News re-Blog

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Cerebral Waste - The Blogger, Coming to Bahrain

Yep. It is "D" day. "D" as in DEPARTUE. This may or may not be the last post for a few days or weeks. Time for me to board a series of flights and planes that will eventually land me in Bahrain. Via Boston, Houston and Amsterdam. Yeah I know a little off the normal flight path from Boston to get to Bahrain but when your desperate for a visit to Manama a guy will do what a guy has to do. It is 26 degrees here now. COLD. That is enough of a reason to want to leave!

Looking forward to seeing Mahmood aka The MahaMahmoodski aka THE BLOGFATHER at www.Mahmood.tv. Chan'ad at http://chanad.weblogs.us/ BahrainniRants at http://www.bahrainirants.blogspot.com/ THE JOKER at http://yalajaji.blogspot.com/ Ali from http://quixotiq-writings.blogspot.com/ and all my friends at AMH and other friends and family from around the GCC and the world who live in and around Bahrain.

Sadly I will miss Amira from http://sillybahrainigirl.blogspot.com/ due to her recent move to the Great White North and despite my best efforts I couldn't get DIB from http://desertislandboy.blogs.com/ to come with me. He needs a trip back home. Denial isn't just a river in Egypt John! Opps and how could I forget the Island's most famous cat. The one and only SHOUFY from http://shoufythecat.blogspot.com/ who for some reason isn't posting much as of late.... Hmmmm Have to see what I can do about that. I understand Shoufy has been busy working on another book... hmmmmmm

Source: Cerebral Waste

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Blunder in Bahrain Calls Turkey 'Target Country'

Broader Middle East and North Africa Project meeting in Bahrain has started with a historical error Friday. Turkey is given the role to make contributions to the project countries as a "democratic partner"; however, to the foreign ministers meeting in Bahrain, Turkey was invited as a "regional-target country". Germany and Canada were invited as developed countries, Greece as a "democratic partner," but Turkey mistakenly as a "target country" for the 4th panel at the meeting.

US State Department Undersecretary for the Project Broader Middle East J. Scott Carpenter said this is a mistake and the US clearly pointed at Turkey as a "democratic partner" in the last meeting. The preparation committee must have overseen this definition, he added. “The connection of the region with Europe is achieved through Turkey,” the American diplomat reminded, “and the US gives a great deal of importance to Turkey in this process.”

At the end of tremendous efforts, the mistake was corrected in the handbooks prepared and the name of the country was appended in the list of "democratic partners". The second meeting of the project began in capital Manama of Bahrain to overview the activities. Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul is participating in the meetings and TESEV, an education foundation, is representing non-governmental organizations. On the first day of the meeting, the topic of the agenda was "Inner and Outer Dynamics of Reform Process," "International Affairs and Aids," "Political Development and Political Dialogue," and "Human Rights."

The second meeting was met with great enthusiasm to the contrary of the first. Sudan attended the summit for the first time as Iran did not participate. The developed eight countries, target countries and "democratic partner" countries attended the meeting. Turkey is co-partnering "Democracy Assistance Dialogue" along with Italy and Yemen.

Source: Zaman Daily Newspaper

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Unpaid: Bahrain protest kicks off

More than 70 workers in Manama, Bahrain have gone on strike after not being paid for up to eleven months. The workers, who are mainly from India, are employed by Al Khayam Construction Company. Construction Week spoke to the company foreman, Sasidharan Pillai, who said that all the workers were on strike and would not go back to work until they were paid.

“It’s very sad how we are taken for granted. Some of us have been working with the company for about 20 years,” he said. “The workers have not been paid for seven months and four of us supervisors have not been paid for 11 months.”

He said that the men have been surviving on borrowed money from friends.

The company even refused to give us money for food”, he said. “We were told that the reason the company couldn’t pay us was because the clients for their projects hadn’t paid them and that we would get paid as soon as possible. We continued working without fail with the hope that we would get our wages either today or tomorrow. It’s been eleven months now. Finally, we decided to stop working and we approached the Labour Ministry for help. We have been summoned along with the owner to report to the labour court this week.”

Pillai said that the workers have decided that they will not go back to work unless they are paid for at least five months after being told that getting paid in full was out of the question.

“We are ready to go back to work. We don’t want to cause problems and we are not happy going on strike. But this step has proved necessary,” he said. “Each worker gets only US $132 (BHD50) per month so asking for at least five months wages which works out to $795 (BHD300) per month is not unreasonable. We are the ones who have built up this company and then this is how they repay us.”

Al Khayam Construction was unavailable for comment on the workers’ strike action.

Source: Construction Week - ITP

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Rice uses Bahrain Future Forum to attack Syria

During the Forum for the Future, being hosted by the Kingdom of Bahrain, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Saturday criticized political repression in Syria and call for the release of political prisoners there.

"We continue to support the Syrian people's aspirations for liberty, democracy, and justice under the rule of law," Rice said, according to the AP. "We would like to see an end to the arbitrary detentions of democratic and human rights activists," Rice stated. She mentioned that democracy activist Kamal Labwani was arrested at the Damascus airport Tuesday night, after returning from the United States and a meeting at the White House with President Bush's deputy national security adviser.

Rice noted that with withdrawal of Syrian forces from Lebanon last spring, "one million citizens in Lebanon have demanded and won their independence from Syrian domination."

"It reminds us that we sit here to talk about a future of reform, a future of hope, a future in which economic prosperity and political participation can be imagined for the people from this region, and there are those who have quite another vision of what the region should look like," Rice said.

Source: AlBawaba | Images Courtesy: New York Times

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GCC States to observe International Day for combating Diabetes

The six member states of the Arab Gulf Cooperation Council, will observe along with other world countries, the international day for combating diabetes, which falls on Monday, November 14. The day will be observed under the title of 'Diabetes and Kidney Diseases', Kazinform cites Saudi Press Agency.

In a statement to The Saudi Press Agency, Dr Tawfiq Khoja, the Director General of the Executive Bureau for the Council of the GCC Health Ministers, said that the World Health Organization (WHO) expects that the number of diabetics will be doubled by 2025 to reach about 300 million in the world. He noted that the rate of diabetics in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Oman, and Bahrain has surpassed 10 percent of the total population. The GCC is made up of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman.

Source: Kazinform

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A Thunderous Success Story in Bahrain

20,000 people flocked in droves to the Bahrain International Circuit on Thursday and Friday nights, including leading members of the Royal Family, International media and visitors from as far as New Zealand and Argentina, to witness the first ever FIA European Drag Exhibition in the Middle East. The skies of Bahrain were lit up from burning methanol, dazzling firework displays and continuous cheering from the adoring hoards of passionate motorsport fans as spectators over the two days were treated to intrepid displays of mind boggling brilliance on the ¼ mile strip.

Drivers from all over the world created clouds of smoke large enough to envelop the colossal beauty that is the Sakhir Tower, bangs and blasts deafening enough to be heard in the countries capital, Manama, 15 miles away and wafts of burning fuels and tyres saturated the packed grandstands. The main attraction however, on both nights, was without doubt the debut, in the Middle East, of the Top Fuel Dragsters and Funny Cars. Two of the best Top Fuel Dragsters from Europe were on display, which are able to reach speeds of 500kph and cover the ¼ mile strip in less than six seconds. The most successful Funny Car from Europe was also pushed to its limits in front of the cheering crowd.

The Top Fuel Dragsters were the last two cars on track giving the crowd a small taste of what can be expected in April when the opening round of the FIA European Championship is to be hosted in Bahrain. The night was rounded off by a fantastic firework display as Ali Aryan celebrated victory in his Pro-Street Camaro by winning the first Pro-National Championship. An empty seat couldn’t be found in either grandstand until the show had come to a definite end, and even then it looked as though some wanted to keep their seats until the next event at the BIC, the Final Round of the FIA GT on 24th and 25th November.

Source: Paddock Talk | Images Courtesy of the Crew @ EuroDragster

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Fans urged to come early

The message from the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation and the Local Organising Committee to fans attending today's 2006 World Cup play-off match against Bahrain is to come early and enjoy an evening of good football and entertainment. Fans are being advised that no parking will be available in and around the Hasely Crawford Stadium, including the second field which will be the evacuation point of the venue.

The game has attracted worldwide attention and fans from parts of Asia, some in support of T&T, as well as the United Kingdom and the United States will be here for the match. A little more than a dozen Bahraini supporters and 30 Bahraini students from the United States were scheduled to fly in yesterday on a private jet which will take the team back to Bahrain after the match. The T&T team will be taking the pitch in their new Adidas strip, while Bahrain will be in white and black Puma uniforms.

Source: Trinidad & Tobago Express

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Pakistan national soccer team to tour Bahrain

Pakistan’s national football team will proceed to a 12-day tour of Bahrain on the 18th of this month to play some matches there, stated Pakistan Football Federation president Faisal Saleh Hayat while talking to media at the People’s Football Stadium here on Friday.

Faisal visited the People’s Stadium to review the renovation work for the SAFF Football Championship to be held next month. He expressed his satisfaction over the renovation work done under the supervision of Sindh Government and City District Government Karachi.

The PFF president said Karachi was a big center of sports particularly football and the organisation of SAFF Championship would help in building the image of Karachi at the international level. He said the PFF would urge the FIFA and the AFC to allot some more international events to Karachi in future. To a question, he said all expenses of Pakistan’s team to Bahrain would be born by the Bahrain government.

Source: Daily Times

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Friday, November 11, 2005

Arabs blast U.S. 'Big Brother' approach to Bilateral Free Trade Agreements

Arabs attending a conference Thursday in Bahrain blasted Washington's "Big Brother" attitude in bilateral Free Trade Agreements, saying they are political tools to serve U.S. interests rather than enhance economic prosperity in the region. "FTAs are not the ultimate solution for this region. ... I see FTAs as a catalyst for change and reform rather than promoting trade," said Rashid Rashid, Egypt's minister of foreign trade and industry.

"FTAs are creating a negative environment. It is a waste of time to think that we (Arabs) will achieve economic integration through the U.S.," Rashid told a panel during the Arab Business Council (ABC) annual meeting.

"The United States will not be the gateway for regional economic integration," he said.

Rashid's comments came in response to Robert Lawrence, professor of trade and investment at Harvard University, who had earlier told the panel that FTAs between Washington and Arabs will help integrate Arab economies.

"If Arab countries can integrate with the United States (through FTAs), it will be easy for them to integrate with each other," Lawrence said.

Although he acknowledged that the "U.S. motives of these agreements are fundamentally political," Lawrence said "but they have to deliver economically in order to be effective." Arabs can reap the fruits of FTAs if they use them "to open up their economies and accelerate domestic reforms," Lawrence said.

Washington has already signed FTAs with Jordan, Morocco and Bahrain and is negotiating similar accords with Oman and the United Arab Emirates.

Source: The Daily Star

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Bahraini Researcher: Women Should be Rulers in the Arab & Muslim World

This clip is of excerpts from an interview with the Bahraini researcher
Dhiyaa Mussawi, which was broadcast by Al-Arabiya TV on September 21, 2005.

*Clip # 900 - Bahraini Researcher Dhiaa Mussawi: Women Should be Rulers in
the Arab and Muslim World. I Call for Understanding the West, Not Dissolving
in It

Dhiyaa Mussawi: First of all, of course I don't think that Islam is against
women. Second, I think part of the crisis in the Arab world is that no Arab
country is ruled by a woman. I believe women can even be rulers, not only
judges. This is my ideological belief, which I can support with
jurisprudence. Some scholars, like Sheikh Shams Al-Din and Fadhlallah called
for that. We believe that women...

The interviewer: You mean women should be rulers?

Dhiyaa Mussawi: Yes. The problem is that we still live in a male-dominated
society. [...]
The Western world thinks about reaching Mars in 2015, while we are still
debating the question of women driving, like some of our brothers in Saudi
Arabia are doing. [...]

The interviewer: You are not trying to make points with the West?

Dhiyaa Mussawi: Absolutely not. I wish for a future and for coexistence
between people. I believe in the verse "Call [people] to the way of the Lord
with wisdom and goodly exhortation," and not in calling [people] to the way
of the Lord with goodly explosives belts, or bombing them in the most
gracious way.? [...] We must strengthen the common ground in the mentality
of the believing youth, instead of allowing Muslims to develop an outlook
based on explosive historical stories, so they will explode in New York,
London, or any other place.

To view this clip: http://www.memritv.org/search.asp?ACT=S9&P1=900

Source: Memri TV

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MTC and Vodafone sign on for two more years

(we've all heard about the ongoing fracas regarding the alledged split between MTC and Vodafone...)

Kuwaiti telecoms group MTC has renewed its partnership agreement with UK-based Vodafone for another two years. The original deal saw the Gulf operator adopting the MTC-Vodafone brand in Kuwait during 2002. The agreement was extended when MTC secured the rights to launch a new mobile network in Bahrain in 2003, MTC-Vodafone Bahrain. Under the terms of the deal MTC has access to Vodafone’s international roaming services and shared marketing initiatives.

Source: Telegeography

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5th Grand Wine Festival supported by Gulf Air

Gulf Air, one of the finest and modern airlines in the world, has supported the 5th Grand Wine Festival to be held on November 18 at the New World Renaissance Hotel, Makati City which would start at 6 p.m.

Billed as the Asia’s great wine tasting as it is participated in by more than 100 companies in 15 countries to date and will showcase over 400 varieties and superior wines in the world, the event expects to draw government dignitaries, diplomats, hotelier, restaurateurs, elite society people, topnotch businessmen, wine connoisseurs, and wine lovers.

Event organizer, Ralph Joseph, president of Ralph Wines and Spirits and Philippine Wine Merchants, said the occasion could be festive as 750 people from the top are expected to come with much anticipation that for the first time they can taste the best wines of the world.

Participating countries and embassies supporting of this event are France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Bulgaria, Austria, Australia, Argentina, Chile, New Zealand, South Africa, the United States, Romania and Japan. Other countries invited include Hungary, Israel, Greece, Canada, Lebanon, China and Thailand.

Source: Manila Bulletin Online

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Bahrain's ABG eyes Manama, Dubai, Malaysia listings

Bahrain-based Albaraka Banking Group (ABG) is looking at listing in Dubai and Malaysia as well as Manama, the company's CEO said on Nov 9.

Adnan Yousif said in an interview that the company hoped to raise up to US$800 million (RM3.02 billion) in 2006 by selling shares and issuing an Islamic bond.

He said the company would be looking at listing in Manama as well in Dubai and Kuala Lumpur.

"The money will be used for expansion into new markets. It will also be used to strengthen the capital base for existing subsidiaries for future investments," Yousif told Reuters on the sidelines of an Islamic banking conference in Luxembourg.

Source: Reuters via The Edge Daily

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Foreign Minister Molyviatis in Bahrain tomorrow

Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis departs for Bahrain tomorrow to attend the proceedings of the Forum on the Future formed at the initiative of the G8 and aimed at promoting a “partnership relation” with the “wider Middle East”.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos stated that the “Forum” will decide on the establishment of an “institute for the Future” that will support and finance the “reforms” in the region with a central role to the “non governmental organizations” and the “society of citizens”.

Source: MPA News

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Michael Jackson's father supports his Bahrain Move

Troubled superstar Michael Jackson's father Joseph supports his son's decision to set up home in Bahrain, because the patriarch was disgusted by the Thriller singer's treatment during his child molestation trial. The 47-year-old flew to Bahrain shortly after being acquitted of the charges levelled against him, and spent time there as a guest of the crown prince Sheik Salman Ibn Hamed Khalifa.

Jackson is now planning to sell his Neverland home in California, and make Bahrain his official headquarters.

His father says, "He'll come back to (America to) visit, but not to stay, not to live. They didn't treat him right here. I know if I was him, I wouldn't come back."

And Joseph has hinted Michael is considering a musical reunion with his brothers when he finishes work on his charity single which will feature a host of artists including R Kelly and Snoop Dogg.

He adds, "I'm trying to motivate (his brothers) to go ahead and do this record. They want to do it, but they're too slow. They'd rather do it with Michael."

Source: Monster & Critics

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Thursday, November 10, 2005

We're Back at the International Drag Racing Festival

Hi everyone!

We're back after a long break :-) .... a bit sad that our favorite GDN columnist (Silly Bahraini Girl) left Bahrain earlier last month for further studies in Canada, we sure do miss her columns but are hoping she'll continue to write a couple of guest columns for the daily newspaper. Best of luck to her in maple land!

And.... if you've missed out on the action at the Int'l Drag Racing Festival that just kicked off in Bahrain this weekend, well you could still catch up on the smashing performance at the Bahrain International circuit even if you're not located in Bahrain by viewing the live webcast of the drag racing exhibition over here - thanks to the crew at EuroDragster for dishing our massive ammounts of bandwidth for the audio/video streaming of the ongoing events.

Get live reports from the heart of the action here, couple of pics there as well and as we get it due to too much of 'buzz' the press team at EuroDragster are recovering from a major hangover - but don't worry the pics taken today, will be online in a few hours. :-D

Catch you all tomorrow at the circuit, if you're lucky you could spot us out as we'll be zooming around in bikes with yellow and white t-shirts. Unfortunately we can't moblog here due to some crazy restrictions on cell phone usage while on the circuit or at the pits from Race Control.

Have a good night!

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