Jordan’s royal couple are on a two day visit to the tiny Persian Gulf state of Qatar. The visit is meant to strength bilateral ties and “boosting brotherly ties.”
King Abdullah and Queen Rania were invited, and greeted by, Emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifah Al Thani and his wife Sheikha Mozha in the capital of Doha. They were then escorted to the Emir’s Wajba Palace for talks.
Meanwhile, back in Amman, Abdullah’s brother, Faisal, was sworn in as regent while the King is away.
Jordanian Prime Minister Nader Dahabi visited Qatar on November 8 during which he met with the Qatari emir, prime minister and foreign minister.
The prime minister stressed the government’s keenness to implement the King’s directives to advance Jordanian-Qatari ties and boost cooperation for the interest of both countries.
This was displayed when the King and the Emir signed protocol to the agreement of regulating recruitment of Jordanian manpower between Qatar and Jordan as well as a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on mutual recognition of certificates, in accordance with international conventions for the training and qualifications levels.
While all this was taking place, Queen Rania was given a tour of Doha’s recently opened Museum of Islamic Art. The museum was inaugurated this weekend by Sheikha Al-Masaya, and it is said to be the largest in the region.
The Queen of Jordan won YouTube’s Visionary Award, for her channel on the site. The Queen’s channel is aimed promoting communication between the East and the West, and breaking down stereotypes of Muslims and Arabs.
The Visionary Award celebrates active users of YouTube who aim to use the service as an open platform for constructive dialog to highlight social and cultural issues and work for positive change in their communities and around the world.
The award, which was presented by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom at YouTube Live, is the first such recognition given by the video sharing community, and was established to highlight those who use YouTube as a global platform for positive social change.
Queen Rania accepted her award via video, and by showing her sense of humor by spoofing late night host David Letterman’s Top Ten List.
Queen Rania was honored by YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley, in a 90 minute live broadcast on the website.
“Queen Rania sets the standard for breaking down stereotypes and her YouTube videos are nothing short of inspirational. It is both a pleasure and an honor to present her with this much-deserved tribute,” said Hurley.
As for Queen Rania, she had this to say:
“”YouTube encourages us to be active participants in a global conversation, making our voices heard, giving us the power to broadcast ourselves, increasing knowledge of each other, breaking down the barriers between us clip by clip.”
Denmark’s Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary are on a four day visit to Thailand. They arrived with 30 Danish business leaders, as part of celebrating 150 years of Danish-Thai economic relations.
Right after stepping off the plane in Bangkok, the royal duo went to the Danish embassy. Despite the long trip, both Frederik and Mary were in good spirits, and even joked with photographers.
“Are there any snakes in the grass?,” Crown Prince Frederik asked with a smile, when they walked out on the lawn.
For the two, it is very exciting to be in the capital of Thailand.
“We are looking forward to put focus on Danish business here in Thailand,” the Crown Prince said.
“So it is exciting,” Crown Princess Mary added.
The last time the couple were in Thailand was in 2004 for the victims of the tsunami.
In the evening the Royal Couple are going to Central World, where the Official Opening of the celebrations of 150 years of diplomatic relations takes place.
Afterwards there will be a formal dinner hosted by Danish Industries in Thailand. The dinner takes place at Lotus Garden at Centara Grand Hotel.
Later this week, it is expected that Frederik and Mary will meet with members of the Thai royal family, including King Bhumibol. But that has not been confirmed.
In the meantime, they will be at many business events, Thai and Danish cultural events, including a Lego exhibition.
Finland’s president, Tarja Halonen is on a three day visit of Luxembourg. She was invited by Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Theresa, and it was the Grand Ducal couple she first met upon arriving in the tiny Grand Duchy.
After the formal meeting, Halonen laid a wreath at the National Solidarity Monument, in the presence of Luxembourg’s Prime Minister, Jean-Claude Juncker, Luxembourg’s Minister for Defence, Jean-Louis Schiltz, and the Head of Staff of the Luxembourg Army, General Gaston Reinig.
In the afternoon, Halonen was welcomed by Luxembourg city mayor, Paul Helminger, and they visited the Finnish Christmas Market on Place Guillaume.
Later, the Finnish president returned to the Grand Ducal Palace where she met with the President of Luxembourg’s Chamber of Deputies, Lucien Weiler, as well as Prime Minister Juncker and Deputy Prime-Minister, Jean Asselborn.
The day ended with a gala dinner at the Palace in honor of the President of Finland.
A Catholic Bishop has criticized Swaziland’s King Mswati III, saying the King’s tactics is driving people to despair.
The Church is worried that the monarchy has increasingly marginalized the people, especially since 2005 when it adopted a constitution that ignored the wishes of “a significant portion of the Swazi people,” according to Bishop Louis Ncamiso Ndlovu.
“We believe that being marginalized is what led some people to adopt crude and violent methods so as to force change in the country. This is really a cry for attention and recognition,” the bishop said in a statement.
“The recent bombings are thus a manifestation of the failure by the ruling elite to engage in serious and honest dialogue with the citizenry.” But he was quick to add that the church condemned all forms of violence.
Bishop Ndlovu also criticized the enactment of an anti-terrorism law which is being used by the monarchy to crack down on opponents.
“In the prevailing political and social climate, the Roman Catholic Church invites all concerned, especially on the side of government and the ruling elite, to real and serious dialogue,” the bishop added.
The Kingdom of Swaziland, with over a million people. The previous sovereign, King Sobhuza II, who reigned for almost 61 years, scrapped the constitution in 1973 and banned political parties.
Mswati, one of the world’s last absolute monarchs, continued with the political crackdowns when he ascended to the throne in 1986. He banned opposition parties and trade unions have been vocal in their demands for greater democracy and limits on the king’s power.
Mswati, his thirteen wives and numerous children live a life of opulence while the majority of Swaziland live in poverty. HIV rates are among the world’s highest, and unemployment rates are in the double digits.
The tiny country of Qatar inaugurated its new Museum of Islamic Art, meant to showcase how Islam is a religion of tolerance and not of terrorism.
Sheikha Al-Mayassa, daughter of the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, was at the opening in Doha. She is the president of Qatar’s museum authority.
“We want to show that Islam is a peaceful civilization, which has always called for tolerance and coexistence amongst different peoples,” she told journalists.
The gas-rich Gulf state wants to “highlight the values of the Muslim civilization and the role of that civilization in bringing together cultures and human values,” the Sheikha added.
Built on an artificial island 60 yards from the Doha Corniche, the museum houses 800 artistic and historical treasures from three continents, illustrating Islamic culture from the seventh to the 19th centuries.
The five-storey building, designed by Chinese-American architect Ieoh Ming Pei, whose other projects have included the Pyramide du Louvre in Paris, also houses exhibition halls, a library and an education center, explained the Sheikha.
The museum is part of Qatar’s plans to make Doha a world cultural center.