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Our flag is our pride: Vice President

posted on 30/10/2014

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister of the U.A.E. and Ruler of Dubai, said on Wednesday that the U.A.E. flag represents the unity of our homeland and affirms that we are one at heart; calling on all Emiratis to celebrate the Flag Day, which falls on Monday, Nov.3, by hoisting the nation's flag atop the houses.

On a statement posted on his Twitter account, Sheikh Mohammed said that next Monday to coincide with the Flag Day; and to celebrate this occasion, everybody to hoist the U.A.E. flag across the country, and atop private and public buildings.

Sheikh Mohammed added that everyone will join at 12:00 noon to raise the flag on their rooftops. "By doing this, our nation will communicate one message; we are not divided Emirates, but rather United; and that the flag is the symbol of our national pride.” – The Gulf Today –


Mansour cartoon prepares for Season Two

posted on 30/10/2014

The popular Emirati cartoon, Mansour, is back for a second season. The unique show blends comedy, multi-national characters and meaningful storylines revolving around the heritage and values of the U.A.E.. Mansour was conceptualised in an effort to connect with young Emiratis about having healthy lifestyles, pursuing careers in knowledge-intensive industries and reinforcing cultural identity.

The success of the first season in the U.A.E., supported by Mubadala Development Company, will be extended to the wider Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region with the help of Cartoon Network Arabic. The partnership harnesses the production expertise of the world-renowned Cartoon Network Studios Arabia while bringing a number of full-time jobs to Abu Dhabi across creative development, writing and storyboarding, pre-production, artwork and post-production.

Cartoon Network Studios Arabia will bring years of universal quality, expertise and highly respected international production experience for Mansour Cartoon's second season working from twofour54, Abu Dhabi's media and entertainment hub. twofour54 is the regional centre of excellence in content creation, across all media platforms including film, broadcast, music, digital media, events, gaming and publishing, and is providing facilities for Mansour Cartoon's production.

"We created Mansour for Emirati youth, and we're thrilled that the terrific response has given us the opportunity to take Mansour's lessons about healthy living, culture and friendship to the broader region," said Rashed Al Harmoodi, Creator and Executive Producer of Mansour. "With this partnership between Mubadala and Cartoon Network Arabic as well as Cartoon Network Studios Arabia, Emiratis will also have the opportunity to contribute to its production and be part of the Mansour story." In addition to multiple community events and social media activities throughout the year, Mansour Cartoon's popularity has grown tremendously since the show began. Mansour Cartoon's second season builds on the loyal fan base that Mansour has generated, including the Mansour Run mobile app, which has received 1.2 million downloads globally since launching earlier this year and was developed by designers and artists from Cartoon Network Animation Academy.

The series is expected to create a number of full-time roles with some being filled from Cartoon Network Animation Academy. The Animation Academy provides a 16 month, full-time production course at twofour54's tadreeb media training facility, the first of its kind in the MENA region. The academy recruits will have the chance to put their creativity, talent and training into practice, as well as become involved in one of the most exciting and high-profile projects at a very early stage of their careers.

Mansour began airing in March 2014 on the Cartoon Network Arabic channel and has proved to be a popular hit with children and parents across the MENA region. Cartoon Network Arabic is a free-to-air children's channel that is broadcast across the MENA region. It is the official Arabic edition of Cartoon Network, which prides itself on delivering quality entertainment and being a place where children can be themselves and laugh out loud. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


ADMAF pavilion at Abu Dhabi Art celebrates Emirati excellence in art and design

posted on 30/10/2014

Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation, ADMAF, will showcase its on-going commitment to the arts through the work of emerging Emirati artists and designers at Abu Dhabi Art Fair.

Award-winning pieces by Fatima Fayrooz and Shakhbout Al Kaabi will be presented in a pavilion inspired by the architecture of Zaha Hadid and designed by Emirati university undergraduates.

ADMAF's presence at Abu Dhabi Art in 2014 will further highlight the Foundation's activities in nurturing creativity among young people and developing inspiring role models for the future through a programme of talks, walks, and conversations with U.A.E. cultural pioneers including Azza Al Qubaisi, Amal Al Agroobi, Jalal Luqman and Mattar bin Lahej.

Hoda Al Khamis-Kanoo, Founder of the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation, said, "Since 1996, ADMAF has been enabling young minds to develop their creative potential and intellectual might through the arts. The ADMAF Pavilion at this year's Abu Dhabi Art articulates the vision of the U.A.E. capital in encouraging tomorrow's pioneers to broaden the horizons of possibility. That is why we are focusing on ‘Rewarding Excellence' at the Pavilion; ADMAF's portfolio of awards dedicated to investing in the promise of the next generation." ADMAF's commitment to the visual arts spans awards, resources, initiatives, commissions, and the ADMAF Art Collection. Accompanying its Design Award, ADMAF has established four other awards that include the Comic Arts Award, the Creativity Award, the Christo and Jeanne-Claude Award, as well as the Abu Dhabi Festival Visual Arts Award.

The foundation's pavilion will provide a number of educational and community outreach programmes during the fair including guided tours of the fair with artists and information sessions about ADMAF grants, awards and teacher's sessions.

As the U.A.E.'s foremost independent cultural foundation, ADMAF will also be providing tours for students and will be looking after 550 students from various universities and schools such as the HCT Women's College Fujairah, Madinat Zayed and the University of Sharjah during the Abu Dhabi Art fair. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


U.A.E. among 10 best world economies in the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business report, leads Arab World

posted on 30/10/2014

The U.A.E. advanced three ranks in the latest World Bank's Doing Business 2015 report to settle at 22 compared to last year's rankings, maintaining its lead in the Arab Region and beating some advanced European and Asian economies.

Doing Business 2015: 'Going Beyond Efficiency' ranked the U.A.E. among the 10 economies that have improved the most in performance on its indicators since the previous year. This year's report highlights 10 economies that have done so, including five in Sub-Saharan Africa. The report measures the ease of doing business in 189 economies based on 11 business-related regulations, including business start-up, getting credit, getting electricity, and trading across borders. This year's report, "Doing Business 2015: Going Beyond Efficiency," uses new data and methodology in three areas: resolving insolvency, protecting minority investors, and getting credit.

The new World Bank report finds that in the past year, governments around the world continued to implement a broad range of reforms aimed at improving the regulatory environment for local entrepreneurs. Economies that both improve the efficiency of regulatory procedures and strengthen the legal institutions that support enterprise, trade, and exchange are better able to facilitate growth and development.

Commenting on this landmark achievement, Reem Al Hashemi, Chairperson of Emirates Competitiveness Council, said: 'Advancing in the international benchmark is getting more tougher year after year for many reasons including the state's increasing awareness of the vital importance of continuous improvement in performance of government entities providing services to investors and commercial corporations and this sharpens competition among states in attracting investors.' She attributed the U.A.E.'s stellar performance in the World Bank report to the far-sighted vision of the wise leadership, spearheaded by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

The World Bank report noted that the U.A.E. was the only Arab country in 10 economies which have introduced quality regulatory improvements in the ease of doing business. The report singled out three sectors; registering property, getting credit and protecting minority investors, which the U.A.E. has reformed significantly.

According the World Bank flagship report, the U.A.E. ranked (1) in paying taxes category, (4) in dealing with constructive permits, getting electricity and registering property and (8) in trading across borders.

Registering Property: The United Arab Emirates made transferring property easier by introducing new service centres and a standard contract for property transactions.

Getting Credit: In the United Arab Emirates the credit bureau improved access to credit information by starting to exchange credit information with a utility.

Protecting Minority Investors: The United Arab Emirates strengthened minority investor protections by introducing additional approval requirements for related-party transactions and greater requirements for disclosure of such transactions to the stock exchange; by introducing a requirement that interested directors be held liable in a related-party transaction that is unfair or constitutes a conflict of interest; and by making it possible for shareholders to inspect the documents pertaining to a related-party transaction, appoint auditors to inspect the transaction and request a rescission of the transaction if it should prove to be unfair.

Minister of Economy Sultan Al Mansouri said the U.A.E.'s advanced ranking in the World Bank Doing Business report was boosted by tireless efforts being made by the Ministry of Economy to enhance national economy, create business friendly environment in order to achieve balanced, sustainable development.

He stressed the vital importance of the continuous reform and updating of government policies and legislations as well as procedures and practices that allow investor do business easily.

In this year's ranking, the U.A.E. came ahead of many major European and Asian economic powerhouses which have well-known proven record in doing business and entrepreneurship. It overtook Netherland (27), Japan (29), Turkey (55) and Italy (56).

Regionally, the U.A.E. retained its first rank in the Arab and Gulf region for the second running year.

The report finds that Singapore tops the global ranking on the ease of doing business. Joining it on the list of the top 10 economies with the most business-friendly regulatory environments are New Zealand; Hong Kong SAR, China; Denmark; the Republic of Korea; Norway; the United States; the United Kingdom; Finland; and Australia. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Abdullah bin Zayed: International efforts reduced piracy attacks over the last two years to zero

posted on 30/10/2014

H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister, affirmed on Wednesday that combined international efforts have made remarkable progress, reducing the number of piracy attacks over the last two years to zero.

In his welcome note to the U.A.E.'s fourth annual Counter-Piracy Conference, co-organised by the U.A.E. Ministry of Foreign Affairs and DP World in Dubai, Sheikh Abdullah commend the government of Somalia on its progress in bringing peace and prosperity to the people of Somalia and in re-establishing justice and the rule of law in places where it has been absent for too long.

The U.A.E., he emphasised, would continue to support Somalia in meeting these challenges.

'We must continue to build the capacity of countries on the front lines of counter-piracy in the areas of information sharing, law enforcement and governance so that they can confront the challenges themselves. And it is essential that we take steps to address the root causes of piracy. This means not only improving governance to dismantle pirate networks in lawless areas, but also promoting economic opportunity and providing alternative livelihoods to those drawn in by the pirate economy,' he said.

The two-day conference assembles 600 participants including senior government officials, shipping industry leaders and academics from around the world to tackle root causes of piracy and other maritime crimes both on sea and land.

The U.A.E. is convening the Fourth International Counter-piracy Conference in Dubai on 29th-30th October under the theme, "Securing State Recovery: Sustaining Momentum at Sea, Confronting Instability on Land." A joint initiative by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and international ports operator DP World, the conference is being held as part of the wider 2014 U.A.E. Counter-piracy Week, running 27th-30th October.

Following is the full text of HH's Welcome Note; Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen: 'It is my pleasure to welcome you to Dubai for the U.A.E.'s fourth annual Counter-Piracy Conference. The U.A.E. is honoured once again to be hosting such a prestigious group of participants from around the world.

This is an especially eventful week for counter-piracy initiatives here in the U.A.E.. We were excited to host the 17th Plenary Meeting of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, in partnership with the European Union. The Contact Group was formed pursuant to UN Security Council Resolution 1851, so it represents the international consensus on the approach to counter-piracy. And the U.A.E. is proud to co-chair Working Group 3 with Japan and the Seychelles. I am sure many of the useful ideas discussed in the preceding days will inform our sessions in this conference.

Before we begin, I would like to recognise His Excellency Dr. Abdirahman Duale Beyle, my counterpart from the government of Somalia. Somalia is a vital partner in the efforts of the international community to fight piracy. I commend his government on its progress in bringing peace and prosperity to the people of Somalia and in re-establishing justice and the rule of law in places where it has been absent for too long. The U.A.E. will continue to support you in meeting these challenges.

I would also like to recognise His Excellency Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, the Chairman of DP World. Your dedication to the Counter-Piracy Conference over the years has been instrumental to its success. The partnership between governments and private industry must remain a driving force in counter-piracy initiatives, and DP World is a leader in this area.

With the Counter-Piracy Conference now in its fourth year, it is a good time to look back on what we have accomplished. Together with the efforts of the Contact Group, the conferences have made valuable contributions to counter-piracy responses. At the core of this has been the commitment to regional solutions, focusing on building regional capacity and ownership of initiatives. In particular, we have highlighted the necessity of working with Somalia to build their capabilities to address the unique challenges they face. The U.A.E. has always been at the forefront of leading this region in counter-piracy efforts.

We have also promoted the public-private approach, bringing together governments, militaries and private industry to develop a multi-layered response. This has resulted in improved best practices in maritime security as well as increased information sharing.

Lastly, we have maintained a focus on humanitarian responses for those affected by piracy. This includes those still in captivity and their families, as well as former captives who continue to suffer the after-effects of their captivity.

When the U.A.E. convened the first Counter-Piracy Conference in 2011, the piracy crisis was at its peak. That year there were 176 attacks, with more than 700 seafarers and more than 60 ships held hostage by pirates. Through our combined efforts, we have made remarkable progress, reducing the number of successful attacks over the last two years to zero.

There have been many factors in this success. An unprecedented effort by international naval forces has heightened security, deterred pirate attacks, and interdicted the criminal networks behind them. At the same time, improved enforcement efforts through regional mechanisms for prosecution, transfer and detention established a firm but fair legal system. The shipping industry has supported the development of best practices in maritime self-protection, and has undertaken the necessary investment and training.

These successes at sea were matched by notable progress on land. In Somalia, the Federal Government and the forces of the African Union Mission in Somalia have won key victories against Al-Shabab militants, making important strides in reasserting control to the areas where pirates operate.

But the battle is far from won. As the UN Secretary General noted in a report to the Security Council this month, piracy could return if our efforts flag. Unfortunately, there are some worrisome signs. Off the coast of Somalia, the number of naval forces is slowly shrinking, armed teams are getting smaller, and merchant ships are drifting closer to dangerous areas. It is important that we continue to implement the Djibouti Code, which is a key driver of information sharing and capacity building. And there is cause for concern elsewhere, such as the Gulf of Guinea and Indonesia. We cannot be lulled into complacency.

We must also remain vigilant about new threats. As groups like Daesh develop ties to criminal networks and arms networks, it is essential that we prevent them from expanding their operations into the sea and threatening vital channels such as the Strait of Hormuz, the Red Sea, and the Gulf of Aden. The nexus of criminal groups, violent extremists, and weak states will require a coordinated response from governments and the private sector.

I would also like to mention UN Security Council Resolution 2182, which reinforces the power of the international community in combatting Al Shabab.

There is much more we can achieve. We must continue to build the capacity of countries on the front lines of counter-piracy in the areas of information sharing, law enforcement and governance so that they can confront the challenges themselves. And it is essential that we take steps to address the root causes of piracy. This means not only improving governance to dismantle pirate networks in lawless areas, but also promoting economic opportunity and providing alternative livelihoods to those drawn in by the pirate economy.

So even as we recognise our achievements, let us redouble our efforts on the tasks remaining before us. We must not forget that there are 37 seafarers still held hostage. For these seafarers and their families, the struggle continues. I hope we can keep them in mind as we continue our work in the days ahead.

Today, we are witnessing another eventful week of achievements in terms of international counter-piracy efforts.

As we opened the U.A.E.'s fourth annual Counter-Piracy Conference, we would like initially to highlight factors that have contributed to the success of the U.A.E. Counter-Piracy Week and the conference .

This year's conference is convened along with the plenary session of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS) under the presidency of the EU, which - along with other member states - has made tremendous efforts, culminating in remarkable progress in combating the piracy. We are proud to continue our participation with them.

The U.A.E., hosted the 3rd CGPCS in partnership with its co-chairs, Japan and Seychelles. Panellists presented valuable leadership ideas, initiatives and methods, which will definitely enable the CGPCS to move forward, thanks to the in-depth experiences of the two co-chairs in confronting the threats of piracy. The U.A.E. is also looking forward to the working out of the agenda of the 3rd meeting and identify the scope of work and future studies.

The annual sessions of the conference provide an ideal platform for examining the counter-piracy agenda. This year's session will not be different than those of previous years. We are privileged to have such a high-profile engagement with more than 200 participants from 45 countries and organisations including heads of state, ministers, CEOs and international industry experts.

This offers us a precious opportunity to share in a constructive dialogue between representatives of the public and private sectors, as we have witnessed and will witness many formal and non-formal meetings and panel discussions which , no doubt, will open up avenues for new opportunities of year-around coordination to combat piracy.

Our conference today bears testimony to the U.A.E.'s commitment to provide sustainable solutions to piracy challenges across the world and we will continue to consolidate our efforts with our local, regional and international partners in the fight against piracy. We will also continue to support the Government of Somalia in its quest to achieve peace and prosperity for its state and people.' – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Mohamed bin Zayed receives U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL

posted on 30/10/2014

His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the U.A.E. Armed Forces, has received General John Allen, U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL (Dae'sh) during his current visit to the U.A.E.

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed welcomed General Allen, and the members of his accompanying delegation, and discussed with him the latest developments of countering terrorist organisations, the international coalition efforts and air operations aimed at destroying the capabilities of terrorist organisations.

The discussions touched upon the international efforts and coordination on countering the challenges and dangers posing threats to the security and stability in the region.

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed reiterated the U.A.E.'s clear stance against terrorist organisations and acts in all its forms, types and manifestations, through providing the needed support for fighting them through intellectual and security means within the framework of cooperation and coordination with the international community to achieve regional and international peace and security.

On his part, General Allen valued the role the U.A.E. is playing within the international coalition against terrorist organisations as well as its effective contribution to the fight against the blight of terrorism and violence.

The two sides also discussed the regional developments and matters of common concern.


Mohamed bin Zayed receives British Secretary of State for Defence

posted on 30/10/2014

His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the U.A.E. Armed Forces, received British Secretary of State for Defence Michael Fallon at the Al Bahr Palace on Wednesday, and discussed with him ways to enhance bilateral ties so that these serve the interest of the friendly countries and peoples.

The meeting also tackled the scope of joint cooperation, notably in military, defence and technical training. Sheikh Mohammed and Fallon took stock of the latest regional and international developments and the ongoing efforts to support stability in the region. Issues of common concern to the two countries also figured in the discussions. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Muslim Council of Elders' founding body convenes second meet in Cairo

posted on 30/10/2014

CAIRO: The founding body of the Muslim Council of Elders convened its second meeting on Wednesday in Cairo, Egypt, bringing together an elite of scholars and sages from across the Islamic world. The participants discussed the latest serious developments in the region, namely the infighting and terrorism affecting all societies, destroying countries, and distorting the image of Islam.

"Participants agreed on the need to form an active front to address the stream of violence and terrorism, through strong joint organised actions that bring the nation together, unite the efforts of scholars and the educated, and keep-up with all developments on the ground," said the Muslim Council of Elders in the final communique of the meeting.

The aim, it said, is to present to the world an insightful vision derived from the divine teachings, and elicited from human experience; a vision that is based on both theory and practice.

The scholars emphasised that extremism is an ailment that can only be cured by the Islamic Sharia, using the same speech and Islamic concepts which the extremists resort to in their destructive endeavours, misinterpreting such concepts and deviating them from their noble purposes.

"In this regard, the council proceeded to develop an integrated strategic plan to promote peace in the world, and contribute in defusing terrorism in all its forms, whether intellectual or armed. The council's committees will launch practical and concrete initiatives. The scholars will develop the frameworks of those initiatives and they will be implemented by the young people. These initiatives aim at guiding the nation out of the dark tunnel of dissension." The initiatives will be announced at the beginning of 2015. Some of these initiatives will look into the nation's approaches and inherited scholarship, in order to conduct serious revisions to many obtrusive concepts that are disguised in the nature of original concepts. These erroneous concepts have left the nation in the midst of infighting and rivalry. The council will also present other practical initiatives that will be carried out to enhance the nation's capabilities to effectively contribute to world peace, and encourage its young people to take part in the fields of intellectual creativity and scientific innovation to benefit all mankind.

The participants have sent four short messages to the young people, the Islamic Nation, the rulers, and the whole world: :: Our advice to the young people of the Islamic Nation is not to seek more than what the nation can grant or to raise their expectations beyond the well-being of the Muslim society, so they overstrain themselves and their nation, provoke hostility of other nations, and waste the chances for correctional and rightful values. We advise them to listen to the voice of wisdom and know that imposing justice while in peace is better than imposing it while in war, on both the rulers and the ruled.

:: We address the rulers and the ruled of the Islamic Nation: We must put out the fire of infighting and bloodshed, leave conflicts and discords aside, bridge differences and resort to dialogue. Ideological divisions, sectarian alignments, exclusion and polarisation have hurt the Islamic Nation more than anything else. All parties in the nation must work hard, faithfully and impartially. All parties in the Islamic Nation have to learn from Imam al Hasan (may Allah bless him) to retreat for the sake of Allah.

:: We invite the rulers to do everything they can to achieve justice and prosperity for all citizens. This will inevitably, contribute to putting out dissension. We ask them to gain the wisdom of scholars and utilise it in their decisions. Finally we ask them to refrain from security and military approaches as the only solutions, by adopting comprehensive intellectual social solutions.

:: To the whole world, we declare that Islam is innocent from terrorism. Over 14 centuries, Islam has been a peace-maker. Islam cannot be judged by some conditional cases that includes complicated historical factors. This is a declaration that the Islamic Nation's scholars are willing to contribute to world peace, in light of their intellectual background and responsibilities towards the world civilisation. The Council emphasises respect to all different views, as long as they are peaceful and committed to peace of communities.

Members of the founding committee have approved the bylaws of the council. They elected the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, Dr. Sheikh Ahmad Al Tayyeb President of the Muslim Council of Elders. They also agreed on a proposition to add a number of wise men and scholars in line with the statute of the council.

The Muslim Council of Elders also sent their deepest condolences to the families of the "martyr soldiers who were killed unjustly while they were guarding the safety and security of Egypt and other Arab and Islamic countries," the communique said, referring to the victims of the two attacks on Egyptian military positions in the Sinai Peninsula on Friday.

"They asked Allah to accept them as martyrs, and give patience and reward to their families, to protect the Islamic Nation from dissension, whether obvious and hidden, and to restore the grace of security and compassion,". – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


U.A.E. calls for strengthening women's participation in achieving international peace and security

posted on 30/10/2014

NEW YORK: The United Arab Emirates has called for strengthening the meaningful participation of women in achieving international peace and security, including tackling the root causes and impacts of displacement, and ensuring the consistent and effective implementation of Security Council resolutions on women, peace and security.

Ambassador Lana Zaki Nusseibeh, U.A.E. Permanent Representative to the United Nation in New York, yesterday delivered a statement to the Security Council during the Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security. The debate focused on the effects of forced displacement on women refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs).

The debate was convened under the Argentinian Security Council presidency, and briefings were provided by the Executive Director of UN Women, the Assistant Secretary-General of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons at OHCHR, and the Founder and Director of the Sadr City Women's Centre and Legal Clinic in Iraq.

Ambassador Nusseibeh began by highlighting the urgent issue of displaced women and girls, as new crises and outbreaks of violence increase the levels of forced displacement to its highest levels since World War Two. She placed this discussion in the context of UN Security Council Resolution No. 1325.

This historic resolution, adopted in the year 2000, recognised the importance of women in the prevention, mitigation, and resolution of conflict, as well as the differential and unique burden that women and girls bear during conflict.

The U.A.E.'s Permanent Representative highlighted the data in the 2014 Secretary General's report on Women, Peace and Security, which shows important progress in all four pillars of the WPS agenda: participation, prevention, protection and relief and recovery. She continued by underscoring the challenges that remain in the full implementation of the WPS agenda.

Ambassador Nusseibeh underlined measures that the U.A.E. has taken to prevent and protect women from violence at the international level. "The U.A.E. has built the Mrajeeb al-Fahood refugee camp in Jordan for Syrian refugees, exclusively for married couples, children, and women. The family-focused nature of the camp has helped to protect women from harassment, extra-marital violence, and exploitation, and has served to reduce overall levels of violence towards women and children within the camp." She reaffirmed the U.A.E.'s commitment to advocacy at the UN level. The U.A.E. Mission is hosting a Panel Series on Women, Peace and Security, in partnership with UN Women, and the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security in support of the Global Study on the Implementation of Security Council Resolution No. 1325.

Ambassador Nusseibeh commented on Monday's inaugural panel discussion, which focused on the role of women in countering violent extremism. "We are navigating a shifting security context where the rise of violent extremism has led to increased and targeted violence against women and girls. This is unacceptable to the U.A.E. and to all responsible member states." Ambassador Nusseibeh reiterated that "we must recognise women as the agents of change that they are, and not solely as the victims." Ambassador Nusseibeh concluded by confirming that the UN remains the central forum for addressing the women, peace and security agenda, and called for 2015 to be the year where ... "we move the dial forward in a significant way." – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


U.A.E. Ambassador presents credentials to Algerian President

posted on 30/10/2014

ALGIERS: The U.A.E. Ambassador to Algeria, Ahmed Ali Nasser Al Mail Al-Zaabi, has presented his credentials to the President of the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, as the Ambassador of the U.A.E. to Algeria.

Al-Zaabi conveyed the greetings of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to the Algerian president.

Bouteflika hailed the merits and wisdom of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and his contributions to the boom of the U.A.E.'s economy, his supportive stances towards Arab issues and peace across the world.

He also commended the wisdom of Sheikh Khalifa and his achievements, particularly ushering in highly-sophisticated cultural renaissance in the U.A.E., which has become a role model in the development and welfare fields.

The Algerian president also hailed the U.A.E.'s foreign policy, expressing his satisfaction of bilateral relations between the two sides, especially as these deepen constantly in various fields.

Bouteflika underlined his country's keenness to develop ties with the U.A.E. to the advantage of the two countries in the light of the current challenges facing Arab countries, citing that two countries have a convergence in their vision as they address challenges and work to safeguard stability and development in the region.

He also wished permanent stability and progress for the U.A.E. under the prudent leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Air Arabia commemorates 11th anniversary with first flight to 100th global destination, Tbilisi

posted on 30/10/2014

Air Arabia, the first and largest low-cost carrier (LCC) in the Middle East and North Africa, yesterday marked its eleventh year of successful operations with its first flight to Tiblisi, Georgia. Tibilsi, the capital and largest city of Georgia is Air Arabia's 100th global destination.

Since it was established in 2003, Air Arabia has recorded impressive and sustained growth in terms of destinations, passenger volume and profitability. In eleven years, the airline has expanded operations from five destinations with just a pair aircraft, to 100 destinations spread across the Middle East and North Africa, Europe and Indian Subcontinent, served by a fleet of 40 aircraft today.

Marking the occasion, Adel Ali, the airline's Group Chief Executive Officer, stated, "Air Arabia has been a vanguard in the U.A.E. aviation sector – we have created opportunities for more people to travel by introducing a new pricing segment to popular or untapped destinations. Our first flight to Tibilisi, the social and economic centre of Georgia epitomises this philosophy." "We have witnessed unprecedented growth in the past ten years, and as we continue our journey in to the second decade, we aim to fulfil our mission of providing value for money services and greater connectivity across our award-winning route network," added Ali.

Air Arabia, the first publicly listed airline in the Arab world and the largest airline by market value, today carrying millions of passengers across 100 destinations from four operational hubs in the U.A.E., Morocco and Egypt.

The inaugural flight was received by officials from the Georgian Government, Civil Aviation and press.

Air Arabia will fly twice weekly to Tbilisi from its primary Sharjah International Airport hub on Tuesdays and Fridays at 13:00, arriving at Tbilisi International Airport at 16:30 that afternoon. Return flights will depart Tbilisi on the same days at 17:10 and arrive in Sharjah at 20:20. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


DP World reiterates support for fight against piracy in Somalia

posted on 30/10/2014

Sultan Ahmad bin Sulayem, Chairman of the U.A.E.'s DP World, on Wednesday reiterated the global port operator's support for creating jobs and setting up maritime facilities in Somalia as part of the fight against piracy in the Horn of Africa.

In his opening statement, Bin Sulayem, said, "As part of our efforts to help address the root causes of piracy on land, we at DP World this year initiated a series of expert panels to identify the opportunities for investment in Somalia, the barriers to investment and how they might be overcome." He noted that the vast majority of the 40 to 50 people who volunteered their time to join the discussions at the conference in Dubai were Somalis, of all ages and from all walks of life, from politicians to business people to students, based in Somalia or part of the huge Somali diaspora. But all are absolutely passionate about rebuilding their country, added the head of DP World which co-hosted the two-day fourth counter-piracy conference with the U.A.E.'s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA).

Around 600 delegates, including foreign ministers of various countries as well as top diplomats, naval officers and industry leaders gathered on Wednesday for the two-day annual conference in Dubai.

"This year, we face a dual challenge – firstly, how we build on the gains we have achieved in battling piracy in the Gulf of Aden and bake in those gains by supporting Somalia's development as a stable and robust economy, thereby creating opportunities and a future for its young people other than piracy or other criminal or terrorist activity.

And, secondly, how we can translate the lessons we have learned in fighting piracy at sea and on land in the Horn of Africa to the even more geopolitically complicated region of West Africa, where attacks are more violent, where they take place mainly in territorial not international waters, and where the pirates can originate from as many as half a dozen countries – all of which are viable states with rule of law, and in some cases naval or coastguard capacity, unlike the circumstances that gave birth to piracy in Somalia." Bin Sulayem applauded the government and people of Somalia for "their hard work and determination to rebuild Somalia.

We have seen that determination first hand." He noted that while Somalis look to the international community to invest in Somalia, "they will not look to the international community to "fix" their country – they will do that themselves." "They want to engage and empower their young people to participate in the economy through education and the creation of job opportunities; they support and encourage the moves to establish robust legal frameworks to underpin investment; and they agree that there needs to be a "one Somalia" approach to engage the entire community in rebuilding efforts." Unfortunately, he added, while piracy is a fast disappearing problem in the Gulf of Aden, the opposite is true in West Africa's Gulf of Guinea.

"Solutions at sea and on land are complex and difficult to implement. " He cited estimates by Oceans Beyond Piracy that the total economic cost of maritime piracy in West Africa was as much as US$680 million in 2013. That compares with more than US$3 billion in East Africa, itself around a 50% decline on 2012.

"While the economic cost may be smaller in West Africa, the human cost is just as appalling. More than 1800 seafarers were attacked in West African waters last year and two were killed. Since 2002, an estimated 45 seafarers have been killed during robberies at sea in the Gulf of Guinea." He described this as an urgent economic and humanitarian issue that will require the involvement and action of those of us in the shipping industry as well as those in the government sector.

We have learned in our battle against piracy that there is no one solution; it requires a multifaceted approach that takes into account the political and socio-economic circumstances that nurture and encourage piracy as well as addressing the attacks at sea directly." Public-private partnership, at sea and on land, is, according to bin Sulayem, the only sustainable solution to addressing piracy in the short, medium and long term, wherever it may occur.

Despite the fall in piracy in the Gulf of Aden, and the recovery underway in Somalia, let an estimated 37 seafarers are still being held captive – they have been held now for nearly three years, bin Sulayem further noted. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


ADPC sets sail for projected maritime crew demand

posted on 30/10/2014

Abu Dhabi Ports Company, ADPC, is setting sail to address future demand for maritime personnel in the Emirate. The company is developing its established training centre course offerings for maritime professionals and has joined with the Higher Colleges of Technology to develop and deliver new maritime training for Emirati college students.

Firstly, ADPC 's state-of-the-art maritime training centre at Musaffah Port - the first one in the MENAS region to receive the Lloyd's Register Approved Training Provider status and the only IALA listed Vessel Traffic Services, VTS, training centre between Turkey and Malaysia - has expanded its VTS training courses.

The training centre, which is accredited by the National Transport Authority, NTA, has added two more modules to the VTS programme and now offers a total of four specialist courses to train VTS operators, supervisors and on-the-job instructors.

Secondly, yesterday, ADPC officials signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, with the Higher Colleges of Technology, HCT, Abu Dhabi, which will see the parties working together to develop a partnership for academic collaboration and training. ADPC will assist with the training of HCT naval or marine students in navigational training courses covering fields such as simulated ship handling, radar navigation and general operator qualifications. In turn, the HCT will provide the necessary training and educational programmes where required.

As part of the MoU, ADPC will look to assist HCT during those courses by providing access where practical to ADPC facilities and vessels to enable HCT students to take part in work experience, field trips and similar initiatives.

The education programmes will lead to a Bachelor of Applied Science Degree in Marine Transport. The courses will include the study and examination required for the Standards of Training Certification and Watchkeeping Convention, allowing the students to be qualified to become watch keepers, senior officers and masters of merchant vessels.

The training will also equip the U.A.E. nationals with the skills and experience needed by shore based marine industries which are particularly interested in recruiting staff with a seafaring background, for example as harbour masters, marine surveyors or consultants.

The students will also study for the international safety standard; Restricted and General Operator Certificate for the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System, GMDSS.

Today, more than 90% of global trade travels by sea. At the moment this is about 9 billion tonnes annually, but by 2030, analysts predict it could be between 19-24 billion tonnes each year.

To meet this demand, the International Maritime Organisation (the United Nations body for global maritime issues) anticipates that the global fleet will need to expand by 70%. More ships means more people trained to crew those ships, more volume passing through the ports when those ships dock and more people working in ports to manage these operations.

Mohammed Juma Al Shamsi, CEO, ADPC said, "Given this projected demand, ADPC is working to provide serious development opportunities for its employees, training them to become highly qualified maritime professionals, while promoting this exciting industry to the younger Emirati generation", Al Shamsi explains.

"The MoU is an important step towards the national goal of empowering Emirati talent. According to industry analysts[1], over the next two decades, the greatest growth in container trade will take place between the Far East and the Middle East. With this in mind, our mission is to help build a strong U.A.E. national workforce ready to seize the many opportunities", Al Shamsi adds.

Tayeb Kamali, Vice Chancellor of the Higher Colleges of Technology said the agreement with ADPC was a further step in advancing HCT 's maritime programmes.

"The Higher Colleges of Technology is proud to be developing a broad range of degree courses and training initiatives for the U.A.E.'s constantly expanding maritime industry and we look forward to the potential enhancement of these with the relevant practical experience and courses offered by the Abu Dhabi Ports Company, "he said.

"The Higher Colleges is dedicated to providing its students with hands-on and work relevant programmes which are designed to meet the growing industry needs of our nation. We therefore aim to ensure that our graduates have the skills, knowledge, training and confidence to make important contributions to the U.A.E. society and their communities when they enter the workforce," Kamali added.

"We look forward to working closely with the Abu Dhabi Ports Company to ascertain where our institutions can collaborate in the training and development of future leaders and experts in the U.A.E.'s vital maritime and seafaring industries," he concluded.

As part of its commitment to promoting the U.A.E. ports industry to the younger generation, ADPC also has an ongoing programme of student tours. Since May 2013, ADPC has welcomed more than 450 students who were guided through Khalifa Port and the Kizad Visitor Centre. The students came from various educational institutions, including the U.A.E. University, the Institute of Management Technology and the University of Wollongong in Dubai. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Etisalat continues to achieve strong financial results

posted on 30/10/2014

Etisalat announced yesterday its consolidated financial results for the third quarter of 2014, showing an increase in year-on-year consolidated revenues and subscribers in both the U.A.E. and its international markets.

The company's consolidated net profit after Federal Royalty increased by 22 percent year-on-year to Dh2.2billion in Q3 2014, while quarterly consolidated revenue amounted to Dh13.2 billion, an increase of 38 percent year-on-year.

In the U.A.E., the revenues of Dh6.8 billion for the third quarter of 2014 were 10 percent higher than the third quarter of 2013. International consolidated operations substantially increased its share in revenue year-on-year by 89 percent, mainly due to the consolidation of Maroc Telecom. As a result, the proportion of revenues generated internationally increased to 48 percent, up from 35 percent in the third quarter of 2013, the company said in its financial results released yesterday.

Commenting on the results, Ahmad Abdulkarim Julfar, Chief Executive Officer of Etisalat Group, said, "We have achieved another remarkable financial quarter by keeping our focus on delivering innovative products and services throughout our local and international operations. The continued growth in our customer base is an endorsement by consumers that we are meeting and exceeding their expectations." "By consolidating our position, and differentiating ourselves through innovation, customer experience and digital services, we have continued to grow in our home market, but we are also increasing our foothold and profitability in international markets. We are confident that the projected growth coming from our international operations will continue to grow on track to contribute at least 50-percent of our overall revenues." He added, "We will continue to expand our service offering throughout our markets in order to diversify our revenue base and cement our regional leadership position. Africa remains an important strategic region for our business; we see incredible opportunity for growth as markets continue to develop and flourish. In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, we are entering a transformation phase with Mobily that we are confident will further add to our future growth and the strength of our offering throughout the Kingdom." Etisalat Group has said that its aggregate subscriber base grew to 180 million by the end of September 2014 representing year-on-year growth of 25 percent. In the U.A.E., the active subscriber base grew to 10.8 million in September 2014, representing year-on-year growth of 6 percent. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


d3 and du join forces to provide WiFi U.A.E., networked by du, across Smart City greenfield site

posted on 30/10/2014

Dubai Design District, D3, yesterday announced a strategic partnership with du - the Official WiFi provider of Dubai Smart City, to provide WiFi services across the D3 area. The provision of WiFi at D3 is amongst the first few instances of an entire area in Dubai that has been enabled with full internet access, helping to pave the way for the Emirate to become a truly Smart City.

Earlier this year, Dubai's Smart City initiative was launched by Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. d3 was selected as the greenfield development site for the initiative, enabling it to act as a blank canvas for strategic partners to showcase their initiatives, which will help achieve Dubai's vision to be the ‘Smartest place on Earth' within the next three years.

The agreement between du and d3 will lead to the provision of WiFi U.A.E., networked by du to all of d3's creative tenants and visitors to the area, ensuring they can stay connected and at high speeds. It also allows people to easily access important government services and information. State of the art broadband infrastructure will be run throughout d3's public areas, including all F&B outlets and retail spaces.

As a 24/7 location, the partnership with du allows d3 to offer a multi-layered experience for the design community that will be based there, where the traditional boundaries of work and play are blurred. It also ensures a physical environment is erected that genuinely underpins d3's commitment to pioneering design principles, with innovation possible on every corner.

Dr. Amina Al Rustamani, Group CEO of TECOM Investments, the developer behind d3, said, "We are dedicated to developing a creative destination at d3 that is rooted in cutting-edge, intelligent design. In doing so, we will contribute to Dubai's vision for an efficient, modern, seamless and safe city that improves the experience of businesses, residents, tourists and consumers.

"Once the first phase of d3 is delivered in 2015, it will offer digital connectivity throughout the site, enhancing people's experience and ensuring accessibility and safety. We are delighted to have partnered with du to make this initiative a reality, especially given their strong track record for customer satisfaction and delivering cutting-edge solutions in the field of Smart technology. Their input and innovations will be vital as we continue to transform d3 into an iconic Smart location." Osman Sultan, CEO of du, said, "This partnership drives home the point that du's robust infrastructure is the foundation for the development of all industries in today's digitised world. Our reliable and interoperable infrastructure will play a transformative role in the rapid realisation of d3's vision to set up the ecosystem that fosters opportunities in fashion, luxury, design, retail and hospitality." "Our partnership is in line with positioning Dubai as a global tourism and business epicentre with world-class facilities. We fully support the Government of Dubai's Smart City initiative. As a Smart City, Dubai will truly empower and inspire our digitally-driven society, and we look forward to contributing to this vision through our new collaboration with d3." To enjoy WiFi U.A.E., customers of operators in the U.A.E. will be able to connect when the service is available from their WiFi-enabled device and choose from three usage options: free high speed for government services, complimentary basic service, or premium high speed service. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Al Gergawi says: Sheikh Mohammed’s Dh4.5 billion vision for Dubai’s Internet City and Media City will create a global innovation powerhouse

posted on 30/10/2014

Dubai Holding's Chairman, Mohammed Abdullah Al Gergawi, has confirmed that new projects representing an Dh 4.5 billion investment for Dubai's Internet City and Dubai Media City will be completed within five years and will establish a global powerhouse for innovation, media and content.

Al Gergawi made his comments at a ceremony to mark the 15th anniversary of Dubai Internet City, and in response to the announcement made by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minster of the U.A.E. and Ruler of Dubai of a new vision for these business parks.

The projects announced include 10 million sq. ft. of space for innovation complexes, technology laboratories and smart buildings. Such advanced infrastructure seeks to attract top global talent and create an environment that will nurture and support what will become the most productive and innovative environment in the world.

"His Highness had an insight. He foresaw the internet revolution in its earliest days, and it was that vision, which put our national economy on the path to become a globally recognised knowledge economy," Al Gergawi said. "He chose a large site in, what was then just an empty desert space because he understood the scale of the technological revolution that would take place, and how much space it would need to grow." In choosing the location for Dubai Internet City and Dubai Media City, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed was mindful of relics showing it had actually been inhabited more than 3,500 years ago. Reflecting on a conversation with the Ruler at the time, Gergawi highlighted the words of His Highness: "This area has ancient history. Now we will write a new chapter for it." Al Gergawi also discussed the rapid pace of development over the last 15 years. These business zones have since grown from 100 companies to 4,500 companies, from a few hundred employees to more than 70,000 knowledge workers, and from a few thousand square feet to 6 million sq. ft. Al Gergawi praised H.H. Sheikh Mohammed's decision to locate the internet and media industries together and to treat them as a single economic sector. This helped establish the U.A.E. as number one in the region's content industry, surpassing the traditional domination of the ancient Arab capitals.

H.H. Sheikh Mohammed's new vision for Dubai Internet City and Dubai Media City focuses on integrating these industries within the U.A.E.'s national innovation strategy. This will be achieved through pioneering projects including business innovation incubators, new dedicated funds and smart laboratories.

These projects will also benefit other sectors that in turn add value to the U.A.E. economy under Dubai Holding's remit, such as ICT, Media, Education, Sciences, and Design. H.E. Al Gergawi said that 10 million square feet would be added to support the main innovation infrastructure in the coming years, which will make Dubai an international innovation destination across all of its sectors.

H.H. Sheikh Mohammed's vision for Dubai Media City is to enhance its position as an international centre for both conventional media, content generation and social media. "The media zone will attract the best talent in this field and develop new tools and applications by establishing an innovation culture," Al Gergawi said.

"We will add real value to our national economy by developing education and knowledge across the content industry, as well as by supporting research that makes a real difference to people's lives," the Dubai Holding Chairman stressed.

Al Gergawi announced a range of immediate initiatives that are designed to speed up the transformation towards this new vision. A new fund will be established to support innovation-led projects, creativity and entrepreneurial ideas. Ten innovation incubators will be created across all of Dubai Holding's relevant portfolio, including those related to the ICT, media, education, sciences and design industries.

Two further new projects will play vital roles in supporting the new vision.

The first, called "Innovation Hub" will function as an enabler for innovation, located in the middle of three business zones: Dubai Internet City, Dubai Media City and Dubai Knowledge Village. Innovation Hub will incorporate five smart buildings with pioneering platforms, and aims to provide an encouraging environment that can grow and enhance an innovative culture. This will create a platform for individuals and companies to launch new ideas and technologies that can have a positive knock on effect on wider economy.

The second -d3's Creativity Community, located within Dubai Design District has a goal to inspire and encourage talent across various design fields. The Creative Community will provide unique facilities including showrooms, creative workshops, spaces for events and relevant service facilities.

He closed his statement by turning to the future. "Today, Dubai Internet City has realised the dream of a visionary leader, which was set out 15 years ago. In the future, it will realise the dreams of tens of thousands of creative and innovative pioneers. As we realise this new phase of HH Sheikh Mohammed's vision, we will step into a new age of innovation," Al Gergawi said. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


NBAD net profits rise 14.7% to Dh 4.2 billion in 9 Months

posted on 30/10/2014

National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) earned Dh 4.195 billion for the nine months ended 30 September 2014, up 14.7% over the corresponding period in 2013. In 3Q 2014, net profits were Dh 1.366 billion; up 32.0% year-over-year and down 3.7% sequentially. Results for both periods reflected underlying business improvement. Diluted EPS was Dh 0.84 for 9M 2014, up 16.3%.

The annualised return on average equity for 9M 2014 was 15.6%, up 42bps from 15.1% in 9M 2013.

Nasser Alsowaidi, Chairman of NBAD said, "In the third quarter of 2014, NBAD continued to generate solid momentum across its multiple lines of business. Our year-to-date results reflect continued strength in underlying revenue and earnings growth, and we have continued to maintain a strong balance sheet and solid capital position whilst achieving these results." Alex Thursby, Group Chief Executive said, "Our performance in the first three quarters of 2014 reflects the successful execution of our long-term strategy, and we continue to see positive underlying trends in our Global Wholesale, Global Retail & Commercial and Global Wealth businesses. We are achieving these strong results whilst also maintaining a conservative approach to risk management. During the 3rd quarter, we were ranked 25th – up from 35th - amongst the World's 50 Safest Banks by Global Finance magazine, marking the 6th consecutive year we have been on this prestigious list. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


FGB’s nine-month net profit up by 21% to a record Dh4,105 Million

posted on 30/10/2014

First Gulf Bank, FGB, has announced its financial results for the first nine months of 2014, showing a record net profit of Dh 4,105 million, up 21% compared with the same period last year.

With total assets crossing the Dh200 billion mark, FGB's solid performance was driven by continued revenue momentum across businesses combined with expense rationalisation and risk discipline. During the third quarter of 2014, FGB achieved a record net profit of Dh1,425 million, an increase of 6% from Q2 2014 and 20% from Q3 13.

During the third quarter of 2014, revenues increased by 13% to Dh2,329 million. Net Interest and Islamic Financing income grew by 5% to Dh1,596 million driven by strong lending momentum during the period partially off-setting the pressure on asset yields.

Non-Interest revenues recorded a strong 39% increase year-on-year to Dh733 million as a direct result of higher core fee and commission income streams, investment and derivative income, property sales and positive contributions from subsidiaries.

Higher loan balances and efficient balance sheet management translated to a 11% year-on-year growth in Net Interest and Islamic Financing income to Dh4,844 million. FGB's Net Interest Margin for the 9M'14 period marginally reduced to 3.6% compared to last year's level of 3.7%.

Non-Interest Revenues also showed a solid growth of 29%, thanks to higher volumes, increased strength of core banking fees, successful cross-selling across businesses and a higher contribution from subsidiaries. As a result, Non-Interest Revenues, which stood at Dh2,024 Million, contributed 29% of total Group Revenues, compared with 27% for the same period last year.

Despite a 24% increase in operating expenses to Dh1,528 million, FGB's 9M'14 cost-to-income ratio remained contained and within target range at 22.2%, reflecting the bank's highly efficient business model. The rise in expenses largely resulted from the bank's various expansion plans, including the consolidation of Dubai First and Aseel Islamic Finance as well as continued investments in people, systems and marketing initiatives.

Capitalising on a favourable economic backdrop and strong market positioning, FGB was able to deliver healthy loan growth rates with Loans and Advances adding 4% during the quarter to reach Dh132.7 billion. In light of the excess liquidity available in the U.A.E. banking system, FGB's customer deposits continued to expand during the period, growing by 5% in Q3' 2014 to Dh144.6 billion.

The bank continued to diversify funding sources during the period with the issuance of medium term notes in Euro, Japanese Yen and Australian Dollars in July. Earlier this month, FGB issued a 5-year US$30 million (Dh110 million) Euro Medium Term Note carrying a coupon of 3 months US$ Libor + 0.91%.

FGB's Total Shareholders' Equity amounted to Dh32.4 Billion, up 9% compared to the same period last year. Capital Adequacy Ratio and Tier 1 capital remained robust at 19.5% and 18.2% respectively, against 19.0% and 17.7% as of June 2014. Earnings per Share for the 9M'14 period increased by 22% year-on-year to Dh1.01. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Children’s National Hospital announces winners of Sheikh Zayed Prize for Paediatric Surgical Innovation

posted on 30/10/2014

WASHINGTON, D.C.: Two paediatric medical device innovators, Velano Vascular and REBIScan, were selected from eight finalists to each receive a US$50,000 award in a competition held by the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Paediatric Surgical Innovation at the Children's National Medical Centre in Washinton, DC, as part of its second annual symposium focused on paediatric surgical innovation.

"Currently, the development of paediatric surgical and medical devices lags significantly behind the development of adult devices," said Peter Kim, MD, CM, Ph.D., Vice President of the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Paediatric Surgical Innovation, adding, "The purpose of the symposium and competition is to focus attention and discussion on the challenges facing paediatric medical device development and how we can work together to meet these challenges for the benefit of children." Sharing their device for the first time in a public forum, the team from Velano Vascular, of Philadelphia and San Francisco, presented a novel innovation that enables safe, effective needle-free blood draws for hospitalised children. Eric M. Stone, company co-founder, recalled for the judges his own painful memories of childhood hospitalisation and the psychological impact of seemingly endless use of needles.

Reflecting on the result, he said, "The competition's esteemed judges and the calibre of fellow presenters makes winning this prize even more validating as we make this technology a reality for our children." Award-winner REBIScan, of Cambridge, Mass., presented a handheld vision scanner for the eradication of amblyopia ("lazy eye"). "Each year, over one million children worldwide lose their vision because of the lack of early detection from eye conditions such as amblyopia," said presenter Justin G. Shaka, CEO and co-founder.

"This prize has a deep impact because it will enable us to transition from the regulatory phase into manufacturing so that we can get our device into the hands of clinicians." A total of 56 submissions from five countries were received for the competition. The finalists each made five-minute presentations to the symposium audience and then responded to judges' questions.

With the second annual symposium, the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Paediatric Surgical Innovation brought together key leaders from the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration, medical device industry, law firms, paediatric societies and advocacy groups, along with scientists, engineers, clinicians and policy makers.

The symposium's keynote address was delivered by Margaret A. Hamburg, MD, commissioner of the FDA who described the Sheikh Zayed Institute and Children's National as "a model to emulate" in recognising that, in addition to bringing together a critical mass of talented experts, significant healthcare advances require creative connections with patients and families, clinical, academic, government and corporate partners in Washington, the nation and the world.

The event drew more than 220 attendees and was held at The Newseum in Washington, D.C. The programme also included panel discussions on the clinical and regulatory pathways for paediatric devices, lessons to be learned from paediatric drug development, growth capital for paediatric innovation and coverage reimbursement from the payer's perspective.

"For many of the United Arab Emirates delegations visiting the United States, the highlight of their visit is the tour of the Sheikh Zayed Campus and the Sheikh Zayed Institute at Children's National. It is inspiring to see new ideas come to life in the laboratory space and to know that new solutions will quickly reach patients in need. The advances the physicians, scientists and researchers are making benefit children right here in DC, across this country, and around the globe – including children in the United Arab Emirates. For that, we are grateful," said Saeed Almheiri, Counsellor, Head of Consular Section, Embassy of the United Arab Emirates, Washington, DC.

"Through this symposium, the Sheikh Zayed Institute is fostering concrete, achievable action to improve the health of children," said Kurt Newman, MD, president and CEO of Children's National Medical Centre.

"Their metabolism and overall response to biologics, medical devices and surgical procedures differs from adults, making it essential to find efficient and effective ways to develop regulated and well-researched devices and therapies tailored to their needs." Founded in 2010 through a US$150 million gift from the government of Abu Dhabi, the mission of the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Paediatric Surgical Innovation is to make paediatric surgery more precise, less invasive and pain free.

The institute is comprised of multi-disciplinary teams that apply rigorous process management from conception to marketed product through creative partnerships in academia and industry. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


American Hospital Dubai becomes the U.A.E.’s first private hospital licensed for radioiodine therapy for thyroid cancer patients

posted on 30/10/2014

The American Hospital Dubai has become the first private hospital in the U.A.E. to be licensed to provide radioiodine therapy to thyroid cancer patients, following a one-year project dedicated to building a new radiation therapy patient facility, developing hospital protocols for managing radioactive materials and staff training.

The Nuclear Medicine Department at the American Hospital Dubai has introduced a new radiation therapy as part of its comprehensive care for thyroid cancer patients, Radioiodine (iodine 131) is used in radiation therapy for thyroid cancer patients after surgery to destroy any remaining cancer cells and to lower the risk of a recurrence of the disease.

The hospital has been awarded the additional licenses required (U.A.E. Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation and Dubai Health Authority) to handle high dose radioactive materials and to treat patients in the U.A.E., where there is growing demand for thyroid cancer treatment. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


EAD Secretary-General praises country's wise leadership for U.A.E. Vision 2021

posted on 30/10/2014

The U.A.E.'s wise leadership has helped place the country on a sustainability trajectory with the introduction of the U.A.E. Vision 2021, which is based on accommodating its future population trends, ranging from economic and social to environmental targets, a top official of Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi, EAD, said.

Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Secretary-General of EAD, delivering a lecture at the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology campus entitled: ‘Sustainable growth – achieving the vision', said, "In line with the leadership's vision in providing our citizens and residents with a sustainable and brighter future, we must dedicate ourselves to making this vision a reality." Al Mubarak was earlier received by Dr. Fred Moavenzadeh, President, Masdar Institute, and was introduced to the audience by Dr. Lamya Fawwaz, Executive Director, Public Affairs, Masdar Institute.

The lecture, which was organised under the Distinguished Lecture Series, was attended by students, faculty and staff members from Masdar Institute and other universities. A number of key government, non-government and private sector stakeholders were present at the event.

Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak added, "It is imperative that we emphasise and highlight the importance of sustainable growth to the next generation. For it is our youths who will carry on, lead, implement and contribute to the success of green and sustainable strategies and the growth outlined in Abu Dhabi vision." In her lecture, she highlighted the importance of building sustainable cities for a greener future, as the world faces limited natural resources, rising costs, and dangerous levels of emissions and pollution attributed to consumption.

"With a current global population of seven billion, we require the equivalent of 1.5 planets to sustain our lifestyle, especially as some of our resources are renewable and can recover if we reduce or stop withdrawals, while other resources are non-renewable. The world is facing insurmountable environmental issues that must be tackled in order to sustain forecasted population growth to 9.5 billion by 2050 where, if our consumption follows the current trend, we will require 3 planets to sustain our way of life." "With predictions that almost 60% of the current population will be living in urban areas by 2030, meaning that rapid urbanisation will be placing a heavy burden on our natural resources and exerting pressure on the general public's health, is a testament to the importance of building sustainable cities," she added.

"In line with U.A.E. Vision 2021, Abu Dhabi Emirate developed the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030, complemented by the Environment Vision 2030 which both will complement and support the planned economic growth of the country through viable and environmentally sustainable methods." She noted the government's recognition of several obstacles it must overcome and has already began placing initiatives in place. "The U.A.E.'s high usage of electricity and water, which is due partly to its climate, has led to the necessity of diversifying our energy mix. By 2021, the U.A.E. aims to reduce its energy mix consumption by utilising renewable resources and implementing sustainable building codes which have already been taken into effect through Estidama." Al Mubarak concluded by saying, "It is people who live and work in our cities and it is people who make the hearts of our cities beat. It is therefore imperative that we give communities, families, and young people a voice as we decide how to create our future sustainable and smart cities." – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


ADP launches "My Tourism is My Identity" initiative

posted on 30/10/2014

The Abu Dhabi Police GHQ has recently launched the "My Tourism is My Identity" initiative to enhance the concept of tourism among community members in a way that reflects the civilised aspects of the United Arab Emirates.

The initiative aims to acquaint tourists with the touristic attractions and places within the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, and includes various events to enable volunteers who wish to contribute to spreading the concept within the community.

Lieutenant Colonel Muzeed Al Otaibi, Chief of Tourism Police Section at Abu Dhabi Police said, "In collaboration with the Ministry of Culture, Youth, and Community Development, and within the activities of the initiative, the section has organised a campaign to clean the beaches of the Abu Dhabi Corniche at the Heritage Village. The campaign was carried out with the participation of Environment Friends Society, EFS, and other volunteers in order to preserve the general cleanliness and environmental safety of touristic places that attract tourists from all over the world." He also pointed out the efforts of the Tourism Police Officers in maintaining security and stability and responding quickly to tourists when needed; providing them with services around-the-clock.


Workshop, stars night added to beach soccer in Dubai

posted on 30/10/2014

Dubai will host the fourth Samsung Beach Soccer Intercontinental Cup (November 4-8) and with it, the III Fifa Beach Soccer Workshop and the first ever Beach Soccer Stars night, it was announced on Monday.

Dubai has been the host for the second most important beach soccer tournament in the world, only behind the Fifa Beach Soccer World Cup, and the top world cup teams are regular entries for the Dubai event.

The workshop, the second in Dubai, will include the experts, referees, brand ambassadors and top officials of the sport. The symposium will focus on the growth of beach soccer and the bright future ahead. The first week in November will be all beach soccer in the city as there will also be the Beach Soccer Stars 2014 dinner and presentation.

This event is the first of its kind and will celebrate the sports' best. It will be a yearly occurrence and Dubai was selected as the host city because of its top-class facilities and familiarity and love for beach soccer.

The years' best coach, best goal, best player, best goalkeeper, rising star and the best five stars on the pitch will all be recognised at the function.

The Dubai Sports Council, beach soccer and Dubai have quickly become the perfect travel mates, in a relationship that lasts for more than 10 years now, and which began with friendly events, before hosting the continental Qualifiers to the Fifa Beach World Cup. – Khaleej Times -§ion=nationsports