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Dubai’s Burj Al Arab wins Global Award for Best Social Media Presence

posted on 01/10/2014

Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, the World's Most Luxurious Hotel, has been awarded the global title 'Best Social Media Presence by an Individual Hotel, Property or Resort' by Skift, the world's largest travel intelligence and marketing platform.

During the seven month judging period from 1st January to 31st July, Burj Al Arab achieved record engagement figures with more than six million likes, comments, shares and views across Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter.

Initiatives highlighted by Skift included hosting the #WorldsUltimateInstameet with the world's largest Instagram travel account, @BeautifulDestinations. The Instameet was attended by ten of the world's most influential social identities who share a combined audience of more than 18 million. The event generated more than 25,000 comments and 3.2 million likes from supporters around the world.

The hotel also committed to a yearlong partnership with #MyDubai, a campaign initiated by H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council. The initiative invites residents and visitors to hashtag their social media images #MyDubai to create ‘the world's first autobiography of a city'. On the last Thursday of each month, the five best images are projected onto Burj Al Arab's iconic sail.

Burj Al Arab's social strategy targeted key social media influencers and high net-worth individuals to engage with both the local community and with current and potential customers.

Jumeirah Group spokesperson, Piers Schreiber, said, "We are delighted that Burj Al Arab Jumeirah has received the Best Social Media Presence for Hotels award from Skift. As the hotel is one of the most talked about and certainly the most photographed in the world, social media is the most natural platform for it to communicate with its many fans and as the flagship hotel of Jumeirah Group it has pioneered the use especially of Instagram and YouTube in both building brand awareness and entertaining its followers across the globe. This award is a fitting testament to the creative passion of our marketing team at Burj Al Arab Jumeirah." The inaugural Skifties awards recognise and award travel brands that excelled against peers in 2014 with judging based on the marriage between value data and editorial context.

Announcing the winners, Skift said, "To us, acquisition of users was not enough to make a brand stand out, it was about how their content engaged the community, and how present and genuine the brands were in their attempt to inspire and convert their audience." Other 'Skifties' award winners included TripAdvisor for Best Branded Facebook Account and Lonely Planet for Best Branded Instagram Account. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Jumeirah Group voted as best business brand in Middle East and Africa

posted on 01/10/2014

Jumeirah Group, the Dubai-based luxury hotel company, have announced that they have been voted as the Best Business Hotel Brand in the Middle East and Africa at the 2014 Business Traveller Asia-Pacific Awards.

These annual travel awards identify the best companies in the hospitality industry, which is voted on by the readership of Business Traveller Asia-Pacific magazine.

James Mabey, Senior Vice President, Development, for the Asia Pacific region, who received the award in Hong Kong, said, "We are proud to be recognised by readers of Business Traveller Asia Pacific as the Best Business Hotel Brand in the Middle East and Africa." He went on to note that Jumeirah group has now maintained this achievement for the seventh year in a row. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Shurooq promotes Sharjah’s investment opportunities in US

posted on 01/10/2014

Continuing its commitment to promoting the investment potential of the Emirate of Sharjah, the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority, Shurooq, has concluded a series of high profile investment meetings with premier U.S. based organisations and institutions which took place during its recent participation as part of a high level delegation to the U.S. led by the U.A.E. Ministry of Economy. The visit included meetings and events in Washington DC, Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

The Shurooq delegation was led by Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairperson of Shurooq, and included Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, CEO, Saud Meqdad Al Suwaidi, Director of Corporate Services, and Elie Jamil Armaly, Director of Business Development.

Speaking about the U.S. visit, Shurooq CEO, Marwan Al Sarkal, said, "The relationship between the U.S. and Sharjah, which has long been highly mutually beneficial, continues to grow stronger. In the past two years alone, Shurooq has signed Memoranda of Understanding aimed at increasing bilateral cooperation with the National U.S. Arab Chamber of Commerce, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council, and the Export-Import Bank of the U.S. (Ex-Im Bank). Shurooq's participation in the Ministry of Economy delegation was an excellent opportunity to further build on this already strong foundation, which was the focus of the range of meetings that the Authority conducted in the U.S..

"There is a great deal of potential for highly mutually beneficial cooperation between Sharjah and U.S. based companies and organisations and we are extremely pleased with the high level of positive feedback and interest that this visit has created," he added.

During their participation in the U.S. visit, Shurooq conducted separate meetings with representatives from a range of companies, organisations, and entities.

U.S.-Sharjah bilateral trade stood at US$5.46 million in exports, US$15.2 million in re-exports, and US$ 726.9 million in 2012 and these figures continue to grow. In 2013, U.S.-U.A.E. bilateral trade amounted to US$2.3 billion in exports and US$24.5 billion in imports. These figures are projected to increase markedly, as evident from the results of the first two months of 2014 which show US$408 million in exports and US$3.5 billion in imports. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Sharjah registers 1 million hotel occupants in 6 months in 2014, up by 15 per cent

posted on 01/10/2014

The Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority ,SCTDA, has unveiled its tourism statistics for the first half of Year 2014, showing a significant increase in the number of visitors to the Emirate touching one million mark, jumping 15 per cent over the same period last year when the Emirate received 955,355 tourists.

"The figures underscore the continuing, sustained growth of the tourism sector in the emirate", said Mohamed Ali Al Noman, Chairman, Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority.

The H1 statistics reflect a stable occupancy of nearly 74 per cent at hotels even during the normally low season summer months in the Emirate of Sharjah. In terms of stay, hotel establishments recorded 1,817,416 guest nights that included 110,621 guest nights for hotels and 711,206 guest nights for hotel apartments.

The half yearly results show an encouraging 6% increase in the guest nights in hotels for the low season, which indicates that 2014 will be a good year for returning very positive growth figures.

According to the SCTDA statistics, European tourists once again came out on top. Sharjah received 409,578 European visitors in the first half of 2014 accounting for 37 per cent of the total number of tourists. The Russian tourists formed 25 per cent of the total number of European visitors.

The second spot was taken by visitors from the GCC or Gulf states. Sharjah received 369,485 visitors from the Gulf states, accounting for 34 per cent of the total share of tourists.

They were followed by Asian tourists at 13 per cent and visitors from other Arab countries at 12 per cent. The nationals from the Americas, Africa and the Pacific accounted for 5 per cent.

The total number of hotel facilities in Sharjah stands at 106 (50 hotels and 56 hotel apartments). The number of hotel rooms has touched 10,000. The Emirate has been making efforts to boost and expand the hotel industry capacity by encouraging international investors and hotel groups to invest in the hospitality sector in order to raise the number of hotel rooms to at least 14,000 in near future. Growth in hotel rooms shows renewed confidence by investors in Sharjah's tourism industry.

Commenting on the H1 statistics, SCTDA Chairman Al Noman observed that these positive results confirm the growing profile of Sharjah in the region and the world as a pioneering family, cultural and leisure tourism destination with world-class infrastructure, celebrated heritage, museums, shopping centres and many avenues of leisure.

He attributed the continuing growth of the sector to the cooperation provided by the authorities and through the continued collaboration of all stake holders to power the tourism sector by targeting new tourism markets in the region and the world.

Al Noman said that the SCTDA's strategy of showcasing the latest attractions in the Emirate in major international exhibitions and its year-long road shows in major cities and capitals of the Gulf, Asia and Europe, and tourism cooperation agreements with global players have all helped in attracting more tourists and investors to the Emirate.

The SCTDA Chairman paid tribute to the first half of the year being very busy for Sharjah with the Emirate hosting a series of international festivals and events to mark the crowning of Sharjah as the Capital of Islamic Culture for 2014. Events like the Sharjah Light Festival, which highlighted the grandeur of the emirate's Islamic architecture, and the special presentation ‘Clusters of Light' at the Al Majaz Island Amphitheatre celebrating the journey of Islam and the glorious life of the Prophet, peace be upon him, the Sharjah Heritage Days and Sharjah Spring Promotions etc., have also helped attract a large number of visitors to the emirate.

Al Noman expressed confidence that the second half of the year will continue the growth trend by attracting more visitors with a number of special events and activities lined up by the emirate and special discounted rates offered by the hotel industry and malls during the long holiday season.

The SCTDA Chairman emphasised that these encouraging results provide even more reasons for the government and private sector in the tourism sector to work even harder to achieve greater successes and growth in months ahead, especially with Sharjah being celebrated as the Capital of Arab Tourism for 2015.

Sharjah's year-long celebrations marking the honour of the Capital of Arab Tourism next year will include the best of international festivals, exhibitions, workshops and seminars. The spotlight will certainly be on the Emirate's distinct tourism product, cultural and heritage attracting large numbers of tourists from around the world. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


"75 years of operations in Abu Dhabi, Total achieved major leaps in the oil and gas industry and renewable energy", says Al Hajji

posted on 01/10/2014

TOTAL Emirates, leader in the oil and gas industry, has confirmed that it is committed towards providing the best energy in the United Arab Emirates and other countries, and it will continue its efforts in supporting and developing young talents from the U.A.E. through social programmes.

Sultan Al Hajji, Vice President & Chief Strategy Officer in Total United Arab Emirates, said in a statement yesterday that Total is involved with a number of oil companies in Abu Dhabi, and it is always seeking to provide technical support in the field of oil and gas in the emirate.

He added that Total is also involved in many scientific and social initiatives in the United Arab Emirates and, most recently, participated in the establishment of research and development laboratories in the oil industry in partnership with ADNOC, Petroleum Institute in Abu Dhabi and Masdar.

"Total also provides scholarships for students in the U.A.E. to study in French universities and institutes to support rehabilitation of U.A.E. nationals to work in the oil and gas sector in Abu Dhabi," he said.

Total is an international energy company with the whole range of activities like hydrocarbon exploration and production, gas and power.

"We are also at the forefront of refining, petrochemicals and specialty chemicals, marketing refined products and associated services, trading and shipping of crude oil and refined product. Total was one of the very first international oil companies to recognise and point out that fossil fuels and renewable energies are not mutually exclusive. Our teams are committed to developing new sources of energy that can partner oil and natural gas to keep pace with global energy demand." Al Hajji pointed out that the group was involved in solar energy since 1983, "We are now the world's second-ranked photovoltaic energy operator thanks to our affiliate Sun-Power." Moving along the lines he said that Total's story began nearly a century ago, with the search for oil fields. This positioning also enabled them to adapt to market trends and proactively meet customers emerging expectations with a diversified energy mix oil, natural gas, solar and biomass that delivers more value than any other global energy company.

Total, as the world's leading international oil and gas company has operations in 130 countries involving in all the above activities having nearly 100,000 employees. "We are associated with exploration and production in more than 50 countries and producing oil and gas in 30 countries." Total's engagement with Abu Dhabi dates back to 1939, 75 years ago. What started as the first contract then grew over time. Today, Total is associated with 9 ventures in the U.A.E.; eight of these are in Abu Dhabi. These are covering a wide spectrum like exploration and production of oil & gas by our subsidiary Total Abu Al Bukhoosh (Total ABK) as well as our share holding companies namely ADMA OPCO, ADGAS, Dolphin Energy and GASCO.

"We interpret that the flourishing growth of our industrial activities in the U.A.E. over the span of time is recognition of Total as a reliable partner. We thank SPC, ADNOC, Mubadala and their group of companies for their trust in us. I feel that we have earned this respect because of our constant effort to share with the U.A.E. our technology and know-how, combined with capacity development of the U.A.E. nationals in different ways," Al Hajji said.

Total ABK is proud to have 123 including 17 female Emiratis employees including four on secondment from ADNOC Group, working in offshore field and different onshore sites like Abu Dhabi main office, Mussaffah Logistics Base and Total ABK Academy in Shahama. "In our quest and commitment to share with the U.A.E. our know-how from global operations, we commission Emirati employees on international assignments. More than 10 Emiratis have benefitted from such placements in Angola, France and Yemen. Total ABK's top management team comprises of Emiratis with ladies in majority," he said.

He moved on to speak about Total and U.A.E. citizens, as he said that the group supports Emiratis for post-graduation and doctorate education abroad, mainly in France. "Till date, 43 Emiratis have availed Total scholarship and they are oil industry professionals having career in ADNOC, ADCO, ADMA OPCO, GASCO, ZADCO, Dolphin Energy, Schlumberger and others." "Some others are showing their excellence in varied professions: Emirates Nuclear Energy Operations, Mubadala, U.A.E. Embassy in Japan, Ministry of Presidential Affairs and other highly respectable establishments. Of late, we have been sending university under graduate Emiratis to France for an intensive one week program called "Total Summer School" and so far nine Emiratis have attended the summer school." In 2013, Alreyada, an initiative of Total U.A.E. added a new dimension in the MENA region for empowering youth to bring forward their perspective. Alreyada is a forum for young undergraduate university students from the region to be familiarised with energy and future leadership challenges. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


ADIPEC Awards 2014 receive record-breaking number of entries from leading oil and gas companies

posted on 01/10/2014

The prestigious Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (ADIPEC) Awards have received a record number of entries this year, with an increase of 100 submissions compared to 2013.

Organisers revealed that the ADIPEC Awards 2014 received nearly 400 submissions, at 396 entries, compared to last year's total of 290. The number of participants also showed a significant increase, with 100 companies taking part this year compared to 79 companies last year.

The distinguished awards and gala dinner, which are sponsored by the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), offer regional oil and gas companies an opportunity to showcase their achievements and important contributions to the industry.

"The growth of ADIPEC to what it is today, makes it an ideal venue and platform to recognise exceptional achievements in the industry," said Mr Abdul Munim Saif Al Kindy, ADIPEC Awards Chairman.

"We aspire to use the exhibition and conference to share best practices, promote efficiencies, and reward those with significant contribution in the region and the world." Organisers of the ADIPEC Awards said the entries showcase the great strides made by companies in the region's energy sector, in terms of both accomplishments and approach.

Jean-Philippe Cosse, ADIPEC 2014 Event Director at dmg events, said: "The ADIPEC Awards this year offer a remarkable representation of projects in the Middle East. The record-breaking number of entries we received not only reflects the determination of oil and gas companies in the region to achieve best practice, but also their commitment to share this knowledge with the world." Sponsors of the awards attributed the competition's overwhelming success to ADIPEC's position as one of the most highly acclaimed and reputable energy shows worldwide.

The most popular category this year was the Best Oil & Gas Innovation and Technology Award, with just above 130 entries, followed by the Best Oil & Gas Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) Project or Initiative.

Oil and gas companies could enter seven categories: Best Oil & Gas Project; Best Oil & Gas Innovation and Technology; Best Oil & Gas HSE Project or Initiative; Best Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative; Empowerment of Women in the Oil & Gas Industry; Young ADIPEC Engineer; and Best Oilfield Services Company.

Held this year under the theme of "Excellence in Energy 2014", the ADIPEC Awards are a keystone of ADIPEC 2014.

The shortlist will be announced on 13 October 2014 and will name three finalists for each category. Winners and runners-up will be announced at the ADIPEC Gala Awards Dinner at Emirates Palace on ADIPEC's opening night, 10 November 2014. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Ministry of Finance issues its 5th Annual Statistical Report on the Gulf Common Market

posted on 01/10/2014

The U.A.E. has continued to achieve outstanding results in implementing Gulf Common Market (GCM) decisions, according to figures published in the 5th annual statistical report on the GCM by the Regional and International Financial Relations Department at the Ministry of Finance (MoF).

The report focused on a number of areas, including economics, education, and social elements, in addition to the licenses granted to practice economic activities, the total number of registered property contracts and investors in the stock market.

The report also revealed the total number of Gulf commercial bank branches operating in the U.A.E., GCC employees in the U.A.E. public sector, the number of insurance policies extended to GCC nationals within the U.A.E., and GCC students enrolled in public and private schools, as well as the beneficiaries of the social and health service within the U.A.E..

Obaid Humaid Al Tayer, Minister of State for Financial Affairs, stressed the Ministry's commitment to operate in accordance with Federal Government strategy, in order to strengthen the U.A.E.'s position in the GCM.

He said, "The Ministry will continue to develop the required infrastructure to provide the best services and facilities, and an attractive investment, economic and social environment for GCC citizens in the U.A.E.." He added, "The report's statistical and financial figures allow economists and experts to review the qualitative and quantitative developments that have been achieved in the GCM over the past period. This provides them with assurance that the market is moving steadily towards achieving its ultimate objectives in terms of economic prosperity and the social well-being of the GCC nationals." – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


TRA highlights details of U.A.E. participation in ITU Plenipotentiary Conference in South Korea

posted on 01/10/2014

The TRA, at a press conference yesterday, highlighted the details concerning the U.A.E.'s involvement and nomination for the membership of the International Telecommunication Union Council, and the Radio Regulations Council. The press conference, which took place at the TRA headquarters, comes within the framework of a series of extensive preparations undertaken by the TRA for the U.A.E. to participate in the advanced International Plenipotentiary Conference, which will be held in South Korea, Busan City from October 18th to November 7th.

Mohamed Nasser Al Ghanim, TRA Director-General and Nasser bin Hammad, Senior Director of International Relations and candidate of the Radio Regulations Council membership, attended the media conference, and responded to media queries. They also briefed attendees about the strategic importance of these nominations to the U.A.E. and the most prominent developments supporting the campaign file. It should be noted that this is the third time since 2006 that the U.A.E. has been nominated for membership of the ITU Council, the highest in the organisational board of the ITU, consisting of only 48 countries that are elected out of 193 member states. This confirms the leading role played by the TRA within the ICT sector on a regional and international level in general and the prominent role it plays by involving in all the activities of the International Telecommunications Union.

Mohamed Nasser Al Ghanim said, "The nation has evolved a solid relationship with the ITU and fellow member states. Over the past three years, we were able to host and support many of the activities, conferences and international forums of a high presidency at the ITU level as the first Member State of the Union to host international forums in one year. We believe that the time has come for the U.A.E. to acquire a membership at one of these important councils, which will influence the Union's policies in the radio communications sector and the goals over the next four years, including the continuation of the U.A.E.'s membership in the ITU Council." He added, "U.A.E. citizens have shown high efficiency and great capacity in all international areas, leveraging from their knowledge based capabilities and perseverance that allows them to compete with their peers from different countries and regions of the world. We would like to mention the amount of competition in the region, which the U.A.E. belongs to, and that is region E – Asia and Australasia, where there are currently 18 countries competing for 13 seats, while six people from six countries, including U.A.E. candidate, Nasser bin Hammad, are competing in the same region for the membership for the Radio Regulations Board, as the largest of the five regions witnessing fierce competition. We also pay tribute to all support given to the U.A.E. nomination by the neighbouring Arab countries group and other regional groups with whom we cooperate in this respect." He concluded by noting that the TRA is confident of the U.A.E.'s victory for both memberships, due to the confidence of the members of the ITU in the U.A.E. because of the prestige appreciated by the U.A.E. in the Union's efforts. He said that this is all thanks to the successful participation of the nation in all the organisation's activities as well as chairing multiple committees and large international conferences, with the endless support assumed by the U.A.E.'s government leadership and the esteemed role of the field's pioneers, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


TRA clamps down on counterfeit iPhone 6 handsets

posted on 01/10/2014

The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), has issued a series of advisory instructions in relation to counterfeit iPhone 6 handsets in the United Arab Emirates.

In an official statement issued yesterday, the regulatory body said, "In cooperation with concerned parties, the U.A.E. TRA has conducted an official investigation into reports of illegal and counterfeit iPhone 6 handsets on sale in the U.A.E.. As a result of the investigation, a series of counterfeit iPhone 6 handsets have been confiscated in various locations across the country. Based on the investigation, the TRA have issued a series of recommendations to the public to generate awareness of the trade of such illegal devices and to prevent the purchase of them." The statement added, "The move from the TRA falls in line with its wider strategy that seeks to prevent the sale of unlicensed goods and protect the interests of the consumer. The timing of the announcement follows the demand from the U.A.E. public for the iPhone 6 handset." The Type Approval department of the TRA will continue to work alongside all relevant bodies to tackle the trade of illegal devices in the U.A.E., it pointed out.

The TRA has urged the public to consider the following before buying: Only purchase iPhone handsets from official Apple retailers. Before purchasing any device, check the official Apple website to ensure the features of the phone matches the handset's box and packaging, Always retain the receipt when making a purchase and inform the police immediately should a device be found to be counterfeit. Counterfeit iPhone 6 devices will not be able to connect to iTunes. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Emirates and Angola announce strategic airline partnership in respect of TAAG Linhas Aereas De Angola

posted on 01/10/2014

Emirates and the Republic of Angola, in its capacity as the majority shareholder of TAAG Linhas Aereas De Angola, announced the signing of a Management Concession Agreement, which will see Emirates take a role in the management of TAAG, (state-owned flag carrier of Angola).

The agreement, which will only take effect after a number of conditions have been satisfied, including the receipt of various government and regulatory approvals, will lay the foundation for both airlines to jointly leverage commercial opportunities in Africa and beyond.

The ten year Management Concession Agreement was signed yesterday morning by Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline and Group and Augusto da Silva Tomas, the Minister of Transport for Government of Angola.

As part of the agreement, Emirates will work closely with the Angolan government and TAAG Linhas Aereas De Angola to formulate and implement a business plan, provide management support and devise fleet and route network strategies, whilst bringing synergy through the complementary networks.

The Emirates Airline has said that it will not contribute equity under this agreement but appoint four senior managers to work for TAAG Linhas Aereas De Angola.

TAAG Linhas Aereas De Angola will additionally explore business opportunities with dnata, in particular its passenger and cargo handling, flight catering and travel services. dnata, part of the Emirates Group, is the largest provider of air travel services in the Middle East and employs about 23,000 staff in 38 countries.

Sheikh Ahmed said: "Through this partnership Emirates aims to provide deeper reach and better connectivity for our passengers in Central & South Africa. At the same time, we see an opportunity for TAAG Linhas Aereas De Angola passengers to benefit from Emirates' global network.

"We see huge potential in Africa, and are keen to continue playing an active role in contributing to its economies. Emirates will continue growing our presence in Africa by opening new routes, increasing flight frequencies, and upgrading aircraft to meet the increasing demand. Exploring mutually beneficial agreements with established carriers such as TAAG Linhas Aereas De Angola is another key strategy. We believe this new partnership will build on the success that we have seen on our Dubai-Luanda service, and also deliver operational and business synergies for both airlines." Augusto da Silva Tomas, the Minister of Transport for Government of Angola said: "The signing of this agreement marks a very decisive step towards the restructuring of TAAG. With Emirates, our new partner and a leader in the world of civil aviation, equipped with know-how, technology and experience, TAAG is starting a new era of growth and progress which will also positively impact the development of Angola." Angola is Africa's second largest oil producer with a strong mining sector, and is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, making it an attractive business destination. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


RTA caters to large volume of visitors expected on final weekend of GITEX Shopper

posted on 01/10/2014

In collaboration with Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), the Dubai World Trade Centre, has announced extended metro timings on Friday, 3 October.

The move aims to facilitate the large volume of visitors expected to attend the final weekend of GITEX Shopper 2014. The metro will run from 10am – 12:00 am on the Friday, adding an additional four hours to the transport service which usually does not start until 2pm.

Located at the very central Dubai World Trade Centre and just a minute's walk from the dedicated metro station, the region's largest consumer IT and electronics retail show has already seen thousands of visitors walk through the doors since it opened on Saturday 27 September.

Delighted by the increased convenience for exhibition-goers, Trixie LohMirmand, Senior Vice President, Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), organiser of GITEX Shopper said, "We would like to thank the RTA for increasing metro hours on Friday. As more and more people are visiting GIITEX Shopper every year, Dubai Metro continues to provide visitors with a nice and easy journey as an alternative to driving." While many excited shoppers have been quick to snap up a number of incredible deals already, visitors planning to visit the one stop shop in coming days need not fear a shortage of products.

With over 100 top retailers including Emax, E-City, Jacky's, Jumbo Electronics, Plug Ins and Sharaf DG offering over 30,000 products, the unbeatable prices, promotions and giveaways are set to continue all week.

Grand prizes still up for grabs include a limited edition Honda Accord to be won each day, university scholarships, tickets to Spain to watch FC Barcelona live, DSLR cameras and so much more.

Ample parking at Dubai World Trade Centre also means no concern for drivers, while the wide variety of food and beverage outlets and multitude of interactive entertainment features add a fabulous festival atmosphere to the show. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Dubai public transportation fares among world's lowest

posted on 01/10/2014

Dubai is among the cities in the world where commuters spent the least on public transportation as percentage of GDP, the emirate's Roads and Transportation Authority (RTA) revealed.

"Our policy includes a low public transport fares policy, with only 7 per cent of GDP spent on public transportation. This is one of the lowest rates in the world, with only Bangkok and Cairo spending less on public transportation,” explained Mattar Al Tayer, Chairman of RTA.

While the public transportation fare represents 4 per cent of GDP in Bangkok, it hits 6 per cent in Cairo. In New York, the same is 10 per cent, while 63 per cent is paid in fares in Rio de Janeiro.

The low-fare policy is part of a strategy to create a balance between public transport and private vehicles, explained Al Tayer. Salik fees, parking fees and the Nol card payment system also contribute to this strategy.

"These policies and others resulted in increasing the share of public transportation use from 6 per cent in 2006 to 14 per cent by mid-2014. We aim to reach a 20 per cent share by 2020,” he added.

Al Tayer shared several of his experiences along the years as a chairman of the RTA at a project management forum in Dubai.

"When we designed the metro and presented the plan to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the U.A.E., and Ruler of Dubai, he said, "This is totally unacceptable. Because we are building a metro in the Middle East for the first time, we must have the best specifications and attract people. We have many 5-star facilities in Dubai; if the finishing of the stations is less than that, nobody will come to those stations'.”

At that time, Al Tayer looked at Jumeirah Beach Hotel and Burj al Arab, and realised the task that was facing him, however, today Dubai Metro is considered a state-of-the art facility.

"We have accomplished a 100 per cent availability and 99.8 per cent punctuality of Metro services. The stations have a high-level finishing, and the network has air-conditioning and WiFi.”

Further, the integration of a public transportation network with the surrounding area is very important, he pointed out.

"Most of the land around the stations has increased in value with 14-50 per cent. It is very important for us to develop important projects around the stations, and we have to connect to all other modes of transport.”

Over the past nine years, RTA has delivered projects with a total value of almost Dh73.5 billion, and runs around 250 projects at any given time.

– Emirates 24│7 -


Etihad Rail to launch next phase of U.A.E. railway network

posted on 01/10/2014

The U.A.E.s' railway developer Etihad Rail is set to secure government funding and award contracts to build the second phase of its US$11 billion national rail network, its acting chief executive officer said on Tuesday.

"We're ready to award it. It's in finalising stages for funding from the government,” Faris Saif Al Mazrouei told reporters on the side-lines of an industry event in Dubai.

Gulf Arab oil exporters are spending hundreds of billions of dollars on projects ranging from power to transport as they look to diversify their heavily hydrocarbon-reliant economies and boost regional trade.

The second phase of the U.A.E. railway project, which at 628 kilometres is the longest of the three planned stages, is expected to be funded by the U.A.E. federal government, Mazrouei said.

He declined to give costs for the project.

The Phase 2 project will connect the Mussaffah port and industrial area and ports in Abu Dhabi and Dubai with the Saudi and Omani borders.

State-owned Etihad Rail secured a US$1.28 billion five-year bank loan last year to build the first phase of the project. That phase, covering about 264 kilometres in the west of the country from Sha and Habshan near Abu Dhabi to Ruwais, is now complete and has begun operating trials, Mazrouei said.

Phase 3 will link up the northern emirates to complete the U.A.E. network, which will cover about 1,200 kilometres (746 miles) as well as being part of wider regional long-distance rail transport project by the Gulf Cooperation Council, which also includes Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain.

The Phase 1 loan was arranged by National Bank of Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, HSBC Holdings and Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ.

A consortium comprising Italy's Saipem and Maire Tecnimont and U.A.E.-based Dodsai Engineering and Construction was awarded the main civil and track works contract for Phase 1 and earlier this year Etihad Rail created a joint venture with Germany's Deutsche Bahn, Etihad Rail DB, to operate the Phase 1 railway and act as consultant for the other stages. – Khaleej Times -§ion=uaebusiness


DEWA celebrates World Heart Day 2014

posted on 01/10/2014

Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) observed World Heart Day, which the World Health Organisation (WHO) celebrates each year, as part of DEWA's social responsibility to help achieve Dubai's vision for society and good health. DEWA marked the day by organising a number of activities and initiatives including an awareness campaign to educate Dubai residents about the risks of heart problems and how to prevent and treat heart disease. DEWA also coordinated and sponsored an awareness campaign through media and social media.

DEWA also organised an awareness day for its staff about the importance of taking care of their hearts. Staff wrote down their pledges for a healthier lifestyle and hung them on a tree at DEWA's headquarters. Employees also had the opportunity to undertake heart disease screening with physical examinations, blood pressure monitoring, blood sugar tests, body mass index (BMI) calculation, and medical consultation by nutritional experts.

"Our activities to mark World Heart Day has increased awareness among society and our employees about the risks of heart diseases and the need for a healthy diet and daily exercise," said Huda Al Mutawa, Acting Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Communications of DEWA.

"DEWA raises the awareness of society through media and social media by publishing tips and advice that help them to avoid heart disease and adopt a healthy lifestyle," added Al Mutawa. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


DEWA launches Google Glass smart app

posted on 01/10/2014

Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, DEWA, has launched its smart app for Google Glass, which has been developed for in house use and supports DEWA's efforts to fully automate its procedures and keep pace with technological developments in the U.A.E..

Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD and CEO of DEWA, said, "DEWA is following the steps of its prudent leadership in adopting innovation and excellence to provide high-quality smart services as part of its vision to become a sustainable world-class utility. We achieve this by providing an uninterrupted continuous supply of electricity and water services in an efficient manner to ensure the comfort and wellbeing of our customers." DEWA's Google Glass app improves its internal procedures by enabling technicians to detect any faults in stations and substations and send notifications to DEWA's Enterprise Resource Planning System from SAP. Notifications include details such as location and images of the fault.

"The new app enhances DEWA's internal and external services to support its objective to provide high-quality fast services. DEWA has realised the effective role of smart apps in providing reliable high-quality services. This supports its plans that keep pace with the ongoing development of smart services in the U.A.E. and the vision of our wise leadership,' said Moza Al Akraf, Acting CIO of DEWA. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


‘U.A.E. Drones for Good Award’ looks at international partnerships

posted on 01/10/2014

The ‘U.A.E. Drones for Good Award' signed a memorandum of understanding with ‘Indra', one of the leading technology companies in Europe and Latin America.

This was part of efforts to expand the scope of the award through international partnerships and take advantage of the latest expertise in technology, innovation and entrepreneurship.

"The ‘U.A.E. Drones for Good Award' is another example of the commitment of the U.A.E. government to integrate the latest technology in the efforts to provide more accessible and cost-effective services to our citizens. Moreover, the award discovers the potential uses of this technology in the humanitarian field,” said Saif Al Aleeli, Project Manager of the U.A.E. Drones for Good Award at the U.A.E. Prime Minister's Office.

"This is a global award as we believe that innovation has no specific address; innovative ideas might come from any part of the world,” he added.

"We highly appreciate our partnership with Indra which brings great value to the award in terms of its global network and technical expertise. Strategically, the U.A.E. Drones for Good Award and Indra share a single vision when it comes to utilising UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) technology to address current challenges and provide value added services that improve people's lives,” Al Aleeli added.

Alex Moya, General Manager of Indra in the U.A.E., said, "We feel very proud to be collaborating with the United Arab Emirates government. Indra has an important commitment in the country with offices in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai.”

José Luis Angoso, Indra's Innovation and Alliances Director, said, "The U.A.E. Drones for Good Award reflects our vision of innovation and technology as key factors for meeting new global challenges and guaranteeing social progress. We want to reward an idea that exploits the full potential of UAVs to benefit citizens, using our experience to help turning the winning idea into a new business project.”

An Indra representative will be part of the evaluation panel that will judge the proposals submitted to the international competition and will select the ideas that progress to the second phase of the award. The final phase contestants will be invited to the U.A.E. to present their proposals. The winning initiative will be awarded US$1 million.

In addition, Indra will sponsor the ‘From Idea to Reality' community award for the most voted international semi-finalist initiative.

The international competition is open to any individual, team, institution, university or company, anywhere in the world.

The only requisite is that participants must post a brief description and a short video explaining their idea on The U.A.E. Drones for Good Award website ( – The Gulf Today -


Dr. Hanif Al-Qassim meets with delegation from University of Geneva

posted on 01/10/2014

GENEVA: Dr. Hanif Hassan Al-Qassim, Chairman of the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue Board of Management, has met with a high-level delegation from the University of Geneva, which included Dr.Yves Fluckiger, Vice-President of the University of Geneva, Dr. Pierre Willa, Director of the International Relations Department, and Cyril Harry, Director of Liaison office.

The two sides discussed ways to enhance cooperation between the Centre and the University of Geneva, especially in the areas of research, training, and organising joint activities regarding global dialogue and the promotion of human rights. A framework of cooperation will be concluded on specific areas such as the exchange of experiences in the field of research and studies, and exchange programmes of students and scholars between universities in the Arab world and the University of Geneva. The Geneva Centre will participate in the workshops and seminars organised by the University of Geneva, as well as in the projects and activities aiming at protecting human rights and promoting the culture of tolerance.

It was also agreed that the Centre will be considered as one of the key partners in the international "Bridge" project hosted by the University of Geneva. A number of prestigious research institutions at the Swiss and international levels will take part in this forum in order to interact, learn, and provide information on issues of common interest. The Swiss authorities at both federal and local levels are likewise key partners in this project, in addition to the United Nations, Geneva academic institutions, the private sector, NGOs as well as some American and European research centres, including London's Chatham House, Brookings Institution, the University of Helsinki, and others.

The Geneva University delegation expressed their desire to contribute to the implementation of the Ibn Khaldun award (an award dedicated to human dignity), which the Geneva Centre is currently setting up. The award could be delivered during Dies Academicus, which is the day where the university honours accomplished professors and lecturers. This year, the Dies Academicus prize will be awarded to India's Nobel Prize winner, the economist Amartya Sen, in honour of his achievements in the field of economics.

The University of Geneva is one of the most important universities in the world, ranking 66th in 2014 and number one in Switzerland. The university is one of the oldest academic institutions in Europe and includes a large number of specialised departments, and publishes various studies on different Swiss, European and international affairs. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Hamdan bin Zayed receives Ayad Allawi, emphasises U.A.E.'s support to Unity of Iraq

posted on 01/10/2014

H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in the Western Region, received yesterday at Al Nakheel Palace, Vice President of Iraq, Dr. Ayad Allawi, in the presence of H.H. Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, National Security Advisor.

During the meeting, they discussed bilateral relations and the latest developments on the Iraqi arena. Sheikh Hamadan stressed the U.A.E.'s support to the security and stability of Iraq to continue development process and achieving Iraqi people's aspiration for better future.

He also affirmed the U.A.E.'s full preparedness to open up co-operation channels with Iraq in all domains.

On his part, Allawi expressed his country's appreciation for the support provided by the U.A.E to his people, wishing further communication and co-ordination between the two sides to achieve the objectives and visions of the leaders of the two countries. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


U.A.E., FAO hold Stakeholders’ Consultation "Fostering Women’s Entrepreneurship in the Agro-Food Sector" project

posted on 01/10/2014

A joint U.A.E.-FAO Stakeholders' Consultation was held yesterday at the General Women's Union (GWU) premises to discuss methods of fostering women's entrepreneurship in agro-food industries in the U.A.E.

Organisers say as the U.A.E. intends to establish a new benchmark for gender empowerment in the region, the agro-food sector possesses untapped potential for agriculture and agro-food system business entrepreneurship to develop value additions through agro-food chain.

The project "Fostering Women's Entrepreneurship in the Agro-Food Sector", implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations in cooperation with the General Women's Union, introduced interested women to enterprise development in agriculture. The GWU has been aiming at initiating the identification of possible women entrepreneurs in the agro-food sector.

The consultation aimed at presenting the results of the project and sought the contribution of the participants to share their views on follow-up needs for extensive capacity development. The meeting also reviewed past and present initiatives in agro-food sector in the U.A.E. and explored possible entry points to strengthen women entrepreneurship in the sector and the best possible form of capacity development should take. So far, nine training workshops have been conducted across the Emirates to introduce women to enterprise development and value addition in agriculture and also to raise their awareness on related business potentials..

Addressing the meeting, Noura Al Suwaidi, Secretary General of the GWU, said the U.A.E. women had in a short span of time surpassed socio-economic development standard growth rates.

'The U.A.E. women today are achieving gains after gains alongside their male partners, defying the impossible and harnessing science to serve their nation,' she said, adding that H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairperson of the General Women's Union (GWU), and of the Family Development Foundation, stands as a torch that lights up the path of Emirati women and remains a great supporter and advocate for them.

Al Suwaid in her address, read on her behalf by Dr. Mohammed Al Mansour, the GWU Advisor, lauded that U.A.E.-FAO's ' Fostering Women's Entrepreneurship in the Agro-Food Sector' project as pioneering and unique experiment.

She stated that the agro-food sector is one of vital sectors for providing investment and job opportunities for women under the friendly business legislation and framework and easy access to finance by national investors.

Building capacity of U.A.E. nationals, and particularly women, tops the list of the GWU's priorities, she said, indicating that the GWU had drawn in partnership with the FAO a sustainable programme to attract women interesting to launch micro-investment business and small and medium enterprises (SME) in agro-food sector.

Dr. Rania Al Suwaiti, SME and Entrepreneurship Advisor, FAO, said the concluding session of the capacity building programme presented the lessons learnt and preliminary conclusions of the web research and training workshops in the U.A.E. and introduced the relevant stakeholders to the key areas of the programme where stakeholder input is crucial..

Stakeholders, she added, had given their input and suggestions in key areas of the programme and the groundwork of stakeholder ownership.

Through its constructive partnership with FAO, she added the GWU had played a significant role in the success of the project a success through its efforts in regulating and funding the project. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Al Roumi: elderly people enjoy special care since inception of U.A.E.

posted on 01/10/2014

Mariam bint Mohammed Khalfan Al Roumi, Minister of Social Affairs, has said that the elderly people in the U.A.E. have been enjoying special care through coverage of social security law since the inception of the U.A.E..

Marking the International Day of the Elderly, Al Roumi said 13, 461 elderly people get grant of Dh950 million annually, while there are shelters for elderly people who have no guardians, adding that they also get health, social and psychological care through mobile units to ensure better stay for those residing with their families.

She added that the U.A.E. observes the International Day of the Elderly, which corresponds with 1st October each year to draw attention to the elderly people who had contributed to the development of their communities.

Al Roumi noted that the Ministry had prepared the first draft law of the elderly people rights, taking into the account The Vienna International Plan of Action on Aging, United Nations Principles for Older Persons and others in this respect.

International Day of the Elderly is dedicated to honour, respect and care for the world's elderly. In 1990, the United Nations General Assembly designated October 1st as the International Day for the Elderly, also known as the International Day for Older persons. This is a result of the UN World Assembly on Aging, which was formed in 1982 to explore and tend to the needs of the elderly in the world. The Day has become an annual event around the world, with various activities organised in commemoration of contributions of older persons. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Federal Supreme Court to hear public prosecution and defence pleas in October on Al Nusra Front and Ahrar Al Sham Brigade case

posted on 01/10/2014

The Federal Supreme Court yesterday heard testimonies of evidence witness in the case of the 15 suspects who are accused of joining and funding Al Qaeda-linked Al Nusra Front and Ahrar Al Sham Brigade.

They were also accused of making explosives without a permit from the competent authorities and polluting the environment by using hazardous, banned materials.

Presided over by Judge Mohammed Al Jarrah Al Tinaiji, the court adjourned the trial until 19th October to hear the public prosecution plea, while the defence lawyers will present their plea on 21st October.

Eleven of the 15 accused men appeared before the court yesterday. Members of families of the accused, representatives of the media and civil society organisations attended the hearing. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


MICAD attends 65th session of UNHCR Executive Committee

posted on 01/10/2014

A delegation from the U.A.E. Ministry of International Cooperation and Development (MICAD) is participating in the 65th session of the Executive Committee of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) at its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, from 29 September to 3 October.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, opened the meeting with a speech highlighting the current status of refugees in Africa, and the crisis resulting from armed conflicts in different parts of the world.

The Executive Committee will review UNHCR's strategic vision for the year ahead, setting out the key challenges facing the agency today and the efforts required efforts to meet them.

The event will also address issues such as the growing humanitarian needs resulting from the continued rise in global forced displacement, protection for refugees and Internally Displaced People (IDPs), partnership and coordination, finding solutions for finance, and the prevention of conflict. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Children at Emirati-Jordanian Camp receive Eid Al Adha gifts

posted on 01/10/2014

Syrian refugee children at the Emirati-Jordanian Camp were given some welcome respite from the daily challenges of displacement this past weekend when they received packages containing gifts and toys in celebration of Eid al-Adha.

Organised by the U.A.E. Board on Books for Young People (UAEBBY) and Knowledge Without Borders, the ‘Gift from the Heart' campaign formed part of the ‘Read to Syria's Children' Initiative launched by Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, UAEBBY Patron and Head of the Organising Committee of Knowledge Without Borders (KWB).

The first phase of the gift campaign, which was launched in August 2014, gave U.A.E. citizens and residents the chance to make a positive difference in refugee children's lives by purchasing a gift that was selected by the children in the Emirati-Jordanian Refugee Camp from Hamley's Toys stores at Dubai Mall and Mirdif City Centre.

The second phase of the campaign was run in collaboration with the innovative gift service Fionka, which founded by Maha Al Muhairi brings gifts and gift wrapping services to people's doorstep. During this phase the Fionka bus visited busy locations across Sharjah to give people the opportunity to buy and donate gifts.

The toys were distributed by a delegation from UAEBBY and KWB, which included the President of UAEBBY Executive Board Marwa Obaid Al Aqroubi, KWB General Manager Rashid Mohammed Al Kous, Shada El Sayed from UAEBBY, and Noura Binhadyia from KWB. During their visit the delegation also made use of the opportunity to inspect the recently opened Big Heart Library a 3,000 volume library that was established earlier this year.

Marwa Obaid Al Aqroubi, President of the U.A.E. Board on Books for Young People (UAEBBY) Executive Board, said, "One of the greatest tragedies of any form of conflict is that it robs children of their innocence and sense of wonderment. Every child deserves the chance to have a real childhood, the chance to feel safe, secure, and cared for, and that is what the ‘Gift from the Heart' campaign is all about. All over the world Eid al-Adha is celebrated as a time of remembrance, of being thankful for the many blessings we have received, and we wanted to give people the chance to express their thankfulness by helping these children and giving them a moment of joy. Watching these brave young people's faces light up as they received their gifts and witnessing their joy was a wonderful experience and I want to thank every individual who contributed to making this campaign possible." Rashid Mohammed Al Kous, General Manager of Knowledge Without Borders (KWB), commented, "The children living in the Emirati-Jordanian Refugee Camp have been through so much, yet when you meet them it is clear how much potential they have. Through this gift campaign and our continued support, we want to ensure that this potential has the chance to grow. If we want to make a real difference in the future of this region, we need to protect and nurture its children in every way possible, both in terms of their physical needs and their emotional and intellectual development." Each child received a gift package consisting of a number of items, with the exact contents adjusted for age and gender, such as a watch, a doll, various accessories, and educational toy, a ball, a car, and a book. In addition to the distribution of the gift packages, the children's Eid celebrations were made even more special by a range of fun filled activities as well as the performances of the talented members of ‘Bait Al Hakaya' ('House and Tales and Music) who, led by children's author Rabeea Al Nasser and talented musician Tarek Al Nasser, performed and brought Eid Al Adha cheer to the camp's many residents. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Upon directives of Khalifa, Mohamed bin Zayed orders distributions 603 houses, 1,180 plots to citizens

posted on 01/10/2014

Upon directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the U.A.E. Armed Forces, His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has ordered distribution of 603 new houses and 1,180 residential plots in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Gharbia (Western Region) A total of 574 high-quality modern houses at the Ghanema residential project in Al Ain will be handed over to citizens, while 29 residential units will be distributed to citizens in Medinat Zayed, Gharbia, at Al Dhafra ranches residential development.

As for the residential plots, 617 will be distributed in Abu Dhabi, 413 in Al Ain and 132 in Gharbia.

The housing initiatives have sprung out of the wise leadership's vision, whose pillars were laid down by the late founding father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and is being cherished today by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who is keeping abreast of the pace of development the Emirate of Abu Dhabi is experiencing. The initiatives aim at meeting requirements and aspirations of citizens for a decent, dignified life which enables them to contribute to the building and development of the nation.

Designs of housing complex and community services and integrated infrastructure of these projects have adopted the international best standards in environmental sustainability and development of integrated and fully-serviced communities to ensure highest levels of safety, public health, security and convenience for residents. These developments features mosques, schools, shopping malls and other community services and centres. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Ras Al Khaimah to have new Dh2bn city for Emiratis

posted on 01/10/2014

A fund created by late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan has approved plans to construct a Dh2 billion city for Emiratis in Ras Al Khaimah within a strategy to build integrated housing areas that include all necessary services.

The Sheikh Zayed Housing Programme will invest Dh2 billion to build the new city that includes 2,000 houses accommodating nearly 10,000 people on the basis of an average Emirati family of five.

The project is located between Emirates and Mohammed bin Zayed Roads in the northern emirate and it is scheduled to be launched in 2015.

"The first phase includes 500 houses. The whole project is expected to be completed within four to five years,” said Mohammed Al Haram, project director

"The project is part of a new strategy by the programme to build cities that accommodate a large number of people and are provided with all needed services.” – Emirates 24│7 -