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Mohamed bin Zayed receives US Congress delegation
posted on 16/04/2014

His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces received on Tuesday at the Emirates Palace John Boehner, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives who was accompanied by a number of the US Congress members.
Sheikh Mohamed welcomed John Boehner and the delegation members and wished them a pleasant stay in the UAE.
The meeting touched on ties of friendship and cooperation between the UAE and the USA and the keenness by the two countries to enhance them.
Sheikh Mohamed discussed with the delegation members different domains of cooperation and commercial partnership, given that the UAE is one of the United States' key trading partners in the region.
They also reviewed cooperation in the healthcare sector and the progress of work in the Cleveland Clinic Hospital in Abu Dhabi which is scheduled for opening next year.
Sheikh Mohamed presented to the US Congress members key topics of the UAE vision, under the wise leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, including the focus on human capital, seen as the true engine for sustainable development, as well as the drive for a vibrant and diversified knowledge-based economy.
He said the UAE was pressing ahead with its objectives of achieving higher growth rates, maintaining cooperation and friendship with brotherly and friendly countries and building successful partnerships that lead to development and stability of different nations.
"The UAE has made an impressive progress in all fields. Yet, we aim to achieve more, relying on our national capabilities. Our top priorities are education and investing in youth who represent the future of the UAE," he said.
Sheikh Mohamed also highlighted UAE's vision for the developments in the region, saying that the country, through its foreign policy, seeks to work with brotherly and friendly countries to perpetuate stability and development.
This, he went on, requires a joint cooperation to sustain development and to stay away from extremism and conflicts. He added that this choice stems from the experience of the UAE which was established on the principles of developments, values of tolerance and non-intervention in other's affairs.
"We should all cooperate at this critical juncture in the region's history," he added.

Sheikh Mohamed also underlined the efforts made by the UAE, in coordination with the United States and other brotherly and friendly countries, to maintain stability and security in the region and to enable its peoples to co-exist peacefully under a comprehensive and sustainable economic and social development.
Sheikh Mohamed and the Congress members exchanged views on the latest international and regional developments. They also reviewed the initiatives and efforts made to realize peace and stability in the region and the importance of bilateral cooperation in boosting opportunities for peace and development.
The US delegation members said they were impressed with the progress made by the UAE and expressed their country's keenness to continue growing cooperation with the UAE in all fields.
The meeting was attended by Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashimy, Minister of State, Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State and Michael Corbin, Ambassador of the United States. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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Mohamed bin Zayed, Cypriot President hold talks
posted on 16/04/2014

His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, yesterday here received at Al Mushrif Palace, President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades and his accompanying delegation, who are paying a three-day official visit.
The Cypriot President was accorded an official reception at Al Mushrif Palace. After inspecting the guard of honour, the Cypriot President shook hands with the UAE key officials, while the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi shook hands with the accompanying delegation of the Cypriot President.
Following official reception, Sheikh Mohamed held talks with President Anastasiades and his accompanying delegation, hoping that the visit would further contribute to enhancing the bilateral relations to meet aspirations of the leaderships of the two countries and open broader horizons of mutual cooperation in various fields.
Sheikh Mohamed stressed that the UAE-led by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has managed through its wise and balanced policy based on unwavering principles, to establish stronger relations with various countries worldwide.
"We welcome you in the UAE. We are keen to bolster our bilateral relations with you through establishing multiple-diversified partnerships in various fields in the best interest of our two countries," Sheikh Mohamed said.
He added, "The mutual visits and bilateral meetings represent an important factor for exchanging ideas and visions in order to build cooperation bridges and share the developmental experiences."
On his part, the Cypriot President expressed his pleasure to visit the UAE, hoping that the visit would boost the cooperation and build stronger ties between the two countries in all domains, especially in the economic and trade areas. He also praised the rapid development and welfare.
They also discussed trade bonds and future plans to support the trade partnerships between the government and private sectors, the continuation of enhancing ties in the cultural and educational fields, as well as expanding cooperation in the healthcare and medical sectors.
The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi hosted the lunch banquet in honour of President Anastasiades and his accompanying delegation. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
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Abdullah bin Zayed and Iranian Foreign Minister discuss ties of cooperation and friendship
posted on 16/04/2014

Foreign Minister H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan has described relations between the United Arab Emirates and Iran as deeply rooted in history and founded on a solid foundation based on mutual respect and cooperation and that is to maintain the security and stability of the region under the leadership of the two friendly nations. This attitude was held by the late founder of the federation, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and one that was continued by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
This came during the speech delivered yesterday by Sheikh Abdullah at the end of the 2nd Higher UAE-Iranian Joint Commission, held in Abu Dhabi in the presence of the Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
Sheikh Abdullah welcomed Mohammad Javad Zarif, Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and his accompanying delegation, and wished them a pleasant stay in the United Arab Emirates. Furthermore, adding that the UAE was looking forward to opportunities to develop the cooperation between our two neighbouring countries.
"The relations between the United Arab Emirates and Iran is rooted in history and is founded on a solid foundation based on mutual respect and cooperation and that is to maintain the security and stability of the region under the leadership of the two friendly nations.
"We would like to emphasise that any efforts made by the Commission towards supporting relations between the two parties is both acknowledged and encouraged by the leaderships of our countries who aim to fulfil the interests of their people.
"Moreover, this meeting indicates good intentions from both leaderships to strengthen bilateral cooperation and to pave the way for future links between them.
Sheikh Abdullah said the Islamic Republic of Iran is a strategic partner of the UAE, and their relations are not limited to trade and economic interests but extend to cultural and civilizational links which are evident in both countries.
"We look forward with a great deal of positivity to His Excellency President Hassan Rouhani's overall stance towards strengthening Iran's relationship with Arab Gulf Cooperation Council countries and we view this as an opportunity to reinforce our historical bonds and to eradicate any disparities and disagreements." Sheikh Abdullah said the UAE welcomed the recent Geneva Agreement P5+1 on achieving successful nuclear weapons negotiations, and it hoped to maintain the region's safety from the threat of nuclear proliferation by promoting common security and opening doors for greater potential cooperation between the Islamic Republic of Iran and other countries of the world, starting with countries in the region.
"This is why this commission's work is ever important as is any similar attempt to promote cooperation. The UAE will exert all efforts to remove any hurdles that may come in the way of strengthening relations between us. One way of doing so will be to advance the diplomatic and consular presence between the two nations.
Sheikh Abdullah continued by saying: "Our last visit to the Islamic Republic of Iran at the end of November last year came within the framework of our keenness to develop dialogue between the two sides along with exchanging of mutual visits for the senior officials of both countries, which highlights the importance of direct contact as the best way to overcome any challenge through adopting the dialogue principle. We must even take note that cultural and technical cooperation is not less important than cooperation in the economic and trade fields. All these give encouragement to the partnership between the two countries.
"We hope that the work of this Commission will be based on setting up measurable frameworks and arrangements that pave the way for more cooperation between our countries in order to achieve joint interests, taking into consideration both sides' commitment to international regulations and looking forward for wider horizons where many obstacles can be removed, those which hinder trade, economic, cooperation and investment exchange. In this regard, the joint commission can begin in setting up the basis and required regulations to achieve this ambition and vision and to start a new chapter of relations.
Sheikh Abdullah noted that trade exchange volume between our countries number of years ago was Dh44 billion yearly, but it slowed down during the last few years to around Dh25 billion in 2012. he expressed the hope that detente will continue between Iran and the world to reach to these old averages.
"No doubt that there is a chance for the private sector of both sides for mutual investment once obstacles put into force by the commitment of international decisions are removed, providing frameworks and agreements upon which the commission shall start work immediately, and this will not be only limited to the fields of energy, food and pharmaceutical industries, as there are wider fields we can utilise, for example, financial services and energy. There are many ways for interchanging experiences between our countries, such as in the manufacturing, infrastructure, health-care and other fields.
"There is no doubt that the development of Iran's relations with the world will require further growth, including the air and sea transport industry as well as others. In this context, the UAE has a great deal to offer through the establishment of private sector partnerships between both countries.
"The task before us is a significant one. It requires the coordination of financial, economic and legal legislations to facilitate cooperation and further develop mutual relations, especially in the private sector.
"Peace, development and prosperity in the region are a right for all and as long as progress, development and cooperation increase, peace, tranquillity and quietness will spread for all.
"Finally, I wish the Minister and his accompanying delegation a fruitful stay and all the commission's members success in achieving the desired goals based on the commission's work." Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif stressed the importance of using all the capacities to cement bilateral ties.
He said Iran-UAE relations have always been very good and brotherly, Zarif said, adding that there is a strong foundation for transforming these relations into a strategic partnership in the region.
He cited mutual visits to Tehran and Abu Dhabi by foreign ministers of Iran and the UAE in the past few months as major steps forward and an evidence of the two countries desire to move these relations to higher levels.
The Iranian foreign minister said that trade between Iran and the UAE is significant compared to Iran's trade with other regional country. However he called for further increase in trade between the two countries.
Zarif referred to some 200 flights each week between Iran and the UAE as a sign of important relations between the two nations and to the meetings of Joint Consular Commission and the agreements reached on fight against organized crimes.
The Iranian Foreign Minister extended thanks to the members joint commission and to the two countries' embassies for their role in strengthening relations and referred to cooperation, negotiations and mutual trust as key ingredients for peace, security and economic prosperity.
"What we share in common in this region is far bigger than what could divide us. Therefore, it is our duty to serve our peoples by promoting global peace," he said.
Zarif said the UAE and Iran have important and effective role to play in the face of terrorism and radicalism in the region and this requires wisdom and continuous dialogue among the officials of the two countries.
He also emphasised the importance of cooperation among government and non-government organisations in the UAE, saying Iran could be a reliable partner for all countries of the region.
Sheikh Abdullah and Zarif signed minutes of the commission's meeting.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on sports was signed by Ibrahim Abdul Malik, Secretary General of the General Authority for Youth and Sports and Dr. Hassan Amir, Iranian Assistant Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs.
Two MOUs on establishing a business council between the two countries and on federation of chambers of commerce and industry were signed by Mohammed Thani Murshid Al Romaithi, Chairman of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, and Gulam Hussain Shafi, Chairman of the Iranian Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Minerals and Agriculture.
The Commission's meetings were attended by representatives of public and private sectors in the two countries and by Mohamed Obaid Al Zaabi, UAE Ambassador to Iran and Mohammad Reza Fayad.
Earlier, Sheikh Abdullah met Zarif and discussed with him a number of topics of mutual interest, as well as the bilateral relations between the two friendly countries and ways to enhance them. Also discussed were regional developments and issues of common interest. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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UAE and UK Permanent Representatives to United Nations honour fight against sexual violence in conflict
posted on 16/04/2014

New York: The UAE and U.K. Permanent Representatives to the United Nations, Lana Nusseibeh and Sir Mark Lyall Grant, have hosted a working lunch for a number of UN Permanent Representatives in honour of the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Zainab Hawa Bangura.
As the UN's spokesperson and senior advocate on this issue, Bangura explained, "Sexual violence in conflict is a crime that has hurt too many people for far too long, but the international community is working together to finally put an end to this scourge.
"Sexual violence in conflict is a peace and security issue, but it is also an economic and social issue because it undermines a country's pursuit of the development agenda. We must ensure that we end impunity for the crime of sexual violence in conflict and provide services and support for survivors. The international community is united in its fight to end sexual violence and working together we can eradicate this abuse that affects not only individuals, but families and communities and destroys the social fabric of society," she continued.
Lana Nusseibeh detailed the UAE's national policies and international efforts to institutionalise prevention measures against sexual violence in conflict.
Nusseibeh shared lessons learned, and used as an example the UAE's approach to human trafficking and how it evolved into a four pillar action plan. Nusseibeh noted that H.H. Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs, was one of the early global champions for the Prevention of Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative that led to a historic declaration endorsed by 144 countries.
The initiative was led by U.K. Foreign Secretary, William Hague, who continues to be a leading global voice on this subject along with Ms. Bangura.
In her remarks, Nusseibeh thanked the U.K. government and Ms. Bangura for their leadership on this critical issue, and said, "We need to move from thinking not only about the impact of conflict on women - but thinking about the impact of women on conflict. We must apply the lens of women as agents against sexual violence, not only as victims." U.K. Permanent Representative, Sir Mark Lyall Grant, said, "Over the last eighteen months, the political will to tackle these terrible crimes and injustices has increased exponentially. But political commitments don't automatically lead to change on the ground. This summer, the Foreign Secretary will host the largest ever Global Summit on this issue with the Special Envoy for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Angelina Jolie, to help turn political will into practical action. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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UAE vows proactive stance against human trafficking
posted on 16/04/2014

The UAE has achieved significant progress in the fight against human trafficking and will remain proactively engaged in the global campaign against the challenges of such constantly evolving crimes, said Dr. Anwar Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Minister of State for FNC Affairs and Chairman of The National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking.
In a speech at the launch of the Committee's Annual Report 2013-2014, read out on his behalf by Dr. Abdul Rahim Al Awadi, Assistant Foreign Minister for Legal Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Member of the National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking, Dr. Gargash expressed happiness over the release of the Annual Report, describing it as an attempt by the Committee to record the progress of the initiative against human trafficking, identify obstacles and challenges encountered during the last year and spell out future initiatives.
"Today, we are happy to release the seventh Annual Report of this key government initiative against human trafficking as part of the Committee's efforts to share information on this critical issue with the general public and the international community," Gargash said.
The National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking was established in 2007 to implement the national strategy to counter human trafficking after Federal Law No. 51 on Combating Human Trafficking became effective in the UAE a year earlier.
"The government recognises that the more informed it is about the victims of trafficking and the sources of trafficking as well as the transit countries and methodologies practiced by traffickers, the more it can do to prevent this crime. This report therefore attempts to integrate the various processes involved in this effort," Gargash said.
With effective action in place to counter human trafficking, the number of human trafficking cases in the UAE has come down significantly over the years. The UAE has also ensured that while victims are rescued and rehabilitated, perpetrators of such crimes are brought to justice.
According to the National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking, in 2013, 27 human trafficking-related cases were registered by the Ministry of Interior under Federal Law No. 51, out of which the Public Prosecution treated 19 as human trafficking cases. These cases involved 24 victims and led to the arrest of 50 traffickers. Compared to these 19 cases in 2013, there were 58 cases in 2010 and 47 in 2012.
Notably, the UAE has also recorded a high conviction rate with 12 cases convicted in 2013, involving stiff penalties ranging from one year in jail to life imprisonment and fines, reflecting the robustness of the judicial system in the UAE.
"I am happy to state that this trend of high conviction rates has been maintained ever since Federal Law No. 51 on Combating Human Trafficking became effective. The numbers also suggest both growing awareness about human trafficking among the public and intensifying counter-measures adopted by various official agencies, ministries and non-government organisations involved in tackling this crime," Gargash said.
"It is indeed heartening that the government agencies are becoming increasingly successful in disrupting the activities of several criminals and groups involved in human trafficking," Gargash added.
The National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking has implemented a ‘5 Ps' strategy to fight the menace of trafficking. This strategy comprises Prevention, Prosecution, Punishment, Protection and Promotion of International Cooperation.
In the framework of this key strategy, the UAE took several significant steps during the last year, which included amending Federal Law No. 51 to ensure better protection for victims, establishing a fund to support victims of human trafficking, proactively opening a new shelter in Abu Dhabi to deal with male victims of human trafficking, conducting a public awareness campaign at various terminals of the Dubai International Airport, and forging international partnerships and enhancing cooperation with the countries of origin to tackle the crime at source, rather than deal with it only within the UAE's borders.
The UAE has also participated in several regional and international efforts to counter this crime and has been conducting regular workshops and training courses as part of the efforts to continuously improve the skills of law enforcement officials dealing with human trafficking.
In continuation of the anti-human trafficking strategy during 2014, the UAE intends to adopt a number of measures. These include extending the airport awareness programme to all the northern emirates, conducting a workshop to educate the private sector about human trafficking and enabling companies in the sector to prevent instances of trafficking during the process of hiring workers. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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Etihad Airways announces strong Q1 results with positive growth over previous year
posted on 16/04/2014

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has announced its strongest ever passenger and cargo volumes for a first quarter, together with US$1.4 billion in total revenues during the three-month period, marking a year-on-year increase of 27 percent.
A total of 3.2 million passengers travelled with Etihad Airways during the first quarter of 2014, over 14 percent higher than the 2.8 million passengers from the same period last year. The growth rate is more than double a recent estimate from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) that passenger demand will increase 5.8 percent this year on a global basis.
Etihad Cargo also outperformed the global market, carrying 127,821 tonnes of freight and mail in the first quarter. This marks a year-on-year increase of 26 percent, almost seven times higher than IATA's prediction that the international cargo market will grow by four percent in 2014. The airline's cargo revenue also increased by 26 percent to US$243 million, placing Etihad Cargo on track to become a billion dollar business in 2014.
James Hogan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways, said, "Although the global airline industry has faced challenges such as higher-than-expected fuel prices and fierce competition in key international markets during the first quarter of 2014, we have continued to outperform the passenger and cargo markets, and raise the bar even further for Etihad Airways.
"Our strong performance highlights the continued success of Etihad Airways' strategic master plan, which focuses on the three fundamental pillars of organic network growth, code-share partnerships and minority equity investments in other airlines around the world. This unique strategy, and the investments we have made in product, service and infrastructure, means that Etihad Airways is positioned strongly for top-line growth and bottom-line delivery in 2014." Etihad Airways' volumes were boosted by the fast-paced growth of its international route network, with 95 destinations operational by the end of Q1 2014, an increase of six compared to the same period in 2013. Network highlights in the first quarter included the start of a daily service to Medina, Etihad Airways' fourth destination in Saudi Arabia, while frequencies increased on six existing routes, including New York in the US, Munich in Germany, Colombo in Sri Lanka, and Chengdu in China. The airline will commence services to eight more destinations over the remainder of 2014, increasing its global route network to 103 by the end of the year.
Organic growth was supported by the development of code-share and equity partnerships, which delivered 678,000 passengers onto Etihad Airways flights in the first quarter of 2014, 25 percent higher than the same period last year. Revenue from code-share and equity partners rose 23 per cent to US$223 million, representing 22 per cent of total revenue in the quarter.
During this period, new code-share agreements were signed with Air Europa and JetBlue, while an existing code-share with airBaltic was expanded. Etihad Airways also obtained regulatory approval to acquire a 49 percent share of Air Serbia.

To accommodate the double-digit growth in passenger volumes, Etihad Airways' fleet expanded to 95 aircraft in the first quarter of 2014, marking an increase of 30 percent in the fleet size over the same period last year, while the airline's passenger carrying capacity, measured in Available Seat Kilometres (ASK), increased by 21 percent year-on-year to 19.2 billion.
A number of factors contributed to the rapid growth of Etihad Cargo's revenues in the first quarter compared to the same period in 2013, including stellar performances in the India (+32 per cent) and China (+14 per cent) markets, the launch of new routes to Brazil and Vietnam, and heavy demand for charter solutions. Cargo volumes were also strengthened by the launch of a joint freighter service with DHL, serving Pakistan and the GCC markets out of Abu Dhabi.
At the close of the first quarter, Etihad Airways employed 18,543 employees, an increase of 69 percent year-on-year. Part of this significant increase can be attributed to Etihad Airways' acquisition of Abu Dhabi Airport Services (ADAS), Abu Dhabi In-Flight Catering (ADIFC) and Abu Dhabi Cargo Company (ADCC) in 2013. Within the core airline, 1,516 employees are UAE nationals, 18 percent more than the same period last year. The Etihad Airways Emiratisation programme includes schemes for cadet pilots, engineers and graduate managers.
Etihad Airways also won four awards in the first quarter, including the Airline Market Leadership Award at Air Transport World magazine's 40th Annual Airline Industry Achievement Awards. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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Air Arabia to start flying from RAK Airport
posted on 16/04/2014

Sharjah-based Air Arabia has announced that it will start operating soon from Ras Al Khaimah which will become its fourth international base and second in the UAE.
During a joint press conference with the RAK Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) and the Tourism Development Authority, Air Arabia announced that starting May 6, 2014, it will offer direct services to eight routes from RAK International Airport, giving an immediate boost to the emirate's rapidly growing tourism sector.
In February 2014, Air Arabia and the Ras Al Khaimah Department of Civil Aviation entered into a long-term strategic partnership to significantly increase the number of destinations accessible to the residents of Ras Al Khaimah and to bring more tourists within reach of the emirate. From its hub at RAK International Airport, Air Arabia will follow exactly the same value-for-money business model as it does from its primary base in Sharjah.
Two new Airbus A320 aircraft will initially be based at RAK International Airport to service regular routes to Jeddah in Saudi; Cairo in Egypt; Muscat in Oman; Islamabad, Lahore and Peshawar in Pakistan; Dhaka in Bangladesh; and Calicut in India, which will be added shortly after launch.
In addition to increasing the accessibility of Ras Al Khaimah to international passengers, this partnership is anticipated to provide a direct boost to the local economy through the increase in tourism flow as well as the job opportunities for Air Arabia employees who will be permanently based at RAK International Airport.
Sheikh Salem Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairman, Department of Civil Aviation (DCA), Ras Al Khaimah, said: "This important collaboration will give a major boost to the economic development of Ras Al Khaimah and reinforces the growing excitement about the emirate as an investment destination. As our designated carrier, Air Arabia's operations will be a key component of a comprehensive strategy to develop a vibrant, distinct and sustainable tourism sector in Ras Al Khaimah to rival the most established destinations in the region.”
Adel Ali, Group Chief Executive Officer of Air Arabia, said: "The increase in tourists and visitors entering Ra's Al Khaimah suggests that a solid potential for developing the emirate travel and tourism sector exists. This partnership offers enormous potential benefit not only to the local aviation industry but to the overall economy.”
He said: "With our hubs in Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah, Air Arabia is well positioned to cater to the travel needs of the Northern Emirates, a position we believe will deliver real value to our customers and shareholders while transforming the region's tourism sector by bringing millions of potential new visitors within just a few hours' reach.”
Air Arabia, listed on the Dubai Financial Market, currently operates services to 90 destinations covering the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and the Indian Subcontinent from operating hubs in Sharjah, UAE; Alexandria, Egypt; Casablanca, Morocco; and now Ras Al Khaimah, UAE. – Emirates 24│7 – Read more: http://www.emirates247.com/business/air-arabia-to-start-flying-from-rak-airport-2014-04-15-1.545762

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Dubai Islamic Bank Foreign Ownership Limit (FOL) raised to 25 per cent
posted on 16/04/2014

Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) yesterday announced that Foreign Ownership Limit allowed for the bank has been increased by an additional 10 per cent post completion of all regulatory formalities.
The new FOL for the bank stands at 25per cent and will significantly enhance the liquidity available to foreign investors. Already one of the most liquid and highly traded stocks on the exchange, DIB was consistently under pressure from global investors to create additional room to allow investment by interested parties from across the globe.
"Active engagement with international shareholders has been a key focus for us in the recent past", said Dr. Adnan Chilwan, CEO DIB. "Cognizant of the feedback received, we saw extensive demand for DIB stock from global investors and, though the bank has one of the highest free floats of nearly 60per cent amongst listed entities, the Foreign Ownership room available was restricting international buyers." "The enhanced FOL would allow greater freedom for interested international parties to acquire DIB stock," he added. "DIB has been amongst the top performers on the Exchange with a shareholders return of nearly 170per cent since the markets recovered in the beginning of 2012. With the MSCI upgrade on the horizon, we expect this move to further enhance DIB's chances of making it to the basket." The decision to increase FOL was taken by DIB's Board of Directors in the last quarter of 2013, to which the formal regulatory approval has now been accorded. The FOL increase is effective from April 16, 2014 and the Exchange has been advised to implement this increase as of that date. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –

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UAE’s FDI surges to around Dh426m
posted on 16/04/2014

The volume of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the UAE rose to around Dh426 million (US$116 million) over the first two months of this year, according to FDI Intelligence magazine of the Financial Times.
Dubai accounted for 73 per cent or Dh311 million (US$84.6 million) of the overall foreign direct investments in the UAE over January and February 2014.
In its report issued on Monday, the magazine pointed out that the volume of foreign direct investments rose by 7.14 per cent in January compared to the same period last year, while it jumped to 45.83 per cent in February compared to February 2013.
Americans got the lion's share of the overall foreign direct investments in the UAE at 21.53 per cent or Dh91 million (US$24.9 million) during the said period, while Britons came in the second place in terms of the volume of investments.
Meanwhile, the UAE real estate industry is in fine fettle and winning the Expo 2020 title has further strengthen the property sector in the emirates, with improved performance across the majority of sectors.
This was stated by Saleh Abdullah Lootah, Executive Director of Lootah Real Estate Development, during a press conference.
Lootah Real Estate Development, a Dubai based high-end real estate developer, has announced the official launch of its Shamal Community development for sales at Jumeirah Village Circle in a press conference in Dubai.
"We are witnessing a cautious but massive investor interest and high demand for the quality lifestyle in our Shamal Community,” he added. – The Gulf Today – Read more: http://gulftoday.ae/portal/e3db414b-2c69-492b-9248-cdbcc6802b40.aspx

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Abu Dhabi general consumer confidence rises by 10 per cent in 2013
posted on 16/04/2014

The Abu Dhabi general consumer confidence in economic performance index in 2013 registered 135 points, up by 10 per cent compared to 2012, as the Individual Financial Conditions sub-index scored 116 points, up by 6.64 per cent compared to 2012, while the Confidence in Government Policies Index finished with 127 points, increasing by 10 per cent compared to 2012.
The Future Expectation sub-index stood at 162 points, up by 14 percent compared to 2012.
This rise was due to the feeling of consumers and respondents that the financial conditions were better for them and their families in 2013 than 2012, indicated by the financial conditions index registering 116 points in 2013, compared to 109.8 points in 2012.
This was highlighted by the results of the Abu Dhabi Confidence in Economic Performance Index, released by the Studies Directorate of the Department of Economic Development for the year 2013. The results pointed out that the UAE ranked first in Middle East and North Africa and fifth globally according to the Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending for the fourth quarter of 2013, as the UAE scored 110 points, ahead of Canada, 13th, the United States, 21st and Norway, 22nd.
The general index in 2013 witnessed improvement in all consumer confidence sub-indices in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. Results revealed that consumers were optimistic about the decisions on price control mechanisms and the effective role which the Department of Consumer Protection played at the local and federal levels, to control fraudulent goods and organise anti-commercial fraud exhibitions.
According to the results of the index, the Department of Economic Development confiscated 139,000 articles of counterfeit goods between January and November 2013, and filed 89 charges against sellers of counterfeit goods for violating Federal Law No. 4 of 1979, Concerning the Suppression of Fraud and Deception in Commercial Transactions.
Confiscated counterfeit items included 37,615 items of cosmetics, skin and hair care products, 2522 electronic, electrical devices and phones, 22 tobacco and food products items, 6396 items of auto parts and accessories, 63,000 items of sanitary ware and building materials and 33 items of gold and gems.
The estimated market value of seized counterfeit goods was over AED34 million.
During 2013, some logical declines in the value of the general index occurred and affected its normal course but by comparing the index performance in 2013 to 2012, it was noticed that consumers were more optimistic in 2013 due to many factors, particularly the rise in future expectations by 14 percent in 2013, as optimism about employment opportunities increased, along with optimism about economic conditions, and positive expectations of individual financial conditions.
The individual financial conditions index climbed during 2013 to register 116 points on average, compared to 109.8 points on average in 2012, and had not seen any drop below neutrality, 100 points, during both 2012 and 2013. During most of 2013, levels of confidence and optimism were high, compared to the levels of optimism shown by individuals and consumers since April 2009.
During December 2013, the individual financial conditions sub index scored 133 points, the highest value of the index in the whole year.
The level of optimism about consumer and individual future financial conditions was high, as the index stood at nearly 180 points in December 2013, compared to 175 points in December 2012.
After high levels of confidence of individuals about the future in 2013 compared to 2012, it was noted that the levels of confidence about the future conditions in general remain high, due to rising confidence among respondents about the economy of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, as well as their trust in formulated policies and decision makers.
Moreover, Abu Dhabi's position as a safe and secure haven for investments, compared to many other countries, increased a sense of confidence among individuals, as well as the achievements, ambitious plans, and soundness of the economy of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, which make the emirate largely immune to the economic turmoil experienced by developed countries in particular. This was reflected in the significant improvement in the performance of the Confidence in Government Policies sub-index.
Sub-index. The Confidence in Government Policies index during the current year added 10 more points compared to 2012, scoring approximately 127 points on average in 2013 compared to 117 points on average during 2012, reflecting the perception of respondents of various nationalities of the considerable efforts made by the Government of Abu Dhabi to provide a dignified life for individuals and the efforts of the government to accelerate the pace of economic growth, for the benefit of all citizens and residents.
As for future expectations, the index was higher in 2013 compared to 2012 as it scored 161.6 points on average in 2013 compared to 147.4 points on average in 2012.
The index results reflected high levels of optimism about the future conditions for the economy of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, where individuals and consumers expected a significant improvement in the pace of overall economic performance in 2013, as well as their expectations about provision of more job opportunities and the improvement of their financial conditions in particular.
The results also showed high levels of optimism among UAE citizens and consumers in 2013 compared to 2012. Optimism was higher among UAE national citizens, 144 points, compared to non-national residents, 132 points, amid higher expectations of UAE nationals for improvement of financial conditions for them and their families during the three months following the survey.
By comparing the latest results to the results of the previous version of the survey, it was found that consumers were more optimistic about the economy, employment, fixed income, and the stock market.
Consumers were also very optimistic about the standard of living.
Latest results indicated that women participating in the survey showed greater optimism than men, with regard to the expectations in the coming months, while consumers over 30 years of age were more optimistic than younger participants.
The MasterCard Consumer Confidence Index has demonstrated that consumer confidence has witnessed steady growth in the UAE. The high levels attained are spurred by the wise leadership's ambitious plans, in addition to promising growth in key sectors such as tourism, logistics, aviation and the high value of assets, instilling confidence and optimism among the people of the UAE – Emirates News Agency, WAM
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Hamdan bin Mubarak, Australian Minister of Trade and Investment sign
posted on 16/04/2014

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, and Andrew Robb, the Australian Minister for Trade and Investment, yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the development of policies with respect to higher education, vocational education and training, research and the opportunities for citizens of each country to study in the country of the other.
The MoU stipulates the development and setting up of professional reference standards to improve and facilitate the recognition of qualifications and accreditation, make the necessary arrangements, and the strengthening of arrangements for the transfer of any courses between institutions in both countries, as well as to identify opportunities for the development and strengthening of the bonds of cooperation between them.
The MoU also stipulates the exchange of information in areas of mutual and common interests such as systems and standards of higher education, vocational education and training, and research applied in the two countries, along with teaching materials, curricula, standards and accreditation systems and designations of grades awarded to assist in the interpretation and evaluation of scientific degrees, diplomas and certificates.
The MoU aims to boost bilateral trade, investment and cultural relations between Australia and the Arab region. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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Car demand strongest in UAE, Middle East
posted on 16/04/2014

Car sales in the UAE and the rest of the Middle East, Africa and Pakistan (MEAP) region are likely to get a major boost in the next two years, when nearly eight out of every 10 people will buy a new or pre-owned vehicle, a new survey suggests.
According to a new study by Nielsen, a global provider of information and insights into what consumers watch and buy, demand for automobiles in the MEAP region, as well as in Latin America, will be the strongest in the world, with 75 per cent of consumers saying they intend to buy a car in the next couple of years.
Nielsen's Global Survey of Automotive Demand polled more than 30,000 Internet users in 60 countries to identify where vehicle demand is greatest and find out the common motivators for car purchase.
Demand will be second strongest in Asia-Pacific, where 72 per cent of respondents intend to buy a car. More than half of North Americans (56 per cent) and half of Europeans (50 per cent) expect to acquire a new or used car in the next 24 months. Within the MEAP region, demand will be highest in Pakistan (78 per cent), followed by UAE, Egypt (74 per cent) and Saudi Arabia (72 per cent).
Akash Pal, executive director for consumer insights at Nielsen Africa and Middle East, said the strong demand can be attributed to the increase in consumer confidence levels and growing expatriate population. The positive business environment, competitive interest rates and ownership costs, as well as the lack of more efficient public transportation, are also lifting car demand in the region.
"We expect a surge in demand based on [the factors mentioned]. It will also mean increased competition as consumers will expect better value for money and more importantly, after sales service,” Pal told Gulf News.
For the last few years following the global recession, car sales have enjoyed a steady recovery, with automobile dealers reporting double-digit sales growth. Porsche Middle East recently reported a 26 per cent jump in sales between 2012 and 2013. German car giant Audi Middle East recorded a 16.3 per cent growth across the GCC and Levant during the same period.
"The current public transport system is evolving at a very fast pace in Dubai, however, personal transport is still considered a must here,” said Robin The, MRIC country manager and UAE director of valuations and advisory at Chesterton Middle East and North Africa.
He said that Dubai's successful bid to host the World Expo in 2020, the present surge in the UAE economy and growing number of expatriates will influence the demand for personal transport and "trigger the growth parameters” for the automobile industry. "This will also have an impact on our cars valuation business,” he added.
It's not just new cars that are selling well. In the UAE, consumers are spending Dh50,000 to Dh60,000 on second-hand vehicles. According to Carla Magano, sales representative at Philippine Used Cars in Sharjah, sales of pre-owned vehicles are on the up.
"There's been a fast turnover of stocks at our showroom. Of the 20 to 25 units that we get monthly, we sell 15 cars. We've been getting more inquiries from potential buyers. The rise in demand has been due to faster loan approvals and easier access to car financing,” Magano told Gulf News. – Gulf News – Read more: http://gulfnews.com/business/general/car-demand-strongest-in-uae-middle-east-1.1319917

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Expo 2020 impact will spread beyond UAE borders
posted on 16/04/2014

The hosting of Expo 2020 in Dubai will reshape the way business is being done in the UAE and the region and the spillover of the event will positively impact the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and wider Middle East, North Africa and South Asia region (Menasa), according to experts from global professional services firm Deloitte.
As the first-ever World Expo to be held in the Menasa region, Deloitte analysts say Dubai Expo 2020 will undoubtedly have an impact beyond the borders of Dubai and the UAE.
"While close to US$7 billion [Dh25.7 billion] has reportedly been earmarked for development and infrastructure projects in Dubai so far, and tens of millions of visitors are expected in the first six months, the fact that Dubai is itself strategically located within four hours of a third of the world's population this Expo has potential for wider impact leading up to the event and afterwards for years to come,” said Mutasem Dajani, Deloitte's UAE regional managing partner.
Experts say beyond commerce there is also a real human development dimension to the Expo, with investment and job creation expected to benefit the regional economies.
The construction, tourism, hospitality and leisure sectors have obvious potential to benefit from development spending and job creation. Technological innovators in conventional and alternative energy as well as engineering, urban planning and logistics will also likely see a host of in-region opportunities.
In a city where hotel occupancies are already high, Expo 2020 is estimated to require an additional 50,000 rooms in more than 200 properties of all categories from budget through to luxury, which is expected to create 100,000 new jobs in tourism and hospitality (out of 277,000 employment opportunities in total). The impact is therefore bound to be felt in neighbouring cities, particularly Abu Dhabi, as they absorb part of this demand.
Pundits are expecting a significant boost in the previously predicted growth rates of 4 per cent in the economy (Shanghai achieved 13 per cent GDP growth in the five years leading up to the 2010 Expo). Bank of Americal Merrill Lynch estimates a boost to the Dubai economy of US$23 billion between now and 2020 and Arabia Monitor predicts that total receipts from visitors to Expo 2020 could reach US$60 billion.
"There is no doubt that Expo 2020 will have a significant impact on Dubai and act as a catalyst, further energising the hospitality, leisure, retail and consumer businesses here,” said Anis Sadek, Deloitte's Dubai managing partner. "It only takes a quick analysis of the impact of an expected additional 20 million international visitors over a six-month period to see that significant investment in hospitality and retail infrastructure will be required.”
Experts say there are likely to be a number of secondary and indirect effects to the financial advisory services, in addition to the direct opportunities to advise on the capital for projects to build new infrastructure.
Hosting Expo 2020 in Dubai is likely to boost the attractiveness of Dubai as a base for overseas companies wishing to invest in the Middle East. "It is easy to forget that there are still a great many companies around the world that do not have operations in the Middle East and have never invested here, and Expo 2020 should be yet another important component of any strategy to give Dubai a more prominent place in the business world,” said Humphry Hatton, CEO of Deloitte Corporate Finance. – Gulf News – Read more: http://gulfnews.com/business/economy/expo-2020-impact-will-spread-beyond-uae-borders-1.1319807

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More renewable energy needed to avoid catastrophic climate change: IRENA Director General
posted on 16/04/2014

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) reinforced the call to action from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to limit global temperature increase and avert catastrophic climate change in a statement issued yesterday.
The transition to a sustainable global energy mix must be accelerated, the Agency said, in order to reduce global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 40-70 percent compared with 2010 by 2050.
Renewable energy, IRENA highlights, is the economically viable and technologically proven option to keep CO2 levels below the widely accepted threshold of 450 parts per million (ppm).
"The latest report by the IPCC reconfirms that averting catastrophic climate change is possible if we act now. But we need to act decisively. Renewable energy, in combination with energy efficiency, provides the most affordable and technologically mature path to bring about the necessary change,"
Adnan Z. Amin, IRENA's Director-General, said at the opening of the World Green Economy Summit in Dubai. "The accelerated deployment of renewable energy significantly reduces energy-related carbon dioxide emissions at a reasonable cost, and also provides other benefits, including enhanced energy security, more local jobs and value-creation, and a cleaner and healthier environment."
With an average concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere of 398 ppm at the beginning of 2014, renewable energy provides a path to lower energy-related CO2 emissions and will help prevent a build-up of atmospheric CO2 beyond 450ppm, the widely accepted threshold to keep global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by 2100.
Based on the world's current path, annual global energy-related CO2 emissions will rise from 30 gigatonnes (Gt) in 2010 to 41.4 Gt in 2030, according to IRENA estimates. The IRENA global roadmap for a transition to a sustainable energy future.
"REmap 2030", due to be published in May, shows that renewable energy can reduce emissions by 8.6 Gt to an estimated 32.8 Gt in 2030. Based on numbers from the International Energy Agency, energy efficiency can yield an additional 7.3 Gt reduction, resulting in global energy-related CO2 emissions of 25.5 Gt by 2030. In addition to improvements in energy efficiency, this path would include a quadrupling of the share of modern renewable energy sources in the global energy mix by 2030.
The renewable energy transition also has positive socio-economic impacts. Investments in renewable energy will create an additional 11 million jobs globally by 2030, and reduce the dependence on imported energy.
Accounting already for around half of all new additions to power generation capacity worldwide, renewable technologies are the most economical solution for new capacity in an increasing number of countries and regions. Renewable energy has entered into a virtuous circle of falling costs, increased deployment and accelerated technological progress.
IRENA emphasized that the world needs concrete actions and partnerships to mitigate climate change. In this context IRENA welcomed the upcoming Abu Dhabi Ascent to the Summit, a high-level meeting hosted by the United Arab Emirates on May 4 and 5 to generate momentum for the UN Climate Summit in September.
The Abu Dhabi Ascent focuses on tangible actions and partnerships for countries, businesses and organizations. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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World Green Economy Summit explores creative solutions towards sustainable green economy
posted on 16/04/2014

Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Vice Chairman, Dubai Supreme Council of Energy and CEO, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), opened the World Green Economy Summit yesterday by highlighting the UAE's achievements in advancing the green economy. "This Summit will help us to achieve economic and social development as we seek to battle climate change, and form a roadmap towards a greener economy." The opening plenary, titled, Laying the Foundation for a Green Economy, commenced with plenary opening session from Adnan Z Amin Director General, IRENA.
Reem Ebrahim Al Hashimy, Minister of State, and Managing Director of the Higher Committee on Hosting the World Expo 2020, told the opening session, "We want to be a centre of energy. We have a strong hydrocarbon base, but relying on oil reserves has never been our strategy. 30% of our country's GDP is oil based, with less than 5% in Dubai. The promise of a green sustainable long term form of energy has guided not just IRENA but also the EXPO 2020 campaign. We are committed to delivering one of the most green expos ever and are looking at how we can design a site and a mechanism that is sustainable. To be able to do this, we need to start in advance, and we look to international partners to play their role. The legacy of our EXPO site has to live beyond the six months of World EXPO." "We all have a stake in the green economy and one of the most sobering issues for me is that averting catastrophic climate change is possible, but only if we act now and triple renewable energy deployment in the near term. People often ask why IRENA is based in a hydro carbon economy - I say it exists here, in the UAE because this is where the vision is." Adnan Z Amin, Director General, IRENA commented before the panellists commenced their debate.
Hakima El Haite, Minister of Environment, Morocco, commenting on the changes being made in Morocco to drive a green economy, said, "In Morocco we have started institutional and legal reforms in order to start work towards a green and sustainable economy. 96% of our energy comes from outside, but our goal is to reduce that to 40% by 2020 - highlighting the imperative for more sustainable energy sources. The State needs to be the example that we follow; all policies need to focus on green growth - something that we adopted as a measure to fight poverty and create growth." Alun Davies, Minister of Natural Resources and Food, Government of Wales, focused on, "The challenge facing all of us, is how we will drive growth in the 21st century, and how we will work together as nations and regions. Energy will be a key component of future industrial growth, and this needs to be clean and renewable. How we achieve that will vary across the world - in Wales, we are taking an old economy and adapting it to meet new challenges for future generations, whereby government has to make decisions based on the impact on the future. We want to drive behavioural change and the way in which our economy works. One of the most exciting challenges facing us is how we power the economy of the future. People, society, government, and business must work in partnership to ensure that around the globe we can all learn lessons for future generations." The World Green Economy Summit (WGES) is the first event based on improving the profitability of sustainability practices, products and services in the Middle East and North Africa region, bringing together world leaders, united in pursuing a sustainable future for humanity to forge global partnerships that accelerate the transition to a green economy.
WGES is an initiative of Dubai Electricity '&' Water Authority (DEWA) and will be held under the theme 'Global Partnerships, Sustainable Future', in partnership with World Climate Ltd. WGES looks to complement the sustainable future vision of the UAE and the global efforts to combat climate change, and will be held at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre on 15th and 16 April 2014. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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Plastic waste turns a death trap for animals in UAE
posted on 16/04/2014

Deaths of wild animals caused by their by ingesting discarded waste, especially plastics, is increasing in the UAE's deserts as the discarded rubbish is reaching epidemic proportions, underlining the need for more deterrent measures, according to prominent UAE-based scientist, Dr. Ulli Wernery.
"You have plastic in your stomach, it disintegrates slowly and releases a lot of different poisons and then it damages and destroys mainly the intestines and the liver," Dr. Wernery, who is the Scientific Director at Dubai's Central Veterinary Research Laboratory (CVRL), said.
"Death by plastic, a modern phenomenon, takes months, if not years, in most cases, and happens in one of three excruciating ways," Dr. Wernery said in an article published by the Khaleej Times daily. He said that in the first, and most commonplace way, the animal ingests plastic over the course of years that cannot be digested. The plastic sits in the animal's stomach, making it think it is full, so it fails to eat, eventually starving to death. The second way is an obstruction of the animal's intestines, which causes it to die within 48 hours. The third, another long-term death that causes much suffering, is via poisoning.
"With increasingly more campers exploring the UAE's wadis comes more pollution and things are getting worse," he said, "[We need] zero tolerance, and you've got to fine these people, they have to feel it in their pocket, otherwise they will not change." The paper went on to say that it is not just desert animals that are dying, but also marine life, with widely-publicised cases of turtles eating plastic bags that appear to be jellyfish in the motion of the sea.
Dr. Wernery says there is evidence to suggest polar bears and birds that have fed on fish contaminated with tiny particles of broken down plastic, called nurdles, have had their sexual hormones affected, causing a low rate of reproduction or an increased likelihood of male newborns.
This kind of issue is common across the globe, the German scientist says. "Everybody knows that it's bad and getting worse and worse. It's a global problem." – Emirates News Agency, WAM –

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Dubai Metro ridership hits 40 million in Q1; Burj Khalifa 2nd busiest station
posted on 16/04/2014

The Roads and Transport Authority RTA announced that the Dubai Metro, comprising the Red and Green Lines, has posted high ridership during the first quarter of this year clocking 40,655,978 passengers, which compares well with the ridership recorded for the same period last year amounting to 33,341,095 riders.
Abdullah Yousef Al Ali, Acting CEO of RTA Rail Agency, said: "The number of the metro riders during the first three months of this year constitute a solid indicator that the Dubai Metro has become one of the prime transit means commanding the attention of the Dubai residents, visitors and tourists, offering smooth mobility and access to key parts of the city in a way that measures up to the needs and expectations of users.
"This year has witnessed a remarkable growth in the number of metro riders compared to the previous year; which has always been the core of our plans tailored to delivering a whole host of initiatives and service improvements capable of enticing all community members to use the metro as a primary transit means characterized by security, luxury and safety. The directives of His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to transform the metro stations into galleries radiating the stylish as well as the heritage-inspired features of Dubai Emirate, is bound to have a robust contribution to uplifting the footfall of the metro stations rendering them a venue for visual pleasure and peace of mind,” added Al Ali.
Elaborating the breakdown of the metro ridership per line and station, Al Ali said: "The number of Red Line trips made during the first quarter of the current year has reached 30,400 compared to 26,359 trips made during the same period last year. The number of the Green Line trips topped 23,876 compared to 7,841 trips made during the same period last year. The number of passengers using the Red Line during the first quarter of this year amounted to 26,138,923 passengers, compared to 21,803,705 passengers lifted during the same period last year. The total number of users of the Green Line in the first quarter of this year soared to 14,517,055 riders compared to 11,537,390 riders last year. Deira City Centre station on the Red Line has topped passengers count clocking 1,841,072 passengers, with Burj Khalifa - Dubai Mall Station ranking close second with ridership hitting 1,813,854 passengers. The Union Station came third reporting 1,705,712 passengers, and Al Rigga Station was fourth in the passenger pecking order recording 1,626,775 passengers”
Al Ali went on saying, "Al Fahidi Station on the Green Line came first during the first quarter of 2014 recording a ridership of 1,657,650 passengers, followed by Bani Yas Station with 1,609,747 passengers, and in the third place came Al Ghubaiba Station recording 1,207,237 passengers, ahead of Oud Metha Station ranking fourth with ridership as much as 1,054,012 passengers.” – Khaleej Times – Read more: http://www.khaleejtimes.com/nation/inside.asp?xfile=/data/transport/2014/April/transport_April7.xml§ion=transport

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RCA team in Philippines to assess needs of Haiyan-struck regions
posted on 16/04/2014

Manila: A UAE Red Crescent Authority (RCA) team is currently visiting Philippines to assess humanitarian needs of areas and population affected by Typhoon Haiyan within the UAE's US$ 10 million support and assistance programme, ordered by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
The powerful tropical cyclone struck Philippines in November 2013, and devastated portions of the Southeast Asian country.
Fahad Abdul Rahman bin Sultan, Head of the RCA delegation, met separately with Gwendolyn T. Pang, Secretary General of Philippine Red Cross, and officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs, to discuss the situation on the ground and the possibility of implementing infrastructure, health, educational and services projects.
The RCA team was informed about the kind of recovery and rehabilitation projects needed to bring life to normalcy in the typhoon-struck regions.
The RCA team will tomorrow take a field tour of these regions to study the situation on the ground and determine the best mechanisms to carry out health and educational programmes. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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RCA offers Makassed Charity Hospital in Jerusalem Dh450,000 to buy medicine
posted on 16/04/2014

The UAE Red Crescent Authority has provided a grant worth Dh450000 to the Makassed Charity Hospital in Jerusalem to buy drugs to enable the hospital to perform its medical and humanitarian commitment to Palestinian patients residents of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Humaid Rashid Al Shamsi, Acting Deputy Secretary-General of the International Aid in RCA, said that the grant comes as part of an existing programme of aid, continuously implemented by the Authority in the Palestinian territories since many years. He pointed out that previously, the authority provided health assistance to Palestinians to buy expensive medicines for patients with Thalassemia He added that the Red Crescent aid to Palestine, especially Jerusalem, is aimed at alleviating the economic hardships that Palestinians suffer and to support health and education programmes. He pointed out that RCA projects in the Palestinian territories include education, health and relief programmes, orphanages, building houses, providing facilities for the needy and supporting people with disabilities. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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Abu Dhabi Customs foils attempts to smuggle of 7.8 kg of narcotics
posted on 16/04/2014

Abu Dhabi Customs has foiled two attempts to smuggle narcotics weighing 7.8 kg in two different operations at Al Ghuwaifat customs post and Abu Dhabi International Airport Customs Post.
Inspectors at Al Ghuwaifat, in collaboration with the anti-drugs department, subjected two Asian truck drivers to a technical inspection at the customs' post truck exit point.
After scanning the first truck, inspectors found a high density substance in a cabinet behind the radio containing 372 capsules of heroin weighing 3.8 kg.
In the second truck, specialists detected a strange substance professionally hidden behind the drivers seat, which was found to be a narcotic substance weighing almost 973.4 grams.
In another operation, customs inspectors and employees from the anti-drugs department at Abu Dhabi International Airport suspected an Asian traveller coming from a South American country. When subjected to inspection, a white substance was found which turned out to be 3.8 kg of narcotics inside four plastic bags wrapped in a professional manner in the traveller's bag.
Mohammed Khadim Al Hameli, Acting Director-General of the General-Directorate of Customs, commented, "The General-Directorate of Customs in Abu Dhabi continues to play an important and vital role in maintaining security in the UAE and ensuring the safety of its residents. The Directorate's staff are considered to be our first line of defence and are vital to maintaining safety within the UAE through its land, sea and air ports." Al Hameli praised the customs officers' commitment to performing their duties to the fullest and with utmost responsibility and accuracy.
The smugglers and seized substances were transferred to the concerned authorities to complete inspection and to finalise the necessary legal procedures. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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HAAD issues statement on three new cases of MERS Coronavirus
posted on 16/04/2014

The Health Authority - Abu Dhabi (HAAD) announced three new cases of MERS Coronavirus (MERS COV). The new cases were identified through screenings for contacts of affected individuals and that they are all asymptomatic - i.e. have no symptoms and are well.
From previous asymptomatic cases in the UAE, individuals tend to clear the virus themselves within 10-14 days, but are kept in isolation in hospital during this time.
HAAD confirmed that the current situation is not a public health concern and that it is coordinating with the Ministry of Health (MOH) and other authorities in the country, and has taken all necessary measures as per international standards and recommendations from the World Health Organisation (WHO).
HAAD advises the public to follow these tips to help prevent respiratory illnesses: Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, and help young children do the same. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer.
Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze then throw the tissue in the trash.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid close contact with people with fever or flu-like illnesses.
HAAD stressed the need to follow information released about the illness by the Ministry of Health and Health Authorities. Cases of MERS COV have been reported by the WHO from 2012.
The MOH stated that the WHO confirmed the virus is not a concern for public health at the moment, and that the current situation does not require a travel ban to any country in the world, screenings at different ports, or any restrictions on trade.
The MOH confirmed that it is monitoring the situation closely to ensure the health and safety of everyone. The WHO is working closely with all Government and Health Authorities to understand the risks of this virus and the way it spreads between people. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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NMC’s pavilion praised in Sharjah event
posted on 16/04/2014

Abdullah Bin Mohammed Al Owais, Chairman of the Department of Culture and Information in Sharjah, and Mohammed Diab Al Mousa, Adviser at the Amiri Diwan, have visited the participating pavilion of National Media Council (NMC) in the Sharjah Heritage Days, being held in the Heart of Sharjah Area till April 25.
Upon arrival, they were received by Director General of the National Media Council (NMC), Ibrahim Al Abed, Ali Hassan Rashid Al Jarwan, head of the NMC Office in Sharjah, and a number of NMC officials. Al Owais toured the pavilion and got familiarised with the ancient lifestyle and daily life as well as other activities done by women. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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Hamdan bin Mohammed leads friendly match between Dubai Government Team and UAE National Wheelchair Basketball Team
posted on 16/04/2014

Nad Al Sheba Sports Complex hosted yesterday, Tuesday, a friendly basketball match between UAE National Wheelchair Basketball Team and Higher Committee for Protection of the Rights of People with Disabilities Team. The match was held under the slogan "Together ... We Integrate" and in line within the My Community ... A City for Everyone' initiative that aspires to make Dubai a friendly city for people with disabilities.
The initiative acquired patronage and support of Dubai Crown Prince and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Sheikh Hamdan led the UAE National Wheelchair Basketball Team and his brother, Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum led the Higher Committee for Protection of the Rights of People with Disabilities Team, Chairman of the Higher Committee for Protection of the Rights of People with Disabilities Team. The generous gesture reflects Dubai Government's unlimited support for this segment of the community.
This match is the first of series of events organized by the General Secretariat of Dubai Executive Council in coordination with the Higher Committee for Protection of the Rights of People with Disabilities to increase awareness about the initiative that was launched late last year with directives from Dubai Crown Prince.
Sheikh Hamdan affirmed that the United Arab Emirates' keenness to support people with disabilities initiates from a solid commitment to provide quality life for all segments of the community. He indicated that the government is working to provide all requirements to positively engage this segment in the society and enabling them to fully participate in the development and future of the nation.
Sheikh Hamdan said: "when the community stands up to its responsibilities, the individuals' capabilities reaches its peak and they can achieve miracles. We hope ‘My Community ... A City for Everyone' initiative will help in achieving that. We are very happy with this match; it is an experiment through which we tried to shade light on our efforts to remove obstacles and overcome any barriers hindering the unleashing of such great potentials." The Crown Prince called everybody to cooperate in recognizing the objectives of this noble target. He said: "we are equal and enabling all segments of society is a goal which receives our utmost attention until everybody is turned into a positive and productive force; we are keen to give equal opportunities for all and we want all members of society to be positive partners in the development process. Today, members of our National Wheelchair Basketball Team trained us to use the wheelchairs, pass the ball and score." The match witnessed hard competition between Sheikh Hamdan's team and Sheikh Mansour's team. In the second half, the teams were mixed and each team included players from UAE National Wheelchair Basketball Team and the Higher Committee for Protection of the Rights of People with Disabilities Team.
By the end of the match, Sheikh Hamdan greeted both teams and thanked the players of UAE National Wheelchair Basketball Team. He praised the players' skills and spirit calling them to keep success in their minds when representing the United Arab Emirates in the international events as they are partners in responsibility toward the country and the nation. Sheikh Hamdan also asked the team to set example for their pairs and prove ability to conquest disability and challenges.
HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed stressed on the importance of increasing awareness about the abilities and potentials of people with disabilities. He said: "the challenge our Dubai Government Team faced today is only a glimpse of what our brothers and sisters with disabilities have to deal with everyday. They are not different from us except that they need different approach to unleash their outstanding potentials. What they achieve everyday inspires me. They are true role models in perseverance and determination."
Better Life From his side, Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum indicated the importance of real community partnership to enable and empower people with disabilities and give them the opportunity to prove themselves as active members of the community. He added, "It is our duty to provide people with disabilities a full opportunity to employ the talents and capabilities God graced them with in what is useful to them and to their community. We are confident that our obligation as a community will ensure better life for our brothers and sisters with disabilities." Sheikh Mansour touched on Dubai's endeavours to legislate a law to protect people with disabilities in Dubai from discrimination, abuse, negligence or exploitation. He asserted that the anticipated law is the result of direct support from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, and in coordination with Dubai's Community Development authority.
Sheikh Mansour concluded that "converting Dubai into a friendly city for people with disabilities can only be achieved by cooperation between the public and private sectors in addition to all aspects of the community. We should all come to a common understanding that a person with disability must not feel different even if that require fundamental changes in our laws, regulations and daily practices." Meanwhile, Sheikh Mansour signed the ‘My community ... A City for Everyone' pledge, affirming Dubai's commitment to protect, integrate and enable people with disabilities.
Overwhelming happiness Captain of UAE National Wheelchair Basketball Team Tariq Ali Abdullah expressed his happiness for the event. Tariq said: "on behalf of the team, I would like to thank the leadership represented in HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, and Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Higher Committee for Protection of the Rights of People with Disabilities, for their generous gesture and for giving us the opportunity to prove our ability. Today's match is a demonstration for our potential." Meanwhile, the audience praised the match and what it stands for. They affirmed that Sheikh Hamdan and Sheikh Mansour participation in the match has successfully delivered an important message to educate the community, alert them to cooperate to enable people with disabilities and help them to overcome challenges to become active citizens and icons for creativity and success in all aspects of life.
Through ‘My Community ... A City for Everyone' initiative, Dubai is aspired to backing up the efforts to empower people with disabilities within an overarching framework that contributes to enhancing the effectiveness of existing projects and initiatives and in line with the international Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which the UAE joined in 2008. The initiative sets crucial foundation to affirm UAE commitment to the articles of the international convention.
Launched in November 2013 under patronage of Dubai Crown Prince and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the initiative aims to support Dubai's current efforts to empower people with disabilities within an overarching framework that contributes to enhancing the effectiveness of existing projects and initiatives, and developing more initiatives of such sort in accordance with a vision that aims to maximise the participation and integration of this segment in the community, and to create new opportunities through which to overcome all the obstacles that may stand in the way of positively engaging and integrating this segment in their social environment as individuals who possess productive and creative capabilities. The committee is under chairmanship of Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and membership of nine director generals from various Dubai Government's departments and a member representing the people with disabilities. Pursuant to the law, the committee works to facilitate and confront any challenges hindering the efforts to convert Dubai into a city friendly to people with disabilities. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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Mansour bin Zayed honours sports champions
posted on 16/04/2014

A total of 94 sports stars who raised the UAE flag aloft at regional and international championships in 2013 were recognised yesterday at a grand ceremony held at the National Theatre in Abu Dhabi.
H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, honoured Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, winner of the 'Sport Personality of the Year' for her leading, constructive and active role in serving and advancing the sports, especially women's sports.
Abdul Rahman bin Mohammed Al Owais, Minister of Health, and First Deputy Chairman of the National Olympic Committee, was also honoured for his outstanding contributions to the sports.
The glittering national event was organised by the General Authority Youth and Sports Welfare and attended by H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the National Olympic Committee, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, and a number of Sheikhs, ministers, senior officials and chairmen of sports associations.
Speaking after screening of a documentary on 2013 sports achievements, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, and Chairman of the General Authority for Youth and Sports Welfare, paid gratitude to President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, for their consistent support for sports and sportsmen.
He also thanked His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, for their support and encouragement to UAE sports movement.
He congratulated the sports champions who won the President's sports grant.
'Success of the sports sector in the State needs a full-fledged partnership of all stakeholders,' Sheikh Nahyan emphasised. Cash prizes of AED 25 million were given to 492 champions. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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Cinema-literature connection in focus at ADIF
posted on 16/04/2014

Cinema and literature have been sharing an intimate connection ever since the invention of the silver screen and the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF) will honour that connection for the first time this year.
The 24th edition of the fair, which will take place from April 30 to May 5, will have a ‘mini', 30-seat cinema hall set up on its premises dedicated to Emirati films.
"This move represents a step towards supporting an evolving sector on a local level, which requires unremitting institutional efforts to create a new mentality that takes cinematic expression more seriously and stimulates discussion using a more open and inspiring visual language,” said Mohammed Al Shehhi, director of research and publishing at the National Library.
The Black Box Cinema project was created for ADIBF by Emirati filmmaker and actor Nawaf Al Janahi. It involves the screening of 15 Emirati short films, documentaries and animation films throughout the duration of the fair, as well as six workshops and seminars discussing the local cinematic movement, filmmaking artistry and film criticism.
"There are a few Emirati films based on books adaptations, but they are either technically or aesthetically not well made, and we didn't want to present films based on this criteria. We wanted quality films,” said Al Janahi.
Initially, Al Janahi planned to include long feature movies, but since the screening is for ADIBF visitors — who may not have 90 minutes to spare for a movie at the fair — the cinematic programme was reduced to 30 minutes for each screening.
There is a fixed programme that allows the screening of each film twice daily, but fair visitors who purchase a book with a cinematic subject may choose to see any film they want from the programme, any time between 2pm and 5pm. All films have English subtitles.
Entry to the Black Box Cinema as well as ADIBF is free. "It's no secret that filmmakers make strenuous efforts to realise their dreams.
These efforts need effective support for us to be able to see our image reflected in inspiring movies that convey our voices. The Black Box Cinema project offers a glimpse of what is being achieved on the ground and establishes a dialogue among filmmakers,” said Al Janahi. – Khaleej Times – Read more: http://www.khaleejtimes.com/nation/inside.asp?xfile=/data/entertainmentnation/2014/April/entertainmentnation_April4.xml§ion=entertainmentnation

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