(December 2011) Strong upward trend in Italian exports to countries of the Near East: the period ranging from January to July 2011 saw an increase of over 10% (from 89,3 to 99,9 million €). Qatar tripled its imports from Italy to 23 million €), Saudi Arabia showed a plus of 2020,5% (to 36 million €), Kuwait +9,8% (to 11,6 million €) according to Apuo Versilia Produce quoting from press releases at the Verona trade fair and the trade organization Confidustria Mamomacchine (Italian).

Latest news: The end of the world at December 21st or 23rd, 2012 which some people are reading in Maya Hieroglyphs inscribed in stone and brick findings, will not happen. The Mexican Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia wipes away those ideas: the data in the Maya calender refer to cycles every 394 years respectively 52 years – at the end of such cycles only people from the modern Western civilizations expect special events. And: News about Britain’s Stonehenge.

Onyx Art is the name of a Mexican company producing interior design elements (Spanish).

Samara is the sixth-largest city in Russia and is situated at the junction of the Wolga and Samara. It will soon also be the site of a new urban district in the city centre. US-American architects BDP won the planning competition.

Berlin is the home of Germany’s the new Federal Ministry of the Interior for which construction is to begin this year (German).

Protective coating for natural stone to stave off unwanted weathering and restore the original state after damage is the aim of the project „Regenera“ (Spanish) under the leadership of Spanish-based Tino Stone Group, the Centro Tecnológico Andaluz de la Piedra (CTAP) and the University of Cadiz.

Video of the month: how man crafted rectangular stones for masonry work from soapstone in ancient times is described in a blog by a Norwegian scientist by Per Storemyr. Accompanying video (Norwegian).