April 18, 2015 -- Updated 4:10 pm GMT

Vietnamese President on State Visit to Spain

Posted in: Spain

Vietnam’s President and First Lady are on a three day state visit to Spain this week. Nguyen Minh Triet and his wife arrived in Madrid Sunday, but officially began their stay on Monday.

Spain Vietnam 300x220 Vietnamese President on State Visit to Spain

Noticias Terra

Ceremonies marking the visit started in the morning with a welcome at El Parado Palace. King Juan Carlos and Nguyen inspected the honor guard before having lunch at the palace. The President is returning the tour the King and Queen Sofia made back in February 2006.

Later in the evening, there was a state dinner at the royal palace in honor of the Vietnamese couple.

During this week, Nguyen and his wife would give a gala dinner to thank the King and Queen for being their host. The First Lady will also go on a tour of Prado National Museum with Queen Sofia.

Since establishing ties in 1977, Spain and Vietnam have been strengthening their relationship. Spain is also a big aid donor to the southeast Asian country.

Abu Dhabi Sheikh Pleads Not Guilty in Torture Case

Sheikh Issa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan took the stand at an Al-Ain court Monday, and pleaded not guilty to torturing an Afghan grain merchant.

Abu Dhabi Sheikh 300x207 Abu Dhabi Sheikh Pleads Not Guilty in Torture Case


The first member of the Abu Dhabi sheikhdom’s ruling family to be trialed, Issa was smiling during the two hour appearance. The man he is accused of torturing, Mohammed Shahpoor, sat in the same courtroom, saying nothing.

This trial has been going on for about two months and only now are reports emerging. The case likely would never have happened, if the U.S. station, ABC, did not air a videotape allegedly showing the Sheikh assaulting Shahpoor. On the video, Shahpoor has sand poured down his mouth, is run over by an SUV, beaten with whips and a wooden board with a nail on it, plus has his genitals lit on fire.

ABC News claims Shahpoor was in a financial dispute with Sheikh Issa.

The Sheikh’s lawyer, Habib al-Mulla, told Reuters that Shahpoor had dropped the charges back in 2004.

“A settlement was made with the victim in 2004. He was compensated and dropped charges against Sheikh Issa. The only reason we are here today is because of the tape,” al-Mulla said.

Six others are accused of torturing Shahpoor, but only two arrived in court today. They also pleaded not guilty.

As of Monday, the court was hearing closing arguments, but it adjourned to allow a forensic expert’s testimony.

Queen Noor Discusses How Film Can Bridge Cultures

Posted in: Jordan

Queen Noor 210x300 Queen Noor Discusses How Film Can Bridge Cultures

Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for DIFF

This past weekend saw the 6th annual Dubai International Film Festival open. Royals and celebrities from all over the Middle East have been taking part in the event, and among them is Jordan’s Queen Noor. She spoke at Sunday’s annual Culture Bridge panel as a guest of honor.

In her speech, the Queen said media platforms like this Film Festival (DIFF) can bring exposure on a  global scale about the perspectives and narratives of one another’s culture. For example, movies like Burdus, which was shown at the panel, have the power to open communication and display how media can influence people.

Queen Noor cited personal examples and insights when she explained that media has the power to shift behavior and thinking, and can cut through differences and promote peace and prosperity.

Click here to see an interview with the Queen about how movies can help solve certain situations, such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.