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.

Related Posts:
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.

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

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.

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.

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.

Related Posts:
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.

April 3, 2008

Casino Jordan in the Dead Sea

I've seen several casinos in the world and I observed the status of the communities in these countries. Whenever you see a casino you will see a depression in the city.

Even in the most liberal cities in the world like the US they don't issue licenses to open casinos in many of their states. You see people from all races and religions standing against opening casinos in their neighbourhoods because of what it brings to their communities of bad group of unwanted people, and behaviors.

Old people standing behind slot machines will not bring more tourists and will not solve our economical problems. When you see a Casino you will notice an expression of depression in an isolated trashy communities with no morals.

Will Jordan become one?

But in a religious conuntry like Jordan why we don't see people's voice standing against not only proposing one but even thinking about it?

AMMAN (JT) - MP Khalil Atiyyeh has asked the Lower House to investigate reports
of a former minister’s alleged involvement in a dubious deal to license a casino
on the shores of the Dead Sea.
Atiyyeh, who heads the House Financial
Committee, said the concerned official must be held accountable for his actions,
which could have cost the government a staggering $1 billion.
reports surfaced in the print and electronic media this week about a decision by
Prime Minister Nader Dahabi’s government to annul an agreement with an Iraqi
investor to build a casino in the Dead Sea area. The government is yet to
publicly react to the reports.
Officials had to resort to local and foreign
experts to find loopholes in the agreement in order to terminate it without
having to pay the investor a fine worth more than $1 billion.
The envisaged
casino was supposed to be built as part of a tourism megaproject that included
the establishment of a five-star hotel in the area. A former tourism
minister had reportedly obtained approval from the Cabinet to issue the licence,
without going through the required legal procedures. With the Parliament in
recess, the Lower House will not be able to look into Atiyyeh’s request until
the next ordinary session, scheduled for either November or December.

April 1, 2008

Public Event : Urban Art and The Dream of Cities

What: Urban Art and The Dream of Cities
Who: Architect, Painter, Sculptor and Urban Artists: Nadim Karam
Where: National Gallery, Jabal al-Weibdeh. Amman - Jordan
When: Wednesday April 2nd, 2008 at 7:00Pm