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It all begins with the Founder

posted on 22/11/2014

Youngsters from all over the UAE started a ten-day-long journey of the emirates by visiting the old house of Sheikh Zayed, the Founder of the nation.

The house is preserved as Al Ain Palace Museum.

Excited to be on the trip, the youngsters, aged between 15 and 17, gathered around, chirping and talking about the experience of travelling across the country and being in Sheikh Zayed's house, which many of them said was "very traditional”.

The teenagers are part of a trip called Journey of the Union, which has been organised and implemented by Al Bayt Mitwahid, an association that was formed earlier this year by employees of the Crown Prince Court.

The objective of the initiative is to cast light on the achievements of each of the emirates over the past 43 years, and foster greater awareness of the "journey” of these emirates.

Two boys and two girls from each emirate were selected to be a part of the programme.

The journey, which began yesterday, will take the pupils to landmarks such as the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, Masdar City and the under-construction Louvre Museum, Abu Dhabi, among others.

"Al Ain is the birthplace of Sheikh Zayed and thus we chose this as the starting point of our journey,” said Ayesha AlBakoush, representative of Al Bayt Mitwahid and leader of the journey.

Built in 1910, the palace and home of the ruler was converted into a museum in 1998.

It used to be the home of the ruling family and is a significant place.

"Through the next 10 days, we will be showing children sites of industrial, government, historical and environmental importance and development,” said Ms AlBakoush.

"They will also be interacting with important personalities who have contributed to the development of UAE.”

Ruaa Al Shehhi, 16, from Ras Al Khaimah, a participant in the journey, said: "I am very proud to be a part of this journey and hope that it will be a good experience. It's also a great way to meet people from different emirates and get to know their way of life.”

At the Al Ain Palace Museum, Sultan bin Ahmed Al Kuwaiti, who was representing the museum, spoke to the group about the importance of various sites.

He showed the participants the Majlis where people would come to meet Sheikh Zayed and talked to them about the significance of the place.

They were given a tour of a room that houses the family tree of the rulers and their portraits.

"I came to know that Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed was born here and UAE started from this very place,” said Sheikha Al Bayarq, a 15-year-old who lives in Umm Al Qaiwain.

"I am very excited to learn these things. I want to know about the past and about the ruling family so that later I may be able to inform others about these facts.”

Ahmed Al Bahri, a 15-year-old from Dubai, said it was the first time he had visited Al Ain.

"I found the palace museum very beautiful. It was very traditional. I think I am going to learn many things about my country in the next few days,” he said.

"This is the first time I have come here. We have learnt many things through this visit and also made new friends from different parts of the country. That is also a learning experience,” said Fatemah Al Salamy, 15.

After a tour of the palace museum, the students enjoyed a walk in Al Ain Oasis.

Mohammed Al Bahr, 15, from Ras Al Khaimah, said: "For most of us, this is the first time in an oasis. It's wonderful and we can see what our country used to be like and what people would do earlier.

"We are the sons of this country and we should see these things and know about them.”

Ali Saif Shawi, a 16-year-old from Umm Al Qaiwain, said: "This is the culture of the emirates and we are proud of it. I feel happy we are seeing these things. Others should see them, too.” – The National -


It’s time to express your love for UAE

posted on 22/11/2014

At least 1,000 workers of the Dubai Municipality will form a Human Flag to celebrate the upcoming 43rd UAE National Day.

The event is scheduled to take place at Zabeel Park tomorrow (Sunday) morning.

Parks and Horticulture Department Director Mohammed Abdul Rahman Al Awadi confirmed to Khaleej Times that workers, mostly from the horticulture section, will form the huge Human Flag by wearing T-shirts and caps in the colours of the UAE flag.

The department came up with the idea to celebrate the National Day in a way workers, who make Dubai beautiful through landscaping, could also be a part. The participating workers will be honoured at the function.

The department is also arranging 43 flower flags to mark the 43rd National Day. Earlier this month, Al Awadi told this paper that the department is using exclusive black petunia and sesuvium plants to meet the challenge of creating the black and green colours in the flower flags. The red and white are also petunia flowers. Some of these flower flags could already be seen on Jumeirah Road and near the Creek Park.

Digital Flag, online
survey, selfie contest

Citizens, expatriates and residents can show their love for the UAE on the occasion of the UAE National Day by participating in various campaigns and contests launched by different entities.

The public can be a part of the UAE's first Digital Flag, which aims to achieve two million signatures by December 5, when the UAE will have concluded its National Day celebrations, by signing up on the website

An initiative of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Community Development, the Digital Flag carries signatures, opinions and words expressing pride in the flag of the nation on the website. The campaign is using the hash tag #uae_flag on social networking sites to achieve its two million target.

Another way to express your love for country is to acknowledge it in a survey being conducted by the Dubai Statistics Centre. The DSC has been running social media campaigns urging the public to "Express your love to the #UAE in 3 mins by completing & spreading #spirit_of_the_union_survey:”

The Children's City in Dubai is running a photography competition called ‘Children's City Selfie' contest. "Everyone without age limit can participate in the competition by taking their own picture with UAE flag in the frame/background of Children's City,” said head of Children's City Naila Al Mansoori.

"The picture should be posted on Instagram and tagged @childrencity using hashtag#chidrencityselfie#childrencity before November 27. The winner's name will be announced during the National Day activities and valuable prizes will be distributed during the occasion of National Day celebrations at Children City,” she added in a media statement. – Khaleej Times -§ion=nationgeneral


Etihad Airways named CAPA Airline of the year

posted on 22/11/2014

Etihad Airways has been named CAPA Airline of the Year at the CAPA Aviation Awards for Excellence 2014 held in Antwerp, Belgium tonight.

The CAPA Aviation Awards for Excellence, the world's pre-eminent aviation strategy awards, are for strategic leadership in the aviation industry.

The Airline of the Year award is given to the carrier which has had the greatest impact on the development of the global airline industry, as a strategic leader and by setting a benchmark for others to follow.

Peter Harbison, Executive Chairman of CAPA, who presented the award to Etihad Airways said, "The efficiency of the aviation industry is strangled by archaic ownership and control rules that prevent cross border mergers and rationalisation of airline offerings. More than any other factor this has effectively confined the industry to drastic financial underperformance.

"Faced with this roadblock, no single full service airline has done more than Etihad Airways to challenge the status quo with its remarkable strategic partnership model.

"Recognising that organic growth was not likely to generate the rapid global expansion it needed, Etihad Airways has relied on an extensive network of codeshares and most notably, established its own ‘equity alliance', cemented by minority holdings in airlines around the world.

"But the strategy is more than just establishing a range of equity relationships to cement its alliance, in itself a unique development in global aviation. It has also generated shared benefits for each of its partners such as; mutual traffic feed and branding, joint purchasing and common frequent flyer programmes and more, that have stimulated additional business, not only for Etihad Airways.

"In a new world of aviation partnerships, Etihad Airways is at the strategic vanguard of equity relationships, as a growing number of airlines, notably in Asia, line up to emulate the success of this truly original model." James Hogan, Etihad Airways President and Chief Executive Officer, said, "We are delighted to be named Airline of the Year at the 2014 CAPA Aviation Awards for Excellence. It is not only a great honour but also a powerful endorsement of the Etihad Airways business model.

"The four-pillars of our strategy, organic expansion, codeshare partnerships, minority investments in other airlines and deep commercial agreements, are more than a new rule book for global aviation they are the keys to a long and sustainable future for the airline and its partners. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


UAE-EU Dialogue on Human Rights holds session in Brussels

posted on 22/11/2014

BRUSSELS: The 3rd Session of the UAE-EU Dialogue on Human Rights was held at the European Commission in Brussels.

Dr. Abdul Rahim Al Awadi, Assistant UAE Foreign Minister for Legal Affairs, headed the UAE delegation to the meeting, which also included Sulaiman Hamed Al Mazroui, UAE Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium, and Head of the UAE Mission to the European Union, as well as a number of senior officials from ministries and representatives of Public Benefit Organisations (PBOs).

The EU side was led by EU Special Representative for Human Rights Stavros Lambrinidis and comprised Head of the Arabian Peninsula, Iran and Iraq Division, John O'rourke in addition to a number of high-profile officials and experts from the European External Action Service.

Launched early last year under an initiative by UAE Foreign Minister HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton, the dialogue aims at deepening mutual understanding and maintaining communication and discussion on a variety of topics of mutual concern in human rights. It also contributes to highlight the bright image of the UAE in all fields.

The dialogue is held twice a year in rotation in Abu Dhabi and Brussels. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Trust, empowerment and inspiration are key to Emirati women’s success, says Bodour Al Qasimi

posted on 22/11/2014

Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairperson of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) and CEO of Kalimat Group, has commended the UAE leadership's support for women, and praised initiatives 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, to empower Emirati women and enhance their participation in public life.

Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi made the remarks during her participation in 16th Global Edition of the WIL Economic Forum (Women In Leadership), which took place in Dubai on the 19th and 20th of November.

Held under the patronage of the UAE Ministry of Economy, this significant event focused on making change happen by uniting 300 global influential business and thought leaders to discuss key issues on women in leadership.

Addressing the forum attendees, Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi considered herself to be extremely fortunate to be a witness to such progress in women leadership across all walks of life, thanks to the support of prudent leadership, particularly of H.H Sheikha Fatima, remarking that a lot has been achieved for Emirati women empowerment and that considerable ground has been covered.

She went on to emphasise that it was also evident that a lot remains to be achieved in creating the right conditions for women to thrive in business, in many parts of the world.

Sheikha Bodour encouraged the forum attendees to set actionable goals to facilitate the empowerment of women, stating, "Our purpose here is to instil trust and self-empowerment. Today, as I stand before you, allow me to call on each one of you to take on a pledge that each one of us cascade our energies, our inspirations, our resilience, our inner power to influence at least three women every month. I am confident that setting a measurable objective for ourselves will have a positive influence across the societies and communities we work with." On the side line of the forum, Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi met with philanthropist and women's empowerment champion Cherrie Blair, wife of Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and Head of the Cherrie Blair Foundation, and discussed some issues related to women empowerment in the region and entire world. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


UAE envoy participates in Arab-Belgian-Luxembourg Economic Forum

posted on 22/11/2014

BRUSSELS: Sulaiman Hamed Al Mazroui, UAE Ambassador to Belgium and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and European Union, took part in the 9th Arab-Belgian-Luxembourg Economic Forum in the Belgian capital Brussels.

This year the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan was the country in the spotlight.

Belgium Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders, and Jordan's Minister of Finance Umayya Toukan, were the guest of honour.

In attendance also were a number of Arab ambassadors accredited to Belgium, senior officials, businessmen and diplomats from the Arab countries and Belgium.

Organised by the Arab-Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce (ABLCC) in Brussels, the forum discussed a host of issues, the most prominent among them were cooperation between the Arab World and EU in financial and banking sectors between and ways to achieve energy sustainability in the Arab countries and the role of EU companies in developing Arab energy projects. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Sheikha Fatima empowers young finalists to complete Zayed Future Energy Prize Project

posted on 22/11/2014

The Zayed Future Energy Prize rewards organisations, individuals and students who share the vision of the late founding father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, for a more sustainable future.

In line with that vision, Mother of the ‘Emirates' Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak - Mother of the Nation, 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, has made a generous donation to each of the non-winning finalists of the Global High Schools category in January 2014.

The Global High Schools category was established under the Prize in 2012 to fund projects which would accelerate the deployment of renewable energy in schools; instilling an ethos of sustainability in young students around the world. As a finalist for the 2014 award, the Abaarso School of Science and Technology in Somaliland, East Africa; received the generous donation from Her Highness. With the support of ARC Initiative; an alumni organisation of Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, the school is pleased to announce it has now completed the first phase of its renewable energy project in less than a year.

Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak said, "Under the leadership of our founding president, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan - may the peace and mercy of God always be with him – we have laid the foundation for a sustainable future for the nation and the world. The Zayed Future Energy Prize recognises those who share this vision, giving the youth, as leaders of tomorrow an equal measure of responsibility in crafting that future." "In order to overcome the global challenges of energy, waste and water we face today, we require innovative thinking and unified efforts at every level of society. The students of the Abaarso School of Science and Technology have demonstrated the value of clean energy to communities today. I commend their achievements and the altruism of ARC Initiative who have helped make their vision possible," she said.

The donation was used to fund the material cost of Abaarso's project to restore the school's single wind turbine, install energy-efficient solar water heaters and LED lights, as well as renovate the micro-grid electricity distribution system. The project will provide the school building with essential, safe, and sustainable electricity and hot water.

Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Director General of the Zayed Future Energy Prize, said, "The Zayed Future Energy Prize is proud to have enabled this inspiring partnership, where a deserving school has benefited from trained sustainability experts to address its pressing energy challenges. We are both honoured and grateful to Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak for her generosity in making this project possible. This is an example of the community spirit the Prize fosters amongst past winners and partners – to enable collaboration and teamwork towards a greater public cause." ARC Initiative is implementing the two part project over several stages. The first stage involved planning and repairs to the building structure, between 26 March and 1 April, 2014. Six members of the team visited the school to make the necessary modifications for retrofitting the renewable energy technologies. Along the way, ARC Initiative had to overcome many challenges, from the harsh environmental conditions to the remote location of the campus.

The second stage involved the installation of LED lights and solar water heaters, between 20 - 25 September. These technologies are expected to reduce energy consumption by up to 20 percent, an estimated saving of 2kW at peak times. LED lights were installed on the school's basketball courts and guardhouse accompanying the four solar water heaters fitted to the teachers' accommodation.

A key highlight of the project is the student's involvement at every stage. ARC Initiative has taught the students the skills required to install and maintain the equipment themselves.

The team will return in early 2015 for the second phase, to repair the school's wind turbine using data collected on-site. They will also oversee the renovation of the campus micro-grid system, completing the 2014 schools project outline. Upon completion, the school will reduce its energy consumption by as much as 75 per cent.

Kyle Weber, ARC Initiative Co-Founder and Sustainability Project Manager for the Abaarso School, said: "The ARC Initiative has a growing portfolio of development projects in communities in Africa and Asia. Our commitment to sustainability and education is well-aligned with the objectives of the Zayed Future Energy Prize. The Prize has given our organisation a worthwhile opportunity to assist the Abaarso School in this landmark project. We are also looking at deepening our engagement, assisting future applicants, participants and winners of the Zayed Future Energy Prize with achieving their sustainability goals." The Abaarso School of Science and Technology is among the three finalists from Africa in the Global High Schools category of the 2015 Zayed Future Energy Prize. This year's project proposal plans to reduce diesel and water purchases by 75-100 per cent by 2016, expanding on the school's current efforts. Clean energy initiatives would be extended to benefit the wider community through the installation of solar refrigerators, solar lights and chargers around the nearby village.

Masdar Institute's Engineers without Borders and ARC Initiative are also engaged in other projects in collaboration with Zayed Future Energy Prize winners and finalists. In addition to supporting the development of a Knowledge Centre at the Kirya Secondary School in Tanzania (2013 Global High Schools Africa winner), Masdar Institute's student chapter and alumni organisation are also sharing technical expertise for converting farm waste to electricity at the LIWA International School in the Western region of Abu Dhabi. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


EIDA receives two awards

posted on 22/11/2014

The Emirates Identity Authority (EIDA), has received two awards from the International Finance Magazine (IFM) for 2014 in the two categories of the "Best Strategic Federal Project Implementation in GCC" and the "Most Influential Federal Personality in GCC" in terms of contribution to the digital social inclusion and the shift to e-government.

This was announced during the IFM's annual ceremony held in London the day before yesterday in the presence of Dr. Eng. Ali Mohamed Al Khouri, Emirates ID Director General.

The Emirates ID bagged the first award in recognition of its project of using its smart ID card in banking transactions. This was the first time that the IFM granted this award to a project that did not belong to the annual common category of "Infrastructure related to roads and buildings." The award was granted in recognition of the uniqueness and leading aspect of the project in terms of developing smart ID card-related services and apps.

The Emirates ID bagged the second award in recognition of the role of its higher management in globally disseminating knowledge about the digital ID's domains and advanced apps and other social issues as well as its role in promoting the concept of giving the society the opportunity to make the most of the smart ID card.

Al Khouri dedicated the win of the two prestigious awards to the U.A.E. prudent leadership and the Emirates ID board of directors, emphasising that developing the government sector and working diligently to achieve excellence in all its services in line with the U.A.E. Vision 2021 constituted the Emirates ID's primary motivation to be in the forefront and become a world-class organisation through creativity, innovation and efficient performance.

"The Emirates ID is proud of this win, which is one of the fruits of its keenness on following the best strategic planning methods as well as its commitment to efficient and effective performance, noting that the win is the culmination of its strategic partnerships and co-operation with the U.A.E. financial and banking organisations," Al Khouri said.

Al Khouri underlined the Emirates ID's keenness on being at the forefront of organisations that contribute effectively to streamlining services in both the public and private sectors and making it easy for customers to access them anytime and anywhere, relying on its smart ID card issued to all citizens and residents and known for providing the highest levels of security, privacy and reliability.

"The Emirates ID is seeking to render its card the first choice for all service organisations in the U.A.E., particularly in the financial sector, by activating it for use in providing banking services and making e-payments, thereby contributing to building the elements of secure digital economy in the U.A.E. and keeping pace with the rapid changes taking place in business and services sectors at the local and global levels," Al Khouri said.

The jury of the award expressed its appreciation of the Emirates ID's contribution and efficient efforts for enabling the ID card to be used in banking transactions, praising the facilities provided by the Emirates ID to the organisations working in this area to enable them to take advantage of the apps of its smart card. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Zayed Giving Initiative intensifies voluntary programmes in Africa

posted on 22/11/2014

The Zayed Giving Initiative has intensified its voluntary programmes in Africa, as part of its global international aid campaign.

The campaign seeks to deliver humanitarian assistance to 3 million children and elderly people, with the participation of thousands of volunteers in countries across the world, in line with the humanitarian legacy the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

The initiative also comes as part of the One Million Volunteers Campaign, which seeks to create a culture of voluntary and charitable work, as well as partnerships among individuals and institutions.

The volunteers of the Zayed Giving initiative in countries around the world have completed more than one million hours of volunteer work in villages in Egypt, Sudan, Kenya, Somalia and Morocco, in partnership with humanitarian voluntary work centres.

The initiative also intensified the work of its voluntary teams at the local and international levels in various health, educational and cultural fields, which aimed at spreading participation in voluntary work and empowering youths.

Emirati heart surgeon Dr Adel Al Shamri, CEO of the Zayed Giving Initiative, said that volunteers are role models in the field of collective work, as well as in humanitarian and societal volunteering. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


ERC continues to dispatch aid to Syrian refugees in Lebanon

posted on 22/11/2014

The U.A.E. Emirates Crescent Authority (ERC) has continued to offer relief aid to the displaced Syrians in Lebanon under the supervision of the U.A.E. Embassy in Lebanon.

The ERC launched a new relief campaign at the Lebanese-Syrian border villages to coincide with the winter season in response to appeals for relief received by the Embassy from these areas, where 10,000 Syrian and Palestinian families who were displaced in the wake of recent violence in the region.

The mufti of Balabek and the beneficiaries thanked the U.A.E. leadership and the ERC for their assistance. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Team Abu Dhabi’s Al-Hameli snatches final podium place behind Chiappe and Torrente in home Grand Prix

posted on 22/11/2014

Team Abu Dhabi's Ahmed Al-Hameli claimed the final podium position behind Frenchman Philippe Chiappe and the Qatar Team's Shaun Torrente in Friday's UIM F1 H2O Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi at the Breakwater.

Chiappe had claimed the first pole position of his career on Thursday and fended off a fierce challenge from the Qatar Team's Shaun Torrente throughout the 37-lap race. The pair pulled clear of the chasing pack and Al-Hameli was the leader of that group throughout to record the best result of the season for Team Abu Dhabi. The Emirati had passed Erik Stark early in the race to move up from fourth. Thani Al-Qamzi began the race from 14th and moved through the tail-enders to seal ninth position in the second Team Abu Dhabi boat.

HH Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Khalifa Al-Nahyan, Advisor to the President, and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC), Sheikh Marwan Al Mualla, Chairman of Umm Al Qaiwain Lands and Property Department, and Chairman of Emirates Motorsport Federation, Sheikh Zayed bin Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Sheikh Mohammed bin Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan attended the honouring ceremony of the winners.

"The dream was to take a home win for Sheikh Sultan and my team, but we are happy with a podium finish against such strong opposition," insisted Al-Hameli.

Mohammed Al-Mehairbi and Rashid Al-Remeithi started from the rear of the field for the 20lap UIM F-4S Trophy and race and were not able to gain water on their rivals. They finished the race in eighth and ninth overall. Australian Briney Rigby won her second race in as many days and maintains an outside chance of pipping Germany's Mike Szymura to the 2014 title.

Team Abu Dhabi is supported by Etihad Airways as the official carrier and sponsor and runs under the patronage of HH Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Khalifa.

Grand Prix Al-Hameli and Al-Qamzi began the race from fourth and 14th after Al-Qamzi's technical issues but it was vital they made a clean start to the turn buoy and through the first couple of corners. Philippe Chiappe lined up on pole and kept his lead through the buoy and the first lap, with Al-Hameli passing Erik Stark to move into third place. Al-Qamzi climbed from 14th to ninth.

Chiappe was not going to give his lead away without a fight and the Frenchman continued to edge away from Torrente and Al-Hameli. Torrente had no answer to the Frenchman's pace at the front and Al-Hameli continued to fend off the challenge from Sami Selio and Alex Carella for third place.

Chiappe and Torrente were now coasting in first and second places, but Al-Hameli continued to defend his third place and Al-Qamzi held ninth heading into the final 10 laps.

There were no late dramas for Team Abu Dhabi and the duo finished in third and ninth places, with Chiappe sealing the win and the lead in the championship and Torrente finishing second overall.

Al-Hameli had the bit between his teeth in the morning's one hour of free practice and set the fastest lap of 46.47sec during 23 laps on the course. Sixteen of the 18 racers took to the water and Norway's Marit Stromoy was his closest challenger with a best time of 46.72sec. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Al Jalila Foundation launches 575km-7EmiratesRun

posted on 22/11/2014

Al Jalila Foundation launched on Friday the 575km-7EmiratesRun to raise Dh777,777 to support more patients in the U.A.E. who cannot afford medical treatment.

The 7EmiratesRun will start on November 21 from Abu Dhabi and culminate in Dubai on the 43rd U.A.E. National Day on December 2, 2014.

Dr Abdulkareem Sultan Al Olama, CEO of Al Jalila Foundation, said the expansion of the 7EmiratesRun and the strong support it has received reflect the significant impact that government bodies, corporates, foundations and members of the community can have on people's lives.

when expansion of the 7EmiratesRun and the strong support it has received reflect the significant impact that government bodies, corporates, foundations and members of the community can have on people's lives.

Last year, Dubai-based runners traversed the seven emirates to raise funds to help Mohammed Ayoub, a Sharjah toddler suffering from limb deformities, get back on his feet. A total of Dh100,000 was raised to fund his surgeries and post-operative care. Today, Mohammed is able to walk with prosthetic support.

The funds were raised by the runners through Al Jalila Foundation's charitable fund A'awen that helps patients in the U.A.E. who cannot afford medical treatment. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Armin van Buuren plays epic set at Abu Dhabi F1 concert

posted on 22/11/2014

As the first DJ to headline the Grand Prix's main stage, Armin van Buuren was always a divisive booking – dance music itself being a divisive force. But any doubters needed only to scan the shimmering sea of swaying limbs that greeted the Dutchman's epic two-and-a-half-hour set at du Arena on Friday night.

He opened with the title track of his latest album Intense – a mini-symphony of euphoric strings and pounding beats. The word hung symbolically on the big screens around him, a mission statement of what was to come.

He may be just one man, but van Buuren's colossal stage show was bigger than any band, showers of confetti, shots of smoke and blazing pyrotechnics dazzling frazzled race-goers' senses. The DJ is a true connoisseur of sound, his blaring sonic palette and deep bass juddering harder than the zoom of any F1 car, while the dramatic visuals made ample use of the huge new three-tier screens either side of the stage.

Amazingly, this dramatic production is a scaled-down take on the DJ's ongoing Armin Only tour – notably lacking the aerial artists – but customised specially for Abu Dhabi.

"It's a special weekend,” said van Buuren, the biggest trance DJ on the planet, in an exclusive backstage interview moments before taking to the stage. "It's a big honour to be asked to play the Formula One, and we wanted to bring something other than just a normal DJ set.”

Most of van Buuren's music has just two modes – in-your-face upbeat and full-on audio assault – and van Buuren's stamina may have outlived some of his audience's. But the majority of the crowd were with Armin all the way, arms aloft and euphoric grins the norm.

The DJ matched his young and energetic fans, jumping up and down with the childish enthusiasm of a man half his 37 years, mouthing words and punching the sky so often that at times it seemed his hands spent more time in the air than at the decks. Fatboy Slim anthem Eat Sleep Rave Repeat was broken down into a mantra-like singalong, the DJ leading the thronging masses into a collective left-right wave.

"It's a sign of the times,” added van Buuren backstage. "Young people grow up not listening to rock music or hip-hop or R&B anymore. They grow up listening to this thing that some people call EDM, or whatever you want to call it.”

While there were more EDM-influenced builds, drops and bass lines than in earlier, purer tours, van Buuren deserves credit for sticking to his musical ideals and, unlike many competing DJs, choosing not to flower his set with familiar floor-fillers.

Two notable exceptions were takes on Tiësto's Adagio for Strings and Faithless's Insomnia, timeless anthems that cued mass hysteria. The biggest reaction of all, however, went to van Buuren's own sole Billboard smash This Is What it Feels Like, an inevitable encore which began as a live solo piano ballad before building to a collective, electric catharsis.

Earlier in the evening, the U.A.E. duo Hollaphonic played the biggest gig of their career, assisted by guest vocalists Kevin Murphy, Brit Chick and Dia Hassan. The band's radio-ready electro-pop translated incredibly to the arena-sized audience, surely winning them stacks of new fans. All eyes are now on next year's hotly anticipated debut album, Personal Space. – The National -