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Emirates Palace receives top honour at prestigious World Travel Awards

posted on 05/12/2016

MALDIVES: Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi swept a top honour last night as the "World's Leading Luxury Beach Resort" for the fourth year in a row.

The Grand Final Gala Ceremony took place at the posh Olhuveli Beach & Spa Resort in the South Male Atoll and, in a vast sea of luxurious beach resorts in the Maldives, Abu Dhabi's landmark resort has shown brightest amongst its competitors.

Commenting on the international recognition these honours bring to the hotel, Holger Schroth, General Manager at Emirates Palace, said, ‘Winning the World's Leading Luxury Beach Resort from the World Travel Awards is an honour, but to be selected from such a competitive pool in such luxurious surroundings makes our selection even sweeter. The World Travel Awards celebrate excellence across all sectors of the tourism industry and bring international acclaim to winners. When they name your hotel as a "World Leader" in any category, you know you are doing something right, and we are grateful for the recognition of our hard work."

Emirates Palace has won several prestigious industry awards since it first opened its doors in 2005. In 2016 alone, Emirates Palace received five World Travel Awards that included Middle East's, the UAE's and Abu Dhabi's Leading Hotel Suite as well as the Abu Dhabi's Leading Resort 2016. Emirates Palace Spa was also awarded the World's Best Hotel Spa 2016 at the World Spa Awards in Italy in September, amongst other industry awards. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital wins World Responsible Tourism Award

posted on 05/12/2016

The Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital (ADFH) has been awarded the coveted ‘World Responsible Tourism Award 2016" for the first time at the annual World Travel Awards (WTA) Grand Final Gala Ceremony 2016.

The red-carpet event was held before an audience of leaders in the industry and international media at the Sun Siyam Iru Fushi Resort located in the Maldives on Friday.

The World Travel Awards, considered the Oscars of the global travel and tourism industry, has recognised the commitment to excellence of the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital's tourism programme.

The Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital added this award to its winning streak for the fourth consecutive year the "Middle East's Responsible Awards".

Established by the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) in 1999, the ADFH is internationally recognised for its commitment to the UAE's culture and economy and for its contribution to the field of biodiversity conservation. In addition to being the largest falcon hospital in the world with an ever-increasing influx of patients, ADFH has become a popular award-winning tourism destination. It is now considered one of the top three must-see tour attractions in Abu Dhabi and a recipient of TripAdvisor's winner certificate.

Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, EAD's Secretary-General, commented on the award: "We are immensely proud of the achievements of the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital, they are not only a world-leading clinical veterinary hospital, but through their tours, a critical component in raising awareness of the threats falcons face and their importance in our cultural heritage. The hospital is also a pioneer in the understanding of falcon ecology and the rehabilitation of falcons into the wild through the Sheikh Zayed Falcon Release Programme".

Commenting on receiving the World Responsible Tourism Award for the first time, Dr. Margit Gabriele Muller, ADFH's Executive Director said: ‘The World Travel Awards celebrate excellence across all sectors of the tourism industry and bring international acclaim to their winners. This is a great honour and reward for the monumental effort, hard work, consistent performance and commitment of my team in making the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital a global leader in responsible tourism. This accolade underscores our unique role in the tourism vision of Abu Dhabi Emirate."

The tour offered by Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital provides an in-depth insight in the historical tradition of falconry in Abu Dhabi and its development in modern times. A glimpse behind the scenes of the world's largest falcon hospital and live interaction with falcons gives visitors the chance to get a better understanding of the Emirati's culture, love and passion for nature and the UAE's national emblem, the majestic falcon.

Thanks to its efforts in tourism, quality, performance excellence and innovation, the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital has been awarded with 26 international awards from UK, USA, Germany, Italy, Spain, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Qatar and UAE. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Dubai Miracle Garden creates world record for largest floral installation

posted on 05/12/2016

Dubai Miracle Garden has received a Guinness World Records certificate for building the world's largest floral installation. Over 200 installation crew members worked for 180 days and a total of 144,000 hours to create the installation built in the shape of an Emirates A380.

Abdel Naser Rahhal, Co-Founder and Creator of Dubai Miracle Garden, received the certificate from the international committee of the Guinness World Records at a ceremony held at the Dubai Miracle Garden on 2 December 2016 to mark the UAE's 45th National Day.

The installation is 24 metres high. Over 300 tons of steel and 50 tons of concrete were used to construct the structure that can carry about 90 tons of flowers. The flowers and plants used for the installation were sustainably grown and harvested over a four-month period at Dubai Miracle Garden nurseries. The structure, built in the shape of an Emirates A380 aircraft, is covered with more than 500,000 flowers, apart from the 900 flowers used to shape the Emirates Airline logo. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Dubai to become UAE’s gateway to space

posted on 05/12/2016

Dubai is to build an AED20 million first-of-its-kind scientific entertainment and tourism centre at Mushrif Park, as the Emirate becomes the gateway to the world of outer space.

A project of Dubai Municipality, the Thuraya Astronomical Centre, one of the major planned tourist and educational projects, will cover the most prominent subjects related to astronomy and will be a centre for observing various astronomical phenomena.

The project is designed as an educational reference for students, as well as an astronomical observatory for the public and amateur astronomers.

The project, characterised by its application of the highest green and environmentally friendly building standards, will consist of a main building with two floors containing a set of multi-purpose halls, open galleries and cafeteria.

The observatory, built on a land area of 29,600 square feet, also houses a telescope covered by a revolving dome, an Astronomy and Space Gallery, which includes photos, paintings and models of the planets, the solar system and the stars, and an exhibition of scientific games. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Custodian of The Two Holy Mosques, Mohammed bin Rashid, and Mohammed bin Zayed attend Union Procession

posted on 05/12/2016

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, along with 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, attended the Union Procession on Sunday afternoon.

The event, which is part of the activities of the Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival 2016 in Al Wathba area, Abu Dhabi, was held on the occasion of the 45th UAE National Day celebrations.

The Union rally, organised by the Ministry of Presidential Affairs, was attended by H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai; H.H. Sheikh Rashid bin Saud bin Rashid Al Mualla, Crown Prince of Umm al Qaiwain, H.H. Sheikh Tahnoun bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in the Eastern Region; H.H. Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Chairman of the Executive Council of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi; H.H. Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior; H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs; H.H. Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chief of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince's Court; H.H. Sheikh Omar bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan for Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation; H.H. Sheikh Khalid bin Zayed Al Nahyan Chairman of the Board of Zayed Higher Organisation for Humanitarian Care & Special Needs; a number of Sheikhs and senior UAE and Saudi officials.

The event was also attended by tribal members representing different Emirates and regions. They expressed their pride and delight on the 45th National Day anniversary, the UAE Union and in the wise leadership, led by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and Supreme Council Members, their Highnesses Rulers of the Emirates. The crowds also stressed their faith in the Union, which will continue to thrive through the solidarity and unity of the people of the UAE to achieve further development, prosperity and progress.

They demonstrated their folk heritage amid cheering and waving of the UAE national flag in front of the podium. The procession reflected the diversity and multiculturalism, and the authentic Arab heritage that won the admiration of the audience who interacted with them.

The participants expressed that the UAE people cherished love and loyalty to the nation, the leadership and the Arab traditions inherited from the forefathers.

Their Highnesses Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan greeted the participants in the union procession on the cultural heritage shows they demonstrated. They said their performance reflects the national and authentic spirit, and heritage diversity of the UAE, expressing their pride in safeguarding the cultural heritage by the tribes so as to pass it to future generations.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid and Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed stressed that the UAE, led by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan "is proud of its sons and faithful men who prove constantly dedication and devotion to the homeland service."

They noted the UAE integrates heritage, customs and traditions with future vision of the nation in a balance that achieves development and the excellence and creativity in all fields, as well as keeps the identity and authenticity of the UAE and its loyal people. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


VP tours Zayed Heritage Festival, gains insight into cultural, folklore events

posted on 05/12/2016

The UAE's history, folklore, customs and cuisine is on display at the Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival 2016.

Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, took a tour on Sunday of the festival, being staged in Abu Dhabi.

The theme of the festival is "The UAE as a crossroads of civilisations".

The month-long Festival is named in honour of the UAE's founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, in recognition of his pivotal role in preserving the nation's proud history as a gateway to the future, and is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, with the support of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and under the supervision of HH Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs.

Sheikh Mohammed stopped at the heritage neighbourhoods where 18 countries, including the UAE, are showcasing the daily lives of the world's ancient civilisations, along with traditional cuisines and national heritages.

Ahmed Saeed Al Neyadi, Deputy Chairman of the Festival's Organising Committee, explained to Sheikh Mohammed about the evolution of the annual cultural and heritage event, cultural programme, exhibits and folklore events. The UAE District offers a range of traditional events evoking the country's past customs and folklore, with local products displayed in participating shops. The UAE Traditional Crafts Area is a living museum of the old UAE, featuring stories from four unique environments: terrestrial, marine, agricultural and mountainous.

Also, HH showed interest in the diversity of local and international cuisine prepared by some forty restaurants.

Sheikh Mohammed praised the festival as a melting pot for Arab and global cultures, and a key contributor to efforts aimed at instilling national loyalty and identity in young generations, to be proud of their national, Arab and Islamic identity.

He said he hoped the annual cultural gathering would help organisers to present the UAE's culture and heritage to visitors.

Sheikh Mohammed was accompanied during the tour by H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, H.H. Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


UAE welcomes progress in Afghanistan's Peace and Reintegration Program

posted on 05/12/2016

AMRITSAR, INDIA: The UAE has taken note of the progress in Afghanistan in empowering women, fighting illiteracy, and rebuilding the war-torn country.

Further, the United Arab Emirates has welcomed the positive progress made by the Afghanistan High Peace Council (HPC) in implementing the Peace and Reintegration Program, along with civil society and women's organisations, based upon guidelines set at in a landmark UN resolution on women, peace and security.

The Security Council adopted resolution 1325 on women, peace and security on 31 October 2000, which reaffirms the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace negotiations, peace-building, peacekeeping, humanitarian responses and in post-conflict reconstruction. The resolution stresses the importance of their equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security.

'The UAE is looking forward to see greater participation, protection and empowerment of women as an integral part of the implementation of Afghanistan's long-term Strategy for Peace and Reintegration Program, said Mohammed Sharaf, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for Economic and Trade Affairs, in a statement at the 6th Ministerial Conference of the Heart of Asia (HoA) - Istanbul Process - which concluded here on Saturday.

The meeting, which gathered senior officials of member and representative countries, was held under the theme 'Addressing Challenges and Achieving Prosperity,' and aimed to find ways to assist war-ravaged Afghanistan in its fight against terrorism for establishing peace in the region.

The UAE official noted that the UAE had been standing with the Afghan people since its plight erupted through political and economic support, either on a bilateral level or through international multilateral mechanisms, so as to implement projects for infrastructure, reconstruction and economic recovery. 'The UAE has offered assistance for undertaking vital developmental projects in health, agricultural, social and security sectors, as part of efforts aimed to restore security, peace, stability and counter terrorism,' he said.

Over the last five years, he revealed, the UAE had contributed over US$ 400 million in security, economic, humanitarian and development assistance to Afghanistan.

He termed the Fatima bint Mohamed bin Zayed Initiative (FBMI) for traditional Afghan carpet weaving project and development of the Afghan countryside as an example for sustainable development projects for empowering women. The FBMI, he explained, had employed nearly 3000 workers, 90 percent of whom are women.

Outlining other UAE-funded development projects, the official said the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development has provided US$ 149.6 million for implementing a 4000 unit social housing project in Kabul. Also, Dubai Cares pledged $ 1.3 million for primary education, pre-schooling development programmes and eradication of illiteracy in Afghanistan.

UAE projects in Afghanistan also included a $27.8 million Emirates Mine Clearance Program in Kandahar and other contributions to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

Officials and representatives of countries held deliberations on varied issues ranging from fighting terrorism, security issues, development, and cooperation at various levels between participating countries.

The Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process was launched in 2011 to encourage security, political and economic cooperation between Afghanistan and its neighbours. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Yemeni President visits Wahat Al Karama memorial

posted on 05/12/2016

President of Yemen Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi on Sunday visited Wahat Al Karama (Oasis of Dignity) memorial, to honour UAE's martyrs and their sacrifices to defend the country and its achievements, in Abu Dhabi.

Sheikh Khalifa bin Tahnoun bin Mohammad Al Nahyan, Director of the Martyrs' Families' Affairs Office at the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince's Court, Ali Musleh Al Ahbabi, the UAE Special Envoy to Yemen and Fahad Saeed Al Menhali, Ambassador of the Republic of Yemen to the UAE, were accompanying President Hadi, who inspected the guard of honour and laid a wreath at the Martyr's Memorial.

He then toured the Memorial and also visited the Pavilion of Honour, where he was briefed by Sheikh Tahnoun about the Pavilion that has names of the UAE martyrs and Quranic verses engraved on its mural.

Wahat Al Karama memorial covers an area of 46,000sqm and is located between the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and the General Headquarters of the UAE Armed Forces. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Bloomberg Markets Summit kicks off in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday

posted on 05/12/2016

The Bloomberg Markets Most Influential Summit will make its Middle Eastern debut in Abu Dhabi this week, attracting global financial leaders and investors who are moving markets, driving economies and making deals that will shape the future financial landscape.

Taking place at the Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi at Al Maryah Island on Wednesday, Dec. 7, the invitation-only Summit, sponsored by Mubadala, will gather global influencers for a day of conversation, networking and cross-border thought leadership on issues such as the rise of powerful sovereign wealth funds, the urgent work to diversify carbon economies, and investment opportunities throughout the region and across the world.

Speakers include: Eng. Suhail Mohamed Faraj Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy, Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh, Chairman, Abu Dhabi Global Market, Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, Minister for Petroleum, Nigeria, and others.

The Bloomberg Markets Most Influential Summit is the centrepiece of a multi-platform editorial initiative that leverages Bloomberg's unparalleled breadth of media resources, including print, digital, television and radio platforms to bring one-of-a-kind conversations with newsmakers and financial leaders on the trends and opportunities encountered across the global economy. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


DP World partners with CDPQ to create US$ 3.7 billion investment platform

posted on 05/12/2016

DP World announced the creation of an investment vehicle in partnership with Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec (CDPQ), one of North America's largest pension fund managers. The investment platform totals US$ 3.7 billion, with DP World holding a 55 per cent share and CDPQ the remaining 45 per cent.

The platform will invest in ports and terminals globally (excluding the UAE) across the life cycle of the asset, with a focus on investment grade countries. It will also invest mostly in existing assets, but with up to 25 per cent invested in greenfield opportunities. Through this platform, DP World will share new investment opportunities and CDPQ will have the option of co-investing alongside DP World.

The investment vehicle will be seeded with two of DP World's Canadian container terminals, located on the Pacific Coast in Vancouver and Prince Rupert, with CDPQ acquiring a 45 per cent stake of the combined assets for US$ 640 million.

Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and CEO, DP World, said: "As a global trade enabler, DP World is proud to announce the partnership with CDPQ to invest in growth opportunities in port and terminal businesses around the world.

'In CDPQ we have found a partner with shared vision who is willing to participate in the risk and reward of investing throughout the life cycle of trade-enabling assets across the globe. The partial monetization of our Canadian assets further strengthens our balance sheet,' he added.

The opportunity landscape in the port and terminal sector remains significant and this partnership offers us greater flexibility to capitalise on these opportunities while maintaining a strong balance sheet and retaining control.

By combining our in-depth knowledge of container handling and CDPQ's expertise in infrastructure investing and long-term horizon, we can continue to develop the port and terminal sector globally."

Michael Sabia, President and CEO, CDPQ, said: "Through this new investment platform with DP World, a world-class port and terminal operator, CDPQ will have unique access to high-quality transactions, and the opportunity to invest in the best port infrastructure worldwide. As a first step, we are pleased to announce two key investments in British Columbia. We look forward to leveraging our in-house infrastructure expertise and DP World's strong track record in the port sector to deliver attractive long-term returns for our clients."

CDPQ's investment in the two Canadian terminals are subject to a number of customary regulatory approvals. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Dubai SME supports Hatta Development Plan

posted on 05/12/2016

Dubai SME, an agency of the Department of Economic Development in Dubai, has committed to funding numerous projects in Hatta for the region's Comprehensive Development Plan, launched by Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Funding the projects supports the directives of Sheikh Mohammed to provide incentives for young Emiratis to become entrepreneurs and start their own businesses. Two of these talented young Emiratis are Manei Al Kaabi, who has launched the first honey factory in Hatta, and Khalfan Al Bedwawi who will launch a sports project that will turn Hatta into an international destination for kayaking.

Abdul Baset Al Janahi, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai SME, said, "The Hatta Comprehensive Development Plan reflects the importance Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid attaches to harnessing the potential and capabilities of young Emiratis in the overall development of the region. It motivates young people to actively serve their society and country by encouraging them to benefit from the region's natural capabilities."

"To contribute to achieving this ambitious vision, Dubai SME has launched three initiatives to support entrepreneurs. These include opening an executive office in Hatta to make it easier for people there to complete all their transactions, a fund has been established to support young Emirati projects in Hatta, and SME entrepreneurs in the region will be exempted from business license fees," he added.

"This funding supports the directives of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid to provide incentives for young Emiratis to become entrepreneurs and start their own businesses. The two projects will create new jobs for young people in the region. They will also contribute to the development of Hatta, and turn it into a distinguished sports and tourist destination, not just in the UAE, but in the region," added Al Janahi. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Etihad Airways, Magic Bus cooperate to assist young people in Mumbai

posted on 05/12/2016

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has partnered once again with Magic Bus, a community development charity, to support children and youth in India.

Mumbai-based Etihad Airways staff were joined by a team from the airline's head office in Abu Dhabi for a three-day community service project, which saw the construction of a sports field, weatherproof outdoor shelter and vegetable garden for Magic Bus in the city.

The 15-strong volunteer group comprised a mixture of Emirati and international staff, who were also joined by 20 young people from the local community supported by Magic Bus.

The project was organised in celebration of Universal Children's Day. Children and youth supported by Magic Bus in Mumbai, including those who participated in the project, will benefit from the new facilities as part of the charity's activity-based learning curriculum.

Hareb Almuhairy, Etihad Aviation Group Senior Vice President Corporate and International Affairs, said, "This latest initiative reflects how our staff constantly give their talents and time as volunteers to support local communities around the world. Etihad Airways embraces their enthusiasm, and is grateful for their support, further demonstrating our commitment and close links with charities through sustainable and tangible projects such as this one in India."

The initiative was conducted as part of Etihad Airways' iVolunteer programme, which empowers the airline's staff to make a lasting difference in communities across the UAE and around the world. Since the programme's launch in 2014, employees have donated thousands of volunteer hours to numerous community service projects in the UAE and conducted 11 international missions to countries including Bangladesh, Vietnam, Nepal and Kenya.

Matthew Spacie MBE, founder of Magic Bus said, "We at Magic Bus are inspired to see our long-time supporters from Etihad volunteering at the Magic Bus Centre for Learning and Development. Initiatives such as iVolunteer build connections with the community and strengthen our own efforts to build a society that enables children and youth to move from poverty."

Through its innovative programmes on education, gender and health, Magic Bus works with 400,000 young people from marginalised communities in 22 states across India to support their journey from childhood to livelihood.

Etihad Airways has collaborated with Magic Bus on several occasions in recent years. In May, together with strategic Indian partner Jet Airways, Etihad Airways took the airline-sponsored Mumbai Indians cricket team on a visit to young people supported by Magic Bus in their home city.

Since launching flights from the UAE capital to India in September 2004 with scheduled services to Mumbai, Etihad Airways has rapidly increased its presence across the country, and now flying with Jet Airways between 15 Indian cities and the airline's Abu Dhabi hub. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


KP Chair holds talks on rough diamond with South Korean officials

posted on 05/12/2016

To bolster the diamond industry in South Korea and determine the role Dubai can play in supporting Seoul becoming a diamond trading centre, the UAE Kimberley Process Chair has met with senior government and industry representatives in Seoul.

As part of the ongoing efforts to engage countries across the diamond supply chain, Bin Sulayem met with Hong Dawoon, Assistant Director of the Export Control Policy Division at the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, as well as Chang Soo Nam, President of the Korea Diamond Exchange, and the KDE Board of Directors. The Korea Strategic Trade Institute (KOSTI) delivered a presentation about their work in managing Korea's KP Office.

Bin Sulayem also met with industry representatives, including Koo Hyun-Woo, Chief of Gem Laboratory, Mirae; Yu Seong-Woo, CEO of Findings and Total Jewelry; and Jung Hun Kim, Partner at the Diamond division of ST&Co, amongst other officials.

"There is little doubt of the potential for Korea to become a more prominent player in the diamond industry, both as a consumer market and as a trade hub," said Bin Sulayem. "Located in close proximity to both China and Japan, which are two of the largest consuming markets globally, there is an opportunity for Seoul to act as a catalyst for the regional trade in diamonds. It already has a world-class infrastructure and resources in place, and with support from global diamond centres such as Dubai, I strongly believe that the country can become a hub for the industry in the years ahead."

Korea has been a member of the KP since 2003 and imported over $3.8 million worth of rough diamonds in 2014. In total, the country imported $58.4 million in diamonds that year, and it is recognised as one of the largest luxury goods markets in the world, worth over $11.6 billion in 2015. However, imitation jewellery is seen as an issue for the industry, with imports being valued at $82.8 million and exports worth $178 million in 2014.

"Through meetings with the government and the KDE, it is evident that the full potential of the consumer market remains untapped. We need to discuss ways in which the industry can work collectively with retailers to raise awareness and consumer confidence in the natural diamond sector, both as a sentimental and long-term investment, over imitation jewellery," added Bin Sulayem.

The visit to Korea concluded the KP Chair's tour of East Asia, which included Hong Kong and Japan. Bin Sulaymen will next travel to Turkey to meet with senior government and industry officials. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Government launches first national survey of happiness and positivity

posted on 05/12/2016

A first-of-its-kind national survey was launched on Sunday by the Government of the UAE to measure happiness and positivity across the country, identify priorities and sources of happiness for society, as well as create a database of the results to help local and federal government entities to develop legislation, policies, plans and services to achieve happiness for the entire society.

"Starting on 12th December, some 14,000 people, representing all social segments and including nationals, expatriates, visitors and tourists, will be polled in a nation-wide survey to be conducted through collaboration between the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority, Abu Dhabi Statistics Centre, and Dubai Statistics Centre," said Ohood bint Khalfan Al Roumi, Minister of State for Happiness, while unveiling the survey.

Through the national survey for happiness and positivity, pollsters will seek feedback from participants for the following: happiness, positivity, quality of life, education, learning, healthcare, society, culture, environment, infrastructure, government services, living standards and work.

"Happiness and positivity are among the priorities and goals set by the UAE Government, which seeks to identify what affects society's happiness. The launch of the national survey of happiness and positivity comes within the context of the efforts aimed at developing precise and comprehensive scientific tools and indices that will enable government entities to embrace plans and strategies to achieve happiness throughout society," Minister Al Roumi said.

The survey, she noted, is further in line with the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who described happiness as a top priority and a sustainable goal.

It is also in line with the vision of Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, recently said "Happiness can be measured, and its evaluation is already the subject of many programs and studies", adding that the government is already measuring happiness at federal agencies.

Al Roumi called upon all to co-operate with the teams conducting the survey, to help identify how happiness can be achieved for them and help enhance the UAE's contribution to international efforts to design happiness and positivity indices.

In March 2016, during a Cabinet session, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid described happiness and positivity in the UAE as "a lifestyle, a government commitment and a spirit uniting the UAE community." – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Dubai Women Establishment delegation participates in Women’s Forum Global Meeting 2016 in France

posted on 05/12/2016

DEAUVILLE, FRANCE: A delegation from the Dubai Women Establishment, DWE, participated in the 12th annual Women's Forum Global Meeting which was organised by the Women's Forum for the Economy and Society in Deauville, France from 30th November – 2nd December.

The 12th edition of the annual forum was built on the theme, "Is the sharing economy a sharing world?" and is considered one of the most prominent global forums which highlight women's position and their effective role in the development and economic process of countries.

DWE's participation comes as part of their belief in strengthening the role of Emirati and Arab women in the forum following the successful Global Women's Forum Dubai, GWFD, earlier this year, in addition to DWE's interest in discussing future and joint cooperation mechanisms with the Women's Forum for the Economy and Society and the possibility of organising additional forums specialised in supporting and enhancing women's roles and participation.

The delegation included Lamia Abdulaziz Khan, Director of Dubai Ladies Club, AlMaha Al Bastaki, Projects Manager at DWE and Aisha Saeed Harib, a member of the Dubai Youth Council, who was invited to represent the UAE from the "Rising Talents" platform, which includes more than 160 females from 50 different countries. The "Rising Talents" programme highlights young females who demonstrate an active and inspirational role within the economy and society.

Commenting on DWE's participation, Shamsa Saleh, CEO of Dubai Women Establishment, said, "H.H., Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of the UAE Gender Balance Council and President of Dubai Women Establishment, is keen to increase the DWE's participation in international forums, especially those which empower women and highlight their role and position in global societies. This is where our participation in the 12th annual Women's Forum Global Meeting stems from. The delegation discussed ways to further collaborate with the Women's Forum for the Economy and Society in the future, with the possibility of organising additional forums which support women following the great success or organising GWFD during the year, which was held in the Middle East for the first time." – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Over AED4.5 million saved by Dubai Volunteer app

posted on 05/12/2016

On the eve of the International Volunteer Day (IVD), the Dubai Community Development Authority (CDA) has issued a passionate appeal to individuals and companies to establish volunteerism as a common societal practice and a key contributor to national development.

Themed: Global Applause – give volunteers a hand, the IVD, mandated by the UN General Assembly, is held each year on 5 December. It is viewed as a unique chance for volunteers and organisations to celebrate their efforts, to share their values, and to promote their work among their communities, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), United Nations agencies, government authorities and the private sector.

Hana Al Harethi, Director of Social Cohesion, CDA, said volunteer opportunities announced through the Dubai Volunteer App during the current year had saved AED 4.7 million with total volunteering hours reaching 60,081.

"Dubai Volunteer," the smart app is providing an important tool that encourages different social sectors in Dubai to be part of the social services development. Individuals from all ages and nationalities can easily volunteer their time and experience to help sustaining the social and community evolution, 'she explained.

The App allows registering new volunteers, learning about volunteering opportunities provided by government departments and private businesses which are part of this comprehensive platform as well.

So far, she revealed, 105 institutions had registered with the app - 57 government entities, 57 private companies, eight educational institutions, two volunteer groups and a social club.

'These figures showed the increasing awareness about the importance of volunteer work in optimum management of expenditures, building capacities of volunteers and acquisition of skills,' she noted.

By the end of third quarter of 2016, she added, the CDA has attracted more than 5000 volunteers of different ages, nationalities and specialisations. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -