2012 Yeosu Expo adds credentials to UAE 's bid to host Dubai 2020 EXPO
UAE s participation in 2012 Yeosu Expo, which ends on Sunday in southern harbour city of Yeosu in South Korea, has added to UAE s credential as a Middle East s hub to pave the smooth way for Dubai s bid to host 2020 World Expo.
UAE also earned international endorsement as the role model for emerging economies by showcasing UAE s phenomenal development achieved in less than half a century under the wise and visionary leadership of the country which differentiated from other regional countries.
Against the backdrop of the well-designed UAE Pavilion which took the centre stage during the three-month-long event, UAE has rebranded the national image as a country of environment conservation backed up by sustainable renewable energy development and environment protection drive characterised by carbon-free Masdar city in Abu Dhabi.
UAE has thus far been known here among many locals simply as a small rich Arab country blessed with huge crude oil reserves.
During the 2012 Expo which concludes on Aug. 12 after it was opened on May 12, UAE also boosted its national image by announcing its bid to host 2020 Dubai World Expo.
UAE also earned international endorsement as the role model for emerging economies and environment conservation efforts thanks to its main films including Turtle." The UAE Pavilion also served as a platform to share advanced knowledge of renewable energy as well as carbon free city of Masdar now under construction in Abu Dhabi.
Kang Hyun-Joo, Deputy Spokesperson of 2012 Yeosu Expo said in an interview with WAM that many Korean visitors to UAE Pavilion were moved and inspired by the main film Turtle" which showcased how the importance of pollution-free seas aligning with 2012 Expo theme: Living Ocean and Coastal Activities.
Seong Dae-seock, a well-known TV journalist who once worked for KBS TV network s prime time news anchor, said that 2012 Yeosu Expo has opened our eyes wide as to the growing role of women in UAE in all segments of the society reshaping our conventional knowledge of Arab women who have long been described as subject of discrimination against in social activities.
Seong, president of Association of Korean Journalists(AKJ), was referring to HE Reem al-Hashimy, UAE Minister of State and Managing Director of the Higher Committee for Hosting the 2020 World EXPO who was here in mid-June to attend the UAE Day event at 2012 Yeosu Expo and announced Dubai s bid to host 2020 Dubai Expo.
Her energetic yet free-wheeling activities exposed to Korean audience through KBS TV came rather as a shock for many Korean women who were misinformed about the social status of women in Arab world ..
Another important lesson learned from UAE Pavilion was importance of volunteerism exemplified by well-educated and trained Emirati woman volunteers on duty at UAE Pavilion.
Korean visitors praised the devoted services of Emiratis volunteers with personal care particularly for elderly and handicapped people visiting the ongoing 2012 Yeosu Expo.
Rotarians from the District 3650 Rotary International led by Kah Jae-mo delivered on Aug. 3 a letter of appreciation to Emirati volunteers at the UAE Pavilion at 2012 who showcase the role model of volunteers.
Kah noted that Rotary International stresses the benefits and importance of volunteerism, both within one's own community and internationally. An Emirati volunteer said that voluntary work in UAE has an important position at the institutional and individual level.
Dr. Charles Mercieca, president of IAEWP, UN-NGO (ECOSOC) lauded National Media Council (NMC) of UAE and staff for their capabilities reaching out to audiences at 2012 Yeosu Expo with such a wonderful film as Turtle for the 2012 Expo's main theme of "The Living Ocean and Coast" visualising the most desirable future for the ocean".
"We did not hesitate to select "Turtle" as the best film at 2012 Yeosu Expo, he said in his message sent to the UAE Pavilion recently.
In the meantime, Mr. Giuseppe Sala, CEO of Milan EXPO 2015 wished good luck to Dubai which is bidding to host 2020 Dubai World Expo.
Sala made the remarks when he met with WAM who arrived in Yeosu to attend the closing ceremony of 2012 Yeosu Expo.
He also said that Milan Expo 2015 has been working closely with the UAE regarding its participation at EXPO 2015 in Milan pointing out that the UAE s technical delegation is scheduled to be Milan next month in order to define areas of collaboration. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
Latest UAE satellite set to be launched in next few months
Engineers are putting the final touches to a new satellite before its launch.
DubaiSat-2, an advanced imaging satellite, is undergoing final testing. The satellite is the result of five years of work by a team of 22 Emirati engineers from the Emirates Institute for Advanced Science and Technology (EIAST), based in South Korea.
It is expected to be launched in the last quarter of the year from Yasny Cosmodrome in north Russia, though a firm date has not been set.
"Basically it's completed, we are just putting the final tests on it and it should be ready very soon," said Salem Al Marri, project manager of the space programme at EIAST, adding that it should be finished in "less than a month".
It will become the second EIAST satellite to be launched in three years. DubaiSat-1, which cost US$50 million (Dh183.7m) to develop, was launched in 2009 from a former Soviet base in Kazakhstan.
It has been able to send back images four times a day to EIAST's listening station in Al Khawaneej, Dubai.
Its camera, which was able to capture wide-frame images with a 2.5 metre per pixel resolution, has been useful in tracking coastal erosion and helping to formulate disaster recovery plans.
Images taken by the satellite last year in the immediate aftermath of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami were sought by Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.
However, DubaiSat-2 will have a much higher resolution camera, offering images of one metre per pixel, comparable with that offered by Google Earth.
The resolution is such that it will allow authorities to pinpoint cars on streets or read logos on the sides of planes parked on a runway.
The improvement in resolution was partly at the request of UAE authorities who wish to use the images in town planning.
The two satellites will work together and will be joined in 2015 by a third EIAST satellite, DubaiSat-3.
The third satellite, now being designed, will be built entirely by Emirati engineers on UAE soil.
DubaiSat-1 and 2 were built with the cooperation of the South Korean company Satrec1. The level of participation of Emirati engineers has grown steadily since 2005 and Mr Al Marri said they had developed the skills needed to build the third satellite themselves.
"They worked on this from the design stage, when it was still on paper, all the way up to completion and they have learned a lot," he said.
"This has really taken them to the next level." – The National
Abdullah bin Zayed demands world major powers to end Rohingya tragedy
The UAE has called on the international community to step in to put an end to the tragedy the Rohingya Muslim minority is undergoing on in Myanmar.
''The UAE is deeply concerned about the ethnic violence in Myanmar which claimed hundreds of lives of the Rohingya Muslim minority group and left thousands of them homeless, bringing a renewed chapter of severe suffering,'' H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister, said in a letter addressed to foreign ministers of the UN Security Council's member states, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), New Zealand, Canada, Japan and India as well as to Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary-General of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Dr. Nabil Al Araby, Secretary General of the League of Arab States and Dr. Abdullatif Rashid Al Zayani, Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
Sheikh Abdullah said the international community should urge the government of Myanmar to take adequate measures to cease infringements of Rohingya's rights and refrain from acts that disregard principles of universal basic human rights and international conventions.
He stressed that Rohingya's basic rights should be respected in a responsible manner.
The UAE foreign minister urged the international community to reach a prompt end to this targeting in a way that achieves reconciliation and arrives at a final solution to the crisis. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
Abu Dhabi DED promotes G2B online trade license system, activates G2G for government authorities
The Department of Economic Development in Abu Dhabi has announced the promotion of the online services it provides in its website with regards to trade license transactions commonly known as G2B appertaining to online renewal of trade licenses and paying off violations, aiming to ease the burden on investors and businessmen, and save time.
The initiative aims to strengthen Abu Dhabi Objectives of having an E-government.
The DED has also announced the promotion and activation of its G2G online services necessary for the insurance of all data and information concerning trade licenses required by all government institutes in Abu Dhabi through the Abu Dhabi Government Network (ADNET). These services enable government circles and institutes to have access to data and information concerning trade licenses without having to use traditional correspondence that used to take a customer a longer time to finalise documents.
Mohamed Munif Al Mansouri, Acting Executive Director of Commercial Affairs Sector at DED, said that such measures come in the framework of the DED's keenness to back the Abu Dhabi government's efforts to be transformed into an E-government in cooperation and coordination with the Abu Dhabi Centre for Online Systems and DATA in a manner that achieves its vision of promoting the performance of the Abu Dhabi government and to prompt it to offer world-class services to the advantage of all customers.
He said that DED is currently acting towards the activation of a package of online services necessary for trade license transactions, aiming to ease the standard procedures required by customers and businessmen, on the one hand, and reducing the pressure on the Customer Service within the DED's centres and branches in the emirate, on the other hand.
He urged all customers to react to the DED's website and use its active online services in issuing their trade licenses in a few simple steps whereby customers can accomplish his license in a few minutes, decide the duration of a lease contract or pay the required fees by credit card.
Mansouri added that the two online services (renewing licenses and paying off violations) constitute nearly 40% and 47% respectively of the total transactions, something that should reduce the pressure on DED's different Customer Service centres.
DED is currently devoted to promoting all other services related to the measures of trade licenses issuance through the DED's website whereby a customer can book a trade name, obtain an initial approval, issue a new license and amend an old one.
Speaking of the DED offering a G2G services, Mansouri said that this system entitles government institutes, each according to its authority, specialty and mission, to inspect the information concerning trade licenses related to inquiring about a trade name, validity of the licenses, initial approvals, the license's financial status, violations and warnings.
DED, in collaboration with Abu Dhabi Centre for Online Systems and Information, will be working towards establishing contact with the concerned government institutes in Abu Dhabi until the end of this year in order to gradually use this service and link it to the DED.
To ensure secrecy and accuracy of the information concerning trade license data in Abu Dhabi, Mansouri said that DED will work towards signing protocol agreements with government institutes to determine responsibilities and tasks related to this particular issue in a manner that maintains the rights of owners of trade activities.
The DED's initiatives related to the promotion and activation of its online services were introduced in accordance with the online data and statistics on trade license translations that showed a wide disparity between the figures in January, March and April 2012.
The online trade licenses transactions were relatively high in February and April 2012, with 494 and 410 licenses issued respectively, whereas this figure declined to only 241 and 313 licenses in January and March 2012. The statistical report on online trade license transactions during these four months (from January to April 2012) showed that the customer demand and interaction with the online trade license renewal service was the highest among all other services provided, then booking a trade name came second, and issuing a new trade name came third.
Mansouri said that such statistics do not reflect the DED's ambitions in the days to come, for it wishes to double these figures until all DED's commercial online services are all available through a full system of services that can help towards reducing measures and saving customers the burden of visiting Customer Service Centres, he said.
He hailed the level of cooperation and coordination between DED and the Abu Dhabi Centre for Electronic Systems and Data that offered all forms of technological support whereby DED could ultimately provide the best and the most elevated online services to all customers in Abu Dhabi. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
RTA staff boost UAE bid for World Expo 2020
Over 250 senior-level staff members of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) attended a workshop this week to learn more about how they can contribute to the UAE’s efforts as it bids to host the World Expo in 2020.
Dubai is competing against four other candidate cities — Ayutthaya in Thailand, Ekaterinburg in Russia, Izmir in Turkey, and Sao Paulo in Brazil — bidding to host the 2020 World Expo. The winning city will be announced in November 2013.
During the workshop, RTA staff learned how they can take part in the awareness campaign for the bid, by including the Expo 2020 logo on company stationery, presentations and email signatures while spreading the word among their friends and colleagues. – Gulf News
RTA takes a green drive
The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) is taking positive steps towards ensuring sustainable development and curbing the environmental impacts of the activities of the agency, said Essa Al Dosari, CEO of the Public Transport Agency, RTA.
The agency is implementing several programmes and procedures and laying some rules and regulations aiming at conserving the natural resources and curbing the emissions from public transports, he noted.
It is also working on managing the wastes out of its belief in responsibility towards the society, he noted.
The policy explains the broad outlines and the commitments of the higher management, responsibilities, legal frameworks and legislations pertaining to the preservation of natural resources, public health and protection of environment.
“The agency has charted out an Environmental Management System (EMS),” Al Dosari said, noting that, it elaborates the different activities of the agency in the field of environment, ways of curbing the pollution, methods of preserving human resources, sustainable development and mechanisms of dealing with wastes and carbon emission.
Emission of air pollutants from the public buses and ferry boats (abras) were curbed, he said, adding that designing and operating seven ferry boats functioning with electricity and use low-sulphur diesel is part of the agency’s initiative towards this end.
The public bus fleet will be replaced with buses complying with the European standards by using Euro 4 and Euro 5 engines fitted with Exhaust Gas Recirculation that reduce emissions, he said.
The initiative has resulted in significant reduce of carbon emission spewed by increasing use of public transport facilities, he said, adding that work is underway on using natural gas in operating the ferry boats on trial basis, he added.
The number of taxi passengers has seen a rise of 7.5 per cent this year as it stood at 84,403,071 in the first half of 2012 compared with 78,276,980 in the same period last year, said Al Dosari.
He told Khaleej Times that booking calls for taxis showed an increase in the first half to 2,530,399 from 2,380,128 last year.
“The system at the booking unit links the taxis of Dubai Taxi Corporation and the franchised companies with the satellite control system, by precisely directing the drivers and ensuring that the public requests are met quickly and effectively,” he explained.
Al Dosari said taxi passengers were shuttled by operating 48,507,512 trips during the first six months of this year, compared with the 44,986,776 trips made during the first half of 2011. – Khaleej Times
Emaar to unveil new mosque in Downtown Dubai
For quite some time now, Downtown Dubai has been known for its wide-ranging shopping opportunities and tourist destinations including the world’s largest mall and the world’s tallest man-made structure. The newest addition to this ever growing property development will satisfy yet another need of its residents as a 15,000 sq ft- mosque is currently underway.
Global property developer Emaar Properties PJSC has unveiled the ‘Sheikh Zayed Bin Mansour Al Nahyan Mosque’ for Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, to be built in an area of over 40,000 sq ft in Downtown Dubai, near The Old Town development.
“We are thankful to His Highness Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan for the opportunity to host this mosque in Downtown Dubai,” Ahmad Al Matrooshi, Managing Director of Emaar Properties, said.
The mosque will be designed to reflect the rich traditional architectural heritage while serving as a haven of peace and serenity and is set to become a modern day cultural landmark for Dubai,” Al Matrooshi added.
The mosque will be designed in elegant traditional architectural style featuring prayer halls for men and women. With a seating capacity for 800 people, the mosque will include a Holy Quran study room, a dedicated prayer hall for over 85 women, along with designated parking spaces.
The mosque, which is situated behind Qamardeen Hotel, will be easily accessible not only to the residents of Downtown Dubai and Business Bay but also for visitors. It will be set in an immaculately landscaped area that will complement the design elegance of The Old Town. – Gulf News
Prices of food items increase in Capital
Food prices are increasing during Ramadan, according to figures from the Statistics Centre-Abu Dhabi (SCAD).
The SCAD recorded a 0.3 per cent increase in the prices of food commodities during the third week of Ramadan compared with the second week due to rise in prices of some food groups including fruits (3.9 per cent), fish and seafood (2.7 per cent) and vegetables (0.9 per cent).
Meanwhile, some key groups showed a decrease in prices over the same period. Sugar, jam, honey, chocolate and confectionery fell by 1.3 per cent, followed by coffee, tea and cocoa by 1.1 per cent. Meat was also down by 0.9 per cent.
Comparing with food prices in the first week of the holy month, SCAD noted an overall increase of 0.8 per cent during the third week. Meat increased 4.3 per cent followed by sugar, jam, honey, chocolate and confectionery by 0.9 per cent. Oils and fats were also up by 0.7 per cent while mineral water, soft drinks, and fruit and vegetable juices were up by 0.5 per cent. The centre also reported a rise of 3.5 per cent in food prices during the third week compared with the week preceding Ramadan, reflecting an increase in the prices fish and seafood (8.2 per cent), meat (7 per cent), vegetables (6.3 per cent) and coffee, tea and cocoa (6 per cent).
According to the centre, the data was based on the studies of 308 food items that make up the ‘food and non-alcoholic beverages’ expenditure sub-group.
Price data are collected from sources selected through field visits by the inspection team. Sources were selected to ensure that they are representative of a broad segment of consumers in the city of Abu Dhabi during the month of Ramadan. – Khaleej Times
Abu Dhabi food authority cracks down on groceries
In an inspection campaign targeting 27 grocery stores in Mussaffah Industrial Area, Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA) inspectors issued nine warnings, closed a store for gross violations of food safety standards, and found 17 others in compliance with all rules and regulations.
Mohamed Jalal Al Reyaysa, Director of Communication and Community Service, ADFCA, said, “In addition to routine visits, inspectors will continue to conduct unexpected ones to ensure that all food outlets and stores adhere to food safety standards.”
Al Reyaysa described the campaign as part of the authority’s strategy to ensure that consumers from all segments of our society are not at risk from foods that may pose harm.
He also explained that inspectors are checking food expiry dates, in addition to monitoring refrigerators and freezers to ensure proper usage and storage techniques. – The Gulf Today
Khalifa issues decree allotting houses and plots to citizens
President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in his capacity as the Ruler of Abu Dhabi, issued a decree allotting 2926 plots of land for housing for citizens in various parts of the emirate.
The decree also granted the national families a total of 70 homes built in different areas of Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Western Region.
The gesture reflects the keenness of Sheikh Khalifa on the stability and comfort of citizens and his diligence to ensure decent life and better future for growing generations. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
Eid Al Fitr holidays announced for public and private sectors in UAE
Eid Al Fitr holidays for ministries and federal government institutions will begin from Friday, August 17 (29th Ramadan 1433) and will last until the 3rd of the month of Shawwal.
Work will resume from the 4th of Shawaal, according to a circular issued by Humaid Mohammad Al Qatami, Minister of Education and Chairman of the Federal Authority for Government Human Resources.
It means that Eid holidays for public sector will be from August 17 to 21 (if the month of Ramadan has 30 days and Eid falls on Sunday, August 19) and offices will open on August 22.
On the occasion, Al Qatami offered greetings to President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and Their Highnesses The Supreme Council Members and Rulers of Emirates.
The minister also offered greetings to the people of UAE and the Arab and Muslim nations around the world.
Meanwhile, Saqr Ghobash, Minister of Labour, issued a ministerial circular announcing the first and second days of the month of Shawwal as Eid Al Fitr holidays for all establishments in the private sector.
Ghobash also offered Eid greetings to the leadership and the people of UAE and Arab and Muslim nations. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
UANOC names ad-hoc bike panel
President of the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE (ATCUAE) Mohammed Ben Sulayem has said the restructuring of the Arab Motorcycle Federation (AMF) by the Union of Arab National Olympic Committees (UANOC) can take bike racing in the region to a new level.
Sulayem said regional motor racing can now look forward to a bright future with a calendar of events run to standards laid down by the FIM, the sport’s world governing body.
That will be one of the goals of a new-look AMF following the dismissal of its executive committee by Saudi Arabia’s Prince Nawaf bin Faisal bin Fahd bin Abdulaziz, president of UANOC.
Qatar’s Nasser Khalifa Al Attiyah, vice president of the FIM, and Mahir Badri, CEO of the ATCUAE, are among the newly-appointed 10-man provisional committee which met for the first time in Riyadh on Sunday to plan the way forward.
Among its initial recommendations was that membership of the AMF, which is to be funded by UANOC and headquartered in Riyadh, will be restricted to motor cycle bodies recognised by the FIM.
This will be high on the agenda at the next meeting, to be scheduled in due course, when a new AMF statute will be unveiled and a new executive committee elected.
“The sport can only move forward if events are run in compliance with FIM regulations which guarantee the highest standard of competitive racing and ensure the safety of competitors, spectators, and all others involved,” Sulayem said.
Engineer Mishaal Bin Fahd Al Sudairi, vice president of the Asian Motorcycle Union, said the move initiated by Prince Nawaf were in response to “many irregularities and abuses” by the former executive committee.
The new committee includes Omar Zaarour, executive director of the Royal Motorcycle Club of Jordan, Reda Boukhari, president of the Moroccan Motorcycling Federation, and Shehab Baloul, president of the Algerian Motorcycling Federation.
Other members are Othman Mohammed Al Saad, UANOC general secretary, Saad Bin Saleh Al Sufiani, UANOC general secretary, technical affairs, and Sultan Al Mokheiri, of Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation. – Sport 360°
Mohammed bin Zayed reviews Khalifa Port and Kizad progress
His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces has reviewed the progress made at the megaproject Khalifa Port and Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (Kizad) at Taweelah.
This came during an in-depth presentation made at the Crown Prince's majlis by ADPC Chairman Dr. Sultan Al Jaber; CEO, Tony Douglas; Executive Vice President Ports Unit, ADPC, Captain Mohammed Al Shamisi and the Executive Vice President, Industrial Zones Unit, ADPC, Khaled Salmeen.
Sheikh Mohammed commented: " Two years ago, I was presented with a disciplined 100 Steps Plan devised by ADPC that would deliver the first phase of the Port and adjacent Industrial Zone at precisely 0700 on September 1st, 2012. I am satisfied with the progress made by ADPC and pleased that the project is on schedule." He urged the management and teams in charge of the two projects to give Emiratisation issue a top priority, and strive to help Emirati cadres acquire advanced skills, calling for establishing effective partnership and enhancing constructive investment ties to attract major companies and foreign investments to further develop business in this vital sector.
ADPC Chairman Dr Sultan Al Jaber said: "It was a great honour for ADPC to be invited to present a detailed overview of our progress at Khalifa Port and Kizad to Sheikh Mohammed, who, under the directives by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, gives great support to such projects in order to diversify income sources and serve sustainable development goals. We are delivering the first phase of this megaproject on time, on schedule and within budget as we promised. We are confident that the industrial complex, which will grow into one of the largest in the world within 20 years, will make a powerful contribution to the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030. I would like to thank our staff, all stakeholders and partners for their backing, enthusiasm and commitment to this project." ADPC's presentation to Sheikh Mohammed centred on the company's remarkable progress in delivering this megaproject on time and within the budget. Sheikh Mohammed was briefed on the commercial agreements signed across the UAE designed to provide services which will help make the Port a success: they include Memoranda of Understanding with many government entities such as Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority, the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments, and the Ministry of Environment and Water.
Benefitting from the consistent support of major stakeholders across the entire Abu Dhabi government, and buoyed by the commercial success of its contracts signed not only in the UAE but also internationally, Abu Dhabi Ports Company (ADPC) is gearing up towards celebrating the milestone opening of the Port in less than four weeks time.
The landmark Container Terminal will then open for business and the Infrastructure for the first phase of the megaproject will be officially completed, and formally handed over at 0700, September 1st, 2012.
The semi-automated Khalifa Port Container Terminal is the most technologically advanced in the MENA region and for a radius of 5,000 kilometres. Operated by Abu Dhabi Terminals, it features advanced automation that increases efficiencies and predictability while limiting variability so the operator, shipping lines, trucking companies and the importers and exporters can further optimise their logistics processes and avoid unnecessary costs.
The infrastructure has been designed to cater for the largest container vessels operating or planned, and includes some of the world s largest ship-to-shore (STS) cranes. In the container yard, unmanned automated stacking cranes ensure each container is always optimally positioned for the fastest possible delivery to either ships for loading or to trucks for delivery to their destinations.
The automation also extends to the landside operations where bookings and the clearing process can be done online in advance, doing away with the time consuming manual processes seen today. Combined with automated systems that use OCR (Optical Character Recognition) and RFID (Radio Frequency Identification), this ensures the optimal logistics processes.
The port serves as a dedicated enabler for the adjacent Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (Kizad), also developed by ADPC, and which will be one of the largest industrial zones in the world, offering its tenants easy access to markets, a low-cost operating environment, and ease of doing business.
Kizad has so far surpassed all targets and signed 25 lease agreements and preliminary agreements with local, regional and international tenants and more announcements will be rolled out in due course. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
'Reform means building, not destroying', says Saud
"Reform means building the country, not destroying it," H.H. Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Supreme Council member and Ruler of Ra's al-Khaimah, said yesterday.
In a statement to the Emirates News Agency, WAM, Sheikh Saud added: "We as nationals of this country are united in one common goal which is defending this country and preserving its achievements." The full text follows.
"Recently we heard about an unusual phenomenon that is alien to the society in the UAE. We can hardly believe it. A group of nationals have met to create an organisation that seeks to ruin our country and to harm it, its leadership and its great national heritage."
"The UAE nationals have preserved their country. Previously they did not have the wealth and education that they have today. Based on their loyalty and faithfulness, they have made achievements and have promoted the stature of their country. They are famous for being hard-working and diligent, people who take pride in their country and cooperate with each other." "Thank God we were blessed in having the founding father of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who established our modern state, joined hands with his brother rulers and led his people in the glorious and epic process of building the successful federation. It is now an exemplary model for the transformation of a society that had not even a single university graduate into to a modern state which boasts large numbers of doctors and professors." "Thank God, the UAE is now an education hub for prestigious universities that spread knowledge, not only in the UAE, but also worldwide."
"We Emiratis are raised with certain noble values which require a full appreciation of the value of the home country and acceptance that one's home is as dear as one's mother and father. We also believe that reform means building the country and not destroying it. People here are well aware of the fact that their country keeps its doors wide open for them to nurture his or her work. People in this country know their rulers very well and know that there is this intimate unity of purpose between the leadership and the people."
"No ruler would be pleased if any member of the community was in need as the community and the ruler are closely interconnected." "People here also know very well that any ship needs a captain whose image should always be preserved as the basis of success. Nations are lost when they lose their way and the opinions to guide them." "Today, it is our duty to reiterate our allegiance to President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and to reaffirm our determination to stand by him as a leader. We fully comprehend the extent of his utmost love for the country and that he walks in the footsteps of the founder of the UAE, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan."
"We, as nationals of this country, are united with one common goal - that of defending this country and preserving its achievements." "We denounce any attempt to harm this country. I am confident that we will be able to tackle those involved and to contain them. They are our sons and it is our duty not to abandon them or to lose them. Our duty as a community to guide to the right way those who have lost their way. We are one whole on the same boat and do not need lessons from others." "Our past is eventful.
The UAE has taken many positive positions on many issues, of which the most important is the Palestinian cause. The UAE's position on Palestine was based on conviction. The people of the UAE in the past were not rich but they realised that their duty was to champion what is right. During the 1973 war, the UAE, under the leadership of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, did not consider the preservation of its interests and its relations with the West to be more important than the need to champion the cause that was right. With that position, the UAE wanted to remind the world that it should come, in the end, to support that which is right." "Since its establishment, the UAE has adopted a policy of helping all those in need. This is an honour for us.
The UAE made foreign aid to other nations as one of its top priorities in its approach to external relations. The UAE's white hands are everywhere, assisting all nations in crisis. " "We as Muslims reject terrorism and seek peace; we respect others and we believe in science. We are Muslims for peace. Today we support the march of the UAE and its status as a favoured destination for millions of people who came here not by force, but who were attracted by the good-heartedness and tolerance of our people. A large number of people dream of living in the UAE. Thanks to Allah and to the leadership and loyalty of our people, the UAE has made miraculous progress. We have been transformed from an illiterate community to a country which has a large number of universities." "Today we have the right to cast blame upon this group and to reject their plans to harm their country, its leadership and their own people. Nobody in their right mind would destroy his or her own country if he or she really wants to achieve growth. Why seek to conceal plans that would be harmful with proposals for false reforms? He who builds a country should not wreak havoc on it and he who offers advice should not insult others. Our leaders are our teachers and guides." "I pray to Allah to guide us all, to help us and to forgive us. We all work today towards the same goal. With our great legacy at hand, it is our duty to draw a red line and say out loud: We commit ourselves to the covenant. We are one hand and one body and we reject anything that harms our state and our leader." "May Allah preserve our country, its leadership and people, and guide us all to the right way." – Emirates News Agency, WAM
Middle East leaders some of the most engaging on Twitter
Political leaders in the Middle East are increasingly using Twitter to engage the public, a new study suggests.
The Twiplomacy study, released yesterday by public relations consultancy Burson-Marsteller, assessed 264 Twitter accounts belonging to heads of state from 125 countries, of which 21 were from the Mena region. The accounts had a combined following of 51,990,656 people from around the world.
"What we see from this study is that leaders within the Middle East, and the Gulf in particular, are some of the most engaged from around the world on Twitter," said Taufiq Rahim, a political analyst and graduate of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government who lives in Dubai.
While two-thirds of world leaders have a Twitter account, only 45 per cent of the accounts analysed for the Twiplomacy report were personal accounts of heads of state, just 30 world leaders update their own tweets and even fewer do so on a regular basis.
Meanwhile, many of the figures tweeting in the region were found to be engaging personally with the platform and using it to connect with upwardly mobile youth, said Mr Rahim.
Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati is the most engaging among Arab leaders, the study showed. One-fifth of his tweets are replies and he regularly has one-hour long Twitter chats with his 54,782 followers.
UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed was another good example of an engaged Twitter leader, said Mr Rahim. "He tweets almost exclusively and regularly in Arabic, demonstrating a desire to connect with local audiences."
According to the Dubai School of Government's recent Arab Social Media Report, the Arab region has close to 2.1 million active Twitter users tweeting almost 4,000 tweets a minute. The top five Arab countries in terms of Twitter users are: Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE and Lebanon.
"What these Twitter accounts have enabled young people to do in the Arab world is vent their frustrations directly to politicians, dignitaries and other leaders in a public space for the first time," said Mr Rahim.
"This was notable during the Bahrain crisis, and during other times of regional tension in the past year."
Last month, Dubai's police chief Lt Gen Dahi Khalfan Tamim - a prominent Twitter user himself - warned against attempting to shake the security and stability of the GCC region through Twitter.
In March, the chief had publicly claimed Islamist extremists were posting messages on Facebook and Twitter "for political reasons and to create instability".
He warned the GCC would come together to ward off any breach on their security.
"It must still be noted that given that societies in the GCC are not fully open, there are restrictions on speech in the public domain and thus those tweeting still run the risk of breaking the law in any given country, depending on what they write," said Mr Rahim.
Among the Middle Eastern accounts assessed in the Twiplomacy study was that of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, vice president and ruler of Dubai, who has just crossed the one million mark in followers.
His account is followed by 13 other world leaders, making him the most followed by leaders in the region.
The study also named Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan the most popular in the region.
With 2,222,872 followers, she is the fourth most-followed leader in the world after Barack Obama, Hugo Chávez and the White House account.
Other regional leaders on Twitter include the recently-elected Tunisian president Moncef Marzouki, Palestinian prime minister Dr Salam Fayyad, Tunisian prime minister Hamadi Jebaliand and Nouri Al Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister. – The National
Abu Dhabi Education Council gains first place at International ESRI's GIS Competition
Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) has scored the first place at the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Competition at the International Education User Conference, San Diego, USA.
The event was organised by the Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) from July 20th until the 27th 2012, and attended by more than 15,000 participants from all over the world.
ADEC's winning GIS application is called "i-ADEC", a mobile application developed as an external portal not only for ADEC staff but also for parents and community members. The application provides school search capabilities, access to latest ADEC publications, news, and videos and allows users to send concerns and suggestions to ADEC's central operation in different multimedia format where appropriate actions are taken.
Dr. Mugheer Khamais Al Khaili, ADEC's Director General, said that the award recognises the team efforts over the past years to apply the latest GIS/IT technologies in most of the academic and administrative areas.
Organisations and GIS specialists from all over the world contested over four GIS application categories, namely Web GIS, Mobile GIS, Desktop GIS and Map GIS where ADEC won the 1st place in Mobile GIS applications.
Dr. Alaaeldin Aly, a Division Director of Knowledge Management at ADEC participated in the conference commented that "Participants were impressed by i-ADEC application features due to its easiness of use and utilising GIS features to present valuable information. The application is bilingual and provides simple, easy and multiple ways to find a school and browse its general information through interactive maps. The application detects the GPS location of the user and finds the shortest route to the located school. Users of i-ADEC are able to browse latest news, videos, and documents published by ADEC. This way, parents and members of the community can access ADEC's latest news anywhere anytime from their mobile devices such as iPhone or iPad".
Currently, ADEC is in the process of integrating the GIS with its Students Information System (eSIS) to maintain accurate students' addresses and catchment areas for each school, which will help in automating the process and operation of students' admission and transportation. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
Business confidence in UAE tops globally
The UAE leads the world in business confidence and stands alone in positive territory in the global economic survey index, leaving behind the US, UK, Hong Kong, Singapore and others on negative side of the index.
This was revealed in the Global Economic Conditions Survey, or GECS, in the second quarter of 2012, undertaken by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, or Acca, and the Institute of Management Accountants, or IMA.
Global economic recovery has again slowed down in early 2012, according to the survey. But finance professionals remained bullish and most confident about the UAE’s recovery.
They cautioned that growth across the world’s most developed economies has stalled once again and that the global economy is as fragile as it has ever been in the last three years. The global survey of 2,700 professional accountants suggests that hints of a stronger recovery in early 2012 were mostly down to misplaced optimism, and that most of the gains made at the time have since been reversed.
The GECS Confidence Index across the region and in selected markets revealed that the UAE has score of 7.9, while rest of the regions and markets covered under the index attracted negative scoring.
Among the markets that were well-represented in the Acca/IMA survey, the UAE remained the most confident, with 35 per cent of respondents here reporting confidence gains (down from 42 per cent), against 27 per cent reporting losses (up from 23 per cent). While the overall loss of momentum is consistent with global trends, it is worth noting than only the UAE recorded net confidence gains in the second quarter of 2012. Not surprisingly, positive attitudes towards the global economy are also more resilient in the UAE than elsewhere, with 46 per cent of respondents thinking the recovery is on track, down from 53 per cent.
Cash flow pressures appear to have eased significantly in the UAE over the last three months, with fewer professionals worrying about the survival of their suppliers or customers, and incidences of late payment are down as well. Importantly, new orders appear to be on the rise.
Earlier this week, HSBC Holdings said non-oil private sector business activity in the UAE continued to expand in July on the back of higher output volumes. – Khaleej Times
Aldar reports financial results for second quarter of 2012
Aldar Properties PJSC ("the Company"), Abu Dhabi's leading property development investment and management company, is pleased to announce its strong financial results for the second quarter of 2012 with revenue for the period increasing 497% to Dh 4,631.2 million (Q2 2011: Dh 775.7 million) and net profit of Dh 417.9 million up 228% from Dh 127.3 million during the same period last year. Revenues were driven by the successful handover of 1,058 residential units on Al Raha Beach units. Aldar's delivery programme will continue into the second half of the year with a focus on delivery and handover of the remaining units and land plots at Al Raha Beach.
The Company ended the period with a strong cash and liquidity position. At the end of the period, cash balances were Dh2,459.6 million and Dh3.2 billion of available liquidity from the credit facility with National Bank of Abu Dhabi, providing the Company with ample working capital and liquidity to deliver on its business plan.
Aldar's ongoing programme of debt reduction continued during the quarter with repayments totalling Dh 4.3 billion, including the early retirement of Dh 1.9 billion term loan. This brings total borrowings down to Dh14,358 million (December 2011 Dh18,295 million) at the end of the period.
Aldar benefits from highly predictable and stable ongoing cash flows with Dh12 billion cash still to be received from the three main asset sale agreements signed with the Government of Abu Dhabi between 2009 and 2011. The Government asset sale agreements also provide a source of stable earnings, including Dh3.6 billion of revenue still to be recognised relating to serviced land sales at Al Raha Beach. These contracted sales provide the foundation for Aldar's strong ongoing revenue and cash flow visibility over the coming quarters.
Development revenues for the quarter were Dh4.2 billion, up from Dh400 million in Q2 2011 based on strong deliveries of units.
During the second quarter, Aldar handed over 1,058 residential units to customers at Al Raha Beach, including the Government of Abu Dhabi. A further 680 units have been sold and await completion and hand over. Aldar's remaining inventory for sale consists of 391 units principally at Al Raha Beach and Reem Island.
Al Bateen Park is on-schedule and is 97% pre-sold. The development at Al Ward, the precinct of Al Raha Gardens is now fully pre-sold. Both are scheduled for delivery in Q4 2012.
At Yas Mall, Aldar's 233,000 sqm flagship retail development on Yas Island, considerable progress has been made on construction with the installation of underground utilities in progress and the ground level floor slabs underway. The project remains on schedule for delivery in Q4 2013 and pre-leasing is at 60%.
The Village Retail development for the residents of Al Falah is on schedule for completion in Q4 2012 and joins other community retail facilities owned by Aldar, such as Gardens Plaza in Al Raha Gardens and the Al Raha Beach amenities.
The leasing programme on the newly delivered Al Noor building at Al Raha Beach is well under way.
Infrastructure works, including canal excavations, roads and interchange works at Al Raha Beach are nearing completion on schedule and expected to be completed over the next 12 months.
Development projects managed on behalf of third parties generated project management fees of Dh46 million in the second quarter. These include revenues relating to a number of substantial and prestigious developments including the National Housing development at Al Falah, Cleveland Clinic, Yas Waterworld, World Trade Center Abu Dhabi and the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology.
Recurring revenues from investment properties and operating businesses, increased 12% to Dh338.6 million in the second quarter (Q2 2011 Dh302.6 million). Aldar's commercial office portfolio is substantially let and further growth is expected from retail and community retail projects including Ace Hardware on Yas Island, the community retail facilities at Al Raha Beach and Motorworld showrooms. In addition to its for-sale inventory, Aldar has allocated 378 residential units at Al Raha Beach to form a new leasing portfolio during Q2. Of these, 191 are leased, including 155 units to Aldar Academies.
The majority of Aldar's 174,000 sqm of high-quality commercial offices is fully let and occupied on a long-term basis by Government-entities and commercial tenants. 60% of the HQ building is now leased or under heads of terms and there is a robust pipeline of tenant enquiries.
We are delighted to announce the addition of 118 used car showrooms at Motorworld and an ACE Hardware to our retail portfolio during the quarter, both of which will add to our recurring revenue base.
The community retail portfolio at Al Raha Beach is 53% leased. This joins Gardens Plaza at Al Raha Gardens, which opened in 2011 and is fully let and operational.
As part of its strategy to enhance and optimise recurring revenues from its residential portfolio, Aldar allocated 378 units at Al Raha Beach to form a new leasing portfolio during Q2, which complements Aldar's sales and rent-to-own residential offers. We were also pleased to announce 155 units leased to Aldar Academies under this programme.
Aldar's hotel portfolio performed well during Q2 despite a competitive market. Average occupancy for the quarter was 58% compared to 59% for the same period in 2011 (H1 2012 62% v H1 2011 61%) against a soft market. We look forward to continued growth as the addition of Yas Waterworld and Yas Mall will drive increased footfall to Yas Island and occupancy levels at our hotels.
There was strong performance by Aldar Academies during the quarter reflecting the increase in enrolment from the three new schools that opened in September 2011. Revenues were Dh66.4 million during the first half of the year, up from Dh49.8 million in the same period last year.
In the operative villages portfolio, the 5,000-bed Al Ain operative village has now opened and leases were signed during Q2 with a number of corporate tenants.
During the first quarter of 2012, Aldar Properties PJSC and Sorouh Real Estate PJSC announced that the companies would be exploring the merits of a potential merger. On 10 June 2012, the two companies announced that a steering committee including representatives from Aldar and Sorouh had been formed to evaluate a potential merger. The companies also announced that the due diligence process was underway to assess in detail the implications for all stakeholders and that this process would take a number of months. The due diligence process is well under way and a further update will be made as and when appropriate.
Ali Eid Al Mheiri, Chairman of Aldar Properties commented: "Aldar's results clearly demonstrate its strong financial position. Impressive quarterly performance has been driven by the delivery of a substantial volume of units to our customers including the Government of Abu Dhabi. During the second half of the year Aldar will continue to deliver strong revenues and predictable cash flows. This stability enables us to focus on our long-term strategy- to remain Abu Dhabi's pre-eminent developer. We have a strong pipeline of development projects to deliver over the second half of the year and into 2013 and we look forward to contributing profitably to Abu Dhabi's future real estate pipeline." – Emirates News Agency, WAM
Abu Dhabi's Khalifa Port to open as Mina Zayed hits capacity
The new Khalifa Port in Abu Dhabi will open in the nick of time next month as the capital's flagship Mina Zayed terminal is expected to reach full capacity before the end of the year.
All shipments handled at Mina Zayed will be gradually transferred to Port Khalifa over the next six months as Abu Dhabi Ports Company (ADPC) expects to handle a record number of containers this year.
"We believe we will hit 800,000 this year," said Tony Douglas, the chief executive.
"So far we had 350,00 at the half [year] and we [will] have 450,000 in the second half, which is more than do-able.
"We think we will hit capacity at Mina Zayed this year."
The opening of Port Khalifa in Taweelah on September 1 will mark the end of five years of reclaiming land, dredging and building to produce one of the most advanced port terminals in the region.
"The business already exists," Mr Douglas said.
"It's not like you have to get out there tomorrow and drum it all up. We have the existing [Mina] Zayed business and we have a transfer schedule, liner by liner, customer by customer."
From September, all security will be in place, as well as the customs and border control. ADPC will mark the opening with a ceremony but Mr Douglas declined to disclose details.
Mina Zayed has grown at a rapid pace over the past few years, handling 767,000 containers last year, up 47 per cent from 2010. About 95 per cent of the cargo in containers brought into Abu Dhabi through Mina Zayed is estimated to remain in the emirate.
Like Mina Zayed, Port Khalifa will initially also be a "destination port", with most of the containers coming into the emirate staying there.
But the potential capacity at Port Khalifa is huge and Mr Douglas hopes that as the Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (Kizad) develops around the port, it will have capacity for 15 million containers by 2030.
Currently, Terminal 1 at the port can handle 2.5 million containers, and ADPC has the ability to add a further 2.5 million to capacity at a second terminal at little extra cost.
"We are trending on busting the 2.5 million by 2016 or 2017, so we only then have to put new crane rails in. You don't have to reclaim another island because we've already done it," said Mr Douglas.
If the port eventually is extended to handle 15 million containers, it will become one of the world's biggest alongside those in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore.
Khalifa Port is just one element for Kizad, the overall vision of which is to create a 417 square kilometre industrial and manufacturing hub that equates to two-thirds the size of the island of Singapore. Emirates Aluminium is currently ADPC's anchor tenant at Kizad.
The goal for the industrial hub is to represent 15 per cent of the non-oil GDP of Abu Dhabi by 2030.
"If everything turns out to be the vision in precise detail, you have capacity of 15 million containers, over 30 million tonnes of general cargo and an industrial zone with the scale of 417 sq kilometres," said Mr Douglas.
"That's what you can flex up to but the market is the market. GDP is GDP and consumption is consumption. They are the things that will determine how much you take advantage of."
The container terminal at Mina Zayed will be converted into a cruise liner terminal to help to build the cruise industry, which is another major pillar of Abu Dhabi's Economic Vision 2030.
"Mina Zayed is a fantastic asset," said Mr Douglas. "The area that is currently the container facility, the minute we vacate it, we will develop it for the cruise industry."
The UAE cruise industry hit a setback this year when Italy's MSC Cruises, the first cruise company to use Abu Dhabi as a home port, pulled out less than a year after it started sailing from the capital. – The National
Dubai Chamber identifies key markets for UAE coffee traders
Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in a study published yesterday, has identified six important potential markets for UAE coffee traders to increase their re-exports.
Qatar, Kazakhstan, Greenland, Lithuania, Latvia and Austria saw growth in the value of coffee imported from the world between 2006 and 2011. According to the study, they were also markets where importers on average paid a more lucrative price for coffee compared to importers in other countries.
The study suggests that these markets have significant potential for UAE coffee traders because they are those where the annual value of imports is worth millions of dollars and they are located in Central and Northern Europe, which according to the International Coffee Organisation (ICO) have high per capita consumption of coffee.
The colder climates of these countries, coupled with the affluence of their populations is suggested as one reason why there is a high need to import coffee and also a willingness to pay relatively higher prices. Consumers in these markets may also want better quality brands of coffee and interested re-exporters of coffee from the UAE should conduct further market research in these target markets, to secure potentially lucrative re-export opportunities, the study proposes.
Targeting wealthy consumers with sales of differentiated coffee brands could also help UAE business increase their sales, while better prices could improve profit margins, the study suggests. Furthermore, selling coffee sourced from sustainable sources could also help increase sales, as customers become more socially responsible.
Vertical integration, by setting up outlets selling coffee and related products in countries with growing demand, could also help UAE businesses increase their share of these markets, the study proposes, adding that these measures could help the UAE become the hub for coffee trading for the emerging markets of the Middle East and North Africa region, South Asia and Africa.
However, the increased demand for coffee also causes some challenges. For example, as demand has continued to increase, the price of coffee has also generally increased from around the year 2002 to present. Rising international prices of coffee can be a challenge for businesses.
Furthermore, coffee prices can sometimes be volatile and can also experience falls. This happens from time-to-time and occurred recently. For example, according to the ICO, the average monthly price of Robusta coffee has fallen from about 121.98 US cents per pound in May 2011 to about 106.88 US cent per pound in May 2012.
While UAE business should do their own analysis, locking into low prices using long-term supply contracts at times when coffee prices register large falls can potentially be one way to mitigate the impact of a period of rising international coffee prices, the study suggests.
Because of the different kind of coffee types, there is also a need to maintain quality control to ensure the purchase of high quality coffee. Sourcing quality blends could also give UAE businesses an advantage as the quality of the blend impacts taste and therefore a customer's willingness to pay.
Another challenge includes customer awareness both in domestic and foreign markets about the need to buy coffee from sources using sustainable farming practices. UAE businesses could turn this to their advantage by importing coffee from sustainable sources and thereby differentiating their products, the study suggests.
Coffee traders wanting to re-export to other markets in the MENA region have historically used the UAE as a re-export hub. The UAE has therefore emerged as an important re-exporter of coffee to markets that are geographically close. According to the UAE Ministry of Foreign Trade, the UAE has been one of the major five coffee re-exporting countries in the world during the period 2005 to 2008.
The UAE's domestic coffee market is also witnessing growth. Table 1 (on next page) provides data on the number of companies engaged in different activities related to coffee processing and trading.
The study shows the growth of Dubai's population and increase in income over the years have resulted in the growth of coffee shops, which have registered an increase every year from 2008 to the first half of 2012.
Dubai's evolution as an important re-exporter of coffee has also resulted in a consistent year on year increase in the number of coffee trading companies.
Important sources of coffee imports for the UAE in 2011 included Brazil, Italy, Switzerland and Germany. According to the ICO the top three countries with the most exportable surplus in the world in crop years 2011/2012 included Brazil, Vietnam and Colombia. In the future these countries with large exportable surpluses could also be analysed for their potential to supply the UAE with quality coffee for domestic use and re-exports. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
DED spreads consumer rights awareness through social media and mobile phones
The Department of Economic Development (DED) has launched an SMS and online campaign to spread awareness on consumer rights and the existing mechanisms to receive and redress consumer complaints in Dubai.
Over a million SMS in Arabic and English will be sent to residents in Dubai as part of the month-long SMS campaign while the online campaign will be rolled out on Twitter and those websites with a high volume of traffic.
A weekly Twitter session where officials from the Commercial Compliance and Consumer Protection (CCCP) division of DED directly interact with consumers and respond to their queries will also be part of the campaign. The campaign can be followed on the hashtag @Dubai_DED.
"Social media and mobile phones are highly effective in reaching out to people, especially in the UAE where mobile and internet usage is the highest in the region. The Department of Economic Development is anchoring its latest consumer rights campaign to new media," said Mohammed Lootah, Deputy CEO, Commercial Compliance and Consumer Protection (CCCP) division, DED.
There were 12.36 million mobile phones in use in the UAE and mobile penetration in the country was 154 per cent according to data released by the Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (TRA) earlier in March 2012. The UAE also had 175,000 active twitter users by the end of June 2012, according to the Arab Social Media Report.
"Mobile phones and internet provide an effective means to reach out to different demographics, especially the youth and the business community. They also offer the advantage of live, interactive communication as in the case of Twitter feeds," added Lootah.
Twitter users will receive updates on all consumer-related news, initiatives and statistics from DED as part of the campaign. The SMS texts will include the consumer protection helpline number (600 545555) and other useful information. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
RTA unveils new thrusts to raise profile of Dubai Award for Sustainable Transport
The Higher Committee of the Dubai Award for Sustainable Transport (DAST) has always been keen on broadening and uplifting the profile of the Award right from inception in 2008 and up to the announcement of winners of its fourth edition last year.
The Committee's attention to propel the Award's mechanism stems from its intentions to inculcate all the concept of Sustainable Transport among government and quasi-government entities as well as private businesses with a view to boosting the practices of sustainable transport at all fields '&' levels to ultimately conserve the environment, maintain the public health, and preserve various resources by way of economising on their daily use.
In this context, the Committee has recently announced the introduction of new key drivers to propel the Award's mechanism and performance starting from the fifth edition 2012. The move ushers in an expansion of the Awards scope to the regional and international levels to showcase the undergoing improvements made in this filed across the UAE, particularly in Dubai.
Commenting on the new additions to the Award, Dr. Khalid Al Zahid, Chairman of the Higher Committee of DAST, said: "The new drivers to be injected in the Award's process include holding workshops on the sidelines of the Awards Distribution Ceremony to showcase the distinguished practices of the winning entities, inviting high-profile experts to deliver lectures in the said Workshops, selecting 8 RTA staff to intercalate them with the Judges Panels, only for the sake of transferring knowledge to the RTA without involving them in the judges process, and inviting 4 international experts to assess the Award in order to subsequently task one of them with the overhauling of the Award. The Committee is currently communicating with 5 suggested experts as keynote speakers in the Awards Distribution Ceremony, take part in the accompanying Workshops, develop '&' implement a clear-cut mechanism for the RTA to benefit from the successful practices '&' initiatives, and commission a study about the deliverables of previous editions of the Award.
He revealed that the deadline for receiving submissions for the 5th edition of DAST would be in October this year. The Chairman of the Award Committee urged the business community, including government agencies '&' departments, and semi-government units as well as private firms operating in the UAE to expedite their submissions to avoid rushing in their bids in the eleventh hour.
It is noteworthy that the number of participations in the Award has seen a remarkable increase as the 4th edition of the Award saw 93 submissions whereas the number of participations received in the inaugural edition of the Award in 2008 was only 28 entries. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
Gitex Shopper set to grow 25% with move to DWTC
In addition to the new, ultra-convenient central location, Gitex Shopper will take place slightly earlier in the year, from September 29 to October 6, and will increase its opening hours to meet visitor demand.
The show will be the biggest and best yet, with 25 per cent increased exhibitor space to accommodate the surge in industry demand and more than 25,000 of the latest cutting-edge products and gadgets on the market. Aroound 95 per cent of the floor space has already booked by some of the world’s top consumer IT and electronics brands, including industry giants Bose, Dell, Epson, Fujitsu, HP, HTC, Intel, Nintendo, Samsung, Sanford and Seagate.
“Gitex Shopper has enjoyed extraordinary success from the show’s very first edition, and with its historic move to the Dubai World Trade Centre, anticipation is at an all-time high. Our exhibitors have almost without exception required increased exhibition space, and this move enables us to deliver that,” said Trixee Loh, senior vice-president at the DWTC, the organiser of Gitex Shopper.
“We have also increased the number of hours that the show is open, in a bid to meet the growing needs of the visitors, many of whom travel hours to attend Gitex Shopper. We are always looking for ways to increase value for all.”
Recognising the importance of Gitex Shopper, many world-famous brands will be participating for the first time with their own dedicated stands, including LG, Nestle, Toshiba and Western Digital.
“Gitex Shopper has, over the years, become one of the best platforms to showcase the latest in consumer electronics and technology. The event attracts people from not only the region, but also across the world turning many visitors into serious shoppers,” LG Electronics Gulf president D.Y. Kim.
“Our debut participation at Gitex Shopper last year proved to be a great platform for Samsung to interact and engage directly with consumers and create awareness of our latest products and technologies. Samsung is a consumer-centric company and such opportunities are key to our continued success,” Samsung Electronics head of retail Firas Tayfour said. - Khaleej Times
Dubai lights up major solar power plan
Dubai Municipality plans to use solar technology to reduce its consumption of traditionally produced electricity and water by 20 per cent over the next five years.
"[The municipality has] taken a number of initiatives in terms of energy efficiency and conservation," Nejib Zaafrani, the chief executive of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy (DSCE) said yesterday.
Solar energy plays a part in the efforts to go green and lighting in parks and public places will in future be powered by solar panels.
This year, the municipality has also signed up to a UAE Government programme to retrofit buildings with systems designed to save energy. As part of its overall energy strategy, the DSCE has identified a number of "quick wins" - measures that can easily be implemented to conserve energy and water.
Other Dubai Government entities will join the Municipality with similar efforts.
"We're moving to a wider space in energy savings by implementing energy conservation measures," said Mr Zaafrani. Dubai has managed to curb the rising costs of utility provision by drawing up a programme to moderate the consumption of electricity and water.
Deterred mainly by the resultant hefty increases in utility bills, Dubai residents have reduced their use of both.
This has enabled the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) to postpone the construction of a large-scale power plant, the 1,500 megawatt Hassyan project.
Dubai relies entirely on imports to meet its requirements for natural gas - the primary fuel for power plants in the region.
The emirate is forced to import expensive liquefied natural gas to meet spiralling demand during the summer and is passing on the additional cost to consumers in the form of a fuel surcharge.
To reduce the dependence on fossil fuels, the DSCE in January announced plans for the 1,000MW Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park.
This renewable energy facility is due to be completed by 2030. – The National
Dubai Municipality to cut power, water use
Dubai Municipality, a member of the Supreme Council of Energy, or SCE, aims to cut its water and electricity consumption by 20 per cent in the next five years in line with Dubai’s Integrated Energy Strategy that targets a 30 per cent reduction in energy demand in the emirate by 2030.
At the SCE’s 18th board meeting, Dubai Municipality presented its ongoing energy-efficiency drive, which has delivered notable electricity and water savings and a reduction in carbon emissions, and plans to utilise solar power to light public spaces and parks, as well as to heat water.
Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the SCE, presided over the meeting held on Monday at the SCE’s new headquarters at Dubai Petroleum.
Vice-Chairman Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer said the council is managing the ongoing implementation of the Dubai Integrated Gas Strategy 2030, which falls within the wider framework of the Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy 2030.
“The council discussed the implementation of the first phase of the Dubai Integrated Gas Strategy,” he said.
Nejib Zafrani, Secretary-General and CEO of the SCE, was also present.
The board reviewed the council’s visit to Brazil in June, led by Al Tayer, to attend the Rio+20 Earth Summit. At the event, the SCE presented its progress on ongoing demand abatement and supply-side strategies, and the Council’s position on implementing renewable energy initiatives.
The meeting also reviewed preparations for the World Energy Forum 2012, which will take place in Dubai between October 22 and 24, the first time outside of its United Nations headquarters in New York.
The Energy Forum is an opportunity for global decision-makers to debate world energy issues, and aims to establish a global platform promoting sustainable energies, energy efficiency and clean technology.
In June, SEC reviewed the implementation of energy efficiency initiatives in Dubai, which target a 30 per cent reduction in energy demand in Dubai by 2030.
In 2011, Dubai power capacity grew by 18 per cent. Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, or Dewa, said its capacity increased to 8,718 megawatts, or MW, for 2011 in comparison with 7,361MW in 2010. Desalinated water production capacity increased in 2011 to 400 million gallons per day, or MIGD, in comparison with 330 MIGD in 2010.
Collective energy demand in the UAE, the second largest Arab hydrocarbon consumer, grew by around 5.2 per cent in 2011.
From around 1.48 million equivalent barrels per day, or ebpd, in 2010, domestic consumption of crude oil, gas and other energy sources increased to nearly 1.56 million ebpd, according to the Kuwaiti-based Organisation of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries.
The UAE energy demand has steadily risen over the past years, recording a growth of about nine per cent since 2007, one of the highest energy growth rates in the world. Energy consumption in the UAE recorded its highest growth of around 22.9 per cent in 2008 as a result of an upsurge in its economy after crude prices leaped by nearly 50 per cent to an average US$95 a barrel. – Khaleej Times
Ali Al Jabri named Festival Director at Abu Dhabi Film Festival
The Abu Dhabi Film Festival yesterday announced that Ali Al Jabri will be its Festival Director. He has been with the Festival for 5 years and was previously the Director of the Emirates Film Competition - a key element of the Festival's programme.
Al Jabri worked closely with Peter Scarlet, who has led the Festival for the past three years when managed by ADACH.
Speaking on Al Jabri's appointment, Noura Al Kaabi, CEO of twofour54, said, "Today is a very important milestone in the event's history. Ali has been instrumental in developing the Emirates Film Competition and we are sure he will bring the same level of passion and enthusiasm to his new role." "I am both proud and excited about the new role," commented Ali Al Jabri, Festival Director, Abu Dhabi Film Festival. "This shows the tremendous opportunities that are now opening up in the media industry for UAE Nationals and I hope that I can encourage a new generation to want to be a part of such an exciting industry as we position Abu Dhabi as a creative hub for film production in the region." Since the decision was taken in March this year to transfer the Film Festival from the former Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH) to twofour54, the two entities have been working to integrate and transition the Festival into its new home. The first stage of the integration saw the Festival team move office location to twofour54's Khalifa Park campus where they have become part of the growing media industry community there.
The move to twofour54 is a positive for both organisations as they work to showcase regional and international cinema, support the development of emerging Arab cinema, Arabic media and entertainment content to establish Abu Dhabi as an international centre of excellence. It follows the integration of the Abu Dhabi Film Commission under twofour54 in 2011. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
Dubai Customs foils bid to smuggle over 1 kg of heroin
Dubai Customs inspectors at Dubai International Airport (DIA) have foiled a bid to smuggle more than 1 kg (1,166 grams) of heroin, concealed in the guts of an Asian traveller coming into the country from an Asian country through DIA Terminal 1.
Ali Saleh Al Maghawi, Director of Passenger Operations Department at Dubai Customs, said customs inspectors suspected a passenger who after having completed the passport procedures seemed confused, nervous and anxious.
He was asked to go through the body scanner, which is when the customs inspectors noticed some murky substance inside his guts. When questioned, the passenger said that they were capsules containing a narcotic substance, and that he knew nothing about it. Later, it was found that there were a total of 110 plastic capsules, containing 1,166 grams of the narcotic substance heroin.
Al Maghawi elaborated that after the inspectors of the Passengers Investigation Department at Dubai Customs questioned the passenger, he admitted that he received a narcotic substance from someone in the airport before departure. He swallowed the capsules there to extract them later after arriving to the country. He was supposed to contact a person living in Dubai and deliver the capsules to him.
As per the joint cooperation and coordination between Dubai Customs and the General Department of Anti-Narcotics at Dubai Police, the passenger and the seized drugs were transferred to their office to proceed with necessary legal actions.
The official said that Dubai Customs seeks to continuously be armed with highly professional inspectors, who have wide expertise and knowledge of smuggling methods. Dubai Customs continuously works on improving its inspectors' skills by introducing training courses on inspection techniques, drugs and prohibited material detection and body language, in an effort to help them acquire knowledge about human behaviour, motivation and spontaneous reactions. Moreover, Dubai Customs equips them with the most advanced technical inspection and detection technologies, which have greatly contributed to the realisation of the Department's vision, corporate values and responsibilities.
The protection of the society against the risks of smuggling drugs, and prohibited and restricted substances is one of the key missions of Dubai Customs, which is responsible for foiling all smuggling bids using innovative and diverse techniques and later handing over the smugglers to specialised security authorities for follow-up as per the joint cooperation and collaboration. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
Celebrating the season of sharing
Special deals and live performances dominate the events for families and visitors of malls in Dubai this Ramadan.
At Mercato, a live show by the renowned Enshad Choir is going on since August 7, where an exquisite collection of Islamic songs reverberate in the air this Ramadan.
Mirla El Masri Heisser, PR and Corporate Communication Manager of Mercato and Town Centre Jumeirah, said that the choir beautifully communicate the values of Islam through Arabian songs and poetry.
Enshad Choir will be performing two shows every evening. The first will be from 9.30pm until 10.15pm and the second performance, from 10.45pm until 11.30pm. These performances will continue until the last day of the holy month of Ramadan.
The show by Enshad Choir comes as an addition to the already existing Ramadan activities taking place at Mercato this year.
Heisser said that these are charitable activities that will make it easy for mall visitors to be able to contribute to charity, while enjoying a taste of traditional Ramadan atmosphere.
There is a charity box on the first floor, where mall visitors can donate toys, books and clothes during Ramadan. All donations will be given to orphanages through the Beit Al Khair Society. Near the charity box, there is an interactive children’s workshop, offering a variety of arts and crafts including paper lanterns, Ramadan and Eid cards and painting.
At the Porto Vecchio Village, on the first floor of Mercato, a Charity Henna Tent is set up for visitors to enjoy henna designs and all proceeds from the henna artist will go to Beit Al Khair Society.
Among the Ramadan activities prepared by Mercato are the Hospitality Tent, set up at the ground floor near the fountain, to welcome all visitors for coffee and dates at Iftar time onwards.
At The Dubai Mall, a ‘Summer On Ice’ is going on at the Dubai Ice Rink, which offers a week-long learn-to-skate programme at an affordable cost, that also concludes with a month of free ice skating at the rink. It also offers an intensive skate camp to master five levels of ice skating.
KidZania®, the interactive mini-city, marks ‘Madinat KidZania®’, where adults receive a 30 per cent discount off their ticket price when they enter with a child or a toddler during Ramadan. In addition, hosting ‘KidZania® Games’ will be held till August 12 and a summer camp for little ones until August 16. Furthermore, upon purchase of a child entry ticket at KidZania®, visitors will also receive a voucher worth Dh50 for SEGA Republic.
At all the leisure assets of Emaar Retail at The Dubai Mall and Dubai Marina Mall, including Reel Cinemas, SEGA Republic, the Dubai Ice Rink, Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo and KidZania®, families and visitors can celebrate the season of generosity and togetherness with discounts and promotions for the young and the young at heart.
Arif Amiri, CEO of Emaar Retail LLC, said that Ramadan is a time to reflect on solidarity and foster camaraderie amongst friends and families. “Various activities at our leisure attractions promote the spirit of togetherness and provide visitors memorable experiences that can be shared with their loved ones.” – Khaleej Times
Sowwah Square: welcome to Abu Dhabi's city of tomorrow
It looks at first glance like a pile of computer motherboards or a futuristic complex straight out of Star Wars.
Sowwah Square, which has quickly become one of the most distinctive buildings on the Abu Dhabi coastline, was always going to be something special.
The centrepiece of Al Maryah, the development formerly known as Sowwah Island, the square is the new home of the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange and valued by Mubadala Development at Dh4 billion (US$1.08bn). Mubadala is a strategic investment company owned by the Abu Dhabi Government.
"We were encouraged to assess the present and design for the future," said Steven Nilles, a partner at Goettsch Partners, the company that designed Sowwah Square.
The briefing was to take a blank canvas on the man-made island and create an iconic and instantly recognisable building, using the best materials and technology available.
["That is] everything an architect wants to achieve," says Mr Nilles.
As a pillar of the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030, Sowwah Square will house the financial services companies that will help diversify the capital's economy.
Overt historical references were out, Mr Nilles says of the designs. Instead, the architects went for an international feel befitting a world-class financial hub. The plan was simple: to create a "timeless" image for the city.
All of the buildings are raised off the ground, with the bulk of Sowwah Square's four towers perched on foundations just 42 feet wide at their most slender point.
The Securities Exchange is suspended five stories above ground.
"Everything is lifted up," said Mr Nilles.
"What makes this unique is the spaces between the buildings, as you pass from one to another."
Sustainability was also a priority. "This was designed at a time when people were questioning 'irrational exuberance' … this project takes on a very pragmatic approach," he added. "All of this structure above creates a lot of shade."
Not only that, a transparent design, intended to include the outside world through clear surfaces, features a ventilated facade that insulates against extreme temperatures.
Goettsch Partners has its roots in the firm set up by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, the director of Germany's Bauhaus school of architecture, who pioneered the "international style" of towers from the 1930s. The motivation behind that much-copied blueprint was principle, not style, according to Matthew Berglund, an associate at the company.
"What he was after was the principle of efficiency using the current technology of the day," he said.
But then, pioneering architecture using the best technology on offer is the philosophy that also underpins Sowwah Square's space-age look. – The National
UAE is making intensive efforts to protect dugongs from extinction
The United Arab Emirates is running a series of programs to protect dugongs from extinction, which is implemented by the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD) and Total United Arab Emirates.
According to a classification made by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the dugongs are currently listed as one of the internationally endangered animals.
This program comes in the framework of joint cooperation agreement between the Environment Agency of Abu Dhabi and Total, which aims to continue the implementation of the Authority to monitor the dugongs and study its biology, habitat and geographical distribution in the territorial waters of the UAE and is sponsored by Total since 1999.
Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Secretary General of EAD, said, "A large proportion of dugongs, world-wide, cruise the waters of the Arabian Gulf, where there are about 40% of these communities live in the waters of Abu Dhabi." She added, "That raises the role of the United Arab Emirates and the Emirate of Abu Dhabi in particular in the protection of dugongs, which is considered an important role in regional and international efforts to protect this type of animals." She pointed out that since 1999, and funded by the Total, the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi has done many implementations to study dugongs in the UAE, which contributed in the identification of dugongs and their deployment locations.
Studies of the first phase lasted for four years and focused on gathering information on the availability and distribution of those species, status and protection in the territorial waters of the UAE.
And expanded to a second phase to study the biology and environmental effects for this animal.
They also listed the risks and threatening operations that endanger the dugong by identifying the reasons that killed them as well as the causes of deterioration and loss of habitat.
The team was able to also collect data on the environment and habitats of the dugongs through studying patterns of their migration using satellite tracking.
In addition, the team selected marine protected areas and promoted regional cooperation among the countries of their regional habitats, through a memorandum of understanding, which notes their protection at regional level.
For his part, Mr. Jean Luc Guizot, head of Total UAE, talked about the importance of this partnership between the Environment Agency of Abu Dhabi and Total in the field of environment, noting that this partnership emphasises the commitment of the Government of Abu Dhabi to protect the environment and wild life.
Mr. Thabit Zahran Al Abdul Salam, Director of Biodiversity Sector EAD, said that the Dugong, are herbivores and are the only remaining members of (Dugongidae) family.
He said that they are all listed under the endangered animals, as compiled by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Dugongs have a wide spread that extends to 48 countries at least. It limits its spread to the coastal and inland waters of tropical and subtropical Indian Ocean and the Pacific.
They are found in large proportions in the waters of Arabian Gulf. Including other areas where there are dugong like the Western Indian Ocean, the Red Sea and the Eastern Coast of Africa.
He stated that dugongs are facing many challenges in the areas of their deployment, where they are the only Marine Mammal that feed on herbs and plants only. So the human activities in these areas affect the seaweed that is main food for Dugongs in a way that leads to their extension.
Al Abdul Salam mentioned that he has listed the dugongs in the Red List, at the International Union for Conservation of Nature, which was issued in 2009 under the category of "Animals endangered to extinction," which concludes that those beautiful animals are at great risk of extinction from the wild in the near future.
As part of its commitment to the Convention on the protection of Dugongs, the Government of the United Arab Emirates and the Environment Agency of Abu Dhabi, lead global efforts made by the United Nations Environment Programme and the Convention on Migratory Species to achieve this protection.
Ms. Catherine Ferran, Executive Director of Total's Foundation, said that the company was established in 1992 and committed to the implementation of many non-profit programmes in many areas, particularly in the protection of marine biodiversity by supporting research and programmes to protect endangered species and ecosystems.
Ferran said that the philosophy of Total Foundation embodies the true meaning of corporate social responsibility and building bridges of cooperation between the research sector and non-profit organisations and companies to increase and share knowledge for the benefit of everyone.
She stressed the Foundation's commitment to strengthening communication with the Total Environment Agency for a better future for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
On his behalf, Mr. Sultan Al Hajji, Deputy Chairman of Total UAE, noted their contribution to the implementation of studying the Dugongs.
He said that the contribution of Total is part of its support for the efforts made by the UAE to protect dugongs and to take decisive measures to preserve the environment and biodiversity in the UAE.
It is noted on the Red List of 2009, that the International Union for Conservation of Nature classified the Dugongs as vulnerable to extinction in the future over a medium term.
The list also states that protecting these migratory animals, will benefit the international cooperation activities organised during their migrations.
Thanks to the support provided by Total UAE, the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi has conducted studies on the Dugongs and their habitats in the United Arab Emirates since 1999. The first four years of those studies focused on obtaining general information about these animals, their habitats and how to maintain it. The second phase focused on biological and environmental aspects and evaluation on the Dugongs structure.
Several achievements had been achieved in the framework of this project, notably the important environmental monitoring of the Dugongs and their locations, and reviewing threats on these animals by investigating the causes of death.
Also, several data on their biological environment was collected, using satellite detection and genetics, while developing a plan to protect and manage protected areas of the Dugongs habitats.
Among the most prominent results was to collect basic information about Dugongs and their habitats and the formation of long-term monitoring programs with international protocols , to protect Dugongs and contribute to the management of marine protected areas.
The program is being implemented the United Nations, as they are signing an international memorandum of understanding to protect the animal by the international conventions. While, Local biologists are being trained in marine research programs.
It is noted that there are a lot of locations in the UAE that are considered as natural habitats to protect the fungal environment. And the government had been drawing up plans and programs that work to protect endangered species, including the Arabian Oryx, the Houbara (the Bustard), the Arabian leopard and hawks. And within the marine environment there are sea turtles and dugongs.
Bo Alsaaev natural marine preservation is considered one of the most important habitats in the UAE, which is located East of Bahrani, and West of Alhadderiaat, including Kerkshan, Dhissa and Futaisi island, and lies on an area of 282 square kilometres. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
Endangered Hawksbill turtles hatching on Saadiyat Island
Two resort employees spotted hundreds of baby turtle tracks on the beach of Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi last week, which led them to the discovery that endangered hawksbill sea turtles were hatching on the island. The duo were quick to alert the environment team of the Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC) which monitors the turtles under its Hawksbill Sea Turtle Conservation Programme.
“We’ve been checking the beach first thing every morning since the nest was laid,” said Shiva Kumar, from the Leisure & Spa team for St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort Abu Dhabi. “TDIC gave us training on what to look out for and how to identify turtle tracks, and they told us that it took between 50 and 60 days for a turtle nest to hatch.”
Kumar and beach lifeguard Sunil Shetty, both from India, were the first to spot the turtle hatchlings, said a press release issued by TDIC yesterday.
“Shiva and I were conducting our routine morning beach check, and suddenly we came across hundreds of tiny turtle tracks making their way from the dune area to the shore,” explained a thrilled Shetty. “It really makes you happy to see; we’ve been keeping an eye on the nest for the past two months and making sure it remained protected — so in a way we feel like those little turtles were part of the family.”
The workers assisted TDIC’s environment manager Millie Plowman to record a full inventory of the nest as part of the official monitoring programme, which began early in 2010 and has to date recorded 650 successful turtle hatchings on Saadiyat Island.
“We now have another 65 successful hatchings to add to our records,” said Plowman. “This is a fairly normal result for a nest of around 80-100 eggs, as some of the eggs don’t fully develop while in the nest. “Once one egg hatches, the entire nest hatches and it’s quite a spectacular sight if you’re able to witness a brood of baby turtles popping their heads out of the sand after burrowing their way up from their underground nest. The baby turtles then make their way to the shore, orienting themselves in the dark by the glow off the water. Once in the water the baby turtles swim for a full 24 hours to get as far away from the shore as possible, powered by the reserves of the egg yolk they’ve ingested. Then they just float amongst the currents to be taken out into deeper waters to mature.
“We’re not really sure how they spend their time out in the deep seas, but we do know that female turtles return to the beach where they were born around 30 years later to nest,” Plowman said. – Gulf News
'Ali's film' showcases best of Dubai for World Expo 2020 bid
Ten-year-old Ali says he lives in "the greatest city in the world - Dubai."
The young boy stars in 'Ali's Film', produced to support Dubai's bid to host World Expo 2020. Ali's presentation showcases landmarks and highlights why he believes Dubai is the ideal host for the event.
When asked why Dubai should host the World EXPO 2020, Ali says: "Because the UAE is already like one big incredible expo."
"In the last 40 years, just look at what we have done," he adds.
"We have built a place that is clean, healthy, safe and fun."
Moreover, the UAE is where the East meets the West, explains Ali.
"Expos introduce amazing things to the world.
"It's the UAE's turn to amaze the world," he adds.
A World Expo in Dubai in 2020 would be the first to be held in the MENASA (Middle East, North Africa and South Asia) region.
Every five years and for a period of six months, World Expos attract millions of visitors.
Considering this, Ali also points out that the UAE is already home to 200 nationalities.
"Over 50 million people came through Dubai last year," he adds.
"We know how to welcome them."
The UAE is bidding to host the World Expo 2020 in Dubai under the theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’. Dubai is the fifth city to bid, with the others being Sao Paulo in Brazil, Ayutthaya in Thailand, Ekaterinburg in Russia and Izmir in Turkey. A decision is likely to be made next year. – 7Days
UAE project to help Pakistan starts distributing food parcels among displaced families
Islamabad: Acting upon the directives of the President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan , the Directorate of the UAE project to help Pakistan in cooperation with the Khalifa bin Zayed Humanitarian Foundation (KZHF) have started distribution of 20,000 food parcels among displaced families in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, and in North and South Waziristan Agencies in Pakistan.
The Directorate of the UAE project supervised the distribution of food aid among needy families at the displaced camps. The field team along with representatives of the provincial, International Aid agencies and Pakistan Army participated in the distributing process of food parcels at the Jalozai Camp, considered one the biggest refugee camps in Pakistan with 13600 displaced families.
The Director of UAE project to assist Pakistan Abdullah Khalifa Al Ghafli said distribution of food aid to the displaced people at Jalozai Camp comes from the keenness of the wise leadership of the UAE to support the needy and poor families as well as provision of a decent life for them. It is also a culmination of the distinguished relations and efforts between the UAE and Pakistan in the context of humanitarian work.
He added that the foodstuff has been selected through latest standards in terms of nutritional value which includes various items of daily usage like flour, rice, sugar, salt, lentils, cooking oil and tea. The food stuff has been bought from the local markets in Pakistan in order to activate the local economy and revive the local markets.
He affirmed that the directorate of the project is keen to deliver the assistance on daily basis to beneficiaries at the allocated shelters in the camps in order to facilitate the delivery routes for families who lack wage earners, suffer from injuries and physical disability and the inability to move.
The displaced families expressed their happiness on the initiative which stresses UAE keenness to alleviate sufferings of the Pakistani people who are facing dire conditions, and extended thanks and gratitude to President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. They wished him good health and prosperity, security and stability for the people of UAE. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
UAE has great opportunity to innovative technology in paediatrics : Dr. Newman
The UAE has a great opportunity to lead in new paediatric technology to improve healthcare for children, a proven leader in the development and application of innovative treatments for childhood illness and injuries said last night.
Dr. Kurt Newman, President and CEO of Children s National Medical Centre at the Sheikh Zayed Campus for Advanced Children's Medicine in Washington, told the Mohammed bin Zayed Ramadan Majlis about a new forward-thinking concept in medicine about finding new ways of prevention and taking care of children.
Speaking at a lecture title ''Changing the Future of Health through Paediatrics’', he reviewed the growing partnership with Abu Dhabi, which he said, crowned by establishing The Sheikh Zayed Institute for Paediatric Surgical Innovation at Children s National Medical Centre, located in Washington, D.C.. The health facility was made possible by a generous gift from the Government of Abu Dhabi in September 2009. The Sheikh Zayed Institute for Paediatric Surgical Innovation reflects the shared values to build this partnership to benefit children in the United States, in the United Arab Emirates, and around the world." The lecture was attended by His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, H.H. Lt.General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, a crowd of Sheikhs, senior officials, diplomats and doctors.
The Institute aims to develop knowledge, tools, and procedures that will make surgery more precise, less invasive, and pain-free. It will offer opportunities for information transfer and innovation discoveries that will benefit children in both the Emirate and around the globe.
''Children s National Medical Centre has a longstanding relationship with the United Arab Emirates and treats many UAE patients every year. The advances in paediatric medicine made at the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Paediatric Surgical Innovation will have an impact on the children in Washington, in the UAE, and across the globe.
''That concept of thinking forward can transform the way we think about healthcare for children and avoiding diseases. The Children's National Medical Centre and Abu Dhabi have been maintaining longstanding partnership for 20 years. We have treated hundreds of children with serious health problems every year,'' Dr. Newman, also the surgeon-in-chief at the Centre, said.
''Our goal with our partnership is to improve paediatric medicine for children in Abu Dhabi, Washington and around the world.'' ''Telemedicine program in Fujairah created allowing for live consultations between medical specialists in Washington and UAE.'' He hoped the partnership would be expanded to develop a network of new leaders in paediatrics in the UAE to shape a new vision for children medicine. ''It s an unbelievable partnership that looks for new technology to treat children diseases.
He said the new approach in paediatrics is revolved around what to anticipate and figure out what is going to happen.
''Anticipatory Medicine is A New Way of Thinking: Start from a child's perspective for a healthy adult and thinking ahead in healthcare: taking care of children today to improve everyone's health tomorrow.'' ''The new anticipatory medicine approach is based on based on prevention, detection and intervention,'' he added.
Three million children die in the first month of age. 330,000 suffer accidental injuries every year and 830,000 die of diseases.
In future, he noted, advances in technology, screening and genetic medicine will be used to identify and anticipate people's future health issues and to find ways to address or even eliminate the health issues before they develop.
''Pulse-oximetry (Pulse-ox) screenings implemented by Health Authority -Abu Dhabi (HAAD) and Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA) to screen for congenital heart defects in newborns have saved lives.'' And, he went on to say, genetic medicine will permit early intervention in prevention of adult disorders: obesity, type II diabetes, asthma. Epigenetics will lead to the development of new medications or therapies to eliminate certain diseases while foetal neuromedicine allows doctors to fix health issues before birth.
He said the Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD) together with Children s National Medical Centre rollout of a newborn screening program in Abu Dhabi for critical cyanotic congenital heart disease (CCCHD), the most serious form of congenital heart disease (CHD). Made possible by a long-standing relationship between HAAD and Children s Sheikh Zayed Institute for Paediatric Surgical Innovation, the program aims to increase knowledge and skills in pulse oximetry, a non-invasive and cost-effective screening procedure that detects CCCHD in newborns. By using pulse oximetry, HAAD estimates that 10 Abu Dhabi children each year will be diagnosed with CCCHD and will receive treatment early enough to more effectively manage the condition.
According to him, the Institute is the world's first health facility to adopt creative technology in medicine, making the UAE the first country to apply that innovative model.
Speaking the Pain Medicine Initiative, he said pain is one of the most challenging and misunderstood issues in paediatric care due in part to the difficulty of measuring it in newborns and other young patients who cannot effectively communicate their experience.
The Pain Medicine Initiative brings a solution through the development of the first device capable of providing an objective measure of a child s pain. Once Institute researchers can measure pain accurately, they will be able to begin to eliminate it with more effective medications and treatments.
''More than 80,000 children were screened by pain measuring device, algometer,'' he added.
Children s National Medical Centre, he said had added robotic surgery as a minimally invasive option for some paediatric urologic procedures. The arrival of this robotic surgery system is another logical step toward improving surgical care for children. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
American exports to the Emirates top Dh100bn
US exports to the UAE jumped by more than half in the first five months of the year to US$27.4 billion (Dh100.64bn) as smaller businesses joined giants such as Boeing and General Electric in selling goods and services.
A surge in US businesses setting up offices and branches in the UAE also helped to fuel the increase. Close to 1,000 American companies now have offices here, up from 750 18 months ago.
"Now we're seeing the smaller and medium companies looking to the Middle East as a growth area," said Michael Corbin, the US ambassador to the UAE.
Debt problems and recession in the euro zone and uncertainties elsewhere in the global economy means the region is becoming more attractive, he said.
"People are discovering their markets are limited in the US, they have done as much as they can in the US, Europe is very difficult for US companies to break into, Latin America has its challenges and China and east Asia has been an area where we've done a lot, but this is an area of the Arab world that has enormous potential," said Mr Corbin.
The UAE has overtaken Saudi Arabia in recent years to become the largest export market for the United States in the Middle East. Commercial aircraft, power equipment, defence items, transport and infrastructure-related goods and services are among the biggest-selling items.
But increasingly, food, medical supplies and medical technologies are joining the list. About 200 US companies exhibited at the Arab Health event in Dubai in January and a similar number were at the Gulfood event in February.
Traditional sectors are also holding up well. Boeing and other US firms reported signing more than US$20bn in contracts at the Dubai Airshow in November.
The rise in US exports to the UAE in the first five months of the year was far greater than the 7 per cent climb in America's overall exports. US exports to the UAE reached US$15.9bn last year, up 36 per cent from the year earlier. UAE sales to the US more than doubled, up by 113 per cent to US$2.4bn, over the same period.
However, US companies are facing increasingly stiff competition from exporters in emerging markets offering cheaper goods.
"If decisions are being made on the lowest price rather than the total package, sometimes the customer loses when they don't get what they expected," Mr Corbin said.
His comments echo the global trade battle the US is facing against China, now the world's largest exporter ahead of the America and India.
The US share of total goods shipped around the world slipped to 8.5 per cent in 2010, down from about 12 per cent during the 1980s and 1990s.
Mr Corbin said local buyers needed to remember the additional benefits often attached to US exports, such as the transfer of technology, training of the local workforce and internship programmes with US companies.
"If people look at the sum total of what's offered with US goods and services, they will choose US products and I believe there's an understanding of the US value proposition here," he said.
"We just need to remind them." – The National
EMAL's first steel raised in Phase II expansion
The first structural steel for Emirates Aluminium's (EMAL) Phase II expansion was erected on 29 July bringing the latest milestone for the UAE flagship industrial project and the company another step closer to becoming one of the world's largest single-site aluminium smelters.
Once completed in 2014, the potline at the Al Taweelah site will be the longest in the world at 1.7 km.
Saeed Al Mazrooei, EMAL President and CEO, commented on this event "I am pleased to see phase II progressing on schedule. This milestone which was achieved as per plan is very critical to our first hot metal date.
Yousuf Bastaki EMAL Vice President said: "The special steel structures are the first visible signs of our Phase II expansion and brings us yet another step closer to meeting the ambitious targets we have set ourselves. EMAL is also pleased to cooperate with Emirates Steel who supplied the steel required for its expansion work." In total it will take 120 of the specially designed structures to facilitate the additional 444 reductions pots required to expand production to 1.3 million metric tonnes per year. It will take around one year to complete the installation of all 120 structures. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
Dubai Chamber members' exports and re-exports see 16.4% growth in July
As part of its commitment to create new business networking opportunities for its vast network of stakeholders, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry recently hosted a Business Networking Suhour at Dubai World Trade Centre.
The Business Networking Suhour, which accredited Dubai's growth to the private-public sector partnership, was attended by Abdul Rahman Saif Al Ghurair, Chairman and Hamad Buamim, Director General, Dubai Chamber, as well as heads of business councils and groups, a host of VIP guests representing the business community in Dubai and members of the local media.
In his welcome address, Al Ghurair informed the gathering about Dubai Chamber's commitment to enhance the economic growth of Dubai by supporting the business communities through new initiatives of reaching key emerging markets as well as opening of first overseas representative offices in Azerbaijan and Ethiopia by the year's end which he said will soon be followed by 20 similar offices the world over.
Referring to Dubai Chamber's data for the first half of 2012, Al Ghurair informed that these promising figures indicate that Dubai is continuing to make good economic progress as 6,780 new members in comparison to the 5,233 of the first half of 2011 took the Chamber's total membership to 1,35,000 thus registering a 30% growth.
"In July, our members' exports and re-exports which valued at Dh 24.4 billion recorded 16.4% year-on-year growth and 7.6% month-on-month growth in comparison to 2011 as 5,254 exporters despatched goods to 170 markets of the world," he said.
He further informed that Dubai Chamber issued 68,000 certificates of origin during July which is an 8.7% increase from the certificates of origin issued in July 2011. "All these increased figures point towards an excellent start to the second half of 2012," he said.
Al Ghurair also highlighted Dubai Chamber's participation in 32 events around the world, in 24 cities and in 19 countries including outbound delegations to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Surat in India, and Ethiopia in Africa.
"There is more on the horizon as we are preparing to take further trade missions to key markets like Azerbaijan to discuss the opening of our satellite office and efforts to increase trade and investment ties with Central Asia and the Caucasus.
"We will also be attending SMM Hamburg, which is one of the most important trade fairs for the world's maritime industry with the hope that this will bring new developments to Dubai's maritime industry and increase the number of joint partnerships in this important economic sector," added Al Ghurair.
The Chairman of Dubai Chamber called upon Dubai's business community to benefit from the investment opportunities offered by the emirate's leading economic sectors, especially the trade sector, as the emirate's forecasted economic growth shows a positive trend and clearly indicates the investor's confidence in the sound business environment of Dubai.
Al Ghurair also highlighted Dubai Chamber's role in supporting the business community by strengthening the partnership between the private and public sectors which he said is the real driving force behind the success of Dubai's economic growth as is the case with many progressive economies of the world, he said. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
DGCX gold, rupee futures volumes surge
Gold and Rupee futures continued their strong run on the Dubai Gold and Commodities Exchange, or DGCX, driving a 211 per cent year-on-year increase in the Exchange’s volumes in July.
Building on its robust performance in the first half of the year, DGCX recorded a total of 965,637 contracts in July, valued at US$35.8 billion, its fifth consecutive monthly volumes record.
July volumes — a nine per cent increase from June — took the Exchange’s year-to-date volumes to 4,813,649 contracts, a 179 per cent rise from the 1,728,213 contracts achieved in the same period in 2011.Currency volumes in July surged 223 per cent from last year to total 897,918 contracts. DGCX’s Indian rupee futures was again the mainstay of currency growth, registering a year-on-year increase of 263 per cent to aggregate 892,349 contracts this month. Among other currency contracts, Australian Dollar futures and Swiss Franc futures grew 49per cent and 24 per cent from June respectively.
Meanwhile, DGCX Gold futures, one of the Exchange’s flagship contracts, saw a substantial year-on-year increase of 104 per cent to end the month on 55,320 contracts. Year-to-date volumes for Gold futures reached 312,772 contracts, an 11 per cent increase from the same period in 2011.
Gary Anderson, chief executive officer, DGCX, said, “Over the first half of 2012, DGCX has actively sought to boost liquidity and volume in our key contracts by introducing contract changes and incentivising market makers to provide better pricing. We are encouraged by the increased volumes that we have achieved as a result of these initiatives.” – Khaleej Times
Revenue at F'&'B Outlets in Abu Dhabi International Airport reaches Dh 38.2 million in H12012
The year-to-date sales of Food and Beverages at Abu Dhabi International Airport were Dh 38.2 million in the first half of the year, showing an increase of 47.1% compared to the same period in 2011.
The passenger growth totalled 22.8% for the first six months of 2012.
Dan Cappell, Senior Vice President Commercial of Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC) said: "A number of factors contribute to the continued dynamic growth of sales in the second quarter. The addition of new outlets at Abu Dhabi International Airport has driven the F'&'B business both in terms of revenue and by providing a greater variety of options for the airport customers." "ADAC remains committed to investing in passenger amenities, and delivering a world-class offer that represents a real value for money proposition for all travellers. Additional initiatives such as complimentary Wi-Fi access, free use of computer stations, children's play areas and lounges for economy passengers, reflect ADAC's commitment to enhancing customers experience when travelling to, from or via Abu Dhabi International Airport," he added.
Abu Dhabi International Airport's improvements have been reflected in their Airport Service Quality (ASQ) rankings and with the SkyTrax 4 Star award, leading it to become the only airport in the Middle East that is ranked 4 Stars, reinforcing ADAC's commitment to customer choice and quality. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
Air Arabia announces second quarter 2012 net profit of Dh 66 million, up 31 per cent
Air Arabia, announced yesterday its financial results for the three months ending June 30, 2012, demonstrating the continued strength of the airline's business model.
For the three months ending June 30, 2012, Air Arabia reported a net profit of Dh 66 million, an increase of 31 per cent compared to Dh 51 million in the corresponding period in 2011. The carrier's turnover for the second quarter of 2012 stood at Dh 729 million, an increase of 23 per cent compared to Dh 592 million reported in the same period of 2011.
The airline welcomed onboard 1.3 million passengers in the second quarter of 2012, an increase of 15 per cent compared to the same period last year. Air Arabia's average seat load factor - or passengers carried as a percentage of available seats - for the three months ending June 30, 2012, stood at an impressive 85 per cent, up 3 per cent on the same period last year.
"Air Arabia's expansion strategy and efficient operating model continue to be reflected in the airline's financial performance, amidst continues political challenges that the region is witnessing" said Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammad Al Thani, Chairman of Air Arabia. "In the second quarter of this year, our proven ability to identify and capitalise on underserved served routes continued to reap enormous benefits." For the six months ending June 30, 2012, Air Arabia reported a net profit of Dh 115 million, an increase of 22 per cent compared to Dh 94 million in the corresponding period in 2011.
The carrier's turnover for the first half of 2012 stood at Dh 1.3 billion, an increase of 22 per cent compared to Dh 1.1 billion reported in the same period of 2011. The airline welcomed onboard 2.5 million passengers in the first half of 2012, an increase of 11 per cent compared to the same period last year.
Air Arabia added two new routes in the first half of 2011, with Taif in Saudi Arabia and Salalah in Oman bringing the airlines global network to 75 destinations. Additionally, the airline increased the frequency of flights to Nagpur in India, Dammam and Riyadh in Saudi as well as to Kuwait. The first half of 2012 also saw the delivery of three new aircraft from Airbus as well as Air Arabia completing its first maintenance check with its new hangar facility. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
Indians top list of Burj Khalifa buyers in H1 2012
Indians have topped the list of buyers in Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest tower, for the first six months of 2012, Emirates 24|7 can reveal.
Iranians were the next biggest buyers in the iconic Dubai tower.
The Dubai Land Department data on Burj Khalifa, sent exclusively to this website, reveals that Indians spent over Dh814 million on purchasing properties in the 828 metre-high iconic tower, while Iranians bought properties worth Dh470 million.
Britons were third in the list of top five buyers - nationality wise - purchasing properties worth Dh301 million.
Emiratis came in fourth, acquiring properties worth Dh238 million, while Pakistanis took the fifth slot, spending Dh210 million.
Apartment prices in the tower are showing signs of a “resurgence” with asking rates increasing by nine to 12 per cent in the first quarter of 2012 compared to fourth quarter 2011.
“Prices have increased in the first quarter of this year, as compared to the fourth quarter last year,” said Parvees Gafur, Chief Executive Officer, PropSquare Real Estate, a Dubai-based real estate consultancy.
Depending on the views whether they are Lake and Fountain views or Sea and Sheikh Zayed Road, the asking prices are between Dh2,850 and Dh3,600 per square feet compared to between Dh2,600 and Dh3,200 per square feet last quarter.
Prominent buyers of apartments in Burj Khalifa include Raj Kundra, a London-based NRI businessman, who has presented an apartment to his wife Shilpa Shetty, local businessman BR Shetty and the most recent buyer is Singapore-based Spice Group Chairman BK Modi.
Although Emaar Properties has not hiked service charges for 2012, property experts believe the charges in the tower remain one of the highest in the world.
Apartment owners currently shell out Dh55.01 per square feet. In 2011 and 2010, the charges were Dh55 and Dh52.77 per sq. ft., respectively.
Charges for Armani Residences continue to remain the highest.
They are set at Dh83.12 square feet, which means a 2,500 square feet apartment will attract a service fees of Dh207,800 per year.
In 2011 and 2010, the charges were Dh83.71 per sq. ft. and Dh78.63 per sq. ft., respectively.
In April, Emirates 24|7 reported that Indians topped the list of first-time property buyers in Dubai for 2011, having bought properties worth Dh2.1 billion, while the total real estate transactions for the year stood at Dh143 billion.
In addition, the top two largest residential real estate deals for 2011 were reported in Burj Khalifa - a 11,355-square foot apartment selling for Dh28.15 million and a Dh7,910-square foot unit selling for Dh28 million.
Overall, property sales for the first quarter 2012 touched Dh22.34 billion, according to Dubai Land Department. Cash sales accounted for 68 per cent, or Dh15.23 billion, while mere Dh6.09 billion or 27 per cent, of total property transactions were done through bank finance.
The 2,717-feet high tower has 900 apartments, while the Armani Residences has 144 fully furnished private apartments. – Emirates 24|7
TDIC leasing new property
The first of the Eastern Mangroves residences by the Tourism Development and Investment Company, or TDIC, are now being leased at special launching rates.
Part of the Eastern Mangroves complex on Cornish Al Qurm in Abu Dhabi — which also includes the Anantara hotel, a retail area and a marina — the apartments are graded as “luxurious”, fully fitted with high-end kitchen and bathroom appliances.
“We are delighted to introduce such a high-end residential product at the Eastern Mangroves for leasing, as we believe these units offer a level of luxury that is distinctive to Abu Dhabi,” said Ahmed Al Fahim, executive director of marketing, communications, sales and leasing at the TDIC.
“Combine this with one of the city’s most enviable locations, stunning views over the natural mangroves, and the convenience of having a retail complex, five-star resort and extraordinary spa centre at your doorstep, and what you have is a most exciting luxurious residential project in Abu Dhabi,” he added.
For this first phase, the TDIC is ready to lease 50 apartments, 48 three-bedroom flats and two four-bedroom penthouses. During this initial launching period, the annual lease for the three-bedroom apartments is Dh260,000, set to go higher after September. The penthouses’ lease is available upon request. Both types of residences will be ready for moving-in by September.
According to Al Fahim, there are advantages for renting an Eastern Mangroves apartment. Apart from discounts at restaurants and a spa at Anantara Eastern Mangroves, residents may transfer to other villas or apartments developed by the TDIC on Saadiyat island at no penalty and with a minimum notice period.
The 50 apartments are in six low-rise exclusive buildings with private balconies or terraces overlooking the mangroves. They all have separate laundry rooms, parley rooms and maid rooms. The building have a communal pool area, gym and parking for 199 cars.
The apartments’ sizes range from 298 to 309sqm with terraces from 43 to 64sqm, while the penthouses are 600sqm with 90sqm balconies.
Before the end of the year, the TDIC will launch its second lot of apartment buildings comprising 170 one-, two- and three-bedroom flats, as well as studios. Also by the end of 2012, the retail area with cafes, supermarket and shops will open.
For the apartments’ leasing, the TDIC has agreements with Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank. - Khaleej Times
Municipality increases laboratory tests on cold drinks and dry fruits
With a significant rise in the consumption of dried fruit and cold drinks during Ramadan, Dubai Municipality has asked consumers to ensure the food they buy is in good condition and has been properly stored.
Previous inspections found that many retailers did not store food items properly, sometimes storing excessive quantities, resulting in temperature irregularities and, on some occasions, switching off the fridge.
“We want to ensure that food items being sold during the holy month are fit for consumption and meet our standards. During the holy month, dry fruits and cold drinks are our focus and we have intensified testing the quality and safety of these in the laboratory,” Maha Al Hajiri, head of the Food and Environment Laboratory, told Gulf News.
The consumption of dates, figs and other dried fruit increases during Ramadan and as people are fasting they tend to consume more and buy more soft drinks as well, she added.
She said the laboratory takes around 90 samples of different kinds of food items on a daily basis and if it finds any item not meeting the specification, it refers it to the Food Control Department for further action.
In the case of soft drinks, the laboratory tests can detect the percentage of caffeine, artificial colours, sweeteners, natural and industrial remnants while periodic checks are also undertaken to check these drinks for bacteria, coliform bacteria, faecal matter, yeasts and fungi so as to ensure consumer safety.
For dried fruit, the civic body checks that the colour, taste and external appearance is not affected. The chance of contamination increases in dried fruit in the case of improper storage, transportation and handling.
“Through tests we ensure that these are free of yeast, fungi and coliform bacteria,” said Maha.
When they purchase any food items, consumers should check that these are not discoloured.
“If they suspect or see any store is not properly storing food items, they should inform the municipality and it is our job to take care of the rest,” she added.
Consumers can call 800-900 to report any violations. – Gulf News
Upgrades planned for Abu Dhabi-Al Ain motorway
Early warnings to prepare drivers for sharp bends, speed limit signs, concise directional signs and high-friction surfaces to improve skid resistance are some of the planned upgrades on the Abu Dhabi-Al Ain motorway.
The Department of Transport (DoT), which yesterday announced a one-year plan to improve the E22, said the upgrade would also include road barriers and improved signage for farm and residential entrances. Those measures are at their final design phase and are to be implemented "in the near future".
The one-year plan to improve the motorway was based on an analysis of crash sites.
The main roads division of DoT will implement a number of road safety programmes, including short- and long-term projects as part of its plans to improve traffic engineering standards on all major main roads within and surrounding Abu Dhabi.
One of these is the upgrade of the Mafraq-Ghweifat motorway, which has had a significant reduction in fatalities, DoT officials said.
The DoT urged drivers to be cautious while work is in progress on the E22, abide by road safety rules and follow speed limits.
"The road safety assessments of the DoT have proven to reduce crashes," said Dr Abdulilah Zineddin, a highway and road safety expert in Abu Dhabi. "It is doing a great job especially on engineering-related efficiency which contributes to road safety performance."
However, enforcement should be re-examined, he said.
The speed limit on the E22 is still 160kph, while the Abu Dhabi-Dubai road is 140kph," Dr Zineddin said. "This is quite high and DoT should do its part through a more comprehensive approach, including enforcement, if it wants to reduce accidents."
A DoT study from Al Ain found that 50 to 80 per cent of drivers disregarded the speed limit. Data was collected from 120 locations on the city's road network, including six points on the E22.
The study found that 18 per cent of motorists drive over 160kph, 60 to 70 per cent go faster than 140kph and 30 per cent drive below 110kph. Such drastic variations are a leading cause of crashes.
This year, police and road safety experts suggested lowering the enforced speed limit to 140kph on the E22 to reduce crashes.
In the first quarter of 2012, the number of road deaths on the E22 decreased, but the number of crashes remained nearly constant over the same period in 2011.
Police recorded 87 crashes, six deaths and 14 serious injuries, 36 medium injuries and 31 minor injuries on the E22 in the first quarter of 2012.
In the same period of 2011, there were 83 crashes, 10 deaths, 14 serious injuries, 27 medium injuries and 32 minor injuries. – The National
50 new radars in Dubai to catch speedsters
Watch that speedometer and stick to the rules of the road. Fifty new radars at traffic intersections and pedestrian crossings are being installed across Dubai and erring motorists will be notified about traffic violations within minutes through text messages to their mobile phones.
Colonel Saif Muhair Al Mazroui, acting Director of General, Department of Traffic, said the sophisticated radars will cover all intersections in Dubai in a couple of months and speeding motorists will be photographed. The images will be beamed immediately to the traffic department and those breaking the rules will come to know of the violations through an SMS.
The police officials said the radars project will be completed by October in coordination with the Roads and Transport Authority.
‘‘Preparation for the installation of these radar devices is 90 per cent complete,’’ said Colonel Al Mazroui.
Police, meanwhile, seized 13,000 bicycles from owners who rode on highways and roads, including Sheikh Zayed Road and Emirates Road, with speeds of 80km per hour.
‘‘Pedestrian mortality on roads has increased and the owners of these bikes do not have a traffic culture despite continuous awareness campaigns conducted out by traffic department.’’
He said those riding bicycles on main roads would be fined and their bikes confiscated. – Khaleej Times
UAE's Omar Abdulrahman kicks off Manchester City trial
UAE Olympic star Omar Abdulrahman arrived back in the UK on Tuesday and immediately began a five-day trial with Premier League champions Manchester City.
The diminutive playmaker, who starred for the UAE in their recent outing at London 2012, flew to Manchester late on Monday night ahead of the audition, which Sport360° understands can be extended if he impresses.
And there was no rest for the rising star as he was put through his paces alongside City stars including Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez as the first team returned to training at Carrington following a pre-season tour of Europe and the Far East.
Indeed, while Al Ain, Abdulrahman’s current club, and City remained tight-lipped on the trial the player was visible to eagle-eyed fans on an image of the session on the Manchester club’s official website.
On Monday night, the excited 20-year-old had taken to Twitter to reveal what the next few weeks would have in store. “Today I travel to Manchester for the experience, professionalism and luck,” Abdulrahman tweeted.
With no more friendly matches for Roberto Mancini’s men before their Community Shield date with Chelsea at Wembley on Sunday, Abdulrahman’s only chance to impress at the Etihad Stadium will come in training.
However, this is not the first time Abdulrahman has flirted with a move abroad, having seen a potential move to Spanish side Espanyol collapse when he was just 17.
The young midfielder retains an ambition to play abroad, however, something that was only strengthened by his UAE team-mate, Hamdan Al Kamali’s time at Lyon.
Speaking prior to the Olympics, Abdulrahman said: “I wish for this because three years ago I had an offer from Espanyol but that didn’t happen for certain reasons, it was a destiny from Allah. Actually it is a dream of any player to go abroad and be a professional player.
“There isn’t a certain league that I think of because I might think I would be good in, say, the Italian league but then I might be good somewhere else.
“It is not necessarily about the country or the city itself but what is most important would be to go abroad and make it as a professional player, and to show what I can do and honour UAE football.” – Sport 360°
Zayed, the immortal spirit in the memory and conscience of the nation
Today, 7th August, is the 19th day of Ramadan 1433, the eighth anniversary in the Hijri calendar of the death of the founding father of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who passed away on 2nd November 2004.
His achievements in government, first as Ruler's Representative in Abu Dhabi's Eastern Region, from 1946-1966, then as Abu Dhabi's ruler and then, concurrently, as founder and first President of the UAE, from 1971 until his death, meant that, during his lifetime, he was singled out as a great nation-builder.
He remains today a role model not only for the whole of the population of the United Arab Emirates, citizens and expatriates alike, but also for the whole of the Arab world, remembered for his tolerance, determination and commitment to the building of a better life for his people, as well as his emphasis on the need for loyalty to the nation. As he himself had worked to build the nation, so, he believed, it was the duty of succeeding generations to commit themselves to protect the progress that had been achieved.
In a message delivered to Emirati youth nearly twenty years ago, but which remains clearly relevant today, Sheikh Zayed said: "What we have achieved, my dear young people of the Emirates, will not survive, unless you yourselves engage in further work and efforts, and sacrifices. You should work hard to protect our national achievements, to foster and support the continued march of our Federation, and to make more achievements that contribute to the dignity and prestige of our country and to the welfare of our people. This cannot be achieved without positive and effective participation from all of you".
Born in around 1918, fourth son of Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed, who was to become Ruler of Abu Dhabi from 1922-1926, and named after his grandfather, Sheikh Zayed bin Khalifa, Zayed the Great , who ruled from 1855-1909, Sheikh Zayed spent most of his childhood in Al Ain, learning to know both the country and its people intimately, knowledge that served him well for the rest of his life. Sheikh Zayed understood from his own experience the nature of poverty and the impact that it had upon the country. It was as a result of this that he determined, at an early age, that, if the opportunity arose, he would ensure that such wealth as was available should be used to improve the lot of the people.
During the two decades he spent as Ruler s Representative, based in Al Ain, Sheikh Zayed learned the process of governance and, at the same time, developed his vision of how, resources permitting, the country should develop.
With the commencement of oil production in 1962, Abu Dhabi s economy was revolutionised, poverty being replaced by plenty. That process, however, posed new challenges of its own whereas in the past, it had been necessary to spend cautiously what little money was available, now there was a different task: that of spending the new wealth wisely, to ensure that its benefits were shared by all. On 6th August 1966, Sheikh Zayed was selected by his family to preside over that task.
A rapid programme of development got under way, the building of the basic infrastructure, schools, both for boys and for girls, hospitals, a port, an airport, modern housing for the people and much more. Underlying it all was Sheikh Zayed s profound conviction that: wealth is of no value, unless it is used in the service of the people'.
While thankful for the blessings of oil and gas reserves bestowed on Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Zayed was well aware, of course, that other emirates were less well-endowed. As soon as he became Ruler, he increased Abu Dhabi s contributions to the Trucial States Development Fund, rapidly becoming its largest donor, and also funded many other development projects in the other emirates.
In 1968, the British announced that they would be leaving the Gulf at the end of 1971, and that the seven emirates needed to decide how they wished to face a challenging future. Sheikh Zayed, along with his fellow-ruler in Dubai, Sheikh Rashid bin Said Al Maktoum, took the lead in proposing the creation of a federation and in due course, on 2nd December 1971, the state of the United Arab Emirates was formally established, with Sheikh Zayed as its first President.
Over the subsequent 33 years until his death, Sheikh Zayed, re-elected as President at five-yearly intervals by his fellow rulers, created and guided the new state. With a judicious use of the wealth from oil and gas, he supervised the process of creating a modern infrastructure. And, in keeping with another of his well-known beliefs, that the real wealth of the nation is its people , he devoted not just funds, but also his own time and determination to ensuring that education of the country s citizens, men and women alike, was accorded the highest priority.
He also sought to ensure that the newly-educated were given the fullest possible opportunities in terms of employment. Recognising that the UAE was limited in terms of its own national human resources, he demanded that its women should be given the same opportunities as men to serve the country. Today, thanks to his efforts and those of his wife, H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, UAE women can be found at all levels in government, commerce and industry, sharing in the task of building the nation.
At the same time, however, Sheikh Zayed recognised that, in an increasingly inter-linked world, expatriates, from all over the globe, had an important part of building the Emirates. To ensure that they would feel welcome in doing so, Sheikh Zayed laid down the principles of tolerance, both in terms of religion and in terms of culture, and of promoting harmony that, today, as in his lifetime, represent an essential part of the country that he built.
He sought, too, to engender an understanding of the importance of cherishing and learning about the country s heritage, stressing that "He who does not know his past cannot make the best of his present and future, for it is from the past that we learn".
The investment made by Sheikh Zayed in the country s people in terms of education and infrastructure was a reflection of his commitment to build the nation, to give to current and future generations a life far removed from the deprivations of the past.
The results of that commitment are visible for all to see a key part of Sheikh Zayed s legacy.
In return, he believed that the country's citizens should use the opportunities given to them to make their own contribution to development.
"Work for our nation does not cease - it is a never-ending responsibility. We view the concept of citizenship as meaning loyalty to our country and a commitment to work for its benefit. Citizenship requires from each and every one of us that we should view the making of a contribution to our country as the yardstick by which we are judged, because the homeland is a single entity, and the building of it necessitates that all of us should work together, hand in hand, and that all of us should be ready to serve and protect it ".
It was within that context, Sheikh Zayed explained, that "the intimate unity of purpose between the leadership and the people" had emerged. An important aspect of that, of course, is the open dialogue between rulers and ruled, displayed in the majlis and elsewhere, which permits consensus to emerge.
Externally, his belief in dialogue rather than confrontation won Sheikh Zayed plaudits as a statesman, not just in the region, in bodies such as the Gulf Co-operation Council, whose founding summit was held in Abu Dhabi in 1981, but more broadly throughout the Arab world and beyond. His belief in peaceful co-existence and a pursuit of consensus, rather than in the creation of conflict, was based on his own experiences in the Emirates. So too was the extraordinary generosity that saw the UAE win recognition internationally as a donor of humanitarian assistance for those affected by natural disasters and conflicts and as a major source of development aid.
Any attempt to assess the achievements of Sheikh Zayed, as Ruler and President, is incomplete without acknowledgement of his firmly-held belief in Islam. For him, his faith was fundamental to his views and actions. From it, he drew his belief in the duty of a ruler to serve his people. This, he said in 1998, "is the duty entrusted to us by God Almighty, who commands us to treat all living creatures with dignity and respect." From it, too, he derived his abhorrence of those who seek to distort the essentially tolerant message of Islam, whether to engage in terrorist acts or to impose their beliefs upon others.
At the same time, he was a firm believer in the need for dialogue between different faiths and cultures, rejecting the intolerant views of those who would seek to promote divisions.
On the anniversary of his death, it is right to remember his wisdom and vision, his generosity and his compassion. It is right too to recall his insistence on the need for loyalty to the state; created to bring a better life for all. These remain fundamental guiding principles of the United Arab Emirates of today, the legacy of its founding father. They will continue to light the path on which the people of the UAE, from the highest to the lowest in the land, tread confidently towards the future. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
UAE and Chile sign MoU on political consultations
The UAE Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Republic of Chile last night signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on political consultations.
Foreign Minister H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and his Chilean counterpart Alfredo Moreno signed the MoU here at the Foreign Ministry's headquarters in Abu Dhabi.
During the meeting, they discussed issues of mutual concern and ways to boost cooperation and enhance bilateral relations to further contribute in achieving the common interest of the two friendly countries. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
ADNOC announces crude prices for July 2012
The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) yesterday announced its crude oil prices for July, 2012. A company statement said that Government Selling Prices (GSP) for crude oil FOB Abu Dhabi ports for the month of July 2012 are as follows: Murban US$101.75 per barrel, Lower Zakum US$ 101.30, Umm Shaif US$ 101.05, and Upper Zakum US$ 99.85 per barrel. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
SCA Board makes amendments to the Margin Trading rules
The Board of Directors of the Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) has introduced a number of amendments in the rules regulating the Margin Trading system.
The original regulations were issued as per decision No. 25/Year 2008.
The amendments were approved by the Board of Directors of SCA at a meeting held on Monday under the chairmanship of Minister of Economy Sultan Bin Saeed Al Sansouri, who heads the Authority.
The amendments come under the regulatory and supervisory role of the SCA so as to ensure the development of regulations related to the organisation of the brokerage firms.
Margin trading is buying stocks without having the entire money to do it. The exchanges have an institutionalised method of buying stocks without having the capital through the futures market. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
ADIB launches Instant Finance service
Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) announced yesterday the launch of ADIB Instant Finance, a facility that adds finance facilities on to the ADIB EMV (chip)-enabled Debit and Covered card.
ADIB Instant Finance distinguishes itself from regular financing as it uses the customer's chip card - be it a debit or covered card - as the platform to access finance instantly. The financing amount is an addition to the customer's card limit allowing them to choose repayment tenures as long as 48 months. The facility can be availed of at special ADIB Instant Finance Point of Sales machines that are located at the premises of participating Merchants, the bank said in a statement.
Other benefits to the customer include a much lower profit rate as compared to that of a covered card in the case of goods financing. Instant Finance does not require a branch visit and there is no need to queue for processing. Instant Finance cuts red-tape by ensuring no quotations are required as it avoids paperwork for the customer, a hassle usually associated with product financing offerings in the market, it added. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
NBAD arranging a benchmark, seven-year, US dollar bond
National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD.AD), the biggest lender in the UAE by market value, has mandated banks to arrange a benchmark, seven-year, US dollar bond, a banker aware of the deal said Monday.
Citigroup, JPMorgan, NBAD and Standard Chartered are the joint lead managers and bookrunners for the planned Regulation S transaction, the banker, who declined to be identified, told Zawya Dow Jones. The issue is expected to be launched in the near future subject to market conditions, the banker said.
The initial price guidance for the bond is about 200 basis points over midswaps, the banker added. Several banks in the UAE have issued bonds this year, capitalising on strong demand in debt markets, to secure funding and strengthen their balance sheets. Dubai Islamic Bank launched a US$500 million Islamic bond in May, and Abu Dhabi’s First Gulf Bank sold a US$500 million Islamic bond in January. Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank in April sold a bond denominated in Malaysian ringgit worth about US$100 million.
In a presentation to investors, seen by Zawya Dow Jones, NBAD said it was targeting an earnings level of US$4.3 billion by 2021 through 16 per cent average annual profit growth in the next decade. The bank reported a Dh3.7 billion (US$1 billion) net profit for 2011.
NBAD, which recently began operations in Malaysia and China amid an uptick in income from international operations, is also looking at expansion in new geographies while growing its foothold in existing markets, the presentation says.
The target for this year is to obtain licenses to operate in five new markets: India, Brazil, Iraq, Lebanon and Juba in South Sudan. – Gulf News
Etihad airways welcomes 11 Omani nationals to its graduate management program
Eleven Omani graduate managers have recently commenced training at Etihad Airways headquarters in Abu Dhabi as part of the airline's extensive recruitment drive in Oman.
The 21-month Graduate Management Development Program is designed to train and develop managers who will play a key part in the growth of Etihad Airways.
The program involves a six month workplace orientation in key Etihad Airways' departments, followed by eight months of workplace learning with a specified team. The final phase involves a business-based project.
Successful graduates will attain an internationally recognised and accredited post graduate diploma.
Ray Gammell, Etihad Airways' Chief People and Performance Officer, said: "Once again we are delighted to be offering more Omani nationals the opportunity to join Etihad Airways.
"Over the next 21 months this group of talented young Omanis will learn vital information about Etihad Airways and the airline industry. We are confident that they will bring a high level of talent and expertise to the team." Issa Al Rawahi, one of the new graduate managers, said: "The graduate management development program has been a great experience so far. The material was presented in an interactive and enjoyable style. I am sure it will help me become more competent in the workplace." Etihad Airways' recruitment drive in Oman aims to hire 400 Omani nationals by the end of 2012 in positions that span the spectrum of the airline's operations. Prospective Omani job seekers interested in applying can visit www.careers.etihadairways.com for application details. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
Etihad cargo excels freight performance in July
Etihad Cargo, a division of Etihad Airways, has posted record monthly figures for July with network volumes approaching 33,000 tonnes, an increase of 18 per cent on the same month last year. The figures surpass a previous month record of 31,700 tonnes which Etihad Cargo carried in March 2012.
Total revenues for the month were up 4 per cent on June and up 8 per cent on the corresponding period the previous year.
Last month Etihad Cargo reported strong H1 2012 results, with tonnage up 21 per cent to 175,000 tonnes.
Etihad Airways Chief Planning and Strategy Officer, Kevin Knight, said: "We've seen a good recovery in business from Europe after the second quarter. Also, the capability of our fleet with the addition of the 747-400 freighter has enhanced our overall schedule flexibility, and helped support significant project work in what was also a record month for our Charter team.
"Business across and through the Middle East has remained strong into the Holy Month of Ramadan.
"New routes including our recently launched 6-times a week passenger service to Lagos and our new freighter service to Dammam have broadened the reach for our customers.
"Looking ahead, we expect to maintain strong freight performance over the third and fourth quarters of 2012." Etihad Cargo currently operates a fleet of six freighters, consisting of one Airbus A300-600F, two Airbus A330-200F, one McDonnell Douglas MD-11F, one Boeing B777F and one Boeing B747-400F. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
Dubai land transactions grow 21% to reach Dh63b in the first half of 2012
Land transactions in Dubai grew by 21 per cent to reach Dh63 billion in the first half of 2012, an indicator of the strong performance of the emirate’s real estate industry, the Dubai Land Department said on Monday.
Sales accounted for 49 per cent of the transactions while mortgage made up 47 per cent, a report issued by the department said.
Sultan Butti Bin Mejrin, Director General of the Dubai Land Department (LD) said: “The department’s transactions for the first half of 2012 reached 18,953, on an average of 133 transactions per day and 16 transactions per hour, including sales, mortgages, ijarah (online registration fee), mortgage portfolios, deferred sales and other transactions.”
Bin Mejrin said; “The 21 per cent growth is an important indicator to the strong performance of the market supported by the Government’s facilitation. This result will also enhance the trust among local, Arab and international investors.”
The real estate market in Dubai has shown high levels of flexibility in meeting investor requirements and trends during the first half of 2012, specially the new investors looking to benefit from the market’s price correction in the past two years.”
Muhannad Al Wadiya, managing director of Harbor Real Estate, said that the real estate sector in Dubai is witnessing positive sentiment.
“Moreover, 90 per cent of the developers are back to the market, and in the next five years they will be completing their projects,” he said. He added that challenges remain, including confidence and access to liquidity, but rental returns were stable.
Bin Mejrin remarked that the demand for land, villas and flats in certain areas was high. That is why prices have jumped.”
“The market saw a state of stability and increased demand from investors in buying properties and grasp investment opportunities in the last two years.”
“This demonstrates the ability of Dubai to fully recover from the challenges of the international crisis and prove once again the strength of Dubai’s economy,” he said.
According to the Land Department figures, the heaviest investment was in plots through sales accounting for 14,652 transactions worth Dh30.8 billion.
While mortgages accounted for 3,363 transactions worth Dh29.6 billion representing 47 per cent of the total transactions.
Hamda Al Shamsi, Deputy Director of Land Department’s Real Estate Development Department, said: “The first half of this year witnessed the sale of 1,003 buildings and mortgage transactions worth Dh2.7 billion.
While 14,428 transactions were made on flats’ sale and mortgage transactions worth Dh18 billion.”
“The value of transactions reflects the return of the real estate market to normal levels, the exit of speculators, the maturity of the real estate market and increased investor awareness,” Hamda said. – Gulf News
Dubai Smile to replace Floating Bridge
Roads and Transport Authority in Dubai (RTA) gives top priority, along with other projects, to the seventh crossing which will be built and opened for traffic next year, said an official source.
The tender for the Dubai Smile project will be invited after the competition of the Rashid Hospital Tunnels Project, which costs an estimated Dh705 million. Eighty per cent of the tunnel project has been completed.
The work on the Dubai Smile bridge is expected to be completed by mid-2013, the official said.
The RTA official, however, did not reveal the sources of funding for the project, but said it is determined to carry it out either through government finance or with private participation after the Dubai Executive Council approves a law streamlining the process and the partnership between the authority and the entities with which contracts are signed to carry out many projects the authority is planning to execute.
As per a proposal, the executing companies will get their revenues generated through the advertisement billboards which will be installed either along the bridge or on Salik Toll Gates. It will be determined according to the agreements due to be signed.
Meanwhile, the RTA is expecting a whopping Dh3.6 billion in total revenues, include the revenues generated from fixed resources like Salik, licensing, paid car parks, developers’ shares, franchise rights on the use of taxi number plates, luxury transport, fees for use of metro and public transport buses. – Khaleej Times
Online TV use at new heights this Ramadan
The use of online television sites has doubled during Ramadan, according to two of the Arab world's biggest broadcasters.
Internet catch-up services are set to attract a "substantial" chunk of advertising revenues in the region's TV industry, which is currently valued at US$2.5 billion (Dh9.18bn), executives say.
The broadcasters MBC and OSN, based in Dubai, said use of their online-TV services had increased during the Holy Month.
Sam Barnett, the chief executive of MBC Group, said viewership had doubled on its Shahid.net, which allows users to watch TV shows on demand for free.
"We're on track to double the traffic levels and media views we achieved last Ramadan," he said.
"In the first 15 days of Ramadan we've had 15 million media views, which compares to 16 million for the entire period of Ramadan in 2011."
Shahid makes money from advertising. "The revenues have grown by even more than we hoped for," said Mr Barnett.
"If the growth continues online, it will be very substantial as part of our group revenue-wise."
The pay-TV network OSN also said the use of its online-TV service had risen 100 per cent compared with the period immediately before Ramadan.
"We've seen double the number of views and registrations over the last week," said Emad Morcos, the vice president of business development, strategy and digital at OSN.
The OSN Play portal - which offers a catch-up service for series and films - launched in March. It is available free to subscribers of OSN's direct satellite service.
"Ramadan and the Olympics have been the key drivers in the viewing habits," said Mr Morcos.
"Saudi Arabia is leading the viewership numbers for us on OSN Play, followed by the UAE."
Mr Morcos declined to provide total subscriber numbers but he said there were "thousands" of new registrations to OSN Play each day and "tens of thousands" of users logging on each day.
While primarily a catch-up service, Mr Morcos said it would feature live channels soon.
"One of the things we're going to be introducing starting in September is live streaming of sports channels," he said.
Mr Morcos said OSN planned to start selling advertising on the site. "We've received a lot of feedback from the agencies wanting to start advertising on OSN Play. So that's going to be introduced very soon," he said.
Standalone Web-TV sites also report an increase in traffic during Ramadan. Istikana, which features older Arabic series and films online for free, said its traffic had risen during the Holy Month.
"In Ramadan, we're between 50,000 and 60,000 users a day, even more sometimes. Six months ago we were a bit below that - at 40,000 or so," said Samer Abdin, the co-founder of Istikana.
Ali Ajouz, a media consultant based in the UAE, said online-TV services such as Shahid.net also boost viewership on regular channels as they allow people to catch up on missed episodes and so sustain their interest in series broadcast on television in real time.
But Mr Ajouz forecast "on demand" video websites would overtake satellite viewing in seven to 10 years.
"There will definitely be a point where people viewing entertainment on [internet] devices will exceed satellite. The crossing point will be in seven to 10 years, not before."
Mr Barnett said it was too early to make predictions about online overtaking satellite-TV viewing, which he said remained MBC's "dominant business".
"There's no sign that online has damaged satellite in any way at all. In fact, TV viewing is up," he said. – The National
Abu Dhabi Education Council announces changes for ADEC Schools during school year 2012/2013
Abu Dhabi Education Council announced the changes introduced to ADEC Schools for the school year 2012/2013 to meet the needs of all regions. These changes include introducing, merging and feminizing a number of schools.
Dr. Mugheer Khamis Al-Khaili, ADEC Director General issued a decree regarding changes introduced to schools.
The decree stated that two new schools and three kindergartens to be introduced in Abu Dhabi, Al-Ain and Al-Gharbia. They are Abu Dhabi: A new C1 school for girls in Khalifa City A called "KCA School", A new Kindergarten in the current Al Aryam Building in Khalifa City A area to be called "Al Aryam KG".
Al-Ain: a new C1 school for boys in the previous Al Raqiah School Building in Al Towayya area to be called "Al Bayraq School", a new Kindergarten in Al Yahar area to be called "Al Yahar KG" and a new Kindergarten in Zakher area to be called "Zakher KG".
Following the introduction of these schools, the 471students promoted from G4 and G5 shall be transferred to Al Asayel School; and Al Aryam C1 School (642 students) shall be transferred to the recently introduced school in Khlaifa A.
In Al Ain, Al Masoudi (340 students) as well as Al Jimi (328 students) shall be transferred to the new Al Bayraq School.
Al Habab bin Al Mondhir School (224 students) in Abu Dhabi together with Al Falahyia School (554 students) will merge in Al Falahyia school premises under the name "Al Falahyia School".
Hafsa Bint Omar school (275 students) together with Al Montaha School (428 students) will merge in Al Montaha school premises under the name "Al Montaha School".
Oud Al Tawba C1 School (439 students) in Al Ain together with Ibn Khaldoun school (350 students) will merge in Ibn Khaldoun school premises under the name "Ibn Khaldoun School".
A number of grades and cycles will be redistributed as follows: Abu Dhabi: Darwish bin Karam School (418 students) will accommodate G6 - G12 students instead of G7-G12, Sas Al Nakhl school (453 students) will accommodate G1-G5 instead of G1-G6 and the G6 students will be distributed to C2 schools according to their residence. Al Falahia School (544 students) will have co-ed from G1-G12 instead of G7-G12. Al Asyael School (471 students) will become C2 from G4-G9. Al Montaha School (428 students) will have co-ed from G6-G12 instead of G10-G12.
In Al Ain, Al Sariyah (340 students) will have co-ed classes KG-G1 and female only classes in G2-G12.
In Al Gharbia, Gayathi School G5 promoted to G6 students (549 students) shall stay in the same school and the school shall accommodate G1-G6 students instead of G1-G5 students. Al-Ibtikar school (312 students) shall accommodate G7-G12 students instead of G6-G12. Al Mesk kindergarten (307 students) in Al Ain shall be transferred to the new KG premises in Al Jimi and to be called Al Jimi kindergarten.
A number of schools shall be feminized or partly feminized. In Abu Dhabi, the following schools are feminized: Omair Bin Yousef (278 students), Sas Al Nakhl (453 students) and Hamoodah Bin Ali (377 students).
In Al Ain the following schools are partly feminized: Al Sadara (239 students), Al Nahyaniah (322 students), Al Ain (492 students). Moreover, Abu Bakr Al Siddique (358 students) and Al Shaheen (524 students) shall be feminized.
The following school buildings shall be evacuated: Hafsah Bin Omar '&' Al Habbab Bin Al Monzer schools in Abu Dhabi, Al Jimi, Al Masoodi, Oud Al Tawba schools '&' Al Mesk KG in Al Ain.
The names of the following schools shall be cancelled: Al Aryam, Hafsah Bint Omar '&' Al Habab Bin Al Monzer in Abu Dhabi; Al Jimi , Al Masoudi, Oud Al Tawba schools and Al Mesk KG in Al Ain. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
UAE civil Defence launches fire safety campaign
Putting out major fires is not the only priority for Civil Defence personnel as they are also focused on preventing them.
“We cannot send out safety tips to reach people’s homes so instead we have launched a pavilion at one of the most visited places in Dubai. About 80 per cent of the fires are small and the damages are very low, and we carry out such awareness programmes every year across the country to continue raising awareness,” Major-General Rashid Thani Al Matroushi, commander in chief at UAE Civil Defence.
Located at the Gold Souq’s Treasury Dome in Dubai Mall, the awareness campaign runs until August 22 from 8pm-12am.
The campaign also provides residents with the basic knowledge on how to use fire extinguishers.
The General Directorate of Civil Defence will simultaneously carry out a study at the pavilion to record the level of awareness that residents have on how to put out fires, in addition to the safety precautions taken in their homes.
The study, which is being carried out in collaboration with Saudi Factory for Fire Equipment (SFFECO), is held alongside the awareness campaign that was launched on Sunday night.
Eng Adnan Al Suleiby, deputy general manager of SFFCO, pointed out that there are five types of fire that are each caused by solids, chemicals, gases, electrical and fat matters. Residents are also reminded that fire extinguishers discharge rapidly so there should be more than one available on hand.
“Residents have to understand the importance of having a safety plan at home, and there should be fire extinguishers and an evacuation route. People should do fire drills in their homes and know where everything is located because it only takes seconds to think, and minutes to act,” added Al Suleiby. – Gulf News
Orange slime leaves residue along Jumeirah beachfront
The orange slime that sullied a big stretch of the Jumeirah beachfront has nearly cleared off from the water’s surface but left behind a dark tinge.
The source of the discharge, which covered an area of almost a kilometre, is still unknown and the Dubai Municipality is conducting investigations regarding the same. The sludge seems to have flowed out from a storm water drainage system in Jumeirah.
Dubai Municipality officials have collected samples to determine the composition of the discharge. “We have collected the samples and given them for laboratory tests to find out the exact nature of the discharge. Only after we get the results will we be able to gauge the quantum of its ecological impact,” Mohammad Abdul Rahman Hassan, head of the marine environment and wildlife section at Dubai Municipality, told Gulf News.
The municipality’s drainage department is investigating the source of the discharge which could also be a result of illegal dumping into the storm water drain. The possibility of waste having been dumped by unscrupulous waste haulers in order to avoid paying the fee for proper disposal are not being ruled out.
The copper-orange discharge became apparent on Friday near Jumeirah beach and soon blanketed a big area along the beachfront.
Eyewitnesses said that before the sleaze became visible, they heard waste water flowing out with quite a force from the drainage system in the area. “It was quite thick and spread over a vast area. We wondered how long would it take to clear but it seems that the currents have cleared it quickly. Now we see only a dark tinge that is left behind,” said an eyewitness. – Gulf News
Scorching heat, humidity continue to envelop the UAE
Residents on Monday found various ways to cope with the scorching heat enveloping the country.
With temperatures reaching as high as 48-49 degree Celsius in internal areas such as Liwa, parts of Dubai and Sharjah, many were seen using umbrellas, hats, or scarves to cover their heads and protect themselves from harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun.
At around 3pm in the afternoon, virtually all streets were deserted as people chose to stay indoors. There were also those who spent their idle time strolling in the malls to get some relief from the heat as humidity levels reached up to 80 per cent in some areas.
Along the coast, temperatures were a bit lower and ranged between 42-43C. Hence, very few people went to the beach. Some tourists were seen splashing in the water to beat the summer heat.
The National Centre for Meteorology and Seismology (NCMS) said hot weather will continue to prevail in the country for the next week, becoming very hot over some areas and hazy during daytime. The winds will be moderate in general, freshening at times causing blowing dust or sand as it will be coming from the south-easterly part of the country. The weather bureau has sought to alert people to be extra cautious in going outdoors as horizontal visibility has reduced by 3,000 metres in some internal areas.
The sea will be moderate to rough at times, with offshore waves reaching up to six feet. Hence, a marine warning has been issued prohibiting small boats from heading out to sea. – Gulf News
Of the 1,418 mosques in the emirate of Dubai, Al Farooq Omar bin Al Khattab Mosque, officially opened in the Al Safa area on July 29, 2011, is the largest. The mosque, also known as the Blue Mosque, is located behind the Emarat petrol station near the second interchange of Sheikh Zayed Road.
The landmark structure, matching the emirate’s ambition, accommodates 2,000 worshippers, apart from an Islamic Centre attached, both spanning over 8,700 square metres.
Inspired by and named after the 17th century Sultan Ahmed Mosque — also known as Blue Mosque — in Istanbul, Turkey, the mosque’s worship hall itself is over 4,200 square metres.
Mohammed Jassim Al Mansouri, Head of the Engineering Section at the Department of Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities in Dubai, told Khaleej Times that the Islamic Centre attached to the mosque is designed to play a similar role that the historic Blue Mosque in Turkey played, with its extended community centre, a public kitchen, a hospital, a bazaar and a school.
However, Dubai’s Blue Mosque complex won’t have a hospital or a public kitchen. It rather houses a school for teaching the Holy Quran and Islamic courses, a library with a collection of some 4,000 Islamic and other religious titles to help advance learning, and a lecture hall that hosts inter-faith dialogue to forge better religious understanding.
“Our idea is to pass on the message of Al Farooq, the second Caliph and beloved companion of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), who as a ruler extended his arm of benevolence to people of all faiths,” said Abdul Malek, Manager of the Islamic Centre.
Elaborating, he said Omar bin Al Khattab gave general amnesty to the Christian and Jewish population of Jerusalem after it was peacefully occupied by Muslim troops.
“Aiming to continue his legacy of peace and brotherhood, the centre will host regular inter-faith dialogues and talks by non-Muslim scholars to dispel misconceptions about different religions.”
Funded by Dubai-based businessman Khalaf Al Habtoor, the mosque’s architecture is a mixture of Ottoman and Andalusian styles, bringing peace and serenity.
The structure is based on Turkish mosques of the Ottoman era — more precisely the legendary Blue Mosque — though on a much smaller scale. The interior decorations, designs, calligraphy, inscriptions and patterns are taken from the Moorish style of Islamic Spain.
Held by a central dome that is 30 metres high and supported by 21 other half and full domes, resembling the Turkish style of building, the mosque has four 70-metre-high minarets.
“Handmade by the specially flown in Moroccan craftsmen, who are still the guardians of Andalusian science of building, the intricate geometric designs and glazed tile patterns coupled with a mesmeric mix of calligraphy, Quranic inscriptions and 124 stained glass windows combine to form the most soothing symphony for a connoisseur’s eyes,” said Al Mansouri. The grandeur and splendour of the interior take one back to the realms of the Mughals, the Ottomans and the Moors. It’s just that like the person it is named after, Al Farooq. It stands tall. – Khaleej Times
About Sharjah: Raising them for racing
The three-decade-old Sharjah Equestrian and Racing Club, home to the largest and most modern equestrian facility in the Middle East, has been instrumental in a large number of riders from the emirates achieving distinctive results at national and international competitions.
Known as the first equestrian club in the UAE, it has grown from its humble beginning in 1982 to one with the largest indoor riding facility in the Middle East approved by the World Equestrian Federation with a main arena of 65 x 45 metres, warm-up arena of 45 x 35 metres, 96 boxes, a restaurant and a VIP stand. Its Show Jumping Arena has witnessed numerous championships, from which many UAE and international riders have graduated.
Ashraf Gaber Elliathy, assistant general manager, says that the facility has evolved over the years with its race track and footing changed, the grand stand developed, a new timing and video system adopted.
The Sharjah Racetrack, first constructed to global specifications, organises periodic races at the state level, which earns the honour of being the first to start horseracing in the country as a sport.
Elliathy said that six competitions are organised every season with members, now numbering more than 5,000, competing. “We have ten national and two international shows being held in this facility, which include purebred Arabian horses. We have 500 horses being kept here, 150 of them are purebred Arabian horses.”
Horses in the equestrian centre vary. Some are trained for the Riding School. Others have been bred at the Breeding Centre. Still others have been kept for racing. “For horse keeping, we charge Dh2,000 without A/C units, Dh2,500 with A/C units, and Dh3,000 indoor. Terry-bred horses for racing will cost their owners Dh100,000.”
Established at the initiative of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, the entire facility covers an area of four square kilometres.
It houses a show jumping track, an international racecourse and a modern Grand Stand, Al Adiyat Hall, visitors’ stables, a riding school, the Sharjah Arabian Horse Stud, a breeding centre, a quarantine facility, a hotel and recreation club and an indoor riding centre.
The Show Jumping is the venue of the club’s international championship called Sharjah International Show Jumping Competition where local and international riders have developed their careers.
“The stables were built for the participation of horses from outside the club and a medical laboratory was supplied. Modern visiting stables are made available during competitions to accommodate 80 participating horses,” Elliathy said.
During racing competitions, sponsors and their guests are seated in a special hall, Al Adiyat Hall, that can accommodate 300 visitors. Exhibitions are also held in this area.
As its facilities grow with time, the club organises an annual Festival for Arabian Horses, the first of which took place in 2000-2001 at the club’s arena. Several successive competitions were organised between 100 purebred Arabian horses to choose the most beautiful according to the international rules and regulations governing these contests. “We have organised three festivals, one of which was at the international level for Arabian horses.”
A breeding centre for Arabian horses has also been set up to give attention to these horses. “This is technology breeding for the horses,” he said.
The hotel, swimming pool and recreation facilities have been made available to club members “The private hotel enables participants and delegates to move easily during activities such as race meetings, Show Jumping competitions and Arabian horse festivals.”
For the riding school, the club has five qualified international trainers from the UK, Iraq, Iran and Syria. “But, lady riders are trained by two experienced lady trainers. Beginners need to get 20 basic lessons. Once they are certified riders, they can buy their horses and join the competitions.”
He says that equestrian is the only sport which is non-stop and no limit, even in age. Children can start getting lessons at 8. Children younger than eight can go for pony rides.
The club is certainly living up to its vision of showcasing the highborn and elevated progeny of Arabian horses and encouraging the breeding of this noble horse to increase its pedigree in the Gulf and the Middle East. – Khaleej Times
Olympics: UAE athletics chiefs happy with Desaleyn performance
London: The governing body for athletics in the UAE are confident Bethlem Desaleyn is on course to become a middle distance runner of substance, even though the young athlete missed out on a semi-final place in the 1,500 metres at London 2012.
Desaleyn qualified for the Games when she ran four minutes, eight seconds at a meeting in Casablanca in June, but she was some way short of that personal best time in front of the packed stands in Stratford yesterday.
She finished 14th in heat three of the 1,500m in 4:14.07 at the Olympic Stadium, which left the 20 year old runner seven seconds off qualifying for the next round.
This was the first time she had competed in such elite company, and the UAE’s first female track Olympian will be a better runner for the experience, according to Ahmed Al Kamali, the president of the UAE Athletics Federation.
“She has been in training for two-and-a-half years, and it takes a long time for an athlete to be at the Olympic level,” Al Kamali said.
“She has a bright future. She has only been in competition for two-and-a-half years, and she will be in a very good position after four, five or six years.”
Desaleyn, who was born in Addis Ababa, became eligible to represent the UAE in March 2010 under the IAAF’s transfer of allegiance rules.
Ethiopia had three competitors in the 1,500m heats including Abeba Aregawi, who qualified fastest, while four others were also born in the African country – Desaleyn, plus the three runners representing Bahrain.
She betrayed signs of her inexperience as she subsided over the final stages of her heat, having been well placed over the first two laps of the race.
However, the national athletics federation are content to remain patient over her development, as well as that of her training colleague, Alia Saeed Mohammed.
“We do not need to be rushing her,” Al Kamali said. “She is at the level of four minutes, eight seconds now, so she is OK, and she is only young.
“She does not have the experience to compete with the likes of Abeba Aregawi, the Ethiopian, or Shiham Hilali from Morocco, because these athletes are all more than 27 years in age. Age is important for middle distance running.” – The National
London 2012: UAE triple jumper Abbas ready for challenge
UAE Olympic triple jumper Mohamed Abbas should believe he can challenge the best in the world.
That is the view of Dubai-based athlete’s Bulgarian coach Svetoslav Topuzov, who believes the London Games can be the perfect stepping stone to Abbas reaching his true potential in Rio in 2016.
For now, though, the duo’s focus is on London and while 26-year-old Abbas has bemoaned the coinciding times of the Games and Ramadan, his coach says this Olympics is all about the jumper changing his mentality.
Topuzov wants his pupil to show he has the belief to be among the best and jump a personal best that proves he can deal with competing on the big stage. He said: “I think Mohamed is thinking about a lot of different things because he only began three years ago. He must start thinking on his own that ‘I want to be amongst the best in the world’. He needs to change his mentality.
“This is a problem common here in the Arab world, there are a lot of talented guys but the professional thinking needs to be better. I think for the next Olympic Games he will have the right mentality.
“I hope he fights bravely in this competition. I was in the World Championships 11 times. I know how someone can be ready but once you get there, there are too many people and so many distractions, lots of pressure. Handling that pressure comes with experience.
“If you take part in strong competitions many times you won’t be affected by these things.”
UAE Athletics Federation president, Ahmad Al Kamali also believes the experience alone will make the UAE athletes realise what is needed to get better. He said: “The Olympics is like an intellectual lesson for our athletes. I believe our athletes should educate themselves and use it to make progress in the sport, and motivate themselves to aim for higher goals.
“Today athletics is the No1 sport in the world. And it’s important that our sports men and women are aware of that fact.” - Sport 360°