Investing in Afghanistan’s Future; U.S. Embassy Announces Open Application Season for Academic Exchange Programs

The Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy Kabul has announced the open application season for three U.S. government-sponsored academic exchange opportunities for qualified Afghans during the 2016-17 academic year.

Beginning April 1, 2015, applications will be accepted for the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program, the Foreign Language Teaching Assistant Program, and the Afghan Junior Faculty Development Program. These Fulbright-affiliated programs provide non-degree academic study and related professional experience in the United States.

Applications must be submitted no later than June 1, 2015. Program and application information can be found on the Embassy’s website: http://kabul.usembassy.gov/educational_exchange.html. Please note that application procedures have been updated since last year; please refer to the Embassy’s website for details.

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Vulnerable Afghans to receive Saudi Arabian dates for Ramadan

Thousands of Afghan students and their families will be receiving dates in the coming months from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia through the United Nations World Food Program (WFP).

The donation of 54 metric tons of dried dates was officially announced to WFP at a ceremony in Kabul. The dates are not only a healthy snack for school children and their families, but are also a gift to help poor households celebrate the holy month of Ramadan.

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Afghan Senate approves “Wedding Law”

The Afghan Senate has approved a law that regulates wedding prices in the country. The “Wedding Law” was passed by the House of Representatives last year when a number of Afghan youths had complained about the soaring wedding costs.

Millions of Afghans have remained single due to high wedding expenses. Traditionally, the groom’s family has to bear the burden of high cost of wedding. And, on top of that, the bride’s family asks for a large sum of money in what is known as “Walwar” or “Toyana”. The bride demands big wedding ceremonies in lavish wedding halls from the boys’ family, regardless of their financial status.

In 2012, Afghanistan’s Ministry of Justice began the process of drafting legislation to ban unnecessary wedding demands, such as engagement parties, birthdays, henna night, and restricts the number of invitees to 500. It will also ultimately ban the Walwar or Toyana.

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Computer lab established for Afghan girls High School in Khoshi District

Afghanistan’s leading private telecom company, Roshan, established a computer for the Khoshi District Girls High School.

Increasing computer literacy of girls was a priority identified by women leaders during larger district planning processes also supported by USAID and the SIKA-East program.

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Top 5 Bollywood films on Friendship

Most Bollywood films are ‘mushy romantic sagas’, based on tales of forgotten love, lost love and love in every other form. But every so often there have been a few striking films that dealt with the theme of friendship. 

Bollywood has from time to time broken away from the stereotypical love tales and made some beautiful films on friendship that have made us laugh and cry. 

Here are five of the best friendship films from Bollywood:

1) Sholay

2) Kuch Kuch Hota Hai

3) Dil Chahta Hai

4) Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara

5) Gunday

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Source: dnaindia

The role of the media in exposing and curbing corruption in Afghanistan

At today’s Media Meeting, Afghan-German Cooperation and Mediothek in Kabul brought together experts from government, civil society, the media and international bodies to discuss what the media has achieved so far in Afghanistan and the challenges the press face in reporting on corruption. In the last decade, Afghanistan has seen both a media revolution – with numerous new media outlets operating – and a sharp rise in corruption. Afghanistan is still one of the world’s most corrupt nations, and graft affects society on all levels. However, by taking government and the international community to task on the issue, the country’s new media outlets have paved a way for a more open dialogue on corruption.

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Turkmenistan to increase electricity supply to Afghanistan

Turkmenistan is poised to consider proposals to increase the supply of electricity to Afghanistan.

According to a statement from the Turkmen Ministry of Energy and Industry, the construction of appropriate infrastructure would enhance job opportunities in Afghan market and contribute to stabilization of the situation in Afghanistan.

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Standard Chartered to pay penalty for failing to improve money laundering controls

The British Bank Standard Chartered has to pay a fresh penalty of USD 300mn to New York’s banking regulator for failing to improve its money laundering controls.

The bank has also been banned from accepting new dollar clearing accounts without the state’s approval.

“If a bank fails to live up to its commitments, there should be consequences,” BBC News quotes the New York State Department’s Benjamin M Lawsky.

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Korean constructed model farm handed over to local authorities in Parwan

Constructed by the Korean Bagram Office and Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), a model farm was handed over to local authorities in Parwan on Thursday.

Addressing the submitting ceremony of the farm, KOICA representative Lee Kyung hoped the facility would help agricultural development in Parwan province by creating further income generating agricultural sources and solving food shortages.

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Afghan farmers report a higher wheat harvest

Farmers in Afghanistan have reported higher production of wheat than last year, with grain harvest being above-average for third consecutive year.

As considered likely following the pre-harvest assessment, Afghanistan will likely have an above average grain harvest for third year in row. In areas where grain has not been harvested yet, farmers and other observers report current crop conditions are mostly normal, and they tend to think that more production will come this year, in the absence of any new shocks. Households engaged in livestock keeping will also likely see higher prices over the coming months, both due to high demand for major holidays/festivals and due to the good body conditions of the livestock. (http://www.fews.net/central-asia/afganist%C3%A1n/food-security-outlook/tue-2014-07-01-wed-2014-12-31)

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Amazon’s Entry into the 3D Printing Market

Amazon announced on Monday the launch of its 3D Printing Store which allows shoppers to browse over 200 products. These products are made through the utilization of 3D printers which allow for customization by style, size, color, material, and image and text imprints. 

According to Amazon’s press release (Business Wire), Amazon’s new store provides customers with the ability to become product designers, and gives sellers and designers a place to offer their products.  

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