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UAE Publishing House wins first Children Publishing Award

posted on 18/04/2014

Three prominent publishing houses won awards at the first edition of the Arab Children's Book Publisher's Forum Award.

The awards ceremony, held last Wednesday at the SCRF, was attended by Abdullah bin Mohamed Al Owais, President of Sharjah Department of Culture and Information, Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Director of the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) and other prominent figures in the Arab literary world.

The first prize of Dh 25,000 went to Kalimat, the UAE's first Publishing House dedicated to Arabic Children's Book. The winning book "Majd's Box" by author Kifah Bu Ali Al Hamrani speaks about the child's right to express him or herself and to live in peace and equality amongst other children from around the world.

The book " Tolerance of a Small Tree," written by Abeer Anwar and published by Egyptian publishing house "Dar Nahdet Masr" won the second award worth Dh 15,000 and the book "Zeinab's Fingers" from Lebanese publishing house Dar Asala won the third award worth Dh 10,000.

Abdul Latif Ashour, Chairman of the Arab Children's Book Publishers Forum spoke about the important role of this award in enhancing the level of children's book publishing in the Arab world. "It's also great that the first edition of this competition should coincide with Sharjah being named as the Islamic Culture Capital for 2014," said Ashour, emphasising the importance of Sharjah culturally.

The judging panel included a literary figure, a representative from a publishing house and an artist. "We made sure that all three aspects of a children's book text, illustration and production were present in the judging panel," said Mahmoud Hassonah, Executive Secretary of the Arab Children's Book Publishers Forum.

He explained that 20 publishing houses from around the Arab world took part with no more than 3 books each.

"This award will encourage authors to come up with new ideas, will encourage publishing houses to excel in terms of the final production of the books and will also give publicity to the members of the forum," said Hassonah.

Heading the panel was Nour Al Huda Al Nuwairi, professor at the Faculty of Literature at Tunis University who praised the works of the entrants and said that the winners ticked all the boxes for a successful children's book.

"This is a very important award, because there's nothing more important than the child. If we take care of children we take care of the adults of the future," she said.

Also in the panel were Nourhan Mohamad - Head of the Combined Publishing and Children's Book Department at the Egyptian-Lebanese Publishing House and UAE Artist and Illustrator Mattar Bin Lahej. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Emirati sign language promoted

posted on 18/04/2014

People with hearing disability in the UAE will have a new dictionary of Emirati sign language that will help the deaf better communicate and learn the nuances of the new language.

The Emirati sign language is being used by the deaf to communicate, but the language is in its infancy and needs a database (of signs), said a campaigner.

Bedour Al Raqbani, founder of Kalimati, a speech and communication centre, is promoting the Emirati sign language and encourages everyone to learn it and has involved international support for this initiative. (Kalimati means "My Words” in Arabic).

Her campaign also pulled in Emirati singer Hussain Al Jassmi, the UN Ambassador at Large for the Arab and Gulf region. A truck went on a road show through four emirates promoting the Emirati sign language.

"People with hearing disabilities have a hard time communicating with those with normal hearing because very few people know or learn sign language”, she said. "Without communicating, one cannot be part of the society.

Bedour said many deaf people are excluded from society when they should have equal rights as those without this "minimal disability”.

The campaign ended recently (last Wednesday) with an international conference titled, "Hear My Voice — Empowering the Deaf”, that was held under the patronage of Sheikh Nahyan Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Social Development.

There are no figures how many people with hearing disability there are in the UAE, but Bedour cited international statistics that there are 360 million people worldwide who are born deaf.

Dr Joseph Murray, board member of The World Federation of the Deaf (WFD), said the hearing disabled need full access to sign language from birth so as to achieve their full potential and their rights in society.

He was speaking to Gulf News through a sign interpreter on the sidelines of the conference held at the Dubai Health Care City (DHCC).

The doctor later delivered a keynote address pushing for human rights of deaf people worldwide.

Dr Murray said governments in the Gulf region should provide equal opportunities to those who are hard of hearing. "There is a need for sign language in every day society,” he said.

The doctor said American sign language is the fourth-most popular language in the US and that more and more people are "signing”. "UAE should make it possible for the deaf to become involved in every day activities,” he said.

Promoting sign language for everyone, he said research has shown that children who can hear, but learn sign language, do better in reading abilities.

"People do not understand the issues deaf people face and their capabilities,” he said. "Many are intimidated by the deaf, but if they are included in society, people can see how successful they can be,” he said.

Dr Murray said more and more countries are employing interpreters to work with the deaf. "In the States, we have professors, doctors and attorneys [who have hearing disability],” he said.

Marwan Abedin, chief executive officer, DHCC, said, "Raising awareness is key to overcoming prejudice against any form of disability including hearing loss and deafness. The ‘Hear Us Sign' Campaign will help address such barriers at many levels,” he said. – Gulf News – Read more:


Abu Dhabi Film Festival announces its call for entries

posted on 18/04/2014

The Abu Dhabi Film Festival (ADFF) is accepting entries for its eighth edition, to be held from October 23 until November 1. Entries will be accepted until July 15.

Since its inaugural edition in 2007, the festival has been bringing the best in Arab and international film to Abu Dhabi, while showcasing creative talent in UAE and in the region. In 2013, ADFF received more than 2,000 submissions from 102 countries and presented 90 feature films and 70 short films from 51 countries.

Entries are now open for all categories – feature length or short narrative, animation and documentary films). The selected films will play in the following sections:

Narrative Competition — international feature-length fiction films.

Documentary Competition — international non-fiction feature-length films.

New Horizons Competition — international first and second feature-length narrative films.

Short Films Competition — international narrative and documentary short films.

Emirates Film Competition — short films from the UAE and GCC countries.

Showcase — outstanding recent narrative and documentary features, eligible for the Audience Choice Award.

Our World — films that raise awareness of environmental and social related issues.

In addition to the awards given by ADFF official juries, the films will compete also for The Child Protection Award, The FIPRESCI and NETPAC awards.

Films submitted to the festival should have had their first public screening after November 1, 2013, and should not have a public screening in the MENA region before the presentation at ADFF.

ADFF also honours exceptional achievements in film with the Black Pearl Awards with cash prizes that are meant to facilitate future projects from around the world.

• Visit Email or call 02 401 1906. – The National - Read more:

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ADX successfully launches X-Stream

posted on 18/04/2014

Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) has announced that the new trading system, X-Stream Trading has gone live as of the opening of trading at 10:00 am today Thursday 17th April. X-Stream Trading, developed by NASDAQ OMX, is the most widely used exchange trading system in the world. The final full-function test of the system was completed successfully by ADX on 12th April in the presence of NASDAQ OMX.

The agreement for the provision of X-Stream Trading was signed between ADX and NASDAQ OMX in May 2012. The agreement extended the existing management contract with NASDAQ OMX for a further 5 years, and for the upgrade to X-Stream Trading which has now been achieved. NASDAQ OMX has been providing ADX with technology support since the latter's inception in 2000.

X-Stream Trading provides a proven, functionally rich, multi-asset trading platform that complies with international standards and policies. The new platform will improve ADX's trading performance and transparency, and ensure low latency in pre- and post-trade or "at trade" risk management checks. It will also allow faster back office reconciliation of transactions.

The upgraded platform will handle not only the trading of equities but it will also support Market Making activity as well as transactions of fixed income and ETF instruments, while providing the scalability to allow additional instruments to be added at a later date. The new platform will allow ADX to handle an unlimited number of indices.

Commenting on the successful launch, Rashed Al Baloushi, CEO of ADX, in a press release, said, "This is a proud moment for us. Making X-Stream available for our investors, brokers and other stakeholders takes us to a completely new operational level and prepares the way for the next stage of our development.

The launch of X-Stream is the culmination of a vast amount of work done by both ADX and our partners at NASDAQ OMX to achieve a faultless transition, and it is a proud moment for us to make X-Stream available for our investors, brokers and other stakeholders. This is not just about the adoption of world class technology - it is about the aspirations of ADX to be a world class window for investors into the opportunities that Abu Dhabi offers. I would like to thank our partners both at NASDAQ OMX, but also the many brokers who took part in the test runs of the system, for their support and guidance throughout the process." The implementation of X-Stream Trading coincides with the introduction of a new communication system - FIX 5.0 - between ADX and brokers which allows greater two way communication with the new trading system. ADX is the first exchange in the region to go-live with the in memory vetting model of X-Stream trading. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Bu Hasa Asset of ADCO wins the British RoSPA Award

posted on 18/04/2014

In recognition of the excellent Health Safety and Environment (HSE) performance throughout its business processes and installations, the Bu Hasa Asset of Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operation (ADCO) has received the "RoSPA Gold Award for Occupational Safety and Health" from the British Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).

The award is a testament to ADCO's efforts to provide a safer working environment for all its employees and to ADCO's commitment to HSE initiatives.

With the RoSPA Gold Award, ADCO yet again proves that it is a world class performer and remains committed to sustain improvement throughout its business processes and operations, the recent edition of the company's in-house magazine, Al Waha, reported.

The RoSPA awards are prestigious and are applied for by many multinationals and government companies each year, and the awards were assessed by an independent adjudicating panel of experts drawn from across various industries and disciplines.

The assessment was based on key performance questions that covered occupational health and safety management systems, approaches to occupational health, levels of compliance with control measures (with evidence from active monitoring of performance) for principal risks, among other factors.

This presentation of the award represents international recognition of the continuous effort, dedication, engagement and commitment of ADCO employees and contractors in the implementation of the established HSE systems, procedures and best practices.

ADCO had previously achieved the Silver Award in 2012, the first occasion on which it had submitted an entry for the awards process. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


TAQA secures US$200m Samurai loan

posted on 18/04/2014

TAQA, the global energy company based in Abu Dhabi, yesterday announced the successful signing of a US$00 million (JPY 20.4 billion) Samurai loan facility.

The five-year loan was arranged by Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ at a competitive 60 basis points over Japanese Yen LIBOR, and has been fully swapped into US Dollars by Mitsubishi UFJ Securities. The funds will be used to refinance a portion of TAQA's upcoming US$1.2 billion bond maturity.

"This is the first part of our 2014 refinancing operation. The Samurai loan brings in a new pool of liquidity for TAQA at extremely competitive rates," said Stephen Kersley, Chief Financial Officer at TAQA. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


UAE world’s first country to launch
 IPM mobile

posted on 18/04/2014

The application aims to help customs inspectors fight counterfeits and protect intellectual property rights by providing the related information via mobile phones.

In coordination with the World Customs Organisation (WCO), the Federal Customs Authority (FCA) launched the IPM Mobile to combat counterfeiting and piracy on smart phones. The UAE is the world's first country that launched this application on mobile phones as the WCO is to launch the application in the member states in next June.

The application aims to help customs inspectors fight counterfeits and protect intellectual property rights by providing the related information via mobile phones.

Khalid A. Al Bustani, the FCA acting director-general, expressed his pleasure that the WCO has selected the UAE to be the first country to launch the application via the smart phones after successfully applying it via computer.

"The UAE selection reflects its significant position on the map of the international trade and confirms the progress of work in the customs sector allowing the application of the latest systems in customs inspection and examination” said Al Bustani.

"Faced with the growing trade in counterfeit goods, the WCO and its Members are determined to develop the most efficient tools to fight this menace. Safeguarding the health and safety of consumers across the globe is one of the WCO's priorities, and IPM's mobile version is a significant step forward” said WCO secretary-general, Kunio Mikuriya.

Secretary-General Mikuriya added, "Working with the UAE on this pilot phase was an obvious choice given our previous successful cooperation to launch the PC version back in April 2012. The WCO appreciates the UAE's ongoing efforts to tackle the illicit trade of counterfeit and pirated goods.”

The UAE is keen to support plans for facilitating trade and fighting counterfeit, Al Bustani stressed. – Khaleej Times -§ion=uaebusiness


Etihad Airways thanks key strategic partners in Canada

posted on 18/04/2014

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, last night hosted a VIP reception in Toronto to celebrate the valued contribution of key partners in enhancing air connections between Canada, the UAE and other markets around the world.

The event was attended by James Mueller, Senior Vice President Sales of Etihad Airways, who was joined by more than 150 high-level guests, including government officials, ambassadors, travel agents and trade partners. Etihad Guest Gold Elite members and representatives from the airline's code-share and equity alliance were also present.

Canada is an important market for Etihad Airways, which has carried over 750,000 passengers on the airline's Toronto route since the service commenced in October 2005, equal to more than 25 percent of the city's 2.8 million residents. The popularity of the service has been bolstered by a strong and fast-growing trade relationship between Canada and the UAE.

Transactions between the two countries totalled US$1.6 billion last year, almost 95 percent of which was generated by Canadian exports to the UAE. The UAE is Canada's largest merchandise export market in the Middle East and North Africa.

Etihad Airways has invested in the Canadian economy through the purchase of 11 flight training simulators, valued at more than US$310 million, from Montreal-based manufacturer CAE since 2007. The airline's single largest order was in July last year, when it signed a contract for seven CAE simulators, with a list price value of US$200 million.

150 Canadians are also employed by Etihad Airways, half of whom are pilots and cabin crew. In Toronto, the airline has 12 employees, led by the country manager James Harrison.

Addressing last night's event at the Four Seasons Hotel Toronto, Mr. Mueller said, "Canada is a very important market for us, and to Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates. There are approximately 150 Canadian companies in the UAE and more than 40,000 Canadian national residents in the UAE, so demand for travel between our nations is strong.

"As our operations continue to grow in Canada, so does our economic contribution. Etihad Airways' total expenditure in Canada was US$12.2 million last year, excluding fuel and wages." Etihad Airways' partnership with Air Canada was launched in 2013, after the two airlines signed a Memorandum of Understanding to enhance travel services. From 1st May 2014, the agreement will be enhanced to provide Etihad Airways' premium passengers with access to Air Canada's Business Class lounge at Toronto Pearson International Airport. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Emirates reduces flights to 41 destinations for 80 day period, maintains services to all existing points

posted on 18/04/2014

Emirates airline will continue to serve all of its worldwide destinations during the forthcoming 80 day period of runway upgrade works at Dubai International Airport starting 1st May.

However, it has had to reduce flights to over 40 destinations, and change timings on some of its flights.

These changes will not impact customers booked to fly between May and July, as the flight schedules were planned and implemented months ahead of time. Customers or travel agents searching for flight options on Emirates will only see those flights that are available, the Dubai-based airline said today.

"Customers who have booked to fly with us, or are considering to fly with us during this time, can be assured that it is business as usual. On routes where Emirates has had to reduce frequency, we have upgraded to bigger aircraft where possible to recover part of the capacity. We have done a lot of preparation work behind the scenes together with all airport stakeholders to ensure that there will be as little inconvenience to our customers as possible, and we look forward to resuming our full schedule of flights in July," said Tim Clark, President, Emirates Airline.

"As the biggest operator at Dubai International, accounting for about 50% of traffic, of course we have had to take the biggest hit in reducing flights. There will be an impact on our revenues to the tune of approximately Dh 1 billion. However, we understand the need for this upgrading work to be done, and we support it wholeheartedly. It will add much-needed capacity to the airport, and having world-class infrastructure ultimately means a better experience for customers. So we have to take the long-term view and manage the short term pain," he added.

Emirates will ground 20 aircraft in May, 22 in June, and 22 in July, as Dubai Airports launches a comprehensive runway upgrade project which will see both runways at Dubai International close alternatively for resurfacing and other enhancement works.

All Emirates passenger flights will continue to operate from Dubai International Airport (DXB) during the runway upgrading period from 1st May - 20th July, while its freighter operations will move to Al Maktoum International at Dubai World Central (DWC) on 1st May as planned. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Dubai Duty Free’s double win at DFNI global awards

posted on 18/04/2014

Dubai Duty Free made a double appearance on the stage at the Duty Free News International (DFNI) Global Awards for Travel Retail Excellence held in London recently, when the operation was announced the winner in two categories: "Best Airport Travel Retailer of the Year” and "Best New Shop Opening”.

Dubai Duty Free, which announced a 10 per cent increase in first quarter sales, beat stiff competition to emerge as winner in the DFNI online survey within the two categories. The latter was awarded for the January 2013 opening of Concourse A.

Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman of Dubai Duty Free, accepted the awards from DFNI Publisher Amanda Felix, along with editor, Gary Scattergood. – Khaleej Times -§ion=uaebusiness


Mubadala releases full year 2013 financial results

posted on 18/04/2014

Mubadala Development Company, Mubadala, the Abu Dhabi-based investment and development company, yesterday announced its full year financial results and business highlights for 2013.

The results reflect a strong financial and operational performance, with growth in UAE-based sectors including aerospace, aluminium manufacturing and renewable energy.

Mubadala Group CEO and Managing Director, Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, said, "2013 was a strong year of financial returns and major project delivery for Mubadala. Growth of our diversified global financial portfolio was complemented by significant accomplishments in the Emirate, including the creation of a new global industrial champion in Emirates Global Aluminium and progress across other industry sectors. We also increased our international investments and formed new partnerships that will drive growth in our global platforms and increase our presence in key markets." Business highlights from across the Mubadala Group in 2013 include unification of DUBAL and EMAL to create Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA), an industrial champion for the UAE which is now among the largest aluminium companies globally. The commitment of aero-structures and engine parts manufacturing work packages valued at Dh 22 billion over 10 years from the industry's most established companies including Airbus, Boeing, GE and Rolls Royce.

Other highlights for Mubadala in 2013 included the inauguration of Shams 1, the first concentrated solar power plant in the region, and London Array, the world's largest offshore wind farm, together representing a total of 730 MW of clean energy. The UAE launch of YahClick, Yahsat's sophisticated satellite broadband service, and its acquisition of over 20,000 subscribers across the Middle East and Africa by the end of 2013.

2013 also saw the opening of Healthpoint, a fully integrated primary care and multi-specialty hospital located at Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi, bringing specialist facilities under one roof, including Abu Dhabi Knee and Sports Medicine Centre and Wooridul Spine Centre. The openings of the Rosewood Abu Dhabi Hotel and The Galleria luxury shopping and dining destination on Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi's new world-class Central Business District and future home of the Abu Dhabi Global Market financial free zone.

Two other worthy of note were the commencement of operations at the Ruby gas field in Indonesia, Mubadala Petroleum's first operated, full-field gas development project and the establishment of the region's first semiconductor cleanroom at Masdar Institute, providing a world-class hub for advanced microelectronics research.

Financial highlights for the period ended 31st December 2013 were as follows: Total comprehensive income increased to Dh 5.3 billion from Dh 1.6 billion in 2012, primarily driven by the significant improvement in income from financial investments and the fair value of available-for-sale financial assets.

Total assets increased to Dh 223.8 billion as at the end of 2013 compared to Dh 202 billion as at the end of 2012, primarily through the addition of Emirates Global Aluminium to the portfolio and continued investment in GLOBALFOUNDRIES.

Revenues totalled Dh 31.1 billion compared to Dh 30.8 billion in 2012. An increased contribution from the London Array boosted renewable energy revenues to Dh 378 million.

Operating income was Dh 2 billion compared to Dh 3.7 billion in 2012 as improved income from investment in equity accounted investees was offset by the greater cost of sales of goods and services.

Total equity increased to Dh 157.5 billion as at the end of 2013 compared to Dh 135.5 billion as at the end of 2012.

Total liabilities were Dh 66.3 billion as at the end of December 2013 compared to Dh 66.5 billion as at the end of 2012. Mubadala's gearing ratio decreased from 19% at the end of 2012 to 12% at the end of 2013.

Mubadala's credit ratings are among the top corporate ratings globally at Aa3/AA/AA by Moody's, Standard '&' Poor's and Fitch, respectively. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


UAE's Clear and Modern Political Vision

posted on 18/04/2014

The Akhbar Al Sa'a (News of the Hour) Bulletin highlighted that His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, has said that the UAE's future political outlook is a clear, concise and modern one which reflects the late Sheikh Zayed's political stance.

In an editorial entitled "UAE's Clear and Modern Political Vision", the bulletin discussed the country's main focus and vision based on the speech given by His Highness when he addressed a U.S. Congress delegation last Tuesday.

According to the bulletin, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed said that the UAE's main priority is to strengthen its human resources in order to achieve and maintain steady progress towards the country's development.

The nation's second focus, said H.H. Sheikh Mohamed, is to invest in education, which has a large role in equipping new Emirati generations for the future.

The third important element mentioned was the UAE's plan to look into other resource revenues (outside petrol and gas) in order to diversify sustainability.

Lastly, H.H. Sheikh Mohamed also added that the country's fourth ambition was to continue striving to become a more distinguished and accomplished nation, despite all its remarkable achievements.

On UAE foreign policy, His Highness said that the country maintains its deep-rooted foreign policy principles, established by the nation's founding father, of developing friendly relations through building successful partnerships and cooperation with friendly and sisterly countries.

His Highness said another goal was to work with friendly countries to establish stability and development in the Arab region and the Middle East to benefit its people and carry them towards a brighter future.

A third foreign policy principle is the importance of pursuing tight cooperation between Arab nations to support development in the Arab world that distances itself from conflict and extremism. Sheikh Mohamed reflected upon the UAE's experience, and said that the country's core values which are based on tolerance, forgiveness and non-interference are key values to adhere to in order to help the Arab world overcome any sensitive challenges.

In conclusion, the editorial stated that this clear vision is what attracts officials, politicians, parliamentarians, journalists and intellectuals from all over the world to turn to the UAE for an accurate diagnosis of the overall problems facing the Arab region and the Middle East and to seek solutions on how to overcome them.

The editorial went on to say that the UAE represents an international role model which plays an important part in addressing crises in the region and its wise leadership is looked up to for its ability to achieve stability, hope and optimism in a region filled with tension and instability. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Mohamed bin Zayed receives telephone call from US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel

posted on 18/04/2014

His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, has received a telephone call from U.S. Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel, reiterating the steadfast U.S. commitment to its strategic partnership with the UAE.

U.S. Defence Department said in a statement released last night, that, "Mr. Hagel affirmed the importance of maintaining strong bilateral defence cooperation to ensure a stable and secure Middle East, a common objective of both countries." "Secretary Hagel noted that new forms of multilateral cooperation were required to address the evolving challenges of the Middle East, and the secretary lauded the UAE's efforts to work with the United States and the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council to expand regional collaboration. The conversation ended with a discussion on regional issues, including Syria, Egypt and Libya." – Emirates News Agency, WAM


UAE-funded training project to train 100,000 young males and females launches in Egypt

posted on 18/04/2014

Cairo: Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State yesterday said a new training-for-employment project funded by UAE will train more than 100,000 young Egyptian males and females to qualify them for using the latest technical programs according to the needs and requirement of the different industrial sectors to get them into the job market and provide decent job.

Al Jaber was speaking in a joint press conference with Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour, Egypt Minister of Trade, Industry, and Investment to announced the initiation of the project according to an executive agreement.

Al Jaber said, "We learned from the late founding father of UAE that man is the foundation of any civilisation, that caring for man is the focus of any real and continuous progress, and that the best investment of money is man." "Directives by UAE wise leadership on projects and initiatives in Egypt are aimed at producing direct and sustainable benefits to Egyptian citizens as well as raising awareness of vocational and technical training." We agreed with the Egyptian government on taking care of the young job seekers in order to enable them to start careers so as to contribute to the building of their country, as human capital development represents the main drive in the development of different economic sectors. Man is the centre, tool and target of development." "The training programme will be customised so as to meet the needs of labour market, improve the capabilities and efficiency of Egypt's industrial sector in order to contribute to effectively reduce unemployment rate and provide decent living for Egyptian workers," added minister Al Jaber.

"According to the programme, a modern and sustainable system will be created to monitor, maintain and analyse a database of the requirements and the skills needed in the industrial sector and for strategic industrial planning, operating and training. The platform will connect job seekers and employers," Al Jaber said.

The training project will serve various industries such as garment manufacturing, food, engineering, construction materials, leather, chemical industries, printing, packaging, trade sector, services, and tourism. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Gaza's Zayed City development provides solace to Palestinians

posted on 18/04/2014

The Zayed City housing project of the UAE in Beit Lahiya, Gaza Strip, has provided homes to hundreds of families in this besieged territory of 1.7 million people that suffers from a chronic housing shortage.

The housing project, a US$62 million gift to the Palestinian people from the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding father of the UAE, was designed to relieve the suffering of people as well as to offer affordable housing to newly married couples.

Since its completion nine years ago, the community's 71 buildings have stood firm amid Israeli artillery barrages and tank incursions, and house more than 6,000 people, double the intended number, which were offered free of charge to Gaza residents whose homes had been destroyed, or who had been bereaved or wounded during the conflict with Israel.

Like the rest of the territory, the city has not been spared the ravages of war with Israel. Because it is located in the far north, in the city of Beit Lahiya, Zayed City is close to the concrete wall that rings Gaza and from where Israeli forces often raid.

Residents recall several Israeli airstrike that struck one of the city's buildings during Israel's three-week war on the territory that began in December 2009 and killed as many as 1,400 Palestinians.

Zayed City has helped relieve Gaza's chronic housing crisis, Naji Sarhan, Gaza's Deputy Housing Minister told UAE daily, The National.

"We need more, many more projects like Zayed City, because support from outside is crucial to relieve our housing crisis," the Minister said, adding, in reference to Gaza's housing crisis, "We are short 70,000 apartments and we still need an additional 13,000 every year just to keep up with population growth." – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Dubai International Peace Convention opens

posted on 18/04/2014

H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation, opened yesterday the 3rd Dubai International Peace Convention opens, held under the patronage of Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

In his welcoming address, DIPC Chairman Dr Hamad bin Al Shaikh Ahmed Al Shaibani thanked Sheikh Mohammed for lending patronage to this important gathering.

A film was shown on the achievements made by Dubai and the Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for World Peace.

The three-day convention aims to share ideas and solutions that help to cultivate a peaceful world, in which the concepts of equality and moderation urged by the Islamic religion are respected. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Hamdan bin Zayed reviews development project in Al Dhafra Ranches

posted on 18/04/2014

H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in the Western Region received yesterday Mohammed Khalifa Fadil Al Hameli, Board Chairman of Al Dharfa Cooperative Society and members of the board.

During the meeting, Sheikh Hamdan was briefed on the project to build a shopping mall within Al Dhafra Ranches Residential Development.

The Dh 48 million shopping mall project will be built on an area of 14,000 square feet and will include a branch for the cooperative society, stores, restaurants and a children zone.

Afterwards, Sheikh Hamdan received Abdullah Butti Salem Al Qubaisi, Chairman of Al Gharbia Sports Club who briefed him on the project to expand the Medinat Zayed Camel Racetrack at a total cost of Dh 50 million.

The project entails renovation of the 8 kilometer and 6 kilometer tracks and the main paddock. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


1st Dubai Desert Triathlon takes place Saturday

posted on 18/04/2014

Under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Sports Council, the Dubai Desert Triathlon will take place on Saturday 19th April at Dubai International Endurance City (DIEC).

The Triathlon is the result of a partnership between Dubai Sports Council and Meydan, and will bring together the heritage Emirati sport of endurance horse racing with the triathlon disciplines of running and cycling.

The runners will start at 6am in a mass start and after completing a 5km desert trail run will transition to the 25km cycling leg on the Dubai Cycle Path. The next transition will see the endurance horse riders leave on a 40km ride, before what promises to be an exciting finish in front of the gathered crowds.

Athletes have been invited to enter in any or all of the disciplines, although to participate in the riding they must be a licensed endurance horse rider. Athletes who have entered in one or two of the disciplines have been linked with other entrants to form teams.

Athletes will be competing for honours in the categories of fastest overall individual triathlete, fastest team, fastest cyclist, fastest runner and best conditioned horse in the male, female and junior sections.

The Dubai Desert Triathlon, the newest sporting event in Dubai, is a world first, and given the overwhelmingly positive response, it is anticipated that the event will become of the most popular on Dubai's sporting calendar. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship: The UAE’s Faisal Al-Ketbi strikes gold

posted on 18/04/2014

The sixth edition of Abu Dhabi's World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship got underway in Abu Dhabi on Thursday, with local hero Faisal Al-Ketbi securing gold in the brown belt 100 kg category.

The first day of the competition saw fighters compete in a variety of categories for each belt division.

The Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship has become one of the premier jiu-jitsu competitions in the world, with this year's edition seeing more than 2,500 fighters from around the world competing in the tournament.

All eyes on Thursday were on local fighter Faisal Al-Katbi ,who was competing for the brown belt in the 100 kg category. He went through the qualifying rounds in the morning before defeating American fighter Hans Robert Borchardt in the final by submission to secure his gold medal.

It was Faisal's fifth medal success at the tournament, and he has the chance to add more medals to his name when he competes in the open-weight competition on Saturday.

Of his victory, he said: "I'm happy, I'm proud, thank God.”

"This victory is not just my achievement, but our achievement, the federation [UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation}, and the country,” he went on to humbly say.

Od the future of jiu-jitsu in the UAE, and whether the country could eventually rival the success of Brazil and Japan in the sport, he confidently said: "Why not?”

This year's Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship began with a two-day opening of the World Children's Jiu-Jitsu Cup. The children's event saw local Emirati children dominate the competition with 25 gold medals, 31 silver medals, and 65 bronze medals.

The World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship is set to continue on Friday and Saturday, with the masters division taking place on Friday, and the open weight competitions beginning on Saturday.

All results are available at: - Gulf News -


Nahyan bin Zayed attends opening of Jiu-Jitsu championship

posted on 18/04/2014

H.H. Sheikh Nahyan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Sports Council today attended the opening of the sixth edition of the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship.

The 2014 Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship is being organised at Zayed Sports City under the patronage of His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the U.A.E. Armed Forces.

Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah, President of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), Mohammed Ibrahim Al Mahmoud, Secretary General of Abu Dhabi Sports Council, Abdul Mumen Al Hashimi, Chairman of the Board of Jiu-Jitsu Federation, and others.

The best Jiu-Jitsu fighters from 71 countries around the world are in U.A.E. capital ahead of the showpiece Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2014 '&' World Jiu-Jitsu Children's Cup, which will run between 15th - 19th April 2014.

This year's competition promises to be the best yet as the strongest line-up of Jiu-Jitsu fighters ever assembled prepare to battle for the prestigious title of ‘World Champion' and a generous cash prize. –Emirates News Agency, WAM


Competition yachts to race from Sir Bani Yas Island to Dubai this weekend

posted on 18/04/2014

The danger, the excitement, the romance – the ocean has it all, and this country is surrounded by some of the most beautiful and clean sea on the planet. So it is little wonder, then, that it proves such a draw to those with a spirit of independence and adventure. The Arabian Gulf has a rich maritime tradition of providing natural resources that have provided people with a living for centuries, and now it's providing them with all manner of sporting activities.

This weekend, a group of competition yachts will be sailed from Sir Bani Yas Island, southwest of Abu Dhabi, in a race to Dubai. For the victors it will be a perfect finale to a week's worth of sailing up and down the UAE's coastline, and the entire competition will have served as a forerunner to the Volvo Ocean Race, which will return to these shores later in the year.

Organised by the Dubai Offshore Sailing Club (DOSC) in partnership with Rotana Jet, Anantara Hotels and Resorts and TDIC, Abu Dhabi's Tourism Development and Investment Company, the Sir Bani Yas Island Race and Rally is a step in the right direction to get the UAE's residents excited about ocean racing.

Yacht racing is something that technology is just catching up with. It's been happening since time immemorial, but up until recently it hasn't exactly been what you'd call a spectator sport. The competitions often last for many months, and it has been impossible to accurately portray the excitement, the challenges and the dedication of the crews taking part to a wide audience, simply because there was no way of seeing first-hand what's been going on. As a result, the masses have tended to stay away, leaving it to those taking part, often viewing it as an elitist and cliquey activity only for those with sufficient funds to indulge in their passions. The tide, if you'll pardon the pun, is at last turning.

Last Friday I caught up with some of the competitors in this new event, after they had arrived in Abu Dhabi for lunch at the beautiful marina at the Emirates Palace hotel. I spoke with them about what drove them to take up ocean racing and found them to be down-to-earth, fun-loving (albeit, in the main, very wealthy) individuals who see the sport as a perfect way to leave behind their secular lives for a few glorious days yet still be able to put into practice the very skills that helped them become successes in their own lives. It was quite an eye-opener.

But before we consider the people taking part and why, perhaps it's timely to look at exactly what is involved in the Sir Bani Yas race. At the outset it's worth mentioning that this is not a hard-core competition and some of the teams taking part are in it for the fun rather than the glory but, essentially, a flotilla of 13 different yachts raced from Dubai last weekend to Abu Dhabi, where they stopped before heading off to Sir Bani Yas (this leg was a cruise, rather than a timed competition), after which, some of them stayed for a short break on the island. The others flew back to either Abu Dhabi or Dubai. The second leg of the race this weekend involves the teams flying back to Sir Bani Yas and getting back to Dubai – no stop – in the shortest possible time. The points gained go towards the tallies already accrued by competitors in the Dubai Off Shore Series championship.

Sounds like fun, doesn't it?

And indeed it is, otherwise these men, women and children wouldn't be doing it. But when you delve into what's involved in competing on the open sea, you soon come to realise that this is a most technically challenging sport – right up there with flying when it comes to strategy and the skill of getting to where you need to be in the shortest possible time. It's all too much for someone like me, who can just about keep up with the rules of tennis.

But the rewards involved can be extraordinary for those taking part. To get the best time and stay ahead of the competition (and often the other yachts can't be seen from the one you happen to be aboard) takes efficient teamwork. Imagine a few days, never mind months, cooped up in minuscule quarters with people you might not be that familiar with, having to work together in sometimes adverse conditions (no wind, too much wind, squalls, errant ships – the ocean can throw up unexpected horrors with no warning whatsoever) with no escape if it all gets too much. But imagine, too, when it all comes together like clockwork, when you're working against the elements and you succeed in getting to your destination ahead of your competitors. Especially if that destination is the unspeakably beautiful Sir Bani Yas Island, a desert island paradise if ever there was one.

"Our season runs from mid-September till the end of May,” one of the competitors, Calum McKie, who has worked here since 2002 as a petroleum engineer, told me, "and in that time there's something going on almost every weekend. So it's a busy few months. One weekend it might be racing dinghies, the next it could be racing huge yachts – DOSC is a very active club.

"In many ways Abu Dhabi is better for sailors than Dubai, where the currents have kept the coast fairly straight. Here it's a lagoon environment, you have the mangroves along the coast and then there are the islands – there's a great deal of beauty to be enjoyed here for people on the sea.”

The official route from Abu Dhabi to Sir Bani Yas is about 120 nautical miles, which means an overnight sail, setting off at about 3pm and arriving at the island the following day. So it's not for those just starting out, unless you're a crew member rather than captain of the ship.

Barry Brand, an advertising executive based in Abu Dhabi, sat with McKie as we spoke, having arrived on the same yacht (called Lady Lucy). "Yes, it's my real name, nobody believes it,” he joked. McKie has been sailing for years, having started when he lived in the UK, but for Brand, this has been a totally new experience. "I was living in Beirut before I moved here,” he told me, "and when I was there I met Greg [Vogt, whose yacht it is they were sailing on] and he invited me to go sailing with him and I got bitten by the bug. It's a great way to see a country, gives you a totally different perspective.

"It's completely about teamwork – a physical effort combined with a lot of technical knowledge, meteorology and luck,” McKie added, "and when that all comes together it's incredibly satisfying.” Brand, however, summed it up perfectly: "I think it appeals to men's love of data. I'm still learning, but it's fascinating.”

Butti Al Muhairi, an Emirati crew member for the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing Team, was also on hand, and he's in the oil business, too, working as a wellhead platform operator in the Umm Al Dhalakh field, so he knows a thing or two about high-pressure environments and the importance of safety. He sailed his first dhow in 1991 and has, over the years, raced them with great success before graduating to yacht racing. "Of course, the people of this country have been racing on the sea for centuries,” he said. "But this is something different. It's a very exciting sport that is now capturing the imaginations of people all over the world, and we're seeing more and more Emiratis getting involved. It will take time, obviously, a bit like it has been with motor racing, but young people here are starting to embrace sailing and that has to be a good thing.”

Something else that has to be a good thing is seeing – and staying on – Sir Bani Yas. After arriving at the island last Saturday, one of the family crews that had sailed there decided to stay on for a few days and experienced something very special, indeed. According to Deirdre Donnelly, who works for TDIC and is based on the island, one of the girls wants to be a vet and the family enquired if it would be possible to see first-hand how the animals are tended to. "We arranged for a five-hour safari drive so they could see how the animals are managed,” said Donnelly this week. "We've never done anything on that level before, they had an amazing time and met some of the country's top vets, even helped to tag some of the hyenas – it's just part and parcel of what we can do for our visitors.”

Adventure, romance, technical challenges, competition, and unique experiences with natural wildlife – the Sir Bani Yas Island Race and Rally seemingly has it all. It's bound to take place again next year so get those sea legs ready – it's a uniquely wonderful way to experience the UAE.

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