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UAE announces provision of Dh 503 million for Syrian refugees at Syria donors’ conference
posted on 05/02/2016

The United Arab Emirates has announced the provision of Dh 503 million, (US$ 137 million) during the country's participation in the fourth Syria donors' conference. The Supporting Syria and the Region conference took place yesterday in London, in the presence of heads of state and government, as well as heads and representatives of international humanitarian organizations.
Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, Minister of Development and International Cooperation, President of the UAE's Committee on Foreign Humanitarian Aid, led the UAE's delegation to the conference.
Under the guidance of the UAE's leadership, represented by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, the UAE announces its renewed commitment pledging US$ 137 million as humanitarian aid, and in the hope that such assistance will ease the suffering for those who are victims of the Syrian conflict.
Sheikha Lubna said that with the Syrian crisis entering its fifth year, holding such conferences, whose direct results are seen every day, has become an absolute necessity in order to reduce the pain and preserve the human dignity of the Syrian people.
She added that the UAE has responded with the provision of humanitarian support and aid for those displaced inside Syria, as well as refugees in neighbouring countries.
UAE humanitarian aid to affected Syrians since 2012 has exceeded Dh 2.2 billion, the equivalent of US$ 600 million, which constitutes about 0.15% of the UAE's gross national income. The value of UAE aid directed to Syrian refugees in the hosting countries and the neighbourhood to Syria amounted to Dh 2 billion.
Sheikha Lubna expressed sincere thanks and appreciation to the ruler, government and people of Kuwait for hosting the three previous donor conferences, and for the pioneering role played by His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Emir of Kuwait.
She also thanked the organisers of the fourth conference on the Syrian crisis, especially the UK, Kuwaiti, German and Norwegian governments, stressing the importance of united efforts and reinforcing need for strategic cooperation to alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people in order provide a better life for them.
The Minister discussed the qualitative efforts and initiatives undertaken by the UAE towards the Syrian humanitarian crisis, including the establishment of the Emirati Jordanian Camp (EJC) and the Emirati camp in northern Iraq, which accommodate about 15,000 Syrian refugees. The UAE has also built the Emirati-Jordanian Field Hospital in Mafraq, which receives 800 patients daily.
Furthermore, the UAE conducted a vaccination campaign against polio inside Syria, established mobile clinics catering to Syrian refugees outside camps, and has focused on improving healthcare.
Sheikha Lubna noted the UAE's initiatives aimed at improving education through the construction of four schools and a kindergarten, as well as the implementation of educational projects and training programmes for teachers in Jordan, northern Iraq, and Egypt.
She also discussed the UAE's efforts and assistance in training Syrian refugees through vocational training centres to assist them in finding employment when they return to their homeland.
The UAE's humanitarian assistance also included improving the level of nutrition for children and mothers in Syria in cooperation with a number of international organisations, such as the United Nations Children's Fund, UNICEF, supporting food security for Palestinian refugees in Syria in cooperation with United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), and signing strategic agreements with UN organisations and agencies. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395291164533.html

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PhD student selected as Semi-Finalist for UAE Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Award for Good
posted on 05/02/2016

A Masdar Institute PhD student has been selected as a semi-finalist for the Dh1-million UAE Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotics Award for Good – an award that supports innovation in the key area of artificial intelligence and robotics.
Winners will be announced during the Live Finals event, to be held from 5-6 February 2016, at Dubai Internet City.
The "Waterloop" intelligent wells project of Masdar Institute PhD student and MSc in Engineering Systems and Management graduate Reem Al Junaibi is one of 20 that have qualified to the semi-finals stage out of 664 submissions from 121 countries around the world.
Waterloop leverages artificial intelligence technologies to create intelligent wells that can sense and communicate vital information about the water from the wells in which the sensors are placed, including measurements of water levels and bacteria. Essentially, it is a machine that has the ability to learn and collect data about water, which it then communicates to help ensure the water's quality and efficient use.
"The UAE AI and Robotics Award for Good competition is a place to try something that will push automation to a new dimension, which I believe is exactly what Waterloop is doing – it can use automation to transform the lives of millions of people around the world who currently rely on inadequate, unmonitored well water, by empowering them with a technology that constantly updates them on the quality of their water so they can make better informed decisions," Al Junaibi said.
Sending a technician to monitor water wells in rural and isolated areas can be expensive, inconvenient and ineffective, making Waterloop a superior alternative to this outdated monitoring approach. The intelligent well will monitor the water more frequently and at a much lower cost than conventional methods, while also communicating this information directly to the people who need it, helping to safeguard the well-dependent community's health and well-being.
The Waterloop-integrated intelligent well will also provide a digitised historic record of the well's water quality and levels, among other parameters, which could prove to be extremely useful for future planning, as well as to understand population growth, agricultural practices, and health and sanitation issues.
"Sensors are a mature technology, but what we are doing is developing a sophisticated automated communication network that, when combined with the sensors, will be able to communicate the quality of water in real-time to the people who critically need that information, including the people who use the water, as well as water authorities, policy makers and investors who could use that information in different ways, such as for planning for future wells or to understand how much water a community consumes," explained Al Junaibi. Waterloop was inspired by Al Junaibi's PhD research, which is focused on issues of how automation will impact jobs and skill sets in the UAE.
Al Junaibi is one of ten semi-finalists for the category of National prize, which awards Dh1,000,000 to a top finalist from the UAE. The International prize awards US$1,000,000 to one of ten semi-finalists who qualify for the international award sector.
The UAE AI and Robotics Award for Good rewards projects that leverage artificial intelligence and robotics technologies to offer the greatest benefit to humanity, while also demonstrating strong commercial potential.
Other semi-finalist projects for the National award include devices that can be implanted inside the human body to aid rehabilitation of the upper arm for stroke victims, a learning robot for children with autism, and a smart guidance system that will assist the blind in avoiding obstacles. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395291175114.html

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Six contestants enter final round of UAE Drones for Good Award
posted on 05/02/2016

‘The UAE Drones for Good Award' has announced that three contestants each from the International and National competitions of the award have qualified to the final round of the award as 20 semi-finalists demonstrated their projects live in front of a panel of high profile international judges at a specially organised event in Dubai Internet City yesterday.
The Award, launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, aims to employ civilian applications of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) technology for improving people's lives.
The three finalists in the International Competition are Loon Copter's multi-rotor drone (USA); 4Front Robotics' USAR Robot drones (Canada); and SenseLab's SaveME drone (Greece).
The three finalists in the National Competition are Buildrone's construction and repair aerial robot drone, ReefRover's drone for studying underwater ecosystems; and FlyLab's drone aimed at the education sector.
Speaking on the occasion, Saif Al Aleeli, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Museum of the Future Foundation and Coordinator General of the UAE Drones for Good Award, said: "Innovation is a key factor in building the future and using technology in the service of humanity, especially considering the increasing demand for efficient services in various sectors. The second UAE Drones for Good Award has become a major platform to host global innovators and launch the latest technological projects and innovations that offer services to improve the lives of human beings, and find solutions to some of the most critical issues facing the world today."
Al Aleeli added: "The drones sector is certainly in its early stages but we are confident that it will evolve in the coming years as a major contributor to the world economy."
Loon Copter from the US scored 82.25% with its novel multi-rotor platform that is capable of aerial flight, on-water surface operation, as well as diving. The drone system combines into one vehicle the capabilities of traditional reconnaissance aircraft, watercraft, and submarines, and can be employed for surveying, search, and rescue missions.
4Front Robotics from Canada scored 81% with its Highly Manoeuvrable USAR Robot drones that can locate and rescue persons from buildings on fire, collapsed building, mines, or other urban and industrial entrapments. These drones have the capability to fly and navigate in highly confined spaces, and provide high-resolution data in a matter of hours.
SenseLab from Greece scored 80.38% with its SaveME project that makes use of a smart phone that transforms into a drone to support people in emergency health conditions, especially those in situations when people are trapped, lost or wounded and in urgent need of assistance.
Buildrone team scored 91.38% with its construction and repair aerial robot that detects damages and carries out repair tasks in hard-to-access environments. To carry out a repair, such as a leak in a pipeline, or a cracked road surface, or a leaking roof tile, the robot flies close to the damaged area and deposits a sealant material.
ReefRover team scored 74.63% with its drone that is capable of providing marine biology researchers, environmental monitoring agencies and science enthusiasts with new tools to effectively map, explore and study near-shore underwater ecosystems. The ReefRover drone can help increase the rate of coral reef data collection and better organize the data to make it more useful for research.
FlyLab team scored 74.25% with their drone that can contribute to the education sector by providing an innovative, low-cost and easy-to-use solution to achieve a shift in the way science, mathematics and other subjects are currently being taught at schools.
The finals of the second edition of the biggest award in civilian application of drone technology will be held on Saturday, February 6, 2016, at the same venue in Dubai Internet City with the winners getting to take home US$1 million in prize money in the International Competition and Dh1 million in the National Competition.
‘The UAE Drones for Good Award' received more than 1,000 projects from 165 countries from around the world, displaying high levels of innovation and technological development, strengthening the international position of the Award to utilize new technology to serve humanity. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395291166702.html

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Global expert uses UAE Drones for Good Award platform to launch start-up on drones and robotics technology
posted on 05/02/2016

Highlighting the UAE's global position as a leading centre for drones and robotics technology and best practices in the sector, Patrick Meier, an internationally recognized expert and consultant on humanitarian technology and innovation, has announced the launch of a new start-up, WeRobotics, during the UAE Drones for Good Award and UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good ceremony, being held at Dubai Internet City from February 4th to 6th.
The unique start-up focuses on empowering local partners in developing countries with drones and robotics technology to sustainably scale their social projects in humanitarian, development and environmental fields.
On the occasion, Saif Al Aleeli, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Museum of the Future Foundation and Coordinator General of the UAE Drones for Good Award and UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good, said the awards event has become a major platform for the launch of international solutions in the field of drones and robotics technology. As a regional and global leader in the field of innovation, the UAE encourages innovators and supports successful practices in the service humanity."
Describing his start-up, Patrick Meier said: "We are building a global network of labs where people use robotics to alleviate suffering, improve the human condition and protect the environment. We do this together with our local partners – universities, non-profit groups, community organizations and local government – and with our tech partners – robotics manufacturers, associated technology companies and research institutes."
"There is no other more distinguished or higher profile international event that is better placed or more appropriate for the launch of WeRobotics. In many ways, WeRobotics was inspired by the 2015 UAE Drones for Good Award and the UAE's forward thinking vision to add UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good as part of the Awards in 2016."
Meier said the UAE's decision to launch both the UAE Drones for Good Award and the UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good has completely changed the perceptions around the use of increasingly intelligent and autonomous solutions across the social good space.
"I have repeatedly pointed to the UAE's forward thinking Awards in the Gulf during my meetings with senior officials at the United Nations Secretariat in New York, the International Committee to the Red Cross and Red Crescent Headquarters (ICRC) in Geneva and at the World Bank Headquarters in Washington DC. Being able to point to the tremendous innovation displayed at these events – supported and made possible by the UAE – makes it significantly easier to convince the world that the opportunity is HERE, and the time is NOW," he added.
Patrick Meier will be a speaker at the UAE Drones for Good Award and UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good ceremony. Over the past 12 years, Patrick has worked in the Sudan, Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, Liberia, India, Philippines, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Timor-Leste, Turkey, Morocco, Western Sahara, Haiti, Vanuatu and Northern Ireland on a wide range of humanitarian projects with multiple international organisations including the United Nations and the World Bank. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395291163462.html

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Masdar supports national initiatives for incorporating sustainable practices into lifestyles
posted on 05/02/2016

Commenting on the 19th National Environment Day, which falls on 4th February, Dr Ahmad Belhoul, CEO of Masdar, said: " Masdar welcomes National Environment Day and supports the initiative of the Ministry of Environment and Water to encourage local residents to incorporate more sustainable practices into their lifestyles.
Masdar is Abu Dhabi's renewable energy company which works to advance the development, commercialisation and deployment of clean energy technologies and solutions.
'The recent success of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2016 demonstrates the UAE's continuing commitment to global leadership in energy and water security and sustainable development. And through our own initiatives, such as the Festival at Masdar City, which attracted a record number of visitors last month, Masdar is committed to helping the local community embrace sustainability as a lifestyle," he added. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395291160328.html

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Hamed bin Zayed participates in India Investment Summit, meets Indian Finance Minister
posted on 05/02/2016

NEW DELHI: H.H. Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chief of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince's Court, participated in the India Investment Summit 2016, which was inaugurated yesterday in the capital New Delhi, with the participation of a number of State Governments, representatives of various Sovereign Wealth Funds, Pension Funds, and institutional investors both domestic and international.
Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan attended the opening session, where a number of Indian leaders talked about their country's investment in vital sectors, and the most promising prospects and trends in the Indian economy.
The two-day summit, which has been organised by the Indian Ministry of Finance, will highlight the economic reforms, investment opportunities in different sectors including roads transportation, highways, ports, infrastructure, railways, energy and renewable energy, in addition to vital projects at the Indian subcontinent.
On the sidelines of the summit, Sheikh Hamed met with Arun Jaitley, Indian Finance Minister and a number of ministers and leaders from the Indian government to discuss relations of co-operation and friendship between the two friendly countries, as well as themes being examined at the summit such as the investment in several key sectors. Sheikh Hamed stressed the importance of the summit on highlighting vital issues of investment and their role in building a promising future in India.
Sheikh Hamed and the Indian minister discussed friendly ties of co-operation between the UAE and India and ways of developing them, particularly in the field of joint investments. The two sides also examined economic development partnerships and exchanged views on various economic and investment policies of common concern. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/economics/1395291171256.html

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Foreigners purchase shares worth Dh 1.5 billion on DFM
posted on 05/02/2016

Foreign investors purchased Dh 1.582 billion worth of shares on Dubai Financial Market (DFM) from 31st January to 4th February, 2016 and sold Dh 1.507 billion, DFM said yesterday in a press release.
Net foreign investment on the market reached Dh 74.7 million, as aggregate buy.
Value of shares bought by foreigner investors comprised 53.9 per cent of the total value of stocks traded during the last five days, while value of stocks sold by foreign investors during the same period represented 51.5 per cent of stocks traded during the period, a DFM press release said on the market activities over the past five days.
The value of stocks bought by institutional investors during the week reached about Dh 1 billion, comprising 34.6 per cent of the total value of stocks traded during the period. The value of stocks sold by institutional investors during the period reached Dh 887.9 million, representing 30.2 per cent of the total value of stocks traded during the period.
Net institutional investment on the market stood at Dh127.5 million during the period, as aggregate buy. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/economics/1395291162143.html

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DFM Company posts net profit of Dh 261 million in 2015
posted on 05/02/2016

Dubai Financial Market (PJSC) yesterday announced its results for the financial year ending 31st December 2015 as the Company posted a net profit of Dh 261 million for the year 2015, compared to Dh 759.3 million in 2014, a 66% decline. Total revenues reached to Dh 451 million in 2015 compared to Dh 936.7 million in 2014. The total revenue comprised of Dh 393.7 million of operational revenues and Dh 57.3 million of investment revenues and others.
During its meeting on Thursday, 4 February 2016, the Board of Directors reviewed and approved the annual results, which will be presented for ratification at the annual general meeting of the company due to be held on 9 March 2016 in coordination with The Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA). The board also proposed a cash dividend of 5% of the capital equivalent to Dh 400 million.
Essa Kazim, Chairman of the company said, "The DFM Company's revenue and profit have been affected by the 60% decline in the trading value during 2015 to Dh 151.4 billion compared to Dh 381.5 billion in 2014 as the trading commission represents the main revenue stream for the company. This decline was prompted by some immediate circumstances unrelated to the sound fundamentals of the national economy, especially the decrease in oil prices as well as concerns about the slowdown in China and its impact on global economy, which affected various international markets. Regardless of this, DFM has maintained its attractiveness to foreign investments with the UAE's classification as Emerging Market by leading institutions such as (MSCI) and (S&P Dow Jones).' 'In a clear indication on their growing confidence in the market, foreign investors' activity has strengthened in 2015 and their share of trading increased to 48.6% compared to 43.8% in 2014. Foreign investors except for Arabs and GCC nationals were net buyers of Dh 900 million whilst institutional investors were net buyers of Dh 1.5 billion,' he added.
'DFM has organized two international investor roadshows in 2015; the first was held in London in April and the other in New York in October. Both conferences achieved great success and attracted a large number of Emerging Market funds with US$ 4 trillion of assets under management, which reflects the growing interest from these institutions towards DFM's diversified and lucrative opportunities that enables them to participate in the significant success story of Dubai."
"During 2015, we have focused on implementing the "Smart Borse" strategy through series of services and innovative solutions in line with the vision and directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. DFM has launched an integrated electronic platform of investor services, enabling them to access 15 services through smart phone applications and the website. DFM also launched its newly designed website with various new web pages and sections that fulfil the requirements of market participants. Furthermore, the updated version of the DFM Market Watch offers comprehensive information on the market activities and allows users great flexibility to redesign the page according to their personal preferences.
'DFM has also introduced its new smart phone application as well as the Apple Watch version. These developments further fulfils DFM's objectives to make its data and services available for investors wherever they are and whenever they like." he added.' As for market infrastructure, Kazim said, "The development of DFM's infrastructure has always been a top priority over the past years, resulting in UAE's being upgraded to international emerging market. This will continue to be the focus of our efforts in the coming period, as we are constantly working on introducing mechanisms and regulations that meet the expectations of international institutions. In spite of the fact that we have gone a long way in sense of integration of infrastructure and regulations, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum taught us that the race towards excellence has no end line, hence we constantly explore new ways of development in line with the vision of the wise leadership that is always urging us to look forward to the next achievement.' The year 2015, he went on to say, witnessed more steps towards coping with the international best practices, as in May 2015 the enhanced version of "Pre-Closing Session" has been implemented to determine the closing price of traded securities and we also introduced the "Trading At Last" session. In November 2015, the trading of rights issue of Takaful Emarat was launched for the first time as part of DFM's efforts to diversify the investment tools allowing investors to benefit from trading on their subscription rights."
The DFM has maintained its attractiveness as a listing venue in the year 2015 with the listing of DAMAC Properties followed by the first listing of a private joint stock company, AlSafwa Islamic Financial Services in the "Second Market" in November. This reflects public and private joint stock companies' confidence in our market as a leading platform for local and international investors and companies due its world-class infrastructure, advanced systems and services similar to developed international markets.
Commenting on this, Kazim said, "Enabling various business sectors, whether public or private joint stock companies, to avail the numerous capital market advantages enhances the role of financial sector in economic development and increases its share in the GDP in line with the strategic objectives of Dubai 2021 Plan. DFM will continue its active collaboration with private joint stock companies and family businesses to strengthen the IPO sector.' ' This effort further promotes the success of DFM's strategy to achieve the best representation of the key economic sectors in Dubai. Our efforts to achieve this objective include direct dialogue with companies in addition to organizing workshops to update decision makers in these companies on the sector's recent developments. In fact, those business leaders have expressed great interest in our events such as DFM Third IPO Forum that attracted 190 from the top management of 80 family businesses, private and public sector companies."
"DFM expanded its added-value issuer services with the cash dividend service on behalf of listed companies at the forefront. In 2015, DFM has accomplished cash dividend distribution for the financial year 2014 on behalf of 14 listed companies with a total value of Dh 5.6 billion, an increase of 143% compared to the previous year. This amount also represents 62% of the total dividends of DFM listed companies. Moreover, DFM provided the service of managing annual general meetings on behalf of four listed companies.' This service, he explained, offers an effective and smooth system for shareholders registration, voting on the decisions and electing members of the board. This system will see further development to allow remote participation in such meetings through electronic attendance and voting. Apart from its importance in the company's strategy to provide participants with advanced and innovative solutions, these services are in line with our efforts to diversify sources of revenue reaching to a relatively more balanced formulation with trading commission, the main revenue stream for the company." – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/economics/1395291160586.html

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DGCX records strong start to 2016 with launch of Equity futures
posted on 05/02/2016

The Dubai Gold and Commodities Exchange (DGCX) has recorded a strong start to 2016 with January figures showing an Open Interest increase of 26% against January 2015. The growing Open interest on the exchange underlines the opportunity that DGCX is presenting to regional investor population as a fully-regulated platform that can be used to hedge risk in the face of continuing economic volatility.
January numbers reflect the increasing use of derivatives to hedge foreign exchange (FX) volatility particularly in emerging market currencies such as the Indian Rupee and South African Rand. Market participants appreciated the cost effective investment mechanism provided by Indian Rupee Options. Rupee Options volumes grew by 352% in January 2016 as against January 2015.
The recently launched Dubai Spot Gold Contract traded 1516 kgs in January 2016, the DCCC has also facilitated delivery of 73 kgs of physical gold till date. Jewellers and other bullion participants have started to utilize Dubai Spot Gold to lock-in the price and manage physical supply chain needs using the unique rollover mechanism. Flight to safety also saw the India Gold contract volume double during January 2016.
On January 15, DGCX launched its equity product segment by offering 15 Single Stock futures on bluechip USA stocks like Facebook, Google, Apple, JP Morgan and Microsoft. 10 Indian stocks were part of this launch and included Axis Bank, Tata Motors, TCS, Infosys, Reliance, HDFC Bank, SBI, ICICI, L&T and Maruti Suzuki.
Gaurang Desai, CEO of DGCX, said: "Against the backdrop of global economic turmoil and a volatility across market segments, investors and corporates need to be aware of the important role derivatives futures exchanges such as DGCX play as a regulated platform to hedging their risk and optimally manage their balance sheets. With crude oil prices falling below US$30 per barrel in January, it is becoming increasingly important for economies, particularly oil reliant ones, to look at ways of hedging their risk and managing their fiscal deficits." – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/economics/1395291159196.html

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Sheikh Zayed’s legacy encourages local students to embrace sustainability as a lifestyle
posted on 05/02/2016

In support of the UAE's 19th National Environment Day, the Zayed Future Energy Prize that represents the environmental vision of the UAE's founding father Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al Nahyan, has called on local schools to submit a project proposal to the Global High Schools category of the prize's 9th edition.
The Zayed Future Energy Prize is urging students and teachers to work hand-in-hand to submit detailed project proposals on measurable initiatives that promote renewable energy and sustainability in an academic environment. These may include reductions in energy or water consumption or carbon emissions. The winning high school will be eligible for a grant of up to US$100,000 that enables the project's implementation.
Dr Nawal Al-Hosany, Director of the Zayed Future Energy Prize and Director of Sustainability at Masdar, said: "The Prize was established to honour the legacy of our founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan (God bless his soul), who championed environmental sustainability. Considering the challenges the UAE faces from climate change, and water and energy security, there is a pressing need for our youth to develop a commitment to advancing renewable energy, environmental stewardship and sustainable development, if we are to successfully meet the genuine challenges our nation will face in future.
"Because we are committed to achieving a sustainable future through actions instead of words, our leadership launched the Global High School's category in 2012 in support of educating future generations about sustainability. We believe it is important to provide incentives for this work."
Abu Dhabi's own Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Bangladesh Islamia School was awarded the prize in the Global High Schools category, Asia region, during the category's inaugural year in 2013. The prize funds were allocated to install smart solar panels, which now supply 30% of the school's energy needs, and develop a new passive wind tower cooling system, which is in a pilot stage.
The Global High Schools category seeks to inspire students of ages 11-19 to obtain the knowledge and skills necessary to face critical global energy issues in the future by establishing environmental awareness and sustainability initiatives on high school campuses. Now in its fourth year, the category has empowered youth at 19 schools around the world to incorporate renewable energy and sustainability into their school curricula, daily operations and local communities.
Schools wishing to compete for the prize should enter a submission online at www.ZayedFutureEnergyPrize.com. Submissions will close on June 27, 2016, with the prize presented to winners at an awards ceremony in Abu Dhabi in January 2017. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395291161106.html

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Bee’ah gives back to the environment
posted on 05/02/2016

As part of the UAE National Environment Day activities, Bee'ah, the Middle East's award-winning and leading integrated environmental and waste management company, recently organised a series of healthy and environmentally focused initiatives encouraging blood donation awareness and carpooling, in line with its commitment to the sustainability and well-being of Sharjah.
The blood drive campaign consolidated Bee'ah's efforts at paying back to society, and aimed to educate people on the beneficial aspects of blood donations. The blood transfusion took place in a medical vehicle located in front of Bee'ah Head Office, where people were encouraged to give blood in a healthy and safe environment.
On the same day, Bee'ah held an internal carpooling initiative, which saw hundreds of Bee'ah's employees organising ride-shares to work. The company-wide initiative aimed at saving fuel, reducing CO2 emissions, and easing some of the heavily congested traffic areas.
At the same time, Bee'ah awarded carpoolers in a social media contest, where a variety of valuable gifts were given to winners. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/general/1395291156284.html

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Drone strike kills six suspected militants in central Yemen
posted on 05/02/2016

A drone strike killed six suspected al Qaeda militants in an overnight attack in eastern Yemen, Reuters reported Thursday citing tribal sources.
The apparent U.S. drone strike targeted a car travelling in al Rawda city in Shabwa province, a remote desert area where al Qaeda militants are believed to be operating, it said.
The province has been targeted by drone strikes this year.
Dozens of al Qaeda militants reclaimed the town of Azzan in Yemen's Shabwa province on Monday, residents said, exploiting a security vacuum.
Suspected U.S. drone strikes, which normally use Hellfire missiles, have killed some of AQAP's top leaders, including its chief Nasser al-Wuhayshi last June. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/international/1395291146902.html

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UAE Ambassador presents credentials to Indian President
posted on 05/02/2016

NEW DELHI: resident Pranab Mukherjee of the Republic of India has received the credentials of Dr. Ahmed Abdul Rahman Al Banna as an Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to India.
During the meeting, the UAE Ambassador conveyed the greetings of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to the Indian President.
Mr Al Banna stressed the UAE's keenness to strengthen friendship and cooperation relations with India in various fields, expressing his pleasure at representing his country.
The Indian President reciprocated with greetings to His Highness Sheikh Khalifa, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, wishing the Government and people of the UAE more progress and prosperity.
President Mukherjee highlighted the distinguished bilateral relations between the two countries, expressing his best wishes of success to the UAE Ambassador in boosting the relations between the two countries in various areas. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395291147994.html

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Emirates Post Group announces 21 percent surge in international parcels volumes
posted on 05/02/2016

Emirates Post Group, EPG, has announced a twenty-one per cent growth in outgoing international parcels sent through the UAE's postal network in 2015, compared to the previous year, driven by upgraded standards of service and attractive pricing.
All post offices in the UAE offer the facility to send parcels across the globe, under three broad categories with three delivery time options: within 3 to 4 days; 4 to 7 days; and 7 to 14 days.
Chief Commercial Officer EPG, Ibrahim Bin Karam, commented: "The increase in parcel volumes reflects rising levels of customer satisfaction over our improved product offering in recent months. Our partnerships with leading airlines now enable us to considerably improve the transit times. We are continually fine-tuning and quality controlling the parcel service to meet customer expectations."
"The upgraded parcel and EMS (Express) service spells great value to the large expatriate population of the UAE. Emirates Post's partnerships with postal organisations around the globe ensure a reliable and fast day-definite service. We are pleased to offer our customers a superior service of sending parcels and EMS (Express) shipments from any of our post offices. More importantly, our post offices offer extended timings, as most of them are open from 7 am to 9 pm," Bin Karam added.
Emirates Post Group has established strategic tie-ups with Emirates and Etihad airlines, thus offering frequent and extensive connectivity to destinations in Europe, United States, Indian Subcontinent, China, the Philippines and GCC countries and across the globe. As a result, transit times for all key markets have been considerably reduced.
Emirates Post has been experiencing rapid increase in parcel and EMS (Express) volumes over the past few years, fuelled by the growing demand from expatriates wishing to send parcels to their home countries and corporates looking for cost-effective delivery solutions for their documents. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/general/1395291152962.html

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RAK Exhibition Centre sees 27 percent increase in the visitors number during 2015
posted on 05/02/2016

The RAK Exhibition Centre, affiliated to RAK's Chamber of Commerce and Industry, has seen a 27% increase in the number of visitors during 2015.
Twenty-four events, some independent and others under the chamber's auspices, attracted visitors throughout the year, including 15 exhibitions (up from 12 exhibitions in 2014), along with a variety of commercial, industrial and educational events.
Mohammed Al Sabab, Acting Director of the RAK Chamber, said that the UAE's exhibition industry is one of the most important drivers of the local economy and reflects the unique economic position of the UAE. Ras al-Khaimah has been working on attracting a series of exhibitions through its Exhibition Centre. He pointed out that this position plays a vital role in stimulating economic and tourism performance.
He explained that the number of visitors increased to 553,900 in 2015 - compared to 435,280 in 2015, a growth rate of 27%. This is due to the RAK Chamber's policy during the past year, which focused on high quality and specialised of exhibitions which would attracting the attention of professionals and other specific target audiences.
Mohammed Al Sabab referred to the RAK Chamber's ambitious plan for exhibitions in 2016, which includes many ideas and goals designed to attract specialist and government exhibitions and other events. A marketing department will be established to ensure use of the facilities during intervals, along with a variety of activities and goods on display - in line with developments in the exhibitions market. The plan also includes communicating with businessmen and investors to organise new exhibitions, and providing the required support to companies participating in specialized exhibitions in order to further develop these types of exhibitions in the emirate, in addition to organizing the 9th RAK Book Fair in its new format.
"For continued success, the new plan will support the exhibition centre by providing new services to RAK Expo, including an electronic advertising display screen, first aid room, goods entrance open 24 hours, organising exhibition inaugurations through RAK Expo's management, and publishing an annual guide along with a schedule of exhibitions," he added.
The RAK Exhibition Centre extends over an area of 37,400 square meters and is located in the Al Nakheel district, near the commercial markets and adjacent to the RAK Chamber building. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/general/1395291149444.html

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1st Edition of Fujairah International Arts Festival announced
posted on 05/02/2016

The High Organising Committee of the Fujairah International Arts Festival have announced details of the first edition of the festival organised by Fujairah Culture and Media Authority, FCMA, under the auspices of H.H. Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Fujairah, and the directives of FCMA Chairman H.H. Sheikh Dr. Rashid bin Hamad Al Sharqi. The announcement was made at a press conference held yesterday at the Fujairah Novotel Hotel.
Mohamed Saif Al Afkham, Director General of FCMA and Festival Director, spoke about the highlights of the festival and its various events and activities, which include international music bands and folklore groups in addition to monodrama shows, Al Saif Championship (traditional dancing), cultural activities, workshops, exhibitions for fine arts and sculpture and a variety of community activities. All the events will take place in areas of Fujairah, Dibba, Masafi and Al Tuwayyain over 10 days from the 19th to the 29th of February.
Al Afkham conveyed the regards of H.H. Dr. Sheikh Rashid bin Hamad Al Sharqi, Chairman of the festival's High Organising Committee, and His Highness's assertions that our wise leadership, led by UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and his brother, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and their Highnesses Supreme Council Members and Rulers of the Emirates, have a keen interest in the cultural sector in the UAE and the artistic scene in particular. This interest is transformed into strategies and plans formulated by the leadership for the advancement of UAE people.
Dr. Sheikh Rashid Al Sharqi said, "Fujairah plays an integral role in the advancement and development of the UAE cultural scene. H.H. Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammad Al Sharqi is a patron of cultural projects and initiatives that raise cultural awareness, leading to the formation of a cognitive and aesthetic climate that reflects the bright image and unique vision of the emirate."
Al Afkham commended H.H. Dr. Sheikh Rashid bin Hamad Al Sharqi's support of the cultural movement in Fujairah and his wise directives aimed at building a high-cultural state that ensures placing Fujairah on the Arab and international cultural map, as culture is one of the most important factors for social progress and comprehensive human development. He also pointed out that His Highness is continuously following up FCMA's plans and various activities.
Al Afkham said that the opening ceremony will be graced by the presence of H.H. Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammad Al Sharqi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Fujairah, and a number of Sheikhs and Ministers, in addition to local and international celebrities and artists. A total of 600 artists, honorary guests, media personalities and public figures are attending and participating in the festival.
Fujairah city will host daily concerts for Arab and international performers while Dibba Al Fujairah Theatre will host the theatre shows of the 7th Fujairah International Monodrama Festival. The Al Saif Championship will make a comeback with its third cycle at Fujairah Fort. A camp for fine arts will be held in Wadi Al Wurayah, in addition to evening shows for folklore bands in Masafi and Tuwayyain. There will also be panels, press conferences for celebrities and street performances.
Head of the High Organising Committee, Abdulla Al Dhanhani, said that the Al Saif Championship is now part of the Fujairah International Arts Festival. This tournament, whose aims are reviving the ancient art of Al-Mzafin, will be held at Al Saif arena in Fujairah Fort with 24 highly skilled competitors who are showcasing their talents and competing according to the regulations of the judging committee.
He added that the festival's organising committee has allocated cash prizes to the winners. The organising committee has also allocated cash prizes for participants and competitors who qualify to the finals.
Abdulla Rashid, Member of the High Organising Committee, said that the final programme of the festival's theatre side, the Fujairah International Monodrama Festival, is now completed. 15 monodrama shows will be staged during the festival in a way that conforms with the large number of local and international activities that Fujairah will host during the festival.
"The Monodrama Festival has come a long way since it was launched 14 years ago", Abdulla said, "The new edition of the festival is focusing on both historical and contemporary drama, and the organising committee chose shows from various countries and cultures, such as Palestine and Mongolia." He added that some of the shows feature historically popular and controversial characters such as Mawlana Jalal Al-Din Al Rumi (portrayed in the Turkish Monodrama Rumination and performed by Mehmet Nuri Arkan), and Ziryab (from the winning text of the 4th Arabic Playwriting Competition "Elegy for the Fifth String").
He added that for the first time, the monodrama festival is hosting a "cafe theatre" show which will be staged in the open air. The stage was prepared outdoors, just outside the monodrama house theatre in Dibba, and will accommodate monodrama shows from Tunisia, Morocco and Finland.
Monodrama shows will be staged in Dibba Theatre, Monodrama House Theatre and the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Community Development theatre in Fujairah. Some shows will be staged in Masafi.
The festival includes a panel about traditional theatre and the monodrama theatre with various themes, in addition to workshops and seminars.
Jeryes Samawi, Member of the High Organizing Committee, and Advisor to the festival committee, said that Fujairah will witness daily concerts held in the evening period on the Fujairah Corniche stage and other theatres in the emirate. Musical bands and artists from all over the world were chosen to bring their art to Fujairah, including Hayachine Take Kagura from Japan, Imbauba Grupo from Brazil, Flamenco Dance Group from Spain, Abeer Nehme from Lebanon, Georgia State Youth Dance Group, Mame Khan Manganiyar, Oujda Group from Morocco, Abu Dhabi Big Band, True Faith and Cueshe from Philippines and other musical bands from the Arabian Gulf such as the Fujairah Orchestra, led by artist Ali Obaid. The closing ceremony will feature Kathem Al Saher.
Ali Mahdi, FCMA advisor and ITI UNESCO Secretary-General, said that Fujairah will host 5 International Theatre Institute, ITI, meetings during the festival in preparation for the 35th ITI World Congress to be held in Manaus, Brazil, this coming April.
Meetings include the ITI Executive Council meeting, the Joint Executive Council and Committees meeting, the ITI Arab Council meeting, the International Dance Committee meeting and the International Monodrama Forum meeting. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/general/1395291156741.html

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More gains for the UAE as Sharjah Ladies Club wins volleyball at AWST
posted on 05/02/2016

The volleyball team of Sharjah Ladies Club, SLC, came first in the volleyball competition in the 3rd Arab Women Sports Tournament, AWST, hosted by Sharjah from February 2nd -12th, after beating Bahrain's Al Muharraq Club, then clinching a 3-0 win over Al Qalamoon Lebanese Club.
The SLC volleyball team had first defeated the Palestinian Al Ebdaa team 3-0.
In the table tennis competition, the SLC team came first with a 3-0 win over the Jeddah Green Sports team, followed by the Bahraini team, which knocked out the Women's Sports team 3-2. Qatar's ladies team defeated the Yemeni team 3-0, while Al Nadawa Al Qatamiya triumphed 3-0 over Jordan's Orthodox Club's team.
In the long jump, Khadija Ammour from the Al Shabab Algerian Club finished first, followed by Egyptian Asmaa Qennawi from the Port Fouad Club, while Algerian Katia Awqasi from Al Shabab Club finished third. In the 10,000m race, Bahraini Neeshan Dolla finished first, leaving the runner-up position to Yemeni athlete Intisar Al Mudhaffari. Rawiya Ali came third.
In the 100m final race, Bahraini Bashira Shrif came first followed by Algerian Nadia Saeed, while Omani Mezon bint Khalfan came in the third place. In the 400m race, Bahraini Iman Issa finished first, leaving the runner-up position to Algerian Mariam Bu Lahsa, and Suhair Bu Ali came in third.
In the discus competition, Bahraini athlete Nora Jassim from Al Halha Club came first, while Algerian Zoweina Bu Zowiera from Al Shabab Club came second and Egyptian Marihan Zayyan Mohammed from Port Fouad Club finished third.
The 3rd Arab Women Sports Tournament is currently being held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of the Ruler of Sharjah, and Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs, in Sharjah, and brings together 18 countries and 58 clubs to participate in eight sports including table tennis, volleyball, archery, show jumping, basketball, fencing, shooting and athletics. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/sports/1395291156196.html

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Dragon Mart, Burj Al Arab gear up for Chinese New Year
posted on 05/02/2016

Dragon Mart, touted as Dubai's unofficial China Town, is gearing up for the Chinese New Year celebrations with cultural performances and dragon dances to usher in the Year of the Monkey beginning on February 8.
Dragon Mart 1 and the newly-opened Dragon Mart 2 will host the Chinese New Year celebrations beginning February 8 with dragon dances, face changing shows, teapot shows, aerial performances, Kung Fu, and Chinese traditional dances. A group of performers are flying in from China to perform thrice each day spread across four stages throughout Dragon Mart 2.
"We celebrate Chinese New Year in both developments [Dragon Mart 1 and 2] as this is an important opportunity for us to showcase Chinese culture and traditions. Dragon Mart is the largest Chinese trading hub outside China. Dubai is known as the second home to most of these Chinese traders and it's a great time of the year during which they can share their culture with the local people,” Omar Khoury, Director of Nakheel Retail, told Gulf News.
There are roughly 4,000 retailers at Dragon Mart 1 and 2. Chinese traders account for about 90 per cent of the non-food and beverage shops.
The UAE is home to more than 200,000 Chinese nationals working in different sectors. It has been China's second largest trading partner and biggest export market in the Middle East and Northern Africa region for many years, making it an important hub for Chinese products. In 2014, bilateral trade hit a new high of $54.8 billion (Dh201.1billion).
The celebrations at Dragon Mart will go on until February 20. Some 5,000 Chinese lanterns, umbrellas and banners will also be displayed across Dragon Mart 1 and 2 on the occasion of the Lantern Festival marked on the 15th day of the first Chinese lunar month.
Also known as the Spring Festival, the Chinese New Year is a time for family get-togethers. Migrant workers come home for the holidays and hold family reunions, give red envelopes (ang pow) that contain money, enjoy watching fireworks and dragon dances and watch the traditional CCTV Gala.
Meanwhile, in other parts of the city, the Burj Al Arab, also a popular destination for Chinese tourists, is hosting its annual Chinese New Year celebration on February 8 in Al Falak Ballroom, complete with an array of Chinese culinary delights and live entertainment.
A traditional lion dance from the Guangzhou Labourers Lion Dance Association (GLLDA) will be coming to the world's only seven-star hotel for the occasion. GLLDA, China's first lion dancing association, owns more than 100 lion masks and 18 dragons, along with a professional drum crew comprising hundreds of members. They have performed at some of the most high-profile events in the world.
Anthony McHale, General Manager of Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, said: "We have a number of guests visiting from China every year and we feel that it is very important as an internationally diverse hotel to celebrate such momentous occasions.”
On February 6, Saturday, students at the Chinese Learning Institute from 14 classes will hold their own celebrations along with cultural performances. – Gulf News - http://gulfnews.com/news/uae/society/dragon-mart-burj-al-arab-gear-up-for-chinese-new-year-1.1665819

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