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UAE Energy Minister commemorates Barakah as world leader in nuclear construction

posted on 03/09/2015

Under the patronage of Suhail Mohamed Faraj Al Mazrouei, UAE Minister of Energy, the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, ENEC, yesterday celebrated a key milestone for the UAE's peaceful nuclear energy programme, as Barakah becomes the world's leading nuclear energy construction site with four identical reactors being safely constructed simultaneously in one site.

The milestone was achieved following the commencement of nuclear-related construction (regulated construction activity related directly to the reactor, containment building and supporting structures) for Unit 4, the UAE's fourth nuclear energy reactor. ENEC's Construction License for Units 3 and 4 was approved by the Federal Authority of Nuclear Regulation, FANR, in September 2014.

With the construction of four identical nuclear energy reactors now underway, Barakah surpasses nuclear construction sites in China, the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Russia and other countries to become the largest project with simultaneous construction of identical nuclear technology in the world.

During the event, the Minister, along with ENEC's Board of Directors and key Government officials, performed a site visit to receive an update given by ENEC CEO, Mohamed Al Hammadi, on the company's programme to deliver safe, clean and reliable nuclear electricity in 2017. The visit included an exclusive tour of the four Barakah units, as well as an update on ENEC's Culture of Safety and specific demonstrations on how the organisation prioritises the safety and quality of all work performed at the site.

Following this, the delegation attended an official ceremony to mark Barakah as the world's leading nuclear energy construction site. The ceremony was headed by Al Mazrouei, who unveiled a plaque to commemorate the significant milestone. The delegation then met with the ENEC Chief Programme Office team, which manages the sophisticated construction project.

"I am extremely proud to be here today at Barakah to witness this momentous occasion as ENEC enters a new phase of development by delivering the only nuclear energy construction site in the world to have four identical nuclear reactors underway simultaneously," said Suhail Al Mazrouei. "Nuclear energy will play a critical role in the provision of sustainable energy to power the future of the UAE and, while the pace and sophistication of this historic programme continues to grow, I am consistently impressed to see ENEC deliver its project to the highest international standards of safety, quality and performance. This approach ensures the long-term sustainability of the UAE peaceful nuclear energy programme."

Since its inception in 2009, ENEC has focused on the safe delivery of the UAE's peaceful nuclear energy programme, expertly managing the complexity of the site development to ensure that all construction work meets the highest standards of safety and quality.

"With the commencement of nuclear-related construction for Unit 4, ENEC becomes project manager for the world's leading nuclear construction site," said Al Hammadi. "We now have more than 18,000 staff at Barakah working diligently to safely deliver on our mission to connect safe, clean, reliable and efficient nuclear energy to the UAE in 2017. As our programme continues to gain momentum, this is a role we take on with great pride and responsibility, and as always, safety remains our overriding priority."

The complex and extensive construction programme underway at Barakah is the key focus of ENEC's Culture of Safety efforts. The organisation is committed to ensuring all activities are performed with safety top of mind at all times, to be certain the site remains a safe workplace for thousands of employees every day. Earlier this year, ENEC received the top award in the "Building Risk Management Capability" category at the Institute of Risk Management's 2015 Global Risk Awards. This award showed ENEC's commitment to the highest international standards for safety, quality and risk management.

As part of the organisation's commitment to safety, ENEC has also established a rigorous independent Quality Assurance, QA, programme to ensure that the UAE's first nuclear power plants are constructed, commissioned and operated in line with the best industry practices, governing codes and standards, regulations and license requirements. To date, ENEC has dedicated more than 41,000 man-hours to quality audits for all aspects of its programme.

ENEC's QA programme is applied to all aspects of its work and regular training sessions, assessments and audits are conducted to ensure the organisation's high standards are being met and continually improved upon. Importantly, the QA programme applies not just to ENEC, but to every contractor and subcontractor involved in the programme, the entire supply chain. The programme is documented in ENEC's QA Manual, which outlines the quality requirements and responsibilities for all activities conducted by or on behalf of ENEC, including oversight of its prime contractor, Korea Electric Power Corporation, KEPCO, as well as subcontractors and suppliers.

Ahead of the start of official construction for Unit 4, preparation works for ENEC's fourth reactor were carried out under a separate license over the previous seven months. The extensive preparation included lean-concrete to provide a mud-mat, waterproofing, cathodic protection and reinforcing steel installation. Construction of the Reactor Containment Building, RCB, will be completed over the next 36 months, with Unit 4 on track to enter commercial operations in 2020 following the completion of ENEC's first three reactors. ENEC must apply for a separate operating license before plant operations can begin.

Since the beginning of its programme, ENEC has illustrated its ability and commitment to meeting the ambitious milestones of the UAE's policy on the development of nuclear energy. To date, 13 key project contract milestones have been delivered safely and on time, and the organisation remains focused on the safe and on-schedule achievement of its next major programme milestone, the first fuel load for Unit 1 in 2016. This critical programme milestone will see the alignment of the organisation to ensure that construction, operations and all necessary support functions are coordinated and running efficiently in order to safely receive the UAE's first batch of nuclear fuel.

The UAE's first nuclear energy plant is located at Barakah in the Western Region of Abu Dhabi, about 50 kilometres west of Ruwais. Unit 1 is now 75% percent complete and all four units are more than 50% percent complete. By 2020, ENEC's team will be responsible for the operations of four nuclear energy units that are expected to provide up to a quarter of the nation's electricity needs and to save up to 12 million tons of carbon emissions every year. In 2017, ENEC's first unit is scheduled for completion, with additional units following at 12-month intervals. Unit 4 is set to commence commercial operations in 2020, pending regulatory reviews and licensing. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395284940984.html


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ENEC in numbers

posted on 03/09/2015

Celebrating a key milestone for the UAE peaceful nuclear energy programme, the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) has released the following fact sheet, as Barakah becomes the world's leading nuclear energy construction site with four identical reactors being safely constructed simultaneously in one site.

Safety:

1. At ENEC, safety is our overarching priority. Nothing is more important than the safety of our site, our community and the environment.

2. In line with this commitment, ENEC has invested in a world-class Health, Safety and Environment program to ensure our site remains a safe workplace for thousands of employees every day 3. ENEC has set itself stringent targets, based on industry best-practice, for key safety indicators such as its Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate. These targets are lower than all other similar projects ENEC benchmarked against. Over the past two years, ENEC has maintained a Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate below its set target 4. Earlier this year, ENEC received the top award in the "Building Risk Management Capability" category at the Institute of Risk Management's 2015 Global Risk Awards. This award showed ENEC's commitment to the highest international standards for safety, quality and risk management.

5. The International Advisory Board (IAB) is the body mandated to provide an expert, independent assessment of the UAE peaceful nuclear energy program, reporting directly to the leadership of the nation. On a semi-annual basis, the Board reviews the UAE nuclear energy program focusing on five key areas: safety, security, non-proliferation, transparency and sustainability.

6. To date, the IAB has conducted 11 semi-annual meetings and subsequently published 11 publicly available reports on the progress the UAE program has made against its targets.

Construction: 7. Construction of the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant (Barakah NPP) is now well underway in the Western Region of Abu Dhabi, and continues to progress safely and steadily.

a. As of August 2015: b. Unit 1 is more than 75% complete c. Unit 2 is 53% complete d. Units 3 & 4 - 27% complete e. Overall construction completion rate for Units 1-4 is at 50% 8. The plant will eventually consist of four nuclear power generating units with a combined capacity of approximately 5,600 MW, providing up to 25% of our nation's electricity needs.

9. Unit 1 is scheduled for completion in 2017, with additional units following at 12 monthly intervals, with the fourth unit set to commence commercial operations in 2020, pending regulatory reviews and licensing.

10. To date, more than 1,400,000 cubic yards of concrete have already been utilized in the construction of Barakah Units 1 – 4. This is approximately 50% of the total concrete that will be used on these structures once the program is complete, and is already three times the total volume of concrete used in the Burj Khalifa (431,600 cubic yards).

11. From the pouring of first safety-related concrete for Unit 1 in 2012 until today, approximately 63 million man-hours have been invested in the construction of Barakah Units 1 - 4. This is almost three times the man-hours required to complete construction of the Burj Khalifa (22 million man-hours).

12. To date, more than 250,000 tons of reinforcing steel have already been utilised in the construction of Barakah Units 1 – 4. While installation is not yet complete this is already more than six times the total tonnage of reinforcing steel used in the Burj Khalifa (39,000 tons).

13. The meters of cable installed in Barakah (1,559 km) would stretch more than the distance between London and Rome (1,433.93km).

14. To date, more than 41,000 man-hours have been dedicated to performing rigorous quality audits on all aspects of the programme.

15. In 2012, at the pouring of first safety concrete for Unit 1, Barakah had just over 1,400 construction staff at site. Today, there are more than 17,000 construction staff at the site of the UAE peaceful nuclear energy program working to safely deliver the UAE's first nuclear energy plants.

16. ENEC provides a purpose-built village for site construction staff, which contains housing and recreational facilities, retail outlets, banks, gymnasiums, mosques, medical services and sporting facilities all located within the site perimeter fence. The organisation also organises regular recreational and leisure events to ensure work-life balance for its construction staff, including various sporting events and support for a range of cultural occasions. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395284947337.html


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Al Murr: The spread of terrorism and extremism under religious or sectarian names threatens peace and sustainable development

posted on 03/09/2015

NEW YORK: Mohammed Ahmed Al Murr, Speaker of Federal National Council, FNC, has re-affirmed that the greatest threat to the relationship of democracy, peace and sustainable development, is the spread of terrorism and extremism under religious or sectarian names.

In a speech last night during the Fourth World Conference of Speakers of Parliament hosted by the United Nations Permanent Headquarters in New York under the title, "Placing democracy at the service of peace and sustainable development". Al Murr said that the choice of the issue of democracy at the service of peace and sustainable development reflects the great challenges facing national societies and international relations alike.

He pointed out that the UAE Parliamentary Division has presented a proposal on several occasions about the concept of "International Democracy", that the making of resolutions, whether through the United Nations or other international labour organisations, must be conducted in accordance with fair democracy in a way that the sovereignty of various nations around the world is equal, leading to maintaining international collective security.

Al Murr said that the UAE Parliamentary Division sees the need to have collective international responsibility to stop the threats of terrorism and extremism, not only by governments but also by the cooperation of parliaments and organisations of civil society, and all active powers within or outside national societies.

He added that the UAE has adopted stable and basic approaches to maximise the values of democracy in the life of peoples and nations, pointing out that this approach depends on the spread of tolerance and values of coexistence between nations and peoples to strengthen the spirit of cooperation and friendship between religions and cultures.

In conclusion, Al Murr expressed his hope that the conference achieves the aspirations of effective and genuine cooperation among the parliaments of the world to create and accomplish sustainability of national and international democracy.

The delegation of the UAE Parliamentary Division participating in the conference included Rashid Mohammed Al Shariqi, Ahmed Obaid Al Mansouri, Faisal Abdullah Al Tunaiji and Dr. Mona Juma Al Bahr, members of the Federal National Council, and Abdulrahman Ali Al Shamsi, Assistant Secretary-General of Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs of the FNC. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395284937524.html


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UAE's Parliamentary Division participates in UN panel discussion in New York

posted on 03/09/2015

NEW YORK: A delegation of the UAE's Parliamentary Division has participated in a panel discussion on "Parliamentary oversight: Challenges and Opportunities", which was held yesterday in the Permanent Headquarters of the United Nations in New York, on the side-lines of the Fourth World Conference of Speakers of Parliament.

The panel discussion reviewed the experiences of some of the parliaments and their oversight role, which included the United Kingdom, Belgium, Kenya, Barbados, Chile and Indonesia.

The delegation of the UAE's Parliamentary Division included Rashid Mohammed Al Shariqi, a Member of the Federal National Council and Representative of the Arab Group of the Executive Committee of the IPU, and Mona Jum'a Al Bahra, a Member of the Federal National Council.

During the session, the delegation of the UAE's Parliamentary Division presented proposals on the need to develop the oversight role of parliaments through spreading awareness of parliamentary culture.

The summit of Speakers of Parliament from across the world is a unique forum for dialogue and cooperation between parliaments at the highest level. The overall theme of the conference focuses on peace, democracy, and development seen through the parliamentary lens.

The conference, convened by the Inter-Parliamentary Union, IPU, in cooperation with the United Nations, is part of a series of high-level meetings leading up to the UN Summit later this month, at which the new Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, will be launched. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395284931010.html


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Mohamed bin Zayed receives British official

posted on 03/09/2015

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, received yesterday in Abu Dhabi, Senior UK Defence Adviser for the Middle East, Lt. General Thomas Beckett, and the accompanying delegation, who are currently visiting the country.

Welcoming Lt. General Beckett and the accompanying delegation, Sheikh Mohamed praised the close relations between the UAE and the UK. He cited the growth of relations at all levels.

They reviewed issues of mutual interest, focussing on the military field.

The meeting was attended by Dr. Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Mohammed Ahmed Al Bawardi Al Falasi, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Defence, Mohammed Mubarak Al Mazrouei, Under-Secretary of the Crown Prince's Court in Abu Dhabi, Abdul Rahman Ghanem Al Mutaiwee, UAE's Ambassador to the UK, and Philip Parham, the UK's Ambassador to the UAE. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395284948385.html


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We resolve to stand with our allies in the region, says UK Government Minister for the Middle East and North Africa

posted on 03/09/2015

Tobias Ellwood, UK Government Minister for the Middle East and North Africa, has said that the UAE, together with the UK, is an active member of the international community and a vital ally in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism, adding that the UK and UAE will be discussing ways to support regional stability and security from these threats.

The UK official added that the UK, the UAE and the Gulf region should see each other as strategic partners for generations to come, not just in the face of the challenges of the present, forging mutually reinforcing partnerships for security, for prosperity and for stability.

In a speech to The National, the Abu Dhabi-based English-language daily, Mr Ellwood went on to say, "On Tuesday, I returned to the UAE, the Middle East destination I have frequented the most since becoming a member of the UK Parliament. I am delighted to be back and witness yet again the generosity of Emirati culture and the common ties that bind us: from regional security matters to growing commercial ties covering energy, defence, health and education.

"On Wednesday, Dr. Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, and I will hold the 14th bilateral ministerial meeting (the UK-UAE Taskforce), first established during Prime Minister David Cameron's visit in 2010. It has since gone from strength to strength and remains a most important forum to discuss issues that cover the depth and breadth of the close relationship between our two countries.

"Since 2010, we have seen an upgrade of commitment, engagement and cooperation with every one of our Gulf partners, reflecting our clear understanding that your security is our security, your prosperity is our prosperity and your stability is our stability. In this context, I would like to express our gratitude to the UAE and its Armed Forces for its involvement in securing the return of the British hostage from Yemen.

"Our commitment to this region continues to grow. We have significant numbers of military personnel in the Gulf region fighting extremism. Our forces have carried out the second highest number of strikes against Daesh in Iraq and the second biggest contribution of surveillance and intelligence. We deliver counter-IED training to forces in Iraq, infantry skills to the Peshmerga in Kurdistan and the first tranche of moderate Syrian forces trained by the UK are now back in Syria.

"I should stress that there should be no doubt about our commitment to regional security or stability following the re-opening of our embassy in Tehran. We have not in any way weakened our resolve to stand with our allies and partners in the Gulf and will continue to work with them to prevent interference in the internal affairs of the countries in this region.

"The UAE, together with the UK, is an active member of the international community and a vital ally in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism. At this UK-UAE Taskforce, we will be discussing ways we can do more together to support regional stability and security from these threats and continue our major role in the anti-Daesh coalition.

"We will also be discussing wider areas of cooperation. The humanitarian issues facing the region are well known. The UK is proud that we were the first country to be a partner in the UAE's International Humanitarian City. We have donated GBP900 million (Dh5bn) to assist those affected by the conflict in Syria, our largest ever humanitarian response to a single crisis. We have committed a further GBP55 million (Dh310m) to support the humanitarian response in Yemen. And we remain the second largest bilateral contributor of humanitarian assistance to the Palestinians through the UN Works and Relief Agency.

"My friendship with Dr. Gargash mirrors the warmth of the wider relationship.

"The UK is a hub of innovation, entrepreneurism and excellence. We share the UAE's drive for educational excellence. We welcome thousands of young Emiratis to the UK every year to attend our universities. And we share the UAE's drive to innovate and diversify. There are over 4,000 British businesses here.

"Our bilateral trade relationship was worth GBP12.4 billion by the end of 2013. The UK-UAE Business Council has set a goal to increase that to GBP25 billion by 2020. The UAE is the UK's 12th largest trading partner and I am proud that British companies such as Shell, Rolls Royce, HSBC and Standard Chartered, just to name a few, are long established here – some for more than 80 years. Earlier this year, Rolls Royce established its biggest ever partnership with Emirates airline.

Mr Ellwood concluded by saying, "The UK, the UAE and the Gulf region should see each other as strategic partners for generations to come, not just in the face of the challenges of the present, forging mutually reinforcing partnerships for security, for prosperity and for stability." – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395284925417.html


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UAE – UK Taskforce holds 14th meeting in Abu Dhabi

posted on 03/09/2015

The fourteenth meeting of the UAE-UK Taskforce was hosted on 2nd September in Abu Dhabi by Dr. Anwar Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs. The UK was represented by Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) Minister for the Middle East and North Africa, Mr Tobias Ellwood MP.

Mr Ellwood took the opportunity to thank again the UAE for helping the British hostage in Yemen return home.

The two Ministers agreed the importance of continued collaboration on the key political and security challenges facing the world today, and highlighted that a stable and prosperous Middle East was in all our interests. Ministers praised the strong cooperation between their two countries, and re-affirmed the need to: pursue a political solution in Yemen and address the humanitarian situation there; reach agreement on a Government of National Accord in Libya and encourage all parties to support the political process, especially in light of atrocities committed by violent extremist groups there; and collaborate ever more closely and effectively in the fight against Daesh, in particular by countering the group's propaganda in the online space. The Taskforce shared concerns about the continuing instability in the Horn of Africa.

The Taskforce reviewed cooperation between the UK and the UAE on humanitarian issues. Mr Ellwood welcomed the UAE's humanitarian assistance to Yemen.

Dr Gargash confirmed that the UAE remained committed towards the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative, on which the UAE and UK have agreed to co-fund a project in Somalia.

The Ministers discussed climate change, emphasising the need for a robust climate deal in Paris in December.

The Ministers welcomed UAE-UK cooperation on law enforcement and efforts to deepen it further, especially on: recovering proceeds of crime, terrorist financing, money laundering and extradition. They looked forward to the forthcoming WeProtect Summit, to be held in November 2015 in Abu Dhabi, which will follow the summit held in London last December.

The Ministers agreed the need to swiftly conclude a UK-UAE Double Taxation Agreement to assist bilateral trade and investment.

The Ministers looked forward to the conclusion of a Memorandum of Understanding between the UAE and UK Space Agencies. They also expressed support for fair and open competition in the aviation industry.

Consular and visa matters were discussed, and the Ministers welcomed and encouraged the work of the UAE-UK Consular Committee. The ministers also acknowledged the success of the electronic visa waiver system for Emirati citizens launched by the UK in January 2014, and looked forward to a more streamlined system.

Educational and cultural cooperation also featured on the agenda. The Ministers discussed the prospects for enhancing cultural exchanges between the two countries. They also agreed the need to improve the process for recognition of qualifications and to secure federal accreditation of degrees from UK branch campuses in the UAE.

Speaking after the Taskforce, Dr. Gargash said, "Our regular Taskforce meetings are an important channel of communication between our countries. As we continue working together to address important challenges, the UAE remains committed to partnering with the UK to promote greater prosperity for both of our nations".

Mr Ellwood said, "This meeting of the UK/UAE Taskforce was very productive. I value highly our discussion of such a broad range of topics, and our review of collaboration in many areas of common interest. These discussions underlined the importance of working closely together to tackle threats and challenges in the region and beyond." – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395284958052.html


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Egypt's Prime Minister, Sheikh Al Azhar and Sultan Al Jaber attends inauguration of Al Azhar specialty hospital sections

posted on 03/09/2015

CAIRO: Egyptian Prime Minister, Ibrahim Mahlab, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Al Sharif, Sheikh Dr. Ahmed Al Tayyeb, and Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Sultan Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and Chairman of Coordination Office of the UAE-Funded Development Projects in Egypt, yesterday attended the inauguration of Al Azhar Hospital's specialty sections in Nasr City, Cairo.

The project is a result of the co-operation between Al Azhar and Emirates Advanced Investments Company, which has set up a "health information system." The hospital will be managed by the company's subsidiary, Global Medical Solutions.

Mahlab, Sheikh Al Azhar and Al Jaber toured the hospital and were assured about speedy completion of some requirements so that the hospital becomes fully operational. They were also briefed about the health information system, developed in the UAE by local and national cadres in line with the Abu Dhabi Vision 2030, which aims to boost national capacities in the area of programming. The visitors were acquainted with the implementation of the system and its positive impact to enhance delivery of hospital services to over 350,000 of Al Azhar employees and students of Al Azhar University and institutes.

Sheikh Al Azhar paid a tribute to the UAE's support to Egypt, stating that the UAE's leadership, government and people's support to Al Azhar, "reflects their great appreciation to Al Azhar, being a beacon of science, culture, tolerance and moderation."

He noted that the UAE has constructed four buildings at the university and its Islamic Division Institute.

The UAE minister said, "The co-operation between the UAE and Egypt is historic and dates back to the era of the UAE's founding father, late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan."

He added that relations between the two countries continue to grow in the light of the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and the follow-up of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

Al Jaber expressed his satisfaction on touring the specialty hospital, which will upgrade the health services provided to ordinary citizens.

"As Al Azhar represents a beacon of moderation and centrism to confront extremism, it also provides a model for science, development and progress," he said, while thanking the management of the hospital and Emirates Advance Investments Company, and all those who played a significant role in the development and application of the health information system. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395284948174.html


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UAE envoy in Cairo discusses arrangements for UAE's upcoming presidency of Arab League's Council

posted on 03/09/2015

CAIRO: Mohammed bin Nakhira Al Dhaheri, UAE Ambassador to Egypt and Permanent Representative at the Arab League, has met with Ahmed bin Heli, Deputy Secretary-General of the Arab League (AL), to co-ordinate on the UAE's presidency of the upcoming 144th ministerial session of the AL's Council.

Al Dhaheri stated that the meeting had discussed the mechanism for accelerating the pace of Arab joint action in various issues and administrative and organisational mechanisms regarding arrangements of the upcoming meetings.

'During its presidency, the UAE will do whatever in its power to advance and support the Arab joint action,' he said.

An AL source said that an office will be opened for the UAE as next rotating president of the AL's Council at the Secretariat-General to enable their diplomats at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to co-ordinate the agenda and work of the Council during the presidency.

'The opening of the office will be a precedent in the history of the pan-Arab organisation and it will be a boost for the UAE to be the first member state to have that office in the history of Arab joint action,' he noted.

The two-day 144th works of the AL's Council is scheduled to start on 9th and 10th September at the permanent representative level, to be followed by the foreign ministers' meeting on 13th September. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395284964476.html


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Lubna Al Qasimi hails UAE leadership on handling of refugee crisis

posted on 03/09/2015

Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, Minister of International Cooperation and Development (MICAD), and Head of the UAE Committee for the Coordination of Foreign Humanitarian Aid, has commended the directives of the UAE leadership on provision of unlimited support to the refugees worldwide.

She added that the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, reflect the state's contribution and credibility to handle the refugee crisis and its related issues.

Sheikha Lubna said the current refugee issues were humanitarian and required concerted international efforts and partnerships to ensure their repatriation to their home countries.

She made the remarks yesterday during a meeting at the MICAD with Lt. Gen (R) Abdul Qadir Baloch, Federal Minister for States and Frontier Regions in Pakistan, Fazlullah Reshteen, Charge d'Affaires at the Afghanistan embassy in the UAE and Antonio Guterres, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

They discussed the co-operation between the UAE with UNHCR and the latest developments regarding the refugees. Sheikha Lubna also discussed with the Pakistani minister and Afghan diplomat, ways to strengthen co-operation and partnerships with the two countries, as well as issues of the refugees and how they would return home.

The Pakistani minister briefed Sheikha Lubna about the joint Pakistani-Afghani efforts, the countries hosting the Afghan refugees and the UNHCR to hold a high-profile international conference on this issue.

He thanked the UAE for its efforts in the light of the directives of its leadership to support Pakistan in humanitarian and development areas.

The meeting was attended by Hazza Al Qahtani, Under-Secretary of the MICAD, Najla Al Ka'abi, Assistant Under-Secretary for International Cooperation, Rasmiya Al Dhahiri from the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other officials. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395284947747.html


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ERC meets international humanitarian actors to boost aid and development programmes in Yemen

posted on 03/09/2015

The Emirates Red Crescent (ERC) and representatives of international humanitarian organisations met in Abu Dhabi yesterday to discuss relief and development efforts for improving humanitarian response towards those affected by the evolving crisis in Yemen.

The meeting came within the framework of the ERC's drive to energise humanitarian partnerships with international aid agencies on the ground in Yemen which is experiencing tremendous humanitarian challenges due to the ongoing unfortunate events there.

The meeting brought together representatives of eight international organisation; Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), Doctors Without Borders, World Food Programme (WFP), Norwegian Refugee Council, Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), SOS Children's Village International and Save the Children.

Dr. Mohammed Atiq Al Falahi, ERC's Secretary-General, updated the representatives of international organisations on the latest humanitarian situation in Yemen following the field visit he made to Aden recently. He also gave an overview of the ERC's massive initiatives to alleviate suffering in Yemen and its relentless efforts to bring life in Aden and neighboring provinces to the pre-crisis status.

Acknowledging the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Yemen due to lack of daily food staples, the two sides stressed the urgency of intensifying efforts and mobilising all available energies to deliver assistance to the Yemeni people as quickly as possible.

Current situation in Yemen, they underscored, needs strong joint action to guard against imminent humanitarian risks.

The meeting discussed mechanism to remove obstacles hindering delivery of international assistance to Yemen and concurred on enhancing channels of cooperation and coordination so as to deliver best humanitarian services and provide requirements, particularly in health, educational and public services. The two sides also stressed the need for planning field programmes, bolstering joint partnership and sharing information and expertise for tackling logistical challenges hindering swift delivery of assistance to targeted beneficiaries.

The two sides also agreed to establish a joint mechanism for coordination between the ERC and international organisations in Yemen.

Representatives of the international organisations emphasised the vital importance of efforts being made by the UAE to improve the humanitarian situation in Yemen and highly valued the leading role of the UAE assisting the Yemeni people and rallying support for that by launching the month-long Yemen: We Care relief campaign on 30th August under the directives of the UAE leadership.

They noted that their agencies followed with pride the humanitarian and developmental programmes being implemented by the ERC for the benefit of the affected Yemeni people. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395284964043.html


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Abu Dhabi Media Company supports #yemen_we_care

posted on 03/09/2015

The Abu Dhabi Media Company's TV channels will partake in unified coverage of "Yemen: We Care" campaign, on Friday, from 2:00pm to 8:00pm UAE local time, to mobilise support for the campaign and achieve its objectives of restoring hope and rebuilding Yemen.

Mohamed Ebraheem Al Mahmood, Chairman and Managing Director of the Abu Dhabi Media Company, said the participation of the company's TV channels in the unified coverage to support the campaign, is in line with the UAE's humanitarian role and also part of the responsibilities of the company towards community and world issues.

"It is also part of the media's strategy to interact with issues of concern and reflect the genuine Emirati culture of philanthropy," he said.

Al Mahmood underlined that the participation in the campaign, "is a national duty cherished by the UAE leadership and people to help brothers in Yemen to paint smile on their faces and participate in the reconstruction of Yemen." – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395284960194.html


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Maqta Gateway hits new milestone in its emerging role as Abu Dhabi’s future ports community communication system

posted on 03/09/2015

Abu Dhabi Ports, master developer, operator and manager of ports and industrial zones in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, has celebrated the halfway mark of Stage I implementation of the Maqta Gateway.

With the new milestone, Abu Dhabi Ports sees full integration of all electronic messaging for transactions processing among port users. The testing of these message flows will continue with the relevant partners, Abu Dhabi Customs and Abu Dhabi Terminals. Both entities are fully integrated into the development process and will continue to work closely with Abu Dhabi Ports as Maqta Gateway looks to expedite and streamline trade across the emirate by converting and implementing all port operations through a single point-of-access. Stage I of the Project is expected to be completed by end of this year.

Purpose-built by the trade community for the trade community, Maqta Gateway Project was inaugurated on 16th December 2014 as a state-of-the-art port community system, PCS. The Maqta Gateway is designed in line with international standards that will serve the community by interlinking all of the relevant parties involved in Abu Dhabi's growing import and export trade business.

Developed in-house by Abu Dhabi Ports, together with the Centre of Excellence for Research and Technology, the commercial, research and training arm of the Abu Dhabi Higher Colleges of Technology, HCT, and under the advice of Portic-Idom, PCS experts, Maqta Gateway will offer ports, exporters, importers, shipping lines, customs and government agencies a single point-of-access and real-time information – even via mobile – significantly enhancing processing times and communication procedures.

Abu Dhabi Ports completed an in-depth project analysis and business study on Maqta Gateway in collaboration with Portic and IDOM Consulting in December 2014. Development of the project remains in progress, divided into six stages aimed at final delivery and implementation, and will evolve to address and serve the ongoing needs of the trade community.

Stage I, currently ongoing, looks to serve shipping lines and shipping agents, with focus on containerised traffic. To ensure that the Maqta Gateway is successful and represents the needs of its users, Abu Dhabi Ports works in close collaboration with shipping agents and shipping lines, the current end users, to receive their inputs and validate certain functionalities of the system. Although Stage I is specific to shipping lines and shipping agents, all Maqta Gateway users will benefit from this stage via information services offered: vessel schedules, cargo tracking and other strategic information that will help users set action plans accordingly. The plan is to integrate other user profiles, including clearing agents, and all cargo types in the near future.

"Maqta Gateway offers optimisation, efficiency, automation and transparency, covering the trade process end-to-end. The implementation of a single point-of-access will be highly beneficial for the Abu Dhabi Government, the trade community, and wider society," said Captain Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, CEO Abu Dhabi Ports. "We welcome our customers, users and other stakeholders to take part in upcoming workshops and facilitate the development of Maqta Gateway, ensuring a robust port community system that benefits the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and the wider trade community as whole".

Noura Al Dhaheri, Ports Community System Manager, Abu Dhabi Ports, said, "Maqta Gateway is an integrated system. To manage the success of such a complex system, we have developed the software with the highest industry standards and adopted agile approach in project management. This approach is highly flexible and adaptable to the changing demands from different stakeholders and engages them to achieve high quality solutions in minimum time." – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/economics/1395284937967.html


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UAE trade booms with Jebel Ali and Dubai World Central

posted on 03/09/2015

ABU DHABI, 3rd September, 2015 (WAM) -- A UAE paper has said that rising non-oil trade between the UAE and the rest of the world is the return on the country's continuing investment in logistics infrastructure.

"Dubai government officials boast of building the most efficient logistics corridor in the world to link Jebel Ali Port and Free Zone with Al Maktoum International Airport, which aims to be the world's largest airport by capacity," said The National in an editorial yesterday.

Jebel Ali, the Dubai World Central logistics hub and the Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi, Kizad, are all key parts of the government's Vision 2021 document. These are not vanity projects, they offer solid economic rewards.

Even as the world economy slows down, the UAE is seeing its non-oil trade figures grow, as The National reported yesterday. This is because it is diverting trade and winning business from the rest of the world. As the government makes further investment in increasing capacity, Jebel Ali and Kizad become more attractive relative to global competitors. A scarcity of alternatives also helps – Oman's Salalah and Morocco's Tangiers ports have also seen more business.

Trade diversion should provide a buffer against a slowdown in global demand. China's financial crisis is likely to give way to weaker demand for commodities and lower trade. Demand for gold, which is the UAE's main import and re-export, will suffer. The era of rapidly growing trade volumes before 2008, when the rate of trade expansion regularly exceeded the global growth rate, has come to an end.

But even as the global market stalls in the short-term, the UAE's ports can claim a bigger slice of the action simply by being cheaper than their rivals. The country's ports are also well-placed geographically as the world's centre of economic gravity continues to shift eastwards.

There are parallels here with the strategy of Etihad and Emirates. High rates of passenger growth are being supported by the airlines' ability to divert traffic away from competitors. Investment in airports is a big part of that.

"For the UAE, there's an extra bonus in all of this – its ports and airports are a hedge against low oil prices, which hurt the UAE, but are good for global trade. So Jebel Ali and Kizad help to reduce the impact of the era of low oil and low commodity prices," concluded the Abu Dhabi-based daily. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395284927093.html


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Gulf Finance reports softer quarterly growth and sales outlook for the UAE's SME sector

posted on 03/09/2015

Gulf Finance Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of SHUAA Capital and provider of finance to SME and micro businesses, yesterday announced the results of the Q2 2015 UAE SME Sentiment Survey.

Review – Q2 vs. Q1 2015 Sentiment on sales and growth outlook for next 3 months is less positive Decline in total orders received Ability to collect payments and to raise financing has decreased One in four less inclined to hire on a forward looking quarterly basis Priorities for Q3 are expansion into new geographies and investment in new infrastructure "The findings of the SME Sentiment Survey indicate a softening of the SME sector and are consistent with the trends we are currently seeing in the market," commented David Hunt, CEO of Gulf Finance.

"The slowdown can be attributed to macroeconomic issues having a dampening effect on general market conditions, which, coupled with the generally quieter summer months, has had an impact on the performance and sentiment of the SME sector as a whole. That said, it is encouraging to note that outlook on sales and growth for the next quarter remain positive, albeit not as bullish as in the beginning of the year."

71% of respondents interviewed during the second quarter (Q1: 84%) confirmed total orders received increased or significantly increased during the last quarter, whilst 16% (Q1: 10%) said they remained the same.

1 in 8 (Q1: 1 in 9) of those surveyed had a positive or very positive growth and sales outlook, despite seeing a dip in improvement in payment collection to 61% (Q1: 69%) and ability to raise finance to 63% (Q1: 78%).

62% (Q1: 84%) of SMEs are planning on increasing their headcount in the third quarter, with one in four planning on remaining the same. During the second quarter, 65% increased their headcount as compared with 79% in the previous quarter.

In respect to SMEs future plans, only 50% (Q1: 63%) of respondents are planning on expanding their product range whilst 37% (Q1: 20%) wish to expand into new territories, a quarterly like-for-like increase of 85%. Investment in infrastructure climbed 25% on a quarterly basis to 26% (Q1: 21%) and respondents desire to open new outlets fell by a quarter to 15% (Q1: 20%). Employee benefits remained last with 17% (Q1: 165) planning to invest in this area.

David Hunt added: "It is most interesting to note that as companies have decided to hold back on hiring or expanding their product range, they have decided to use that money to invest in infrastructure and geographical expansion. It is indicative of SMEs ambitions that many are looking outside the UAE for their next phase of expansion and are investing to meet the expected demand." – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/economics/1395284967397.html


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Dubai International airport sees 30% rise in July passenger traffic

posted on 03/09/2015

Dubai International, the world's busiest airport by international traffic, recorded nearly 30 per cent year-on-year growth in passenger numbers in July that showed demand for travel to and through Dubai remained beyond robust.

Dubai Airports, the operator, on Wednesday announced that 6.68 million passengers passed through Dubai International in July, up 29.6 per cent from the same month last year when traffic numbers were affected by a runway refurbishment programme.

"Over six million passengers per month has become the norm at DXB [Dubai International airport] and we expect that to continue for the remainder of the year," Paul Griffiths, chief executive officer (CEO) of Dubai Airports, said in a statement.

Passenger numbers in July totalled 6.68 million compared to 5.15 million handled in July 2014 when the airport was reduced to one runway operations while a billion dollar refurbishment programme was conducted over 80 days.

During the first seven months of 2015, the airport welcomed 44.98 million passengers, compared to 39.83 million passengers during the same period last year, an increase of 12.9 per cent.

"With almost 13 per cent more passengers handled year to date so far over the same period a year ago, the airport is on track to eclipse the 79 million passenger target for 2015," Saj Ahmad, chief analyst at London-based Strategic Aero Research, told Khaleej Times.

"As always, the frenetic expansion catalysts are the two biggest incumbents at Dubai International in Emirates and flydubai. These two airlines alone have expanded faster than global competition, leveraging their strength from economies of scale, efficiency and product strategy to pull in customers and feed their organic expansion to cater for this demand," Ahmad added.

Both airlines have performed exceptionally well, given the regional angst in places such as Syria, Yemen and Egypt. Meanwhile, growth in new markets such as Eastern Europe by flydubai validates the market need for more new routes where services and choices are limited, he added.

Dubai Airports said Eastern Europe was again the strongest growing region in July, up 77.6 per cent, driven mainly by flydubai's new services to Slovakia, Bosnia, Bulgaria and Croatia, and Emirates service to Hungary. GCC placed second during the month, followed by North America, Russia and CIS.

In terms of total passenger numbers, the GCC outperformed the rest of the regions, followed by the Subcontinent and Western Europe. The top five countries in terms of passenger numbers were India, UK, Saudi Arabia, USA and Pakistan, with London, Doha, Kuwait, Mumbai and Jeddah heading the list of most popular destinations served from DXB.

The number of flights rose dramatically in July to 33,650, an increase of 35 per cent from 24,925 recorded during July 2014, again due to the effect of the runway closure. Year to date flight movements totalled 231,081, up 18.8 per cent from 194,554 aircraft movements recorded during the same period last year.

Dubai International freight volumes also increased eight per cent in July to 205,526 tonnes compared to 190,376 tonnes in July 2014 as volumes were affected by capacity reductions caused during runway refurbishment. During the first seven months of 2015, DXB handled 1,438,904 tonnes of freight, up 2.7 per cent from 1,401,743 tonnes handled during the same period last year. – Khaleej Times - http://www.khaleejtimes.com/business/aviation/dubai-international-airport-sees-30-rise-in-july-passenger-traffic


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Emirates Extrusion targets 10% growth in 2015

posted on 03/09/2015

Emirates Extrusion Factory (EEF), a leading aluminium extrusion company in UAE and a subsidiary of Masharie - the private equity arm of Dubai Investments (DI), has announced plans to commission its third extrusion line at its plant in Techno Park, Dubai, which will increase its production capacity by another 7,000 metric tonnes per annum.

EEF, which reported a total turnover of over 13,800 metric tonnes in 2014, is targeting growth of over 10 per cent growth in 2015 and bracing for increased demand in line with its expansion plans into Africa; including Algeria, Angola, Morocco, Tunisia and Kenya; and Europe, besides increasing growth in volumes from the UAE, Oman and Saudi Arabia.

The company has also announced plans to start a new powder coating plant with a capacity of 8,400 Metric Tonnes per annum, as demand for aluminium products surges amidst rampant construction projects in the UAE and region.

Khalfan Al Suwaidi, Managing Director of EEF, said: "The ongoing building and construction activity across the Mena region is leading to huge demand for aluminium profiles. The company is planning to grow 10% year-on-year for the next 2-3 years in the backdrop of this strong demand and growth potential. Emirates Extrusion is also creating the required additional capacity by augmenting its production line and powder coating facilities.”

EEF, which exports around 60-70 per cent of its finished goods across the Mena region, also expects an increase in demand from downstream projects in UAE and across the GCC.

"There have been significant investments in transportation, electrical and industrial sectors across the UAE and GCC states, and demand for aluminium extrusion profiles for these sectors is expected to surge in the near future. Aluminium exports are expected to be robust in the future and becoming one of the key non-oil industry sector in the UAE,” said Al Suwaidi.

Aluminium production in the GCC is expected to grow significantly in the short to medium term and the region is expected to contribute around 15 per cent of the total global production of aluminium by 2015. – The Gulf Today- http://gulftoday.ae/portal/3e201819-79fb-42f6-b03d-304c040c323f.aspx


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DIFC aims to host 100 Indian firms as part of its long-term strategy

posted on 03/09/2015

Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) concluded yesterday its week long engagement with leading business decision makers from India's banks, insurers, law firms, asset and wealth management companies in the country's commercial capital Mumbai.

As a part of its recently announced 2024 growth strategy, DIFC aims to increase the number of Indian firms to over 100 in the next 10 years in addition to expanding its physical and legislative infrastructure for financial institutions looking to fully realise their growth potential.

DIFC has seen exponential growth from only one Indian institution in 2007 to over 20 Indian banks and financial institutions at present. Indian institutions now make up the third largest community of financial firms at the Centre. Furthermore, more than a quarter of the current workforce employed in DIFC is of Indian origin.

This strategic initiative came shortly after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's recent visit to the UAE to strengthen the relationship with the Gulf countries and seek investment to boost Indian economy. The visit presented opportunities both to enhance cooperation between the Indian financial community and the DIFC, and to promote the Centre's world-class legal and regulatory framework to businesses looking to access the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region.

Senior DIFC delegation held over 40 meetings with high-level government authorities, private and public sector companies and current clients, in addition to partnering on three industry events hosted by professional services firm KPMG, the India Merchants' Chamber (IMC) trade association, and leading Indian law firm Khaitan & Co.

As part of their visit, the DIFC delegation conducted a series of presentations and discussions with leading industries and business professionals including KPMG staff, IMC members, delegates of GIFT (Gujrat International Finance Tech-City), banks, wealth management firms, insurance companies and law firms. In addition, the delegation met with the UAE Embassy in India to discuss key areas of mutual interest including trade and investments as well as collaboration on business and finance best practices.

The meetings were an opportunity to offer insights on DIFC's value proposition, 10-year growth strategy and reiterate its commitment to India's expanding private sector and emerging market.

Currently DIFC is home to 10 leading Indian banks and is in discussions with another 10 regarding future setup plans. In addition DIFC has received notable interest from Indian wealth and fund management organisations as well as key players in the insurance and reinsurance market.

Speaking about the implementation of the 10-year growth strategy, Arif Amiri, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, DIFC Authority said, "On our second visit to Mumbai this year, DIFC has demonstrated its continued commitment to building and maintaining sustained, long-lasting partnerships with the emerging Indian market. With an ambitious 2024 growth strategy, we envisage a key role for Indian banks, insurers, law firms and wealth managers as we seek to expand our services and become a top global financial hub."

Amongst the current clients, the delegation conducted several productive meetings with leading financial institutions such as State Bank of India and ICICI bank to further strengthen existing relationships.

"After the US and UK, Indian financial firms and banks have the largest presence at DIFC with more full banking licenses than banks from any other country. Indian firms seeking to expand their services and investments in the thriving MEASA economies continue to benefit from DIFC's diverse and sophisticated infrastructure, enhanced legal and judicial framework and investment-friendly laws. Furthermore, Indian Institutions can take great confidence from the excellent relations between the Centre's regulator which has MOU's with more than 70 jurisdictions globally including the Reserve Bank of India and Securities and Exchange Board of India.": added Amiri Amiri further added, "In the last 10 years, the accumulation of surplus wealth in the East and the Middle East has been phenomenal, with most accumulated as sovereign wealth funds flows that are driving the economic development of these regions. The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is home to nine of the top 20 sovereign wealth funds in the world, with assets totalling approximately US$2 trillion.

"Moreover, post the financial crisis we've seen a significant shift in the dominance of the West in terms of the financial markets and financial flows. With regards to our new clients, almost 80% of our incremental business is from Asia and the Middle East. Our Centre's commitment is to allocate more resources to the needs of the emerging markets, such as India, as well as to integrate and connect their trade and investment networks to the South to South corridor and developed markets in the West."

In a recent announcement, the New India Assurance Company Ltd (NIA), a government of India-owned insurance company announced the opening of its regional hub in the DIFC, which will act as company's administrative control headquarters across the GCC. Earlier this year Bank of India, the third largest public sector bank from India opened its office in the DIFC.

Indian firms stand to benefit from the UAE's double tax treaty with India, which serves as an excellent incentive to invest in the DIFC. A recent illustration is that of is Gulf Petrochem, a multinational energy corporation, which in partnership with Gateway Investments, launched India's first real estate fund under DIFC's Exempt Fund.

Accounting for 30% of the UAE population, non-resident Indians have set up more than 40,000 Indian companies in the UAE and have contributed to an estimated US$55 billion in Indian investments, with as much as US$18 billion of this total being invested in real estate across the country. The UAE's investments in India currently stand at around US$8 billion. Trade and investment ties between India and the UAE will continue to grow following a pledge made by Prime Minister Modi and UAE government officials to increase bilateral trade by 60% over the next five years.

As India becomes a critical financial market for Dubai, DIFC will continue to visit Indian partners throughout the year to strengthen existing relationships, while identifying and exploring new trade and investment opportunities. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/economics/1395284956240.html


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Meraas to showcase Cultural Development ’Marsa Al Seef’ at Cityscape Global 2015

posted on 03/09/2015

Dubai-based holding company, Meraas, yesterday announced it will showcase ‘Marsa Al Seef', a tourism development that is taking shape in the Al Seef area, alongside Al Fahidi Cultural and Historical District.

Construction of Marsa Al Seef has begun and the landmark project is set for completion in 2017.

Marsa Al Seef is conceptualised to combine modern lifestyle attractions and traditional cultural influences in a new development that will further enrich the experience of both visitors from around the world and the local community. The development will extend over 1.8km along the Creek and serve as a showcase of Emirati heritage and culture. Marsa Al Seef will offer tourists and residents a wide variety of hospitality, retail, food and beverage, leisure and entertainment outlets.

Meraas will display a model of the project at their Stand SAC10 in Sheikh Saeed Hall at Cityscape Global 2015, the region's definitive real estate event taking place at the Dubai World Trade Centre 8-10 September.

Abdul Wahab Al Halabi, CEO of Marsa Al Seef, said, "Meraas is committed to playing a vital role in developing key Dubai touristic projects in line with Dubai's Tourism Vision for 2020. Marsa Al Seef is set to enrich Dubai's vibrant tourism industry by complementing and also rejuvenating the bustling trading locale along Dubai Creek as a hospitality, leisure and retail destination that will appeal to residents and tourists alike."

"We are confident that the development will raise awareness and teach visitors about the rich history of the UAE and its people. While benefiting from its proximity to historic and cultural attractions, Marsa Al Seef will host abra stations, dhow and private yacht moorings along its edge. Additionally, visitors will have the chance to experience the UAE way of life, and familiarise themselves with the traditions of pearl diving, fishing and boat building."

Marsa Al Seef will boast an open-air museum and an amphitheatre to help visitors discover and absorb the time-honoured aspects of Emirati life and culture. Furthermore, the destination will also feature traditional souks, floating markets, art galleries and shops for Emirati handicrafts to demonstrate the trade and retail behaviours of the people of the UAE.

With a 200-key heritage hotel, a 150-key contemporary upscale hotel, and a 200 room contemporary luxury hotel, the destination will give culture-seeking visitors a unique opportunity to stay in the heritage-focused area to enrich their insights and experience.

Marsa Al Seef will, when completed, help to shape new memories of Dubai, embracing the past through experiences that are deeply rooted in Emirati culture and heritage, while also revitalising the tourism experience around Dubai Creek, one of the UAE's most famous and best-loved locations.

Meraas is a Dubai-based holding company with operations and assets in the UAE and overseas. The company operates with a mission to create integrated master-planned communities that embody global standards of sustainability and quality. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/economics/1395284955984.html


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Brighton College Abu Dhabi and Al Ain achieve best ever A-Level results

posted on 03/09/2015

Bloom Education's partner, Brighton College - UK has achieved the best A-Level results ever recorded by a British co-educational school, with over 100 pupils achieving A*s and As in every subject.

These exceptional results were followed by Brighton announcing its highest-ever number of A* grades at GCSE, with one pupil gaining the highest number of A* grades of any pupil in the UK.

Brighton College Abu Dhabi, the first of Brighton's international schools to open, achieved the best GCSE results of any school in the Abu Dhabi Emirate. To add to this success, Brighton College Al Ain has achieved excellent early-entry GCSE results, with every pupil gaining an A* in Modern Foreign Languages.

Sameh Muhtadi, CEO of Bloom Holdings, commented: "We are delighted to witness such great records achieved both by our partner Brighton College in the UK and by its two overseas schools, which lead the United Arab Emirates in their provision of a world-class education. We are proud to be working with such a prestigious name in British education and with its two sister schools, which are transforming the educational landscape in this city." – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/general/1395284947049.html


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Calling art enthusiasts at Dubai's CAD

posted on 03/09/2015

The much anticipated 4th edition of Campus Art Dubai (CAD) will be kicking off from mid-October through to March 2016. Running courses will culminate during Art Dubai, March 16 -19, next year.

CAD is part of Art Dubai's educational programming and is held in partnership with Dubai Culture & Arts Authority and supported by Dubai Design District (d3). The annual educational programme is the only one of its kind in the GCC. The school for artists, curators, writers and cultural producers welcomes new members to sign up to the open Community Programme for the 2015-2016 season.

The CAD Core programme, part of CAD, is a highly selective course open to leading, mid-level career-oriented artists, writers and curators. This year the programme takes on the theme 'Turbulent Waters, Shifting Sands' where course material and seminars will explore what it means to exist in the fluid geographies of the region. The CAD Core Programme will also feature classes by lead tutors Uzma Rizvi and Murtaza Vali along with a carefully selected group of local and international guest tutors to co-present and teach the class.

Visit: artdubai.ae/campus-art-dubai/4. – Khaleej Times - http://www.khaleejtimes.com/nation/dubai/calling-art-enthusiasts-at-dubais-cad


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Al Ghuwaifat Customs Centre foils attempts to smuggle drugs and 30,000 bottles of alcohol across UAE borders

posted on 03/09/2015

ABU DHABI, 3rd September, 2015 (WAM) -- The General Administration of Customs- Abu Dhabi has announced that inspectors of Al Ghuwaifat Customs Centre recently foiled attempts to bring 8,000 prescription stimulant drugs into the UAE, and to smuggle 30,000 alcohol bottles out of the country through Al Ghuwaifat port.

During a routine inspection of buses entering the country through Al Ghuwaifat port, an Arab passenger was found in possession of a large quantity of pills hidden in his belongings. Following further investigation, the seized pills, amounting to 8,000, were classified as stimulant drugs which can only be prescribed by a doctor.

In another incident, the Ghuwaifat border point security police section informed Al Ghuwaifat customs inspectors about a potential attempt to smuggle bottles of alcohol out of the UAE.

Customs inspectors became suspicious of a truck with a UAE license plate which was leaving the country. During inspection, customs officials used scanning devices to identify the items in the boxes, which did not match the description of the type of goods in boxes labelled as apples. After unloading the cargo, 2,559 cardboard containers with 12 bottles of alcohol in each box were identified.

Customs inspectors arrested two suspects and the cases were referred to the concerned authorities to take all necessary legal action.

Commenting on the two incidents, Mohamed Khadem Al Hameli, Acting Director-General of the General Administration of Customs – Abu Dhabi, highlighted the strong level of cooperation between all security services in supporting the customs inspectors' role in dealing with criminal activities that affect the security of the UAE and the safety of its citizens and residents. Al Hameli said, "The General Administration of Customs seeks to implement the latest customs inspection procedures and systems to combat any attempt to smuggle contrabands across land, sea and air ports."

The General Administration of Customs- Abu Dhabi seeks to enhance the movement of passengers and goods by implementing the latest devices and detection equipment when inspecting trucks, vehicles, passengers, luggage and packages. This raises efficiency levels across all customs operations. Al Ghuwaifat border post is considered the largest and most important land port in the UAE. Over 2.5 million vehicles entered and exited the country through the border in 2014. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395284931949.html


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