The UAE will host Expo 2020!
  • Arabic
  • French
  • German
  • Spanish
Supported by the UAE National Media Council

Louvre Abu Dhabi Talking Art series features discussion with cinema legend

posted on 30/01/2015

The Louvre Abu Dhabi Talking Art Series returned on Wednesday for 2015 with a discussion on Miniature Paintings and Film, led by the world-renowned filmmaker James Ivory at Manarat Al Saadiyat. Following a lecture about his outstanding collection of 98 Indian miniatures that has been acquired by Louvre Abu Dhabi, James Ivory treated the audience to an exclusive screening of his movie "Hullabaloo Over Georgie and Bonnie's Pictures" (1978).

Presented by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, TCA Abu Dhabi, in collaboration with the Agence France-Museums and Ecole du Louvre, Louvre Abu Dhabi: Talking Art Series will hold two more panel discussions on March 25th and May 27th. Exploring significant themes from the history of art through artworks that form part of Louvre Abu Dhabi's growing permanent collection as well as key works on loan from partner institutions, this dynamic programme aims to bring together eminent specialists, curators, academics, architects, philosophers, writers and artists, whilst sharing their thoughts and ideas with the UAE public.

Hissa Al Dhaheri, Programmes Manager of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, said, "Placed in comparison with the miniature paintings from Iran, Central Asia and India, found in the Pierre Jourdan-Barry collection, James Ivory's beautiful miniatures will form a vibrant part of Louvre Abu Dhabi's permanent collection. This Talking Art Series lecture offered an insight into the stories behind the museum's collection, given by the invaluable personal account of a collector. The Talking Art Series is a vital part of Louvre Abu Dhabi's pre-opening engagement with the community exploring themes of the museum and opening up avenues of discussion." Mr. Ivory added, "I have the great satisfaction of knowing my collection remains intact at Louvre Abu Dhabi. It would have been terrible if it had been broken up after my death. Collections of beautiful works of art are so living, so personal." - Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Cruise ship 'MS Balmoral' makes debut call at Zayed Port

posted on 30/01/2015

MS Balmoral, the biggest cruise liner of the UK-based shipping line Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, made its first call at the Zayed Port, and was welcomed by Abu Dhabi Ports.

The officials at the port presented a commemorative plaque to the captain to celebrate the maiden visit.

With a capacity for 1,230 passengers, the MS Balmoral is the biggest cruise liner of the UK-based shipping line Fred Olsen Cruise Lines. Named after a favourite Royal residence in the Highlands of Scotland, the ship arrived from Muscat, Oman, in the early morning hours and stayed for a full day before heading towards Dubai.

After the AIDAAura, Costa Serena and MSC Orchestra, the MS Balmoral is the fourth "maiden caller" of the current cruise season which is the busiest yet, with a total of 94 ships visiting the emirate.

Compared to last season in which 75 ships called at Zayed Port, this marks an increase of 25.3%.

"Each season we welcome new, first time cruise visitors to Abu Dhabi which makes us incredibly proud and demonstrates the heightened confidence, interest and client demand from cruise operators around the world", said Abdulkareem Al Masabi, VP-Operations, Abu Dhabi Ports.

A recent survey by the Cruise Lines International Association, the worlds' largest cruise trade association, asked its members which they thought were the exciting new destinations, the Middle East was listed as being firmly in that category.

At the moment, the majority of the ships and cruise passengers visiting Abu Dhabi come from Europe, with the first place going to German, followed by Italy and then the UK.

However, the Cruise Arabia promotional initiative is working to broaden this. At the end of last year the Cruise Arabia partners Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Oman were joined by new member Qatar, increasing the appeal to cruise line operators. Moving forward Cruise Arabia is working to attract tourists from both the traditional markets in Europe and America, but also from the new emerging cruise markets in China and India.

"The development of cruise tourism is a main pillar of the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030, and Abu Dhabi Ports is committed to supporting the growth of this valuable industry and to ensuring our cruise visitors are fully catered for. Each season we welcome new cruise ships to our port for their ‘first time visit'. These maiden calls demonstrate a steady positive increase in the number of vessels that call here throughout the season," Abdulkareem Al Masabi concludes. - Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Sky’s the limit for Emirati student and his 3D-printing drone

posted on 30/01/2015

LONDON: Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No … it's a 3D-printing aerial drone.

Just ask Talib Alhinai, an Emirati PhD student at Imperial College London, whose mission is to help develop flying robots that improve people's lives.

The 22-year-old is part of a team studying innovative, occasionally outlandish uses for drones, including one that can ‘3D-print' while hovering in mid-air.

Mr Alhinai, who is from Abu Dhabi, explained his work while standing outside a university room labelled the "Super Top Secret Rocket Lab”.

Inside, drones of varying sizes are scattered around, alongside some bulky lab testing equipment, including a fume cupboard and submersion tank. The drones are the sort readily available in shops, but have been modified by students for uses such as 3D-printing, or even diving underwater.

Drones might conjure up images of controversial military attacks launched from afar, but the Imperial College students are looking for healthier applications.

"The word ‘drone' has a negative connotation,” said Mr Alhinai. "But it's important to establish that not all drones are bad … There is huge potential.”

The prototype flying 3D-printer was created by Mr Alhinai and a team of colleagues working under Dr Mirko Kovac, director of the university's Aerial Robotics Laboratory.

Inspired by swiftlets, tiny birds that build nests using their own saliva, the four-propeller drone can mix two chemicals to create a foam that, when ‘printed', expands and sets.

The technology has a range of potential uses, from fixing roofs to repairing gas pipelines with pinpoint accuracy and carrying out tasks in areas that are hostile to humans.

Swarms of the drones could be used to build structures after a natural disaster, or to remove nuclear waste or other hazardous objects by printing on a sticky foam and lifting the item away.

"You can have a ‘sacrificial drone' that comes in and picks something up. And if it blows up, you only lose a drone,” said Mr Alhinai.

A prototype of the 3D-printing flying robot has been on display at the Science Museum in London, under a sign asking "Would you let this drone fix your home?”

But before it got there it was already making an impression — quite literally — in the robotics lab where Mr Alhinai works. During testing, the computer-controlled drone shot up into the ceiling — leaving four marks where the propellers struck.

"We were trying to send it one metre up [in the air],” said Mr Alhinai. "By mistake we pressed 10 instead of one … And then it shot up into the roof and got stuck.”

Mr Alhinai joined Imperial College in 2013, just one week after he graduated in Mechatronic Engineering — a mix of mechanics and electronics — from the University of Manchester.

He says his family had been "really encouraging” in his studies, with his father visiting London last week to see drones in action, and to visit the exhibit at the nearby Science Museum.

Mr Alhinai's studies are sponsored by the Abu Dhabi Government, and he hopes to return to the UAE after he finishes his PhD in 2016, to continue his work developing drones that can help humans. "I would like to go and give something back,” he says.

Mr Alhinai pointed to initiatives in the UAE such as the ‘Drones for Good' Award, launched last February, which invited ideas for practical uses for unmanned aerial vehicles. There are also UAE government plans to use drones to deliver official documents and packages to citizens.

But there have been concerns raised over the use of unmanned vehicles in the UAE. Earlier this month, air traffic over Dubai was suspended for 55 minutes due to recreational drones being flown into the flight paths. As a result, the local aviation authority plans to issue new regulations on the use of drones, it was reported.

Maximilian Haas-Heger, a 21-year-old undergraduate student in the same department as Mr Alhinai, agreed that there needs to be greater legislation governing the use of drones, particularly around sensitive areas like airports and power stations.

Mr Haas-Heger's computer is next to the university lab's ‘flight arena', where the drones are taken for test flights. The area resembles a giant, blacked-out cricket-practice cage, surrounded by safety nets to catch any stray drones.

"It makes me feel a lot safer,” says Mr Haas-Heger of the protective netting.

The student, in his fourth and final year of an aeronautic engineering course, helped develop the computer scripts that control the 3D-printing drone. It's complicated, he says — but fun too.

"I personally really like writing something on the computer, and seeing it applied to a physical system in real life. That's something that I find absolutely incredible,” says Mr Haas-Heger.

Originally from Germany, Mr Haas-Heger has lived in the UK for seven years, and hopes to continue his studies as a PhD student.

Like his Emirati friend, he sees great humanitarian and civil uses of drones. In the future, even our pizza could be delivered by drone, he says: "You think it's crazy now. But you'll see …” The National -


UAE students design drone to dissipate fog at airports

posted on 30/01/2015

A team of academics and students from Khalifa University have developed a drone for dissipating fog from an airport runway or a busy road within minutes.

The design has reached the last 19 out of more than 400 entries in the international Drones For Good competition held in Dubai.

Dr Reyad El Khazali, the team's leader, said such a drone was vital for the UAE as the country suffered heavy and disruptive fog conditions in winter that caused problems on roads and at airports.

"We've tested it in a closed greenhouse, which generated the fog conditions, and we were able to dissipate the fog in 11 seconds,” he said, explaining that the use of a salt solution created an imbalance between the temperature and the dew point.

"The salt particles absorb the fog particles, which creates the imbalance, allowing us to dissipate the fog. For this project we're up to 15-20kgs solution capacity in the drone, but in the future we can build a stronger drone that can carry 40-50kgs of solution,” he added.

The environmentally friendly solution is comprises six per cent salt mixed with water to produce a spray that can clear fog.

This month, Etihad Airways had to book thousands of passengers into Abu Dhabi hotel rooms after heavy fog led to the cancellation of 20 flights. The fog also caused disruptions at Dubai airport.

Moza Al Shemaili, 31, one of three female Emirati PhD students working on the project, said the work represented a personal challenge as she often encountered heavy fog during her daily commute from her RAK home to the Sharjah campus.

"I drive early when the fog is still thick and it causes many accidents,” she said. "This would be very successful to use on the main roads.”

The idea originated from the concept of cloud seeding, which is used to artificially create rain. The drones are designed to convert the fog into damp droplets.

Alya Al Mazmi, 21, a fourth-year communications student, said tackling the problems caused by fog affected everyone. "The airports could buy a number of these drones as well as the emergency services vehicles having them ready for dispatch.”

Dr El Khazali said it would cost up to Dh100,000 to construct each drone, an appealing price considering the amount of revenue lost by airports and airlines in fog delays.

The competition winner will be announced on February 7 with a US$1m (Dh3.67m) prize on offer. The Khalifa University team, the only UAE representation in the competition's final stages, will face teams from such famed US universities as MIT and Stanford.

Ms Al Mazmi said win or lose the team was proud of its achievements.

"It's time to make people more aware that there are drones that can be used as solutions to problems. Being involved with such new technology and in this field is a very good thing to be a part of, especially as Emirati women.” – The National -


Disaster handbook launched by UAE authority

posted on 30/01/2015

The UAE's disaster planning authority has published a guidebook on what to do in emergencies.

The book, ‘Your Guide to Emergencies', is available in English and Arabic on the National Emergency, Crisis and Disaster Management Authority's website.

The guide is aimed for the general public and key Government agencies.

Federal law requires organisations and businesses to plan for emergencies, including making risk assessments, training, drills and reviews.

The guidebook outlines procedures for natural disasters and power cuts, wartime emergencies, acts of sabotage, administering of first aid, protection against fires, and caring for disabled people.

The emergency situations covered in the guidebook include chemical and biological terrorist threats, bombings, earthquakes, lightning strikes and landslides, but not pandemic diseases.

The book even covers events that are unlikely to occur in the UAE, such as tsunamis.

The publication adds "tremendous value” to the community, according to Caitlin Picker, managing director of UniTeam, a first-aid training organisation.

"Everybody should take an interest in preparedness planning so that their response to an emergency situation will be more likely to result in a positive outcome,” she said.

"Many workplaces are becoming interested in emergency response training for their employees, and this is reflected across the public and private sector.

"But this kind of training needs to be a priority and should be well practised so that our actions in an emergency become automatic.

"Employees who are adequately trained in emergency preparedness and emergency response are able to act with confidence when faced with a threat or emergency.” – The National -


Diamonds worth Dh367m on display in Dubai

posted on 30/01/2015

Diamond jewellery worth US$100 million (Dh367 million) was on display during the Diamond Fashion Show as part of the Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) on Tuesday.

The show was held at the Armani pavilion at the Burj Khalifa.

Organised as part of the 20th edition of DSF in partnership with Dhamani Jewels, it was dubbed as "the most expensive fashion show in the world”.

From more than 10 pieces of diamonds weighing 50 carat or above, to four pieces of rare 100-carat diamonds, the show assembled a impressive collection of "prized jewels ever exhibited on a catwalk”, including a collection of rare natural fancy coloured.

The diamond jewellery for the exclusive, invitation-only event was provided by Dhamani, the sole distributor of the 99-faceted Dubai Cut diamond.

Dubai's annual diamond trade volume now stands at over $40 billion (around Dh514 billion), with about half of the world's production of rough diamonds passing through the Dubai Diamond Exchange.

"While Dubai has always been renowned as a gold trading centre, the story of the last decade really is the city's amazing transformation into a global diamond hub,” said Laila Suhail, CEO of Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment, an agency of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing and the organisers of DSF.

"Dubai offers a favourable environment for diamond traders, with its business-friendly policies, simplified procedures and its reputation as a tax haven combining to offer a value proportion unmatched elsewhere in the world. Most importantly, Dubai is situated at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, and connects all major global diamond centres.”

Amit Dhamani, CEO and managing director, Dhamani Jewels, said: "Dubai is fast evolving into the world's pre-eminent diamond trading centre, and this [show] is a nod to the city's astonishing recent success as a major global diamond capital. The event underscores the uniqueness and growing eclecticism of Dubai's luxury market, showcasing rare gemstones and diamonds one would typically find only in the loftiest of global museums.”

The 20th edition of DSF runs till February 1 offering citywide events, numerous shopping opportunities and winning options for residents and visitors from around the world. – Gulf News -


UAE Ambassador highlights government commitment to investing in education

posted on 30/01/2015

Yousef Mana'a Saeed Al Otaiba, UAE Ambassador to the United States of America, has highlighted the UAE government's commitment to investing in education and training future leaders.

He also explained the importance of the five-year Emirates Leadership Initiative, which was launched in 2014 with the aim to strengthen relations between the countries and peoples of the Middle East.

Al Otaiba said that the main objective of the programme is the development of leadership skills through seminars sponsored by Harvard Kennedy School, HKS, for Emirati officials in the public sector.

The Emirates Leadership Initiative is administered by Ambassador Nicholas Burns, former Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs, HKS faculty chair of the Middle East Initiative, MEI, and David Gergen, Co-director of the Centre for Public Leadership. - Emirates News Agency, WAM -


UAE Ambassador to Oman presents credentials

posted on 30/01/2015

Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, Oman's Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs, yesterday received Mohammed Sultan Saif Al Suwaidi, the UAE Ambassador to the Sultanate of Oman who presented his credentials.

Bin Abdullah welcomed the new envoy and wished him a pleasant stay as well as good luck in his new assignment. On his part, Al Suwaidi thanked the minister for the warm reception, stressing that he would do his best to develop the existing fraternal relations between the two friendly countries. - Emirates News Agency, WAM -


UAE representative to UN in Geneva hails Kuwait's human rights record

posted on 30/01/2015

GENEVA: The UAE's representative to the United Nations and other international organisations in Geneva, Ambassador Obaid Salem Al Zaabi, has praised Kuwait's human rights record.

Addressing the 21st session of Human Rights Council on review of Kuwait's national report before the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, the UAE envoy referred to the measures taken by the Kuwaiti government recently regarding the legislation and procedures on women's rights, a development plan to promote social and cultural care for children to develop their talents and abilities, in addition to the establishment of a court for the family and a centre for reconciliation.

He also spoke about the issuance of Law No. 42 of 2014 pertaining to the protection of the environment and maintaining the ecosystem balance.

Al Zaabi noted that Kuwait exerts huge humanitarian efforts as the foreign aid constitutes an important incentive for the development of economic, social and cultural rights of the beneficiary countries.

The event was attended by Kuwaiti Minister of Social Affairs and Labour, Hind Al Subaih, and the accompanying delegation. - Emirates News Agency, WAM -


UAE condemns Japanese hostage killing

posted on 30/01/2015

The Foreign Ministry's statement expressed its heartfelt condolences and sympathy to the Japanese government and people.

The UAE has condemned the brutal and shocking crime committed by the terrorist organisation Daesh by the killing of Japanese hostage, Haruna Yukawa, in a heinous way which represents a violation of human rights and values.

In statement released on Monday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has denounced the terrorist act. The statement said that it is a horrible and unforgivable act which reflects the group's criminal ideology and brutal methods.

The Foreign Ministry's statement expressed its heartfelt condolences and sympathy to the Japanese government and people, as well as the family of the victim in this barbaric attack. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -§ion=government


Abu Dhabi hosts meeting of International Contact Group on Afghanistan

posted on 30/01/2015

The UAE is committed to harness its strategic geographic location and its vast expertise to support development efforts in Afghanistan by launching development projects in sectors like agriculture, industry, health, education and housing services, and infrastructure like transport and communications, so as to create a fertile ground for stimulating the Afghan economy towards growth and prosperity, Faris Mohammed Al Mazrouei, Assistant Foreign Minister for Security and Military Affairs and Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, affirmed on Thursday.

Al Mazrouei, who gave the welcoming address at the meeting of the International Contact Group on Afghanistan (ICG) in Abu Dhabi, said the UAE on January 14 signed a strategic partnership agreement with Afghanistan to renew its cooperation in areas of mutual interest, adding that the UAE believes that economic growth and stability is the safety valve to achieve security and peace in Afghanistan.

'In this context, we encourage all countries to create opportunities and forge regional and international partnerships to invest in Afghanistan,' he added.

Al Mazrouie chaired the meeting which the UAE hosted for the third time in the attendance of Ambassador Michael Koch, ICG Chairman and Germany's Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, and representatives of 46 countries and a number regional and international organisations.

The UAE official praised the remarkable progress Afghanistan made towards achievement of the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework, adopted at the Tokyo Conference on Afghanistan in Japan on July 8, 2012, which was underpinned by the international community at recent London Conference on Afghanistan.

Congratulating Afghanistan on the formation of new cabinet, he said the achievement reflected the spirit of unity, expressing his hopes that the government would continue its efforts aimed at maintaining security and achieving prosperity for the Afghan people.

Al Mazrouie emphasised that lasting peace in Afghanistan would not be realised without inclusive, constructive participation by neighbouring countries and regional partners. 'The UAE hopes that today's meeting will provide an ideal platform to revive regional initiatives which seek to enhance and solidify regional integration and economic and political progress in Afghanistan,' he concluded. - Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Hamdan bin Mohammed launches new initiative to boost Dubai Innovation Strategy

posted on 30/01/2015

H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, has launched a new 'Dubai Innovation Partners" with the aim to boost cooperation with a number of leading international companies.

This cooperation is expected to develop and introduce creative ideas and innovative solutions inspired by the vision of Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to enhance quality of life in the emirate.

Sheikh Hamdan asserted that the new initiative is part of an array of foreseen initiatives set under the umbrella of the previously launched Dubai Innovation Strategy that ultimately aims to position Dubai as hub for innovation and creativity for over two billion people around the globe.

He said, "We are optimistic that we will achieve this objective, and we will keep streaming the project with number of new programmes and initiatives that will stimulate Dubai's innovation energy and assure its excellence in various sectors." The Crown Prince of Dubai added that the new initiative reflects Dubai's belief in strategic partnership and cooperation with global industry pioneers, affirming that the directives of Sheikh Mohammed encourage collaboration between public and private sectors. - Emirates News Agency, WAM -


ADNOC and Total sign New ADCO Concession Agreement

posted on 30/01/2015

The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, ADNOC, and Total yesterday signed the new 40-year ADCO Concession Agreement for the ADCO onshore oil fields in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

In its press statement received by the Emirates News Agency, WAM, ADNOC said that by this agreement, Total, which presented the best technical and commercial offers, receives a 10% participating interest in the new concession and is appointed Asset Leader for the South East and Bu Hasa integrated Asset Groups, with effect from 1st January 2015, while additional companies will be added soon.

Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Petroleum Operations Limited (ADCO) will continue to operate the integrated asset groups of Bab, Bu Hasa, South East (Sahil, Asab, Shah, Qusahwira, Mender) and Northeast Bab (Al Dabb'iya, Rumaitha, Shanayel).

ADCO plans to reach 1.8 million barrels a day production in 2017. - Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Abu Dhabi economic growth to slow in 2015, says Moody’s

posted on 30/01/2015

Abu Dhabi's economic growth will slow to below three per cent in 2015 due to lower oil prices. However, the emirate's prudent economic policies will mitigate any negative impact of lower global crude prices, says ratings agency Moody's Investors Services.

"While the drop in oil prices will likely cause Abu Dhabi's (Aa2 stable) economic growth to slow in 2015 and put an end to four consecutive years of double-digit fiscal surpluses, the emirate's sizeable stock of foreign assets will help cushion the impact of lower oil revenues in the coming years,” says Moody's Investors Service in a recently published report.

The agency's report is an update of the market and does not constitute a rating action.

"We expect that resources accumulated during years of high oil prices and a prudent budgeting of oil proceeds will mitigate the negative consequences of oil price volatility on Abu Dhabi's fiscal and external accounts,” says Steven Hess, a New York-based analyst at Moody's.

The emirate has a sizeable stock of offshore assets in its off-budget investment vehicles, including in the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Abu Dhabi Investment Council, International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) and Mubadala. These exceed the total liabilities of Abu Dhabi's government-related institutions and other emirate's governments, according to Moody's.

"At the same time, growth in Abu Dhabi's economy, which remains largely dominated by the hydrocarbon sector, will remain volatile,” continues Hess.

"We estimate that real GDP will slow to below three per cent from an estimated 4.1 per cent in 2014, while the government will likely incur a fiscal deficit estimated at 1.1 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) for 2015 after years of registering large surpluses.”

Dr Monica Malik, chief economist at Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, said: "Steady oil production will impact real headline GDP growth.”

"If the period of low oil prices is prolonged, that could also lead to the crystallisation of contingent liabilities on the Abu Dhabi government's balance sheet and erode fiscal buffers,” says Moody's, although it expected that the government will be able to finance fiscal deficits for several years if it liquidates assets.

Dr Malik said: "Abu Dhabi is in one of the strongest positions in the region to cope with the weak oil price environment, given its large foreign exchange reserve position. We continue to see progress on core investments, which will support non-oil activity.”

Meanwhile, in it economic outlook for the year, the National Bank of Abu Dhabi said: "The oil sector is expected to contract slightly while economic growth will be driven largely by the diversified non-oil sector and by structural factors, including a stable political environment, diversified economy and strong banking system.”

In 2015, the UAE economy is expected to grow modestly year-over-year, says Abu Dhabi's biggest lender by assets.

The sovereign wealth fund -— Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (Adia) — alone holds an estimated $498 billion in assets as of 2014.

Abu Dhabi's assets also comfortably cover its debt level, says Moody's. Including potential contingent liabilities related to government-related institutions, such as Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Taqa) and IPIC, as well as other Abu Dhabi-related debt, including the banking system. Abu Dhabi's total debt represents 40.5 per cent of GDP, or about $105 billion.

Abu Dhabi's central government debt represents 2.7 per cent of GDP, limiting the emirate's liquidity risks.

The rating agency noted that Abu Dhabi's expenditures have been rising at a quick pace: between 2008 and 2013, spending increased at a compounded rate of 15 per cent, mainly owing to an increase in federal services paid by Abu Dhabi outside of the federal budget, including on security and defence, and an increase in subsidies and transfers.

Moody's said the Abu Dhabi government will continue to derive the majority of its revenues from the oil sector, although authorities are making efforts to develop non-oil sectors, which at present account for 10 per cent of government revenues.

Abu Dhabi's population has more than doubled over the past decade, contributing to the demand for housing and other services.

Moody's also noted that Abu Dhabi is exposed to political risks stemming from regional tensions, but banking sector risk is low. – Khaleej Times -§ion=uaebusiness


HCT Dubai Paramedic students present Ebola paper at International Conference

posted on 30/01/2015

A group of Year-4 Bachelor of Applied Science in Emergency Medical Services students, from the HCT-Dubai Colleges, discussed the effects and impact of the Ebola virus on an international stage when they presented a paper at the recently held Emirates Society of Emergency Medicine Conference in Dubai.

The students, Beshayer Abdulrahman Al Rum, Hend Saeed Al Musallami and Hamda Ibrahim Al Hammadi, delivered their research paper, entitled "Ebola: The deadly virus", as part of a disciplinary research project which involved the HCT's Faculties of Health Sciences and General Education, and the HCT-Dubai Colleges' Knowledge Centre Library.

Speaking about her experience in preparing and presenting the paper, Beshayer Abdulrahman Al Rum, said, "The hidden facts about Ebola have stimulated our curiosity to search more about the disease. We wanted to deliver a message to the healthcare professionals about the importance to learn as much as they can about this deadly virus." The students are currently employed by the Dubai Corporation of Ambulance Services after graduating with a Higher Diploma in Paramedical Studies and going back to complete a one-year, top-up Bachelor Degree in Emergency Medical Services. - Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Princess Haya calls for more sustainable healthcare systems to help advance geriatric care in the Middle East

posted on 30/01/2015

Held under the patronage of Chairperson of Dubai Healthcare City Authority (DHCA) HRH Princess Haya bint Al Hussein, wife of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the Leaders in Healthcare Conference opened today at the Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre. The most prestigious, high-level healthcare conference in the Middle East and a main feature of the 40th Arab Health Exhibition and Congress gathered prominent industry leaders to discuss strategies to advance geriatric care in the Middle East.

Attendees at the conference included Abdul Rahman Mohamed Al Owais, UAE Minister of Health, Essa Al Maidoor, Director General of the Dubai Health Authority, Raja Al Gurg, Vice Chairperson, Dubai Healthcare City Authority Board of Directors, and other VIP dignitaries. Special honoured guest at this year's conference was Dr Sanjay Gupta, CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent.

In Her keynote speech at the Leaders in Healthcare Conference, HRH Princess Haya highlighted the importance of having a good strategy with clear objectives, the right financial and human resources, careful planning and determination to ensure patient-centered, outcome-driven, efficient healthcare that is sustainable and affordable. "It would be naive to assume that the answers can be easily found, but as we are often reminded by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, success doesn't often come easily, and certainly requires more than just luck." "In order to make our health care systems sustainable and future proof, we must understand the challenge an ageing population presents to our healthcare and welfare systems," continued HRH Princess Haya. "We must have clear vision of what these systems would look like not only in the immediate future, but also in the next three to four decades. We must take a holistic view of the needs of older people, which cannot be done without their direct involvement in the design and delivery of services that meets their needs. Perhaps the most fitting description of patient centered care is "seeing the world through the patient's eye". Only then would we be sure that we have designed a system that can truly satisfy their healthcare needs." In addition to speaking at Leaders in Healthcare, Princess Haya also toured the Arab Health exhibition stands, including those belonging to the UAE Ministry of Health, the Dubai Health Authority, Dubai Healthcare City, Siemens, Drager, and various others. Accompanying Princess Haya on the tour were Abdul Rahman Mohamed Al Owais, Raja Al-Gurg, Essa Al Maidoor, Dr. Sanjay Gupta and other dignitaries.

The 2015 Leaders in Healthcare Conference also featured contributions by Lord Stephen Carter, Group CEO Informa; Professor Heung Bong Cha, President, International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics; Professor Tawfik A M Khoja, Family Physician Consultant, Director General Executive Board, Health Ministers Council for Cooperation; Dr Jean-Pierre Michel, Chairman, European Union Geriatric Medicine Society, Dr Fawzi Abdulla Amin, Assistant Professor on Family and Community Medicine, Arabian Gulf University; Jeroen Tas, CEO, Philips Healthcare; and other high-level participants from across the globe.

Leaders in the Middle East are experiencing pressures from the rising population, coupled with ageing demographic patterns. These trends, in addition to the high incidence of non-communicable diseases, result in healthcare demands and challenges that require development of a robust healthcare infrastructure that can sustain efficient and effective healthcare delivery to the entire population. The Leaders in Healthcare Conference addressed strategies to sustain healthcare growth, methods to integrate geriatric care into the Middle East healthcare system, and the role of society at large in addressing geriatric healthcare. - Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Cleveland clinic physicians reveal therapeutic sophisticated methods at Arab Health Congress 2015

posted on 30/01/2015

More than 20 key physicians from Cleveland Clinic, Ohio, have discussed at Arab Health Congress 2015, the latest research conducted by the medical teams at the Cleveland Clinic, Ohio, in the United States, to reach diagnostic and therapeutic sophisticated methods in various medical specialties to reduce suffering of patients and complications associated with various medical conditions.

Dr. Rafi Avitsian, anaesthesiologist at Cleveland Clinic, Ohio, and speaker at the Anaesthesiology Conference during Arab Health, spoke about aesthetic considerations in the treatment of acute stroke. "Acute Stroke is a devastating disease which can cause patient's death or disability for the rest of their life. It is only a few hours of golden time that if treated appropriately there is still chance to return to normal life." He added that anaesthesiologists have critical role in preparing and maintaining stability and safety in patients during the short time of intravascular treatment of patients with acute ischemic stroke. "The Cleveland Clinic Stroke team and Neuro anaesthesiologists are currently investigating the best aesthetic method (general vs. sedation) for these patients. Cleveland Clinic stroke team, endovascular neurosurgeons, neuro radiologists and Neuro anaesthesiologists have implemented a rapid response method for receiving and treating these patients in the safest and fastest manner." Dr. Thomas Frazeir says, director of Cleveland Clinic Children's Centre for Autism, said, "The new DSM-5 criteria for autism spectrum disorder allows for accurate identification of both high and low functioning cases. At Cleveland Clinic Children's I Ohio, we are developing remote eye gaze tracking to social information as an objective market of autism. Our translational research programme is also focusing on understanding a genetic sub-group of autism, PTEN-ASD, in the hopes of identifying new treatments that compensate for mutations in the PTEN gene." In one of his presentations, Dr. Matthew Kroh, director of Surgical Endoscopy at Cleveland Clinic, Ohio, showcased: POEM procedure: a new, less invasive procedure for treatment of achalasia. Endoluminal treatment for metabolic diseases- new, non-surgical, less invasive treatments for diabetes and other obesity related diseases. Surgeons and flexible endoscopy- new applications of flexible endoscopy and robotics for treatment of surgical diseases performed by surgeons. Complex abdominal wall reconstruction examining new surgical techniques for repair of hernias.

Dr. Edmund Sabanegh, chairman of Urology Department at Cleveland Clinic spoke about the developments of fertility testing where traditional fertility tests such as semen analysis offer limited value for diagnosing cause of infertility. New tests which assess sperm function including DNA fragmentation tests which examine the genetics of sperm may allow us to better diagnose and treat male infertility.

In his second talk on focal treatments to improve fertility, he said, "there is a variety of effective treatments for male infertility. However, testosterone supplements are commonly prescribed for male infertility. They are in fact hazardous for fertility and should be avoided in men trying to cause a pregnancy." Dr. Eric Klein, chairman of Urology and Kidney Institute at Cleveland Clinic, focused on the emerging field of "precision medicine" in prostate cancer, highlighting how new biomarkers can help individualise diagnostic and treatment approaches to prostate cancer, including markers that are more specific than PSA for finding cancer, markers which help determine if a diagnosed cancer needs to be treated, biomarkers that can indicate the need for radiation therapy after surgery, and markers that can help determine which drugs should be used for the treatment of advanced disease.

Dr. Naim Alkhouri, director of paediatric metabolic liver disease clinic discussed with attendee the oral new hepatitis C medication that can cure high number of patients without using painful interferon injections. He also presented a talk on fatty liver disease that mainly affects obese patients and can lead to liver cirrhosis. Treating hepatitis B in children and pregnant women were amongst some of the hot topics too.

Dr. George Thomas, Cleveland Clinic nephrologist and hypertension specialist and activity director of the 1st Hypertension Conference during Arab Health Congress, said, "Cleveland Clinic is proud to support the 1st Gulf Hypertension conference, organised as part of the Arab health congress. The topics covered by international and regional speakers included diagnosis and management strategies for hypertension, as well as a discussion on new developments in hypertension." He added that one of the key issues raised during the talks and discussion was the possible development of a hypertension society focusing on the unique needs of the population in the Middle East, which would provide impetus for research and shape public health policy in the region to tackle hypertension and its related complications. - Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Al Ain Stadium among the best in the world

posted on 30/01/2015

The Emirates' most modern stadium has been nominated to become Stadium of the Year 2014. It is now subject to two votes, one by the public and the other by a specialised jury of architects.

The Hazza bin Zayed Stadium is among a number of venues nominated for the Stadium of the Year award. Stadium of the Year is held every year in January and February by and, two websites dedicated solely to sports stadia. The current crop of nominations includes 32 major stadiums opened in 2014. HBZ Stadium is the first ever nominee from the United Arab Emirates.

"This stadium truly stands out, not only in the Emirates, but among all modern stadiums – even those planned for the future. Its seating layout, dynamic sunroof and palm-tree facade are all extraordinary features. It's very likely to become a model for stadia built in this kind of climate conditions", says Grzegorz Kaliciak, founder of, organiser of the competition.

Hazza bin Zayed Stadium is the first ever to be delivered by Pattern Architects. It is specifically designed for the harsh weather conditions of the Emirates in terms of shading, ventilation and hospitality facilities. It was built by some of the best specialists worldwide, combining British design with German engineering and construction experience. The project cost 145 million Euros and took only 18 months from start to finish.

Enthusiasts from around the world can vote to select their Stadium of the Year. Each Internet user may vote only once by selecting their five most favourite stadia. So far, over 35,000 people have given their vote through the dedicated online platform. The vote is open until February 17th.

A separate vote is run by the competition jury, consisting of famous architects from five countries. Bob van Bebber and Mike Bell from South Africa designed stadiums of the 2010 World Cup, while Bruno Campos from Brazil was one of the architects of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The jury also consists of John Bontinck (Belgium), Bryan Roe (Ireland) and Serban Tiganas (Romania), all recognised internationally for their stadium works.

The public vote and jury vote awards will both be announced on February 19th. Previous winners include Aviva Stadium (2010), PGE Arena Gdansk (2011), Gremio Arena (2012) and Ghelamco Arena (2013). - Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Previous champions to battle for title in Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship

posted on 30/01/2015

At least four winners of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships will be bidding to regain or retain their crown when play gets underway in the WTA Premier 5 event on 15th February.

Defending champion Venus Williams has lifted the trophy on no fewer than three occasions, first claiming the title in 2009. She returned the next year and swept to the title without dropping a set, defeating Victoria Azarenka in the final. Then last year she became the first wild card and first unseeded player in the history of the women's event to win the title.

In 2011, Caroline Wozniacki won the title by not giving up a set all week as she finished her run with victory over former French and US Open champion, Svetlana Kuznetsova. In 2012, the title went to Agnieszka Radwanska and in 2013 the title went to Petra Kvitova.

"The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships has consistently attracted the very best players in the world, and it takes an enormous effort to overcome such a talented field and win the title," said Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman of Dubai Duty Free, the tournament owners and organisers.

Tournament Director Salah Tahlak added, "All four champions will without doubt be very strong contenders for the title once again, but they face some formidable opposition in world number one Serena Williams and French Open and WTA Finals runner-up Simona Halep, as well as US and Australian Open semi-finalist, Ekaterina Makarova, recent Brisbane finalist, Ana Ivanovic and 2015 Sydney semi-finalist, Angelique Kerber. Competition will be very tough indeed." Play in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships begins with the WTA event, which takes place between 15th and 21st February. Play then continues between 23rd and 28th February with the action-packed ATP tournament featuring Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Tomas Berdych.

The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships is held under the patronage of Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. - Emirates News Agency, WAM -


No obstacle too great for female UAE weightlifter

posted on 30/01/2015

Ansaf Saeed is used to overcoming obstacles — no matter how big or tiring.

The Emirati, who contracted polio as a youngster, has worked hard to prove that despite her disability, she can do what able-bodied people can do just as well, if not better, be they men or women.

Ms Saeed, 34, joined the Ajman Club for the Disabled a little more than a year ago to learn how to compete in weightlifting, a sport usually practised by men.

"My handicap is a gift from God. It doesn't cause me any difficulty while practising the sport,” says Ms Saeed, who walks with only a slight a limp, but cannot lift weights while standing.

Joining the club was a big step for her, but one she felt she had to take after the sudden death of her mother.

The loss of her mother hit Ms Saeed hard, and she spent about six months at home in mourning.

"After the death of my mother, I isolated myself from everyone and I stayed alone in the house for six months,” Ms Saeed says.

"I then decided to snap out of it and join a sports club after a visit to my uncle, who works as a secretary at the club. I told him I want to join a club where I was the only Emirati girl.”

In her time at the club, she was selected for her first tournament for handicapped athletes, held in South Korea, where she won third place as the only female weightlifter from the UAE.

"When I was nominated, I was thrilled at the prospect of representing my country in general and my emirate in particular,' says Ms Saeed, who works as an administrative contact at Ajman Municipality.

"We went in October to China to train and practise intensive exercises in preparation for the competition, and then went to Korea for the tournament.”

Getting to the stage where she was strong enough to take part in international competitions was not easy, she says.

"I faced difficulty at the beginning, but encouragement and help from my coach, who was the only person to stuck by me, saw me through.

"His being close and treating me as his daughter helped, in addition to my uncle's encouragement.”

She began lifting 35 kilogram weights before going up to 70kg and now has daily, four-hour training sessions starting with dumbbells and then the long bar, adding weight gradually.

Her decision to take up the sport was met with a mixed reaction from her family.

Her sisters encouraged her to do what she wants, but her brother did not agree that this was the sport for her, not that this dissuaded Ms Saeed from training.

"My success in the tournament has taught me to put a goal in front of me and know that I have the ability to reach it and achieve what I want.

"My coach always calls me ‘UAE champion' and I want to achieve this title,” she says.

Ms Saeed now hopes to continue with her training, as well as her education, and is studying for a bachelor's degree in business. – The National -


Free Nol cards worth Dh100k for Dubai's Car Free Day

posted on 30/01/2015

Nol cards worth Dh100, 000 will be given away for free to thousands of Dubai Metro users on February 4 to support the 6th Car-Free Day being celebrated by the Dubai Municipality.

Commuters heading to work on the Metro will be given Gold and Silver Nol cards charged with different amounts, a senior official told Khaleej Times on Wednesday.

Salem bin Mesmar, assistant director-general of Dubai Municipality for health, safety and environment monitoring sector, said teams of Dubai Municipality employees will be placed in Metro stations to distribute the cards that are sponsored by Emirates Islamic Bank.

Speaking after a press conference held to announce the details of this year's Car Free Day, he said commuters will have to show their work ID to prove that they are using the public transport on the day of the event.

The Dubai Municipality has been giving free Nol cards to its employees who regularly use the Metro to work. However, this is the first time the civic body is giving away the same to general commuters to mark Car Free Day. – Khaleej Times -§ion=transport


Kite-flying enthusiasts turn out for Dubai festival

posted on 30/01/2015

Giant blue whales, tigers and teddy bears will fill the emirate's skyline this weekend as the city welcomes some of the best kite flyers from around the world.

The three-day Dubai International Kite Festival started in spectacular fashion on Thursday on the beach at Jumeirah 3, behind Sunset Mall.

Dozens of colourful kites of all shapes and sizes floated on the sea breeze and people of all ages took photos and tried their own hands at flying some of the designs.

Colin Mortimer has been passionate about making and flying kites for almost 20 years and has brought with him from South Africa no less than 25 kites for the festival.

"This is the first time I've been to Dubai and I have to say the location and festival are amazing,” he said. "There are some absolutely amazing kites here and I'm really impressed at how the event has been organised.”

Mr Mortimer's favourite kite is his own handmade arch made up of about a dozen small, yellow and red-coloured kites.

"I've been making kites since 1996 and it's something that I really enjoy,” he said.

He advised newcomers to the hobby to research different designs before setting out on making their own.

"There are a lot of interesting designs available by searching online but the key advice I would give is to keep it simple.”

Clement Gerard, from France, is the former president of the French Kite Federation and has a shop in Paris called The House of Kites.

"I've loved making and flying kites for more than 30 years and it's grown to such an extent that I now work full-time in the field,” said Mr Gerard, who is also making his first full visit to the emirate.

"It's amazing to see so many kites from all around the world here.

"The weather is perfect and the wind is just right and keeping the kites in the air.”

Bana Idris, from Canada, brought her five-year-old son on a day trip to the festival.

"I found out about it online, and my son was really looking forward to it,” she said as her son tried to unwrap the string from his own kite.

"There are some really amazing kites here and you only get the scale of how big they are by being here. ”

Solomon Chris, one of the organisers of the kite festival, said he was delighted at the turnout from the public.

There are 81 participants from 25 countries taking part and among the highlights are the 150kg kite in the shape of the UAE flag made by a team from Kuwait.

The festival is free and runs all today. There are also food stalls and music to entertain visitors. – The National -