South Africa calls for independent inquiry into the deaths of Palestinians

South Africa calls for independent inquiry into the deaths of Palestinians

PRETORIA, South Africa, April 4, 2018/ — The South African government strongly condemns the latest act of violent aggression carried out by Israeli armed forces in Gaza, which has led to the deaths of about 17 Palestinian citizens, with scores of others reported injured.

South Africa reiterates its view that the Israeli Defence Force must withdraw from the Gaza Strip and bring to an end the violent and destructive incursions into Palestinian territories.

South Africa maintains further that the violence in the Gaza Strip will stand in the way of rebuilding Palestinian institutions and infrastructure.

Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said: “The actions of the Israeli armed forces present yet another obstacle to a permanent resolution to the conflict, which must come in the form of two states, Palestine and Israel, existing side-by-side and in peace.”

“South Africa aligns itself with those members of the United Nations calling for an independent inquiry into the killings, with a view to holding to account those who are responsible.”

Namibia, allegations by Rukoro on “secret agreement”

Namibia, allegations by Rukoro on “secret agreement”

Advocate Rukoro alleged “that the Government of Germany and the Government of Namibia have signed a secret agreement that Germany would rather provide generous development aid instead of paying reparations to the Ovaherero and Nama people”
WINDHOEK, Namibia, April 4, 2018/ — The Namibian dailies “SUN” and “Allgemeine Zeitung” reported in their editions of Tuesday, 3 April 2018, and Wednesday, 4 April 2018, respectively about remarks made by Advocate Vekuii Rukoro on the occasion of a so— called “Herero Reparations March” in Swakopmund.

According to those reports, Advocate Rukoro alleged “that the Government of Germany and the Government of Namibia have signed a secret agreement that Germany would rather provide generous development aid instead of paying reparations to the Ovaherero and Nama people.”

In light of this, the German Embassy Windhoek does state officially and informs the public as follows:

“Neither the current nor any previous German Government has ever signed such an alleged agreement. In fact, to this Embassy s knowledge, such an agreement does not exist.

The fact that this allegation is being repeated by Vekuii Rukoro and other members of the Herero community (like Esther Muinjangue in Berlin, end January 2018) does not turn a false into a true statement. It rather remains an allegation without any factual basis whatsoever.

This Embassy calls upon Advocate Rukoro to prove his allegations by presenting the alleged agreement to the public. As long as he remains unable to do so he and others should refrain from repeating this allegation.”

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Israel sign agreement to find solutions for Eritreans and Sudanese

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Israel sign agreement to find solutions for Eritreans and Sudanese

NIAMEY, Niger, April 3, 2018/ — UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and the State of Israel today (April 2, 2018) signed a Framework of Common Understanding to promote solutions for thousands of Eritreans and Sudanese living in Israel. A joint working group will be set up with a series of objectives and a timetable to implement solutions for some 39,000 people over five years. As a result of the Framework of Common Understanding signed today, the Government of Israel will not pursue its non-voluntary relocation policy.

“UNHCR appreciates the collaboration with the Government of Israel to find a way out for thousands of Eritreans and Sudanese. This agreement will ensure that protection is provided to those who need it,” said Volker Türk, UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, who signed the agreement on behalf of UNHCR. From the Israeli side, the agreement was signed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Mr. Arye Machluf Deri, Minister of Internal Affairs.

Under the agreement, UNHCR, with the support of receiving counties, will work to facilitate the departure to third countries to be determined of some 16,000 Eritreans and Sudanese under various programmes, including sponsorship, resettlement, family reunion and labour migration schemes, while others will be receiving a suitable legal status in Israel.

In addition, UNHCR and the State of Israel will design programmes to encourage Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers to move out of the neighbourhoods in South Tel Aviv where they have mostly congregated. Vocational training will also be provided to asylum-seekers for jobs in solar energy, agriculture and irrigation for employment abroad or in Israel.

UNHCR has been working closely with the State of Israel to identify and respond to the protection needs of asylum-seekers in the country. In the past, UNHCR raised concerns about Israel’s non-voluntary Relocation Policy as its monitoring indicated that those relocated have not found adequate safety or a durable solution to their plight in the destination African countries and, as a result, many have subsequently attempted dangerous onward journeys within Africa or to Europe.

According to the information provided by the Population, Immigration and Border Authority (PIBA), by the end of 2017 there were some 26,600 Eritreans and 7,600 Sudanese in Israel. From the start of the relocation programme in December 2013, some 4,500 Eritreans and Sudanese were relocated under the Government’s Policy.

Modern leaders, forward-thinking investors and bold new hoteliers take centre-stage at annual hotel investment event

Modern leaders, forward-thinking investors and bold new hoteliers take centre-stage at annual hotel investment event

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, April 3, 2018/ — Unmissable AHIC programme also features global hotel CEOs representing IHG, Louvre Hotels, 25Hours and Standard International, as well as regional leaders from Majid Al Futtaim, Al Habtoor Group, ORASCOM and Action Hotels.

The Arabian Hotel Investment Conference 2018 (AHIC) will provide unique insights into modern leadership, forward-thinking investment and new operating models via a stellar line-up of speakers confirmed for the annual gathering for the Middle East’s hospitality investment community.

Taking place from 17-19 April 2018 at the purpose-built AHIC Village in the grounds of the Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah, UAE, this 14 th edition of AHIC promises to address the critical issues of innovation, leadership, destination development and industry disruptors amid the macroeconomic outlook from the investors’ perspective.

The event will attract 700 hotel investors, major developers, leading financiers, and C-level hotel executives to attend three days of content, networking and events, including live-on-stage interviews with some of the world’s most respected businessmen and hotel leaders and the first AHIC Global Project Showcase, featuring hospitality investment opportunities from around the world.

Held in partnership with Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA), AHIC 2018 will be inaugurated by His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, UAE Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, who will give a keynote opening speech. His Highness will reveal further insights into the Strategy for Ras Al Khaimah, one of the world’s fastest growing tourism destinations, and share anecdotes that will inspire fellow leaders at AHIC.

Haitham Mattar, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority commented:

“We are looking forward to showcasing Al Marjan Island at AHIC 2018 and to taking part in the dynamic conference programme.

Tourism is one of Ras Al Khaimah’s most important economic sectors and is considered a key engine for continued GDP growth and job creation. Our decision to support AHIC 2018 comes at a pivotal time in our three-year Destination 2019 Tourism Strategy, which aims to attract one million visitors by the end of 2018.

To accommodate this growth in visitors, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority is providing potential investors with a range of innovative opportunities to develop stand-out properties across the emirate. We have considerable opportunities within several development projects, including Al Marjan Island, which has been earmarked for an additional 16 hotels by 2025.”

His Highness’ welcome will be followed by a keynote interview with one of the Middle East’s most respected businessmen, His Excellency Mohamed Alabbar, Founder & Chairman, Emaar Properties, who has not only played a critical role in establishing Dubai’s reputation as a tourism hotspot but is also renowned for his entrepreneurial outlook and passion for digital disruption.

His Excellency Mohamed Alabbar said: “With its natural setting, diverse attractions and a fast-evolving hospitality infrastructure, Ras Al Khaimah is setting new milestones in the industry, and evolving as one of the popular tourism hubs in the region. AHIC 2018 will put the spotlight on the emirate and drive inward investments, and underline the diversity of tourism offerings that our nation presents to the world. Through the Conference, which discusses future trends, we can collectively contribute to strengthening the prospects of the tourism and hospitality sectors, and unlock their true potential.”

Jonathan Worsley, Chairman of Bench Events and Co-Founder of AHIC, said: “We are delighted and proud to open AHIC 2018 with insights from two such respected business leaders. I’ve no doubt the contributions from His Highness Sheikh Saud and His Excellency Mohamed Alabbar will set the scene for highly relevant debate and discussion around the all-important topics of leadership and innovation as they impact the global hospitality investment industry.”

AHIC 2018 will also bring some of the world’s leading hotel CEOs to Dubai for a ‘Global CEO in the Hot Seat’ series; Keith Barr, Chief Executive Officer, IHG; and Pierre-Frédéric Roulot, CEO, Groupe du Louvre.

Ahead of his session at AHIC, Keith Barr said: “This will be my first time at AHIC and I’m delighted to have the opportunity to be on stage to talk about our industry and IHG’s role within it. I’m going to be talking about a range of things, but will be focusing on the way that digital and technological evolution has transformed the way in which we can deliver a truly personalized experience for our guests.

“The hospitality industry has experienced a great deal of change in recent years, not least in terms of the constantly evolving consumer environment and the rapidly changing digital and technological landscape. I don’t necessarily see any one element challenging the industry more than it has done in previous years, but it’s a case of the industry needing to continuously adapt, evolve and innovate during 2018. This isn’t an industry where you can sit still for one moment; it’s highly competitive and it’s vital that we are as nimble and agile as possible.”

Commenting on what he forecasts to be the biggest disruptor to the hospitality industry in 2018 , Federico J. González, President & CEO, Radisson Hotel Group, said: “There’s no single aspect or issue that I see as being unique. The trend of disruptions and other macro and micro economic challenges will continue. As a leading hotel company, we need to be ahead of the curve and focus on delivering memorable moments. We need to be able to respond faster and better to customer needs. At Radisson, we want all of us to be obsessed with customer. That’s the ultimate essence of hospitality and our business.

“We need to have relevant and meaningful innovation at all levels of business. We need to support and enhance a customer journey from A to Z, which makes sense to the customers directly. Brand, Product, Commercial & Marketing activities, Communication and Operations, all need to be aligned to serve one purpose – 100% Guest Satisfaction.”

The CEOs behind some of the industry’s hottest new brands will also take to the stage, including Christoph Hoffmann, Chief Executive Officer, 25hours Hotel Company, Amar Lalvani, CEO & Managing Partner, Standard International; and Michael Bisordi, Owner – Tungsten Partners and Partner – Ace Group International.

Christoph Hoffmann, who recently entered into a strategic partnership with global hotel giant Accor to further develop his brand, 25hours, said he forecast more mergers in the industry.

“In most markets, the number of hotel rooms is increasing and we still see mergers and new brands – especially in the lifestyle segment – arising. A CEO nowadays must be open for structural changes and not so much focus on the mere product to succeed,” said Hoffmann.

Commenting on the skills a hotel industry CEO needs to success in 2018, Amar Lalvani said: “Stop thinking like a hotel company CEO. It’s a very insular industry with insular thinking. Think more creatively and move more quickly. Watch other sectors. Alternative accommodations, shared office, ride sharing. Understand how the next generation lives, stays and plays in order not to become a dinosaur .”

Michael Bisordi, who launched the Ace Hotel chain in US, said that he believes investors should “focus inward” and look at an asset on a local level, rather than as a brand.

“Our intent primarily is to create within the four walls of the building an ‘instant classic’,” said Bisordi.

“In a way we feel this actually transcends the concept of a brand. We feel that the development of the property to be the draw, more so than any brand, is where the industry is going. Customisation is an increasing trend and is a reaction against the wave of expansion of relatively homogeneous hotels in the latter half of the 20th century,” added Bisordi.

Meanwhile, the investor’s perspective will be represented by the Middle East’s leading hotel owners including Alain Debare, Chief Executive Officer, Action Hotels; Samih Sawiris, Chairman, ORASCOM Development; Jalil Mekouar, Chief Executive Officer – Hotels, Majid Al Futtaim; Sanjeev Agarwala, Chief Operating Officer – Hospitality and Investment, Al Habtoor Group; and Dr Badr Al Badr, Chief Executive Officer, Dur Hospitality.

Commenting on how he sees the current operating environment, Alain Debare said: “Taking a wide lens, the hotel sector we have grown to know, is in a shift. A big shift. In recent months, we have witnessed a flurry of multi-billion dollar M&A activity. The reality is, this has taken Top Team attention away from core brand operations.”

His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, UAE Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, and His Excellency Mohamed Alabbar, Founder & Chairman, Emaar Properties, headline AHIC 2018

Source: APO Group on behalf of Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC).

Modern leaders, forward-thinking investors and bold new hoteliers take centre-stage at annual hotel investment event

Jonathan Worsley, Chairman of Bench Events and Co-Founder of AHIC. (Source: APO Group for Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC).

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, April 3, 2018/ -- Unmissable AHIC programme also features global hotel CEOs representing IHG, Louvre Hotels, 25Hours and Standard International, as well as regional leaders from Majid Al Futtaim, Al Habtoor Group, ORASCOM and Action Hotels.

His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah
(Source: Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC)

 

Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs, Giorgos Katrougalos, visits Ethiopia (26-27 March 2018)

Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs, Giorgos Katrougalos, visits Ethiopia (26-27 March 2018)

ATHENS, Greece, March 29, 2018/ — The expansion of cooperation and the deepening of economic relations between Greece and Ethiopia were the subject of the meetings Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs, Giorgos Katrougalos, had with representatives of the Ethiopian government, during his two-day visit to Addis Ababa. More specifically, Mr. Katrougalos met with the Deputy Foreign Minister, Dr. Aklilu Hailemichael, Culture Minister, Dr. Hirut Waldemariam, and the Minister to the Prime Minister, Dr. Fasil Nahum, who is competent for constitutional affairs. Mr. Katrougalos and Mr. Hailemichael signed an agreement on shipping, between Greece and Ethiopia.

The Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs also met with the African Union’s Commissioner for Economic Affairs, Prof. Victor Adrianaivo Harrison, and the Head of the European Investment Bank Representation Office to Ethiopia and the African Union, Christophe Litt.

Mr. Katrougalos and the entrepreneurs who, on the initiative of the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry, are participating in the mission met with Greek entrepreneurs active in Ethiopia and were briefed on the progress and prospects of the economy by Zekarias Assefa, Deputy Secretary General of the Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce, and Teka Gebreyssus, Deputy Commissioner of the Ethiopian Investment Commission.

Mr. Katrougalos also met with representatives of Greek community organizations and members of the Orthodox community of Ethiopia.