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Galileo GDS in Yemen

Travelport GDS, one of the world's leading global distribution system (GDS) providers operating both the Galileo and Worldspan brands, announced that it has signed an agreement with Universal Travel, to distribute the Galileo GDS in Yemen from January, 2009. The partnership follows Travelport's recent announcement of a multi-million dollar (US) investment in the Middle East, to set up a new, highly efficient direct support network for travel agents in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt and redefine distributor relationship in selected countries, including Yemen.

Galileo has established itself as the leading GDS provider in Yemen over the past 17 years, with a market share of 54 per cent (MIDT data, July, 2008). The partnership with Universal Travel, part of the Universal Group, will begin when Galileo's contract with Yemen Airways, its current distributor in the country, expires at the end of 2008.

"The partnership forged today marks an important milestone for Travelport as we set up our new operations in the region," Rabih Saab, Travelport GDS' Vice President of the Middle East and Africa. "With a 25 year track record and unrivalled knowledge of the Yemeni travel market, Universal Travel is uniquely qualified to help us to serve our customers in this market more efficiently.

"Galileo is the leading GDS system in the market, and we are very much looking forward to partnering with Travelport to serve travel agents and suppliers who rely on the efficiency of Galileo," stated Omar Mohammed, Vice Chairman and Group Managing Director for Universal Travel. "We look forward to a long and successful partnership and to rolling out new and innovative products in the region."

Over the past year, Travelport GDS has increased its presence in the Middle East with the acquisition of Worldspan, which has a well-established and successful business in several key markets and a wholly-owned operation in Egypt. Travelport GDS has also opened a new, state-of-the-art office in Dubai and has made several key management appointments across the region.

"The Middle East is a dynamic region for travel and one which will continue to grow considerably over the coming years. We firmly believe that by enhancing our relationships with effective distributors in select markets such as Yemen coupled with building more substantial, wholly-owned operations across the region, we will be well positioned to augment our business in this important region," continued Saab.

21 December, 2008: Official launching ceremoney was conducted in the Movenpick Ball Room, in the presence of Jennifer D'souza, Travel Port Regional commercial Director, who summarized the introduction of Travel Port and new commercial strategies. Ending a clever speech, Hari Kumar, the Regional Product Manager, concluded the new services offered in the rennovated GDS systems provided for Travel Agencies in Yemen. Halim Amman, Universal Travel General Manager wrapped the presentation by a raffle draw, distributing valuable prizes among the invitees from major travel agencies, media and many delegates, then invited everyone to enjoy a lovely lunch and socialize.

Social Marketing Initiative in Yemen

Social Marketing Project for Reproductive Health Services is one of the Ministry of Public Health Projects funded by the German Development Bank (KfW) started in the last Saturday mobile cinema shows for youth in boys and girls secondary schools in the governorates of Lahj and Abyan. This activity is part of the family planning awareness campaign launched by the project in 2007 in 7 governorates and expanded to 14 governorates in 2008 based on the Knowledge, Attitude and Practice Study(KAP) undertaken in 2006 in Six Governorates. The aim of the behavior change campaign in family planning is to improve knowledge, attitude and practices of population regarding family planning issues. The Social marketing Project and in cooperation with many local partners and implementing agencies conducted this campaign through various types of activities like producing and broadcasting TV and Radio spots, distribution of IEC materials, theater shows, health education session for women and men in the rural areas, and mobile cinema shows. We have to notice her that the project will run another round of the KAP Study in the third quarter of 2009 to measure and asses the impact of the Behavior Change Campaign in Yemen.

Doha center launches pitition for Al-Zaidi

The Doha Centre for Media Freedom is launching a petition on behalf of Muntazer Al-Zaidi of Al-Baghdadiya. "The Iraqi courts have the duty to ensure that Al-Zaidi has a fair trial and that his physical safety is guaranteed: revenge has no part to play in his treatment. The shoe incident should be regarded as what it was: an insult without consequence", the Centre said.

A groundswell of support has emerged in Arab countries for Iraqi journalist Muntazer Al-Zaidi, who threw a pair of shoes at US President George W. Bush at a press conference in Baghdad on 14 December.

The reporter, who works for the television station Al-Baghdadiya, should be made a symbol of resistance against the occupation of Iraq, some commentators said.

Both official sources and the general public in the Arab world praised Al-Zaidi for his act. Hitting someone with a shoe is regarded as the ultimate humiliation in Iraq, and many sources felt that Bush deserved the insult because of the devastating impact of his policies since the invasion of the country by coalition forces in 2003.

More than 4,200 American soldiers and tens of thousands of Iraqis have died in the conflict. Iraq remains a country torn apart by deep divisions. It has been ruined despite its wealth and the massive spending devoted to the war effort by Washington. Relatively little has been spent on rebuilding the country.

The support for Al-Zaidi points to resentment which is obviously felt more keenly in the Middle East, but which is also recognised elsewhere. One striking example is that the American people have just elected a new president whose foreign policy is totally opposed to that of his predecessor. The comic aspect of the shoe incident has been eclipsed by the worldwide media coverage it received, which is on a par with the scale of that resentment.

Allegations of a security lapse cannot excuse the excessive physical violence inflicted on Al-Zaidi since his arrest, and they certainly do not justify the cursory justice still in force in Iraq, especially as regards public freedoms. The promises of Baghdad's new leaders to strengthen democracy have done little to improve matters.

Nevertheless, Al-Zaidi has contravened the profession's standards of conduct and his insulting gesture should not be taken as a model for protest by journalists as a whole. His behavior was reprehensible because it was offensive to the dignity of others, and it can in no way be regarded as a valid means to express an opinion.

Nor should the incident be allowed to obscure other cases that are much more damaging to justice and individual freedoms: torture at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, the Americans' Guantanamo detention camp, and the 222 journalists killed in Iraq since the war began. To ensure this does not happen, the Iraqi courts have the duty to ensure that Al-Zaidi has a fair trial and that his physical safety is guaranteed: revenge has no part to play in his treatment. The shoe incident should be regarded as what it was: an insult without consequence.

According to Brand Republic, Guardian News & Media will launch a news wire service for Arab speaking countries next year. The service will be provided through Saudi newspaper, Al Sharq, which is based in Qatar. The paper will translate up to 15 stories per day for media in the region.

According to Tim Brooks, managing director of Guardian News & Media, the launch of the new service is an effort to build upon the company's goal of becoming the "the world's leading liberal voice," building on the launch of the Guardian America website in October 2007.

Brooks also stated that the introduction of more services is scheduled for 2010 in order for Guardian N&M to expand into "Anglophone markets, growth markets and those with no strong tradition of free press."

Earlier this month, Guardian News & Media appointed Caroline Little as chief executive of its North America operations. The appointment followed a series of moves strengthening the GN&M brand in the US.

In July, GN&M acquired ContentNext, owner of digital media news site paidContent, for an estimated Au15m. And in October 2007, it launched Guardian America, a news website dedicated to its growing US audience.

Iraq shoe-thrower trial postponed

Iraq's Central Criminal Court decided on Tuesday to postpone the trial of an Iraqi journalist who won global fame for throwing his shoes at US President George W. Bush, a court spokesman said.

"The postponement came after Zaidi's lawyers presented an appeal to a higher court," Abdel Sattar Beyraqdar told AFP.

"The Supreme Criminal Court decided to postpone the trial of journalist Muntazer al-Zaidi until the higher court issues its decision," he said, adding that a new trial date would be set later.

The 29-year-old journalist for the Al-Baghdadia television channel had been due to appear in court this Wednesday on charges of "aggression against a foreign head of state during an official visit."

He faces up to 15 years in jail if convicted.

Zaidi's lawyer, Dhiya al-Saadi, told AFP that he had requested that the trial be cancelled because his client's actions fell within his constitutional rights to express himself freely.

"Our appeal is based on the fact that Zaidi simply expressed his rejection of the occupation and the policy of repression against Iraqis. Zaidi's action falls within the framework of freedom of expression," his lawyer told AFP earlier this week.

"If the court rejects our request for cancellation, the defence will appeal to a higher court," Saadi said.

Zaidi threw his shoes at Bush during the US president's farewell visit to Iraq on December 14, an action considered a grave insult in the Arab world.

He also insulted the American president, shouting: "It is the farewell kiss, you dog."

His action was hailed across the Arab world as an ideal parting gift to a president widely unpopular in the region.

Visiting scholar program to bring foreign journalists to Berkeley

Experienced journalists and editors around the world have the opportunity to apply for one-year of advanced professional training and academic study at the University of California - Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism. Deadline: March 1, 2009.

The university's International Visiting Scholars' Program is a non-degree program aimed at enhancing participants' reporting skills, expanding their intellectual horizons, and providing a break from the newsroom for in-depth research in their area of interest.

Although the program covers tuition fees, scholars must have at least US$16,000 for accomodation and personal expenses in order to obtain a J-1 visa.

Candidates must have a good command of English. Classes begin in mid-August and end in mid-May.

For more information or to apply, contact or visit

Grants to support investigative reporting projects

Reporters who work outside the protection of major news organizations are eligible to apply for the Fund for Investigative Journalism for grants to work on investigative journalism stories. Deadline: February 1, 2009.

Established by the late Philip M. Stern in 1969, the fund helps finance investigative pieces on corruption, malfeasance, incompetence, societal ills, and investigative media criticism. Grants range from US$500 to US$10,000.

Applicants must write a letter outlining the story idea, what he or she expects to prove, how this will be done, and sources to be used for the proof.

For application guidelines or more information, visit

Youth essay contest to award cash prizes, publication

Students and young professionals ages 18-30 are invited to enter a youth essay competition that encourages youth around the world to get involved in a global civic discussion on issues that concern them.

The contest, being sponsored by the U.S.-based Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), features three general topics: Citizenship in a Democratic Society, Educational Reform and Employment Opportunities, and Entrepreneurship & Leadership.

Essays should be 2,000-4,000 words in length and must be submitted by March 1, 2009. CIPE is offering a US$1,000 honorarium for the winners, and will publish the top three winning essays via its Economic Reform Feature Service, which is distributed to more than 3,000 subscribers.

Visit for more information. For questions, e-mail

Producers invited to create children's TV programs to strengthen cultural diversity

Children's TV progam producers from Asia, Africa and the Arab world are invited to take part in the second round of production of short program series for children that aim to strengthen cultural diversity and create a better understanding among children about various cultures and school of thoughts.

The first round of the program, which is called "I Am ... ," produced 14 short TV programs that show how children view topics such as religion, family, and pollution, according to the Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development (AIBD), one of the sponsors.

AIBD, along with the Southern African Broadcasting Association (SABU) and the Arab States Broadcasting Union (ASBU), recently announced the 2009 project.

It will begin in 2009 with workshops on children's TV program production; three workshops will be organized in parallel in Johannesburg, Tunis and Kuala Lumpur.

With the support of two senior Executive Producers, the 40 participating producers will each produce their own programs.

For more information and to apply, visit or contact Juliette Vivier at

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Publication:Yemen Times (Sana'a, Yemen)
Date:Jul 29, 2009
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