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Emirati diplomats explore UAE-US partnership during EDA training programme in Washington D.C. and New York

posted on 28/07/2016

In its continuous efforts to provide hands-on international experience to young diplomats, the Emirates Diplomatic Academy, EDA, organised an extensive training programme in July, in coordination with the UAE Embassy in Washington, D.C., the UAE Consulate, and the UAE Mission to the United Nations in New York City.

The one-week-long training programme aimed to broaden the students' diplomatic knowledge by educating them about the healthy partnerships between the UAE and the US in the fields of foreign affairs, business, and medical science, to name a few. The first half of the training programme was held in Washington, D.C., where the EDA delegation was given a glimpse into the various areas where the UAE has contributed towards global development. The delegation then moved on to New York City.

While in Washington, D.C., the delegates met with Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba, the UAE's Ambassador to the US, to learn more about his experiences and what it takes to be a successful diplomat, including the importance of public and digital diplomacy. They also received briefings on ways to utilise their diplomatic training and expertise to help expand the UAE's strategic, commercial, and cultural interests.

The delegation also visited the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Paediatric Surgical Innovation at Children's National Medical Centre, where they learnt about the cutting-edge medical equipment and procedures being developed at the Institute that can make paediatric surgeries less invasive and more precise. They also had the opportunity to partake in the Foreign Policy Peace Game, organised by Foreign Policy magazine with support from the UAE Embassy in Washington, D.C., a bi-annual simulation exercise to tackle today's most pressing issues. The visit to Washington culminated in an interactive training in issues and crisis management from experts at the centre for Strategic and International Studies.

The second half of the training programme was held in New York City, where the EDA delegates were introduced to the UAE Consulate and UAE-UN Mission by Lana Nusseibeh, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the UAE to the UN in New York and EDA Board of Trustees Member. Elaborating on the EDA training programme and the contributions by the young delegates, Lana Nusseibeh said, "The youth are an integral part of building a sustainable and developed society.

The EDA is an incubator for aspiring diplomats to contribute towards UAE foreign policy in a meaningful way – particularly through the multilateral arena. The thorough training given to these young diplomats by seasoned veterans in foreign affairs is very evident in the way they presented themselves, handled each situation, and in their interactions with officials from the UN."

At the UAE Consulate, the team met Majid Al Suwaidi, Consul-General in New York, who stressed the importance of multilateral agreements – especially those that relate to climate change – and praised the UAE Mission in New York for its work. Commenting on the topic, Al Suwaidi said, "All of the successful agreements make up the pieces that will change the way the world does business, the way we think about development and the way we will grow our economies. It is critical for the UAE to be a part of this process." - Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Record number of Emiratis visiting Britain using Electronic Visa Waver System

posted on 28/07/2016

Official figures released this week have demonstrated the UK's continued attraction for visitors from the UAE. A record number of UAE nationals used the UK's electronic visa waiver (EVW) scheme in the last year, according to a report issued by the UK Home Office.

It added that there were more than 63,000 applications for EVWs in the year ending March 2016, up 39% on the previous year, breaking past records.

Visit Britain announced this week that 77,000 visitors from the UAE had arrived in the UK during the first three months of 2016 – the strongest first quarter on record.

The EVW scheme has grown in popularity since it was introduced in 2014. EVWs are completed online, 48 hours before departure and are valid for a single entry into the UK. The UAE nationals can apply for a new EVW each time they travel to the UK, and there is no limit on the number of times the system can be used.

A new and improved version of the EVW system was introduced in the UAE in May 2016. Unlike the first version of the EVW system, which relied on passengers entering their personal information exactly as it appears on their passport, the new EVW form asks passengers to upload a copy of their passport biographic data page so that details can be checked for accuracy prior to travel.

This means that the vast majority of input errors are picked up, significantly reducing the risk of issues when boarding or entering the UK. The revised system also features questions in both English and Arabic making it easier for users in the UAE.

In a further improvement to the system which will offer greater flexibility, EVW holders can now amend their flight details should they need to change them after making their original application. Changes will need to be made at least 48hrs before both the original and new travel dates.

UK Ambassador to the UAE, Philip Parham said, "Record numbers of UAE nationals are visiting the UK and using our EVW system. We want everyone's visit, from start to finish, to be as smooth and enjoyable as possible. The introduction of the EVW system and its recent improvements have benefited tens of thousands of UAE nationals. It is also still possible to apply for multiple entry UK visas, with validity up to 10 years. Using our super priority visa service, these can be obtained on the same day as an application is submitted."

"We look forward to welcoming more travellers from the UAE and beyond," he added. - Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Abu Dhabi Art reveals established and innovative galleries participating in 2016

posted on 28/07/2016

Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces Abu Dhabi, Art 2016 returns with 40 established and innovative galleries from 20 different countries, presenting iconic pieces by internationally renowned artists and unique artworks by emerging artists.

Abu Dhabi Art is organised by Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) and scheduled to run from November 16-19.

Coming from Europe, Asia, North America and the Middle East, the galleries will exhibit under the fair's four sections: (1) Modern & Contemporary; (2) Bidaya; (3) Beyond; and (4) Gateway.

"Abu Dhabi Art 2016 maintains its high calibre of galleries from around the world, with a showcase of distinctive pieces by a diverse range of globally celebrated figures and emerging artists," said Rita Aoun-Abdo, Executive Director, Culture Sector, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority. "Providing a platform for a universal perspective on art that is not defined by region or geography, Abu Dhabi Art continues to bring world-class art and experiences to the capital, supporting the UAE's ever-evolving art scene and positioning itself as a global hub for cultural and artistic exchange."

The Modern & Contemporary section will present some of the world's most innovative and established galleries, offering visitors a selection of exceptional modern and contemporary artworks. Galleries exhibiting for the first time include Sean Kelly Gallery (New York) which will feature works by acclaimed artist Idris Khan, Charlie James Gallery (Los Angeles), Cuadro Fine Art Gallery (Dubai), and the Tehran/New York based Shirin Gallery. In its debut Abu Dhabi Art appearance, the Dubai-based Custot Gallery will highlight works by eminent French painter and sculptor Jean Dubuffet.

Modern & Contemporary will also exhibit works by other leading figures from returning galleries such as Pablo Picasso (Acquavella Galleries), M.F. Husain (Aicon Gallery), Wael Shawky (Lisson Gallery), Etel Adnan (Sfeir Semler Gallery), Jacques Villegle (Galerie GP & N Vallois), Ali Banisadr (Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac), Shafic Abboud (Agial Gallery), Rashid Rana (Leila Heller Gallery), Michelangelo Pistoletto (Galleria Continua) and Emirati artists such as Abdul Qader Al Rais (Hunar Gallery), and Mohamed Al Mazrouei (AB Gallery).

Bidaya, which translates to "beginning" in Arabic, is an ongoing initiative that invites an emerging gallery to participate on an international platform. For 2016, the Bidaya gallery will be Hafez Gallery, which is based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and will feature Saudi artists including Mounirah Mosly and Ibrahim El Dessouki.

Bringing art to the public arena, Beyond will provide a curated public platform for large-scale sculptures and installations which will engage with public spaces. Selected works will be exhibited throughout the city for a period of six months, creating a contemporary canvas of artwork within the urban landscape. Participating artists for 2016 include Ahmed Faig (Cuadro Fine Art Gallery), Nja Mahdaoui (Elmarsa), Bassam Geitani (Galerie Janine Rubeiz), Lee Bul (Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac), Aziz + Cucher (Gazelli Art House), Lawrence Weiner (Giorgio Persano), Wang Dongling (Hanart TZ Gallery) and Slavs and Tatars (The Third Line).

For its eighth edition, Abu Dhabi Art is introducing a new and innovative vision with a curated exhibition titled ‘Gateway', which will present modern and contemporary artists integrated within the fair, setting the tone for the artwork displayed by leading commercial galleries, and anchoring each section of Abu Dhabi Art within a broader, shared cultural context.

Part of ‘Gateway' will present a large-scale installation by the influential Beijing artist Gu Dexin, and curated by Alexandra Munroe, Samsung Senior Curator, Asian Art and Senior Advisor, Global Arts at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation, an exhibition on Modern Arab art curated by Catherine David, Deputy Director of the National Museum of Modern Art (Musee National d'Art Moderne) at Paris' Centre Georges Pompidou.

Abu Dhabi Art will also present under ‘Gateway' ‘(Re) Birth', a thematic group exhibition including emerging and established artists from diverse times and geographies, curated by artistic director and long-term Abu Dhabi Art collaborator Fabrice Bousteau.

Each edition of Abu Dhabi Art presents also a public programme that connects with the wider community through a dynamic schedule of performing arts, collaborative community initiatives, and a series of public talks, bringing together experts from Louvre Abu Dhabi, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, Zayed National Museum and international arts institutions. - Emirates News Agency, WAM –


UAE to make up 90% of region’s leisure tourism market by 2020

posted on 28/07/2016

The UAE is expected to account for 90 per cent of the leisure tourism market in the Middle East by 2020, according to a report published on Wednesday by Team Leisure, a Dubai-based consultancy specialised in the leisure industry.

The UAE will see the opening of up to 15 leisure attractions in 2016, said Phil Taylor, director at Team Leisure.

"The UAE is just about to take a huge step on to the world leisure stage with some 10 — 15 major leisure attractions due to open in 2016 and many more in the pipeline. This is the next big step in the UAE's tourism strategy and the single biggest driver of growth in the hotel market for the next 5 years,” he said.

The attractions scheduled to open in the country in 2016 include IMG Worlds of Adventure (August 15) in Dubai, which will have 20 rides and attractions; Dubai Parks and Resorts (October) featuring Motion Gate, Bollywood and Legoland; the Louvre Abu Dhabi; Warner Bros World in Abu Dhabi (2018), and safari parks in both Dubai and Al Ain, among others.

"The Gold Coast in Australia, Singapore, and Orlando in Florida are all successful leisure and tourism stories that are 50 years or more in the making. Yet the stories are quite varied, as is the nature of their success. The individual destinations offer lessons the UAE can benefit from and allow us to evaluate the chances of success of the UAE's leisure strategy,” Taylor said.

Tourism initiatives

"If the UAE can achieve the same quality and success with its leisure attractions that define all of the tourism initiatives that have got it to where it is today, then there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that it can succeed in the next major step in its tourism strategy,” he added.

Amusement parks are expected to help attract more tourists to Dubai, which aims to welcome 20 million visitors per year by 2020.

IMG Worlds of Adventure is anticipated to attract 4.5 million visitors during the first year of operations and more than 30,000 per day, while Dubai Parks and Resorts is expected to welcome 6.7 million people during its first full year of operation.

Team Leisure will host a presentation called "UAE theme park tourism: success factor insights from Gold Coast, Singapore, Orlando” at the Vision Conference, part of The Leisure Show, which will take place between September 17 and 19 at the Dubai World Trade Centre.

The Leisure Show, which is organised by dmg events, is a supply, knowledge and networking event focusing on the leisure industry. – Gulf News -


20 UAE banks rank in top 1,000 banks worldwide

posted on 28/07/2016

The General-Secretariat of the Union of Arab Banks, UAB, has announced the inclusion of 85 Arab banks among the top 1,000 banks in the world, including 20 from the UAE.

The General Secretariat report, which is based on data published by "The Banker" magazine regarding the largest 1,000 banks in the world, named the Emirati banks as: National Bank of Abu Dhabi, First Gulf Bank, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Emirates NBD, Dubai Islamic Bank, Mashreq Bank, Union National Bank, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Commercial Bank of Dubai, RAK Bank, Al Hilal Bank, Sharjah Islamic Bank, National Bank of Fujairah, Bank of Sharjah, National Bank of Umm al Qaiwain, Al Masraf Arab Bank for Investment & Foreign Trade, Noor Bank, United Arab Bank, Invest Bank and Commercial Bank International.

The United Arab Emirates ranked first for the number of banks listed, Saudi Arabia came second (12 banks), both Lebanon and Qatar ranked third (10 banks), Bahrain ranked 4th (9 banks) and Kuwait ranked 5th (8 banks), while Saudi banks topped the list according to the total volume of assets, amounting to about US$578 billion. - Emirates News Agency, WAM –


The Tower at Dubai Creek Harbour: Wind tests completed on UAE’s future tallest building

posted on 28/07/2016

Anyone who has stood atop a skyscraper, be it New York's Empire State Building or Dubai's Burj Khalifa, can attest to the power of nature at such heights.

Not only is the wind strong, it also behaves in complex ways when coming into contact with tall buildings, meaning there is more to building megastructures than just the aesthetic.

With this in mind, Emaar Properties, the Dubai developer, has confirmed that it has completed advanced wind tunnel tests on The Tower at Dubai Creek Harbour, which is set to be 100 metres taller than the 828-metre Burj Khalifa when complete.

Emaar said the wind tests were crucial in defining the final height and design aspects, while the project's Spanish-Swiss architect Santiago Calatrava Valls added that they "were an important component in the structural design stage, and we have deployed innovative engineering techniques to confirm the strength of the new icon".

The tests involved 12 different analysis and testing methods to ensure that all possible ¬cases were considered, according to Emaar. They were carried out for the entirety of the project using a scale model. As part of climate tests in the local area, measurements were taken at different heights, including data provided by the weather stations. – The National -


UAE participates in 39th session of OIC's Islamic Commission for Economic, Cultural and Social Affairs in Jeddah

posted on 28/07/2016

JEDDAH: The United Arab Emirates is taking part in the 39th session of the Islamic Commission for Economic, Cultural and Social Affairs of the Member States of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which kicked off on 23rd July and will conclude tomorrow at the OIC General Secretariat headquarters in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Led by Hamad Obaid Al Zaabi, Director of International Organisations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the UAE delegation includes a number of senior officials.

The UAE delegation will also participate in the preparatory meeting of the Forty-Third Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM), scheduled in the Uzbek capital, Tashkent, on October 18- 20, 2016. The preparatory meeting will take place in the OIC General Secretariat headquarters in Jeddah from July 26 to 28.

Topping the agenda of the Preparatory Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) is the issue of Palestine and the Arab-Israeli conflict. SOM will review the developments in Palestine and the City of Al-Quds Ash-Sharif, the occupied Syrian Golan, Israel's occupation of Lebanese territory, and status of the peace process in the Middle East.

The other important issues on the SOM agenda include the fight against international terrorism, conflicts in the Muslim world, notably the situation in Syria, Yemen, Libya, Mali, and Jammu and Kashmir, rejection of unilateral economic sanctions on some OIC Member States, UN reform, and the expansion of the UN Security Council membership.

The SOM will also discuss issues of disarmament, Islamophobia, defamation of religions, establishment of new OIC regional offices, situation of the Muslim groups and communities in non-member States such as Philippines and Myanmar, OIC Program of Action 2025, Independent Permanent Commission for Human Rights, humanitarian programmes and projects in Gaza, Syria, Yemen, Chad, Somalia, and other member states especially with regards to refugees and internally displaced people, and media affairs including the launch of an OIC satellite channel. - Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Ethiopia keen on benefitting from UAE's experience in building airports and aviation services, says Ethiopian minister

posted on 28/07/2016

ADDIS ABABA: Ethiopia's Minister of Transport Workneh Gebeyehu, has expressed his country's keenness on benefitting from the UAE experience in building airports and aviation services.

The remarks were made when Gebeyehu received Ambassador of the UAE to Ethiopia Ghazi Abdullah Al Mahri at the ministry. They discussed co-operation between the two countries in various fields, especially in all means of transport in Ethiopia.

The Ethiopian minister emphasised that his country has a large number of investment potentials, especially in the land transportation domain, roads, infrastructure, and rails as well as building airports in various districts in the country.

The UAE ambassador expressed the UAE's desire to be involved in all investment fields in Ethiopia, including transport through exchanging expertise and experiences between the two countries in this regard.

The Ethiopian minister expressed his appreciation to the Emirati government. He also indicated that his government is fully ready to support the UAE investment in Ethiopia through facilitating all obstacles that meet the UAE investors in Ethiopia in various fields. - Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Cape Verde President receives credentials of UAE Non-Resident Ambassador

posted on 28/07/2016

PRAIA: Jorge Carlos Fonseca, President of the Republic of Cape Verde, has received the credentials of Mohammed Salim Al Rashedi, Ambassador of the UAE to Senegal as Non-resident Ambassador to Cape Verde, at the Presidential Palace.

During the meeting, the UAE envoy conveyed the greetings of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to President of Cape Verde.

The Cape Verdean President asked Ambassador Al Rashedi to convey greetings to Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, Mohamed bin Zayed and Mohammed bin Rashid, as well as his wishes for further progress and prosperity for the UAE and its people.

President Fonseca hailed the distinguished bilateral relations between the two countries, thanks to support of the leaders of both countries.

He wished for the success of the new UAE ambassador in his assignment to strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries.

Ambassador Al Rashedi stressed that he would work harder to enhance these relations. - Emirates News Agency, WAM –


UAE to rehabilitate sewerage network in Yemen's Sheikh Othman city

posted on 28/07/2016

ADEN: The Emirates Red Crescent Authority (ERC) is considering rehabilitation of the sewerage network in the Sheikh Othman city district of Aden province.

The project covers rehabilitation of 25 mains, renovation of inspection rooms, placing concrete covers for the rooms and replacing dilapidated drainage pipes in the city.

This will be the first upgrade for the sewerage network in Sheikh Othman city since 1997. - Emirates News Agency, WAM –


ERC opens health clinic in Hadhramaut Governorate of Yemen

posted on 28/07/2016

HADHRAMAUT: The Emirates Red Crescent, ERC, has opened a health centre in the Shihr District of the Hadhramaut Governorate of Yemen, which will provide healthcare services to more than 3,000 families.

The fully-equipped facility is part of a number of vital projects being implemented by the ERC in the governorate to help re-build its infrastructure and meet the needs of the local population.

Speaking during a ceremony on the occasion, ERC representatives highlighted the significance of the project as being the first health facility to open in the area, which has a population of almost 15,000 people. - Emirates News Agency, WAM –


DHA to launch one-of-a-kind community-based physiotherapy unit in Al Mizhar Health Centre this year

posted on 28/07/2016

A one-of-a-kind community-based physiotherapy unit will be launched in Al Mizhar Health Centre this year to cater for people with disabilities, the elderly and children who need long-term care.

Three new dental rooms have also been added to Al Mizhar Health Centre increasing its daily patient intake from 80 to 115 patients.

These new expansions are a result of the successful merging of the services at Al Qusais Health Centre with Al Mizhar Health Centre, following the closure of Al Qusais Health Centre and the transfer of its patient's files to Al Mizhar Health Centre.

Humaid Al Qatami, Chairman of the Board and Director General of Dubai Health Authority (DHA) visited Al Mizhar Health Centre on Wednesday where he viewed a presentation regarding the upcoming physiotherapy unit.

The launch of the new physiotherapy unit comes in line with Dubai Disability Strategy 2020, the national elderly welfare strategy for 2023 and Dubai's 2021 vision as it aims to provide rehabilitation services in medical health centres making them accessible to patients of all ages.

The new unit also aims to reduce the waiting list in rehabilitation and physiotherapy centres, reduce the percentage of disabilities, reduce health complications as well as increase awareness among patients and their families about the importance of physiotherapy in helping them improve their daily life.

Al Qatami said Al Mizhar Health Centre represents a model of a state-of-the-art medical facility that brings together experienced staff and the latest technology and services to provide patients with the best services possible.

"DHA spares no effort with keeping up with the growing demand in the medical service sector especially in health centres, which are currently witnessing expansions in its services and facilities," he said.

Al Qatami called on the concerned departments to complete the physiotherapy unit in the fastest period possible, stressing the importance of the collaboration between Al Mizhar Health Center and Dubai Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Center and other related DHA departments to do so. - Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Abu Dhabi Crown Prince's Court launches Moral Education initiative

posted on 28/07/2016

Under the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, the Crown Prince's Court has launched an education initiative to be included in school curricula and courses in the form of a subject entitled, "Moral Education", in cooperation and coordination with the Ministry of Education, the Abu Dhabi Education Council, and other relevant institutions.

The subject will include five key elements: ethics, personal and community development, culture and heritage, civic education, and rights and responsibilities.

The initiative includes the formation of a committee to adopt the methodology and suitable criteria for the preparation of the Moral Education subject in line with the frameworks of the UAE's cultural identity, customs and traditions. The committee will contribute to the efforts of various institutions and authorities in developing scientific bases, educational programmes, working mechanisms to ensure the integration of the subject into the national education curriculum.

Speaking on the occasion of the launch, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan said that the creation of a nation remains contingent on how well a nation preserves its values and morals, regardless of the level of achievement and sophistication it has attained.

His Highness said that the UAE is unique in its legacy, deeply rooted in its cultural identity, national and moral values, based on the principles of its ancestors. This legacy stems from the UAE's culture, and is deeply grounded on the values of tolerance, respect, cooperation, community service, giving and sacrifice.

His Highness reaffirmed the growing role of education in creating and shaping future generations that are balanced, proactive, and ambitious. "Through reinforcing values that have enabled the UAE to become what it is now, and through highlighting our national role models and the remarkable achievements of human history, we hope to present those lessons to future generations," he said. - Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Sultan Al Qasimi issues law on setting up Sharjah Documentary and Archives Authority

posted on 28/07/2016

H.H. Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, has issued Resolution No. / 4 / for the year 2016, on the establishment and regulation of the Sharjah Documentary and Archives Authority.

The law states that the Sharjah Documentary and Archives Authority will enjoy a legal status to act in all its affairs. The headquarters of the authority's chairman will be based in Sharjah City and may upon the Executive Council decision establish branches or offices in other cities and areas of the emirate.

Taking into account the federal legislation, the authority aims to develop the documentary and archive system in the emirate and oversee the current and intermediate documents of stakeholders as well as provide technical support and expertise. It will collect documents and archive them so as to enable beneficiaries to view them.

The authority is exempted from all government fees of any kind, while the law repeals the Emiri Decree No. / 4/2010 on the establishment of the Sharjah Centre for Studies and Research in the emirate of Sharjah. All the laws, regulations and executive decisions issued there-under and consistent with the provisions of this law will continue.

This law is effective from the date of its issuance and annuls any provision contrary to its provisions, and shall be published in the Official Gazette. - Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Jawaher Al Qasimi launches First ‘Talli’ International Product Line

posted on 28/07/2016

H.H. Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of H.H. the Ruler of Sharjah, Chairperson of NAMA Women Advancement Establishment, Founder and Royal Patron of Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council, has launched the first international product line to feature the traditional Emirati craft of ‘Talli.' Taking place at British luxury brand Asprey's London boutique, the launch saw the unveiling of the ‘One Stitch at a Time' collection of premium leather handbags, all of which incorporate Talli in their designs. The range is the fruit of a partnership between Asprey and Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council, a subsidiary of Sharjah-based NAMA Women Advancement Establishment that works to empower women socially, professionally and economically.

"Today, we celebrate two important new achievements for Emirati Talli craftswomen – the incorporation of their unique traditional designs on a range of bespoke luxury handbags and their successful reach into an important new international market. Traditional Emirati female artisans are a vital part of Emirati heritage and through ventures such as this, we seek to support all women artisans working in the industry, preserve their crafts, develop them and commercialise them. This is possible thanks to the incredible level of support from our leaders. We particularly thank Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Mother of the Nation, Chairwoman of the General Women's Union (GWU) and Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation, as well as the Irthi Contemporary Craft Council, for their continuous and unstinting efforts in this regard," said Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi.

Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi praised the Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council's Bidwa Social Development Programme, which initiated and oversaw the partnership with Asprey. She emphasised the importance of continuing to empower Emirati women who work in the field of traditional handicrafts, helping them to keep their practices alive and enabling them to pass on their skills to future generations. Sheikha Jawaher acknowledged that the proceeds from the sale of the ‘One Stitch at a Time' limited collection of handbags would be donated to the Bidwa Social Development Programme, thereby helping it to continue its efforts that support and empower female artisans in the UAE.

The ‘One Stitch at a Time' launch event at Asprey's flagship New Bond Street branch was attended by Sheikha Hour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, President of Sharjah Arts Foundation; Ameera BinKaram, Deputy Chairperson of NAMA Women Advancement Establishment and Chairperson of Sharjah Business Women Council; Noura Khalifa Al Suwaidi, Director General of GWU; Alya Al Mazroui, Wife of the United Arab Emirates Ambassador in United Kingdom; Haifa Fahoum Al Kaylani, Founder and Chairwoman of the Arab International Women's Forum; Sawsan Jaffar, Board Member of Friends of Cancer Patients; Noura Al Noman, Chairperson of the Executive Office of H.H. Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi and Reem Al Falasi, Secretary General of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood. A large audience of society ladies and businesswomen from the UK, UAE and Arab world were also present.

The limited ‘One Stitch at a Time' collection includes the hand-woven model 1781, which takes its designation from Asprey's founding date and has been expertly adorned with a type of Talli known as ‘Fetoul,' woven by artisan Ameina Mohamed Sharafaldeen. The Morgan Mini Sand Dune Bullskin handbag, for its turn, incorporates fresh palettes of Talli perfectly combined and incorporated by craftswomen Zehra Sheikh Ahmed and Sheikha Rashed Alyamahi.

The 1781 Mini Beach Hut Blue Lizard handbag is embellished with a selection of intricate Talli woven by lead artisan Fatimah Fareed in collaboration with Mariam Aziz Alrahman, Sendia Alyammahi and Fatima Mohamed Sawy, while the Belle Boathouse Blue Bullskin Sea Blue Nubuck is resplendent with its traditional diagonal striped Talli, exquisitely woven by Mariam Azizelrahman.

The Darcy 30cm Boathouse Blue Pebble Crocodile handbag has a unique Talli design crafted by third generation artisan Bainah Alsereidi with the help of Aisha Ali Ahmed, Sayeeda Hussain and Mariam Alyamahi Fatimah Alsawi. Lastly, the Darcy Square Sand Dune Lizard handbag is adorned with Talli pieces traditionally known as ‘Sayer yaay' & ‘Bu Khosah,' with Emirati craftswomen Rabaa Salim Ali, Fatima Salah Abdelrahman and Maharelnisa Haider Abdelkhaliq responsible for its incredible level of detailing.

"The Bidwa project, 'One stitch at a Time,' challenged us to incorporate a very traditional heritage craft in an innovative and imaginative way. Utilising Asprey's aesthetic and design capabilities, we were able to use the Emirati Talli to perfectly decorate the iconic styles that Asprey is renowned for. We are thrilled with the results of the collaboration. The launch event introduced this partnership perfectly and we are delighted with the positive and successful response received. We look forward to continuing our partnership with these highly talented Emirati artisans and the Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council for future charitable causes," said Hilary Lewis, Director, Asprey Leather Goods.

Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council operates under the umbrella of Nama Women Advancement Establishment and supports Emirati craftswomen working in the field of traditional handicrafts. In addition to helping them hone their skills and improve the quality of their products, it is dedicated to encouraging them to use their talent gainfully by starting innovative projects in regional and international markets.

The organisation's ultimate aim is to generate a sustainable source of income for the women and to contribute to their vocational and economic empowerment, which will improve their social stability, economic security and standard of living.

Founded in 1781, Asprey is a byword for British luxury through its commitment to quality, refinement and innovation. The company's leather products are renowned for their unique style, with each piece produced using only the finest materials and traditional techniques. - Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Emirates youth delegation visits Hyundai Heavy Industries in Korea

posted on 28/07/2016

ULSAN, SOUTH KOREA: Within the scope of leadership projects of the National Programme for Youth Leaders, Thukhar, an Emarati youth delegation has visited Hyundai Heavy Industries Company and Hyundai Motor Company, headquartered in Ulsan, South Korea.

The visit came within the framework of exchanging cultural experiences between the youth of the two countries and creating opportunities to learn about each other's culture, taking advantage of their experiences and discussing global projects and programmes.

The UAE delegation, led by Rashid Ghanim Al Shamsi, was given a full briefing on Hyundai Heavy Industries, the world's largest shipbuilding company, and its various stages of manufacture. - Emirates News Agency, WAM –


A fruity start to Liwa Ajman Date Festival

posted on 28/07/2016

The 3rd Liwa Ajman dates festival was inaugurated on Wednesday by Shaikh Ammar Bin Humaid Bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, Crown Prince of Ajman.

The festival's remaining two days are July 28 (from 10am to 10pm) and July 29 (4pm to midnight). It takes place at Emirates Hospitality Center, has free entry, and highlights the finest and best date and citrus fruits grown by local farmers.

The Liwa Ajman Date Festival - an extension of the Liwa Date Festival in Abu Dhabi - is about all things palms and dates, considered one of the most important pillars of authentic Emirati heritage and an integral part of the life in the UAE.

Faisal Al Nuaimi, General Manager of Ajman Tourism Development, said that this year's participants are excited about the addition of selected citrus fruits to the categories. Every evening, the dates and citrus fruits entered for competition will be auctioned off, and the proceeds donated to Humaid Bin Rashid Al Nuaimi Charity Foundation. The criteria for judging dates include taste, shape, size, weight and colour, and the winning farmers will be awarded cash prizes.

The third edition of the festival has exceeded all expectations, Al Nuaimi said, leading to the possibility of making it an annual one, with distinct events aimed at visitors and families. Such events helped increase tourism in the UAE, foster a better understanding of local agricultural processes, and Emirati customs and traditions, he said.

Shaikh Ammar and Ajman government officials also toured the different pavilions and exhibitions and met the participating farmers, and were briefed about the variety of produce on offer and the production and cultivation process, soil examination and fertilisation, irrigation systems etc.

Shaikh Ammar also praised the support of His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, and His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, for the continued success of the festival.

The festival is held under the directives of His Highness Shaikh Humaid bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, Supreme Council of the Union and Ruler of Ajman.

Other events at the festival include a kids corner where children can watch shows and engage in activities like creating bookmarks, camel decoration, date dessert making, and a recycling workshop. For adults, there are live cooking demos, and traditional souqs with local delicacies, handmade products, clothing and more. Visitors can also enjoy folk dances, competitions, heritage musical shows and a military show.

Saud Al Jasmi, Head of the Festival Organising Committee, said: "It was a very successful opening day and we are expecting more visitors to celebrate the UAE's iconic fruit." – Khaleej Times -


Sheikh Khalid Al Qasimi ‘has a good feeling’ ahead of Rally Finland in World Rally Championship

posted on 28/07/2016

Sheikh Khalid Al Qasimi is optimistic of putting in a strong showing in his Abu Dhabi Total Citroen car at the Rally Finland, the latest round of the World Rally Championship over the next four days of action.

Back in action

Sheikh Khalid is back behind the wheel of the Abu Dhabi Total Citroen DS3 World Rally car this weekend in Finland, with the opening stage of the event taking place in Jyvaskyla on Thursday.

It will be the Emirati driver's first appearance in the World Rally Championship (WRC) since he competed in Portugal in May, and it will be his third of 2016 overall.

Test session

To prepare himself for the event, which will cover 333 kilometres in distance before it finishes on Sunday, Sheikh Khalid and his co-driver Chris Patterson took part in a 150km test session ahead of the start of the rally.

It allowed them the chance to work on their car set-up and getting used to the dusty stages they will be driving on.


Sheikh Khalid said he was encouraged by how the testing session had gone. "We had a good feeling especially after the modifications on the set-up of the car," he said.

"We were faster than last year and are happy with the feeling behind the wheel. At the end we were satisfied with the set-up and happy to get the feeling with the car back."

Super speedy

This will be Sheikh Khalid's seventh appearance at Rally Finland, with his best previous finish coming in 2009 when he was ninth.

He was 16th last year, but with more than 40 per cent of this year's rally being a new route, he is optimistic of improving, adding: "I have no doubt that we are going to enjoy Finland this year with the new super speedy stages."

51-point lead

Also driving for Abu Dhabi Citroen in the rally is Kris Meeke and Craig Breen. Volkswagen's Sebastien Ogier, the world champion, takes a 51-point lead into the event over teammate Andreas Mikkelsen. – The National -


UAE Jiu-jitsu hit the beach in Sri Lanka: ‘Good platform for us to prepare’ for Asian Beach Games

posted on 28/07/2016

NEGOMBO, SRI LANKA: Faisal Al Ketbi, the Emirati jiu-jitsu star, says the inaugural Asian Beach Jiu-Jitsu Championship in Sri Lanka also doubles as a dress rehearsal for all the participating nations at the Fifth Asian Beach Games in Danang, Vietnam, from September 24 to October 3.

The UAE are among 14 nations in the championship which has 14 gold medals up for grabs for both men and women from Friday through Sunday at the Jetwing Sea Hotel in the popular coastal town frequented by tourists 40 kilometres from Colombo, Sri Lanka's capital.

The championship concludes with a No-Gi (without the traditional kimono) event on Sunday.

"It is not only a good platform for us to prepare but also for all those who travel to Vietnam," Al Ketbi said of the championship in Sri Lanka.

More UAE Jiu-jitsu

The Emirati believes the UAE as one of the best in the continent and expects to return with a rich haul of medals from their 20-member squad.

"I believe we are one of the leading players in terms of development and promoting jiu-jitsu in the continent," Al Ketbi said. "We have travelled with a mixture of players both experienced and youngsters as two are eligible to compete in one weight division.

"Actually we have two squads in training for competitions. After this event the two squads will continue to train in Abu Dhabi, one for the Asian Beach Games in Vietnam and the other for the Grand Slam Los Angeles, both in September."

Khalifa Nasarati, 17, is one of the youngsters in the squad along with Omar Mohammed, 16, and he thinks the difference for him, perhaps, would be the strength and power.

"I think I can match the skills," he said. "This is my second time in an adult competition after the Madrid Open in Spain last month, but these are definitely the learning curve and the way forward."

Hamdan Al Bloushi, the Emirati wrestling international turned jiu-jitsu fighter, added: "Here we get a chance to compete against opponents whom we are likely to meet again in Vietnam.

"Even if we lose, we have the opportunity to work on the weaker areas for a rematch. It will be the same for the others. So everyone benefits from this competition."

The UAE's Brazilian coach Roberto Lima thinks the competition provides an opportunity to test the levels of both his wards and their opponents.

"Our final test will be Vietnam but of course we can certainly get an idea on the strength of our squad," he said.

"Some are here to gain experience but we also have an eye for winning medals which is important for us." – The National -


Etisalat Group reports net profit increase of 51 per cent compared to the same period last year

posted on 28/07/2016

Emirates Telecommunications Group Co. (Etisalat Group) reported a consolidated net profit (after federal royalty) of AED 2.3 billion for the second quarter of 2016, a 51 percent year-on-year rise.

"The increase in profit is attributed to lower finance costs, incurring forex gain during the period as compared to forex loss in the same period last year, lower federal royalty and lower share of results from associates and discontinued operations," the telco said in a statement.

Revenues stood at AED 13.3 billion, a 2 increase percent YoY, and subscriber base rose 1 percent YoY to 163 million. Consolidated capital spending decreased by 17 percent to AED 1.8 billion.

Consolidated EBITDA totalled AED 6.8 billion, resulting in EBITDA margin of 51%.. Distribution of interim dividend for the first half of the fiscal year 2016 of 40 fils per share.

Credit Ratings Agencies Standards & Poor's and Moodys affirmed Etisalat Group's high credit rating at AA-/Aa3.

Etisalat Group Chairman Mohamed Eissa al-Suwaidi said, "We have succeeded in increasing our profits in the first half of 2016 and enhancing our performance in a way that fulfils our long fruitful journey. Etisalat Group owes this success first and foremost to the continued support of the wise leadership of the United Arab Emirates, which has ensured that we continue to aspire forward with confidence and also to adapt to the rapid developments and changes faced by the telecom industry."

He added, "Our customers are vital to anything that we do and they are the main reason behind our success. We highly appreciate our customer's trust, which pushes us to continue our hard work to meet their needs and aspirations in every market where we operate. We consider the loyalty of millions of our customers for more than four decades as dearest to our hearts. This loyalty motivates us to continue to provide innovative solutions that allow us to offer our customers value-added services based on a set of values that reflects our deep understanding of their needs, and enhancing the customer experience in a way that meets the best international standards, and reflects on our customer's satisfaction and happiness."

Al Suwaidi said, "I would also like to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to the management of Etisalat Group for the tangible changes that were performed in the last period, which resulted in achieving the results that we aspire to. These changes contributed to creating a stimulating competitive environment, which helps raise the Group's performance and level of innovation, while reflecting positively on the interests of our customers and shareholders alike."

He reiterated, "Etisalat Group has a leadership role in the telecommunications and Information Technology sector worldwide. The strong financial results that were achieved in the second quarter of 2016 provide a solid ground for further growth in the rest of the year. Through our fully-fledged expertise in the fields of telecoms, our ability to keep pace with the latest technological innovations, and our constant investment in the development of our infrastructure and networks, we are ready to fully contribute to the UAE's vision 2021 and meet the aspirations of Expo 2020."

For his part, Eng. Saleh Al Abdooli, Chief Executive Officer of Etisalat Group said, "Etisalat's performance in the first half of 2016 maintains our record of solid performance and consolidates our position as a leading operator in emerging markets. Therefore, enabling us to continue to offer significant value for our shareholders, whilst being able to make the investment in innovative solutions that is vital to maintain our leading role in one of the world's fastest evolving industries."

He continued, "While the industry is renowned for the speed of change, Etisalat Group is also under-going positive change. The re-structuring of the company, which was announced earlier this year, was finalised during the second quarter of 2016. It was designed to help the delivery of our strategic objectives and enhance overall performance.

"We are already putting in place the network and partnerships that will deliver the benefits from changes in the telecom industry. Etisalat Group is a strong supporter of the Smart City concept. The partnerships with the EXPO 2020 team and with Dubai Parks and Resorts, which we announced in this quarter, are such initiatives, in line with our digital transformation strategy, and which Etisalat considers a priority to shape and advance Smart City agenda in the UAE."

Al Abdooli said, "Etisalat is already using its telecommunication infrastructure and digital technologies to deliver for our customers. We were the first company in the region to roll out 4G-LTE, with now around 95% of the UAE's populated areas covered by faster speeds. Recently, we launched the UAE's first Voice over LTE (VoLTE) service, providing customers with vastly improved quality for voice. In addition, Etisalat Group achieved a penetration rate of Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) of 89.4%, which is considered as one of the highest in the world."

"In today's hyper-connected world our customers demand the best service possible, wherever they are. Speed, reliability and quality are what drive our business. Our customers remain our priority and inspire us to continually improve our service and seek out the innovations that will bring future benefit to all."

In the UAE, EBITDA in the second quarter of 2016 was AED 4.3 billion increasing year over year by 3% leading to an EBITDA margin of 56%. Maroc Telecom's consolidated EBITDA for the second quarter of 2016 amounted to AED 1.6 billion, resulting in EBITDA margin of 51%.

In Pakistan EBITDA in the second quarter of 2016 amounted to AED 0.4 billion with EBITDA margin increasing by 2 points to 36%. Quarter over quarter EBITDA increased by 7% with EBITDA margin improving by 2 points. - Emirates News Agency, WAM –