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Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid inaugurates Museum of the Future in Dubai

posted on 08/02/2016

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, yesterday inaugurated the Museum of the Future at the Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai.

Organised by the Dubai Foundation for the Museum of the Future as part of the World Government Summit 2016, the Museum focuses on shaping the future of robotics and artificial intelligence and their impact on human life. It also offers a unique interactive experience to visitors by attempting to explore the future of this sector.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum will also officiate the opening of the fourth World Government Summit when it gets underway tomorrow (8 February) under the theme ‘Shaping Future Governments'.

Speaking on the eve of the summit, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said: "Through the World Government Summit, the UAE seeks to provide a platform that opens a window to the future and attracts experts, decision makers, entrepreneurs, and innovators to share insights and knowledge about what is good for all of humanity."

He added: "We have directed to transform the summit from an annual event into an international organisation that works throughout the year and focuses on shaping and foreseeing the future in all sectors. It will also focus on producing knowledge for future governments, launching reports and global development indicators, and building partnerships with international organisations. It will answer tomorrow's questions and seek to build a better future to meet the demands of our societies and achieve happiness and sustainable development."

"Shaping the future cannot be done by just waiting for it but rather by utilising latest technologies and knowledge tools and meetings its challenges starting from today. This summit sends a clear message to the world that governments should own the necessary tools to enter the future, attain the aspirations of their people, and build balanced relations with other nations," he concluded.

The opening was attended by H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai; H.H. Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and H.E. Mohammed Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs, Chairman of the World Government Summit.

:: The Role of Robots and their Impact on Human Life The Museum of the Future explores the future of the robotics and artificial intelligence sector since it directly affects the social and economic components of societies, in addition to influencing the healthcare, education and other sectors.

:: Future Technologies: Developing Mental and Physical Capabilities of Human Beings The Museum has three underlying themes. Firstly, it addresses how robots and artificial intelligence improve human mental and physical capabilities. It also looks to answer tough questions such as: ‘Will you replace your cardiac muscle if it means you will be able to live longer?' ‘Will you add robotic parts to your children to improve their school performance?' The Museum offers a glimpse into NewKnees that give their users superhuman abilities to run and jump. It also features another smart technology to climb walls without falling - the GeckoTips technology containing nano-structural machines that are installed on fingertips and allow the human body to adhere to anything and climb walls.

- EyeShare: Communicate via Social Media Platforms without Your Mobile Device Future social communication will offer innovative solutions that are beyond imagination. Social media platforms will not be the only means to share human experiences. Thanks to the EyeShare technology, users of social media platforms will be able to see what their friends and followers are watching through these sites at the same moment.

Secondly, the Museum focuses on the relation between humans and robots, looking for answers to questions like: ‘How does it feel to have robots care for the elderly, and will the relation between robots and humans develop to become similar to inter-human relations?' :: Design Your Dreams, Analyse Moods of Others, and Separate Your Brain from Your Surroundings The Museum of the Future also features future technologies such as DreamStream, which allows individuals to design their dreams and share them with their friends and relatives.

In addition, the future promises a different kind of communication between human beings thanks to technologies like MoodView. This technology gives its users real-time analysis of people's emotions and then provides instant feedback on what to say and how to act.

Another future technology achieves the dreams of millions by enabling them to be isolated from everything that bothers them and enjoy real moments of calmness. This can be done through temporarily switching off all incoming messages to the brain.

:: AutoLingua: Language is No Longer a Barrier Learning languages is not a difficult task anymore thanks to the AutoLingua technology, which is a smart earpiece that enables users to learn languages quickly. It also provides instant translation of a language chosen by the user.

The third theme showcases how the development of artificial intelligence technologies will affect the management and decision making processes. It seeks to answer questions on how confident we are when it comes to letting artificial intelligence systems manage our own money and select our own careers.

This year's Museum of the Future showcases futuristic designs that take visitors into a journey that is unanticipated in the near future. Its content development process relies on analysing data collected from visitors' interactions to create futuristic reports that can propose policies and decisions so that world governments can maximise the benefits of this sector.

:: A Growing Global Future Market The Museum of the Future has opened at a time when the growing value of the global robotics and artificial intelligence market reinforces the need for developing this sector and its tools so it becomes a key part of the agendas of governments and entrepreneurs. These future technologies are set to become a catalyst of major changes in the future. It is also expected that the intelligence of a desktop computer will be similar to the human intelligence in the coming years.

Studies indicate that the next wave of deep disruptive technologies will create a global market valued at US$8.7 trillion by 2025. This reflects the growing importance of such sectors and their increasing role in changing the lives of societies.

The Museum of the Future allows free entry to the public from 6pm to 8pm. This is the first time that it welcomes the general public, allowing students, researchers, and everyone who is interested to experience an interactive journey that foresees the future of robots and artificial intelligence and their impact on human life as well as on government and non-governmental sectors.

Those interested in visiting the Museum of the Future need to pre-register through its website The launch of the Museum of the Future coincides with many global futuristic initiatives in vital sectors for the UAE and the world. Thanks to its completely revamped experience and increased targeted segments, the Museum of the Future offers a valuable addition to the fourth edition of the World Government Summit unlike its previous editions.

:: Closed Meetings A number of closed meetings for international organisations took place on the side-lines of the World Government Summit. This reflects the increasing importance of the summit as destination and its role as a global organisation. The MENA-OECD Working Group on Open and Innovation Government held its annual meeting in a closed session. The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs held a closed workshop and the International Humanitarian Advisory Council also held its annual Meeting.

:: World Government Summit The World Government Summit is set to attract 3,000 personalities from over 125 countries, and 125 speakers in over 70 sessions. It is set to convene VIPs and senior experts from the public and private sectors globally, ministers, decision makers, CEOs, innovators, officials, experts, entrepreneurs, academics, and university students. A number of initiatives, reports and studies will be launched during the summit and throughout the year. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Mohammed bin Rashid to announces major structural changes to UAE government

posted on 08/02/2016

Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, is holding a live conversation with his 10 million followers on social media tomorrow, Monday, at 6:30pm.

Through the hashtag #world_government_summit, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid will express his vision for the next generation of government and announce major structural changes to the UAE federal government in preparation for the next stage of development in the UAE.

H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid will also spend one hour to answer questions sent by members of the public through the summit's hashtag. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


World Government Summit in Dubai will pick world’s ‘best minister’

posted on 08/02/2016

The "Best Minister in the World” will be chosen at the World Government Summit 2016 in Dubai.

Mohammed Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and chairman of the summit's organising committee, said 10 ministers from around the world had been placed on a shortlist for final assessment.

"The aim of this award is to recognise innovation in global government work and highlight ministerial initiatives that have resulted in positive changes in their communities,” Mr Al Gergawi said.

"Our world today needs ministers to serve as role models of thought and action, which bring about progress and welfare and improve general societal well-being.”

He said honouring ministers also promoted best practices and would inspire other government leaders to implement their own successful projects.

"One of the criteria is for the project or initiative to be transferable – something that can be successfully replicated in other countries,” he said. UAE ministers have been excluded from the first award.

But it will be an annual fixture on the World Government Summit's agenda and is being launched in collaboration with Thomson Reuters.

The award will recognise the work of a minister who has led or taken part in a successful government project they initiated with positive results for citizens.

Nominations came from more than 80 countries.

"The award is a unique initiative to choose an impactful personality who has succeeded in using his or her position to make a substantial difference to society, with a focus on fulfilling people's needs and aspirations,” said Nadim Najjar, Mena managing director for Thomson Reuters.

The summit will open on Monday under the theme Shaping Future Governments.

Also on Monday, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, is expected to announce major structural changes to the Government in preparation for the UAE's next stage of development.

The announcement will be made through his Twitter account at 6.30pm on Sunday. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid will spend an hour answering questions.

Sheikh Mohammed on Sunday inaugurated the Museum of the Future at Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai. The museum is allowing free entry to the public for a soft opening on Monday, Tuesday and on Wednesday from 6pm to 8pm.

Those interested in visiting must pre-register through its website, – The National -


Mohamed bin Zayed visit to India will advance and strengthen trade, political and security cooperation: Gargash

posted on 08/02/2016

On the occasion of the forthcoming official visit to India by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, Dr. Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs yesterday spoke of the visit at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Minister confirmed that the visit will take place from February 10th to 13th, taking in New Delhi and Mumbai. A high-level delegation of UAE ministers, government officials and businessmen representing different sectors of the economy will accompany the Crown Prince.

The visit is designed to build on the outcomes of Prime Minister Modi's visit to the UAE in August 2015 by advancing and strengthening trade, political and security cooperation.

The minister said that the UAE hopes to see areas of further cooperation across a variety of sectors, including energy, aviation, technology, infrastructure and SMEs.

"This visit is part of the UAE's efforts to build relationships across Asia, strengthen its role as a gateway into the Middle East and serve as the bridge between the economic poles of the East and West. These bridges we build with countries and cultures are shaped by the UAE's principles of peace, prosperity, stability, tolerance and unity. These have formed the basis of our relationships for more than four decades, and will continue to be the foundation of our engagement with other nations."

The Crown Prince's visit to India underscores the increasing depth and vast potential of the UAE-India relationship, providing both countries with the opportunity to discuss shared agendas, and advance important areas of cooperation including trade and investment, economic growth, energy, climate change and regional stability.

Dr. Gargash continued, "The close friendship between the UAE and India is built on common goals, values and a sense of shared history – one that goes as far back as ancient pearling routes. Today, the mutually beneficial economic relationship between the two countries is dynamic. India is the UAE's largest trading partner while the UAE is India's third-largest trading partner. In the 1970s, trade was valued at US$180 million annually; today, it is valued at $59 billion.

"The UAE sees this visit as an opportunity to enhance its economic relationship even further, with a number of agreements due to be announced in sectors of importance to both countries.

The UAE's confidence in India's economic development is reinforced by the many initiatives and reforms established by the Modi government, which have helped pave the way for the country's future growth, and the UAE commends Prime Minister Modi for his visionary economic development strategy, and, as a trusted partner, the UAE can be counted on to provide ongoing support.

"As we look ahead to the future, the UAE-India relationship will continue to move into one of strategic importance.

With regard to the subject of promoting regional stability, the minister said that the UAE looks forward to expanding dialogue and cooperation with India in areas such as protecting regional security, confronting terrorism and extremist ideologies, and enhancing maritime and cyber security.

He continued, "In energy and innovation, the UAE and India will continue to discuss opportunities to develop and share technologies that enable both countries to improve energy security and access, while expanding their renewable energy footprints. Of course, the relationship between the UAE and India extends beyond economic and political cooperation, built on the back of centuries of trade and cultural exchange. The Indian community living and working in the UAE represents the Emirates' largest expatriate group and plays a key role throughout the fabric of our society."

Dr. Gargash said that the UAE wishes to continue to harness these bonds in order to further expand societal and cultural exchange between the two countries. In doing so, the UAE hopes that the bonds of trust, understanding and respect will continue to flourish into the future.

Speaking on the Global Coalition to Counter Daesh, Dr. Gargash re-affirmed the UAE's firm support for the coalition. He said that the UAE will continue to support the coalition's course.

He noted that while the Iraqi forces are making progress in the bid to defeat Daesh, the government in Baghdad should increase its efforts and cooperation in order to counter it.

Dr. Gargash said the UAE's position has always been clear, and it is that countering Daesh requires political action in Baghdad that includes, and does not exclude, the Sunnis, in addition to the necessary support these efforts with ground forces against this organisation.

Minister Gargash added, "The UAE has an unwavering position on supporting the forces fighting Daesh. I am not talking about thousands of troops, but I am talking about troops that back the forces fighting on the ground, if the Global Coalition believes that the U.S. should take on the leadership in this effort." – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


UAE and India: A history of friendship and common interests

posted on 08/02/2016

KERALA: The United Arab Emirates is keen to extend bridges of cooperation and friendship with the countries and peoples of the world and strengthen its relations with various countries.

On the eve of the official visit to India by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, Dr. Hussain Al Thaqafi, Vice-Chancellor of the Islamic University in Kerala has said that UAE-Indian relations enjoy strong bonds of friendship based on historical, deep-rooted and age-old cultural, religious and economic ties and built on mutual respect and common interests, as well as fruitful cooperation in various fields for the development and prosperity of the two countries and their peoples.

Kerala has been one of the important trading posts for Emirati traders since ancient times, and now the UAE and India have strong economic and cultural relations with the Indian expatriate community played an important role in various economic sectors in the country.

Relations between the UAE and India date back to a long period before the discovery of oil in the Arabian Gulf and have developed considerably over the past decades due to political understanding, rapprochement and common economic interests between the two countries.

The UAE is keen on providing a safe and attractive environment for the Indian community that has enabled it to achieve the ambitions and successes in various fields and at all levels.

In this regard, Dr. Hussain Al Thaqafi said that the UAE and its people play a key role in the implementation of a number of humanitarian and development projects in the areas of education, health and infrastructure.

He praised the role of benefactors and philanthropists in the UAE and the stances of charities, including the Emirates Red Crescent (ERC), which has always been a forerunner in the implementation of projects concerning orphans as well as building mosques, water wells, schools and health centres in order to meet people's needs.

Dr. Al Thaqafi praised the support of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who is one of the pioneers of generosity, and the UAE is one of the first countries to provide relief aid in support of affected people in various countries. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


UAE, India possess huge co-operation potential in all economic sectors

posted on 08/02/2016

The UAE- India economic co-operation is set to reach record figures in trade exchanges due to the huge potential in both countries.

Economic circles stress the need for the UAE to step up its trade and economic ties with India, which is a huge market with a population of over one billion. Given a number of factors, notably political stability, India has become a hub for foreign investment.

India's trade relations with the UAE date back thousands of years, beginning with the barter of pearls for cotton and dry fruits for grains. The business ties have grown stronger out of centuries of exchange of culture, commodities and ideas.

The Ministry of Economy said in a report on the volume of foreign trade between the UAE and India from 2012 to 2014, that the trade balance tilted towards India as the UAE's contribution to foreign trade was 38.9 percent, while India contributed 61.1 percent. Imports were 12.4 percent, while the total volume of exports were 31.9 percent between 2013 and 2014.

It added that India could absorb all national products of the GCC in general and the UAE products in particular, which compete in quality with foreign commodities.

The ministry said that economic co-operation opportunities and the setting up of joint ventures between the UAE and India are possible in various fields. Each economic sector can provide an opportunity given the availability of expertise, modern technology, funds and energy. These are all important factors for both partners.

The report said the number of Indian companies, agencies and trademarks registered at the ministry at the end of 2014 stood at 4,365 companies, 177 trade agencies and 5,579 trademarks.

It referred to the Framework Agreement on Economic Cooperation between India and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) signed in August to explore the possibility of setting up a free trade zone. It was a qualitative trade exchange shift between the two parties. The GCC states are important trade partners of India. Their exports to India constitute more than 11 percent of the total imports. This deal is key for comprehensive co-operation between the two parties in all fields.

The ministry called for co-ordination between the two parties regarding issues presented to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), especially issues of mutual concern.

The report urged both parties to continue co-operation in the areas of SMEs, calling for the setting up of joint projects in the areas of IT, computers and subsidiary industries to meet the needs of local and regional markets, and making use of advanced Indian technology in these fields.

It stressed the need for organising trade fairs to showcase national products, citing the success of the UAE Trade Exhibition, which was held at Nehru Centre in Mumbai in December 2015.

The report said the co-operation between the Department of Tourism and Trade Marketing and the Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority has attracted a number of Indian businesspersons and investors from different economic sectors.

India is the UAE's largest trade partner. The UAE's economic, political, and cultural links with India date back to more than a century ago when bilateral trade began. The Indian community is the largest expatriate community in the UAE. The UAE's other major trade partners are China, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Iran, Oman, and Jordan. As such, trade is predominately concentrated in Asian markets.

The total trade volume between the UAE and India in the fiscal year 2010-2011 stood at US$62.4 billion compared to $43.5 billion in 2009-2010, up 43.6 percent. The UAE ranked the 10th largest investor in India. UAE investments in India from 2000 to 2010 stood at $1.82 billion. The UAE's cumulative investments in India exceed $6 billion.

The report said that India is preparing a new investment programme that allows 100 percent foreign direct investment in the renewable energy sector. This will open new horizons for co-operation between the two countries.

The two countries are looking forward to increasing the trade exchange by 60 percent to $100 billion (Dh368 billion) by 2020. The two parties also seek to increase flights to over 950 weekly, as the Indian community in the UAE has reached over 2.5 million, the largest community in the UAE.

The UAE also eyes investments in important sectors such as construction, energy, metal industries and modern technology, as well as education, medicine, tourism, cement industry sectors and others.

The ministry stressed the need for benefitting from the agreements signed by the two countries to facilitate participation of Indian companies in the infrastructure development projects in the UAE and support the strategic partnership in the energy sector through the UAE's participation in developing the strategic oil reserves, exploration, production and marketing of oil in India.

The joint UAE-India projects could benefit in marketing products of these projects in Arab countries with a population of 300 million within the Arab Free Trade Zone Agreement, which allows the flow of goods with Arab sources to other Arab countries without fees or customs restrictions.

The Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement in 1992 and Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement were signed with India as part of the GCC in 2005. Nine meetings have been held, of which the last one was in June 2007 in New Delhi.

The two countries also signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the workforce, with the aim of recruiting Indian workers to work in the UAE in accordance with all legal, just and transparent procedures.

On April 21st, 2013, Federal Decree No 17 for the year 2013 was issued for ratification of the second protocol to amend the agreement between the UAE and India on the Avoidance of Double Taxation and Prevention of Fiscal Evasion.

On November 13th, 2013, the UAE and India also signed the Agreement on Protection and Encouragement of Investments. They also inked on January 10th, 2014, the Air Transport Agreement, which allows certain national carriers in both countries to conduct regular flights as agreed by the two parties.

A number of Memoranda of Understanding were signed in various fields, including food sector, standardisation and metrology, telecommunications, higher education, human resources, tourism and trade.

The GCC and India held two rounds of talks with India, of which the last was in September 2008, in Riyadh. It focused on the issues covered by the free trade agreement.

The UAE and India agreed to benefit from small and medium enterprises to establish an important trade sector. India was ranked 7th with regard to cumulative direct foreign investments in the UAE. These investments include financial, wholesale trade, construction and industrial sectors, in accordance with the National Statistic Centre of the UAE.

Mutual trade and economic co-operation between the two countries has received a boost through mutual visits of senior officials.

The report referred to the role of UAE telecommunications companies in India, saying that Etisalat entered the Indian market in 2008 through a trade partnership with the Indian local company, Swan Telecom India, with a stake of 45 percent worth $900 million, in September 2008. The joint venture was named DP Telecom in Mumbai. The Indian company accessed licensing services from 15 departments in 22 states to serve over 900 million people in India.

The UAE is expected to spend heavily on transport and logistics infrastructure in preparation for Expo 2020. This represents an opportunity for more Indian companies. The UAE is also quickly becoming a global transit point and gateway to India, Africa and Asia.

India is expected to become the UAE's biggest export destination by 2030, when, according to the forecast, it will account for an estimated 14 percent of goods. Increased inward investments from the UAE could help India create the conditions for growth in the long term.

Over the next 20 years, South-South relationships based on increased economic and strategic co-operation are expected to become more important to the world economy. The relationship between India and the UAE could be a leading example. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Emirati-Argentinian Business Council established on side-lines of Sheikh Abdullah visit

posted on 08/02/2016

BUENOS AIRES: The establishment of an Emirati- Argentinian Business Council was announced yesterday in Buenos Aires on the side-lines of the visit of H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Foreign Minister, to the Republic of Argentina.

During the signing agreement on the establishment of the Business Council between the Federation of UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the Argentine Industrial Union, Humaid Mohammed Salim, Secretary-General of the UAE Federation, said, "The council will work to develop a road map to strengthen the bonds of communication and cooperation between the UAE's private sector and its Argentine counterpart, stressing the keenness of the UAE private sector to explore suitable investment opportunities in Argentina, and will discuss the opportunities of developing the economic movement between the two countries."

The Head of the Argentine Industrial Union said, "We are looking forward to increasing the volume of bilateral trade, especially since the country has many outstanding natural resources, referring to the numerous investment opportunities, most notably in the fields of agriculture, industry, minerals and, tourism, which will benefit the Emirati businessmen." – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Gargash re-affirms UAE support for Global Coalition to Counter Daesh

posted on 08/02/2016

Dr. Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, has yesterday re-affirmed the UAE's firm support for the Global Coalition to Counter Daesh. He said the UAE will continue to support the Coalition's course.

The minister noted that while Iraqi forces are making progress in the bid to defeat Daesh, the government in Baghdad should increase its efforts and cooperation in order to counter it.

Dr. Gargash said that the UAE's position has always been clear, and it is that countering Daesh requires political action in Baghdad that includes, and does not exclude, the Sunnis, in addition to the necessary support of ground forces against the organisation.

Minister Gargash added, "The UAE maintains an unwavering position on supporting the forces fighting Daesh. I am not talking about thousands of troops, but I am talking about troops that back the forces fighting on the ground, if the Global Coalition believes that the U.S. should take on the leadership in this effort." – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Sawab Centre intensifies its media war on Daesh

posted on 08/02/2016

The Sawab Centre, a joint initiative by the United Arab Emirates and the United States to fight Daesh extremist ideology online, has intensified its efforts to identify and report the terrorist organisation's social media accounts. The centre has previously initiated successive campaigns to reveal methods employed by the organisation to spread its extremist ideologies and to promote its criminal activities online.

Through its campaigns, the centre has raised awareness about the importance of reporting Daesh accounts and has involved social media activists and the public in this process by explaining how to identify such accounts by tracing the hashtags, keywords, methodology, and tactics used by Daesh supporters.

The centre emphasises that the fight against extremism is no longer an individual responsibility, but rather a collective one. All social media users should report Daesh accounts and prevent the spread of Daesh propaganda by not retweeting or reposting Daesh messages, given that sharing any such content inadvertently promotes the organisation and its message.

The centre also seeks to inform communities about the dangers of joining extremist groups and the crucial importance of the global community's support in drying up the resources of the organisations and curbing their spread. In turn, the centre is pleased with the progress that has been achieved internationally in the efforts to eliminate Daesh's presence online, as evidenced by Twitter's recent announcement that it has suspended 125,000 accounts affiliated with the terrorist organisation.

The Sawab Centre underscores the need for global social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Telegram, and others, to continue their efforts to suspend accounts that support extremist ideologies and contribute to the dissemination of messages of hatred and intolerance. The centre is continuously working with concerned companies and organisations to reduce Daesh's influence online, stressing that the media effort against the organisation is as important as the military and humanitarian efforts undertaken by the international coalition.

The Sawab Centre focuses on delivering fact-based, accurate and credible information without distortion or exaggeration. This approach has helped the centre to build credible and highly interactive social media platforms that showcase moderate and enlightened voices. The number of hits and views of the centre's campaigns has surpassed 679 million to date.

Since commencing its activities on 8th July, 2015, the centre has worked to amplify the voices of moderation against Daesh by using social media platforms and allowing the silent majority to express their opinions. The centre also seeks to expand its reach as part of efforts to fight radicalisation and digital terrorism. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Stamps celebrate 50 years of trading in Dubai

posted on 08/02/2016

Fifty years of trading in Dubai is being celebrated with the release of a batch of commemorative stamps by Emirates Post.

The growth and success of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, founded in 1965, is being marked with the postage stamps that are to be presented to 400 visiting trade delegates.

First copies of the stamps were handed over to Hamad Buamim, president and chief executive of Dubai Chamber, by an Emirates Post Group delegation.

"This launch not only marks the golden jubilee of the chamber but reflects on its role as a leading business facilitator and contributor to the emirate's remarkable growth,” he said.

"This release also motivates us to continue our efforts to successfully implement our strategic plans and to support the business community by providing the best services to all our stakeholders in Dubai.”

Each stamp has been creatively designed to reflect the chamber's vision and mission for success over the past five decades. – The National -


ADNOC Distribution invites customers to register for ADNOC Wallet online to benefit from company’s smart benefits

posted on 08/02/2016

ADNOC Distribution has announced the marked retail price of its Smart Tag and ADNOC Plus payment tokens available to ADNOC Wallet account holders. Starting 1st March 2016, the company will retail the Smart Tag at Dh250, while the ADNOC Plus card will be available to customers for Dh50.

Prior to the roll out of the seven-month pilot phase of the ADNOC Smart service, the company also invites customers to subscribe for the ADNOC Wallet by visiting the website and following the simple registration process.

In the run up to this deadline, ADNOC Distribution is offering complimentary Smart Tags to the first 5,000 customers opting to experience the service and register for an ADNOC Wallet account. In addition to receiving free ADNOC Plus cards, the early customers to register will also have their Emirates ID cards linked to their ADNOC Wallet accounts and activated for free.

The ADNOC Wallet allows customers to pay for their purchases at participating service stations in three different ways: via the Smart Tag (a smart chip installed at the fuel inlet of the vehicles' fuel tank and linked to the ADNOC Wallet account), the ADNOC Plus cards, or via their ID cards that are also linked to the ADNOC Wallet and activated for payments. The smart payment solutions are aimed at providing customers with added conveniences and safety, enabling them to manage their accounts from anywhere, at any time via tablets or mobiles.

Abdullah Salem Al Dhaheri, CEO of ADNOC Distribution, said, "ADNOC SMART service allows customers to benefit from our cutting-edge technologically advanced infrastructure and experience self-refuelling in a fast, easy and safe environment when they visit one of our smart service stations."

He added, "As per the guidelines of the Abu Dhabi Vision 2030, ADNOC Distribution is committed to fulfilling the ambitions of the UAE leadership to achieve smart governments and cities through implementing this service. We are keen to provide an enhanced experience to our customers at our smart service stations and are ensuring all necessary efforts are in place to make this transition phase a smooth and rewarding one for customers, partners and all concerned stakeholders."

The seven-month pilot phase of the ADNOC SMART service will run in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi from 1st March to 1st October, 2016. The pilot phase will cover four service stations located on Abu Dhabi Island and allow customers to try out self-refuelling using state-of-the art technologies and also benefit from varied payment methods.

The ADNOC SMART service marks an important milestone in enhancing the operational capacity and efficiency of the ADNOC Distribution network. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Central Bank signs MoU with Abu Dhabi Global Market

posted on 08/02/2016

The Central Bank of the UAE announced yesterday that it has recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, with the Abu Dhabi Global Market, ADGM, Financial Services Regulatory Authority, FSRA. Both parties expressed their mutual willingness to cooperate on the basis of reciprocity as well as mutual trust and understanding and agree to base their co-operation in the field of supervision of banks and other financial institutions on the principles outlined in the Memorandum.

Saeed Abdulla Al Hamiz, Assistant Governor for Banking Supervision at Central Bank, and Richard Teng, CEO of the ADGM FSRA, signed the MoU.

The MoU puts a mechanism in place to cooperate in regulatory matters and supervision of banks and other financial institutions operating in both jurisdictions and exchange of supervisory information, in line with the Bank for International Settlements Home-Host information sharing, which contributes to the realisation of a sound financial system in the UAE.

The Assistant Governor for Banking Supervision emphasised the need for cooperation and coordination with supervisory authorities to ensure the stability of the financial system in the UAE.

Richard Teng said, "The signing of this MoU reinforces our commitment to and partnership with the Central Bank in supervising financial institutions operating in both jurisdictions. The FSRA is pleased to formalise the current practice and arrangements for co-operation and information sharing between the two regulators." – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Strata wins Bridge of Excellence award at AmCham Abu Dhabi Gala

posted on 08/02/2016

Strata Manufacturing, the advanced composite aero-structures manufacturing facility wholly owned by Mubadala Development Company, was recognised with the Bridge of Excellence Award at the 2016 AmCham Abu Dhabi Excellence Awards Gala.

The award recognises an organisation that demonstrates commitment to cross-border business alliances between the United Arab Emirates and the United States, and bridges the gap in bilateral trade relations that contributes to building local capabilities and a knowledge based economy.

Commenting on the award recognition, Chief Executive Officer, Badr Al Olama, said, "We are honoured to be recognised with such a prestigious award. Since Strata began operations, we have been committed to becoming a global leader in the aerospace industry. Through our collaboration with global partners and our commitment to technological innovation, we have developed a strong, Emirati-led workforce, ensuring long-term competitiveness and reinforcing Strata's value proposition to its key customers."

Strata, along with other UAE aerospace companies, works in line with Abu Dhabi's Economic Vision 2030 to support the development of a global aerospace hub for the emirate. In doing so, Strata engages heavily with local small and medium sized enterprises, SMEs, that are driven by local entrepreneurs with the aim of building a robust local supply chain in the city of Al-Ain.

Al Olama continued, "At Strata, we aim to become a partner of choice for our global customer base by supplying high quality advanced composite aero-structures, and at home in the UAE, by supporting the socio-economic development of Abu Dhabi."

Strata is contributing to the development of an integrated global aerospace hub in Abu Dhabi by building capabilities in human capital, research and development and new technologies that lead to innovative turnkey solutions for the industry.

The AmCham Abu Dhabi Excellence Awards Gala is a celebration of the most distinguished companies, institutions and entrepreneurs in Abu Dhabi. The awards reflect the contributions of best-in-class American and Emirati individuals and organisations to business in the UAE and U.S.-UAE commercial relations. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


48m travellers in Dubai in 2015

posted on 08/02/2016

Almost 48 million people travelled through Dubai's air, land and seaports in 2015, a 7.84 per cent increase when compared to statistics of 2014, the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) reported on Sunday.

More than 24 million of the total number were travellers entering the emirate through all ports, an 8.15 per cent increase when compared to the 22.49 million who entered Dubai in 2014. More than 19 million of the total number in 2015 were tourists and visitors entering the emirate through its air and seaports.

Major General Mohammed Ahmad Al Merri, director-general of the GDRFA, said the department is continuously striving to develop its services to make entry processes at the borders efficient and hassle-free. He also emphasised that this was reflective of the directives issued by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Brigadier Salah Al Qumzi, Assistant to the director-general for land and seaports affairs at the GDRFA, said the development witnessed by Dubai's seaports in recent years sets it apart from its global counterparts.

"Dubai's seaports, in terms of both size and the quality of services, is what really puts it on the map and sets it apart from its global competitors,” he said. "We have strategies put in place by our emirate's leaders to help us continue to better our practices and efficiently deal with the large number of visitors.”

There are a total of six seaports in Dubai — Jebel Ali Port, Port Rashid, Shindagha Port, Hamriya Port, Al Khor Port and the Dry Docks. The GDRFA branches in these ports offer a range of services, including ship, sailor and crew registration, and services offered to tourists and visitors.

Al Qumzi said there was a 2.18 per cent rise in marine traffic recorded in Dubai last year: 60,488, when compared to 2014 with 59,197.

Colonel Talal Al Shanqeeti, assistant to the director-general for airports affairs, said the department has wasted no effort in simplifying entry and exit procedures at Dubai Airports, pointing out that it takes "no more than five seconds to clear the procedures at passport control counters”.

"There's been a seven per cent rise in travellers using both our e-gates and counters,” he said. "Last year, we recorded more than 43.5 million travellers entering and exiting the emirate, while in 2014, we recorded 40.43 million.”

Al Shanqeeti said the first quarter recorded the highest number of travellers using Dubai Airports in 2015: 11.33 million. "January was our busiest month,” he said, "with more than four million travellers using Dubai Airports in that month alone.”

Col Al Shanqeeti added that 41,772 new smart gate cards were issued last year, while more than 88,000 were renewed, a 13 per cent increase when compared to 2014. He also said that 130,463 smart gate transactions were conducted last year, compared with 122,103 in 2014. – Gulf News -


Air Arabia delivers 2015 net profit of Dh531 million

posted on 08/02/2016

Air Arabia yesterday announced strong full-year financial results for 2015 as the Middle East and North Africa's first and largest low-cost carrier continued to deliver healthy growth and strong levels of profitability.

Air Arabia's net profit for the full year ending December 31, 2015 was Dh 531 million, 6 per cent lower than 2014 figure of Dh 566 million. Turnover in 2015 reached Dh 3.8 billion, an increase of 3 per cent on the preceding 12 months as the airline continued to expand its customer base. More than 7.6 million passengers flew with Air Arabia in 2015, a 12 per cent year-on-year increase. The average seat load factor - or passengers carried as a percentage of available seats - in 2015 stood at an impressive 79 per cent.

Following its strong 2015 performance, Air Arabia's Board of Directors proposed a dividend distribution of 9 per cent of share capital, which is equivalent to 9 fils per share. This proposal was made following a meeting of the Board of Directors of Air Arabia and is subject to ratification by Air Arabia's shareholders at the company's upcoming Annual General Meeting on February 25, 2016.

"2015 was a year of growth and achievement for Air Arabia as our expansion strategy, efficient operations and tight cost controls reinforced our market leading position," said Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Thani, Chairman of Air Arabia. "The impact of low oil prices continues to have its effect on the wider global economy, while pressure on yields and geo-political uncertainty continued to weigh on the aviation industry. Despite these challenges, Air Arabia once again delivered a strong set of numbers and remains well positioned for further growth in 2016."

Air Arabia added 23 routes to its network in 2015, including the significant achievement of becoming the first low-cost airline from the Middle East and Africa to enter the Chinese market with the launch of regular non-stop services to Urumqi, the largest city in Western China.

The airline also added a fifth international hub with the formation of "Air Arabia Jordan" and the opening of a fixed-based operation at Amman Queen Alia International Airport.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Thani added: "Going forward, we will remain focused on ceaselessly delivering on our promise to help people fly more for less, with innovation and operational efficiency at the heart of our business."

Customer retention was boosted in 2015 with the launch of Airewards, the first loyalty programme from a regional low-cost carrier. It offers the same simple, transparent and value-packed experience that customers associate with Air Arabia, with points based on money spent rather than distance flown, and able to be earned on any product or service purchased from the airline.

In the fourth quarter of 2015, Air Arabia reported a net profit of Dh 59 million, 13 per cent less than the corresponding 2014 figure of Dh 68 million. Turnover for the three months ending December 31, 2015, was Dh 957 million, compared to Dh 924 million in the same period in 2014, an increase of 4 per cent. Air Arabia flew 2 million passengers in the final quarter of 2015, up 17% on the corresponding 2014 figure.

A highly successful year was then capped when data from Google revealed Air Arabia was the airline most searched for by UAE users in 2015, reflecting the strength of the airline's online presence and product offering to its customers. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


UAE chairs ITU-T Study Group 20 - Internet of Things and Smart Cities

posted on 08/02/2016

SINGAPORE: Represented by the General Authority for Regulating the Telecommunications Sector (TRA), the UAE has chaired the second meeting of the International Telecommunications Union standardisation sector.

The meeting of the (ITU-T) Study Group 20 "Internet of Things and Smart Cities" was hosted by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore.

Engineer Nasser Al Marzooqi, Chairman of the ITU-T Study Group 20, UAE representative to the ITU-Geneva, and ITU Affairs Manager represented TRA in the meeting.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Russian Republic, Japan, Spain, Southern Korea, Argentina, Italy, and China held the position of the study group Vice- Chairmen which illustrates the great importance of the new Study Group.

In this context, Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, UAE TRA Director General, "Internet of Things (IOT) is shaping the future of the world, as it is going to facilitate our journey towards smart cities and governments. This concept involves comprehensive societal, economic, and legal aspects. In light of this, UAE is eyeing IOT with great attention, particularly in light of the massive developments that the country is witnessing in terms of sustainable and smart cities. We are honoured by chairing this international study group, as it reflects the UAE's esteemed position in the international ICT industry."

"TRA is overseeing one of the most vital sectors to the smart transformation which is the telecommunication sector as it described as the nervous system of the Smart Cities. We are striving to ensure that this system is active and responsive to the requirements of giant projects like Dubai Smart City and Masdar."

On the side-lines of the meeting, a forum on the Internet of Things and Smart Cities, entitled "a new era of smarter living" was held. Jacob Ibrahim, Singapore's Minister of Communications and Information delivered an opening speech where he highlighted Singapore's vision for Smart Cities.

The opening speech was followed by a speech by Mr Chaesub Lee, Director, Telecommunication Standardisation Bureau,ITU. Then, the Chairman of ITU Study Group 20 presented the meeting's most significant highlights.

The Study Group 20 is responsible for developing international standards that enable developing Internet of Things (IOT) technologies including smart cities. The meeting brought together more than 150 participants from ITU Member States, industry leaders, international and regional organisations, and invited experts. From UAE, TRA and Etisalat participated. Moreover, Etisalat chaired a working group. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed affirms UAE's commitment to the disabled

posted on 08/02/2016

H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman of Emirates Group, yesterday affirmed that the UAE is committed to offering unparalleled opportunities for the disabled and special needs individuals to empower them to realise their potential in a friendly and flexible social environment.

He noted that Dubai works to transform into an inclusive and disability-friendly city by 2020.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed made the remarks in a statement ahead of AccessAbilities 2016, the Middle East's largest expo on disabilities and special needs which will be held in Dubai between 9th-11th February.

The event will bring together international experts, professionals, exhibitors and decision- makers on a single platform to showcase products, services and discuss strategies aimed at enhancing the quality of life of more than 750 million people with disabilities worldwide, 50 million of whom are in the Middle East.

Sheikh Ahmed said the expo is also aimed at motivating government authorities and private sector players to change their perception about people with special needs and improve their services to meet their needs, integrate them in the society and enable them to overcome their daily challenges.

AccessAbilities 2016 is being organised by Reed Exhibitions and Nadd Al-Shiba PR and Event Management under the patronage of H.H. Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, at the Dubai international Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The premier event will provide a dedicated platform that will encourage experts and decision makers from across the world to share knowledge, discuss challenges and solutions to empower individuals with disabilities.

AccessAbilities 2016 will showcase the latest smart technologies that can assist those with disabilities and will include participation from government and private sector organisations from across the healthcare, hospitality, tourism, education, infrastructure, facilities management, transport, consumer electronics and other fields.

The expo is being held in line with the vision of the UAE's leadership to integrate individuals with special needs into the society and make their lives easier and happier.

The UAE is actively taking initiatives toward integrating and empowering individuals with special needs and making them strong contributors in the nation's success. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


New UAE group to tackle online abuse of children

posted on 08/02/2016

A new UAE-based non-profit organisation will work for the protection of children from online abuse using psychiatric, legal, educational, technical and social expertise in cooperation with local and international authorities.

Launched on Sunday in the capital ahead of Safety Internet Day on February 9, Emirates Safer Internet Society E-SAFE announced its vision to become a "sustainable and globally recognised” hub for child protection online by 2021.

Speaking at the launch, Dr Abdullah Al Mehyas, chairman, said that in addition to commonly recognised online risks such as sexual exploitation, blackmail and fraud, ‘e-Terrorism' also poses a threat.

"There are around 8.8 million internet users in the UAE and 65 per cent of those have smartphones. Those who do not have smartphones are usually children and they use tablets and similar devices. Nowadays, children are born into the internet era and therefore using these technologies comes to them naturally,” Al Mehyas said.

"Some people abuse these impressionable users and use the internet to groom them for sexual and even violent purposes such as killing and bombing of mosques,” he added.

Mira Ebrahim Al Mansouri, an e-Safe board member, said that predators prey on the ‘weakest minds', drawing them in to perform immoral and inappropriate acts. "We must find the root cause of the problem and it primarily has to do with the way a child is raised. Parents often say that technology has ‘invaded' their lives when in reality they just need to instil in their children the right mindset and methodology to distinguish right from wrong and this is a collaborative effort that includes parents, families, schools and experts,” she said.

In fact, blocking websites and inappropriate content is only a temporary solution for children under the age of nine, e-Safe CEO Mohammed Mustafa Saidalavi revealed.

"After that age, it is impractical for content to be blocked because we must teach the child to think for him or herself, to practise caution and responsibility,” he said.

During his talks in schools in the capital, Saidalavi said that he had encountered a student who requested him to speak to her parents about the issue. "She told me that someone had tried to groom her online and when she told her parents, their first reaction was to prohibit her from using the internet altogether. She told me that after the issue was resolved, she continues to receive such messages but now refrains from telling her parents about it. Parents must become part of the conversation and must open the door for their children to be honest with them even if that requires parents to receive training on how to use the internet,” he added.

Saidalavi first came up with the concept of e-Safe after attending a Virtual Global Taskforce conference in the capital four years ago and aims at turning e-Safe into a go-to institution for child online safety by 2021.

Online threats to children include:

Child sex predators

Cyber bullying/blackmail

Access to inappropriate content

Child sexual abuse material


Cyber scams/phishing

Child self-generated sexual content

Electronic addiction

Founded by Mohammad Mustafa Saidalavi, E-SAFE has worked with international agencies such as Interpol, Unicef, ITU, EUROPOL and other local authorities such as the Ministry of Interior, the Khalifa Student Empowerment Programme (Aqdar), the Abu Dhabi Education Council, and the National Rehabilitation Centre (NRC), among many others.

The UAE child safety hotline can be reached at – Gulf News -


President of Yemen praises UAE, Saudi support

posted on 08/02/2016

ADEN: Yemeni President Abd Rabo Mansour Hadi has applauded Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates for providing support to the Yemeni population in the liberated parts of the country.

Hadi made the remarks yesterday while presiding over a meeting with senior Yemeni officials in Aden.

"Months of war has had a devastating effect on the citizens of Yemen. We, as a government, should seriously evaluate urgent needs, including water and electricity, and provide solutions, in collaboration with our brothers in the Arab Coalition, led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE," he said.

The President of Yemen also lauded the victories achieved by the national Yemeni army and the popular resistance in their fight against the Houthi militias and their allied forces of deposed president Saleh. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Big Heart Foundation donates US$350,000 to help Syrian refugees

posted on 08/02/2016

The Big Heart Foundation, BHF, has pledged to donate US$350,000 towards two UNHCR projects to help displaced Syrian families and children seeking refuge in Lebanon and Iraq. The first US$250,000 will go towards UNHCR's "Warm their Hearts" campaign that will provide winter aid to over 400,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon, who are in desperate need of support and assistance. The second $100,000 will go towards UNHCR's work in Iraq to help around 300,000 displaced Syrian refugee families living in Iraq and provide necessary aid to help them survive tough weather conditions.

Mariam al Hammadi, Director of Salam Ya Seghar, a TBHF initiative to improve the welfare of refugee children, said, "These two pledges will go towards helping Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Iraq to ensure they are able to live through the harsh winter conditions as well as can be expected. We at TBHF were swift in our response to the extreme winter weather conditions that have recently swept the area. In Lebanon and Iraq temperatures can go as low as minus 15 degree centigrade, and displaced Syrian refugees struggle to survive these conditions, with some forced to live in temporary accommodation that are no more than flimsy huts and makeshift shelters."

Al Hammadi went on to say that the relief winter programme will provide the necessities such as thermal blankets, stoves, kerosene and also cash assistance to those living in vulnerable socio-economic conditions, adding, " It's very hard for refugee families and the children in particular to survive tough winter conditions. Under the patronage of Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of H.H. the Ruler of Sharjah, Chairperson of the Big Heart Foundation, and UNHCR Eminent Advocate for Refugee Children, The Big Heart Foundation is dedicated to helping Syrian refugees lead a life of dignity by providing them relief and sustainable support."

The UNHCR's "Warm their Heart" campaign addresses the winter needs of approximately 463,750 refugees, which is about 39% of the Syrian refugee population in Lebanon. TBHF donation of US$250,000 will help 417 refugee families and ensure they receive all the essentials they need to survive harsh winter conditions. The campaign will first provide assistance to 100,000 of the most vulnerable refugees and includes assistance in the form of cash and shelter. It will also provide a winter survival kit that includes five blankets, three high thermal blankets, a heating stove, gas bottle and four months of gas supply. In Iraq, TBHF will donate US$100,000 to UNHCR's programme which will help around 300 vulnerable refugee families in need of life-saving support.

The UNHCR's winter plan in Iraq will provide winter assistance to 26,400 households or 132,000 refugees, which is approximately 53% of the Syrian refugee population living in Iraq. UNHCR's winter assistance in Iraq will be divided into two, 60% will be provided to families and individuals living in refugee camps and it will give assistance in the form of tent insulation, deliver emergency supplies and core winter relief items such as plastic sheeting, jerry can, one stove and kerosene to each household. The rest of UNHCR's winter assistance will be unconditional cash support to socio-economically vulnerable Syrian refugee families and individuals living outside camps. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Captivating light shows at Sharjah festival

posted on 08/02/2016

Al Qasimia University and Masjid Al Qasimia University are hosting a set of captivating shows as part of the Sharjah Light Festival 2016, which began on Thursday. The festival, which is the first event of its kind in the region, has also transformed the emirate's other major heritage buildings and landmarks into works of art.

The new building of the Al Qasimia University, which is known for its imposing infrastructure, features the show, "A Falcon's Flight.” The show will open with a huge velvet curtain sweeping across the enormous building façade, describing the story of a falcon's travel to enchantingly beautiful places.

Masjid Al Qasimia University with its exquisite architecture hosts the show, "Inspiring Islamic Architecture.” Situated next to the awe-inspiring Al Qasimia University, the Masjid has been attracting attention during the festival with a show that takes visitors on a journey through time and space to some of the most amazing architectural buildings from across the Islamic world. During the show, the columns, pillars and arches of the mosque get transformed into a variety of styles and designs, providing a rare visual delight to the visitors.

Sharjah Light Festival, now into its sixth year, is organised by Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA). The festival will run till Feb.13 from 6pm to 11 pm on weekdays and until midnight on weekends. This year the festival has added 10 new shows, bringing 23 unique experiences to the emirate.

Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) was established in 1996 by Emiri Decree No. 5, with the objective of promoting commercial and tourism activities in the Emirate of Sharjah.

SCTDA endeavours to develop these sectors through various events, activities and issuances, and promotes the emirate at all local, regional and international levels. – The Gulf Today -