Gulf states avert oil price reaching USD 70 — expert

Oil analyst Hajjaj Bu Khadhour27/03/2015 (KUNA – Kuwait): KUWAIT, March 27 (KUNA) — The wise policies of Saudi Arabia and Gulf states, particularly in view of military operations in Yemen, have added to the stability of the oil market, preventing oil prices from spiking to over USD 70 a barrel, a Kuwaiti energy analyst said on Friday.Oil analyst Hajjaj Bu Khadhour told KUNA that the rise in the price of oil yesterday by about 5 percent as a result of the military operations in Yemen was ordinary under such circumstances, saying a spike to USD 70 or USD 80 would have been more in line with the tense conditions in the region.He said military operations in an oil-sensitive region like the Arabian Gulf are bound to affect the price of oil, since almost a quarter of the world’s oil production, namely 20 million barrels a day, emanate from it.Emphasizing that Saudi Arab and Gulf states consider price stability of paramount importance, he said these states have enormous oil reserves kept in complete safety in a number of consumer countries, among them China and Japan, which can take up any slack in availability of oil on the international market due to any contingency, including armed conflicts such as the one in Yemen…


Aspiring artist sees dance as tool to communicate, break barriers

27/03/2015 (Jordan Times – Jordan):  AMMAN — Bijan Qutb, a unique case of a Jordanian who was admitted to the Joffrey Ballet School in New York, dreams of returning to Amman to form a professional dance company.“The artistic opportunities are very limited in Amman and one can’t make a living out of dance in Jordan. You must have an alternative job to be able to earn a living and my aim is… to contribute to the growth of the dance movement and make dancing a paid job for us aspiring artists,” Qutb said.Founded in 1953, the school where the aspiring ballet dancer is currently enrolled combines different dance disciplines.Although he has a degree in business administration from Al Ahliyya Amman University, Qutb’s heart lies elsewhere, so his passion for dance took him to the National Centre for Culture and Arts (NCCA) in Amman, which offers professional training in performance arts.”Ms Svetlana Tahboub and Ms Rania Kamhawi of the NCCA discovered me and believed in my talent and progress regardless of my… weight [135 kilogrammes]. They offered me training, during [which] I lost 60 kilos,” he recalled.Qutb said he gained confidence with the better shape and with the confidence he improved on the stage.“I reached a new outlook in life by dropping weight. I gained self-esteem, stepped forward and became more positive.”


Topkapı walls to be fortified

Topkapı walls to be fortified27/03/2015 (Sabah – Turkey): The Ministry of Culture and Tourism has urgently decided to fortify the retaining walls of Topkapı Palace due to an imminent risk of collapse. Facing the Seraglio Point, or “Sarayburnu,” at the mouth of the Bosporus, the neglected walls have suffered greatly from earthquakes and wars. Dating back to the Byzantine period, the retaining walls have been used to protect the imperial palace from natural disasters, notably earthquakes. Following comprehensive architectural and static analyses, the ministry will immediately begin the fortification process. The decision was approved on March 25 and the project has been put out to tender. A number of durability tests will be carried out to check the structure of the stones, mortar and the carrier system before the project starts. Special attention will be paid to protecting the walls’ historical integrity. In 330, the Byzantine..


Assad would welcome Russian naval base expansion in Syria

27/03/2015 (Anadolu Agency – Turkey): Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad has told Russian media that Syria would welcome any revival and expansion of Russia’s naval base in the Syrian port of Tartus if Moscow requested it.The Syrian president hailed the presence of Russia as a balance in the Middle East region in an interview with Russian reporters published on Friday, adding that the more visible Russia’s influence in the region was, the more stable the area became.Assad was quoted online by Russian news outlet RT as saying: “We welcome the expansion of Russian presence in [the] eastern Mediterranean, especially near our shores and in our ports.”The Soviet Union established its naval Base in the port of Tartus in the early 1970s and Russian military personnel remained there for more than 40 years before withdrawing in 2013 as a result of the Syrian civil war.The Syrian president said that there was a connection between the Syrian and Ukrainian crises, saying: “Firstly, because both countries are important for Russia.”Secondly, because there is a goal, in both cases, to weaken Russia and create puppet states.”..–assad-would-welcome-russian-naval-base-expansion-in-syria


Yemen Houthi rebels advance despite Saudi-led air strikes

Yemen27/03/2015 (Al Ahram Online – Egypt): Yemen’s Houthi rebels made broad gains in the country’s south and east on Friday despite a second day of Saudi-led air strikes meant to check the Iranian-backed militia’s efforts to overthrow President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.Shia Muslim Houthi fighters and allied army units gained their first foothold on Yemen’s Arabian Sea coast by seizing the port of Shaqra 100km (60 miles) east of Aden, residents told Reuters.The advances threaten Hadi’s last refuge in Yemen and potentially undermine the air campaign to support him.The losses came as the spokesman for the Saudi-led operation, Brigadier General Ahmed Asseri, told a press conference in Riyadh that defending the Aden government was the campaign’s “main objective.””I want to confirm that the operation itself has as its main objective to protect the government in Aden,” Asseri said.”The operation will continue as long as there is a need for it to continue,” he said…


PM meets Syrian opposition, lends full support for ‘a democratic Syria’

14/03/2015 (Sabah – Turkey): Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, in an address in Ankara on Friday to the opposition Syrian National Council (SNC), said that a new Syria in which all Syrians can live together in peace should be established. Meeting with SNC members, Davutoğlu said that Turkey always stands shoulder to shoulder with the Syrian people and supports a democratic Syria. The prime minister mentioned that for the last four years, Syrians have been a symbol of the honorable fight in the region and still face violence from the regime of President Bashar Assad. Davutoğlu said Syrians need a democratic country where all social segments are represented in a peaceful atmosphere. He further described the SNC as the representative and voice of the new Syria.”We have been witnessing the pains of our Syrian neighbors for the last four years,” he said, highlighting that despite all the bombing, conventional weapons and pains they face, Syrians have not given up…


Riyadh book fair clarifies rules on sale of materials

1425491250230043500-(1).jpg14/03/2015 (Arab News – KSA): The organizing committee of the Riyadh International Book Fair has banned any entity or individual from distributing or selling printed materials, books and videos to visitors without prior approval from management.
Sources confirmed that the distribution of such materials without approval would be considered a violation of the regulations, and individuals would be subjected to questioning by security authorities.This year, electronic devices located at the fair have allowed visitors to search for available literature and their associated prices in shorter periods of time. Using these devices, visitors are able to identify materials using the author’s name, publishing house, or country of origin as search inputs.Meanwhile, Dr. Nasser Huaylan, the Deputy Ministry of Information and Cultural Affairs and general supervisor of the fair, said that the Committee on Publications received complaints about materials during the book fair last year, and regulatory measures have therefore been taken accordingly…


Iraqi forces vow to liberate Tikrit within 72 hours

14/03/2015 (Al Arabiya – UAE): Iraqi forces besieging dozens of die-hard jihadists from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group in Tikrit will have liberated the city within three days, a spokesman said Saturday.Karim al-Nuri, a top leader from the Badr militia and the spokesman of the volunteer Popular Mobilization units, said it would take no more than “72 hours” to flush out holdout ISIS fighters.The Popular Mobilization units account for the bulk of the manpower involved in the two-week-old operation to wrest back Tikrit, alongside army, police, militia and tribal forces.The last ISIS fighters holed up in the city center are “surrounded from all sides,” Nuri said.Speaking to AFP from the outskirts of Tikrit, near the village of Awja, he said “their number is now 60 to 70.”..