Their News [Archives:2008/1167/Local News]

June 26 2008

– Japan Earmarks $1.5 million of its Contribution to UNHCR

To help Yemen in Hosting African Refugees

Sana'a, Embassy of Japan, 24 June 2008: the Government of Japan has decided to earmark for Yemen a sum of US$.1.5 million of its contribution to UNHCR this year to help Yemen in hosting refugees from Somalia and other parts of East Africa. The earmarked funds will be utilized to implement varied programs of UHCR, for African refugees in Yemen.

Japan is one of the largest donors to UNHCR for decades and will continue to actively cooperate with the Organization I providing humanitarian and other assistance to refugees throughout the world, including those in distress in this part of the region, and to lessen the burden of the Yemeni Government to deal with the growing influx of refugees from the African Horn in recent years.

– WB- Yemen Country Portfolio Performance Review

The World Bank office in Sana'a held on Tuesday a successful Country Portfolio Performance Review (CPPR) workshop, 2008 and attended by key cabinet ministers, all heads of World Bank Project Implementation Units. Other invitees were government officials, parliamentarians, donors, and some Bank Task Team Leaders as well as staff from the World Bank office in Sana'a. The workshop was co-chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister of Planning and International Cooperation and the World Bank Country Director. The discussion was constructive honest and lively, leading to an endorsement of the proposed action plan prepared by the CPPR Committee. The CPPR Committee consists of representatives from the ministry of planning, the ministry of finance and the Bank country office. It meets regularly and is seen as a valuable instrument to address overall project implementation issues.

The key messages from the event:

Great appreciation of the Bank support by the Government to Yemen and the good quality of support that led to the enhanced improvement of portfolio performance.

Over the past few years, the World Bank portfolio performance and funds ratio of disbursements made substantial improvement when compared to the MNA region and the Bank as a whole.

The last CPPR exercise was in 2005, there were 5 problem projects out of a portfolio of 19. Now the Bank has none out of a portfolio of 20.

– OIC Secretary General lays foundation stone for an endowment for IUIU

OIC Secretary General, Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, laid yesterday, 19th June 2008, in Kampala the foundation stone for an endowment to expand the Islamic University at Nakawa in Uganda (IUIU). The stone laying ceremony was conducted on the sidelines of the ongoing 35th meeting of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers.

The Secretary General was greeted upon his arrival at the stone laying venue by Ugandan Vice President, Prof. Gilbert Balibaseka Bukenya, the rector of IUIU, Dr. Ahmad Sengendo, and several state ministers as well as a number of top university officials

The IUIU expansion project has been made possible thanks to Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni's donation of a 10-acre piece of land at Nakawa while the funding is provided by the the Islamic Development Bank (IDB).

Addressing attendees at the stone-laying ceremony, Ihsanoglu declared that the IUIU has been a resounding OIC success thanks in large part to the patronage of the Ugandan government combined with support from OIC Member States and a number of benefactors who established the endowment for the university's enlargement. The Secretary General added that the endowment marks a new page in the development of the IUIU.

Following the ceremony Ihsanoglu took a group photo with male and female university students.

The IUIU was established following a decision by the second OIC summit held in 1974 and inaugurated in February 1988. Based in Mbale, Uganda, the IUIU focuses on a wide range of undergraduate and post-graduate subjects.

– Leading dubai companies take top honours at middle east call centre awards '08 event

Dnata as top regional call centre, RTA-Salik as best new call centre and cts with the best regional Call Centre manager were some of the top accolades handed out to Dubai companies at the annual Middle East Call Centre Awards '08 Gala Dinner on Tuesday evening this week. With call centres at the regional centres of DHL and TNT in Dubai also picking up trophies, Dubai was the biggest winner on a fun-filled and entertaining evening that has become known as the Middle East Call Centre “Night Of The Year”.

According to Dominick Keenaghan, president of event organizers INSIGHTS, “this was the third year that the Awards have been run, and Dubai has never before featured in the two top Awards of Call Centre of the Year and Call Centre Manager of the Year, those categories formerly going to call centres in Riyadh, Muscat and Abu Dhabi. With Dnata winning the former category and Humaira Majid of cts the latter, the two will now go forward to represent the region at the World Call Centre Congress in Phoenix, USA in September”.

Continued Keenaghan, “individual Awards are becoming more difficult to win each year because more and more regional call centres see the immense value of entering the INSIGHTS' Awards competition. Not only does the process of preparing a submission force a through analysis and evaluation of ongoing operations and strategies, those activities in themselves valuable exercises to expedite ongoing, internal development and improvement initiatives, but the impact and effects of winning an Award has been demonstrated to have many, unique, galvanizing benefits for employee morale and motivation. In particular, the accolades are a great way to attract senior management's attention to the valuable work going on in the call centre in bottom-line affecting areas such as customer loyalty and retention. We know this because previous Awards winners continue to enter each year in the hope (they tell us) of repeating the joys of winning, being recognized by their regional peers and gai! ning higher status within their ow Other trophies handed out at the Awards 08 event this week included two to Arab National Bank in KSA for “Best Technology Platform” and “Best Quality Assurance Program”, SpancoGKS of Qatar for the “Best Internally Developed Call Centre Application”, Bupa Arabia of KSA for the “Best Retention & Motivation Program” Award, CrysTelCall of Jordan as “OSP of the Year (less than 71 seats)”, Xceed of Egypt for “Best Career & Skill Paths” and “Special Achievement” awards to Etisalat Customer Care Centre and Nada Majid of Zain Bahrain for “Sales Improvement Program” and “Live Cycle Strategist” respectively. In the small Call Centre category of less than 71 seats, Brian D'Costa of DHL was “Manager of the Year” and TNT were “Call Centre of the Year”.

The Middle East Call Centre Awards 08 evening was jointly sponsored by the region's leading Call Centre supplier, Avaya and the rapidly growing Dnata Contact Centre.

– New campaign urges freedom for media workers

The International Federation for Journalists and its affiliate journalist unions in the Arab world and Iran launched a new campaign to urge more freedom of speech and end violence against journalists, the IFJ reported.

As part of the new campaign, a “Breaking the Chains” report lists the main legal obstacles to freedom of speech in the Arab World and Iran and records cases of sentenced and jailed journalists. According to IFJ, “these cases give a flavour of the conditions in which journalists work and the atmosphere of intimidation and fear that currently accompanies the exercise of journalism throughout the region.”

The campaign lists a series of demands to facilitate the work of the media in the Arab world and Iran and give more freedom to journalists to work professionally. Among the demands are the elimination of imprisonment as a radical sanction used to intimidate journalists and to silence independent media, decriminalization of press offences and the end of disproportionate fines.

– Al Mahabbah Awards 2008 to be broadcast on Al Resalah and Million's Poet Channels

The Al Mahabbah Awards Festival 2008 is coming to television screens across the Middle East. The festival, held at Al Raha Beach Theatre in Abu Dhabi from April 24-26, featured several concerts and ceremonies featuring works of art dedicated to the memory of the Prophet (PBUH).

Two months later, the powerful message of the festival lives on and will be broadcast on Al Resalah channel, part of the Rotana network, and the Million's Poet channel, over the course of four weeks.

The Al Mahabbah Festival 2008 was held under the patronage of His Excellency Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Supreme Deputy Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and under the honorary Chairmanship of HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister of the UAE.

The channels will be airing four of the events held during the Al Mahabbah Festival, the Opening Ceremony signaling the start of the festival, the Classical Concert featuring several Nasheed artists, the inspiring Youth Concert and the Closing Awards Ceremony where the winners were revealed in nine categories.

Starting with the Opening Ceremony which was attended by His Highness Sheikh Diab bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a member of the Executive Council for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and Head of the Water and Electricity Authority in Abu Dhabi; Sheikh Nahyan bin Chakhbot bin Mubarak Al Nahyan; His Eminence Alhabib Ali Zain El Abidine Al-Jafari; the cleric Dr. Hamza Yusuf and a large number of leaders, clerics, scholars, businessmen and a group of artists and journalists, the four events will be broadcast every Wednesday for four weeks starting June 25th at 19:35 GMT, 22:35 KSA and ending July 16th with the Closing Awards Ceremony.

Repeats of each episode will be broadcast on the following Thursday at 10:00 GMT, 13:00 KSA.

The Al Mahabbah Awards were started two years ago in response to a series of disrespectful cartoons published in a Danish newspaper depicting the Prophet Mohammed. Thus, the festival was created to promote artistic expressions of love for the Prophet and inspire Muslims all over the world, especially young people, to express their deep love for the Prophet.

The three-day festival attracted a range of artists from around the world and especially Egypt. With Egyptian actor Mohammed Henedi a firm supporter of the festival, a host of actors from Egypt such as Gamal Ismael, Mahmoud Gendy and Mahmoud Yassin attended the festival as well as international guests such as Cynthia Schneider, a professor in USA's Georgetown University and Malek Akkad, a USA-based filmmaker and son of the late filmmaker Mostapha Akkad.

Performing at the festival in the Youth and Classical concerts was a range of Nasheed artists and bands from all ends of the globe, from UAE singer Mohammed Al Mazem to Australian group, the Brothahood. Guest speakers at the event included Al Habib Ali Al Jifri, founder and General Director of the Tabah Foundation for Islamic Research and Dr. Abla Al Kahlawi, Dean of Islamic and Arabic studies at Al-Azhar University in Egypt.

The festival culminated with an Awards Ceremony that announced the winners in nine categories of songs, advertisements, Documentary and TV Programs, Films, Books, Photography, Graphic Arts, Mass Media and Event of the Year.

This year, the Al Mahabba Festival selected His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the United Arab Emirates, the Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, as Personality of the Year, one of the major awards conferred by the festival, in recognition of his call for the establishment of a museum in Dubai for the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him), the first museum of its kind in the world.

Another major award, Event of the Year, was given to Syrian Mohammed Alhosary and Danish Anders Botter. The former was cited for his initiative to raising awareness about the Prophet, Peace Be Upon Him, through a massive advertising campaign in Danish newspapers. The latter, meanwhile, was recognized for creating a profile in popular social networking site Face book as a reaction to Danish newspapers' decision to reprint pictures depicting the Prophet, Peace Be Upon Him, and generated visits from more than 9,000 members.

Winners of the remaining eight categories of awards include: Best Book, “Noor Mohamed”” for British writer Martin Linges; Best Painting “”Anasy”” for Turkish artist Nasia Souba; Best Picture “”Oh Darling Mohammed”” for Saudi Bahi Mashat; Best TV Commercial “”But Not the Messenger of God”” produced by the Global Commission for the Support of the final Prophet; Best Television Program “”Following the Steps of the Beloved”” for the cleric Amr Khalid