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UNESCO announces Sharjah as World Book Capital 2019

posted on 28/06/2017

Signalling a ground-breaking achievement for the UAE and the Arab world, Sharjah has been crowned with the prestigious ‘World Book Capital' title for 2019 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO. The honour is a recognition of the emirate's pioneering role in supporting and expanding the local and regional publishing industries, promoting reading to become an intrinsic cultural practice, as well as embracing intercultural, knowledge-based dialogue.

The accolade is an important addition to Sharjah's existing portfolio of milestones like, the 1998 Capital of Arab Culture, Capital of Islamic Culture in 2014, and Capital of Arab Tourism in 2015. The emirate is the first in the GCC and third in the Arab world and Middle East, to have received this recognition.

An international committee of UNESCO experts reached the decision at a meeting held at the Headquarters of the International Federation of Library Associations, IFLA, at La Haye, in the Netherlands. Sharjah has been chosen for the quality of its literary and cultural activities, and for its unfailing efforts to make books accessible to the entire population of the nation.

Sharjah is the 19th city to become World Book Capital. It is preceded by Conakry in 2017 and Athens in 2018.

Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, President of the Emirates Publishers Association and Head of Sharjah's World Book Capital Organising Committee, said, "We are so proud to have been recognised on a global scale for literary excellence, and having our name being put on the same platform with some of the world's frontrunners in the world of books and reading."

"This signals a fruition of the momentous project that was established four decades ago by the vision of H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah. His Highness has led efforts of both institutions and individuals working to shape the emirate's cultural identity with knowledge and books. It is his strong belief in intercultural dialogue as a means to advance local communities that has led to the establishment of a tolerant, culture-loving society in Sharjah," she added.

Sheikha Bodour continued, "His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah's insistence on knowledge being a conscientious human choice that goes beyond the arts and literature to include a space for free exchange of ideas within the Arab world, has helped us as a region to consolidate efforts regionally and globally. Sharjah has now reached a point where it can be safely said that it is a driver of knowledge in the region, and, in its achievements, mirrors the wisdom words of H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan Al Qasimi, ‘Culture is a message to move ahead and purify one's soul. It is a force that takes us to higher levels of fraternity. Also, education is key to fuelling progress to see greater horizons'."

Sharjah's annual cultural calendar is packed with programmes and activities. It hosts more than 1,500 publishers from across the world at the Sharjah International Book Fair, SIBF.

Another premier cultural event is the Sharjah Children's Reading Festival, SCRF, dedicated to fostering a love of reading and knowledge among children through innovative and interactive methods. The festival features celebrated international authors, more than 2,000 events and attracts over 300,000 visitors annually.

Sharjah has also launched crucial initiatives and pilot projects to achieve its vision to promote maximum community involvement in reading. Knowledge without Borders, KwB, is one such example, which has established free home libraries for 42,000 Emirati families last year.

Sheikha Bodour launched the ‘Kitabi Al Awal', My First Book, initiative, which aims to develop a love for books and stories among new-borns. Under the initiative 5,000 book hampers were gifted to expectant mothers across more than 60 healthcare centres and medical clinics in the UAE.

Sharjah has also adopted a proactive strategic vision to develop and galvanise the publishing sector in the region, an approach that was reflected in the establishment of Sharjah Publishing City, SPC, to solidify the emirate's stature as a global hub for stakeholders and professionals looking to expand into the fast-growing Middle Eastern publishing and printing markets. SPC's strategy places special focus on supporting writers, translators, illustrators, literary agents and copyrights professionals, especially in view of the rapid technological advancements in the global publishing industry.

Special attention is afforded to public libraries in the emirate with regular content and knowledge updates, enabling the community at large to access the latest and most important publications, and reference materials for researchers in the emirate and beyond.

Sharjah was the first emirate in the UAE to establish a formal school and public library. It was also the first emirate to house many cultural institutions like the Emirates Publishers Association, the Emirates Writers Union and the UAE Board on Books for Young People, UAEBBY, all targeted to support the book publishing industry.

Since 2001, UNESCO has been selecting a World Book Capital every year on the grounds of certain criteria, where the title is awarded to the city, which shows continued excellence in charting a cultural programme of activities throughout the year to promote reading and books focusing on grassroots community involvement. The criteria include the breadth and impact of cultural programmes, and quality of events tailored by countries to promote books and reading.

Sharjah was chosen owing to the quality and diversity of its yearlong cultural programme, which stood out among the other entries competing for the 2019 title. Designated as the UNESCO World Book Capital 2019, Sharjah will be rolling out a wide range of activities and events over the year. Specialised committees will be formed to organise and supervise these events.


Ras Al-Khaimah's new International Corporate Centre meets international business companies in Cyprus

posted on 28/06/2017

A delegation from RAK International Corporate Centre, RAKICC, a premium corporate registry for International Business Companies, IBCs, has travelled to Cyprus this week.

Led by RAKICC CEO, Joe Moynihan, the delegation held meetings with potential partners and industry advisors to discuss the benefits of international businesses incorporating in RAKICC. While in Cyprus, Moynihan also spoke at the InvestPro Cyprus conference in Limassol.

As a corporate registry, RAKICC is responsible for the registration and incorporation of IBCs, as well as providing a full suite of registry services related to business activity for companies from all over the world. Businesses that set up in Ras Al Khaimah typically trade internationally, invest around the world and own property assets globally.

Mr. Moynihan said, "We have had a number of very productive meetings while in Cyprus, which is a key market for us given the concentration of advisors and agents in the country. We are focused on attracting businesses and individuals from around the world and we are planning further trips to Africa and Asia in the coming months."

"As a world-class corporate centre and premium jurisdiction, Ras Al-Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates provides a stable, internationally-compliant, well-regarded and secure platform for individuals and businesses seeking to incorporate international business companies," he added.

More than 250 delegates attended InvestPro Cyprus 2017, including CEOs and CFOs, business owners, corporate and private lawyers, auditors, tax consultants, bankers, financial advisors, private investors and high net worth individuals. The conference covered a range of issues, including international investment, business immigration, international tax planning, wealth management and asset protection, and building global business structures.


DEWA awards AED248m contract for water pipeline project

posted on 28/06/2017

Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) has awarded an AED248m contract to supply, extend and commission 40km of water pipelines near Al Qudra and Al Ain highway areas in Dubai.

The project will include an extension of 600-1,200 millimetre (diameter) extension of GRE (Glass-Reinforced Epoxy) main water pipes of up to 40km along Al Qudra Street and the Dubai to Al Ain highway, to increase water-flow capacity and provide water for future development projects in these areas.

Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, managing director and CEO of DEWA, said: "In addition, there will be a pipeline along Emirates Road to increase the water-flow capacity of Khawaneej 2 and additional pipelines in other parts of Dubai to increase water flow in emergencies."

He added that the project will also include remote control and monitoring systems, which will allow the continuous control of the main water transport network through remote-controlled valves in the control centre.

"A result, this will contribute to the isolation of faults in the shortest possible time, thereby reducing water losses in the network," Al Tayer said.

The project will take 30 months to implement, according to the planned programme.


SEWA to launch 12 projects to support Rationalisation Hour 2017

posted on 28/06/2017

Over 2,300 officials are participating this year in the Rationalisation Hour initiative launched two years ago by the Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority, SEWA, and approved by H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah.

Accordingly, 2.30pm to 3.30pm the peak hour of electricity usage is observed as Rationalisation Hour on 1st July each year.

The aim is to raise awareness on the ideal use of energy, reduce emissions by turning off unnecessary devices, and ensure periodic maintenance.

Rashid Al Leem, Chairman of SEWA, stressed that this year will witness the participation of several authorities from the GCC and Arab countries that were visited by a delegation of the authority recently. He noted that the department seeks to co-operate with several institutions and individuals to reduce consumption and raise awareness on the dangers of excess load through a clear strategy to encourage rational consumption.

The initiative was launched in Sharjah in 2015, and all across the GCC countries in 2017. This year several Arab countries are being targeted to promote the idea. The Authority hopes that the initiative would help achieve a positive outcome by drawing attention to the importance of rationalising consumption and reducing load, especially during peak hours, to preserve energy and reduce emissions, he informed.

Ghada Jumaa Salem, Director of the Rationalisation Department, said that the Authority has launched 12 projects this year to promote the project. These include peak hour stars, rationalisation partners, peak hour marathon, creation of a new figure called peak man, be a winner with us project, co-operation with the Islamic Affairs Department, rationalisation leaders, promoting the peak hour in many Arab countries, and the clean energy leaders project with the Women's Union in Sharjah.

She stressed that the activities organised by the Authority for the Rationalisation Hour have seen numerous positive results. It has reached several people and institutions who have participated by turning off unnecessary devices during the peak hours.

Moza bin Dekhain, Director of the Awareness Department, said that 32 government authorities and 32 other officials signed the Rationalisation Hour certificate from outside Sharjah. They also saw participation from 72 private and 514 public sector companies as well as 1,670 electronic pledges.


UAE youth record 5,000 hours of volunteering during Ramadan

posted on 28/06/2017

Youths in the UAE performed 5,000 hours of volunteer work, locally and internationally, during the holy month of Ramadan, operating under the theme, "Our Solidarity is Our Responsibility, in its 14th edition.

The volunteering programme was undertaken, following an initiative by the Zayed Giving Initiative, Dar Al Ber Society, Sharjah Charity House, Saudi German Hospitals Group, and Emirates Volunteering Centre, in co-operation with government and private institutions, through an exceptional example of sustainable community partnership, based on the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan to observe 2017 as the Year of Giving.

The Zayed Giving Initiative volunteers organised several Ramadan volunteering activities, which aimed to strengthen the concept of community solidarity and establish the culture of volunteering and community work among the youth through diverse activities, with the participation of elite volunteers, as well as community and humanitarian groups from different countries across the world.

The Ramadan volunteer activities included numerous humanitarian services for needy families, locally and internationally, through the Zayed Humanitarian Forum, honouring the pioneers of giving with the UAE Humanitarian Award and Medal, while holding many awareness health forums, and setting up mobile clinics, field health camps and mobile hospitals.

It also included visiting needy families and orphans, and special needs centres, organising Ramadan health tables to communicate with them, collecting old clothes, medicines and books to distribute to those in need, preparing food baskets for the poor and contributing towards distributing Iftar meals to those fasting during Iftar, or Suhoor, locally and internationally, in the UAE, Egypt, Somalia, Sudan and Zanzibar.

Dr Adel Al Shameri, CEO of the Zayed Giving Initiative, Chairman of the Emirates Programme for Community and Specialised Volunteering, and Emirates Doctors President, said, since its launch in 2000, the initiative demonstrated exceptional volunteer work that could be followed by institutes and individuals, locally and internationally, by adopting initiatives and ideas in the field of volunteer work, especially the medical field.

He pointed out that the initiative spread its humanitarian message to the poor through its volunteers, who presented an exceptional example of humanitarian work, in line with the humanitarian spirit of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. It has instilled the qualities of good and giving among the children of the UAE, as well as the children of the Zayed Giving Initiative, who have followed in the footsteps of their founding leader in the fields of volunteer work and humanitarian giving.


Over 34,000 children benefit from ERC Eid clothes project

posted on 28/06/2017

A total of 34,250 children have benefited from the Emirates Red Crescent, ERC, Eid clothes project worth about AED 3 million within the UAE, and in 60 countries around the world.

The value of the ERC's Eid clothes donations within the country reached AED1.4 million, which benefitted 2,500 orphaned children and children in need. The value of the ERC's donations outside the country reached AED1.655 million, which benefitted 31,750 orphaned children.

The clothes were distributed in time for Eid Al Fitr to orphans and children who are the victims of wars and conflicts in refugee and homeless camps, in areas that are most affected by these events.

The ERC has promoted its project in Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan and countries hosting Syrian refugees, as well as countries affected by natural disasters, especially in Africa. The project has touched the hearts of children who experienced the joys of Eid as other children in safer and more secure areas.

The project is one of the ERC's vital seasonal projects for orphans, who represent an important part of society.

The ERC's programmes to sponsor and foster orphans have received great attention, in light of the generous directives by H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in the Western Region and the Chairman of the Authority, to expand the scope of fostering orphans, both inside and outside the country. The programmes have also received considerable interest from sponsors and charitable donors, allowing the ERC to foster around 100,000 orphans.

Dr. Mohammed Ateeq Al Falahi, Secretary-General of the ERC, said that the Authority aimed to distribute clothes to orphans, both inside and outside the country, before Eid Al Fitr so that they can be happy during this occasion like other children. He also highlighted that the Authority's support for orphans within the country does not just involve providing material and financial support for them and their families, but it also includes constant communication with them to learn about their conditions through field visits to their homes, to closely observe their living, economic, educational and social circumstances.


Abu Dhabi Police to implement new traffic fines starting July

posted on 28/06/2017

The amended executive regulations of this year's Federal Traffic Law No. 21 will be implemented from 1st July, as per Ministerial Resolutions 177 and 178 (2017) regarding traffic control rules and procedures.

Brigadier Ali Khalfan Al Dhaheri, Director-General of Central Operations at Abu Dhabi Police, called on drivers to follow traffic rules and laws while confirming that the amendments to the executive regulations are aimed at serving the interests of road users and improve traffic safety. He added that the implementation of these procedures should encourage drivers to follow the rules and promote their exerted efforts, under the framework of the strategic priority of Abu Dhabi Police to make local roads safer.

He highlighted that Abu Dhabi Police is prepared to implement the amended executive regulations by explaining the new amendments to the traffic fines schedule through several lectures and workshops for traffic and patrol department recruits, as well as improve the awareness of motorists through Abu Dhabi Police social media accounts, and by explaining the law's articles and distributing awareness publications on the new traffic fines in the Marina Commercial Centre in Abu Dhabi, urging the public to respect traffic laws.

Brigadier Al Dhaheri stressed that Abu Dhabi Police will provide an opportunity for drivers to correct their driving before implementing the new amendments through an initiative to cancel registered traffic violations, with the exception of dangerous traffic violations such as reckless driving, exceeding speed limits, running red lights, driving vehicles in a way that endangers the lives of the public, and driving a vehicle under the influence of alcohol.

The amendment to the executive regulations will include drivers and all passengers putting on seat belts while violating this regulation will incur a fine of AED400 and a penalty of four traffic points. Motorcycle riders and motorists who ignore traffic lights will be fined AED1,000 and incur a penalty of 12 points, and their vehicles will be seized for a month. Crowding during accidents will incur a fine of AED1,000 and a penalty of six traffic points.

The amendment will allow the tinting of car window glass by 50 percent, with the exception of the front windscreen, as well as a fine of AED3,000 and a penalty of 24 traffic points for driving passengers without permission, and a fine of AED3,000 and a 90-day vehicle seizure for using three-wheeled motorcycles on the roads.

The amendment will also oblige drivers to provide child seats for children under the age of four. It will also introduce a fine of AED400 for drivers who allow children under the age of 10 and below 145 centimetres to sit in the front, and a AED50 daily fine for not claiming a vehicle after the end of its seizure period, up to a maximum amount of AED3,000, as well as other articles related to reckless driving fines.


Team Abu Dhabi aims to banish Portugal disappointment with success in France Grand Prix

posted on 28/06/2017

EVIAN-LES-BAINS: Team Abu Dhabi hopes to bounce back from Portuguese disappointment when Alex Carella and Thani and Rashed Al-Qemzi tackle the 21st Grand Prix of France, round two of the UIM F1 H2O World Championship, at Evian-les-Bains in France on Sunday.

A series of surprised engine issues wrecked the team out of the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club's, ADIMSC, chances of winning the opening storm-affected round on the Arada River in southern Portugal and a hard-earned fourth place for Carella was scant reward for pre-season preparations and a dedicated all-round team effort.

Team Abu Dhabi will be hoping that those engine issues are firmly ensconced in history when the trio bid to chase down defending World Champion and Portugal race winner Philippe Chiappe on Lac Leman. Chiappe began his defence with a maximum 20-point haul, Carella trails by 11 points and follows Sami Selio and Duarte Benavente in pursuit of the Frenchman.

Team Abu Dhabi has been concentrating on F2 racing since the Portuguese F1 opener and impressive lap times in an endurance race in Rouen were followed by a stunning opening F2 race win for Rashed Al-Qemzi in Lithuania. Crews also carried out a small test session last week.

Twenty boats are expected to challenge for honours in Evian, a venue where Carella was victorious in 2016 from Finland's Filip Roms and Victory Team's Shaun Torrente.

"It's been over two and a half months since the last round of the championship in Portugal and that has given everyone in the team a chance to reflect and make sure that we get things right in France," said Salem Al-Remeithi, General Manager of ADIMSC.

"It was a disappointing start, but these things can happen in racing and now we want to bounce back with a victory. Rashed is confident after his F2 success in Lithuania and Alex and Thani have the experience and the speed to achieve a top result," he added.

Etihad Airways is the official carrier for Team Abu Dhabi that is also supported by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and runs under the patronage of H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, Adviser to the UAE President and Chairman of the board of directors of the ADIMSC, and under the guidance of Sheikh Mohammed bin Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, Vice-President and CEO of the ADIMSC.

The racing team runs under the auspices of the ADIMSC and board member and general manager Salem Al-Remeithi and team manager Guido Cappellini.


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