December 24, 2008

The future of public transportation in Amman


Under a major public transport plan by GAM, huge buses will be operated on main routes in the capital (Photo courtesy of GAM)

GAM is serious about developing transportation alternatives in the City by proposing two major BRT projects ( Bus Rapid Transport), the first one will pass by Queen Rania Street and the second will pass by AL- Abdali . Currently, the infrastructure of the Public transportation in Amman is very week and only 17% of the residents use them. That's a very low percentage, especially that the transportation alternatives are not available. GAM is also building the infrastructure of the street side at many locations inside the city, to make it more pedestrian friendly. All these projects give us some hope about the future of the city. However, it's not that easy to develop Transportation alternatives in the city, to make it more livable and solve traffic congessions!

Amman Voice called for transportation alternatives in many posts. On July 2007, Amman Voice published a post: Promoting for transportation alternatives in Amman City:
" This can be part of a general mission to reclaim Amman city streets from the automobile, and to advocate for bicycling, walking, and public transit as the best transportation alternatives. Seeking to change Amman transportation priorities to encourage and increase clean, quite, friendly travel, and decrease car use. What we seek is a rational transportation alternative based on a :"Green transportation Hierarchy," which gives preference to modes of travel based on their benefits and costs to society. Read below about Green transportation hierarchy."

And in another post Amman city traffic congestions :

"Finally, the new development plan for Amman City expansion need to make transportation, traffic, and parking as a very serious issue to be studied "comprehensively" and "responsively" to prevent serious future problems. Moreover, it must go hand by hand with all other public and private sectors to ensure the effectiveness of traffic and transportation initiatives in Amman City."

Another post : " Do you think this is a good idea to solve the city traffic congestions in AMMAN, limit pollution, and find alternatives for transportation? What if the city contracted a foreign company to sponsor and finish the project and get the revenue for about 10 or 20 years before the city get it back?"


December 19, 2008

Jordan Hotel and Hospitality Guide



Jordan Hotel & Hospitality Guide (JH&HG) is the official guide to Jordan hotel and hospitality services, the most comprehensive, accurate and up-to-date guide on Jordan’s fast-growing range of hotels and hospitality.

The travel industry in Jordan is booming with growing numbers of both business visitors and 
tourists, instep with the fast expanding economy and Jordan’s growing links with all parts of the world. Travelers are also increasingly moving beyond the well-trodden paths through Dubai, Egypt and visiting other cities throughout the Middle East.

Jordan has quick emerged as one of the region’s top venues for trade exhibitions, and is now one of the main choices for regional conventions. The rise in tourism and MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Events) activity supports the development of Jordan’s hospitality industry. Most of the world’s top hospitality groups are now in the Jordanian market and plenty of new hospitality projects are in planning and discussion. This market has huge potential, and Jordan Hotel & Hospitality Guide is with you to keep up with the changes.

This guide has been designed as an industry guide for daily use by travel agents, travel planners, events organizers and ordinary travelers. It has listings for 180 hotels in all the cities, and more than 300 allied members. All entries are indexed in a number of different ways to allow for fast access. Special sections provide information on business and leisure facilities.













We hope you find this directory useful to your business to participate, and that it helps you to realize profitable business deals and pleasant journeys throughout Jordan.













The next issue will be published in March 2009. To advertise and participate call SADDA at: 0799088911 or e-mail: info@sadda.jo 

December 17, 2008

Conservation Standards in Architectural Practice

Jordanian Architects Society is honored to invite you this Wednesday 17/12/2008 - 5:50PM at JAS Headquarter / Jabal Al-Qala'a to an architectural gathering under the title(Conservation Standards in Architectural Practice) that will be presented by Dr. Salim Elwazani ( Professor of Architecture & Environmental Design at Bowling Green State University, Ohio State, USA) and will include some of his distinguished theoretical and practical experience in this field.

December 12, 2008

Children playing Video Games



It's pretty interesting watching kids playing video games, isn't it? The New York Times and Robbie Cooper showed us how children play games in a short Video.

Pretty interesting to see the new generations reactions to the Video games. This should make every family worry about their kids and ask: "do I want my kids to be like this?"

November 29, 2008

The free cost of Valet Parking in Jordan

Valet parking is a new trend in Jordan and to some people it's a must do etiquette. To some companies it might be an added value to their service. The question is what does it mean to the city?

I asked GAM if they give anybody permits for businesses who claim the ownership of the street curb, but they don't, even some businesses claim that they pay for the valet spots.

The problem has many dimensions. I don't support the whole idea, but if we want to imitate other countries it needs to be regulated, any claimed Valet Parking should be done through a certified operators, this way we make sure that the car is safe and the driver is qualified to drive.
I don't wanna suggest accommodating valet parking but GAM and We need to find a better solutions for the increasing problem of Parking in Jordan.

It does frustrate me when I see an empty parking spot along the street side being reserved for the business customers or a VIP personnel, while I have to circulate the blocks trying to find an empty spot! Last weekend I saw a whole street in Abdoun, arround Crums and Limon, full of unoccupied reserved spots while everybody was looking for a spot!!!

The street side belongs to all people, we payed for the ownership when we payed our taxes.
This matter took my deep attention when I was living in NYC, I first created a blog called: SHAME ON YOU PARKING ... http://shameparking.blogspot.com/ ( That was my first blog: Shame Parking is a public awareness blog to promote better parking practices and better environment). What I did is taking a picture of a wrong parking cars and post it in the blog with the car number, and I send it my e-mail to NYPD!!! Crazy... but what was more crazy is taking a picture of a police officer car parking in a wrong spot and I post it under: Uncivil servants!!! but it's a free world there, I am not sure if I can do that here..hahha? After this blog I thought of finding a solution for car parking problems in NYC, so I created another blog: Spotforecast and tried to sell the idea : http://spotforecast.blogspot.com/ of finding parking spots from your cell phone.

Well, you wonder what happened? It needs investment in marketing the idea!!! anybody interested?

I didn't see valet parking on the street side in the US. The valet parking concept is based on taking the car to the parking lot and not to the street side.

It really frustrate me to see this in Jordan. We need to build a campaing against this practice.

November 28, 2008

Pedestrian Road Safety Partnership



My Speach at Jotrans 2008:

"I am delighted to speak at this strategic conference which represents a key convention for all agencies working toward the one thing that they all care about… building livable safe cities.
Successful transportation strategies endorse road safety education and promote programs toward further improving road safety outcomes, at all levels of every community


However, if we continue planning our cities for cars and traffic, we will get more cars and traffic; but, if we start planning our cities for people and places, we will get more people and places.

Streets are more than just car corridors; they are valuable civic spaces and resources that need to be wisely allocated. We need to start thinking about a campaign to re-imagine our streets as lively safe public places.

In 2007, 992 people died in Jordan as a result of 110,630 road accidents with an estimated monetary loss of 281 Million JOD. The average growth rate in the number of killed and seriously injured as a result of road accidents was 12% in the last five years.

January of 2008 witnessed an alarming rise in the number of lives lost to road accidents which caused a national call for action following His Majesty king Abdullah The Second’s directions that we must put an end to this trend.

In 2008 compared to 2007, the collaborative efforts of both the public and the private sectors resulted in a 12.1% decrease in accidents, 27.42% decrease in injuries, and 39.27% decrease in deaths.

We feel and We forget. We Hear and We Remember. We Do and We Understand.

We still have a very long way to go and the results achieved so far are a living proof that together government and people can address national challenges. Sustaining this positive progress is key and requires even more effective Public-Private Partnership.

Forming such alliances need a lot of commitment by all parties involved; each needs to understand the limitations and strengths that their side brings to this undertaking. They need to communicate with each other, ensure that all involved parties contribute to and benefit from the relationship in ways appropriate to their organizations, ensure that all partners participate on a more equal basis and to accept responsibility not only for their role in decision making but in the outcomes of the alliance as well.
Successful alliances were forged all over the world to tackle issues that were deemed of importance to the people of that country. The private sector and the non profit sectors played an important role together with the governments in raising the awareness on road safety, improving the infrastructure, instilling a culture of road safety among their community, financially supporting campaigns and activities promoting road safety, and training and building the capacity of individuals and organizations on road safety measures and related issues.

The RSCOE is an example of such a partnership between the Public and Private sector. Established in June, 2008 between the GAM, the GJU, Hikmat Road safety , and in October the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs joined this partnership.

"A livable city is a road safe city," the center main aim is to promote the level of road safety in Jordan and To Build World Class Road Safety Capacity by Integrating (learning, applied research, advanced know-how & tools) in an outcome oriented way to support the effective execution of the National Road Safety Strategy.

The Road safety center of excellence aims to: Certify Road Safety Officers, Study and understand vital issues, Develop Solutions, Influence implementation, and Publish standards and best practices

The center is introducing the concept of road safety audit into Jordan and plans to Make road safety audit a common concept where: practitioners are familiar with it , know how to do it, adopt a standard, use tools and methods, and are striving to become certified.

A road safety audit (RSA) is a formal safety examination of a future roadway plan or project or an in-service facility that is conducted by an independent, experienced multidisciplinary RSA team.

The RSCOE conducted the first workshop to certify Road Safety Officers that took place on the 3rd of August, 2008 for a period of 2 weeks and covered the topic of how to assess current roads and how to conduct a road safety audit. The workshop was delivered by two German Experts at the German – Jordanian University and was attended by 27 participants from various governmental entities related to road safety.

Each participant was required to prepare a comprehensive report on the results of their studies and site visits in addition to preparing an action plan for implementing future road safety activities. The participants are expected to take full responsibility for these initiatives.

Moreover, before the end of this year, the RSCOE is planning to launch the first Pedestrian Road Safety Audit Guidelines Manual that provides transportation agencies conducting a RSA and pedestrians with a better understanding of the needs of pedestrians of all abilities.

The pedestrian Road Safety Audit Guidelines Manual provide an easy to understand comparison between what’s right and what’s wrong and provide a general listing of potential pedestrian safety issues.

The intent of the guidelines is to familiarize practitioners and citizens with potential pedestrian issues and to help them identify specific safety concerns related to pedestrian road safety.

Prompt lists are provided at the end of the manual to identify the types of pedestrian-related issues that the RSA team should be aware of to promote pedestrian safety in the audited project. Another successful partnership between the Public and Private sectors is the Safer Schools Program, 100 schools were designed inside & outside of Amman to improve road safety in their zones. The designs were completed in cooperation with Arabtech-Jardaneh design office. As of today, 74 schools were maintained to be safe for total number of 56,289 students. By the end of the Year 100 school will be completed, in Amman, Madaba, Balqa, Ma’an, Karak, Tafeleh, Zarqa and Irbid governorates.
While we continue working on the Safer Schools program, another program started to extend the efforts to build safer home Zones.

Today, the 23rd of November marked the opening of the first Safe home-Zone project “Haretna” in Al-Zuhour Area in Amman. Another cooperation between GAM, and HRS. The Project donation came from Al-Ard Company and designed by Turath consultants.
The center strategy is to “Train the Trainers” to become a road safety ambassador each in his agency.

In 2009 we will: Certify 100 Road Safety Officers, Build 100 Safe Schools, Build 100 Safe Home Zones, Develop and Publish more Road Safety standards, and build more partnerships.

We are Stronger, More capable, smarter, More righteous, More aware, better, more interactive, more creative, more practical, more solid, achievers, more effective, more trust worthy, more interesting, more stable, more sustainable, able to contribute more, more logical, more aware

Than Me Alone.
Thank you "

By: Arch. Emad A. Salameh
Road Safety Center of Excellence
General Manager

November 12, 2008

Amman Institute

Toward building the excellence of leadership and development, the Mayor Omar Maani signed an agreement with one of the World’s leading transportation research organizations, the Institute of transportation Studies (ITS) at University of California, Berkeley to collaborate on modernizing GAM’s transportation system.

The agreement signed by Mayor Omar Maani and Prof. Samer Madanat, the Director of ITS last July 2008 to will establish a research and training program for GAM. Research topics under consideration include: Clean Fuel Options for Public Vehicles, including buses and taxis; Pricing Strategy to Increase Public Transit Ridership; Analysis of Dedicated Bus Lanes in Amman; and Gender Considerations in Public Transportation.
Mayor Maani stated that he was very pleased to have GAM associated with ITS, because ‘…it will connect GAM to a recognized center of excellence in transportation planning & engineering; improving the mobility within the City is one of our priorities under the Amman Plan’.
The Amman Institute is a not-for-profit research institute established by GAM to advance the urban agenda for the metropolitan area and other urban centers in Jordan.
Amman institute is currently working on Amman Real Estate Intelligence Report. More about amman institute go to: http://www.ammaninstitute.com

November 11, 2008

Road Safety Center Workshop


By Pro. Heckman, edited by Emad Salameh

Road Safety Center of Excellence aims to promote the level of road safety in Jordan and To Build World Class Road Safety Capacity by Integrating (learning, applied research, advanced know-how & tools) in an outcome oriented way to support the effective execution of the National Road Safety Strategy , the center's plan is to introduce the concept of road safety audit into Jordan and to Make road safety audit a common concept in Jordan where: practitioners are familiar with it , know how to do it, adopt a standard, use tools and methods and are striving to become certified. As a start the center began establishing a database by developing standards and guidelines for road safety auditing adopted from other countries but they were adjusted and modified to suit Jordan's regulations, then study-cases and examples were built and several sites in Jordan were visited by the center's teams and some examples were done with the help of traffic engineers from GAM , all of the cases and examples were documented into reports and as a second step the center launched a workshop named " Road Safety Auditing level 1 " ; the workshop took place at the facilities of GJU and on the streets of Amman from 3rd to 14th of August. Case studies of some relevant streets and intersections have been prepared in advance by local experts and students, organized by RSCOE.



The Center invited participants from ministries, municipalities and other bodies, and also non-governmental organizations – about 25 participants took the opportunity to be trained on a method, which is established in many countries all over the world. Two experts from Germany – an engineer for transport planning and safety and a traffic psychologist – have been invited to assist and to supervise the developmental processes during the workshop.

The workshop started with two days of theory with regard to safety risks due to the street design and operations and another two days of theory with regard to safety risks due to behavioral aspects of drivers and pedestrians participating in public traffic each day was divided into 3 sessions from 10 am till 3:30 pm (1.5 hour for each session).

The two experts based on research data, which have been collected in Germany and internationally, but confronted these data with the experiences of the local experts in the workshops. The adaptation of general observations, conclusions and points of view to the Jordan culture, traffic conditions and experiences was a constitutive element of the workshop tasks. Also the integrated perspective on both behavior and street environment was practiced. Both experts encouraged interaction spirit and the sessions were more like discussions and exchanging experiences among the participants and the experts and among the participants themselves.

On the second week three field trips were conducted to three different street s each one consisted of a site visit and a discussion session about the observations and the remarks that were taken on site ,The participants were divided into two groups each one was under the supervision of one of the experts and along the three days the participants were regrouped so that each one of them participates in different activity . And before the second field trip an introductory session about RSA was delivered to the participants. On site each expert divided them into subgroups and checklists and google maps with a copy of the report that was prepared before were delivered to all participants , then each subgroup was responsible of fulfilling a specific task.

On the discussion session the data from all participants is collected and discussed among each group by itself , then exchanged between the groups so that each participant understands other quests that he didn't conduct. The observations from the field are discussed among all groups and
critical safety issues are pointed out then initial solutions are proposed.

On the 2 days after the field trips all the data from the three site visits and all the results of the discussions were collected and all participants under the supervision of the experts built together
the final report of this workshop.

November 5, 2008

Transportation Conference & Exhibition


Amman Voice is participating in the First International Transport conference & exhibition for the middle east.

I will be speaking as the Road Safety Center of Excellence GM about " Pedestrian Road Safety Guidelines ", it's a great opportunity to speak infront of local, regional, and international decision makers.

My speach will be focusing on Pedestrian Road Safety and will deliver Amman Voice message and the Road Safety Center key missions and goals. Moreover, I will speak about the Pedestrian Road safety Guidline book that we were working on at the center for the last few months.

October 19, 2008

Blackout in Amman

My laptob is still alive to write these lines. Sounds like writing my last e-mail before joining the rest of the paralized life here in Amman since the early morning. Not sure what happend, I just heard that a main electricity generator fall down and the electricity won't come back untill the end of the day. Not sure how much the blackout is covering nor for how long, but life is so strange without electricity...No work, No internet, no telephone, ... OK...I have to stop writing just to save my battery!!!

October 3, 2008

So what's up in Jordan these days

Reading reports and statistics are always good to follow, so we have a better understanding of what's up in Jordan. Even I believe in the conspiracy of the statistics, but lets assume they are like the news we got everyday, an editorial.

So, What's up Jordan:

Ministry of Industry and Trade market inspectors found 1,200 traders in violation of the ministry’s regulations during Ramadan compared to 2,200 last year, a senior official said on Monday.

Referring to Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI), which ranked Jordan 47th out of 180 nations, Judeh said the government is committed to fighting corruption and will not hesitate to refer violators to judicial authorities. In its annual CPI, which covers the perceptions of public sector corruption in 180 countries and territories, Transparency International gave Jordan an overall score of 5.1 up from 4.7 in 2007.

Garment sales during Ramadan were “very slow” compared to last year, according to owners and staff of clothing stores, who attributed the decline to difficult living conditions citizens are undergoing and a surge in the prices of clothing.

The Kingdom has in the past 10 days received a total of 10,000 tonnes (74,000 barrels) of oil from Iraq at an average of 7,400 barrels a day.

The Iraqi embassy in Amman has dispatched two busloads of Iraqis who were residing in the Kingdom back home after reports of improved security conditions.

September 21, 2008

Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs Join the Road Safety Center of Excellence



Tuesday 16 September 2008

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs will join the German-Jordanian University (GJU), Greater Amman Municipality, and HIKMAT Road Safety foundation to become the fourth party in the Memorandum of Understanding singed last June for the establishment of the Road Safety Center of Excellence, located at the German-Jordanian University. The parties signed on 16 September 2008 an addendum to the original Memorandum of Understanding, stipulating the addition of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs as a fourth party. The four sides were represented by: His Excellency Eng. Shehade Abu Hdeib/ Minister of Municipal Affairs, Prof. Labib Khadra/ President of GJU, His Excellency Eng. Amer Al-Bashir/ Deputy of Amman Mayor, and Mr. Maher Qadura/ President of HIKMAT Road Safety foundation.

Through this addition, the Ministry will offer technical support to the Road Safety Center by providing documents, information, and blueprints needed for its road safety activities, in addition to offering financial support. The Ministry will also nominate specialized staff to participate in the courses offered by the Center.

It is noteworthy that the Road Safety Center of Excellence was established at the German-Jordanian University with the aim of qualifying specialized personnel in the field of road safety, conducting studies and research about road safety vital issues, coming up with solutions to road problems, and enhancing positive public attitudes and practices. It will offer a professional diploma program in road safety, in addition to short training courses and workshops. .


Already, the Center began its activities at the German-Jordanian University last August by organizing a two-week workshop entitled "Road Safety Audit – level one". Numerous specialists took part in the workshop representing various official bodies, such as Greater Amman Municipality, Ministry of Public Works, Ministry of Municipal Affairs, Transport Regulatory Commission, Public Security Directorate, Jordanian Engineers Association, Ministry of Education, insurance companies, and other bodies. German professors who are international experts in this field were especially invited by GJU from Germany to give the lectures of the workshop.

August 29, 2008

European Street Art Festival to kick off Friday

Celebrating the streets of Amman, celebrating the people, arts, and culture.

AMMAN (JT) - The European Commission and the French Cultural Centre will kick off Friday the third annual European Street Art Festival. The yearly celebration and exhibition of street art aims to provide opportunities for young and emerging artists from Europe and Jordan to explore and exhibit their talents. Performances will include various music styles, modern dance and street theatre. The festival, which will last until September 6, will include events at Hussein Park, downtown, Rainbow Street and Wakalat Street in Sweifieh.

Related Posts:
Al-Weobdeh Carnaval
Amman City Street Block Celebration
Amman City Parade


Type rest of the post here

August 23, 2008

Eco-Cities of the mediterranean 2008 exhibition in the Dead Sea

When: October 18-20, 2008
What: Eco - Cities of the Mediterranean
Where: Dead Sea - Jordan



Our region’s energy, water, waste, air and environment are all facing significant and complicated challenges that are affecting the quality of our lives today and will continue to affect the quality of future generations if they are not addressed.

Join us and let us work together at The Eco Cities of the Mediterranean Forum 2008 that will be held from October 18- 20, 2008 at the Dead Sea in Jordan. The Forum has been designed to update you on key topics pertaining to environmental issues. It is being organized for the Mediterranean region by the Jordanian Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Municipal Affairs, Greater Amman Municipality, UNIDO and USAID Jordan Economic Development Program (SABEQ).

The Forum will feature panel discussions led by experts covering topics on environmental challenges, strategies, policies and solutions in urban areas, with a motivation for action. There will be breakout sessions where you will be able to discuss issues of great importance in this field and examine regional case studies as practical examples demonstrating good practices.

Ministers, Mayors, members of the local authorities, service suppliers, intermediary and non governmental organizations will all be participating in this rich exchange of ideas, information and experiences, while networking with the leaders and experts in this field. We anticipate more than 200 practitioners from the region and worldwide will attend this valuable Forum.

The Forum will also include an exhibition for service and technology suppliers to showcase their latest services, products and state of the art developments in the environmental field.

An additional activity, in which participation is optional, has been planned towards the end of the Forum. A trip to the rose-red city of Petra, one of the new Seven Wonders of the World, has been scheduled for October 21, where you can experience history from an ecological perspective.

We request that you extend this invitation to your entire organization and/or individuals you feel would be interested in attending this event. For more information and online registration, please visit us at: www.eco-cities.net or contact us by email at info@eco-cities.net

We look forward to welcoming you in Jordan,
Forum Organizers

July 4, 2008

A DEAD CITY IS A CITY WITH MALLS


When the city starts building more malls it will loose it's ability to be a livable city and it will die.
A livable city is when the citizens shop, stroll, and socialize on the sidewalks and the streets.

Who would imagine that ZAHRAN street will have a Shopping Mall of more than 11 dunum land? Who would imagine to locate a Shopping Mall between the 6th and 7th circle? between the two inaccessible nodes to an unlivable corridor! Who would imagine after Jordan Gate and the many many debates and problems it caused and a few meters away on the main corridor we will have another MALL?

What about Wakalat street which is only a few meters away? What about the Whole Swefieh shopping area? How much more traffic will this new mall generate? How much will it harm the businesses in the area?

Was it part of the Amman development plan? HDMU? or Corridor intensification?

If we couldn't stop building the Jordan gate towers! And nobody is calling for putting them down. Can't we immediately stop the building of this mall?

I wanna be a believer. I wanna see a livable city, a city with a soul.
I don't know from where this MALL came from!

Excuse me but we do live in a city full of ignorance, greed and conspiracy. On the other hand, we do have great leadership surrounded by a few good men who can make a difference, but they need to move faster.

Instead of building malls we could have infrorced an urban re-generation plan for the Swefieh area were all the shops, and businesses become part of it. Delivering solutions to incrase the social, economical, and urban live of that neigbourhood.


June 24, 2008

How to live in Amman?

How to live in Amman? Is life expensive?


I received this post from Gonçalo Silva whose planning to live in Amman and failed to get any information of

HOW to Live in Amman?


"Hello guys,
I am thinking of going to amman to live but so far I failed to obtain some information of how it is to live in Amman, Hows the city, and specially whats the day life like.

I also wonder how expensive is life and how much money you need to live?stuff like day life expenses!like milk, bread, meat, renting a house, etc....
I hope you can help me..

Thanks

GS "

My recommendation:

1) Live close to work. I recommend Jabal Amman or Weibdeh for a foreigner.
2) For transportation you better own your own car, we don't have Trains, Subways, or proper bus system inside the city. Be careful of Taxi drivers. Note: They are building a new transportation system for Amman.
3) You will love to eat Meat, chicken but it's cheaper to eat Falafel, Humus, and Shawerma.
4) Cheaper to make your own food.
5) Don't smile to people, well don't take it personal if you see too many angry people, or depressed faces.
6) U need to bargen alot.
7) For a weekend vacation outside Amman check Dead Sea, Aqaba, Petra.
8) Unique cultural activities can be found from different organizations, I recommend Joining Jordan Facebook netwrok and joining different groups.
9) It's a safe and clean city.
10) etc. etc.

Enjoy your stay

Emad




June 18, 2008

Car accidents in Jordan

I have to write this before I head to the hospital. I just got a phone call from my Mother that my aunte had a car accident and was seriously injured.

As we said before, and according to the car accidents and injuries statistics in Jordan, don't you ever think that YOU or someone in Your family is safe in the street, not in Jordan streets.

It's hilarious that we are proud of building towers and creating a master plan for high rise buildings while we don't have a safe street or a pedestrian to walk in.

Comparing terrorism, last year more than 900 citizen died from car accidents in Jordan, compared to palestinians killed by the Israelies, our streets is even more dangerous.

Unfortunatly, we are paying a serious price. For how long!

Through the Road Safety Center of Excellence (RSCOE) we need to work hard before it's too late. This only can happen if we all took this tragedy as a national cause for protecting the citizens.

Not only we need to let the government do it's part, we shall be a major role in collaborating the efforts to make Amman and Jordan a " Livable country with safe roads"

Type rest of the post here

June 9, 2008

In Jordan Size Does Matters

model of the 220-metre high-rise, which is slated for completion at the end of 2011 (Photo by Hani Hazaimeh)


AMMAN - (JT)The UAE-based Tameer Holding Company on Sunday unveiled plans to construct a 220-metre high-rise in Abdali, set to be the highest building in the Kingdom.

The $300 million project will be built as part of the Abdali Urban Regeneration Project, Tameer Director General Mohammad Habib told reporters at a press conference yesterday.

"The project comes as part of our strategy to expand operations in Jordan in light of the country’s progressive growth in the construction sector," he said, adding that the tower will be designated for commercial use.

"We expect to lay the cornerstone in October and complete construction in three years," he noted.




The tower will include conference rooms, as well as fully equipped health spas, fitness centres and swimming pools.

It will also incorporate more than 30-high-speed elevators as well as a 1,000-car parking lot.

The average area of each floor will be 1,200 square metres and the tower will be surrounded by two eight-storey buildings, also allocated for commercial use.

The tower will be environment-friendly by rationalising water and electricity use, in addition to utilising wind and solar energy for heating and electricity purposes, Habib said.

He added that all projects in Abdali will be served by a central cooling and heating system, which will reduce energy consumption by 40 per cent.

Habib noted that the company studied the area’s infrastructure before deciding to build the tower.

"We have no fears or worries regarding infrastructure or traffic," Habib said, noting that several new bridges will be constructed in the area to ease congestion.

Tameer is also partnering with the Housing and Urban Development Corporation in the construction of Al Majd City in Zarqa, which will include more than 20,000 apartments, villas and town houses, in addition to 2,500 commercial units for shops, offices and a shopping centre.

Habib said the first phase of Al Majd City, which includes some 500 residential units for limited-income families, is completed and will be up for sale by the end of this year.

In related news, Tameer is taking part in an architectural conference which opens today.

The event, held under the patronage of Prime Minister Nader Dahabi, will highlight challenges facing the construction of high-rise buildings in the Kingdom.

More than 650 participants from 10 regional and foreign countries will discuss 30 working papers on the environmental and the social impact of high-rise buildings.

June 3, 2008

Road Safety Center of Excellence


Signing of the agreement for Launching The Road Safety Center of Excellence between the Municipality of Greater Amman (MGA), German Jordanian University (GJU) and Hikmat Road Safety (HRS).

Proceeding from the role of the Municipality of Amman in road safety and to complement the preceding initiative, the agreement for launching the road safety center of excellence has been signed by the municipality of greater Amman represented by Engineer Omar almaani secretary of Amman and with the German Jordanian University (GJU) represented by Prof. Dr. Labib Al-khadra also with Hikmat Road Safety (HRS) represented by Mr. Maher Qadoura, during a press conference held on the 3rd of the current month of June at the headquarters of the Municipality of greater Amman

The center aims to rehabilitate & qualify specialized staff in the road safety, study & understanding the vital issues in addition to set appropriate solutions for the road problems and to develop them through circulating of standards & best practices, which in turn affect positively on the practical & applied aspects

The center will provide a various activities which will be the creation of professional diploma program in road safety, to qualify specialists in road safety to begin in 2009-2010 as well as holding a short duration training courses ranging between 2-4 weeks to be started in the summer of 2008. The center will also hold other specialized workshops and researched in road safety.

The tuition fees will be determined in a manner commensurate with the courses and teaching program, where students or the deputed party will bear the entire tuition fees required.
The center already started operating to produce in 2008 a Road safety audit guide, a pedestrian road safety guideline, and a work zone safety guide. I was appointed as the general manager of the center by HRS and GJU. Hikmat Road Safety will fund and manage the center.
In June we will have the first Road Safety Audit workshop at the GJU. More details about the course will be published soon.
Road Safety Center of Excellence logo


May 26, 2008

Amman Disabilities Guidebook


A new disability guidebook will be issued listing "democratic" friendly places with disability access.

I hope one day Amman city will be listed also. It's not a joke, but we need a national move toward imposing accessibility act toward new and existing projects in Amman. For the city to be democratic, every citizen need to enjoy living it, living, working, and shopping.

AMMAN (Petra) –– Hmoud Elimat, secretary general of the Higher Council for the Affairs of People with Disabilities, on Sunday said the council launched field surveys on centres and societies which provide services to the disabled and will issue a guidebook listing centres that meet the needs of people with disabilities.

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May 18, 2008

National Awarness for Car Accidents, a National Priority.

A poster showing KAFA campaign logo at the official launch of the nationwide traffic awareness campaign on Monday (Photo by Hani Hazaimeh)

A serious actions have been taken place in the Kingdom since the beginning of this year addressing the National catastrophe of Road Accidents in Jordan. Since then, the number of accidents is declining. An unofficial statistics claimed that the number of Road Accidents in the Kingdom decreased 30% and the curve is improving. This time it's not just Guerilla Campaigns, at least not all of them. Many initiatives in the country call for serious moves to stop the increasing number of accidents and to develop awareness to this national problem.

Some of these campaigns are :

Kafah (Or Enough): KAFA was originally an initiative by Her Majesty Queen Rania that kicked off in 2005 under the title: "The National Traffic Awareness CampaignAll concerned public, private and civil society institutions were engaged in the nationwide effort.

Hikmat.org: The leader for car accidents awarness in the Kingdom, introducing the first steps towards social excellence and effectiveness. Hikmat.org is introducing social change through real work at schools, streets and home zones.

Fact box
• A civilian is killed every nine hours
• A child is killed every 36 hours
• Road accidents are the second leading cause of death in Jordan, after cardiovascular diseases
• Every day, 303.1 accidents take place, 2.7 people die and 49.2 are injured
• Jordan’s material losses resulting from accidents amounted to JD281million in 2007, while the Arab world loses around $65 billion due to traffic accidents every year
• More than a million people worldwide are killed and more than 25 million are injured in road accidents annually

Source: PSD and RHAS


AMMAN - (By Hani Hazaimeh)

Promoting and fostering a culture of traffic safety by raising public awareness and bringing about behavioural change was the goal of the "KAFA", or “enough”, campaign the Royal Health Awareness Society (RHAS) launched yesterday.

KAFA was originally an initiative by Her Majesty Queen Rania that kicked off in 2005 under the title: "The National Traffic Awareness Campaign
All concerned public, private and civil society institutions were engaged in the nationwide effort.

Last Tuesday, Queen Rania, who chairs RHAS’ board of trustees, headed a meeting of KAFA activists, who represent grassroots Jordanians in different governorates.

She highlighted in the gathering the youths’ role in road safety endeavours and their ability to persuade their peers and families to adhere to traffic regulations.

"The campaign is meant to be one of the leading community-based projects addressing traffic as a national priority," RHAS Director General Enaam Barrishi told a press conference on Monday.

Barrishi explained that the programme comprises three components: KAFA Youth, KAFA Children and KAFA Media.

"We aspire through the campaign to spread traffic awareness through media to influence individuals’ behaviour and motivate them to be more responsible drivers on the road," she added.

The media campaign, which began on April 30 in cooperation with local media outlets, aims to increase traffic awareness through “messages from a reality perspective which will encourage the public to be up to their responsibilities”.

"We hope people will realise the dangers on roads," she said, stressing that the campaign will focus in the coming three months on the dangers of speeding, proper use of seat belts, improper use of lanes, ignorance of “stop” signs and speaking on cellphones while driving.

"The campaign's committee will assess the impact of its initiative on the community after three months and will decide the next course of action accordingly," she added.

However, Barrishi added, the campaign will focus on speeding as the main culprit in the high number of accidents and casualties.

Colonel Khalid Kilani, deputy director of the Jordan Traffic Institute, said improving the situation of road infrastructure, setting and activating stiffer traffic regulations, along with traffic awareness programmes, will lead eventually to changing the mentality of motorists.

Efforts are already paying off, he said. The officer pointed out that the number of traffic accidents dropped by 30 per cent in the first quarter of this year and by 20 per cent in terms of injuries.

"The PSD has deployed officers in plainclothes on all public transportation vehicles in order to monitor the behaviour of drivers while at work," he said.

Responding to a question by The Jordan Times, Kilani said PSD is considering granting incentives to drivers who keep a clean record regarding traffic violations One of the suggestions, currently under discussion with insurance companies, is to exempt disciplined drivers from part of the mandatory insurance fees, he told reporters.

He noted that the Ministry of Higher Education, in cooperation with the PSD, is preparing a traffic textbook that will be incorporated into public university curricula.

Meanwhile, KAFA team will be staging a rally on May 9 under the patronage of Queen Rania.

The march will start at the Children’s Museum in King Hussein Park and finish at the Ministry of Public Works and Housing near the 8th Circle.

May 13, 2008

Activism .. Actions Not Words

Students of Nayfeh school in Amman cross the street in front of their school after the area was made safer under an initiative by Hikmat Road Safety (Photo courtesy of Hikmat Road Safety)

"To be effective, I didn't come here for some billbords and words I came to make an action," this is how Mr. Maher Qadourah started his speach last weekend at the seminar conducted by Shoman Association titeled: " Road Accidents ... Order point".
He continued: "and we are doing it right now" ... "We need your support and participation" We need volunteers

The father of a victim of a car accident in Jordan want to make a change. Do we have to pay that big of a price for us to be a doers?

I believe this initiative is in the core goal of Amman Voice: " We need to start thinking about a campaign building the movement to re-imagine our streets as lively public places."

And it's happening now, Hikmat Road Safety are doing it.


AMMAN - (JT) In order to encourage the private sector to help
address traffic accidents, Hikmat Road Safety founders on Tuesday announced the
“Sponsor-a-Zone: Save-a-Life” initiative.
The Hikmat Road Safety organisation was established in memory of Hikmat Qadourah, who was killed in a hit-and-run car accident in January. The organisation began as a personal initiative by his father, Maher Qadourah, who refused to let his only son’s
death become just another statistic.



“Sponsor-a-Zone is a programme where individuals or organisations play vital roles in reducing accidents in the country,” Qadourah told The Jordan Times on Tuesday, adding that sponsors will be directed towards enhancing road safety in specific zones selected by stakeholders.
“We aim to make individuals realise their responsibilities towards ensuring better road safety and a safer environment,” Qadourah told The Jordan Times on Tuesday.
This initiative offers the opportunity to the private sector as well as individuals to participate in the campaign to ensure pedestrians safer roads, he added.
The initiative aims to enhance safety measures in at least 100 schools and 100 streets by the end of 2008, Qadourah said, stressing that the financial contributions made to the initiative will be directed towards reducing traffic speeds, creating safer home zones for children and guaranteeing pedestrian safety around schools.
For example, Qadourah said, 15 girls from Nayfeh school in the east Amman’s Al Hashimi Al Shamali neighbourhood have been victims of road accidents in the vicinity of their school over the past year.
“We have just finished renovations that should considerably reduce the frequency of the number of such accidents in that area,” the activist added.
He noted that students in Nayfeh school themselves made a symbolic contribution to the maintenance works to the roads,which cost a total of JD5,000.
“They paid 10 fils each. We wanted to make them feel that they share the responsibility,” Qadourah said.
According to Education Ministry’s statistics, over 4,800 accidents took place in the vicinity of schools in 2007, Qadourah pointed out, adding that his institution has targeted 15 other schools to be made pedestrian-safe areas before the end of March.

“Unless individuals understand the social responsibility of road safety and begin to act, the efforts to promote a safer environment will become increasingly more difficult,” he said.
In addition to schools, Qadourah said that the organisation has made a road safety
plan for Mecca Street, where his son was hit and killed, a street he believes
lacks minimum requirements of pedestrians safety measures.
“We will make our roads more pedestrian-friendly and according to world-class standards,” he added.
“Studies revealed that the average speed on that street is over 90km/h while it should not exceed 50-60km/hr,” he said, adding that today they will meet with officials from Greater Amman Municipality and the Public Security Department.
“If the design was adopted by the participants, we expect maintenance work on Mecca Street to be completed by June15,” he said.
According to Qadourah, the changes will include more speed bumps and guardrails to prevent pedestrians from crossing the street in places other than pedestrian crossings.


Starbucks VS Tsch Tsch


Last night after a nice dinner with my friend we decided to go at 10:30 Pm to check the new Tsch Tsch cafe in Swifieh, I don't usually go these kind of places but I thought of checking it out, my mood was into smoking an Arghellieh. We drove 20 min and we were excited to try the new place, but, it never happen.

As soon as we got in, the waiter asked us: Where are you going?
I answered with surprise: we are here and we need a table.
The waiter replied: It's not allowed.
I said: why, are you closing?
The waiter answered: no, it's only for Families.
I argued: what do you mean by families.
The waiter answered: you need to bring girls.
I answered: who do you think we are?

And we left, pissed off and I am still pissed off and that's why I am writing about it here.

I can argue and argue about it and say a million reasons for this sexiest, discriminated, unprofessional, (what other words can I use...I am so pissed) ok..unfriendly behavior but it didn't seem that the waiter was hungry enough to let us in.

Me and my friend Rami are in our 30's, a good looking handsome guys, he lived outside this country like I did, traveled the world and explored different cultures, decided to come back to our home country to celebrate it with our families and participate in it's development. We wanted to celebrate a local coffee, like our grandfathers did, then we end up being kicked out from it, and it happened also in other places too, just because we didn't have a company from the other sex.

We wanted to enjoy our bachelor life, but we left pissed off from the Hospitality of this Jordanian branded coffee house that we decided to abandon forever.

So we end up going to the other coffee house besides Tsche Tsche, which was Starbucks.

Oops, Starbucks! Yes, a nice clean smoke free place were they welcome you with smiles, and never ask you to leave, they sell the best coffee and offer the best environment, locally and internationally. You can bring your laptop there or sit on a table for hours without any interruptions, and they don't look at your pocket while you are enjoying their service.

I am not promoting for Starbucks, they don't need it from me anyway, but this is a comparison between us and the others. Between an equality culture VS sexiest cultures, quality vs no quality, healthy Vs unhealthy, between too services and too countries.


Finally, I will keep enjoying my cup of coffee at starbucks because our countries can't produce something like Starbucks.

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Boycott Restuarants in Amman



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April 22, 2008

Zero Carbon Dioxide City in Jordan and bigger than MASDAR


It was announced today, April 22nd, 2008 and during the Think Green Conference in Amman at Zara Expo by H.S. Sahl Majjaly, minister of public works and Housing that there is an initiative to build in Jordan a Zero Carbon dioxide city, bigger than Masdar City in abu Dhabi .

No further details were announced, but, that's a surprise that came out of the bloom. looking forward to hear more details since no other details were announced.

Also, announcing two new building codes involving environmentally green projects. One of them is the Building Insulation Code, which will be announced in two weeks.

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Supporting the local industries and protecting our products
Renewable energy devices to be tax deducted ... not enough





April 18, 2008

King Support Madrasati initiative

The Madrasati launch attracts major corporations, community organisations and representatives eager to assist some 100 schools in desperate need of repair (Petra photo)


AMMAN - (JT) His Majesty King Abdullah on Wednesday offered JD3 million in support of Madrasati, a bold initiative that partners the public and private sector for the restoration of neglected public schools.

Under the leadership of Her Majesty Queen Rania, Madrasati was launched on Tuesday at an exhibition that brought together major corporations, community organisations and representatives from 100 schools in desperate need of repair.

The long-term plan seeks to rehabilitate at least 500 schools and should directly benefit some 165,000 students in the next five years.

It is the latest in a series of projects led by the Queen to restore and equip the Kingdom’s schools to create more inspiring learning environments.

The Monarch’s support is in line with several initiatives over the past few years which include the construction of new schools, winter coats for children and heating to upgrade the education sector.

Other leading contributors include Abraj, Mawared, Saraya Al Qabidah, Zain, and individuals including the Bouchmaoui family and Saeed Darwazeh, all of whom Her Majesty expressed appreciation to at the launch.

A list of supporters and funding figures should be announced at a later date, according to organisers.

Meanwhile, at Tuesday’s launch, which was designed to encourage the private sector to foster their own communities at the grassroots level, students and teachers displayed photos and urged donors to support their cause.

Some students at the event told The Jordan Times their schools resembled prison facilities with metal mesh boards covering broken windows, concrete play areas with towering walls and locked science labs with no equipment.

Mohammad, a ninth grader from a school in Hay Nazal, said he loves chemistry and physics but does not expect to benefit much from his school days.

“We don’t even visit our lab because of broken equipment. How am I to absorb what I read in books if I can’t experiment?” he asked.

He described his computer class as a race for seats, with 5-6 boys jockeying for the use of one computer, knowing they may not get their turn before the bell rings.

Lama, a nine-year-old student attending a school in Qwaismeh, hopes next winter her school will have kerosene to power their new heaters that sat unused this year.

The national scheme will require the cooperation of the public and private sectors, civil society and academic sectors and already incorporates 12 main partners including the Ministry of Education, the Jordan River Foundation and the Greater Amman Municipality.

Organisations and individuals interested in building a better future for Jordan by enhancing children’s learning environments can join.

For more information on the initiative, visit: http://www.Madrasati.jo or call 0800 22 866.

World Car Free Day

World Car Free Day
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Every September 22, people from around the world get together in the streets, intersections, and neighbourhood blocks to remind the world that we don't have to accept our car-dominated society. Amman city suffers from Urban Sprawl and the domination of cars, our lifes became car dominated and we rarely enjoy nature and the environment. Shouldn't we become part of this global day?
"World Carfree Day is the perfect time to take the heat off the planet and putit on politicians and planners to give priority to cycling, walking and publictransport," says Randall Ghent, initiator of the first World Carfree Day in2000. The global day of action now takes place annually on September22.On September 22, 2007, World Carfree Network and its member organisationsaround the world call for permanent changes to make cities more environmentallyand socially sustainable 365 days a year. In more than 1,500 cities and 40countries, liked-minded active citizens around the world will call for measuresthat actively reduce car use, with carfree street festivals, bicycle parades,street closures and other special events.For individuals, the network and its supporters will distribute a condensed one-month version of its Autoholics Anonymous 12-step programme, to give people the support they need to kick the car habit.For municipalities, the network and its supporters will encourage implemention of the infrastructural and policy changes necessary to reduce our society’s car dependence and increase our quality of life. As a separate project related to World Carfree Day, the network has put out a call for submissions for its 2nd Annual Street Conversion Design Contest (www.worldcarfree.net/contest/), challenging people to come up with cutting-edge designs to transform existing areas to create lively people-oriented spaces free of traffic. They are encouraged to implement the designs on the ground on September 22."Related Posts:Amman City StreetsMechanisms to reduce traffic accidentsActivism .. Actions Not WordsAl-Weibdeh carnavalAmman City ParadeAmman City Street Block CelebrationType rest of the post here
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April 16, 2008

Queen launches initiative to renovate public schools

The ambitious ‘Madrasati’ (my school) initiative, spearheaded by Her Majesty Queen Rania, is designed to make education a social responsibility for the entire community (Petra photo)





AMMAN (JT)- Major corporations in the Kingdom have thrown their full weight behind a bold initiative launched yesterday to persuade the private sector to take ownership of their communities and foster the future workforce by upgrading ailing learning environments.

The ambitious “Madrasati” (my school) initiative is designed to make education a social responsibility by pairing corporations and NGOs with 500 schools in the Kingdom which are in desperate need of repair.

Over the next five years, around 165,000 students will benefit directly from this plan, according to organisers.


Her Majesty Queen Rania, who heads the initiative, launched the project yesterday at a gathering of supportive donors and representatives from 100 schools.

Madrasati is the latest in a series of projects led by the Queen for the advancement of the Kingdom’s educational institutions by restoring and equipping schools to create more inspiring learning environments.

“Today our schools have become a social responsibility. It is the responsibility of every active citizen and every organisation working to improve the standard of living in Jordan, and every company - private or public - that wants a hand shaping the future of our youth,” Queen Rania said in her address at the launch.

The national scheme requires cooperation between the public, private and civil society, and academic sectors and already incorporates 12 main partners including the Ministry of Education, the Jordan River Foundation and the Greater Amman Municipality.

At a recent event at the University of Jordan, Her Majesty expressed core reasons why Jordanians should be involved at the grassroots level to build a better future and hold each individual accountable in the process.

“Building our future is a social responsibility that excludes nobody. It is your responsibility and my responsibility. It is ‘and’ and not ‘or’. It is the responsibility of every Jordanian so that none of us finds himself in a path that has already been set for him. If you - the educated, the graduates, the politicians - do not participate in improving society, who will? If we do not move now, then when will we?” she said.

Madrasati targets any corporation or individual that can contribute to the effort through funding, in-kind donations, employee time or programmes to improve student learning.

With over 1.6 million schoolage children in Jordan, Madrasati also focuses on private schools that can be involved in “twinning” projects and offer resources, experience and time to public schools while teaching progressive values to their students.

Meanwhile, students from the almost 15 per cent of the Kingdom’s 3,257 public schools that are considered “badly inhabited”, headed booths armed with computer images of the dilapidated premises caused by years of neglect.

Shocking images of the ill-equipped schools included a library with two shoddy closets and no librarian, exposed electric wires, three students to a desk and “out of order” bathrooms.

One of the images depicted a school’s main doors, which are permanently locked because if opened, they would cause the surrounding concrete to collapse.

Corporate heavyweights already onboard, such as Zain and Aramex, were quick to show their support. As companies which already manage corporate responsibility programmes, they stressed that community involvement goes far beyond signing a cheque.

“It is not only a matter of funding; if we were to adopt 50 schools, each would have a designated employee to be directly involved in the long- term process,” Suzanne Afaneh, corporate communications director of Zain, told The Jordan Times.

Zain, which has already committed JD500,000 towards the initiative, considers this a “continuation of sustainable efforts and continual awareness for other corporations that there is always a way to make a difference”, according to Zain CEO Saad Nasir.

Founder and CEO of Aramex, Fadi Ghandour told The Jordan Times that public-private partnerships are at the core of his company’s philosophy, noting society must be influenced into seeing what these partnerships can accomplish.

Other main partners include the Jordan Education Initiative, the Royal Health Awareness Society, the Jordan Education Society, the Children’s Museum, the Queen Rania Award for Excellence in Education, UNICEF, INJAZ and Ruwwad.

Madrasati’s website was also officially launched Tuesday.

For more information on the initiative, visit: http://www.Madrasati.jo or call 0800 22 8 66.





Spring Festival


2nd Annual Spring Festival begins at Zara Centre

AMMAN (JT) –– The Second Annual Spring Festival starts today at the Zara Centre where over 150,000 flowers grown in the Jordan Valley from amaranths to zinnias will be on display. The event, which supports the Jordanian Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign, is organised by the Zara Centre in association the Jordanian Association for Cut and Ornamental Plants and runs until April 27.


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Specialised renovation school in ALSALT

SALT (Petra) - The Balqa branch of the Jordan Engineers Association is planning to establish a specialised school on renovating old buildings in the city of Salt. Khalid Khoshman yesterday said the idea corresponds with His Majesty King Abdulla’s concern over the development of downtown Salt which includes over 400 old houses and buildings, adding that the planned school will be located in one the city’s old structures.



Highlighting the importance of alternative energy

IRBID (Petra) - Dutch and Russian experts on Tuesday presented a conference on the principles of harnessing alternative and renewable energy. During the “Integration of Alternative Energy Sources” conference held yesterday in Irbid, experts discussed means to improve central heating and feasible ways to utilise solar energy. They agreed on the importance of alternative energy sources in reducing the negative impact of oil prices on the international economy in general.



Student library project

AMMAN (Petra) - Minister of Culture Nancy Bakir on Tuesday said the ministry, in cooperation with universities, plans to launch the student library project to provide books at discount prices. The project seeks to encourage students’ cultural and academic interests. Bakir made her remarks during the opening of the cultural season at the Amman Private University.

April 15, 2008

GAM devoting resources to road improvement

AMMAN (Petra) - The Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) carried out maintenance on roads across the capital at a cost of JD4.25 million during the first quarter of this year. It also opened three new road maintenance centres in areas which were annexed to it last year to improve road conditions. The municipality has allocated JD30 million of its 2008 budget for improving road, GAM Maintenance Director Ahmad Khreisat said. Last year, GAM maintained and provided paving services for old and new roads in Amman at a cost of JD25 million.

April 13, 2008

The Sunscreen Song

Summer is approaching and it reminds me of this Song: "Everybody's free" (To Wear Sunscreen" by Baz Luhrmann.



To know more about the song Check Wikipedia


The Lyrics:


Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of '97... wear sunscreen.
If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be IT.

The long term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience.

I will dispense this advice now.




Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they have faded. But trust me, in 20 years you'll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked.

You are NOT as fat as you imagine.

Don't worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing every day that scares you.


Sing.
Don't be reckless with other people's hearts, don't put up with people who are reckless with yours.


Floss.
Don't waste your time on jealousy; sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long, and in the end, it's only with yourself.

Remember compliments you receive, forget the insults; if you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters, throw away your old bank statements.


Stretch.
Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives, some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don't.

Get plenty of calcium.

Be kind to your knees, you'll miss them when they're gone.

Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't, maybe you'll have children, maybe you won't, maybe you'll divorce at 40, maybe you'll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself, either. Your choices are half chance, so are everybody else's. Enjoy your body, use it every way you can. Don't be afraid of it, or what other people think of it, it's the greatest instrument you'll ever own.

Dance. Even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own living room.

Read the directions, even if you don't follow them.

Do NOT read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents, you never know when they'll be gone for good.

Be nice to your siblings; they are your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go, but for the precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography in lifestyle because the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard; live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.


Travel.
Accept certain inalienable truths, prices will rise, politicians will philander, you too will get old, and when you do you'll fantasize that when you were young prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don't expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund, maybe you'll have a wealthy spouse; but you never know when either one might run out.

Don't mess too much with your hair, or by the time you're 40, it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but, be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen.


April 6, 2008

Supporting the local industries and protecting our products

The Government is expected to exempt renewable and energy conserving devices from custom taxes and waive the 16% sales tax. For the Solar water heaters, wind systems and other energy-saving the incentives where already been implemented, since the begining of this year.

I hope that the industrial leaders and citizens are aware of the importance of "energy savings, or environmental awarness," but, they are already suffering from the high cost of operations and production leaving "the environment care" behind their concerns.

In a small country with small consumption rates and purchasing power and few factories and manufacturing, caring about the environment and speaking about "energy savings", " renewable energy" becomes only sort of a " Trendy" movement toward some fake strategies, unless it's been implemented the right way and taking into considerations the economical challengies and production competitiveness that we suffer to even achive.

Shouldn't the industry leaders fight for exempting all imports for Manufacturing inputs from taxes and sales, and imposing tarrifs on imported products that compete with the locally produced products? Implementing a protection strategy for the locally manufactured products to become more competitive! Our competitive advantage is diminishing due to the progressive increase in the inflation rates, high increase in production cost, and transfer of talented minds to serve the economy of other countries.

In summary, the proposed strategy is to exempt the imported raw materials and all the manufacturing inputs from taxes while imposing more taxes on the imported final products that compete with the local manufactured products.

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Renewable energy devices to be tax deducted ... not enough

AMMAN (JT)- Instructions governing a March government decision to exempt renewable energy and energy-conserving devices from customs duties are expected to be published next week, an official said.
Meanwhile, the government is expected to cancel the 16 per cent sales tax, a move, industry leaders said, which would encourage consumers to adopt the new devices.



In order to address the Kingdom’s energy crunch and to assist the move to energy-saving practices and responding to calls from the industry, the government took the exemption decision and published it in the Official Gazzette last month.

The measure comes in line with the Kingdom's energy strategy which seeks to increase dependence on local energy sources from the current 4 per cent to 25 per cent by 2015, and up to 39 per cent by 2020.

But full implementation and exact measures are to be unveiled next week, according to National Energy Research Centre (NERC) President Malek Kabariti.

Solar water heaters, wind systems and other energy-saving devices have all been exempted from customs duties and will soon be free of sales tax, he added.

“It was not easy to pass, but we came to an agreement that will be beneficial to both the industry and the people,” Kabariti told The Jordan Times.

Although the measure has yet to be implemented in full, the effects can already be seen, according to Ayman Maaitah, solar energy specialist and CEO of Millennium Energy Industries.

“This difference is huge, we have already reduced prices by 20 per cent or more.”

“It was supposed to be exempted of all customs duties and taxes, but till now, we have to pay sales tax,” Maaitah lamented, adding that the sector has received verbal promises from the government that the sales tax will be exempted soon.

A wider use of solar energy and other energy-saving devices have the potential to save the Kingdom's energy consumption by 25-50 per cent, according to experts in the sector.

The technology had been subject to 16 per cent sales tax and 23 per cent customs, which passed along a 40 per cent price increase on to consumers.

With full exemptions, the price of a solar-generated water heater will be reduced from JD500 to JD350, while solar energy for home heating, which currently costs JD10-15 per square metre, will drop by 20 per cent.