Famous poet, Necip Fazil's poems recited at ceremony27/05/2014 (Sabah – Turkey): A man etched in the minds of Turkish people, poet and novelist Necip Fazıl Kısakürek was commemorated on May 25 marking the 31st anniversary of his death. Municipalities, NGOs and institutions also organized a series of events to commemorate Kısakürek yesterday, on the 110th anniversary of his birth. He became famous with his poem “Sakarya Türküsü” (The Ballad of Sakarya) which says “İnsan bu, su misali kıvrım kıvrım akar ya” (Human as it is, flows in swirls like water). He gained further acclaim with the poem “Kaldırımlar” (The Pavements). The late poet became an prominent name with his intellectual power, close friendship with Nazım Hikmet, wittiness, and his affiliation with the Naqshbandi Sufi order. Among his most well-known poems are “Çile” (Anguish) and “Zindandan Mehmet’e mektup” (A letter to Mehmed from prison). Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan even started a speech by referring to Kısakürek’s poem “Gurbet” (Away from Home) during his official visit to Cologne, Germany…



Timberlake dedicates song to Soma victims

27/05/2014 (Hurriyet – Turkey): American R&B singer Justin Timberlake dedicated one of his songs, “Until the End of Time,” to the victims of Soma mine blast during his concert on May 26 in Istanbul.  Some 301 miners died two weeks ago in Turkey’s worst ever industrial disaster, where an explosion in the Soma coal mine, located in western province of Manisa, caused an underground fire. Timberlake’s concert was part of his “The 20/20 Experience” world tour and was held at the Istanbul Technical University (ITÜ) Stadium.  The two-hour live performance included his most popular songs such as “Rock Your Body,” “Cry Me a River” and “Love Stoned,” and he was accompanied by a 28-person dance and orchestral group…



Key steps taken to bolster Saudi tourism industry

1401133026290566900_0.jpg27/05/2014 (ArabNews – KSA): To boost the tourism industry in the country, the Cabinet approved Monday three laws to regulate the activities of the Saudi Society for Tourist Accommodation Facilities, Saudi Society for Tourist Guides and Saudi Society for Travel and Tourism. “The Cabinet decision is aimed at establishing three non-profit professional associations, enjoying legal personality and independent financial status, to develop tourist accommodation facilities, promote tour guides and boost travel and tourism,” said Culture and Information Minister Abdul Aziz Khoja.  The associations are mandated to take care of the interests of their members, provide them with social and cultural services, attract private investments, and hold certified training and education courses, he said…



Tremors felt across UAE after 5.2 Iran earthquake

Earthquake hits southern Iran, tremors felt across UAE27/05/2014 (7Days – UAE): The UAE National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology recorded a 5.1 magnitude earthquake in Qashem Island in Southern Iran at 9.44am. Tremors were felt across the UAE with the Northern Emirates registering shocks measuring 4-5 on the Mercalli scale. An employee at Dubai Airport Freezone, told 7DAYS that she felt her office shake following the tremor. “I looked at my colleague and asked her ‘is it me or the room’ and then I immediately realised that it is a tremor,” said the woman, who asked not to be named. “The tremor lasted for about one minute and I was getting really scared.” She said colleagues were immediately evacuated from the building…



Fears of ‘low turnout’ pushes voting in Egypt until Wednesday

Egypt election 27/05/2014 (Ahram Online – Egypt): The Presidential Elections Commission (PEC) has extended voting in Egypt’s presidential poll until Wednesday. Government sources said pressure was put on the commission because of “the unexpectedly low turnout” which “could end up being lower than in the 2012 presidential election runoff.” The 2012 runoff was boycotted by many voters as it offered a choice between an Islamist, Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, and Ahmed Shafiq, Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister. Turnout reached 50 percent. There has also been discussions about allowing people to vote away from their registered polling stations. The commission member said the request was being reviewed but would be difficult to carry out. Any change in voting procedures could undermine the entire election and lead to legal challenges, he added. “The PEC has noticed that media bodies and others have been questioning its decision to prevent people voting away from their registered polling station [linked to the address registered on their ID] and insists the attacks are unfounded,” the commission said in a statement…



Hariri rings alarm bell over presidential void

Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri speaks to journalists in the Hague, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014. (The Daily Star/Dalati Nohra, HO)24/05/2014 (Daily Star – Lebanon): BEIRUT: Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri warned Saturday that a void risked turning the presidency into a target for political blackmail as he bid farewell to outgoing President Michel Sleiman. “The last day of President Michel Sleiman’s term is an occasion to declare two realities; the first is that the majority of the Lebanese recognize Sleiman’s wise wisdom in managing the country’s affairs and insistence on National Dialogue as an irreplaceable means to confront political and sectarian tension,” Hariri said in a statement on the day when President Michel Sleiman bids farewell to the Lebanese from BaabdaPalace. “The second reality is an honest call to deal with the presidential void … as a serious risk that threatens the safety of the democratic system and turns the presidency into a target for permanent [political] blackmail,” the statement said…




China to Finance Electrification of Tehran-Mashhad Railway

China to Finance Electrification of Tehran-Mashhad Railway24/05/2014 (Fars News – Iran): Manager of the Electrification Project of Iran’s Railways Qassem Saketi told FNA that his department is now “obtaining the necessary licenses for implementing the project through 85 percent of foreign finance”. Saketi said the remaining “15 percent will be financed by the (Iranian) government”. He noted that project will be implemented within the framework of the engineering, procurement, construction and finance (EPCF) contract in a 42-month period. Saketi said once the project is accomplished, “the passenger capacity of Tehran-Mashhad railway will be increased from the current 14 million passengers per year to 35 million”. He explained that the electrification project will increase the cargo capacity of Tehran-Mashhad railway to 10 million tons per year as well. The electrification project will shorten the interval of travel between Tehran and Mashhad to 6 hours from the current minimum 12 hours as the train’s top speed will hit the 200 km/h maximum…



Jeddah’s wedding halls report 90 percent booking

1400857387526876300.jpg24/05/2014 (Arab News – KSA): Wedding halls in Jeddah are 90 percent booked as the busy summer holiday season approaches, owners told Arab News on Wednesday.  Many people get married, hold birthday parties or other celebrations during summer, they say. Hassan Dulaimi, the owner of a hall in Jeddah, said he has stopped taking bookings until after Dhul Qadah. “People tend to have their parties during Shaban, Shawwal, and Dhul Qadah. In Ramadan bookings fall to under 50 percent because of the longstanding habit of people in Jeddah to shy away from having any wedding celebrations in this month, except in very rare cases,” he said. “A hall that can accommodate more than 500 people, together with the required supplies for the event, would cost around SR20,000. But in Ramadan, it costs about half that amount.”..



Turkish director Nuri Ceylan’s movie wins Cannes award

24/05/2014 (Anadolu Agency – Turkey): Turkish film director Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s film, Kis Uykusu (Winter Sleep), has been awarded the Best Movie prize at the Cannes Film Festival.The 55-year-old, who is also a photographer, screenwriter and actor, picked up the prize – his sixth at Cannes – at the prestigious annual event in France on Friday. Ceylan’s movie is also contending for the most prestigious award at Cannes film festival – the Palme d’Or – along with other 17 films. The winner will be announced on Saturday. Ceylan, who is married to Turkish actress Ebru Ceylan, has previously been recognized as Best Director at the festival in 2008 with his movie Three Monkey (Uc Maymun) and also twice received the Grand Prix award – the second most-prestigious prize at Cannes – in 2003 and 2011…