World Italian Language Week lines up cultural treat in Jeddah

At the event are, from left, Italian comedian Saverio Raimondo, Elisabetta Martini, consul general of Italy, Biancaria Gismondi and Fabio Ferri from Mondadori Education Co. andLouai Al-Binni, CEO of End Consumer. (AN photo)
Updated 17 October 2017
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World Italian Language Week lines up cultural treat in Jeddah

JEDDAH: The Italian Consulate in Jeddah has lined up a series of events until Wednesday to celebrate World Italian Language Week.
The consulate is holding this event for the fourth year in a row with different themes for each year. This year’s theme is “cinema” as there are expectations about theaters opening in the Kingdom soon.
Italian comedian Saverio Raimondo attended a press conference on Monday at the Italian Cultural Center along with Fabio Ferri and Biancaria Gismondi from Mondadori Education to discuss the celebrations.
The first day’s event featured a stand-up comedy show by Raymondo. The show was focusing on Italian comedy in general, and about Fantozzi, one of the most famous comedy characters in Italy.
Comedy is a “strange thing” to export to a foreign country, but it is also an important cultural experience.
The character of Fantozzi had such an important influence on the Italian language in a way that epitomizes the influence of cinema on a language. The second and third days of the event will be two “movie nights.”
An Italian movie with English subtitles will be screened, and then a Swiss movie in Italian, also with English subtitles, will be shown on the last day. All the events will be held at the Italian Consulate starting at 9:00 p.m.
The consulate has also prepared debates and seminars at the Italian Culture Center, the Italian School of Jeddah, Effat University and Dar Al-Hekma College.
“The beacon of Saudi youth is US culture, but our aim is to show that stand-up comedy does not only belong to the US. There is also an Italian way to have stand-up comedy,” said Italian Consul General Elisabetta Martini.
A seminar at Dar Al-Hikma Collage will held on Tuesday about the Italian entertainment industry, and on how to start a career in the entertainment field.
“This is something very important for Saudi Arabia because they just started to focus more on entertainment businesses and entertainment as a job creator market,” Martini added.
“Italy is a cultural superpower and it is eager to contribute to the implementation of Saudi Vision 2030 also as far as the creative industry is concerned,” said the consul general.
The series of events are sponsored by End Consumer, Creative Marketing Solutions, Bin Zagger Company, Al-Bilad Hotel and Al-Danoub Market.
Ferri from Mondadori Education underlined that Italian is a European language spoken in Italy and Switzerland. And it is the fourth most studied foreign language in the world.
“Italy has always been at the crossroads of trade and this is why many Arabic words were adopted into Italian,” he said.
The aim of the initiative is to “underline what unites the Arabic and Italian cultures — not what divides us, namely creativity and common words,” said Martini.


Saudi Arabia pledges $3bn to Pakistan, defers oil payments

Updated 24 October 2018
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Saudi Arabia pledges $3bn to Pakistan, defers oil payments

  • It was agreed Saudi Arabia will place a deposit of $3 billion for a period of one year as balance of payment support: statement
  • Pakistan is seeking foreign aid to help plug a massive budgetary gap which the Pakistan prime minister has blamed on the mismanagement of the previous administration

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has pledged $3 billion in support to Pakistan and allowed for deferred oil payments to help stave off a budget crisis.

The deal came as Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan attended the opening of the Future Investment Initiative (FII) in Riyadh on Tuesday.

Earlier Khan met with King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to discuss bilateral issues. It was his second visit to the Kingdom in just over a month.

“It was agreed Saudi Arabia will place a deposit of $3 billion for a period of one year as balance of payment support,” Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“It was also agreed that a one-year deferred payment facility for import of oil, up to $3 billion, will be provided by Saudi Arabia. This arrangement will be in place for three years, which will be reviewed thereafter.”

During his address to the gathering of global business executives, Khan also confirmed that Pakistan was in talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a new bailout.

Pakistan is seeking foreign aid to help plug a massive budgetary gap which the Pakistan prime minister has blamed on the mismanagement of the previous administration. During his election campaign, the former cricketer vowed to create 10 million jobs and establish an “Islamic welfare state.”

After a consultative visit last month, the IMF had warned that Pakistan needed to quickly secure “significant external financing” to avert a crisis. 

Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have also discussed potential investment in mineral resources in Balochistan, the largest of Pakistan’s four provinces which borders Iran and Afghanistan.

Further discussions were held about a refinery project in Pakistan, the Finance Ministry said in the statement.

Pakistan’s external balance of payments represents one of the biggest challenges facing Khan.

The country’s current account deficit has ballooned as its central bank’s foreign reserves dropped to about $8.1 billion in October.

That was barely enough to meet the country’s sovereign borrowings between now and the end of the year.

The IMF expects Pakistan’s economic growth to slow to about 4 percent in 2019.

Pakistan is seeking to attract increased inward investment to help shore up its finances and Khan used the event as platform to talk about opportunities in sectors such as tourism, minerals, coal and gas exploration.

He also highlighted what he said were the successes of Pakistan in the fight against terrorism, which has brought peace and stability to the country, and pointed to the significance of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

China has become an increasingly high-profile investor in Pakistan as Beijing pushes ahead with major projects such as the CPEC.