posted on 09/12/2013
Abu Dhabi, 8th Dec. 2013 (WAM) -- The Federal Cabinet retreat has endorsed a number of initiatives and ideas on overhauling the education system and development of teachers, a cornerstone of the education system.
Called for by the Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Cabinet retreat started yesterday on Sir Bani Yas Island to discuss creative ideas for developing the health and education sectors. The cabinet extraordinary session has drawn overwhelming popular participation through 65,000 public ideas and suggestions received via social media platforms and the Prime Minister's website.
Representatives of teachers. students, guardians, school principals and administrators, educators and specialists were engaged in the first brainstorming session, which was dedicated to examining suggestions and ideas on education that classified into five broad categories.
The first category focuses on teachers in terms of efficiency, competency and adding advantages to the career itself. The second category looks into developing teaching methods, integrating technology and applying best standards in this field. The third category sheds light on enhancing the skills of students on a par with their peers in developed countries. The fourth category examines means to improve the ratios of students who complete high school, university and postgraduate studies. Finally, the fifth category looks at aligning education outcomes with present and future requirements of the different sectors of the economy.
In his opening remarks, Sheikh Mohammed expressed his thanks to the UAE people and residents for their interaction with the call he made by making proposals for the development of the education and health sectors.
'The UAE will never cease - even for one day - its quest for continuous development. If it had done, we could not have reached what we are today. The UAE competitiveness edge in all fields is inspired by new ideas, sustained development and innovation and this represents a firm principle in the government action,' Sheikh Mohammed affirmed.
He also stressed the urgency of continuous development, coping with changes and changing of mechanisms.
Development of the health and education sectors, he went on to say, "is a lifelong process and it is also a critical process for the future of our nation." Sheikh Mohammed said he was optimistic at this cabinet retreat because the key partner in it is the UAE people and the ideas and feedbacks were diverse and exceptional.
The cabinet retreat, he added, would remain a main milestone towards the development of the health and education sectors.
He said that a group of initiatives would be approved during the ministerial retreat and 'we will launch more initiatives according to field studies.' The government innovative laboratory commenced with the division of the audience, ministers, specialists and other participants into five major groups. Each group discussed the development of a sector as referred to earlier in the brainstorming proposals. The challenges in each sector were discussed.
Sheikh Mohammed participated in the discussions of each group. He enquired about certain points.
During the sessions, a set of video documents, including views from the public on the challenges facing education and proposals to tackle them, were screened. After the groups' meetings, a unified meeting was held to review the initiatives and solutions.
The Vice President said at the end of the first day that the activity and keenness displayed by participants to reach applicable ideas was convenient.
A number of educational initiatives were announced and endorsed by the Cabinet during its retreat on Sir Bani Yas: Launch of the teacher career progress and development system, and career advancement measures for teachers in order to make the profession attractive, encourage competition, excellence, and achieve job satisfaction for teachers.
Study to abolish the system of branching for the literary and science sections, and shifting to the educational system that combines compulsory and optional subjects for students in order to keep pace with the world's growing knowledge and rapid technological developments.
Launch of a system to evaluate schools and publish detailed reports on their academic performance to increase competitiveness among the schools and assist the school administrations to specify areas they need improvement periodically.
A programme to attract distinguished graduates to teaching to ensure employment of talented cadres, given importance of teacher in terms of education feedback.
A specialised training programme for teachers to improve their skills and keep pace with the latest teaching methods, as well as teaching subjects on culture, innovative and creative skills, arts, music and sports.
Cancellation of a preparatory year at universities through development of subjects at the secondary school level to match the university requirements.
A project to classify and evaluate public and private universities in the UAE as per unified standards. Periodic reports on the evaluation will be published periodically.
Creation of subjects to develop the leadership and life skills for students.
Endorsement of a licensing system for teachers in accordance with the certified standards.
Evaluation of educational performance at public and private kindergartens, being the cornerstone of education system.
Provision of an electronic platform on the curricula in form of video lessons to help in self-education and fight against the idea of private tuition.
Setting up of full system to detect talented students to develop them.
Launching of the academic guide system for students to help them choose future academic specialisation in a way that matches the requirements of national economy.
H.H. Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, thanked Sheikh Mohammed for his "UAE Brainstorming Initiative", noting that a way of selecting teachers nationwide should be reviewed through setting the best recruitment measure.
He noted the directives of Sheikh Mohammed to Emiratise the education, as citizen is the focus of education development sector. He noted that the country that delivered great leaders of the calibre of late Sheikh Zayed, late Sheikh Rashid, Sheikh Khalifa and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, has a capacity to deliver excellent national cadres.
Sheikh Saif introduced a female student Shama Khalid to present her point of view before the Cabinet.
Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, said that as teachers constitute a core for educational future in the UAE, hence, the focus should be on the development of teachers.
Earlier Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, Minister of Development and International Co-operation, said the UAE schools need the academic guide system and a system to help detect talented students.
H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance, headed the group on teachers efficiency, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research headed a group on the completion of school stages.
Sheikh Mohammed supervised the groups by moving from one to another, discussing ideas and proposals with the audience. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
posted on 09/12/2013
Lt. General HH Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, has asserted the importance and effectiveness of the modern methods that His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, is adopting in order to ensure public participation in the planning and development of the essential sectors that concern everyday life, like the educational and health sectors. This, he said, would help produce the best solutions, ideas, and suggestions that will improve the education and health sectors, which are two essential sectors for advancement and development in all countries.
"The government is continuously striving to achieve Emiratis' hopes and ambitions in a way that meet the outstanding level that the UAE has. This eminent level was the result of the wise leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan," said HH in a statement on the side-lines of the ministerial retreat that started today on Sir Bani Yas Island.
Sheikh Saif presided over the teaching methods group at the Governmental Lab of Innovation at the ministerial retreat. He pointed out the importance of the implementation of Emiratisation in the educational sector. The importance of this comes from the fact that the Emirati national is the cornerstone of the educational development process, and that he is the most fitting figure to implement the values that reflect his loyalty to the nation. Furthermore, the Emirati national is the most worthy character to pass on local cultural and traditional values to the younger generations. This is based on the qualifications and experiences that the Emirati youth have accumulated, as well as their excellence in various fields. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
posted on 09/12/2013
His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces met yesterday at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi the visiting Egyptian popular diplomacy delegation, made of prominent cultural, social, media, religious, business, legal and artistic figures.
Sheikh Mohamed welcomed the delegation members and said: The UAE has always sought to stand by Egypt, not because we favour one group over another, but because we firmly believe that strong Egypt is a key stabilising force in the Arab world and the whole region." He added that the UAE will continue its support to Egypt in a way that will reflect positively on its stability and economic development.
Sheikh Mohamed referred to the deep-rooted ties the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan had established with Egypt and the current growth of these ties under the leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
He said he was confident that the people of Egypt will be able to overcome all challenges and to shape the future of the country to regain its pioneering position both regionally and internationally.
Sheikh Mohamed also stressed the role played by Al Azhar Al Sharif in spreading the true values of Islam and its importance as a beacon of tolerance and centrism.
The Egyptian delegation members offered greetings to Sheikh Mohamed on the UAE's national day anniversary.
Ahmed Al Zind, Chairman of Egypt Judges' Club, who is heading the delegation, thanked Sheikh Mohamed for the warm hospitality extended to the delegation.
"We are one country. one culture and one heart. We will never forget the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan's stand by Egypt during October 1973 war." He also lauded the remarkable progress made by the UAE under the wise leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
posted on 09/12/2013
Held under the patronage of His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, the Qasr Al Hosn Festival will once again celebrate the oldest building in Abu Dhabi, which is now 250 years old.
The Qasr al Hosn festival is a historic and cultural celebration that will open its doors from February 20th to March 1st, 2014, to welcome thousands of visitors following its successful first edition earlier this year.
Held in the grounds of Qasr al Hosn, the festival is an annual celebration of the Qasr al Hosn Fort, the symbolic birthplace of the capital, and centuries of authentic Emirati culture and tradition. It enhances the nation's sense of identity and honours the UAE's founders and visionary leadership.
The festival is held under the mandate of the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, which conserves and promotes the heritage and culture of Abu Dhabi. Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, said, "The Qasr al Hosn Festival is an annual token of our appreciation for Abu Dhabi's rich history and culture. Centred around our cherished historical monument, it strengthens appreciation of Emirati heritage and identity.
"Every year, the Qasr al Hosn Festival will highlight and celebrate the significance of the fort and the birth of the nation's capital and its development over more than 250 years." Expanding on the role of TCA, Sheikh Sultan said, "Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority has a holistic vision of culture, which embraces both tangible and intangible heritage. It is committing all its resources to the preservation of architectural and archaeological assets as well as to the development of visual and performing arts, literature and poetry to celebrate the Emirati identity. Qasr al Hosn will become a physical embodiment of this cultural manifesto." For the first time in several years, Qasr al Hosn Festival presents an opportunity for its visitors to explore the ancient fort as it undergoes renovation. The interior foyer will be partially open to festival visitors on guided tours and educational activities for children and youth.
Visitors will witness progress on the ongoing restoration work which is being carried out using international standards of conservation and best practices in the management of World Heritage assets.
Qasr al Hosn Festival will be a platform and an annual milestone, allowing the community to be completely associated to and engaged in the progress of Qasr al Hosn's restoration.
Building on the success of the first festival, visitors will experience both the tangible and intangible heritage of the Emirate through a variety of inspiring activities, designed to reflect over two and a half centuries of Emirati and Abu Dhabi history. These include a world-class show reflecting themes inspired by the UAE history and context, interactive heritage and art workshops, celebrations highlighting Emirati skills and traditions, and historical tours and exhibitions. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
posted on 09/12/2013
Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum yesterday planted the first red mangrove tree on the Sir Bani Yas Island. A bird sanctuary as well as a wildlife reserve, the island is one of Abu Dhabi's largest islands on the Arabian Gulf.
Sheikh Mohammed planted the evergreen tree, which lives in saline, wet habitats, during his visit to the island to chair a two-day cabinet retreat to discuss suggestions for developing education and health sectors. He praised the idea of relocation of the tree on the island, considering the diverse species of flora on the Sir Bani Yas island as an enduring national legacy and treasure left by the founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and our role is to conserve and develop them for the benefit of future generations.
Sheikh Mohammed was accompanied by H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE
Minister of Finance, H.H. Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister, and a number of ministers and senior officials.
As one of the largest natural islands in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, Sir Bani Yas, thanks to decades of intensive conservation work and ecological investment, is today home to thousands of large free-roaming animals and several million trees and plants, breeding programmes for endangered species and numerous exciting tourism activities.
The island has a wide variety of resilient, desert tolerant plants that are able to withstand the harsh, arid environment like Sider, Ghaf (Prosopis cineraria), Gum Arabic, Frankincense and Toothbrush Tree. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
posted on 09/12/2013
Abu Dhabi City Municipality has started the implementation of 3D Model Project for Abu Dhabi Emirate. The Project, which is based on Geographic Information Systems (GIS), aims to improve planning, design and development operations and support the implementation of the emirate's strategic plan until 2030.
The project is being carried out in collaboration with the Department of Municipal Affairs, Al Ain Municipality, Western Region Municipality, Abu Dhabi Follow-up and Control Centre, Abu Dhabi Systems and Information Centre, and Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council.
The Project is one of the outstanding strategic projects at the regional and international levels, and the first of its kind in the world in terms of size, technologies and solutions adopted. The Project is set to bring a plethora of benefits to the UAE in general and Abu Dhabi emirate in particular as it enhances the government's ability to effectively manage its land plots and building featuring state-of-the-art 3D technology. It aims to represent Abu Dhabi Emirate and visualise the whole city in 3D, besides assisting in analysing and browsing data easily, comparing 3D model to the traditional layouts, serving decision makers and monitoring city's appearance.
The project will be implemented in two phases; Phase I extending from December 2013 to June 2014 during which detailed 3D LOD1 '&' LOD2 levels for Abu Dhabi Emirate will be provided. This Phase is restricted to constructing 3D buildings without detailing the building's external shape in order to meet the analysis and study requirements of layout options and compare them to choose the best one.
Phase II, which starts from June 2014 and continues to December 2015, provides a detailed LOD3 where the building's external image is added to visualise the city's appearance as close to reality as possible. The detailed LOD4 is needed to add the building's interior details and showcase Abu Dhabi emirate's tourists landmarks, while the third phase provides a detailed 3D LOD3 of Abu Dhabi emirate.
Khalfan Sultan Al Nuaimi, Acting Executive Director of Town Planning Sector, Abu Dhabi City Municipality, said: "Compiling a 3D Model for Abu Dhabi emirate is one of the leading projects and initiatives that the Municipality is keen to implement in cooperation with all strategic partners to serve the extensive development projects, sustainability and strategic plans based on a close integrative methodology among all projects undertaken by the Municipality; and linking them to developmental, environmental, social and economic aspects, given the fast-paced growth and development seen by in the emirate.
Maryam Obaid Al Muhairi, Director of Spatial Data, Abu Dhabi City Municipality, said: "The project comes in line with a methodology based on compiling 3D model databases, supplying and installing software and applications to display these 3D Models online, as well as creating detailed databases of internal buildings and activating 3D modelling software '&' applications in addition to models of buildings' internal details. The methodology is also based on preparing 3D Building Permits Data Delivery Manual in addition to automating building permits to include 3D buildings' internal details." The project comprises a host of key tasks and deliverables including the follow-up of the condition of buildings and planning for maintaining or refurbishing them at the Building Permits Division. As regards the urban planning, the project attends to identifying positions and routes of telecommunication lines in the light of buildings plans and allocations. The project is also set to have a tangible impact on the culture and heritage in terms of monitoring the heritage changes in the city. – Emirates News Agency, WAM – Read more:
posted on 09/12/2013
Mubadala, the Abu Dhabi-based investment and development company, is supporting the development of the next generation of Emirati scientists, engineers and technicians through its Aerospace, Communications Technology and Defence Services (ACTDS) business unit, by offering unrivalled training and career opportunities for UAE Nationals.
The 21 operating companies within the ACTDS portfolio, which incorporate international industry leaders and emerging domestic players, have Emiratisation at the heart of their development strategies. Major portfolio companies such as Strata, Al Taif, Yahsat and AMMROC have already collectively committed to the creation of 4,000 jobs for UAE Nationals. This commitment will sit alongside the development of Mubadala's Research and Development capabilities, with an annual spend of over US$10 million on R'&'D projects by 2015 in the aerospace sector alone.
During the recently held Dubai Airshow, Mubadala and Khalifa University announced their joint development of an Dh 55 million Aerospace Research Centre which will focus on composite aerostructures and the automation of their manufacturing processes. Mubadala also recently signed an agreement with United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) which established a minor in Aerospace Engineering within the UAEU Department of Mechanical Engineering. The educational program focuses on developing an aerospace curriculum and laboratories that give students the knowledge and skills to apply practical solutions to enhance the UAE's aerospace industry.
The approach reflects the mandate of Mubadala to support the diversification of the UAE economy by investing in key social infrastructure and creating globally integrated industry sectors in Abu Dhabi. Homaid Al Shemmari, Executive Director, Mubadala Aerospace, Communications Technology and Defence Services, commented: "Mubadala ACTDS is making significant progress in growing its businesses, but we are not only focused on providing sustainable financial returns for Abu Dhabi but also delivering social benefits for the Emirate and the whole of the UAE. By integrating nationalisation programs into every element of our strategy, this is clearly being achieved and we are immensely proud of the support being provided for the next generation of Emirati scientists, engineers and technicians." Below are some examples and case studies of the Emiratisation activities being carried out by selected assets.
Aerospace - Strata In 2012, Mubadala signed a US$1.3 million agreement with UAE University to train Emirati technicians to work at Strata's aircraft composite production facility. The new initiative, with key modules delivered by professional trainers from Lockheed Martin, builds on the success of existing programs, which have already resulted in the employment of over 95 Emirati staff at Strata over the past two years.
Furthermore, Saif Al Dahbashi, an Emirati who has worked with Mubadala's aerospace operations for four years, is leading a team to introduce the Kaizen Tools and practices, partnering with Shingijutsu of Japan. This is being developed through three initial pilot areas on the A330 Flap Track Fairing line, in the Autoclave, Clean Room and Assembly Areas, before rolling out to the rest of the organisation. Over 70 employees across all functions have been internally trained to create a culture of increasing efficiencies and managing costs at the facility. These teams have taken part in the monthly workshops lead by Shingijutsu in the pilot areas over the past six months and have produced promising results showing the usefulness of the Kaizen Tools. For example, a 50% reduction in the times to load the trolleys has been achieved in the Autoclave workshops, whilst greatly increasing safety.
Communications Technology - Yahsat At present over 57 per cent of Yahsat's team is made up of Emirati employees, with the goal of increasing the percentage to 65 per cent by 2015. Overall, eleven per cent of employees are female Emiratis, across a range of key positions, but an important near term focus is to increase this ratio and to more broadly raise awareness of the opportunities presented by the satellite industry to audiences in the UAE.
Yahsat has been particularly successful in selecting, recruiting and developing Emirati engineers to support various satellite operations and control functions, and Emiratis make up three-quarters of the satellite operations team. Though it is unusual for a recently established satellite company to source new graduates for satellite operations, Yahsat instituted an intensive training program and then placed the Emirati graduates to work alongside experienced engineers, as part of a mentorship program to give them hands-on experience in technical aspects of satellite control and operations.
Defence Services - Advanced Military Maintenance Repair and Overhaul Centre (AMMROC) Since AMMROC officially launched their Nationalisation Program in March 2011, the number of UAE nationals employed by the company has increased by 442% per cent, from 83 to above 450 currently. That represents 25 per cent of the total number of employees at AMMROC, with a goal to reach 65 per cent over the coming years. Moreover, AMMROC is sponsoring over 200 students in various educational and vocational development programs.
AMMROC has also developed student sponsorship partnerships and commitments with the Abu Dhabi Polytechnic, Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) - Abu Dhabi and Dubai, Secondary Technical School (STS), and the Vocational Education Development Centre (VEDC) to source over 500 students over the next five years. In addition, in November 2012 an agreement was officially signed between AMMROC and the Abu Dhabi Vocational Education and Training Institute (ADVETI) to identify 400 students, over the next five years, to become aircraft maintenance technicians and ground support equipment personnel. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
posted on 09/12/2013
Citywalk by Meraas Holding is the all-new outdoor lifestyle concept and destination where Dubai gets together and is the latest addition to the emirate's portfolio of luxury shopping destinations.
The development spans an area of 13,000 square metres and includes 350 metres of uninterrupted retail frontage. Citywalk is set to introduce innovative concepts in food and beverage at its 52 outlets, as well as showcase leading fashion brands, some of which are set to mark their regional foray.
With a total GLA of 10,000 square meters, Citywalk is flanked by a grand tree-lined walk evocative of European streets. Some 600 parking spaces and a unique water feature as well as children's play area that can transform into the ideal venue to host intimate concerts, weekly markets and exhibitions are significant highlights that are anticipated to draw increased footfall to the new lifestyle outdoor concept.
Citywalk features a bustling public square for people to meet, relax and enjoy a meal overlooking a lake - the outdoor concept's centre-piece. With splendid views of the Burj Khalifa in the foreground, Citywalk offers a sensational shopping and dining environment.
Fahad Kazim, Chief Commercial Officer of Meraas Holding, said: "Citywalk has been strategically designed keeping in mind the retail and culinary preferences of both the national and expatriate societies that call the UAE their home. As a city that thrives on its retail culture and tourism revenues, Dubai certainly has some of the most sophisticated malls in the world, and always embraces the latest products and concepts. This is why we have tried to ensure that Citywalk's identity, inspired by promenades and other world famous outdoor facilities, is as unique as its location.”
Kazim added: "We are excited about the prospects for Citywalk, considering the way Dubai is moving forward. People in this emirate have always been receptive to innovative ideas and themes, and Citywalk's uniqueness and dynamic retail mix of outlets are certain to appeal to residents and tourists alike. We believe Citywalk will prove a major crowd-puller in attracting visitors from other parts of the UAE and the wider region as well.”
Developed by Meraas Holding, Citywalk is conveniently located at the junction of Al Wasl and Al Safa Road. Citywalk can be accessed from Sheikh Zayed road, via exit D71 towards Jumeirah, and is a mere 15-minute walk from the Burj Khalifa Metro Station.
Food and Beverage: Rice Creamery, Yoku Moku, Ferre Chocolate Bar Concept, Il Cafe De Roma, Hummingbird Bakery, La Postretria, Jessica, Earth Fruits Yogurt, Hollywood Burger, Mo's Restaurant, Pappa Roti, Brandi Pizzeria, Miskeh, Silver Fox, Paul, Just Falafel, Butcher's Shop, Pei Wei, Starbucks, Subway, Sapori Di Bice, Nar, the Noodle House, Edo Sweets, Y by Yabani, Burger Joint
Retail Stores: Zmilelee, Crea & JNBY, Sauce in the Hood, She Moves, Rivoli, Roberto Cavalli Décor, Designer's Club, Michelle Belau, Al Jabr Optical, Mothercare, Toushih, Caboodle, Early Learning Centre
Beauty and Spa: Poupa Salon & Nail Spa, 1847, Sephora, N. Bar
Fitness: Physique 57
Health: Boots, Holland & Barrett,
Supermarket: Spinney. – Emirates 24/7
posted on 09/12/2013
Dubai's hotel industry is one of the strongest performers in the Middle East and Africa with higher revenues and profitability despite slight decline in occupancy in October this year, latest reports have revealed.
Abu Dhabi's hospitality sector also picked up momentum and recorded the highest rise in occupancy levels in the GCC with a 15.8 per cent increase to 76.7 per cent in October, while its 10.7 per cent surge in average daily rates, or ADR, to US$172.77 was the largest increase in that metric in the region, according to data compiled by STR Global.
The latest HotStats survey by TRI Hospitality Consulting Middle East also said hotels in the capital registered substantial growth in revenues and profits during October due to the Eid Al Adha holidays and a number of international events like the Abu Dhabi Film Festival and the Fifa under-17 World Cup, among others, hosted by the emirate.
The HotStats survey witnessed growth in top-line performance, which boosted profit levels by 47.3 per cent as gross operating profit per available room reached US$117.43 in October. It noted 30.6 per cent growth in revenue per available room, or RevPAR, to US$145.13 due to an 8.4 percentage point increase in occupancy levels and a 16.8 per cent rise in average room rates to US$182.37 during the month.
The STR Global data also showed that only three markets in the Middle East achieved RevPAR of more than 10 per cent in October. Abu Dhabi hotels recorded the highest rise of 28.2 per cent to US$132.46 while Beirut and Muscat recorded a 17.3 per cent (US$72.17) and 11.5 per cent (US$173.66) increase, respectively.
"The growth in Abu Dhabi's top-line performance was attributed to the city hosting a number of high-profile international events, including the Abu Dhabi Film Festival and the Fifa U-17 World Cup, which attracted nearly 80,000 visitors during the first two weeks of the competition,” said Peter Goddard, managing director of TRI Hospitality Consulting in Dubai.
He said corporate and Mice activities resumed as the capital hosted several international medical conferences. Leisure tourism was propelled in the wake of the Eid Al Adha holiday, as the city provided a variety of family-friendly shopping and entertainment options, he added.
Dubai stays strong
The STR Global report for October said the Middle East and Africa region is posting positive results in US dollar terms despite a 3.5 per cent decrease in occupancy to 63.1 per cent in October. It rated Dubai among one of the strongest performers in the Middle East and said ADR in the region rose 5.9 per cent to US$191.44 and RevPAR up 2.1 per cent to US$120.88 in October.
"The exception was July, when Dubai saw a decline in occupancy because of the holy month of Ramadan. October was the first month where supply growth outpaced demand growth, and as a result, October was the first month with an occupancy decline,” Elizabeth Winkle, STR Global's managing director, said in a statement to Khaleej Times.
Goddard said Dubai was able to capitalise on demand through an increase in average rates, which jumped 9.4 per cent in October.
"The holidays helped Dubai attract strong demand from visitors within the region and Saudi Arabia in particular, while Mice activity returned to the market as the city hosted several events including Cityscape Global,” he said.
The HotStats survey said overall performance levels in Dubai increased from the previous year, despite a two-percentage-point decline in occupancy at 83.4 per cent in October. However, occupancy in the month still exceeded the level witnessed year-to-date by 3.5 percentage points. The average room rate increased by 9.4 per cent to an astounding US$396.87 driving RevPAR up 6.8 per cent to US$330.80 and when coupled with higher operating profits boosted gross operating profit per available room by 7.6 per cent to US$280.70, the highest out of the five Middle East and North Africa markets surveyed by HotStats in October.
As Dubai entered its high season, industry circles said hospitality industry will close the year on a high note in the wake of rising tourists and winning the right to host World Expo 2020. The emirate is well on track to beat tourist forecasts for the current year as it already received around eight million visitors during the January-September period.
Last year, Dubai attracted over 10 million, with hotel establishments recording an average occupancy rate of close 80 per cent during 2012. Dubai's vision for tourism has set out plans to double annual visitor numbers to 20 million in 2020. According to recent CBRE report, hotel supply in the emirate has reached close to 60,000 keys with over 23,000 hotel apartments also operational.
"Over the next three years alone 14,000 new hotel keys and nearly 5,000 hotel apartments could be delivered, adding capacity for a further seven million room nights a year to Dubai's annual room inventory,” the report said. – Khaleej Times
posted on 09/12/2013
Twenty of the world's 100 tallest buildings are in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. They are our modern-day monuments to progress, skyscrapers that climb skywards and are a symbol now for the UAE. Although the nation is just 42 years young, it has already built a place in urban lore and architectural heritage. Twenty of the world's 100 tallest buildings are in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. – Gulf News
posted on 09/12/2013
Drydocks World has created history in marine and offshore operations, as it has lifted the 10,000-tonne topside of the first gravity base of the semi-submersible (and world's largest) offshore HVDC platform structure, DolWin beta, to a height of 52.8 metres from the dock bottom in the German sector of the North Sea.
Khamis Juma Buamim, Chairman of Drydocks World and Maritime World, said, "This heavy lift is a hallmark anywhere in the world and in our involvement with offshore projects. We look forward to greater achievements in our operations which will place us on a par with, if not ahead of, the best in the business." "I would also like to take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks to the office of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, for providing us with a helicopter which enabled us obtain aerial coverage of this event and record this momentous occasion for posterity." The complex operation was carried out on 'DolWin beta' which is under construction at the shipyard. The environmentally friendly system will act as a 900 MW electricity transmission link that will connect offshore wind farms located at the DolWin wind farm area near Heligoland in the German sector of the North Sea. It will be managed by Aibel from Haugesund, Norway. The German company TenneT Offshore has awarded the contract to ABB for the supply of power through the transmission link. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
posted on 09/12/2013
Dubai's non-oil foreign crossed the Dh 1 trillion threshold during the first nine months of 2013, to reach a total volume of Dh 1.009 trillion by the end of Q3, compared to Dh 918 billion for the same period in 2012.
Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, expressed satisfaction over the strong results and the steady increase in the volume of Dubai's foreign trade exchanges, considering the achievement as solid evidence of the effectiveness of the Emirate's economic policies.
He underlined the importance of the announced trade results for the first three quarters of 2013 as a new starting point towards further achievements which boost the UAE's status as a global hub for trade, and reinforce Dubai's position as a focal gateway for international trade exchanges.
Sheikh Hamdan said, "Trade is one of the key pillars in the overall structure of our local economy and a main driver for its growth. We look at the rising curve in trade volumes as an indicator of the success of our developmental strategies." Sheikh Hamdan added: "With the UAE voted the host nation of the World EXPO 2020 in Dubai, the trade sector will undoubtedly witness tremendous growth over the coming few years up to the beginning of the next decade. Appearing for the first time ever in the Middle East North Africa and South Asia, the world's largest exhibition will pave the way for stronger trade flows, opening unprecedented opportunities in a region inhabited by around two billion people. Dubai's highly reliable and efficient infrastructure and quality logistic services will be strong assets to facilitate and support the expected trade growth across the region." He called on all relevant sectors to cooperate and work on the necessary plans to maximise the benefits of the exhibition both for the UAE's economy and the region.
Dubai Customs statistics show that Dubai's non-oil foreign trade growth was the result of the increase in imports up to Q3 of 2013; reaching Dh 610 billion, compared to Dh 546 billion in the same period last year. In addition, exports and re-exports rose to Dh 399 billion, compared to Dh 372 billion.
"The fast-paced growth of Dubai's non-oil trade reflects the emirate's strong economic performance, reinforced by the massive achievements led by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai," said Ahmed Butti Ahmed, Executive Chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation and Director General of Dubai Customs.
"The vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed earned the emirate a myriad of great achievements that has recently culminated in the opening of Al Maktoum International Airport and the unprecedented success of the Dubai Airshow, that witnessed historic aircraft orders by the emirate's airlines. Moreover, a series of future projects that are set to take Dubai further on the route to knowledge economy, most notably the Dubai Smart City Project and the Smart Government Initiative, has promising prospects that, as confirmed by His Highness, the next seven years are critical to realising the UAE vision of becoming a major economic player in the world," Mr. Butti added.
Direct trade accounted for 64% of Dubai foreign trade, reaching Dh 649 billion by the end of Q3 2013, up from Dh 595 billion for the same period in 2012. While free zones trade share stood at 35%, or Dh 348 billion, compared to Dh 316 billion; customs warehouse trade hit Dh 12 billion, up from Dh 6 billion last year.
India ranked first on Dubai's total non-oil foreign trade partner list; as trade volumes between them reached Dh 111 billion, followed by China with Dh 99 billion, then the U.S.A. with Dh 65 billion.
As far as imports are concerned, China topped the list of import partners with a share of 16%, equal to Dh 96 billion, followed by the U.S.A. with a share of 9% or Dh 58 billion and then India with 9%, equal to Dh 55 billion.
Regarding exports, India came at the forefront of Dubai's trade partners with a share of 21%, equal to Dh 24 billion, followed by Turkey with 13% and Dh 15 billion and Switzerland with 7%, equal to Dh 8 billion.
As for re-exports, Saudi Arabia comes first with a share of 12% amounting to Dh 33 billion, followed by India with 11%, equal to Dh 32 billion, then Iraq with a share of 7% and Dh 20 billion.
Up to the end of Q3 2013, gold represented the larger share of Dubai's imports, followed by cellular and wired communication devices, then diamond, saloon and sports cars, then various jewellery types and pieces.
As for exports; gold came first, followed by raw aluminium, petroleum oils, jewellery types and pieces, cigars, cigarettes and tobacco alternatives.
Cellular and wired communication devices topped the list of re-exports, followed by unprocessed diamonds, then computers and hardware, petroleum oils, followed by saloon and sports cars. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
posted on 09/12/2013
Etisalat yesterday announced the introduction of a new 100 MB monthly data package for pre-paid Wasl customers.
The new package is priced at Dh29 and caters towards low data users for the purposes of light browsing and email use.
"Etisalat is at the forefront of innovation and is committed to keeping pace with the latest industry trends to offer consumers increased flexibility and simplicity. We understand that every customer has different requirements and we want to give customers a range of options when it comes to data packages.
"This new affordable option will target the specific requirements of low data users and continue to deliver great value to customers," said Khaled ElKhouly, Chief Marketing Officer, Etisalat, UAE.
This new package is the latest data offering for Wasl customers who can also choose from 1GB, 5GB and 20GB packages for Dh 99, Dh 249 and Dh 449 respectively.
Both prepaid and postpaid customers will also be able to take advantage of Etisalat's 4G LTE network, which covers 80 per cent of the inhabited area of the country and allows users of 4G phones to connect to the internet at speeds up to 150 Mbps.
Wasel prepaid customers can subscribe to the package by sending 'm100m' as an SMS to 1010. The service will commence once the user begins using the internet and will be renewed automatically each month. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
posted on 09/12/2013
Etisalat's investments in advanced technologies have positioned the operator to take advantage of changes in the nature of the industry, especially in emerging markets, paving the way for healthy returns in the years ahead, Khalifa Al Shamsi, the chief digital services officer of Etisalat Group said yesterday.
The Chief Digital Services Officer was speaking at the Telecom Review Summit with the theme "It's all about Networking", held at the Intercontinental Hotel in Dubai Festival City. "Etisalat's long-term strategy has put the company in prime position to benefit from the changes that are enveloping telecoms. These range from setting up the digital services unit to investing in partnerships with product and service innovators - all of which are enabling us to develop and deliver the best products to our customers at the right time." Etisalat's Digital Services Unit is an innovative branch of the company designed to drive best practices across the group's international footprint and develop innovative solutions. Focuses of the unit include commercial services, digital entertainment and machine-to-machine, a technology which is growing in prominence to become an essential part of the telecoms business model.
Etisalat's mobile commerce solution, Flous, has already begun to spread throughout its international footprint and local communities are benefiting from it, Al Shamsi said. By contributing to economic development through products such as this, Etisalat will become a part of the fabric of society and ensure customer loyalty in the years ahead.
Mr. Al Shamsi stressed the importance of mobile operators to work side-by-side with governments to improve the ICT agenda and solutions for the region. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
posted on 09/12/2013
Dubai Electricity and Water Authority set it 2014 budget at Dh 20.56 billion, in comparison with Dh 13.835 billion in 2013.
The budget represents DEWA 's relentless pursuit to ensure that electricity and water requirements of the Emirate of Dubai conform with the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to support the Emirate's ambitious development plans at all levels and in all fields, and also as part of its endeavours to adopt cutting-edge technologies to promote its leading position at both national and international levels by providing electricity and water at the highest levels of reliability, efficiency, safety and sustainability.
"Expenditure on projects and purchases will reach Dh 7.057 billion. These include such important projects like the project to generate power by using clean coal, produce power from solar energy, expansions of the M-Station for power generation and water desalination at Jebel Ali, consultancy services for introducing 2 gas turbines and connecting them to the 400kv D-Station, the project to increase production capacity of 4 gas turbines at K-Station, projects to establish main power substations, laying cables, setting up control systems and fit-outs for 11kv networks, as well as the smart grid infrastructure and smart meters," said Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Managing Director and CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority ( DEWA ).
" DEWA 's operational budget will reach Dh 13.151 billion in 2014, and the capital administrative budget will reach Dh 352 million. DEWA 's existing installed production capacity is 9,646 megawatts (MW) and 470 million Imperial Gallons per Day (MIGD) of desalinated water. The electricity peak load reached 6,857MW in 2013, with a reserve margin of 2,800MW of electricity," said Al Tayer.
"Water peak demand reached 296 MIGD in 2013, with a reserve margin of 174 MIGD. These reserves of electricity and water will contribute to meeting the requirements of Dubai's large ambitious projects, including the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park and other development projects. This important strategic reserve will also meet the requirements of different fields, including economy, commerce, tourism, industry, and urban development," added Al Tayer.
"Dubai's winning the bid to host Expo 2020 is landmark in the history of the UAE in general, and Dubai in particular, and DEWA is ready and capable of meeting all the power and water requirements of this global high-profile event at the highest levels of efficiency and reliability," concluded Al Tayer. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
posted on 09/12/2013
Abu Dhabi Airports is further enhancing its accessibility by offering golf carts to passengers with wheelchairs as part of Abu Dhabi Airports' commitment to delivering world-class services for all passengers.
The golf carts are based in Terminals 1 and 3, and will be used to assist in transporting passengers with reduced mobility between the departure and arrival halls, and the aircraft gates.
In its efforts to cater to the needs of all passengers, Abu Dhabi Airports continues to proactively introduce services and facilities that would enable passengers to enjoy the amenities and offerings at the airport. In recent years, Abu Dhabi Airports has installed specialised ramps, rails, and e-Gates designed for persons with reduced mobility at its airports to ensure comfort and accessibility.
Ahmad Al Haddabi, Chief Operations Officer, Abu Dhabi Airports, commented, "Abu Dhabi Airports strives to provide all passengers travelling through Abu Dhabi International Airport with a convenient and hassle free experience. The commitment of all the airport's partners and entities as well as staff members to deliver world-class services extends to all our passengers, taking into consideration their requirements and needs. The new specialised golf carts for persons with reduced mobility is yet another innovative service that we will continue to provide to the growing number of passengers and visitors flying through the airport." In 2011, Abu Dhabi Airports established a steering committee with major stakeholders at the airport, including Etihad Airways and the General Civil Aviation Authority, as well as representatives from the Zayed Higher Organisation for Humanitarian Care and Special Needs, to discuss the means of accessibility for persons with reduced mobility. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
posted on 09/12/2013
The Abu Dhabi Police General Headquarters, represented by the UAE Search and Rescue Team, has signed a cooperation agreement with Royal Jet that will facilitate air transport and medical evacuation services. The agreement was signed on Sunday at the Abu Dhabi Police General Headquarters.
The agreement was signed by Lt. Colonel Mohammed Abdul Jalil Al Ansari, Head of the UAE Search and Rescue Team, and Fahad Wali, Chief Commercial Officer at Royal Jet.
The agreement includes a number of clauses, including a clause that will provide the UAE's search and rescue team with transportation services for their missions around the world, including those responding to natural disasters.
Royal Jet has extensive experience in transporting patients and injured people, as it has dealt with 1,650 of these cases over the past ten years. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
posted on 09/12/2013
Major Dr. Zubaida Jassim Mohammed at the Human Rights Department of the Ministry of Interior, has said Emirati women occupy 66 per cent of public posts, of which 30 per cent are the leading jobs linked with the decision making. 70 per cent of the graduates in the UAE are women, one of the highest percentages in the world.
Presenting a paper at the Second Regional Women Police Conference, Jassim referred to the UAE human rights efforts, citing the state's commitments to the international rights conventions and issuance of the annual report on the National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking in April and joining the Bali Process on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crimes in April 2013.
She added that the Ministry of Interior has set up the Department of Human Rights to ensure human rights and protect victims.
Regarding the protection of workers, Jassim said the state has just enacted a law for domestic helpers, noting that other competent authorities would take more measures to implement the strategy of protecting the labour.
The conference concluded recently in Abu Dhabi. It discussed the development of women police capacities in tackling the crimes. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
posted on 09/12/2013
The Leadership Team at the Emirates Identity Authority has discussed its new strategic plan 2014-2016 with Professor David Norton, Strategic Planning Expert at Harvard Business School, Founder and Director of Palladium Group Inc.
Discussions came during a workshop conducted recently by Emirates ID at its headquarters in Abu Dhabi in participation of Dr. Eng. Ali Mohamed Al Khouri, Director General of Emirates ID, a number of the Authority's leaderships and Consultants from Palladium Group Inc.
During the workshop, Dr. Al Khouri discussed with Professor Norton Emirates ID's readiness to implement its new strategic plan for the coming three years and projects and initiatives emanating from it. Professor Norton is one of the founders of the Balanced Scorecards System for assessing organisations' performance and strategic plans.
He emphasised Emirates ID's keenness to achieve the highest level of excellence, provide smart services to customers and strive to integrate concepts of excellence within its strategic planning and execution. The aim is to ensure implementation of Emirates ID's projects and initiatives according to the highest standards that will help maintain a high level of efficiency and effectiveness and thereby provide the best services to internal and external customers towards gaining their satisfaction.
Dr. Al Khouri also reiterated Emirates ID's quest to play an active and key role through its third strategic edition in realising government eTransformation in the country, aimed at providing advanced services to individuals and organisations that facilitate people's lives as per the U.A.E. Vision 2021.
For his part, Professor Norton commended Emirates ID's commitment and full adoption of strategic planning methodology, lauding its new strategic plan and describing the Authority's achievements through its 2010-2013 strategic plan as impressive' and as a global reference in terms of developing and executing strategic plans. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
posted on 09/12/2013
Mystery surrounds the return of a giant inflatable duck that disappeared from Dubai Creek last week.
The 18-metre-tall duck surprised onlookers when it appeared on December 1. It was gone by night.
The company behind the giant duck, Geowash, an eco-friendly car wash system, said it will re-emerge at a surprise location soon.
Geowash had set the duck afloat as part of its water conservation drive, expected to last two months.
The duck will tour a number of locations, possibly docking occasionally. The awareness campaign will also see Geowash staff offering conservation tips to onlookers.
In the UAE, the average individual water use rate is 500 litres per day, compared with the international rate of 170-300 litres, according to official figures.
On December 1, Geowash distributed free rubber ducks to children and handed out the UAE flag.
The duck was launched to also celebrate National Day (December 2) and Dubai's winning bid for Expo 2020.
Meanwhile, residents are on the lookout for the bright yellow giant as they could win iPads for shooting pictures of the duck. The winning shots would be decided by votes.
Fans can share their duck moments on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by using the hashtag #UAE_GiantDuck.
Though the duck's next location is secret, Geowash told Gulf News it was flooded with queries on where to spot it.
Nithin Mathew from Geowash's marketing team said "people are enquiring more about the giant duck than the car-wash.”
Geowash CEO Abdullah Al Shehi had earlier said: "The gigantic duck, which has been globally accepted as a symbol of joy and happiness, is something new in Dubai.
"As UAE residents enjoy the arrival of the duck, we would also like to remind them of the importance of water conservation.” – Gulf News
posted on 09/12/2013
Now you can catch up with the latest sports news on the go with Abu Dhabi Media's (ADM) new mobile application.
The new app, Abu Dhabi Sports Live will allow users to stream Abu Dhabi Sports channels, and will offer live updates and results on fixtures.
Users will be able to share content on the app via Twitter and Facebook.
The app will include a section dedicated to football developments in the Arabian Gulf League.
"The new application comes as part of ADM's efforts to expand its digital media services in keeping with the latest developments in the media industry, and provide unlimited access to our brands throughout multiple platforms,” said Abdul Hadi Al Sheikh, the executive director of digital media services at ADM.
"The Digital Media Services division is set to extend Abu Dhabi Media's offerings in the digital space and create dynamic digital content that communicates to audiences across the globe.
"Since its launch, our team continues to initiate and oversee the development of several websites which have become highly successful across the region.”
The app will be available on the Apple Store and the Google Play Store. – The National
posted on 09/12/2013
Under the theme "Live, learn and have fun in a low carbon world”, the UAE Green Festival, a country-wide celebration to take place on March.16 and last for one month, is meant to unveil the UAE's sustainable identity.
Officially launched in Abu Dhabi in Masdar, the Festival comes as a result of prolonged hours of planning and preparation to make the United Arab Emirates a leading sustainable destination that provides its residents and visitors a quality life.
The festival will comprise ecotourism, sustainable transportation and green technology among others. Each of these sustainable pillars will bid an array of eco-friendly activities and functions.
UAE businesses are increasingly committed to sustainability.
The UAE Green Festival comes as the ideal platform to showcase and promote their green practices and initiatives and to raise awareness among the residents and visitors to adopt an eco-friendly lifestyle.
Several UAE Government bodies are supporting the UAE Green Festival, such as the Ministry of Education, Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) and the Federal Electricity and Water Authority (Fewa) among others.
The UAE Green Festival has launched a smartphone application, the "UAE Green App,” that includes the UAE Green Times Magazine which offers green tips and tackles environmental issues locally and internationally and the Green Map which is a locator of UAE Green Businesses and the events of the festival that keep users posted with all the latest updates.
During the festival, UAE Art Galleries will embrace exhibitions showcasing green art, paintings on mother nature, landscapes, photographs and recycled art, which will encompass the environment and other ecological topics.
Art galleries will connect people to eco-art by displaying nature and sustainable arts in a bid to educate the public on sustainability.
Arjun Art Gallery, Abu Dhabi, will be displaying a collection of paintings and photographs on landscapes, horses and flowers made by Emiratis and GCC artists.
Art Couture, Dubai, will display photographs from a group of locally based photographers highlighting the beauty of our heritage as well as the environment.
J+A Gallery, Dubai, during the Festival, will showcase a number of recycled pieces by designers from Apodakollektiv, as well as contemporary design that incorporates the idea of sustainability and unique recycled pieces by Klaus Mertens.
In addition, many other art galleries are involved and will be opening doors to present their eco-art pieces.
Hotels in the UAE will take part in the UAE Green Festival by promoting their sustainable practices and involving their guests in this experience.
Hotels such as Atlantis, Jebel Ali Resort, St Regis Saadyat, Park Hyatt, Marriott, Marjan Island, Shangri La, Hilton Al Ain, Radisson Blu Sharjah, Holiday Inn, will be arranging green activities such as having a green zone to showcase all their green practices, planting activities, and much more.
Moreover, Abu Dhabi and Dubai will host an "incomparable” Green Auto Show demonstrating sustainable transportation. – The Gulf Today
posted on 09/12/2013
Emirati filmmaker Waleed Al Shehhi won the second IWC Filmmakers Award for his work Dolphins. The award was presented to him by Academy Award winning actress, Cate Blanchett, at the exclusive "For the Love of Cinema” IWC Filmmakers Award Gala.
Waleed Al Shehhi received a US$100,000 grant and was presented with an exclusive IWC timepiece engraved with the words "For the Love of Cinema”.
Written by author and poet Ahmed Salmeen and directed by Al Shehhi, Dolphins revolves around a divorced ambulance driver (Fadel) with a son (Saud) who lives with his mother (Kawthar). Saud lives in a state of perpetual instability due to the separation of his parents. This leads him and his friend (Hilal) on an unusual adventure with an extraordinary outcome.
The award was funded by the Swiss luxury watch manufacturer IWC Schaffhausen and the Dubai International Film Festival (Diff), which is aimed at giving talented filmmakers of the region an opportunity to win awards like the ones offered by IWC Filmmakers.
"We believe new voices and viewpoints should be heard, and we are convinced that talent and stories from the Gulf region deserve an international stage. We are proud to be a partner of the Dubai International Film Festival. Through the IWC Filmmakers Award, we are able to contribute to Arab storytelling in general and to the funding of a new film project for established and upcoming directors here in the Middle East in particular,” said Georges Kern, CEO of IWC Schaffhausen.
"It is an honour to return to the Dubai International Film Festival and collaborate with IWC in selecting this year's winner, Waleed Al Shehhi. I feel privileged to be on hand to witness the impressive talent from the filmmakers in this region and support their aspirations,” Cate Blanchett added.
The actress headed the award jury for the second year in a row, along with fellow jury members CEO of IWC Schaffhausen Georges Kern, Diff chairman Abdulhamid Juma, Diff artistic director Masoud Amrala Al Ali, as well as film critic and consultant Fionnuala Halligan.
Joining Cate Blanchett among the nearly 200 international VIP guests and celebrities who attended the "For The Love of Cinema” gala dinner were: television presenter and master of ceremonies Diala Makki, Prince Abdulaziz Turki Al Faisal, actors Martin Sheen and Michael B. Jordan, directors Mohammed Al Turki and Ali Mostafa, and Turkish actors Meltem Cumbul, Murat Yıldırım and Burçin Terzio_lu Yıldırım.
The glamorous gala dinner was followed by a private concert for the guests by young British singer, songwriter and X-Factor runner-up Rebecca Ferguson. After the concert, Saint-Tropez DJ Jack E kept the party going at full swing. – The Gulf Today
posted on 09/12/2013
The Cultural Programs and Heritage Festivals Committee, Abu Dhabi, is to organise the Arab Heritage Saluki Race in Madinat Zayed later this month at the camel racetrack, on the sidelines of the 7th edition of the Al Dhafra Festival.
Considered one of the most popular competitions among the activities accompanying the Camel Mazayna, the races are being held for the fourth time in a row on December 21st and 28th.
The Director of the Festival's Heritage Competitions, Obaid Khalfan Al Mazrouei, said in a press statement that the organising committee has set a number of terms and conditions required for participation in the competition.
He said that the Salukis must be Arabian and pure-bred from the two categories (Reesh and Hoss) and both genders. Mazrouei stressed that only Salukis above the age of one year are allowed to take part, noting that participation is open for the public and that each participant should take part with no less than 4 Salukis.
The terms and conditions also stipulate that the participating Saluki must be free from diseases and disabilities, and given all the essential immunisations and vaccines. The Saluki must carry an identification electronic microchip to prove ownership and be physically fit. Illegal doping for Salukis is strictly banned and a laboratory examination will be conducted.
Referring to the schedule, laps and prizes, Al Mazrouei said that participating Salukis will compete over a two kilometre racetrack, noting that there is a qualifying race, and another which is final, Challenge Race.
Registration for participation continues until the 15th of December, and owners of Salukis from the U.A.E. and the GCC countries can take part.
Mazrouei said that the Organising Committee is keen on the preservation of the purebred Arabian Saluki which enjoys high significance and historical value in the Bedouin hunting tradition. The Arabian Saluki is one of the oldest breeds in the world, its history goes back 13,000 years and its roots have been traced to the Arabian Peninsula.
"This competition bestows an opportunity upon Saluki owners and lovers of the pure Arabian breed to improve their hunting skills in a natural desert environment. It also serves as a platform to reveal the beauty and qualities of Salukis as well as their hunting and racing skills," Mazrouei said.
"The race helps in the promotion of our historical heritage. The preservation of the Saluki is a key part in our efforts to safeguard Arabian tradition, our ancestors' heritage in the Arabian Peninsula, and the deep-seated Bedouin way of life. With the passage of time and progression of generations, authentic traditions and customs are threatened with a gradual depletion. For this reason, we should care and accord the highest priority to preserve and protect the pure breeds in our present and future, for generations to come," he added. – Emirates News Agency, WAM