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UAE Cabinet stresses support for international community efforts to restore safety and stability in Yemen

posted on 30/03/2015

The UAE Cabinet has expressed its full confidence in Operation "Decisive Storm" that it will achieve its goals by maintaining security and safety in Yemen, maintain constitutional legitimacy and its institutions. It will maintain the internationally-acknowledged political course, its core components, including the Gulf Initiative, implementation mechanism and outcome of the National Dialogue and the Yemeni consensus. The Cabinet expressed confidence that the operation will help boost security of the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Countries, GCC, by maintaining security and stability in Yemen.

The Cabinet praised the leading role of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which has been shouldering its historic responsibility and playing a leading role in the region by facing powers aspiring to dominate the region. The Cabinet also praised the active role of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, King of Saudi Arabia, in bearing his historic responsibilities and his political will to build an international coalition, which has gained strong momentum in facing threats in Yemen and the region.

The response of coalition countries' leaders reflect a deep understanding and belief in the importance of Arab solidarity and working together towards a new and active phase in the Collective Arab Action.

The Cabinet has paid tribute to the UAE Armed Forces and brotherly and friendly coalition forces taking part in operation "Decisive Storm".

The UAE Cabinet referred to the historic role of the UAE in supporting Yemen, and the country has not spared any effort to support the brothers in Yemen in all circumstances. In the GCC framework, the UAE, bearing its responsibility to the security and stability of the region, sought to achieve a political consensus, as stated in the Gulf Initiative, to reach a solution to end Yemen's political crisis and through a consensus encouraging participation all parties in National Dialogue and a peaceful political transition.

Such efforts have continued, despite the Houthis' militias and allies rebelling against constitutional legitimacy and the political course approved by Yemen, Arabs and the international community. As such efforts have not yielded its outcome, and despite the continuing attempt to change the current situation by force and control Yemenis by arms, there was no room but to respond to the legitimate power represented by the Yemeni President, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, to address the deteriorating situation by joining a Saudi-led coalition to maintain the security of the Yemen and the region.

The UAE Cabinet has full confidence that the operation will achieve its goals, including empowering legitimacy; put the approved political course back on track to safeguard safety and security of Yemen and the GGC.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, stressed that the UAE is part of the common Gulf action and works with its brothers to maintain its security and achievements against any form of danger.

Commenting on the UAE's forces in the Operation Decisive Storm in Yemen, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed said, "The UAE, and its brothers in the Gulf Cooperation Council and Arab Region, does not tolerate any form of danger that jeopardises the region and people's achievements. We have hope that Yemen and its people reach a solution to end this crisis and all parties work together to achieve development and stability."

The Cabinet praised the Armed Forces of the United Arab Emirates and its loyal citizens who spare no effort to safeguard the region and maintain its stability. The UAE Cabinet, in its meeting yesterday, reviewed a report submitted by the Armed Forces on the current situation of the UAE Armed Forces taking part in the Operation Decisive Storm.

The UAE Cabinet also discussed other topics on the agenda. The Cabinet approved the launch of a National Campaign to fight Smoking in order to raise awareness about the danger of smoking and the ingredients used. Such a campaign reflects the UAE leadership's keenness to protect the health of all members of the community in the UAE and provide a healthy environment as well. The Cabinet urged concerting national efforts to end this issue. A number of federal and local governments will take part in implementing the campaign, including Ministries of Interior, Health, Education, Environment and the National Media Council.

On another topic, the Cabinet endorsed the issuance of unified rules in the government by giving priority for purchasing national products manufactured in the Gulf Cooperation Council, GGC, countries, to promote national production and boost competitiveness.

The Cabinet also approved the issuing of a Decree to host the office of the World Bank for Reconstruction and Development in the UAE, which will be based in Abu Dhabi. The UAE Government is keen to boost and promote the country as a global economic hub by attracting international organisations to benefit from expertise to support its development strategies.

The Cabinet endorsed issuing a federal law on Quran memorisation centres to regulate the licensing and activities of them to improve their work.

On the organisational aspect, the Cabinet approved restructuring of the Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology to be chaired by the Minister of Environment and Water. It will include members representing the Ministries of Interior, Economy and Energy, as well as the Federal Customs Authority, Abu Dhabi Quality and Conformity Council, The Higher Corporation for Specialised Economic Zones, Dubai Municipality, and Sharjah Economic Development Department.

The Cabinet also approved the restructuring of the Arabic Language Advisory Council, to be chaired by Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, and which includes members representing writers and media persons in the UAE.

On the International level, the Cabinet endorsed the opening of the UAE Embassy in Nepal, which reflects the UAE's foreign policy to foster relations worldwide.

The UAE Cabinet held its meeting yesterday at the Presidential Palace, and it was attended by His Highness Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior and His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Arab leaders reiterate support to "Decisive Storm" defending legitimacy in Yemen

posted on 30/03/2015

SHARM EL-SHEIKH, EGYPT: Arab leaders have reaffirmed full support to the Saudi-led "Operation Decisive Storm" in support of legitimacy in Yemen.

They emphasised that the operation was based on the Arab Treaty of Joint Defence, the Arab League Charter and Article 51 of the UN Charter, as well as the responsibilities of maintaining the national unity, sovereignty and independence of the Arab states, according to a resolution on Yemen issued on Sunday at the end of the two-day 26th Arab Summit in Egypt's Sharm El-Sheikh.

The leaders expressed hope that the compelling military measures would "restore security and stability to all Yemen under constitutional legitimacy, countering Houthis' attempts supported by external parties." "These (external) parties aim to threaten security of Yemen, the region and the Arab national security, as well as the international peace and security through sequestration of the Yemeni will, arousing seditions and dismantling the country's social fabric and national unity," the resolution read.

It urged the Houthi militias to "immediately withdraw from the capital Sana'a, other towns, and the government institutions they had seized as well as normalising the security situation in Sana'a and other governorates, besides returning the heavy and medium weaponry they took to the constitutional legitimate authorities." The Arab leaders reiterated the "full commitment to Yemen's unity, and respect of its sovereignty and independence, rejecting all forms of intervention in its internal affairs."

They voiced support to the Yemeni people and their expectations for freedom, democracy and social justice, as well as enabling them to achieve comprehensive development.

The resolution underlined the importance of "urgently" responding to Yemen President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi's call for a conference on Yemen to be held in the Saudi capital of Riyadh under the umbrella of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). All Yemeni political powers and parties keen on the country's security and stability are supposed to come together for a national dialogue.

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz was commended for welcoming to host the conference in Riyadh.

The resolution welcomed a UN Security Council statement, adopted on 22 March 2015, demanding the Houthis and their allies to stop their aggressions against the Yemeni governorates, especially on Ta'izz and Aden.

The Arab leaders welcomed the request by the Yemeni President for safeguarding Yemen's constitutional legitimacy, and eagerness on the implementation of the GCC Initiative, and the Security Council relevant resolutions.

Finally, they underlined support to the Yemeni leadership and people in their "continuous and open war against terrorism and piracy" and emphasised the necessity of making urgent arrangements to handle the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Yemen, where more than 16 million people are "suffering severe shortage of food and medical care." – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Arab leaders agree to form joint Arab force to address security challenges

posted on 30/03/2015

SHARM EL-SHEIKH: (Reuters) - Arab leaders have agreed in principle to form a joint military force to deal with tremendous security threats and safeguard Arab security, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi announced at the closing session of the two-day Arab League Summit in Sharm El-Sheikh.

El-Sisi said that a high-level team would be set up under the supervision of chiefs-of-staff of Arab armed forces to study means of forming this force.

He also pledged to continue "working, communicating and coordinating" with Arab states to serve various common interests in the region.

The Sharm El-Sheikh Declaration, issued at the end of the Summit, called for coordinating efforts and plans to establish a unified Arab force to address current Arab challenges. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Arab Summit leaders call on Iran to end its occupation of UAE islands

posted on 30/03/2015

SHARM EL SHEIKH: Arab leaders have reiterated their support for the UAE's sovereign right over the islands of Greater and Lesser Tunbs and Abu Musa, situated in the Strait of Hormuz, and also expressed their support for all peaceful measures taken by the UAE to restore its sovereignty over the occupied islands.

In a final statement on the last day of the Arab Summit, Arab leaders also denounced, in a decision made in this regard, the Iranian Government's continued occupation of the islands, and its repeated violations of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the two countries pertaining to the Abu Musa Island. As per the MoU signed on November 20th, 1971, Iran's exercise activities were in violation of the obligations stipulated therein, besides its provocative attempts of changing the demographics of the island by building housing facilities, resettling non-indigenous population there, carrying out manoeuvres and military exercises and illegally building facilities like economic, cultural, social, sport, and religious centres and hospitals, as well as having regular visits by senior Iranian officials and members of the Foreign Policy and National Security Committee at the Iranian Shura Council.

The statement also stated that it considers those violations a flagrant infringement of the UAE's rule over the three islands, and deemed any such actions and allegations void and without any legal effect. Also, such actions do not detract from the sovereign right of the UAE over the three islands, as they are in violation of the MoU signed between the two countries, and were in contradiction with the provisions of international law.

It also demanded that Iran must respect the sovereignty of the UAE over the three islands and desist from such violations and provocative actions, which is an interference in the internal affairs of an independent sovereign state.

The statement also reiterated its call for the Iranian government to end its occupation of the three UAE islands, to desist from imposing a fait accompli by force, and stop the establishment of any facilities with the aim of changing the population and demographic composition of the islands.

The statement finally called on the Iranian government to accept entering into serious and direct negotiations with the UAE, or resort to the International Court of Justice to find a peaceful solution in accordance with the rules and principles of international law. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


FNC Speaker: Injustice, selective, double standards feed and fuel terrorism and extremism

posted on 30/03/2015

HANOI: Absence of just and fair solutions to regional and international disputes and adoption of selective approach and double standards in implementing international law and international legitimacy remain key factors for feeding and fuelling terrorism and extremism, Speaker of the UAE Federal National Council (FNC) told the 132nd Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly in Hanoi, Viet Nam, yesterday, adding that people in the Middle East and other regions lost confidence in the UN and international community for their failure to end the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories and for their improper and unfair handling of human rights issues.

Addressing MPs from more than 167 countries, Mohammed Ahmed Al Murr said that the IPU gathering was being convened amidst unprecedented challenges facing the world family as international peace and security were enduring a real and imminent threat as a result of the spread of trans-border terrorism, failure of sustainable development and environmental deterioration.

He stressed that pressing international concerns require persistent hard work so as to build a new world order of collective security to address present and future challenges.

'The danger of terrorism has escalated to an extent where it has become a real threat to the whole international community. Terrorism has neither religion nor race...It is not confined to countries and regions or certain culture or faith. It has octopus like sources and cells running amok across various continents of the world and posing existential threat to the wider humanity and its culture and achievements besides stalling development and progress,' he added.

'Through this platform, we renew our call for the international community to adopt a crystal-clear strategy and build greater cooperation and coordination to confront and tackle terrorist challenges,' he said.

He underscored that governments, parliaments and civil societies have no option but to build regional and international partnerships so as to cooperate and coordinate efforts to counter terrorism in accordance with the UN Charter and international law.

'The UAE upholds the values of human fraternity that ease the suffering of the people and extend humanitarian and development aid out of its well-established principles based on openness, moderation, tolerance and peace in running its international relations and adopting peaceful means to settle disputes and differences. Consequently, the UAE always calls on Iran to enter into dialogue and commit to peaceful methods to end its occupation of the UAE's three islands of Greater and Lesser Tunbs, and Abu Musa,' Al Murr emphasised.

The 132nd IPU Assembly in Hanoi, Viet Nam, will look at concrete ways in which parliaments can implement the new sustainable development goals (SDGs) when these are adopted later this year.

The Assembly, that kicked off on 28th March and will last till 1st April, will adopt a declaration on this at the end of the gathering. During a charged five-day gathering, IPU members will also make commitments on parliamentary action to shape a new system of water governance; on international law on national sovereignty and the non-intervention in the internal affairs of State and human rights; and on addressing the threat of cyber warfare to global peace and security. With terrorism very much on the global agenda, two proposals have been made so far for an emergency debate and resolution. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


UAE calls for international Internet convention to prevent the use of Internet by terrorists

posted on 30/03/2015

HANOI: A UAE MP has urged governments to strengthen their security cooperation with the private sector so as to develop a holistic understanding of cyber dependence, risks and challenges at the overarching national level that takes account of individual privacy concerns while helping governments to deal with security attacks; and urged parliaments to make use of all the oversight tools at their disposal to ensure that cyber-related activities are rigorously monitored and to enact national laws, with due regard for the constitution, that stipulate stiffer penalties for cyber-attacks.

Sultan Saif Al Yamahi, member of the Federal National Council (FNC), told a session on Cyber warfare: A serious threat to peace and global security, as part of works of the 132nd IPU Assembly's Standing Committee on Peace and International Security, that there is a need to work for the conclusion of an international Internet convention to prevent the use of the Internet by terrorists or terrorist organisations for illegal activities, in particular to raise funds, enlist members or publish ideas inciting people to violence and hatred. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


UAE reaffirms commitment to upholding rights of ethnic and religious groups in the Middle East at UN Security Council debate

posted on 30/03/2015

NEW YORK: The Permanent Representative of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to the UN, Lana Zaki Nusseibeh, delivered a statement at the United Nations Security Council, asserting the UAE's commitment to stand by all individuals' human rights, regardless of religion or ethnicity at an open debate titled "The victims of attacks and abuses on ethnic or religious grounds in the Middle East" and chaired by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of France, Laurent Fabius.

The UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, briefed the Council at the outset of the debate, followed by High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Zeid Al Hussein. His Beatitude Louis Raphael Sako, the head of the Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Babylon, and Ms Vian Dakhil, an Iraqi Yazidi parliamentarian, were invited to make statements.

In his remarks, Secretary-General Ban announced his intention to convene a Middle East Advisory Panel on interreligious and intra-sectarian dynamics as well as an action plan to prevent violent extremism, which will be launched during the 70th UN General Assembly this September. He also announced that a high-level meeting on interfaith dialogue is planned for April in cooperation with the office of the President of the General Assembly.

High Commissioner Zeid noted that deliberate and systematic repression in Syria as well as protracted conflict in the region has forced formerly tolerate societies to retreat into ethnic and sectarian identities. Zeid further elaborated that fanaticism grows in states that betray their people and those which attack civil society activists. He denoted Daesh as proponents of a totalitarian Takfiri world view that wished to take the region into darkness. He urged that the situations in both Iraq and Syria be referred to the International Criminal Court.

In her statement, Ambassador Nusseibeh shed light on the horrific acts that are perpetrated by extremist groups such as Daesh, who cynically exploit religious and ethnic differences in order to further their brutal and violent agenda.

She also recalled that, although the youth of the Middle East have only witnessed turmoil in recent history, the people of the region previously formed "a vast interwoven mosaic of communities – characterised by different faiths, tribes and ethnicities living in harmony side-by-side". She highlighted that, contrary to the image portrayed by Daesh, the religion of Islam holds respect for all religions. She continued, "As long as Daesh continues to survive, all communities are under threat – violent extremism knows no boundaries".

She said, "Islam recognises and honours the great faiths that preceded it. Throughout our history, religious minorities have been protected in Muslim communities from those who sought to harm them".

Ambassador Nusseibeh described Jerusalem at various times in its history as an example of this peaceful coexistence of different peoples: "Jerusalem is a symbol not only of our shared history of spiritual coexistence – but also a shining beacon of hope that peace and tolerance can be achieved in the holy land once again". The Palestinian question remains the biggest unresolved injustice in the Arab region and beyond and provides fuel to the recruitment efforts of extremists. She thanked the French Presidency of the Security Council for their efforts to lead in the resolution of this critical issue, and urged the Council to play its part.

Citing the UAE as an example, Ambassador Nusseibeh declared that it is possible for the "rich cultural tapestry of the Middle East" that once existed to be revived. "More than 200 different nationalities live and work and worship their own faiths freely in the UAE", she continued.

The existence of such multi-ethnic, multi-religious diversity in harmony, she explained, is possible in the UAE due to visionary leadership and strong institutions. Further, these "pillars of stability" are reinforced by "educational opportunity, economic development, and respect for human rights, the rule of law and the prominent role of women as partners in this endeavour".

In her closing remarks, Ambassador Nusseibeh offered several recommendations: She called on the Security Council to "consistently condemn the systematic persecution of minorities wherever these take place" and urged Member States to seek solutions through the Charter of the UN, "the paramount document of common principles" that the international community has at hand. She added, "Member States must have the courage to do what is right, and not only what is politically convenient".

She also asserted that the states of the affected region must be consulted by the international community in finding solutions. She added that "secure and stable societies are the cornerstone of good governance, and we must help our region to stabilise during this turbulent period". "Strong institutions and mechanisms that protect human rights and provide early warning to prevent and respond to violations must be built and maintained", she concluded. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement adopts comprehensive future vision to enhance dialogue among culture says, Dr Hanif

posted on 30/03/2015

Dr. Hanif Al Qasim, Chairman of the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue, emphasised that the Centre adopts an overall future vision aimed to enhance human rights across the world through supporting dialogue and contributing to promote cultures among peoples.

Al Qasim made these remarks while receiving Dr. Gregory Warden, President of Franklin University Switzerland, at his Majlis on the sidelines of Warden's visit to the country recently in the presence of a number of public figures.

Dr. Al Qasim added that the Centre, established in 2013 as a non-government organisation, organises conferences and seminars with the participation of international figures such as UN, civil society organisations, academic institutions interested in humanitarian domains.

He also indicated that the Centre's presence in Geneva, Switzerland contributes to facilitate communication and interaction with non-government organisations working in the humanitarian field.

He added that President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces recognise that advanced education should top the country's priorities and interest, as it is deemed a cornerstone in the success of sustainable development plans in various sectors in the country.

On his part, Warden expressed his appreciation to the UAE leadership which strives for the development of the country. He also praised the cultural renaissance of the UAE which is based on education. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Jimmy Carter hails Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan Humanitarian & Scientific Foundation

posted on 30/03/2015

H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, Advisor to the UAE President and Chief Patron of the Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan Humanitarian & Scientific Foundation (SBKF), has received the former US President, Jimmy Carter, and his wife Rosalynn Carter, at his Palace.

Upon their arrival, they were received by the wife of Dr. Sultan, Sheikha Sheikha bint Saif Al Nahyan, SBKF's Vice President, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Board of Trustees and other members of the Board of Trustees.

During the meeting, Carter hailed Dr. Sheikh Sultan's interest, directives and relentless follow up to develop the best international relief programmes and programmes to serve the community in the fields of health and academia, as well as encourage scientific and medical research.

He also praised the discussions on issues of joint interest and the achievements of the foundation.

On her part, Sheikha Sheikha bin Saif Al Nahyan hailed the role played by the Carter Centre. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Abu Dhabi e-Government Portal continues to witness widespread success

posted on 30/03/2015

Abu Dhabi e-Government Portal, an e-service website managed by Abu Dhabi Systems and Information Centre, ADSIC, continues to grow and witness widespread success across the UAE's capital in 2015.

The continued high user-demand rates of the e-Government Portal comes after the success it had over the past two years in terms of scope, scale and the high quality of services it provides to all segments of society.

Highlighting the Portal's continued success, Rashed Lahej Al Mansoori, Director General at ADSIC said, "The data and growth records that we see today are a reflection of high-user frequency and the trust the Portal enjoys with members of the public, in addition to its reliability and comprehensive nature. As we continue to position the Portal as the preferred electronic gateway for a wide range of services, we reaffirm our commitment to work closely with all our partners to further boost its reach and service offering to meet and exceed the needs of all end-users throughout the emirate of Abu Dhabi."

ADSIC achieved remarkable performance levels in 2014 with several international reports commending the tangible efforts of local and federal government entities and departments that offer their services through the Abu Dhabi e-Government Portal. The latest data compiled by ADSIC showed that the number of page views on the portal increased by 65 percent to reach 6,759,497 at the end of 2014, in comparison to 2,344,628 when the Portal first launched in 2012. There was also a notable increase in the number of online Portal visits through a 41 percent increase at 1,900,104 visits in 2014, in comparison to 510,228 in 2012.

As a comprehensive and all-inclusive Government electronic touch point, ADSIC offers 115 services belonging to 101 government entities through the portal, 75 of which are in Abu Dhabi and 26 are federal entities.

The portal also features 50 interactive phone services with 10 services associated with Abu Dhabi residents' daily needs including: Water, electricity and phone bill payment, flight timetable services, commercial license requests and payment for traffic and educational services.

The most searched and visited Government entities through Abu Dhabi e-Government Portal include: Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority, Economic Development Department, Abu Dhabi Police, Health Authority – Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Education Council, Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, Department of Municipal Affairs and Abu Dhabi City Municipality.

The most searched and visited topics through Abu Dhabi e-Government Portal include housing and property, health, work and employment, events and entertainment, citizenship and residency, religion and community, land allocation, benefits for nationals, safety and environment, family affairs and public transportation.

In terms of the most searched and visited e-services sites, the most frequented are trade name registration, fine payments, water and electricity bill payments, vehicle registration and registration renewal, residence visa medical check-up, property ownership deeds and driver's license exam dates for license renewal. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


UAE Central Bank and UnionPay International sign agreement

posted on 30/03/2015

Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates, CBUAE, and UnionPay International, UPI, (the international business arm of the global payment network, China UnionPay) have signed an agreement for linking with UAESWITCH, a service that connects ATMs across the country.

The agreement was signed on March 19th, between the CBUAE and UPI, launching the use of UnionPay cards at all ATMs connected to the UAESWITCH, by Deputy Governor of CBUAE, Mohammed Ali Bin Zayed Al Falasi and China UnionPay President Mr Shi Wenchao.

The signing ceremony was attended by senior executives from both sides.

Mohammed Ali Bin Zayed Al Falasi expressed delight on this joint cooperation as the number of Chinese citizens, residents, tourist and business people alike is steadily increasing year on year. The Agreement will allow UnionPay card holders access to over 4,800 ATMs in the UAE.

As indicated by Al Falasi, it is only natural that the banking system of these two countries should enhance their relations as a means to further establish the growing commerce and tourism with each other. The agreement is an excellent step to ensure UnionPay cardholders will continue to enjoy the benefits of their UnionPay card even when they are away from home. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Drydocks World and Maritime World win prestigious award for excellence at the Golden Bell Awards granted by the International Maritime Club

posted on 30/03/2015

Drydocks World and Maritime World, the international service provider to the shipping, offshore, oil, gas and energy sectors, have won the Excellence Award given by the International Maritime Club at the Golden Bell Awards 2015 - Middle East where the group received an award in the Best Creative Branding category for the BorWin 3 video, which displayed the pioneering mega structure BorWin by Drydocks World Group.

Drydocks World Group also won the Best Maritime Conference Award in recognition of their success in organising the "2nd Mare Forum Dubai 2015," which held its second edition on the 21st of January 2015 under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai.

The 2nd Mare Forum Dubai 2015" the Dubai Global Summit of Marine and Maritime Leaders provided an interactive platform to network and debate contemporary themes in the shipping, marine and maritime industries. The forum featured elite dignitaries and distinguished speakers participating from various maritime sectors. This award recognised the Group's sincere efforts in holding a specialised conference that addressed developments and the future outlook of the marine and maritime industry, covering salient issues and topics.

Drydocks World Group has succeeded in winning the Best Creative Branding Award which recognises implementation of the latest modern technologies in providing excellent representation and images of new innovative projects. Drydocks World has an exceptional track record of constructing major projects in the offshore oil and gas sector, which has led to an influx of opportunities, including the signing of "DolWin 2" which was delivered last year, and "BorWin 3" which is being built for the German renewable energy sector. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


UAE Islamic banking sector is en route to achieve US$263 billion by 2019

posted on 30/03/2015

The UAE is en route to achieve US$263 billion of Sharia-compliant assets by 2019, according to EY's World Islamic Banking Competitiveness, WIBC, report. The industry was estimated to be worth US$127 billion in 2014, thus making it the third largest Islamic banking market by value, after the Saudi Arabian and Malaysian markets.

Ashar Nazim, Global Islamic Finance Leader at EY, says, "Islamic banks in the UAE, also known as participation banks, are eyeing revenue growth through experience-led transformation of their domestic business. Stronger capital position is also driving their international expansion. Initiatives in mobile payments are likely to cause positive disruption to banks' traditional operating models. Looking at the positive performance of Islamic banks in the UAE, the country is expected to be one of the main markets that drive the future internationalisation of the Islamic banking industry."

Sharia-compliant assets in the UAE crossed the US$100 billion milestone for the first time. Islamic banking penetration in the UAE currently stands at 21.4 percent and represents a 14.6 percent share of the global market. The industry in the UAE is growing at more than twice the rate of conventional banking. Due to high demand, there is increased pressure on efficiency as more Islamic banks attempt to go mainstream.

In the study, EY monitored 55,884 Islamic banking customer sentiments in the UAE on social media as part of a wider study, which looked at 2.2 million customer sentiments dispersed across various online sources in nine key markets (Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, the UAE, Malaysia, Indonesia, Turkey, Qatar and Oman).

Banking clients were most satisfied with customer service, where positive comments on social media outnumbered negative comments by more than 5 percent. Half of all the positive sentiments monitored were around customer service levels and complaint handling.

Customer feelings were mixed with respect to branch experience, online banking and phone banking. Out of the sentiments monitored on social media for all the three experiences, there was almost an equal number of positive and negative comments.

The study of social media comments has revealed an improvement opportunity for Sharia-compliant banks with respect to products and services, which were ranked the lowest in terms of customer satisfaction. Half of the overall negative sentiments monitored were about disappointing experiences with regard to product and service offerings.

"The call to action for Islamic banks in the UAE is to build rich insights into customers' delight and pain points, and break operational silos. The time is right for analytics; banks need to challenge their channel capabilities and push for more customised products and services. Regulatory intervention on product design can help to both attract and protect consumers. The reputations of Islamic banks today will depend on the way banks engage with their customers," concludes Ashar. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


NDC inaugurates its new jack-up rig, Butinah, built in the UAE

posted on 30/03/2015

National Drilling Company, NDC, has marked the inauguration of its new modern offshore rig, "Butinah", at a ceremony held in the Hamriyah Free Zone in Sharjah. "Butinah" is the sixth rig in a series of eight similar units being acquired by NDC and manufactured in the UAE by Lamprell.

Commenting on the inauguration during the ceremony held in the presence of Khamis bin Salem Al Suwaidi, Member of Sharjah Executive Council, Chairman of Department of Suburbs and Villages Affairs, NDC Chief Executive Officer, Abdalla Saeed Al Suwaidi, said, "A reliable, modern rig fleet is essential to maintain NDC's sustainable success, therefore, the company launched this strategic Offshore Rigs Acquisition Project to maintain the highest levels of reliability and availability, and ensure complete preparedness to meet the clients' present needs and future requirements."

Mr Al Suwaidi added, "This mega project has made success after success not only for the partners involved, but for the UAE in general. NDC's partnership with Lamprell to build offshore jack-up rigs in the UAE has made the country the first and only Middle Eastern country capable of building such critical engineering, high-tech oil and gas rigs.

The NDC CEO remarked that the company has doubled the number of rigs from 28 to 65 today and recently began construction of 2 additional rigs. This makes a total of 8 offshore jack-up rigs worth Dh5 billion, all manufactured in the UAE.

Mr Al Suwaidi extended his sincere appreciation to ADNOC higher management and the NDC Board of Directors for their guidance and continuous support. He also thanked ADMA-OPCO for their cooperation and trust and Lamprell for their distinguished efforts.

Ali Al Jarwan, Chief Executive Officer of Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company, ADMA-OPCO, said, "I'd like to congratulate NDC for achieving another milestone in their strategic expansion plans through inaugurating rig Butinah. This state-of-the-art rig, and the previous similar 5 rigs acquired by NDC, will contribute effectively in supporting our growth and helping ADMA-OPCO realise the targeted oil production levels, since we all in ADNOC Group work towards advancing the oil and gas industry in the UAE, sustaining a flourishing and sustainable national economy."

Jim Moffat, Chief Executive Officer of Lamprell, said, "The construction of these offshore rigs in the UAE is a great testament to the skills and abilities that exist in this great country. I thank NDC for their trust and faith in Lamprell in awarding us these projects, and as we deliver this rig to a high standard of quality, on schedule and cost effectively, we look forward to further successful ventures together in the future."


MBRF opens Nobel Museum exhibition in Dubai

posted on 30/03/2015

Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation (MBRF) has announced the opening of Nobel Museum's travelling exhibition in Dubai under the theme, ‘The Nobel Prize: Ideas Changing the World', in line with the directives of Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of MBRF.

This is the first time the exhibition is being hosted in a new concept and theme in an Arabic city.

Jamal bin Huwaireb, Managing Director of MBRF announced this at a press conference where a number of events associated with the exhibition, including four special workshops led by experts from the Nobel Museum were also announced. A key attraction will be a workshop on micro-finance addressed by Nobel laureate Muhammed Yunus. Yunus, who established a micro-credit bank offering small loans for the poor, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 in recognition of his efforts to "create economic and social development from below". His efforts have contributed to economic and social development of millions of people, not only in his own country Bangladesh, but also in several other nations.

The exhibition, organised at the Burj Khalifa annex in Downtown Dubai, will run for a month, starting from tomorrow and will be open from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm except on Fridays. Entry is free of charge.

MBRF has organised the exhibition to establish the values of creativity and innovation in the region by highlighting the prestigious position of Nobel Prize in honouring outstanding discoveries that have contributed to the development and progress of mankind. It will also provide an opportunity for the public to see for themselves the most important inventions as well as awards obtained by Alfred Nobel, the founder of the Nobel Prize.

Managing Director of MBRF, said the exhibition is being organised as part of the Foundation's efforts to empower future generations with sustainable solutions that address the challenges in the knowledge and research domains in the Arab world.

Huwaireb said: "The Nobel Museum exhibition will provide a unique platform in the Arab world to put the spotlight on innovation and discoveries. It will draw attention to human achievements that have transformed the world and contributed to improving the lives of people. We believe that the Nobel Museum exhibits will motivate our young people to innovate and look around them as creative explorers, and divert their energies to find better solutions and ideas."

Inviting everyone to make use of this opportunity to visit such an exceptional event in Dubai, Huwaireb said: "I am confident that a visit to the museum will leave a lasting impression on everyone. It will enable you to realise the value of perseverance and encourage you to think outside the box to serve humanity."

He added: "This event will inspire our young people to look up to the great personalities and innovative minds showcased at the exhibition as role models, just as we have been inspired by Arab novelist Naguib Mahfouz, scientist Ahmed Zewail, Lebanese doctor Peter Medawar, and other Arab Nobel Prize winners."

Dr. Olof Ameline, Director of Nobel Museum, said the hosting of the Nobel Museum exhibition in Dubai will enable the public in the region to get acquainted with the concept of the Nobel Prize and the most prominent innovators who have contributed to humanity's welfare and development. He said the museum will inspire many towards creativity and innovation by highlighting how Nobel achievers have employed innovation and knowledge to touch the daily lives of millions. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


UAE’s eco-friendly residents join Abu Dhabi Festival 2015 in celebration of Earth Hour

posted on 30/03/2015

Abu Dhabi Festival celebrated Earth Hour for the fifth consecutive year, with a fun filled series of educational workshops for the eco-friendly residents of the UAE.

Taking place this year in Hili Fun City, Al Ain, in partnership with the Emirates Wildlife Society-World Wide Fund for Nature, Abu Dhabi Festival hosted a series of workshops for children based around this year's Earth Hour theme – climate change. Led by the ‘Nutty Scientists', a leading educational troupe, the workshops focused on the impact of climate change on the planet.

Earth Hour was celebrated as part of Abu Dhabi Festival 2015's Community and Education programme of free events. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Ruler of Sharjah emphasises Sharjah prominent stature among world cultures

posted on 30/03/2015

Sharjah, 30th March, 2015 (WAM) -- H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, has emphasised the historic and archaeological importance of the emirate of Sharjah as a strategic meeting point between the east and west.

Sheikh Sultan was speaking yesterday during a meeting with the committee tasked with preparing Sharjah bid to enter the UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites.

Sheikh Sultan reviewed with the committee the rich heritage sites and assets that could qualify Sharjah to be inscribed as a World Heritage Site. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Sharjah Book Authority unveils Thai version of Emirati book at Bangkok International Book Fair

posted on 30/03/2015

Sharjah Book Authority, SBA, has released the Thai version of Ebdaat Emiratiyah (Emirati Creativities), produced by Mohammed Ahmed Al Murr, Federal National Council, FNC, Speaker, in recognition of the UAE's selection as guest of honour at the Bangkok International Book Fair 2015, which runs until April 6th.

The UAE is participating in the book fair with a high-level delegation led by Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Founder and Patron of the UAE Publishers Association, EPA, and includes a number of cultural institutions.

Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Chairman of Sharjah Book Authority, SBA, presented a copy of the Emirati Creativities book to HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand during her visit to the UAE stand at the Bangkok International Book Fair.

The book features poetry and narratives by fifty creative Emiratis, male and female, who participated in the UAE's cultural scene for four decades producing work that reflects the richness and diversity of their cultural and literary experiences.

Ahmed Bin Rakkad Al Ameri said, "The Emirate of Sharjah seeks, through its cultural initiatives, derived from the vision of H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah to promote UAE culture in all world languages and enhance inter-cultural understanding and exchange of knowledge between people. This is simply because good relations between countries contribute to establishing the values of tolerance, love and peace. SBA believes art and the written word can do this, as well as advance communities and increase cooperation for the good of humanity."

The FNC Speaker praised SBA's efforts and its sponsorship of the UAE Stand in Bangkok Fair, and praising the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, for his support for the book industry, thereby giving writers the status they deserve locally, regionally and globally. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Al Qubaisi gears up for new WEC Season

posted on 30/03/2015

ABU DHABI, 30th March, 2015 (WAM) -- Following a relatively satisfying full debut season last year in the FIA World Endurance Championship, WEC, Abu Dhabi Racing, and driver Khaled Al Qubaisi, is now looking forward to the new season which gets underway with the '6 Hours of Silverstone' in Great Britain from April 10th-12th.

The Emirates Global Aluminium and Abu Dhabi Racing-backed squad finished third overall in the team standings in the LMGTE Am category behind the wheel of a Porsche 911 RSR and just missed out on the third step of the podium in the drivers' standings last season.

Nevertheless it was an incredible effort by Al Qubaisi, Christian Reid and Klaus Bachler, with the trio now back to do driving duties for 2015 and hoping to improve upon their last year's performance.

Al Qubaisi said, "It feels great to be back in the WEC, it is a great championship that I love racing in." Noting that this year Sao Paolo will be replaced by the Nurburgring circuit, Al Qubaisi added, "I will really miss the Sao Paolo track, I really enjoyed racing there last year."

With respect to the German circuit, the Proton Competition driver continued, "It will be great to race at Nurburgring which is one of the most popular race tracks in the world.

"We will not be racing on the full Nordschliefe as that would be too risky for the prototypes. We will, however, instead race on the F1 section of the circuit which is a track I have raced on before."

Touching upon the competition ahead, particularly from the Aston Martins, Al Qubaisi explained, "The FIA has adjusted the balance of performance rules for this year and the Astons should have a smaller restrictor. This translates to approximately 15hp less power than last year. But I'm not certain if this will make any big difference to the Astons, we will have to wait and see at the first test sessions or the opening race weekend at Silverstone." – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Fog envelops parts of UAE

posted on 30/03/2015

Early morning fog descended on Dubai and parts of the UAE on Monday, with the national weather bureau forecasting foggy weather in the next two days.

The National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology said relative humidity is expected to rise by night and early morning over some coastal and internal areas until Wednesday, resulting in foggy conditions.

The temperature on Monday is expected to hit a high of 39 degrees Celcius in internal areas, and will dip to 13 degrees Celcius in mountainous areas.

The weather on Tuesday is forecast to be fair to partly cloudy over some areas, with the temperatures expected to slightly increase over some internal areas.

On Wednesday, the weather is forecast to be fair to partly cloudy over some areas, with light to moderate winds in general. – Gulf News -


Ministry of Environment uses drones for inspecting quarries

posted on 30/03/2015

The Ministry of Environment and Water has started using drones to monitor the work of crushers and quarries in various emirates in the UAE in line with government directives on ensuring a sustainable environment.

Ganem Al Shamsi, Assistant Undersecretary of the external monitoring sector at the ministry, stressed that the ministry has adopted the use of drones in the framework of its ongoing efforts to regulate the work of crushers and quarries in order to enhance environmental sustainability.

He explained that on the basis of the government's move towards smart transformation embodying the initiative of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and his declaration of 2015 as the year of innovation, the ministry launched this initiative for the development of monitoring and inspection in the quarrying process.

He added that the use of the new technique will ensure that there are no violations of the legislative provisions. He also stressed the ministry's keenness on launching these initiatives and projects within the strategic plan to improve the environmental performance and enhance the environmental sustainability to be consistent with the indicators of the national agenda of the UAE's 2021 vision.