One of the distinguished guests at Nazarbayev's Astana Day celebrations clearly has different ideas about how his country should commemorate his birthday. Jordanians have been celebrating King Abdullah II's birthday since he succeeded his father King Hussein in 1999, but the day used to be a national holiday (along with Hussein's birthday). In 2007, however, King Abdullah announced that in order to boost productivity, banks and businesses would remain open on the two royal birthdays.
"As sincere work and dedication are key to economic prosperity, every single day of our work time brings in new opportunities for more achievements and investment and opens new areas for creativity and development," the king said. "We found that my birthday and the birthday of my father, the late King Hussein, should be another two days of official work ... and hope that Jordanians can celebrate the two occasions with more productivity."
Above, Jordan's King Abdullah and Queen Rania give a present to a child being treated for cancer on Jan. 29, 2002 in Amman. The monarch marked his 40th birthday by visiting children undergoing cancer treatment.
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