Govt makes all-out effort to get Hofuf onto World Heritage list

1 / 2
2 / 2
Updated 09 June 2015

Govt makes all-out effort to get Hofuf onto World Heritage list

AL-AHSA: Preparations are in full swing for the completion of the Hofuf file to be presented to UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee, said Ali Al-Ghabban, vice president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA).

He said that the SCTA, the Al-Ahsa mayoralty and the Irrigation and Drainage Authority in Al-Ahsa are currently working on the collection of information and data required to register Hofuf in the list of World Heritage Sites, before February to be discussed at the World Heritage Committee during its next session.
Adel Al-Mulhim, Al-Ahsa mayor, said: “A new expansion project is under way in the western side of Al-Ahsa Qaisariya Souk, which will be linked to the artisans’ market for showcasing historical handicrafts, besides establishing popular cafes and shops.”
“This new market was designed in a way linked to the history and architecture in Al-Ahsa, which dates back to several historical eras,” he said.
“The Al-Ahsa municipality pays great attention to maintaining the heritage by participating in tourist and heritage gatherings and holding lectures, seminars and exhibitions related to the preservation of heritage.
This is in addition to drawing up future plans to maintain its architectural heritage,” said Al-Mulhim.
He said that the Al-Ahsa historical projects were implemented without any additions or changes, such as the Al-Qaisariya Souk which is in the old architectural style, bringing several awards.
Al-Mulhim pointed out that several heritage projects are 50 percent completed in Al-Ahsa, including the allocation of 40 sites reflecting briefly the region’s heritage at King Abdullah Environmental Park, which includes models of heritage sites such as Al-Madrasah Al-Emiriah ‘Princely School’, Al-Qaisariya, and Bait Al-Baye’a (House of pledge).
He said all departments are ready to support investment projects related to heritage, as heritage and history are the two attractive factors for tourists in various countries.


Hong Kong protesters sing ‘God Save the Queen’ in plea to former colonial power

Updated 57 min 18 sec ago

Hong Kong protesters sing ‘God Save the Queen’ in plea to former colonial power

  • The Chinese-ruled territory has been rocked by weeks of sometimes violent pro-democracy protests
  • Demonstrators angry about what they see as creeping interference by Beijing in their city’s affairs despite a promise of autonomy

HONG KONG: Hundreds of Hong Kong protesters singing “God Save the Queen” and waving Union Jack flags rallied outside the British Consulate on Sunday demanding that the former colonial power ensures China honors its commitments to the city’s freedoms.
The Chinese-ruled territory has been rocked by weeks of sometimes violent pro-democracy protests, with demonstrators angry about what they see as creeping interference by Beijing in their city’s affairs despite a promise of autonomy.
The Sino-British Joint Declaration, signed in 1984, lays out Hong Kong’s future after its return to China in 1997, a “one country, two systems” formula that ensures freedoms not enjoyed on the mainland.
“Sino-British Joint Declaration is VOID,” one placard read. “SOS Hong Kong,” read another.
“One country, two systems is dead,” they shouted in English under the sub-tropical sun, some carrying the colonial flag also bearing the Union Jack. “Free Hong Kong.”
With many young people looking for routes out of Hong Kong, campaigners say Britain should change the status of the British National (Overseas) passport, a category created after Britain returned Hong Kong to China. The passports allow a holder to visit Britain for six months, but do not come with an automatic right to live or work there.
“I am here to demand the UK protect our citizens’ rights in Hong Kong and speak up for Hong Kong under the Joint Declaration,” Jacky Tsang, 25, told Reuters.
The spark for the protests was planned legislation, now withdrawn, that would have allowed people to be sent to mainland China for trial, despite Hong Kong having its own much-respected independent judiciary.
The protests have since broadened into calls for universal suffrage.
China says it is committed to the “one country, two systems” arrangement, denies meddling and says the city is an internal Chinese issue. It has accused foreign powers, particularly the United States and Britain, of fomenting the unrest and told them to mind their own business.
Britain says it has a legal responsibility to ensure China abides by the 1984 declaration.
“The Joint Declaration is a legally binding treaty between the UK and China that remains as valid today as it was when it was signed and ratified over 30 years ago,” a British Foreign Office spokeswoman said in June.
“As a co-signatory, the UK government will continue to defend our position.”
But it was not immediately clear what Britain could or would want to do defend that position. It is pinning its hopes on closer trade and investment cooperation with China, which since 1997 has risen to become the world’s second-largest economy, after it leaves the European Union at the end of next month.
The Civil Human Rights Front has also called for a mass rally in Victoria Park, just to the east of the central business district, but police have denied permission because of earlier clashes after huge gatherings.
Protesters are expected to turn up early in the afternoon anyway.