Al-Awwad: Culture authority will brook no interference in its jurisdiction

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Dr. Awwad Bin Saleh Al-Awwad

RIYADH – The Minister of Culture and Information and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the General Authority for Culture Dr. Awwad Bin Saleh Al-Awwad told Saudi Press Agency (SPA) that no other authority has the right to speak on matters that’s under the jurisdiction of the General Authority for Culture.
What was circulated on Thursday (Feb. 22, 2018) on the opera house, its building and the permits related to it, is interference in the work of the General Authority for Culture by the chairman of the General Entertainment Authority (GEA) issuing a statement in this regard.
In this case, it is the General Authority for Culture that has the right to speak on this matter.
The minister appealed to all mass media to necessarily take news from the officially approved sources and only according to the regulations and directives. – SPA
Source :  Saudi Gazette

Qimam fellowship for high-potential leaders launched

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RIYADH — The Qimam Fellowship Program has been launched in Saudi Arabia. Qimam aims to identify, develop, and empower the most promising and distinguished university students in Saudi Arabia to achieve their full potential. The program, which aims to attract top talent from the Kingdom, has been created based on the belief that Saudi Arabia is rich with extraordinary talent, and that developing such talent is one of the best investments for a brighter future.

The program will provide its fellows with one-on-one mentorship from senior public and private sector leaders, leadership training by professionals from renowned companies, visits to the Saudi Arabian offices of leading national and international companies, membership in the Qimam Alumni Network, an award for their distinctiveness upon completion of the program during a high-profile ceremony, and will share profiles of fellows with leading HR leaders in the Kingdom to facilitate their career opportunities.

The Qimam Fellowship Program would not have been possible without the generous contributions of its partner companies, Al-Khaleejiah Advertising & Public Relations Company, Al-Tayyar Travel Group Holding, Careem, Cisco, Community Jameel, General Electric, Saudi Arabian Mining Company “Ma’aden”, McKinsey & Company, Oqal, Pearson, Saudi Telecom Company (STC), Rocket Internet, Aberkyn, and SMAAT, as well as a large number of executives from the public and private sectors.

Dr. Annas Abedin, founding CEO of Qimam, stated, “Thanks to the contributions of our partners, we will be able to offer high-potential university students in and from Saudi Arabia a unique development experience that will hopefully help them get closer towards achieving their professional dreams and aspirations.”

The program targets Bachelor’s and Master’s students of all nationalities at any Saudi university, as well as Saudi nationals studying for a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree at universities abroad.

Fellows will be selected into the program based on their academic achievements, their level of initiative-taking beyond the academic realm, and their exhibited degree of social responsibility and service to the community.

The fellowship applications will remain open until March 24. The application form and more details about the Qimam Fellowship can be found on http://www.qimam.com. — SG

 Source  :  Saudi Gazette

Japan wins WTO dispute against S Korea’s import ban on Fukushima-related food

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By Yuka Obayashi and Jane Chung

The World Trade Organization largely upheld a Japanese complaint against South Korean import bans and additional testing requirements imposed on Japanese seafood because of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

A WTO dispute panel said that South Korea’s measures were initially justified, but that keeping them in place violated the WTO’s sanitary and phyto-sanitary (SPS) agreement.

“Japan welcomes the panel’s decision and hopes that South Korea will sincerely and swiftly take corrective action,” Japan’s Fisheries Agency and Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

South Korea’s government said on Friday said it will appeal the ruling and will keep the ban in place.

Japan, which has been in talks with other countries such as China and Taiwan that also have trade restrictions in place, plans to step up talks with them in light of the WTO ruling, a government official said.

Many countries have removed or relaxed restrictions on produce from Japan in the wake of the Fukushima disaster, which led to meltdowns at a nuclear plant and forced Japan to suspend some agricultural and fisheries exports.

Some countries have maintained bans on imports, but South Korea is the only one that Japan has taken to the WTO.

South Korea widened its initial ban on Japanese fishery imports in 2013 to cover all seafood from eight Japanese prefectures including Fukushima.

Japan launched its trade complaint at the WTO in 2015, arguing that radioactive levels were safe and that a number of other nations, including the United States and Australia, had lifted or eased Fukushima-related restrictions.

South Korea imported 10.9 billion yen ($102 million) worth of Japanese seafood in the year to August 2013 before it broadened its restrictions. Those imports then fell to 8.4 billion yen the following year, according to the Japanese government.

Relations between Japan and South Korea, often testy, have soured in recent years.

© Thomson Reuters 2018.

Source  :  Japan Today

LDP approves antismoking plan with many loopholes

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Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party on Thursday approved in principle the government’s antismoking plan after the health ministry expanded the scope of exceptions from its initial plan to basically allow continued smoking at eateries.

While the ministry had sought to introduce a total indoor smoking ban in the run-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, it gave up after staunch opposition from the LDP, whose members have strong ties with tobacco and restaurant industries.

A draft bill compiled by the ministry stipulates smoking will be completely banned within the premises of hospitals, schools and government offices to prevent passive smoking.

However, smoking will be permitted in restaurants and bars if they set up special rooms for exclusive use by smokers where no food or drink will be served. The government will present the bill to the Diet possibly next month.

Facilities with customer seating areas of up to 100 square meters and capital of up to 50 million yen ($465,800) will be exempted from the requirement to establish separate smoking areas, if they display a sign indicating it is a “smoking space.” The ministry had originally planned to exempt eateries with a floor space of up to 30 sq meters.

As a result of the backpedaling, the ministry estimates that customers at some 55 percent of all restaurants and bars can carry on lighting up without going to a separate smoking room, raising questions about the smoking ban’s effectiveness.

People who smoke in violation of the rule will be fined up to 300,000 yen and facility managers who fail to take proper measures including removing ashtrays can face a penalty of up to 500,000 yen.

The draft bill also calls for restricting the use of heat-not-burn tobacco products by requiring eateries to set up special smoking rooms if they want to allow their customers to smoke while they dine.

Last year, the government failed to submit to the Diet a bill to revise the Health Promotion Law to beef up measures against secondhand smoking due to resistance from the LDP.

Based on the World Health Organization standard, Japan is among the lowest-ranked counties in terms of tobacco control, with no smoke-free law covering all indoor public places.

About 15,000 people are estimated to die in the country every year from passive smoking, and a government survey in 2016 showed some 40 percent of nonsmokers said they have inhaled smoke from others at eateries.

© KYODO

Source :  Japan Today

669 cryptocurrency money-laundering cases suspected in April-Dec

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Japanese police said Thursday they received reports on 669 cases of suspected money laundering linked to cryptocurrencies from virtual currency exchange operators between April and December.

The data came after cryptocurrency bourse operators were obliged to report transactions suspected of involving money laundering following a revision last April of a law to prevent the transfer of criminal proceeds.

Although the National Police Agency has not disclosed what prompted exchange operators to report the cases, questionable transactions repeated frequently in a short span of time are believed to be among the reasons.

Cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, ethereum and ripple allow quick and easy transactions while keeping users anonymous. But they have been used in illegal drug transactions and in payments for downloading child pornography.

In Japan, 16 cryptocurrency exchange operators are currently registered based on the revised law on payment services.

Ensuring security measures has been a challenge in the industry as Coincheck Inc, which has yet to have its application for government registration approved, failed to safeguard against the theft of around 58 billion yen ($540 million) worth of NEM currency in January.

Meanwhile, the overall number of suspected money-laundering cases, including those reported by financial institutions, stood at 400,043 cases in 2017, down 1,048 cases from a year earlier, the police said.

The most reports came from banks and other financial institutions, totaling 346,595 cases, followed by credit card companies at 15,448 cases and credit unions at 13,259 cases.

© KYODO

Tokyo Game Show to be held Sept 20-23, with eSports in spotlight

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The Tokyo Game Show 2018, one of the world’s largest gaming industry events, will be held from Sept 20 to 23 at the Makuhari Messe convention center in Chiba Prefecture with competitive video gaming known as eSports in the spotlight.

Professional eSports players from around the world will be invited to compete in events at the annual show, the organizer and co-sponsor the Computer Entertainment Supplier’s Association said.

eSports is popular in South Korea, the United States and Europe, but its recognition has been slow in Japan despite the country’s large video game market due to laws prohibiting gambling including paid gaming competitions.

Earlier in the month, the Japan eSports Union grouping three domestic eSports bodies was launched to issue professional licenses that allow players to compete in video game competitions for money.

The International Olympic Committee has acknowledged the popularity of eSports and sees it as having the potential to become a competitive sporting activity.

The first two days of the event will only be open to the media and people in the video gaming industry.

The event is expected to draw around 250,000 visitors, the association said.

© KYODO

Source :  Japan Today

Mitsuoka unveils fully restyled Himiko convertible

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Mitsuoka Motor Co, a manufacturer of retro-styled automobiles, has fully restyled its two-seated Himiko convertible, targeted at classic car lovers with an eye for the eccentric.

Known overseas as the Mitsuoka Roadster, the new version is based as usual on the Mazda MX-5 but is longer and heavier than before, combining exaggerated two-tone fenders with classic headlights.

The new Himiko, equipped with a 1,500 cc engine, will be sold for around 5 million yen ($46,500).

The Himiko convertible was first launched in 2008 and the first version sold 271 units, approximately 40 percent of which were exported.

Mitsuoka currently exports its products to Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Britain. The company is looking to expand outside Japan, particularly in countries with large classic car markets.

“While attention is increasingly going to eco-friendly cars, my company will live or die by good looks,” said Mitsuoka president Akio Mitsuoka, who remains dedicated to producing unique, old-school cars whatever the current trends.

Founded in 1968, Mitsuoka makes all of its cars by hand in the central Japan city of Toyama.

© KYODO

Source :  Japan Today
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