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Abu Dhabi Film Festival unveils 2014 line-up

posted on 30/09/2014

Abu Dhabi Film Festival (ADFF), powered by twofour54, yesterday announced the line-up for the 2014 edition, which will take place from October 23 to November 1 in Abu Dhabi's Emirates Palace and Vox Cinemas Marina Mall.

The announcement includes all participants in the high profile Narrative Competition, the New Horizons Competition for first and second feature length films, the Documentary Competition, as well as the Emirates Film Competition and the Short Film Competition.

For the second time, the Festival hosts the Child Protection Award, organised in partnership with the Child Protection Centre (Ministry of Interior) with the aim of calling attention to those films that raise awareness about the situation of abused or neglected children or promote prevention measures in this regard.

The Our World Competition assembles a selection of feature films that raise awareness of environmental and related social issues.

Yesterday's announcement also includes the programme of the popular Showcase section. The 32 selected narrative and documentary films are eligible for the audience award and represent the best of recent outstanding filmmaking from around the world.

Non-competitive Special Programmes are dedicated to "The Arab Diaspora", "Truffaut: The Man Who Loved Cinema" and "Restored Classics".

A total of nine World Premieres among the feature long narrative films will be presented this year, eight of them from the Arab World. No less than 48 World Premieres will be shown in the short film sections, the Emirates Film Competition and the Short Film Competition.

ADFF was established in 2007 with the aim of helping to create a vibrant film culture throughout the region and has previously showcased the work of major figures in world cinema, including Ingmar Bergman and Naguib Mahfouz. A key event in Abu Dhabi's cultural calendar, it features an extensive 10-day programme of Arab and international cinema, complemented by red-carpet premieres and associated events. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Sharjah International Children's Film Festival announced with a line-up of 112 films from 35 countries

posted on 30/09/2014

Under patronage of H.H. Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah & Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs, the Sharjah International Children's Film Festival 2014 will be launched in Sharjah on October 19. The festival aims at enhancing awareness among children and youth around the world of the cinema and the creativity embedded in the silver screen.

In a press conference held at the premises of the Executive Office of Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, FUNN, the festival's organiser and the organisation specialised in enhancing children and adolescents' access to arts and media, revealed the details of the second edition of the festival, which will see important updates compared to the first, mainly aiming at offering better interaction opportunities and enriching the local cinema scene.

Sheikha Jawaher bint Abdullah Al Qasimi, FUNN Manager and Director of Sharjah International Children's Film Festival revealed that the second edition of the festival will showcase 112 films from 35 countries, in a significant increase from the first year, which saw 78 films from 32 countries. Sheikha Jawaher bin Abdulla highlighted that this year's films come from a number of internationally renowned film-makers, in addition to various films from Latin America, Africa, Europe, and the Far East. These films represent a wealth of culture, interests, and creativity that is guaranteed to enrich viewers, children and adults alike, and encourage talented young people to pursue their dreams in art and the media.

She also explained that viewings will be arranged in two time slots, morning and evening, between October 19 and 24, and categorised per age group into 4-7 years, 8-13 years, and 14 and above. Films will be shown at Sharjah at Al Jawaher Reception & Convention Centre and Novo Cinema at Sahara Centre, in addition to 5 other cities in the Emirate of Sharjah, including Al Dhaid, Khorfakkan, Kalba, Almadam, and Debba. The increased number of locations is an important update applied in the 2014 edition, aiming at presenting participating films to a wider audience.

Another update in this year's festival is the Children Film Competition organised by the Festival, which, according to Sheikha Jawaher bin Abdulla, includes five categories: best short film, best feature film, best animated film, best documentary, and best child Made film. In addition to the festival trophy, winners will also receive monetary awards. Moreover, a number of workshops and activities are planned in parallel to the film viewings, aiming at enriching visitors' experience and introducing them to the world of cinema.

Sheikha Jawaher bint Abdulla Al Qasimi emphasised that this festival represents a new start for children films in the Middle East, as it will focus on high quality cinema that presents influential ideas and content, produced in high quality cinema practices. This, Sheikha Jawaher continued, is guaranteed to motivate young talents to pursue their dreams in the art world, as well as established film-makers to tackle issues that support children's causes in the Arab World and beyond.

On her part, Nirmeen Mansour, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at Crescent Enterprises, the Gold Sponsor of the festival, thanked Sheikha Jawaher bint Abdullah Al Qasimi for her efforts in developing children talents and awareness, saying: "We are extremely happy to see the second edition of Sharjah International Children's Film Festival being held in line with Sharjah being Islamic Culture Capital 2014. Such activities emphasise the worthiness of Sharjah of such a prestigious title, and its unconditioned dedication to raising a new generation of children in accordance with the teachings of Islam." She added: "The festival is an opportunity for thousands of children to explore the rich world of the cinema, and get to know other cultures and places. Exposure to other cultures will instil acceptance and tolerance in their young minds, and enhance their adherence to their religion and culture." Osama Al Samra, Manager of Sharjah Media Centre, the festival's strategic media partner, addressed the audience, saying that the Sharjah International Children's Film Festival is a reflection of Sharjah's vision in catering to children's cultural and intellectual developmental needs, in line with the directions of HH Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah. Al Samra praised the various initiatives and events Sharjah dedicates to children, which has made the Emirate an important destination for children's culture and intellectual growth.

On his part, Emirati film director and member of the panel of judges Khalid Al Mahmoud, expressed his appreciation to the festival for bringing together such an impressive line-up of important names in the world of children cinema. He emphasised the standards by which films were selected, mainly the quality of ideas and thoughts, scripts, and production, in addition to culture compatibility with children and the film's ability to provoke creative talents, by being meaningful and entertaining at the same time.

The first edition of Sharjah International Children's Film Festival saw the participation of 78 films from 32 countries around the world, coming from a number of internationally renowned filmmakers, in addition to various films from Latin America, Africa, Europe, and Far East. The public viewings, which took place at Sharjah, Aldhaid, and Khorfakkan, attracted a large interested audience during the 6 days of the festival, which represented a first of its kind event for children's cinema in the region. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Music from the Blue Planet’s oceans

posted on 30/09/2014

Tickets are on sale for a show billed as a musical history of the world's oceans and performed on the waters of Abu Dhabi.

BBC Worldwide's Blue Planet in Concert is the series' first show in the Arabian Gulf and will take place on a floating stage off the Corniche.

The show will open the Volvo Ocean Race this December and features a 75-member orchestra, led by Oscar-nominated UK composer George Fenton, performing under a 10-metre-wide screen.

Mr Fenton said he had been lucky enough to conduct the concert in venues such as the Hollywood Bowl and the Sydney Opera House.

But the prospect of playing in the Gulf for the first time, with the orchestra on a floating stage and the Abu Dhabi skyline as a backdrop, "promises to be the show's most spectacular setting yet”, he said.

Blue Planet a backdrop of footage from the BBC series, combined with original music.

The show includes a sequence on how the oceans have changed over the past 50 years because of human intervention.

The Volvo Ocean Race stopover runs until January and will take place in the VOR Destination Village, which is about the size of five football pitches and has been built on the Corniche Breakwater.

The race covers more than 38,700 nautical miles in eight months. Sailors will come to Abu Dhabi after a stop in Cape Town, before moving on to Sanya in China.

As many as 200,000 people are expected to visit the venue for the event, which runs from December 12 to January 3, Abu Dhabi's Tourism and Culture Authority said. Activities such as dhow racing, pearl diving displays and sea shanties will be open to the public.

Tickets for the concert start at Dh300 for silver seating, with gold seating for Dh500 and platinum VIP seats costing Dh600.

Tickets can be bought through Time Out Tickets at www.timeoutickets.comor in person at the Dubai Media City box offices.

The concert will take place on December 12 and 13. – The National –


Dubai to have Dh30b worth of projects for Expo 2020

posted on 30/09/2014

Projects worth Dh30 billion will be built across Dubai to further enhance the emirate's infrastructure in time to host Expo 2020, a senior official announced at the Dubai International Project Management Forum in Dubai on Monday.

The two-day event, which is set to be an annual platform to discuss project management at the highest level, was inaugurated by Sheikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group.

Being organised by Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), in association with the Project Management Institute, DEWA and Emaar properties, the event saw leading international experts in project management share their experience, including Nasa Chief Engineer Brian Muirhead, Donald Trump Junior and Mohammad Al Abbar, Chairman of Emaar Properties, giving keynote presentations.

Mattar Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of RTA, announced that around 35 projects worth Dh30 billion will be completed in the next few years including a 15km extension of Dubai Metro Red Line to the Expo 2020 site.

"Work on the Red Line extension will be complete by 2019 and operations will begin a year before the Expo starts. We are working on plans that will help us carry 25 million visitors to the expo site and around the city. We will be developing roads and other infrastructure that will not only facilitate mobility for the expo 2020 but for generations to come,” Al Tayer said.

Among the key projects expected over the next few years also include extension of the Dubai Metro Green Line, stage two of Etihad Rail project that will integrate with Dubai Metro as well as phase two of Dubai Tram and Urban Rapid Transit System.

The first phase of Dubai Tram will open on November 11 this year, while RTA is also launching around 200 smart phone apps as part of Dubai's Smart City initiative.

The event, held under the patronage of Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, was held at Madinat Jumeirah.

Earlier in the morning, Nasa Chief Engineer Brian Muirhead gave an inspirational presentation about facing challenges and successfully managing massive projects under pressure.

He gave examples from Nasa's Mars missions and shed light on how a dedicated team can turn a potentially risky project into success.

Another keynote speaker, Donald Trump Junior, Deputy Chairman of Trump Organisation, shared his personal anecdotes and his father's mantra of success.

Speaking at the event, Emaar Chairman Mohammad Al Abbar, made a major announcement of a new IPO for Emaar hotels, following its successful launch of its mall IPO. However, he didn't offer more details. – Gulf News -


U.A.E.-US talk innovation

posted on 30/09/2014

The U.A.E. delegation led by Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, held in-depth discussions with a number of senior American business leaders during its tours of Seattle and San Francisco in the West Coast.

At Seattle, the delegation visited Boeing's facilities in Everett, the world's largest factory and largest building by volume that assembles Boeing 747s, 767s, 777s, and the new 787 Dreamliner.

Talks between the U.A.E. delegation and Boeing officials focused on the current cooperation between the US airplane manufacturer and several of the U.A.E.'s major companies. A significant partnership initiative between Boeing, Masdar and Etihad Airlines led to the establishment of a Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium in Abu Dhabi.

During its visit to San Francisco, the U.A.E. delegation visited the offices of Google in Silicon Valley. Mohammad Gawdat, vice president of business innovation at Google X, met the delegation and provided an overview of the company's approach to innovation and experimentation through the Google X division. The delegation also visited Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX), the space transport services company headquartered in Hawthorne, California that aims to reduce space transportation costs and enable the colonisation of Mars. – Khaleej Times -§ion=uaebusiness


Emaar Malls Group shares to trade at top end of price range on DFM

posted on 30/09/2014

Demand from global investors for shares in Emaar Malls Group, the U.A.E. retailer that owns the Dubai Mall, has been overwhelming.

The shares will begin trading on Thursday at the top of the price range set by the company and its advisers. At Dh2.9 per share, EMG will have a market capitalisation of Dh37.7 billion on the Dubai Financial Market.

Global institutional interest in the initial public offering (IPO) has been strong, according to a notice posted on the DFM. Investors from outside the U.A.E. – who were allotted 70 per cent of the issue – have bid for 30 times the number of shares available at Dh2.9bn.

In total, there were 470 orders on the institutional orders book, the notice said.

The offer to retail investors in the U.A.E. was 20 times oversubscribed.

The levels of oversubscription will mean applicants will not receive the full number of shares they applied for, and will have their share allotments scaled back significantly. Allotment details and refunds of cash for unsuccessful applicants will be processed over the next two days.

Mohamed Alabbar, chairman of Emaar Malls, said: "We are delighted that the landmark IPO has been so successfully received by both institutional and individual investors.

"The business has performed very well across the business in the last five years and we firmly believe that our prominence within the Middle East and North African fertile retail sector, alongside our world-famous assets and experienced management team, is a potent combination which will support the future growth. We welcome all new shareholders as we enter a new phase in the development of the company.”

Dh2.9 is the top of a indicative range beginning at Dh2.5, and means that EMG and its advisers have gone for the maximum under the terms of the EMG prospectus.

Some 15 per cent of the company is being floated on the DFM by Emaar Properties, the property developer and hospitality group owned 29 per cent by the government of Dubai.

Most of the proceeds of the IPO, totalling some Dh5.8bn, will be paid to investors of the parent group in dividends. – The National -


Dana Gas plans for long term growth in Egypt

posted on 30/09/2014

Dana Gas, the Middle East's leading regional private sector natural gas company, on Monday announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Dana Gas Egypt, has been awarded the North El Salhiya (Block 1) and El Matariya (Block 3) onshore Concessions in the Nile Delta as part of the 2014 EGAS bidding round held recently in Egypt.

The Company will operate the Block 1 Concession Area on a 100% basis. It is expected that exploration success and future production from conventional gas reservoirs in the Block, utilising Dana Gas Egypt's existing infrastructure, will extend the Company's highly successful gas production business onshore the Nile Delta, a company press release said yesterday.

Dana Gas Egypt will participate in the Block 3 Concession Area on a 50% basis with BP as partner and operator. Under the terms of the agreement, BP will fund all of the cost (including Dana Gas's share) of one exploration well up to an agreed maximum limit. In the event that the well proves commercial, BP has the option to back into 50% of the deep potential of Dana Gas' adjacent Development Leases.

BP also has the option to back into 50% of the deep potential of Dana Gas Egypt's other Development Leases and Block 1 Concession Area by drilling and funding all of the costs of a second exploration well in either the Development Leases or Block 1 up to an agreed maximum limit.

Dr. Patrick Allman-Ward, CEO, Dana Gas, said: "We are extremely pleased to have been awarded these two new blocks. The area is particularly well known to Dana Gas, given its long-term commitment to the Nile Delta. We believe there is significant upside potential from continued exploration and development in these concessions. We are delighted to be partnering with BP, a leader in deep well drilling in the Nile Delta. This will allow us to carry out a challenging work program with a proven partner and reaffirms our confidence in the potential of our assets." The two blocks are located adjacent to the Company's existing Development Leases. Together with BP, the Company will look to explore the multi-TCF gas potential of the Oligocene reservoirs that have proven successful to date in the offshore and which extend into Dana Gas Egypt's existing Development Licenses. The first Oligocene exploration well is scheduled to be drilled in 2016. In case of exploration success, an early development system is envisaged to allow rapid production of the wells located close to the existing El Wastani plant.

The two blocks have a 6 year exploration period, comprised of two phases of 3 years each. A 20-year development lease period will be granted to each block, based on approved commercial discovery. The two concessions, which cover 1,527 square km and 960 square km respectively, were awarded as part of the EGAS international bid round in August 2014. Ratification of the two new concessions is expected to take place following the completion of the necessary approvals. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Etisalat U.A.E. and MTS Russia to peer their roaming hubs

posted on 30/09/2014

Etisalat yesterday announced an agreement to 'peer' with Russian mobile operator, Mobile Tele Systems (MTS) enabling each to widen their roaming service portfolio and reach.

Etisalat will provide access to MTS for regional roaming in the Middle East and Africa, while MTS will extend Etisalat's reach across their Eurasian footprint.

"The launch of our Smart Roaming Hub ushers in a new era of seamless inter-operator roaming capabilities. We are delighted to be working with MTS, a long term partner, to extend the reach of both companies. Smart Roaming Hub provides an innovative platform to provide flexible roaming services for our customers. The Smart Roaming Hub also provides a more efficient platform for launching new services on a global basis," said Ali Amiri, Executive Vice President Etisalat Carrier and Wholesale Services.

The Smart Roaming Hub will enable seamless operation of increasingly mission critical applications across different operator networks.

"MTS is embracing new technologies to expand its footprint and improve the quality of roaming services. This agreement will enable subscribers to enjoy high quality voice and data services while roaming on the "next-generation" networks, while MTS will be able to launch new products based on Etisalat's Smart Roaming Hub platform," commented Vyacheslav Nikolayev, MTS B2C Marketing Director.

The peering partnerships will enable both hubs to facilitate roaming connectivity between more mobile networks, launch new services and ensure high quality voice and data services for customers. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Hamdan bin Zayed visits U.A.E. nuclear power plant site

posted on 30/09/2014

H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in the Western Region, has confirmed that major infrastructure projects which are currently underway in the Western Region, Al Gharbiya, are in line with the social, economical and developmental needs of the community.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed stressed the importance of moving towards achieving the objectives of the Al Gharbia 2030 plan, which aims to achieve sustainable development, under the guidance of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the U.A.E. Armed Forces, on the need to raise the profile of services and the infrastructure in Al Gharbiya that will ensure the prosperity and stability of its residents.

Sheikh Hamdan's comments were made during a visit to Al Barakkah last week, where the first peaceful nuclear power plant in the U.A.E. is being constructed and developed by the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, which he said is on schedule.

Sheikh Hamdan said, "The use of peaceful nuclear energy has an important role for the future of our country. These power stations will provide us with electrical energy that we need to meet our requirements. The programme will provide many interesting opportunities for national cadres, thus enhancing their skills and knowledge to contribute to the economic prosperity of the U.A.E.." He went on to say, "The U.A.E. attaches major importance to the principle of operational transparency in dealing with its nuclear programmes," adding that this principle is one of the key elements of the U.A.E.'s policy towards the development of its nuclear power programmes.

The first leg of the programme is 57 percent complete and further plans include the establishment of four peaceful nuclear plants by 2020, which have been approved by regulators. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Restoration of U.A.E. heritage and historic sites a priority, says Hamdan bin Zayed

posted on 30/09/2014

H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in the Western Region received on Monday at Al Nakheel Palace members of the executive committee for the restoration and conservation of historic forts in the Western Region which is part of the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (ADTCA).

Following a presentation on the planned restoration and renovation of forts in the Western Region, Sheikh Hamdan said the historical sites in the region tell of families and tribes who inhabited areas for hundreds of years and who formed a rich heritage for the current and future generations.

He stressed the importance of renovating historical and cultural landmarks according to the highest standards.

Sheikh Hamdan referred to Western region's tourist map, launched last year by ADCTA which features all of the region's attractions, including desert, oases, forts, towers, in addition to archaeological and wildlife conservation sites. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Lubna Al Qasimi discusses International Development issues between U.A.E. and France

posted on 30/09/2014

Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, Minister of International Cooperation and Development, and Head of U.A.E. National Committee for the Coordination of Foreign Aid, has received in her office yesterday at the Ministry of International Cooperation and Development (MICAD) in Abu Dhabi, Anne-Marie Idrac, special representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France, and her accompanying delegation.

During the meeting, she asserted the importance of the deep-rooted relationships between the U.A.E. and France, at all levels, and the joint vision of the leaderships in both countries in relation to enhancing the joint cooperation and consultation, and supporting the mutual interests for the benefit of the two sides.

She also re-affirmed the U.A.E.'s aspiration for more deep joint bilateral relationships, especially in the field of international and humanitarian development, finding solutions for international development's constraints and effective responses from the humanitarian organisations in both countries to the global humanitarian crises resulting from various disasters and conflicts around the world and in poor communities.

In addition, she discussed the key present humanitarian and development issues in the international arena, exploring the experiences of both countries in resolving these issues, means of unifying the views, and the need for effective coordination with the international community in order to coin a global strategy for the development goals for post-2015.

For her part, the representative of the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ann Mary, commended the increasing role and raised status the U.A.E. has attained in the international humanitarian action and development field, affirming the great opportunities for partnering between U.A.E. and France for supporting the international development, humanitarian action and effective response to the global crises.

The meeting was attended by Sultan Al Shamsi, Assistant Under-Secretary for International Development at the Ministry of International Cooperation and Development, and Michel Miraillet, Ambassador of France to the U.A.E.. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


DMCC launches exclusive health insurance solution for all Free Zone members

posted on 30/09/2014

DMCC, the global gateway for commodity trade and enterprise in Dubai and the region, in conjunction with Insure Direct (Brokers) LLC, a Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group company, and the National Health Insurance Company - Daman, yesterday launched an exclusive health insurance solution for all DMCC's Free Zone member companies.

Gautam Sashittal, Chief Executive Officer, DMCC, commented, "A key element of DMCC's long-term Free Zone strategy is our commitment to provide member companies with the products and services they require to innovate, grow and succeed here in Dubai." "We are pleased to announce that the DMCC Free Zone is able to offer all members - whether a start-up, SME or large corporation - in collaboration with Insure Direct (Brokers) LLC and Daman, access to an exclusive health insurance solution usually only available to large corporates. There are several packages to choose from with some benefits included such as pre-existing conditions coverage and fixed premiums for all age categories," added Krysta Fox, Director of Free Zone, DMCC.

Providing this exclusive health insurance solution for its member companies has been high on the DMCC's agenda, especially as the new Emirate-wide health strategy governed by the Dubai Health Authority is set to take effect next month.

The health insurance solution has been tailor-made exclusively for DMCC's members so that start-ups and SMEs can take advantage of world-class insurance solutions and comprehensive benefits that are usually only available to large corporates. While there are several options to choose from, all policy holders will benefit from pre-existing conditions coverage and fixed premiums for all age categories.

Kenneth Maw, Managing Director, Insure Direct (Brokers) LLC, said, "As a part of the Jardine Lloyd Thompson group of companies, we are one of the world's largest providers of insurance, reinsurance and employee benefits related advice, brokerage and associated services. Partnering with DMCC and Daman allows us to broaden our network to offer comprehensive and cost-effective solutions that complies with the DMCC Free Zone regulations as well as the forthcoming health insurance law of Dubai." Dr. Sven Rohte, Chief Commercial Officer, Daman, commented, "We are pleased to collaborate with DMCC and Insure Direct (Brokers) LLC to offer our award-winning holistic, and comprehensive health insurance plans to DMCC Free Zone member companies of all sizes. This new collaboration will provide members with health insurance solutions that are bespoke and relevant to their needs." – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


U.A.E. participates in swearing-in ceremony of new President-elect of Afghanistan

posted on 30/09/2014

KABUL: The United Arab Emirates has participated in the swearing-in ceremony of the new President-elect of Afghanistan, Dr. Ashraf Ghana Ahmadzai.

Dr. Abdullah bin Mohammed Belhaif Al Nuaimi, Minister of Public Works, represented the U.A.E.'s President at the inauguration ceremony.

The ceremony was also attended by Juma Al Kaabi, Acting Charge d'Affaires of the U.A.E. Embassy in Kabul, and representatives from the GCC States and a number of other countries. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Dubai Police to demonstrate ‘ATM-like’ service at Gitex

posted on 30/09/2014

The Dubai Police and Avaya Inc. are jointly showcasing a range of smart services developed by Avaya at Gitex Technology Week 2014, the force announced on Monday.

The Dubai Police will be the first public sector entity to experiment extending its services on smart self-service stations, similar to ATMs, and running video conferencing capabilities of Avaya SmartConnect solutions.

Avaya SmartConnect solutions, which is being launched at Gitex Technology Week 2014, are designed to transform traditional call centre services to real time smart customer engagement opportunities, with minimal cost and effort, and delivered on any device including smart and mobile phones, kiosks, and self-service stations, to name a few.

Visitors to the Dubai Police and Avaya stands at Gitex will experience how police services such as filing applications and submitting enquiries will be available round the clock.

Smart government services such as document and identity scanning, card and certificate printing, digital signature reading, and biometric security can be delivered through SmartConnect solutions.

Nidal Abou Ltaif, president, Global Growth Markets, Avaya, said: "Our partnership with the Dubai Police exemplifies how the U.A.E. is leading the shift towards smart governance, with the aim of stimulating innovation, growth and prosperity among its people.”

Khalid AlRazooqi, General Director, Smart Services Department, Dubai Police GHQ, said: "The Dubai Police are proud of its achievements in deploying smart services.

"While the Dubai Police have 34 different electronic channels of communication running on different technological environments, its aim is to respond to the needs of the public by deploying new technologies, piloting smart services and giving support and guidance with a new channel that delivers face-to-face support in real time.” – Khaleej Times -§ion=government


DIMC to stage Traditional 60ft Al Yamamah Dhow Race on 25 October

posted on 30/09/2014

Sheikh Rashid bin Hamdan Al Maktoum, Chairman of Al Nasr Football Company, approved a proposal by Dubai International Marine Club (DIMC) to stage the Traditional 60ft Al Yamamah Dhow Race will be held under the slogan "Al Yamamah". Dubai International Marine Club (DIMC) on 25 October 2014.

DIMC said the date of the race was changed to celebrate the winning of Dubai Crown Prince HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, of individual gold medal in the 2014 FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Normandy, France.

Sheikh Rashid has allocated DH 10 million and three luxury cars for the first three winners, making the race the highest in value of traditional marine sports since the traditional races launched in the country.

Arif Al Zaffain, member of the DIMC's board, said the DIMC's sports committee would make preparations to transform the race into a colourful traditional heritage carnival in celebration of Sheikh Hamdan's victory in France. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Footballing giants Real Madrid, AC Milan to kick off in Dubai this December

posted on 30/09/2014

The 2014 UEFA Champions League 2013/14 winner Real Madrid will face 18-time international titles winner AC Milan in the ‘Dubai Football Challenge'; a friendly match set to take place at The Sevens Stadium in the emirate on Tuesday, 30th December, Dubai's Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) and Emirates Airline announced at a press conference held this morning.

Topping off what has been a blockbuster year of football, the two Emirates Airline sponsored clubs, will bring their star players to the U.A.E for the thrilling match in front of a crowd of 40,000. Two of the European club's legendary ex-players and Ambassadors - Franco Baresi of AC Milan and Emilio Butragueno of Real Madrid – spoke of their respective club's excitement to be playing in front of their fans in the Middle East.

Tickets, which are now on sale at Virgin Megastore and Time Out outlets, cost from DH200 and are expected to sell out in record time.

Hamad Mohammed Bin Mejren, Executive Director of Dubai Convention and Events Bureau at DTCM, a coordinating partner of the Dubai Football Challenge, said: "Welcoming footballing giants Real Madrid and AC Milan to Dubai marks a truly magnificent end to what has been a fantastic year for football. Thanks to the World Cup, we have seen the obsession with the beautiful game hit fever pitch amongst locals, expats and visitors alike, so it's the perfect time to bring this world-class match to the emirate.

"Not only has 2014 been a record year for football, but also for our city, which is both honoured and incredibly proud to be playing host to Real Madrid and AC Milan. Of course, the emirate is no stranger to welcoming such momentous sporting events; already hosting some of the world's largest tournaments. With this in mind, it's clear that Dubai is fast-becoming a global destination for sporting events and the 30th December is a very exciting date for the city." Sheikh Majid Al Mualla, Emirates' Divisional Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations, Centre, said, "Emirates is pleased to be working with DTCM to bring two of our major sports sponsorship partners, and two of the biggest football clubs in the world, to our home city for the Dubai Football Challenge. By working with clubs, teams and events around the world we are able to connect fans with their passions; whether football, rugby or horse racing and we are now able to do this for our customers here in the U.A.E. in December. We are sure fans will be thrilled by the display of footballing skills and for the opportunity to see some of the world's best players here in Dubai." The match will offer the very best action from two of the top football teams in the world at the home of the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens. One of the city's world-class sporting venues, The Sevens Stadium is well-equipped to serve the 40,000 football enthusiasts expected to descend on 30th December to see the footballing giants in play. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Yas Marina Circuit announces 2014-2015 events calendar

posted on 30/09/2014

An action-packed 2014-2015 events calendar was announced at Yas Marina Circuit today, with more racing at the heart of the action than ever before.

With ‘Let's Go Racing' as the central theme of its busiest calendar to date, the TRD 86 Cup kicks off the racing action.

Supported by Toyota Racing Development (TRD), this is the first race series organised by Yas Marina Circuit, and the TRD 86 Cup will run across six race days between December and April next year and provides a unique opportunity for competitors to lead their very own race team in real competition.

Al Tareq Al Ameri, CEO of Yas Marina Circuit, said, "This is a chance for motorsports enthusiasts to get behind the wheel and enjoy the exhilaration of competitive racing on our world-class track. It is also a fantastic opportunity for fans and enthusiasts of the sport, offering them a route from spectating into actually participating." The arrival of the Abu Dhabi Rally on 16th and 17th October will present another racing first. The rally will be held on the North Handling Track at Yas Marina Circuit and this candidate event for the 2015 FIA Middle East Rally Championship (MERC) further reinforces Yas Marina Circuit's 360-degree motor racing proposition and is a welcome addition to its racing calendar.

Continuing the high-octane racing theme, the Ferrari World Finals will take place on December 8th and 9th. The race represents a huge coup for the region and will be the first time this prestigious event has been held in the Middle East. The Ferrari World Finals promises to be the biggest motorsport event outside of the F1 weekend as 150 Ferraris driven by Formula 1 drivers and racing enthusiasts will take part in this thrilling racing spectacle.

Other significant motorsports events include the return of the Gulf 12 Hour. Held between the 11th and 13th December, the event, now in its second year, will see a significant increase in the grid size and the 2014 edition will also include races from Maserati and Audi racing too.


Spotlight on young drivers at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit

posted on 30/09/2014

Performances on and off the track at Abu Dhabi's Yas Marina Circuit this week could help carve out an exciting future in motor sport for one of 15 young drivers assembled from around the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia.

Over the next three days, the candidates for a place in next year's FIA Institute Young Driver Excellence Academy face a thorough examination not only of their driving skills, but also of their ability to handle the physical and psychological demands of professional motor sport.

"Any young driver aiming go get to the top must be highly disciplined and committed in many ways, and we're going to find out this week who has what it takes,” said Mohammed bin Sulayem President of the Automobile and Touring Club of the U.A.E..

The Academy has driven a number of its graduates to high places, with Andreas Mikkelsen, Pontus Tidemand and Craig Breen emerging in the World Rally Championship, and Alexander Rossi, Stoffel Vandoorne, and Robin Frijns becoming Formula One reserve drivers.

The ATCUAE is staging one of the six regional qualifiers worldwide that will deliver 10 drivers into the fully funded 2015 Academy programme, which develops young talent and promotes safety in motor sport.

Among those battling to win the one Academy place available in Abu Dhabi this week are the U.A.E.'s Mansour Al Helei, Kuwait's Ali Makhseed, Oman's Anas Al Raeesi, Jordan's Nabeeh Muammar, Lebanon's Patrick Njeim and Saudi Arabia's Abdullah El Khereiji.

They were joined at an official reception in Abu Dhabi on Sunday by the nine other regional candidates, Panikos Polykarpou (Cyprus), Ahmed Sherif (Egypt), Seyedmahyar Mirmoradi (Iran), Petr Borodin (Kazakhstan), Ismail Hassine Tadlaoui (Morocco), Suleiman Abdelmunim Suleiman (Sudan), Ahmad Krizan (Syria), Bardo Ben Abdallah Sofien (Tunisia) and Shalva Tsikhelashvili (Georgia).

Serious business begins today morning with the first in a series of driving exercises, followed by off track sessions on career management and physiological and psychological testing. – Khaleej Times -§ion=nationsports


Emirati rider Faresi secures long awaited win

posted on 30/09/2014

Samorin — Emirati rider Mansour Saeed Al Faresi clinched the first and biggest win of his career when he won the HH Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival-sponsored by FEI World Endurance Championships for Young Horses 2014 at Samorin, Slovakia, on Saturday.

Riding the Esmail Mohammed-trained Tiswan Fageole, Faresi completed the challenging 120km course in a time of five hours, 47 minutes and 29 seconds as French riders filled the second, third and fourth places on a day of mixed fortune for U.A.E. riders.

Sheikh Hamed Dalmook Al Maktoum was the first rider to cross the finish line but his horse Normandy went lame and was disqualified.

The U.A.E. endurance team had other reasons to be happy as Afra Khalifa Al Suwaidi made history when she secured a praiseworthy fifth place among a strong field of 43 riders representing 15 countries. The talented rider from Al Ain also wrote a new chapter by becoming the first Emirati lady rider to compete in a World Championship event.

Al Suwaidi, who won the HH Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival's HH Sheikha Fatima Cup for ladies in Verona, Italy in July, completed the course aboard Ainhoa Tidjour in a time of 05:58:46s.

Frenchman Jean Philippe Frances (Tinka La Majorie) was promoted to second place following the disqualification of Sheikh Ahmed's horse, with a time of 05:50.31s, while compatriots Aurelie Cambe (Tismael De Vayrols) took third place in 05:54:40s and Emilie Lambert (Baghdad Font Noire) fourth place in 05:58:45s.

Only 21 riders from a start list of 43 completed the CEI 4 event held over five loops of 30, 20, 25, 25 and 20 kilometres each.

"I have never won or competed in anything as big as this event,” 20-year-old Faresi said. "This is the happiest moment of my life and I would like to dedicate this victory to President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and the U.A.E. people.

"It is a very disappointing that Sheikh Hamed Dalmook's horse did not pass the final VET gate, but I'm still proud to have secured victory for the U.A.E.. I've waited a long time for this and it is a fantastic feeling to win the first ever ride in Slovakia. I have been competing in many big rides but I've not been lucky. I thought I can achieve something good after I finished fourth in the prestigious 160km CEI 3 President Cup at Al Wathba. And it happened today. I feel so blessed.”

Faresi said that he got his winning formula from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the U.A.E. and Ruler of Dubai.

"His Highness Sheikh Mohammed advised us to go into the lead earlier in order to make the other riders push their horses in an attempt to keep pace with us,” he said. "His Highness also told us to settle out horses during the middle loops so as to conserve their energy for the final loop where we stepped up the pace and pulled away to win comfortably.”

Faresi was also full of praise for World Equestrian Games gold medal winning trainer Esmail Mohammed who had prepared Tiswan Fageole in top condition for the ride.

The FEI World Endurance Championships for Young Horses 2014 brought together riders from the U.A.E., Argentina, France, Estonia, Russia, Spain, Portugal, Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic.

The event also enjoyed a fifty percent completion with 21 horses checking in at the final VET gate and delighted FEI Endurance Director Ian Williams who described the historic first World Championship event in Slovakia as a ‘big success.'

"We could not happier with the quality of completion and high rate of finishers,” he said.

Williams always conveyed the best wishes of FEI President Princess Haya bint Hussein, wife of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the U.A.E. and Ruler of Dubai, to all the riders who participated. "Safety is always of great importance to the FEI and Her Highness Princess Haya, and she sends her congratulations to the winners and all those riders who participated here,” he added.

Lara Sawaya, Executive Director of the HH Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival and Chairman of the IFAHR Ladies Committee, thanked Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Presidential Affairs, for his continuous support. – Khaleej Times -§ion=horseracing