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A show of culture, heritage at Fazza Championships

posted on 21/12/2014

Organised by Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Centre, the 15th edition of Fazza Championship for Yola began on Saturday under the patronage of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council.

People from both Arab and foreign countries thronged Meydan Castle at the Global Village to witness the opening of the popular heritage event. The championship began with the recitation of a special Arabic poem titled Al Jar Li Al Jar (translated to "Neighbour for Neighbour” in English), penned by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed.

Top Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Centre officials, including CEO Abdullah Hamdan bin Dalmouk; Director of Championships at Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Centre Souad Darwish; and Head of Events Ibrahim Abdul Rahim, attended the launch.

The jury comprised Rashid Al Khassony, Mussalim Al Amiri and Khalifa bin Sabaein Al Muharrami.

Souad Darwish applauded the performances of the 40 qualified competitors, wishing everyone the best and highlighting that Meydan celebrations have now become a phenomenon for the youth who love the heritage activity and guests who have been enhancing the festivities with brilliant poetic and artistic performances over the last decade.

The championship witnessed strong competition among four participants. Ahmed Salim bin Smeet from Ras Al Khaimah secured 48 points; Saeed Zayed Al Khassony from Sharjah achieved 46 points; Abdulla bin Sa'deen Al Shehi also from Ras Al Khaimah earned 46 points and Ahmed Al Harsousi from Dubai acquired 47 points.

Fayez Al Saeed performed two songs during the opening while the Emirati poet Mohammed Al Mor Bel Abd recited two poems.

Ahmed Al Harsousi from Dubai expressed his joy in participating in this championship again after winning the third place last season. He is gearing up to delivering an exceptional performance this year in an attempt to win the Fazza golden cup.

Another participant, Abdulla bin Sa'deen Al Shehi said: "I participated last year for the first time but I was unable to achieve my goals. I am looking forward to performing better. I love Yola since I was eight-years-old and over the years I have practiced it with great dedication and passion.”

Ahmed Salim bin Smeet said: "This is the fifth time I am participating in the Meydan Castle celebrations; I have not yet reached the golden quarter but I have undergone intensive training and preparations and I am very keen on winning the title this year.”

"This year's edition of the championship coincides with the 10th season of the local cultural programme Al Meydan. Yola is a symbol of celebration during weddings and special occasions in the UAE. Sheikh Hamdan's commitment to continue reviving and protecting the Emirati heritage among the youth by offering valuable prizes, is truly commendable. Each year the championship attracts huge volumes of crowds and this year it is expected to be even bigger and better,” said Souad Darwish.

"We expanded the Meydan Castle this year; we changed the background to combine both contemporary decorations and traditional elements to showcase Dubai's unique image. We have also brought in new technologies in cooperation with the Al Meydan programme Director Ahmed Al Doughaji, and are looking forward to working with him for the first time,” said Darwish. The Al Meydan programme telecasts all the rounds of the championship live on Sama Dubai. – Khaleej Times -§ion=entertainmentnation


GCAA grants first helipad license to Burj Al Arab Hotel

posted on 21/12/2014

The General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) has granted the first helipad license in the UAE to the iconic Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, operated by Jumeirah Group, the global luxury hotel company and a member of Dubai Holding.

Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy and Chairman of the Board of Directors of GCAA, who presented Gerald Lawless, President and Group CEO, Jumeirah Group, with the license for the hotel's rooftop helipad in a ceremony at Burj Al Arab, said that the move is part of a long-term plan to license all existing and future helipad in the UAE.

He noted that GCAA, in the past months, has developed the relevant legislations and guidelines for helipads including those on ground level and rooftops and offshore helidecks.

On his part, Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi, Director-General of GCAA, who was present at the ceremony, said that the legislations were developed following studies and consultations with strategic partners in order to ensure safety in the aviation sector in light of the fast growth of helicopter operations.

GCCA said that the new legislations are in line with the standards practices embraced by International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

The sail-shaped Burj Al Arab Jumeirah which stands on a man-made island and has a helipad perching 210 metres above the sea level is touted by the Jumeirah Group as the world's most luxurious hotel. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Global Village bridging people: Sheikh Mohammed

posted on 21/12/2014

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on Saturday paid an inspection visit to the Global Village, the leading family entertainment and cultural attraction in Dubai.

During his tour, Sheikh Mohammed visited the pavilions of a number of countries to learn about their folklores and cultural heritage through the exhibited traditional products and art shows.

Sheikh Mohammed, who exchanged greeting with exhibitors and visitors during his tour, expressed his delight over this annual global cultural event launched by Department of Economic Development (DED) in 1997.

He stressed that "such cultural and popular festivals play a great role in building bridges between the people of the UAE and the peoples of the world away from formalities and protocol.

He also hailed the efforts of the organisers of the event which has become a popular destination for Emiratis, expatriates and citizens of other countries in the region.

Some 40,000 visitors throng the Global Village every day to enjoy a host of products and live art shows from across the globe.

Khalifa Saeed Sulaiman, Director-General of the Protocol Department and Hospitality in Dubai, and Mohammed Al Mulla, Director of the Global Village, accompanied Sheikh Mohammed during his tour. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -§ion=nationgeneral


Big Bus wheels to go round in more cities as Dubai attractions are added

posted on 21/12/2014

A British city tour bus operator plans to expand global operations as it announced more attractions on its Dubai circuits.

Big Bus, which is seeking around US$810 million in investments, expects to grow to two to four new cities a year, said Christopher Preston, the chief operating officer of Big Bus. He declined to name the new destinations.

"We have met that [target] for the last three years and we are looking to grow,” he said.

He was in Dubai to announce a new route taking in Dubai Marina, making it the company's third route in the emirate, from tomorrow. It would include Dubai Marina and Palm Jumeirah attractions as well as Madinat Jumeirah.

"With the tram works finishing, we felt it was the right time to launch with a much freer flow of traffic [around Dubai Marina], and Blue Water Island under construction, now is the time,” he said.

Big Bus expects to handle 500,000 guests across Dubai and Abu Dhabi this year, and the year-on-year growth has been between 10 and 15 per cent. Big Bus entered Dubai in 2002 and Abu Dhabi seven years later. Its Dubai fleet consists of 25 vehicles.

"Dubai was our first overseas investment. It has been hugely successful, and we are invested heavily in Dubai,” Mr Preston said. "In a global business we have competition in every city we operate, and this plan for the new Dubai route started 12 months ago.”

In October, Emirates Group's travel company dnata and its Spanish partner City Sightseeing Worldwide launched another hop-on, hop-off city tour.

City Sightseeing's two routes combines 26 locations in Dubai. It started a Sharjah tour last year.

Big Bus would not expand to Sharjah, but the existing circuits will include a free Sharjah jaunt.

Its ticket prices at Dh240 for a 24-hour pass for the hop-on, hop-off ride are expected to remain steady next year. Big Bus currently operates in 16 cities across the world, handling four million passengers every year. It has a fleet of 300 buses globally and entered New York, Istanbul and Vienna early this year. – The National -


iPhone and Chanel set the pace at Dubai Duty Free’s festive sale

posted on 21/12/2014

The iPhone 6 and Bleu de Chanel fragrance were among the top selling festive gift items at the world's biggest duty free shop this week.

Thousands of passengers thronged the aisles of Dubai Duty Free yesterday, as the retailer slashed prices by as much as 25 per cent on the busiest weekend of the year.

Ekaterina Katrin, 30, a Dubai resident, was among the shoppers taking advantage of the discounts at the cosmetics counter yesterday.

"I am rewarding myself,” she said.

Dubai Duty Free, which aims to generate more than US$1.9 billion in sales this year, regained its position as the world's largest single airport retail operation this year, ahead of Seoul Incheon and Singapore Changi.

The Dubai Airport retailer is famed for its eclectic mix of products ranging from the basic to the ultra-luxurious.

In the first nine months of the year, it sold more than 1090 tonnes of the Tang powdered fruit drink as well as 559 tonnes of dates.

But luxury items dominate the list of best-selling items this week as hundreds of thousands of passengers pass through the airport for the holiday period.

The iPhone 6, starting from Dh2,749 was the top selling electronics item in the run-up to the holidays.

A Dh438 bottle of Bleu de Chanel was the fastest-selling fragrance for men, while the Dh535 Chanel Coco Mademoiselle was the most popular choice for women.

The retailer is benefiting from the rapid growth of Emirates Airline, which expects to fly 70 million passengers annually by 2020.

Such growth in passenger numbers is the main driver of the expansion of Dubai International Airport, which is set to overtake London Heathrow as the busiest by volume of international traffic this year.

Global duty free and travel retail sales reached a record US$60 billion, last year. More than half of that business comes from airport sales.

Dubai Duty Free has more than 5 per cent market share of the global airport duty free business according to Generation Research data.

Dubai also accounts for almost half of the entire airport-based duty free sales in the Middle East.

Dubai Duty Free retail operations are expected to reach 33,000 square metres with the opening of Dubai Duty Free next year. It also has 2,500 sq. metres of retail space at Al Maktoum International in the emirate. – The National -


DEWA approves Dh22.873 billion budget for 2015

posted on 21/12/2014

Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) has approved a total budget of Dh 22.873 billion for 2015, compared to Dh 20.560 billion in 2014, aimed at ensuring a reliable supply of electricity and water to meet Dubai's development plans in all its operations in line with the directives of Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

The budget will enable DEWA to adopt the best and latest technologies across all its operations to maintain its leading position on a national and international level by providing electricity and water at the highest levels of reliability, efficiency, safety, and sustainability.

As detailed by Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD and CEO of DEWA, Dh 8.28 billion is assigned for capital purchases and projects, compared with Dh 7.057 billion in 2014. The 2015 budget includes a number of key projects, the most prominent of which is increasing production capacity of the electricity generation and water desalination plant at K-Station in Jebel Ali by adding two gas turbines to generate 500MW.

The production capacity of the electricity and water generation plant at M-Station in Jebel Ali will also be increased by 700 MW. Other projects include building 12 new 132kV substations, extending 272km of 132kV cables, other power transmission and distribution projects, and smart communication networks.

Al Tayer noted that Dh 590 million are allocated to water network projects including water reservoirs and transmission networks. Dh 175 million are dedicated to developing the water network. This includes extending new networks and introducing a district meter system to monitor leakage and reduce water losses.

DEWA's operational budget for 2015 is Dh 13.465 billion, compared to Dh 13.151 billion in 2014. The administrative capital budget has been increased to Dh 1.380 billion in 2015 from Dh 352 million in 2014.

DEWA's current installed capacity is 9,656 MW of electricity and 470 MIGD of desalinated water. Peak demand for electricity reached 7233 MW in 2014, compared to 6857 MW in 2013, which means there is a reserve margin of approximately 2423 MW.

Al Tayer explained that water peak demand in 2014 reached 316 MIGD, compared to 296 MIGD in 2013, with a reserve margin of 154 MIGD. Electricity and water reserves contribute to meeting the requirements of Dubai's large ambitious projects including the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum City and other economic and developmental projects. "This important strategic reserve will significantly contribute to meeting the electricity and water requirements of the economic, commercial, industrial, urban and tourism development projects, reaffirming DEWA's ability to deliver the Emirate's water and electricity needs according to the highest standards of efficiency and reliability," he added. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Ras al-Khaimah Crown Prince enrolls in national service recruitment centre

posted on 21/12/2014

H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Crown Prince of Ras al-Khaimah, has expressed his pleasure in joining the second group for national service, adding that joining the national service is a duty and honour for every Emirati who lives in this beloved homeland.

He made the remarks yesterday at the new Recruiters National Service Centre of Manama, Ajman.

Sheikh Mohammed praised the far-sighted vision of the nation's wise leadership, which was clearly seen when President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan issued the National and Reserve Service Law to defend the homeland and assure permanent preparedness to preserve the country's security and stability.

He also pointed out the keenness of Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Supreme Council Member, and Their Highnesses Rulers of the Emirates , as well as His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

Further, Sheikh Mohammed reiterated that national service is a medal on the chest of Emiratis and a holy duty to be carried out for the homeland. He also praised the impressive turnout of UAE citizens who join the national service, which obviously shows their patriotic national feelings, as well as their deep-rooted loyalty and shared values for the UAE and its prudent leadership. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Fujairah Ruler pays respect to Al Za'abi Martyr's family

posted on 21/12/2014

H.H. Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Fujairah, yesterday offered condolences to the family of the martyr, Lt. Pilot Saif Khalaf Saif Al Zaabi, who was killed when his plane crashed during joint UAE - Egyptian military exercises.

The Fujairah Ruler offered condolences in Kalba, Sharjah, expressing his heartfelt condolences and solace to the family, praying Almighty to rest his soul in Paradise.

Sheikh Maktoum bin Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi also offered condolences to the family of the martyr Saif Khalaf Saif Al Zaabi. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Hazza bin Zayed offers condolences on death of martyrs

posted on 21/12/2014

H.H. Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, National Security Advisor and Deputy Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Council, offered condolences yesterday to the families of the two martyrs, Lt. Pilot Saif Khalaf Saif Al Zaabi and Lt. Pilot Abdullah Ali Al Hamoudi, who were killed when their plane crashed during joint UAE - Egyptian military exercises.

He offered his condolences while visiting the two families' residences at Kalba, Sharjah and Sarm Beltoween Area, Fujairah.

"The two martyrs have crowned their great sacrifice with all means of loyalty and discipline, as well as presenting a noble model for all Emirati youth in various fields, as they have sacrificed their souls for the sake of hoisting the UAE flag," said Sheikh Hazza.

He also expressed his heartfelt sympathy and condolences to President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, as well as the families of the two martyrs. – Emirates News Agency, WAM