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Mohamed Bin Zayed Majlis for Future Generations brings together speakers from around the world

posted on 26/02/2017

The Mohamed Bin Zayed Majlis for Future Generations is pleased to announce Alexis Ohanian, technology entrepreneur, investor, best-selling author and co-founder of Reddit, as the international keynote speaker at the event, taking place on 7 and 8 March at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.

"I am honored to be part of such an eminent group of speakers at the inaugural Mohamed bin Zayed Majlis for Future Generations and look forward to my fourth visit to the UAE, a country I deeply admire for its economic achievements and future aspirations" said Mr. Ohanian. "Today's young people are living in exciting times when you don't need to open a factory to change the world, you only need to open a laptop. I am energized by the ambition of Emirati youth both for themselves and for their country, and am excited to share my experiences as an entrepreneur and investor with the hope of inspiring Emirati university students to chart their own path and make their mark on the future of the UAE."

Other international speakers who have been confirmed include Morinosuke Kawaguchi, Japanese futurist and innovation expert who will be discussing the values of Japanese society as a way of life; Heath Slawner, strategic communications and leadership speaker, who will be delivering remarks on the importance of bringing purpose to everything we do; and Myron Rolle, former American National Football League player and Rhodes scholar, who will host a breakout session on leading a balanced life, drawing on his success in academics and professional sports.

Key themes for the event include entrepreneurship and innovation, community development and future skills for tomorrow's economy. Global experts will provide their perspectives on these topic areas, complementing speeches and discussions by some of the UAE's most dynamic leaders, including:Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and The Future; Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment; Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashemi, Minister of State for International Cooperation; Dr. Ahmad bin Abdullah Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Higher Education; Shamma bint Suhail Al Mazrui, Minister of State for Youth; Dr. Ali Rashid Al Nuaimi, Director-General, Abu Dhabi Education Council and Homaid Al Shimmari, CEO, Aerospace & Engineering Services, Mubadala.

University students interested in attending the event should visit and register their interest by 1 March. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Elite UAE Special Forces prepare for Union Fortress Live Military Demonstration

posted on 26/02/2017

Elite UAE Special Forces are preparing for the Union Fortress Live Military Demonstration, which will be held at the Abu Dhabi Corniche on 2nd March at 4.30 pm.

The event is a unique opportunity for all UAE citizens and residents to witness an action-packed military demonstration up close and from a soldier's point of view, while celebrating the strength, honour and dedication of the UAE's Armed Forces.

The event is open to the public and attendees are encouraged to arrive early to ensure admission. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


UAE-Kenya Joint Ministerial Committee holds second meeting in Abu Dhabi

posted on 26/02/2017

The UAE and Kenya signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Saturday for creating a joint committee on consular affairs between and the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation and the Kenyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, at the end of the second meeting of the UAE-Kenya Joint Higher Ministerial Committee in Abu Dhabi.

The Kenyan representatives presented official documents regarding the implementation of the "Agreement on Avoidance of Double Taxation on Income", signed on 21st November 2011. The two countries will also finalise procedures to facilitate the implementation of the "Agreement on Protection and Encouragement of Bilateral Investment", signed on 23rd November 2014, in the next few days. UAE officials then signed the minutes of the meeting.

The UAE is looking forward to expanding its co-operation with Kenya in a wide range of sectors, including trade and investments, as well as constructive partnerships in food security, energy, retail trade, infrastructure, transport, logistical services and agriculture, said Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashemi, Minister of State for International Co-operation, in her welcome address to the meeting, which she co-chaired with Amina Mohammed, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kenya, in the presence of senior officials and government and private sector representatives from both countries.

'The meeting provided a fitting opportunity for UAE and Kenyan officials to communicate with each other and discuss methods to deepen understanding, and review what has been achieved so far, and plan for greater joint co-operation,' Al Hashemi said.

'With non-oil trade exchange between the two countries rising by 11 percent from US$741 million in 2014 to $823 million in 2015. It is important to note this positive growth in trade exchange, though under expectations, which calls us to explore the prospects for increasing trade through expanding partnerships between the public and private sectors to advance joint economic relations,' she added.

Highlighting the important role of the aviation sector in increasing bilateral trade and investments, Al Hashemi urged civil aviation authorities in both countries to implement the legal framework for air traffic and explore the possibilities of co-operation between national air carriers in code sharing systems and third parties. According to the Air Traffic Agreement, signed by both countries on 26th August 1989, national air carriers operate 30 passenger and 23 cargo flights weekly between both countries.

Regarding 2020 Dubai, she said the UAE looks forward to active Kenyan participation in the international event, which provides a key platform for forging economic and cultural partnerships.

Politically, the UAE welcomed the UN Security Council Resolution No. 2268 on cessation of hostilities in Syria to pave the way for unfettered delivery of humanitarian assistance to besieged areas so as to improve living conditions of the Syrian people.

Al Hahsemi said the UAE hoped for a resumption of Geneva 3 peace talks in the nearest time so as to stoop bloodshed and find a peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis.

On Yemen, the UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation stressed the importance of full commitment to supporting constitutional legitimacy, respecting the sovereignty and independence of Yemen and refraining from interference in its internal affairs.

'The UAE is for a political solution in Yemen that is based on the legitimacy umbrella, GCC Initiative, the Riyadh Declaration, outcomes of the National Dialogue, Arab League's relevant resolutions and UN Security Resolution 2216,' she affirmed.

The UAE, she said, backed efforts being made by the UN Peace Envoy for Yemen to find a political settlement to the crisis in Yemen.

Regionally, the minister underscored the UAE's absolute rejection of Iran's flagrant interference in the internal affairs of Arab countries which threatens their security and stability and stirs trouble and sedition among people of one country. He called Iran to immediately stop these interferences, observe principles of good neighbourliness, and respect the sovereignty, independence and particularity of each state.

The minister renewed the UAE's call for Iran to respond positively to its peaceful, sincere initiatives to reach a peaceful solution to the issue of the UAE's three islands - Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa - either through direct bilateral negotiations or referring the case to international arbitration.

Amina Mohammed, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kenya, praised the meeting in Abu Dhabi as 'historic' and provided a window to discuss the possibilities of expanding co-operation in the interest of the two friendly peoples.

She hoped that such meetings would be held on a regular basis as they provided a platform to address and tackle outstanding issues and challenges.

She noted that visits between officials in the UAE and Kenya in recent years indicated the strength of bilateral ties and efforts by both sides to build on existing momentum to expand the growing co-operation.

According to her, the UAE is a key trading partner to Kenya and is encouraged to tap available investment opportunities in the Kenyan market, especially in financial services, trade fairs, evolving civil aviation.

She called on both sides to settle pending issues regarding the civil aviation sector.

The UAE and Kenya established diplomatic ties in 1982 with Kenya opening its embassy in Abu Dhabi in the same year and a consulate in Dubai in 2010. The UAE opened its embassy in Nairobi in 2012. The first visa issuance centre in Africa was opened in Nairobi.

Kenya ranked 34th in the list of countries receiving UAE humanitarian aid which amounted to nearly US$4 million between 2015 and 2016. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


UAE initiatives in Yemen making a difference in development, reconstruction: Yemeni Ambassador

posted on 26/02/2017

The UAE's initiatives in Yemen are making a difference in the country's development and reconstruction, and have enabled fast-paced improvement in the humanitarian situation in areas liberated from the rebels, said Fahad Saeed Al Menhali, Yemeni Ambassador to the UAE.

"By all measures, the response of the Emirates Red Crescent (ERC) to the humanitarian situation in Yemen exceeded all expectations. It was effective in returning life to normal after the crisis," he said, during a recent meeting with Dr. Hamdan Musallam Al Mazrouei, Chairman of the Board of the Emirates Red Crescent, as part of consultations to improve the humanitarian response to the crisis in Yemen.

The Emirates Red Crescent's humanitarian operations are focussed on relief, healthcare and education, and its strong presence in the areas that saw the most development has earned it a prominent place among humanitarian agencies operating in the country, he further added.

"The UAE, led by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, prioritises the humanitarian cause of the Yemeni people, based on the humanitarian approach of the founder of the UAE, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who spared no effort to back the Yemeni people in all circumstances," Dr. Al Mazrouei said.

The UAE's efforts in Yemen are improving, thanks to the initiatives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, as well as the close monitoring of its efforts by H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in the Western Region and President of the Emirates Red Crescent, he added "Through its efforts in Yemen, the Emirates Red Crescent seeks to minimise the impact of the current situation on the lives of thousands of the most vulnerable and underprivileged civilians," Al Mazrouei further added. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Africa Finance Corporation carries out USD 150 million Sukuk transaction on Nasdaq Dubai Murabaha platform

posted on 26/02/2017

Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) has carried out a 150 million US dollar Islamic financing transaction on the Murabaha platform of Nasdaq Dubai, the international financial exchange serving the Middle East and Africa.

The transaction was executed to facilitate the issuance by AFC of a 150 million US dollar Sukuk, which was the first US dollar Sukuk to be issued by any multilateral African institution. It was also the first use of Nasdaq Dubai's fast-growing Murabaha platform by an African entity.

Following high levels of investor interest, the initial target of 100 million US dollars was more than twice oversubscribed, resulting in the transaction being upsized to 150 million US dollars and a final order book of approximately 230 million US dollars.

The Sukuk is AFC's second foray into Islamic finance; the corporation accepted a 50 million US dollar 15-year line of financing from the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) in 2015 to finance Islamic Finance-compliant projects located across the numerous African IDB member countries.

Banji Fehintola, Corporate Treasurer of AFC, said: "Nasdaq Dubai's pioneering Murabaha platform greatly facilitated the issuance of our Sukuk. It supported the strong demand that we received from global as well as regional investors and enabled us to upsize the proposed issuance size to its eventual 150 million US dollars. The platform enabled us to execute our Murabaha transactions swiftly and efficiently in a manner that was highly cost effective and provided us with Sharia'a-compliance certainty."

Hamed Ali, Chief Executive of Nasdaq Dubai, said: "We are delighted to support AFC's important activities in project development, financing and advisory work across Africa, for the benefit of its people and their economic well-being.

The exchange's Sharia'a-compliant infrastructure is positioned to meet Islamic financing needs across the region and we look forward to expanding our services on behalf of a range of African public and private institutions."

AFC's Sukuk, issued on January 24, 2017, is the highest rated USD Sukuk issuance from an African entity. The privately placed Murabaha Sukuk was awarded an A3 senior unsecured rating by Moody's Investors Service.

Since Nasdaq Dubai's Murabaha Platform was launched in 2014, total transactions valued at more than 14 billion US dollars have taken place through it on behalf of an expanding number of corporate and individual users. Transaction value rose 37% in 2016 to reach 6.7 billion US dollars, up from 4.9 billion US dollars in 2015.

Significant advantages offered by the platform over alternative Murabaha channels include fixed price certificates with no spread. The platform utilises Sharia'a-compliant Certificates that are held in Nasdaq Dubai's Central Securities Depository (CSD). – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Dubai Maritime City Authority to showcase innovative and advanced smart maritime services at Dubai International Boat Show

posted on 26/02/2017

Dubai Maritime City Authority (DMCA), the government authority charged with regulating, coordinating and supervising all aspects of the emirate's maritime sector, will be presenting an integrated portfolio of the maritime licensing services at the Dubai International Boat Show 2017.

The event will kick off on February 28 and will run till March 4 at the Dubai International Marine Club, Mina Seyahi in Dubai.

This move reinforces its commitment to facilitate the procedures of the maritime licensing, which is considered as a cornerstone for managing the maritime operations according to the highest occupational safety, the best environmental practices, and the domestic and international resolutions to maintain a secure, integrated and sustainable maritime sector.

The maritime licensing services will be provided directly by DMCA at its pavilion at the show, following the proper procedure of verifying the maritime crafts as per technical specifications, maritime safety systems, and local environmental requirements.

It will also abide by the uniform international standards that is consistent with the efforts aimed to advance the performance, safety, efficiency, and competitiveness of Dubai's maritime sector.

The pavilion will also be a uniform and integrated platform set up to finalise the tests required for obtaining the mandatory marine driving licence.

It will also facilitate the licensing procedures of the marine crafts of all kinds quickly and easily, fulfilling the needs of the visitors and exhibitors during the 25th edition of the Middle East's biggest leisure navigation event.

Amer Ali, the Executive Director, Dubai Maritime City Authority, said: "DMCA gives high priority to customers' satisfaction and happiness in line with the directives of the wise government. The maritime crafts and crews licensing services are witnessing a remarkable development and demand in tandem with our determined efforts."

"The special confidence that the maritime community has placed on us has been a driving force to upgrade the maritime licensing services. It has also pushed us to achieve integration in maritime safety, secure navigation, and operational efficiency along Dubai's coasts," noted Ali.

At the event, DMCA will look forward to showcase a wide variety of innovative and advanced smart maritime services and solutions, particularly for the happiness and gratification of customers and in support for Dubai's Maritime Sector Strategy (MSS).

The Maritime Strategy is considered the main pillar for increasing the confidence of the regional and international investors in the competitive advantages of the local maritime environment, he added.

Ali Al Daboos, the Executive Director for operations at DMCA, said: "The marine licensing procedure has been formulated to regulate, promote, and develop the local maritime sector to keep pace with the local, regional and international developments."

"It would enable us to continue with our efforts to develop an integrated portfolio of the maritime licensing services that would strengthen the competitiveness of the maritime sector to ultimately position Dubai among the world's top maritime destinations by 2020," he added. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


EAD launches awareness campaign to block use of unlicensed groundwater wells

posted on 26/02/2017

The Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD), in partnership with its stakeholders, has launched an awareness campaign under the theme, "Seal a Well to Save a Life" to put an end to the digging of illegal domestic groundwater wells due to health and safety concerns. The campaign urges community members to cooperate and report any incidents of illegal groundwater wells in order for them to be sealed for the safety of residents.

Lead by EAD, a working group was formed consisting of representatives from key governmental entities including the General Directorate of Abu Dhabi Police (ADP), the Department of Municipal Affairs and Transport, the Judicial Department and Abu Dhabi Media Company to enhance public awareness on the risks of illegal practices on people's lives and safety.

Major General Mohammed Khalfan Al Romaithi, Commander-in-Chief of Abu Dhabi Police, said, "The digging of illegal domestic groundwater wells represents a danger to individuals and society at large as it poses risks to the environment and natural resources.

"Besides being illegal, the sale of groundwater has negative environmental and social impacts on the Emirate of Abu Dhabi," Major Romaithi added. He also called upon farm, landowners and contractors to cease the drilling of wells without a permit and reaffirmed that all necessary legal measures will be taken against violators.

Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, EAD's Secretary-General said, "This campaign aims to put an end to the illegal drilling of groundwater wells and to seal them for the safety of residents and their families. According to Law No. 05 of 2016 pertaining to the regulation of groundwater in Abu Dhabi, drilling groundwater wells is prohibited without a permit."

Razan Al Mubarak added, "Under this law, EAD cooperates with the concerned stakeholders to conserve groundwater and maintains the safety of the community through organising and licensing well drilling and groundwater extraction to ensure the sustainability of our scarce water resources. As per Law No. 05, groundwater in the emirate is a natural asset wholly owned by Abu Dhabi, and its extraction is subject to rules and regulations issued by EAD."

Al Mubarak stressed the risks of illegal domestic well drilling as it usually lacks health and safety requirements. She added that all members of society should cooperate to limit these illegal practices, which may have health and safety risks.

Sheikha Al Hosani, EAD's Acting Executive Director, Environment Quality Sector, said, "In order to deliver the campaign's message to the public, it will also feature different events and programmes which will be organised in coordination with Abu Dhabi Systems and Information Centre (ADSIC). Social media will be used to highlight the risks of illegal well drilling and #SealAWelltoSaveALife has been launched to enhance public engagement."

EAD also urges owners of unlicensed groundwater wells to contact the Abu Dhabi Government Contact Centre at 800-555 to take necessary action on this issue. There will be no legal action against the owners of these domestic wells who contact the agency within a grace period of six months, starting from March 2017.

Under the new groundwater law, the penalties include fines varying between AED100,000 - 300,000 and imprisonment or both. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Jafza's F&B sector registers 22pc growth

posted on 26/02/2017

Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza), a DP World Company and the UAE's flagship trade and logistics hub for the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region, has posted a 22.5 per cent growth in foreign companies from the Food and Beverage Sector (F&B) rising from 480 companies in 2015 to 588 last year.

Jafza said it will be - at the Gulfood Exhibition - meeting some of the leading companies from the F&B sector who are planning to locate in the region.

Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and CEO of DP World and Chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, underlined the increasing role of the F&B industry in the UAE in driving economic growth and in addressing the food requirements of regional markets.

"The vision of our wise leadership to make Dubai as the Global Islamic Economic Capital provides a major boost to our economy by attracting foreign investment, especially those that are Halal food related. The Dubai Industrial Strategy complements the competiveness of the food industry where local companies can partner global counterparts to increase the emirate's exports," remarked Bin Sulayem.

"We are also focused on research and development in the industry to develop new products and commodities that will suit different tastes and attract consumers," he stated.

Hepointed out that of the F&B companies based in Jafza, 57 per cent were from the Middle East region, 18 per cent from Asia-Pacific, 13 per cent from Europe, eight per cent from the Americas and four per cent from Africa.

"The importance of Jafza as a preferred destination is apparent from the high occupancy rate in facilities, ranging from plots of land and warehouses top showrooms and offices dedicated to the F&B industry, spread over 1.67 million sq m," he stated.

Bin Sulayem, said Gulfood is an annual event that brings together local and international leaders of the F&B industry under one roof and is a vital platform to meet and discuss cooperation and the investment plans of companies in the UAE, Middle East and Africa.

"Jafza is keen to meet manufacturers, wholesalers, packaging and logistics companies that are looking to reach out to new and emerging markets and benefit from our modern infrastructure and the highly efficient logistics network that will help enable the support and supply process," he added. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Mohammed bin Rashid approves improvement of Dubai's Airport, Tripoli Roads, costing AED1 billion

posted on 26/02/2017

Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has approved the award of a contract for the improvement of Tripoli Road in a 12 km stretch to provide a link between the Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road and the Emirates Road at a cost of AED500 million.

The project provides a parallel and supporting corridor to the Airport Road Improvement Project, which the RTA is currently implementing at a cost of AED490 million. Thus, the total cost of both projects is almost AED1billion.

Director General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) Mattar Al Tayer said: "The projects implement the directives of Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to immediately start construction of several projects and transit systems recently approved by His Highness. Such projects are essential to keep pace with the ongoing upswing witnessed by Dubai, meet the requisites of growth and demographic expansion, and bring happiness to people."

"The project aims to enhance the link between Dubai and Sharjah besides easing traffic congestions, streamlining traffic movement and stepping up safety along this corridor. Upon completion, the project will act as a parallel to Al Amardi–Al Khawaneej as well as Al Awir-Ras Al Khor corridors. The new project has an intake of about 12,000 vehicles per hour in both directions (6000 vehicles per hour per direction) and is set to ease the traffic flow on these two corridors by 30%.

"The project, which links the Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road and Emirates Road, includes the widening of Tripoli Road over a 6.5 km stretch from the intersection with the Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road (nearby Mirdif City Centre) up to the Academic City Road. It also includes the construction of a new 5.3 km road of three lanes in each direction from the intersection of the Academic City up to the Emirates Road. Thus, the overall length of the corridor is almost 12 km," he noted.

"The project also covers the development of interchanges across the corridor starting with the upgrading of Tripoli-Algiers Roads junction to a tunnel of three lanes in each direction to serve the traffic flow inbound from Rabat Road heading to Tripoli Road. Works also include upgrading the current at-grade signalized intersection. With the completion of these works, the waiting time at the existing intersection is expected to drop from three minutes to less than one minute. The project also includes upgrading Tripoli- Nouakchott junction to a bridge of three lanes in each direction, improving the existing at-grade signalized junction, and transforming the intersection of Tripoli-Academic City Roads into a flyover to ensure a smooth traffic flow. The project also includes improving the Tripoli-Emirates Roads junction into a bridge to serve the traffic inbound from Tripoli Road heading to Emirates Road in the direction of Sharjah. The project will contribute to the improvement of the entry points of Al Warqaa and Mirdif along Tripoli Road, besides enhancing the traffic safety level at the junction of Rabat-Nad Al Hamar Roads near Bel Remaitha Club," he added.

"The awarding of Tripoli Road project coincides with the construction of the Airport Road at a cost of AED490 million whose completion rate has touched 30%. The project is part of a plan set by RTA for accommodating the projected growth in the number of passengers using the Dubai International Airport, which is expected to shoot to 92 million passengers by 2020. Thus the traffic study showed the importance of finalising the improvement of the Airport Road by 2017," continued Al Tayer.

"The project comprises the construction of bridges, a tunnel at the intersection of Marrakech, and bridges at the intersection of Rashidiya as well as the intersections of the Airport Rd. with Casablanca Rd. and Nad Al Hamar Rd. It also includes improving at-grade intersections and constructing a service road of three lanes in each direction to separate the traffic movement from and to Nad Al Hamar Rd. from the vehicular flow on the Airport Road starting from Rashidiya Intersection up to Marrakech Intersection. The project would contribute to increasing the capacity of the Airport Rd. by an additional 5000 vehicles per hour. It would also enhance the traffic safety level and reduce the journey time on the Airport Road from Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road to Casablanca Road from 30 minutes to 5 minutes. The improvement of Rashidiya Intersection comprises the construction of a bridge on the Airport Road of three lanes in each direction; which is expected to slash the waiting time at the interchange from 13 minutes to less than one minute," commented Al Tayer.

"The upgrading of the Airport –Nad Al Hamar Roads junction encompasses the construction of an additional bridge of two lanes in each direction to serve the traffic coming from Nad Al Hamar Road heading towards the Airport Road. The project will ease the current snarls resulting from the overlapping traffic at Nad Al Hamar Intersection between the first circular left-bound slope stretching from Nad Al Hamar Road to the Airport Road. The second left-bound circular slope extends from the Airport Road to Nad Al Hamar Road. The vehicular traffic on the first circular slope would be restricted to U-turns in the direction of Nad Al Hamar Road," elaborated Al Tayer.

"The improvement of Marrakech-Airport Roads junction also includes the construction of a flyover of three lanes in each direction on the Airport Road along with a ramp stretching from the bridge directly to Terminal three of Dubai International Airport, thus eliminating the waiting at the light signal. A tunnel of two lanes in each direction is under construction to serve the leftward-bound traffic movement from the Airport Road to the direction of Marrakech Road, which reduces the waiting time at the junction from seven minutes to less than one minute.

"The upgrading of the Airport–Casablanca Roads Junction Intersection includes the construction of an additional single-lane bridge to serve the traffic from the Airport Road in the direction of Casablanca Road without waiting at the light signal. It also includes the construction of an alternative road for traffic coming from Al Garhoud enabling vehicles direct access to Terminal 1 and 3 of the Dubai International Airport, besides increasing the number of lanes of Casablanca Road in the direction of Al Garhoud from three to four lanes. The project would also reduce the total waiting time at Casablanca Road from three minutes to one minute, and ease tailbacks generated by the overlapping movement of vehicles heading towards Casablanca Interchange and those coming from Terminal 1 heading towards Casablanca Road," added the Director General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the RTA. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Musanada details progress of work on Emirati District in Madinat Zayed – Abu Dhabi

posted on 26/02/2017

Abu Dhabi General Services Company "Musanada" announced the progress of infrastructure works of the Emirati District project in Madinat Zayed – Abu Dhabi within blocks 3, 4 and A2 according to the set plan.

Suwaidan Rashed Al Dhaheri, Acting Chief Executive Official in Abu Dhabi General Services Company "Musanada" stated that the Emirati District's infrastructure project consists of 3 blocks with a value of more than 2.5 billion AED including roads and infrastructure works. Work is being in progress there with 6.31% achievement in block A2 with achievement cost of 518.6 billion AED, block 3 (1.176 billion AED) and block 4 (738 million AED). At present, all project works are being executed to be completed at late 2019.

Al Dhaheri stressed on Musanada's commitment to promote the sustainability of projects and works run or executed by it as the principle of sustainability is considered an essential part within the company's strategy, whether in execution or awarding phases.

This applies to the Emirati District project as this project does not aim to establish the infrastructure for the Emirati District only. Rather, it ensures enhancement of soil below residential plots, which will have great impact on facilitating construction of residential units for citizens and reducing their costs and time. It will also contribute to maintain resources an environment in accordance with Abu Dhabi plan and directions of its wise leaders.

He also noted that infrastructure works in the project include preparation of infrastructure, road network, and service paths in addition to 2,755 residential plots, 37 mosques, 47 gardens and 13 schools for the various study stages. All of this is within a residential community that extends on an area of 1,401 hectares and contains service facilities and construction properties according to the latest world standards prepared to serve about 22,000 citizens, which is the number of residents expected to occupy the residential district for citizens after completion of construction works.

Al Dhaheri added that project area is 14.4 million square meters, of which 5.1 million square meters in block 4 including 1196 plots designated for villas and 7.6 million square meters in block 3 including 1,559 plots designated for villas too. Initial project works include ground treatment, paving works, main roads, local roads, potable water system, rain water drainage network, sewerage network, irrigation, firefighting, power cables, 22 kW substations, natural gas networks and communications.

Designs of all those works have been adopted by the relevant government departments and agencies that provide the service and supplementary civil works, taking into account the latest sustainability and environmental safety standards.

Added to its works, the projects MZ12 and MZ39 in an area of 334 thousand square meters, and 301,000 square meters respectively, while block A2 work area is 778,000 square meters. In addition, it is worth mentioning that the Emirati District project is one of the strategic housing projects in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi where it will contribute to the provision of advanced infrastructure to accommodate population growth and urbanization.

Furthermore, the project was designed in accordance with accurate plans that put future population growth into consideration in Madinat Zayed. Accordingly, it is planned to develop the intersections of entry and exit leading to the project according to the studies developed during the workshops held between the support and strategic partners in the government sector.

Saif Badr Al Qubisi, General Manager of Abu Dhabi Housing Authority, said the Emirate District project is considered one of the greatest capitalist projects in Emirate of Abu Dhabi at present as it serves the citizens at first place. This is through provision of residential plots ready for building for thousands of beneficiaries besides the continuous follow-up by the wise leaders that puts the citizen's comfort at top priorities, coordinating efforts, continuous coordination with the concerned partners and ensuring commitment to the approved time schedule.

In addition, he also added that the Authority sets the necessary plan to provide debts of building for beneficiaries of the project at the time of completion of infrastructure works and continuous coordination with the concerned partners to ensure providing societal facilities in conjunction with the expected duration to move citizens to their homes. He also stated that work is continuing on providing many pre-approved different designs as proposed through "Baiti" initiative, which enables citizens to complete building of their homes at the shortest time with the cost that suits their needs. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Abu Dhabi Culture Authority participates in Istanbul International Book Fair

posted on 26/02/2017

Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) is leading a delegation at the 35th Istanbul International Book fair currently taking place in Istanbul Convention and Exhibition Centre from February 24th to March Aiming to attract new publishers and strengthen relations with its current network, TCA Abu Dhabi is utilising this event to promote Abu Dhabi International Book Fair 2017.

The delegation will present Abu Dhabi International Book Fair as a global platform that enables the launch of innovative initiatives to support the spread of reading culture and promote recent developments in the industry to Turkish and international publishers, including copyright protection and translation.

Now in its 35th edition, Istanbul International Book Fair is expected to attract over 400,000 visitors and 250 publishers from Turkey and the Arab World. Many Turkish publishers voiced their interest in participating in the next edition of Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, which has attracted international interest as a regional hub that gathers leading figures in the world of literature under one roof. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Emirati Women's Day's theme announced

posted on 26/02/2017

H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women's Union, Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation and President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood announced adoption of a new theme for the 'Emirati Women's Day', celebrated yearly on 28th August.

Sheikha Fatima said the new theme 'Women are partners in giving', was adopted to reflect women's role in the community welfare and in the success of the 'Year of Giving' initiative, launched by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

She added that the announcement of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan to mark 2017 as the Year of Giving, was an extension to the benevolent deeds of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, whose vision and approach were founded on giving to his people and to the humanity.

"The concept of giving is deep-rooted in the Emirati culture and the legacy of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan will always form the basis for the UAE's message of peace and giving," she said.

Sheikha Fatima noted that the new theme highlights social responsibility for all segments of the society, including women, who are the key partners in the country's drive for comprehensive development.

She called on the men and women of the UAE to embrace the theme as one of the many initiatives of the 'Year of Giving'. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


EEG organises 20th annual UAE "Can Collection Day" campaign

posted on 26/02/2017

The Emirates Environmental Group (EEG) recently organised its 20th annual "Can Collection Day" campaign, as part of efforts to promote sustainability.

More than 150 groups from across the UAE, representing every segment of society, joined the environment-friendly nation-wide initiative, which surpassed its annual target of recycling 27,000 kilogrammes (Kgs) of aluminium cans in 2016, and has set an ambitious target to recycle 28,000kgs of cans by the end of the year.

The successful "Can Collection Day" highlighted support for the "Year of Giving" directive by H.H. Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of the UAE, by uniting the people of the UAE to build a sustainable nation. The campaign holds special importance at a time when nations are combining their efforts to minimise various adverse environmental impacts through waste reduction and recycling, to have a positive impact on climate change and pollution control.

Habiba Al Marashi, Chairperson of EEG, praised the efforts, commitment and co-operation of government agencies, hotels, private organisations, academic institutions and families towards the collection of aluminium cans. The UAE has taken a lead in the field of sustainable development during the last few years, but there is a pressing need to encourage various sectors to go green, she added.

EEG was able to recycle a total of 4,200kg of aluminium, and through this collection, the organisation managed to mitigate 63 MtCO2e emissions and saved 102 cubic metres of landfill space and 956 BTU of energy.

"These figures speak for themselves, and EEG encourages every government organisation, private entity, community and individual in the country to make a positive contribution for the well-being of our planet," Al Marashi said.

She expressed her gratitude to Beverage Packaging AMEA for being the official sponsor and to Del Monte Arabia as campaign co-sponsor. EEG also extended its appreciation for the support of the Public Parks and Horticulture Department, Dubai Municipality; Ajman Tourism Development Department; Al Hamra Mall; the American International School of Abu Dhabi; Radisson Blu Resort, Sharjah; Abela and Co.; Al Futtaim Carillion; McDonald's UAE; Blue, a member of Al Serkal Group; Interserve International; Khansaheb Civil Engineering; Tristar Group; United Metal Industrial Co. LLC and Lucky Recycling Ltd.

Since the inception of the "Can Collection Day" campaign in 1997, EEG has collected over 278,339kg of aluminium cans and prevented the disposal of these valuable recyclables to landfills, saving 6,757 cubic metres of landfill space and mitigating 4,178 MtCO2e emissions. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Sharjah Girl Guides raise AED 23,000 for orphans

posted on 26/02/2017

The Sharjah Girl Guides (SGG) successfully concluded its annual "Cookie for a Cause" campaign, raising AED23,000 for orphans through the Sharjah Social Empowerment Foundation, while highlighting the importance of community values and social responsibility.

SGG guides (aged between 12 and 15) and brownies (aged between 7 and 11), sold over 1,100 packs of cookies, provided by the renowned bakery Zo's Kitchen, for AED20 each at the American University of Sharjah, the University of Sharjah and the Higher College of Technology Sharjah Women's Colleges.

Following in the Girl Scouts' and Girl Guides' cookie-selling tradition, launched nearly a century ago to raise funds for guiding activities, the SGG continued the tradition to raise funds for charity and allowed the girls to not only help other children but to also learn valuable leadership skills and gain experience in different charity programmes.

"The girls made the most of the opportunity to contribute to an extremely worthwhile cause, and at the same time learnt some positive lessons that will help them to develop into responsible and conscientious citizens. The campaign has proved to be highly effective from both a practical and humanitarian viewpoint, perfectly aligned with the UAE's 2017 Year of Giving," said Shaikha Abdulaziz Al Shamsi, Assistant Manager at Sharjah Girl.

Through donations to the Sharjah Social Empowerment Foundation, which helps with the development and care of orphans and provides them with financial and moral support, the girls also acquired some basic goal-setting, decision-making, and money management and business ethics skills.

"Our primary goals are to ensure that SGG plays a role in contributing to the local and national community, and also to introduce new experiences which will help the girls later in life. With the "Cookie for a Cause" campaign, we have combined these two elements with equal measure and equal success," Al Shamsi added.

The guiding movement was first established in Sharjah in 1973, after which it spread across the UAE and gave rise to the Girl Guides Association of the United Arab Emirates in 1979. Under the patronage of Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of the Ruler of Sharjah and Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs, SGG aims to inspire and nurture future generations to become progressive global citizens, by providing a platform for girls to develop to their fullest potential. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -