Saudi Arabia’s masterpieces

30/01/2014 (GulfNews – UAE): Jeddah, the cultural capital of Saudi Arabia, is set to host a unique art event titled “‘21,39’ Jeddah Arts”, designed to celebrate the kingdom’s modern and contemporary art movements. The two-month-long event takes its title from the geographical coordinates of Jeddah, and will feature curated exhibitions, educational workshops, seminars, visits to artists’ studios and a special programme to revive the old town. A variety of cultural activities have been organised at various venues around the city from February 4 to February 8 to mark the launch of the inaugural edition of the event. These include the opening of several exhibitions, and a symposium featuring talks, panel discussions and conversations involving leading local, regional and international art experts, on February 6. The topics to be discussed include the structure of the contemporary art scene, the direction that Saudi art is taking, the role of Saudi artists as cultural ambassadors, and addressing preconceived notions promoted by international media about art in the region. “21,39” is a non-profit initiative, chaired by HRH Princess Jawaher Bint Majed Al Saud, and organised by the Saudi Art Council…


‘Eyyvah Eyvah 3′: The comedy continues

‘Eyyvah Eyvah 3': The comedy continues30/01/2014 (Today’s Zaman – Turkey): “Eyyvah Eyvah 3,” the third installment in the Turkish comedy film franchise about the adventures of a local musician from Çanakkale, hits cinemas in Turkey this week. Kudos to the BKM Productions team and particularly actor-screenwriter Ata Demirer for bringing forth a mainstream Turkish comedy that refuses to fall prey to the usual traps of toilet jokes and sexism but fully utilizes the likes of wit, charm and smart situation comedy. Although I had quite low expectations since it’s quite tiring to watch producers milking the cash cows of their trophy horses through sequels (take for example “Hükümet Kadın 2” [Government Mom 2], which seemed a bit too rushed and profit-oriented), this film might be the best in the series and should also be a benchmark for other filmmakers who want to work within the genre. But before we get down to the story, it’s important to point out that the film was not screened to the press before Friday for unknown reasons; the press were made to attend the colossally crowded gala screening at Kanyon Cinemaximum theaters on Wednesday night in a scene that reminded one of the last days of Pompeii…

Five suspects arrested for killing of MHP advisor amid scuffles outside courthouse

Police deployed in front of the Küçükmece courthouse resorted to water cannons after some of the protesters hurled stones. DHA photo30/01/2014 ( Hurriyet – Turkey): Supporters of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) gathered late Jan. 29 in front of an Istanbul courthouse, where eight suspects in the Jan. 26 killing of an MHP advisor were set to appear before a judge.
Five of the suspects were arrested while three others were released on probation upon the court’s ruling, as tension rose outside where MHP members protested against the armed assault on the party’s freshly inaugurated campaign office in Istanbul’s Esenyurt district. Cengiz Akyıldız, an advisor at the party’s provincial HQ, was killed in the attack, while seven others were injured…


Tunisia trims 2014 growth forecast to 3.8%

30/01/2014 (Alarabiya Net – Saudi Arabia): Tunisia’s economy will expand less quickly than hoped this year, the central bank said on Thursday, cutting its growth forecast to 3.8 percent from 4 percent. The economy grew by 3 percent last year. The bank did not say why it was trimming its forecast, which came against a background of turmoil in many emerging economies as the U.S. Federal Reserve scales back its monetary stimulus. The bank said the budget deficit was 8.3 percent of gross domestic product in 2013, compared with 8.2 percent a year earlier. Under pressure from international lenders to cut subsidies, the government hopes to reduce it to 6.5 percent this year, according to the 2014 budget. Three years after toppling their autocratic leader Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali in an uprising that inspired other ‘Arab Spring’ revolts, Tunisia is progressing toward full democracy after approving a new constitution this week…


Egypt proposes new presidential election law

A woman casts her ballot 30/01/2014 (Ahramonline – Egypt): After a new constitution came into effect on 18 January, Egyptians will soon be voting for their next president. On Wednesday, interim President Adly Mansour proposed a national dialogue to discuss radical changes to the presidential election rules. “The dialogue will be completed by 9 February because the law should be officially passed before 18 February, or when the Presidential Election Commission (PEC) begins preparing procedures for the poll,” Mansour’s constitutional affairs advisor Ali Awad said . There will be a new law regulating the poll, rather than changes to the old one (law 174 of 2005), because many changes are required to bring it into line with the new constitution, Awad added…


Italian Minister: Rich Histories to Cement Iran-Italy Relations

 وزیر فرهنگ و گردشگری ایتالیا28/01/2014 (Tasnim News Agency – Iran): Bray made the remarks in a Sunday visit to Iran’s southeastern province of Kerman, which hosts a lot of historic sites and ancient monuments. The visiting Italian minister said there are abundant opportunities for the enhancement of relations between Tehran and Rome, and explained, “Both Iran and Italy have remarkable cultural and historical backgrounds, and they are renowned all over the world for their rich histories.” “We can capitalize on the historical, cultural and ancient similarities (between Iran and Italy) for the exchange of tourists,” Bray added. In a separate development earlier on Saturday, Ali Moradkhani, the Iranian deputy minister of culture and Islamic guidance and Bray agreed to set up a task force to help enhance cultural relations between the two countries and to regulate a series of cultural events to be held jointly by Tehran and Rome. According to the Iranian official’s proposal, the task force will be tasked with making arrangements to hold joint cultural events between the two countries…


Riyadh microbus crash injured recovering rapidly: Sultanate’s ambassador to Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

28/01/2014 ( Times of Oman – Oman): Muscat: Four Omani nationals died in a traffic accident in Riyadh while eight others sustained medium to serious injuries and are recovering in the hospitals, Oman’s ambassador to Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Ahmed bin Hilal Al Busaidi, confirmed in an interview. While speaking to Oman national television, the Omani ambassador expressed his grief over the incident and sent his condolences to the families involved in the accident. “The accident occurred when a microbus with 12 passengers on board, including an Ethiopian national who is working as a housemaid in Oman, lost control and collided into two trailers resulting in the instant death of four passengers. Eight other passengers sustained injuries,” Ahmed Al Busaidi said in an interview with the national television. He added that three women and a man died in the accident. The injured were rushed to nearest hospitals with most of them in Al Qu`aiyah hospital near Riyadh…


28/01/2014 (Sabah – Turkey): Akiset Atan, a  native and music school graduate, trained 30 children in Şırnak, aged between six and 13 for three months on the piano. The local project is organized by a local NGO in collaboration with a government institution. Children completed the piano course with a ceremony in which they performed along with Atan.
The young musicians performed classical pieces to an overcrowded audience at the Şırnak Culture Center.
Atan said they dedicated their concert to the child victims of the Syrian civil war. She praised the performance of her students, who only received brief training.
When asked what she thought of the performance, one of the children who performed at the event replied, “It was beautiful. I had fun and felt great.” Zeynep Sevinti, who performed Vivaldi’s Spring said she felt happy when the audience applauded them…


Libyan Investment Authority sues Goldman Sachs

Libyan Investment Authority sues Goldman Sachs28/01/2014 (Libyan Investment News – Libya): The Libyan Investment Authority (LIA), the nation’s sovereign wealth fund, is sueing Goldman Sachs in London over investments worth more than $1 billion. The company lost about $1.75 billion betting on structured products in 2007 and 2008, about $900 million of which was with Goldman Sachs, its former chairman said in June 2012. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is probing Goldman Sachs’ dealings with the LIA for possible violations of American anti-corruption laws. The fund has said it is cooperating…


Military council approves Sisi to run for presidency

28/01/2014 (Egypt Indipendent – Egypt): Egypt’s top military council called on the newly-appointed Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to run for president, the state news agency said on Monday after convening  to discuss his candidacy.
 State-run Al-Ahram said that a military source said that General Sobhy Sedky, the commander of Egypt’s Third Field Army, will replace Sisi as defense minister.
 Sisi is believed to be the strongest among the candidates possibly running for president due to his popularity.
“I will vote for Sisi because Egypt, during this time, needs an ‘iron’ man who can fight terrorism. Moreover, he is charismatic,” said Adullah Hamouda, a journalist based in London.
 The much-speculated move came after Egypt’s interim President Adly Mansour issued a presidential decree on Monday promoting Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi to the rank of field marshal.
 On Sunday, Mansour announced that the presidential elections will be held before the parliamentary elections — an amendment to the transitional road map which was agreed upon by various political forces on 3 July…