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Khalifa University wraps up exciting "STEM" Summer Camp with robot showdown

posted on 22/08/2014

Khalifa University has wrapped up its first Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) summer camp on August 21st, with an exciting "Robo" Competition at its Abu Dhabi campus.

Over 30 students participated in front of their peers, University students and faculty, and the media. The winners were, first place team: Amira Obaid, Noura Al Ghafri, Sheikha Al Mujaini and Fatma Al Amri, and in second place the team consisting of Hamad Al Dhanhani, Hamad Khaled and Mohammed Al Mansoori, and in third place, Latifa Al Mansoori, Eman Al Hosani, Alhanoof Mohammed and Fatma Al Hammadi. The students were selected to represent the U.A.E. in the upcoming "RoboCup" being held in Thailand in 2015.

The camp was designed as a platform to inspire high school students interested in pursuing a career in engineering or the technology sector. Over the course of the week, the students were required to design and build their own robot, which they used in the competition. In addition, the students had the opportunity to learn and have fun through hands on activities revolving around robotics, mechanics, electronics, chemistry, programming, design, math, arts and physics.

The STEM summer camp aimed to inspire students through a programme that included exciting topics, challenges and competitions, and gave them the opportunity to explore the world of engineering, and meet engineering students and professors.

"We are thrilled with the outcome of our first STEM summer camp, and we are very much looking forward to seeing how our U.A.E. representatives perform at the "RoboCup" next year," said Dr. Bayan Sharif, Dean of Engineering at the University. "Khalifa University is dedicated to communicating the importance of studying science and technology to the youth of the U.A.E., and we strongly believe that one of the ways to do this, and perhaps the best way, is to give young people the chance to immerse themselves in hands-on activities that will give them an idea of what they are capable of, and what they can spend their careers doing. Robotics, mechanics, chemistry, electronics, all of these are fun and exciting fields that can lead to successful, fulfilling careers, and we are pleased to encourage students to pursue them." – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/general/1395268817009.html


Humanitarian aid worth Dh1.9m bound for Iraq

posted on 22/08/2014

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) humanitarian aid shipment consisting of 16 containers will leave Jebel Ali Port on Saturday for Erbil, Iraq, officials said on Thursday.

The aid is being sent from the stockpile in Dubai and is worth about Dh1.9 million.

UNHCR officials said the shipment will first head to Bandar Abbas in Iran by sea, then to Erbil by land. The shipment is expected to reach Erbil in two weeks.

"This shipment is part of more than 2,000 tonnes of humanitarian assistance that the UNHCR are planning and have already started for the emergency situation in Iraq,” MohammedAbu Asaker, Public Information and Communications Officer at UNHCR told Gulf News.

This shipment contains 10,000 kitchen sets, 40,000 blankets and 25,000 jerry cans of water.

He said that the UNHCR had already sent a plane carrying relief items from Amman, Jordan, on Wednesday. "This airplane is one of four airplanes from Amman to Erbil. Each of the planes is carrying 100 tonnes of humanitarian assistance…there are also 174 trucks leaving from Turkey to Kurdistan very soon."

Abu Asaker said that Iraq is in immense need of humanitarian assistance. "There are around 1.2 million internally displaced people in Iraq, Some 600,000 of them have just been recently displaced in the last few months and are in need of emergency assistance. It has become our top priority, as they are living without water, food, money — only the clothes on their backs.”

He said the shipment is going out from the International Humanitarian City (IHC), which is the UNHCR's largest global stockpile out of its seven stockpiles. "The UNHCR's headquarters depends on the Dubai stockpile as its first line responder to emergency situations.”

In 2013, Abu Asaker said, UNHCR sent humanitarian relief to 36 countries including Syria, South Sudan, Mali and Libya from the Dubai stockpile.

Established in 2003 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the U.A.E. and Ruler of Dubai, the IHC has grown to become one of the world's largest logistics hub for humanitarian aid. It has nine UN agencies and some 50 NGOs and commercial entities as members.

"We [UNHCR] cannot reach this success without the logistical support of the IHC, that was an initiative by Sheikh Mohammad, and the support of Shaima Al Zarouni IHC's CEO.”

He said that the IHC also represents the humanitarian role of the U.A.E. in contributing to the humanitarian response to emergency situations all over the world, adding "With this support we were able to have access to six international airports, three ports and the logistic support we receive on the ground.” – Gulf News - http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/general/humanitarian-aid-worth-dh1-9m-bound-for-iraq-1.1374990


U.A.E. frontrunner in humanitarianism: paper

posted on 22/08/2014

"Nobody talks about its love for humanity the way the U.A.E. does. It achieves so by cutting through all conceivable barriers, as it proved on Tuesday, when the U.A.E. marked World Humanitarian Day at the Dubai Mall," said the Sharjah-based English language daily, The Gulf Today, in an editorial comment this morning.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD, announced earlier this year, that the U.A.E. is the largest donor of official development assistance in the world, in proportion to its gross national income. The country's development assistance in 2013 amounted to US$5.2 billion.

"The U.A.E. has always been pulling out all stops to lend a helping hand to the needy and poor, the hapless and the destitute in different regions of the world. Last year, the Clothe One Million Children Ramadan initiative, launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, benefited more than three million underprivileged children in countries all over the world, including Bosnia, Albania, Romania, nations in South Asia, the Far East and the Middle East," said the editorial.

The Holy Month of Ramadan saw the launch of U.A.E. Suqia (water aid campaign) by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed, to provide a clean drinking water to approximately five million people around the world.

"The U.A.E. is also making wholehearted attempts to strengthen international resolve to eradicate polio among children in Syria. It couldn't have been, therefore, more appropriate and timely that Dubai, as the commercial, lifestyle and entertainment hub of the region, and a torchbearer of humanitarianism, observed World Humanitarian Day 2014 vigorously," the editorial explained.

The day was marked by a walk to commemorate the courageous efforts of humanitarian workers' around the globe, an event that was held under the patronage of under the Patronage of UN Messenger of Peace and Chairperson of International Humanitarian City, Princess Haya bint Al Hussein, Wife of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed.

About 30,000 people turned up, including representatives of local and international humanitarian organisations, visitors, residents, and regional artists.

The editorial went on to say, "Dubai Cares has hailed the role of humanitarian workers in facilitating positive change around the globe. The organisation provides food daily to more than half a million schoolchildren, trains over 38,000 teachers, and distributes over 2.1 million books written in local languages.

In conclusion, the editorial said, "The U.A.E. represents a high mark of compassion and care," quoting Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Cares, who said, "The U.A.E. community collectively believes in empowering people through education. Here in the U.A.E., we enjoy the liberty to pursue and achieve our ambitions, as we have strong foundations safeguarding our rights, security and prosperity." – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395268796486.html


ERC dispatches relief plane to displaced people in Kurdistan region of Iraq

posted on 22/08/2014

The Emirates Red Crescent (ERC) yesterday sent a plane, carrying 36 tonnes worth Dh7 million of relief aid to displaced people in Erbil of Kurdistan region of Iraq.

The move follows the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the U.A.E. Armed Forces, and the follow-up by H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in the Western Region and President of the ERC.

Dr. Mohammed Ateeq Al Falahi, Secretary-General of the ERC, said that the shipment includes medicines for the displaced Iraqis in Kurdistan, adding that it comes within the directives of wise leadership to assist tens of thousands of the displaced Iraqis. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/arab/1395268814924.html


Delegation of Mohammed bin Rashid Charity Establishment visits Lebanon to provide relief aid to displaced Syrians

posted on 22/08/2014

A delegation of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Charity and Humanitarian Establishment, left for Beirut and the Lebanese-Syrian borders on Wednesday to provide the relief aid to thousands of Syrian refugees and displaced at the camps there.

The move follows the directives by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to provide the relief aid to the refugees so to alleviate their suffering at the camps.

Counsellor Ibrahim Bu Melha, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Establishment, said, "The Establishment as usual dispatches its team to the spot ahead of sending and implementing its relief programmes." He added that upon the arrival, the delegation scrutinised the quality and quantity of the relief materials, and then supervised over their transport and distribution at the camps. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395268818014.html


ERC distributes relief aid to affected people in Gaza

posted on 22/08/2014

GAZA: The Emirates Red Crescent (ERC) yesterday distributed 1,200 relief baskets to those affected by events taking place in Gaza, including 500 food baskets, 500 health kits and 200 packages of cleaning products.

Emad Abu al-Laban, Director of ERC Office in Gaza, said assistance comes as part of the ERC's intensive programme to alleviate suffering of Gazans who are living in dire situation for the last 45 days.

Abu al-Laban noted that the U.A.E.'s field hospital in the city of Rafah, south of Gaza Strip, is providing treatment to injured people and patients of chronic diseases, who require special medical attention. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395268807755.html


Mohamed bin Zayed visits U.A.E. national patient in hospital

posted on 22/08/2014

His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the U.A.E. Armed Forces, visited an Emirati national currently receiving medical treatment in Al Mafraq Hospital, to inquire about his health condition, under the framework of His Highness's keenness to follow up on the wellbeing of U.A.E. citizens.

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed visited Khalifa Saeed Fadhel Al Hamli, and exchanged pleasantries with him and his family, and after being reassured of his health progress, the Crown Prince wished him a speedy recovery.

Sheikh Mohammed was accompanied by H.H. Sheikh Nahyan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation, during the visit.

On his part, Mr. Al Hamli expressed his thanks and appreciation to His Highness for the kind visit, and said that His Highness's care for the wellbeing of U.A.E. citizens reflects the close and cohesive relationship between the Emirati leadership and its citizens.

Members of the Al Hamli family also expressed their great happiness and privilege for the visit, saying that the visit follows in the footsteps of the wise leadership of the late Sheikh Zayed on taking care of his citizens. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395268803354.html


Central Bank of the U.A.E. aware of consent order between New York State Department of Financial Services, Standard Chartered Bank

posted on 22/08/2014

Central Bank of the U.A.E. announced that it has taken note of the Consent Order entered into by the New York State Department of Financial Services and Standard Chartered Bank on 19 August 2014.

Under the said Consent Order, the bank was fined and is subject to certain procedures for not fulfilling the requirements of the New York State Department of Financial Services, among which closure of accounts relating to persons and companies holding nationalities that cannot transfer funds or deal in US dollar, as per the US law.

It is worth pointing out that the account numbers classified as such range from 1400 to 8000 accounts maintained at the bank branches in the U.A.E..

The Central Bank formed a team to review the records of accounts of these companies and their owners, to identify the violation as recoded in New York on every one of them. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/economics/1395268810454.html


NBAD MENA Income and Growth Fund delivers 2.40% Semi Annual Dividend

posted on 22/08/2014

The National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) distributed 2.40% dividend to NBAD MENA Income and Growth Fund investors with the option to reinvest the dividend in lieu of a cash payout.

The distribution equals 2.40% of the Fund's net asset value (NAV) as of August 7, 2014. All those investors who successfully subscribed to the Fund on or prior to August 5, 2014 would be eligible for dividend distribution.

MIGF managers, created in 2006 and managed by NBAD's Asset Management Group, elected to offer investors the Dividend Reinvestment Option allowing investors the choice to convert their dividend to units in the Fund.

"MIGF is a unique fund that offers investors exposure to income generating assets whilst also participating in capital appreciation potential of blue chip equities in the GCC region and U.A.E. real estate," said Saleem Khokhar, the Head of Equities at NBAD's Asset Management Group. "Our strategy continues to yield very positive results for our clients." NBAD's Asset Management Group manages assets in excess of Dh10.4 billion, making it one of the largest of its kind in the U.A.E. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/economics/1395268805203.html


Ministry of Education endorses academic year calendar for 2014- 2015

posted on 22/08/2014

The Ministry of Education has endorsed the academic year calendar for 2014 - 2015 in light of the amendments introduced to stabilise the educational process, and give the students opportunity to practice non-curricula activities.

The new calendar allows teachers to invest days devoted to the development of skills so as to acquire more tools and modern techniques for classroom management through a pack of advanced rehabilitation programmes to be implemented by the Ministry.

According to the new calendar adopted in coordination between the Education Councils and Universities, the school year for the teaching and technical staff will start on Sunday, 24th August, this month and runs until Thursday, 9th July 9th, of 2015, while kindergartens, primary and secondary school students of various educational levels, will enrol in their classrooms on Sunday, 31st August. The current school year will extend to Thursday, 2nd July, 2015.

With respect to the holidays, the first term holiday will be on Sunday, 21st December, 2014, while the teaching and technical staff will begin their holiday on Sunday, 28th December. The holiday of students, teaching and technical staff will end on Thursday, 8th January, 2015.

For the second semester, holidays is scheduled on Sunday, 29th March, 2015, for students, while the teaching and technical staff will begin their vacation on Sunday, 5th April 5, 2015, and end for all on Thursday, 9th April, 2015.

The new calendar of three terms is applicable to all public and private schools that follows the Ministry, foreign, adult education centres and high schools of Applied Technology curricula. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/general/1395268820774.html


Sharjah International sees 23.1% surge in second quarter passenger numbers

posted on 22/08/2014

New route capacity and a runway closure at Dubai International saw a spike in passenger numbers at Sharjah International Airport in the second quarter. The airport in the country's third largest airport handled 2.6 million passengers in the three months ending June 30, up 23.1 per cent from the same period a year earlier, according to data from Sharjah International.

A number of airlines switched operations to Sharjah International from May 1 until July 20 because of capacity constraining runway refurbishment work at the nation's busiest airport, Dubai International.

"The biggest gain may come from Cebu Pacific,” said Will Horton, senior analyst at CAPA — Centre Aviation, in an email.

"Cebu Pacific operated out of Sharjah during the Dubai runway works. While in Sharjah, Cebu and Air Arabia had a small marketing initiative to feed the Sharjah-Manila flight,” he said.

Other carriers like Air India, Jet Airways and Pakistan International Airlines raised capacity at Sharjah International during the 80-day runway closure at Dubai International.

Aircraft movements rose by 20.5 per cent to 19.7 thousand in the second quarter and the amount of freight handled at the airport increased by 11.24 per cent to 100.4 thousand tonnes.

Aircraft movements

Horton said that an increase in Air Arabia's Middle East capacity in the second quarter was "due to increases put in last year, but some of that is now coming down” and that its India capacity, which has also increased, is "staying [up] or slightly increasing.”

Half-year passenger numbers at Sharjah International for the six months ending June 30 were up 13.38 per cent to 5.6 million. Aircraft movements increased 8.67 per cent to 5.6 million, however, handled freight decreased by 10.7 per cent over the six-month period to 170.6 thousand tonnes.

John Strickland, Director at UK-based JLS Consulting, said in an email, "success [at Sharjah International] mirrors that of key customer Air Arabia as well as picking up some one off traffic due to moves from Dubai by some airlines whilst runway work was undertaken.”

Air Arabia carried 1.6 million passengers in the second quarter, up 8 per cent, and over the first half of the year carried 3.36 million passenger, up 11 per cent from the same period a year ago. – Gulf News - http://gulfnews.com/business/aviation/sharjah-international-sees-23-1-surge-in-second-quarter-passenger-numbers-1.1374955


NOL cards sales soar 52 per cent

posted on 22/08/2014

The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has revealed that the sales of NOL cards continued to soar considerably since the launch of the service in August 2009. During the first six months of this year NOL card sales proceeds increased by as much as 52 per cent compared with the previous period last year.

Khalid Al Awadi, Director of RTA Automated Fare Collection, said: "The total number of NOL cards sold in the first half of this year amounted to 1.226 million cards whereas the number recorded during the same period last year was 806,000 cards; which translates into a 52 per cent increase. This means that the service is continuing to hit its key objective of easing the use of public transport means for the public, and encouraging customers to use mass transit modes by using the three categories of NOL cards (Gold, Silver and Personalised Blue Card); which are characterised by simplicity, accuracy and speedy payment of the applicable fare.”

"The rising trend of purchasing NOL cards underscores our success in augmenting our partnership with the public through this service; which was crowned by winning the Best Partnership with the Public in the inaugural edition of the Hamdan bin MohammedSmart Government Awards, besides being an indicator of the growing use of public transport means comprising the metro, water bus, public transport and taxis, and the use of the RTA's prepaid parking service,” said Al Awadi.

"The RTA is always keen on uplifting its service offering to meet customer needs and realise the third goal (people's happiness). Recently, it embarked on broadening the use of NOL cards to include the payment of fare of the inter-city bus service.”

"The RTA is mulling the implementation of a plan to widen the use of NOL cards to include other fields over and above paying for public transport such as prepaid purchases, thanks to the value stored in the card balance,” added the director. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/nol-cards-sales-soar-52-per-cent-1.1375020


Al Mutawaa to drive in Germany, Spain

posted on 22/08/2014

U.A.E.'s Mohammed Al Mutawaa has been handed a seat to drive at two rallies in the FIA World Rally Championship's (WRC) feeder series, the WRC 3.

Abu Dhabi Racing (ADR) said in a release that the 21-year-old Emirati would participate in the WRC 3 category in Germany (August 21-24) and Spain (October 24-26), enabling him to gain valuable experience of driving on different surfaces and weather conditions.

In Germany, Al Mutawaa will face three distinct types of stages — bumpy narrow Mosel vineyard roads, Baumholder military tracks with many different surfaces and the smooth country tests in Saarland over a distance of approximately 1,300 kilometres.

In October, Al Mutawaa will be tested on the only mixed surface round of the season in Spain where he will drive on both gravel and asphalt stages in the hills of Tarragona.

The opportunity to race in Germany and Spain comes in the wake of Al Mutawaa's excellent performance in the FIA Middle East Rally Championship (MERC) where he has recorded three consecutive victories with ADR's programme, the Abu Dhabi Racing — Citroën Middle East Trophy.

In the current MERC season, the ADR driver triumphed in Qatar, Kuwait and Jordan in his Citroën DS3 R3 (2WD category). – Gulf News - http://gulfnews.com/sport/motorsport/al-mutawaa-to-drive-in-germany-spain-1.1374056


EAFL’s Abu Dhabi Wildcats prepare to share territory

posted on 22/08/2014

In the two years of the Emirates American Football League's existence, the Abu Dhabi Wildcats have twice hoisted the championship trophy after winning the year-end Desert Bowl.

Having despatched foes from Dubai and Al Ain in consecutive seasons, there is a new threat on the horizon as player registration opens for the third EAFL season.

A threat that is originating in their own backyard.

Starting this autumn, Abu Dhabi will field two teams after the league announced the creation of the Abu Dhabi Scorpions for the 2014/15 season. Dubai has had two teams, the Stallions and Barracudas, since the league's inception in 2012/13.

League commissioner Dustin Cherniawski is expecting 60 or more players to register from the Abu Dhabi area this year, which is too many for one team and will end the Wildcats' city-wide player ­monopoly.

"If you are the Wildcats, you love that you had one team, because all the talent comes to you,” Cherniawski said yesterday. "That's probably one of the reasons they are back-to-back champions.

"Definitely, there is room to grow. A team with 50 guys on it, that 50th guy is never going to see the field. That's too many players.”

From a balance standpoint, there has been some muttering among the Dubai-based EAFL players about how the city was forced to separate players into two teams, while Abu Dhabi threw all of its talent into a single, undiluted squad.

Former Wildcats assistant coach and offensive co-ordinator Jim McGrath will coach the Scorpions, which ought to make for an interesting rivalry.

The Scorpions, who fielded teams at the youth level last year, bring the number of teams in the men's division to five. Cherniawski said a team in Sharjah could be added if the registration, which has begun, is sufficient in the northern Dubai area.

Because the five-team format will create bye weeks and the potential for too much time between games, the league will expand the regular-season schedule from six games, the number played in each of the first two seasons, to 10 this season.

In another first, teams this season switched to an autonomous club structure, with each side having a president, secretary, registrar and equipment manager – relieving some of the administrative pressure from the league office in Dubai.

Each club fields multiple teams in various junior age-group levels, too. Registration information is posted at the league website, EAFL.com. – The National - http://www.thenational.ae/sport/uae/eafls-abu-dhabi-wildcats-prepare-to-share-territory


A riot of laughs to wrap up Summer Season

posted on 22/08/2014

Seven Arab comedians are heading to the U.A.E. Capital next week for some good, hearty laughs. They are the United Nations of Comedy II and this August 28-29 they are making a comeback to Abu Dhabi Summer Season festival.

"The U.A.E. has such a strong, multifaceted culture, which is an amazing prospect for a comedian. You have a diverse crowd in front of you, which creates not only opportunities for comedic gold but also a very memorable time for everyone,” said one of the seven stand-up comedians, Lebanese Nemr Abou Nassar.

The other six are Aron Kader, Mo Amer, Khaled Khalafalla, Amir K, Ali Al Saeed and Sammy Obeid.

"The line-up this year is absolutely off the charts; to get all these guys together in one place is going to be amazing,” added Kader.

The American-Palestinian comedian rose to fame especially for its Middle Eastern inspired jokes, but these past couple of months, he was in the limelight for the tragic events happening in Palestine.

Kader's distant cousin, 16-year-old Mohammed was kidnapped off the streets of Jerusalem, drenched in gasoline and burned alive. Like all great comedians, Kader uses own, personal stories for his stand-up acts, but this time he finds what goes on in Palestine is too tragic to contemplate humour.

One thing he promised not to bring on the stage is anger.

United Nations of Comedy was one of the most popular shows at Summer Abu Dhabi 2013, therefore they are back this year with two performances, both at Emirates Palace here.

All seven comedians will be on stage on both nights, but their material will be different. The shows will be mostly in English, with some Arabic language performances as well. "The fact we're back again shows just how much comedy is booming in the U.A.E. and the region in general. Things have changed a lot since our first performance and it's so exciting to see that change and growth in the scene,” added Iranian American comedian Amir K.

United Nations of Comedy II is the last act of Abu Dhabi Summer Season, bringing the curtain down on three-month-long season, alongside La Verità, running at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre from Thursday to August 31.

The multi-award-winning contemporary theatrical circus, La Verità features a gigantic, original backdrop created in New York in 1944 by the Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dali. – Khaleej Times - http://www.khaleejtimes.com/nation/inside.asp?xfile=/data/nationgeneral/2014/August/nationgeneral_August210.xml§ion=nationgeneral