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Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan meets with US President Barack Obama

posted on 21/04/2015

WASHINGTON, D.C.: His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, met with US President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden at the White House yesterday to discuss a range of bilateral and regional issues.

Sheikh Mohamed conveyed to President Obama greetings of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and his wishes of further progress and prosperity to the people of the United States. President Obama asked Sheikh Mohamed to pass on his greetings to UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan stated that the UAE, under President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, places great importance on bolstering up bilateral cooperation with the US in all fields.

H.H. Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy National Security Adviser, and H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and US Secretary of State John Kerry also attended the meeting, which reinforced the strong bilateral relationship between the UAE and the US.

The meeting further discussed the framework agreement on Iran's nuclear program signed recently between the P5+1 and Iran and the need for the final deal to be binding for Iran and to take into account the international concerns regarding nuclear proliferation and the threat to peace, security and stability in the region and the world.

The Crown Prince and President expressed a shared commitment to the importance of the Gulf Cooperation Council-US alliance as a key pillar of regional stability and security. The two leaders agreed on the need to enhance security cooperation between the GCC and US to challenge aggression and extremism throughout the region, a key focus of next month's Camp David meeting.

The Crown Prince thanked the President for his personal commitment and Secretary of State John Kerry's untiring efforts in the P5+1 talks with Iran. His Highness stressed the importance of preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons in the Arabian Gulf and the UAE's vital interest in the strongest possible verification measures in any final agreement.

The meeting also touched on the latest developments in the Arab region and ways to achieve security and stability in Yemen, Syria and Libya, preserve their national and territorial unity and put an end to the bloodshed and loss of innocent lives.

The meeting highlighted the importance of implementing UN resolutions and the GCC initiative regarding Yemen for defusing the crisis, and discussed the role of the Arab coalition, led by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in which the UAE takes part in order to preserve legitimacy and protect the security and stability of Yemeni people.

The two sides discussed the air strikes carried out by the international coalition against ISIL and the need for the international community and coalition to continue their commitment and counter terrorist organisations to prevent them from spreading so as to maintain the world's security and stability.

Both sides underscored the importance of achieving security, stability and peace, promoting the principles of tolerance and peaceful coexistence in the region and the world, and dismissing extremism, fanaticism, violence and terrorism.

The Crown Prince and President welcomed their countries' expansive and growing bilateral trade relationship, noting that the UAE remains the US' largest trading partner in the Middle East. They discussed further economic cooperation and the importance of open trading and investment policies.

Yesterday's meetings mark the beginning of Sheikh Mohamed's two-day visit to Washington, DC, which will also include discussions with other senior US government officials and congressional leaders.

Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Affairs Authority (EAA), Yousef Al Otaiba, UAE Ambassador to the US, Mohammed Mubarak Al Mazrouie, Undersecretary of Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Court, and Lt. General Juma Ahmed Al Bowardi, Military Advisor to Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces have also joined the Crown Prince on his visit to Washington.

The strong ties between the UAE and US are deeply rooted in shared interests and common values. Together, the two countries are working to promote regional security, create economic prosperity, and address pressing global challenges. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Mohamed bin Zayed praises Obama's commitment on prevention of nuclear weapons proliferation

posted on 21/04/2015

WASHINGTON, D.C.: His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces made the following statement after his meeting with the US President Barack Obama in Washington yesterday: "I am grateful to the President for his personal leadership and sustained commitment to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons into the Arabian Gulf.

I am hopeful that a final agreement can be reached that addresses the vital concerns of the UAE, other Arabian Gulf nations and the global community.

The President and I also made important progress on new steps to enhance the already deep security partnership between the US and UAE.

I look forward to continuing these discussions with the President and other GCC leaders at next month's Camp David summit." – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Mohamed bin Zayed meets US Defence Secretary

posted on 21/04/2015

WASHINGTON, D.C.: His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces met yesterday with US Secretary of Defence Ashton Carter.

They discussed relations of friendship and cooperation between the UAE and the USA and ways to develop them to serve the interest of the two friendly peoples.

The meeting, attended by H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, also touched on regional and international issues, as well as current developments in the Middle East.

The Crown Prince and Secretary noted the close military and security ties between their two countries in ongoing actions against the challenges and terrorist threats faced by a number of countries in the region.

They reviewed the events in Yemen and the Arab and international stances towards providing security and stability to the people of Yemen.

In attendance were Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Affairs Authority (EAA), Yousef Al Otaiba, UAE Ambassador to the US, Lt. General Juma Ahmed Al Bowardi, Military Advisor to Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and a number of US officials. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Akhbar Al Sa'a: Mohamed bin Zayed's timely visit to Washington

posted on 21/04/2015

Akhbar Al Sa'a, the News of the Hour Bulletin, has affirmed that the visit by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to the United States of America comes at a time of great importance given the many critical considerations.

The bulletin points out that the first of these considerations is that it comes at a very precise time when the region and the world is witnessing a lot of accelerating and interlocking developments that throw their shadows on all, and so consultation with major powers on how to handle them contributes to the strengthening of security and stability at regional and international levels.

The bulletin also said that this visit reflects the strength of UAE - U.S. relations, which are a model for institutional relations based on mutual understanding and transparency, mutual respect and common interests.

Under the headline, "Mohamed bin Zayed's visit to Washington at a very precise time", the bulletin said that this visit will be an opportunity to share views with U.S. President Barack Obama on the combination of these developments, especially those issues related to regional security and stability. At the forefront of these is the fight against 'Daesh' and the current situation in Yemen in the light of Operation Decisive Storm, targeting support to legitimacy in Yemen, and the developments of the current crisis in Syria and Libya, as well as the escalating danger of extremism and terrorism in the region, in order to develop common positions and visions on how to deal with these issues.

The bulletin, issued by the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research, ECSSR, said that another consideration is that this visit comes ahead of a summit between the leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council for Arab States, GCC, and U.S. President Barack Obama, to be held on13th and 14th of May.

As such, the visit will be an important opportunity to be briefed on the views of friends and partners, in particular with regard to the nuclear deal between Iran and the Group of 5 +1, which raised legitimate concerns for countries in the region that should be taken into account in any final agreement between the parties in order to enhance regional and international security and stability.

The bulletin said that the visit is an opportunity to strengthen these relationships to wider horizons in all areas, which have witnessed a quantum leap in a lot of areas, perhaps the most prominent of its indicators in this context is the volume of non-oil trade between the two countries which has reached more than US$26.9 billion dollars, about Dh98.7 billion. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


UAE, ILO sign agreement on technical cooperation to develop information, disputes and inspection systems

posted on 21/04/2015

KUWAIT: The UAE and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) have signed an agreement on technical cooperation in the areas of labour market information, labour inspection, occupational and health safety systems, in addition to the settlement of labour disputes' system.

The agreement was signed on the side-line of the 42nd session of the Arab Labour Conference, being held in Kuwait City, in the presence of UAE Labour Minister and Chairman of the Arab Labour Organisation (ALO), and Director-General of the International Labour Organisation, Guy Ryder.

Mubarak Saeed Al Dhaheri, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Labour, signed on behalf of the UAE, while the Deputy Regional Director of the ILO Regional Office for Arab States, Frank Hagemann, signed on behalf of the ILO.

Commenting on the agreement, Ghobash stressed that the deal comes within the framework of the Ministry of Labour's keenness to strengthen its capacity and utilise technical expertise available at the ILO so as to contribute towards updating some of the systems implemented by the ministry, specifically the labour market information system, which was launched years ago.

He added that the agreement could also help in the development of mechanisms to reduce individual disputes and to enhance the efficiency of the ministry to settle them, as well as to improve the inspection systems and capabilities of inspectors to further stabilise the labour market, especially in the light of the application of legislation system, policies and control tools.

Ghobash hoped that the agreement would establish stronger ties between the Government of the UAE and the ILO to further serve the common interests of both parties.

On his part, the Director-General of the ILO said the agreement reflects the Ministry of Labour's resolve to strengthen its capabilities in the framework of the management of labour market and enforcement of labour relations regulation law. He commended the UAE labour law and regulations and the ministry's keenness to developing these to protect the labourers' rights and ensure the interest of the employers as well.

Under the agreement, a two-year joint work programme will be set up to update the labour market information system by promoting the electronic linkage system to keep the decision makers in the ministry periodically posted about the labour market information and trends, a move that could contribute towards strengthening of policies and initiatives through the optimal use of available periodic data.

The joint work programme will also strengthen the inspection capabilities and develop a national policy on the occupational health and safety, as well as raise awareness about prevention of accidents and occupational injuries in accordance to the best professional practices.

The programme will enhance evaluation system and applied initiatives regarding the labour relations, and how best to deal with labour disputes received by the ministry. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Social justice and equal opportunities for all citizens are enshrined in the UAE constitution, says Mariam Al Roumi

posted on 21/04/2015

Mariam bint Mohammed Khalfan Al Roumi, Minister of Social Affairs, has said that the constitution of the UAE acknowledges equality, social justice, education, healthcare, employment and equal opportunities for all citizens, as well as provides protection for minors and incapacitated.

Al Roumi added that the UAE had signed and ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities upon the directives of the leadership to enable all citizens to exercise their full rights on equal footing, including persons with disabilities.

This came on the occasion of marking the 40th Arab Deaf Week, which is held from April 21st - April 27th each year under the theme, "Strengthening the rights of deaf people in the community through application of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities."

The celebration of this occasion is an opportunity for institutions and centres working in the field of rehabilitation of the deaf to educate them on the rights of the deaf in accordance with the United Nations Convention and the UAE federal law on the rights of the disabled people.

She noted, "The right of integration into the community is one of the most important rights of persons with disabilities referred to in the International Convention, which opens the door for more rights and services offered to this category."


Thuraya appoints first woman to serve as a Board Member

posted on 21/04/2015

Thuraya Telecommunications Company has appointed an Emirati woman to its Board of Directors, the first woman to join the board since its inception.

Farah Al Mazrui, a UAE national who joined the board effective 31st March, holds an MSc in Risk Management and Financial Engineering from the Tanaka Business School at Imperial College and a BSc Hons in Economics from the Queen Mary University of London.

"Farah's extensive commercial and government financial experience will strengthen Thuraya's ability to address future opportunities and aid in the management of our next-generation planning, particularly in evaluating and funding our strategic initiatives," said Ahmad Abdulkarim Julfar, Chairman of Thuraya's Board of Directors.

Thuraya is the market leader in mobile satellite handheld solutions with over 50% market share within its coverage area, which spans 160 countries in Europe, Africa, Middle East, Asia and Australia. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Shurooq launches five-day roadshow in Taiwan and Shanghai

posted on 21/04/2015

The Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) is conducting a five-day roadshow in Taiwan, where it is meeting with leading bodies in trade, industry and commerce, before moving on to Shanghai, where it will participate in the World's Investment Summit.

Shurooq is being represented by Mohamed Al Musharrkh, Head of Investment Promotion, and Ms. Diana Yonghui MA, Investment Promotion Executive.

The Authority is being joined on the roadshow by Sharjah Economic Development Department, represented by Saeed Al Mheiri; and Sharjah Healthcare City, represented by Binu G. Pisharadi, Manager of Commercial Affairs.

In Taiwan, Shurooq and its partners are conducting official visits to the Taiwan External Trade Development Council, Taiwan Foreign Trade Bureau – part of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, and business meetings with members of the General Chamber of Commerce of Taiwan, and the Taiwan National Association of Industry and Commerce.

Following these meetings, on April 21 the delegation are heading to Shanghai, China's most populous city, for the World's Investment Summit Shanghai. Shurooq and Sharjah Economic Development Department are participating in the summit, held at the China Financial Information Centre, through their own individual stands.

The World's Investment Summit is a high-end interaction platform among investment service institutions, government investment agencies, project owners, and high net worth private investors, as well as enterprise managers and top level executives in all areas of the financial services industry. It is attended annually by more than 300 investment service institutions and more than 10,000 individual participants.

While in Shanghai, Shurooq is also meeting with a number of the city's key business and investment organisations. Among them are delegates from the China International Communication Association, the Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone United Development Co, and the Shanghai JWT Investment Management Co.

Mohamed Al Musharrkh, Head of Investment Promotion, said: "We are delighted to have this opportunity to showcase Sharjah's unique attractions as an investment destination to the foremost business organisations in Taiwan and Shanghai. Moreover, the World's Investment Summit, held in one of the world's most populous cities, is a key feature in the global investment calendar. Our intention is to use that stage to present Sharjah's many investment opportunities and incentives, highlight key sectors of the Emirate's economy – from travel and leisure to the environment, transport and logistics, and healthcare – and bring attention to the numerous projects that Shurooq has brought to life."

Saeed Al Mheiri, Computer Operator- System Monitor, Sharjah Economic Development Department, said:"We are delighted to take part in this roadshow to Taiwan, where exports serve as the backbone of the economy. We will hold meetings with key Taiwanese manufacturers and businesspeople to increase understanding about Sharjah's offering: the secure and attractive business environment, the facilities offered to help investors benefit from the Emirate's infrastructure, its geographical location at the heart of the world, and its excellent connectivity with regional and international markets. Sharjah is home to the region's most vital ports and free zones, which are open to investors and businesses from around the world. We will promote Sharjah during our participation in the World's Investment Summit in Shanghai – a crucial part of our roadshow – with the aim of bolstering economic and commercial development in the emirate of Sharjah and the UAE."

Binu G. Pisharadi, Manager-Commercial Affairs, Sharjah Healthcare City, said: "For the first time, the Sharjah roadshow arrives in Taiwan, in the Far East of Asia, where investors are looking to explore new, promising investment destinations and sectors outside their borders. We will raise awareness of the healthcare sector in Sharjah, which is expected to reach a size of Dh 6.55 billion in value in 2016. Sharjah's healthcare sector offers attractive opportunities to investors and healthcare professionals, such as the establishment of private hospitals, plastic surgery centres, pharmaceutical industries, physical therapy, and much more. We will also present these excellent opportunities to investment authorities and businessmen at the World's Investment Summit in Shanghai." – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


WETEX 2015 records remarkable international participation

posted on 21/04/2015

The 17th Water, Energy, Technology, and Environment Exhibition (WETEX 2015) has witnessed remarkable international participation as it hosts national pavilions from many countries across the world. It also hosted a Government Pavilion, with 27 government organisations from the UAE and the General Pavilion, which hosts a large number of national and international companies.

Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD and CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), and Chairman and Founder of WETEX, welcomed the wide participation by international companies and organisations, noting that WETEX has become a leading regional platform for energy, water, and the environment.

"WETEX has established its position among global specialised exhibitions. It has become the meeting point for experts and specialists in energy, water, and green economy from around the world. The success of WETEX year after year, underlines Dubai's commitment to the shift towards a green economy and sustainable development. It also reflects the increasing international interest in WETEX and the growing awareness about the role of advanced energy and water solutions in achieving environmental sustainability," said Al Tayer.

"The theme of WETEX is, ‘At the Forefront of Sustainability', and reflects our view that it contributes to establishing Dubai's leadership and its position as a global hub for trade, finance, tourism, and green economy. It also reflects DEWA's efforts to achieve the Dubai Plan 2021 to make Dubai a pivotal hub in the global economy, one of the world's leading business centres, the most business-friendly city, and a preferred investment destination," he added.

National pavilions taking part in WETEX this year include Saudi Arabia, the USA, China, Italy, France, Korea, India, Malaysia, Taiwan, Spain, Turkey, Iran, Romania, a big pavilion for Europe, and the General Pavilion, which hosts a large number of companies from the UAE and abroad. The number of participating companies is the largest in WETEX history.

This is the first time Saudi Arabia is participating with an independent pavilion. The Saudi Export Development Authority (Saudi Exports) has booked an area of 504 square metres.

UAE Government organisations taking part in WETEX 2015 include the Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Environment and Water, Federal Electricity & Water Authority (FEWA), Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (ADWEA), Dubai Police, Dubai Municipality, Roads and Transport Authority, Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority, Sharjah Municipality, Fujairah Municipality, Civil Defence, Abu Dhabi Sewerage Services Company (ADSSC), Dry Docks World and Maritime World, Emirates Environmental Group, Environmental Centre for Arab Towns, Department of Planning & Development (Port, Customs & Free Zone Corporation), United Arab Emirates University, Zayed International Foundation for the Environment, Hamriyah Free Zone Authority, Environment & Protected Areas Authority (EPAA), International Centre for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA), Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Mohammed bin Rashid Establishment for SME Development, Emirates Post Group, Dibba Al Fujairah Municipality, Emirates Science Club, and Sheikh Zayed Housing Programme. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


DAE reports record revenue and net income for full year 2014

posted on 21/04/2015

Dubai Aerospace Enterprise, DAE, has reported net income for 2014 of US$159.5 million (Dh 586 million), an increase of 43% from US$111.6 million (Dh 410 million) in 2013. Revenue for full year 2014 increased to US$2,112 million (Dh 7,761 million) from US$2,105 million (Dh 7,735 million) for full year 2013.

Khalifa H. Al Daboos, DAE Managing Director, said, "The 2014 financial results reflect a sharp improvement in the profitability of the company. The DAE Engineering division improved its margins as a result of an enhanced focus on operational excellence. We renewed or extended our agreements with OEMs to ensure the franchise's continued long-term growth. The DAE Capital division continued its impressive asset growth in 2014. The net book value of the portfolio at year-end 2014 was US$3.6 billion (Dh 13.4 billion), an increase of 50% in the last three years. DAE Capital placed an order for up to 40 new ATR 72-600 aircraft to ensure future portfolio growth. As of December 2014, DAE Capital has firm commitments to acquire 33 additional aircraft. We continue to build a world-class team and we hired a significant number of new senior team members in 2014."

DAE is a globally recognised aerospace company specialising in maintenance, repair and overhaul services, aircraft completions and aircraft leasing. The company is headquartered in Dubai and operates in four continents and employs approximately 3,500 people. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


flydubai launches direct flights to Novosibirsk and Nizhniy Novgorod

posted on 21/04/2015

Dubai-based flydubai yesterday further strengthened its commitment to the Russian market adding Novosibirsk and Nizhniy Novgorod to its comprehensive network in the region.

Ghaith Al Ghaith, Chief Executive Officer of flydubai, said, "The addition of Novosibirsk and Nizhniy Novgorod to our network is an important milestone for flydubai's operations in Russia and brings the total number of destinations we serve in the country to 10. Both Russian cities are established economic hubs in the regions and we hope that our direct flights from Dubai will help to open up their tourist and business opportunities to travellers from the Middle East."

The three times weekly service to Novosibirsk and the twice weekly service to Nizhniy Novgorod will commence on 04 and 07 October 2015 respectively and will complement the already established large regional network the airline has built in Russia. The airline's comprehensive network in the country includes daily flights to Moscow's Vnukovo International Airport, launched in September 2014, and flights to Kazan, Samara, Ufa and Yekaterinburg, which were launched throughout 2012. flydubai has also created an extensive network in the South of Russia, with flights to Krasnodar, Mineralnye Vody and Rostov-on-Don operating since April-September 2013. With the addition of these two new routes the total number of flydubai points in Russia has grown to 10. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Emirates SkyCargo supports Philippine global export growth

posted on 21/04/2015

Emirates SkyCargo continues to witness increased demand for freight capacity from the Philippines, having exported 500,000 kg of tuna to Europe and the Middle East in 2014.

The freight division of Emirates transported the fish from Manila to various cities including Geneva, Amsterdam, London, Frankfurt, Milan, Rome, Zurich, Oslo and Dubai. According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), tuna exports recorded an annual growth of 24.7 per cent in 2014.

The Philippines' tuna industry has grown exponentially over the past two decades, with General Santos City, the country's southernmost city, hailed as the tuna capital of the world in 2014; and Mindoro, an island located off the coast of Luzon, fast gaining popularity as a major tuna supplier in the country.

Due to this growth, demand for Philippine tuna has increased, and carriers like Emirates SkyCargo, with its global network and capability, are able to support this demand.

"Perishable products, especially fresh tuna, require efficient air transport links to reach international markets on time. We have witnessed an increase in demand and we foresee that it will grow further this year," said Rusela Rubin, Cargo Manager at Emirates SkyCargo Philippines.

According to the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), the Philippines outperformed other Asian countries and emerged as the top exporter in 2014, ahead of China, Vietnam, and South Korea.

Apart from tuna, Emirates SkyCargo listed nearly 150,000 tons of cargo exports from Manila to various destinations. This number is expected to increase further in 2015. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Emirates ID to add five new languages to its website

posted on 21/04/2015

The Emirates Identity Authority, Emirates ID, has announced that it will add five more languages – Malayalam, Urdu, Tagalog, Russian and Mandarin - to its website, offering information and guidance on procedures. This is in addition to the two languages already in place, Arabic and English.

The Emirates ID said the decision to add new languages to its website was part of its efforts to make its services easier and more accessible to the various nationalities residing in the country.

Abdulaziz Al Maamari, Director of Government and Social Communication at the Emirates ID, said the decision came as a result of surveys and studies on the number and types of visitors to the website, the departments and services most frequently browsed and the queries and clarifications most sought. "In the year 2014, nine millions visits from inside and outside the UAE happened on the website, by people speaking around ten languages," he explained.

Al Maamari said the addition of the new languages would allow the customers to learn in their own languages about the procedures for registration in the population register, issuance, renewal and replacement of ID cards, necessary documents for getting the services rendered and the fee for each service. "The idea behind the initiative is to make our website and services more accessible and customer-friendly," he added.

"This initiative came from our efforts to achieve the fourth objective in our Strategic Plan 2014-2016, which aimed at guaranteeing total satisfaction for our customers. We are introducing the new languages also as part of our corporate governance framework which focusses on creativity and innovation in all aspects of organisational work. There are large numbers of people who are not proficient in Arabic and English and we thought it was important to reach out to these segments with information in languages they are comfortable with," Al Maamari pointed out.

Al Maamari said that the Emirates ID had already brought about a quantum leap in its communication efforts with its customers through the 14 channels of communication, including the website, social media platforms, and the round-the-clock call centre. "This new initiative, we hope, will bring us further close to our customers," he concluded. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Aldar gets mid-market with Meera project

posted on 21/04/2015

As part of a series of launches on the eve of Cityscape Abu Dhabi 2015, Aldar Properties has unveiled a ‘mid-income' residential component at Shams Abu Dhabi on Al Reem Island. The ‘Meera' cluster will feature more than 400 homes located a short distance from the planned Central Park as well as the Shams Marina and East Shams public beach facilities.

Meanwhile, the other two projects announced Monday were strictly upscale — West Yas offering more than 1,000 villas on Yas Island for Emiratis and Mayan, with more than 700 apartments and townhouses with views of the Yas Links Golf Course, also on Yas Island.

"The next wave of our development plan is well underway — this pipeline of developments is further testament to our ability to deliver on our strategy of monetising our land bank, growing our recurring revenues and delivering value for all of our shareholders,” said Mohammad Al Mubarak, CEO at Aldar. The developer had last month launched Al Merief and did ground breaking at Ansam and Al Hadeel.

According to Talal Al Dhiyebi, Chief Development Officer, "Yas Island is one of the world's leading entertainment and leisure destinations and the launch of West Yas and Mayan, as well as Ansam which we launched last year, will only add to its attractiveness and value.” – Gulf News -


Ruler of Sharjah inspects Sharjah Fort

posted on 21/04/2015

H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, inspected on Monday morning Sharjah Fort in the presence of H.H. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, after the completion of the fort's restoration project.

He toured inside Sharjah Fort, known as "Al Hisn", and listened to a detailed overview about the precious historical facts that would be of interest to visitors and tourists.

Sharjah fort contains a number of iconic collections that present the history of the fort, which was built in 1823 by Sheikh Sultan bin Saqr. Since then, the fort has become a symbol of Sharjah and its people. The fort was the seat of government and a secure royal residence for Al-Quassim. It was also a central gathering place for local residents and the site of many important governmental decisions that would transform Sharjah.

The Fort offers 12 exciting galleries, rich in information which is the culmination of five years of painstaking research done by SMD teams.

The Fort, which has just re-opened its doors to the public, is Sharjah's most important historic building. It went through a 15 month restoration project. The renovation was driven by Sheikh Sultan as part of the ‘Heart of Sharjah' project to restore the Emirate's key heritage sites.

A conservation team has worked tirelessly to restore the original appearance, colour and texture of the building and to accurately portray the fort's distinctive features, including its wind-scoops, columns and crenulations.

The Sharjah Fort has been updated to include exciting interactive features, audio-visuals, reconstructions and stories taking visitors on an engaging journey through two centuries of history offering visitors a unique opportunity to experience the history that has shaped the emirate and its people.

"Al Hisn, the Fort, is the heart of Sharjah; it's been the seat of government, the centre of defence and the centre of justice in Sharjah," said Manal Ataya, Director General of Sharjah Museums Department (SMD).

"The narratives provided by members of the community are invaluable in terms of piecing together Sharjah's history. The people of this emirate are part of the fabric of its story, so connecting with the community is a vitally important part of what we do. Visitors will be able to tour the fort's galleries and really get a feel for what life was like here. We've used technology and new interactive elements to enrich the visitor experience and create a modern museum of international standard."

Upon his arrival at the fort, the Ruler of Sharjah was welcomed by Sheikh Khalid bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairman of Sharjah Urban Planning Council (SUPC), Salem Abdulrahman Al-Qasimi, Chairman of Sharjah Ruler's Office, Abdullah Mohammed Al Owais, Chairman of the Sharjah Department of Culture and Information, Engineer Salah bin Butti, Chairman of the Department of Planning and Survey Authority, Mohammed Obaid Salem Al Zaabi, Director of the Sharjah Department of Protocol & Guesthouses, Abdulaziz Al Musallam, Director of Heritage and Cultural Affairs at Sharjah Department of Culture, Mohammed Abdulla, CEO of Sharjah Islamic Bank, Ali Al Marri, General Manager of Sultan Al Qasimi Centre for Gulf Studies, Manal Ataya,Director General of Sharjah Museums Department. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Mohammed bin Rashid issues Decree organising fundraising in Dubai

posted on 21/04/2015

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister, has issued a Decree in his capacity as Ruler of Dubai, on organising fundraising and charitable donations in the Emirate of Dubai.

Decree No. 09 of 2015 aims to encourage community members to donate moneys, to control and audit the moneys collected through fundraising, and to ensure such moneys reach their acquired title. The Decree defined donations as the act of virtue by which the owner voluntarily transfers the title and possession from himself to another without any consideration for the purpose of charitable work and includes Zakat and alms.

Pursuant to the Decree, it is strictly prohibited to collect donations, permit collecting donations or advertising of fundraising campaigns through all forms of media without obtaining a prior written approval from the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department with exception for charitable fundraising campaigns launched by His Highness the President, His Highness the Vice President, Their Highnesses Members of the Supreme Council, Their Highnesses the Crown Princes and Their Highnesses the Deputy Rulers, in addition to donations collected by government entities conditionally that such act is carried out in coordination with the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department.

The Decree also prescribed the authorities delegated to the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department, to include: encouraging community members to donate, revising and approving fundraising requests, monitoring and overseeing fundraising activities in the Emirate of Dubai, auditing raised funds and confiscation and disposition of any funds or moneys raised in variance with the Decree and its subsequent policies and procedures.

Any violation of the Decree is subject to the infliction of two months to one year imprisonment and a fine of Dh5,000 to Dh100,000, or one of the defined penalties as the court may deem fit.

Employees of the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department, named by a resolution issued by the Director-General, reserve the right to act as judicial officers and may accordingly investigate and document any violations of this Decree in coordination with any authorised entity, including the police.

This Decree overwrites and annuls any other legislation that contradicts or conflicts with it. This Decree is to be published in the Official Gazette, and considered active from the date of publication. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


YouAE Connect: Knitting global benevolence

posted on 21/04/2015

A UAE paper has said that charity, no doubt, begins at home. However, when the term extends to encompass the entire global community in the form of strategic philanthropy, the results sparkle.

"The UAE has accurately recognised this aspect and hence it is that the young nation now stands tall as the most generous in the world," said The Gulf Today in an editorial on Monday.

The country has ranked world's No.1 in foreign aid for the second consecutive year in 2014. The official development aid provided by the country hit Dh18 billion, which formed 1.17 percent of gross national income.

While several individuals and organisations play a major role in pushing the noble mission forward and deserve praise in equal measure, some stand out for their distinctive role of nurturing Emirati volunteers to deal with global needs.

The YouAE Connect is one such commendable programme launched by the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation to support emerging Emirati leaders in different fields.

The Foundation uses the strategic or outcomes-driven approach to philanthropy which is the method taken by the world's leading innovators in philanthropy, pioneered a century ago by John D. Rockefeller and still in development by those such as the Gates Foundation and the Clinton Foundation.

The foundation recently gave a group of young Emirati women an opportunity to gain insight into the complex challenges in the field of international development by visiting Chiang Mai, Thailand and volunteering at various philanthropic foundations, NGOs, and social enterprises.

The trip helped the participants feel the pulse of the deprived on foreign land. One volunteer confessed how the trip challenged her pre-conceived notions on international development and made her realise the role not only as representative of her own country, but also of the global world at large.

It dawned on the volunteer that while charity solves temporary issues, strategic philanthropy focused on solving the root causes of social problems. Charity creates a system of dependency, but strategic philanthropy allows the beneficiaries to create their own sources of income, the YouAE Connect volunteer inferred.

"The experience proved to be so valuable that the volunteer, in her own words, developed an absolutely new perspective on aid," the paper added.

The path of benevolence in the UAE has effectively been laid down by the founding father of the nation, late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. To this day, his generous legacy has been kept alive, crossing all borders and barriers to touch the hearts of people in almost every country.

"If the words kindness and Emirati are considered as synonyms, now one well knows the reason. The YouAE Connect effort is yet another step which consolidates that belief," concluded the Sharjah-based daily. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Federal Supreme Court reserves verdict to 25th May in case of defendant charged with hostile acts against foreign country

posted on 21/04/2015

The State Security Circuit at the Federal Supreme Court, headed by Justice Falah Al-Hajri, yesterday reserved its verdict for the next session on 25th May, in a case wherein a defendant is accused of committing hostile act against a foreign country.

The court, in its session yesterday, heard the pleadings of the defence lawyers of the accused, an Arab national, identified as M.K.M. They called for acquittal of their client, citing that he was innocent.

Earlier, the State Security Prosecution charged the defendant, owner of a trading company in the UAE, on several counts, including committing a hostile act against a foreign country. It stated that the defendant, without a permit, imported from competent authorities, electronic chips used in military hardware. These contained circuitry to help launch a military ammunition and audio analyser. The accused claimed that he had imported them for two public institutions. He presented two forged documents used for import, allegedly attributing them to the aforementioned government agencies.

The accused re-exported the chips to his home country without obtaining a permission from the Committee for Goods & Materials Subject to Import & Export Control.

The State Security Circuit also heard the pleadings of the public prosecutor in the case of five Gulf nationals accused of disseminating information, news, rumours and pictures on websites and the social networking site, "Twitter," with intent to ridicule and damage the reputation and prestige of the country's symbols.

Prosecutors said that the defendants had committed felony, in accordance with articles 29 and 41 of the Federal Law No. 5/ 2012 on combating the cybercrimes, and articles 102/ A and103 /D of the Federal Penal Law and its amendments.

During the court session, the public prosecutor screened a film depicting the crime, and demanded the court to slap the maximum punishment on the defendants.

The court deferred the hearing of the case to 27th April to hear the defence's pleas. Only one defendant, identified as H.A.M.A, appeared in the court in the presence of some of his relatives, representatives of the media and members of civil society organisations in the UAE. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


UAE National Pavilion at La Biennale Di Venezia to showcase over 100 works by 15 Emirati artists

posted on 21/04/2015

The UAE National Pavilion at the 56th International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia, being held from 9th May to 22nd November, will showcase the diversity and history of the art scene in the UAE through an unprecedented grouping of over 100 works of art structured to create dialogues between artists and across practices. Curated by Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi, President and Director of the Sharjah Art Foundation, it will showcase the diversity and the history of the art scene in the UAE. Entitled, "1980 – Today: Exhibitions in the UAE", the showcase has been conceived as a retrospective on contemporary art exhibitions in the Emirates.

The exhibition features work by fifteen Emirati artists, Ahmed Al Ansari, Moosa Al Halyan, Mohammed Al Qassab, Abdul Qader Al Rais, Abdullah Al Saadi, Mohammed Abdullah Bulhiah, Salem Jawhar, Mohammed Kazem, Dr. Najat Meky, Abdulraheem Salim, Ahmed Sharif, Hassan Sharif, Obaid Suroor, Dr. Mohamed Yousif, and Abdulrahman Zainal.

"Reflecting our generation's collective obsession with memory, many recent exhibitions have been conceived to look at the past in order to reflect on the present. For these archival exhibitions, curators travel the world to discover overlooked artists and art scenes, institutions invest in research, gathering material, and publishing texts. But how do we connect all the information?" asked Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi. "This exhibition, and its accompanying publication, invites viewers to make connections directly between objects, historical archives, and the collective memory they represent. The resulting discourse is both personal and collective, and marks the beginning of a much more detailed and intensive research project."

Inspired by historic exhibitions in the UAE throughout the 1980s, Sheikha Hoor will structure the exhibition to follow the aesthetic experience and encourage connections between works. In addition to thematic groupings, some works will be arranged by artist to highlight elements of an individual's practice, while others will be paired to create complimenting and contrasting dialogues between works. Rather than following a didactic chronology, the exhibition will create the sense of wandering through dense collections in conversation with one another. The works, many on loan from institutions and private collections as well as from the artists themselves, will demonstrate a juxtaposition of conceptual and formal approaches, time periods, and media.

The selection of pieces will focus on sharing fundamental stages of the artists' careers as well as that of the UAE art scene collectively, and Sheikha Hoor's research relied heavily on the public archives of the Emirates Fine Art Society, EFAS, a trove of English and Arabic books on visual art, theatre, and literature, as well as catalogues, photo albums and copies of Al Tashkeel, EFAS's newsletter, which has been published since the 1980s. The Emirates Fine Arts Society is a non-profit association that was formed in 1980 in Sharjah, and has long served as a galvanising incubator for the UAE's art scene.

"For our fourth exhibition at the International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia, we are delighted to be working with curator Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi," said Sheikha Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan, founder of the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation, the commissioner of the National Pavilion of the UAE. "Thanks to her vision and leadership, we are able to share essential works from this key period in the UAE's art scene and also build links for future generations. I applaud her contributions to the development and advancement of the larger discourse on art from the region," she said. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


ADOR stars aiming to earn their stripes at US finish line

posted on 21/04/2015

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, ADOR, the emirate's entry in the Volvo Ocean Race, VOR, has left Itajai, Brazil, on the round the world race's sixth leg, to Newport, USA.

The Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority-backed team passed the Itajai leaving marker at the end of the initial inshore section in third place in the six-boat fleet, which is expected to complete the 5,010 nautical-mile leg in around 20 days.

For the second day in succession, windless conditions prevailed in Itajai, making for slow sailing as the teams struggled to keep their yachts moving.

The ADOR crew had an uncharacteristic misfire at the start when they found themselves outside the starting line and were forced to restart behind the fleet. But the Abu Dhabi yacht was soon moving in the right direction and taking back places.

According to ADOR skipper, double Olympic silver medallist Ian Walker, the first week at sea could hold plenty of pitfalls to avoid on the approach to what will be the Abu Dhabi team's final equator crossing, another encounter with the unpredictable Doldrums, of this edition of the race.

"First we have to get away from the Brazilian coast and into the trade winds south of the Equator," Walker said. "Then, there will be big gains and losses at stake in the Doldrums based on how we well or badly we negotiate the huge rainclouds up there."

Once across the equator, ADOR will aim to hook into strong steady north-easterly trade winds and make some fast progress north towards Newport.

"That should be great sailing, 25 knots of wind and sunshine," said UAE sailing Olympian, Adil Khalid, who is back on board Azzam after recovering from illness. "But we need to be careful of our positioning," he added. "Decisions we make at that point could impact how we fare at the very end of the leg."

Echoing Khalid's caution, Walker said the weather forecast for the last 1,000 miles of the leg was a complete unknown at this stage, as was how important the fast-flowing stream Gulf Steam up the US east coast might be.

"Right now, we have no idea what weather we are going to get from the North American continent, so we will have to be ready to deal with anything," he said.

"We may be able to use the Gulf Stream to help towards Newport or we could opt to avoid it altogether and go in a straight line. If ever there was a scenario that might split the fleet, it's this one."

ADOR's celebrity jump-off guest, British comedian and writer Dom Joly, made a spectacular jump from Azzam's stern before surfacing to wave off Walker's crew on their way to the USA.

"What an adventure" said Joly, who had insisted on being hoisted up Azzam's mast before the start so he could take a ‘selfie' photograph with the huge crowds that had gathered to wave off ADOR from Brazil.

"It was a pity the wind was so light but I really enjoyed meeting Ian and Adil and the rest of the crew. I have downloaded the VOR app to my phone so I can see how they get on in this leg."

The sixth leg of the Volvo Ocean from race from Itajai to Newport is expected to take around 20 days to complete and fans can follow ADOR at – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Reem Al Falahi ready to throw down at next level in jiu-jitsu

posted on 21/04/2015

Reem Al Falahi, widely regarded as a future Emirati champion, is ready to begin her new journey.

Falahi, 16, won her fourth gold medal in four years on Monday at the Jiu-Jitsu Children's World Cup, which was her last before stepping into the women's open class.

Al Falahi was impressive in three fights in the blue belt 61.5-kilogram weight division on the opening day of the jiu-jitsu extravaganza at the Zayed Sports City's IPIC Arena.

"It has been a fantastic four years for me at this level and I am confident I can take my game to the next level and be successful as I was in the children's division,” Al Falahi said.

"I have now spent seven years in the sport and during this period I have learnt to be patient, watch every movement of my opponents and have more tricks under my sleeve during a contest.

"That doesn't mean I have not stopped learning, though, now that I'm moving to a level where I have to compete against experienced and stronger opponents in the adults division.

"It will be a new experience but I am very excited and looking forward to that day when I compete in the open class.”

The first day of girls' competition in the Children's Cup saw 41 gold medals won, 36 of them by Emiratis.

Maha Saleh Al Hinai, 16, from Al Ain won her first gold in the blue belt 56.5kg after finishing runner up last year.

"I was nervous at the beginning but when I got on to the mat all that was forgotten,” she said.

Al Hinai, a bronze medallist for the UAE Junior national team at the American Kids National Championship last October, had three fights but said the second against her colleague Asma Al Shamsi from Al Ain was the toughest.

Filippa Koski, 16, made her trip all the way from Sweden worthwhile by winning the gold in the blue belt 51.5kg.

"It was an amazing experience for me to fly down to Abu Dhabi and win,” she said.

"I never came across a competition that drew nearly 1,000 competitors and I am really amazed how much jiu-jitsu was popular among the Emirati girls. They were terrific and highly competitive.”

Madeleine Depagnier, an American teenager living in Al Ain for the past four years, bagged her first gold in the green belt 46.5kg.

"My dad practised the sport and he encouraged me to get started two years ago. I don't know for how long I am going to continue but I am enjoying every moment of it,” she said.

There were a few yesterday who left disappointed, such as Asiya Doty, a 10-year-old American who travelled from Qatar and was left in tears after her first-round exit.

"I've been training jiu-jitsu four years and this is my first competition,” she said. "I was sad when I lost but that was only at the moment. I feel good and want to return next year.” – The National -