2015, the year Syria’s problems came to Europe

26/12/2015 (The Peninsula – Qatar: by Noah Feldman*) : Middle Easterners sometimes observe wryly that although the West causes some of their region’s problems, Westerners don’t have to suffer the consequences. In 2015, that observation ceased to be valid, at least with respect to Europe. The world’s collective failure to solve the multidirectional Syrian civil war led to a refugee crisis that affected Europe profoundly. The open European borders promised by the Schengen treaty are in the process of being sealed, and immigration is now widely acknowledged to threaten the future of the European Union itself….

* Noah Feldman (born 1970) is an American author and professor of law at Harvard Law School.



Turkish PM cancels constitution dialogue meeting with HDP

The gate to Turkish Prime Ministry is seen. AA photo26/12/2015 (Hurriyet – Turkey): Turkish Prime Minister has cancelled a meeting with the Kurdish-issue focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), a part of round of talks with all opposition parties at the parliament to get involved in dialogue over the preparation to forge a new constitution.The prime minister cited recent remarks by HDP officials as a reason to cancel the meeting scheduled for Dec. 30.A statement released by the Prime Ministry on Dec. 26 said the plan for meetings with all parties was a show of respect to political choices of all citizens.“However, the recent statements by the HDP executives are a reflection of a shallow stance, which is antipode of this understanding, aims at polarization in the country, far from minimum political politeness and opposite to historic culture of our nation toward living together and appealing to clashes and tension,” read the statement.“With this approach the HDP executives have once again shown that they do not posses a political maturity to see politics a tool to solve problems,” it said.“There is no meaning left in meeting or sharing the same table with such an approach that lacks style,” it said, announcing the cancelation of the meeting..



Dubai’s movie-based theme parks to generate $5bn by 2020

26/12/2015 (Emirates 24/7 – UAE): Theme parks in Dubai will help in generating $5 billion (Dh18.35 billion) in revenues by 2020, according to a report.”These theme parks based on movies will also bring in a huge number of tourists to Dubai. Ongoing construction of amusement attractions are in line with Dubai’s vision to transform to an ultimate family tourism destination,” said Abdul Rahman Falaknaz, Chairman of International Expo Consults (IEC), and organizer of the Dubai Entertainment Amusement and Leisure (DEAL) show.The popularity of the movie and show franchises will drive revenues to these developments with Dubai’s theme parks expected to generate close to $5 billion in revenue by 2020, IEC said.PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) forecasted that current and upcoming UAE amusement tourist destinations can draw about 18 million theme park visits by 2021. Currently, there are three developments being constructed in the UAE, mostly revolving on Hollywood blockbusters: IMG Worlds of Adventure, 20th Century Fox World and Dubai Parks & Resorts…



Russia to supply India with 10 million tons of oil

Russia to supply India with 10 million tons of oil26/12/2015 (Anadolu Agency – Turkey): Russia will supply 10 million tons of oil annually to India for the next decade, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said.Speaking late on Thursday after meeting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Moscow, Putin said the deal was “in the framework” between Rosneft and India’s Essar conglomerate.”In the framework of the agreement between Rosneft and Essar group, large-scale supplies of oil and petroleum products — 10 million tons of oil annually in the next 10 years — are planned to be delivered to Indian refineries,” Putin said in a joint statement with Modi, reported the Moscow Times.Due to its economic development, India became the fourth-biggest oil consumer in the world, behind the U.S., China and Japan in 2013, according to the U.S.’ Energy Information Administration.The body also projects that India’s oil demand will double by 2040 and expects its domestic oil production to remain flat.During Modi’s visit to Moscow, India signed 15 agreements with Russia, which include military and technological cooperation plus aircraft, automobile and metallurgy deals…



Iraqi forces in fierce battles with ISIS in Ramadi

26/12/2015 (Al Arabiya News – UAE): Iraqi forces on Saturday clashed with diehard ISIS militants defending the former government complex in the heart of the city of Ramadi, later claiming control over Al-Hoz neighborhood in the western city, Al Arabiya News Channel correspondent reported.After a major push on Tuesday that broke ISIS defenses around the city center, government forces have been slowed by snipers, booby traps, roadside bombs and suicide attackers.While initial hopes of a quick victory have faded, Iraq’s elite counter-terrorism service (CTS) and the army have advanced steadily through the devastated capital of Anbar province.They reached a key intersection in the Hoz neighborhood home to the government complex, whose recapture would go a long way towards ensuring a full recapture of Ramadi.”There are fierce battles pitting members of the Daesh (an Arab acronym for ISIS) organization against the Iraqi forces there now,” said Ahmed al-Dulaimi, a police captain…



Writers who left us in 2015: Egyptian pens that won’t dry

201626/12/2015 (Ahram Online – Egypt)
: Egypt lost some of its most iconic and renowned writers and poets in 2015, including vernacular poet Abdel-Rahman El-Abnoudi and prominent novelist Gamal El-Ghitani, who Egyptians deemed the guardian of the Egyptian memory.Here is a list of the writers who left us in 2015, arranged chronologically:Abdel-Rahman El-Abnoudi, 21 April 2015 El-Abnoudi passed away at the age of 76 after a long struggle with illness. One of Egypt’s greatest vernacular poets, El-Abnoudi was born in 1939 in the village of Abnoud in Upper Egypt’s Qena governorate. He moved to Cairo in his early twenties during the late 1950s to pursue his dreams in the art world.El-Abnoudi’s most well-known poetry works include the five-volume Sirat Bani Hilal (The Biography of Bani Hilal)Al-Mashrou’ w al-Mamnou’ (The Allowed and the Prohibited), Samt Al-Jaras (The Silence of the Bell), and Zahma (Crowdedness).He also wrote song lyrics for some of the most famous Egyptian and Arab singers in the second half of the 20th century, such as Abdel-Halim Hafez, Mohamed Rushdie, Najat El-Saghira , Shadia, Sabah and Mohamed Mounir…



Houses of the people, for the people, by the people?

Houses of the people, for the people, by the people?19/12/2015 (Today’s Zaman – Turkey): The phrase “People’s House” conjures up images of the Soviet era. In true Orwellian style, the name that suggests the ultimate in egalitarianism usually in practice referred to a building for the ruling elite, the party apparatchik or myriad bureaucrats.The most striking example is of course the Parliament Building in Romania. Commonly called the Casa Poporului (People’s House). It is the largest non-military administrative building in the world, the most expensive bureaucratic building and, strangest of all, the heaviest building in the world. Must be all that steel, bronze and marble!As well as being the home of both chambers of Parliament, it also boasts an international conference center, a museum of modern art, a palace museum and the mind-bogglingly named Museum of Totalitarianism and Socialist Realism.This is all a far cry from the Turkish version of a People’s House — Halkevi. As a Londoner, my first experience of the phrase referred to the cultural center in Dalston Lane in Hackney. This is a registered charity, partly funded by municipality grants that exist to meet the welfare, social health and educational needs of the local Turkish community…



Investment boost — Saudi Arabia, Egypt forging closer ties

19/12/2015 (Saudi Gazette – KSA): Saudi Arabia and Egypt are boosting ties on various fronts, particularly military and economic. Following the announcement of the formation of the Muslim anti-terrorism coalition, led by Riyadh and joined by Egypt, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman ordered Saudi investments in Egypt to exceed $8 billion in the coming five years, and pledged to contribute to providing Egypt with its oil needs and supporting traffic in the Suez Canal.Economics Professor Hamed Morsi said the Saudi aid is bound to boost the Egyptian economy. “Egypt is already suffering from shortage in oil products, and the prices Saudi offers will be cheaper, which will increase growth rates and be in the best interest of the Egyptian public budget,” he said.Morsi added that the bulk of Saudi investments in Egypt will reach around 60 billion Egyptian pounds. “This will contribute to stabilizing the value of the Egyptian pound, which has been lately devalued.”..

Investment boost — Saudi Arabia, Egypt forging closer ties


Turkish dance group Fire of Anatolia starts China tour in Shanghai

19/12/2015 (Sabah – Turkey): The world-famous Turkish dance group Fire of Anatolia started its eighth China tour Friday night with a well-received performance at Shanghai’s Oriental Art Center.The two-hour show — featuring a synthesis of Turkish folk dance with ballet, modern dance and other dance disciplines — earned a period of sustained applause from the Chinese audience.The troupe is scheduled to perform five more performances in Shanghai before the show moves to Beijing’s Mei Lan Fang Grand Theater on Dec. 25 for six nights, with its last performance scheduled for Dec. 30.As one of the largest dance groups in the world, Fire of Anatolia boasts some 400 people, including dancers from Cuba, the United Kingdom, Russia and Georgia. The group has performed in 89 countries and 350 cities since it was established 15 years ago.It holds two Guinness records, one for fastest dance performance with 241 steps per minute and another for largest audience, 400,000 people in Ereğli, in the Black Sea Region of Turkey…