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Mohammed bin Rashid visit Media Centre at World Government Summit

posted on 10/02/2016

Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has visited the Media Centre at the World Government Summit, where the organising committee provided him with the required contact information of all the Arab and international media organisations covering the event, currently in its fourth edition.

During his visit to the centre, the Ruler of Dubai, who was accompanied by Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister for Cabinet Affairs, Chairman of the World Government Summit, and Khalifa Saeed Sulaiman, Director-General of Dubai Protocol and Hospitality Department, assured that all requirements to facilitate the job of journalists and media professionals be fulfilled.

Sheikh Mohammed praised the intensive media coverage of the summit over the last two days, gaining nearly 3,000 news items on the first day in 45 countries in 16 different languages. The event hashtag (#WorldGovSummit) attracted almost 3 billion followers, equivalent to a following commanded by the Oscars. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Mohammed bin Rashid honours Australian Minister

posted on 10/02/2016

Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has honoured Greg Hunt, Australian Minister for the Environment and Acting Minister for Cities and the Built Environment, with Best Minister in the World' Award.

H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and H.H. Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai attended the meeting.

The honour came as part of the second day of the 4th World Government Summit, which is being held under the logo 'Shaping Future Governments'. The Award is granted for ministers in recognition to their efforts and innovative environmental initiatives and had a significant impact in supporting reduction of environmental pollution rates in Australia by 93 tonnes of carbon.

Sheikh Mohammed said, 'Government work across the world is a competitive field and government leaders and their achievements should be honoured, consequently, the World Government Summit has become a platform that highlights successful government experiences and exchange of exceptional government accomplishments."

He added that the world's best minister award aims to make a better future for all governments.

Hunt, who has served as the Minister for Environment since 2013, is a member of Australia's conservative Liberal National coalition government that repealed the carbon tax in 2013. That made Australia the first developed nation in the world to remove laws meant to put a price on greenhouse gas emissions.

The ‘best minister of the world' award was an effort by the World Government Summit and Thomson Reuters. The award is meant to recognise a minister "who led quality successful initiatives" for the benefit of its citizens. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Mohamed bin Zayed to start official visit to India today

posted on 10/02/2016

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, will begin an official visit today, Wednesday to India.

During the three-day long official visit to India, Sheikh Mohamed will meet with Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, in the Indian capital, New Delhi.

While visiting India, Mohammed bin Zayed will discuss with senior Indian official ways to strengthen co-operation and friendship between the two countries in the light of continuous co-ordination and consultations regarding regional and international issues of mutual concern.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed will be accompanied by a high-profile delegation including a number of Sheikhs, ministers, senior officials, businesspersons and economists in the country. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Abdullah bin Zayed: UAE's bonds with Colombia "remarkably developed"

posted on 10/02/2016

BOGOTA: H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister, has said that UAE relations with Colombia grow from strength to strength, and the current trade exchanges between both countries have the potential to expand significantly, given the strength of bilateral political ties.

H.H. Sheikh Abdullah made the remarks, to be published by El Tiempo daily newspaper tomorrow, on the occasion of his official visit to Colombia.

The following is the text of his comments in full: "My visit to Colombia this week presents an opportunity to reflect on the status of our bilateral relations and on what steps we can take to further increase links between Colombia and the UAE.

Despite the long distance between our countries, relations between the UAE and Colombia are remarkably developed. I welcome the fact that Colombia opened an embassy in Abu Dhabi in August 2011 and, with the opening of the UAE Embassy in Bogota in October 2013, we can be optimistic that our bonds will only deepen.

Colombia's support for the UAE's successful bid to host the 2020 World Expo in Dubai was proof of the strength of our relationship. I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to Colombia for being one of the first countries to officially support the UAE's bid, and I look forward to welcoming Colombian visitors to the first World Expo in the Middle East in 2020.

The meeting of the Joint Committee during my visit will further confirm the growth in cooperation between our countries, and ensure deeper cooperation and exchanges on matters of importance to both our countries.

While the UAE's relations with Colombia grow from strength to strength, we are keen to enhance our cooperation in a number of areas in which we believe closer ties should be forged in areas of mutual interest such as sustainable development and economic growth.

The UAE and Colombia share a common vision for sustainable development. This was evidenced by our close cooperation on the development of the United Nations' post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda. The UAE also deeply appreciates Colombia's active role in the International Agency for Renewable Energy, IRENA, which is based in our capital city, Abu Dhabi. And just last month, in Abu Dhabi, the prestigious jury of the Zayed Future Energy Prize, the UAE's international awards for energy and sustainability pioneers, announced and honoured Institucio Educativa Gabriel Plazas from Colombia as one of the eight winners across four categories for its 2016 awards cycle.

The UAE is at the centre of a dynamic and rising Asia, rapidly developing Africa, and the established economies of Europe and the United States. Colombia is one of Latin America's most attractive investment destinations, and has the third largest population in Latin America. These trends continue to reinforce our mutual interest in boosting our trade ties.

Since the inauguration of our diplomatic relations in November 1975, trade between our two countries has expanded. Colombia is already a significant exporter of flowers, coffee, gold, emeralds and fine leather goods to the UAE, while the UAE exports building materials and metals such as doors, windows, ceramics, and pipelines to Colombia.

Yet, current trade exchanges between our countries have the potential to expand significantly, given the strength of our political ties. UAE companies are interested in investing in Colombia and in order to facilitate these investments, the UAE is keen on making progress on several important bilateral economic agreements. The beginning of direct flights between our countries could also serve to bring our people and companies closer together.

One of my objectives for this visit is to explore ways to increase dialogue and engagement between our businesspeople and government officials, as they seek to boost cooperation between the UAE and Colombia on economic, cultural, and consular matters.

On the occasion of my visit to Colombia, I reaffirm the commitment of the UAE to continue strengthening our relationship, and I look forward to working with my Colombian partners to further our goals. I am truly inspired by the richness of our cultural ties and the deepening bonds between our people, and I am encouraged by Colombia's drive to innovate and explore new opportunities for a joint prosperous future for our two countries and regions." – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Sheikha Lubna welcomes World Bank President at Zayed University

posted on 10/02/2016

Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, Minister of International Cooperation and Development (MICAD), President of Zayed University, on Sunday received and welcomed Dr. Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group, at Zayed University in Dubai campus.

The visit came on the sidelines of the fourth edition of the World Government Summit, which is held under the patronage of Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

The World Government Summit is set to run from February 8th to 10th, under the title "Shaping Future Governments" and with the participation of officials from 125 countries, including top dignitaries, leaders, and experts from the government and private sectors across the world.

The visit aimed at engaging young students from Zayed University in an open dialogue with the President of the World Bank Group and his distinguished delegates to voice their ideas, exchange their views, and share knowledge regarding projects supported by the Bank in order to enable the UAE to stay at the global forefront of innovation.

The event was inaugurated with a keynote speech by Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi. She said, "It gives me great pleasure to welcome you today at Zayed University. I am also pleased to greet you, and to commend your efforts in fighting poverty, developing sound policies, and improve peoples' livelihoods through your support for inclusive and sustainable development."

"Your visit represents a unique opportunity for our students, the heart of Zayed University, to inspire them and exchange ideas on how we can work together for a brighter future especially for the youth. Our students are excited to gain better understanding of the World Bank Group's mission and operations and interact with respected delegates and experts in the field of development," she added.

The minister continued, "One of the most valuable actions of the World Bank, is its growing openness to engage in dialogue with a variety of key constituencies including academics, youth, non-governmental organisations, parliamentarians, and private sector. Thus, we take this opportunity to foster with you our knowledge on the development of the country's youth, exchange views and experiences with our students, emphasise the importance of learning from new ideas-learning from both the successes and the failures of the past. Not only that, but also the importance of thinking critically and keeping pace with the rapidly changing world, and to bring about new concepts, ideas, and innovations."

The President of the World Bank Group, expressed his pleasure at having the opportunity to visit the UAE for the first time and meeting Zayed University students to engage in an interactive discussions and constructive dialogues.

Mr Kim praised the UAE's successful development experiment adding that visionary and leadership are behind improvements and achievements witnessed in the UAE. He also discussed the World Bank Group's mission that aims to end extreme poverty by 2030.

Furthermore, the World Bank President praised the UAE's keenness to consistently and directly communicate with its citizens, pay marvellous attention to their views and ideas in order to enable them participating fully in the society and achieve the interaction and cohesion that should lead to security and stability in the country.

The event was also attended by Professor Reyadh AlMehaideb, Vice President of Zayed University, Dr Marilyn Roberts, Acting Provost of Zayed University, faculty members from different colleges at the University, as well as students from Zayed University and the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT). – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


DEWA and Australia’s Department of Environment share best practices in environmental conservation

posted on 10/02/2016

Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Managing Director and CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, DEWA, has met a delegation from Australia's Department of the Environment headed by Greg Hunt MP, Australia's Minister for the Environment, on the second day of the World Government Summit. Arthur Spyrou, Australia's Ambassador to the UAE, and Ahmed Buti Al Muhairbi, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Energy in Dubai, also attended the meeting.

The meeting discussed bilateral relations in different areas. This supports DEWA's commitment to mutual cooperation and exchanging best practices and experiences with international government organisations on protecting the environment and promoting sustainability.

Al Tayer shared Dubai's leading experience in protecting the environment, which supports the Dubai Plan 2021 to make the emirate sustainable with its resources. It also supports the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050, launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. The strategy consists of five main pillars: infrastructure, legislation, funding, building capacities and skills, having an environment-friendly energy mix. The infrastructure pillar includes the establishment of the Dubai Green Zone, which is dedicated to attracting research and development centres and emerging companies in clean energy. The infrastructure pillar includes the establishment of the Dubai Green Fund, worth Dh100 billion, that will provide, through its financial resources, financial tools for clean energy investors.

"We are working to establish a sustainable model for saving energy that supports economic development without affecting the environment or natural resources. Dubai aims to become the city with the smallest carbon footprint in the world. DEWA spares no effort in achieving the sustainability of natural resources and ensuring a brighter future for us and for generations to come. DEWA contributes to the emirate's sustainability by implementing large-scale energy projects, developing renewable and clean energy sources, enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of energy and water networks, launching awareness initiatives and programmes to promote public awareness on the importance of the sensible use of natural resources, and instilling a culture of rationalisation in society," said Al Tayer. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


WGS 2016: Dubai to launch 1,000 information gathering projects in next three years

posted on 10/02/2016

Dubai will launch 1,000 new digital data gathering projects over the next three years, as part of the growth of the Internet of Things, IoT, to develop and improve the services and infrastructure provided to residents.

Speaking at the start of the second day of the World Government Summit, taking place in Dubai, Ahmad bin Byatt, Chairman of the Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company, du, said the expansion of information gathering will enable the Dubai government to design, plan, implement and to continually manage the delivery of services to the public.

The projects will be launched as part of Dubai's strategy to embrace the 'internet of things' that consists of a network of devices, vehicles, buildings and other items which are embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity, to enable them to collect and exchange data.

"As far as Dubai's Smart City platform goes, data will be aggregated from various sources. The data will be analysed to give us the knowledge that can be used to make better decisions," Bin Byatt said.

"If we are able to make better decisions, we will be able to improve the efficiency of the city and if we can do that the productivity of the people will increase. And, if that happens our competitiveness rises. The end result will be more engaged and happy people."

Bin Byatt acknowledged there will be concerns around privacy and information security.

However, he said that every measure would be taken to safeguard the data gathered. Highlighting the robustness of Dubai's digital infrastructure, Bin Byatt said, "Our governance is deeply rooted in the security and protection of information and the exclusive use of data for the benefit of Dubai and its residents."

The development of the 'internet of things' will provide fertile ground for the UAE's young people to unleash their creative ideas, Bin Byatt forecast, adding that the Dubai government is committed to opening the development of the 'internet of things' to everyone.

"The internet of things belongs to all of us," Bin Byatt said. "It is all about customised solutions and interaction. So I invite everyone to join the conversation and help us customise the future of our city," he added.

The World Government Summit has convened over 3,000 personalities from 125 countries. The summit aims to explore more than 70 topics through keynote speakers and major interactive sessions, drawing the participation of world leaders, ministers, decision makers, CEOs, innovators, officials, experts, entrepreneurs, academics, and university students. A number of initiatives, reports and studies are set to be launched during the summit and throughout the year. WGS 2016 runs until February 10th at the Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


WGS 2016 session explores dynamics for shaping a new ecosystem

posted on 10/02/2016

The question should not be about where the next Silicon Valley is. Instead it is important to ask what we can do to build a dynamic ecosystem, according to Christopher Schroeder, American entrepreneur, advisor and investor in interactive technologies and social communication.

Schroeder's comments came on day two of the fourth World Government Summit (WGS 2016) currently underway in Dubai.

Addressing a session entitled ‘Building the Next Silicon Valley', Schroeder noted that the advancements in modern technology have already transformed human nature and will continue to serve as the basis for building a new ecosystem.

According to the American entrepreneur, the younger generation have an inherent belief that technology is making their lives better and there is no going back. "This is the new generation that will emerge as the crucial talent of the new ecosystem," he observed.

Schroeder further emphasised that the greatest strength about the Silicon Valley is its differentiating factor as a network for talent. "Talent is essential for shaping the best of the best, as these people work to achieve success. And, success has a multiplier effect that will unleash incredible results in the new ecosystem."

In order to harness new talent in the so-called next Silicon Valley, Schroeder advised educational and government institutions to cooperate with each other in order to inspire the younger generation and actualise their potential in the ecosystem. In this regard, Schroeder observed that he was highly impressed by the UAE's enforcement of teaching entrepreneurship in schools.

Commenting on the scope of WGS 2016, Schroeder said the summit captures the essence of where the UAE stands in terms of innovation, where global competitive ideas will be shaped in the most powerful ways.

In his concluding remarks, Christopher Schroeder said, "I am a deeply hopeful man. Because of what I have seen in the last few days and during recent visits to the UAE, I am now even more optimistic."

The World Government Summit has attracted more than 3,000 personalities from more than 125 countries, and 125 speakers in over 70 sessions. The attendees include VIPs and senior experts from the public and private sectors globally, ministers, decision makers, CEOs, innovators, officials, experts, entrepreneurs, academics, and university students. A number of initiatives, reports and studies are being launched during the summit and throughout the year. The summit is underway from February 8 – 10, 2016 at the Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Ministry of Economy enters into strategic partnership with US Department of Commerce to promote cooperation in innovation, entrepreneurship

posted on 10/02/2016

The UAE Ministry of Economy has signed a strategic partnership agreement with the US Department of Commerce to promote mutual cooperation in the field of innovation and entrepreneurship.

The Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, was signed by Abdulla bin Ahmed Al Saleh, Under-Secretary for International Trade on behalf of the UAE, and by Stefan Selig, US Under-Secretary for Foreign Trade and Industry on behalf of the United States. Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, was present at the signing.

The newly signed agreement seeks to encourage and facilitate the exchange of innovation and entrepreneurship expertise, with a particular focus on strengthening innovation policy development. In addition, it mandates the UAE's National Innovation Committee to oversee the execution of initiatives related to achieving this partnership.

As per the agreement, the UAE and the United States will identify mutually agreed upon priority sectors and deepening cooperative ties through building networks and successfully developing synergies among stakeholders of innovation and entrepreneurship, such as government institutions, business incubators, academic institutions and the wider business community. The agreement also stressed the need to exchange information in the interest of protecting intellectual property rights as a core component of the partnership.

The agreement was signed on day one of the fourth World Government Summit underway in Dubai from February 8th-10th, following US President Barack Obama's televised keynote address to the gathering. The summit, under the title, ‘Shaping Future Governments', has convened 3,700 government officials, policy makers, academics and experts to focus on shaping the future of governments by encouraging innovative practices in government operations and services in the information age.

In follow up comments to the keynote, Stefan Selig recognised previous cooperation in the field of space research technology through the joint effort of leading US academic institutions and the UAE Mars Mission. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


#WorldGovSummit..The Internet is a human right, must be free for all

posted on 10/02/2016

Professor Nicholas Negroponte, a Greek American founder of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab, has reiterated his longstanding belief that the internet should be free for everyone, just like street lights and libraries.

Addressing the audience on the second day of the 4th World Government Summit (WGS 2016) at a session entitled, "Future of The Future," he remained critical of governments and private entities that rely on market forces and stressed the importance of shared responsibility, or what he dubbed as ‘civil society'. The professor claimed, "It's time to rethink certain things."

Emphasising that capitalism has hurt those who believe the concept to be the core element, Professor Negroponte added that the mission for doing certain deeds and the market are separate. "Doing good and producing positive outcomes for society need not be input into the equation," he noted.

A prominent figure for challenging the current private education system, the professor shed light on the unfortunate reality of governments and private entities that put a price on education – which should fundamentally be free and available to all – and creates unnecessary competition.

The core idea Professor Negroponte highlighted was that because nations remain at such a meta-level and stay fixated on nationalism, they fail to see the weakened global civic responsibility. Putting all this behind, the key to an equal opportunity to learning and giving all people the basic human rights is prompting free Internet.

He added, "The future is coming, but it won't be evenly distributed." To transform this inequality, the professor suggested low-orbit satellites that would cost just US$10 billion – including 10 years of operational costs. Internet access is such an essential part of learning that to a certain extent, it is a human right. The low-orbit satellites will not only be orbiting outside the jurisdiction of countries, but provide web access even for people living in remote parts of the world. Professor Negroponte stressed that if nations and the United Nations are dedicated to promoting human rights, then certainly this kind of altruistic scheme is needed now.

The World Government Summit has attracted more than 3,000 personalities from over 125 countries, and 125 speakers in over 70 sessions. The attendees include VIPs and senior experts from the public and private sectors globally, ministers, decision makers, CEOs, innovators, officials, experts, entrepreneurs, academics, and university students. A number of initiatives, reports and studies are set to be launched during the summit and throughout the year. The summit runs from February 8th – 10th, 2016 at the Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


ENEC and TRANSCO sign deal for Barakah Nuclear Power Plant

posted on 10/02/2016

The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, ENEC, has signed the Connection and Interface Agreement, C&IA, with the Abu Dhabi Transmission and Dispatch Company, TRANSCO. The agreement establishes a contractual operating framework between the two entities that will allow for the electricity generated from ENEC's four nuclear energy units located in Barakah to be transmitted over TRANSCO's power lines to the UAE grid.

The official contract was signed at TRANSCO's offices in Abu Dhabi by Mohamed Al Hammadi, ENEC CEO, and Mohammed bin Jarsh, TRANSCO Acting Managing Director.

"This is a pivotal agreement and the result of hard work and a close collaboration between ENEC and TRANSCO", said Al Hammadi. "Close working partnerships and relationships with our stakeholders are vital components for the success of ENEC's programme and for the organisation to continue to deliver each milestone of the UAE peaceful nuclear energy programme, safely and to the highest international standards of quality. Thanks to TRANSCO's singular expertise, we are progressing efficiently and in a focused manner and have been able to sign the C&IA agreement that will allow for the nuclear energy plants in Barakah to safely supply the UAE with clean, reliable and sustainable electricity to power the nation."

Commenting on the agreement, Bin Jarsh said, "We are pleased to support ENEC in what is a strategically important development for the United Arab Emirates. Finalising the Connection and Interface Agreement is a milestone event that signifies the commitment of TRANSCO to this project and its objectives."

The signing of this agreement allows ENEC to prepare for the energisation of the switchyard, which is an important milestone for the UAE peaceful nuclear energy programme and the delivery of the four nuclear energy reactors. The energisation of an electrical infrastructure is a safety test performed under the supervision of qualified experts to examine new electric equipment and verify its conformity to the regulatory requirements. This important phase allows the equipment to be energised and for testing to be performed. Once the equipment is deemed satisfactory for normal service, the equipment is turned over to the system operator for normal service.

ENEC continues to progress safely and to the highest standards of quality in the delivery of the four nuclear energy units in Barakah. Unit 1 is now over 84% complete, Unit 2 is 64%, Unit 3 is 41% and Unit 4 25%. All four units and the associated subsidiary buildings are now over 58% complete and, pending regulatory approval, the four nuclear energy units are scheduled to be operative in 2020. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Important and diverse Emirati investments in Cochin India

posted on 10/02/2016

COCHIN: The Cochin container terminal is the youngest of five ports and is the only transshipment hubs supported by a hinterland that extends across the country, and has a captive volume of more than eight million of Twenty Foot Equivalent Unit, or TEUs.

DP World does 34 percentage of container handling in India, said Jibu Kurien Itty, chief executive officer, India Gateway Terminal Pvt Ltd.

Addressing the visiting UAE Media delegation on the sidelines of the official visit of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, due to be tomorrow, he said that all ports are currently operational. "The sub-continent region investments are made strategically across all major gateways along north, to Mundra and Nhava Sheva on the west coast, and up to Chennai and Viskapatnam on the east coast. We are yet to start operations in Kulpi, in West Bengal, but we have the operational license for it," said Itty. Being the operators of India's first private container terminal in 1999, DP World has over the years developed the network and understanding of India's business dynamics of container trade. With 90 per cent of the global trade moving by sea, container terminal operators have an unprecedented impact on the smooth running of global supply chain.

Shadi Khoja, Director of Strategy at Dubai Smart City said that the many benefits of the Smart City Project at Kochi are not limited to being an investment project which provides more than 90,000 jobs and three times of that number indirectly but also it represents an important landmark in the prestigious global stature of Kerala. He added that the projects will attract many international specialised companies in technology which would take them on the radar of international companies.

The Cochin container terminal is the youngest of five ports and is the only transshipment hubs supported by a hinterland that extends across the country, and has a captive volume of more than eight million of Twenty Foot Equivalent Unit, or TEUs.

Explaining logistics Itty said, "At present, we have a million TEU capacity scale but we expect to take up to 4 million at the completion of the third phase. Currently, we have a total land area of 112 hectares. We have our development chalked out in a phased manner. The port enjoys a draft of 14.5 metre a draft adequate to service the largest ships afloat. We are connected to a rail network, in other words the trains can be taken to any part of India. We have got a 4.68km rail freight bridge exclusively built for this project."

According to him south India's container market accounts for closed to two million TEUs, 25 per cent of India's trade. "Today, all containerised trade from this area finds its way overseas through transshipment out of international hubs. And we want to position ourselves as the preferred choice for India's container business." – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Jafza is home to over 800 Indian companies

posted on 10/02/2016

Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza), the flagship free zone entity of Dubai and a renowned trade and logistics hub for the wider Middle East region spanning from West Asia, the CIS, Africa and Indian Subcontinent, is currently home to over 800 leading Indian companies which are serving all key markets in the region from their regional base in the Free Zone. The number of Indian companies in the Free Zone in 2014 posted a growth of 10%.

Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Chairman of DP World and Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, said: "UAE and India enjoy a very strong bond of friendship which is founded on centuries old cultural and economic interaction between the two regions. The evolution of Dubai as a regional trading hub in 1990s provided a major boost to bilateral trade relations between India and the UAE. Today India is UAE's largest trading partner. Jafza, which is home to more than 800 top India multinationals, has played a key role in strengthening trade relations between the two countries. The Jafza seeks to attract more leading Indian companies to the Free Zone, which will, eventually, further enhance bilateral relations between the two countries."

Commenting on the opportunities for Indian investors Bin Sulayem further said: "Most of the countries in the Middle East region are currently focused on diversifying their economies in order to reduce their dependence on oil. These countries are estimated to be spending more than USD 4 trillion in developing economic infrastructure suitable for nurturing non-oil business activities. The investment will not only boost construction and engineering but all other economic sectors right from food and beverage, healthcare, education, transport, communication, hospitality and everything in between.

"Expo 2020, the world's third largest global event after Olympic and the World Cup in Dubai, will provide further boost to infrastructure related activities in Dubai and other emirates in the UAE, as well as, neighbouring countries who will be benefitted from over 25 million overseas visitors that are expected to visit Dubai during the 6-month show. This unveils huge opportunities for Indian investors, which must be capitalised on."

India is Jafza's one of top trading partners. Jafza hosts a large number of leading Indian multinationals in diverse sectors who have established their regional headquarters in Jafza to serve markets in West Asia including GCC, the CIS and Africa. Jafza-India non-oil trade has tripled in the last ten years to reach almost USD 4 billion in 2014. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


77,887 movements in UAE airspace in January 2016

posted on 10/02/2016

Total air traffic movements in UAE airspace reached 77,887 last month, according to Sheikh Zayed Air Navigation Centre latest reports.

The UAE General Civil Aviation Authority, GCAA, announced that air traffic movements in the UAE witnessed an increase of 5.8 percent in January, 2016, compared with the same period last year.

The January report indicates that Dubai ranked first with 35,298 air traffic movements. Over-flights stood second at 13,818 air traffic movements. Abu Dhabi ranked third with 13,449 air traffic movements. According to the report, air traffic movements in Sharjah International Airport came next with 6,180 movements.

Local flights between UAE airports totalled 5,758 movements. Fujairah International Airport witnessed 71 movements, while Ras al-Khaimah International Airport had 514 air traffic movements and Al Ain Airport had 176 air traffic movements. Al Maktoum International Airport witnessed 2,628 movements. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Dubai airport’s Concourse D: Volunteers approve new Terminal 1 facility

posted on 10/02/2016

Some 2,000 residents of the UAE who participated in the first operational readiness trial of Dubai International's Concourse D on Saturday, have given the Dh3.3 billion facility their seal of approval, Dubai Airports said on Tuesday.

The major trial follows months of comprehensive experiments and tests involving staff and stakeholders.

The trial will pave the way for the opening of the new facility which is designed to meet the needs of the 70-plus international network carriers at Dubai International Airport's newly renovated Terminal 1.

Aimed at determining the readiness of staff, systems and processes by simulating a typical airport operation at the new facility, the trial was a result of a collaborative effort led by Dubai Airports in partnership with airlines, the Dubai Aviation Engineering Projects and dnata. It also involved authorities such as Dubai Police, General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs and Dubai Customs.

Some 2,000 residents, including men, women, children, senior citizens and individuals with special needs, volunteered to play the role of passengers arriving at, departing from and transiting through Concourse D, testing way-finding signage and the flow of passenger traffic within the new building.

Trial participants also secured a first look and taste of the tantalising array of retail and food and beverage outlets featuring in the concourse.

"I would like to thank all the volunteers for taking time out of their weekend and bringing their families along to help us get the new concourse ready for opening,” said Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports.

"The final element of our $7.8 billion (Dh28.62 billion) Strategic Plan 2020, Concourse D is a timely welcome addition to Dubai International. It's a facility designed around the needs and comfort of our customers, who will surely notice and appreciate the short walking distances to boarding gates, and the accessible layout of a wide variety of world-class food and retail offerings” he added.

Concourse D will increase Dubai International Airport's annual capacity from 75 million to 90 million passengers, enabling the world's number one hub for international passengers to accommodate the continuous growth in traffic. – Gulf News -


Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry releases Dubai Innovation Index Report

posted on 10/02/2016

The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, DCCI, yesterday released the Dubai Innovation Index (DII) Report, highlighting the results of the DII which was launched by the Chamber in collaboration with PwC in 2015, to support UAE's vision for innovation and to promote Dubai's quest towards being the smartest city in the world by 2021.

The Index has been designed to compare Dubai with 28 global cities on macroeconomic measures of innovation and to analyse innovation performance of Dubai's private sector, including at the firm level. Through the Index, the Chamber wants to create awareness and increase the participation of the private sector in the total innovation efforts of the city of Dubai, and provide a benchmark to measure innovation.

In the Report, London has emerged as the most innovative city, followed by Hong Kong and Singapore respectively. Dubai ranks 16th across 28 global cities, ahead of cities such as Madrid, Milan, Sao Paulo, Mumbai, Shanghai and Beijing.

Hamad Buamim, President and CEO, Dubai Chamber remarked the Chamber is cognizant of the importance of innovation, now more than ever, for an economy to grow and sustain in this dynamic global scenario.

"That is why we decided to launch the Index and have been very open and transparent about the parameters we have used to set a benchmark for measuring innovation. We hope the results of the survey will act as a catalyst for simulating innovation in the private sector in Dubai and promote their participation in the process of innovation."

"PwC is proud to be part of the development of the Dubai Innovation Index with Dubai Chamber. This is a unique and comprehensive index that evaluates and compares macroeconomic data to private sector views of a city," Dr. Anil Khurana, Partner, Strategy & Innovation, PwC, pointed out.

The aim of the Index is to identify what is Dubai's position in the global innovation scenario, what are the challenges and opportunities faced by the private sector when it comes to innovation and what can businesses and government do to promote innovation. According to the Report, the "enabler" score was higher than the "performance" score, which means that the innovation ecosystem is in place, with a high score for government support and fostering a culture for innovation.

In this firs-of-its-kind Index, Dubai has scored well on several enablers, namely "Government support" and "building the culture of innovation", and scored average on "funding" and "political, economic and social environment" elements. However, lower scores for "infrastructure for innovation" and "skills & talent" suggest these areas require improvement.

The Index, which measures innovation within the 61 indicators, shows Dubai's superiority in the field of output and performance, particularly in the launch of new products and services and outputs of technology. However, intellectual property and opportunities for collaboration with institutions and economies for scientific work need some more attention.

Survey results of Dubai's private sector indicate that "implementation of ideas" and "retention of talent" are key challenges to build innovation capabilities and lead to a low score for "intellectual capital"

The analysis also highlighted the important role being played by the government in driving the innovation agenda forward and having a long-term vision – something the private sector needs to focus on and work closely with the public sector.

The Healthcare industry leads innovation for private sector industries, with an innovation score of 60.25, followed closely by Media & Marketing (60.06) and ICT (59.29). Manufacturing, Education, Training & Research and Transport & Logistics have scored average on the innovation index relative to the other industries, whereas Construction & Real Estate, Financial, Insurance & Legal Services and Agriculture, Fishing & Forestry score amongst the low performing industries in innovation.

With a focus on these eight key sectors the Index will definitely stimulate the private sector and inspire them to participate in Dubai's innovation initiatives to remain ahead of the rest. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


UAE joins world family in marking Safer Internet Day 2016

posted on 10/02/2016

BRUSSELS: The UAE yesterday joined more than 100 countries worldwide, including all 28 countries of the European Union, in celebrating Safer Internet Day (SID) for the thirteenth year running.

In the UAE, the day is being celebrated since 2011 under the patronage of H.H. Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior.

Organised by the Khalifa Student Empowerment Program, Aqdar, the campaign, which features the participation of more than 30 ministries and federal, local and private entities, aims at raising awareness of community members about the dangers of the Internet, equipping them with the proper methods for safe internet use, and strengthening moral values and positive behaviours for safe use of the Internet. The campaign's logo will be posted on the Google search engine. Three short documentaries will be screened via local broadcasters.

Additionally, Aqdar has also allocated Dh 200,000 in cash prizes for student competitions on social media platforms.

UAE organisers say the global ‘Safer Internet Day' is a manifestation of international organisations' efforts of spreading the concepts of safe internet usage and child protection through early education.

The Ministry of Interior's Child Protection Center is also working on raising children's awareness about the dangers that they may face while using internet, organising relevant media campaigns and academic training programmes.

As part of UAE's celebration of the event, a new UAE-based non-profit organisation was launched to work for the protection of children from online abuse using psychiatric, legal, educational, technical and social expertise in cooperation with local and international authorities.

Launched on Sunday in the capital ahead of Safety Internet Day on February 9, Emirates Safer Internet Society E-SAFE announced its vision to become a "sustainable and globally recognised" hub for child protection online by 2021.

Speaking at the launch, Dr Abdullah Al Mehyas, Chairman, said that in addition to commonly recognised online risks such as sexual exploitation, blackmail and fraud, ‘e-Terrorism' also poses a threat.

"There are around 8.8 million internet users in the UAE and 65 per cent of those have smartphones. Those who do not have smartphones are usually children and they use tablets and similar devices. Nowadays, children are born into the internet era and therefore using these technologies comes to them naturally," Al Mehyas said.

E-SAFE has worked with international agencies such as Interpol, Unicef, ITU, EUROPOL and other local authorities such as the Ministry of Interior, the Khalifa Student Empowerment Programme (Aqdar), the Abu Dhabi Education Council, and the National Rehabilitation Centre (NRC), among many others.

The Ministry of Interior's Child Protection Centre urges parents to be cautious and to prevent their children from falling prey to internet dangers, as they may not always be aware of the challenges and risks they face online.

The festivities program will feature several events, such as promoting the campaign via social networking sites, #Hashtags on Twitter and Whatsapp, as well as a special radio and TV programs.

An EU wide initiative, Safer Internet Day (SID) is organised by Insafe in February of each year to promote safer and more responsible use of online technology and mobile phones, especially among children and young people across the world.

It is promoted in Ireland by the PDST Technology in Education and Webwise, and will be celebrated in Ireland on Tuesday 9th February 2016. 67,000 young people and 463 schools and organisations will celebrate Safer Internet Day 2016. Many events and activities will take place across the globe to mark the day.

Initiated under the European Commission's Safer Internet Programme and now continuing under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) which funds Safer Internet Centres in the member states, the day marks an annual opportunity to engage in making the internet a safer and better place for our children and young people.

Coordinated by European Schoolnet and INHOPE (the International Association of Internet Hotlines), in close partnership with the Insafe network of Safer Internet Centres in Europe, Safer Internet Day has grown tremendously over the years. The theme of the 13th Safer Internet Day 2016 is ‘Play your part for a better internet!'. Whether we are children and young people, parents and carers, educators or social care workers, or indeed industry, decision makers or politicians, we all have a role to play. In championing a better internet, the theme aims to encourage people to play their part in making the most of the positive opportunities offered online, while giving them the resilience, skills, knowledge and support they need to navigate any online risks they may come across.

Each year, thousands of exciting events and activities take place to mark the day and raise awareness of the issues across and beyond Europe. Additionally, the Insafe network of Safer Internet Centres produces a range of resources for schools and educators to help them raise awareness of safe and responsible use of the internet and other online services.

Last year's celebrations saw more than 19,000 schools and 28 million people involved in SID actions across Europe, while over 60 million people were reached worldwide on Twitter online with the SID hashtag, which trended globally several times on SID itself.

Organisers expect the SID 2016 celebrations to be even bigger, and are already seeing support building with tweets from the likes of Gunther H. Oettinger, Digital Economy & Society Commissioner and Roberto Viola, Director General of DG Connect at the European Commission.

Speaking of the campaign, Marc Durando, Executive Director of European Schoolnet said: "We are delighted to organise this landmark online safety campaign with the support of the European Commission. The messaging around a safer and better internet complements the work we are doing with schools across Europe – and beyond – on empowering children and young people with the knowledge and skills they need to actively participate in today's digital society."

Hans Martens, Digital Citizenship Programme Manager at European Schoolnet and Coordinator of the Insafe Network, said "The theme of ‘Play your part for a better internet' truly reflects how stakeholders from across the world can and should work together to build a trusted digital environment for all. This approach is at the core of the Better Internet for Kids agenda, and we look forward to seeing many exciting initiatives and collaborations, both on the day of SID itself and beyond."

Over the years, Safer Internet Day (SID) has become a landmark event in the online safety calendar. Starting as an initiative of the EU SafeBorders project in 2004 and taken up by the Insafe network as one of its earliest actions in 2005, Safer Internet Day has grown beyond its traditional geographic zone and is now celebrated in more than 100 countries worldwide, and across all continents.

From cyberbullying to social networking, each year Safer Internet Day aims to raise awareness of emerging online issues and chooses a topic reflecting current concerns. For SID 2016, the focus of the day is "Play your part for a better internet", reflecting the fact that we all have a role to play.

However, Safer Internet Day is also celebrated outside Europe. In 2009, the concept of Safer Internet Day Committees was introduced, to strengthen the bonds with countries outside the network and invest in a harmonised promotion of the campaign across the world. Around 70 committees started working closely with the Safer Internet Day coordination team, which is based at the heart of the European Union in Brussels. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Masdar Institute Faculty wins award for novel research in PV Solar Cells technology

posted on 10/02/2016

The Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, an independent, research-driven graduate-level university focused on advanced energy and sustainable technologies, yesterday announced that one of its faculty members was awarded the Emirates Energy Award for his novel research on advanced solar cells technology that he undertook during his PhD studies.

H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, presented the award to Dr. Almansouri. Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Vice Chairman of the Supreme Council of Energy, Ahmed Buti Al Muhairabi, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Energy, and other officials were present at the ceremony.

Photovoltaics (PV) panels, which turn direct solar irradiance into energy, are widespread but are still relatively inefficient compared to other forms of fossil-based energy.

Dr. Ibraheem Almansouri, Assistant Professor of Microsystems Engineering, won the award for his research project to identify new approaches for low cost but high-efficiency solar devices that use silicon well as other materials that when stacked convert a large portion of the solar spectrum into electrical power.

The project aimed to achieve this by replacing conventional multi-junction solar cell substrates with a crystalline silicon (c-Si) substrate, which offers substantial cost reduction. Dr. Almansouri's research thesis was "Silicon Cells for Tandem Solar Cell Structures."

Organised every two years, the Emirates Energy Award 2014-2015 cycle recognised valuable projects and programs representing more than 112 entries from 12 countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Dr. Almansouri received the award in the ‘Young Professional Energy' Award category, selected out of 14 entries. Achievements relevant to energy management issues demonstrated by young professionals of less than 35 years were awarded under this category. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Yemen PM tells Dubai summit military intervention was ‘necessary’

posted on 10/02/2016

Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen was necessary to help the country and the entire Arab region, according to Yemen's vice president and prime minister.

Khaled Bahah said at the World Government Summit on Tuesday that the intervention was vital and that any hesitation would have led to dire consequences for the country.

"If you go back to 2011, when change started in Yemen, we sought help from our friends in the GCC for them to prepare an initiative to help us find a solution to our crisis,” he said. "Our friends from the GCC helped us prepare a new draft for our constitution and amend it.

"Our brothers in the GCC stood by us since then and our partners in the coalition provide us with all the assistance we need to bring Yemen back to its previous state.”

Although Aden was liberated in four months, Taez is still under humanitarian blockade.

"If you know Yemen, you would know that Aden is a flat city that has a long shoreline,” said Mr Bahah. "It was easier for us to liberate it because of its topography, geography and demography. Taez is smaller in size but it is populated by more people and its geography is very different and difficult so it is also about the timing.”

He said the decision to liberate Taez has already been taken.

"We need to proceed with that liberation process now and to lift the blockade,” he said.

"We waited a long time. We turned to the United Nations more than once and it seems the militias we are dealing with are not very ethical nor cooperative. It is our responsibility as citizens of Yemen to ensure Taez is liberated and we will use all means to ensure it happens.”

Yemen's ministers avoid meeting in one location due to potential terrorist attacks on the government.

"The conditions in Yemen are very difficult,” he said. "We are now working in this post-liberation period, we have implemented a new strategy and stayed as a government in Sanaa. We came under attack when a hotel was bombarded and we were in a lot of danger but now, our strategy is to ensure our presence throughout Yemen.”

Mr Bahah said that strategy aimed at putting an end to all terrorist attacks and ensuring Aden was liberated with no remaining militia, such as Ansar Al Sharia.

"We have learnt from history that when there is conflict, we involve tribes, but now, this is a different case. The Iranian intervention is very clear. It is making decisions on behalf of other parties and the game being played by Iran is unfortunate.”

Those loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh have weakened the army.

"[Some] military men are not working the way they should be,” he said. "Twenty thousand men were unable to take on 6,000 from Daesh and they were probably followers of Saleh.

"Yemenis are fighters by nature and they do not need to be in a legitimate army for that.”

They are given 45 days of training before entering the army.

"We know it is not enough,” Mr Bahah added. "But the time will come when soldiers will be trained in academies.”

Yemen has a vision to reconstruct after the war. "It will not be easy,” he said. "The West had a marshal plan and we hope to have our own Gulf plan to develop Yemen. We have had many wars but our country is alive and we will be able to create prosperity.” – The National -


Coalition Command: Saudi Air Defence Forces intercept ballistic missile launched from Yemen towards Jazan

posted on 10/02/2016

RIYADH: The Command of the Coalition to Support Legitimacy in Yemen have announced in a statement that Royal Saudi Air Defence Forces yesterday intercepted a ballistic missile launched from Yemeni territories towards Jazan region, where it was destroyed without causing any damage.

According to the Saudi Press Agency, SPA, the Air Force destroyed the missile launch platform located inside Yemeni territory. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Mohammed bin Rahid opens expansion of 2nd phase of Dragon Mart 2 in Dubai

posted on 10/02/2016

Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, yesterday opened the 2nd expansion of Dragon Mart 2 in Dubai.

Sheikh Mohammed, accompanied by H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and H.H. Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, attended the electronic panorama which reflects the designs and sections of the new building of the mart.

The mart's total cost stood at nearly Dh1 billion and its leasing area reached more than one million square feet, consequently the Dragon Mart, with its two phases, becomes the second largest centre in the world for Chinese products outside the People's Republic of China.

Sheikh Mohammed, along with H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, H.H. Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed, H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Lt. General Dahi Khalfan Tamim, Deputy Chairman of Police and General Security in Dubai and other officials, toured the halls and facilities of the mart which includes two stories that comprise of 570 shops and 520 kiosks as well as 4500 parking spaces.

During his tour, Sheikh Mohammed was briefed by Nakheel Chairman Ali Rashid Lootah on the details of the eproject and its components which includes Novo Cinema that comprises of 12 giant screens as well as other facilities.

Earlier, Sheikh Mohammed was briefed on a model of Dragon Mart with its six phases and approved the efforts exerted by of Nakheel in the real estate and tourism development sector in Dubai.

Lootah extended thanks and appreciation to Sheikh Mohammed for his support and confidence to the members and the Board of Directors of the company. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Renowned international artists set to push the boundaries of 3D street art at Dubai Canvas Festival

posted on 10/02/2016

Some of the world's most renowned 3D artists are set to push the boundaries of street art with their exclusive creations at the second annual Dubai Canvas Festival taking place from 1 to 14 March.

Organised by Brand Dubai, the creative arm of the Government of Dubai Media Office (GDMO), in cooperation with Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR), a renowned destination developed and managed by Dubai Properties (DP), the Festival will feature over 60 works of well-known international, regional and local artists.

Among those exhibiting are three exciting European artists famous for their ground breaking 3D street art - Leon Keer, Sergio Odeith and Fanakapan.

Dutch artist Leon Keer is widely recognised as a leading pioneer and expert in anamorphic street art, an art form that features deformed images that appear regular and in proportion when viewed from certain points. One of the works he will be showcasing at Dubai Canvas will be the latest in his series featuring ‘gummy bears'. The gummy bears in his pieces, which though deformed when viewed from the ground, have a stunningly natural presence when seen from a height.

Keer's works reflect themes ranging from environmental issues to the challenges facing modern society. He works with a mixture of techniques, and uses a rich variety of materials, ranging from professional acrylic paints to adhesives, solvents, primers and tar.

Ayesha Bin Kalli, member of the organising committee of Dubai Canvas said: "The second edition of Dubai Canvas Festival brings a larger selection of unique artists to showcase their works to a Dubai audience. This year's festival will provide an event greater opportunity for the artists to interact with the public in Dubai through their incredible art. Our objective is to turn the Jumeirah Beach Residence's sidewalks, walkways and boulevards into large canvases that create opportunities for public interaction and engagement. Each artist has been carefully chosen to create a memorable experience of public art for the audience. We are confident that this year's Dubai Canvas Festival will be another wonderful celebration of art."

Portugal-based Sergio Odeith is another globally-recognised anamorphic artist who will be featured in Dubai Canvas. Odeith stands out for his 3D compositions, which from a specific angle, look like they are floating in mid-air. Early in his career, the artist showed a special interest in perspective and shading, in an obscure style, which he called ‘sombre 3D', where the compositions stood out for their realism and technique.

Popular among 3D art lovers across the world, Odeith's first experiences with street art included sketching on street walls and train tracks. Since then, the artist has been commissioned by international companies such as Coca-Cola and Samsung London-based artist Fanakapan will be presenting his works of graffiti featuring realistic balloon animals and letters. His works depict letters shaped as silver foil balloons, whose lighting and shine make them seem as if they are bouncing off the wall.

Fanakapan has painted graffiti art in different locations around the world in his highly technical free hand style that he has mastered over the past few years. The artist, for whom street art has developed into an obsession, often uses balloons as a point of reference in his work. Fanakapan's ever-evolving technique and style go together perfectly with this talented artist who always has a lot to say.

The works of these artists, along with that of 30 others from 14 countries, will be exhibited in an area stretching over two kilometres within Jumeirah Beach Residence in a way that encourages active public participation, engagement and interaction. In addition to the artworks, the Festival will also feature many events on the sidelines including custom-designed workshops and activities for different ages. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Jubail New Market gets transformed into underground treasure trove during Sharjah Light Festival

posted on 10/02/2016

Sharjah Light Festival has been attracting visitors from within the country and the region to witness the innovative shows that transform the various landmark buildings and locations in the emirate into works of art.

The remarkable Jubail New Market features as one of the 10 new shows of the Sharjah Light Festival 2016, which is currently celebrating its sixth successful year. Jubail New Market is hosting the show, ‘Deep Down Under', a video mapping projection by Romain Lamy. The busy market building gets transformed into an underground treasure trove with under water marvels. Jubail New Market is strategically located in the centre of Sharjah city close to the Central Souq, a popular tourist destination.

Cultural Palace at Cultural Square adds to the splendour of the location with a video mapping projection across the majestic building. Titled ‘Highlight of Poetry', the show interprets and visualises the poetry of H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, whose wisdom has shaped the Emirate.

The iconic Supreme Council for Family Affairs building hosts the show, ‘A Crossroad of the World', offering a perfect backdrop for a journey through wild tropical forests to urban jungles, bringing to life flowers and people in a futuristic city.

The festival, which is the only one of its kind in the region, is being held from February 4 to 13 under the theme ‘Travel Across Time'. Organised by Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority, Sharjah Light Festival is hosting 23 amazing shows this year from 6pm to 11 pm on weekdays and until midnight on weekends. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -