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UAE's DVI team joins INTERPOL’s Incident Response Team on identifying victims of Malaysian airline

posted on 24/07/2014

A U.A.E. team of Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) specialists left yesterday to Ukraine on request from the INTERPOL to join DVI process following the crash of Malaysia Airline's flight MH 17.

All 298 passengers on board were killed in the crash which took place on Thursday in Ukraine.

Major General Dr. Ahmed Nasser Al Raisi, Director of Central Operations and Chairman of Victim Affairs Committee, Ministry of Interior, said the Emirati DVI team had immediately answered the call of duty which it received from the INTERPOL in implementation of the U.A.E.'s humanitarian approach which the country's leadership adopts at times of crises and disasters across the world.

The INTERPOL's request, he added, underlines the good reputation the U.A.E. and its police and safety forces enjoy in Search and Rescue (SAR) and high professionalism in managing crime scenes.

Major Ali Al Muhairi, Director of the Victim Affairs Office and head of the team, said the U.A.E. is the only official Arab member in the INTERPOL DVI group thanks to the leadership's proper care for providing advanced material and technological resources along with continued training for human resources, making the U.A.E. police forces one of the world's most modern and effective security agencies.

He added that advanced countries with high forensic expertise the likes of Switzerland, the Netherlands, Australia and Britain are also sending DVI experts.

INTERPOL said offers of assistance to deploy additional DVI experts had currently been received from 13 INTERPOL member countries. Member countries which lost citizens in the MH 17 crash will also be requested to gather and send ante-mortem data to the INTERPOL's Command and Coordination Centre (CCC) in order for the victims to be identified as quickly as possible in order for them to be returned to their families. – Emirates News Agency, WAM – Read more:


Mohamed bin Zayed underlines role of military, security, police leaders in protecting U.A.E.

posted on 24/07/2014

His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of U.A.E. Armed Forces, has assured the commanders and senior officers of U.A.E. Armed Forces, Ministry of Interior, security departments, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and a number of U.A.E. ambassadors to sisterly and friendly countries, that "President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan is doing well and that his heatlh, with God's grace, is good." His Highness The Deputy Supreme Commander of U.A.E. Armed Forces, also underlined the importance of the roles of U.A.E. military, police and security institutions in protecting the nation and consolidating the pillars of security, stability and safety, alongside the important roles of U.A.E. diplomacy in bolstering the international stature and reputation of U.A.E.

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed was speaking at his Majlis at Al Bateen Palace where he received the senior officers and officials who came to extend their greetings to His Highness on the occasion of the Holy Month of Ramdan, in the presence of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in the Western Region, H.H. Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, National Security Advisor and Deputy Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Council, H.H. Sheikh Nahyan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation, 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 Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chief of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince's Court, H.H. Sheikh Dhiyab bin Zayed Al Nahyan, H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister, H.H. Sheikh Khalid bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Board of Zayed Higher Organisation for Humanitarian Care & Special Needs (ZHO), Dr. Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, and other senior officials.

"Each one of you represents U.A.E. in your particular jurisdiction, and reflects U.A.E.'s perfection both as a state and society, of its work and plan for fulfilling its ambitions. We rely on you and the loyal people of the nation in order to take care of the young generation, open doors for them, be patient with them, enhance their confidence, share your knowledge and experience with them and consolidate their values of loyalty, love for the nation and dedication is serving the nation, as you all do all of the aforementioned part of your daily life by word and deed," His Highness the Crown Prince told his guests.

"President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, through his ongoing initiatives and directives continues what the Founding Fathers wanted to achieve for this state: Seeing the people of U.A.E. as one united family that is clinging to the teaching of its tolerant religion and national fixed principles in order to face all that targets its creed, unity and its humanitarian approach of the love of benevolence, peace, security and stability for all humanity." Presenting his vision for the process of development in U.A.E, His Highness the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi affirmed that "we want to be in the first place, and also want our country to match advanced nations that were able to mobilise their human resources to accomplish its national mission." "Our work and effort at this time is the fruit that your children and grandchildren will be reaping. We now have a historic opportunity for us to bolster the progress U.A.E has been making, at the regional level. We should not make the rights of our nation and the future generations seem unimportant. Having said that, I call on all of you, the leaders and the human wealth on which we rely, by the help of Allah, to understand that we have our ambition in sight and it demands the commitment, cooperation and coordination of all of you for the sake of the glory of this nation and the pride of this precious land," His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed added.

"We are all partners in the service of, and for the sake of the glory of this nation. We are shouldering a heavy responsibility and a heavy obligation. Therefore we have to place the higher national interests over and above all narrow and personal and individual interests and advantages of persons, corporations and establishments. This does demand more cooperation from, and more coordination between all bodies, as well as teamwork that is for the sake of optimal performance and creative work which will achieve all our ambitions for U.A.E.: to become, by the help of Allah, a successful and leading model for steering the process of progress, development and growth in the region in order to achieve a place among advanced nations." "The coming stage that U.A.E. is looking for demands all of us make the approach of coordination and teamwork prevail over individualism, and this is the approach that guarantees our achievement of our goals of advancing U.A.E. and further its success and bolster its growth and prosperity." Presenting his reading of the developments and changes in the region, in some Arab countries in particular, and the growing threats of extremist trends and terrorist groups that take advantage of religion in the region, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed said, "The region, due to the transformations and developments, is going to enter a new stage of challenges, and U.A.E. is not untouched by the effects brought about by these transformations that demand all of us, on the national level, be highly prepared for countering them, keep pace with the resulting developments and ably deal with their spillover (consequences) in addition to the importance of building a new ground for cooperation between Arab states that want to preserve security and stability, their integrity and the interests of their peoples in order to bolster pan-Arab positions in the face of the looming threats." "We are confident that our people's glowing spirit of patriotism, which was evident in the response of youth who had joined national service recently, will be able to counter and fend off these looming threats and dangers, however numerous or diverse they might be, so that they will not distract us from our most important project; Building our nation, U.A.E., which can lead the way in, and accomplish the mission of protecting our dear country, its resources, achievements, capabilities and gains for the sake of the current and future generation, in a way that bolsters the strength, power and glory of Arab Nation and Muslim Nation," His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed said affirming that loyalty to the nation is the greatest and deepest kind of loyalty and prevails over any loyalty to families, tribes or regions.

"Loyalty to U.A.E. comes first and foremost and shall prevail over any other loyalties. This is what all of us must instill in the youth in order to strengthen our march and unite our ranks," concluded His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed.


Hamdan bin Zayed: Leadership's support made U.A.E. Armed Forces a source of pride

posted on 24/07/2014

H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in the Western Region, on Wednesday affirmed that U.A.E. Armed Forces now receive state-of-the-art military weapons and military equipment that enable them to perform its role of defending the country and supporting security, thanks to the support provided by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the directives of Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and the follow up by His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of U.A.E. Armed Forces.

"Our Armed Forces have become among the country's best institutions and the world's most modern armies thanks to the strategic directives for the various areas of development, organisation, armament, training and human resource," H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed said in his remarks as he visited the Liwa Air Base where he was received by Lt. General Hamad Mohammed Thani Al Rumaithi, Chief of Staff of the UAE Armed Forces, Major General Staff Pilot Ibrahim Nasser Al Alawi, Commander of the Air Force and Air Defence, and other senior Armed Forces officers.

The Ruler's Representative in the Western Region also noted the U.A.E. Armed Forces' positive and effective contribution to international humanitarian work and to the protection of security and stability in various regions around the world.

H.H. Sheikh Hamdan also expressed his satisfaction at excellence and preparedness of the Air Force and Air Defence as well as at the national youth's sincere determination, resolve, strong will and giving as well as high efficiency in using the state-of-the-art military technology and modern science.

"U.A.E. Armed Forces were, and still are, the source of heroes, the symbol of Emirati patriotism and the formidable edifice that all look up to as the embodiment of the values of sacrifice, dedication, courage and loyalty to the dear nation and wise leadership, and also as the secure fort that defends the nation." H.H. Sheikh Hamdan reiterated his strong confidence that the national youth are able to keep pace with weapons technology and acquire the necessary skills for dealing with advanced military technology.

On their part, the officers and non-commissioned officers of the Liwa Air Base reiterated their loyalty to President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, vowed that they will always be the vigilant and protective shield of the nation and affirmed their keenness on sacrificing their lives in defence of the nation. – Emirates News Agency, WAM – Read more:


Abdullah bin Zayed discusses situation in Gaza, Egypt's ceasefire initiative

posted on 24/07/2014

H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister has made phone calls to Germany's Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, France's Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, and Britain's Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, to discuss the deteriorating situation in the Palestinian Territories and the ongoing aggression on Gaza Strip.

In his phone conversations, H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed affirmed U.A.E.'s support to the efforts Egypt is making for a ceasefire.

He also congratulated Mr. Hammond on his recent appointment as Britain's new Foreign Secretary.

H.H. Sheikh Abdullah wished for success for Secretary Hammond in furthering the bilateral relations between U.A.E. and the United Kingdom. – Emirates News Agency, WAM – Read more:


Dubai Airlift for Gaza enters third day as first supplies cross border

posted on 24/07/2014

Under the directions of His Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, two additional airlifts providing crucial supplies for Gaza left Dubai yesterday, bringing the total number of airlifts from the Emirate to five in just three days.

Organised by Dubai's International Humanitarian City, and using C130-s and a Boeing 747, 53,000 sleeping mats, nearly 20,000 blankets, 2000 kitchen sets, and 220 hygiene kits plus supplies of High Energy Biscuits (HEBs) have already been supplied. The total value of the shipped goods has already reached about Dh 3.65m (approx. US$1m).

All supplies from Dubai are now being flown to Amman's Marka Airport and will then be transferred by land. The non-food aid will be distributed by UNWRA to more than 120,000 Gazans who have lost their homes due to continuous Israeli bombardment. Additionally, the HEBs are being provided by the UN World Food Programme (WFP) for distribution by both their staff and UNWRA in Gaza. More trucks are being loaded and the airlift will continue using stocks held at the International Humanitarian City plus newly procured and donated items.

Additionally, medicines donated by the World Health Organisation will be added to the consignments as the bombardment has severely damaged hospitals and health facilities in Gaza. Specialised rations and other ready-to-eat foods are likely to feature in upcoming shipments as well.

Funding and support for the operation has come from UNWRA, Emirates Red Crescent, Dubai Airwing, and the International Humanitarian City in Dubai, and the UN World Food Programme. – Emirates News Agency, WAM – Read more:


Emirati Charity Works Authority bestows nearly Dh1 million on orphans in Nablus Palestinian

posted on 24/07/2014

NABLUS: The Emirati Charity Works Authority has bestowed nearly Dh1 million on orphans sponsored by the authority in Nablus, whose number has now risen to more than a thousand.

Ibrahim Rashid, Director of the Human Appeal International Office in the West Bank, said in a speech during a ceremony to hand over the donation in the presence of a number of senior officials that the Authority will remain with the Palestinian people in the light of their suffering of injustice.

He stressed that the humanitarian role of the Authority is to continuously help Palestinians to overcome the tragic events they are exposed to in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The Authority is also keen to take care of orphans, with the proliferation of this category because of the successive events in Palestine.

Ibrahim Rashid added that The Emirati Charity Works Authority is considered to be the largest sponsor of Palestinian children and is caring for nearly 20,000 orphans. With the advent of the Holy Month of Ramadan, the Authority supplements this category with more support and assistance whereby approximately Dh2 million has been allocated to the sponsored orphans. – Emirates News Agency, WAM – Read more:


Abu Dhabi Fund for Development celebrates 43rd Anniversary

posted on 24/07/2014

The Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), the Abu Dhabi government-controlled leading provider of foreign development aid has reiterated U.A.E.'s continued commitment to support the development process of emerging countries.

Marking its 43rd anniversary this month, the fund which was established on July 15, 1971 on the directive of the U.A.E.'s founder President, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, in a report has said that ADFD is today one of the most prominent development aid providers in the world and a role model in providing financial aid to fight the cause of global poverty.

Towards this priority, ADFD offers soft loans and manages government grants to projects that play a key role in shaping the growth of these countries. In addition, it also makes long-term investments and direct contributions that stimulate the private sector in the recipient countries and plays an essential role in accelerating economic growth.

ADFD's funding strategy focuses on sectors that are vital for both economic and social development such as agriculture, electricity, water, transportation, industry, renewable energy, as well as social, health and housing services.

Over the years, the fund has consistently responded to the changing directions of global development aid by increasing its capital from Dh8 billion to Dh16 billion, and lately by developing its five-year strategy (2012 - 2016).

Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, Director- General of ADFD, said that "On the occasion of ADFD's 43rd anniversary, we would like to record our appreciation and gratitude to late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan who established this fund out of his deep conviction that it is the duty of the U.A.E. to lend a helping hand to friendly countries, and contribute to the economic development and improved living standards of those countries." Al Suwaidi added that the fund has become a pioneering example in the field of development aid. Starting with a capital of Dh500 million in 1971, the total value of the grants managed and loans provided by the fund by the end of the second quarter of 2014 reached Dh61 billion including Dh27.7 billion short and long-term loans, and Dh41 billion provided as government grants.

The Fund has so far financed 416 development projects in 69 countries around the world, reflecting its continuing commitment in playing an effective role in alleviating poverty in developing countries, and setting them on a development path.

Among the major projects managed by ADFD are Ma'rib Dam in Yemen, which was financed by a government grant in 1986 and is considered one of the largest projects in Yemen. Other projects include Egypt's Sheikh Zayed City, a housing projects funded with Dh735 million government grant, Sheikh Zayed Canal built using an Dh348 million grant, and the Tangier Port in Morocco financed with Dh367 million. On a global scale, the Fund has contributed to the financing and managing of several projects in sectors including water and electricity, road and transportation, education and health in Arab, Asian and African countries.

In the Arab world, ADFD has provided more than Dh54 billion to finance projects in Bahrain, Oman, Jordan, Palestine, Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Algeria, Mauritania, Tunisia, Lebanon, Somalia, Djibouti, and the Comoros Islands.

In Asia, ADFD has financed projects worth Dh3.691 billion in Indonesia, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Mongolia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and the Maldives.

Additionally, it has provided around Dh2.73 billion to fund projects in Africa that have widely benefitted countries including Mauritius, Seychelles, Gambia, Eritrea, Burkina Faso, Benin, Guinea, Tanzania, Lesotho, Senegal, Uganda, Congo, Congo Brazzaville, Kenya, Burundi, Guinea Bissau, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Niger, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Zambia, South Sudan and Cape Verde. Elsewhere, the Fund has provided Dh1.2 billion to finance development projects in countries such as Turkey, Malta, Albania and Montenegro, among others.

In 2009, ADFD signed a partnership agreement with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) to provide soft loans worth Dh1.28 billion to finance renewable energy projects in developing countries, across a seven year period (Dh183 million a year).

In 2013, the U.A.E. Government provided three development grants within two GGC programmes to support development in Jordan, Morocco and Bahrain, estimated at a total value of US$19 billion. Of this Dh9.19 billion has been allocated to Bahrain and Dh4.6 billion to Jordan and Morocco towards developing vital growth projects in these countries.

In 2013, the fund continued its support for developing countries by providing loans to finance projects in Mauritania, Albania, Bangladesh and Kenya. In the first half of 2014, ADFD signed a number of financing agreements with countries including Gambia, Senegal, Zambia, Serbia, Sierra Leone and Mauritania to provide development aid totalling over Dh534 million.

The projects financed by ADFD undergo intensive technical and economic assessment to ensure their viability in stimulating sustainable economic development in the beneficiary countries. – Emirates News Agency, WAM – Read more:


Joint scientific paper by Masdar Institute and MIT wins IEEE EDA Best Paper Award for 2014

posted on 24/07/2014

Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, an independent, research-driven graduate-level university focused on advanced energy and sustainable technologies, announced a scientific paper submitted by a faculty team from MIT and Masdar Institute has won the prestigious Donald O. Pederson Best Paper Award (IEEE TCAD Best Paper Award) 2014.

The winning authors, Mr. Zheng Zhang, Dr. Tarek A. El-Moselhy, Dr. Ibrahim (Abe) M. Elfadel, and Dr. Luca Daniel, received an unprecedented three nominations for their paper titled ‘Stochastic Testing Method for Transistor-Level Uncertainty Quantification Based on Generalized Polynomial Chaos'. The paper was a joint research project undertaken under the MIT-Masdar Institute Collaborative Research Program.

The award was presented last month at the Award Ceremony of the 51stDesign Automation Conference (DAC) that was held in San Francisco, US, between 1-5 June.

Sponsored by the IEEE Council on Electronic Design Automation (CEDA), the Donald O. Pederson Award recognizes the best paper published in the IEEE Transactions on Computer-Aided Design of Integrated Circuits and Systems in the two calendar years preceding the award. Any paper published in the Transactions during this period may be nominated for the award. Various factors are taken into account while judging the nominees, including the overall quality, originality, level of contribution, subject matter, and the timeliness of the research.

In its award citation, IEEE CEDA describes the paper as an ‘outstanding accomplishment'. – Emirates News Agency, WAM – Read more:


Empower sets up Command and Control Centre

posted on 24/07/2014

Empower, the world's largest district cooling services provider, has begun construction for a state-of-the-art Command and Control Centre (CCC) in Dubai, a project which integrates all operations for the company.

With this centre, Empower will have a birds-eye view of all activities in 57 plants including operations, spanning from the efficiency of its cooling towers to consumer consumption patterns. This investment represents a global first: more than one million parameter tags on a virtualised IT platform for the district cooling industry.

The Command and Control Centre will be constructed by Avanceon, a leading manufacturing technology solutions provider. The CCC will use programmable logic controls (PLC) and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA).

The technology will enable Empower to track operations across its 1 million Refrigeration Tonne (RT) district cooling network, and will use the world-class telecommunications network backbone in the UAE to connect the Empower plants with the CCC.

"Empower's Command and Control Centre will enable us to deliver secure, reliable services to our ever-expanding customer base," said Ahmad bin Shafar, Empower's Chief Executive Officer. "With the advanced technologies and systems in place in our CCC, information on the demand, supply and consumption patterns in each and every building unit will be available at our fingertips. Our integrated plant room will ensure that we can not only track our services, but spot and address performance issues immediately." The project is the first of its kind in the world, with capabilities of tracking, monitoring and controlling up to a million parameters in real time across Empower's district cooling network in Dubai that include landmark real estate developments like Jumeirah Beach Residence, Dubai International Financial Centre, and Business Bay, among others.

"Our systems integration plan will enhance overall operational efficiency," he continued. "We consider this project as a major milestone, as it ensures that our customers receive a consistent level of service from us. Though the project demands huge investment, Empower's focus is on long-term benefits, and we expect to reap huge dividends in the future in the form of customer satisfaction." – Emirates News Agency, WAM – Read more:


Abu Dhabi Ports experience significant cargo growth

posted on 24/07/2014

Abu Dhabi Ports Company, ADPC, has said that general cargo movement through Abu Dhabi's commercial Ports has increased by 37% this year.

Commercial ports (Mussaffah, Khalifa and Zayed Ports) have handled 6.4 million FT of general cargo, compared to 4.7 million FT in the first half of 2014.

This is an increase of 1.74 million FT (freight tonnes) compared with the same period in 2013, the company said in a release yesterday.

"These figures show a strong first half of 2014 and indicate a promising six months ahead," said Capt. Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, CEO, ADPC and added, "The volume of cargo moving through our ports is on the up. We expect that we will handle more than 12 million FT by the end of this year, compared to 9.5 million FT handled last year." While Abu Dhabi's ongoing economic growth explains some of the increased volumes, another reason is ADPC's work with key customers to consolidate and maximise their supply chain efficiencies. These include local and international businesses such as Emirates Aluminium (EMAL), Emirates Steel, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC).

Another reason behind the growing import and export activities at Abu Dhabi's commercial ports is the progress of several key infrastructure projects, which are requiring increased import and export volumes.

These include the midfield terminal at Abu Dhabi Airports, as well as the upcoming Louvre Abu Dhabi, the Guggenheim Museum, and various building projects in the Western Region, many of which require specialised project cargo and increased volumes of building materials.

Against this backdrop, ADPC is enhancing its capacity for general and bulk cargo at Abu Dhabi Ports, with a special focus on Zayed Port. After announcing an Dh20 million investment in essential maintenance work at Zayed Port and the Free Ports in March, ADPC is now remapping all of Zayed Port's processes, and upgrading the port's equipment and analysing its business efficiencies to meet cargo flows in the most efficient way. – Emirates News Agency, WAM – Read more:


Dubai real estate transactions for first half 2014 top Dh113bn

posted on 24/07/2014

Dubai Land Department (DLD) has announced that the total amount of real estate transactions recorded in the emirate for the first six months of 2014 exceeded Dh 113 billion. A financial report issued by the Real Estate Research and Studies Department revealed that sales accounted for 54 per cent of the total transactions over this period, numbering 22,096 deals worth Dh 61.5 billion.

Sales relating to land transactions accounted for the lion's share of real estate transactions for the first half of 2014, with the Dh 35 billion figure representing 5,516 deals. Sales relating to units totalled Dh 24.7 billion for 15,997 transactions. Buildings transactions held the third place sales position with a figure of Dh 1.8 billion, with the combined total for all three categories being Dh 61.5 billion.

"The growth in the volume of property investments is down to the wise economic policy pursued by the Government of Dubai over the past months and years. This policy has included the launch of mega projects such as the recently announced World Mall, which have been designed to keep Dubai's real estate market ahead of the global competition. These projects have been launched alongside initiatives that encourage investment and new laws and legislation that ensure a healthy pace of market growth," added Bin Mejren.

"All indications confirm that the market is being buoyed by momentum that is sustaining demand. In this picture, the city will maintain its leadership and visibility in both the regional and global markets, particularly as it provides higher returns on investments," concluded Bin Mejren.

An analysis of Dubai's top investment areas over the first half of the year has revealed that Al Hibiya 3 occupied first position for land sales, with a total of 938 transactions worth Dh 3,09 billion. This district was followed by Al Barsha South 4, Al Thenaya Al Khamesa, Wadi Al Safa 5 and Jebel Ali 1. Dubai Marina took first place in apartment sales, with the value of transactions in this prime area equating to Dh 5,87 billion for 2,576 transactions. Following it were Business Bay, Al Thenaya Al Khamesa, Al Warsan 1 and Burj Khalifa. Al Thenaya Al Khamesa came in first for buildings transactions with a total of 236 deals worth Dh 580 million. The next most popular areas for buildings transactions were Al Barsha South 4, Wadi Al Safa 6, Dubai Investment Park 1 and Al Thunaya 3.

With regards to mortgages, Thunaya 5 occupied first place in land mortgages, recording 338 transactions worth Dh 1,70 billion. This area was followed by Al Barsha South 4, Al Barsha South 5, Al Barsha South 1, and Wadi Al Safa 5. Dubai Marina came top in all areas in units mortgages recording 751 transaction worth of Dh 1.36 billion, followed by Business Bay and Al Thunaya 5. Al Barsha South 4 came on top for buildings mortgages, with the area recording 74 transactions worth Dh 136 million.

Mortgages comprised 42 per cent of DLD 's dealings over the same timeframe, with a total of 6,922 mortgage transactions worth Dh 47.3 billion being conducted. The number of other property transactions was recorded at 1,389 with a total value of more than Dh 4.6 billion. The Real Estate Research and Studies Department report found that the combined number of all transactions for Q 1 and Q2 was 30,380.

"The Dubai Real Estate market has become the focus of attention for an increasing number of investors from around the world. This interest can be attributed to several reasons, most importantly the renewed confidence in the Dubai market after the city's winning bid to host World Expo 2020," said HH Sultan Butti Bin Merjen, Director General, DLD . "Added to this optimism is the strengthening solvency of many major companies in the market. The overall result is that the real estate market in Dubai is able to regenerate and offer a variety of products to attract investors. We believe that Dubai can sustain this level of attraction and build on the momentum that is developing from the increased demand," he added. – Emirates News Agency, WAM – Read more:


Emirates REIT announces net profits for H1

posted on 24/07/2014

Emirates REIT (CEIC) Limited (Emirates REIT or the REIT), the first Shari'a compliant regulated real estate investment trust incorporated in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), yesterday announces its interim results for the six month period ended 30 June 2014.

Net Profit for the 6 month up +194% to US$ 34.15 million from US$ 11.61 million for the same period in 2013.

Portfolio value increased by +73%, to US$ 559.65 million (Dh 2.06 billion) from US$ 323.13 million (Dh 1.19 billion) at the end of 2013.

Net asset value per share rose to US$ 1.3939. This represents a total return of +6.8% for the first six months of 2014 which equates to an annualised total return of +13.6%.

Reduction in ongoing borrowing rates by 42%, from 5.5% to a current rate of 3.21%.

During the first half of 2014, Emirates REIT's ordinary shares were admitted to the Official List of Securities of the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) and to trading on NASDAQ Dubai Limited under the ticker symbol 'REIT'. The admission followed a successful international IPO, which was 3.5 times over-subscribed, raising US$ 201 million.

Abdulla Al Hamli, Chairman of the REIT Manager, said:"Since Emirates REIT became a public listed entity in April, I am pleased to report strong progress at both a financial and operational level. In just a few months we delivered what we have promised our shareholders; using the net proceeds to increase the size of the portfolio. The two acquisitions demonstrate that there are still significant opportunities within the Dubai market to invest at attractive prices in prime buildings, which offer substantial growth. We will continue to work on our sizeable acquisition pipeline, located mainly in Dubai and across all commercial sectors." – Emirates News Agency, WAM – Read more:


Etisalat launches region’s first Smartphone Protection Plans in partnership with AXA

posted on 24/07/2014

Etisalat, the U.A.E.'s leading telecommunication services provider, has launched the region's first Smartphone Protection Plans, which protect handsets both within and outside the U.A.E. from theft and accidental damage.

The protection plans are priced at Dh120 for a 6-month cover or Dh250 for 12 months. Users can protect their devices against accidental damage including cracked screen, forced theft, liquid damage and defects not covered under a cell phone's existing warranty. The plans have been launched in partnership with leading insurance provider, AXA Insurance, and are available to all customers who purchase a new smartphone from Etisalat's business centres or outlets in the U.A.E.

Smartphone Protection Plan is only available at the time of purchase of a new smartphone from Etisalat. It provides cover in addition to the normal manufacturer warranty for the device. If a customer's device covered under the smartphone protection plan is accidentally damaged, the customer can raise a claim with AXA Insurance directly. Depending on the nature of the damage, the device will either be repaired or replaced for the customer.

Commenting on the launch, Khaled ElKhouly, Chief Marketing Officer at Etisalat U.A.E., said, "Etisalat has been at the forefront of offering its customers innovative products to meet their end-to-end requirements. Now, not only we are giving our customers the choice of the latest smartphones through our Smartphone Plans, which offer free smartphones with data and minutes, we are also providing them with protection on smartphones that they purchase.

"Our competitively priced Smartphone Protection Plans provide our customers with complete peace of mind. Customers can be confident knowing that their phone is protected if anything were to happen to it. At a small price, they can enjoy greater comfort now than having to pay for a costly new phone later," he added. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


UAE Ministry of Education opens more high-tech classrooms

posted on 24/07/2014

About 25,000 pupils will have tablet computers this academic year as the Ministry of Education expands its programme to bring smart learning to classrooms.

The Mohammed bin Rashid Smart Learning Programme, launched last year for pupils in Grade 7 and some in Grade 8, will be expanded to Grades 1 and 5 in chosen schools.

It will also be introduced to other pupils in Grade 7, 8 and 9, at a total cost of Dh120 million.

Most of the pupils will receive tablets and their classrooms will be equipped with smart boards.

They will be connected online to teachers and parents through a customised social network.

Mohammed Gheyath, director of the Ministry of Education's pilot programme, said surveys of teachers and pupils had shown the initiative had been well received.

"Some of the interviews we had with the pupils, they said that they understand better now because it's more interactive, it's more entertaining, there is more engagement,” said Mr Gheyath.

"More engagement means more understanding for them.”

The rollout for Grades 1 and 5 is expected to benefit about 14 schools.

Apart from those, the number of schools in the Smart Learning Programme this autumn will increase to 147 from 123.

In Grade 9, the pupils will not be given tablet computers but their classrooms will have smart boards and a wireless network.

"Because now, pupils of Grade 7 who move to Grade 8 will be experts on using the system,” said Khalid Al Hammadi, the programme's research and development adviser.

"As you can see, we're moving with the first batch as they grow.”

The ministry intends to roll out the programme to all of the schools in its jurisdiction by 2017.

The initiative will be slightly modified when installed in Cycle 1 classes, said Mr Al Hammadi.

"It will be a little bit different,” he said. "For example, now I'm using smart board screens that are 75 inches or 85 inches, but for the lower grades maybe I need to use smaller screen because the smaller kids will not be able to reach the top of that screen to touch it.

"Another issue is they will not be able to handle a heavy device or high-performance device, so we need to look at that.”

Mr Al Hammadi said that while the launch was about a month away, details were still being worked out.

"We just need to decide, to finalise,” he said. "We do something different for Grade 1 and something different for Grade 5.

"We still have not finalised the technology. We are preparing some initial training.”

Studies suggesting that pupils in lower grades perform better in groups of two to share a device will be considered when the pilot scheme is implemented, he said.

"Then, there is another approach, where you have a table as a tablet, where six pupils can interact at the same time to build a village or to gain information, or to interact with the class,” said Mr Al Hammadi. "So there is a different approach that we need to study.”

The first batch involved 11,402 pupils from 442 classrooms across all emirates except Abu Dhabi, whose schools are regulated by the Abu Dhabi Education Council.

The programme is funded by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority's Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Fund.

Dr Fiona Baker, head of educational psychology at the Emirates College for Advanced Education, said modern technologies were a powerful tool for educating young children, "because they rely on the brain's preference for visually presented information. This attracts and maintains the attention of young children.

"Technology can be useful if used appropriately, actively and interactively, and in the right balance.

"The value of this project will depend on the level of child interaction, amount of screen time, appropriateness of use and balance, but it sounds every promising.” – The National – Read more:


President's Initiatives Committee approves construction of 70 houses in Fujairah

posted on 24/07/2014

Acting on directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and instructions of 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, the Follow up Committee of the Initiatives of U.A.E. President has approved construction of 70 houses in the Emirate of Fujairah at a total cost of Dh 63 million.

At its meeting at the Ministry of Presidential Affairs yesterday, the Committee also gave its nod for re-tendering a project for building 168 houses for citizens in Kalba, Emirate of Sharjah, after dividing the project into groups.

Ahmed Juma Al Zaabi, Deputy Minister for Presidential Affairs, and Chairman of the Committee, said the Committee would take delivery of a number of services projects shortly for the convenience of citizens.

Al Zaabi emphasised that work was progressing as per directives of the wise leadership to secure decent life for citizens, especially safe, fully-serviced houses. – Emirates News Agency, WAM – Read more: