Archive for May 26th, 2012

Egypt envoy: No plan to demolish Gaza tunnels

Friday 02/09/2011

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Egypt has denied plans to demolish tunnels on the border with Gaza.

Yasser Othman, ambassador to the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, said Friday that no decision had been taken about the tunnels.

The plan is to restore security in the Sinai and the border area — not to tighten the siege on Gaza, he says.

He said the security campaign in the tunnel area will only target areas which threaten Palestinian and Egyptian security.

He also said that restoring security in the northern Sinai would help Egypt improve facilities at the Rafah crossing.

Source: Ma’an News Agency.

Jordan- Regional turmoil hurts medical tourism

Mokhtar Thabet
Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Global Arab Network – The medical tourism sector is still witnessing a drop in revenues due to the loss of patients, particularly from two major traditional markets: Yemen and Libya.

According to Awni Bashir, president of the Private Hospitals Association (PHA), the number of patients seeking care in the Kingdom’s medical centres and accompanying visitors is expected to drop by 25 per cent by the end of this year.

As Jordan, which used to be a major regional medical tourism destination, has been severely affected by regional instability, PHA will start looking for other markets, beyond the region, Bashir said.

The association is working on a plan to promote the industry in other countries, like, for example, Kazakhstan, Bashir told The Jordan Times over the phone yesterday.

The tourism sector in general has been seriously affected this year as a result of the regional unrest.

Tourism earnings in the first six months of the year amounted to JD949 million, down from JD1.089 billion in the first half of 2010, according to official statistics.

The number of tourists who visited the country in the January-June period of this year dropped by 14.2 per cent, from 3.639 million in the same period last year to 3.124 million.

“We still have no cases from Libya and only a few from Yemen, which we used to consider as our major markets,” said Bashir, pointing out that the number of patients coming from Iraq and Kurdistan is not encouraging either.

In the latter case, Bashir attributed the low demand on the Kingdom’s private hospitals to difficulties patients face trying to obtain visas.

Annually, the medical tourism sector generates $1 billion on average. Over 240,000 patients from across the world receive treatment at the Kingdom’s hospitals.

Meanwhile, Minister of Health Abdul Latif Wreikat said the ministry established a medical tourism unit to facilitate issues related to the sector.

According to a statement that was e-mailed to The Jordan Times, the minister said an office will be inaugurated soon at the Queen Alia International Airport to assist those coming to seek medical treatment in the country’s hospitals.

At the same time, the official said that the ministry seeks to activate health attachژs at the Kingdom’s embassies so that they can help facilitate procedures for patients seeking treatment in Jordan.

Source: Global Arab Network.

EU adopts oil embargo on Syria

Talal Abdullah
Friday, 02 September 2011

Global Arab Network – The European Union formally adopts a ban on Syrian oil imports today, but the embargo will take effect on November 15 for existing contracts after Italy insisted on a delay, according to diplomats.

The EU will also expand its list of people targeted by an assets freeze and travel ban, adding four businessmen accused of bankrolling the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, the diplomats told AFP Thursday.

And three companies, including a bank, will see their assets in the EU frozen as punishment for the regime’s deadly repression of protesters, the sources said on condition of anonymity.

The announcement of the oil embargo will coincide with a key meeting of EU foreign ministers in Poland. The measure will deprive Assad’s regime of a vital source of cash, as the EU buys 95 percent of Syria’s crude oil.

“These measures must be validated by European governments on Friday,” one diplomat said, after the EU reached a preliminary agreement on Monday.

Source: Global Arab Network.

Jordanians demand new constitution

Fri Sep 2, 2011

Hundreds of anti-government protesters have poured into the streets across Jordan to demand reforms and a new constitution, Press TV has learned.

Witnesses say protest rallies were held in several cities, including the southern city of Tafileh, following the Friday Prayers.

Chanting anti-government slogans, the demonstrators called for the replacement of country’s constitution with the Muslim holy book, the Qur’an.

Protesters have also demanded an end to corruption in the country.

They have named this Friday as “Friday of Resolve.”

Meanwhile, Jordanian activists have called for a protest rally in front of the Bahraini Embassy in the capital Amman to condemn Manama’s brutal crackdown on peaceful anti-government protesters.

Jordan has been faced with anti-government rallies demanding reforms and an end to corruption since January.

In June, in a bid to appease protesters, King Abdullah II announced a number of concessions, including the formation of future governments that were based on an elected parliamentary majority rather than one appointed by the monarch.

He later said it may take two to three years to put an elected government in place.

Source: PressTV.