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Zayed Giving Initiative offers medical treatment to 3, 000 million children, elderly people

posted on 30/07/2014

In what could be deemed the first of its kind in the region to alleviate the suffering of needy patients worldwide, Emirati and international doctors have treated 3, 000 million children, elderly people, and conducted over 8, 000 heart surgeries.

Emirati heart surgeon Dr. Adel Al Shameri, CEO of the Zayed Giving Initiative, said that the doctors of poor have demonstrated a unique humanitarian model and voluntary medical fieldwork, adding that hundreds of multi-national doctors joined the global voluntary medical team to treat the poor patients.

He noted that the Zayed Giving Initiative provides the medical treatment to the needy patients worldwide in the memory of late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and in extension to the voluntary and humanitarian culture outlined by Sheikh Zayed, and sustained by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the U.A.E. Armed Forces.

Dr. Shamsa Al Owr, Executive Director of the Initiative of Doctors of Poor, said an elite of Arab, Asian, European and American doctors, showed a special humanitarian work model in coordination with the accredited voluntary organisations to offer the medical treatment to the needy patients worldwide. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/general/1395268234138.html


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Emirates Red Crescent disbursed Dh9 million to Palestinian orphans

posted on 30/07/2014

RAMALLAH: The Emirates Red Crescent has disbursed Dh 8.9 million to 3,743 Palestinian orphans sponsored by the U.A.E. relief agency in the West Bank and registered with the ministry of social affairs.

Dr. Mohammed Abu Hameed, undersecretary of the ministry, said the annual sponsorship funds had been paid to orphans before Eid Al Fitr to secure their needs.

He expressed his thanks and gratitude for the Emirates Red Crescent for the humanitarian assistance it provided to needy and destitute families.

'They are in desperate need of U.A.E. assistance....... they are actually receive year-round help either in form direct aid or seasonal relief and developmental programmes, especially in health and educational sectors,' he added. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395268229718.html


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U.A.E.'s HAI provides helps 2000 poor Palestinian families near Ramallah

posted on 30/07/2014

RAMALLAH: U.A.E.'s Human Appeal International (HAI) has provided Dh1 million in aid to more than two thousand poor families in the Palestinian Territories (oPT) during the Holy Month of Ramadan.

HAI's aid included one thousand tonnes of rice and hundreds of food packages, Iftar meals and banquets, children's clothes and other aid for the targeted families in Palestinian villages and refugee camps near Ramallah, the West Bank.

Ibrahim Rashid, director of HAI's Office in West Bank, said the project was part of HAI's US$4 million humanitarian initiative, launched in Ramadan and will run till Eid al-Adha, to assist four million Palestinians.

Beneficiary families expressed their appreciation to U.A.E., for its humanitarian efforts providing year-round support for Palestinians.

Akl Rabea, Head of the Zakat (alms) Committee in Ramallah said HAI's initiatives are not seasonal, adding that the agency also sponsors 1200 orphans, 80 families and 19 people with special needs. – Emirates News Agency WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates-arab/1395268246292.html


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Eid Al Fitr spikes Dubai’s hotel occupancy

posted on 30/07/2014

Dubai hotels are reporting a sharp increase in bookings by families from across the GCC region as the emirate gears up to roll out festive fun for families throughout the Eid holiday celebrations.

Peter Foster, director of sales and marketing at Intercontinental Dubai Festival City Group, said the group had been preparing for visitors attracted to Dubai for the Eid holidays, particularly for families from the GCC region.

"We have witnessed occupancy gradually increasing toward the end of the holy month of Ramadan and we expect occupancy levels to [have reached] 90 per cent by the first day of Eid,” Foster said.

He was anticipating that the uptick would continue in the months to follow as the holidays rolled into the start of the tourism season with a host of festivals and events across Dubai.

Hotels operators on Monday corroborated the view of an anticipated upswing in occupancy levels. Large numbers of families from the GCC region were keen to take advantage of the festive ambience and diverse holiday offerings in Dubai, they said.

Tarek Aouini, Emirates Grand Hotel's manager, said the hotel had been a contributor in the task of getting people from the GCC to visit Dubai during the holidays. "Hence, even for Eid, we do expect a good influx of guests from the GCC markets, and we expect this to boost occupancy levels at our hotel,” he said.

Gerald Lawless, president and CEO of Jumeirah Group, said it was unique occasion for visitors and locals alike.

"Eid is always a very special period for people from all over the world who come to Dubai,” Lawless said. "Eid is a culmination of the month of fasting when all Muslims can relax, feel good about their accomplishment for Ramadan and enjoy some special time with their family and friends.”

Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment, an agency of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, has organised the seventh edition of "Eid in Dubai” to celebrate the occasion of Eid Al Fitr, as well as the 17th edition of Dubai Summer Surprises 2014, which is set to run from August 2 to September 5. Together, the combined celebrations and festivities run for 40 consecutive days. The celebrations would be "embracing and showcasing the core values of joy, family bonding and everything that can help the family to enjoy an unforgettable experience in Dubai during the Eid and summer holidays”, the governmental events organiser said in a statement.

Hotels were now looking ahead to a successful tourism season to follow up the sharp increase in bookings by families from across the GCC region for Eid, it said.

Meanwhile, this week is expected to be among the busiest for U.A.E. airports yet, with Dubai International Airport hiring extra staff to cope with the traffic and Abu Dhabi International Airport expecting a 15 to 20 per cent increase compared to a year ago. – Khaleej Times - http://www.khaleejtimes.com/biz/inside.asp?section=uaebusiness&xfile=/data/uaebusiness/2014/July/uaebusiness_July298.xml


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Dewa to show smart initiatives at Gitex 2014

posted on 30/07/2014

Dewa will showcase its latest smart services and initiatives as part of its on-going efforts to support the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice- President and Prime Minister of the U.A.E. and Ruler of Dubai, to use smart services anytime anywhere. Dewa's smart initiatives are also in line with its vision to become a sustainable world-class utility and reinforce its leading position in the field of smart services. Dewa has announced a campaign that will mark its participation in Gitex 2014. Dewa's customers will have the opportunity to enter a daily raffle draw to win valuable prizes by conducting selected transactions through its smart application from August to October 2014. – Khaleej Times - http://www.khaleejtimes.com/biz/inside.asp?xfile=/data/uaebusiness/2014/July/uaebusiness_July302.xml§ion=uaebusiness


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Environmental volunteers help protect Fujairah’s Wadi Wurayah

posted on 30/07/2014

Environmental work by volunteers at Fujairah's Wadi Wurayah National Park has yielded important results for scientists looking to preserve the area's delicate ecosystem.

Between September last year and April, more than 270 people from 12 countries volunteered for the first round of the Water Research and Learning Programme in the protected area, gathering data on the quality of the fresh water in the pools, and providing information enabling scientists to map the well-being of the ecosystem over time.

"They have achieved tremendous results,” said Dr Olivier Combreau, head of the park and an expert with the Emirates Wildlife Society – World Wide Fund for Nature, which is a partner in the initiative with the international environmental charity, Earthwatch, HSBC Bank Middle East and the Government of Fujairah.

Wadi Wurayah was put out of bounds to the public in December last year when the Crown Prince of Fujairah, Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad Al Sharqi, officially closed the gates to the wadi to allow the popular tourist site to recover from years of human intervention.

The park is set to reopen after the development of infrastructure to accommodate visitors, while also preventing disturbance to the rare animals and plants that live there.

Every week for the duration of the programme a group of volunteers from HSBC would spend five days at the park. They were trained to perform water tests, count dragonflies and damselflies, capture and measure toads and check camera traps. In all, more than 275 freshwater samples were collected, more than 400 dragonflies tagged, and about 300 toads measured.

The data was a valuable contribution to scientists at the park, said Dr Combreau.

"Without the volunteers, it would have taken us long hours of work to obtain all this data,” he said.

The volunteers were trained how to carry out simple tests for nitrate and phosphate concentrations – which can promote growth of water algae – and for the turbidity, or murkiness, of the water. They also tested for levels of e.coli and other coliform bacteria in the pools near the main waterfall of the wadi.

Scientists had noted elevated levels of bacteria that could pose a threat to the health of visitors, but more recent tests showed that the levels of bacteria had dropped.

Tagging dragonflies involved catching them in nets, then pinning them down on to a magnetic board without harming them. A number was then tagged on to their wings. The work was expected to produce data about the dragonflies' range, lifespan, population and breeding cycles.

Dragonflies are highly sensitive to water quality and their abundance or otherwise serves as an overall indicator of an ecosystem's health. This was also the reason why toads and other insects were studied.

Among those helping out was Hazel Jane D'sa, 16, who attended with her mother, an HSBC employee. She said she enjoyed learning about water scarcity issues.

"I have recommended the programme to friends and family already, she said.

Sabrin Rahman, senior manager of corporate sustainability at HSBC Middle East, said the bank had supported the Wadi Wurayah project for several years with staff volunteering more than 3,600 hours in clean-ups and other activities.

"HSBC helped to launch the Middle East's first water research centre in the U.A.E. to act as a hub for environmental research and learning activities critical to water resource and ecosystem management,” she said. – The National - http://www.thenational.ae/uae/environment/environmental-volunteers-help-protect-fujairahs-wadi-wurayah


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Emirati designer Hessa Al Falasi refreshes the traditional abaya

posted on 30/07/2014

The Emirati designer Hessa Al Falasi is a self-proclaimed trailblazer.

"It seems that I set trends that others follow,” says the 25-year-old Dubai resident. "Because I've noticed that some other designers have copied the styles from collections that I've launched.”

Al Falasi's breakthrough came seven years ago, when she began cinching traditional, loose-fitting abayas. The simple shift in silhouette was to launch her business and establish her name on the region's fashion circuit.

"I created the first ‘folded abaya', gathered at the waist with a belt,” she says. "It was my first collection, inspired by the 1920s. It became the hottest abaya trend of the season and the past seven years. Even I've been surprised how long it has lasted.”

Al Falasi's fashionable journey began when she was a child, stitching together smock dresses for her dolls. Al Falasi's mother was quick to recognise her daughter's flair for design and encouraged her to put her ideas down on paper. A drawing of an outfit for a friend's wedding was transformed into a dress when she was just 13 and this ignited a life-long passion.

"I designed it myself, bought the fabric and my mother and I had a tailor make it,” she says. "It was a beautiful green chiffon dress, with two kinds of fabric and a pale lemon lining. Everyone kept stopping and asking me about it and, although I was young, I knew my first design had an effect.”

In the years that followed, Al Falasi took courses in fashion design and pattern cutting and even employed a designer to privately mentor her through the early stages of her career. In 2006, she was ready to launch her debut abaya collection, a range born primarily out of necessity.

"Since I had been 15 years old, I hadn't liked what was available in the market,” she says. "There weren't many abaya designers around and many were really expensive, with pieces starting from Dh3,000. The designs were very simple and very boring. Everyone was wearing the same styles and I couldn't handle not being different or individual.”

What resulted was an abaya collection inspired by the Roaring Twenties, a decade epitomised by women shrugging off the more restrictive fashions of previous eras. Draping, gathered fabric and ruffles were to define Al Falasi's designs and, of course, the humble belt brought everything together.

"People loved the designs, no one was shocked by them,” she says. "I was telling them, they had to buy them, that belted and folded abayas would be the hottest trend of the season. But even I was shocked how quickly it became a classic cut.”

While the form of Al Falasi's abayas may have pushed boundaries, she initially remained loyal to working with classic black. After officially establishing her label in 2011 and becoming more widely travelled – which expanded her knowledge of art and music – her palette and creativity came alive. She's a huge fan of not only classic Arabic music but tribal beats, too. She also travels regularly to Europe to study up close the paintings of her favourite artists such as Gustav Klimt. She was so taken with Klimt's work in Vienna that she customised fabrics for a past collection, the details of which emulated the lines of his drawings and feather-light brushstrokes.

Though she hasn't entirely turned her back on monochrome, today Al Falasi's dresses appear in mint green and tangerine orange. Kaftans, too, are a riot of geometric colours ranging from purples and blues to autumnal russet and minky browns.

"I sometimes have a full-coloured abaya and then cover it with a layer of chiffon, muting the shade beneath a little,” she says. "I'll also often use black lace over the coloured fabrics.”

While the base colours and panels of her laser-cut garments can flit anywhere from navy blue to canary yellow on the spectrum, Al Falasi still holds fast to some traditions.

"I try to use bright colours for autumn/winter collections, such as hot pink under velvet, and it looks really beautiful,” she says. "But colourful abayas don't always have to be quite so bright, the colours should remain a little calm and a touch conservative. I do believe that, too.” – The National - http://www.thenational.ae/arts-lifestyle/fashion/emirati-designer-hessa-al-falasi-refreshes-the-traditional-abaya


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U.A.E. riders dominate in Verona

posted on 30/07/2014

Riders from the U.A.E. dominated for the second day running with Khalifa Ali Khalfan Al Jahouri and Mohammed Al Mazrooei winning their respective events in the Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival-supported Italia Endurance Festival in Verona, Italy to add to Saturday's double gold by the U.A.E. ladies.

Fifteen year-old U.A.E. schoolboy stunned his seniors when he edged past two other U.A.E. riders in a close finish to win the 126-km Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan Endurance Cup Open CEI Two Star ride.

The Al Ain schoolboy riding Vendaval was involved in a close battle with Saeed Al Khayari on Ostro Di Chia and Sheikh Hasher bin Mohammed Thani Al Maktoum on Cal Colonial.

With the narrow pathway amidst the fields making it difficult to overtake, Khalifa waited in third place for much of the final stage before he saw the gap when one of the front runners tired a bit and seized that opening to forge ahead and stave off Al Khayari to win the 126-km event by a narrow two seconds.

The 1-2-3 finish in the Open ride was followed by a similar 1-2-3 by the under-21 U.A.E. riders in the 120-km Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan Endurance Cup (Young and Junior riders) Two Star ride.

Mohammed Al Mazrooei on Khedji took 6 hrs 11 mins 27 secs to win the gold ahead of Mohammed Al Muhairi on Fair Plex (6:12.49) while Ali Ghanem Al Ali on Shakim in third with a timing of 6:12.50.

Finally it was left to Swedish girl Annelie Eriksson on Penelope Del Ma to prevent a clean sweep of the Italia Endurance Festival by the U.A.E. riders when she won the 86-km Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan Endurance Cup One Star ride.

Salem Hamad Al Kitbi on Orodemattaepadru and Ismail Mohammed Al Hosani on Boa Queda TB finished second and third adding two more medals to the U.A.E. tally.

Adnan Sultan Al Nuaimi, director general of the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, did very well in the 120-km Open event to finish fifth while singer-rider Reem Shaban Al Hassan on Siperia finished sixth and also won the Best Conditioned Horse award in the Open category.

On Saturday the U.A.E. were led by a dominant display by U.A.E.'s Afra Khalifa Al Suwaidi on Rivergum Drifter for the individual gold while the U.A.E.'s Aya Abdulla Redha on Quersick Niellans took the bronze. The Emirati girls established their supremacy both in the individual as well as the team categories as Alia Al Khafajy on Exclusiva finished sixth and the three riders totalled 16 hrs 18 mins and 26 seconds for the 120-km event to snatch the team gold ahead of Bahrain.

Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, congratulated the U.A.E. lady riders for their team gold medal and also Afra for their success and also Afra Khalifa Al Suwaidi and Aya Abdulla Redha for their individual gold and bronze respectively.

Abdul Rahim Al Awadi from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs along with Bahrain's Shura Council member Lulwa Awadhi and Lara Sawaya, executive director of the Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival and Chairman of Ladies Racing at the International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing Authorities (IFAHR) and Honorary President of Italia Endurance Festival and representatives of the Italia Endurance Festival participated in the prize distribution of all the four rides.

Abdul Rahim Al Awadi hailed the success of the U.A.E. riders and also remarked that the Sheikh Mansour Festival was promoting both the sport as well as the U.A.E. heritage.

Sawaya said, "The victory of U.A.E. lady riders on Saturday is very significant as it is the first FEI ride for ladies and the team did very well to win the team gold as well as the individual gold and silver.”

"And on Sunday, young Khalifa Ali Khalfan Al Jahouri did the U.A.E. proud as he led a 1-2-3 in the 120-km Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan Endurance Cup Open CEI Two Star ride. The Young Riders' event was also a clean sweep by U.A.E. riders. The performance of the U.A.E. riders is indeed an advance Ramadan gift to the U.A.E. citizens,” Sawaya added.

"The seven U.A.E. team lady riders will now go to Slovakia next month where three of them — Afra Khalifa Al Suwaidi, Aya Abdulla Redha and Alia Al Khafajy — will compete in the World Endurance Championship for Young Horses,” she said. – Khaleej Times - http://www.khaleejtimes.com/sport/inside_sport.asp?xfile=/data/nationsports/2014/July/nationsports_July178.xml§ion=nationsports


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