2 January 2020 - 5 Tevet 5780 - ה' טבת ה' אלפים תש"פ

Improvement works to enhance the international airport in Qatar ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup have generated a media storm, bringing to light suspicions that renowned Israeli/Canadian architect Moshe Safdie and Singapore Changi Airport itself have stolen designs for Project Jewel, the bio dome at the airport.

Upcoming work at the Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar, closely resembles existing structures seen at Singapore’s recently opened airport shopping complex.
At a recent press briefing, Akbar Al Baker, the head of Qatar Airways, alleged that “somebody” had copied Qatar’s scheme for enhancements at the Hamad International Airport (DOH) located south of Doha.

He didn’t name Singapore or Safdie in his announcement, but the criticism was clear.

Work done ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup will include the build-out of a large waterfall and an interior gardennot unlike those found at the popular new shopping palace in Changi Airport.

Completed earlier this year, the 1.25 billion SGD entertainment and retail complex boasts the world’s tallest indoor waterfall, spanning seven stories across the 1.4-million-squarefeet structure.

The 131-foot-tall Rain Vortex is the Changi Jewel’s most prominent feature and immediately presents itself to visitors Singapore’s English-language daily newspaper, The Straits Times, reported that Safdie’s concept was initially created exclusively for Changi Airport Group (the airport’s operator and manager) in 2013, and therefore couldn’t be a copy of the 2019 Doha project.

Safdie issued the following statement to the paper:

“We have been pursuing the concept of gardens as a focal point for the public realm for many decades. We have also explored the concept of harvesting the rain into internal rainfalls at Ben Gurion Airport (Israel) and Marina Bay Sands. The success of these explorations have further inspired and led us to create a new icon in the Jewel that we see today—a new kind of urban place that celebrates the elements of nature and urban life. We are delighted that Jewel’s uniqueness and originality has been well-recognised by the international community and resulted in many wanting to emulate it.”

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Thai band member pays respects at Auschwitz E-mail

Last month, a member of Thailand’s most popular allgirl band, BNK48, posted photos of her visit to Auschwitz extermination camp in Polandwhere at least 1.1 million Jews were murdered.

The social media post by BNK48 member Jennis Oprasert earned praise from key members of Israel’s diplomatic mission to Thailand, who offered thanks to her “admirable” actions, months after the same band drew worldwide ridicule and criticism for allowing one of its members to wear a Nazi Swastika shirt onstage.

Fellow bandmember Pichayapa “Namsai” Natha wore a shirt portraying Nazi Germany’s state flag, their take of the Swastika emblazoned across her body during a televised rehearsal on 27 January.

The deputy chief of mission of the Israeli Embassy in Bangkok took to Twitter to express “shock and dismay” at the outfit. The 19-year-old singer later apologised onstage during a concert. She later claimed full responsibility for her ignorance in an apology posted on her official Facebook page.

Of her trip, Jennis wrote: “I went to Auschwitz concentration camp. It was very sad. There’s a lot of historical information inside, but I couldn’t read it all in just one day.” She also published photos of her visit at Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum and said she would write more about the place.

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Hitler’s birth house to become police station in Austria E-mail

After years of debate, the building where Nazi leader Adolf Hitler was born in Austria will be turned into a police station, officials have announced.

Interior Minister Wolfgang Peschorn said it would be an “unmistakable signal” that the property did not commemorate Nazism and prevent it from becoming a pligrimage site for neo-Nazis and sympathisers.

It was once a daycare centre for disabled people, but this ended when owner Gerlinde Pommer objected to plans to make it more wheelchairfriendly and then refused all government offers to buy it or carry out renovations. A plan to turn it into a centre for refugees in 2014 also came to nothing. The government took possession of the house in 2016 under a compulsory purchase order, for a price of 810,000 euros (US$897,000).

There has been widespread debate and disagreement in Austria over the fate of the building. Some have called for it to be torn down, while others argued it should be used for charity work or as a house of reconciliation. In his statement on 19 November, Peschorn said the house’s “future use by the police should send an unmistakable signal that this building will never again evoke the memory of National Socialism”.

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Bakery breaks world record for longest challah Print E-mail

A kosher bakery in Sydney, Australia, has broken the Guinness World Record for the longest challah bread.

Grandma Moses Bakery, in partnership with the Jewish National Fund chapter in New South Wales, broke the record on 14 November, according to a Facebook post from the group. The record-setting challah clocked in at more than 32 feet long, and required over 150 pounds of dough and ten hours to bake. The event was organised by the international Shabbat Project, which organises programmes including challah bakes in more than 1,600 cities and 105 countries worldwide.

The previous record, set in Brooklyn in 2015, was a 20foot challah.

(Issue Dec 2019/ Jan 2020)


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