Daily Archives: August 14, 2012

MOU Between the Foreign Ministry and SEC

Doha, August 14 (QNA) – HE Assistant Foreign Minister for Services Rashid bin Khalifa Al Khalifa and the Deputy Director of the Higher Education Commission Ahmed Ibrahim Hassan on Tuesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Supreme Education Council (SEC) on organizing scholarships. Under the MOU it was agreed to cooperate to organize the Ministry staff’s scholarships to study abroad, and in overseeing students on scholarships through a mechanism agreed upon by both parties.
The foreign scholarships include 200 students in the disciplines of political sciences, international affairs, law, accounting, engineering, information and languages in universities, colleges and institutes identified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and restricted to their needs.
HE Assistant Foreign Minister for Services stressed the importance of cooperation with the Supreme Education Council in organizing study foreign scholarships for the staff of the Ministry, which contributes to developing the human capacity at the Foreign Ministry. He conveyed thanks to SEC for its cooperation and contribution to the success of the plan of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding its employees’ foreign scholarships. (QNA)

Qatar Tourism Authority Organizes Eid Al-Fitr Celebrations

Doha, August 14 (QNA) – In partnership with a diverse number of leading cultural and art Qatari institutions, Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) will organise a Four-day packed entertainment programme incorporating different exciting activities, starting from the first day of Eid Al-Fitr. These activities comprise folklore games, entertainment contests, crafts, traditional Qatari feasts, art performances, fireworks, heritage exhibitions, concerts as well as other outdoor activities.
The Director of Tourism at QTA Abdullah Mallala Al Bader said, “We are delighted to coordinate with local institutions as we all work towards achieving one goal which is to position and promote Qatar on the international platform as a society distinguished by its cultural diversity and a unique harmony of authentic traditions blended with contemporary lifestyles. This is the first time that QTA embarks on such a cooperation initiative with cultural and arts institutions as it reflects on the authority’s strategy to stimulate the local tourism industry and attract visitors to discover Qatar.”
“This year’s Eid celebrations acquire immense importance given the multiplicity of entertainment activities, and the diverse ideal places which will host such events, along with an outstanding list of partners who have enriched this impressive programme with their innovative ideas and special activities,” added Al Bader. 
The Eid activities’ list of partners include the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage; the Cultural District (Katara); Souq Waqif; Qatar Museums Authority (QMA); Sawt Al-Rayyan; q.media; and while Participating malls and commercial centers comprise Villagio Mall; the Mall; Royal Plaza; Landmark Mall; Hayat Plaza; and Al Khor Mall.
The Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage will also participate in the Eid activities with a rich schedule of activities including traditional performances that will reflect on the diversity of the local heritage and the different signing arts in addition to a number of popular games, entertainment contests, crafts, traditional Qatari feasts, art performances, at Corniche Al Dafna (the Heritage Village), starting from 4.00 pm, to 11.30 pm.
The Cultural District (Katara) will host a dramatic fireworks show that will start from 8.30pm on the first day of Eid in addition to a number of activities that will take place in Katara such as the watch exhibition (Daniel Lowell), Arabic calligraphy exhibition for Katara’s Artists, an exhibition featuring a selection of Islamic Arabic calligraphy in collaboration with Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum; along with Olympics Through Media Exhibition; in addition to Holy Quran classes for Children entitled “Nafahat Al Iman”; and a book fair. This rich cultural and arts programme starts from 10.00 am until 10.00 pm.
The Qatar National Theatre will host starting the first day of Eid the “Qatari 60%” play starring Abdul Aziz Jassim, while Al Rayyan Theatre located at Souq Waqif, will host live concerts incorporating top artists, starting from 9.00 pm, until midnight all through the Eid celebration.
Over the Four-day Eid holiday, the Aspire Zone Park will open its doors to the public around the clock, and the Museum of Islamic Art Park will welcome visitors from 10.30 am until 11.00 pm.
Additionally, shopping malls and commercial centers will alternately host several appealing events, including folklore bands; a performance, Space Pedestrians; African Circus; a play for kids; Brix 8; as well as Sing with Barney show, one of the most popular Children musicals. (END)

Top Arab Scientists to Convene in Doha for Annual Research Forum

Doha, August 14 (QNA) – Top Arab scientists from across the globe will convene in Doha this October to present research that will benefit Qatar and the region. These scientists, including field leaders such as Dr. Omar Yaghi and Dr. Magid Abou-Gharbia, will be assembling for the third Annual Research Forum, co-hosted by Qatar Foundation (QF) for Education, Science and Community Development (QF) and the Arab Expatriate Scientists (AES) Network from October 21 to 23.
QF President of Research and Development Faisal Al Suwaidi said, “This forum will showcase the contributions Arab scientists around the world have made to Qatar’s research development – from laying the roadmap to establish QF’s three research institutes to collaborating in the ongoing research endeavouring to solve some of the most pressing issues in our country and region. Our long-term goal, through initiatives like the AES Network and the Annual Research Forum, is to draw Arab scientific talent back to the region.”
The focus of this year’s forum is on unveiling the Qatar National Research Strategy, with prominent scientists of Arab origin presenting research in the fields that Qatar has identified as national priorities: health and biomedicine; energy and environment; computing and information technology; arts, behavioral and social sciences, humanities, and Islamic studies.
Dr. Magid Abou-Gharbia, Associate Dean for Research and Director of the Moulder Center for Drug Discovery Research at Temple University s School of Pharmacy, has been instrumental in the establishment of the Qatar Biomedical Research Institute, and is now helping to formulate the Qatar National Research Strategy in the area of biomedicine.
“It has been a great honour to be able to use my knowledge and experience alongside my Qatari colleagues to contribute to the scientific advancements underway in Qatar,” said Dr. Abou-Gharbia, who also serves as Chair of the Qatar Foundation-Arab Expatriate Scientists Joint Committee (QAJC) and lectures on biomedical topics at Qatar University and Hamad Medical Corporation.
“In the past, our labs have hosted Qatar’s scientists for training in drug discovery.  I look forward to attending the Forum in October, and continuing work with QF in several capacities related to science and biomedical research.”
Another member of QAJC, Dr. Amr Elnashai, is a highly-regarded engineering scientist. Fellow of the UK Royal Academy of Engineering and the William and Elaine Hall Endowed Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois.
Commenting on his decision to join the AES Network and contribute to Qatar’s research development, Dr. Elnashai said, “The Arab Expatriate Scientists Network is the conduit for channeling the vast expertise of distinguished Arab expatriate researchers and educators to help propel the inspired vision of Qatar Foundation for the region and the world. I bring all that I learned and developed in 23 years in the UK, and 12 years in the US at the forefront of academic leadership, in service of Qatar and the region.”
One of the world’s most cited chemists and leading authorities on nanoscience, Dr. Omar Yaghi, is also lending his considerable expertise to Qatar while serving as Director of Molecular Foundry at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He is currently working with the Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute (QEERI) on a project related to nano and materials research for energy efficiency and storage.
QEERI is also working closely with Dr. Abdelmonem Beitelmal, Adjunct Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Santa Clara University.
Commenting on his experience working with researchers in Qatar, Dr. Bietelmal said, “I believe that through key international collaborations, the skilled team at QEERI has the ability to advance the state of science and engineering locally and potentially compete with the best research institutions around the world.”
“I am personally looking forward to continuing and growing the extent of my involvement with QEERI,” added Dr. Beitelmal, who is already participating in QEERI’s research to develop new technology for storing solar energy to overcome power interruptions in the absence of sunlight.
Dr. Dina Katabi is one of the key Arab expatriate scientists working with Qatar s research community in the field of computing sciences. A professor in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), she recently helped broker a seven-year research collaboration between her university and the Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI). 
“This collaboration is sure to propel QCRI into a higher level of excellence and prominence,” said Dr. Ahmed Elmagarmid, Executive Director of QCRI, who congratulate Dr. Katabi for her team’s latest achievement that of MIT Technology Review naming their pioneering work on the Sparse Fast Fourier Transform among the 10 most important emerging technologies worldwide.
These examples of collaboration between AES Network members and research institutions in Qatar is exactly why the Network was created in the first place, said AES Network Director Dr. Nabeel Al-Salem.
“Not only do our members commit to helping advance Qatar’s research initiatives to address the region’s needs, they also spread the word among the wider Arab expatriate scientific community to encourage a reversal of the brain-drain,” said Dr Al Salem.
“For this reversal to occur, it is not necessary for Arab expatriate scientists to relocate. In fact, the transfer of their expertise through collaborations with regional entities, while continuing their work abroad, is a proven and effective strategy,” added Dr Al Salem.
Additional members of the AES Network and QAJC who are currently working with Qatar’s research institutions include Dr. Karem Sakallah, a University of Michigan professor of electrical engineering and computer science; Dr. Hanadi Sleiman, a professor of chemistry at McGill University; and Dr. Majid Mehtali, Managing Director and Chief Scientific Officer of French biotechnology company Vivalis.
The history of the AES Network goes back to 2005, when HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser brought together select Arab expatriate scientists to help develop her vision for building a strong scientific research network in the Middle East, with Qatar as its hub. 
The 2012 Annual Research Forum celebrates this history, and looks to build upon it for continued progress.  “Local and regional research with relevance to Qatar will also be featured at the forum, with the deadline for abstracts approaching on September 2,” said Dr. Dirar Khoury, who serves as Chair of the Annual Research Forum Program Committee.
The Annual Research Forum is a QF initiative rooted in the State of Qatar’s national strategy to foster a community of research excellence and world-class education.  (END)

Katara to Light Up Doha Skies Celebrating Eid

Doha, August 14 (QNA) – Qatar’s Cultural Village (Katara) has announced a special program in celebration of Eid El-Fitr, concluding its Ramadan events. The program includes a 15-minute fireworks display beginning at 8:30 pm and being conducted for four nights, a press release by Katara said. The Ramadan program kicked off July 19th with the launch of four exhibitions includes a wide range of educational and cultural activities. It is currently taking place across Katara s facilities until August 30th. 
The Ramadan calendar included the traditional celebration of Garangoah which was attended by over 10,000 visitors. Other activities comprise of the Ramadan Souq, Book Bazaar, Qur an classes, film screenings, as well as Islamic lectures and exhibitions, all of which have been taking place throughout the holy month.
“We are extremely pleased with the response we have received for the Ramadan programs. It has been truly inspiring to see people of all ages and races engaging in our activities. This year we put together a schedule which appealed to all ages and catered to different interests and we look forward to welcoming visitors in the remaining days of Ramadan and over Eid to enjoy the wide variety of events and exhibitions,” Katara’s Cultural Affairs Director Emad Sultan said.
The four exhibitions running at Katara are “The Beauty of Words”, an Islamic Arts Exhibition in collaboration with the Sheikh Faissal bin Qassim Al Thani museum, “The Garden of Contemplation”, a large light installation exhibition by artist Simon Heijdens, “A Matter of Time”, a clocks sculpture exhibition by artist Daniel Weil and a painting exhibition with recent works by Qatari artists incorporating Arabic Calligraphy into their work. (QNA)

QP launches Sustainable Development Awards Scheme for Energy and Industry Sector

Doha, August 14 (QNA) – The HSE Regulations and Enforcement Directorate of Qatar Petroleum has announced today the launch of the Sustainable Development Awards Scheme for Excellence in Sustainability Reporting for Qatar’s energy and industry sector. This is the first award scheme of its kind under the safety and sustainability theme, and it will coincide and support the upcoming 18th Conference of Parties (COP18) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and it will positively represent Qatar s energy and industry sector.
Abdullah Al-Kuwari, Manager for HSE Technical & Supervision and Special Advisor on Sustainable Development (SD) at QP’s HSE Regulations and Enforcement Directorate, highlighted the award scheme as another positive step forward.
“The aim of the SD Awards is to identify and reward companies that have demonstrated leadership, innovation and excellence in their sustainability performance, while encouraging the energy and industry sector to continually improve its reporting performance by recognizing the best sustainability practices and reporting.
The awards will recognize the most transparent and high-quality reports that demonstrate a commitment to sustainability, performance and innovation,” said Mr. Al-Kuwari.
The awards will be presented to the winners in a ceremony that will be held sometime in November this year, following the launch of the energy and industry sector s 2011 Sustainability Report. Companies that submit their annual 2011 Sustainability Report to the HSE Regulations and Enforcement Directorate will be eligible to participate in the awards scheme.
“To date, we have already received over 20 reports and we expect around 30 companies to submit their sustainability reports by the end of this month,” Mr. Al-Kuwari added.(QNA)

Qatar Airways Plans Passenger Flights to Chicago in 2013

Doha, August 14 (QNA) – Qatar Airways will launch a new daily Doha Chicago service from April 10, 2013, its fourth US destination, the carrier announced on Wednesday. The carrier plans to operate a B777-300 ER on the route, having already established twice-weekly cargo flights to Chicago. The announcement follows the successful launch of services to New York JFK, Washington and Houston.
“Chicago is a key route for business and leisure travellers alike, connecting them from destinations across India, Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific with a one-stop service via Doha to the Midwest,” said Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker.
“As Qatar Airways continues its aggressive expansion, we are pleased to finally offer another gateway in the United States, this time to the  Windy City  of Chicago, five years after we began operations to North America.
The aircraft operating on the Chicago route will feature 335 seats in a two-class configuration of 42 Business Class seats and 293 in Economy.
There are currently no direct air links between Doha and Chicago, with United and fellow Star Alliance member Lufthansa offering a service via Frankfurt.(QNA)

Consumer Price Index (CPI)_ July 2012

Doha, August 14 (QNA) – Qatar Statistics Authority (QSA) has released the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for July 2012.   The CPI for the month of July, 2012 was 111.1, showing an increase of 0.4% when compared to the CPI of June 2012 and, a 2.2% increase when compared to the CPI of July, 2011. A comparison with the CPI of June 2012, by major group, displays increases ranging between 0.1% and 1.5% in all the major groups with the exception of “Food, Beverages and Tobacco”, where prices were lower, by 0.4% and “Miscellaneous Goods and Services” which registered no change.
The highest increase was in the group “Furniture, Textiles and Home Appliances”, which rose by 1.5 %, followed by “Garments and Footwear” 0.6%, and “Transport and Communication” 0.6%, mostly explained by continued rise in airfare. “Rent, Fuel and Energy”, recorded an increase of  0.4%. This is the first increase after consecutive month-to month declines  which started during the fourth quarter of 2008.
The 0.4% decline in  “Food, Beverages & Tobacco is the result of the declaration  issued by the Consumer Protection Department for the period ( Mid July- Mid Aug) which is Ramadan period.
A year-on-year comparison, comparing the CPI of July 2012 with that of July 2011 showed increases of 2.2% at the overall level. Increases were recorded in all the major groups, with the exception of “Rent, Fuel and Energy”, which registered a drop of 3.9%. The highest increases were recorded in the groups: “Furniture, Textiles and Home Appliances”, 7.1%; “Entertainment, Recreation and Culture”, 6.1%; “Garments and Footwear”, 4.8%; “Miscellaneous Goods and Services”.3.8%,”Food and Beverages”, 3.7% and “Transport & Communications”,3.7%.
A CPI exclusive of the Rent, Fuel and Energy group has also been calculated. After eliminating the effect of rent, the overall index reached 123.9, showing an increase of 0.3% compared to the CPI of June 2012, and an increase of 4.5 % when compared to the month of July 2011.(QNA)

HH the Deputy Emir Sends Condolences to Saudi King

Doha, August 14 (QNA) – HH the Deputy Emir and Heir Apparent Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani has sent a condolence cable to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud on the death of the mother of HRH Prince Khalid bin Saad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. (QNA)