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Dubai Desert Triathlon makes history

posted on 20/04/2014

Nearly 400 athletes were part of history in the making this morning as they competed in the first ever Dubai Desert Triathlon at Dubai International Endurance City. The world first event brought together the triathlon disciplines of cycling and running with the traditional Emirati heritage sport of endurance horse riding.

The event, a partnership between Dubai Sports Council and Meydan, was a huge success, with the hundreds of participants and hundreds more support crews and spectators thoroughly enjoying the experience.

Participants could enter as an individual triathlete completing all three disciplines, or as a team of 2 or 3 to complete the 5km desert trail run, the 25 km cycle and the 40km endurance ride, and prizes were awarded to winners in the individual, teams, cycling and running sections.

The overall men's triathlon was won by Sheikh Nasser bin Hamed Al Khalifa of Bahrain ahead of teammate Mikel Calahorra, with Diego Bellon Santos in third.

Sheikh Nasser was full of praise for the event, saying "Today was perfect, the organisation was very nice and I am very happy to have been part of this first ever desert triathlon. I am very happy with my times, I did what I expected to do, it's been a beautiful day. I hope this event gets bigger every year." His teammate Mikel Calahorra was equally impressed, saying "Today was amazing, I only started horse riding a few months ago, When we saw this event was going to be on, His Highness Sheikh Nasser said to me ‘I am learning your sport (of triathlon), now it's time for you to learn mine' (horse riding) so I started riding. It's a great mix of cultures here today and it's been a great day".

Third place getter Santos was thrilled to be competing in such great company, saying "It's a pleasure to share the track with these guys, I have to fit my training around work, so to compete with great athletes like these two is great" The overall women's triathlon was won by Maha Khalid. She was delighted with her result saying "I enjoyed today a lot, I am a professional endurance horse rider so had to train hard on the cycling and running, but today was very good. It's nice to bring all these cultures together; I'll definitely be back next year".

Second place in the women's overall went to Ines Pintenat, with Sheelagh Pirzada in third. First place in the junior triathlon went to Atiq Hassan Ali.

Prizes were also awarded to senior and junior teams, with Al Bararri -4 taking out the junior competition and Etihad Stables 1 taking out the senior.

In the run leg the fastest female was Moroccan Champion Latifa Essarokh, ahead of Hamda Saif Alshamsi, while in the junior male section Sancho Barcia took the honours. In the senior male section Albert Robb recorded a blistering time of 14.10 for the sandy 5km desert trail. The women's bike leg was won by Lisa Hancox, the junior male by Talal Al Balooshi and the senior male by Soufiane Haddi, just .03 of a second ahead of Ahmed Yousef Al Mansouri.

But it wasn't just the winners who enjoyed the day, with participants excited to be part of such an innovative event. One competitor, Geoff Mitchell, said "It was brilliant to be part of this, it's the first truly integrated multicultural event I've seen. It's great to combine the Emirati culture with a triathlon and it's so good to see so many Emiratis competing in all three disciplines. It's a great leveller and we all love being out there competing together. Hopefully this event will carry on for many more years to come".

Dr Ahmed Saad Al Sharif, Secretary General of the Dubai Sports Council, was delighted with the event. "We are so pleased with how successful today has been, to see such a diverse range of people competing together and enjoying participating is wonderful. We are proud to have made history today and we look forward to seeing this event become one of the hallmark events on Dubai's sporting calendar".

The CEO of official charity partner of the event, the Al Jalila Foundation, Dr Abdulkareem Sultan Alolama, said "Through unique events like the Dubai Desert Triathlon, the UAE continues to innovate and maintain a leading position in the global sporting community. Al Jalila Foundation was founded to contribute to the well-being of the UAE, and so we are proud to be involved with an event that not only promotes interest in fitness, but embraces endurance horse riding, a proud component of Emirati heritage.

"We are delighted to be the official charity partner of this successful event and extend our sincere appreciation to Dubai Sports Council for giving us the opportunity to raise awareness about Al Jalila Foundation. We look forward to working together on more sporting events in the future". – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Burj Khalifa stars in HD video from space

posted on 20/04/2014

A "James Bond-like” high-definition video taken from space of the Burj Khalifa and other Dubai landmarks is making its rounds on social media.

This comes after The Atlantic, an American magazine, featured its "impressive” qualities.

The 27-second black-and-white video was taken using a satellite owned and operated by Skybox Imaging, an American data company that uses high-definition satellite video to capture images from space for clients.

"We empower global businesses to make better decisions with timely, high-fidelity imagery and infinite analytics,” the company says on its website.

The footage shows a space-eye view of the Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Mall as a plane hovers over the emirate's skyscrapers.

"The video is filled not only with landmarks but also with detail,” wrote Robinson Meyer, of The Atlantic magazine.

"Videos like the one above transfix us. This one in particular strikes me as James Bond-like.” To view the video, click here. – The National – Read more:http://www.thenational.ae/uae/technology/burj-khalifa-stars-in-hd-video-from-space#ixzz2zPA6kL5v

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Sharjah Museums Department explores use of nuclear techniques in archaeology

posted on 20/04/2014

The Sharjah Museums Department (SMD) recently explored the use of nuclear techniques in archaeology, specifically in determining the age of pottery, papyrus and mummies.

Represented by Nasir Al Darmaki, Curator, Sharjah Archaeology Museum, SMD attended a workshop organised by the Arab League of Education, Culture and Science Organisation (ALECSO), after being nominated by the National Council of Tourism and Antiquities. The workshop saw 17 countries from around the world take part, in collaboration with the Arab Atomic Energy Agency.

The workshop focussed on providing training for academic and research personnel who specialise in nuclear technology or archaeology in their museum roles. Topics included environmental control systems, anthropological studies, biological degradation, historical eras, and age valuation of pottery, papyrus, and mummies.

The workshop also covered methods of nuclear analysis, including fluorescent and particle-induced X-ray, using the electron microscope, neutron activation analysis, laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy, Carbon-14 radiocarbon dating, thermal radiation, and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy.

Archaeological samples are typically categorised by source and era in order to document their historical age accurately. They are categorised by the study of their shape and an analysis of how they appear externally, as well as several other aspects. These aspects include the identification of certain chemical components within the artefacts and the isotope analysis of Strontium and Lanthanides. Isolating and identifying levels of these elements helps determine the exhibit's source.

The workshop was held at the Egyptian Nuclear Energy Agency, with field visits to leading archaeological sites such as the Pyramids, Sakkara as well as the Egyptian museum. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Dubai World Trade Centre welcomes 2.2 million visitors in 2013 up by 20 per cent over 2012

posted on 20/04/2014

Dubai World Trade Centre posted a record breaking year for 2013 with 2.2 million trade delegates and attendees visiting the growing calendar of events, exhibitions and congresses held at the MENASA region's largest venue operator and event organiser - marking the first time the figure has crossed the 2 million milestone.

Dubai World Trade Centre hosted 373 MICE and business events throughout 2013, up from 302 in the previous year, attracting visitors from 153 countries, and exhibiting companies from over 130 nations. This growth in the calendar showcases the result of the last three years of strategic focus on investing in higher quality and stronger trade events across a range of industries including Healthcare, ICT, Energy, Finance and Economics, Food, Logistics and Retail.

Among the high-profile additions to the 2013 calendar, which played a contributing role, were GISEC (Gulf Information Security Expo '&' Conference), The Big Entertainment Show, Middle East Rail, International Cardiology Symposium and Sibos. Show content and visitor quality measured equally favourably with the 80 top tier exhibitions recording an average traffic of nearly 25,000 attendees per event with some mega-consumer shows attracting upwards of 100,000 people, such as GITEX Shopper which debuted a new Spring event.

"The strong 2013 performance is a reflection of a more stable global economy, domestic market recovery in construction and real estate, and growing consumer confidence. Our focus on developing stronger events within key sectors for Dubai's economy, and growing the international attendance at events hosted in our venue, has allowed Dubai World Trade Centre to sustainably increase the value created for all stakeholders within the MICE sector - ultimately driving even greater GDP contribution," said Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General of the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing and CEO of Dubai World Trade Centre.

Across trade events hosted in 2013, DWTC registered nearly 40% international participation, highlighting the growing collaboration between the city, the venue and event organisers to maximise outreach efforts and deliver a holistic visitor experience.

Additionally, Dubai World Trade Centre attracted several association and congresses in 2013 led by high-profile events such as Sibos, the premier forum for the international financial services sector; the International Joint Replacement Congress; International Cardiology Symposium; and ITU Telecoms World. The increasing number, stature and international scope of congresses and conventions hosted at the venue during 2013 underscored the deepening cooperation between Dubai World Trade Centre and the public sector to pitch for and win these events.

"We operate in an extremely competitive global and regional MICE environment. To retain Dubai's positioning as a global hub for regional networking, government entities, public sector stakeholders and all our international industry partners must continue to work collaboratively. Over the last decade, Dubai World Trade Centre has seen a trebling of its visitor numbers and we expect to continue strategically attracting more international business travellers, and incentivising higher spend with a more diversified event calendar, in line with His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai's Tourism Vision for 2020," he added.

In addition to business events that brought in the 2.2 million participants, Dubai World Trade Centre saw a 59% growth across its calendar of entertainment and live events. An increased portfolio of 54 consumer facing events in 2013, drew more than 631,000 guests, and included the popular Dubai Sports World and the inaugural Dubai Music Week, both due to return in 2014, as well as a broad range of concerts with local, regional and international acts.

To accommodate and support the increase in number and diversity of events, Dubai World Trade Centre also expanded its facilities in 2013 adding semi-permanent and niche venue capacity to the existing 98,000 sqm. covered space. Meeting events increased by 116%, notably due to doubling of meeting room numbers to facilitate one-to-one networking, corporate launches and smaller conferences supplementing the larger exhibitions and for stand-alone events away from the show floor.

"Our events and visitor numbers in 2013 clearly demonstrates that Dubai is a strong preference for top tier decision makers to network and do business and the Dubai World Trade Centre expects to continually build the strength and global competitiveness of our city's MICE proposition as every event presents businesses and professionals the opportunity to see the long term potential of Dubai as a business hub and a gateway to the growing MENASA region," added Al Marri. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


RTA, Dubai Culture sign MoU to transform six metro stations into Art Galleries

posted on 20/04/2014

The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has signed two Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture); the first provides for transforming six of the Dubai Metro stations into art museums showcasing artistic and creative cultural works; a project that carries a total cost tag of Dh 184 million. The other MoU provides for decorating bridges and underpasses in Dubai in a bid to add artistic touches to the streets of the Emirate.

The signing of this MoU comes in implementation of the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to transform the Dubai Metro Stations, which attract more than 137 million visitors per annum, into galleries exhibiting artistic, cultural and creative works. This unique initiative aims at creating permanent museums and art galleries to showcase artistic and cultural works and innovations rendering them an integral part of the lifestyle and mobility experience in Dubai. The initiative will also result in bringing artistic, cultural, aesthetic and historical artefacts and creative works to the attention of the public, rather than bringing the public to them, rendering them an enjoyable part of the daily life of commuters, thus transforming the metro stations into cultural, artistic and historical hubs.

The MoU was signed on behalf of the Dubai Culture by Abdul Rahman Al Owais, Minister of Health and Chairman of the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, and on behalf of the RTA by Mattar Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of the RTA, in the presence of Saeed Al Nabooda, Acting Director General of the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, Abdulla Yousef Al Ali, Acting CEO of the Dubai Rail Agency, and a host of Directors from both entities.

Pursuant to the MoU for transforming six Dubai Metro Stations into art museums exhibiting creative cultural artefacts, the RTA will attend to providing and preparing the infrastructure needed for stations, cater to interior designs and contents, put a tender for interior design and contents besides marketing and promoting the project. The Dubai Culture and Arts Authority will figure out the required infrastructure in terms of power, ventilation, information systems, interior design, gallery contents, tender documents for interior design and developing gallery contents, in addition to identifying and preparing artworks, and setting a plan for modernising artefacts and gallery contents.

The meeting agreed to the theme and pattern of gallery in each station. Accordingly Burjuman Station will be transformed into music and art gallery, Emirates Towers Station will be transformed into Islamic decorations and manuscripts, Financial Centre Station will be transformed into an Islamic Numismatics (coins) Gallery, Burj Khalifa / Dubai Mall Station will be transformed into an e-library, and the Business Bay Station will be transformed into a photo gallery. Additionally, Noor Bank Station will play host to a Museum of Contemporary Art offering a unique and comprehensive look into modern art through a diverse collection of artefacts depicting the contemporary creative expression, where the museum will feature paintings, designs, graphics, sculptures, and other collectibles that reflect the intellectual and expressive styles created by contemporary artists from all over the world.

It was also agreed to equip the museums with the latest technologies as well as smart and interactive applications in line with the Smart Dubai initiative. There will also be a variety of artistic performances including music synchronised with the movement of the metro, light show on the roofs of stations, 3-D shows at stations, interactive screens via smartphones in all stations, and wrapping metro carriages using e-paper technology.

Abdul Rahman Al Owais, Minister of Health and Chairman of the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, said: "The purpose and objectives of the MoU are in coherence with the endeavours of the Dubai Culture aimed at uplifting the innovative profile of the Emirate through interactive communication with all spectrums of the community to keep pace with the growing artistic movement in Dubai such that all components of the city will act as a platform for exhibiting stunning art innovations. The step is also viewed as a vital contribution to realising the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum towards enhancing Dubai preparations for hosting the World Expo 2020, and leveraging the performance of all vital sectors, culture and art included, to unprecedented levels of excellence." "We are excited to proceed ahead in our close and constructive cooperation with the RTA so that we can together add more glamour and elegance to our city through artistic touches illustrating the rich, innovative and unique cultural fabric of Dubai," continued Al Owais.

Mattar Al Tayer, Chairman and Executive Director of Roads and Transport Authority said, "The RTA, in collaboration with the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority will strive to complete the project pursuant to the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, in March 2015, so that Dubai Metro stations art galleries will be as envisioned by HH as key facilities in our society and core ingredients of our daily life.

"The project will be particularly appealing to Dubai Metro riders and add an aesthetic dimension to Dubai Metro stations which are mainly designed to be unique architectural showpiece characterising Dubai Metro, contributing to achieving RTA's strategic objectives of increasing the number of mass transit ridership. The initiative also contributes to communicating the sublime mission of Art, as an international language of communication between civilisations and peoples, given that the UAE in general and Dubai in particular embrace more than 200 nationalities. Through arts and cultures we can contribute to disseminating the UAE's culture and civilisation as well as the achievements made by our fathers, founders of Union, whose footsteps are followed by the rulers of the emirates led by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan President of the UAE.

Al Tayer praised the partnership between the RTA and the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority in transforming the metro stations into cultural, artistic art galleries, stressing that the RTA will provide every support for the work team to accomplish this vital project as per the preset timetable. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


DFRE to launch three-month summer celebrations

posted on 20/04/2014

The Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE) will launch three-month long celebrations and promotions for residents and visitors during summer. Summer celebrations will start in June as families and tourists arrive in Dubai in large numbers every day to enjoy the multiple experiences.

DFRE's summer calendar, which features Modhesh World, Ramadan in Dubai, Eid in Dubai, Eid Al Fitr and Dubai Summer Surprises, will complement the global destination marketing drive, titled "Summer is Dubai” that is being undertaken by the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing to position Dubai as a summer destination of choice for tourists from around the world.

The summer season that awaits visitors will be packed with an array of entertainment and rewarding shopping options for families and children of all ages, cultures and nationalities.

Spearheading the summer excitement will be Modhesh World which will open at the Dubai World Trade Centre in June. The edutainment feature will run all through summer. Even as Modhesh World continues to receive its loyal visitors, mostly children, DFRE will launch Ramadan in Dubai, from June 29 to July 27, which will showcase a number of cultural activities reflecting the importance of the Islamic month including the Dubai International Holy Quran Award, Ramadan Forum and the Ramadan Tents, each of which will be a separate hub dedicated to enlightening visitors on Islamic traditions. In the last two weeks of Ramadan, leading up to Eid Al Fitr, shoppers will also have the opportunity to participate in the "Eidiyat Dubai” promotion that will be run by DFRE in conjunction with the Dubai Shopping Malls Group.

From July 28 to August 1 it will be Eid in Dubai-Eid Al Fitr which unites local communities and people from different cultures in celebration of Eid Al Fitr. Among the highlights of Eid in Dubai-Eid Al Fitr will be musical concerts, activities for the entire family and exciting promotions.

Dubai's summer season will reach its pinnacle with the launch of the Dubai Summer Surprises that will run from August 2 to September 5. The 17th edition of DSS will feature a number of world-class events and activities combined with fabulous promotions aimed at making summer shopping an enriching experience.

Laila Mohammed Suhail, CEO of Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment, said: "This fits well into our strategy of boosting the festivals sector and retail industry in the summer, which, in turn, becomes key drivers of tourism growth. While keeping up the citywide momentum through a number of events and activities that will allow residents and visitors to enjoy summer their own way, our summer line-up will serve a dual purpose of positioning Dubai as a summer destination of choice and a year-round family tourism destination, in line with Dubai's 2020 Tourism Vision of attracting 20 million tourists to the city by 2020.” – Khaleej Times – Read more: http://www.khaleejtimes.com/kt-article-display-1.asp?xfile=data/nationgeneral/2014/April/nationgeneral_April137.xml§ion=nationgeneral


ZonesCorp signs Dh367m contract with Jindal Saw Gulf at Hannover Messe

posted on 20/04/2014

ZonesCorp is delighted to announce that it signed another agreement with the Jindal SAW Gulf for the expansion of its current facilities.

The Agreement was signed at the Hannover Messe Industrial Fair last week.

Jindal SAW Gulf is planning a Dh367m (US$100m) expansion of its ductile iron pipe facility in ZonesCorp's Industrial City, which will boost production capacity by an additional 200,000 tons per year bringing the total production capacity to 500,000 tons per year. This expansion will attract two sizeable downstream investments to the ZonesCorp's metal cluster from Jindal SAW Gulf's partner - Super Cement Manufacturing.

Super Cement Manufacturing is owned by Sanjay Aggarwal - one of the partners of Jindal SAW Gulf, and currently manufactures cement in ZonesCorp's Industrial City. It is investing an additional Dh367m (US$100m) through its subsidiary Super Ferro Alloys, in a 75,000 tons ferro alloys complex located on 100,000 sq. metres greenfield site in close proximity to their existing plant.

In addition, Super Cement Manufacturing is investing in a Dh 110m (US$ 30m) lime calcinations plant with a production capacity of 450,000 tons per year. This new facility will be fully operational before end of 2014.

Collectively, the three new investments will attract a total of Dh845m (US$230m) in new investment to ZonesCorp's Industrial City and generate employment for an additional 500 people.

The agreement was signed last week at a signing ceremony at the Hannover Messe. As part of its commitment to showcase its partner companies and share its expertise and knowledge, ZonesCorp is leading a high level delegation of 19 important industrial manufacturing companies to the prestigious ‘Hannover Messe', the world's biggest industrial trade fair in Hannover, Germany, Over the last 2 years ZonesCorp has gone from strength to strength attracting a steady stream of high quality local and international manufacturing companies to its acreage.

In the last 2 years alone ZonesCorp attracted Dh 11.3billion of new investment, 152 new projects creating well over 12,000 new jobs. ZonesCorp's success can be attributed to, among other things, excellent global connectivity, low cost of operations, high quality investor support, world class infrastructure and providing marketing support.

Mohamed Hasan Al Qemzi, Chief Executive Officer at ZonesCorp commented:"We have enjoyed an extremely rewarding and longstanding partnership with Jindal Saw Gulf LLC and Aggarwal and we are delighted to see that they are continuing to expand with us." Sanjay Aggarwal Managing director of Jindal Saw Gulf said: "We are very pleased to be setting up these new ventures in Abu Dhabi under ZonesCorp. Our partnership with ZonesCorp has gone from strength to strength and we look forward to further expansions in the future. We have seen rapid uptake of our products in the GCC since we started our new operations here two years ago, and we continue to see a growth in demand. Our new investment is in response to this growth and we look forward to bridging the demand-supply gap. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Business Cycle Index 2013 revealed strong performance of sectors with expectations of high growth rates

posted on 20/04/2014

The economic performance in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi improved significantly in 2013, driven particularly by the growth and development of real estate, tourism and trade sectors, amid expectations of continued stimulants of growth, backed by decision makers in the Government of Abu Dhabi.

The results of the business cycle index for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi 2013, issued by the Studies Directorate of Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, showed that all sectors indicators reflected the strong performance of the economy of Abu Dhabi in 2013, especially during the second half of the year. Individuals, consumers, businessmen and industrialists praised the noticeable improvement in the economic performance of the emirate.

The results showed the significant improvement which streamed the real estate sector and the revival in demand for real estate units. The commercial activity, during the second half of the year witnessed rising demand for various fast moving and durable consumer goods.

The tourism sector recovered in the same period, especially during the month of December, when commercial licenses momentum was in place. The number of commercial and professional licenses in 2013 increased considerably compared to 2012.

The performance of the business community in general, improved as a result of Abu Dhabi government decision to inject huge funds in infrastructure and completion of projects that stumbled during the previous years, in the wake of the global financial crisis.

A quick review of most important economic developments revealed that the Emirate's real estate sector had performed well in 2013, with an increase in real estate buying and selling transaction. Selling prices soared in various regions of Abu Dhabi ranging between (14% and 26%), compared to 2012, driven by the positive growth experienced by the sector in the Emirate since the beginning of the year; and by the improvement in rental rates in Dubai, according to Asteco Abu Dhabi Q3 2013 report on the performance of the real estate sector in Abu Dhabi The data issued by Abu Dhabi Tourism '&' Culture Authority (ADTCA), indicated that the performance of the tourism sector had improve in the 10 first months of 2013, compared to the same period in 2012. Hotel facilities in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi registered record results during the second half of the year.

The total number of hotel guests during the period (January-March 2013) reached (2,270,000 persons) up 16% compared to the same period in 2012; while the number of hotel nights increased by 26% to approximately (7,077,789 hotel nights). Boarding rooms rose by 21% to reach around (5,050,936) and average stay increased to (3.12 days) rising by 9%.

This improvement resulted from conducting certain events which included the Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition, the Pharma Bio World 2013 Abu Dhabi, the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2013, in addition to the efforts to promote tourism in the Western Region in particular; and the large turnout observed by tourist destinations during holidays, especially from GCC countries, noting that Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait came on top of 20 external guests sources.

This good performance was attributed also to the increase in business meetings, exhibitions, conferences, and many tourist programs that sought to host 2.5 million guests by the end of 2013.

Comparing the period (January - March) 2013 to same period in 2012, revealed that hotel facilities revenue increased by 19%, reaching around Dh 2.7 billion. Revenues of hotel rooms and food and beverage, went up by 22% and 18%, respectively; while hotel occupancy rate increased by 9% to mark 69%, compared to 64% during the first 10 months of 2012.

The banking sector showed strong recovery in 2013, which reflected positively on the growth of banks profits. According to the expectations of the Emirates Banks Association, commercial banks operating in the country will expectedly achieve a growth of 20% in net profits for the year 2013, after having registered a net profit of Dh13.6 billion in the first half of 2013.

All reports, confirmed that local banks were able to surpass the global and regional turmoil, and the repercussions of the global financial crisis, to become the largest banking sector in the Middle East and North Africa.

The Emirate of Abu Dhabi is keen to support the industrial at the level of geographic regions, especially the in Western Region; and strengthen the role of the sector to increase its contribution to GDP. Consequently, the period (June-September 2013) saw an improvement in the performance of industrial activities, and witnessed more investment flows in some large industrial projects.

The Statistics Centre- Abu Dhabi (SCAD) indicated that the industrial sector embraced 94 new industrial facilities after completing construction during the first half of 2013. Statistics showed that Abu Dhabi city attracted the largest number of those projects by capturing 67 of the new firms during the first half of the year. Al Ain attracted 18 manufacturing facilities which completed their construction works during the same period, while the Western Region hosted 9 new productive facilities only.

As for the trade sector, the value of non-oil exports across the outlets of Abu Dhabi in September 2013 amounted to Dh 10,537 million, while imports reached Dh 8,206 million. Non-oil exports stood at Dh1089 million and re-exports totalled Dh1241 million, whereas with value of external trade in September 2013 increased by 7.2% compared to August 2013.

With regard to licenses issued by Abu Dhabi Business Centre of the Department of Economic Development to new members, the quarterly sub index showed that the number of new licenses issued in 2013 was 8,657 licenses, higher by 12.6% compared to 7,689 licenses issued in 2012.

The index showed an increase in the quarterly rates of change in 2013; especially during the fourth quarter of 2013 compared to the third quarter of the same year. The rate of change in the third quarter of 2013, was also higher than the second quarter of the same year, registering (14.3%) and (-4.1%), respectively.

Statistics indicated that trading and the crafts activities captured more licenses compared to other activities. The city of Abu Dhabi acquired the largest number of new licenses by 4,958 licenses in 2013, compared to 5,348 licenses in 2012 lower by 7.3%, followed by the city of Al Ain, with 1,865 new licenses in 2013 compared to 1,626 licenses in 2012 up 14.7%. The Western Region experienced a drop in the number of new licenses by 9.9% over the same period.

The boom in licensing movement during that period, was due mainly to the high optimism of investors and businessmen about the policies of expansionary spending announced by the Government of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi at the end of 2012 and early 2013, and the improvement in the pace of the economy's performance during the first half of 2013; in addition to the government policies and actions aimed at enhancing the business environment, encouraging investment, exempting companies from waste fees in the first year of activity and developing systems in place to facilitate and ease procedures required for practicing activities in general.

The same period witnessed cancellation of licenses by some companies. Activities with the highest number of cancelled licenses were the commercial enterprises, followed by crafts and professional establishments.

Regarding the Abu Dhabi Murban crude oil prices sub-indicator, Murban crude price dropped during the months of October and November 2013 reaching US$112.45 /barrel and US$112.2/barrel respectively, which were higher compared to the period (March-August 2013).

Oil prices were affected by the trends of the world oil market, amid rising global demand for oil compared to 2012, coupled with the geopolitical tensions in the Middle East, and increasing speculations.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) revised up its estimates for global oil demand growth by 145,000 bpd to 1.2 million bpd for 2013 and by 110,000 bpd to 1.2 million bpd for 2014.

Brent crude rose above US$ 110 a barrel as a result of the increased consumption of China, as well as the continued disruption of oil supplies from Libya. Manufacturing in China grew to its highest level in 18 months since November 2013, as a result of the increased domestic demand.

The sub index of the individual financial conditions, climbed up 9 points in 2013 compared to 2012, registering (131) and (122) points on average respectively.

The results reflected the optimism of individuals from different nationalities, about current and future economic conditions in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, as well as the availability of real job opportunities, salary increases and improved living conditions. Respondents' views and answers were positive for 2013, as they expressed more optimism about jobs opportunities and the appropriate time for purchasing durable consumer goods.

The findings of the sub index for the current situation of economic establishments, revealed high level of optimism among economic establishments operating in all activities (services, industrial, construction and trade) in general; and services and construction activities in particular.

This came naturally, in view of the business results achieved by various economic sectors during the quarterly periods of the year, particularly the banking and real estate sectors; in addition to the revival of the tourism sector, which resulted in spurring demand in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

The indicator showed low levels of optimism among small enterprises, compared to large establishment due to a series of challenges, most importantly the financing issues, which were fraught with conditions, considered by some small enterprises as hampering access to investment. This is a normal condition, since big companies are more able to withstand shocks than the smaller ones.

As for Abu Dhabi Securities Market Index (ADSMI), the recovery continued and market performance improved, especially in view of the profits made by listed companies and banks during the third quarter of 2013.

Preliminary data indicated the companies listed on ADX reaped high profits especially banks and real estate establishments. For example Aldar Properties net profits during the third quarter of 2013, rose by 98% to Dh 407.5 million compared to the same period in 2012; which contributed significantly to the ADX closing at the end of 31 December 2013 at (4290.30) points compared to (2630.86) points at the end of 2012.

It is expected that the revival of shares movement in Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange will continue through 2014, particularly in view of the profits that are expected to accrue to the companies listed on ADX, in addition to the rising rents, improvement of the real estate market in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, as well as the abundant liquidity, which will contribute significantly to the revival of buying and selling transaction. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Etisalat launches shared data plans for business customers for first time in UAE

posted on 20/04/2014

Etisalat, the UAE's leading telecom services provider, has launched new shared mobile data plans for multiple users, for the first time in the region.

Business DataShare allows businesses to access mobile data over range of devices including smartphones, tablets and laptops. Businesses can enjoy freedom from individual employee subscriptions and choose from smaller data packs such as 5GB and as their business grows, the size of data packs can go up to 30GB per month.

Business DataShare packs facilitate sharing of data among multiple users. Starting at Dh249 per month, the packs are available at a minimal incremental charge per user. Business can choose to link up to eight users to the pool.

Commenting on the new shared data packs, John Lincoln, Senior Vice President, Business Marketing, Etisalat UAE, said: "We thoroughly understand the communication needs of the business community. Businesses cannot afford to compromise on efficiency while balancing the costs. Access to mobile data plays a critical role and is an integral necessity for successful businesses.

"This is why Business DataShare has been designed in such a way that the dynamic demands and requirements of UAE's business customers are met by allowing them to share one pool of data with multiple users. The sharable data packs enable business owner to stay online and connected while in the office or on the go.

"They can surf, check emails and download files in real-time to increase productivity and optimise cost of running business .The launch of Business DataShare further strengthens Etisalat's position as a pioneer of innovative business solutions." Existing Business Customers of Etisalat as well as new Customers with mobile number that start with either 055 or 052 can avail of the offer.

This unique offer is in line with Etisalat's on-going strategy of offering added value packages for business customers. Etisalat's 4G LTE network covers 85 per cent of the inhabited area of the country and allows users of 4G devices to connect to the internet at speeds up to 150 Mbps. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Nakheel awards contracts worth over Dh47 million for Deira Islands

posted on 20/04/2014

Dubai developer Nakheel has awarded contracts worth over Dh47 million for design and supervision services on Deira Islands including the Night Market and Board Walk on the project.

Nakheel appointed AE7 for the design and supervision services including Master Planning, Parcelization and Infrastructure Design for Deira Islands, its new, 15.3 square kilometre waterfront city, under a contract worth Dh28 million.

The same firm was also awarded another contract worth Dh19.5 million covering the Architectural and Engineering services for the built form of the Night market and Board Walk, two main attractions on the 4.5 Million square metres south island. This unique creek side destination, will be easily accessible from the mainland by road bridges and abras. The island's other attractions will include a large shopping mall; an amphitheatre for 30,000 people; and a marina that can accommodate large yachts.

Tender documents for the construction of infrastructure are expected to be released around the middle of May 2014, following which companies will be invited to collect.

The master developer has already witnessed great interest in the project when it released its first phase of plots end of March 2014 - ranging from 50,000 to 670,000 square feet - for hotel and resort development on two of the four islands that make up the project.

Deira Islands, which will add 40 km, including 21 km of beachfront to Dubai's coastline will contribute significantly to the Government of Dubai's tourism vision. This project paves the way for the development of dozens/hundreds of hotels and serviced apartments, mixed-use buildings and residential waterside developments at what will become a new cultural, residential and commercial hub for the emirate. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


SCA issues first market-maker license to NBAD

posted on 20/04/2014

The Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) has issued the first license for practicing of Market-Making activity to the National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) following NBAD's fulfilment of all regulatory requirements.

The issuance of the first Market-Making license came at a time UAE equity markets are witnessing recovery and growth and weeks before the actual upgrade of UAE markets to "Emerging Market" status by the Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) Index, a move which will give a significant boost to corporate investment in UAE equity markets and greater in-depth and balance to local stock markets.

NBAD is expected to start practicing this activity during the 3rd quarter of this year after finalising some technical requirements in collaboration with UAE markets.

The SCA Board Resolution concerning Market-Maker was issued in August 2012, following in-depth and thorough study of all the various aspects of the Resolution and the outlining of the role of the various parties involved. The preparing and issuance of the Market-maker Regulation was done in stages and according to best international practices.

One of the significant benefits of having a licensed Market-maker is their commitment to provide bid and offer prices in all market conditions. This ensures there is always a price at which customers can buy and sell in their stocks with the involvement of a market maker. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Law to rationalise energy sources in pipeline, says Energy Minister

posted on 20/04/2014

Suhail bin Mohammed Faraj Faris Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy has unveiled a new draft 'Rationalisation Law", being prepared in cooperation with the Ministry of Environment and Water ahead of referring it to the Cabinet this year for endorsement.

The law will be endorsed as a balanced policy to help a consumer understands his important role in preserving of energy sources and also helps the government to study its future options, as well as continue in 'awareness initiatives' with all bodies and institutions in a campaign to reduce energy and water consumption in conjunction with the Federal Water and Electricity Authority that targets housewives, worshippers. schools and major industrial facilities.

In an exclusive interview with Emirati anchor, Khadijah Al Marzouqi during the 'Emirates Tonight' Programme on Dubai Radio, Energy Minister said, " The general features of the country's general strategy in the field of energy, focuses on resources and future challenges, as well as rationalisation and consumption patterns, in addition to the focus on the role of technology, green economy and buildings on the preservation of environment." He referred to the electricity consumption, tariff, and the government subsidy, internal and external investment, future plans, alternative energy and shale oil and others, emphasising that the energy and natural gas sector is deemed vital since the inception of the UAE, whose government-led by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and the Rulers of the Emirates, took interest in the sector to ensure decent life for the citizen.

Al Mazrouei pointed out the importance of diversifying energy sources and use of fossil gas at average of 70 per cent to 75 per cent of energy consumption and 25 per cent of nuclear energy, five percent of renewable energy by 2020, expecting that the increase in energy sources through liquefied gas would be local and imported gas, while the third source will be natural liquefied gas, being the most expensive among the three sources. The liquefied gas is being imported through Jebel Ali Port at a capacity of three million tonnes annually.

He added that work is underway to establish a new port in Fujairah at a threefold capacity of energy compared to that of Dubai with additional capacity of nine million tonnes of liquefied gas from Fujairah Port. The tenders will be invited to this year.

Al Mazrouei said that there are no signs of delay to 2017 date slated for the operation of the first plant, adding that the fourth plant will start operation by 2020. It will contribute 5, 600 MW of electric energy which represents, more or less, 25 percent of the consumption of electricity sector in the country.

Regarding the renewable energy, the minister pointed out that the year 2013 witnessed the launch of two important projects "Shams" which is deemed the biggest of its kind in the field of using the technology in solar energy generating and storage, with a capacity of 100 MW in the Western Region. The second project, 'the Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park', with a capacity of 13 MW, in addition to another project with a capacity of 100 MW in Dubai. He added that in order to contribute to the increase of renewable energy "Masdar" is working is studying multiple projects, whether in Abu Dhabi or Al Ain.

Answering a question on the impact of extraction of shale oil on the international prices, the minister denied this hypothesis on the ground, citing that there three major markets such as the gas heading to Asia, whose prices are dubbed the highest prices in the world at a cost of US$14-16 cubic feet, while gas coming to Europe ranges between US$10 -11and there is still a kind of uncertainty about the quantities of the exported shale gas in the US and Canada , expecting that there will be an increase in the amount of gas flow in the market after 2020 which would reduce the rise of prices. Experts anticipate that the average of price will be between US$ 11 to 12 and the third market is American market, whose prices ranges from between US$5- 3.5.

He also commented on the difference between oil and gas usage and their importance in power generation, energy minister said :' When oil prices were cheap, it was an option for old stations but in the light of the environmental effects and high prices, 'Diesel has become the last choice for power generation." Al Mazrouei said there are doubts about the exports of quantities of shale gas in US and Canada, expecting that there will quantities of gas flow to the market after 2020, hence, reducing hike of prices. Experts expect that average prices will range between US$11- 12 for liquefied gas, but not less than US$10.

Al Mazrouei added, "When the oil prices were lower, the burning of oil or diesel was an option for old fuel station, but with environment effect and higher prices, the use of diesel has become the last option and expensive for generation of energy. "We are today and within the UAE's policy don not burn any liquids, while gas is environmental-friendly. When new projects are set up, we will be forced to burn diesel even in peak periods and summer."

The minister expected the growth and demand rates for oil would grow in coming years by 1 per cent annually, especially the world consumes today about 90 million barrels, of which 30 million barrels are exported through OPEC. This will reduce a bit with appearance of new shale oil or oil from Non OPEC states.

He added that the current prices, which have been ranging around US$100 per barrel for over five years, are logical, but with the growth rates increasing by 5- 7 per cent in China and India, the demand for oil will rise. The local demand will also rise, Al Mazrourei continued, adding that the capacity of the UAE oil refineries rose from 500, 000 barrels per a day to 920, 000 million barrel per a day.

Regarding the production increase and reduction of government subsidy and his opinion about the government subsidy, the minister said, "The subsidy does not create an economy. When the subsidy continues, the economy cannot compete at world level at a time the UAE government vision aims to become one of the world's solid economies based on sustainability and economic growth."

He added, "When we look at sustainable economies, we realise that they do not subsidise energy as we have today at a time we face general culture challenge that we should economise as the growth and progress do not go alongside extravagance."

Al Mazrouei said the UAE government would continue to subsidise since the consumption is logical, citing that the consumption rate among Emiratis, expatriates, economic and industrial sectors exceeds the world's rates by threefold- this incredible and unsustainable.

He added that the subsidy percentage ranges from 50- 85 per cent in some sectors. "If such subsidy is associated with consumption guide, it will continue. But with huge wastage compared to international standards, I repeat this is absolutely incredible."

About internal and external investments, the minister said the UAE is one of the top countries in the area of energy: oil and gas, as well as investments in the field of electricity generation in many countries worldwide.

He referred to the investments of International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) in the fields of fuel stations since 1970s, exploration and production of oil. It bought in partnership with Total, SABSA company, which was owned by the Spanish government. Mubadala, which invests in the field of exploration and production in three South East Asian countries, develops gas fields and sells it in Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and a number of GCC states. Mubadala owns huge investments in Qatar, Sultanate of Oman and the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Meanwhile, TAQA , the world's sixth largest developer of electricity privatisation projects, invests in electricity generation in Morocco, where it owns 45 per cent of the electricity. It also invests in many countries in Africa and the world.

Regarding the role of youth, the minister said there is a bad need for engineers and energy operators, adding that work is underway with some training and educational institutions to train youth. He referred to his experience in studying petroleum engineering and his specialisation in the field of "Earth Simulation", adding that he managed during one of half years to design a special study model.

The minister also cited his tenure at ADNOC, where he had different local and international experiences, adding that he deems His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, a role model and a second father, thanking all Their Highnesses, Members of Supreme Council and Rulers of Emirates and the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding father of the UAE, who made the UAE one of the advanced countries.

Al Mazruei added within a year he worked under Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, he has learnt and still learning a lot. He thanked H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, on learning much from him, urging youth to persevere and tackle challenges with huge ambitions.

"No one imagines UAE would turn from an oil producer country into an industrial state, whose companies manufacture special parts of IPAD, Airbus, Boeing and BMW vehicles", Al Mazrouei concluded. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Sharjah welcomes new 5-star hotel

posted on 20/04/2014

Mohamed Ali Al Noman, chairman of the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority, or SCTDA, has underscored the importance of public-private sector partnership in tourism sector, saying such a partnership has already contributed to the development of quality tourism product of Sharjah and strengthened its position as a pioneering and distinguished tourist destination in the region.

This came during Al Noman's recent visit to the new Hotel 72 By Hues. The SCTDA chairman was received by Mahmoud Hamza, chief executive of the hotel, and was briefed about the new hotel property and the number of exclusive services and modern amenities offered by the hotel to its guests and customers.

Speaking on the occasion, Al Noman said that Hotel 72 By Hues is a welcome addition to Sharjah that has seen a number of world-class hotels and tourism projects launched recently in the emirate.

"This is in tune with the growing number of tourist arrivals in the emirate and the host of special events and activities hosted throughout the year in Sharjah, significantly increasing the hotel occupancy rate in the emirate. While the hotel occupancy rate shot up above 70 per cent in the first quarter of this year, it had crossed more than 90 per cent during special events like the Sharjah Light Festival,” said Al Noman.

He noted the remarkable developments and paradigm shift in the hospitality industry witnessed in the emirate in recent years and the quality of services offered.

Al Noman said that a number of new and outstanding tourism and hospitality projects are part of the emirate's strategic plan and vision for the industry and will be announced in the next phase of development. Hotel 72 By Hues is being seen as an attractive addition to Sharjah's hotel industry. The five-star property is the first boutique hotel dedicated to business and leisure travellers in the emirate. Strategically-located, it offers a breath-taking panoramic view of Khalid Lagoon and Buheirah Corniche.

With 72 distinctly-designed and tastefully-appointed rooms with stylish furnishings and amenities including Internet, Hotel 72 By Hues continues a tradition of contemporary architecture and smart luxury design that Hues Hotels are famous for. – Khaleej Times – Read more: http://www.khaleejtimes.com/biz/inside.asp?xfile=/data/uaebusiness/2014/April/uaebusiness_April310.xml§ion=uaebusiness


HAAD:MERS-CoV cases are well and expected to clear virus within 10-14 days, no public health concern

posted on 20/04/2014

The Health Authority - Abu Dhabi (HAAD) announced 12 new cases for Coronavirus (MERS-CoV), who are well but incidentally found to be positive for MERS-CoV during routine screenings for contacts.

The new positive MERS Coronavirus cases are expected to clear the virus within 10-14 days with no treatment. They are in hospital isolation and as such are not causing any risk to the public or other patients.

The Ministry of Health (MoH) and HAAD are dealing with the situation with full transparency to ensure the public is aware of the current situation.

HAAD confirmed that the current situation is not a public health concern and that it is coordinating with the Ministry of Health (MOH) and other authorities in the country, and has taken all necessary measures as per international standards and recommendations from the World Health Organisation (WHO).

HAAD advises the public to follow these tips to help prevent respiratory illnesses: Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, and help young children do the same. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitiser Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze then throw the tissue in the trash.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Avoid close contact with people with fever or flu-like illnesses HAAD stressed the need to follow information released about the illness by the Ministry of Health and health authorities. Cases of MERS COV have been reported by the WHO from 2012.

The MOH stated that the WHO confirmed the virus is not a concern for public health at the moment, and that the current situation does not require a travel ban to any country in the world, screenings at different ports, or any restrictions on trade.

The MOH confirmed that it is monitoring the situation closely to ensure the health and safety of everyone.

The MOH and Health Authorities along with the WHO are working closely with all government and health authorities to understand the risks of this virus and the way it spreads between people. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


RCA distributes aid to 400 displaced Syrian families north of Jordan

posted on 20/04/2014

Amman: The UAE Red Crescent Authority's relief team in coordination with the concerned Jordanian authorities of the displaced Syrian affairs, has distributed a huge amount of dates and relief items among more than 400 displaced Syrian families in Mafraq City near the Syrian-Jordanian borders.

The distribution process, which included blankets and shoes, went on at ease by following the mechanism that gives priority to the underprivileged families.

The assistance comes in the light of the constant relief programmes and projects, being implemented by the Red Crescent Authority (RCA) for the benefit of displaced Syrians in Jordan.

The RCA oversees the Muraijeb-Al-Fhood camp, which includes over 4000 Syrian refugees and in the near future the camp will be expanded to include more than 8000 refugees. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Al Ketbi lights up UAE spirits at Jiu-Jitsu Championship

posted on 20/04/2014

Held under the patronage of General Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, the conclusion of the championship saw award-winning displays of athleticism as the top Jiu–Jitsu fighters from around the world competed for the title of best professional jiu-jitsu fighter in their belt category.

UAE Jiu-Jitsu fighters carried on the tradition of stunning local crowds as they secured a World Championship Belt in the male brown belt adult open weight category from a stunning performance by Faisal Al Ketbi on the final day of Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2014. Silver medal performances from Mohammed Darwish and Shefaa Moosa Hassan in the male and female white belt adult open weight category also added to the UAE's overall medal count.

Held under the patronage of General Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, the conclusion of the championship saw award-winning displays of athleticism as the top Jiu–Jitsu fighters from around the world competed for the title of best professional jiu-jitsu fighter in their belt category.

New champions were crowned as the battle for a belt commenced in the centre of the Arena. It was no surprise as the powerful Gabriela Garcia from Brazil fought off America's Janni Larsson to earn the title of World's Best Professional Jiu-Jitsu Fighter in the female brown black belt adult open weight category. It was another thrilling fight as two Brazilian fighters grappled until finally Marcos Almeida reigned supreme over Rodolfo Vieira for the title World's Best Professional Jiu-Jitsu Fighter in the male black belt adult open weight category.

Roars from the crowd could be heard outside of FGB Arena as UAE's Al Ketbi challenged Brazil's Marcio Andre to win the male brown belt open weight category, bringing the title home to the UAE. In attendance to watch his crowning fight was General Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan who personally congratulated Faisal after the win.

Starting off the final matches was a heroic fight in the white belt category with Amelia Liu from Great Brittan winning her division. Fabio Alano from Brazil took home the highest honour in the male white belt adult open weight category. Brazil's success continued with Pamela Ventura taking home a win in the female blue belt adult open weight category along with fellow countrymen Paulo Costa who won the male blue belt adult open weight category.

The Purple Belt Championship matches saw exhilarating performances from Brazilian athletes Tayane Araujo and Nicholas Meregali who won their respective categories in the purple belt open weight matches.

Commenting on the final day of the adult competition, Abdulmunem Al Hashemi, chairman

of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation and president of the Asian Jiu-Jitsu Union said: "It has been a fantastic five days of competition starting with the World Jiu-Jitsu Children's Cup and concluding with the adult competition. We've had over 2,200 fighters from 71 countries participate this year, with each fighter delivering their best performance on the mat. Their exemplary display of our sport only continues to build Jiu-Jitsu in the region and across the world. I congratulate all of the fighters who competed during this year's Championship. We are especially proud of our UAE athletes who have trained and committed themselves to the sport over the years, many of whom were rewarded with fantastic victories over the course of the Championship. With such a great turnout this year, we can only look forward to what 2015 will hold.” – Khaleej Times – Read more: http://www.khaleejtimes.com/sport/inside_sport.asp?xfile=/data/nationsports/2014/April/nationsports_April147.xml§ion=nationsports


Al Qubaisi scores fastest times in free practice and starts in third grid at 6hrs Silverstone race

posted on 20/04/2014

Supported by Emirates Global Aluminium, the Circuit Racing and Endurance Star Khaled Al Qubaisi is on his mission to represent the United Arab Emirates and Abu Dhabi Racing in what is considered the biggest World event for endurance (World Endurance Championship FIA WEC), where the Proton Competition Team, which consists of Khaled Al Qubaisi, Christian Ried, and Klaus Bachler have respectively yielded second, first, and fourth position in the 3 free practice of LMGTE AM category on board their new Porsche 911 RSR, whereas the prequalification rounds proved fiercer, and resulted in positioning Al Qubaisi and his teammates in the 6th start grid at the British 6hrs Silverstone race.

Car No. 88 of Proton Competition, piloted by our Emirati Champion Khaled Al Qubaisi, Klaus Bachler, and Christian Ried, succeeded in making a strong presence on the British Silverstone circuit when Porsche 911 RSR achieved second fastest result in its category (LMGTE AM) during the first free practice of 6hrs Silverstone Race with a duration of 2:02:023m, after which the car bearing the colours of "Abu Dhabi Racing" was swift at pulling off the fastest time in the second free practice run at 2:00:570m, where the trio Al Qubaisi, Ried and Bachler outran a number of cars in higher categories.

"We managed to rearrange the car's settings after the initial free practice, which rid the car from an under steering nudge, and positively affected the car's performance in the 2nd free practice to help us score the fastest times and outrun some of the higher categorised cars." Al Qubaisi commented, and added: "Surely, it's merely free practice, but nonetheless gives us a glimpse of how the race could unfold and what sort of ground we hold. We are extremely happy with the car's performance, and have every intention to further push the prequalification practice to take a frontal position at start-up.

On the second day, the eight teams competing in the LMGTE AM category and mostly driving the Ferrari F458 Italia, all concluded the third free practice before moving to compete in the prequalification practice. Proton Competition were not able to better their position in the third free practice beyond 4th due to a red flag which stood wall preventing Al Qubaisi from making enough rounds around the circuit of Silverstone.

On the second day, the eight teams competing in the LMGTE AM category and mostly driving Ferrari F458 Italia, all concluded the third free practice before moving to compete in the prequalification practice. Proton Competition were not able to better their position in the third free practiced beyond 4th due to a red flag which stood wall preventing Al Qubaisi from making enough rounds around the circuit of Silverstone.

When asked about his strategy for the 6hrs British race which starts on Sunday at exactly 3:00 pm Emirates local time, Al Qubaisi said: "We are pretty pleased with the car's performance; our speed in both free and prequalification practice was high. I have no doubt that we will be very fast during the race, and like I said earlier, it will be a tough mission since we are competing with strong teams, but making podium is something that can be achieved". – Emirates News Agency, WAM


UAE Rugby announces squad to compete against Singapore in 2014's Asian 5 Nations Division 1

posted on 20/04/2014

UAE Rugby's 24-man squad that will compete against Singapore in 2014's Asian 5 Nations Division 1, at 7he Sevens in Dubai on Wednesday April 23rd 19:30, has been announced.

Wednesday night's match-up is crucial to both sides as this solitary game will decide who will stay in Division 1 and who will be relegated to Division 2 for 2015's revamped Asian Championships. UAE is ranked 1st in the Asian 5 Nations Division 1 rankings, after relegation in 2013, with Singapore ranked 4th, after winning Division 2.

Newly appointed Performance Manager and National Coach, Roelof Kotze, has been impressed with the talent he has seen since his arrival in February, after monitoring player performance at both the UAE Rugby Conference and the Gulf Top 6 - where the top 2 teams competing for the title were UAE-based clubs.

Kotze is also acutely aware of the Federation's mandate to integrate Emiratis into representative rugby. After consultation with technical team of Wayne Marsters and Ben van Rooyen, including valuable insight from former Seven's Captain and recently accredited IRB level 1 Coach, Yousef Shaker, 5 UAE Nationals have been named in the squad, including Adel Al Hendi - winner of Best Youth Emirati Player at the first annual UAE Rugby Awards.

‘The essence of course is to win the match and remain in Division 1 for 2015. Secondly is for our players to play to the best of their ability and to effectively execute our game plan' said Kotze. ‘I'm expecting it to be a fast, open game with Singapore playing a running style of rugby' he added.

‘UAE Rugby is committed to the ongoing Asian 5 Nations tournament through the revamped Asian Championships (starting in 2015) and its development into a leading series within the ARFU and the IRB calendar' said UAE Rugby's Secretary General Qais Al Dhalai. ‘We are pleased to be hosting this Division 1 game in the UAE and we will be proud to, once again, see our expatriate players stand alongside our Emirati players when the anthem is played'. – Emirates News Agency, WAM