compiled by Imtiaz Muqbil & Sana Shamsi

A compilation of stories of interesting events and developments in the world of Islam for the week ending 06 April 2015 (17 Jumaada al-Thaani 1436). Pls click on any of the headlines below to go to the story. ============ A WORD FROM MY SPONSORS: TOURISM MALAYSIA MALAYSIA TO CELEBRATE A YEAR OF GREAT FESTIVALS 2015 […]

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3 Apr, 2015

12-year-old Muslim girl from Mumbai wins Bhagwad Gita contest – Hindustan Times

A 12-year-old Muslim girl, studying in class six of a Mira Road school in Mumbai, secured the first place in a Bhagwad Gita competition organised by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) last month. Mariyam Asif Siddiqui, a student of Cosmopolitan High School in Mira Road, won the contest from among 4,500 students who […]

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2 Apr, 2015

Air disaster by German suicide-pilot elevates importance of treating mental ill-health in workplace

The Germanwings air-disaster triggered by an alleged suicide-pilot came just weeks after the Paris-based Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) released a report highlighting the impact of mental ill-health on communities, companies and countries. Whereas the report’s primary focus was on economic impact and productivity, the human-life cost of the aviation disaster has elevated […]

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1 Apr, 2015

China-funded Mekong bridge, road build hope for better local lives in northeast Cambodia

By Xue Lei and Li Hong

STUNG TRENG, Cambodia, April 1, (Xinhua)  — Spanning the Mekong River in far northeastern Cambodia, the newly-built 1.73-km Mekong bridge, along with a 143-km road, have raised hope for better living conditions of residents in this far northeastern region.The bridge and road, linked Stung Treng province’s rural parts and its provincial town, are crucial for […]

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1 Apr, 2015

Why economic sanctions on Russia don’t work | The Japan Times

The Western approach to Russia is predicated on the supposition that continued pressure on the country will cause President Vladimir Putin’s regime to make concessions or even crumble. Nothing could be further from the truth. The assumption underlying the efficacy of Western sanctions is that the sharp economic deterioration that results from them will turn […]

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30 Mar, 2015

Istanbul, Marrakech Voted World’s Top Tourism Cities

Compiled by Imtiaz Muqbil & Sana Shamsi

A compilation of progressive, positive, inspiring and motivating events and developments in the world of Islam for the week ending 30 March 2015 (09 Jumaada al-Thaani 1436). Pls click on any of the headlines below to go to the story. ============ A WORD FROM MY SPONSORS: TOURISM MALAYSIA MALAYSIA CELEBRATES A YEAR OF GREAT FESTIVALS […]

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29 Mar, 2015

How the American War Machine Is Sucking Up Vast Amounts of Cash to Screw Up the World | Alternet

President Obama and Senator John McCain, who have clashed on almost every conceivable issue, do agree on one thing: the Pentagon needs more money. Obama wants to raise the Pentagon’s budget for fiscal year 2016 by $35 billion more than the caps that exist under current law allow. McCain wants to see Obama his $35 […]

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29 Mar, 2015

Homelessness in London soars by 79% since 2010 – RT UK

The number of people sleeping rough on the streets of London has risen by over one-third in the past year, new government figures reveal. The crisis has prompted homelessness charities to call for sweeping reforms. Data from the Department for Communities and Local Government found that levels of homelessness in the capital rose by 37 […]

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29 Mar, 2015

The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef – and shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat – The Independent

The underwater rock formations provide the best fishing grounds off Gaza, but they are just beyond the limit set by the Israelis for local boats. Tawfiq Abu Riyala dreamt up an ingenious plan to solve this problem; but it may have ended up costing him his life. The 32-year-old fisherman had built up his own […]

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29 Mar, 2015

Malawi to burn its £5m ivory stockpile to show commitment to wildlife conservation – The Independent

The world’s poorest country is to make the world’s most expensive bonfire. On Thursday, Malawi will set fire to ivory worth more than £5m, in an extravagant gesture designed to demonstrate its commitment to wildlife conservation and the fight against the colossal worldwide business of wildlife crime. Almost four tons of ivory is held in […]

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28 Mar, 2015

Israel killed more Palestinians in 2014 than in any other year since 1967 – The Guardian

Israel killed more Palestinian civilians in 2014 than in any other year since the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip began in 1967, a UN report has said. Israel’s activities in the Gaza Strip, West Bank and East Jerusalem resulted in the deaths of 2,314 Palestinians and 17,125 injuries, compared with 39 deaths […]

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27 Mar, 2015

Finnish Musicians Union: Universal Loses Market Court Case Over Internet Music Rights

March 26, 2015 HELSINKI–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Two sons of late Albert Järvinen, best known as guitarist for the Finnish rock’n’roll band Hurriganes, took a clear victory over Universal Music Finland in Helsinki Market Court over internet rights of two albums originally released in the early 1970’s. The case was processed on behalf of the artist rightholders with […]

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27 Mar, 2015

Hindu fanatics attack Church, two schools in Jabalpur – Hindustan Times

A group of Hindu hardliners attacked a church and two schools in Jabalpur late on Friday night. They were unhappy over a Christians’ Convention taking place at St Peter & Paul Church and accused the church of promoting conversion. The miscreants, about 50 in number, mainly belonged to Dharma Sena and Bajrang Dal. They first […]

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27 Mar, 2015

German Embassy rudeness leaves Thai orchid expert wilted – The Nation

Bangkok – The difficulty of Thais acquiring foreign visas has long been an issue, and some embassies make it so hard to apply for travel permission that even leading stand-up comedian Udom “Nose” Taepanich joked about it in his one-man shows. But no one is laughing at the latest case of consular coarseness, which involves […]

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27 Mar, 2015

Narendra Modi govt making Muslims ‘insecure’ – The Indian Express

Following a two-day convention of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, the body on Sunday decided to constitute a committee called ‘Defend Constitutional Rights Committee’ to step up propaganda countering the anti-minority decisions of various state governments and the Center. The spokesperson of the body said that ever since the formation of the new […]

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27 Mar, 2015

Communication breakdown? Emails are the culprit – Sydney Morning Herald

Several Australian companies have started banning internal and external emails in the workplace after they were found to cause stress and conflicts and slow work down. Nathan Schokker, director of facilities management services provider, Talio said he banned emails between employees to promote more face-to-face communication. “My staff are very energetic and tech savvy, being […]

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27 Mar, 2015

Goa village bans kissing in public as it irritates residents – Hindustan Times

A Goan village has banned kissing in public, saying it causes irritation to residents. Reena Fernandes, deputy sarpanch of Salvador do Mundo, a picturesque village located a short distance from Panaji, told IANS on Thursday that the decision was taken by the village panchayat based on requests from locals. “There were a lot of unwanted […]

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27 Mar, 2015

Facebook data privacy case to be heard before European Union court – The Guardian

A Facebook user is taking his privacy campaign to the European Union’s highest court to prevent US intelligence agencies gaining access to his personal data. The case brought by Maximilian Schrems against Ireland’s Data Protection Commission may eventually shape international regulations over access to, and ownership of, online information. The Austrian law student began the […]

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27 Mar, 2015

Leave Facebook if you don’t want to be spied on, warns EU – The Guardian

The European Commission has warned EU citizens that they should close their Facebook accounts if they want to keep information private from US security services, finding that current Safe Harbour legislation does not protect citizen’s data. The comments were made by EC attorney Bernhard Schima in a case brought by privacy campaigner Maximilian Schrems, looking […]

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24 Mar, 2015

Thai Tourism Minister listens carefully as PATA finds its “Voice”

Bangkok — The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) has long claimed to be the “voice” of the tourism industry in the world’s most populous and dynamic region. Over the last few years, failing to walk that talk has been a major contributor to its decline. Now, that is changing. On 19 March, the PATA Thailand […]

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23 Mar, 2015

Indonesia to waive visas for 25 countries

Compiled by Imtiaz Muqbil & Sana Shamsi

A compilation of progressive, positive, inspiring and motivating events and developments in the world of Islam for the week ending 23 March 2015 (02 Jumaada al-Thaani 1436). Pls click on any of the headlines below to go to the story. ============ A WORD FROM MY SPONSORS: TOURISM MALAYSIA MALAYSIA TO CELEBRATE A YEAR OF GREAT […]

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22 Mar, 2015

The Lie of the Century: CIA Declassifies Document That Supposedly Justified the Iraq Invasion

Thirteen years ago, the intelligence community concluded in a 93-page classified document used to justify the invasion of Iraq that it lacked “specific information” on “many key aspects” of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs. But that’s not what top Bush administration officials said during their campaign to sell the war […]

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21 Mar, 2015

Sad outcome of Israeli elections – Uri Avnery

So Netanyahu is back. That’s the sad outcome of the Israeli elections. Sad, but not the end of the world. Some people say that the best course now is a so-called national unity government. Looks like a nice idea. Unity always sounds nice. The advocates of this choice have one good argument: It’s the lesser […]

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21 Mar, 2015

Amazon rainforest losing capacity to fight climate change as trees die – The Independent

The Amazon rainforest is losing its ability to absorb carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as trees are dying, which could have negative implication on climate change across the globe. A study led by the University of Leeds revealed that tree growth in the Amazon rainforest has declined by one-third since the 1980s and that the […]

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21 Mar, 2015

How the RSS “ghar wapsi” programme actually hurts Hindus – DAWN.COM

The Sangh Parivar’s ghar wapsi programme to convert members of minority communities to Hinduism is driven by anxieties of Hindus being lured away in droves from the faith of their ancestors by Abrahamic missionaries. While the fears of an exodus from Hinduism are greatly exaggerated, news broke on the weekend of a person converting from […]

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20 Mar, 2015

Buddhist monk shames branding gurus: “Are you really contributing to sustainability?”

Bangkok, March 28, 2015 – Thailand’s leading branding gurus got more than they bargained for at a conference on sustainability when the keynote speaker, a prominent Buddhist monk, ripped into the human frailties of greed, pride, egotism and conceit, all of which he said help meet corporate goals but are totally opposite to core Buddhist […]

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20 Mar, 2015

Time for transparency for EU multinationals | EurActiv

This week, the European Commission unveiled its tax transparency package, proposing new rules for the exchange of information on secret tax deals and opening up a discussion on whether EU multinationals should publicly report basic information on their activities. The last decades have seen multinational companies grow ever more powerful and exert huge economic and […]

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20 Mar, 2015

March 21: Bali to go silent for Nyepi, all religious leaders to join in

Ni Komang Erviani

The Jakarta Post, Denpasar, March 19 2015 – Preparations are gearing up for Nyepi, the Balinese Hindu Day of Silence, which falls on Saturday. This year’s celebration will offer another demonstration of Bali’s strong interfaith relations, as the celebration coincides with the Catholic period of Lent, where adherents fast and make penitence in preparation for […]

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20 Mar, 2015

Saudi Arabia to stop issuing visas to Swedes after criticism | The Jakarta Post

Saudi Arabia will no longer issue business visas to Swedes or renew the current visas of Swedish nationals living in the country, a senior Saudi official told The Associated Press on Thursday. The official said the decision is in response to Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom’s recent criticism of Saudi Arabia’s record on human and […]

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20 Mar, 2015

March 20 Int’l Happiness Day: Gallup Poll lists countries where people are most/least happy

by Jon Clifton

Ahead of the United Nations’ International Day of Happiness, Gallup looks at the countries where the highest and lowest percentages of people are experiencing positive emotions daily. Story Highlights Top 10 countries for positive emotions are in Latin America At least 70% laugh/smile a lot, experience enjoyment, treated with respect, well-rested WASHINGTON, D.C. — As […]

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18 Mar, 2015

Australian insider trading masterminds jailed

Two men involved in a $7 million insider trading scheme that helped the mastermind buy an apartment from The Block television show to give his crimes a “cloak of respectability” have been jailed. Former NAB banker Lukas Kamay and former Australian Bureau of Statistics employee Christopher Hill had been involved in the worst case of […]

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17 Mar, 2015

‘IS’ as a western phenomenon | Arab News

No matter how one attempts to wrangle with the so-called “Islamic State” (IS) rise in Iraq and Syria, desperately seeking any political or other context that would validate the movement as an explainable historical circumstance, things refuse to add up. Not only is IS to a degree an alien movement in the larger body politic […]

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17 Mar, 2015

Skyfii’s Wi-Fi watching you shop in Westfield — Sydney Morning Herald

Data services company Skyfii has secured long-term contracts to supply and manage guest Wi-Fi in more than 20 Westfield shopping centres, as well as the the up-market MLC Centre in Sydney. It had previously inked deals with other big Sydney malls including the Queen Victoria Building and the Strand Arcade, Galeries Victoria, Chifley Plaza, World […]

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17 Mar, 2015

Don’t want NSA to spy on you? 5 things you can do

More than half of Americans are worried about the US government’s digital spies prying into their emails, texts, search requests and other online information, but few are trying to thwart the surveillance. That’s according to a new survey from Pew Research Center, released Monday. A main reason for the inertia? Pew researchers found that a […]

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17 Mar, 2015

U.N. under fire for US$2.3 million extra costs in business and first-class travel authorisations

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and his office management staff are under fire for authorising “exceptions” to the UN’s travel policies that cost global taxpayers an additional US$ 2.3 million for business- and first-class travel in 2012-14, mostly by “prominent” persons, for UN meetings around the world. Although the UN General Assembly had instructed Mr. Ban […]

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17 Mar, 2015

Quality of life: Delhi is now a city on ‘terminal decline’ – Hindustan Times

Feted as an “ultimate city to visit and explore” by National Geographic’s Traveller magazine and the “best city to live in India” by the Institute for Competitiveness and Confederation of Indian Industry till three years ago, Delhi has lost the status to Mumbai — which was seen as a city on ‘terminal decline’ because of […]

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17 Mar, 2015

In Sri Lanka, underworked army runs resorts, shops, salons and travel agencies | The Indian Express

A pristine white building with a classy brown wooden finish overlooks the blue Indian Ocean at Kankensanthurai, about 19 km from Jaffna in northern Sri Lanka. It’s a luxury resort, and on Sunday mornings, families come here for a meal, a swim in the pool, and to play on the beach. Foot-tapping music plays at […]

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17 Mar, 2015

As a Christian, suddenly I am a stranger in my own country: ex-Mumbai Police Chief Julio Ribeiro – The Indian Express

Today, in my 86th year, I feel threatened, not wanted, reduced to a stranger in my own country. The same category of citizens who had put their trust in me to rescue them from a force they could not comprehend have now come out of the woodwork to condemn me for practising a religion that […]

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17 Mar, 2015

Jet-Etihad deal documents among those leaked: CBI — Hindustan Times

The CBI probe into alleged sale of confidential documents from Finance Ministry has revealed that most of the records related to controversial Jet-Etihad deal were allegedly leaked with the help of officials in the FIPB. The sources said during questioning of suspects arrested by the agency and phone intercepts available with it, it has emerged […]

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16 Mar, 2015

Melbourne Exhibition to showcase Muslims who rescued Jews in World War II

Compiled by Imtiaz Muqbil & Sana Shamsi

A compilation of progressive, positive, inspiring and motivating events and developments in the world of Islam for the week ending 16 March 2015 (25 Jumaada al-Awwal 1436). Pls click on any of the headlines to go to the story. ============ A WORD FROM MY SPONSORS: TOURISM MALAYSIA MALAYSIA TO CELEBRATE A YEAR OF GREAT FESTIVALS […]

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16 Mar, 2015

Today’s politicians don’t speak for the selfie-stick generation – Sydney Morning Herald

By Clara Williams Roldan I am 23 years old. I have no experience in politics. And I am standing against the Premier, Mike Baird, as Greens’ candidate for Manly in this month’s NSW election. Based on my age alone, you might immediately dismiss me as idealistic and naive. I am happy to say I am […]

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15 Mar, 2015

Rising Indian derailments also due to excreta corroding rail foot: Railways – The Hindu

Dirty railway tracks and piles of garbage alongside the tracks have not only presented an ugly side to the travelling public but also posed serious safety problem to the Indian Railways. But it turns out that the excreta falling directly on the rails from the coaches is a major cause of corrosion of rail foot, […]

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15 Mar, 2015

In Washington Post column, Jewish neocon calls for more war in Middle East

Following up on the anti-Iran speech by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the U.S. Congress earlier this month, another Jewish neocon has called openly for an attack on Iran. Reeking with shameless arrogance and shoulder-shrugging nonchalance about advocating more conflict and human suffering in an explosive and volatile region, Joshua Muravchik, a fellow at […]

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14 Mar, 2015

US must not impose its idea of democracy: Thai PM – The Nation

Bangkok – THE UNITED STATES should not try to impose a one-size-fits-all democracy on the rest of the world, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha said yesterday. Prayut took to the podium as a keynote speaker at the 47th Wharton Global Forum at a Bangkok hotel and used the opportunity to extend an olive branch to […]

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14 Mar, 2015

Gallup Polls: Americans Name Government as No. 1 U.S. Problem

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Gallup Polls) 1 March 2015 – — Americans continue to name the government (18%) as the most important U.S. problem, a distinction it has had for the past four months. Americans’ mentions of the economy as the top problem (11%) dropped this month, leaving it tied with jobs (10%) for second place. Though […]

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14 Mar, 2015

Philippines’ generation of sex tourism children – Al Jazeera English

Angeles City, Philippines – Weekends are busy on Fields Avenue in Balibago. Young women greet meandering men and invite them into the bars that line the street. Known as the “supermarket of sex”, Angeles City’s red light district has fast become a top destination for sex tourism. Male travellers from Asia, Australia, the US, Europe […]

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