Archive for August 10th, 2011

Thousands refused passports in Gaza

Sunday 22/05/2011

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Demonstrators gathered in Gaza City on Saturday to protest the Palestinian Authority’s refusal to grant passports to 30,000 Gaza residents.

Tens of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza have have been unable to get passports issued by the Fatah-led PA, residents say, because of factional tensions, despite the recent reconciliation agreement signed between Fatah and Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip.

Salim Sharab, organizer of a campaign to demand passports for all residents, blamed the Palestinian Authority Minister of Interior in Ramallah for rejecting applications from Gaza.

He asked: “Are we paying a toll for political affiliation?”

Sharab added that those denied passports had a right to be told if they were considered spies for foreign governments, and deserved explanations as to why they were being prohibited from exiting the coastal enclave.

Patients needing medical care abroad, students and hajj pilgrims are among the rejected applicants.

Osama Fuad Abu Askar, of Jabaliya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip, joined Saturday’s protest in Gaza City’s Unknown Soldier square. He has been trying to get a passport for four years.

“I lost my legs in 2004 during Israeli shelling and since 2007 I have been trying to get a passport so I can travel abroad and get prosthetic limbs. As a disabled man, how can I be a threat?” he asked.

Askar said reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah was pointless “if Palestinian citizens can’t get their basic rights.

“Passports are not exclusive rights for Hamas or Fatah.”

Mahmoud Abu Sweirih, another protester, said he had been married for 13 years but he and his wife have not been able to have children.

“Doctors said I needed treatment abroad, but I can’t go because I can’t get a passport. How come one individual determines my fate? Doesn’t the Palestinian constitution give me the right to have a passport?”

Campaign organizer Sharab appealed to human rights groups and the Arab League to help resolve the situation.

Director of the Addamir human rights organization Khalil Abu Shammala said passports were an inalienable right guaranteed by the constitution and international law.

“Our representatives held several meetings with PA officials in the West Bank. We planned to file legal proceedings, but waited because we had promises that the case would be resolved once the reconciliation agreement was signed,” Abu Shammala said.

Source: Ma’an News Agency.
Link: http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=389935.

Jerusalem police close alleged Hamas office

Sunday 22/05/2011

JERUSALEM (AFP) — Jerusalem police said on Sunday that they had closed an East Jerusalem community center, adding that detentions would likely be made because the organization had violated a closure order.

Police spokeswoman Luba Simmari said detectives closed the premises of the Heritage Committee in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Wadi Joz, which she accused of being affiliated with Hamas, the Islamist political party which controls the government in the Gaza Strip.

The party runs hundreds of community organizations in the West Bank and Gaza.

“It is the intention of the police to arrest suspects responsible for reopening it,” she told AFP. “It was run by Hamas… Hamas is forbidden to work in East Jerusalem.”

Neighbors said that the two-story building was also used for prayers.

An eyewitness said that police welded its doors shut.

Israel considers Hamas a “terrorist organization” and prohibits any activities run by the party to take place in territory it controls.

The Palestinian Authority is also prohibited from carrying out official activities.

Source: Ma’an News Agency.
Link: http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=390064.

Demonstration in Jordan in support of Syria’s anti-Assad protests

May 21, 2011

Amman – Hundreds of Syrians living in Jordan staged a demonstration outside the United Nations office in Amman on Saturday, in support of protesters in Syria calling for the overthrow of President Bashar al-Assad.

They crowd held up placards and chanted slogans against al-Assad, calling for and end to his leadership and security crackdown on protests in Syria.

Meanwhile, Jordanian media reported that the government had asked the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood movement, whose leaders have been given refuge in the country, to stop protests outside the Syrian embassy in Amman.

Jordan’s King Abdullah II, who ended a visit to the United States earlier this week, has reportedly asked US President Barack Obama to give al-Assad ‘a chance’ to implement the reforms that protesters are demanding.

Authorities on Friday prevented hundreds of Jordanians from demonstrating near Ramtha and in support of protesters across the border in the Syrian city of Daraa.

Source: Monsters and Critics.
Link: http://www.monstersandcritics.com/news/middleeast/news/article_1640590.php/Demonstration-in-Jordan-in-support-of-Syria-s-anti-Assad-protests.

Paramount, CBS and Rubicon to Build Star Trek Resort in Jordan

Ancient Middle Eastern history and culture to mix with Star TrekĀ®
Estimated $1 Billion+ project scheduled for 2014 opening

Amman, Jordan, May 21, 2011 – [ME NewsWire]: Rubicon Group Holding, a diversified global entertainment organization producing innovative digital animated content and location-based attractions, will design and produce The Red Sea Astrarium (TRSA), a 184-acre themed entertainment resort located in Aqaba, Jordan, which, through a license from CBS Consumer Products, will prominently feature an amazing attraction inspired by the 2009 international hit motion picture, Star Trek. The “Star Trek” attraction is being creatively developed by Paramount Recreation.

That announcement was made today by Randa S. Ayoubi, CEO of Rubicon Group Holding at the Jordanian-American Business Forum, under the patronage of His Majesty King Abdullah II of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, in a special signing ceremony attended by business leaders from Jordan and the United States.

TRSA, which will look to the future to celebrate the heritage of the region’s past civilizations, will generate employment for more than 500 high-skilled workers in the local community, with Rubicon facilitating the training for these key jobs, as well. The themed entertainment destination will serve as a model for “green energy,” incorporating state-of-the-art renewable technologies throughout the facility, and hosting a “future” pavilion where businesses, students and attendees can learn about alternative energy sources ranging from solar and wind energy to greywater harvesting. The project, a milestone in the development of tourism in Jordan, will provide a progressive and entertaining “celebration” of the region’s culture and heritage.

From a stunning location in the coastal town of Aqaba, TRSA features classic story telling combined with immersive entertainment experiences to bring about a world-class leisure adventure. Capturing the rich history of the surrounding area, this wondrous attraction draws from Nabatean, Babylonian, British and Roman influences to provide an incomparable adventure. With an impressive array of technologically advanced attractions, five-star accommodations, captivating theatrical productions, nighttime spectacles and unique dining and shopping, The Red Sea Astrarium offers something for everyone.

To complete the chronological spectrum with a futurist perspective, Rubicon has joined with CBS Consumer Products and Paramount Recreation to create a stunning Star Trek-themed center that will deliver a variety of multi-sensory 23rd-century experiences, culminating with a state-of-the art space-flight adventure that takes real-time immersive entertainment experiences to bold new heights. This exciting, world-class attraction will serve as the cornerstone of the TRSA sector’s world of tomorrow. This will mark the iconic property’s first themed entertainment venue outside the United States.

The Red Sea Astrarium is sure to become a family destination, attracting visitors from the 350 million residents across the Middle East and fun, leisure as well as thrill seekers from all over the world.

Architectural firm Callison has been engaged to work with Rubicon Group Holding and its team of visionaries, including Paramount Recreation and CBS, to master plan and create a world class destination resort.

“TRSA will be a destination showcase in an extraordinary part of Jordan,” said Ms. Ayoubi. “The opportunity to lead the design on such a remarkable project and to work with such world class partners as CBS and Paramount is a dream-come-true for the entire Rubicon family. We are honored, elated, and proud to have our Themed Entertainment team in charge of moving this project forward.”

“At its core, Star Trek is about bringing worlds together and about a profound hope for the future,” said Liz Kalodner, EVP and General Manager of CBS Consumer Products. “We are proud to bring such a unique, interactive Star Trek property to this part of the world to be a part of Jordan’s future.”

Source: TrekWeb.
Link: http://trekweb.com/articles/2011/05/22/Paramount-CBS-and-Rubicon-to-Build-Star-Trek-Resort-in-Jordan.shtml.