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Abu Dhabi dives deep for another world record

posted on 24/04/2014

Scuba divers plunged the depths of the city's ports yesterday in an attempt to break the record for the world's largest underwater clean-up.

Organised by Abu Dhabi Ports Company together with Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company, the clean-up covered Abu Dhabi's Free Port, the New Free Port, the nearby Fisherman's Port, Zayed Port and Das Island.

The effort, which took place over the course of 24 hours, started in the early hours of yesterday morning.

The goal, said organisers, was to secure the participation of 250 certified divers by this morning as they claimed this would be a world record.

The clean-up also aimed to raise awareness of the negative impact of underwater debris.

According to information from the National Park Service in the United states, a plastic drinks bottle would need 450 years to decompose in the ocean, while even items as harmless as a paper towel could take up to four weeks.

By midday yesterday, 214 volunteers had already registered.

Among them was Lee Becker, 36, an ice hockey equipment manager from Abu Dhabi.

This was the first underwater clean-up for the Canadian, who first took-up diving 18 months ago.

"There was a lot of big waste where we were,” said Mr Becker, referring to large vehicle tyres and old metal pipes, he had seen underwater.

While he could not haul the bulky items – a job volunteers were instructed to leave for a professional crew – he surfaced with a bag full of plastic debris and disused fishing lines and netting.

Mr Becker thought some of waste must have come from ships visiting the port but believed members of the public were also guilty of littering the ocean, he said.

"You see a fair bit [of waste] and being on boats, you see a bit of carelessness there too, unless it is enforced by the diving centre,” he said.

"I see a lot of plastic bottles and bags, it seems wherever humans are going, everything is just dropping there,” he said.

Amjad Elabed, a 44-year-old engineer, also living in the capital, said he returned from his dive with "a lot of bottles, some old clothes and some [plastic] bags”.

Mr Elabed was one of 10 people who represented the recreational diving club of the Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations.

Dana Wessam, 27, had travelled from Dubai to take part in her seventh underwater clean-up and a third in this same location.

"I like this,” said the Egyptian, explaining she had had to take a day off from work to be part in the event.

Many of those taking part were UAE nationals, such as Said Mohammed, 28, and his colleague, Ali Hamodi, 37, both working for the Armed Forces.

"We just wanted to join for our country,” said Mr Mohammed. "It is exciting.”

For diving instructor, Anna Furer, 33, it was the participation of UAE nationals such as Mr Mohammed and Mr Hamodi, that was one of the highlights of the clean-up.

"It was really nice that there were so many local people,” said Ms Furer, an employee of the Abu Dhabi-based, Al Mahara Diving Centre, who was welcoming divers on one of several boats engaged in the clean-up.

"I love the motivation. I am so happy so many people are coming and showing that they care,” she said.

Joining the clean-up effort, within 20 minutes this reporter had collected from the ocean floor two glass bottles, a plastic cup, an aluminium beverage can, a piece of plastic sheet and another large piece of thick plastic, as well as an empty toothpaste container and the sole of a shoe. – The National – Read more: Follow us: @TheNationalUAE on Twitter | on Facebook


French duo sets highest Base jump record from Burj Khalifa

posted on 24/04/2014

Two French daredevils broke a Guinness World Record for the highest Base jump after jumping from the pinnacle of the Burj Khalifa and spiralling down the world's tallest man-made structure.

Professional base jumpers Vince Reffet and Fred Fugen broke the record on Monday between 6am and 9am after performing two base jumps from the top of the 828-metre Burj Khalifa in Downtown Dubai. Emirati jumpers Nasser Al Neyadi and Omar Al Hegelan held the previous world record after jumping 672 metres down the tower in 2010.

Base jumping is an acronym for an extreme sport of jumping from a building, antennae, span or bridges, and Earth (referring to cliffs or mountains). It is a variation of skydiving, but is considered more dangerous because it is done at a lower altitude and jumpers have obstacles along the way.

A video of the jump was released on Wednesday, which showed Reffet and Fugen doing two wing-suit jumps from a three-metre by one-metre platform on top of the tower with the sunrise as their backdrop. The duo sported yellow jumpsuits with inflatable pressurised nylon cells that act as wings to help jumpers glide in the air like birds.

"We feel happy for breaking the world record, but it wasn't the main goal. We've been dreaming about base jumping from this special place, this unique place for three years now,” Fugen, 34, who has done 600 base jumps since 2003, told Gulf News.

The duo said it took them a year to prepare for the record jump through the help of SkyDive Dubai. The jump was done early morning Monday to minimise dangers from strong wind speeds at the tower.

"We didn't leave any room for error. We planned everything. For sure we were scared at first but we transformed that fear into power to achieve our goal,” Reffet, who has done between 600 and 700 base jumps, told Gulf News.

This is the second Guinness World Record organised and facilitated by SkyDive Dubai in a month. On April 5, professional skydiver Ernesto Gainza's broke the world record for the smallest parachute jump at just 35 square feet. – Gulf News – Read more:


Growth more important than salary for Emiratis

posted on 24/04/2014

More and more Emiratis are looking at career growth as a priority when selecting new jobs.

Khaleej Times spoke with several young Emiratis visiting the Careers UAE exhibition hosted at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) to find out their expectations from the UAE job market and how Emiratisation initiatives had helped UAE nationals.

According to young Emirati job-seekers salary expectations have lowered and priority is for career growth.

Amina Noor, a young Emirati visiting the fair said: "For me the most important thing when selecting a new job is job security. Career growth and salary follow. I've worked for a private company but it is difficult to grow in these companies. It took me a few months to find my first job but I don't think it is really difficult for Emiratis to get into a job. Most young Emiratis look for career growth when deciding on their first job. These career fairs provide a good opportunity to network and meet with people from different companies.”

Rahima Khalifa, a graduate of Higher Colleges of Technology who was visiting the career fair to explore career opportunities shared a different view.

"Everyone has his or her own aspirations and a job-seeker always looks for something that matches his education. Unfortunately, I don't think there are enough opportunities for young Emiratis. A lot of my friends are looking for jobs and most of us apply for jobs online but never get calls or follow-up.”

She lauded the Careers UAE initiative for bringing together Emirati job-seekers and companies recruiting new talent.

"Careers UAE is a great initiative because the human resource departments of various companies are spending time to interview candidates. It provides job seekers an opportunity to come under one roof and meet people from different companies.”

For high-school graduate, Musaab, the exhibition was a good place to learn more about companies providing employment and education at the same time.

"It is my first time at a career fair and I am looking to be a part of a company which recruits school students and provides them with higher education. Definitely, I have a minimum salary expectation because I believe one needs to have a decent income to lead a good life,” he said.

Another job-seeker, Abdul Aziz said: "I've worked in two jobs but I am exploring my options at the career fair. Personally, I believe job satisfaction is more important than the salary one receives. It's good to network at such career fairs and I strongly believe these events should be held more often.”

The three-day career fair ends today and is open to Emirati job-seekers only. – Khaleej Times – Read more:§ion=nationgeneral


UAE Red Crescent Authority distributes clothing for 5,000 children in six Eritrean provinces

posted on 24/04/2014

Asmara: The UAE Red Crescent Authority has distributed clothing to 5,000 Eritrean children in six Eritrean provinces as part of the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Campaign to clothe one million deprived children to improve the lives of children.

The Authority delegation, headed by Ali bin Shamil Al Kaabi, coordinated with the Red Cross Society of Eritrea (RCSE) and officials of the Social Affairs Department in the capital, Asmara, to choose a target audience for the campaign in the areas populated by the most vulnerable and delivered the clothing. The initiative was welcomed by residents and officials in the provinces covered by the campaign, which is bringing help to thousands of disadvantaged children in Eritrea.

The initiative embodies the great humanitarian role of the UAE and its wise leadership in meeting humanitarian needs and improve the lives of the needy and adopt initiatives that enhance their ability to cope with their situation.

The initiative also complements the efforts of the UAE to improve the situation of children around the world in the areas of health, education and other essential services next to provide for the needs of children and caring for them. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


United efforts must to help kids with cancer

posted on 24/04/2014

In an official statement made during her visit to Tanzania, Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of the Ruler of Sharjah, founder and royal patron of the Friends of Cancer Patients Society (FoCP), International Ambassador of the World Cancer Declaration for the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) and International Ambassador for Childhood Cancer for UICC, stressed on developing international strategies to save the lives of children suffering from paediatric cancer around the world.

She said such strategies must form an integral part of the overall programmes to control cancer and non-communicable diseases, with a special focus on the low and middle income countries.

Sheikha Jawaher is in Tanzania to participate in the 11th African Conference of International Society of Paediatric Oncology, in collaboration with UICC and International Society for Paediatric Oncology. She was received at Dar es Salaam Airport by Tanzania's First Lady Salma Kikwete alongside representatives of regional and international healthcare organisations.

During her visit, she said unified efforts to raise awareness are required to help save the lives of the thousands of cancer-affected children. "Cancer is one of the leading causes of death among children in developing countries, which affects over 250,000 children every year. Around 90,000 children die from cancer each year and 80% of them are from low and middle-income countries”.

She said that every child in this world has the right to be healthy, to grow up safe, and to receive education. This is a humanitarian duty that the international community must fulfil, regardless of the child's nationality, race, or religion. Sheikha Jawaher called for increased cooperation on the international level in the fight against paediatric cancer through different initiatives such as vaccination for children in early ages, in addition to providing early detection and care centres in rural areas.

Other initiatives are provision of necessary treatments as well as training for medical professionals on modern methods of diagnosis and how to deal with patients and their parents.

Sheikha visits govt hospital

After the conclusion of the conference, Sheikha Jawaher and Tanzania's First Lady visited Muhimbili National Hospital in Dar es Salaam, the largest government hospital in Tanzania, where she visited a number of child cancer patients and expressed her hopes that they will overcome disease and resume their normal life activities, play and study with their peers. – Khaleej Times – Read more:§ion=nationhealth


Voluntary work a token of gratitude to nation, says Saif bin Zayed

posted on 24/04/2014

The voluntary work in service of larger Emirati house is an exemplary token of gratitude to this nation and its leadership, on provision of decent living conditions for all, said H.H. Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior.

Sheikh Saif was speaking to 120 Emirati and expatriate volunteers of community police, who participated in organisation of a number of exhibitions, conferences, forums and awareness campaigns, in which the voluntary hours of a policeman exceeded 1, 000 hours.

He welcomed the volunteers, expressing his satisfaction about the community elite who join hands to highlight the prestigious image of the UAE.

Sheikh Saif stressed keenness of the government on encouraging the volunteers to become more active in service of the nation.

For his part, Lt. Colonel Mubarak bin Muhairom, Director of the Department of Community Police, said the voluntary work is the best humanitarian work in service of community, adding that the community police were looking forward to adopting institutional societal programmes to ensure the voluntary work culture. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Gitex Shopper Spring 2014 opens showcasing a myriad of gadgets

posted on 24/04/2014

Shoppers flocked to the Dubai World Trade Centre on Wednesday as the second Gitex Shopper Spring edition 2014 opened its doors, showcasing a myriad of gadgets.

The show, which runs until April 26, was opened by Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Sheikh Mansour stopped at the Samsung stand first, and viewed the S9 Ultra HD TV and the NX Series cameras, before proceeding to the other stands for brands such as Toshiba, Pioneer and Nestle.

The exhibition has attracted more than 50 exhibitors and expects to have around 130,000 visitors.

On display were smartphones, tablets and Full HD and 4K TVs, among others, and some retailers, such as E-City, Emax, Jacky's Electronics, Jumbo Electronics, Plug-Ins and Sharaf DG, have them at discounted prices or part of bundle deals.

Speaking to Gulf News at the show, Nadeem Khanzadah, general manager and head of retail at Jumbo Electronics, said that with the "positive vibe” in Dubai due to the recovering economy and rising number of tourists, consumers are "more prone to spending”.

He pointed out that the number of gadgets in a household has gone up exponentially. "Consumers are gadget-centric,” he said.

Khanzadah expects the sales at Gitex Shopper this year to grow by 20 per cent over last year, adding that the retailer's sales is likely to go up 40-50 per cent this month over March.

Products at the Jumbo Electronics stand that are expected to attract consumers include the Galaxy S5 and the HTC One M8 smartphone, as well as laptops.

Toshiba is launching a few laptops at the show, including the Toshiba Kira, which comes with a touch screen and is priced at Dh7,299, and the Satellite L40-A993, priced at Dh1,699, which comes with a Dh100 voucher.

B¬¬¬inu Thomas, head of products and services at Toshiba's computer systems division, said that consumer confidence in Dubai is returning. The company's sales is expected to surge " 30-40 per cent” this month over March, he said.

Over at Nokia's stand, consumers can view the Nokia X Android phone, which was launched earlier this month. The Lumia 1520, which is also on display, comes with a free wireless charging plate. – Gulf News – Read more:


Environment Agency Abu Dhabi engages thousands of students in ‘reducing the foodprint'

posted on 24/04/2014

The number of participating students from public and private schools and universities in the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi's 2014 edition of its Annual Environment Competition (AEC) has dramatically increased, reflecting a fourteen-fold increase in the number of entries within thirteen years.

The Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD) launched the competition in collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC), encouraging all public and private schools and universities across the UAE to participate.

The inaugural AEC in 2000-2001 saw 47 schools register and 247 entries. However, in this academic year, 646 schools and universities registered and 2,087 entries were submitted.

This year, the competition also reached to other emirates, with participation from 97 schools from Dubai, 69 from Sharjah, 35 from Ajman, 26 from Fujairah, 18 from Umm Al Qaiwain and 40 from Ras Al-Khaimah.

Commenting on the competition, Fozeya Ibrahim Al Mahmoud, Director of Environmental Outreach at EAD, said, "The growing popularity of the competition has transformed it into a unique platform that enables students to creatively express themselves and their views around the major environmental challenges facing the UAE and the world." "The success of the competition is truly a result of the active collaboration between EAD and its partners at the Ministry of Education, ADEC, as well as the educational zones in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, and the Western Region," she continued.

This year's competition theme, "Think.Eat.Save" is inspired by the theme that was set by the United Nations Environment Programme for World Environment Day. The theme encourages people to reduce their ‘foodprint.' Food waste does not only have social and economic impacts, but an environmental impact too as food waste is associated directly with the loss of biodiversity, water and energy. Food waste is also considered a primary source of landfill gas and one of the main contributing factors to climate change.

EAD will be announcing the Annual Environment Competition winners in May. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


UAE ranked second in government ICT use index

posted on 24/04/2014

The UAE has become second in the world and the first in the Middle East and Africa region in the "Government Usage of ICT" index in the Global Information Technology Report for 2014, jumping 30 places, in accordance to the recent report released by the World Economic Forum.

The report, covering 148 countries this year, ranks countries in terms of leveraging information and communications technologies to boost national competitiveness. The achievement of the UAE is a significant in light of the largest recorded jump in the Government Usage of ICT index in the report this year.

Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum launched in May 2013 the government initiative of smart government to transform the government services into the smart services through mobile phone. The move has created a qualitative shift in the structure of federal government's ICT. Dh200 million has been allocated to develop the government smart applications Mohamed bin Ahmed Al Qamzi, Chairman of Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (TRA) and Member of the Higher Committee to Activate the Government Smart Initiative, said, "This achievement reflects the high priority that the UAE gives to the development of IT infrastructure and usage, a fundamental component of the country's economic growth and social development as well as improving productivity, innovation and quality of life in the country." He added that the ranking is an evidence that the UAE government abides by the smart government imitative launched by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid.

Advancing in the information and communication sector has always been a priority for the UAE government; and which, over the past several years, has implemented various initiatives to deploy the most recent and innovative ICT technology solutions and services.

Hamad Al Mansouri, Director-General of UAE Smart Government, said ICT report this year reflects the progress attained by the federal government in changing the ICT usage not only at the regional level but also at the world level.

Abdullah Lootah, Secretary-General of Emirates Competiveness Council said the advanced ICT, constitutes a cornerstone in cooperation process among individuals and government agencies.

The World Economic Forum (WED) ICT Report is based on a four key criteria in assessing the readiness of countries to deal with information technology, which include: ICT environment, readiness, usage, and impact of information technology. Finland, Singapore, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Norway took the first five positions respectively in the general ranking of the report.

The TRA earlier announced a major initiative to develop a comprehensive national strategy to provide all major government services through mobile phones and tablet devices in response to the directives of Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum made at the Government Summit held recently in Dubai. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


ADNOC celebrates its HSE Award 2013, reiterates commitment to embed HSE considerations in ADNOC's policy, code of practices, standards

posted on 24/04/2014

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) honoured the winners of the 17th edition of ADNOC HSE Award for the year 2013 in a ceremony that took place last night at the St. Regis Hotel Abu Dhabi. The awards were granted to staff in ADNOC, its group of companies and contracting companies. Suhail bin Mohammed Faraj Faris Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy, CEOs and top ADNOC managers attended the award-giving ceremony.

In a keynote speech, Abdulla Nasser Al Suwaidi, Director General of ADNOC, stressed that ADNOC '&' its Group of Companies are continuously working toward improving performance in the areas of health, safety and environment through the execution of numerous and multi-facial projects to ensure exemplary and responsible utilisation of the plentiful natural resources to bring about prosperity for all residents in the UAE and to empower generations to come.

He said: "Since the establishment of ADNOC, HSE issues have been among the forefront of our priorities. Over the years, ADNOC has been exerting continuous efforts to embed HSE considerations in ADNOC's HSE policy, Code of Practices, standards and guidelines governing HSE issues. This has promoted our companies' HSE awareness and placed it equally in line with the local and international attention given to HSE issues.

ADNOC strongly recognises that policies and regulations are integral part to the HSE awareness, nevertheless the company is fully aware that the leadership support to the persons in-charge of HSE issues in addition to the commitment, responsibility and credibility of all involved staff remain major and essential, said Al Suwaidi.

He stressed that ADNOC will continue to apply and promote the best practices in the industry, working for creating and developing safety requirements to respond to all potential challenges in the Oil and Gas Industry, to ensure safety of processes, prevent risks of toxic gas emissions and avoid fatal accidents.

Al Suwaidi concluded the ceremony by thanking all companies, individuals and contractors who had participated in the awards for the year 2013 which had received 243 participations compared to 228 in 2012, expressing his greetings and gratitude for the winners for their exceptional and continuous hard work.

Al Suwaidi recognised the winners as per the Award's seven categories comprising Innovation, Safety, Occupational Health, Environment, Sustainability and HSE Performance, and the HSE Champion Award.

In Innovation, Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations (ADCO) came first, where Abu Dhabi Gas Development Company Ltd. (Al Hosn Gas) came second. In Safety, Zakum Development Company (ZADCO) came first, where Abu Dhabi Polymers Company Ltd. (Borouge) came second. In Occupational Health, ZADCO came first, where National Drilling Company (NDC) came second. In Environment, Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company (ADMA-OPCO) came first, where Abu Dhabi Gas Industries Ltd. (GASCO) came second. In Sustainability, NDC came first, where Abu Dhabi Gas Liquefaction Company Ltd. (ADGAS) came second. In HSE Performance, Abu Dhabi Oil Refining Company (Takreer) won the category. Mr. Abdullah Salem Al Dhaheri ADNOC Distribution CEO was nominated HSE Champion.

Special Recognition Awards were granted to Ruwais Fertiliser Industries (FERTIL), ADNATCO-NGSCO, ADNOC Distribution, Esnaad, the Petroleum Institute (PI), Glenelg School of Abu Dhabi (GSAD), Total Abu Al Bukhoosh (Total ABK) and Abu Dhabi Oil Company Ltd. (Japan) - ADOC. Also, the Group Companies and contractors' partnerships Awards were given to ADCO-Petrofac International Ltd and NDC-Dry Docks World in Dubai.

A number of senior officials in governmental departments and Directors in ADNOC attended the ceremony, in addition to chief executive officers, general managers and staff from ADNOC Group of Companies and ADNOC Group contracting companies. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Record summer flight schedule takes off at Abu Dhabi International Airport with 190 extra weekly flights

posted on 24/04/2014

Six new destinations and 71 extra flights a week to India are the highlights of Abu Dhabi International Airport's summer 2014 flying schedule for air travellers, the busiest in its history.

The number of weekly flights available for business travellers and holiday makers has increased by 18% compared to last summer, from 1,052 to 1,242.

New routes to be served this summer include non-stop flights from Abu Dhabi to Los Angeles in the U.S.A., Zurich in Switzerland, Belgrade in Serbia, Perth in Australia, Jaipur in India and Yerevan in Armenia.

Abu Dhabi International Airport will also see more flights this summer in the Gulf region to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bahrain. Additionally, more aircraft will fly to Pakistan with extra flights to Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar, Karachi, Peshawar and Rahin Yar Khan.

European cities to be further linked with the UAE's capital city including Rome, Moscow, Munich, Athens and Dublin.

Hyderabad, Chennai and Bangalore will each witness 14 extra flights a week from Abu Dhabi - the greatest growth in the Indian market. There will be 10 new services to Mumbai, eight to Cochin and seven to Delhi on a weekly basis. The new route to Jaipur, operated by Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways, will operate once a day.

Ahmad Al Haddabi, Chief Operations Officer, Abu Dhabi Airports, said, "The summer schedule will be the largest flying programme Abu Dhabi has ever operated. The growth compared to last year is a testament to the eyes of the world looking more and more at the UAE's capital, and to the country's national airline, Etihad Airways, satisfying that ever growing demand." – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Dubai Investments raises foreign ownership cap to 35%

posted on 24/04/2014

Dubai Investments, DI, has raised the foreign ownership limit in the company from the existing 20% to 35%. A proposal to this effect was approved at yesterday's 18th Annual General Meeting and Extraordinary General Meeting at Dubai Investments House.

The company also approved a proposal to distribute 7% cash dividend and 7% bonus shares for the year ending December 31st, 2013.

The AGM also re-elected the same Board of Directors for a term of three years. The Board includes Sohail Faris Ghanim Al Mazrui, Hussain Mahyoob Sultan Al Junaidy, Khalid Jassim bin Kalban, Ali Fardan Ali Al Fardan and Mohamed Saif Darwish Al Ketbi.

In his keynote address at the AGM, Mr. Al Mazrui spoke about the strong growth achieved by DI in 2013, and the promising outlook for 2014. "Dubai Investments has registered fast-paced growth over the years with a strategic focus across three industry sectors - property, manufacturing and contracting, and investments, and aims to add value to its diversified portfolio through prudent use of capital and sound management skills," Al Mazrui said.

Around 67% of DI's total asset base is in the property sector which positions DI as a major real estate player in the UAE. DI plans to develop its land bank of nearly 25 million square feet of Gross Floor Area owned by its subsidiaries Dubai Investments Park Development Co. LLC, Dubai Investments Real Estate Company LLC, Al Taif Investments LLC and Properties Investments LLC, a joint venture company.

DI's manufacturing businesses have also witnessed a strong growth thrust across a wide array of manufacturing and processing industries. DI's investment portfolio of Dh 1.06 billion, comprising investment in trading shares, bonds, structured products and other minority investments, have also realised gains over the years.

During 2013, DI's net revenue was Dh 2.8 billion as against Dh 2.3 billion (restated) in 2012, an increase of 22%. Net profit attributable to shareholders was Dh 822 million compared to Dh 321 million in 2012, an increase of 156%. Total assets of the Group as on December 31st, 2013 stood at Dh 12.62 billion compared to Dh 12.36 billion (restated) at 31st December 2012.

Presenting future prospects, Al Mazrui said, "The outlook for 2014 is very positive with economic indicators pointing to growth across all sectors, led by an upswing in the real estate sector - particularly in companies engaged in the manufacturing of construction materials, which remains one of our key focus areas at Dubai Investments. We have a strong thrust in developing our real estate portfolio during the year. We are also actively working on certain divestments as well as new acquisitions, which are expected to contribute significant returns to the shareholders." – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Abu Dhabi's "Expected Inflation" seen hovering around 2.5 percent during Q2

posted on 24/04/2014

In the desire of Statistics Centre - Abu Dhabi (SCAD) to present unconventional indicators as demonstrated by the Centre's recent similar initiatives, e.g. "Personal Inflation Calculator" and "Purchasing Power Calculator", SCAD issued yesterday a new indicator the "Expected Inflation Rates". The report provides an analysis of the results of the CPI for the month of March and the first quarter of 2014, detailed by household welfare levels, by household type and geographical region, with the base year 2007. The report also presents the expected inflation (for the first time) for the second quarter and the first half of 2014.

Butti Al Qubaisi, SCAD's Director General, reiterated the Centre's commitment to adopt innovative ideas in order to maximise the usefulness of its database, adding that knowledge of the expected inflation rate would directly impact people's lives and place them in a better position to deal with the present and future of trends of the economy.

The expected inflation is a highly significant indicator that can give insights into the future for monetary policy makers. In the compilation of the new index, SCAD's experts analysed the historical price data of a long time-series at the level of the main expenditure groups and subgroups of the consumer basket, corrected the data or seasonal changes, and then calculated the expected inflation rate for the second quarter and the first half of 2014 in Abu Dhabi region.

It is worth noting that the expected inflation rates should be treated as statistical forecasts. The actual figures may turn out to be above or below these forecasts, in the event of abrupt unforeseen prices changes.

As the report indicates, consumer inflation for the Q1 2014 was 2.3 percent, compared with the same period of 2013, as shown by the increase in the CPI to 126.3 points during the first quarter of 2014, up from 123.4 points during the same period of 2013. This rise in prices reflects the net change or the outcome of upward and downward movement in the prices of the consumer basket during the periods compared.

Expected inflation Compared with Q1 2014, the CPI is expected rise marginally (by 0.4 percent) to 126.7 points in Q2 2014, expected for the second quarter and the first half of 2014 has been determine, with a corresponding slight increase in consumer inflation from 2.3 percent in Q1 2014 to around 2.5 over Q2 2014.

As for inflation during the period between January - June 2014, the actual CPI results for the period between January- March 2014 and the estimates for the period between April- June 2014 suggest that the average CPI in the first half of 2014 will be around 126.5 points. Accordingly, the estimated annual inflation for the first half of 2014 is expected to be around 2.4 percent.

Consumer Prices during Q1 2014 As SCAD's report reveals, the "Housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels" group accounted for the largest rise in the index during the first quarter of 2014 compared with the same period of 2013, contributing 31.1 percent of the overall change, due to increases in the prices of most the subgroups of this group.

The second largest contributor to the overall increase in the CPI over the first quarter of 2014 was "Food and beverages", which contributed 22.0 percent of the change, the group's rose by 2.9 percent y-o-y during first quarter of 2014.

The next largest contributor to the overall change in consumer prices during Q1 2014 compared with the same period of 2013 was the "Clothing and footwear" group, which accounted for 12.6 percent of the overall increase occurring between the aforesaid periods.

Another significant increase was observed in the prices of the "Restaurants and hotels" group, which grew by 5.6 percent during the first quarter of 2014 compared with the same period of 2013. This group contributed 10.2 percent of the total increase recorded by all groups between the two periods under review.

Consumer Prices during March 2014/2013 Average consumer prices increased by 2.4 percent in March 2014 compared with March 2013, with the CPI reaching 126.4 points in March 2014, up from 123.5 points in March 2013. This increase in prices reflects the net movement (increases and decreases) in consumer prices between the periods compared.

The most significant increases, during March 2014 compared with March 2013, were observed in the "Housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels" (up 2.7 percent), the "Restaurants and hotels" group (up 6.7 percent) followed by "Clothing and footwear" (up 3.2 percent), "Miscellaneous goods and services" (up 5.2 percent) and "Furnishings, household equipment and routine household maintenance" (up 3.9 percent).

Consumer Prices during March/February 2014 The average consumer prices increased by 0.1 percent in March 2014 compared with February 2014. This overall increase in prices between the two months reflects the net movement (increases and decreases) of consumer prices during the periods compared.

Consumer prices during Q1 2014 detailed by Household Welfare levels: The rise of 2.3 percent rise in consumer prices during the first quarter of 2014 compared with the same period in 2013, resulted in an increase of 1.8 percent in consumer prices for households of the bottom welfare quintile for the same period of comparison. The corresponding rise for other welfare levels was 2.4 percent for households of the top quintile and the middle quintile.

Consumer prices during March 2014/2013 detailed by Household Welfare levels: The rise in consumer prices in March 2014 by 2.4 percent compared with March 2013 pushed up prices for households in the bottom welfare quintile by 1.2 percent and top welfare quintile by 2.6 percent, while prices increased for households in the middle quintile by 2.3 percent.

Consumer prices during March 2014/2013 detailed by Household Welfare levels: During March 2014, consumer prices increased by 0.1 percent compared with February 2014. This caused an increase of 0.3 percent in consumer prices for households in the top welfare quintile.

Consumer prices during Q1 2014 detailed by Household Type: The 2.3 percent rise in consumer prices for the first quarter of 2014 compared with the same period of 2013, pushed up consumer prices for citizen households by 2.4 percent, for non-citizen households by 2.3 percent and for share households by 2.0 percent.

Consumer prices during March 2014/2013 detailed by Household Type: The 2.4 percent rise in consumer prices for March of 2014 compared with the same period of 2013, pushed up consumer prices for citizen households by 2.5 percent, non-citizen households by 2.4 percent and share households by 1.4 percent.

Consumer prices by Region As SCAD's report reveals, 2.3 percent increase in the CPI in for the first quarter 2014 compared with the same period of 201 3, resulted in an increase of 2.3 percent in the CPI for Abu Dhabi and Al Ain an increase of 2.4 percent for Al Gharbia region. The increase in the CPI in Abu Dhabi Region contributed 67 percent of the total increase achieved during the first quarter, Al-Ain Region contributed 25 per cent while Al Gharbia region contributed 8 percent of the total increase achieved during the period.

Consumer Price Index - Abu Dhabi Region The inflation rate in the Abu Dhabi region was 2.3 percent in the first quarter of 2014, compared with the same period of 2013.

The inflation rate in the Abu Dhabi region increased by 2.5 percent in March 2014, compared with the same month in 2013.

The CPI increased by 0.2 percent in March 2014, compared with February 2014. The major groups that increased in March 2014 compared with February 2014 were "Housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels" by 1.2 percent, "Miscellaneous goods and services" by 0.4 percent and "Transport" with an increase of 0.5 percent.

Consumer Price Index- Al Ain Region The inflation rate in the Al Ain region was 2.3 percent in the first quarter of 2014, compared with the same period of 2013.

The inflation rate in the Al Ain region increased by 2.4 percent in March 2014, compared with the same month in 2013.

The CPI decreased by 0.1 percent in March 2014, compared with February 2014.The major groups that decreased in March 2014 compared with February 2014 were "Food and beverages" by 2.0 percent.

Consumer Price Index, Al Gharbia Region The inflation rate in the Al Gharbia region was 2.4 percent in the first quarter of 2014, compared with the same period of 2013.

The inflation rate in the Al Gharbia region increased by 2.5 percent in March 2014, compared with the same month in 2013.

The CPI decreased by 0.2 percent in March 2014, compared with February 2014. The major groups that decreased in March 2014 compared with February 2014 were "Food and beverages" group by 2.3 percent. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


National Bank of Fujairah Q1 2014 net profit jumps 27.1%

posted on 24/04/2014

The National Bank of Fujairah PJSC, NBF, has earned a net profit of Dh 115.3 million in Q1, 2014 compared to Dh 90.7 million in the corresponding period of 2013, showing an improvement of 27.1 percent.

The bank operating profit was Dh 151.5 million compared to Dh 127.5 million in Q1 2013, an improvement of 18.8%, whereas net impairment losses were Dh 36.2 million compared to Dh 36.8 million in the corresponding period; an improvement of 1.7%.

The nonperforming loan (NPL) ratio also improved to 4.3% from 4.6% on 31st December 2013 and 7.2% on 31st March 2013, according to results of the first quarter period ended 31st March 2014 which were released on Wednesday.

Total assets of Dh 22.7 billion were up 5.7% from Dh 21.5 billion at 2013 year end, and up by 27.4% from 31st March 2013.

Sir Easa Saleh Al Gurg, KCVO, CBE, and Deputy Chairman, said, "NBF's strong start to 2014 highlights not just the success of the bank's strategy of steady and sustainable growth, but the renewed optimism that has started to take root in the country.

"Our performance, evidenced in the growth in operating income, operating profit and net profit, is testament to the strength and sustainability of our core business. Re-invigorated by a respectable external rating profile and backed by robust liquidity, stronger capital position and prudent policies, we are confident that we will be able to partner our customers to achieve greater heights together with the strong support of our shareholders." – Emirates News Agency, WAM


FNC reviews anti-doping law in horse racing industry

posted on 24/04/2014

A Federal National Council (FNC) committee has met to discuss a draft Federal Law which aims to implement a ban on the use of illegal substances in the Horse racing and Equestrian industry in the country.

The committee, which oversees foreign affairs, planning, petroleum, mineral wealth, agriculture and fisheries, yesterday revised and approved the law, which is part of the U.A.E's Vision 2021, after adopting modifications to the new legislation.

The legislation incorporates stricter provisions to combat the circulation and use of banned substances in the UAE and will work towards ensuring that effective preventative strategies are implemented as well as that international standards on doping are being met.

Representatives from the Ministry of Water and Environment, the National Anti-Doping Committee, UAE Racing Authority and the Emiri Court in Dubai were also present at the meeting. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Pedestrians to benefit from UPC's new utilities guidelines

posted on 24/04/2014

Pedestrians could soon benefit from a new set of guidelines for the installation of underground utilities in Abu Dhabi Emirate's urban developments.

The Utility Corridors Design Manual (UCDM), launched yesterday by the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC), aims to reduce the width of public Right of Ways (street width) and potentially, therefore, the distances pedestrians have to walk, by making more efficient use of the space below street level.

It provides planners, developers and engineers with clear guidelines for the exact location and width of underground ‘corridors' for utilities such as water pipes, storm-water drainage, power cables, fibre-optic cables, sewage pipes, and district cooling systems beneath new streets across the Emirate.

Arranging these corridors into a narrower configuration will enable developers to design more pedestrian-friendly streets, with shorter distances to walk. The UCDM also oversees the provision of corridors for trees, streetlights and landscaping above new streets.

To produce the manual, the UPC collaborated with a number of stakeholders, including the Department of Municipal Affairs, Abu Dhabi City Municipality, Al Ain City Municipality, Western Region Municipality, Abu Dhabi Police, Abu Dhabi Quality and Conformity Council and the Department of Transport, as well as utility companies and service providers.

Mohamed Al Khadar, Executive Director of Development Review and Estidama, UPC, said, "The launch of the UCDM is another milestone for the UPC. In line with the requirements of Vision 2030, it will ensure that utility corridors are efficiently planned underground, which in turn will create more attractive and walkable streets aboveground for the benefit of pedestrians.

"The UCDM will be added to our suite of planning policies, regulations, guidelines and manuals that drive our Complete Sustainable Communities initiative forward for the creation of more comfortable, liveable and sustainable communities." – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Al Gharbiya Water Sports Festival kicks off today

posted on 24/04/2014

With the hot summer days approaching, a ten-day water festival dedicated to more than 13 sports and activities will kick off on Thursday in the Western Region's Al Mirfa city.

The sixth Al Gharbiya Watersports Festival will also feature the largest sailing race since its inception, with a total prize money for all contests going up to Dh4.5 million. Entry and participation is free for the public.

"For younger marine lovers, we have the children's village where methods of pearl diving and net making will be taught in workshops. Children will also be allowed to participate under full supervision in some marine activities,” said Festival Manager, Obaid Al Mazroui.

Those with a less extensive knowledge about water sports may also benefit from free training sessions in sailing, rafting and para-sailing. Comprehensive safety measures will also be taken to ensure that participants and visitors remain unharmed.

Ambulatory unit

"We have 24-hour life guards, in addition to rescue boats and a full ambulatory unit provided to us by the Abu Dhabi Police on standby. Guests may also benefit from around 30 tents which we have set up to provide a complementary night's stay for whoever wishes to attend several days of the festival,” Al Mazroui added.

Other relaxing family activities such as bike riding, sand sculpting and performances of popular troupes will also be available on the beach. – Gulf News – Read more:


Abu Dhabi International Book Fair 2014 to draw book-lovers to ADNEC

posted on 24/04/2014

The 23rd Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF), is set to take place at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) from 30th April - 5th May, 2014.

Organised by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority and Kitab, ADIBF 2014 is expected to draw more than 1,025 exhibitors from 50 countries and showcase over 500,000 literary works from across the world.

Kitab, a joint venture between the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH) and the Frankfurt Book Fair, will continue to create synergy in the publishing industry at a regional and international level.

In addition to presenting Sweden as the guest country of honour, this year ADIBF will spotlight the works of the tenth century classical Iraqi poet Al Mutannabi.

ADIBF provides a platform for Arab and international publishers, literary agents, booksellers, distributors and cultural organisations to discuss new initiatives and trade publishing rights. The event will also integrate seminars on new industry trends, digital publishing, children's literature and translations as part of a unique agenda to encourage a love for reading and literary matters.

Distinctive modules to look forward to at ADIBF 2014 are the ‘Spotlight on Rights' programme offering subsidies for translations to and from Arabic, an ‘Arab Rights Showcase' featuring new Arabic publications for which foreign rights can be bought, an ‘Illustrator's Corner' presenting skills and works of artists from across the globe, an ‘eZone' focusing on content developers, an ‘Education Chapter' to facilitate discussions between educators and educational publishers, a ‘Creativity Corner' and a ‘Show Kitchen' hosted by famous chefs.

The literary expo will be open from 9:00am to 10:00pm at hall numbers 8, 9, 10 and 11 as well as in the ICC Auditorium of ADNEC on all five days except Friday, when it will open from 4:00pm to 10:00pm.

Humaid Matar Al Dhaheri, Chief Commercial Officer at ADNEC, said, "ADNEC is happy to welcome yet another edition of ADIBF, the fastest growing publishing event in the Arab world. Standing at the midpoint of world cultures, Abu Dhabi is a cultural epicentre for books and learning.

Within this context, ADIBF 2014 is set to cast a spell on literary buffs in the capital city through hosting storytelling sessions, book signings and inspiring literary talks by authors in different languages. Year after year, ADIBF is among the key exhibitions hosted by ADNEC in terms of visitor turnout and is regarded a benchmark event for similar initiatives around the world." – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Zayed Housing scheme helps 476 Emiratis

posted on 24/04/2014

Housing assistance worth Dh283 million has been handed out to Emiratis through the Sheikh Zayed Housing Programme.

Following a meeting of the SZHP board of directors this week, 476 UAE nationals will receive financial aid towards high-quality housing.

Of the recipients, 310 will be offered grants and loans worth Dh200m and 166 will receive assistance to complete the construction of their homes, worth Dh83m.

The scheme has developed a package of "smart services” to make the process of applying for funding easier for applicants.

The beneficiaries will be notified through a text message and get a copy of the approval on the SZHP website.

Dr Abdullah bin Mohammed Belhaif Al Nuaimi, chairman of the SZHP, said that new mechanisms had been adopted to set the amount of assistance based on the number family members, the median income per member of household, the total income, and the kind of requested assistance.

The meeting also reviewed the progress of the SZHP's projects under construction in Al Ittihad Residential Complex and Khalifa Residential Complex Project in Dibba, Fujairah.

Last month 420 people were approved for aid totalling Dh207m  as part of the scheme.

The SZHP previously launched several initiatives to reduce the cost of building a house, including signing partnership agreements with building-materials companies to offer discounted rates to beneficiaries. – The National – Read more:


DM starts door-to-door waste recycling drive

posted on 24/04/2014

Waste headed to landfills in Dubai is set to reduce. Dubai Municipality's (DM) waste management department has announced the expansion of its door-to-door project ‘My City… My Environment', a drive that will ensure more areas in Dubai segregate waste at source, recycle it and thus reduce waste sent to landfills. DM has chosen Dulsco, Averda and Trashco as its strategic partners for the project.

Abdul Majeed Saifaie, Director of waste management department, said that the programme will see volunteers visiting houses in the identified areas and explaining the complete process with regard to this initiative. Residents will also be informed about the campaign through public education activities, road shows, talk shows on radio, posters and banners explaining the importance of the initiative, he further said.

Every house will be given two 240-litre colour-coded green and black bins. Each bin will carry clear instructions. Green bins will be meant for recyclables such as plastic containers, cardboard boxes (flattened out), newspapers, magazines, books, papers, mineral water / glass / plastic bottles (emptied out), aluminium and metal cans, milk and juice bottles. The black coloured bins are meant for all other types of ‘general' waste such as leftover food, vegetable and fruit skins, meat, dairy products, fish waste, disposable cups, trays, containers, paper towels, napkins, eggshells, nutshells etc., he said.

The drive will cover Jumeirah 1, 2 and 3, Al Safa 1 and 2, Umm Suqueim 1, 2 and 3, Al Manara, Umm Al Seif and Al Barsha 2 and 3. "General Waste will be collected daily and recyclables will be collected on alternate days.”

"The Dubai Municipality will discontinue the large trolley waste bins service. Such waste bin trolleys that are placed on the streets will not be visible on road post May 15, 2014 in these areas,” Saifaie added.

The waste collection and recycling service for residents is an initiative that will educate the public and help the municipality efficiently recycle household waste.

Saifaie said: "Dubai adheres to global standards when it comes to cleaner and greener environment. As we are moving forward to host World Expo 2020, our aim is to make Dubai clean and green. Hence, we have launched several such initiatives to create a healthy ecosystem. We are confident that this unique initiative will be a great success with the help of public support. In fact, Dubai residents have always shown great support for anything we do to encourage more recycling in this city”.

In recent years, the Dubai Municipality has encouraged private players to actively support waste collection and transportation. At present, around 70% of the total waste in Dubai is collected by private sector for recycling. – Khaleej Times – Read more:§ion=nationgeneral


Abu Dhabi Traffic Police seized 1,469 cars for dangerous speeds in Q1

posted on 24/04/2014

The Traffic and Patrols Directorate at Abu Dhabi Police seized 1,469 vehicles, and took all the legal necessary actions against motorists for driving at dangerous speeds of over 200km/hr on the internal and external roads of the emirate of Abu Dhabi. The offending vehicles were seized during the first quarter of this year for posing a major risk to other road users, and causing serious traffic accidents that result in deaths or serious injuries.

Brigadier Eng. Hussein Ahmed Al Harithi, Director of Traffic and Patrols Directorate at Abu Dhabi Police, stated that no leniency would be shown to violators of traffic rules and regulations as "reckless motorists are endangering their own lives as well as lives of other road users". He also stressed that road monitoring has been increased through the traffic patrols, and civil patrols of the Traffic Investigation Section on various roads; in addition to air patrols and radars, "Violators will be detained and their vehicles impounded," he added. Brigadier Al Harithi also stressed the need to abide by the legal speed limits displayed on road signs, which were determined after thorough studies of the traffic movement and population density. Speed limits are also established after examining all the common reasons behind road accidents in order to reduce them and their resulting deaths and injuries, and the damages they cause to roads and public facilities, that the government has spent billions to build, improve, expand, and light according to the highest international standards.

Al Harithi appealed to drivers to adhere to the legal speed limits and to not exceed them. He noted that risks of excess speeding include losing control of the vehicle, and failure to avoid others' mistakes. Speeding also decreases the amount of time a motorist ordinarily takes to make a correct decision that would protect him/her from potential road hazards in case of an emergency. He called upon families, society segments, and traffic safety ambassadors to enhance efforts exerted to raise awareness of that important segment of community about the risks of driving at high speeds.

In conclusion, Brigadier Al Harithi stated that the Traffic and patrols Directorate has increased traffic awareness through lectures and exhibitions organised at various universities and schools, with a view to improve drivers' behaviour in general, particularly young drivers. To this end, the directorate has launched several new social initiatives, including "You are the backbone of this country" initiative that targets that particular society segment. It adopts a unique approach to implant traffic education in the largest and most important segment of society, which is responsible for building the country and preserving its gains, in order to protect them from the risks of driving at high speeds. – Emirates News Agency, WAM