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Mohammed bin Rashid meets Chinese business interns

posted on 02/09/2014

Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, met yesterday the first batch of 17 Chinese graduates who have joined the Dubai Business Internship Programme at Falcon headquarters at DIFC during their first day.

The Programme provides a unique opportunity for the distinguished graduates of Chinese universities to study and work in Dubai.

His Highness affirmed that the future success of the global community as a whole falls entirely on the shoulders of future generations. Therefore, they have responsibility which enforce them to work hard to achieve their aspirations and hopes.

Present at meeting were H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, and H.H. Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai.

H.H. Sheikh Mohammed wished success for the trainees in their mission, and urged them to strive to achieve their dreams and ambitions. He also encouraged them to take advantage of the expertise and skills which the Programme provide during their study to create a positive impact on the world.

His Highness indicated that the Dubai Business Internship Programme has been designed specifically to contribute to the enrichment of their potential and hone their skills, and help them to become leaders of the future. He also urged them to take advantage of this Programme to provide them of significant opportunities to gain real experience of working in international companies, as well as to recognise the vital role of the Emirate of Dubai as a thriving global hub for tourism, business and commerce.

Sheikh Mohammed stressed that Dubai Business Internships will act as a cultural bridge, proactively fostering the strong and existing ties between the U.A.E. and China.

At the conclusion of the meeting, students posed for photos with Sheikh Mohammed, expressing their thanks to him for his care and keenness to meet and encourage them in their first day.

In attendance also were Minister of State Reem Al Hashemi, Director General of the Office of His Highness the Ruler of Dubai, Mohammed Ibrahim Al Shaibani, Dubai Director of Protocol and Hospitality Khalifa Saeed Suleiman, Helal Saeed Al Marri, the Director-General of Dubai's Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, Tang Weibin, Consul-General of the People's Republic of China in Dubai, and other officials. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Mohammed bin Zayed sets up Emirates Foundation's board of trustees

posted on 02/09/2014

His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the U.A.E. Armed Forces and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Council, has issued a decision setting up the board of trustees of Emirates Foundation (EF), and appointing Ben Van Beurden, CEO of Royal Dutch Shell, as chairman of the new board.

H.H. Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed's decision appointed Delos M. Cosgrove, President and CEO of Cleveland Clinic, Bob Dudley, CEO of British Petroleum (BP), Christophe de Margerie, Chairman and CEO of Total, Chang Soo Huh, Chairman of GS Holding, Stephen I. Chazen, President and CEO of Occidental Petroleum Corporation, and Shepard W. Hill, President of Boeing International, as members of the board of trustees of Emirates Foundation.

According to the law which created Emirates Foundation, the board of trustees will provide advice on the general policy of the foundation to the board of directors chaired by H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister.

Emirates Foundation was launched in April 2005 as an integrated national initiative that seeks to invest in U.A.E. youth through a strategy that uses the model of venture philanthropy to develop nationwide programmes that aim to impact the lives of U.A.E. youth positively and permanently in a manner that is measurable and sustainable. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


U.A.E. condemns terrorist acts in Iraq

posted on 02/09/2014

GENEVA: The United Arab Emirates has expressed grave concern over savage acts committed in some parts of Iraq territories by armed terrorist groups, including ISIL group.

Addressing the Human Rights Council s Special Session on Iraq yesterday, U.A.E.'s Permanent Representative to the UN and other international organisations in Geneva Obaid Salem Al Zaabi said the Council's decision to hold this session highlights the international community's determination to confront such dangerous and irresponsible acts that threaten security and stability of the region and beyond.

Al Zaabi noted that grave and horrific human rights violations are being committed against the people in Mosul and other areas of Iraq including arbitrary and summary executions, torture, sexual violence against women, attacks on civilians on religious and ethnic grounds, destruction of property and forcing thousands to flee their homes.

"The United Arab Emirates strongly condemns these tragic violations and calls on the international community to confront them through all legal means," he added.

He said that terrorism has neither religion nor nationality and it follows an exclusionist ideology that breeds violence, hatred, revenge and oppression.

Al Zaabi also called for heeding the Iraqi government's demands for provision of humanitarian aid to enable displaced people to return to their territories and to build capacities in human rights fields in order to restore security and stability in Iraq. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


ERC delivers 20 trucks of relief assistance to Gazans

posted on 02/09/2014

GAZA: The Emirates Red Crescent yesterday delivered a relief convey through the Rafah crossing to the Gaza Strip consisting of 20 trucks of various relief assistance for Gazans affected by recent events in the Strip.

Dr. Mohammed Ateeq Alfalahi, Secretary-General of Emirates Red Crescent, ERC, said that the convey, which has been received by Humaid Al Shamsi, Deputy Secretary-General of the ERC for International Aid, is the fourth one carrying thousands of diverse relief packages, which include food and health kits, blankets, and necessary items for children. He said that these relief items will be distributed to those affected by the events.

So far, the ERC has delivered four convoys to Gaza, with more than 50 trucks carrying tens of thousands of relief packages to those affected by the events, Alfalahi said.

Alfalahi pointed out that the value of assistance provided to the Gaza Strip has now reached US$29 million, including US$14 million for the U.A.E. field hospital in Rafah and US$15 million for relief assistance transported from Cairo, and equipment from the local market in the Gaza Strip.

Alfalahi stressed that the directives of the Supreme Command of the ERC is to provide assistance at various levels for the Gazan people and that there is a package of future projects under consideration which will be announced in the near future. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Al Maktoum Foundation signs contract to implement 10 water pumping stations in Sudan

posted on 02/09/2014

KHARTOUM: In implementation of the directives of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and U.A.E. Minister of Finance, and sponsored by the Al Maktoum Foundation, the foundation has signed a contract for the implementation of 10 water stations in South Darfur and West Kordofan in Sudan, at a cost of Dh1 million.

Mohammed Obaid bin Ghannam, Secretary-General of the Al Maktoum Foundation, said in a statement that the regions for the wells have been selected very carefully and that areas experiencing water scarcity that leads to a consequent struggle to supply tribes, in addition to the lack of clean water, guided the allocation of five wells in South Darfur and another five in West Kordofan.

Mr. bin Ghannam added that the project serves more than half a million people, and it is expected that these stations will lead to the stabilisation and reconstruction of large areas in the regions.

He said out that each water station consists of artesian wells, a water storage tank with a capacity of 25 cubic meters, pump and generator, and pipes for water distribution to citizens. Additionally, the wells are surrounded by protective wire and supply irrigation for animals in proportion to the nature of the pastoral zone.

A delegation from the Al Maktoum Foundation, headed by the Secretary-General and with the membership of Hamdan Hamid Mohammed, Cultural Counsellor of the Authority, visited Sudan last week and met with Ahmad Mohamed Adam, Humanitarian Aid Commissioner, signing in his presence a contract with companies qualified to execute the project, which is expected to be completed within four months. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Emirati elected president of Toastmasters International

posted on 02/09/2014

An Emirati has been elected International President of the Toastmasters International (TMI), a global organisation with more than 313,000 member in 126 countries.

Muhammad Murad, 49, is the first Arab to head the non-profit group after he was named International President during the group's conference in Malaysia on August 23.

Arriving back in Dubai from Kula Lumpur, the former police officer told Gulf News: "It's a privilege for me to represent my flag (the U.A.E.) on the international stage. It's a great honour, but at the same time it's a great responsibility.”

He is joined by Jim Kokocki, a business consultant based in New Brunswick, Canada, who was named International President-elect, the group's second-highest position. Mike Storkey, an Australian, is TMI's first vice president, while Balraj Arunasalam, from Sri Lanka, is the second vice-president.

As International President, Murad is a "working ambassador” for the organisation, tasked to develop, support and modify policies and procedures that guide the organisation in fulfilling its mission.

"You can never be not ready (for this position),” said the former police Lt Colonel who once headed Dubai's emergency services. He first joined the Toastmasters Dubai Chapter club in 1996.

"The process is such that you need to have the experience in order to quality for you to get elected. You need to prove to members your worth and that you're the best candidate among a whole lot of people.”

In 2007, he was the first Emirati to be elected as International Director of Toastmasters in Arizona, getting 9,152 votes -- a landslide victory out of about 10,000 eligible votes representing Toastmasters clubs around the world.

On his agenda during his 2014-2015 term as International President, Murad said: "We don't have a personal agenda… there's a strategic plan and we need to fulfil it and make our organisation reach as many people as possible in order for them to develop their skills.”

Toastmasters International has grown from about 230,000 in 2007 to 313,000 members today, including numerous clubs in the U.A.E..

He credits the organisation for his being a big part of his own transformation.

"A large extent of my personal and professional success," he said, "came from being honed by Toastmasters. It's truly a platform to developing self-confidence, better communication and leadership skills.

Murad runs three companies as Managing Director.

On self-improvement

His leadership or the ability to hold an international gathering in rapt attention didn't come in a flash.

Murad is considered a pillar of TMI District 79 (GCC and Jordan), which was once voted the top "district” in the world, before he was elected to Toastmaster's top post.

He has been a senior official of the organisation for the last four years.

In his speeches, he stresses on the constant need for self-improvement.

"Some are people who want to simply stay within their own circle of comfort… we don't want to go outside or be introduced to others. My personal journey has taught me that if you do not go outside your circle of comfort, you're not living to the fullest. It is a life to explore, not only a life to live… This is how we discover what we can do to be of service to others.”

The California-headquartered organisation today counts 14,650 clubs in 126 countries that makes up the global non-profit.

What is Toastmasters International?

It is a mutual-support group of individuals in a certain locality who share the common goal of improving their communication and leadership skills. TMI train members to "think on their feet”, preside meetings and hone leadership skills. It has a world-renowned educational and mentoring programmes for both beginners and long-standing members. – Gulf News -


Aldar completes sale of residential tower to MAG F5 Holdings

posted on 02/09/2014

Aldar Properties PJSC ("Aldar " or "the Company" ADX: ALDAR), Abu Dhabi's leading listed property development, investment and management company, yesterday announces the completion of the sale of a residential tower in Marina Square to MAG F5 Holdings, a joint venture between MAG Group and Fortune|5 Investments.

Mohammed Al Mubarak, Aldar 's Chief Executive Officer commented: "The sale of the residential tower is part of our broader strategy of injecting capital into new developments and to diversify Aldar 's customer base with institutional investors. This is the first major acquisition by a Dubai-based investor in a number of years and demonstrates stronger investment ties between the two emirates." The tower, located in Marina Square on Reem Island, comprises 202 completed units that are ready for handover across 44,424 sq. m. of sellable area.

MAG Group's Board Member, Talal Al Gaddah added: "The acquisition of the residential tower complements our vision to grow our company's investment sector and create alliances with leading U.A.E. businesses." Prem Gopalani, Executive Chairman of Fortune|5 Investments, said: "Abu Dhabi has always been on our radar for various investments, and this joint acquisition marks a unique milestone for us. More importantly, we are setting the standards as top investment companies joining together to expand across the emirates with a strong and positive presence." MAG Group and Fortune|5 Investments both have a history of successful acquisitions together in Dubai, their most recent being in Meydan City. – Emirates News Agency, WAM – international/1395269139009.html


Khalifa Port Container Terminal ranks fifth in annual EMEA port productivity report

posted on 02/09/2014

Abu Dhabi Terminals (ADT), manager and operator of the first semi-automated and most technologically advanced container terminal in the Middle East, Khalifa Port Container Terminal, has revealed that the port ranked fifth in the Journal of Commerce's 2013 Europe, Middle East and Africa Port Productivity list.

The Journal of Commerce, an independent research establishment that focuses on global trade topics, measured the number of container moves per-vessel/per-hour at the world's ports and marine terminals in 2013. As mega-container ships replace smaller vessels, port productivity, turnaround times and throughput time for containers are important metrics for carriers and trade customers in order to realise significant cost savings.

Martijn Van de Linde, Chief Executive Officer, ADT, commented, "We are very proud to rank fifth in the EMEA Port Productivity list in our first year of operations. Khalifa Port Container Terminal has been constructed to achieve high productivity levels, which not only increases turnaround time for ships, but also benefits the supply chain and local trade as cargo moves faster through the port." With a depth reaching 17 meters, Khalifa Port Container Terminal is equipped with the latest technology and equipment in the industry making the terminal capable of servicing vessels as quickly and efficiently as possible in this era of mega-ships. The port currently operates nine super post panamax ship-to-shore cranes which can reach across 22 container stacks on a ship, 42 automated stacking cranes and 28 straddle carriers.

Considerable productivity progress has also been made on the landside as truck turnaround time currently stands at 12 minutes which makes Khalifa Port Container Terminal the most efficient in the region. The port's congestion free access and a robust network of road and future rail connectors add additional value to the trade and its service providers.

The Journal of Commerce Port Productivity rankings were determined by evaluating 483 ports and 771 terminals and analysing more than 150,000 port calls in 2013.

ADT, a Private Joint Stock Company (PJSC) owned by Abu Dhabi Ports Company, Mubadala and Mubadala Infrastructure Partners, commenced operations at Khalifa Port Container Terminal in September 2012 and provides a complete and cost-effective supply chain, logistics and warehousing solutions. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Dubai maritime sector contributed 4.6pc to Dubai's GDP: DMCA

posted on 02/09/2014

Dubai's maritime sector has made major leaps in terms of its direct contribution to Dubai's GDP, which amounted to 4.6 per cent or the equivalent of Dh 14.4 billion, said Sultan bin Sulayem, Chairman of Dubai Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation and President of Dubai Maritime City Authority ( DMCA ), the government authority charged with regulating, coordinating and supervising all aspects of Dubai's maritime sector.

Underlining the significant role Dubai Maritime Sector Strategy (MSS) played in support of Dubai Maritime Vision 2030, said Bin Sulayem said the local maritime sector recently made major leaps in terms of its direct contribution to Dubai's GDP, which amounted to 4.6 per cent or the equivalent of Dh 14.4 billion. Maritime operations, maritime engineering, ports and shipping come as leading marine components that contribute to the local economy, followed by maritime and recreational services and different offshore support services.

Bin Sulayem made his statement during a recent DMCA supervisory coordination meeting that showcased the latest updates and achievements in the efforts to boost Dubai's maritime competitiveness and offer key foundations to raise the bar on the local maritime industry in line with internationally recognised standards and best international practices.

"The local maritime industry is considered to be a key cornerstone in the unified efforts to drive sustainable growth and overall development in the future. It is also a major partner in the move to further enhance Dubai's regional and international competitiveness. Moreover, the Dubai MSS is a key step forward in aiming to make a difference in the maritime industry and increase its contribution to the country's GDP, which is poised to enhance its position as one of the leading value-added economical industries in Dubai, following the vision and directives set forth by Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum." "These components played an active role in supplying the labour market with more than 75,000 promising job opportunities to meet the demand for qualified human resources, especially in maritime operations, maritime engineering and ports, which accounted for 51 per cent and 25 per cent of the employment rates within Dubai's maritime sector, respectively," said Bin Sulayem.

Dubai's maritime operations, maritime engineering, ports and shipping come as leading marine components that contribute to the local economy, followed by maritime and recreational services and different offshore support services.

"The Dubai MSS is gaining strategic momentum with a strong focus on developing essential maritime industry components. We are confident in our ability to achieve significant results and make a radical shift in lifting the local maritime sector to a higher level of growth and sustainability in collaboration with our strategic partners in the public and private sectors. We look forward to further work on the application of maritime strategic axes, which will have a central role in the local maritime sector's move to help drive in more economic growth and turn Dubai into a major centre of entrepreneurship and investment," Sultan bin Sulayem concluded.

The vision aims to develop, regulate and promote the local maritime industry while at the same time reinforce Dubai's position as a world-class, premiere international maritime hub. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


CBI ups support to U.A.E.'s SME to Dh 1bn

posted on 02/09/2014

Dubai-based Commercial Bank International (CBI) on Monday announced it has allocated financing Dh 1 billion in 2014 in support of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) operating in U.A.E. across diverse economic segments, with the launch of innovative business banking solutions and services.

Kris Babicci, CBI's Chief Executive Officer, commented: "We are seeing significant growth in the SME sector as the U.A.E.'s economy continues to strengthen. CBI intends to be a significant player in the SME and trade markets. We are committed to supporting government initiatives aimed at boosting business in the country and we are confident that CBI will add a new dimension to the environment in which our SME clients operate, thereby benefiting the national economy as a whole." "Small and medium enterprises are important contributors to the U.A.E. economy as they help develop national entrepreneurial spirit in young generations. As a U.A.E.-based banking institution, we are proud to lend our support in breeding a new class of entrepreneurs and support the U.A.E. economy at large," added Babicci.

In support of its SME business expansion strategy, CBI has recently opened its first dedicated business banking centre in Jebel Ali Free Zone. The opening of the facility has been driven by increasing demand from the burgeoning SME sector. Comprising of tellers, ATMs, Bill Payment Kiosk, and a team of dedicated Relationship Managers, our new branch is located at Block no 1, The Galleries, Downtown Jebel Ali. It offers convenient and comprehensive banking services to meet the banking needs of CBI's corporate as well as well as retail clients.

Commercial Bank International (CBI) was incorporated in 1991 in the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah. With its headquarters in Dubai, CBI today operates with a network of 19 branches and 124 ATMs spread across the U.A.E., along with two subsidiary companies - Takamul Real Estate (TRE) and International Financial Brokerage (IFB) - and a growing presence in transactional banking and technology-driven delivery channels.

In 2012, Qatar National Bank (QNB), the leading financial institution and largest bank in the MENA region completed the acquisition of 40% of CBI shares. CBI's new brand launched in March last year reflects this partnership. With an expanding network across the United Arab Emirates, an enhanced product suite and a renewed customer-centric approach, CBI remains well positioned for future growth. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


All DEWA customers to receive 'green bill' by Q2 2015

posted on 02/09/2014

Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (DEWA) will send electronic "green bills" to all its customers by the end of the second quarter of 2015, and stop sending paper bills. The move supports DEWA's efforts to enhance its services, keep the environment, and give a chance to its customers to adopt to electronic transformation.

DEWA says using its electronic and smart services helped eliminate 11,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions in 2013 as a result of DEWA's customers conducting 3.3 million transactions online and through the smart app.

This amount of carbon dioxide is the equivalent amount that could have resulted from customers travelling to and from DEWA offices. This equates to planting 56,331 trees in an area equivalent to 106 football fields.

Currently, DEWA sends more than 550,000 electronic bills monthly to its customers. As of 1 September 2014, a total of 218,020 customers opted to receive the green bill and stop receiving paper bills. DEWA first launched the green bill, its electronic invoicing system, in August 2012.

"Adopting the green bill and discounting the paper bills supports the Green Economy for Sustainable Development initiative launched by His Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The step also supports DEWA's vision to become a sustainable world-class utility," said Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of DEWA.

"DEWA's electronic invoicing system adopts the latest global technologies in this field. This initiative supports government efforts to keep natural resources for generations to come. The move also helps upgrade DEWA's services to the highest international standards. Customers who register in the green bill can check, request, and pay their bills anytime and from anywhere in the world. The system keeps a record of customers' bills and the amounts they paid online," added Al Tayer.

DEWA has urged its customers who haven't opted for the green bill yet to register or update their email addresses to avoid any inconvenience that might happen if they don't receive their bills. Customers can register through DEWA's website (, smart app, or by sending an SMS to 4488 including customers' contract accounts and their email addresses. New customers can also opt for the green bill when they fill out the ‘Move-in' form.

The green bill is an electronic version of the traditional paper bill and is sent to customers via email the moment the monthly invoice is issued. Implementing the green bill system helps reduce carbon dioxide emissions by about 193.3 tonnes annually. Many federal and local government organisations in Dubai have already registered in the green bill. Some major private companies have also chosen to stop receiving paper bills.

To encourage its customers to register for the green bill and be part of its efforts to keep the environment, DEWA has launched a weekly raffle draw where a customer who has registered for the green bill receives a Galaxy Note III. A grand-prize winner will receive a Samsung smart TV.

DEWA urged its customers to adopt its electronic and smart services including the green bill, in order to save them time and efforts and support its efforts to protect the environment. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


ATM to focus on US$140 billion Family Travel Market

posted on 02/09/2014

Family centric travel, which accounted for more than 12.5 per cent of the US$1.07 trillion global tourism market, has been selected as the official show theme for Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2015, which takes place at the Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre from 4-7 May 2015.

According to Thomson Reuters' data, the value of the global family tourism market was US$140 billion in 2013. That figure is set to rise to over US$180 billion by 2018 with growth expected to continue at a rate of 4.79 per cent annually until 2020, compared with just 3.8% overall tourism growth.

"Demand for inter-regional family travel will also remain robust through to 2020 and beyond. The Economist Intelligence Unit estimated that the GCC population would soar to 53.5 million by 2020, 24% of which would be under 15 years of age," Nadege Noblet, Exhibition Manager of Arabian Travel Market, WTM Portfolio, Reed Travel Exhibitions.

The Dubai Capital of Islamic Economy initiative has identified the U.A.E. as a top source market for family travel, with spending power worth over US$10 billion. Additional research data from technology and payments business Visa, showed that Saudi Arabians are the world's biggest spenders when overseas, racking up a per capita average of US$6,666 per trip. In stark contrast UK-based shopping platform ‘Give As You Live', revealed that the average British family of four spends US$5,800 on their annual holiday.

"Although family travel is growing, these contrasting spending patterns present strategic challenges as well as opportunities for government bodies, hotels and tourism services providers throughout the region with a clear need for a wide spectrum of family-focused offerings to satisfy budget sensitivities as well as cultural expectations," said Noblet.

The ATM 2015 line-up will include a number of dedicated seminar sessions addressing these issues with panel-led discussions on how Gulf destinations can boost their appeal to the lucrative family tourism market and develop family-specific amenities, the pressing need for value-for-money accommodation options and – at the other extreme – the rise in aspirational travel from high-spending families for whom the experience outweighs the expense.

In the Middle East, GCC families often travel in large groups and companies like Millennium & Copthorne are honing in on the demand for value-for-money accommodation with the development of new brands designed to service the unique needs of travelling families.

"Historically, attracting families to stay at your hotel has involved creating special packages or seasonal offers, while juggling with yield and room configurations. With our recently launched Millennium Executive Apartments brand, we can now offer a tailored product with a simplified rate structure," said Naeem Darkazally, Vice President of sales and marketing for Millennium and Copthorne Middle East & Africa.

Driving family business throughout the year is also linked to destination attractiveness with cities like Abu Dhabi and Dubai already offering world-class family attractions as well as shopping, summer and Ramadan festivals. Family travel is no longer simply about maximising revenue streams during school holiday periods, putting temporary beds into existing rooms and adding kids' activities to a one size fits all entertainment programme. There has to be a sense of anticipation, inclusion, engagement, dedication and of course value," said Noblet.

The Family Travel theme will be added to the ATM 2015 collection of exhibition trails including budget travel, health and wellbeing, shopping, transportation, luxury travel, sports travel, culture and heritage and adventure travel.

The 2015 event will also grow with the announcement of an additional hall as Reed Travel Exhibitions looks to build on its record-breaking achievements this year, which saw total attendance increase by 12% to reach 33,000 exhibitors and visitors. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Emirates broadens A380 to 30 destinations

posted on 02/09/2014

Emirates, a global connector and facilitator of vital trade links, has added Frankfurt to its growing list of A380 destinations.

With the addition of Frankfurt, Emirates now serves 30 global destinations with the A380.

Thierry Antinori, Emirates' executive vice president and chief commercial officer arrived on the launch flight, commenting: "We are proud to fly our A380 to one of the key aviation hubs in Europe. The financial capital of Germany continues to be a significant point for us so it is only fitting for us to operate our flagship product to the city. Emirates has redefined travel with its A380. First and Business Class passengers have access to the On-board Lounge, which has become a popular gathering place for passengers at 40,000 feet. On the ground, they can access our world-class lounges and benefit from Chauffer Drive Services to and from the airport. The 14 First Class suites available on our A380 give discerning travellers the time and space to relax with a host of thoughtful luxury touches. Travellers in all classes can use the on-board Wi-Fi, and be entertained by the award-winning ice system with over 1,800 channels of inflight entertainment on demand.

"Deploying larger capacity aircraft like the A380 is fundamental to helping us meet growing passenger demand between this dynamic economic region and the evolving economies of Asia, Africa and the Middle East, through efficient connections via our Dubai hub. The positive effects of more inbound tourism from the Middle East, Gulf and Asia-Pacific regions into Frankfurt will also be demonstrated with the arrival of the A380, based on our experience when we introduced the aircraft to Munich,” continued Antinori. – Khaleej Times -§ion=uaebusiness


Hotel apartments lure Dubai’s big developers Deyaar and Damac

posted on 02/09/2014

Dubai's big developers are being drawn to hotel apartments as they move in on a sector traditionally dominated by small local operators.

Deyaar yesterday launched its second hotel apartment project near the science and biotech freezone DuBiotech.

Al Barsha South is also the location of 440 off-plan homes from Tecom Investments, which operates 11 business parks such as DuBiotech and Dubai Knowledge Village, expected around the end of next year.

Deyaar's residential and hotel apartments are expected to complete in December 2016.

Along with two residential towers, the hotel apartments will form the Montrose complex. The residential apartments will go on sale from Saturday.

The three 19-storey towers will include 286 one to four-bedroom apartments. There will be 180 hotel apartments, with studios, one- and two-bedroom units. The size of the units range between 759.52 square feet and 2,442.76 sq. ft.

This would be Deyaar's second hotel apartment project after The Atria, another mixed-use residential and hotel apartment development in Business Bay, launched in the second quarter.

Property sales boosted Deyaar's first half net profit by 145 per cent to Dh114.6 million from Dh46.6m last year.

Damac, another Dubai developer, is venturing into the increasingly busy segment with its Golf Veduta serviced hotel apartments in Dubailand.

Also known as serviced apartments, the hotel apartment market in Dubai is still dominated by local players with limited internationally branded stock, according to Filippo Sona, the head of hotels at the consultancy Colliers International's Dubai office.

"There is still a gap for internationally branded limited-serviced and mid-market brands, as well as brands in the lifestyle segment,” he said.

There are 62 serviced apartment operators in Dubai, excluding those properties directly operated by their owner.

In Dubai, a majority of the serviced apartments, or 38 per cent, are unbranded, 32 per cent have a local brand, such as Golden Sands, Xclusive Group, Dunes, Abidos and Flora, and only 30 per cent is internationally branded, such as Marriott Executive Apartments, according to Colliers.

There are 6,052 more units waiting to come on line in the short to medium-term. Among those scheduled this year are Accor's Adagio in Al Barsha with 201 units.

Marriott Executive Apartments in Dubai Health Care City opened this year with 128 units.

With fewer employees per room than a hotel, serviced apartments have a leaner operating model and can tap into the extended-stay corporate travel segment.

Moreover, it is easier for serviced apartments to shift their focus from short-stay to long-stay guests during downturns.

"The supply growth of serviced apartments has outstripped hotels in recent years, with a compound annual growth rate of 14.3 per cent in the past 10 years, versus a 10.1 per cent growth in number of hotel rooms,” Mr Sona said.

Dubai has the largest concentration of hotel apartments in the U.A.E., accounting for 24,924 rooms as of August, according to a Colliers study.

Hotel apartments represent 28 per cent of the stock of accommodation in Dubai.

Last year, the occupancy rate at serviced apartments was an average of 82 per cent, which rose by 6.5 per cent, with room rates at Dh433, increasing by 3.8 per cent in the previous year. – The National -


Etisalat to present Smart Services at GITEX Technology Week 2014

posted on 02/09/2014

Etisalat has announced its participation in the upcoming GITEX Technology Week 2014, starting from October 12-16 at Dubai World Trade Centre.

Etisalat's presence at GITEX 2014, the most widely recognised ICT trade event across the Middle East, is part of company's efforts to showcase the unlimited possibilities of a highly connected future and cities of tomorrow, driven by its smart apps and solutions.

"Etisalat's participation will be dotted with announcements of new partnerships forged with local, regional and international partners, " according to the Telecom service provided.

GITEX Technology Week, now in its 34th year, attracts more than 135,000 trade visitors every year from 140 countries to explore technology solutions represented by more than 3,500 companies.


Brightly shines Abu Dhabi’s retail sector

posted on 02/09/2014

With increasing signs of improvement in the U.A.E.'s economy on the back of strong growth of real estate assets, there has been a surge in investor confidence, particularly in the retail occupier market.

Abu Dhabi's retail sector, in particular, continues to garner significant interest from global and regional retailers. While Dubai has kept its crown as the U.A.E.'s largest retail market, with a stream of impressive entrants in the capital this year, Abu Dhabi has clearly outpaced its neighbour in terms of retail growth.

This is evident by the fact that during 2013, Abu Dhabi delivered 168,000 square metres of retail space, placing it in 18th position globally for shopping centre space completed, and Number One in the GCC, according to a recent study by real estate firm CBRE.

In comparison, last year Dubai delivered just 35,000 square metres of retail space. This is an accomplishment in itself, but what makes it even more interesting is that the population of each of the countries ahead of the U.A.E. — China, Russia, Indonesia, and the Philippines — is more than 100 million.

The U.A.E., on the other hand, only has a population of 9 million, further showcasing its retail success despite its population increasing at a rate lower than other countries.

While Abu Dhabi has always enjoyed a reputation for attracting business and diplomatic travel, its approach to presenting the city as a tourist destination is heavily anchored on culture, entertainment and heritage. This strategy of welcoming world-class entertainment and tourist attractions has clearly caught the attention of international retailers.

The capital is often termed as a shoppers' paradise with a number of shopping options, including the recently launched, The Galleria, whose opening last year brought a significant number of new luxury and food & beverage brands in the emirate for the first time.

These developments have brought Abu Dhabi forward on the global retail map, positioning the capital, very rightly, as an independent global brand. Supplementing the retail facilities, the capital is also proactively building an ongoing program of artistic and cultural events and exhibitions that celebrate music, literature and the arts.

Major development projects include the Saadiyat Cultural District, the Guggenheim and the Louvre Abu Dhabi. Thrill seekers are able to ride the world's fastest rollercoaster at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, which has seen visitor numbers soar since it opened in 2010.

For Abu Dhabi, retail forms one of the most vital streams of economic activity. The government recognises this and steps have being taken to generate synergy for public-private partnerships to boost the emirate's hospitality and travel markets — two industries that directly impact the retail business.

The government's policy highlights the intention to support the growth of retail-driven tourism by focusing investment on locations with the potential to become world-class retail destinations. These include the Yas Mall on Yas Island, which is due for completion in the final quarter of 2014, along with other major centres.

These measures will clearly lead to an increased number of tourists flocking the capital and eventually boosting the emirate's retail industry. Avid travellers from across the world with high disposable incomes are already seen in large numbers splurging on luxury accessories across the capital. Chinese tourist arrivals in Abu Dhabi alone reached 32.259 in the first quarter of 2014.

Abu Dhabi represents ideal conditions for international retailers. It is also a perfect launch pad for entering the other Middle Eastern and African markets.

It will continue to thrive due to increasing purchasing power, a growing expatriate population, strong brand association, solid household consumption and modern retail concepts coupled with the expanding tourism and hospitality sectors. Investments from Chinese and Russian companies and high net worth individuals is also expected to provide further impetus to various ongoing construction projects in the emirate.

Combined, Dubai and Abu Dhabi present visitors with every conceivable attraction, each charting its own course. As the nation prepares for Expo 2020, the race is on to keep pace with the influx of visitors, a challenge that both emirates must meet. If previous form is anything to go on, Abu Dhabi looks set to more than meet the challenge.

The capital's retail market has never looked this promising. – Gulf News -


DSO supports Islamic economy initiative

posted on 02/09/2014

The Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority (DSOA), the regulatory body for Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO), the integrated free zone technology park, on Monday announced its plans to provide support to start-ups and seed ventures engaged in the Islamic economy domain through the Dubai Technology Entrepreneurship Centre (DTEC), the largest facility of this type in the region.

The announcement is in line with DSOA's commitment to support Dubai's ‘Capital of Islamic Economy' initiative launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the U.A.E. and Ruler of Dubai.

Set to be operational by Q1 2015, DTEC will provide start-ups that offer solutions built around the requirements of an Islamic economy, particularly initiatives that focus on digital and online Arabic content, a nurturing business environment across an area of 3,600 square metres.

In addition to providing logistical support, seed money and relevant incentives, DSO will engage the support of its partners including international technology companies to host global events, road-shows and networking platforms towards marketing Dubai as the platform of choice for Arabic content creation and online solutions.

Commenting on this initiative, Dr Mohammed Alzarooni, Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority (DSOA), said: "DSO will utilise the DTEC as an effective hub in nurturing start-ups that are focused on developing Islamic products and solutions. We are confident the centre will become a knowledge resource for education and research that form the fundamental pillars of an Islamic economy. Such government-led initiatives will help set the stage for innovation-led investments that will in turn drive the growth of entrepreneurship in the U.A.E..”

"Dubai's growing focus on digital technology and innovation has begun to attract global capital for the creation of Islamic design products. This has placed the emirate in prime position as a digital economy platform and an international hub for Islamic e-commerce,” Dr. Alzarooni added.

Essa Kazim, Governor of Dubai International Financial Centre and Secretary General of Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre, said: "The Dubai Silicon Oasis initiative supports our strategy at the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre in shaping the emirate as the Capital of Islamic Economy. SMEs are a major contributor to the country's Islamic economy. In the MENA region, SMEs contribute up to 45 per cent of employment and up to 33 per cent of the GDP. The next wave of growth in the Islamic digital and content segment will be driven by entrepreneurs with the foresight and drive to take up a business concept and turn it into a successful venture.”

In October 2013, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum launched the strategic plan for developing the Islamic economy sector. The strategic plan relies on seven main pillars which include the establishment of Dubai as a global reference and economic engine of Islamic finance, a trusted name and solutions provider for the halal industry, a destination of choice for family friendly tourism, a pioneer of the Islamic digital economy, a capital of Islamic fashion, arts and design, a leading global network of information and education on the Islamic economy, and a world class centre for Islamic economy standards and certification.

A wholly-owned entity of the Dubai government, Dubai Silicon Oasis operates as a free zone technology park for the semiconductor, microelectronic and other high technology-based companies looking to set up their regional headquarters and research and development facilities in the Middle East and North Africa region.

It may be mentioned that the DSOA's urban master-planned community spans 7.2 square kilometres of state of the art office towers, R&D and industrial zones, educational institutions, luxury apartments, villas, hotels, healthcare and a full range of lifestyle facilities which translate into a dynamic commercial and social environment. Businesses can flourish under the unrivalled package of incentives, including 100 per cent ownership and high end IT infrastructure that allows companies to begin operating immediately. – The Gulf Today -


Adihex: From falconry to all that is Emirati

posted on 02/09/2014

Exhibition from September 10 to 13 to have all its usual attractions and the organisers are expecting over 100,000 visitors.

In Arabia, falconry started as a necessity, a means for men to bring food to their families. Bedouins would catch a falcon, train it and go hunting with it. As life became better economically, falconry turned to a sport, more and more people being able to afford it.

Trapped by falconers, and also losing ground due to urban developments, falcons became endangered, and the late Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan decided to do something about it. He banned the capturing of wild falcons in the U.A.E., and encouraged falconry with farm-bred birds.

Back in the early 2000s, most Arabs were reluctant to buy a captive bred falcon. To promote them, alongside the art of falconry and generally the customs and traditions of the emirates, Shaikh Zayed created the Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition (Adihex), which first opened in 2003.

Half a dozen years on, the exhibition is stronger than ever and Khaleej Times met with its director, Abdullah Al Qubaisi, to learn about the old days of Adihex and what this 12th edition

"When we first opened in 2003, Shaikh Zayed himself came to the exhibition and he instructed us to focus more on falconry, so for the next year we prepared a bigger show,” said Al Qubaisi.

"The idea was to promote hunting with captive birds, but also our culture, the deep-rooted traditions of the U.A.E.. We also highlighted different outdoors activities, from camping to hunting,” he added.

Gradually, Adihex grew bigger every year. As the only such exhibition in the entire Middle East, traders, artisans, weapon makers, horse breeders, even environmentalists from all over the region and beyond took an interest in the exhibition.

"Since the early days, Adihex has changed a lot. In the beginning, exhibitors were new to exhibiting and did not know how and what products to show and sell or how to best make use of a 12-square-metre space,” explained Al Qubaisi. "Also, we started with just falcons and outdoors products and equipment, but then we added the equestrian section, diving and fishing.

"Adihex also developed new rules and regulations, and started raising environmental awareness. Nowadays, government organisations select Adihex as a platform to reach their target audience.”

Ultimately, Adihex has become a tourist attraction.

People come here to witness a traditional music show in the evening, to experience a camel auction, to see some of the most beautifully hand-carved knives and firearms, to hear 
songs and poems recited around the fire by the Arabic coffee makers and to buy some authentic "souvenirs”, be it a falcon hood or an antique sword.

Attractions, this year

This month, Adihex will have all its usual attractions and the organisers are expecting the three-day event will attract over 100,000 visitors.

The saluki beauty show is back and so are the camel and falcons auctions.

The Emirates Falconers Club, the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority and the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi will all be part of a heritage village style setup, where live falcons, saluki dogs, hand-made Emirati crafts and other surprises will be available.

"We also have something new this year, a Knowledge Zone. This is a small stage with multimedia tools to be used by companies and organisations to raise awareness about their ideas and products,” said Al Qubaisi.

"For example, the Environment Agency may use it to create awareness about some environmental aspect or a big safari company to explain hunting for big game.”

This year, there could be narrower walkways for visitors.

"We are not just fully booked, but overbooked. At the moment, we are still trying to find a way to get everybody in, so you might find some areas for walking a bit smaller,” he pointed out.

In terms of gross space (pavilions and walkways), Adihex remained the same as last year — 39,000 square metres. The actual exhibiting space, though, has grown from 14,345 square metres in 2013 to 17,000 square metres this year, meaning 35 more exhibitors this year, from 605 last September to 640 now.

Entry to Adihex is Dh10 per person, but parking will be free during the three days of the show, which will take place at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre. – Khaleej Times -§ion=nationgeneral


Dubai to host inaugural Fashion Week Middle East in October

posted on 02/09/2014

October is shaping up to be a busy month for Dubai's fashion pack. Not only will Fashion Forward take place during the Eid break, but now there's a new event competing for the same crowd at the same time. Dubbed Fashion Week Middle East, an estimated 50 designers will debut their spring/summer 2015 collections at the Dubai International Financial Centre from October 1 to 4. The event is scheduled to run twice a year – in October and March – and organisers are planning to take the Dubai-based designers Furne One and Shrekahnth to New York Fashion Week to present previews of their collections.

Other regional designers are yet be announced, but one guaranteed international attendee is America's Betsey Johnson.

The eccentric 72-year-old started her label back in 1978 and became known for playful designs in hippy-inspired, flowing fabrics and her much-loved shades of pink. In the early 2000's Johnson attracted a new generation of fans when she designed pieces for Sarah Jessica Parker's character Carrie in the HBO series Sex and the City. In recent years, the designer experienced financial difficulties resulting in her filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2012 and closing the majority of her 63 stores.

The question on everybody's lips… will Johnson perform her trademark cartwheel at the end of her runway show in Dubai? – The National -


U.A.E. Olympic team to train in South Korea

posted on 02/09/2014

The U.A.E. Olympic football national team's delegation heads for South Korea on Monday morning for a two-week training camp before the Whites line up for honours in the 17th Asian Games to be held in the Korean city Incheon later this month.

The U.A.E. lads launch their claim against India on September 15 and face Jordan three days later in the group stage of the tournament.

According to the national head coach Ali Ebrahim, they have decided to shift their training camp from China to South Korea to enable the players to acclimatise and play three friendlies on September 4, 7 and 9.

"We will take on hosts Korea in the final warm-up, but our opponents in the first two matches are still to be decided,” he confirmed.

"I think we are in a very good position and the boys have concluded their preparations with a final workout at the Zeyab Awana grounds on Saturday,” he added.

"We have focused on upgrading the physical fitness and other tactical aspects, including interception, crossings and execution of free kicks,” he said.

Ebrahim spoke to the players before the training session and urged them to show the best of them to do pride for their nation.

The training session was attended by the top officials of the football association who reminded the players of the tough mission ahead and the necessity of living up to the expectations.

"I would like to convey the greetings and good wishes of Shaikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, National Security Advisor, Deputy Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council and Honorary President of the UAEFA and Yousuf Al Serkal, president of the football association and the members of the board of directors,” said Salem Obaid Al Shamsi, vice-president of the UAEFA.

"It is a national duty,” said Bander Al Ahbabi, who has been called to join the squad alongside Nawaf Mubarak and Saeed Al Kathiri as the overage trio.

"To be invited by the Olympic national team's coach is a great honour and we will never let him down,” he promised.

Regarding the status of Sultan Bargash who was called to replace Nawaf Mubarak, no final decision has been taken as regards whether he would be added to the official list of players or not, but both players are expected to travel to Korea.

"We will find out there who would be the third player,” said Abdul Qader Hassan, director of the national teams' department at the UAEFA. "In case we will succeed in adding Bragash to the list, Mubarak will return home the next day, otherwise, we will go ahead with the same trio. Everything depends on the decision of the officials in the light of the rules of the Games,” he said.

Elsewhere, the news about India's intentions to pull out of the football competition is still to be confirmed after the squad is already in China to prepare from there for the Games and started their preparations with a 3-0 win over Guangzhou at the Century Park Stadium in Shanghai on Friday. Jordan Olympic boys have also cruised to a narrow 2-1 victory over Uzbekistan at the King Abdulla Stadium in Amman on Saturday. – Khaleej Times –§ion=nationsports