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UAE mission at Expo Milan marks Emirati Woman's Day

posted on 30/08/2015

MILAN: The UAE mission at Expo Milan observed on Friday Emirati Woman's Day by paying rich tribute to the achievements scored by Emirati women, thanks to continuous support from the UAE leadership.

Participants in the celebration also cited conspicuous support to the women empowerment by H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women's Union (GWU), Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation (FDF) and President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood.

They added, "Day after day Emirati woman are proving beyond doubt efficiency and excellence in any task entrusted to them. They have demonstrated their strong presence in all fields in service of the nation, including participation in the armed forces and national service."

Emirati women volunteers working under Takatof umbrella at Expo Milan organised a procession by marching around the UAE pavilion. Officials of National Media Council and all members of the mission took part in the procession. They thanked Sheikha Fatima for her unlimited support to advance Emirati woman's cause in service of the nation and her dedication of 28th August each year to mark Emirati Woman's Day.

The first celebration of Emirati Woman's Day was dedicated to Emirati women serving in the armed forces in appreciation to their heroic role. . – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395284769801.html


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UAE Space Agency, Belarus discuss cooperation

posted on 30/08/2015

The UAE Space Agency has discussed with the Republic of Belarus, ways to develop governmental, industrial relations and cooperation within the space sector, as well as introduce the UAE's space programmes and initiatives.

The UAE delegation was led by Dr. Khalifa Al Rumaithi, Chairman of the UAE Space Agency, Dr. Mohamed Nasser Al Ahbabi, the Director-General, and a number of senior officials from the Agency. They met with a delegation headed by Sergei Gerolov, Chairman for Industries Council in the Republic of Belarus, First Deputy Director-General Chief Engineer of Peleng, the industrial arm of the Government of Belarus.

Both sides discussed cooperation between their space institutions and how to make use of experience and expertise within space science and technology that will help both nations further advance their space industries. This also included discussions on education, scholarships and programmes that will enable the development of national capabilities.

During the visit, the UAE Space Agency delivered a detailed presentation on the space sector strategy in the UAE, its objectives, initiatives, programmes and priorities. The Agency also outlined its educational programmes, which were launched in cooperation with a number of universities and specialised institutions.

The Belarusian delegation praised the efforts of the UAE in establishing a Space Agency and for the launch of the Mars probe mission. The delegation expressed a desire to expand the horizons of joint cooperation and coordination in future space projects.

The visit also involved a tour of Peleng's HQ to allow for familiarisation of its projects and Belarus' national scientific and academic endeavours.

For its part, the UAE Space Agency praised the efforts of the Republic of Belarus in its quest towards developing a scientific footprint by contributing to the global space sector. The Agency noted the close relationship and economic partnerships between the two nations that provide many opportunities, particularly within the space sector.

The visit comes as part of a global tour for the UAE which included participating in a recent UN gathering in Vienna for the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) as well as a visit to the Paris Air Show.

The UAE Space Agency has highlighted that these visits aim to demonstrate to the international community, the Agency's achievements and plans as well as exchange experiences and discuss ways of cooperation. All of which plays a big role in developing the space sector both nationally and regionally and positions the UAE at the forefront of space exploration. . – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395284772920.html


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ERC launches major humanitarian campaign to help people of Yemen

posted on 30/08/2015

On the directives of His Highness President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and instructions of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and follow-up of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in the Western Region, and Chairman of the Emirates Red Crescent (ERC), the ERC will launch on Sunday, 30th August, a major humanitarian campaign to help about 10 million people affected by the unfolding crisis in Yemen.

Themed "Yemen: We care", the one-month long campaign aims to mobilise support for the ERC programmes and projects with the aim of easing the suffering of those caught up in Yemen's conflict.

The UAE President's move promotes the humanitarian role being played by the UAE to ease the suffering of people in Yemen through the provision of their needs and basic requirements. The gesture also shows greater solidarity with those affected by the conflict, and draws attention to the difficulties they face, which requires acceleration in the restoration of normalcy to Yemen.

H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in the Western Region and Chairman of the ERC, stressed that the UAE leadership and people are concerned about the current humanitarian situation in Yemen. He added that this concern reflects the strength of fraternal relations between the two brotherly peoples of the UAE and Yemen.

"The suffering of our people in Yemen compounds daily with eminent threat of a real catastrophe," he said.

Sheikh Hamdan noted that these circumstances require concerted regional and international humanitarian efforts to curb the suffering of those affected and improvement in their condition, as well as drawing attention to the critical situation.

In a statement on the occasion of launching the campaign, he said, "The UAE, led by President Khalifa realised early that the size of the impending catastrophe would affect millions of Yemenis. Hence, the directives of the UAE President were supportive of the assistance programmes being implemented by the UAE in Yemen since the outbreak of the conflict."

Sheikh Hamdan said the ERC is following closely the repercussions of the humanitarian situation in Yemen through constant communication with its delegations in the field to assist all the categories. He added that the ERC has been there since 1990s in Yemen whether through conflicts or natural disasters to extend its helping hand.

He stressed that the ERC will spare no effort in strengthening its leading role in the Yemeni arena, and will carry out its humanitarian responsibility towards the affected people there.

Sheikh Hamdan called on all sectors of society in the UAE to support the ERC's humanitarian relief programmes and operations to help those affected. He appealed to Emirati and resident philanthropists to support the humanitarian activities to assist the people of Yemen.

He noted that the ERC was prepared to implement the directives of the leadership, launch fund-raising activities nationwide, and mobilise human resources and volunteer staff to promote the campaign and show greater solidarity with their brothers in Yemen. The ERC has placed its delegates at 200 sites, especially at the commercial malls, banks, cooperative societies, offices and others, across the UAE to receive donations.

Sheikh Hamdan said the ERC is co-ordinating with its humanitarian partners in the UAE to include all categories in the campaign activities so as to achieve its objectives and meet the requirements of the people of Yemen. . – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395284781181.html


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Yemeni official thanks UAE over restoring operation of Aden International Airport

posted on 30/08/2015

ADEN: Eng. Tariq Abdou Ali, Director of Aden International Airport has thanked the UAE for restoring the operation of Aden International Airport, which is a main artery for southern Yemen.

He told Al Ittihad daily in a statement that the UAE has fully restored the airport after the liberation of the city.

Ali added that the airport would receive civil flights in September after hiatus of five months caused by the war initiated by Al Houthi rebels and deposed Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

He added that a specialised UAE company's technical team arrived yesterday to fix the airport tower damaged during the conflict. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/international/1395284774907.html


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Somali official lauds Khalifa Foundation's assistance during drought

posted on 30/08/2015

HARGEISA: A Somali official has thanked the Khalifa bin Zayed Foundation for extending assistance to the Somali people, who were experiencing a difficult humanitarian situation as a result of a drought.

Dr. Mohammed Taher Ibrahim, in charge of agriculture and agricultural investment in Hargeisa, said the people of Somalia would never forget the generous assistance extended by the UAE under the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and follow-up of H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Presidential Affairs and Chairman of Khalifa bin Zayed Foundation, at a time when there was a desperate need for basic services.

He told the Emirates News Agency (WAM) that severe drought had struck Hargeisa and surrounding coastal and mountainous regions, destroying most of the livestock and crops and leaving many families suffering from illness.

The UAE, he added, was always among the first responders to provide timely assistance to the Somali people. He indicated that the foundation had purchased 40,000 food baskets from local market and distributed them to the affected families. . – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395284781269.html


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Fourth batch of Emirati recruits joins national service

posted on 30/08/2015

The Liwa National Service Training Centre yesterday received the fourth batch of male recruits who completed their general secondary school certificate and graduates from colleges and universities.

The centre also received Emirati women recruits who volunteered to join military service in a move that stems from their allegiance to the nation as well as courage to join military forces and safeguard the country.

The Khawla Bint Al Azwar Military School, the Gulf region's first military college for women, also received the third batch of women recruits who opted to join national service. The service is optional for women aged between 18 and 30 provided they get the consent of their parents.

Under the military service law, Emirati men who have finished secondary school or aged 18-30 will have to serve nine months, while those who have not will serve two years. The service is optional for women, who may be trained for nine months, regardless of their education, according to the law.

A number of women recruits expressed their pride in joining the national service, saying that they opted to join the military motivated by their patriotism and desire to defend their country. – Gulf News - http://gulfnews.com/news/uae/government/fourth-batch-of-emirati-recruits-joins-national-service-1.1574927


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DIFC Courts support fast-growing UAE-Kazakhstan business ties

posted on 30/08/2015

UAE-Kazakhstan business ties were yesterday boosted by the signing of a cooperation agreement between the DIFC Courts and Supreme Court of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The Memorandum of Guidance (MoG) provides businesses operating in both countries with additional certainty should a contractual dispute arise by clarifying the procedures for the mutual enforcement of money judgments.

Commercial links between the two countries have expanded significantly in recent years, with around $3 billion of UAE investment estimated to be currently deployed in Kazakhstan. With a new financial free zone planned for Astana, Kazakhstan's capital, trade flows are anticipated to accelerate further over the coming years.

Michael Hwang, Chief Justice of the DIFC Courts, said: "The UAE and Kazakhstan occupy strategically important positions within the Middle East and Central Asia. Enabling trade and investment between the regions are financial hubs such as the Dubai International Financial Centre and the one that will be soon established in Astana. With commerce becoming ever more global, it is imperative that judicial systems connect to support the needs of businesses, such as by formalising how money judgments are mutually enforced. We look forward to working with the Supreme Court of the Republic of Kazakhstan to support this increasingly important channel of international trade."

The Supreme Court of the Republic of Kazakhstan is the highest judicial body of the Republic of Kazakhstan. In addition to clarifying enforcement procedures, the MoG also sets out the intention of the two judiciaries to cooperate on training and educational initiatives.

Kairat Mami, Chairman, Supreme Court of the Republic of Kazakhstan, said: "Today the relations between Kazakhstan and the UAE are developing intensively in many areas of economy and culture. It is gratifying to note that active partnerships are also being built in the judicial sphere. The official visit of the delegation of Kazakhstan judges to the UAE happened this year during which they familiarized themselves with the work of the DIFC Courts. Today, on behalf of the President of the country Nursultan Nazarbayev within the framework of the Plan of the Nation "100 concrete steps" the same international financial centre is being created in Astana. This will greatly enhance the investment activity and trade in the region with access to international markets. In this context, information and developments of DIFC, including the organisation of the courts are of big importance to Kazakhstan. I am sure that the exchange of experiences and knowledge between the Supreme Court of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the DIFC in the future will only increase and develop new topics for fruitful cooperation. This will fully contribute to the memorandum signed by us. "

"The relationship between our two countries goes deeper than simple trade and commerce and is increasingly characterised by the sharing of knowledge. We are delighted to sign this memorandum with the DIFC Courts, which further strengthens the relationship between our two countries."

Since their jurisdiction was opened to businesses worldwide in October 2011, the DIFC Courts have established one of the world's strongest enforcement regimes. Their judgments can be enforced internationally through treaties such as the GCC Protocol and Riyadh Convention; treaties with China and France; and arrangements with many common law courts overseas, including the Commercial Court of England and Wales, the Supreme Court of Singapore, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. . – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395284774306.html


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ADNOC Distribution includes 41 additional service stations to process, issue Rahal e-Gas cards in Abu Dhabi Emirate

posted on 30/08/2015

ADNOC Distribution has announced that 41 additional service stations in the emirate of Abu Dhabi will now receive and process customer applications for Rahal e-Gas cards, ahead of the 8 September deadline for submission of applications to benefit from subsidised LPG gas cylinders according to segmented quotas.

The step is part of the company's ongoing efforts to reduce waiting time and meet the increased customer applications at service stations and centres authorised to receive and process applications and issue e-Gas cards.

Abdulla Salem Al Dhaheri, CEO of ADNOC Distribution, said: "Regulating the sale of LPG cylinders through the e-Gas cards is in line with the UAE's vision to migrate all functions to smart platforms to ensure safer, easier and greater convenience to customers in the emirate of Abu Dhabi."

Al Dhaheri added: "ADNOC Distribution is committed to customer service and convenience as part of our service delivery mandate. We are keen to expand our geographical footprint and ensure that our service stations are located in close proximity to our customers. As part of this priority, we have deployed 41 service stations to receive and process applications for e-Gas cards. This takes the total number of service stations catering to e-Gas card issue and applications to 139 across the emirate of Abu Dhabi."

ADNOC Distribution had earlier increased the number of administrative staff tasked with receiving and processing online applications through the company website, in addition to stepping up the work shifts for the online administrative team. The ADNOC Distribution team reviews applications on a case-by-case basis, and processes them to ensure greater convenience to customers and enhanced efficiency of operations.

The new monthly quotas set by ADNOC Distribution for subsidised LPG cylinders purchased via the Rahal e-Gas scheme allocates Dh150 for Emirati families and Dh70 for Emirati single citizens. Monthly quotas for resident expat families have been set at Dh70 and for expat single residents at Dh40.

Currently, ADNOC Distribution provides registration and issuance of Rahal e-Gas cards across all of its Rahal centres including ADNOC Distribution's Head Office in Abu Dhabi, Rahal centres at the Airport Road service station, Mussaffah station and Khalifa City station, as well as the Al Ain Regional Office and Western Region centre in Madinat Zayed. Customers can therefore apply for these cards at 139 service stations across the emirate of Abu Dhabi, which include 81 outlets in Abu Dhabi city, 39 in Al Ain and 19 in the Western Region.

To apply for a five-year valid Rahal e-Gas card, Emiratis need to present the following documents: Emirates ID, original copy of Family Book (for UAE families only) and proof of residency (choice of one of the following documents proving they are residents of Abu Dhabi - either a certificate or the latest copy of the water and electricity bill or original copy of Tawtheeq).

Expat residents are entitled to a one-year valid Rahal e-Gas card through presenting Emirates ID, original copy of spouse/child visa (for expat families only) and proof of residency (choice of one of the following documents proving they are residents of Abu Dhabi - either the latest copy of the water and electricity bill/certificate or original copy of Tawtheeq).

First time registration for Rahal e-Gas cards is free. Modification of card data as well as replacement of lost and damaged cards will cost Dh50. Also, when getting the card issued for the first time, customers are required to charge their cards with Dh200 minimum balance that can be used later for buying gas cylinders. Rahal e-Gas cards can only be used within the service stations network in Abu Dhabi emirate, while renewals can only be done at Rahal centres subject to valid application submission.

Meanwhile, individuals or families in the emirate of Abu Dhabi can also continue to buy LPG cylinders by paying in cash, or by using credit cards at non-subsidised rates.

Customers are encouraged to use the online application form available on the company website (www.adnocdistribution.ae) as a faster and more convenient way to get the card. In addition, customers can call the ADNOC Distribution hotline (800 300) to learn more about applying for Rahal e-Gas cards . – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395284779736.html


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Ministry of health cuts prices of 188 innovative medicines as of January 1, 2016

posted on 30/08/2015

The prices of 188 innovative medicines will be reduced with effect from January 1, 2016, the Ministry of Health announced on Saturday.

'Seventy seven per cent of the medicines of which the prices will be slashed will include those for the central nervous system, 8 per cent for obstetrical and gynaecological diseases and urologic disorders, 5 per cent for lethal diseases and immune system depression, 4 per cent for ear, nose, and throat diseases, nutritional medicines and blood disorders, and 1 per cent for immune system disorders, vaccines and eye care,' Dr Amin Hussain Al Amiri, Assistant Under-Secretary for Public Health Policy and Licensing Sector at the UAE Ministry of Health, and Vice-Chairman of the Drug Pricing and Registration Higher Committee, told a press conference yesterday to announce the sixth initiative for cutting prices of medicines.

He said that 27 global pharmaceutical companies and local, regional and international drug makers were involved in the initiative.

The first wave of drug price cuts included 565 innovative drug products, the second 115, the third 6,791 innovative and similar drug products, the fourth 207 and the fifth 280.

Al Amiri emphasised that the positive partnership between the Ministry of Health and the pharmaceutical industry would benefit patients greatly, particularly those infected with chronic, viral, neurological, cardiac and cancer diseases.

He stated that no pharmacy had violated the prices of medicines over the previous five initiatives.

Up to 2,500 private pharmacies are operating in the UAE which has more than 8,000 pharmaceutical drugs being registered with the Ministry of Health. . – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395284787303.html


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Abu Dhabi University begins Dh 37.75 million construction works to expand its facilities by adding 30 labs

posted on 30/08/2015

Construction works worth Dh 37.75 million have begun to enhance Abu Dhabi University's facilities with the addition of 30 labs furnished with the latest cutting-edge scientific tools distributed over various academic specialisations. Scheduled to be unveiled in August 2016, this new upgrade to campus facilities will also feature 12 classrooms, 110 faculty and staff offices, meeting rooms, and multi-purpose rooms that are all fitted with state-of-the-art equipment.

Ali Saeed Bin Harmal Al Dhaheri, Chairman of Abu Dhabi University's Executive Board, stressed that this new upgrade translates the directives of HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ruler's Representative in the Western Region and President of Abu Dhabi University's Board of Regents. "This new investment in our Abu Dhabi campus represents a leap in the University's journey towards international academic accreditation and will help strengthen ADU's stature of academic excellence and leadership in the UAE and the region, as well as benefit more than 6000 undergraduate and postgraduate students enrolled in our programmes", added Bin Harmal.

Bin Harmal went on to explain that once completed, the new educational facilities spread over an area of 9,200 m2 will complement Abu Dhabi University's mission of receiving international academic accreditation for all its undergraduate and postgraduate programs from world-renowned accreditation bodies. "We're always keen on offering our students an internationally benchmarked education, as evident by ADU's recent achievements of receiving accreditation for three of its Engineering programs from the world-renowned Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) of ABET, as well as, international accreditation for all its undergraduate and postgraduate programs in Business Administration from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business –AACSB. This boosted our Business Administration College into the ranks of ‘Top Business Schools' as only 5% of the world's business programmes have earned this prestigious international accreditation. Similarly, these new facilities have been designed according to the best international standards that will ensure our graduates are fully capable of taking on the challenges of the international labour market as well as meet the needs of the policy agenda of Abu Dhabi's Government and its Economic vision 2030", said Bin Harmal.

Abu Dhabi University also welcomes the new academic year 2015 -2016 with new faculty members who hail from prestigious universities and research centres across Australia, Greece, Canada and others, boosting the University's academic cadre to 292 faculty members in various specialties. . – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395284779449.html


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Dubai’s realty market in the grip of a bear hug

posted on 30/08/2015

The UAE's real estate sector is caught in a tight bear hug. And it's not limited to what has been happening to property and construction stocks listed on the local bourses.

With a few exceptions, the first-half financials for the property majors have ranged from indifferent to abysmal. Union Properties saw a precipitous decline in revenues by 55 per cent in the first six months of the year from a year ago, while its net profit took a 93 per cent dive.

Deyaar, meanwhile, took a 72 per cent hit on its revenue numbers, but profit got a 24 per cent boost from one-off write-back of provisions.

Emaar, in contrast, pushed out another set of solid numbers — a revenue gain of 28 per cent, which brought on net profits that were up 19 per cent. Damac Properties was another to show off all-round gains, with net up 50 per cent plus to Dh2.65 billion on revenues of Dh4.79 billion.

These numbers reinforce — more than anything else — the need for developers to think beyond their core operations. In a soft market, and with no clarity on when it might end, it helps if the company can call upon steady income from non-core activities.

"A few developers manage to "smooth” out their earnings by diversifying their revenue streams into annuity based areas such as lease portfolios,” said Sameer Lakhani, Managing Director of Global Capital Partners. "This is exactly what Emaar has done.

"With a large land bank, the company has managed to stagger their launch schedule and have an execution record that has resulted in high levels of investor confidence. More importantly, the company derives 45 per cent of its revenues from hospitality and leasing, which is more "annuity” based cashflows rather than deal-based closures.” (Even then, Emaar's revenues from property sales were up 40 per cent in the first-half, mirroring a "flight to quality” on the part of cautious investors, according to Lakhani.)

Deyaar this week will unveil the first phase of an ambitious project first announced at last year's Cityscape in Dubai. While it recently launched the third phase of its flagship Green Community development, Union Properties has kept its options open on taking on additional ones, even further afield.

On the plus side, the debt levels at Emaar, Deyaar and Union Properties are deemed as "more or less stable”. For the latter two, current liabilities — those due in less than one year — are at 62 per cent and 55 per cent respectively.

But if property buyers continue to maintain a hands-off relationship with Dubai realty, things could turn quite dire and more so for contractors.

Even without this, Arabtec's shares have had a hammering in recent months, as shareholders' concerns mounted over changes at the senior management level and a lack of additional details on the company's status on its Egypt projects.

Which would have repercussions for ‘contractor financing'. One reason could be that projects get delayed from clients in response to a slow real estate market. Or, as raising debt becomes difficult due to market conditions, developers will delay payments to the contractors, exerting pressure on the latter's balance-sheets.

"Arabtec's current debt as a percentage of total debt is 79 per cent,” said an analyst. "This clearly has sparked concerns contractors will have "funding issues” as they look to complete their projects; which in turn will delay project executions and thus their profitability.”

At DSI (Drake Scull International), profitability fell 52 per cent in the first-half, though revenues were higher by 2 per cent.

Arabtec's numbers moved into negative territory, even though that was more due to internal restructuring. The company has been going through boardroom turnover "and this has clearly impacted broader investor sentiment as well”, the analyst added.

"These concerns have been amplified by the fact that revenue in the first-half fell 4 per cent, suggesting that even though the pipeline remains large, the company may have to elongate the duration of project execution.”

So, much rides on whether the market is able to shrug off its current inertia, and if so can the turnaround be done quickly enough.

Rohit Chawdhry, Head of Asset Management at Gulf Baader Capital Markets in Oman, paints a rather bearish outlook.

"There seems to be a lot of slack in terms of housing supply versus demand in the region's real estate sector, and particularly in the UAE,” said Chawdhry, who is also sceptical about whether the Dubai property market can actually get the anticipated lift from the removal of sanctions on Iran.

"Dubai's real estate sector has traditionally been a favourite with Iranian investors. Post sanctions, there is likely to be requirement to have project funding back home in Iran.

"Hence, this demand is expected to slow down. The recent H1 figures may be masking this "stealth weakness” in UAE real estate. Though H1 numbers were either in-line or above expectations, the forward outlook may not be that encouraging.

"From a macro perspective, if the historical relationship between GDP growth and property yields is expected to persist, then the weak Purchasing Manager's index for UAE (proxy for UAE GDP growth) could likely signal more weakness in real estate.”

Clearly, for developers, property buyers and stock market investors, the short-term is not for the faint-hearted. – Gulf News - http://gulfnews.com/business/property/dubai-s-realty-market-in-the-grip-of-a-bear-hug-1.1574645


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Dubai's holiday homes becoming a significant component of tourism

posted on 30/08/2015

The Department of Tour-ism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) on Monday revealed that holiday homes have become an increasingly significant component of Dubai's tourism industry. Since the start of July 2015, a total of 37 operators are now licensed to rent out holiday homes in Dubai, with close to 800 units registered in the holiday homes system.

The increase is a result of His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, issuing Decree No.41 in December 2013. As a result of the decree, visitors booking their accommodation through licensed operators can be confident that the accommodation they have chosen has been classified in line with the best global practices.

They can also rest assured that the property they are booking is of a certain quality, has the appropriate insurances, and is managed by a qualified party.

Khaled bin Touq, executive director of the licensing and classification sector at Dubai Tourism, said: "We have made great progress in setting up regulations for holiday homes. These are designed to benefit both home owners and guests, by ensuring the holiday homes market is aligned with the rest of Dubai's tourism industry and maintains the high standards for which the emirate is known.

"With the ultimate goal of contributing to the growth of Dubai's tourism industry by broadening the range of accommodations available to visitors, the holiday homes market plays an important role in realising the emirate's Tourism Vision for 2020, which aims to welcome 20 million visitors per year by the start of the next decade. Holiday homes also benefit Dubai's real estate market by providing a potential revenue stream for property owners wishing to rent out on a short term basis. By being part of Dubai's wider Hotel Classification Scheme, home owners can expect to profit from the targeted growth in visitor numbers over the coming years. – Khaleej Times - http://www.khaleejtimes.com/business/real-estate/dubais-holiday-homes-becoming-a-significant-component-of-tourism


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New milestone for Midfield Terminal building in Abu Dhabi as removal of roof supports begins

posted on 30/08/2015

Abu Dhabi Airport's Midfield Terminal building (MTB) has reached a new milestone as contractors have started to remove supports for its huge roof.

The 20,000-tonne curved roof is the centrepiece of the Dh10 billion MTB project and the most complex part of its engineering.

It features the world's longest indoor arch at its centre, which will be 52 metres tall at its highest point and weigh 1,000 tonnes. The roof will be supported by 18 arches.

To date, the roof has been held in place by 30 steel temporary supports that weigh 14,000 tonnes combined. These will be removed through nine de-propping exercises carried out by a team of 45 specialists using 60 hydraulic jacks.

The removal of the props is expected to take about six months and will be completed by next February. – The National - http://www.thenational.ae/business/aviation/20150829/new-milestone-for-midfield-terminal-building-in-abu-dhabi-as-removal-of-roof-supports-begins


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Etisalat Award dates revised to Sept 15

posted on 30/08/2015

The Dh1 million Etisalat Award for Arabic Children's Literature has extended the deadline for submissions to Sept.15 due to the difficult circumstances in a number of Arab countries.

The UAE Board on Books for Young People (UAEBBY), organisers of the Etisalat Award for Arabic Children's Literature, extended the deadline for its seventh edition in recognition of the problems faced by publishers who require more time in printing, delivery and shipping procedures.

Sheikha Bodour Bint Sultan Al Qasimi is the founder and patron of UAEBBY.

Marwa Al Aqroubi, president of the UAEBBY Executive Board, explained that the decision comes after hearing from many Arab publishing houses that were unable to submit their applications on time as a result of delayed services due to circumstances or crises.

Al Aqroubi said, "Since the award was launched in 2009, the main vision of Sheikha Bodour Bint Sultan Al Qasimi, founder and patron of UAEBBY, has been to provide an inspirational platform and motivational space for publishers, writers and illustrators to develop the creative and cognitive abilities of Arab children by offering them access to good and meaningful books. Over the past few years, we managed to achieve impressive results as evidenced by the high quality of entries that we received. But we still aspire to see even greater titles. This is especially because Arab children are in need of good educational and intelligent content that helps guide them and develop good ideas about their future amid the mounting crises in the region.”

Al Aqroubi added that the award was launched to stimulate and support professionals in the Arabic children's book industry regardless of circumstances. Thus the deadline for submissions has been extended to give everyone the opportunity to participate and compete for the award with winners being announced during the opening of the 34th Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) on Nov.4.

Al Aqroubi invited all those who wish to participate in the award to visit the official website, www.etisalataward.ae to learn about the entry criteria and how to get in touch with the award's management. "The most important entry criterion is that the book must be written in Arabic and published within the past three years. The book must also be original as translated or reproduced works are excluded, and must not be a local, regional or international award winner,” she said.

Etisalat Award for Arabic Children's Literature aims to support and develop the children's book industry in the Arab World, and to recognise the outstanding books which address contemporary topics that enrich children's literature and motivate publishers, authors and illustrators to produce creative children's Arabic books.

The one million-dirham award is distributed over several categories with the largest award of Dhs300,000 for the Children's Book of the year distributed equally between the author, illustrator and publisher. The second highest award of Dhs200,000 goes to the Young Adult Book of the year, to be distributed equally between the author and publisher. Furthermore, there are three awards of Dhs100,000 each for the Best Text, Best Illustration, and Best Production categories. The remaining Dhs200,000 is set aside for workshops on writing, illustration, and production aimed at inspiring the next generation of young Arab talent in the children's book industry.

The Etisalat Award for Arabic Children's Literature was launched in 2009 by UAEBBY Founder and Patron Sheikha Bodour Bint Sultan Al Qasimi with the aim of fostering a culture of reading and instilling a love of Arabic books in children. – The Gulf Today - http://gulftoday.ae/portal/f45352d0-097d-4882-b1e0-b23765277cec.aspx


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Curtains fall on Modhesh World’s adventure days

posted on 30/08/2015

The 16th edition of Modhesh World – one of the largest indoor edutainment destinations in the region – drew to a close on Aug.29 after playing host to a staggering turnout of visitors from around the world who flocked to the destination in large numbers to experience its wide array of enriching, family-friendly attractions.

The 52 days of adventures at Modhesh World kicked off on 9 July 2015 when it opened its doors to the large influx of visitors in Dubai exploring the city's diverse calendar of summer offerings. During its 16th edition, Modhesh World welcomed visitors and families from GCC, the UK, USA, Russia, India, China among many other countries. – The Gulf Today - http://gulftoday.ae/portal/df54b348-0051-4d76-be31-0e250a1ea8d4.aspx


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