First Jeddah Food Festival serves up tasty cultural treat

Fouzia Khan
Sun, 2017-04-02 03:00

JEDDAH: The first Jeddah Food Festival opened Thursday, one of two cultural events that have sparked a buzz of entertainment in the city.
The festival, which is open through April 8, runs concurrently with the Jeddah Historical Festival.
It is held under the patronage of Jeddah Gov. Prince Mishaal bin Majed and hospitality committee at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI), with the cooperation of the Renad exhibition company.
Jeddah Food Festival spans 30,000 square meters, with more than 114 companies and restaurants participating, offering everything from Asian to traditional Arabic cuisine.
The event has 35 different entertainment activities for families and children, including stand-up comedy, shadow theater and live cooking shows. 
Mazen Batterjee, vice chairman of the JCCI, said food plays a very important role in cultural exchanges.
He said the Jeddah Food Festival, held during the school break, is an opportunity for the people of Jeddah and visitors to enjoy the hospitality of different countries.
Adil A. Munief Mohammed Makki, chairman of the hospitality committee at the JCCI, said the Jeddah Food Festival is expected to become an annual event, with a mission to promote the Saudi hospitality industry, attract foreign and local investments and support domestic tourism.


Event location: Malik Road, in front of Red Sea Mall

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Saudi Arabia, South Korea to set up advisory council

Sun, 2017-04-02 04:32

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia and South Korea have agreed to form an advisory council to boost cooperation, enhance business networking and provide sustainable support to Saudi economic reform initiatives within the framework of Saudi Vision 2030.
The move to set up the council will allow both sides to understand opportunities and engage more intensively for growth and development of the two countries.
“South Korea, which has supported the successful implementation of Vision 2030, is looking to establish the advisory council,” said Kwon Pyung-oh, Korean ambassador, on Sunday.
He pointed out that “the advisory council is the product of an agreement endorsed by the Korean president and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on the occasion of the G-20 Summit last September.”
Kwon said that about 100 officials from the two countries held discussions in February and mapped out plans for cooperation in a number of areas. The potential areas include energy, including nuclear, renewable and new energy industries; manufacturing of automobiles and shipbuilding; health care; construction and plants; and games and entertainment.
The policy areas for cooperation include small and medium enterprises (SMEs), government digitization, and government policy think tanks. The envoy noted the recent visit and contribution to the project by Minister of Economy and Planning Adel Fakeih to South Korea.
“Fakieh met with Korea’s acting president and prime minister, as well as various ministers and top officials,” said the ambassador. The Saudi minister described Korea as a “core partner” of Saudi Arabia as it implements Vision 2030.
Additionally, a memorandum of understanding to enhance bilateral SME partnerships was signed earlier this month. He said that cooperation in these areas will be developed further.
“I am looking forward to the upcoming 18th Saudi-Korea Joint Committee session scheduled for later this year in Seoul,” said Kwon, while referring to the political situation in South Korea. He said that a snap presidential election will be held on May 9.
“Until a new president is duly elected, acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn will continue to exercise authority over all important functions of the government,” said the envoy.
The most important functions include strengthening national security amid increasing threats from North Korea; conducting foreign affairs in close consultation with partners like Saudi Arabia; and managing the country’s financial, economic and trade sectors, he observed.
“In fact, he has been holding down the governmental fort since last December, when the legislature voted for the impeachment,” said Kwon.

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Moscow And Beijing Join Forces To Bypass US Dollar In Global Markets, Shift To Gold Trade

The Russian central bank opened its first overseas office in Beijing on March 14, marking a step forward in forging a Beijing-Moscow alliance to bypass the US dollar in the global monetary system, and to phase-in a gold-backed standard of trade.

According to the South China Morning Post the new office was part of agreements made between the two neighbours “to seek stronger economic ties” since the West brought in sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis and the oil-price slump hit the Russian economy.

According to Dmitry Skobelkin, the deputy governor of the Central Bank of Russia, the opening of a Beijing representative office by the Central Bank of Russia was a “very timely” move to aid specific cooperation, including bond issuance, anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism measures between China and Russia.

The new central bank office was opened at a time when Russia is preparing to issue its first federal loan bonds denominated in Chinese yuan. Officials from China’s central bank and financial regulatory commissions attended the ceremony at the Russian embassy in Beijing, which was set up in October 1959 in the heyday of Sino-Soviet relations. Financial regulators from the two countries agreed last May to issue home currency-denominated bonds in each other’s markets, a move that was widely viewed as intended to eventually test the global reserve status of the US dollar.

Speaking on future ties with Russia, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said in mid-March that Sino-Russian trade ties were affected by falling oil prices, but he added that he saw great potential in cooperation. Vladimir Shapovalov, a senior official at the Russian central bank, said the two central banks were drafting a memorandum of understanding to solve technical issues around China’s gold imports from Russia, and that details would be released soon.

If Russia – the world’s fourth largest gold producer after China, Japan and the US – is indeed set to become a major supplier of gold to China, the probability of a scenario hinted by many over the years, namely that Beijing is preparing to eventually unroll a gold-backed currency, increases by orders of magnitude.

* * *

Meanwhile, as the Russian central bank was getting closer to China, China was responding in kind with the establishment of a clearing bank in Moscow for handling transactions in Chinese yuan. The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) officially started operating as a Chinese renminbi clearing bank in Russia on Wednesday this past Wednesday. 

“The financial regulatory authorities of China and Russia have signed a series of major agreements, which marks a new level of financial cooperation,” Dmitry Skobelkin, the abovementioned deputy head of the Russian Central Bank, said.

“The launching of renminbi clearing services in Russia will further expand local settlement business and promote financial cooperation between the two countries,” he added according to.

Irina Rogova, a Russian financial analyst told the Russian magazine Expert that the clearing center could become a large financial hub for countries in the Eurasian Economic Union.

* * *

Bypassing the US dollar appears to be paying off: according to the Chinese State Administration of Taxation, trade turnover between China and Russia increased by 34% in January, in annual terms. Bilateral trade in January 2017 amounted to $6.55 billion. China’s exports to Russia grew 29.5% reaching $3.41 billion, while imports from Russia increased by 39.3%, to $3.14 billion. Just as many suspected, with Russian sanctions forcing Moscow to find other trading partners, chief among which China, this is precisely what has happened.

The creation of the clearing center enables the two countries to further increase bilateral trade and investment while decreasing their dependence on the US dollar. It will create a pool of yuan liquidity in Russia that enables transactions for trade and financial operations to run smoothly.

In expanding the use of national currencies for transactions, it could also potentially reduce the volatility of yuan and ruble exchange rates. The clearing center is one of a range of measures the People’s Bank of China and the Russian Central Bank have been looking at to deepen their co-operation, Sputnik reported.

One of the most significant measures under consideration is the previously reported push for joint organization of trade in gold. In recent years, China and Russia have been the world’s most active buyers of the precious metal. On a visit to China last year, the deputy head of the Russian Central Bank Sergey Shvetsov said that the two countries want to facilitate more transactions in gold between the two countries.

“We discussed the question of trade in gold. BRICS countries are large economies with large reserves of gold and an impressive volume of production and consumption of this precious metal. In China, the gold trade is conducted in Shanghai, in Russia it is in Moscow. Our idea is to create a link between the two cities in order to increase trade between the two markets,” First Deputy Governor of the Russian Central Bank Sergey Shvetsov told Russia’s TASS news agency.

In other words, China and Russia are shifting away from dollar-based trade, to commerce which will eventually be backstopped by gold, or what is gradually emerging as an Eastern gold standard, one shared between Russia and China, and which may day backstop their respective currencies.

Meanwhile, the price of gold continues to reflect none of these potentially tectonic strategic shifts, just as China – which has been the biggest accumulator of gold in recent years – likes it.

The post Moscow And Beijing Join Forces To Bypass US Dollar In Global Markets, Shift To Gold Trade appeared first on

Initiatives launched for Saudi soldiers in southern border areas

Sun, 2017-04-02 03:00

JEDDAH: In recognition of the efforts and sacrifices of Saudi soldiers in the southern border areas, the Makkah Cultural Forum has launched seven initiatives from several government and private sectors to support them.
They have paid visits to war fronts, organized blood donations and collected public messages of support.
Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, adviser to King Salman and governor of Makkah, expressed appreciation for these initiatives, which he said reflect public sentiment toward the heroes in the southern border area who are sacrificing their lives for the country and its security.
The initiatives were carried out by four government agencies, including the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, the Jeddah Health Department, King Abdulaziz University and Taif University.
The Ministry of Islamic Affairs paid two visits to soldiers in Jazan and Najran, launched a blood-donation campaign and documented support messages in the Makkah region.
The Jeddah Health Department, King Abdulaziz University and Taif University participated in the blood-donation campaign.
“The initiatives we are undertaking are an attempt to express our feelings toward those men working for the best interest of the homeland, and to convey citizens’ feelings,” said Sheikh Ali Al-Abdali, director of Islamic affairs in the Makkah region.
The rector of King Abdulaziz University, Abdulrahman Al-Youbi, said staff and students have expressed their desire to join in any initiative for the brave soldiers in the southern areas.

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Envoy invites Saudi Arabia to join Germany in shift to green energy

Sun, 2017-04-02 03:00

RIYADH: German Ambassador Dieter W. Haller has invited the Kingdom to join Germany as it shifts to green energy from oil and uranium.
He made the invitation while opening the exhibition “German Energy Transition,” or “Energiewende,” at Al-Hamra Mall.
Haller said the Kingdom is “blessed abundantly with sun and wind,” and commended the Saudi government for taking bold steps to introduce renewables to the local energy portfolio.
“Germany is willing to cooperate with the Kingdom on a government level between the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) and our Ministry of Research, and on a private-sector level,” he added, congratulating the Saudi government for its energy efficiency program.
He expressed pleasure at having the exhibition in the Saudi capital during the start of the first round of renewable energy tenders, in which a number of German companies have expressed an interest.
He said since the Kingdom has set itself ambitious goals and is moving swiftly toward implementation, the exhibition came at the right time.
The embassy said Germany “has decided to switch the country’s entire energy supply to renewables by 2050, one step at a time, pursuing clear and ambitious targets and using a precise roadmap.”
It added that in 2016, the share of renewables in German gross domestic power production reached 30 percent.
Haller said the energy transition is the answer to how Germany as an industrialized country can make its energy supply secure, affordable and sustainable.
This will open up new business opportunities, foster innovation, create jobs and boost growth, he added.

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Saudi Justice Ministry achieves over 90% in excellence stage of e-transaction program

Sun, 2017-04-02 03:00

RIYADH: The Ministry of Justice has achieved the highest rates in its e-transaction services to hit over 90 percent in the excellence stage of its electronic program in 2016, according to a report released by the e-government program Yesser.
The report divided the ministry’s e-transformation phases into four successive stages: Building, accessibility, excellence and integration.
The excellence stage comprises a group of elements, whereby the report verifies the ministry’s pace in accomplishment of its set goals, including basic technical infrastructure, human resources and management.
By achieving such a rate, the ministry has outperformed 140 other government agencies during the year, the report said.
Touching on the ministry’s current “electronic maturity,” the report said the number of justice services stood at 62, including 48 interactive, eight informational and six procedural.
The ministry has succeeded in preparing a plan to transfer to electronic transactions. The plan has allowed ministry officials to archive documents and retrieve them if required, the report said.
The ministry has pledged to intensify efforts to achieve the objectives of the electronic transactions program and achieve the vision of improving the Kingdom’s rank in the UN e-government readiness assessment survey and keeping the Kingdom’s presence within the best 25 countries in 2020, and among top five by 2030.

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Africa’s Gate To Europe: Operation Husky, Again

Authored by Daniel Moscadi via GEFIRA,

Vallombrosa is a unique place in Tuscany. Its founder, Saint Giovanni Gualberto, a Benedictine monk, chose this secluded place in the mountains 40 km east of Florence to lead a hermit-like existence, right after the year 1000, and with a restricted group of monks started his own monastic order, the Vallombrosani.

John Milton among many other travellers – found inspiration in Vallombrosa while traveling across Italy in 1638, and a marble inscription reminds tourists that here Milton put into writing his Paradise Lost. Vallombrosa is not a place for crowds; rather a place where to seek meditation and inspiration.

To me Vallombrosa represents memories from my childhood. It could be called a piece of my personal heimat, if you wish. Back in the 60’s, when a car was still a far-flung luxury for many Italian families of the working class, we would take the Sunday morning bus from the train station in Florence with some frugal lunch, and we were back in the city with the same bus in time for dinner. For me, as a child, that was the highlight of the week – or the month – as it was all that we could afford at the time as a holiday.

It was with these memories that I rode my motorcycle along the winding road through the national forest that is part of Vallombrosa. But when I shut off the engine it wasn’t the silence that I had expected as usual but an eerie cacophony that got my attention. A crowd of young Africans, all in their 20’s, were standing and sitting around the area of the monastery, all of them doing the same thing: shouting at their i-phones, evidently talking to their folks back home.

Welcome to the new Italy, where the replacement of the original population, once known as Italians, is in full swing. Only a few years ago this affirmation would have caused sarcastic disbelief, now is the reality in front of our eyes.

It happened overnight (literally), during the winter, when over 100 “migrants” from Africa fresh from their landing in Sicily, were unloaded in this oasis of peace and tranquility. Now, you would think the location was chosen because the benedictine monks were ready to open their doors as a sign of charity and compassion. Far from it.

In reality, and without any help from the monks, what was accomplished was business at its best: minimum effort for maximum profit.

Take a group of local entrepreneurs to take over an old, abandoned hotel near the monastery, one of those hotels that attracted travelers once upon a time. Restore it to make it (more or less) look again like a semi-decent hospice so that you can amass in it as many Africans as possible. Make as much as 25/35 euro a day per person, courtesy of the Italian taxpayers. Welcome to Italy’s fastest growing and most profitable business.

The example of Vallombrosa is not an exception, rather the rule of what is happening in Italy, or what it could otherwise be called “profitable invisibility”.

Until now local governments – especially the ones where elections are approaching – have been very careful in “disposing of” the migrants in secluded, peripheral areas, so that the locals would not notice their presence in their daily lives. Now, at an estimated rate of arrivals/replacements of over 250.000 a year it is going to be a (serious) problem to keep this “profitable invisibility”.

In fact, as migrants are not confined to their housing and are therefore free to move around, by whatever public transportation is available the hard-to-hide consequence is that a city like Florence resembles every day more and more an African suk, with a young African man outside every commercial establishment begging for money or trying to sell useless Chinese knickknacks.

If you talk to them, they will all tell you the same thing: they did not know that it was going to be “this bad”. They “were told” back in Nigeria, Ghana, Mali, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, and the list could continue, that “once here they had it made”. How? I asked, again, who told them these fairy-tales?

I couldn’t get a convincing answer, and I got the feeling I shouldn’t have asked that question. Considering that on average each migrant pays to get to Europe between 2.000 to 4.000 euro, that sum for most is seen as a lifetime investment that should ensure a better future not just for them but for their families back in Africa.

If you invest all your savings plus a potential future debt to arrive in the land of prosperity you are not going to plan on leaving that place anytime soon. After all, even if you are found as an illegal alien on Italian soil, all you will receive is a foglio di via (expulsion warrant) in which Italian state authorities “summon” the illegal alien to leave Italian territory within – normally – a week or so. And after that the illegal alien is left free to go, so long, goodbye till next time when he’s caught again perhaps as a result of a crime, and then he will be given another foglio di via, just to refresh his memory that he’s an illegal alien. By then, he knows he is dealing with a banana republic.

The refugees receive a daily allowance of 2.50 EUR as pocket money, but obviously they want more. They are not legally allowed to work – thanks to Italy’s mind-boggling bureaucratic system – but can participate as “unpaid volunteers” in social projects such as cleaning of parks, streets, and the like, but, given the fact that it is on a volunteer basis only, the “volunteers” are few and far between, and they certainly prefer to spend the day sitting around or begging for money so that at the end of the day they will have rounded up a few euros.

The only real possibility of work is “low paid” farm labor, and the average pay ranges between 2 to 4 EUR/hr, especially in the south. Young Italians, even if unemployed, are not interested in hard and tedious farm labour, or washing dishes in a restaurant. So the “migrants” come handy and useful for many potential employers who have at their disposal a virtual endless supply of next to slave labour.

Inevitably, due to these massive arrivals, Italy is under an unprecedented financial strain. Inevitably, those who are bound to suffer the most from this shift in resources are the growing numbers of Italians – now approaching the 5 million mark – who are rapidly declining into the official category of povertà assoluta or absolute poverty, as classified by ISTAT (the National Bureau of Statistics and Census) who would be willing and forced to accept even as little as a few euros per hour just to get by, except that a potential employer doesn’t even consider hiring an Italian for he knows that a legal employee could easily report an unlawful working condition, therefore potentially exposing the employer to heavy fines.

The millions of Italians – especially elders with no families – who have ended up in this category have little or no help from the state, especially when it comes to housing and specific medical care such as dental care. If you are a single adult with no children, chances of getting subsidized housing are next to zero. And that has a quite simple explanation: all the available subsidized housing goes to families with children, and most of them are foreigners with an average of 2/3 children.

Finally, it is Mother Nature who knows no morals, at least not as humans conceive them, and Nature always wants its toll. Just like in the animal world the invasion of alien species in a new environment often causes a severe reduction – or extinction – of native species, in human societies the massive and sudden moving of people from one continent to the other causes – inevitably – infectious diseases to reappear where they were eradicated or increase dramatically, and of course unexpectedly.

Tuscany sets a perfect example. Traditionally friendly and hospitable, thanks to its post -communist local governments, Tuscany has been welcoming sub-Saharan Africans for at least a couple of decades by now, and Tuscany now stands apart in Italy for a dramatic rise in meningitis cases.

Once again, the local government of Tuscany carefully and skillfully plays down the numbers, avoiding – God forbid if Mass Tourism hears about this – the word “epidemic”, but the numbers are out there and are becoming hard to hide.

Of course, the consequential negative effects for local populations facing what is hard to disguise as “humanitarian crisis”, but in reality a planned forced replacement of Europeans, was taken into account when all this was carefully planned by the “movers and shakers behind the curtains”. Nothing could be left to chance.

In order to accomplish this MP (Master Plan), regardless of the name you want to call it, a fundamental ingredient is essential, namely, the complete readiness of a subservient oligarchy, holding key positions in the countries you want to subdue. This oligarchy must be composed of key figures ready to be disposed of whenever necessary or no longer usable. In other words, as perfectly stated by Gaetano Mosca, a political scientist of the late 19th century, “a well organized minority will always have its way over a disorganized majority.” And, shall we add, for an organized minority to reach its goals another essential is to get rid of all potentially powerful obstacles.

Silvio Berlusconi may have been ultimately unfit to lead Italy, but he had some points to his favour, one of them his personal friendship with Muammar Qaddafi. Thanks to that friendship, and as long as Qaddafi was in power, Libya had not become a major jumping point for Italy for sub-Saharan Africans. In 2011, in a matter of months, both leaders are out of the picture, one resigns and one is dead. Libya plunges into a civil war, and chaos in the country is the result, with no recognized central authority any more.

Two years later, in October 2013, one of the things that you would have certainly called “impossible” to happen in life actually does happen: the Pope resigns from his post. In his resignation statement delivered in Latin he calls himself physically overwhelmed thus unfit to lead the Catholic Church. So long, goodbye.

Of course, it is just one of those weird coincidences, but the Vatican State had been cut off for days prior to Pope Benedict’s resignation from all international banking transactions via SWIFT, just like other evil nations such as Iran and North Korea. Within hours of Benedict XVI’s departure from the Vatican, bound for the residence of Castel Gandolfo outside Rome, Vatican’s connections with SWIFT are reestablished and all banking transactions are possible again. Talk about providential timing.

A new and quite different Pope is elected by the cardinals, certainly, we like to believe, inspired by the Holy Ghost. A Pope that soon, like a broken record, will remind – on a daily basis – Catholics worldwide, but especially Italians that “migrants are not just welcome, they are absolutely welcome”. Now, for a devout Catholic, that must be accepted, and cannot be questioned, even if you have (many) doubts, deep down in your conscience: after all, a Pope is always right, and we, as Catholics, must obey.

Until 2013 the numbers of arrivals from Africa are high, but always below 50.000 a year. 2014 marks the first year of biblical numbers, with over 170.000 arrivals, mostly from sub-Saharan Africans. Since then, the numbers are rising and 2017 is due to pass the 200.000 mark. Never mind that Italy is – literally – running out of places to hold – and feed – these masses. The Pope for many Italians remains the ultimate voice of truth so if THEY come, we must welcome THEM.

History repeats itself.

At least in Sicily. In January, 1943 the Casablanca conference in Morocco attended by Churchill and Roosevelt proved to be a turning point of the war. No longer on the defensive, with the Axis forces of Italy and Germany driven out of Africa, Churchill was anxious to attack Hitler’s “fortress Europe” through its “soft underbelly” as he called Italy. And so Operation Husky was decided. The allied forces landed in Sicily in July 1943, which led, in a matter of weeks, to the fall of Mussolini and the surrender of Italy in September, with the country effectively divided in two until the end of the war in April 1945.

As with any carefully prepared military invasion, reliable domestic contacts providing eyes and ears on the ground were essential. Rather than relying on virtually non-existent “resistance groups” like it was going to be the following year for the landing in Normandy, the US and Britain knew they were to take advantage of a different – yet formidable – power: the Mafia.

A number of US intelligence agencies had already been in contact during the war with the New York “underworld” essentially in order to protect the port of New York from highly possible acts of sabotage especially by the Germans.

As Operation Husky received the green light, all possible useful contacts in Sicily were recruited by US intelligence agencies, but the key figure was by no doubt top Mafia mobster Lucky Luciano. Serving a 30 to 50 year sentence in a NY correctional facility since 1936, Luciano provided the US Navy with many Sicilian contacts which proved to be extremely useful in aiding allied forces to establish a secure foothold in Sicily. The all-too-obvious consequence was that the Mafia, on the run since Mussolini’s arrival, was back in power, and it was there to stay.

It must be admitted that Sicily provides an outstanding presence in the Italian government. In January, 2015 the first Sicilian President of Italy, Sergio Mattarella, is elected by the parliament. At that point Sicilians hold the top 3 positions in the Italian government: The President, the President of the Senate (Pietro Grasso, a former prosecutor), and the essential Minister of Interior Angelino Alfano. It needs to be reminded that while the former two are honorific figures and are no decision makers, the Ministry of the Interior is the direct supervisor and coordinator of the whole immigration affaire.

This list would not at all be complete without the President of the Chamber of Deputies, Laura Boldrini. (Although not sicilian: she is in fact from the Marche region in Central Italy). Before being elected at this post in 2013 (the third in importance in the government) she spent -according to her biography – between 1998 and 2012 working for UNHCR in prominent roles.

In her whole career, professional and political, she has made no mistery on whose side she stands for, and that side is certainly NOT the average italians who live from paycheck to paycheck (provided they have one) despite the fact that italian taxpayers reward her with over 100.000 euro a year for her position.

Being from an affluent family, she really never had to worry about making ends meet, devoting her whole life to the underpriviliged ones. Just as long as they are NOT italians.We could call her expertise on this whole matter just like the cherry on the cake, or, better stated, the right person in the right place at the right time.

Getting back to Sicily, and speaking of affari (italian for business) immigration -biblical or not- has been a fantastic, unprecedented affare for Sicily as untold billions of euros have kept a steady flow to the island. Sicily has Europe’s biggest migrant reception center, the C.A.R.A. (Centro Accoglienza Richiedenti Asilo), located in Mineo near Catania where many “irregularities” were found out by local prosecutors, leading to the indictment of at least 17 people including a high level politician of the same political party as Angelino Alfano, (NCD)

One of the wistleblowers of the many “irregularities” that were the norm at the C.A.R.A. in Mineo is a middle level police officer from Rome, Daniele Contucci. Contucci has worked for years “in prima linea”, as he states, being among the first ones to receive -and interview -migrants just unloaded on sicilian shores after having been rescued at sea.

When asked if there’s any hope this biblical invasion will slow down any time soon Contucci is highly skeptic. “Not as long as there’s so much money involved. The profits to be made are just staggering, by far surpassing any other illegal activity”, he says. He admits that -perhaps a bit naive- he thought he could find help and attention to his cause from politicians that rewarded him with lots of shoulder padding and praises but no concrete action of any sort, regardless of the political orientation, leaving him “highly convinced” that despite all the official claims and drama, no party in Italy is willing to do anything serious about this. “It’s the money. There’s simply too much money involved. It’s the kind of money that can buy any politician.”

Last, but by all means not least, the “traghettatori”, italian for ferrymen. Just like Operation Husky,this biblical task could not be accomplished without a fleet – or a flotilla – of well equipped, well payed, well maintained vessels.

Of course they are all humanitarian organizations, and they devote all their lives and their (huge) resources to the safe transporting of migrants to the all too willing and cooperating (or – shall we say – receiving orders from above?) the Marina Militare, or the Italian Navy. One tiny detail: if you want to take “part of the action” as a volunteer, and become a crewmember on one of the NGO’s vessels, get ready for a good series of vaccination shots as a mandatory condition to be taken onboard. As the saying goes: “better be safe than sorry”.

Now the Italian Ministry of Public Health wants “everybody” to get vaccinated in Italy, and that -soon- is probably not going to be an option, especially for schoolchildren. Profitable businesses often go hand in hand. You start with immigration, and you end up with vaccination. It must be the Law of Attraction.

This monumental endeavour of changing Italy’s demographics has found its admirers. One gentleman in particular is willing to open his wallet and shower this gracious flotilla with the insignificant gift of 500 million euro.

We wonder what may be behind all this generosity. Perhaps, as the man wants to be remember by future generations of dark skinned italians, as he is getting a little aged and has little time left, he wants to push the final population replacement of Italy to the fullest.

Back in 1943 they were called GI’s. In 2017 they will be called GSB’s (George Soros Boys). Welcome boys, to your future home. The Banana Republic of Italy.

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Festival-goers optimistic about Saudi filmmaking industry

Sun, 2017-04-02 03:00

DHAHRAN: Filmmaking and cinema are a powerful art form used to communicate social, cultural, emotional and political messages.
Despite all the challenges, Saudi Arabia has become a breeding ground for young aspiring filmmakers, producers, cinematographers, media personalities and actors.
Speaking with members of the filmmaking community on the fifth day of the Saudi Film Festival, Arab News observed a sense of optimism, pride and excitement for the filmmaking industry in the Kingdom and the opportunities that lie ahead.
Ajwa Al-Joudi, co-master of ceremony at the festival who returned to the Kingdom after pursuing a master’s degree in television and radio in the US, said things have evolved immensely.
She presented the Saudi Film Days event in Los Angeles in November 2016. The Saudi Arabian Society for Culture and Arts recognized her work and asked her to present the fourth edition of the Saudi Film Festival. Al-Joudi said she is enjoying the process and the opportunity to meet people in her field.
“The movies being screened are great, but we can do so much more. I hope to see movie adaptions of Saudi literature and books,” she said.
“I’m pleasantly surprised and glad to have come at a time when the foundation (for the film and media scene) has been laid down,” she added.
“The future of the filmmaking industry in Saudi Arabia looks great, and I won’t be surprised if five or six years down the line we hear about cinemas opening up.”
Drawing inspiration from a true story, filmmaker Abdulmohsen Al-Mutairi created “Daesh Girl” during his government-funded graduate studies in the US.
The movie is about a woman who joins Daesh in a secret mission to fight against it. The film has been screened in 20 film festivals, and has garnered positive reactions thus far.
“The story focuses on humanity, on women’s rights. It’s about passion and art. The message is to fight extremists anywhere in the world,” Al-Mutairi said.
The promotional line of the movie makes quite a statement: “A film dedicated to everyone fighting the injustices of the world.”
He said: “We have the potential to evolve into a big industry. It would be a great place to invest, and we develop partnerships with our neighbors, the UAE and Kuwait. There are beautiful stories waiting to be told. There has been tremendous support from the community, both liberals and conservatives.”
Movies screened on the fifth day of the festival include “Sound” (social), “Coward” (drama), “Black Flag” (thriller), “In Day and Night” (documentary), “The Bliss of Being No-One” (drama) and “Sound of Love” (drama, music).

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Bahrain Cinema Co. mulls entering Saudi market

Sun, 2017-04-02 03:00

JEDDAH: The Bahrain Cinema Co. said it is mulling entering the Saudi market after receiving serious offers from commercial complexes, Al-Hayat newspaper reported.
Chairman Essam Fakhro said the company wants to get its foot in the door cinemas are allowed in the Kingdom.
“The company has already begun consultations with some entities in Saudi Arabia to coordinate with them in regard to the company’s work in the Kingdom,” he said.
He added the company has received offers from owners of Saudi complexes to open cinema halls.
“The company is monitoring the situation well in preparation for seizing the opportunity there,” Fakhro said.
Al-Hayat reported that commercial compounds in Riyadh, Jeddah and the Eastern Province are working on an integrated study to make new expansions for the purpose of opening cinemas.

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