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Mohammed bin Rashid attends brainstorming session to discuss future of Smart Government
posted on 27/05/2015

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, has attended a brainstorming session attended by 100 deputies, Directors-General and officials of smart government services, to discuss the most important ideas for the development of smart government services and its infrastructure as well as to promote its usage and enhance the quality of its applications.
Speaking at the session, His Highness said, "Our ambition in the short term is to link smart services federally and locally and to provide a single-window system to the customer wherever he is and whatever the service is, as the customer is looking to us as one state and one integrated work environment."
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed added that there is a need to review some legislation and government measures to facilitate the work of smart government and raise the efficiency of its services, saying that the next phase requires a comprehensive review, and continuous evaluation and classification of the services quality.
During his participation in the meeting, which was attended by Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister for Cabinet Affairs and Chairman of the Higher Committee for Smart Government, His Highness said that the smart employee is the source for providing smart service and customers need a lot of service channels to suit their different circumstances.
The session was attended by Khalifa Saeed Suleiman, Director-General of the Department of Protocol and Hospitality in Dubai, Ohood Al Roumi, Director-General, Office of the Prime Minister, Hamad Obaid Al Mansouri, Director-General of UAE Smart Government, and Hessa Essa Buhumaid, Executive Director - Government Services Sector - Prime Minister's Office, along with a number of officials and dignitaries. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395281069522.html

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Five UAE sites identified as areas of global biological and ecological importance
posted on 27/05/2015

The UAE has identified five sites as areas of global biological and ecological importance during the recently-concluded regional workshop on Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas (EBSAs) in the North-Western Indian Ocean and the neighbouring Gulf region, announced the Ministry of Environment and Water.
The Southwest Waters of Abu Dhabi, Marawah Marine Biosphere Reserve, Jebel Ali, Sir Bu Na'air Island & Khor Kalba, recognised for rich environmental biodiversity, were identified five sites as areas of biological and ecological importance globally during the recently concluded regional workshop on Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas (EBSA) in the North-Western Indian Ocean and the neighbouring Gulf region.
The Southwest Waters of Abu Dhabi and Marawah Marine Biosphere Reserve in Abu Dhabi, Jebel Ali in Dubai, and Sir Bu Na'air Island and Khor Kalba in Sharjah were recognised for their rich and unique environmental biodiversity during a regional meeting held at the City Season Suites Hotel in Dubai hosted by the UAE government.
The Ministry of Environment and Water hosted the regional workshop on Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas (EBSA) in the North-Western Indian Ocean and the neighbouring Gulf region in cooperation with the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in the Regional Office for Western Asia of the United Nations Environment Programme, the Office of Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals - Abu Dhabi, the Regional Organisation for the Conservation of the Environment of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, the Regional Organisation for the Protection of the Marine Environment, and the Abu Dhabi Global Environmental Data Initiative (AGEDI) which aimed to identify important marine areas in the region.
The workshop was attended by representatives from the UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Egypt and Jordan, Sudan, Eritrea, Pakistan, India as well as international and regional organisations.
During the event, the UAE's five marine ecologically important areas were evaluated based on the criteria established during the 9th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity. They were assessed according to their biological uniqueness or rarity, with special emphasis on the stages and phases of local species' life cycle. The criteria also looked into the importance of the region to endangered species as well as the degradation of habitats and their sensitivity, biological productivity and diversity, and other natural features.
Mariam Saeed Hareb, Acting Assistant Undersecretary for Water Resources and Nature Conservation, Ministry of Environment and Water, said, "By recognising their aquatic ecological importance, we are highlighting the significance of conserving the open oceans and high seas for the survival of all marine species. Our intensified conservation efforts have been bearing fruit thanks to the hard work, cooperation and perseverance of everyone. We have efficiently and effectively protected the local species, especially the endangered ones, and their numbers are steadily thriving."
"However, more work still needs to be done to save our ecological system from further degradation. We hosted the regional workshop in line with the UAE Government's strong commitment to promote biodiversity and environmental sustainability. Our success story in our conservation efforts is clearly shown by what we have accomplished so far in these five ecologically important zones," Engineer Mariam Saeed Hareb, Acting Assistant Undersecretary for Water Resources and Nature Conservation, Ministry of Environment and Water.
In Abu Dhabi, the Marawah Marine Biosphere Reserve comprises a range of unique marine and coastal habitats including sand flats, mangroves, sea grass beds and coral reefs. These are especially important to migratory and endangered species. Moreover, the reserve supports the second largest population of dugongs in the world after Australia. The area also provides crucial nurseries and spawning grounds for a wide variety of fish species. It serves as a foraging habitat for the critically endangered hawksbill turtles and green turtles as well.
The Southwest Waters of Abu Dhabi, on the other hand, are rich in critical habitats such as mangroves, sea grass beds, coral reefs, algal mats, and sabkhas. These habitats support an important spectrum of marine life including seabirds and migratory waders, a large population of critically endangered hawksbill turtles, and dugongs.
With a 2,185-hectare conservation area, Jebel Ali is the most important site in Dubai where the critically endangered hawksbill sea turtle nests. Dolphins are also frequent visitors, particularly the Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins and Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins. Jebel Ali is also home to diverse marine flora and fauna.
In Sharjah, meanwhile, Sir Bu Na'air Island houses more than 300 hawksbill turtle nests every year, the largest nesting population in the UAE. A unique island in the Arabia Gulf that was declared a protected area in 2000, it serves as a breeding ground for sea birds. It also boasts of mountains and a variety of minerals and sandy beaches with coral reefs extending all the way to the sandy sea bed.
Khor Kalba, which is also located in the emirate, is a stunning mangrove forest over the banks of a natural creek. Extending almost two kilometres, the area is home to endemic subspecies of avifauna as well as crabs, molluscs and reptiles.
Biodiversity conservation is a key pillar in promoting environmental sustainability in the country. This initiative is a strategic priority for the Ministry and is in line with UAE Vision 2021.
As part of the government's conservation efforts, the Ministry organises strategic initiatives such as the EBSA workshop, implements relevant resolutions, and participates in, and supports international conferences and conventions, including the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395281078178.html

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National Council of Tourism and Antiquities discusses white paper report and list of archaeological sites
posted on 27/05/2015

The National Council for Tourism and Antiquities, during its 26th meeting chaired by Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, has reviewed a white paper report on tourism in the UAE.
Mohammed Khamis bin Hareb Al Muhairi, Director-General for the National Council of Tourism and Antiquities, said that the white paper report, which was discussed at the workshop held in Abu Dhabi, has been endorsed to implement integrated and strategic economic tourism development in the UAE.
He added that the preparation of the white paper was conducted in conjunction with the World Tourism Organisation, noting that it is the first time for it to be implemented in the Arab region.
Al Muhairi said that the Board of Directors also discussed the participation of the UAE in the 39th session of the World Heritage Committee and an initial list of archaeological and cultural sites of the UAE, to nominate a number of them to join the World Heritage List. It also discussed the unification of archaeological terms in the UAE.
The Board of Directors also reviewed the latest developments regarding the UAE Archaeological Draft Law, which was discussed last week at the Federal National Council.
The bill is a major achievement for the National Council of Tourism and Antiquities in the protection and conservation of the UAE's antiquities. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395281069105.html

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FANR seeks public comment on draft regulatory guide on UAE’s international nuclear safeguards obligations
posted on 27/05/2015

The United Arab Emirate's Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) yesterday released a draft safeguards regulatory guide and invited the public to review the draft and comment.
FANR has drafted Regulatory Guide 15 for the Implementation of the Obligations and Requirements of the Additional Protocol to the UAE Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement, which provides guidance to FANR's licensees involved in activities such as handling nuclear material and conducting nuclear fuel cycle-related research and development.
This is one of three regulatory guides being prepared by FANR to assist its licensees to implement the requirements of FANR's Regulation 10 for the System of Accounting for and Control of Nuclear Material and Application of Additional Protocol. This regulation is pivotal as it establishes the requirements for the UAE to meet its international nuclear non-proliferation obligations agreed between the UAE and the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The draft regulatory guide is available on the FANR website.
Members of the public can send their comments to FANR for the next 30 days (from 26 May 2015 to 25 June 2015).
FANR's Safety, Security and Safeguards Glossary can help interested readers to understand the specific terminology used in this regulatory guide. FANR will consider all comments before preparing the final regulatory guide.
As with previous regulatory guides, this draft regulatory guide has already been made available for 30 days to local and federal government entities for their comments.
FANR recognises the importance of the public's comments and maintains the highest standards of transparency in accordance with Article 9 of Federal Law by Decree No 6 of 2009, Concerning the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy.
Since its establishment on 24th September 2009, FANR has asked its stakeholders to review and comment on its regulations and regulatory guides. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395281078707.html

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UAE delegation, headed by TRA, participates at World Summit on the Information Society Forum in Geneva
posted on 27/05/2015

GENEVA: The United Arab Emirates has participated in the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Forum 2015, which opened yesterday at the International Telecommunication Union's (ITU) headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
The General Authority for Regulating the Telecommunications Sector (TRA) led the UAE official delegation along with representatives from several government entities including the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Labour, Dubai Courts, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and the Red Crescent Authority.
Speaking on the occasion Majed Al Mesmar, TRA Deputy Director General for Telecommunications Sector and head of the official delegation, said, "On behalf of the UAE delegation, I would like to take this opportunity to extend our appreciation to the ITU and WSIS officials for inviting us here to witness the results of our collective efforts over the past year. The implementation of a true information society is the ultimate product to which all ITU activities are structured. Hence the importance of this year's forum titled ‘Enabling ICTs for Sustainable Development', which looks ahead of the achieved goals and experiments new opportunities in pursuit of the long term global digital transformation."
"Today, we reaffirm the UAE's commitment to the announced and upcoming initiatives around the Information Society. As we proceed hand-in-hand with your esteemed organisation, we aim to continue formulating every aspect of our lives to revolve around the concept of innovation in ICT. With that being said, we look forward to working together throughout WSIS Forum 2015, in the spirit of international cooperation and sustainable growth," he added.
Maher Al Obed, Ministry of Labour Assistant Under-Secretary for Inspection Affairs, confirmed that the Smart Inspection System, which the ministry is contributing with at the World Summit Award for the Information Society in 2015, is one of the most important regulatory and inspection tools launched by the ministry. The tool is set to achieve results supporting special operations particularly for control operations and crises combat.
Al Obed noted that the Smart Inspection System enables the ministry to identify indicators and real data from the nation's labour market in a clear manner. In addition, it supports the operational plan for inspection, based on the data and information analysis from establishments registered with the Ministry, through internal regulations, such as WPS and complaints from unions and other systems that monitor everything under the contract between the employer and the worker.
He also explained that the system comes within the framework of the Ministry's proposal to apply a number of innovative initiatives, in order to enhance inspection tools that enable the sector to adequately carry out duties as required. Especially, in light of the small number of inspectors in comparison to the number of facilities registered with the ministry and their employees.
Al Obed added that the ministry is working through the system to create an institutional partnership between the market's concerned parties. This also includes working on establishing a real database for private sector enterprises registered in the ministry, as well as to measure the efficiency of the labour law and its implementation decisions in controlling the market.
The TRA participated as the platinum sponsor of this year's Forum, which mirrors the close relationship between the ITU and TRA. The strategic partnership between both is contributing and supporting the Union's efforts to promote a culture of excellence and innovation, in all areas related to the global ICT sector. This includes all efforts and initiatives directed towards fulfilling the World Summit recommendations, in achieving the highest degree of coordination among the global information society. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395281080743.html

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UAE Parliamentary Division participates at IPU Global Conference of Young Parliamentarians
posted on 27/05/2015

The UAE Parliamentary Division of the Federal National Council, FNC, will participate at the IPU Global Conference of Young Parliamentarians, organised by the International Parliamentary Union, which will take place on May 27th and 28th in the Japanese capital, Tokyo.
Participants in the conference, which is being held under the theme, "Democracy, Peace and Prosperity", will address a number of topics, including obstacles facing youths in a world of economic and social crises, explore whether it is possible for young people to help in the eradication of violence and conflict through participating in the democratic process, and the role that young parliamentarians play in advancing the peace process in the future.
In the opening session, the President of the House of Representatives and the National Legislative Council in Japan, and Saber Chowdhury, President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, are both expected to speak.
The parliamentary delegation will be headed by Faisal Al Tunaiji, Member of the Federal National Council, and Chairman of the Inter-Parliamentary Union's Youth Parliamentarian Forum, whose members include Sultan Saif Samahy and Dr. Sheikha Al Owais. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –

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UAE Minister of Economy explores investment opportunities in Qatar
posted on 27/05/2015

DOHA: Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, led the UAE trade and investment mission which concluded a visit to Doha, Qatar.
The visit came in response to the invitation of Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim Al Thani, Minister of Economy and Commerce, for a briefing on investment opportunities in Qatar in various fields for Emirati businesspersons and investors.
The UAE delegation included 50 persons from economic and trade departments in the local and federal departments as well as a huge number of investors and businesspersons.
The Minister of Economy noted that the visit was part of the framework to enhance bilateral relations between the two fraternal countries in the economic, trade and investment domains and in pursuance of boosting opportunities to work together in the GCC, as well as strengthening integration.
He added that all the GCC bilateral or multilateral meetings were aimed at bolstering the desired GCC integration.
During the meeting, Al Mansouri and Al Thani discussed avenues for enhancing economic and trade co-operation between the two fraternal countries as well as an increase in trade exchange. They stressed the importance of the role being played by the private sector in the two countries to develop joint co-operation, especially in the trade and investment fields.
Al Mansouri also noted the keenness of the UAE led by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan to enhance bilateral co-operation with Qatar in all sectors, especially in the economic, trade and investment fields to the advantage of both countries.
He added that this would contribute to boosting efforts of the GCC states in working together.
The Economy Minister also added that the UAE delegation includes a huge number of officials and members of trade and economic departments including commerce and industry chambers as well as representatives of a large number of well-reputed companies and investment entities.
This reflects the interest the country has in strengthening investment cooperation between the two friendly nations, specially business community in both countries.
He also indicated that the UAE companies and investors have the potential and capabilities as well as cumulative investment experience which enables them to support the march of development being witnessed by Qatar.
A Mansouri pointed out that the two countries will witness international events, such as Expo 2020 Dubai and World Cup in Qatar in 2022, both international events that are set to open hundreds of investment opportunities in the two countries.
He reiterated that the economic and trade ties between the two countries have been witnessing continuous growth with the foreign trade volume between the two sides in the past ten years rising 587 percent from US$936.2 million in 2005 to US$5.5 billion in 2014.
He added that the two countries have signed a large number of agreements in various fields, especially in energy, industry, financial, economic, trade, youth and sports, transport, civil aviation, meteorology, cooperation in the field of higher education and scientific research, municipal and agriculture, public works housing fields and other services.
He also noted that the trade mission is an opportunity to brief business communities in both countries regarding the investment opportunities in the two countries.
The UAE delegation included Abdullah bin Ahmed Al Saleh, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Economy-Foreign Trade sector, Juma Mohammed Al Kit, Assistant Undersecretary of the Ministry of Economy for Foreign Trade, and other officials. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395281080321.html http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395281084404.html

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Nakheel out to make a ‘Pointe’ with Dh800m project
posted on 27/05/2015

Completion of The Pointe, a project located on the Palm Jumeirah that could well become Dubai's priciest waterfront-based dining and entertainment strip, is set for the first quarter of 2016, according to Nakheel, its developer.
Construction has already crossed the 30 per cent mark while on the leasing side, more than 100 outlets out of the 145 available have been taken up.
The 1.2km project, which is located right on the tip of the island and across the bay from the Atlantis, is expected to cost Dh800 million.
The Pointe could attract between 40,000 to 50,000 visitors a day in its first full year of operations, according to a senior Nakheel official. Of this, 60 per cent could comprise tourists staying at hotels on the Palm.
Of late, water-side leisure locations such as The Beach (from Meraas) and The Walk have been visitor magnets, while Dubai Parks & Resorts is building a themed area around the water as part of its Riverland attraction.
Palm premium
"Anything on the Palm comes attached with a premium — the same will be the case for The Pointe,” said Omar Khoory, director of retail at Nakheel.
He, however, declined to get into the specifics of the lease rate band.
"As for the individual F&B concepts, they can offer anything from a burger to fine dining,” Khoory said.
"With all the tourist traffic we are projecting to this destination, we could not limit the Pointe to being an all-exclusive destination.”
The bigger format outlets would be around 10,000 square feet, one of which will be used by Nakheel's hospitality division for its own F&B concept. The first fit-outs could start from the third quarter of this year.
Across the island, the retail and hospitality components are being topped up. First up — in August — will be the launch of the retail component of the Golden Mile, which Nakheel acquired from IFA. Khoory confirmed that all of the earlier lease commitments entered into by the IFA would be honoured.
Nakheel Mall
In the development pipeline is Nakheel Mall, a Dh1 billion-plus project occupying a prime location on the destination. The mall, scheduled for opening in 2017 and currently 55 per cent leased, could take in anywhere up to 70,000 visitors a day. The Palm currently has a 35,000 resident base.
"My estimate is that 20 per cent or so of the brands represented will be making their debut in Dubai at Nakheel Mall,” Khoory said. "Again, lease rates at the Mall would carry the ‘Palm premium' — that's a given because of the sheer numbers of visitors that the Palm attracts, and will [continue to] do so in future.”
Nakheel is also building the 52-storey Palm Tower, 18 floors of which have been set aside for a hotel and the rest for residences, adjacent to the mall. However, no decision has been made on who will manage the hotel.
"There are no more plots on the Palm for hotel projects... all 32 have been acquired by investors,” Khoory said.
Currently, nine of these are fully functional properties, of which the Atlantis recently confirmed an expansion which would add 800 hotel rooms and 200-plus freehold residences in a separate structure. Another seven hotel projects are in various stages of the construction cycle.
There are more than 4,000 hotel rooms available on the Palm. – Gulf News - http://gulfnews.com/business/property/nakheel-out-to-make-a-pointe-with-dh800m-project-1.1522210

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Dubai Media City helps to strengthen media industry in Dubai
posted on 27/05/2015

Dubai's media sector has gone from strength to strength in the past decade, with the creation of a real industry ecosystem emerging in Dubai, the Dubai Media City, which provides a home for industry giants, as well as SMEs and entrepreneurs from across the media value chain.
The Media Cluster of TECOM Investments, which comprises Dubai Media City, Dubai Studio City and the International Media Production Zone, experienced positive growth in 2014, with 201 new companies joining its portfolio.
Deloitte's recent TMT Predictions for 2015 highlight real growth opportunities for content creators across the MENA region, focusing particularly on short-form content and Digital Islamic Services.
In line with this, Mohammad Abdullah, Managing Director of TECOM's Media Cluster, has called for content creators to join these vibrant business communities, which already provide a home to content creators from around the world, to enable their further development and growth.
Digital Islamic Services, which includes any technology or media online product or service that addresses the needs of consumers in the Islamic economy, will also be a strong area of growth over the next few years.
Deloitte predicts that the region's Digital Islamic Economy will nearly double in size in terms of Muslim consumer spend on lifestyle products and services, to reach US$30 billion by 2018.
"The environment for content creators has never been as competitive as it is today, with consumers able to access almost unlimited amounts of content on their smartphones, and it is important that creators of content are given the right support and market for their output and to fill a niche," Mohammad Abdullah said.
"With large industry players adopting the short-form video format, whose new ventures we continue to support, it is more important now than ever that creators of online content are given the right support and environment to operate. We continue to encourage creators of content from around the world to join our business communities, and ensure that creativity and competition is nurtured across the industry."
"We have long supported Deloitte's Middle East TMT predictions, as they contain many valuable insights that serve as a guide for the media industry and, as evidenced by their predictions, there are real growth opportunities within particular areas of the media sector."
Dubai Media City, since its inauguration in 2001, has grown to become a thriving business community, home to leading international and regional brands including CNN, Thomson Reuters, MBC and CNBC Arabia. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395281061322.html

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UAE hands over 200 buses to Egypt
posted on 27/05/2015

CAIRO: The UAE has delivered 200 buses to Egypt, the second instalment in its promise to donate 600 buses to the public transport authority in Cairo, said the Coordination Office of the UAE-funded Development Projects in Egypt.
The donated buses were manufactured by Abu Dhabi-based Hafilat Industries and JB Polo Buses Manufacturing in Egypt.
The Office says that up to 600,000 residents of the Egyptian capital are expected to use the buses, which could help reduce the chronic traffic congestion and accidents in the city as well as transport cost by 50 percent .
Preparations are underway to hand over yet a third instalment of the donated buses to Egyptian authorities, the Office added.
Governor of Cairo, Jalal Mustafa Saeed, who took delivery of the buses, praised the UAE for its support for his country and noted that the founding father of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, laid the foundations of the solid relations between the two countries.
The Office noted that the first instalment of the donated bus were delivered to Egypt in early March. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –

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UAE envoy commissions 45 fresh water wells in Tanzania
posted on 27/05/2015

NGORONGORO, TANZANIA: The UAE Ambassador to Tanzania Abdullah Ibrahim Al Suwaidi has commissioned 45 water wells in Loliondo division in Tanzania's Ngorongoro District.
The wells were dug as part of the UAE Water Aid (Suqia) initiative.
Al Suwaidi announced that an additional 15 wells will be drilled as part of the initiative, launched by Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
Present at the commissioning were Tanzanian Tourism Minister Lazaro Nyalandu, Saeed Suhail Al Mazrouei, representative of the UAE Red Crescent Authority, senior Tanzanian officials and citizens of the district.
Minister Nyalandu thanked the UAE for the continuous support to the people of Tanzania and said the project reflected the excellent relations between the two countries and strong friendship between their leaders.
The UAE Ambassador also visited Loliondo elementary school and hospital and announced drilling of two wells there.
The Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Mr Lazaro Nyalandu, together with the envoy for the United Arab Emirates in Tanzania, Ambassador Abdullah Ibrahim Al-Suwaidi, unveiled the water project which will serve Emarti, Olobo, Loliondo-Bondeni, Orkanda, Maaloni, Wasso, Ng'waras, Shamba-la-Magereza, Orkeyen, Loipiri, Sukenya, Magaidulu, and Kwakashi villages. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395281094167.html

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European-UAE Human Rights Working Group visits Hedaya Centre
posted on 27/05/2015

A delegation from the European-UAE Human Rights Working Group has visited the Ab Dhabi-based International Centre of Excellence for Countering Violent Extremism (Hedayah).
The delegation included John O'Rourke, Head of Division Arabian Peninsula, Iran and Iraq at European External Action Service of the EU, Amna Al Muhairi, Head of the Human Rights Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Executive Director of Hedayah, Maqsoud Kruse welcomed the delegation and stressed that its visit is important because it reflects the fruitful strategic partnership with the UAE.
A brief presentation was given for the delegation to learn about the centre's goals, achievements and activities in the domains of dialogue, training and research.
The two sides discussed the present day challenges and relevant future initiatives for countering these challenges.
They also highlighted the active role of Hedayah which works hand in hand with the international community to fend off violent extremism and all its forms and manifestations throughout society.
The delegation expressed appreciation of the full support being provided by the UAE government, represented by the Foreign Ministry, for the centre to further enhance the country's global leadership in combating violent extremism. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395281089105.html

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Nahyan signs MoU with ASDAN
posted on 27/05/2015

Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, and Honorary President of the Future Centre, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Christine Evans, Lead Regional Manager (North) at Award Scheme Development and Accreditation Network, ASDAN, a UK-based pioneering curriculum development organisation and awarding body, offering programmes and qualifications that explicitly grow skills for learning, skills for employment and skills for life.
As per the MoU the Future Centre will use ASDAN's programmes for a group of its students starting early September.
The aim of the agreement is to obtain ASDAN's accreditation for curriculum development.
Accordingly, the centre's students will be certified by ASDAN.
The Future Centre was launched by the UAE in 2000 and is dedicated to empowering individuals with special needs employing a systematic, structured and balanced approach that result in the students' improved quality of life.
The Future Centre has now 200 male and female students from various nationalities. It is accredited by California-based Tucci Learning Solutions Inc., which provides consultative and training services for educators and parents using the Competent Learner Model (CLM). – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395281088869.html

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Masdar Institute holds commencement ceremony for Class of 2015
posted on 27/05/2015

Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Masdar Institute, H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister; Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development; and others, yesterday attended the graduation ceremony of the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology Class of 2015.
Saqr bin Ghobash Saeed Ghobash, Minister of Labour , Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State and Chairman of Masdar, and Chairman of the Masdar Institute Board of Trustees Executive Committee; Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Affairs Authority, Member of Abu Dhabi Executive Council, and CEO of Mubadala Development Company; Dr. Mugheer Khamis Al Khaili, Chairman of Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD); Saeed Eid Al Ghafli, Chairman of the Department of Municipal Affairs, Abu Dhabi; Abdulla Nasser Al-Suwaidi, ADNOC Director General; and other dignitaries also attended the ceremony.
Sheikh Abdullah awarded graduation certificates to the first two Masdar Institute PhD graduates in Interdisciplinary Engineering and more than 100 Masdar Institute Master of Science graduates. The commencement, which was Masdar Institute's fifth, was held at the Emirates Palace Hotel, Abu Dhabi.
In his keynote speech, Sheikh Abdullah said that Masdar Institute's Class of 2015 commencement was a testament to the efforts being undertaken to achieve the country's National Innovation Strategy goals, which require high-value human capital to advance the key high-tech sectors targeted in the strategy.
Sheikh Abdullah said, "As a member of Masdar Institute's Board of Trustees, I have witnessed the results of its commitment to laying the foundation for the UAE's global technology leadership. Its faculty, students and researchers have produced six full patents, with dozens more in the pipeline. Its research has appeared in hundreds of papers published by leading scientific journals. Its name has been illuminated through numerous awards, including a Medal of Top Emiratis for one pioneering student researcher But the greatest proof of Masdar Institute's value to the UAE's economic vision isn't its remarkable facilities or labs. It is you, the graduates, the Masdar Institute Class of 2015."
He thanked President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, for leading the country towards such a future full of innovation and prosperity.
He also thanked Sheikh Mohamed for his tireless efforts to support and develop that future.
The Masdar Institute Class of 2015 included 22 UAE nationals and 84 international graduates from 36 countries. The graduates received degrees in Masdar Institute's specialised programs developed in response to the UAE's strategic and economic goals – Engineering Systems and Management, Computing and Information Science, Materials Science and Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Water and Environmental Engineering, Microsystems Engineering, Electrical Power Engineering, and Chemical Engineering.
Dr. Sultan Al Jaber said, "Masdar Institute has been playing a critical role in the UAE's knowledge-economy transformation since it was established in 2007. Following the announcement by the UAE leadership of the National Innovation Strategy, Masdar Institute has strengthened its focus on supporting the innovative capacity of the UAE in key economic sectors.
"With this fifth commencement taking place in the UAE's Year of Innovation, Masdar Institute is making a sizeable contribution to those sectors and the country's overall innovation ecosystem, providing the highly-skilled engineering graduates who will drive the country's targeted high-tech industries," he added.
Speaking at the commencement, Dr. Behjat Al Yousuf, Interim Provost, Masdar Institute, said: "With every passing graduation, our alumni have somehow managed to improve upon the last. Each year, we seem to attract more and more talented young men and women; young men and women who are willing to meet our strict academic requirements; who recognise the value and importance of our mission and want to learn how to change the world. They inspire me and give me hope that the world can achieve its necessary sustainability goals."
Within a few years since inception, Masdar Institute has built a reputation as a leader in locally relevant and world-class research innovation by nurturing talented faculty and students, equipping them with the resources they need and connecting them with academia, government and private sector research partners.
Masdar Institute's notable research outcomes have helped it secure the number one ranking in university research citation impact category for the Arab region in the 2015 US News and World Report rankings.
A number of Masdar Institute's Class of 2015 graduates have concluded their research thesis on issues of strategic relevance and economic value to the UAE. These areas include clean energy, advanced technology, and water-related technologies. In 2015 alone, faculty and students have more than doubled Masdar Institute's issued US patents to six and those in the pipeline now include 54 pending patent applications and 96 invention disclosures, thus firmly establishing their place as leaders in the development of intellectual capital.
The ceremony also highlighted the commencement of Masdar Institute's PhD graduates in Interdisciplinary Engineering program.
UAE national Faisal Al Marzooqi was the first Masdar Institute PhD student cleared to graduate after successfully defending his dissertation focused on a novel desalination membrane that he developed. A technology patent resulting from Al Marzooqi‘s thesis is now pending with the US Patents Office. Another UAE national PhD student Aamena Ali Alshamsi's thesis covers some of the highly technical aspects of ‘Big Data' and explores the possibilities of using social media and mobile phones to understand what makes society happy. The findings could be used to provide real-time analytics about individuals and collectives for timely intervention by decision-makers. They could also be leveraged to build productive teams and design informed strategies to achieve desirable goals in many aspects, including sustainability.
The Class of 2015 graduates are expected to apply the knowledge and expertise gained during their Masdar Institute studies to advancing technology, research, government, academia and entrepreneurship, here in the UAE and abroad. Masdar Institute has successfully facilitated placement of 96 per cent of its previous graduating class who now serve as innovation leaders at organisations and institutions including Microsoft, GE, YahSat, Mubadala, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), Siemens, and the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC).
Some are also currently with leading universities including the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA), MIT, NYU, UC Berkeley, UT Austin, and Imperial College, London, as faculty or PhD students.
Masdar Institute held its first graduation ceremony in June 2011, where more than 70 students graduated. With the fifth commencement now, the total number of Masdar Institute graduates has crossed the 400 mark.
During the 2014-2015 academic, year Masdar Institute received approval for its ninth Master's programme from the Commission for Academic Accreditation of the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research.
The Sustainable Critical Infrastructure programme, launched in Fall 2014, offers learning in integrated sustainable infrastructure planning and development, with an initial focus on urban operations planning and transportation systems.
The 2014-2015 academic year was also marked by several notable achievements. Masdar Institute's PhD student Ahmed Al Harethi was honoured with the Medal of Top Emiratis on the occasion of 43rd UAE National Day by Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
Al Harethi became "the first Emirati to invent a mechanism for generation of bio fuels with industrial quantities using genetically-modified algae," which relates to his ongoing doctoral research.
In the US News & World Report's inaugural ‘Best Arab Region Universities' listing 91 institutions across 16 countries, Masdar Institute was also ranked second in the ‘percentage of total publications in top 10 percent' category, third in the ‘percentage of total publications in top 25 percent' category and ranked 6th in the ‘energy' subject area.
The UAE became the first country in the region to develop its own publicly available wind atlas when Masdar Institute's Research Centre for Renewable Energy Mapping and Assessment, ReCREMA, launched the UAE Wind Atlas. ReCREMA also released ‘UAE LiveSolar,' a mobile application that allows users to access solar resource information for their location in near real-time through their GPS-enabled smartphones using the unique satellite-based solar mapping algorithm developed at Masdar Institute.
A memorandum of understanding, MoU, signed with the Korea Basic Science Institute, KBSI, to collaborate on research in the field of energy storage devices and nano-materials. The two institutions agreed to drive innovations and organise joint knowledge sharing sessions, joint studies, research projects and training activities, to bring technical expertise and human capital to the UAE and the region.
Masdar Institute also signed a collaboration agreement with NEST AS to build a thermal energy storage, TES, pilot at the ‘Beam Down' facility in Masdar City. The Norwegian company specialises in developing large-scale TES technology.
Last year also saw the announcement for four grants under the Masdar Institute and MIT Innovation programme, MMIP, to fund research projects run jointly by faculty members at both institutions. The MMIP is focused on achieving commercial applications from research performed across various iCentres. On the human capital front, two Masdar Institute students were awarded the inaugural two-year BP Innovation merit scholarships to encourage pre-graduation start-ups.
Other key developments include the Institute Centre for Energy's , iEnergy, launch of a new global partnership in waste management during the fourth Global Green Growth Forum (3GF2014) in Copenhagen, the launch the Horizon 2020 programme by European Commission and regional stakeholders with the Institute Centre for Smart and Sustainable Systems' iSmart, the biggest gathering of international microscopy experts for a seminar and symposium, the Masdar Institute-MIT Research and Innovation Conference 2015 hosted by the Institute Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, iInnovation, the Statistics in Hydrology, STAHY, 2014 workshop organised by Institute Centre for Water and Environment, iWater, and the contribution of Institute Centre for Microsystems, iMicro, for the successful deployment of a pilot programme for a cloud-based semiconductor design workflow in the UAE.
RTA completed projects worth Dh80 billion since 2005
Mattar Al Tayer, Director General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) , has disclosed that RTA's expenditure on infrastructure projects since established in November 2005 has reached about Dh 80 billion, and its assets amounted to more than 85 billion dirham.
Al Tayer made these remarks during the launch of Projects Management Development Programme (Projects) organised by the RTA in collaboration with the Project Management Institute (PMI) in a periodic meeting with the Executive Directors, Directors and Managers at the RTA .
The giant projects undertaken by the RTA contributing to ranking the UAE at the top of all countries of the world in terms of the quality of roads in 2012 and 2013 according to the Global Competitiveness Report published by the World Economic Forum. These projects also contributed to improving the quality of life of residents where Dubai was clinched the first position in the quality of living in the MENA region in 2014. Thus RTA's projects have had a positive bearing on the economy of Dubai Emirate, with savings in time and fuel exceeding 87 billion dirham during the period from 2006 till the end of 2014.
"Maintaining the achievement and excellent standing achieved by the RTA warrants taking a continual review of RTA's assessment with the aim of learning and improving the business conduct, and identifying lessons learned from the past besides translating them into a factual reality. This can only be achieved through mapping out improved work plans, developing new unconventional initiatives, picking up new knowledge and expertise capable of meeting future requirements, improving points of strength, and engaging in a continuous process of learning and improvement," explained Al Tayer.
The RTA Director-General reviewed the future drive of the RTA, which is highlighted by the implementation of the directives of Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, in terms of reducing the number of visitors of all government's customers service centres by as much as 80% in 2018. Future plans also envisage leveraging customers service strategies as well as the smart city projects, maintaining academic and training programmes to qualify second and third generation of leaders, enticing national talents to meet the needs of future phases, and running a new initiative in the field of project management.
The RTA's 'Projects' programme complements the project management programme accomplished in 2014. The new programme aims at uplifting the skills and capacities of employees to be engaged in project planning, construction and management in future to ensure that they are accomplished in a highly professional manner and at world-class standards. It also seeks to qualify and train individuals in various levels of corporate project management, groom young national cadres to take up the role of projects management, qualify some directors and project managers to manage a portfolio of the programme's projects, and upgrade the efficiency of managing and monitoring project portfolios. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/economics/1395281082684.html

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EWA honours extraordinary women professionals and entrepreneurs
posted on 27/05/2015

The Emirates Women Awards 2015, EWA, were presented yesterday to local and expatriate women achievers from diverse fields of business and technology.
The EWA ceremony, organised by the Dubai Quality Group, was attended by H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and honorary patron of the Dubai Quality Group, along with dignitaries and businesswomen from across the country.
The award, now in its 12th year, continues to recognise inspirational women across all business sectors and is also a motivator for the future generation of women to achieve their true potential and thereby empower their status in society.
The participants were judged based on their leadership skills, strategic and financial planning, career achievements, community contribution and innovation. The criterion also included UAE citizenship, or a valid residence permit for non-citizens, with minimum three years of experience in their area of specialisation.
Ms. Laila Ali Saif Bin Hareb Al Muhairi was the first-prize winner in the professional category and Ms. Hamda Ismail Harizi was awarded first place in the Businesswomen category. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/economics/1395281058963.html

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Abu Dhabi women set up first female Emirati leadership group
posted on 27/05/2015

When a group of high-flying Emirati women wanted to network with like-minded females, they struggled to find the right platform.
Existing organisations focused on learning how to strike deals, so the group decided to set up their own.
Qiyadiyat (meaning "female leaders” in Arabic), is Abu Dhabi's first Emirati female leadership platform. It was created last year by a group of friends in management positions to develop, inspire and provide networking opportunities for fellow Emirati working women.
"In the past when Emirati working women got together, they'd have what I call the ‘old conversation' about family challenges. ‘Oh, your father let you work?' Or, ‘You got to go to university abroad, how did you manage that?' Our generation has passed those hurdles,” says Laila Al Hassan, director of communications and PR at Abu Dhabi's Environment Agency and co-founder of Qiyadiyat.
She has been friends with Bodour Al Tamimi, 33, co-founder of Bedashing Beauty Lounge and portfolio manager of an investment house, since school. The pair formed a friendship with the economic analyst Su-ad Yousif, 35, at university – a bond that strengthened as the trio climbed up their respective career ladders.
The friends were spurred on to form the organisation after learning only 1.5 per cent of board positions in the GCC were held by women.
Qiyadiyat's first "High Q” gathering was held in February last year, with invites sent to the Instagram and LinkedIn folders of high-profile Emirati women employed in fields as diverse as HR, medicine, communications, energy and marine biology.
"We know girls who know girls, not only in leadership positions but also females who are well educated and have leadership traits”, explains Ms Tamimi.
The first High Q sessions, held in the conference rooms of luxury hotels, were limited to about 12 women to foster a more intimate atmosphere. Now events are marketed on social media to attract a crowd of about 25.
While many UAE developmental programmes bring in speakers from abroad, Qiyadiyat's uses home-grown movers and shakers who devote their time free of charge. "Our speakers cater to the brains of this country – they're inspirational to Emirati women because we already know about their successes,” says Ms Tamimi.
At the last High Q, Qiyadiyat hosted Hussain Al Nowais, chairman of the Khalifa Fund. Another previous speaker, Ahmad Al Sayegh, managing director of Dolphin Energy, said at the end of his talk: "Now I have all of your business cards. I'm in your network and you're in mine”.
The other type of High Q Qiyadiyat offers is developmental. A Ted talk from the Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg was screened at one session, followed by a discussion on why so few UAE women hold board positions.
"We asked – is it that there's only a small pool of Emirati women with potential? Everyone agreed, no. Was it that we stray off the career ladder when we have kids? No,” says Ms Hassan. "The conclusion we came to is that we're letting other people define our own career goals for us. When we come up for promotion, many Emirati women won't ask for it.”
At another event, the group tackled personal branding. "A lot of the ladies are accomplished. But when you ask them to do their elevator pitch, they won't speak so succinctly and their LinkedIn profile is all over the place,” says Ms Hassan.
Sessions are held once every two months, with plans to increase their frequency. "We make the time valuable” says Ms Hassan. That also means making sure the events don't turn into venting sessions. "As soon as we see people venting out work frustrations, we say ‘OK, turn that into something positive'. We don't want that to be our space.”
The atmosphere is also enriched by the sense that ‘what is said here stays in the room', says Ms Yousif. "Once people bring this attitude to the table, they become a lot more open. It's relaxing, but also energising.”
Qiyadiyat hope the social enterprise will also become the go-to platform for companies looking to hire Emirati female leaders. "We can show them that the pool is not as small as they think”, adds Ms Hassan. - The National - http://www.thenational.ae/business/the-life/abu-dhabi-women-set-up-first-female-emirati-leadership-group

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TDIC hosts European Union delegation for tour of Saadiyat Accommodation Village
posted on 27/05/2015

ABU DHABI, 27th May, 2015 (WAM) -- The Tourism Development and Investment Company, TDIC, yesterday hosted a delegation from the European Union for a tour of the Saadiyat Accommodation Village, the award-winning, fully-equipped residential facility for construction workers employed on TDIC projects, including the museums of Saadiyat Cultural District.
The delegation consisted of representatives from the European Union who were in Abu Dhabi for the fourth meeting of the UAE-EU Human Rights Working Group.
During their visit, the EU representatives showed appreciation and expressed positive feedback about the quality of life, the facilities and the high standards of Saadiyat Accommodation Village. The delegation was able to learn more about the daily life of workers at the village as well as the various recreational activities they enjoy. These include regularly scheduled entertainment events, sporting tournaments and movie nights. They were also provided with a comprehensive overview of the progress that TDIC has achieved on the subject of workers' welfare and the company's on-going efforts as evident in the latest published annual independent monitoring report by PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Ali Yousef Al Hammadi, Chief Executive Officer of TDIC, said, "We are proud of all that we have achieved to date with regards to the welfare of our workers on Saadiyat. This visit was an opportunity for the distinguished delegation to see first-hand the guidelines TDIC has put into place to ensure the workers' wellbeing, and learn more about the facilities and services available to them in the village. TDIC takes the welfare of our workers seriously, and is seeking to continuously enhance the current guidelines according to standards set by international best practices in the industry."
The delegation was also given the opportunity to visit the diverse facilities offered to residents, including well-equipped gyms, indoor and outdoor sporting areas, free video-conferencing facilities to call their families, multi-lingual libraries, access to medical care on site, foreign exchange facility to send funds back home, free laundry services, free transportation and more. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395281055744.html

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Dubai Police adds 6 new Audi A6 cars to its fleet
posted on 27/05/2015

Major-General Khamis Matar Al Mazeina, Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police, said the decision of adding cars was taken after a comprehensive study. The unique specifications of the car will help the force enhance security work.
Also, the new partnership with Al Nabooda Automobiles will now ensure that the fleet is at all times excellently maintained to the highest standards helping Dubai Police reach accident sites in the shortest possible time and helping police serve the community round the clock, Maj.-Gen. Al Mazeina said.
He said Dubai Police is keen to diversify its patrol fleet. And Audi A6 was chosen for its diverse features. For instance, the chassis of Audi A6 is made of aluminium and steel, and the engine boasts capacity of 333hp (245 kW) and advanced suspension system. Besides, it is an eco-friendly vehicle, emitting 22 per cent less carbon dioxide.
Maj.-Gen. Al Mazeina was briefed about the new addition to the fleet in the presence of Major-General Mohamed Saad Al Sharif, Brigadier-General Pilot Lance Matrooshi; Colonel Jamal Al Bannai; and other officials. – Emirates 24│7 - http://www.emirates247.com/news/emirates/dubai-police-adds-6-new-audi-a6-cars-to-its-fleet-2015-05-27-1.592006

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UAE jet-ski rider takes top honours in Round 2
posted on 27/05/2015

The UAE's Khalifa Belselah has vouched he will go all out for the world crown after taking the overall lead in the UIM-ABP Aquabike World Championship in Italy last weekend.
Belselah led a clean sweep of Gulf riders while winning the Runabout GP1 category at the Grand Prix of Italy held in Castro. Belselah was followed by Kuwait's Yousuf Abdul Razzaq and Qatar's Thamer Al Darwish as the race came to an exciting end last weekend.
The win enabled the jet-ski rider from the UAE to push to the top of the overall standings in the Runabout GP1 class with 67 points. Qatar's Al Darwish is in second with 62 points, Abdul Razzaq in third with 56, Jeremy Perez in fourth with 53 points and Jean-Baptiste Botti in fifth with 52.
"Definitely, this is such a huge achievement for me personally as I was racing against the best jet-ski riders in the world. I knew that if I wanted to be competitive and win against such a field, I would have to just stick to my gameplan and run my own race till the end,” Belselah told Gulf News after landing in Dubai late on Monday.
"Last week's results have thrown the race for top honours wide open and I am determined to give off my best in the next two rounds and bring the world title to the UAE. There is no better feeling than hearing the UAE national anthem at the end of a race. I feel confident I can go all out and win this,” he added.
Though it was Benselah who went on to take the overall honours, it was his rival Jean-Baptiste Botti who grabbed the headlines for winning the second heat after starting from last place and finishing more than 50 seconds clear of the chasing pack.
It was sweet revenge for the 28-year-old from Corsica as he had been stripped of his win in Heat One following a protest, and Belselah was handed the win.
Starting from the back of the third row in the 21-rider field, Botti was quickly up to sixth place at the end of the first lap. Two laps later, he had managed to go past countrymen Teddy Pons and Francois Medori even as Belselah, Abdul Razzaq and Al Darwish maintained their lead at the front.
But another lap gone and there was no stopping Botti as he powered his way past Al Darwish, Abdul Razzaq and finally Belselah to notch a clear win.
"For sure, this is the biggest win of my career as a jet-ski rider,” Belsaleh said.
"It was a difficult race held in tricky conditions. But what was important is to get to the end and get the overall win in the Grand Prix,” he added.
Belselah now has the entire summer and beyond to prepare for the third round of the UIM-ABP Aquabike World Championships to be held in the Chinese north-central city of Luizhou from October 3-4 followed by the fourth and final round in Sharjah on December 19-20. – Gulf News - http://gulfnews.com/sport/uae/boat-racing/belselah-vows-total-focus-after-winning-1.1522112

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