Jordan’s northern town of Umm Qais receives Best Tourism Villages award at AlUla

Jordan’s northern town of Umm Qais receives Best Tourism Villages award at AlUla
Jordan’s northern town of Umm Qais has been named among the best tourism villages of 2022 by the UN World Tourism Organization. (Twitter/@carolemadge)
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Updated 13 March 2023

Jordan’s northern town of Umm Qais receives Best Tourism Villages award at AlUla

Jordan’s northern town of Umm Qais receives Best Tourism Villages award at AlUla
  • Umm Qais among 135 locations recognized

ALULA: Jordan’s northern town of Umm Qais was honored at the UN World Tourism Organization’s Best Tourism Villages awards ceremony in AlUla on Sunday.

The BTV initiative is the flagship project of the UNWTO’s Tourism for Rural Development Program, which aims at reducing regional income and development disparities, and combating depopulation, as well as advancing gender equality, innovation, digitalization, and women’s and youth empowerment through tourism.

The 135 locations recognized by the awards — which included AlUla Old Town — were announced in December as part of the BTV initiative, which recognizes villages that are “an outstanding example of a rural tourism destination, with accredited cultural and natural assets, that preserve and promote rural and community-based values, products, and lifestyle, and have a clear commitment to innovation and sustainability in all its aspects — economic, social, and environmental.”

The event was attended by leaders from the tourism sector and ministers from  nominated countries, the Jordan News Agency reported.

Imad Hijazin, secretary-general of Jordan’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, said: “Putting the village of Umm Qais on the list will bolster the kingdom’s status on the global tourism map.

“This achievement comes within the ministry’s vision, and is in compliance with its tourism development plan through the Jordan National Tourism Strategy 2021-2025.”

Hijazin added that the location’s recognition would contribute to empowering local communities, and increasing job opportunities.


Salvage operations for oil tanker stranded off Yemen's coast can start: UN

Salvage operations for oil tanker stranded off Yemen's coast can start: UN
Updated 13 sec ago

Salvage operations for oil tanker stranded off Yemen's coast can start: UN

Salvage operations for oil tanker stranded off Yemen's coast can start: UN

RIYADH: Salvage operations for the oil tanker stranded off Yemen's coast can start, the UN said on Tuesday.

Developing 


Yemeni govt, Houthis exchange bodies of 52 fighters killed in battle

Yemeni govt, Houthis exchange bodies of 52 fighters killed in battle
Updated 54 sec ago

Yemeni govt, Houthis exchange bodies of 52 fighters killed in battle

Yemeni govt, Houthis exchange bodies of 52 fighters killed in battle
  • Swap comes as Iran-backed militia continues to bombard Yemeni troops
  • 3 govt soldiers killed, 4 injured in drone, ground attacks in Lahj province

AL-MUKALLA: The internationally recognized government of Yemen and the Houthis have exchanged the bodies of 52 fighters killed on the battlefield, as the Iran-backed militia escalated their drone and ground attacks on Yemeni troops.

Hadi Jumaan, a local mediator, said the exchange took place this week in the northern province of Jouf, sharing photographs of several pickup trucks transporting piles of bodies wrapped in white burial shrouds through the desert.

Tribal mediators and social dignitaries who have the trust of the warring factions have sponsored a number of similar exchanges over the past eight years.

The latest came as relatives of some of the killed fighters accused the Houthis of mutilating and executing government soldiers they had captured alive.

Abdul Basit Al-Shajea said his brother, Abdul Wahab, was executed after being captured in battle and despite being shown to be alive by the militia’s own media. The Houthis then withheld news of the death from the family for months.

“The Houthi gang executed him and his fellow prisoners, the majority of whom were injured, by shooting them and pouring acid on their bodies,” Al-Shajea said, adding that his family were barely able to recognize the fallen soldier as his features had been burned away.

“Three months ago, my family was shocked to learn of the presence of my brother’s burnt corpse at the Dhamar Hospital mortuary, and its features were only confirmed with difficulty,” he said.

The exchange of the dead took place despite a second round of prisoner swap talks between the Yemeni government and the Houthis, which was supposed to have started this month, being postponed as the two sides traded accusations over obstacles to visits to each other’s cities.

Meanwhile, Yemen’s army said that three government soldiers were killed and four others were injured this week as the Houthis ramped up their drone and ground attacks in the Yafae district of Lahj province.

The militia also attacked government troops on the ground and with explosive-rigged drones west and east of the besieged city of Taiz. Similar attacks have been recorded on government troops defending the energy-rich city of Marib.

Separately, Yemen’s government said on Monday evening that all of the Yemenis who had been stranded in Sudan had now been evacuated. The announcement came soon after a Yemenia Airways flight carrying 150 Yemenis from Sudan touched down in Sanaa, taking the total number of Yemenis evacuated to 2,894.

“I appreciate all of the state agencies’ efforts to conclude the evacuation of our citizens from Port Sudan,” Prime Minister Maeen Abdul Malik Saeed said on Twitter.

Yemen’s Foreign Minister Ahmed Awadh bin Mubarak said: “We affirm that the limited capabilities resulting from the Houthi militia’s coup, looting of the state’s capabilities and economic war against the Yemeni people will not prevent the legitimate government from utilizing all of its resources to care for its citizens and overcome all obstacles in their way.”


Jordan to begin celebrations ahead of the wedding of Crown Prince Hussein and Saudi Arabia’s Rajwa Al-Saif

Jordan to begin celebrations ahead of the wedding of Crown Prince Hussein and Saudi Arabia’s Rajwa Al-Saif
Updated 34 min 47 sec ago

Jordan to begin celebrations ahead of the wedding of Crown Prince Hussein and Saudi Arabia’s Rajwa Al-Saif

Jordan to begin celebrations ahead of the wedding of Crown Prince Hussein and Saudi Arabia’s Rajwa Al-Saif
  • King Abdullah II will host a banquet at at the Royal Hashemite Court, with 4,000 people from across Jordan attending

AMMAN: Jordan begins its festivities on Wednesday to celebrate the royal wedding of Crown Prince Al-Hussein bin Abdullah II and Saudi citizen Rajwa Khalid Al-Saif, Jordan News Agency reported.

The two-day celebration will include a royal feast hosted by King Abdullah II at the Royal Hashemite Court, with 4,000 people from across Jordan attending the event.

The banquet will boast poetry recitals, singing, and Jordanian folk tunes.

It was revealed earlier this month that the religious marriage ceremony will take place on Thursday at Zahran Palace in Amman, with the reception — to be attended by international heads of state and the Jordanian royal family — at Al-Husseiniya Palace.

The wedding of the Jordanian royal and the Saudi national has drawn interest from local, regional, and international media, Petra reported.

Several television networks will be broadcasting the ceremony on Thursday.
 


Lasting bond of loyalty between US and Kuwait, says envoy

Lasting bond of loyalty between US and Kuwait, says envoy
Updated 30 May 2023

Lasting bond of loyalty between US and Kuwait, says envoy

Lasting bond of loyalty between US and Kuwait, says envoy
  • Sheikha AI-Zain AI-Sabah takes part in Memorial Day ceremony in Washington
  • ‘We will never forget the human stories of service and sacrifice’

WASHINGTON: The US and Kuwait have a “lasting bond of friendship and loyalty,” Kuwait Ambassador to the US Sheikha AI-Zain Al-Sabah said as Washington marked National Memorial Day.
Kuwait News Agency reported on Tuesday that Al-Sabah expressed her “pleasure to be given the opportunity to represent my country” in a ceremony to honor the sacrifices of the US Armed Forces as she addressed the National Memorial Day Parade.
“I stand before you today, representing the good people of my nation and reaffirming that we will never forget the human stories of service and sacrifice as exemplified by the brave men and women of the US armed forces on or off the battlefields,” added the ambassador.
“Trust that we cherish and hold dear the strong and lasting bond of friendship and loyalty between our two nations.”
She added that the bonds between the two countries were “forged by war and strengthened by peace, and further cultivated by mutual trust and respect.”
The diplomat praised the soon to be constructed Operation Desert Storm and Desert Shield Memorial, saying: “A special memorial is getting ready to be constructed in the heart of the US capital, Washington, to further commemorate the efforts of American heroes,” which is scheduled to be unveiled in 2025.
Kuwait took in the parade with a float that passed on Constitution Avenue to convey deep appreciation for those who served and those who fell in the fight to liberate the country.
More than 5,000 people marched in the parade, which is considered the largest Memorial Day event in the country.
It is a day “to honor, remember and pay our respects to all those who served and sacrificed, on and off the battlefield,” Al-Sabah said.
 


OIC welcomes extension of Sudan armistice

OIC welcomes extension of Sudan armistice
Updated 30 May 2023

OIC welcomes extension of Sudan armistice

OIC welcomes extension of Sudan armistice

 

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation welcomed on Tuesday the decision reached during talks in Jeddah to extend the Sudan armistice and ceasefire for 5 days.

The Secretary-General of the organization, Hissein Brahim Taha, said the agreement was a path towards a permanent ceasefire and an end to the armed conflict in Sudan.

The Secretary-General also commend the efforts of Saudi Arabia and the US to reach the armistice agreement.