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UAE delivers 100 schools, 78 health clinics, 4 bridges and 600 public city buses to Egypt

posted on 05/08/2015

CAIRO: The Prime Minister of Egypt, Eng. Ibrahim Mahlab, witnessed, yesterday, the signings of delivery protocols for four of the UAE development projects in Egypt spanning education, healthcare and transportation.

Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and Head of the UAE/Egypt Liaison Office, signed the protocols on behalf of the UAE government with several Egyptian counterparts including Dr. Galal Saeed, Governor of Cairo, Dr. Moheb Al Rifai Minister of Education and Dr. Adil Adawy, Minister of Health, as well as Minister of Local Development, Lieutenant Adil Labib. Also in attendance was the Minster of International Cooperation, Najla Al Ahwany.

The protocols included the delivery of 100 fully-equipped schools in 18 governorates, 78 fully-equipped clinics in 23 governorates, four bridges in three governorates and 600 public city buses in Cairo. The projects are part of the UAE social and infrastructure development program in Egypt. The total program is projected to benefit more than ten million Egyptians and to create approximately 900,000 temporary and permanent jobs.

The Prime Minister of Egypt said: "Egyptians appreciate and greatly value the support of the UAE leadership and its people. We will not forget this unwavering stand and its contribution to the citizens of Egypt who need it the most. These projects reflect tangible proof of the breadth and depth of our bilateral relations and the strength of our decades long historic ties."

He highlighted that the UAE social and infrastructure development projects in Egypt address real challenges that exist in several vital sectors, referencing two of the previously delivered projects; the 10MW "UAE People's Solar Power Plant in Siwa" and 50,000 housing units delivered to the ministry of housing in June of this year. He said that Egyptians have already begun feeling the direct, positive impact of these projects – especially in essential and vital sectors such as healthcare, education and transportation."

He explained that the new schools will bolster the existing Ministry of Education program by expanding its ability to educate the youth and battle illiteracy while the clinics in rural areas will greatly address challenges in providing women with necessary healthcare and children with much needed and timely vaccinations.

Meanwhile, the new bridges, constructed in three different governorates and the 600 public city buses will serve to reduce congestion and accidents.

Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber said: "I am honoured to relay the greetings of the UAE leadership to the leadership and citizens of Egypt," adding "I am pleased today to deliver to the Egyptian government and its people these important projects that aim to alleviate the challenges faced by everyday citizens in rural areas."

Al Jaber explained that all projects were chosen based on the objective of immediate, positive and sustainable impact and the social and economic wellbeing of the Egyptian citizen. He added: "The UAE has historically placed great importance on education and healthcare as catalysts for sustainable growth - and as such, these were the first projects prioritised."

He emphasised that the record time in which the projects were delivered is proof of the success of the unique, collaborative and efficient approach adopted by the UAE.

"I believe that the collaboration, continued coordination and diligent follow up with our partners in Egypt was the key to our collective success."

The new schools will fulfil nearly seven percent of the needs in rural villages and include 1668 classrooms covering 67,000 students in their first year. The schools will also contribute to a reduction in dropout rates and tardiness due to long distances and over-crowded classrooms.

Meanwhile, the clinics will provide 780,000 rural residents with easy and immediate access to healthcare and will fulfil nearly 20 percent of the immediate requirements.

The bridges will provide nearly three million commuters easy road access and reduce congestion and road accidents. The bridges will also account for 15 percent of the planned bridge construction program in Egypt and cover five percent of the railroad crossing reduction program.

Similarly, the 600 public city buses will provide 600,000 daily commuters with safe passage and reduce private vehicular traffic congestion as well as traffic accidents in Cairo.

The UAE's social and infrastructure development program aims at alleviating daily challenges and achieving immediate and tangible results for the Egyptian citizen. The program includes projects in healthcare, education, transportation, energy, job creation, food security, housing and infrastructure support.

To date, various projects have been delivered, including a 10MW power plant in Siwa, 50,000 housing units across 18 governorates and a vocational training and placement program focusing on youth and women.

Commenting on these landmark achievements, Dr. Adil Adawy, Egyptian Minister of Health, lauded the UAE social development program in Egypt, especially in the healthcare field, emphasising that the new healthcare clinics will create a marked positive shift in healthcare access for those most in need in Egyptian rural areas.

He said: "The fully-equipped healthcare clinics, spanning 23 governorates, will alleviate various challenges in rural areas including proximity to healthcare, quality of healthcare and 24 hour access to healthcare and pharmaceuticals."

He added: "These clinics are in line with the Egyptian government's vision of ensuring access to healthcare across all parts of the country. In these clinics will enable us to provide Egyptians with daily necessities such as regular and timely vaccinations for children and pregnant women, immediate attention to contagious ailments, nutrition monitoring, hormonal tests, vitamin deficiency tests, family planning, dental services, emergency services, lab work and more."

He added: "The Egyptian people will not forget this stand; one that is rooted in the close relations established by the late founding father of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, May God rest His soul in peace."

In his statement, Dr. Moheb Al Rifai'i, Egypt Minister of Education, said that the 100 new schools developed and delivered in 18 governorates across Egypt by the United Arab Emirates will largely contribute to the mitigation of the various challenges faced in the education sector in Egypt.

He said: "These schools will serve nearly 10% of our Egyptian population – especially in rural areas; which will directly reduce drop-out rates and chronic tardiness – traditionally a result of a lack of proximity. On a larger scale these schools will help reduce illiteracy rates in Egypt at large."

The Minister highlighted that the locations of all schools were carefully chosen to ensure that they targeted the largest possible population of students with a division between coastal (56 schools) and non-coastal (44 schools) areas.

He lauded the efforts of the UAE in delivering the schools and the expedited and efficient manner in which they were constructed, calling it a "true reflection of the importance of this project and its contribution to Egypt's social development."

Major General Adil Labib, Egypt's Minister of National Development, emphasised on the importance of the new bridges describing the project as "a strategic and practical project' that address the congestion and accident challenges in high population areas."

He highlighted that the project includes two bridges in the Giza governorate (Ard El Liwa Bridge) and (Bashteel Bridge) that serves both Barjeel and Bashteel; as well as Al Shoun Bridge in the Al Gharbia Governorate and the Talkha Bridge in Daqhaliya Governorate that connects five different roads.

The Minister said that the new bridges have covered 15% of the existing bridge planning requirements in Egypt and 5% of the current railroad-crossing program.

Dr Galal Saeed, Governor of Cairo, commended the UAE's initiative to donate 600 buses for enhancing the public transport system in Egypt's capital city of Cairo. Received by the Cairo Transportation Authority, the buses will provide commuters with greater flexibility in planning their daily movement across the city while improving and streamlining traffic flow in the streets of Cairo and surrounding.

Dr Saeed said: "The efforts taken by the UAE to support Egypt and its people are well-documented in history. Our two countries share long-standing bilateral relations. This new initiative builds on the strong ties between the UAE and Egypt that were first established by the founding father of the UAE, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan."

The buses donated by the UAE have been assembled according to predetermined strength and weight specifications, taking into account durability and security of the commuters. As part of this priority and in line with the UAE's commitment to integrating best-in-class standards, the buses are fitted out with special cooling water engines as well as state-of-the-art equipment for safety, control and automatic speed operation (EDC). The doors of the buses are automated through an electric antenna system to facilitate easy access when boarding and disembarking from the bus.

With 50% of the busses manufactured in Egypt and the remaining 50 percent in Abu Dhabi, UAE, the vehicles were assembled and delivered to the Cairo Transportation Authority in record time. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Al Jaber: UAE's relationship with Egypt is built on solid foundations

posted on 05/08/2015

CAIRO: Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State, and Chairman of the Coordination Office of the UAE-funded Development Projects in Egypt, has said that the relationship between the UAE and Egypt is based on pillars of solid foundations laid down by late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and evolved over time to become one of the most important bilateral relations that the UAE shares with another country.

Speaking to editors from a number of UAE and Egyptian newspapers, Dr. Al Jaber said that UAE-Egypt relations have continued to grow under the leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, adding that over the years, the two countries have collaborated in many fields, including through the exchange of knowledge and expertise which has significantly impacted in strengthening mutual brotherly bonds.

Al Jaber said that when the Egyptian economy and society began to struggle following a period of instability from late 2010 until June 2013, the UAE leadership issued directives vowing to stand by Egypt, and contribute to its stability and the process of strengthening its economic and social development.

The minister added that a consultation with the Egyptian government to determine urgent needs led to the establishment of the Coordination Office of the UAE-funded Development Projects in Egypt. The strategic goal of the office is to provide support to Egypt, including implementing vital projects in the energy, housing, food security, education and vocational training, healthcare, and transportation fields.

Dr. Al Jaber noted that the UAE also provided assistance with the preparation of Egypt's economic recovery plan, and was involved in a number of initiatives designed to stimulate the flow of foreign investments to the Egyptian market.

Al Jaber added that these projects have created around 900,000 temporary and permanent job opportunities, and benefitted 10 million Egyptian citizens. He went on to say that the UAE also contributed to mobilising economic and political support for Egypt through a number of international and regional forums.

The minister told reporters that the UAE is looking forward to the forthcoming opening of the new Suez Canal channel, which will have a significant and essential role in promoting economic activity in Egypt. He also called on Egyptian, Arab, and international private sectors to explore the available opportunities of the project. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Mohammed bin Rashid tours General Headquarters of UAE Armed Forces

posted on 05/08/2015

Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, yesterday visited the General Headquarters of the UAE Armed Forces at Al Maqtaa Camp, Abu Dhabi.

He was received by Mohammed Ahmed Al Bawardi Al Falasi, Under-secretary of the Ministry of Defence, Staff Lt. General Hamad Mohammed Thani Al Rumaithi, Chief of Staff of the UAE Armed Forces and senior commanders and officers at the Ministry of Defence.

The Vice President was briefed by Lt. General Al Rumaithi about the work progress at the general headquarters in the light of the national achievements to keep pace with challenges, changes and the latest developments.

He was accompanied during the tour by Lt. General Musbeh bin Rashid Al Fattan, Director of the office of the Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai and Khalifa Saeed Suleiman, Director-General of Protocol and Hospitality Department in Dubai. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


UAE Ambassador to Iraq inspects ERC's projects

posted on 05/08/2015

BAGHDAD: Hasan Ahmed Al Shehhi, Ambassador of the UAE to Iraq, has inspected a number of projects implemented by the Emirates Red Crescent (ERC) in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region.

The tour came as part of Al Shehi's visit to the Iraqi Kurdistan Region. During the visit, he praised the projects implemented by the ERC. He also toured a number of ERC's projects in Erbil to familiarise himself with the authority's charitable and humanitarian projects for the benefit of the needy Syrian refugees and the displaced Iraqis.

He also commended the progress of work and ERC's efforts to provide assistance to the underprivileged people. The UAE diplomat also toured ERC's tents designated for accommodating the Syrian refugees as well as medical clinics inside the tents which provide job opportunities for refugee women.

He highlighted the efforts exerted by the ERC which reflect the UAE's humanitarian message since the country occupies an eminent stature in providing humanitarian aid in the region and other countries. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Jawaher: Education makes security and reconciliation a reality

posted on 05/08/2015

More than 600,000 Syrian refugee children do not have access to education and with the number of refugees in the Middle East reaching 20 million, the issue of children deprived of education is a critical concern, especially in Syria.

On a daily basis, refugee children are being exposed to the horrors of conflict and disaster, with fleeing parents trying their best to protect their children from getting affected. The need for humanitarian aid and support is now more urgent than ever before.

Gulf News talked to Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah. Sheikha Jawaher is Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Eminent Advocate for Refugee Children and the founder of the Big Heart Foundation that works to provide help and support to displaced children of war and conflict.

In an exclusive interview, Sheikha Jawaher spoke of the suffering that refugee children in the region face, their lost childhood, and the impact of any and every contribution to the cause.

"Children always suffer the most as a result of war,” said Sheikha Jawaher. "They are deprived of basic human rights such as food, shelter, health care, education, and psychological support as they struggle to make sense of what is happening.”

When displaced, refugee children not only lose a sense of security and safety that comes from being surrounded by friends, family, and familiar settings, but they lose their education, friendships, playmates, peace of mind and, worst of all, their childhood, she said.

"My vision behind establishing the Big Heart was to intervene, to provide help and support needed to survive but, most importantly, to give them hope,” said Sheikha Jawaher.

First launched as a campaign in 2013, the Big Heart was later transformed into a foundation to increase its power and influence regionally and globally.

Education is the future

Every effort to repair the damage done to the lives of refugees and their children can only be successful, she said, if we bear in mind the need to secure education for these children.

"Education is their future — it will help them make the transition to a better and more secure world,” said Sheikha Jawaher.

By educating refugee children, they are "saved from falling into the quagmire and the aftermath of wars” that may affect them psychologically, causing them to grow up feeling bitter, angry, confused and wanting to take revenge.

Education offers these children a chance to become contributive members involved in the promotion of peace and love worldwide instead. "Education makes security and reconciliation a reality,” she said.

The problem of child refugees, a fallout from the ongoing crisis in a number of Arab countries, can affect the future of the Arab and Muslim world and its development, she believes.

"The issue of child refugees is one of the most tragic events in human history and without collective Arab and international effort, their plight will continue to deteriorate, leading to grave consequences, not only for the refugees but for the Arab community as a whole,” she said.

Now more than ever there is a need to develop Arab and international systems and to put measures in place to provide protection for refugees. As an advocate of the refugee cause, Sheikha Jawaher stressed the need for support from media partners who are able to highlight the problem and put pressure on the international community to ensure leaders fulfil their responsibilities to their Arab neighbours.

When it comes to the UAE, Sheikha Jawaher encourages every individual in the country as well as every government to help and support the cause in any way humanly possible.

"For some, that will mean making a direct personal contribution; to others, it will be to arrange larger fund-raising events, while for yet others, it will mean using influence wherever and whenever they can.”

Ultimately, everyone in the Arab and international community needs to take some responsibility to help the refugees and give them a reason to stay hopeful, added Sheikha Jawaher.

It was the writer Samuel Smiles who said, "Hope is like the sun, which, as we journey towards it, casts the shadow of our burden behind us”.

"To help alleviate the burden for our brothers and sisters, who have already faced so much, risked so much, suffered so much, to be the harbinger of hope means more to me than words can say,” said Sheikha Jawaher. – Gulf News -


Emaar Misr announces net profit of EGP 522 million in H1, 2015

posted on 05/08/2015

CAIRO: Emaar Misr for Development, Emaar Misr, yesterday announced its financial results for the half year ending 30 June 2015, registering a net profit of EGP 522 million.

According to the Egyptian Accounting Standards, EAS, H1 2015 revenues and net profit after tax were EGP 1.56 billion and EGP 522 million respectively, as compared with H1 2014 revenues and net profit after tax which amounted to EGP 1.0 billion and EGP 136 million respectively. This reflects a 283 percent increase in net profits and 56 percent in revenues.

Committed net sales increased by 20 percent to EGP 3.9 billion (H1 2014: EGP 3.3 bn) in the first half of 2015. The Company sold during the period 748 units across all of its residential developments.

EBITDA continued to improve and was higher by 96% on a year-on-year basis, reaching EGP 506 million (H1 2014: 258m).

Commenting on the results, Mohamed Alabbar, Chairman of Emaar Properties, said, "I am very pleased with our performance in the half year results. We reported EGP 522 million of net profit and EGP 1.56 billion in revenues, aided by strong product uptake and better than expected sales prices. Mivida in New Cairo, specifically, has exceeded our expectations in terms of its sales in the last six months.

"We recently raised EGP 2.28 billion in an IPO and the funds will be invested to support and accelerate the developments of our projects. There is a high level of demand from local and outside investors for premium lifestyle properties in Egypt due to the lack of supply for this segment. Our sales forecasts remain strong and we look forward to continuing our sales momentum into the second half of the year."

As of 30 June 2015, total assets were EGP 16,271 billion and the Company's net cash position, excluding funds from the IPO, remained strong at EGP 0.9 billion (31 March 2015: EGP 0.5 billion). – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


President grants outgoing Sudanese Ambassador Independence Order of First Class

posted on 05/08/2015

President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has granted Ahmed Yousef Al Sadiq, outgoing Sudanese Ambassador to the UAE, the Independence Order of First Class, in appreciation to his service in the country and for his role in contributing to the development of friendship and co-operation between the UAE and Sudan in all fields.

H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister decorated the Sudanese envoy with the Order at the Ministry's headquarters this morning. He congratulated the ambassador for being awarded the order, wishing him success in his future tasks.

The Sudanese ambassador thanked the UAE President, commending his wise policies and significant regional and international role.

He also thanked the UAE officials, especially at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for the co-operation accorded to him during his service in the country, a move which, he said, had contributed to making his mission successful. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


General Index of Confidence in the business climate reflects optimism about economic conditions in Abu Dhabi in Q2

posted on 05/08/2015

The general index of confidence in the business climate in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi maintained its level during the first quarter of 2015 compared to the fourth quarter of 2014, with 61 and 63 respectively as a reflection of the results of both the current situation index and the future situation index with 56 and 64 respectively during the first quarter of 2015.

The directions of the general index of confidence in the business climate and its sub-indexes issued by the Studies Division of the Department of Economic Development, in collaboration with the Statistics Centre - Abu Dhabi during the first quarter of 2015 showed a disparity in the evaluation of businesses-operating in all economic activities, except the commercial activity - to the current economic conditions compared to the last quarter of 2014, while their future prospects were adequal.

This disparity comes because of the uncertainty of businesses amid concerns associated with trends of the economic performance in oil-exporting countries due to fluctuations in world oil markets, despite the good performance of many non-oil sectors in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi's economy.

It is expected that the good financial conditions in the Emirate, as reflected in the credit quality classification (+AA) according to Standard & Poor's Agency, contribute in the promotion of confidence in the Emirate's economy, as Standard & Poor's Agency excluded the impact of the fluctuations in oil prices on development projects in Abu Dhabi.

Abu Dhabi Business Centre exerts continuous efforts to improve the business environment and investment climate in the Emirate by improving the services provided to businessmen and investors: The Centre recently announced reducing the average number of procedures for the issuance of commercial licenses by 50%, the number of days necessary to start a business by 50% and the average cost of issuing commercial licenses by 30%, and it is currently working on completing the common system for the issuance of various commercial licenses in Abu Dhabi by next year.

The Government of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, moving forward in its efforts to strengthen domestic demand, through the continued implementation of capital projects in various sectors with a value of 330 billion dirhams during the period (2013-2017), can contribute in enhancing the confidence of businesses in the business climate and economic conditions in the Emirate.

Abu Dhabi Business Centre issued during the first quarter of 2015 about 2452 new commercial licenses, reflecting the continued establishment of businesses in light of the attractive business environment and investment climate in the Emirate.

The establishments operating in various economic activities expressed optimism about their internal situation and the economic situation in general during the second quarter of 2015, according to the future situation index reaching 64 points in the first quarter of this year.

The results show an improvement in the performance of the trade sector, reflected by the increase in the total value of non-oil merchandise trade in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi during the last quarter of 2014 by 15.8% compared to the same quarter of 2013 to reach about Dh 39.4 billion.

The value of non-oil exports increased by about 12.6% to reach Dh 4.7 billion. The industrial sector's performance was affected by the decrease of prices, as the producer prices index decreased by 8.6% in the fourth quarter of 2014 compared to the third quarter of the same year.

This came despite the good performance of the transformative industries, as the Industrial Production Index increased by 2.2%, while in the service sectors, the tourism sector has significantly improved, and such improvement was reflected in the increase of the number of guests and occupancy rate in addition to the hotels revenues during the month of January 2015 compared to the same month of 2014, according to the report of Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority.

The profit levels declared by some banks reflected an improvement in the performance of the banking sector during the first quarter of 2015. The real estate sector also performed well.

At the level of the size of the enterprise, the trends of the general index of confidence in the business climate show continued optimism among businesses of all classifications during the first quarter of 2015. The optimism level was adequal between large and medium-sized enterprises, with the index recording (61.4) points and (61.3 points) respectively, compared to (58.4) points for the small-sized enterprises.

This comes after a significant improvement in the levels of optimism among small and medium enterprises during the said quarter compared to the same quarter of 2014.

This also comes in line with the overview of the businesses to the economic performance of the sectors in which they operate, as many enterprises mentioned the improvement in business and sales volume and the stability of product prices and employment rate in all sectors during the first quarter of 2015. This is considered a reflection of the positive impact of development projects under implementation in various areas in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

At a time when optimism levels have improved among the enterprises operating in all areas of the Emirate during the first quarter of 2015 compared to the same quarter of the previous year, the economic establishments operating in Al Ain showed higher optimism levels compared to the establishments operating in Abu Dhabi and the Western Region, as the index recorded 62 in Al Ain, 61 in Abu Dhabi and 58 in the Western Region.

This optimism included the assessment of the facilities for their performance and the economic situation during the first quarter of 2015 as well as their expectations about future economic conditions.

While the majority of businesses in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi stated that there are no impediments affecting their work, some facilities, in the three regions of the Emirate, mentioned some factors affecting their activity, mainly the rents, labour laws, labour skills and prices of raw materials.

Other factors included the illegal competition, communications, transportation, and financing which affected the enterprises of various kinds. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


IMF lauds UAE’s fiscal consolidation efforts

posted on 05/08/2015

The UAE authority's efforts to consolidate the fiscal position is appropriate and would reduce fiscal vulnerability and ensure intergenerational equity, the IMF said in its staff report on the UAE.

The UAE has introduced a number of measures from the beginning of this year to reduce government expenditures through energy subsidy reforms. Last month the government removed fuel subsidies in the country which is expected to save about US$7 billion (Dh25.7 billion). Total subsidies and transfers cost the UAE government US$17 billion in 2014 (12 per cent of total government spending).Starting January this year, Abu Dhabi took steps towards reducing domestic power subsidies. Prior to the reforms, electricity subsidies for residential buildings ranged from 55-90 per cent and water subsidies from 79-100 per cent. A new tariff system, effective 1 January 2015, is based on usage. Water tariffs will be increased by up to 170 per cent and electricity tariffs by up to 40 per cent for expatriates and UAE nationals will have to start paying for water and pay higher electricity tariffs, depending on consumption.

Subsidy reforms are seen as a progressive step in fiscal reforms in the context of falling oil prices and a decline in government revenues by 22.5 per cent this year as estimated by the UAE Central Bank. Lauding the fiscal reform efforts, the IMF said the macroeconomic policy mix should focus on gradual fiscal consolidation, while maintaining the peg and easing liquidity management if needed. Fiscal consolidation will also help bring the external position closer to the level consistent with medium-term fundamentals. However, its pace should take into account the available fiscal buffers and the impact on the broad economy,” Zeine Zeidane, Advisor, Middle East and Central Asia Department.

While fiscal consolidation requires spending cuts, the IMF has warned that the quality of spending cuts is crucial to avoid damaging the country's competitiveness and long-term growth prospects. Government investments should be preserved relative to non-hydrocarbon GDP to support infrastructure, while the implementation of megaprojects by government related entities (GREs) should be gradual, in line with the expected demand. Public sector wage bill growth should be controlled while energy subsidies and capital and other transfers should be reduced.

Budget processes

The IMF also recommends taxation an effective fiscal policy option to raise more non-hydrocarbon revenues. Fiscal policy implementation requires further strengthening annual budget processes, including strong Public Finance Management Systems. Close oversight and continued strengthening of debt management frameworks are crucial.

On the monetary policy front the IMF recommended maintaining of the dirham's peg to the dollar and strengthening liquidity management and deepening money markets. In an adverse scenario with a decline in deposits, liquidity management could be eased to support credit growth.

Along with fiscal and monetary policy adjustments to deal with the current economic conditions, the IMF has recommended effective structural reforms to deal with long term challenges. "Implementation of structural reforms should be pursued to strengthen competitiveness and accelerate private sector-led job creation for nationals. These could focus on further opening up foreign direct investment, improving selected areas of the business environment, and easing access to finance for start-ups and small and medium enterprises (SMEs),” the IMF report said. – Gulf News -


UAE non-oil sector rebounds

posted on 05/08/2015

The UAE's non-oil private sector regained some of the lost growth momentum in July as business conditions improved at a faster pace in the emirate, a corporate survey revealed.

Latest data showed that business activity growth in the UAE's non-oil private sector rebounded last month from a 22-month low in June as output and new orders rose at sharper rates, contributing to a robust overall improvement in business conditions.

The seasonally-adjusted Emirates NBD UAE Purchasing Managers' Index, which covers manufacturing and services, rose to 55.8 points last month from 54.7 in June. A level above 50 indicates expansion and below 50, contraction. The output sub-index also rose sharply to 60 points in July from 57.5 in June, while the new orders sub-index climbed to 60.2 from 57.7 points. "July's PMI is another indication that growth in the UAE's non-oil economy is proving resilient in the face of a challenging regional and global economic environment," said Jean-Paul Pigat, senior economist at Emirates NBD.

The survey, sponsored by Emirates NBD and produced by Markit, said growth at the start of third quarter was broadly in line with the average seen over the second quarter (56 points), but remained weaker than the trend recorded so far this year (56.8).

"The rebounds in output and new orders were particularly encouraging, and we expect this momentum to continue through the remainder of 2015," Pigat said.

Job creation was also sustained at a solid pace as non-oil private sector employment in the UAE continued to increase in July, marking a 43-month period of job creation. The rate of hiring was unchanged from June's solid pace, and remained in line with the average noted over six years of data collection. A number of panellists associated workforce growth with the start-up of new projects.

"The rebound in non-oil sector was expected by government and private businesses alike. The IMF has in fact positively revised the non-oil GDP growth for UAE to 4.4 per cent this year and 4.5 per cent next year in view of the Dubai's thrust for the core service sectors and diversification for non-oil sectors by Abu Dhabi. This change in the outlook will bring about positive sentiments in the business community," Atik Munshi, managing partner, Horwath Mak, told Khaleej Times.

Dr Preeta George, acting dean and professor of economics at SP Jain School of Global Management, said the rebound of the non-oil private sector in July after the holy month of Ramadan is a normal phenomenon, but it is of particular significance this year given the dip in oil prices and its expected impact on the growth of the economy which is revised downwards to 3.2 per cent.

Referring to the IMF, she said the non-oil economy is estimated to grow by 4.4 per cent this year and this will provide a cushioning effect to growth. "This has been possible due to the growing importance of this sector and can be attributed to UAE's pioneering efforts towards diversification. With several projects lined up to meet the 2020 deadline, the non-oil sector is poised to play a significant role in UAE's growth story."

On the price front, data highlighted divergent trends in July. The rate of cost inflation picked up to the quickest since February, while charges fell for the fifth time in the past six months. The survey said cost pressures intensified in July, amid faster rises in both purchase prices and salaries. The rate of input price inflation picked up to a five-month high, but remained subdued relative to the series average.

Prices charged by non-oil private sector companies decreased in July. Although marginal, the latest fall was the fifth in the past six months. Some firms saw their pricing power diminish as they attempted to secure new business. "Dubai and other emirates have tried to reduce their reliance on oil revenues and have taken measures to boost the service and manufacturing sectors," Munshi said.

He said the service sector is expected to see a major positive change for the UAE in the near future, where its contribution to the gross domestic product is anticipated to improve substantially.

"This is a sign of that the economy is moving towards being mature. The sentiment of the market will further improve if the overall market size of the UAE escalates. Once we reach near World Expo 2020 the economy is likely to be even better," he said. – Khaleej Times -


Kenya sees UAE tourist numbers rise over 77%

posted on 05/08/2015

NAIROBI: Kenya has been witnessing a surge in tourist arrivals from the UAE, recording a 77.4 percent rise in the first six months of the year compared to the same period in 2014, according to Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) .

TradeArabia News Service, TANS, a portal for business information and trade news, has quoted the figures released by the KTB, which say a total of 24,462 people visited Kenya from the UAE between January and June, compared to 13,782 in 2014, which made the UAE hold 7 percent of Kenya's total tourist market share, up from 3.2 per cent in 2014, and Kenya's third largest source market for tourism in the world, behind the UK and USA.

"The UAE is an emerging market for us and our strategy in place to market Kenya to GCC market is bringing the results we all wanted and expected. It has also made us a tourist destination in the region, and we saw this with the increase in tourist figures, which we see increasing more and more. We expect further growth from this market following our recently launched marketing campaign dubbed 'Choose Kenya' to woo tourists from the GCC countries," said Muriithi Ndegwa, KTB Managing Director.

Ndegwa added that the increase in tourism numbers was also spurred by the recovery from insecurity as compared to last year as well as the drop in Ebola infections in West Africa which boosted the visitor's confidence in the region and particularly in Kenya.

The fifth edition of Magical Kenya Travel Expo and more than four other International events meant to be held in Kenya later this year are also expected to put Kenya at the forefront of tourist destinations for Gulf residents. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


TCA Abu Dhabi welcomes Croatian delegation, discusses digital content brand development and marketing

posted on 05/08/2015

Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) received in its headquarters highly ranked marketing experts from the Croatian National Tourism Board (CNTB) and an accompanying delegation including representatives from internet search giant Google.

The purpose of visit was to discuss and identify areas of best practices in the realms of digital content brand development and marketing.

"The delegation's visit reflects Abu Dhabi's growing influence and success in digital marketing initiatives," according to Mouza Al Shamsi, TCA Abu Dhabi's Acting Executive Director of Marketing and Communications, who said, "TCA Abu Dhabi is identified as a leader of innovative brand development in the MENA region and this visit is in recognition of our collaborative approach to strengthen our on-line brand positioning."

"Our Croatian colleagues have also forged close relationships with their Google counterparts to develop their brand outreach, and it is hoped that this Google initiative will enable us to learn from each other's techniques for creative and pioneering digital marketing campaigns in the future," added Al Shamsi. – the emirate's online destination resource – has taken many top honours since re-launching in 2013, and received a major upgrade earlier this year including 'responsive' technology enabling its content to fit all mobile screens regardless of brand, technology or screen size.

The Authority's evolving mobile strategy has recently been extended to include 'native' mobile applications of its destination portal for iPhone, iPad, Android & Windows Phone, and has received over 4.5 million visits and over 100,000 installs of its mobile apps.

Led by Tina Jukic Tomljanovic, CNTB's Marketing Director, the delegation encompassed meetings with TCA Abu Dhabi's brand and digital marketing teams and provided a full overview of CNTB's business priorities, as well as complete insight into their marketing strategies and budgets relevant to the fast changing digital environment.

In return, the efforts, successes, challenges and future plans for expanding TCA Abu Dhabi's digital marketing reach through a range of added-value activities and the role of the internet as a planning resource in partnership with Google were explained.

The ongoing partnership between Google and TCA Abu Dhabi extends beyond the traditional search, display and pay-per-click advertising opportunities. Google platforms are used to deliver online marketing campaigns, and an extended 2015 partnership will include a series of Google accredited training programmes for TCA Abu Dhabi and external stakeholder representatives, and a roll-out of Abu Dhabi's landmark destinations on Google street view. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Etihad Airways scores Hat Trick at Australian Business Traveller Awards

posted on 05/08/2015

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has won three accolades at the Australian Business Traveller Awards, including the coveted title of Best Airline. It also won the awards for "Best First Class and Best Arrivals Lounge".

The awards were determined by a team of writers from Australian Business Traveller, the Asia-Pacific region's leading website for business travellers and frequent flyers. Winners were based on feedback from frequent flyers and first-hand reviews by the publication's editorial team.

Etihad Airways' Chief Commercial Officer Peter Baumgartner said the awards reflected the airline's commitment to delivering a remarkable experience for its guests.

"At Etihad Airways our goal isn't to be the world's biggest airline – it's to be the best. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Flydubai to increase flights from Dubai World Central

posted on 05/08/2015

Flydubai said that it would increase flights from Al Maktoum International at Dubai World Central (DWC) from October 25.

It said it would operate flights to Amman, Beirut, Chittagong, Doha, Kathmandu, Kuwait and Muscat from DWC while also continuing to fly to those destinations from Dubai International.

Ghaith Al Ghaith, the chief executive, said the expansion "provides further opportunities for growth as we take delivery of more than 100 new Boeing aircraft by 2023”.

"With the delivery of eight new aircraft each year for the next few years and as we prepare for the first delivery of the new model Boeing 737 MAX we remain focussed on supporting travel, trade and tourism by enhancing connectivity from Dubai's two airports,” he added.

A statement from flydubai said the airline will operate 70 flights per week during the winter schedule. It has created a network of 94 destinations, with 18 new routes announced since the start of the year.

It said that the addition of flights from DWC will give passengers greater choice and flexibility. – The National -


Aldar Properties Q2 2015 Results: Q2 2015 net profit up 18% to Dh 601 million

posted on 05/08/2015

Aldar Properties PJSC , Abu Dhabi's leading listed property development, investment and management company, yesterday announced net profit up 18% to Dh 601 million (Q2 2014: Dh 509 million). This was a result of the growth in recurring revenues, higher development margins and lower finance costs following significant refinancing and deleveraging efforts over the last 24 months.

Aldar Properties CEO, Mohammed Al Mubarak, commented:" Aldar had a strong second quarter driven by the continued growth and stabilisation of our recurring revenue asset portfolio. This has resulted in an improvement in the underlying quality of earnings.' 'We remain on track to meet our target level of debt and have paid off a further Dh 1.1 billion during the quarter. Positive interest in our new developments - Nareel, Al Merief and Meera - demonstrates that we are bringing the right products to market at the right time,' he said.

'Our strategy remains unchanged. We continue to grow our recurring revenues, strengthen our balance sheet and monetise our land bank through implementing a clear and well defined development plan."

Revenues for the second quarter 2015 were Dh 1,106 million compared to Dh 2,194 million in the second quarter 2014. Q2 2015 gross profit margin was 45%, up from 15% in the second quarter of 2014. Development revenues were Dh 318 million during the quarter.

Development update Nareel sales have now reached Dh 1.0 billion following the successful Phase II launch.

In June 2015, Aldar launched Meera, a residential development on Shams Abu Dhabi, Al Reem Island. Meera, a mid-market product, features two 26-storey towers overlooking a landscaped park, with one, two and three-bedroom apartments. Meera Phase I sales are complete with 150 units sold.

Recurring revenue asset performance The expanded recurring revenue asset base which includes retail, residential, office and hotel assets grew significantly quarter-on-quarter. This was driven by the growth in the residential portfolio, following the leasing of over 3,000 units at The Gate Towers and al rayyana as well as the trading progress at Yas Mall. The recurring revenue assets include: Residential 4,800 unit strong residential portfolio achieved occupancy of 98% as at 30 June 2015.

Retail Total retail GLA of 470,000 sqm. across 27 retail destinations.

Yas Mall, Aldar 's flagship retail development, fully leased and as of the period end with currently 340 stores trading.

Offices Occupancy increased to 91% leased across the 184,000 GLA office portfolio.

Hotels H1 2015 occupancy across the hotel portfolio at 81%, in line with H1 2014.

Financial strength During the quarter Aldar repaid a further Dh 1.1 billion of loans from excess cash in the business, reducing gross debt further to Dh 7.1 billion.

Aldar 's cash position marginally increased to Dh 5.3 billion of cash as at the end of the second quarter 2015 following the receipt of Dh 1.2 billion in government infrastructure receivables, offset by the debt repayments mentioned above.

Early adoption of IFRS 15 In July 2015, Aldar announced that it had made the decision to adopt IFRS 15 revenue recognition accounting policy early, ahead of mandatory adoption from 1 January 2018. IFRS 15 will be adopted effective from 1 January 2015.

The most significant impact from IFRS 15 adoption relates to how Aldar recognises revenue for off-plan development projects, which will now be predominantly accounted for over-time, in line with the contract terms. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Dubai Investments Park attracts 436 new companies in the first five months of 2015

posted on 05/08/2015

Dubai Investments Park (DIP), the unique self-contained, mixed-use master community offering a mix of residential, commercial & industrial zones and wholly-owned by Dubai Investments (DI), has attracted 436 new companies in the first five months of 2015, taking the total number of companies within the 2,300-hectare development to nearly 4,500.

During the period, the new companies leased warehouses, distribution centres, office spaces and light industrial units across a total area of 580,000 square feet. The sub-tenants include well-known brands such as Splash Gulf LLC, Majan Food Industries, Galaxy Metal Industries, Four Zone Décor, Royal Cosmetics and 4 Corner General Trading, among others.

This marked a 20% increase in commercial space allotments in the period compared to the last year.

DIP, the torchbearer in the development and management of business parks in the region, is thus reinforcing its reputation as a manufacturing powerhouse, offering a range of medium to light industries in aluminium, steel manufacturing, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, textiles, plastics, oil & gas, construction, building materials and contracting sectors.

"DIP is fast reinforcing its identity as the preferred business destination and its proximity to the Expo 2020 site makes it a favoured option for investors and end-users. The massive growth in number of DIP sub-tenants this year is a sign of the growing reputation of DIP, as it continues to evolve into a self-contained City-within-a-City and the most sought-after destination for businesses eyeing good return on investments," said Omar Al Mesmar, General Manager of DIP.

He added: "Over the last 15 years, Dubai Investments Park's strategy has centred on supporting UAE's GDP by attracting big businesses across a wide array of sectors to its industrial park. Apart from world-class logistics, DIP offers a business-friendly environment and strategic location – both for local consumption and access to key transit points in order to cater to the export markets."

Warehousing, storage and commercial facilities have traditionally played a pivotal role in the success of DIP and it offers a wide array of logistics solutions for large, medium and small-sized enterprises. DIP offers dedicated plots where companies can custom-build warehouses to meet their requirements.

DIP extends unrivalled infrastructure, including 140-km of internal road network and well-integrated water and electricity systems, coupled with the most-modern facilities, and quality services for its tenants. Ultra-modern cooling plants, excellent waste management system and recycling facilities, a sophisticated telecommunications network and up-to-date staff amenities, make DIP the preferred choice for all types of ventures.

The additional benefits of quality and ease of access within Dubai and to potential markets in the neighbouring emirates and the wider region make DIP an ideal investment destination.

Born out of a pioneering vision by DI, DIP is today a booming community, accentuated by over 12,000 residential units, 90,000 residents, 20 million square feet of office space, 25 showrooms, six schools, three hotels, besides 20 residential buildings and a large of staff accommodation. Eight new hotels and serviced apartments are planned to be built in the next few years.

A total of approximately 59.5 million square feet of space within DIP are readymade facilities, which includes warehousing and industrial units. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


DEWA uses drones to inspect PV panels atop its Sustainable Building

posted on 05/08/2015

The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) has launched its Sirb (Arabic for fleet) initiative to use drone technology for internal services, to support Dubai's infrastructure, and aid smart technologies in serving Dubai's residents.

The move supports the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, in achieving the UAE Vision 2021 and Dubai Plan 2021 and making Dubai a smart, integrated, and connected city.

"We have launched the Sirb initiative to support the National Innovation Strategy, launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed to make the UAE one of the most innovative countries in the world within seven years. This will contribute to providing easier and more user-friendly services according to the highest international standards," said Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Managing Director and CEO of DEWA.

DEWA has already started using the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to check on the photovoltaic (PV) panels atop its Sustainable Building in Al Quoz. UAVs save considerable time and effort as they completely scan the building's roof, which has an approximate area of 100,000 square feet, in less than 5 minutes and provide Ultra HD (4K) images with a resolution of over 20 mega pixels.

The Sustainable Building's rooftop hosts photovoltaic panels that produce 600 kW of electricity, and DEWA uses drones to monitor the cleaning activities by contractors, which are essential for the panels to function properly in a desert environment.

Drones are also used to inspect the water cooling process in evaporators, enabling DEWA to operate without fully shutting them down for maintenance. The company also uses drones to regularly review its projects and obtain progress reports by taking panoramic pictures. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


GITEX expands focus to diverse industry verticals

posted on 05/08/2015

With the potential global economic impact of Internet of Things-related technology and services anticipated to reach more than USD 11 trillion per year by 2025, developing economies such as those in the Middle East will contribute nearly half of the total value, according to a new report by the McKinsey Global Institute.

Consequently, the 35thedition of GITEX Technology Week 2015 - the leading ICT business gateway in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) - will target ICT professionals from six key regional industry verticals expected to lead sector-specific contributions to Internet of Everything investment over the next 10 years.

With nine of the Middle East's top 10 universities, 20 of the Arab World's largest banks, and the Middle East's top five largest oil companies all set to attend GITEX Technology Week 2015, the event's new, industry-focused GTX Communities initiative will extend the mega fair's appeal to ICT professionals working in oil & gas, education, healthcare, retail, banking and construction, according to event organisers.

"While the Internet of Things era is making strong headway in the Middle East, not all industry verticals are digitising at the same rate," said Trixie Loh Mirmand, Senior Vice President, Exhibitions & Events Management, Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC). "In GTX Communities, GITEX Technology Week 2015 will provide a dedicated component for individuals and organisations from six, revenue-delivering verticals with the research, networking and tools to harness the latest innovations, disruptive technologies and emerging trends to fully digitise their business and succeed in the Internet of Things era."

Aligning with the event's theme of 'The Internet Future of Everything', the GTX Communities initiative includes dedicated TechVertical Conferences, Industry Roundtables for C-suite executives, the Smart Sessions Innovation Series, as well as a series of thought-leading white papers, articles, surveys and interviews with pioneering tech leaders on the event's website.

The content-rich initiative aims to deliver knowledge and value for professionals and companies exploring technology investment as immediate and long-term monetisation opportunities in six core sectors: Education - Improving learning outcomes through technology, such as with classroom mobile apps, social augmented reality, and game-based learning in projects.

Healthcare - Healthcare providers can learn how pervasive connectivity leads to better solutions, outcomes, and lower healthcare costs, while transforming the patient-doctor relationship.

Banking - Digital disruption and its impact on the future of banking, with focus areas including how social media and Big Data enhance customer service and engagement, new product development, payments and transfers, and risk management.

Retail - Agencies, brands, publishers, and retailers will examine innovations in shopping, customer engagement, advertising, and selling such as e-commerce, predictive analytics, and mobile retail.

Construction - Executives will hear how technology is enhancing project site efficiency, productivity and safety; transforming construction with 3D printing and drones; and delivering the next era of Smart Cities.

Oil and Gas - Oilfield operators can learn real-time technology integration can maximise exploration and production, and enable workers to access information and capture data using mobile apps. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


MBRF launches new series of ‘Book in Minutes’ highlighting successful leadership styles

posted on 05/08/2015

Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation (MBRF) has introduced the new series in its ‘Book in Minutes' initiative that put the spotlight on leadership styles and the power of positive thinking.

Through ‘Book in Minutes,' an ambitious initiative that aims to strengthen the culture of reading, MBRF presents Arabic summaries of some of the latest international books that are relevant to the community. The new series that puts the focus on leadership styles also covers subjects such as enhancing the happiness of people, another key focus of the UAE leadership.

The first book, ‘A Team of Leaders - Empowering Every Member to Take Ownership, Demonstrate Initiative and Deliver Results' by Paul Gustavson and Stewart Liff shows how to design systems that nurture the leadership potential of every employee, which is the key to creating high-performance teams. Among the techniques and principles discussed include: creating advantage through the Five Stage Team Development Model, the secrets of a great design, utilising great team processes, establishing a value creation model that connects team members with their contribution, managing knowledge for a competitive advantage and leveraging visual management tools to reinforce the desired team culture and outcomes.

The second book, Raising Happiness - 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents by Christine Carter PhD discusses the importance of a happy childhood and its role in building children's personalities. The book discusses how a happy childhood enables individuals to achieve higher performance rates and greater harmony in inter-personal relationships. It also underlines the how the feeling of happiness expands horizons of thought and enables one to overcome difficulties. The book provides steps that can be followed by parents to promote the happiness in the hearts of their children.

The third book, Rethinking Positive Thinking - Inside the New Science of Motivation by Gabriele Oettingen discusses the motivation tools that lead to the success of individuals in their lives and enable them to achieve their goals. The book highlights the power of optimism in encouraging people to work and think positively. It also explains the bright side of dreams, the types of optimism and practical guidance on how to turn one's dreams into reality.

In his opening note on the new series of ‘Book in Minutes', Jamal bin Huwaireb, Managing Director of MBRF, said, "Human beings are influenced by his environment – both work and family. It is important to nurture these environments and provide the right tenets that will help build the next generation of leaders while promoting a culture of innovation, excellence and creativity. Positive and inspiring work and family environments, in turn, lead to the happiness of the community." – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Maraya Art Centre partnering with Art Jameel to support upcoming photographers

posted on 05/08/2015

Maraya Art Centre has joined up with Art Jameel in support of the 6th 'Art Jameel Photography Award' (AJPA). Acting as Art Jameel's UAE partner, Maraya Art Centre will work continuously over the next few months to extensively promote the award. This endeavour will culminate in the centre hosting a two-week exhibition in February 2016, showcasing the works of the AJPA's winning photographers.

Maraya Art Centre Director, Giuseppe Moscatello, said, "We at Maraya are thrilled to be supporting the 6th 'Art Jameel Photography Award'. At the centre, we believe that partnering with regional initiatives and awards is a vital part of engaging the local and regional community and supporting and developing the next generation of our photographers."

Along with hosting the exhibition and promoting the award, Maraya Art Centre will also offer a series of photography workshops for competition entrants. Dubai based photographer and Children's book author, Alia Al Shamsi will lead the first workshop at the centre in September, which will focus on assisting conceptual development from an idea to a completed project. There will also be a second workshop in October, led by esteemed photographer Reem Saeed.

This partnership between Maraya and Art Jameel is in support of the award's drive to discover talented photographers, support them in the development of their practice and, finally, offer a space for the most exceptional work produced to be exhibited.

Speaking on the importance of the award, Art Jameel Programme Manager, Dalya Mousa, said, "The AJPA provides a wonderful opportunity for photographers of all levels to expand their craft and, if selected, to have their work promoted across the media, both regionally and internationally."

The AJPA, which is now open for submissions from anyone over the age of 18 residing in the Gulf region, will close on 31st October 2015. The award will culminate in a lavish ceremony on 10 December 2015, where the winners will be announced.

Being recognised in these awards will be an important step in the development of any artist's career. Along with practical support, the chance to secure a residency and media exposure, winners will be given a cash prize, with the total amount being offered adding up to SR 80,000.

The theme of this year's competition is 'Transitions' and is encouraging participants to examine and reflect on how today's society is changing. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Campaign at Modhesh World urges visitors to help design alphabet book for kids

posted on 05/08/2015

Visitors to the Dubai Cares stand at Modhesh World can help support children in developing countries by designing alphabet books.

Following a successful community outreach activity at The Dubai Mall during the holy month of Ramadan, Dubai Cares has unveiled its second programme as part of its 'We Can Teach Each Other' campaign.

The campaign urges Modhesh World visitors to turn their fun-filled outing into a selfless act, by asking them to colour alphabets and make a donation in interactive boxes.

The donations and ABC books will give children in developing countries access to education. The books will be created in English, French and Arabic.

Thanking the UAE community for their support and generosity, Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Cares, said education empowerment is one of the top priorities for private individuals and organisations alike.

"This year, the UAE community selflessly donated their time and money towards promoting our programmes and also helped us create the ABC book."

Dubai Cares' We Can Teach Each Other campaign looks at children from the developing world who, irrespective of the vulnerable conditions they are growing up in, have developed skills in crafting, engineering and designing. – Khaleej Times -


Fujairah Crown Prince supports national athlete participating in Ironman U.S. Championship

posted on 05/08/2015

H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, Crown Prince of Fujairah, affirmed his support to Mohsen Al-Ali who is participating in the Ironman U.S. Championship.

Sheikh Mohammed urged Al-Ali when he received him yesterday to exert all efforts in order to win the Championship.

Al-Ali thanked Sheikh Mohammed for supporting sports and athletes.

An Ironman Triathlon is one of a series of long-distance triathlon races organised by the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC) consisting of a 2.4-mile (3.86 km) swim, a 112-mile (180.25 km) bicycle ride and a marathon 26.2-mile (42.2 km) run, raced in that order and without a break. It is widely considered one of the most difficult one-day sporting events in the world. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Dubai and Australian anti-narcotics forces nab heroin smugglers off international waters

posted on 05/08/2015

In a joint operation code-named 'The Golden Beach', the Dubai Police and the Australian Federal Police have foiled an attempt to smuggle 145kg of heroin with street value of more than Dh10 million in the international waters off the African coast.

A crew of 16 Asian sailors were also arrested.

Major General Khamis Matar Al Muzaina, Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police, told the media yesterday that the Dubai Police's anti-narcotics department had received information about a wooden ship, called Taj carrying 145kg of illegal drugs, sailing towards the African coast from an Asian country.

He said a taskforce was set up to co-ordinate contacts with the Royal Australian Navy in the Indian Ocean. The joint team intercepted the ship in international waters off Tanzania and seized the drugs, which was hidden in the engine chamber.

'Operation Golden Beach is the latest addition to a record of international operations that Dubai Police have conducted including the Shark in 2011, Fontino in 2012, Indian Ocean in 2013 and Ocean Coast in 2014,' he added.

Maj. Gen. Al Muzaina said that the anti-narcotics department had been involved in 84 international drug cases in 2013, foiling attempts to smuggle 8,425kg of drugs. In 2014, the department helped solve 114 international cases involving 7,202kg of drugs, he said. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -