Hong Kong sees surge in visitors during three-day holiday


HONG KONG: Hong Kong’s efforts to host large-scale cultural and sports events helped attract more than 400,000 visitors from around the world to experience a blend of tradition and modernity during the Dragon Boat Festival holiday.

According to China Daily, during the recent three-day holiday starting on Saturday, the city welcomed more than 412,800 visitors, marking an increase of 11% compared to the corresponding period last year.

The number of tourists from mainland China exceeded 330,000, representing a nearly 10% year-on-year increase and almost 40% more than during the initial three days of the Easter holiday in March.

During the Dragon Boat Festival holiday, the city hosted a slew of mega events that embodied Hong Kong’s unique cultural flair, including the world’s biggest water music festival, dragon boat races across multiple districts and drone performances with a festival theme.

Source: Emirates News Agency

Statistics: A sharp decline in building permits

Ramallah – Ma’an – The Central Bureau of Statistics reported a decrease in the number of licenses issued in Palestine during the first quarter of 2024 by 20% compared to the fourth quarter of 2023.

The statistics stated in a statement issued today, Wednesday, that no building permits were issued in the Gaza Strip during the same period, while the West Bank witnessed a decline of 20%, and the number of permits issued in Palestine recorded a decrease of 36% compared to the corresponding quarter of the year. 2023, as the number of new building permits decreased by 20% compared to the fourth quarter of 2023, and decreased by 45% compared to the corresponding quarter of 2023.

He pointed out that the number of building permits issued for residential and non-residential buildings reached 1,624 permits during the first quarter of 2024, including 900 new building permits.

The “Statistics” indicated that the total area of ??buildings (residential and non-residential) amounted to 902 thousand square meters, of which
713 thousand square meters are the area of ??new buildings and 189 thousand square meters are the area of ??existing buildings.

The number of licensed residential units reached 3,556 residential units with an area of ??612 thousand square metres, including 2,719 new residential units with an area of ??473 thousand square metres, and 837 existing residential units with a total area of ??139 thousand square metres.

The number of new residential units recorded a decrease of 14% during the first quarter of 2024 compared to the fourth quarter of 2023, and by 29% compared to the corresponding quarter of 2023.

Source: Maan News Agency

European Stocks Close Higher


European stock indices closed higher on Wednesday, with a jump in shares of sectors sensitive to interest rates, such as real estate, and expectations of a decline in inflation in the United States.

The European Stoxx 600 index rose by 1.2 percent at the close, achieving the largest percentage jump in one day since last January, after it had continued to decline over the past three sessions.

The real estate sector led the gains of the main sectors on the index, with an increase of 2.7 percent, and shares of technology companies rose by 2.4 percent, while shares of European automakers fell by about one percent.

The French CAC 40 index rose by one percent, after recording sharp declines in the previous two sessions, after French President Emmanuel Macron called last Sunday for early legislative elections in his country.

Source: Qatar News Agency

China’s railway investment up 10.8 percent in January-May period


BEIJING: China has scaled up investment in railway construction since the beginning of the year, Xinhua reported, citing data from the country’s railway operator.

During the January-May period, fixed-asset investment in the country’s railway sector reached 228.47 billion yuan (about US$32.12 billion), marking a 10.8-percent increase from the same period last year, according to China State Railway Group.

The investment volume expanded from 184.9 billion yuan in the first four months of this year.

Source: Emirates News Agency

Iraq and Japan discuss projects to produce energy from waste and sustainable management in agriculture and water


The Minister of Environment, Nizar Amedi, discussed with the Japanese Ambassador to Iraq, Futoshi Matsumoto, and the technical delegation accompanying him, today, Wednesday, the benefit of modern Japanese techniques and technology in the projects that will be completed during the next stages.

The ministry stated in a statement, ‘The minister stressed, during his reception, today, the Japanese ambassador to Iraq and the Japanese technical team, the importance of introducing advanced Japanese technology in the field of energy production from waste and sustainable management in agriculture and water,’ noting that ‘the Iraqi government has pushed for various projects aiming to reconstruct infrastructure, which is one of the environmental management priorities of the current government.’

It added, “The Ministry seeks to benefit from modern Japanese techniques and technology in all the projects that will be completed during the coming stages, especially the projects to confront and adapt to climate change, which
the federal and local governments are pursuing in order to mitigate the effects of climate change.”

For his part, the Japanese ambassador confirmed that the Japanese government is serious in supporting the Iraqi government, and has implemented a group of projects in many areas in Iraq, including projects in Muthanna Governorate, some cities in the south, and cities in the Kurdistan region.

Source: National Iraqi News Agency