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U.A.E. backs international counter-terrorism efforts
posted on 21/09/2014

NEW YORK: The U.A.E. has announced its full support for the international efforts to combat the terrorism of the "Islamic State in Iraq and Levant", ISIL, believing that such a war on terrorism will not lead to a marginalisation of Sunni Muslims, will not lead to a dismemberment of the components of the people of Iraq and will not lead to intervention by foreign powers with subversive agendas.
In a speech to the United Nations Security Council, U.A.E. Foreign Minister H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan added that the security of Iraq was an integral part of the security of the region as a whole.
The Security Council meeting, held at the level of ministers, was chaired by the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, and was attended by the Foreign Minister of Iraq as well as by foreign ministers from 35 other countries.
Expressing his satisfaction at the holding of the meeting, Sheikh Abdullah said that it was being held at a critical time when there was a need for an urgent response and co-ordination of international efforts to tackle the danger presented by ISIL.
He added that the United Arab Emirates opposes those who attempt to disrupt the security and stability of Iraq. He emphasised the U.A.E.'s support for international efforts to tackle ISIL terrorism, as previously noted in the statement at the recent NATO summit in Wales, in the Arab Resolution No. 7816, at the recent meeting in Jeddah, held in the presence of John Kerry, and at the Paris Conference on Security and Peace in Iraq.
"I would like to stress in this forum as an Arab and Muslim," Sheikh Abdullah said, "that I categorically reject that the terrorist organisation 'Da'ish' – ISIL – should be described as 'the Islamic State.' He urged all parties to reject the use of this name, in line with the views of millions of Muslims who are firmly opposed to what he described as "the destruction being perpetuated by a terrorist and criminal gang." In the view of the U.A.E., Sheikh Abdullah said, a war against ISIL should lead neither to a marginalisation of the Sunni Muslims of Iraq, whom, he said, must play a key and vital role in the country's political future, nor to the intervention of external forces with a subversive agenda because the security of Iraq is an integral part of the region's security. It is important for all of us to ensure its political and territorial unity, he said.
He added that ISIL must also be prevented from creating safe havens for extremists in the region and that this must be achieved through swift and comprehensive international action, in full coordination and cooperation with the Iraqi government.
"Such action should lead to an overall comprehensive strategy for the danger posed by terrorism is not limited to that terrorist group (ISIL), but extends to cover the ongoing conflicts in Yemen, Afghanistan, Somalia, Egypt, Libya, North Africa and the African Sahel," he said.
Sheikh Abdullah noted that terrorist groups also continue to exploit the state of anarchy in Syria to achieve their goals, paying no heed to sovereignty and national borders.
"The crimes by this group and other terrorist groups know no limits and are committed under opportunist pretexts which have no relevance to beliefs and norms. Terrorism normally grows in a fertile ground of sectarianism and extremism and presents itself as an alternative that attracts as many naive people as possible to reach its hideous goals," he added.
The U.A.E. Foreign Minister added that many countries were now concerned by the issue of fighters from elsewhere joining in the conflicts, because of their growing numbers and because the extremists are trying to establish safe havens in the areas of conflict, so that they can to recruit fighters who can support their existence.
"This shows that we are facing a malicious phenomenon with a serious impact on communities and countries which are outside the Arab and Islamic worlds. It is, therefore, important that international solutions must be made to contain this danger, including weeding out the root causes of terrorism. Moreover, the international partnership to counter terrorism must be built with long term objectives, not only with the objective of confronting ISIL." Sheikh Abdullah re-confirmed the U.A.E.'s rejection of violence and extremism and its commitment to the values of tolerance and moderation. He also expressed the country's readiness to work with international partners and all moderate forces to combat terrorism.
He also stressed the need to prevent any political stalemates in Iraq through the adoption of a true and comprehensive national programme that rejects violence and includes all the elements of the Iraqi people, without exclusion or favouritism.
The U.A.E. was convinced, he said, that the Kurds had proved that they were worthy of a key role in the government of Iraq, praising their impressive resolution in confronting ISIL and expressing his hope that the Kurdistan region of Iraq will preserve its strength and stability and will continue to be an integral part of Iraq.
He reiterated the pledge that the U.A.E. will support Iraq at all times, including support for its political process and for the efforts at reconciliation, as well as through its initiatives to provide humanitarian assistance to the people affected by violence and instability there.
Sheikh Abdullah concluded his statement by saying that the U.A.E. welcomes the Security Council's resolutions, particularly Resolution no. 2170 pertaining to the countering terrorism and its resources, including recruitment and finance.
He said it was important that the international community continues its role in providing full and constructive support to the Iraqi government.
The meeting was also attended by Dr. Anwar Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Lana Zaki, the U.A.E.'s Permanent Representative to the UN, and Major General Fares Al Mazrouei, Assistant Foreign Minister for Security and Military Affairs. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395269860854.html

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Abdullah bin Zayed leads U.A.E. delegation to Climate Summit
posted on 21/09/2014

This week, the United Arab Emirates will reaffirm its support for renewable energy and enhanced voluntary action to fight climate change at the United Nations Climate Summit 2014, the highest-level global meeting on the topic in five years.
Led by H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, U.A.E. Foreign Minister, the U.A.E. will highlight its progressive approach that mixes voluntary domestic reform and international aid and investment.
Over 100 heads of state and government leaders are expected to attend the summit on 23rd September, in New York, and announce new measures and partnerships to combat the global challenge of climate change.
Organised by the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the summit aims to spur global action on greenhouse gas mitigation and adaptation, in the lead up to the Paris United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations in December 2015, where a global climate change agreement is expected to be finalised.
"The U.A.E. has actively engaged with the international community in efforts to minimise the impacts of climate change," said Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, U.A.E. Minister of State. "We are a hydrocarbon exporter and a developing country, but we are making some of the world's most significant investments in renewable energy." The summit follows on from the Abu Dhabi Ascent that was convened in May by the Secretary-General to prepare the international community for the New York meeting, and to formulate global initiatives in nine high-impact areas: energy efficiency, land use and forests, finance, renewable energy, agriculture, resilience, transportation, short-lived climate pollutants and cities.
"The Abu Dhabi Ascent underscored the U.A.E.'s leadership in climate-related discussions and mobilised contributions to the UN climate change debate," said Dr. Al Jaber. "We worked closely with the Secretary-General to build momentum towards the Summit and to ensure tangible commitments are made by governments and the private sector." The U.A.E. is dedicated to addressing the issue of climate change and has taken significant steps to tackle its adverse impacts. Some of these will be highlighted at the UN Climate Summit, including the development and deployment of clean energy and energy efficiency projects at home and abroad. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395269858982.html

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Distribution of food aid, tents to victims of floods in Pakistan upon directives of U.A.E. President
posted on 21/09/2014

ISLAMABAD: The Administration of U.A.E. Pakistan Assistance Programme (U.A.E. PAP), has distributed 40,000 food baskets and 7, 100 tents at a cost of over US$3.1 million, to the families affected by the floods in a number of areas, cities and villages in the Punjab Province.
The move comes in implementation to the generous directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, orders of His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the U.A.E. Armed Forces, and follow up of H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, to provide urgent humanitarian and food assistance to the victims of floods during the last two weeks. The floods left hundreds of thousands of families homeless.
The U.A.E. PAP reiterated that the distribution of food aid comes in implementation to the directives of the U.A.E. President to extend humanitarian aid to the friendly people of Pakistani in those areas, and alleviate suffering of the people there, adding that the U.A.E. PAP efforts help Pakistan to handle repercussions of the floods.
It also comes in line with humanitarian solidarity context of the U.A.E.'s leadership and people to provide assistance across the world in regions exposed to disasters, wars, epidemics and famines.
The U.A.E. PAP said it has, in cooperation and coordination with the Pakistani Army, distributed 20,000 of food baskets to the affected families and individuals in several areas in Punjab Province.
It also unveiled that it prepared and distributed over 1,500 tonnes of food aid to the displaced families. The food items included flour, rice, sugar, salt, lentils, cooking oil and tea weighing 75 kg per family.
The U.A.E. PAP also announced the establishment of four shelters, about 7, 100 tents, to ensure appropriate accommodation for the affected families.
It also extended thanks and appreciation to the Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation for funding the humanitarian aid.
On their part, the beneficiaries expressed their appreciation and thanks to the U.A.E.'s wise leadership, emphasising that Emirati leadership and people represent symbol of solidarity and support to them, lauding the humanitarian aid extended by the U.A.E. to save their families. - Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/general/1395269863222.html

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U.A.E. will participate in major nuclear conference in Vienna
posted on 21/09/2014

The U.A.E. will participate in a major annual nuclear conference in Vienna next week to discuss countries' atomic activities and plans for the future.
Arab states are expected to use the event to urge Israel to join the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and place all its facilities under safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
"The U.A.E. exhibit will feature a showcase of the U.A.E. nuclear programme progress as well as information on the close cooperation activities with the agency,” said Hamad Alkaabi, the U.A.E. permanent representative to the IAEA.
"The U.A.E. delegation looks forward to the conference and we have scheduled many side meetings with senior agency officials and other delegations to discuss nuclear cooperation and issues of mutual interest.”
Last week, Abu Dhabi was issued licences for its third and fourth nuclear reactors at Barakah.
Countries will report on their nuclear activities, plans and cooperation with the agency, and outline their positions on issues ranging from non-proliferation and verification to applications in medicine and agriculture.
"The 58th General Conference is the highest decision-making organ of the IAEA,” said John Bernhard, Denmark's former ambassador to the IAEA.
"It meets once a year for a week and reviews work done during the previous year and decides on matters for the future. Thereby, it has a decisive influence on the priorities and the political and technical issues dealt with by the IAEA.”
Mr Bernhard said the agenda covered all major issues dealt with by the agency, including nuclear safety and security, technical cooperation and safeguards issues, such as "the Iranian case”, as well as the question of a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East.
"This is an opportunity to focus on a whole spectrum of IAEA issues and hear from countries and their representatives beyond the formal membership,” said Elena Sokova, executive director at the Vienna Centre for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation. "It is also an opportunity for countries to promote their work in the area of nuclear energy and its peaceful applications. In this regard, the U.A.E., as a country with a recently launched and fast-growing nuclear power programme, brings a very important experience to share with the broad international community and member states of the IAEA.”
Member states will also be able to express their expectations and needs to the work of the agency as well as indicate focal points and endorse the IAEA's working programme for the next cycle, from 2016 to 2018.
"They can emphasise their view on the importance of the agency's programmes by making extra-budgetary funds available, earmarked for specific projects,” said Dr Peter Bode, an associate professor in nuclear science and engineering at the Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands. "It is a moment for networking at the political level, for building alliances and getting informed about latest developments and technologies.”
William Tobey, a senior research fellow at the Belfer Centre for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University in the US, said the conference was "always an opportunity for member states to compare notes on issues related to safe, secure and proliferation-resistant use of nuclear energy, such as improving the security of fissile material”.
Lady Barbara Judge, former head of the UK Atomic Energy Agency, said it was vital for countries to reaffirm the importance of nuclear energy as a source of clean baseload generation.
"In this time, when the change is on everyone's mind, one of the most important [issues] is that the only [clean] source of baseload generation is nuclear,” said Lady Judge, also the deputy chairman of the nuclear reform monitoring committee of the Tokyo Electric Power Company.
"Wind and solar may be very worthy but, at the moment, they can't be relied upon as baseload generation because they essentially work only when wind blows or sun shines.” – The National - http://www.thenational.ae/uae/government/uae-will-participate-in-major-nuclear-conference-in-vienna

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U.A.E.-US economic, trade, investment relations to see further growth: Al Mansouri
posted on 21/09/2014

Economic, trade and investment relations between U.A.E. and the U.S. are steadily flourishing and are poised for further growth and development as the two countries have a common will for bolstering them, and as several opportunities and avenues that are still untapped would deepen their cooperation relations, affirmed Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of U.A.E. Economy, who is leading a large high-profile U.A.E. business delegation to the U.S. for meetings with senior officials.
"There are many diverse opportunities and avenues for bolstering cooperation between the two countries, especially as the U.S. economy is the world's largest and the U.A.E. economy is the largest in the Arab region. This allows for further development of the bilateral economic, trade and investment relations in the service of the interests of the two friendly countries and their peoples," said Minister Al Mansouri in a statement.
The current U.S. visit is important as it will provide mutual investments and enhance trade cooperation between the two countries at the government and private levels.
The U.A.E. delegation's U.S. tour announced earlier this year will include visits to Washington D.C., Seattle, Palo Alto, Silicon Valley and Los Angeles.
The U.A.E. economy minister said that the ministry, in line with the keen vision of the U.A.E. leadership, seeks to increase the contribution of knowledge-based economy to the country's gross domestic product (GDP) to 5 per cent by 2021.
"Based on this, we give high priority to innovation and the nurturing of ideas that would develop our different economic sectors, improve our competitiveness at the international level. Therefore, we will try to make the most of our (current) tour in a country that has the world's biggest global corporations and the strongest innovation and technology organisations, and view the different experiences and leading instances in those spheres." According to the Ministry of Economy, the U.A.E.'s foreign trade grew 12,6% in the past three years to reach more than US$290 billion (one trillion and 64 billion dirhams) by the end of 2013, with non-oil trade between U.A.E. and the U.S. reaching more than US$26,9 billion (Dh 98,7 billion).
Trade between the two countries provided more than 200,000 jobs in the U.S. as the U.A.E. is the largest recipient of U.S. exports to the Middle East where U.A.E.'s direct investments in the U.S. financial markets and economy grew to more than US$21 billion.
The ministry says U.A.E. hosts more than 1000 U.S. companies many of which has regional offices in the country, and more than 60,000 U.S. citizens.
The U.A.E. delegation to the U.S. includes senior officials from the Ministry of Economy, Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), Dubai Internet City, Dubai Outsource Zone (DOZ), Dubai Exports (an agency of Dubai's Department of Economic Development), Sharjah Tatweer Forum, Mubadala Aerospace, Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), Abu Dhabi Technology Development Committee (TDC),the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Fund, as well as a number of the executives of private-sector companies. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/international/1395269868126.html

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TDIC to showcase its latest residential development on Saadiyat at Cityscape Global 2014
posted on 21/09/2014

Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC) will be showcasing its latest residential offerings and unique investment opportunities at Cityscape Global 2014.
The annual event, which will take place from September 21st – 23rd at the Dubai World Trade Centre, will be an opportunity for investors to learn more about the newly launched Mamsha Al Saadiyat, in addition to other opportunities available on Saadiyat and within its Cultural District.
Saadiyat is today home to a number of anchor projects which have attracted to the Emirate of Abu Dhabi internationally-renowned brands such as St Regis, Park Hyatt, New York University, Cranleigh, an elite UK-based boarding school, in addition to three world-class museums within the Cultural District, including Zayed National Museum, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, and Louvre Abu Dhabi which is set to open doors in the last quarter of 2015.
Ahmed Al Fahim, Executive Director of Marketing, Communications, Sales and Leasing at TDIC, said, "We are pleased to once again be a part of Cityscape Global as it provides us with a vital platform to showcase our ever growing portfolio and more importantly to communicate with interested investors about our unique developments. As we continue developing Saadiyat, we welcome developers interested in establishing their own projects on the island which contributes to the existing projects, and that includes land plots for mixed-use developments, such as for hospitality, residential, education, commercial, etc." The continuous interest and successful completion and release of various developments were among the factors that contributed to the recent upgrade in TDIC's long-term issuer ratings from A1 to Aa2 by Moody's Investment Services, a leading provider of credit ratings, research, and risk analysis. This upgraded rating reflects TIDC's commitment to delivering high quality products.
"We are proud of our rating upgrade as it signals our sustained success in delivering and launching unique products that appeal to discerning niches across various markets. We look forward to continuing meeting and surpassing expectations while we diversify our portfolio of projects," added Al Fahim. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/economics/1395269856933.html

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Dubai World Central to showcase second phase of residential district at Cityscape Global 2014
posted on 21/09/2014

Dubai World Central (DWC), the world's first purpose-built aerotropolis, is set to present the second phase of its ‘Residential District' at this year's edition of Cityscape Global, scheduled to run from 21-23 September at the Dubai World Trade Centre.
DWC's Residential District, an exclusive urban walkable development strategically located within easy reach of the Al Maktoum International Airport, offers opportunities for freehold property investments. Located adjacent to the Expo 2020 venue, the Residential District provides a variety of housing options nestled in expansive greens with water lagoons and lakes offering multiple activities for residents including running and cycling tracks, playgrounds for children, community and retail centres.
Residents will also enjoy a number of amenities, such as access to top schools, state of the art medical centres, luxury shopping, and the ‘Green Belt', the largest privately developed park in Dubai. Living in Residential District is also marked by the seamless commute that smart infrastructure and multiple entry and exit routes provide.
Speaking ahead of the event, Rashed Buqaraa, COO, Dubai Aviation City Corporation, commented on the project's offerings, saying, "Dubai World Central Residential District offers its future residents an unparalleled opportunity to live in a uniquely integrated community that includes high quality amenities to meet all of their needs, incomparable ease of access and exit, and a sustainable urban environment to call home." Beyond the Residential District, the dynamic aviation-centred aerotropolis represents the model of urban design in a globally connected future, offering limitless commercial and mixed-use investment possibilities through direct access to the sea, air, road and rail. In alignment with the Dubai 2020 key themes of Mobility, Sustainability and Opportunity, DWC's innovative vision of residential, commercial and hospitality clusters will benefit from close connectivity to Al Maktoum International Airport and the emirate's major highways.
Nearby commercial hubs will include Business Avenue, located in the Business Park that will cater to build-to-suit office complexes for major international and local companies. DWC will also offer investment opportunities for hospitality groups with strategically located plots allocated for hotel development enabling them to address the growing needs of airport passengers and business travellers. Complementing these offerings, the multimodal Logistics District will enable fast-cycle logistics businesses to better control inventory and create greater efficiencies across their supply chain. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/economics/1395269860898.html

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Union Properties launches Dh1.78bn of new projects
posted on 21/09/2014

Dubai-based Union Properties is to unveil Dh1.78bn worth of new projects at the annual Cityscape Global exhibition which takes place between 21- 23 September in Dubai.
Union Properties says these include a Dh1.1bn high-rise development consisting of five towers in Motor City known as Vertex towers, an Dh680 mn extension of the Green Community West scheme at Dubai Investment Park and a new Green Community at Motor City.
Vertex Towers will contain 700 two- and three-bed apartments with a gross floor area of more than 1.32mn ft2, with some duplex units and 66,000ft2 of retail space. It is currently being designed by Agostine and Raphael Group and will be delivered in two phases. The first will see the delivery of two towers of 45 and 30 storeys and will start on site in February 2015, with completion due by February 2018.
The Green Community West scheme will contain 210 villas and 16 two- and three-bed apartments overlooking a lake. It is due to complete in Q4 2016.
The Green Community at Motor City will be developed by a partnership with National Bonds. It is an Dh400mn project containing 78 villas and 127 apartments. It is set for completion in October 2016.
Ahmad Khalaf Al Marri, general manager of Union Properties, said, " Motor City has a strategic location with multiple entry and exit points as well as easy access to the Expo 2020 site and the Maktoum International Airport. The area will boast a number of hotels, and I believe Motor City has the potential in developing into a prominent living community." – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/economics/1395269873673.html

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Dubai SME launches Equity Investment Initiative to facilitate funding for start-ups and early stage development
posted on 21/09/2014

Dubai SME, the agency of Dubai's Department of Economic Development (DED) mandated to develop the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector, has launched Equity Investment Initiative with the aim of unlocking investment and funding in SMEs and providing entrepreneurial projects with access to capital through equity participation of venture capitalists, angel investors, private equity companies etc.
Dubai SME has been providing debt financing and loan facilities in the past 12 years as part of its support for start-up projects but the new initiative aims to establish more viable and sustainable sources of funding through linking entrepreneurs and successful investors.
"The Equity Investment Initiative is a path-breaking effort towards changing mind-sets. It targets to channel the abundant capital available in the local market into sectors where entrepreneurs and their start-ups have significant developmental potential. The initiative fits well into the Dubai SME Strategic Plan for 2015-2021." said Abdul Baset Al Janahi, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai SME.
"Bank financing mainly targets established companies and cannot be expected to flow into start-ups or their early stage development. The market fails to address the initial funding requirements of entrepreneurs but banks take much of the blame for not offering such assistance. Dubai SME as a government agency is trying to address this market failure through the Equity Investment Initiative," added Al Janahi.
The initiative will be rolled out in two phases, the first of which has already been launched. In the first phase, Dubai SME will study the SME equity financing landscape in Dubai and the wider region. The study will include brainstorming with different stakeholder communities and exploring the market size, scope and appetite for equity participation in SMEs as well as identifying potential venture capitalists, angel investors and private equity players.
"We will specifically look at sectors where there is significant potential for SME participation, for example, sectors such as information technology, biotechnology, education etc. With their agility and capacity to drive innovation, SMEs have had remarkable success in these sectors, which investors can leverage for mutual advantage," Al Janahi added.
The second phase of the project will be launched in 2015 and will focus on creating the appropriate channels and platforms for entrepreneurs and equity investors to come together to form partnerships. Dubai SME by then will have an extensive database of entrepreneurs, enterprises and investors interested in being part of start-up projects in specific sectors.
"Dubai's efforts to establish a knowledge economy will be ably supported by the Equity Investment Initiative for SMEs. It presents a significant opportunity in the medium to long term, not only for SMEs in Dubai but across the region. Total investment into small companies in the region is estimated at around three billion dirhams and clear strategies and initiatives will help channel this money into sectors with a high growth potential," Al Janahi concluded. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/economics-emirates/1395269872413.html

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U.A.E. Armed Forces pledges commitment to protection of the national rail network
posted on 21/09/2014

Etihad Rail, the developer and operator of the U.A.E.'s national railway, has signed a major Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the U.A.E.'s Armed Forces. Both parties will work together through close coordination and exchange of information to secure the vital protection of the national rail network.
Under the agreement, the U.A.E. Armed Forces will secure protection for Etihad Rail's facilities and vital installations that fall within the scope of the MoU including stations, terminals, yards and depots. Etihad Rail will provide a link for five key military logistics centres operated by the U.A.E. Armed Forces and the Ministry of Defence.
The MoU was signed by Acting CEO, Eng. Faris Saif Al Mazrouei and Major General Staff Pilot, Ishaq Al Blooshi from the U.A.E. Armed Forces.
Etihad Rail is currently also finalising another MoU with the U.A.E. Ministry of Interior to protect the rail tracks of Etihad Rail's national network. This reflects the company's commitment to working closely with key stakeholders towards the completion of the U.A.E.'s rail network.
Eng. Faris Saif Al Mazrouei, Acting CEO, Etihad Rail, commented, "This MoU is a major milestone for the U.A.E.'s national rail project and will ensure the safety and security of our infrastructure. We pay tribute to all those involved in the signing of this MoU and the efforts of the U.A.E.'s Armed Forces to provide protection for national facilities and ensure the security of our nation. " Major General Staff Pilot Ishaq Al Blooshi from the U.A.E. Armed Forces, said, "It is fantastic to see the progress of the Etihad Rail project and we recognise the benefits that this network will bring to our nation. It is our duty to protect and serve the nation's rail system and today we have pledged our commitment to this." Once fully operational, Etihad Rail will cater to both freight and passengers, spanning approximately 1,200 kilometres across the U.A.E.. The rail network will connect urban and peripheral communities, facilitate trade, open up communication channels and foster economic development across all seven emirates. The network will also form a vital part of the GCC railway network, linking the U.A.E. to Saudi Arabia via Ghweifat in the west and to Oman via Al Ain in the east. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395269859738.html

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Abu Dhabi safest emirate to live and work: U.A.E. crime poll
posted on 21/09/2014

Abu Dhabi has been voted the safest emirate in which to live and work.
Respondents were asked to rank the emirates in order of safety. Overall, almost half (47 per cent) ranked Abu Dhabi, the U.A.E.'s largest emirate, as the safest, closely followed by Dubai at 41 per cent.
"When you look at the difference among emirates, the safest emirate based on our feedback from our interviewers is Abu Dhabi,” said Lara Al Barazi, YouGov associate research director. "This was not really a surprise. Maybe because it is the capital, people feel more safe. It is the main city.
"When you are in Dubai it is not that different, but Abu Dhabi has that feeling it is the safest city or emirate in the U.A.E..”
Ms Al Barazi felt with Abu Dhabi being the capital of the U.A.E., it should be the safest emirate.
"It is more of a kind of regional perspective. People believe the capital has more attention or more police. It is about the perception.”
The majority of Arab expatriates (63 per cent) selected Abu Dhabi as the safest emirate, as did Emiratis and westerners (both 50 per cent of those asked). The majority of Asian expatriates (45 per cent), however, felt safer in Dubai than in the other emirates.
"I feel Abu Dhabi is the safest place to live in the U.A.E.,” said Sajeev, 43, an Indian expatriate media sales executive in Dubai.
"But the whole of the U.A.E. is safe. It is a nice place overall, so any part, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, feels safe. I don't know much about the other emirates, but Dubai and Abu Dhabi definitely.
"Overall, I would feel much safer in this part of the world, in the U.A.E., than in other parts of the world.”
He generally felt safer in the U.A.E. than in his home country, for example.
"It is safer here than back home,” he said. "That is not a personal view but a general view.”
Researchers surveyed respondents in each of the seven emirates: 260 from Abu Dhabi, 461 in Dubai, 161 in Sharjah and 126 from the Northern Emirates of Ajman, Umm Al Qaiwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah.
In his 12 years in the U.A.E., Souvik Guha, 47, an Indian expatriate who works in Dubai as a general manager, has lived in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah, his present home.
He believed there was a general feeling of being safer in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
"People are more aware and the police are at hand,” he said. There was more of a feeling of a police presence in the two emirates.
"I lived in Abu Dhabi about seven to eight years ago and even then I felt it safer. While I have not lived in Dubai, I do work there and you know that if you call, the cops will come.”
He said that while generally the U.A.E. was a safe place to live, he thought the Northern Emirates needed to improve some measures to feel as safe as in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
"I had an experience in Sharjah: I had a minor car accident. I had to wait three hours and nobody turned up. But that was about three years ago and things have improved in Sharjah, but there is still a long way to go.
"But generally in Dubai if you call they are there within 30 minutes. Police are approachable. Approachability is not the issue. The problem is when you do call the 999 number, it is the time they take to really get to you.”
Mr Guha believed there needed to be more awareness and more personnel but said, generally, the U.A.E. felt a very safe place to live and work. – The National - http://www.thenational.ae/uae/courts/abu-dhabi-safest-emirate-to-live-and-work-uae-crime-poll

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Abu Dhabi Film Festival to celebrate work of Francois Truffaut
posted on 21/09/2014

Abu Dhabi Film Festival (ADFF), powered by twofour54, will screen a selection of films by filmmaker, Francois Truffaut, for the first time in Abu Dhabi. Truffaut passed away 30 years ago, in 1984, an occasion for ADFF to remember and celebrate this influential director.
Many of the films have been newly restored and will be presented in the best possible quality at the Festival. The selected titles include THE 400 Blows, Jules and Jim, The Wild Child, The Man Who loved Woman, Small Change, Academy Award winning Day For Night and The Last Metro, which was screened at Cannes earlier this year as part of the Cannes Classics segment.
The films will be screened at ADFF, which takes place from October 23 to November 1, 2014.
Ali Al Jabri, Director, Abu Dhabi Film Festival, said: "Few filmmakers have had as much impact on the art of cinema as Francois Truffaut. We want to give local audiences the chance to experience these great works of cinematic genius on the big screen to relive some of the magic that captivated movie-goers at the time and today." The 400 BLOWS often ranks among the greatest films of all time and won the Best Director Award in Cannes when it premiered in 1959. It is the semi-autobiographical childhood story of a troubled French youth who is ignored and misunderstood at home and school until he is placed in a juvenile detention centre. After running away, he ends up facing an uncertain future in one of cinema's most legendary closing shots.
Another of the director's celebrated films, Jules and Jim, is a bittersweet tale centred on the lives of two friends, who fall in love with the same woman, Catherine. Truffaut's timeless meditation, now stunningly restored, on loving more than one person at the same time features Jeanne Moreau in one of her iconic performances.
Influential film critic for "Cahiers du Cinema", mastermind of the "auteur theory" and heir to the humanistic cinematic tradition of Jean Renoir, Truffaut's gift to the world were tender love stories, exciting crime films and brilliant literary adaptions. Known for his fluid camera work and post-modern approach, Truffaut was one of the key figures of the French new wave cinema of the late 1950s and is spoken in the same breath as other movie legends such as Jean-Luc Godard and Louis Malle. Truffaut died in 1984 and is still highly regarded within the filmmaking community and beyond. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/general/1395269861088.html

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New radio station promotes U.A.E. heritage
posted on 21/09/2014

The Hamdan bin Mohammad Heritage Centre (HHC) has officially launched a radio station dedicated to promoting national cultural values and the U.A.E.'s heritage among young people.
The Al Oula radio station is available on the 107.4 FM frequency.
Al Oula, which is Arabic for "The First”, is the first radio station in the GCC to broadcast programmes aimed at strengthening the U.A.E. national identity by centering its discussions on the country's rich heritage.
Abdullah Hamdan bin Dalmouk, CEO of the Hamdan bin Mohammad Heritage Centre, said Al Oula Radio is the brainchild of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai.
"The mission of the centre is to be a reliable and authentic source for culture preservation and dissemination among the community in a genuine and modern way.”
bin Dalmouk added that the new radio station aims to instil the culture of "ancient Emirati heritage in the new generation, as well as to promote awareness about values, customs and traditions, deepen nationals' role, and activate their participation in preserving the national identity and reach out to the public in a rapid way”.
Fatma Aarif Al Bannay, head of Al Oula, said it will serve as a platform not only to promote the different aspects of the U.A.E. national identity, but also to share experiences and knowledge about the culture and heritage of the country.
"Al Oula will highlight the U.A.E.'s deep-rooted traditions and heritage through a variety of shows that demonstrate how U.A.E.'s culture is still being upheld in the midst of rapid modern developments in the country.”
So far, a total of 14 programmes have been lined up to go live on Al Oula. They will cover a variety of topics including history, culture, heritage, poetry, sports and coverage of competitions for the young and old alike.
Al Oula presenters will also use social media to interact with listeners. – Gulf News - http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/new-radio-station-promotes-uae-heritage-1.1387495

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Abu Dhabi Date Palm Festival from November 24 to 29
posted on 21/09/2014

A date palm museum featuring a large ensemble of images, photographs, cut-outs and display screens will be major attraction of this year's Emirates International Date Palm Festival in Abu Dhabi.
Live demonstrations by craftsmen at the museum will serve as the key highlight of the eighth edition of the festival, which will run from November 24 to 29 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC). Held under the patronage of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of the U.A.E., Minister of Presidential Affairs and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi food Control Authority (ADFCA), the event is organised by ADFCA in association with Date Palm Friends Society and SIAL Middle East.
The festival will bring together the largest exporters and producers of dates from the U.A.E., Saudi Arabia, Oman, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Iraq, Jordan, Palestine and Iran, a press release issued by ADFCA said on Saturday.
In addition to the U.A.E. national pavilion, over 200 exhibitors have already confirmed their participation with dedicated pavilions.
The heritage event will showcase a wide variety of the finest dates and the U.A.E.'s rich cultural heritage associated with date palm. The festival will also feature various social, cultural and artistic activities, besides offering discounts up to 40 per cent on a wide range of date varieties.
Mohammad Jalal Al Raisi, head of the event organising committee, said: "Dates are important crops in the U.A.E. and an integral part of our history and cultural heritage. With the rising production and consumption, today dates have a strong presence in international markets. Food industry recognises dates as an important ingredient in preparing pastries, popular sweets, juices, among others due to its numerous nutritional and health benefits. It is indeed noteworthy that our leadership extends special attention to date palms by establishing dedicated centres and organising numerous exhibitions and festivals.” He said this year, several new activities and programmes are planned for visitors.
Fadi Jamil Saad, General Manager of Emirates International Date Palm Festival, said: "This year, we expect to draw over 200 exhibitors from more than 16 countries as well as 20,000 visitors.”
Among other activities lined up for this year are a series of entertainment, educational and fun initiatives including an educational maze and a massive message board that will invite visitors to leave short messages. Palm tree climbing, another key activity, will give visitors an opportunity to take ‘selfies' while climbing a date palm for posting on social media websites.
The food preparation area, a date tasting zone, heritage tents, and kids' zone will also serve as crowd pullers at the event.
The festival will coincide with SIAL Middle East, the region's fastest growing food and beverage exhibition, which will run from November 24 to 26. – Gulf News - http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/abu-dhabi-date-palm-festival-from-november-24-to-29-1.1387589

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Al Majaz Waterfront: A unique family destination
posted on 21/09/2014

The Dh120-million Al Majaz Waterfront, Sharjah Investment and Development Authority's (Shurooq) debut project, has changed the landscape along the Khalid Lagoon, from a simple stretch of land to an ideal area for recreation for families and tourists alike.
Al Majaz Waterfront boasts of a range of recreational options, ranging from the fun-filled activity centre called Alwan and the 800-square-metre Splash Park, the first-of-its-kind in the region, designed to be completely safe and suitable for children, including easy wheelchair access.
His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, inaugurated this unique family entertainment destination in March 2012 in the emirate's most vital and commercial district on the picturesque Khalid Lagoon.
As Mohammed Fadhil Al Mazroui, destination manager of Al Majaz Waterfront, puts it, "Al Majaz Waterfront is a unique destination that has changed the landscape of Buhaira Corniche with exquisitely designed Maraya Art Park, Splash Park, Mini Golf course, and the amazing musical fountain with 60 shows to entertain families and tourists.”
It has an open-air playground that has been specifically designed to provide a safe environment for kids, including those with special needs, to have fun as well as encourage physical activities.
Indian expatriate Farooq Ali says at night during winter, he takes his family to Al Majaz Waterfront to play with his sons — Ahmed, 10, and Abdul, 13. "I can play with them in the Kids area, Splash Park, Mini-Gulf and anywhere around. It is satisfying, and I thank Shurooq for developing this area with kids and families in mind,” he gushes.
The waterfront also offers a jogging track paved using 6,000 recycled tyres and bicycles for rent. Families and groups of friends can enjoy a round of Mini Golf or a picnic on one of the many lawns planted with environment-friendly grass. Visitors who want to take in the entire waterfront can hop on board the fun family train or take a private abra tour of Sharjah from Al Majaz, or take the waterfront as a major stop along the City Sightseeing Sharjah bus route.
Al Mazroui says a visit to Al Majaz Waterfront would not be complete without taking in one of the performances of the spectacular Sharjah Fountain. "One of the biggest fountains in the Gulf, its cybernetic fountains spanning more than 220 metres perform multiple shows daily with displays combining lasers, light, video, audio and movement. Two sections of the Maraya Art Park can also be found at Al Majaz Waterfront — the Sculpture Park and the Children's Art Park. It also houses many world-class restaurants and cafes, including T.G.I Friday's, Caribou Coffee, Fat Burger, Shakespeare & Co. Pizzaro, Baja Fresh, Zahr El Laymoun, Tim Hortons café, Cold Stone, and El Manza, all overlooking the Sharjah Fountain, and these will soon be increased by 12 more during the development of Phase 2,” he adds.
He says that the waterfront hosts a range of family-friendly activities such as the annual Superhero Festival, the RIPE Organic weekly market and The Puppets — an exciting entertainment event that celebrates the age-old tradition of the puppet show.
It is also a haven for special needs kids, as it is designed to be safe for them. "Our Splash Park, the first in Sharjah, has zero depth so it is suited for kids, especially the handicapped, to play,” says Al Mazroui.
Mini golf
When it comes to group leisure activities, few can compete with Mini Golf. This scaled-down version of the gentleman's game can be enjoyed at almost any age, giving grandparents, parents, and the kids an even playing ground on which to test their mettle.
The 18-hole course is the perfect place to come and hone the finer skills of the game and put some basic but highly helpful tips and tricks to the test.
The mini golf course is open from 9am to 12 midnight daily and costs Dh15 a round for children (7-12 years) and Dh25 for adults (12 years and above).
Splash Park
When it comes to fun for the whole family, there is little that can beat a bit of water fun. And, Al Majaz Waterfront's Splash Park delivers safe and family-friendly fun by the bucket load.
Splash Park is what is called a zero-depth aquatic play area, which means there are no pools and no standing water, making it completely safe for any age group. Children up to the age of 12 are free to enjoy the park's many fun features that include surprising waterspout sequences and beautiful artistic water patterns — the gushing torrents of water in the shape of flowers are known to be a special favourite.
Mazroui says that another great benefit of this system is that it is easily accessible to children with special needs as well. "With its level, flat base, the park is in fact excellently suited for wheelchair access, something that almost no other water park can claim — which means that no child ever has to be left out of the fun.”
Entry into Splash Park costs Dh30 per child and the park is open daily from 10am to 6pm Saturday to Wednesday, and from 9am to 12 midnight on Thursdays, Fridays, and public holidays.
Alwan
Children can go to the Alwan Children's Creativity Centre, which offers a social care and learning setting for children to grow and enhance their self-esteem and self-awareness in an interactive children environment.
Inaugurated in November 2012 by Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairperson of Shurooq, Alwan boasts of a variety of specially designed areas ranging from an art space, a space designed for handicrafts, a story corner, a computer room, celebration room and sports room.
Parents can bring their kids in for Dh40 for the first hour and an additional Dh20 for the next additional hour. However, children below four years must be accompanied by a guardian. Unaccompanied kids can be brought to Alwan at Dh85 an hour. For the Day Care Programme from Sunday to Thursday, from 9am to 2 pm, for children below four, the fee is Dh1,200 a month.
Sharjah Fountain
The musical fountain is one of the biggest in the Gulf with soaring water high in the air. Installed in the late 1970s, the fountain has become an iconic attraction in Sharjah and continues to fascinate tourists and families alike. – Khaleej Times - http://www.khaleejtimes.com/nation/inside.asp?xfile=/data/nationgeneral/2014/September/nationgeneral_September175.xml§ion=nationgeneral

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Mixed fortunes for U.A.E. at Asian Games
posted on 21/09/2014

Hamad Al Kendi shares second place with four other shooters at the end of the first round of qualifying in the men's Trap event.
It was a day of mixed fortunes for the U.A.E. contingent on Saturday as Hamad Al Kendi kept the Emirati flag flying at the 2014 Asian Games at Incheon in South Korea.
Al Kendi shared second place with four other shooters at the end of the first round of qualifying in the men's Trap event at the Gyeonggido Shooting Range. Fahad Al Deehani, Asian record holder, and Andrey Mogilevskiy of Kazakhstan occupied the top spot.
The U.A.E. shooter recorded rounds of 23, 24 and a perfect 25 for a total of 72 and was tied with former Asian Games silver medalist Manavjit Singh Sandhu of India, Kuwaiti Abdul Rahman Al Faihan, Walid Al Najjar of Lebanon and Yu Du of China.
Asian Games record holder Al Deehani and Kazakhstan's Mogilevskiy scored 74 points each to stay ahead of the pack.
Two other U.A.E. shooters failed to emulate Al Kendi's feat. Abdullah Al Falasi and Walid Al Aryani are virtually out of the race for a spot in the final. Al Falasi (67 points) finished overall 22nd and Al Aryani was 37th with a score of 64.
The 46 shooters will compete in two more rounds in the men's trap event on Sunday. They will shoot at 25 targets each and the best eight will move in the final, to be held later on Sunday afternoon.
While the shooters have something to cheer for on Sunday, fencers saw one among them crash out of the competition at the Goyang Gymnasium.
Abdullah Al Hammadi won only one of his six Group E duels when he downed Nepali Omkar Singh 5-2. However, Nicola Lu Min (Hong Kong China), Dong Chao (China), Elmir Alimzhanov (Kazakhstan), Nguyen Phuoc Den (Vietnam) and Saudi Arabia's Khalid Al Hamoud got the better of the U.A.E. fencer.
Al Hammadi had his moments in other duels. He briefly led against Phuoc Den and Al Hamoud but lost out due to poor defence.
"I expected more from him, but I really cannot blame him as he comes here with very little competition below his belt,” coach Mohammad Rabia told media persons after the event.
"Hopefully, there are a few things that he has learnt,” he said.
The second U.A.E. fencer, Majid Al Mansouri, will compete in the men's individual foil on Monday.
Later in the evening, the cycling team of Majid Al Baloushi, Badr Mirza, Ahmad Al Mansouri and Yousuf Al Hammadi advanced to the main round of the men's team pursuit at the Incheon International Velodrome.
The U.A.E. quartet clocked 4 minutes, 28.516 seconds to occupy the eighth and final position and advance to the final round. – Khaleej Times - http://www.khaleejtimes.com/sport/inside_sport.asp?xfile=/data/asiangames/2014/September/asiangames_September14.xml§ion=asiangames

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