The UAE will host Expo 2020!
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Supported by the UAE National Media Council

UAE pavilion in Expo Milan welcomes half-millionth visitor

posted on 28/07/2015

MILAN: The UAE pavilion in Expo Milan has so far attracted more than half a million visitors since it opened in May.

Abdullah Mohammed Al Aidarous, Deputy Commissioner-General of the UAE pavilion, said that the pavilion, which is organised and supervised by the National Media Council, attracts between 7,000-8,000 visitors daily who come to experience its various offerings which include presentations, short films, and cultural events on the UAE surrounding the theme, 'Feeding the planet, energy for life.' 10-year-old Federica, who was visiting the pavilion with her family, became the 500,000 visitor to participate and was presented with a gift from Al Aidarous on the occasion. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Aquaventure at Atlantis, Palm, voted best waterpark in Middle East

posted on 28/07/2015

With school holidays' in mid flow, families can experience one of the top waterpark attractions in the world, without even having to leave the UAE.

Aquaventure at Atlantis, the Palm has been voted the best waterpark in the Middle East and the fifth best in the world, in the TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice Waterparks Awards.

The influential travel site this week announced the accolade is based on millions of traveller reviews.

The 17 hectare beachfront waterpark, situated on the apex of The Palm's crescent boasts two enormous towers packed with rides including the world's largest diameter slide, the world's first vertical banking family ride with a double hump at the end, the first double slide within a slide experience, the world's first known zipline circuit to be integrated into a waterpark tower and unique marine animal interactions with rays and sharks.

Within Dubai, it's Aquaventure that takes the lead with more TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice Awards for waterparks than any other waterpark in the country.

The TripAdvisor report features over 1,000 photos taken by happy Aquaventure visitors, along with thousands of positive reviews, which refer to the park in glowing terms due to the vast range of exhilarating rides available to suit all of the family, no matter the age or thrill level desired.

Scott. Deisley, Vice President of Operations at Aquaventure said, ‘We are thrilled that this excellent ranking by Trip Advisor endorses Aquaventure's global standing, especially as it comes from thousands of happy guests that have passed through our door. We thank each and every person that has taken the time to share their amazing experience with us.' The high rating comes on the heels of Atlantis' investment of around US$ 27 million whereby a second 40-meter Tower of Poseidon was added, to give the waterpark a record breaking offering to guests, both regionally and globally.

Aquaventure was ranked fifth in a list that featured Siam Park in Spain, Beach Park in Brazil, Waterbom Bali in Indonesia and Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park in Florida in first to fourth respectively. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Capital gets more visitors after Fast and Furious 7

posted on 28/07/2015

There has been a 34 per cent increase in guests from the United States visiting Abu Dhabi during the first four months of this year, according to the Tourism and Cultural Authority, said Noura Al Kaabi, CEO, twofour54.

Greater destination awareness following Hollywood films like Fast and Furious 7 being shot in the Capital has been cited as the reason.

"Another study found that Abu Dhabi will receive over 300,000 additional visitors through attracting film productions to the Capital by 2020 and approximately Dh1 billion in additional revenue will be generated between 2015 and 2020," added Al Kaabi.

Following the incredible success of the theatrical release of Fast and Furious 7, which pulled in over $1.5 billion globally, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment chose Abu Dhabi to host the home theatre release press junket.

Tyrese Gibson, star of the Fast and Furious franchise, was in Abu Dhabi last week as part of a four-day press junket that saw international media representatives and industry professionals cover the home theatre release from the UAE's Capital.

Stefan Fuchs, General Manager of Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, said: "We are proud to have been chosen as one of the locations for the filming of the movie and very much enjoyed welcoming Universal Pictures Home Entertainment to Abu Dhabi. I am sure there will be many more projects coming to the city. The attractive location, architecture, culture and natural beauty promise stunning production opportunities, combined with the strong proactive work of Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority and twofour54."

The selection of Abu Dhabi for the home theatre launch has added to the exposure the emirate received in the movie, said Jasem Al Darmaki, TCA Abu Dhabi's acting director-general.

"Hosting a selection of the world's entertainment, lifestyle and broadcast journalists in Abu Dhabi gave us the opportunity to showcase a selection of our finest attractions, world-class tourism experiences and hotels as a backdrop to a series of live broadcast links and media interviews," said Al Darmaki.

Fast and Furious 7 will be released on Blu-ray and DVD in August on various dates around the world. The release date for the UAE has been slated for August 12. – Khaleej Times -


Sultan Al Jaber: UAE continues its support for Egypt

posted on 28/07/2015

CAIRO: Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State, and Head of the UAE/Egypt Liaison Office, has said that the UAE s support for Egypt is firmly rooted in the conviction that Egypt s stability and prosperity is stability and prosperity for the region and the world.

In an interview with the Egyptian daily publication, Al Masry Al Yawm, Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, discussed various topics including the UAE s strong ties with Egypt, Egypt s economic sustainability, the Egyptian Economic Development Conference, the importance of private sector investment, the global fight against extremism, and the UAE s unique model for social development in Egypt.

Speaking about the UAE and Saudi Arabia's economic and political support to Egypt particularly following the Egypt Economic Development Conference, Dr. Al Jaber said, "The UAE s support for Egypt is firmly rooted in the conviction that Egypt s stability and prosperity is stability and prosperity for the region and the world. It is also a reflection of the very close relationship between the two countries that was set over 40 years ago by our founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and has been further enhanced by our leadership. Over the years, Egypt and the UAE have embarked on various partnerships, exchanging knowledge and expertise while strengthening our bilateral ties."

Dr. Al Jaber said that the period of instability in Egypt, from 2010 to 2013, had adversely impacted its economy and society, and that based on their decades long relationship, it was only natural that the UAE stood by Egypt to help restore the country to its rightful place, as the political, economic and social spinal cord of the region.

"As such, and in order to support Egypt as swiftly and effectively as possible, the UAE leadership initiated a unique model of assistance, establishing a UAE Egypt Liaison office with experts from Egypt and the UAE,” he said.

"Working intensively with our Egyptian partners, the office identified the key priorities on which to focus a social development programme that spanned the critical sectors of energy, housing, food security, education, healthcare and transportation. At the same time, the office also worked closely with Egyptian counterparts on a medium term economic recovery plan that identified structural reforms to stimulate the flow of foreign investments to the Egyptian market," Al Jaber explained.

The minister said that to date, UAE's social development projects alone have created 900,000 jobs and positively impacted the lives of 10 million Egyptians.

According to Al Jaber, alongside the clear mandate of the UAE/Egypt Liaison office, the UAE has also contributed to the mobilisation of economic and political support for Egypt through international and regional platforms such as the Egyptian Gulf Investment Forum which was held in December 2013, and the Egypt Economic Development Conference (EEDC) that was hosted in March 2015 in Sharm el-Sheikh. "It was at the EEDC that the Egyptian government was able to secure US$20 billion, of which the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates contributed $12 billion," he said.

When asked about his opinion on what has been accomplished economically in Egypt since 30 June 2013 and especially in the past year, Dr. Al Jaber told the publication that he believes that Egypt has witnessed a positive change in its economic performance. "Some 5.6% growth was recorded in the first half of financial year 2014-2015 (July-March) compared to 1.2% in the same period of last year. Tax returns increased by 35 billion Egyptian pounds in the first half of financial year 2014-2015 amounting to 204.9 billion pounds - an increase of 21% when compared to the previous year. Foreign investments in Egypt also rose to US$1.8 billion in the first quarter of financial year 2014-2015 - a 50% increase by comparison to the first quarter of the preceding year," he said.

Additionally, he said, the big three credit rating agencies have raised Egypt s rating and positively revised their outlooks. "In October 2014, Moody s revised their outlook on Egypt to stable and in April 2015 upgraded Egypt to B3. In December 2014 Fitch upgraded Egypt s credit rating to B with a stable outlook, and in May 2015, Standard and Poor s raised its outlook for Egypt to positive from stable," said Al Jaber.

The minister noted the International Monetary Fund's praise for Egypt s economic reforms, citing the conclusion of the IMF s Article IV mission to Egypt, on November 2014, when Mission Chief Chris Jarvis stated that "policies implemented so far, along with a return of confidence, are starting to produce a turnaround in economic activity and investment."

Al Jaber also pointed out examples of Egypt's development progress in building 1,600 kilometres of new roads last year as part of a plan to create a road network of 3,200 kilometres across different parts of the country, and the installation of a 3.6 GW new power capacity as part of a plan to increase Egypt s power capacity by fifty percent in the coming years.

Addressing the Suez Canal project and its future development expectations, Al Jaber said, "I am proud that a UAE company, the National Marine Dredging Company (NMDC) was involved in this project. The NMDC founded and led the Challenge Consortium including the Dutch and Belgium firms Boskalis, Van Oord and Jan De Nul, that, in turn was able to deliver the necessary dredging in record time. I was able to visit the project site more than once in this past year and I have been impressed by the great progress and tireless efforts of all those involved including the Suez Canal Authority, the Egyptian Armed Forces and the engineers and workers on site. This achievement validates the ability of the Egyptian people to stand in the face of adversity with great resolve, determination and success.

The minister said that he looks forward to the opening of the new Suez Canal, which he believes will play a significant and essential role in promoting economic activity in Egypt and the region by increasing the capacity of the channel and reducing the waiting time for ships to pass. "We are also looking forward to the development of the Suez Canal Development Zone, which will include ports, industrial parks and logistics hubs that will ensure continued economic growth through attracting foreign and local investments and creating new job opportunities," he added.

When asked about how he was following the negotiations between the government and businessman Mohamed Alabbar regarding the new administrative capital, and whether there was a mediation from the UAE Government in this regard, Al Jaber noted that it is important to distinguish between private sector investments in Egypt, such as the Capital City Partners and the efforts exerted by the UAE/Egypt liaison office, which, he said, fall within the purview of intergovernmental cooperation between the two countries.

He explained, "Nonetheless, I have been following the ongoing negotiations between Capital City Partners and the Egyptian government and have noticed some inconsistencies in the reporting. Therefore, I believe it is better to wait for the official statements at the end of the negotiations, which will naturally take some time given the scope and size of the project. We wish this important project much success in achieving the desired objectives for the future of Egypt.

"I do, however have to say that I believe that the global and regional experience, know-how and successful track record of Mr Al Abaar in the real estate sector speaks for itself. I have no doubt that he will exert every effort to ensure that these negotiations conclude with the best possible interests of both parties in mind. These are large-scale projects that need to be rooted in economic sustainability," he said.

Speaking on whether the UAE has plans to provide more funding to support the Egyptian economy during the new financial year excluding loans and investments, Al Jaber reminded that the relationship between the UAE and Egypt is not based on financial objectives, but is rather a historical relationship based on mutual respect and cooperation.

"The relationship between the UAE and Egypt is not built on loans and numbers, but on mutual respect, cooperation and common interests that benefit the two countries. Based on the synergy established with Egypt that dates back to more than four decades, we are confident this partnership will continue to flourish. What is important at this stage is to intensify the work focused on the revitalisation of the Egyptian economy and development of the legislative system. This will increase growth rates, and allow for new projects to open doors for economic and social prosperity as well as new investments," he said.

Asked whether after several months post the Egypt Economic Development Conference, the Egyptian government has taken the necessary steps for economic reform, Dr. Al Jaber said that he believes that the Egypt Economic Development Conference marked an important milestone in showcasing the Egyptian government s commitment to implementing measures towards a stronger, more sustainable economy. "The long term plan, as stated by Ibrahim Mahlab, Prime Minister of Egypt, includes fiscal consolidation measures to reduce deficit through a gradual reduction of energy subsidies as well as the introduction of value-added tax, amendments to existing laws, and working on attracting direct investments to crucial sectors, such as transport and power generation.

"In other words, the vision and goals are there, what is now required is an unwavering effort and continued implementation of administrative, financial, legislative and regulatory reforms that will, in turn, contribute to the reduction of bureaucracy," he said.

Speaking about his future predictions, and whether Egypt will need to deal with international institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, Al Jaber said, "This is a sovereign decision that is taken solely by the Egyptian government. International monetary institutions are known for their expertise in financial matters. I believe that the economic and legislative reforms initiated by the Egyptian government have begun to show positive results, as demonstrated by Article IV conducted by the International Monetary Fund."

Dr. Al Jaber went on to say that the investment climate in Egypt for UAE investors can become more attractive with the help of legislative amendments to simplify procedures and create an integrated experience.

"Private sector investment is a realistic indication of the attractiveness of the investment climate and today, there are over 600 UAE companies functioning in Egypt. The goal now is to increase the attractiveness of the Egyptian market. Furthermore, given the rapid population growth, there is an urgent need to create jobs through expansion and new market growth.

"Continuous development is a concept that is widely prevalent in the world of commerce, wherein countries seek to increase their competitiveness in order to attract sustained foreign capital. As part of this priority, it is important to build an attractive environment for investment through a system of laws and to simplify procedures and create an integrated experience that will make Egypt an ideal hub for investors and new projects," he explained.

In regards to terrorism attacks and threats which Egypt has been exposed to, and whether he believes that would affect investment in the country, the minister reiterated the UAE s clear position in this regard, saying, "We condemn any attempt to destabilise the security and stability of Egypt. The UAE leadership has confirmed its solidarity with the Egyptian government and will stand by its side in the face of extremism and terrorism.

"We, in the UAE, have great confidence in Egypt's ability to overcome challenges and continue to build a bright future for its children," he said.

Al Jaber added that terrorism is a challenge that all nations must address as soon as possible. "In fact, most recently the government of the UAE issued an anti-discrimination and anti-extremism law that aims at curbing hate speech and extremism. It is no longer enough to think of this war in military terms. There is a stronger, more resolute ideological war that feeds the terrorist narrative indirectly through promoting toxic, hateful and exclusive ideologies. This law is a clear demonstration of the UAE s rejection of the culture of hate and destruction in favour of a culture of forgiveness, peace, collaboration and positive energy, the minister explained.

In conclusion, Dr. Al Jaber confirmed that the UAE government continues to contribute significantly to the infrastructure projects in Egypt, which include a wide-range of projects in various sectors. "The development projects that have been implemented by the UAE/Egypt Liaison Office focus on vital sectors such as energy, housing, food security, education, healthcare and transportation. To date we have been able to deliver 78 fully operational family health clinics in 23 governorates across remote and rural areas, provide 100% of Egypt s insulin needs through the refurbishment of the vaccination lines, deliver 100 fully equipped schools and finalise the construction of over 50,000 housing units," he said.

"The projects also include the construction of 4 bridges, the provision of 600 public transport busses, the development of 136 wastewater plants, the construction of a 10MW solar power plant in Siwa and a vocational training and placement programme for tens of thousands of Egyptians," added Al Jaber.

As for food security, the minister said, "We have provided the Egyptian government with 100,00 cattle heads, 50,000 of which will be used for dairy production. We are also constructing 25 wheat and grain silos."

– Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Gargash hails women's participation in FNC elections

posted on 28/07/2015

Dr. Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Minister of Federal National Council Affairs and Chairman of the National Election Committee (NEC), has said the participation of Emirati women in the 14th and 15th legislative chapters was very positive, as they constitute 22.2 percent and 17.5 percent of these chapters' strength with nine and seven members, respectively.

He added that the participation of women in the FNC elections is important, as they form half of the society and are capable of discussing many of the issues related to the women sector and other related sectors of society, noting that the political participation of women would cement the foundations of community in line with the state culture and history.

Dr. Gargash stressed that the participation of women in both previous electoral experiences, have made them politically aware, a move that he said would further boost their participation in 2015 elections. He added that the representation of women in the electoral colleges for 2015 reached almost half - 48 percent. "This is more proof that women are equal and real partners with equal access to seats in the FNC, to contribute to decision making, thanks to the directives of the leadership in this respect."

The minister made the remarks during a lecture organised by the NEC in conjunction with the General Women Union (GWU), held at its headquarters in Abu Dhabi yesterday.

He underscored that the presence of Emirati women in the FNC "is a paradigm shift in the parliamentary work and a clear message about their effectiveness in the political work in general."

Dr. Gargash seized the opportunity to salute the UAE martyrs of the Armed Forces, who fell while on national duty. "They made the sacrifice in the defence of national issues."

He also thanked 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, for her continuous efforts for women empowerment.

Dr. Gargash underscored that the extensive participation of women would be an assertion of their effective role in the community service, and another opportunity to demonstrate the maturity of the UAE political experience.

For her part, Noura Khalifa Al Suwaidi, Director of the GWU, said the confidence vested by the State in women to shoulder the responsibility on an equal footing with men "is a source of pride for each Emirati woman," noting that these gains are part and parcel of the women empowerment programme launched by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and the follow of Sheikha Fatima, to achieve sustainable development.

She noted that the women participation for the third time in a row "is another achievement, thanks to the legacy of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who had believed in the capacities of women."

Al Suwaidi also referred to the directives of Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to set up the UAE Gender Balance Council, with the aim to boost the role of woman as an important partner in the sustainable development process.

She concluded that the UAE leadership is keen to accord more opportunities to women so that they can play their national, political and social roles fully, citing the successive successes attained by the UAE national women. – Emirates News


UAE makes great strides towards gender equality

posted on 28/07/2015

Providing sufficient job opportunities, having a role model as well as proper parental upbringing top Emirati women's aspirations for the forthcoming Federal National Council (FNC) elections.

Speaking on the sidelines of a lecture by Dr Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and FNC Affairs and chairman of the National Election Committee (NEC), Emirati women also expressed their optimism surrounding women's role in this year's elections.

Ahlam Saeed, research and development manager at the General Women's Union, told Gulf News: "We organised a three-day workshop geared towards leading an impactful political campaign and also have a few events in the pipeline on teaching our female candidates certain qualities that are crucial to being a good leader,” she added.

"I feel very optimistic about the increased female participation this year and I only wish that it grows from strength to strength.”

Hind Al Shamsi, an administration executive at the Marriage Fund, also expressed her enthusiasm about women's contributions this year, she said that her selected candidate will solely be based on the person's expertise, regardless of gender.

"The one aspect that I aim to receive in return from the FNC election is generating more job opportunities for locals,” she explained.

Meanwhile, Mona Maslam, a statistic assistant, said: "I want someone who will be a good leader and a role model, a person who will be able to meet people's demands and manage their expectations.”

As far as women's participation this year is concerned, Mona said: "I am positive about that. I don't think it's ever based on someone's gender though. I believe that everyone is capable of producing great results as long as the will is there.”

Marwa Rashid Al Qubaisi, a quality and excellence specialist, said that she is considering nominating herself this year since humanitarianism is a field she is passionate about and has a wealth of ideas to offer.

"I would mainly like to focus on problems facing children and the elderly. I feel that youngsters are not receiving the proper upbringing they deserve and are being raised by nannies or maids, who could adversely impact their lifestyles,” she said.

Even if not elected or appointed, Marwa still plans to communicate her ideas to the FNC for the benefit of the UAE community. – Gulf News -


UAE takes part in meetings of senior Arab officials on weapons issues

posted on 28/07/2015

CAIRO: The UAE is currently participating in the meetings of the Committee of Senior Arab officials concerned with nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, which kicked off yesterday, at the headquarters of the General Secretariat of the Arab League.

The meetings are headed by Jordan and with participation of representatives of Arab countries.

UAE delegation to the meeting is chaired by Ambassador Hamad Al Kaabi, the UAE Permanent Representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency, while the delegation also included Hani Mohammed bin Huwaiden, second secretary of the UAE Embassy in Cairo.

Fadi Hanna Achaia, director of the department of arms control and regional security at the Arab League, said that the committee will discuss over two days two main items; first, special assessment of the results of a review of the conference on non-proliferation of nuclear weapons of 2015, which ended on 22 May, and there had been no consensus reached on the final document of the Conference.

He pointed out that the committee assesses the results and considers the next Arab move, especially if there is no agreement on any plan of action to rid the Middle East of nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction.

Achaia added that the second item is to prepare and develop Arab position to participate at the General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency, which will be held in Vienna. The meetings will also deal with different topics and developments. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


UAE delegation visits Syrian refugees camp in Jordan's Mrejib Al Fhood

posted on 28/07/2015

MREJIB AL FHOOD: A UAE delegation yesterday visited the Emirati camp for the Syrian refugees in Mrejb Al Fhood, east of Jordan's Al Zarqa province.

The delegation included Musabah Saeed Al Ketbi, member of the Federal National council and of the Arab Parliament and Mohammed Salem bin Dhuwain Al Kaabi, Chairman of the UAE Human Rights Association.

The delegation members, who were received by the camp director Mohammed Abdullah Al Shamsi and the UAE Red Crescent Authority team, toured the camp's different sections and were briefed about the services offered to the Syrian refugees there. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Egyptian Tourism Authority launches first regional office in Abu Dhabi

posted on 28/07/2015

The Egyptian Tourism Authority (ETA) has announced the official launch of its new office in Abu Dhabi, which commenced operations early this month.

The opening marks the establishment of ETA's first office in the region, which was initially announced by Egyptian Tourism Minister, Khaled Ramy, during Dubai's Arabian Travel Market (ATM) in May 2015. The launch is in line with the Authority's strategy to promote tourism in Egypt across Arab markets, particularly within the Gulf region - a key element of the Masr Qariba campaign.

The office was inaugurated during a ceremony attended by Ehab Hamouda, Egyptian Ambassador to the UAE, Sami Mahmoud, Chairman of ETA, and Ahmed Ali, Head of ETA's Abu Dhabi office, who were joined by a number of prominent public figures, diplomatic representatives and members of the media.

Sami Mahmoud, Chairman of the Egyptian Tourism Authority, said, "The opening of our new Abu Dhabi office is an important milestone for ETA, which reflects the strong ties we have with our neighbours in the Arab world. The UAE has always been a strong supporter of Egypt and is one of the country's key tourism markets. The launch is a key element of the strategic plan developed by the Ministry of Tourism and ETA to attract 20 million visitors to Egypt by 2020, and drive tourism revenues to reach $26 billion."

During the first half of 2015, visitor numbers to Egypt increased by 20%. Hotels in Sharm El Sheikh, Ein El Sokhna, Ras Sedr, and Hurghada also reported 100% occupancy levels during Eid al-Fitr. Visitors primarily travelled from Arab countries, particularly within the Gulf region.

During the coming months, the Ministry is set to focus on Nile tourism and also promote cultural tourism by providing programmes which combine both beach and cultural destinations.

Ahmed Ali, Head of the ETA office in Abu Dhabi, said, "We are striving to explore new horizons in our tourism partnerships with Arab nations, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, the Sultanate of Oman and Lebanon in particular. I look forward to collaborating with a number of stakeholders including airlines and tour operators to offer competitive packages for Arab tourists and to develop programs which cater to all communities and nationalities within the UAE. We are also keen to continue our work with local media, which have played a major role in promoting what Egypt has to offer across these key markets."

ETA's new Abu Dhabi Office is in the process of collaborating with all airlines that cater to the Egyptian market, by launching direct flights to Sharm El Sheikh, the Red Sea and the North Coast in Egypt. Among these is Egypt Air, which has recently announced new flights from Dubai to Cairo to be launched at the beginning of September 2015, bringing the total number of flights from Dubai to Cairo to three flights daily.

He concluded, "As we prepare to launch the Ministry of Tourism and ETA's new 2015-2018 campaign, which will be implemented across 27 source markets, attracting tourists from Arab markets, particularly in the Gulf region is a top priority. Egypt will continue to welcome visitors from Arab nations, with which the country has always shared strong historical, geographical, social and cultural ties." – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Ministry of Economy updates UAE 2014 Trade Statistics App as part of smart data services drive

posted on 28/07/2015

The Ministry of Economy yesterday announced it has updated the UAE trade figures app up to the end of 2014, as part of its renewed focus on providing smart data services to residents and citizens of the country. The trade statistics application can be found on the ministry's official website (

The step is in line with the ‘smart' directives of the UAE leadership that has urged the federal government to further reach out to the public through the regular launch of innovative services and continued updating of various apps and e-services. The trade statistics application is an important tool for individuals, businesses and public institutions for obtaining up-to-date numbers that are crucial to all trade transactions in the current business landscape.

Abdullah Al Saleh, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Economy for Foreign Trade and Industry, said: "In line with the federal government directives, the Ministry of Economy is working to achieve the highest level of transparency and competitiveness. The current update fulfils a long-perceived need for recent and relevant information in the trading sector.

"With the help of the economic experts at the Ministry, we have revised the trade statistics application to include all data and information gathered up to the end of 2014. We are keen to provide an integrated IT platform that will help investors and businessmen in the UAE plan out their economic and investment policies and strategies for the wider benefit of the country and its trade with global partners."

Al Saleh pointed out that application is the first-of-its-kind in the region to display trade data in an extremely interactive, user-friendly and dynamic manner. The app also helps save time and effort with its ability to make a number of comparisons based on different time periods, geographical areas, and types of commodities.

The Under-Secretary also shared that in addition to the updated 2014 trade statistics, the revisions also included comprehensive data on commodity flows for non-oil goods, as well as exports, re-exports and imports of the UAE with more than 220 countries extending from 1999 until 2014. Furthermore, the information can be easily extracted and exported to various desktop applications such as the MS Office suite of Excel and Word, as well as the PDF format, among others.

Notably, the application was first launched in 2010 to provide a modern and user-friendly platform for foreign trade statistics. The number of application users every month currently averages between 1,000 and 1,500 from the UAE and several other countries globally, including India, Brazil, the US, China, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, and Italy. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


New UAE fuel prices to be announced on Tuesday

posted on 28/07/2015

The UAE Ministry of Energy will announce new fuel prices for the month of August on Tuesday afternoon, the first such announcement under the UAE's new fuel pricing scheme.

Petrol prices are expected to go up slightly and diesel prices to go down because of the decision, but analysts were hesitant to provide estimates before the decision.

This is the first time the UAE government is undertaking such an initiative. The government had subsidised fuel for three decades, which kept prices lower than the international average.

The new price will be based on average international levels and will be reviewed by a fuel price committee every month prior to its implementation in the UAE, the ministry of Energy said last week.

Credit ratings agency Moody's said the new fuel price measures are credit positive for the UAE and Abu Dhabi, as they will bolster government finances dented by the downturn in global oil prices. In a report released on Monday, the rating agency said despite progress in diversification, hydrocarbon revenues comprised 75 per cent of the UAE's consolidated revenues in 2014.

"Given our forecast for Brent crude oil prices to average $60 per barrel in 2015, versus $101 in 2014, we expect a 27 per cent drop in consolidated government revenue,” it said.

Moody's said In 2015, the UAE will likely face a fiscal deficit of 2.3 per cent of GDP, its first deficit since 2010, and a decline from a 10.3 per cent surplus in 2014. Phasing out fuel subsidies will partly offset the negative effect of lower oil prices, it said.

Per capita, UAE fuel subsidies equal $730 per resident per year, compared with $2,810 in Qatar and $2,522 in Kuwait.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch said the introduction of UAE fuel subsidy reform is a seminal development and is likely to have a moderate fiscal and inflation impact initially. Similar reforms are likely to gradually gain pace over the medium-term regionally, it said in a research report.

Matar Al Neyadi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Energy and head of fuel price committee, previously said the increase would be minor and will not impact people much.

"There is nothing to worry about the prices as the increase would be minor. We would announce it on Tuesday,” he told Gulf News.

Abdulla Salem Al Daheri, Chief Executive Officer of Adnoc Distribution, in a statement said the UAE Ministry of Energy decided to deregulate the fuel prices as a positive step towards preserving the country's precious oil wealth for future generations and rationalising its consumption.

"The move will also enhance the competitiveness of our National Oil Companies that have long incurred huge losses running to billions of dirhams in the form of subsidies to fuel prices, while supporting their ongoing endeavours to elevate the quality of services and improve the overall customer satisfaction.”

He said the UAE's decision is aligned with the ongoing global reforms in energy sector to bring about operational efficiency and cut down carbon emissions. – Gulf News -


Dubai Trade records impressive growth in first half of 2015

posted on 28/07/2015

In line with the rapid growth of Dubai's economy, recent statistics released by Dubai Trade, the online gateway for trade and logistics services in Dubai, show promising growth figures in the first half of 2015, as compared to the same period last year.

The first half of 2015 witnessed 12.5 percent growth in new companies registered with Dubai Trade with 9,317 new companies on board. This led to an 8.7 percent growth in the number of transactions to 9.7 million. The increase in the number of new companies and online transactions was a result of Dubai Trade's strategic goal to become a single window for trade in Dubai and to escalate customer adoption, by offering a streamlined trade facilitation process.

Similarly, Rosoom, the secure online payment gateway of Dubai Trade, recorded in the first six months of 2015, an increase of 29.2 percent in the total collections. This surpassed Dh 570 million drawn from over half million online payment transactions using multiple payment methods including Credit Cards, E-Dirham and Direct Debit.

Commenting on Dubai Trade's performance during the first half of the year, Jamal Majid Bin Thaniah, Dubai Trade Chairman, said, "We are pleased with the enhanced growth figures across all segments. Dubai Trade is committed to the adoption of innovative solutions and high standards in line with 2015 being the year of innovation as declared by Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The Dubai Trade team is always keen on employing the latest technologies and novel processes for ease of doing business with us."

Commenting on Dubai Trade's achievements, Mahmood Al Bastaki, CEO of Dubai Trade, said, "We always keep our eye on customers whenever we plan to enhance or introduce any service and prioritise delivering know-how and business experience through our Training Centre. We have recently initiated an internal ‘Innovation and Idea Hub' for staff to share thoughts and ideas on how to reach our strategic goals. I'm proud to say that Dubai Trade is a role model and will hopefully expand its footprint by replicating this concept globally."

Assisting its growth and transaction figures was Dubai Trade's recently launched Certified Customs Broker (CCB) programme, a professional course for the trade and logistics community to enable a more comprehensive understanding of customs laws and regulations. Additionally, a "Customs Declaration Assistant" service was introduced to help users select accurate declarations of their daily shipments.

At the same time, a new cargo booking service that provides freight forwarders and exporters enhanced cargo booking capabilities for sea shipments was revealed. It allows easy integration of Freight Forwarders/Exporters systems with the Shipping Lines system enabling them to request, amend or cancel a booking without the need to login to multiple platforms. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


DFM Company posts net profit of Dh 200 million during the first half of 2015

posted on 28/07/2015

Dubai Financial Market Company (PJSC) yesterday announced its financial results for the first half of the year ending 30 June 2015, recording a net profit of Dh 200 million, compared to Dh 467.6 million during the corresponding period of 2014, a 57% decrease.

The net profit of the second quarter 2015 reached Dh 132.4 Million, a 48% decrease compared to Q2- 2014 level of Dh 252.5 Million.

The Company recorded a total revenue of Dh 292.6 million in H1-2015 compared to Dh 552.1 million during H1- 2014. The revenue comprised of Dh 259.8 million of operating income and Dh 32.8 million of investment returns. The Company expenses reached Dh 92.5 million compared to Dh 84.5 million recorded during H1-2014. During the second quarter of 2015, the Company's revenue reached Dh 178.1 million compared to Dh 296.5 million in the second quarter of 2014, whilst expenses amounted to Dh 45.7 million in the same period compared to Dh 44 million during Q2- 2014.

It is noteworthy that the DFM trading value decreased 56% to Dh 103 billion during the first six months of this year compared to Dh 237 billion in the corresponding half of last year. Trading commissions represent the main revenue stream of the DFM Company.

Essa Kazim, Chairman of Dubai Financial Market (PJSC) said, "DFM trading activity has relatively improved during the second quarter of the year overcoming the sharp decline that prevailed during the first quarter, which saw trading value down 65% to Dh 38 billion compared to Dh 110 billion during the corresponding quarter of the past year. The first quarter's drop has been triggered by some unfavourable circumstances unrelated to the sound fundamentals of our economy, specifically the sharp fall of oil prices. On the other hand, the 65% increase in the average of daily trading value during the second quarter compared to its predecessor clearly indicates the market's high level of resiliency, its ability to sustain attractiveness of investors and restoring the normal level of activity."

He added, "We are looking forward to see further activity through the remaining period of this year supported by the strong economic indicators, the comprehensive market infrastructure as well as its well-diversified investment opportunities. The DFM has successfully maintained its attractiveness for issuers looking to list as we have welcomed the listing of Damac Properties, the most recent addition to our issuers' list during the first half of the year, which has also seen the resumption of trading on Amlak Finance. We are looking forward to further diversify our listed companies building on the significant listing activity during the second half of last year, which saw the market receiving four new listings from unrepresented sectors in the market including Tourism, Healthcare, Education and Retail. This development further boosts the success of DFM's strategy to achieve the best possible representation of Dubai's economy".

Highlighting some of the first half milestones, Kazim said, "The DFM sustained its development efforts aimed at enhancing market infrastructure according to the international practices. Within this context, DFM has implemented an enhanced Pre-closing session arrangement as well as Trading At Last session (TAL) last May, as part of its pursuit to cope with international practices subsequent to the inclusion of the UAE into the MSCI's Emerging Market category.

Additionally, he continued, the DFM has launched a comprehensive online gateway (eService) that enables investors to accomplish 15 services, representing 73% of DFM investor services efficiently through mobile applications as well as the website, as part of our commitment to provide investors with smart solutions. The investor eServices is one of the main pillars of DFM's "Smart Borse" project, currently underway, in line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.

"As part of our constant efforts to further strengthen links between listed companies and international investors through an efficient platform that enables companies to enlighten investors on its latest development and plans for growth, the DFM has organised its International Investor Roadshow in London last April. The event has achieved outstanding success through the participation of international institutions with US$ 3 trillion assets under management globally, as they are increasingly attracted to the sizable opportunities available on our market," Kazim said.

Kazim noted having 58 international institutions, including 26 new institutions, seeking to connect with DFM Company immediately after the event, which applies to other participating companies as well, provides the strongest indication of the greater importance of DFM amongst international investors. We will carry on with our efforts to connect with international investors through roadshows in global financial centres and consider organising similar events in the Far East as part of our quest to attract further liquidity and keep international funds well-informed of DFM opportunities. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


RAKBank's earnings up 2.2% in H1

posted on 28/07/2015

The National Bank of Ras Al Khaimah or RAKBank's consolidated net profit rose 2.2 per cent year-on-year to Dh716.2 million in the half-year ended June 30, 2015, on stronger interest and non-interest revenues.

The lender's total income grew by 12.2 per cent year-on-year to Dh1.9 billion at the end of the half year period as a result of an increase of 12.9 per cent in net interest income and 9.8 per cent in non-interest income.

Ras Al Khaimah-based financial institution reported 16 per cent year-on-year growth in loans and advances to Dh27.7 billion in the half year period across most of its retail and business banking portfolios, the lender said in a statement.

"SME and commercial lending under our business banking segment, which has been a focus for the Bank since early 2014, recorded a jump of 115 per cent in gross loans and advances year-on-year, "said Peter England, RAKBank chief executive officer.

Total assets grew by Dh3.2 billion compared to 31 December 2014 mainly as a result of strong growth in gross loans and advances which were up to Dh27.7 billion.

In May 2015, RAKBank acquired 79.23 per cent of Ras Al Khaimah National Insurance Company. "With a controlling stake in RAK Insurance, we look forward to collaborate on developing and providing insurance products to enhance revenue and market share and ensure that customers enjoy a more wholesome experience," said England. Total assets stood at Dh38.1 billion on 30 June 2015, the lender said.

Customer deposits grew to Dh26.1 billion during the first half of 2015 compared to 31 December 2014.

The Bank's capital adequacy ratio as per Basel II requirement at the end of the quarter is 23.7 per cent, comprising entirely of Tier 1 capital. This is against a current minimum total capital ratio of 12 per cent prescribed by the Central Bank in the UAE.

Operating expenses inched up three per cent year-on-year at the end of first half. The consolidated operating profit before provision for impairment jumped by 19.2 per cent to Dh1.1 billion while the total impairment charge for the half year stood at Dh426.9 million compared to Dh258.4 million in the first half of 2014.

"As a result of growth in overall lending volumes, Bank's impairment charge was higher than what we saw in the previous year however our non-performing loans remained steady at 2.7 per cent," the chief executive said.

"Despite rising competition in the UAE banking market, the Group continues to record further improvement in year-on-year operating income and expense ratios," said England.

Total shareholder's equity totalled Dh7 billion including six months' profit. "Looking ahead, we will continue to aggressively grow the bank's top line in the second half of the year while strengthening our branch and ATM network across the country and launching additional digital banking solutions," added England. – Khaleej Times -


Yahsat signs new service partnership with Clicksat in Pakistan

posted on 28/07/2015

ABU DHABI, 28th July, 2015 (WAM) -- Yahsat, the Abu Dhabi-based satellite operator, yesterday announced that it has signed an agreement with new service partner Clicksat to distribute its internet broadband service, YahClick, to users across Pakistan. The partnership signing follows the official YahClick Pakistan launch on Monday 29th June.

Users will now be able to instantly connect to satellite broadband anywhere in the country using a compact satellite dish and modem, without the frustration of congested networks, including areas where terrestrial infrastructure is currently not available.

YahClick's broadband service will be delivered by Clicksat offering in country technical, operational and customer care.

Clicksat, a Marketing Company of REDtone Pakistan, is located in four major cities of Pakistan - Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and Multan.

David Murphy, Chief Commercial Officer, Yahsat said, "YahClick has already enjoyed great success across the Middle East, Africa Central and South West Asia, with notable installations in banking, education and public services, and with the ever growing demand for widespread access to reliable broadband internet, we are delighted to partner with Clicksat to extend our reach and enjoy similar successes in Pakistan".

He added, "Clicksat bring critical knowledge of the market and customer requirements, so their expertise coupled with the flexibility, reliability and ease of installation that YahClick offers, is a powerful combination to roll out this new service."

Nadeem Younes, Chief Executive Officer, Clicksat said, "In the past, satellite broadband internet connection was regarded as a luxury for the tech savvy people, however it is now critical technology for anyone requiring fast and reliable broadband services. Economic growth in rural communities is being hampered because there is little or poor access to the internet, and YahClick addresses these issues by being a cost effective, and versatile product that suits consumers, SMEs and corporations requiring reliable, fast internet access in untapped and underserved areas of Pakistan. We are delighted to be Yahsat's partner in bringing internet access to everyone in our country who needs it." – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Emirates to fly double daily to Lisbon from 1st January

posted on 28/07/2015

In response to strong demand, Emirates has confirmed it will start operating a second daily service to Lisbon, Portugal from 1st January 2016.

Timed to maximise a wave of new global connections to Lisbon, the second daily flight will offer travellers a convenient afternoon flight from Dubai to Lisbon helping to link customers in Australasia, East Asia, South Africa and West Asia with this vibrant city.

Since launching flights to Lisbon in July 2012 Emirates has recorded a significant increase in customer demand to and from the city with an average capacity growth of 15 percent per year. In line with the current daily service the second daily wide-bodied flight will offer passengers the highest standards of passenger comfort, with luxurious private suites in First Class, lie-flat beds in Business Class and generously-sized Economy Class seats.

"In the last three years our flights to Lisbon have gone from strength to strength both on the passenger and cargo side. There is clearly a need for another daily service to satisfy this demand, which is why we will start a second daily flight from 1st January 2016," said Hubert Frach, Emirates' Divisional Senior Vice President Commercial Operations West.

"The additional service will provide customers in Africa, the Far East and Australasia, the Middle East and West Asia with even easier access to Lisbon, supporting the burgeoning business and leisure traffic between these markets and Portugal," he continued. "This is coupled with an unparalleled experience in the air with on-board features like ice, our award-winning inflight entertainment system, world-class service and gourmet cuisine."

As one of Europe's warmest countries and boasting over 800 kilometres of Atlantic coast, medieval castles and scenic villages, Portugal continues to see strong growth across its tourism sector. In particular, visitor numbers from across the Far East continue to grow with China, Japan and Korea earmarked by the country's tourism board, Visit Portugal, as being key markets for growth.

"We continue to work closely with Visit Portugal to ensure a coordinated and sustained approach to attracting inbound tourism numbers to Portugal. Given our broad global network and convenient one-stop connection through Dubai we are confident that this second daily flight will help boost visitor numbers to Portugal even further," added Frach.

The growth in services to Lisbon by Emirates follows the recent announcement of the airline as shirt sponsor for the city's Benfica Football team until the end of the 2017/18 season, underscoring the airline's commitment to Portugal.

Emirates currently flies to 37 cities across Europe, offering more than 65 flights per day across the continent. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Nakheel reports Dh2.83 billion net profit for H1, 2015

posted on 28/07/2015

Nakheel, yesterday announced a net profit of Dh 2.83 billion for the first six months of 2015; an increase of nearly Dh1 billion – or 53 per cent, compared to the H1, 2014 profit of Dh1.85 billion.

The company said in a press that sharp increase is mainly due to continued strong performance by Nakheel's development business, with ongoing handovers of properties to customers. "The company's growing retail, leasing and leisure businesses also contributed to the overall financial results for H1 2015," it added.

Nakheel said it continues to focus on completing various development projects currently under construction, as well as expanding its retail, hospitality and residential leasing projects to further contribute to the growth in Dubai's real estate market and to further strengthen the overall financial position of the company.

Nakheel Chairman Ali Rashid Lootah said, "We have achieved a significant increase in our net profit for the first half of 2015 compared to the same period in 2014. We will build on these results during the second half of this year, and remain committed to playing a key role in contributing positively and effectively to Dubai's real estate sector. Our strategy of continuing to create more cash-generating assets will further boost our business and financial results in the coming years. As ever, we thank the Government of Dubai for its ongoing support and our investors for their increasing trust and confidence in Nakheel." – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


du wins Bronze Lion for creativity

posted on 28/07/2015

du garnered a Bronze Lion in the Film Craft category at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2015.

This is the world's biggest annual awards show and festival for professionals in the creative communications industry.

Last year, du earned the UAE's first-ever Gold Lion at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2014. It marked the first time that an entry from the region had ever won a Gold Lion in the film category.

This year's ground-breaking winning film ‘Too Informative' is part of a series of four films – including ‘Too Silly', ‘Too Distressing', and ‘Too Insulting – created by Leo Burnett Dubai for the du Tuesday campaign. Leo Burnett managed to beat stiff competition from 2,205 other entries – comprising a slew of world-renowned brands – in the Film Craft category. Judging of the 2015 awards took place in Cannes, France, where 366 global jurors met to debate, discuss and vote on the entries before whittling down the winners.

"We are so proud that du was awarded a Bronze Lion in the Film Craft category for its cutting-edge, multi-phased du Tuesday campaign,” said Hala Badri, Executive Vice President, Brand and Communications, du. – The Gulf Today -


Street Route numbers are there to make navigation 'simpler' and 'easier to remember in Abu Dhabi Island: ADM

posted on 28/07/2015

Abu Dhabi Municipality has said that Street Route numbers will positively impact and greatly ease the process of finding any location that one may desire through the creation of a smart underground system aimed at making travel simpler and more convenient for the city's residents and visitors alike.

Route numbers have also been added to overhead signs in both the city and its outskirts under the new addressing system ‘Onwani' (My Address). Onwani is now being rolled out by the Abu Dhabi City Municipality (ADM), in coordination with the Department of Municipal Affairs (DMA).

In the light of recent advancements, the new street names used in tandem with the route numbers, will contribute to navigating across the city in a much faster and smoother manner. The main streets of Abu Dhabi Island have been named after the Emirate's visionary leaders and heroes. Notable examples are Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Street (Route No. 18); and Sultan Bin Zayed the First Street (Route No. 20).

The Abu Dhabi Municipality has said that in order to honour the visionaries' wishes of making Abu Dhabi a world-class hub, the new system is in line with exemplary international standards while proudly upholding the local heritage.

"In addition to honouring our Emirati heritage through the new street names, overhead street name signs also clearly display the route numbers. This way our residents and visitors can easily navigate along different routes throughout the Island, and traveling from one location to another will become smoother and more convenient than ever before," according to ADM.

There are odd route numbers in one direction, and even numbers in the other. The odd route numbers are exactly the same as previous numbering; for instance Corniche Street remains as Route No. 1, while Route No. 3 remains Khalifa Bin Zayed the First Street. "However we have changed the even numbers to make them much easier to follow. Therefore Route No. 2 has been renamed Khalifa Al Mubarak Street (Al Bateen area); Route No. 4 is now King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Street (formerly Baynouna Street); with Route no. 6 now being Al Bateen Street. Meanwhile Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Street (previously Salam Street) will now be Route No. 24, among other vital changes," the ADM added.

Under Vision 2030, Abu Dhabi aims to cement its rise as one of the world's most advanced societies, and Onwani is a crucial component of that goal. The new overhead route numbers are part of an ambitious series of 17,000 new street name signs and 66,000 unique building number plates that ADM is installing throughout the year. Onwani will soon be implemented in Al Ain and in the Western Region as well. Onwani will serve the purpose of unifying the Emirate's addressing system while empowering citizens, residents, tourists and service providers alike to find any location accurately and instantly.

The Department of Municipal Affairs in collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Municipality has installed 11,488 internal street foundations and completed 95% of the installation. Over 59,848 address number has been installed in the buildings and villas whilst the process up to 91%has been completed in Abu Dhabi City. The address number panel includes the building number along with the QR Code. "To benefit this feature, you need to scan the QR code in your smart phone to receive your location instantly and any point of service close by. It can therefore, be safely assumed that this smart tool is 100 % ready for official use. This feature will make it much easier to share and receive location information on your smart phones via the Internet and will enable you to use it as a method of contact in emergency situations or to call for assistance should an ambulance be needed, among many other crucial uses," the ADM said.

The ADM has said that street signs installation has been completed in major districts such as Al Bahiya, Al Falah and Al Nahyan. The rest of the districts are in process of receiving unique street names as Onwani grows and develops itself as the smart wayfinding and navigation system of emirates of Abu Dhabi. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Hania DA wins Wathba Stud Farm Cup IV in Netherlands

posted on 28/07/2015

DUINDIGT, NETHERLANDS: Promising three-year-old filly Hania DA won the H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival's Wathba Stud farm Cup IV held at the Draf-en Renbaan Duindigt on Sunday.

Sunday's race was the fourth of the five Wathba Stud Farm Cup races scheduled to be held in The Netherlands.

With Victor and Lightning Bolt being non-starters, eight horses including winner of the previous Wathba Stud Farm Cup III – Rodin- started and the field included Fareedha, Pippa T Derham, Nabuko, Dicky and Nero DA.

Hania DA, the bay filly sired by Majd Al Arab was running only in her second career race having finished second to Nero DA in Ghlin, Belgium last month.

Owned and trained by Peter Deckers, Hania DA made no mistake second time out with jockey Jente Marien giving the Belgian bred filly a superb run.

Fareedha under Koen Clijmans finished second while lady jockeys Anna van den Troost and Jadey Peitrasiewicz finishing third and fourth on Dicky and Pippa T.

Lara Sawaya, Executive Director of the H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival, Chairperson of the International Federation of Horse Racing Academies (IFHRA), and Chairperson of Ladies and Apprentice Racing Committees in the International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing Authorities (IFAHR) said, "The Wathba Stud Farm Cup race series is aimed to give such young horses and those at the grass roots level to race and succeed. We had Bachair Qardabiyah winning the first two races in this series here in Holland and then Rodin won the third. We still have one more race Wathba Stud farm Cup race here this year."

The Sheikh Mansour festival is sustained by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority and coordinated by Abu Dhabi Sports Council in cooperation with Emirates Racing Authority, IFAHR, Emirates Arabian Horse Society, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, General Authority of Youth and Sports Welfare with The National Archives as the official partner and Emirates airline as the official carriers and sponsored by Invest AD, National Feed and Flour Production and Marketing Co. LLC, Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC), Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), The Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, Al Awani General Enterprises, Kabale, Al Wathba Centre, the UAE's General Women's Union, the H.H. Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy, Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition 2015, Dr. Nader Saab Switzerland, Al Wathba Centre, Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, Eastern Mangroves Suites-Abu Dhabi by Jannah, Yas Channel, Omeir Travels, Racing Post and Laboratoires Fadia Karam Cosmetics. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Veterinary Laboratory of ADFCA becomes first globally accredited lab to detect Corona virus in camels

posted on 28/07/2015

The Veterinary Laboratory of the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA) has obtained accreditation in examinations detecting corona virus in camels by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) to become the first laboratory globally accredited for detecting Corona virus according to ISO 17025.

Dr. Salama Suhail Al Muhairi, Director of Veterinary Laboratories Department of the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority said that the ADFCA's labs always strives to develop diagnostic tests for the detection of diseases in order to protect animal health in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, in line with the strategic plan of the emirate in the preservation of bio-security.

Al Muhairi expressed her happiness with this achievement, which confirms the quality of tests in veterinary laboratories of the ADFCA, noting that this achievement is a culmination of the ADFCA's efforts in general and veterinary laboratories in particular, which seeks through its efforts to provide safe food for the community.

On the other hand and in the framework of veterinary laboratories 's achievements of the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority, the ADFCA has recently signed a cooperation agreement with the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) as part of the authority's pursuit that its laboratories will be a reference centre for diseases of camels in the Middle East. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Musical inspired by Sheikh Mohammed’s poems to premiere next year

posted on 28/07/2015

A musical inspired by the poems of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, will have its premiere in January 2016.

The Brand Dubai, the innovation arm of the Government of Dubai Media Office, yesterday announced that it has signed an agreement with Rahbani Productions to create a stage production of ‘Al Fares' (The Knight), a musical nspired by Sheikh Mohammed's poems.

Written by renowned Lebanese theatrical director Marwan Rahbani, the one-act Arabic play depicts the horseback journey of a knight to rescue his lady-love ‘Shomous' from her kidnapper ‘Ghairan'.

A richly allegorical fantasy play, ‘Al Fares' tells the story of a warrior's determination to ensure his people are safe and prosperous in a world surrounded by violence and hatred.

During his perilous journey, the knight poetically muses on his deepest values, his aspirations for his people and the role of a leader.

The narrative, Sheikh Mohammed's poems, provokes a deep philosophical contemplation on themes ranging from love and humanity to leadership, courage and wisdom.

The knight's musings reveal him to be a poet-warrior who deeply loves his people and is willing to fight all odds to secure peace and prosperity for his land while remaining true to his human values.

The stage production of ‘Al Fares' will be a unique spectacle full of colour, music and dance featuring dazzling special effects, stunning visual splendour and enchanting choreography.

In order to make the play accessible to diverse audiences, English subtitles will be displayed on large monitors.

Commenting on the initiative, Mona Al Merri, Director General of the Government of Dubai Media Office said that the play's messages assume particular significance at a time when the Arab world needs to draw deeply from its culture, values and heritage to combat the challenges it faces. Al Rahbani, President and CEO of Rahbani Productions, expressed his happiness in partnering with Brand Dubai to present the unique stage show, which he described as one of the most significant productions in his artistic career.

He also said that he was honoured to be part of a creative project inspired by the poems of a great leader like Sheikh Mohammed, adding that the play will mark a milestone in the history of Arab musical theatre. – Gulf News -


Electric run to take place in Dubai this year

posted on 28/07/2015

Daman's ActiveLife Electric Run is set to make its UAE debut in Dubai on November 6.

Set to become a UAE favourite, the run is a celebration of health and happiness where participants can run or walk their way through a kaleidoscope of neon lights and energetic beats. Electric runners will also have the chance to dress up in the most vibrant, neon attire and become part of the show.

Following in the footsteps of Chicago, New York, London, Sydney, Singapore and many more of the world's greatest cities, thousands of electric runners are expected to descend on Dubai when the World's Brightest 5km run takes place in the UAE later this year.

The event will take participants on an unforgettable journey of music and light through seven themed courses, where they will be treated to the mysteries hiding in ‘Under the Sea' to an explosive fusion of colours in ‘Rainbow Road'.

"This event is an incredible fusion of light and sound so whether you are a regular runner or want to tackle your first 5K you will certainly appreciate the energy ActiveLife Electric Run will bring to Dubai,” said David Sanderson, Event Director from race organisers Fast Track.

The event, which has already attracted one million people in over 30 cities around the world, is now giving fans in the Middle East the chance to show their interest by registering at and clicking on the ‘Notify Me' link on the homepage.

The venue and further details of the full course layout will be revealed in the coming weeks. – Gulf News -