July 30, 2014 -- Updated 4:10 pm GMT

Queen Rania Tweets Love for Italy

Posted in: Jordan

Queen Rania Al Abdullah 259x300 Queen Rania Tweets Love for Italy

AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito

While her husband King Abdullah II met with Italian leaders, Queen Rania was enjoying the sights of Italy, and happily shared her thoughts about the country with her nearly one million followers on Twitter.

“Abt 2 embark on exciting adventure- state visit 2 Italy -one of my favourite countries.Full of anticipation.Will keep U posted.” The Queen said on Monday, the day before she left for the state visit.

And she certainly did keep everyone posted. Rania tweeted about the art and architecture of Rome (“if your aesthetic needs are not totally satiated by Rome, then u need to check if u have a pulse.”), Italian cuisine, and even shared a photo of the state welcoming, saying, “the Italians do it so well.

Since the Queen and her husband will be staying in Italy until Friday, you can expect more tweets from Queen Rania as she continues to marvel the country.

Click here for Queen Rania’s Twitter page


King Abdullah II Expresses Concern Over Mideast Peace Process

Posted in: Jordan

Tuesday began King Abdullah II’s state visit to Italy, at the invitation of President Giorgio Napolitano. His visit will last until Friday, and discussions between the two countries would range from boosting economic and bilateral ties.

Jordan Italy 200x300 King Abdullah II Expresses Concern Over Mideast Peace Process

REUTERS/Paolo Giandotti/Italian Presidency Press Office/Handout

Also on the agenda will be the Mideast peace talks, which King Abdullah is trying desperately to start again. He has voiced concern over the slowing down of the talks, and disappointment over the United States showing more interest in Iran than in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“If by 2010 Israel doesn’t believe in two states, the possibility of a Palestinian state will vanish,” Abdullah told the Italian newspaper la Reppublica before his visit to Italy. “The most often-repeated question in the Arab world today is, does Israel really want peace?”

President Napolitano called Jordan “a pillar of stability for the entire region.” He also praised King Abdullah’s “enlightened work, in times of great tension, to promote dialogue and understanding between the religions.”


Empress Michiko’s Birthday Wish: Ban Nuclear Weapons

Posted in: Japan

As Japan’s Empress Michiko celebrates her 75th birthday, she has one wish: that the world would have no more nuclear weapons.

Empress Michiko 300x215 Empress Michikos Birthday Wish: Ban Nuclear Weapons

AP Photo/Imperial Household Agency of Japan

“I think Japan, the country that has been hit by atomic bombs, needs to seek broader and deeper understanding of this in the international community,” she said.

“The horrors of nuclear weapons are not only the magnitude of their destruction but also the serious and tragic effects of radiation that leaves victims suffering long” after their exposure, she said in written remarks issued on her birthday.

Empress Michiko praised U.S. President Barack Obama for his efforts to ban nukes, and believes that is what earned him the Nobel Peace Prize.

Also on the Empress’ mind is the Japanese economy, which has been struggling in ways not seen since World War II.

“Many people lost their jobs and homes, had to give up on higher education or had hiring promises canceled. This was the most serious concern in this past year.”

Michiko married the then Crown Prince in 1959, with this year marking their 50th wedding anniversary. 2009 is also the 20th year for Emperor Akihito’s ascension to the Chrysanthemum Throne. The Empress wishes him “good health and various events associated with the commemoration of his enthronement this fall will be carried out without any incident.”


Rwenzururu at Lasts Crowns its King

The people of the Rwenzururu Kingdom of Uganda have fianlly crowned their King, weeks after it was recognized by the government.

Ugandan Coronation 2 300x200 Rwenzururu at Lasts Crowns its King

AP Photo/Karel Prinsloo

On Monday, Charles Wesley Mumbere, age 56, was coronated as the Omusinga of the Rwenzururu, located in western Uganda. The ceremony was attended by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, as well as thousands of people, who were beating drums and wearing their King’s image on their clothes.

“It is a great moment to know that finally the central government has understood the demands of the Bakonzo people who have been seeking very hard for recognition of their identity,” Mumbere told The Associated Press.

The crowning of Mumbere has attracted worldwide attention, as it was recently revealed that he worked as a nurse’s aide in the United States for nearly 25 years. He mentioned that during an interview with The Patriot-News of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, upon his July return to his homeland.

Mumbere’s father, Isaya Mukirania Kibanzanga, fought in a secessionist group that was fighting another ethnic group which dominated the Bakongo people, the ones who live in Rwenzururu. Mumbere was taught to be a fighter at age nine, and grew up in the bush, which he described to the AP as “very difficult.”

Uganda King 300x203 Rwenzururu at Lasts Crowns its King

AP Photo/Karel Prinsloo

When his father died, Mumbere led his people to hand in their weapons. In 1984, he went to business school in the United States on an Ugandan government scholarship. But when that scholarship was dropped after Uganda’s government changed, Mumbere got political asylum and became a nurse’s aide. He said he went into that field because it “was more reliable. Other jobs you can be laid off easily.”

All that changed when Uganda started to restore its traditional kingdoms in the 1980s. Mumbere then lobbied to the King of Rwenzururu, and now he is has been crowned.

But not everyone is pleased. Mumbere was not the only one claiming to the rightful King, even though he said he inherited the Kingdom from his father when Mumbere was 13.

“It is injustice,” one of the men, Swaleh Tibamwenda, said yesterday. “It [the ceremony] is a government project, not a cultural one. The government can’t take over the culture of the people.”

“There is not much I can do,” he said. “You cannot fight it, and I don’t know what really is going on.”

Ugandan Coronation 300x200 Rwenzururu at Lasts Crowns its King

AP Photo/Karel Prinsloo

Some Ugandans have wondered if President Museveni’s move to recognize the Rwenzururu Kingdom was a political one to help him win reelection. His rival, Kizza Besigye, surprised everyone when he unexpectedly showed up at the coronation.

He did not speak during the ceremony, but the President did, giving the Osuminga a warning.

“Don’t mix culture and politics; that will be the end of your kingdom [if you do so],” Museveni said to Mumbere.