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HCT student raises UAE flag in South Pole

posted on 21/04/2014

Emirati adventurer Maryam Salem Al Hamadi has wrapped up a 21-day challenging expedition to the South Pole by raising aloft the UAE flag in the southernmost point on the surface of the Earth.

Al Hamadi, a student of the Higher Colleges of Technology in the Western Region, said her risk-fraught adventure 'From Liwa Desert to the Icy South Pole' aimed to hoist the UAE flag there as ambassador to her country in that part of the world.

She added that she took off from Dubai International Airport on 7th March 2014 to Argentina to join 88 male and female adventurers from 27 countries.

Al Hamadi has paid rich tribute to the wise leadership for supporting and encouraging the youth. 'We are proud of our leadership and our homeland among the nations. This adventure serves as an achievement for every Emirati and Arab girl,' she said. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


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Aabar Investments announces competition to send an Emirati into space

posted on 21/04/2014

An Emirati will win the chance to travel into space as part of a nationwide competition being launched by Abu Dhabi-based Aabar Investments.

The prize winner will be given a place on-board Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo when it begins running commercial trips into space. The tickets are currently worth US$250,000 each.

Virgin Galactic and Aabar Investments are co-owners of Virgin Galactic which was founded by Sir Richard Branson to make commercial space trips viable.

Virgin Galactic CEO and President, George Whitesides, said: "The specifics of the competition are being finalised but this is an ideal way for us all to give something back to the community of the UAE.

"Without the support of Aabar Investments this programme would not be where it is today. We are on the precipice of achieving our first goal our first flight to space which is expected to take place later this year." Abu Dhabi's International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) is the parent company of Aabar Investments and will be involved in running the competition. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


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UAE innovations: High-tech shoes to guide the blind

posted on 21/04/2014

A pair of shoes to guide the blind, a glove that converts sign language into spoken words and a device to create environmentally friendly dye.

These were just some of the 200 creations from about 550 young innovators on display at the Think Science fair and competition yesterday.

Sara Al Suwaidi and her team came up with the idea to help the blind become more mobile by using shoes with an ultrasound device attached.

"Our project's name is ‘Guiding Shoes' – it is for helping [the blind] reach their destination safely,” she said.

"We attached a buzzer and ultrasonic sensors. It is lightweight and doesn't create bone defects or any other health problems,” she said.

The device can detect any object within one metre. Ayesha Al Zaabi, also a member of the team, said: "Our main goal is to instil confidence in blind people. We replaced the canes they carry because people keep looking at them.”

Their project is affordable and simple, she said. But the young girls faced some limitations, including the loud sound their detector emits. "But it may also be an advantage in a crowded place, for example on a street or parking lot,” Sara said.

"Also, during one of the tests, the wires broke because they are very thin,” said the team's third member, Aysha Al Senaidi.

"If we want to improve our shoe, we recommend using thicker wires.”

The three Emirati inventors are in Grade 12 at the Applied Technology High School for girls in Abu Dhabi.

Another team of Emirati Grade 12 students from the Applied Technology High School for boys created a device to help those with hearing loss – a glove that can convert sign language into spoken words.

The invention uses the alphabet of the American Sign Language as phrases, Said Al Nauimi, one of the students, explained.

"For A, we replaced it with ‘hello' and for B, we replaced it with ‘how are you' [in Arabic]. We can also programme it to English, or any word and any language,” he said.

The idea for the glove, a prototype for now, was inspired after the pupils witnessed someone with hearing loss struggling to communicate with the cashier at a restaurant. The glove consists of straps and switches that can detect movements.

A third innovative project looked at ways to clean up the environment and produce a safe fabric dye. For this, a team of Grade 11 girls from the American International School in Dubai created an apparatus that uses orange peels to produce a dye.

"Our project aims to prove that orange peels can be used as low-cost absorbents for dyes,” said Jeremie Pearl Cruz, who is from the Philippines.

"Dyes are used by textile industries, paper and plastic manufacturers, even food manufacturers.

"We used orange peels, a common waste in the food industry, as an absorbent for dye and we made a prototype. We made them in powder form so that there is an increase in surface area,” she said.

Jeremie also explained how orange peels are dumped in the environment, which could be harmful.

"When they get into water sources or water systems in which biological organisms live, they often cloud the water and prevent sunlight from penetrating the water, preventing them from performing photosynthesis,” she said.

The teams will get the chance to win prizes including scientific trips and the winners will be announced in the coming months.

The competition is organised by the Emirates Foundation for Youth Development in partnership with the Ministry of Education and the Abu Dhabi Education Council.

The Think Science fair was launched in 2012 by the foundation to encourage Emirati youth between the ages of 15 and 24 into science.

It is held under the patronage of Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and continues until tomorrow at the World Trade Centre. – The National – Read more: http://www.thenational.ae/uae-innovations-high-tech-shoes-to-guide-the-blind Follow us: @TheNationalUAE on Twitter | thenational.ae on Facebook


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Mohammed bin Rashid: Successful nations extend their hands to all

posted on 21/04/2014

Mexico City: Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has emphasised that the world is full of opportunities and provides a big arena for competition and achievement, and successful nations extend their hands to all others in order to achieve the interests of their peoples.

In tweets on his official Twitter account, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid said, "Today Inshallah, we begin an important tour to four South American countries: Mexico, Brazil, Chile and Argentina. We pray to God for success." "We have investments in South America. We opened air routes and increased our trade with the region's countries. And today, we want to link them with the Far East via UAE" Recently, these countries sent several trade and investment delegations to UAE in order to bolster their presence in the Middle East markets. Today, we want to further this relationship," added H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid.

The Vice President arrived early morning today at Mexico City Airport starting a two-day visit to Mexico.

He is being accompanied by being accompanied by H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister, H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman of Emirates Group, Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister for Cabinet Affairs Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashimy, Minister of State , Mohammed Ibrahim Al Shaibani, Director General of the Office of His Highness the Ruler of Dubai, Lt. General Misbah bin Rashid Al Fattan, Director of the Office of the Vice-President, Khalifa Saeed Suleiman, Director- General of the Department of Protocol and Hospitality in Dubai, Saeed Rashid Obeid Al Za'abi, UAE Ambassador to Mexico and a number of officials. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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Abu Dhabi allocates Dh37.3 billion for development projects

posted on 21/04/2014

Several infrastructure and service projects worth Dh37.3 billion were yesterday approved by the Abu Dhabi Government to enhance the emirate's development and economic growth.

The projects, ranging from road and electricity networks, to water drainage and sewerage systems and housing complexes were approved at the Abu Dhabi Executive Council's meeting chaired by General Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

This is the first meeting of the council after it was restructured recently.

The move is in line with the directives of President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan to spare no effort to ensure that Emirati citizens enjoy a dignified and stable standard of living.

Five-year plan

These projects will be implemented in the current year as part of five-year allocations of Dh330 billion that were approved earlier by the council.

This year's allocations include Dh12.7 billion for housing and social facilities, Dh11.9 billion for government management, Dh3.1 billion for economic affairs, Dh2.5 billion for health care projects and Dh2.4 billion for the education sector.

"The UAE, through the translation of its comprehensive development vision, is mainly targeting UAE human resources, out of its solid belief in man as the main capital and pillar for the success of any future development plans,” Shaikh Mohammad said.

He highlighted the great attention extended by the wise leadership to the youth generations, empowered with knowledge and skills that enable them to battle challenges and build a bright future.

These allocations will help boost Abu Dhabi's plans to develop its economy as well as support the private sector's involvement as a key partner of the government sector. The allocations also include Dh17.5 billion for the water and electricity sector, Dh568 million for food commodities,

The council approved the construction of 348 housing units worth Dh637.2 million in Al Shuaiba and Al Shuwaib residential projects.

Infrastructure

The Al Shuwaib housing project is being set up over an area of 390,000 square metres, and comprises 186 housing units costing Dh333.9 million, while Al Shuaiba occupies an area of 420,000 square metres, and includes 162 housing units costing Dh303.3 million.

The council also approved road and infrastructure projects in different parts of the emirate, including electricity network, water drainage, sewerage, telecom, parking lots and pedestrian crossings.

It approved a 112km-long road costing Dh515 million in Eastern Region of Abu Dhabi, and a Dh237 million, 20km-road in Mohammad Bin Zayed City.

The council also awarded the construction of the National Rehabilitation Centre to a contracting company. The project involves the building of a rehabilitation unit for drug addicts, administrative and service buildings. It also approved the construction of a road network and the upper interchange of the Abu Dhabi airport, as well as setting up new spaces for nine craft. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


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RCA breaks ground for Kidzone in Erbil refugee camp

posted on 21/04/2014

The UAE Red Crescent Authority (RCA) has laid the foundation stone for its kidzone project at the refugee camp in Erbil in Iraq in the presence of Rashid Mohammed Al Mansouri, UAE Consul General to Kurdistan Region, and Sheikh Idris Barzani, President of Rwanga Charity Foundation.

The project is the first of its kind in terms of recreational, sports and internet facilities, as well as musical and cultural activities.

Rwanga Charity Foundation undertakes to build educational and cultural facilities while the RCA will construct the sports and entertainment complexes and the parents' rest house.

The RCA hopes to complete the project in 45 days and publicise the concept to other refugee camps. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


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Reflective paint could cut rooftop temperature by 20 per cent, UAE scientists claim

posted on 21/04/2014

On hot, summer days, the last place you would want to be is up on a roof – especially without footwear on.

But scientists at Masdar Institute have developed a paint that cools so much you can remove your shoes and walk around on any surface covered with it.

They are hoping the cool paint will be used throughout Abu Dhabi and the UAE, believing it could significantly reduce the environmental cost of running air-conditioning units.

Its developers, Watergy International Group, claim the paint could reduce a building's surface temperature by 20 per cent.

This in turn would reduce the cooling load of the building as a whole, energy consumption and carbon dioxide production.

The technology was tested on a 197-square-metre area of the roof at the Masdar field station, where Watergy workers painted a third of the area with grey cool paint, which matched the original colour of the concrete, a third was painted white, while the remainder of open roof area was left uncoated. Stepping on to the cool painted area, everyone took their shoes off under the glaring sun and started strolling around the cool roof.

The difference between the painted and non-painted areas was immediately noticeable.

Peter Armstrong, associate professor of mechanical engineering at Masdar Institute, said that the white paint is the coolest, but based on architectural requests, the paint could be provided in other colours, such as grey and black.

"It is best to have white on the roof because no one can see it up there,” he said.

Measuring the temperature on the unpainted area at 9.30am on a toasty Abu Dhabi morning, the reading was 46.6°C. Moving to the coated area it was 24.9°C.

Prof Armstrong believes it is not only buildings that could benefit.

He suggested painting the streets with it as "the cooling load of the AC in the car will be less”.

He explained that when a car's air conditioning is turned up, while the car might be nice and chilled, you are adding to the heat of the street and the surrounding environment.

The secret to the cooling is titanium dioxide, a chemical used in sunscreens because of its excellent reflective qualities.

Prof Armstrong says the paint would have more dramatic effects on buildings with poor insulation.

"A typical villa with concrete or block walls with no insulation benefits the most from this paint – which is the case in most of Abu Dhabi,” he said.

Another useful way to take advantage of the paint is to apply it to AC units on roofs of buildings.

"Villas would benefit greatly. In a typical villa the AC unit is up on the roof so when you limit the heat on the roof you improve the performance of the AC because now where the AC is, it is a lower temperature,” he said. "The higher the temperature is where AC is trying to reject the heat the lower the performance.”

Industrial areas and warehouses could also benefit greatly.

"For example, car shops have fans in their warehouses. Let's say the fan is sending down air at 40°C,” said Wamid Zori, managing director of Watergy. "So imagine the impact if we can get it down to 30°C.”

Cool paint costs as much as any good-quality paint, "so it is not so expensive, yet worth the other savings”, Mr Zori said.

The paint has already been tested on a hangar roof in Sharjah and a supermarket in Milan, Italy with positive results.

Meanwhile, Watergy has signed a memorandum of understanding with Masdar worth Dh10 million to test the paint in two 50,000-square-metre areas of Abu Dhabi.

Prof Armstrong is keen to get started painting straight away. – The National – Read more: http://www.thenational.ae/uae/environment/reflective-paint-could-cut-rooftop-temperature-by-20-per-cent-uae-scientists-claim ; Follow us: @TheNationalUAE on Twitter | thenational.ae on Facebook


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Masdar City to showcase investment opportunities during Cityscape Abu Dhabi

posted on 21/04/2014

Masdar City representatives will showcase the city's attractive investment opportunities during Cityscape Abu Dhabi, the Emirates' foremost real estate event beginning from Tuesday at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.

"Masdar City is proving that sustainable urban development can deliver both environmental benefits and commercial returns," said Anthony Mallows, director of Masdar City.

"Cityscape is a valuable opportunity for Masdar City to meet with investors and developers to describe our attractive investment opportunities.

"Masdar is located in Abu Dhabi's fastest growing corridor and offers the amenities of any world-class city," added Mallows.

He went on to say, "Today, setting up operations and investing in Masdar City couldn't be any easier. From our 99-year lease options to our seamless free zone registration process, Masdar City offers tremendous advantages that make it the ultimate destination for companies locating in Abu Dhabi." At the Masdar City stand, representatives will highlight the investment opportunities available to large and small investors, developers and tenants. In addition, Cityscape attendees will be able to learn how sustainable design and development delivers unmatched value - both environmentally and economically.

"Masdar City is a strategic hub for those companies looking to enter the Middle East and also gain access to Europe, Asia and Africa, because of its close proximity to both Abu Dhabi and Dubai's expanding airports," Mallows said. . – Emirates News Agency, WAM


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Sheikh Zayed Book Award names Personality of the Year 2014

posted on 21/04/2014

The Sheikh Zayed Book Award announced yesterday that the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, Ruler of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is named the Cultural Personality of the year 2014 in the Award's eighth session.

The announcement was made in a press conference held at the Emirates Palace, in the presence of Mohammad Khalaf Al Mazroui, Advisor for Cultural and Heritage Affairs at the Court of His Highness the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and member of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award Board of Trustees; in addition to all other members of the Board.

In his announcement, Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoun Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Tourism '&' Culture Authority, noted: "The winning of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz is a supreme honour for the Sheikh Zayed Book Award. His Majesty's impressive achievements have been witnessed over decades and he still continues to contribute as generously as he has always been to the Arab and Islamic Worlds".

Sheikh Sultan elaborated on the king's pioneering role in promoting peaceful co-existence, religious tolerance and cross-cultural dialogue, as well as his passionate support for an advanced education and scientific research culture in the region through the establishment of various educational institutes and knowledge centres that have become the North Star for scholars and researchers throughout the Arab and Islamic realms.

Dr. Ali bin Tamim, Secretary-General of Sheikh Zayed Book Award, added: "As much as the Award takes pride in bearing the name of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the father of the United Arab Emirates and the leader of its development, we are exceptionally honoured to have the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques' personality on the list of our winners".

Mr. bin Tamim explained that the Award's Scientific Committee and its Board of Trustees has decided that the Prize for 2014 be awarded to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques in view of his numerous achievements over decades. He mentioned excerpts from the official verdict as defined by the Board of Trustees that showcases some of the reasoning of decision, including, the co-establishment of King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue that aims to enable, empower and encourage dialogue among followers of different religions and cultures around the world, and act as a hub to enhance cooperation, respect for diversity, justice and peace, and promote harmony and cooperation among those working in the field of dialogue, the establishment of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology which integrates research and education, leverages the interconnectedness of science and engineering, and works to catalyse the diversification of the Saudi economy through economic and technology development.

In addition to the courageous stand of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques facing the ill efforts aiming to blemish the image of Islam, Arabism and authentic Islamic and cultural values, especially the extremist ideologies which bring enormous risks onto the Arab and Islamic nations, leaving it susceptible to the evils of violence and terrorism and fostering the Arabic literature and Culture, and pioneering initiatives to promote cultural exchange among peoples of the world and to advance intellectual interaction among civilisations, specially through the establishment of " King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Award for Translation" which recognises excellence in works of translation and advocates ideological, intellectual, and cultural dialogue among civilisations, promotes mutual sharing of knowledge, as it traverses all linguistic and geographical boundaries to deliver a message of human understanding, in keeping with the noble goals embraced by the initiatives and appeals of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques for more understanding and co-existence among nations.

The Sheikh Zayed Book Award's Cultural Personality of the Year honours a prominent Arab or international figure (or organisation) who has contributed to the advancement of the Arabic culture, embodies through his/her work tolerance and promotes peaceful coexistence.

The Award's eighth session collected a ground breaking record of nominations amounting to more than 1385 across the Award's nine categories - that is a growth rate of 12% over last session's record. The winners' declaration comes after the announcement of a short-list of the top contending works made earlier this month.

The Award's Grand Ceremony, celebrating the winning achievements, is scheduled on 4th of May, coinciding with Abu Dhabi International Book Fair.

The Sheikh Zayed Book Award's first instalment was in 2007, intended to promote scholarship and creativity in Arab culture. It carries cash prizes totalling Dh 7 million - with Dh 750,000 per winner (equivalent to USD 204,217,50) in all eight categories (including the Arab Culture in non- Arabic languages category). The winners also receive a certificate of merit and a Gold Medal. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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Emirates ID wins international prize in organisational excellence

posted on 21/04/2014

The Emirates Identity Authority has won the Richard Goodman Prize for Strategic Planning in the category of government organisations.

The prize, awarded by the American Society of Strategic Planning for organisation excelling in strategic planning and organisational performance, will be conferred on the Authority in the month of May during the annual conference of the Society in California.

The prize recognises Emirates ID's accomplishments in the implementation of principal performance indicators in executing its strategy, whose primary focus is on customer satisfaction and methodical planning in consonance with global best practices in the field. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


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DP World opens Jebel Ali Port's largest inspection facility

posted on 21/04/2014

DP World has inaugurated the largest and latest container inspection facility at its flagship Jebel Ali Port in Dubai. The new facility is one of the largest inspection facilities in the region, spanning over 7,000 square metres and providing 59 customs, health and environment inspection bays.

Dr. Rashid Ahmad bin Fahad, UAE Minister of Environment and Water; Engineer Hussain Nasser Lootah, Director General of Dubai Municipality; Jassim Mohammed Al Zaabi, Director General of General Authority for the Security of Ports, Borders and Free Zones; Jamal Majid bin Thaniah, Vice Chairman, DP World; Ahmed Mahboob Musabih Director General of Dubai Customs, Mohammed Sharaf, Group CEO, DP World, and Mohammed Al Muallem, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, DP World, UAE region, attended the ribbon cut ceremony to mark the opening of the new facility, which serves Jebel Ali Container Terminal 2.

The high level delegations from the Ministry of Environment and Water, DP World, Dubai Customs, Dubai Municipality and World Security toured the new state-of-the-art facility, which is equipped with the latest technologies, to inspect inbound cargo containers arriving through the 6 million TEU (twenty-foot equivalent container units) capacity Terminal 2.

Dr. Rashid Ahmad bin Fahad, Minister of Environment and Water, said: "Sustainability represents a cornerstone of the policy of the UAE development, and has been adopted as a major axis of Expo 2020, the international event that we are all proud to work and be ready to host in Dubai. This new facility at Jebel Ali, the port gateway and the biggest transit of imports to the UAE, is a great achievement and an important contribution to the promotion and the efficiency of procedures for quarantine and veterinary, and in our efforts to sustain environmental security and higher rates of bio-security and food. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate DP World on its prestigious achievements, and the transforming of Jebel Ali Port into a mega hub port." Hussain Nasser Lootah, Director General of Dubai Municipality, said: "The new inspection facility allows Dubai Municipality inspection teams to provide more efficient services for imported agricultural and food products coming to Dubai and the UAE, with an annual volume of over 10 million tons, equal to almost 60% of our nation's imports. This facility will add value to insure Dubai provides the best service, with the increase in local demand for such products from both residents and visitors as well as to cater to the large influx of tourists expected in the run-up to the EXPO 2020 event. Jebel Ali Port is undoubtedly the largest platform for imports to Dubai and the UAE, and it receives the highest levels of attention from us." Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, Director of Dubai Customs, said: "The new customs inspection facility operates 24/7 to keep up with the continuous increase in the capacity handling at Jebel Ali Port, and strengthening Dubai's position on the global trade map as a leading regional hub, as well as to promote the development of Dubai as a leading destination for business and trade, by simplifying and speeding up procedures with maintaining the security and safety of the community and the economy. In order to achieve these strategic objectives, Dubai Customs implemented the latest international system for containers scanning and inspecting and moving trucks contents via X-ray, which is capable of scanning 150 trucks per hour while driving at an average speed ranging from 8 to 15 Km/h, the equivalent of one truck every 24 seconds. Linking the Container Scanning System with the Custom's Declaration System to be fed with information from different sources helps in identifying suspected shipments with great accuracy, raising the commitment and the fight against the illicit trade in line with the vision of Dubai Customs." Jamal Majid Bin Thaniah, Vice Chairman, DP World, said: "We are proud and pleased to welcome the Minister of the Environment, and the heads of Dubai Customs, Dubai Municipality, and World Security to Jebel Ali to celebrate the official opening of the brand new inspection centre. The two centres in Jebel Ali are very much a partnership with our friends in these government departments and this public/private co-operation in support of the trade is a fine example of the approach on which Dubai is founded and which has driven and supported its incredible growth over the years. That growth is set to continue, and we at DP World are ready for it." The new inspection facility includes dedicated areas for custom's inspection, and for health and environment inspections. The new facility provides parking space for more than 90 trucks.

Jebel Ali Port provides market access to over two billion people across the Middle East and the wider region including Africa and the Subcontinent. Its new Container Terminal 3 (T3) due to open this year will take total capacity at the port to 19 Million TEU (twenty foot equivalent container units). T3 is set to be the world's largest semi-automated facility. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


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Sharjah International Airport passenger traffic up 8% in Q1

posted on 21/04/2014

Sharjah International Airport has reported 8% increase in passenger traffic in the first quarter of the year, Sharjah Airport Authority announced yesterday.

The airport's passenger statistics showed that 2.25 million passengers used the airport from January to March 2014, growing from 2.08 million during the same period a year ago. Aircraft movements increased to 16,373 while 51,045 and cargo activity handling rose to 51,045 tones.

Ali Salem Al Madfa, Chairman of Sharjah Airport Authority, said the positive passenger traffic movement in the first quarter of the year was attributed to the efforts made by the stakeholders and partners of the airport. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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ADX CEO wins Excellence Award

posted on 21/04/2014

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX), Rashed Al Baloushi, received the "Government CEO Excellence" Award at the 11th Leading CEO Awards ceremony held on 17th April at the Burj Al Arab Hotel in Dubai.

The award ceremony, organised by the Middle East Excellence Awards Institute, recognises some of the region's most outstanding leaders of government and business organisations. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


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New corporate identity at First Gulf Bank

posted on 21/04/2014

Abu Dhabi's First Gulf Bank, or FGB, has adopted a more refreshing corporate identity as it eyes overseas ambitions.

Speaking to reporters, chief executive officer Andre Sayegh said the financial institution will now use the acronym "FGB” as the word mark in a refreshed identity.

"From now on, FGB will communicate using a new brand platform, ‘Be First',” he said.

"We have identified considerable opportunities across our operations and markets to grow and deliver superior performance.”

Sayegh said the new brand was one of a set of key tools in achieving this growth and will serve as much more than just an identity. He termed it a "catalyst for our future success, helping us to fully capitalise on the opportunities we see”.

Sayegh said the new brand signals FGB's clear plans to grow a strong platform for long-term and sustainable success both domestically and internationally.

FGB's core business groups will embrace the brand changes. Consumer, wholesale and treasury and global markets will leverage the new brand for customer-centricity, driving specialisation, diversifying product portfolios and enhancing performance and strategy. A stronger FGB brand positioned for the future will support investment in core products, drive growth in International Banking and align support functions to ensure consistently high service levels.

"As we mark our 35th anniversary, our rebranding initiative will create an even more unified and consistent brand platform internationally across our growing FGB Group. FGB is consistently recognised globally for delivering exceptional financial performance and value to our customers and stakeholders and our new brand further defines our promise of delivering superior products and services to our customers,” added Sayegh. – Khaleej Times – Read more: http://www.khaleejtimes.com/biz/inside.asp?xfile=/data/uaebusiness/2014/April/uaebusiness_April317.xml§ion=uaebusiness


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Manchester United-Emirates NBD savings account with interest rate linked to goals scored

posted on 21/04/2014

It may not be the best season to be a Manchester United fan but if you still have faith in the team's strength on the pitch you can now put that theory to the test.

Emirates NBC yesterday launched co-branded Manchester United debit cards and a savings account that links interest paid to the number of goals the team scores.

The account will "initially pay an interest rate of 0.25 per cent to 0.5 per cent that will be based on the number of goals scored by the Manchester United team, so the better the club performs the higher the earnings for customers”, the bank said.

If the team scores up to three goals in the English Premier League, FA Cup, Capital One Cup or UEFA Champions League in a month then the rate of interest for the following month will be 0.25 per cent per annum. If the team scores four to seven goals then it jumps to 0.35 per cent, eight to 10 goals will result in 0.45 per cent and 11 goals or more will max out the interest rate at 0.5 per cent.

Emirates NBD already has co-branded Manchester United Mastercard credit cards and prepaid cards, their rivals Manchester City have a tie-up with First Gulf Bank (FGB), Mashreq has a World Cup limited-edition card and United Arab Bank (UAB) has an affiliation with Barcelona FC.

The football related marketing strategy has helped banks win more customers. UAB said last month that the tie-up had already increased its retail and corporate businesses.

Manchester United had a bumper season on and off the pitch last year, winning the English Premier League and reporting record revenues of £363.2 million (Dh2.13bn), just ahead of the club's forecast, boosted by income from sponsorship deals.

But since the long-serving manager Alex Ferguson stepped down, results have been mixed this season with no chance of silverware and the bitter rivals Liverpool set to clinch the Premier League title.

Suvo Sarkar, the Emirates NBD general manager for retail banking and wealth management said: "The launch of the co-branded savings account and debit cards is a huge step in cementing our partnership with one of the leading football clubs in the world.”

Prizes including match tickets and travel packages to see the team play will also be on offer.

Richard Arnold, Manchester United's group managing director, said: "Our partnership with Emirates NBD has already proved a successful one, and I am delighted that we are able to extend our relationship even further.” – The National – Read more: http://www.thenational.ae/business/industry-insights/finance/manchester-united-emirates-nbd-savings-account-with-interest-rate-linked-to-goals-scored; Follow us: @TheNationalUAE on Twitter | thenational.ae on Facebook


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Two Queens in 2 days stop-over at Dubai port

posted on 21/04/2014

Dubai Cruise Terminal has been rolling out the red carpet this week as Cunard's two largest cruise liners, Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth, make calls in Dubai.

This is the first time that two ‘Queen' liners have docked at Mina Rashid on consecutive days, and it is the first time that either vessel has stayed in port overnight.

The Queen Elizabeth arrived on Friday April 18, bringing with her a total of 1,888 passengers and 983 crew.

Major passenger nationalities on-board were British, American and Canadian. This signature class ship, the second largest vessel in the Cunard Cruises fleet, made her first overnight stay in Mina Rashid following her maiden visit to Abu Dhabi on April 17 and before departing for Aqaba, Jordan on April 19.

Yesterday (Sunday) saw the arrival of Queen Mary 2, Cunard's biggest liner and the largest ship ever to make a call in Dubai. Carrying a total of 2,459 passengers and 1249 crew, she too will make her first overnight call at Mina Rashid, having left from Colombo in Sri Lanka before heading on for Muscat, Oman on April 21. Major passenger nationalities on-board this ship are British, Australian and German.

Dubai Cruise Tourism arranged welcome ceremonies for both ships on arrival with traditional music and dance performances by local bands. The department, in conjunction with its partners including DP World, DNRD, Dubai Customs, Dubai Police, RTA, DMCA, and the Ports & Free Zone Security have made arrangements for the safe and swift handling of the ship calls.

During the calls, passengers and crew of both the ships will have the opportunity to explore the city of Dubai. The ships will also make a major passenger turnaround of over 2,700 passengers completing their international itinerary and flying out from Dubai, and about 2,900 new passengers who will be joining the ship's onward voyage from Dubai. M/s Rais Hassan Saadi Group handle the port agency and M/s Orient Tours and M/s. Sharaf Tours handle the shore excursions and passenger turnaround respectively for both the ship calls.

In addition to the two Cunard Queen vessels, this weekend was also one of the busiest of the year in Mina Rashid with a turnaround of more than 13,000 cruise tourists at Dubai Cruise Terminals on April 19. The liners C.S. Ocean Princess from Princess Cruises and C.S. Europa 2 from Hapag Lloyd were also docked alongside Queen Elizabeth in port this Saturday.

The double Cunard liner visit is of great significance to Dubai Cruise Tourism, an agency of Dubai's Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) and the body tasked with growing the cruise tourism sector as part of Dubai Government's Tourism Vision to attract 20 million annual visitors by 2020.

Hamad bin Mejren, Executive Director, Business Tourism at DTCM, said: "This double ‘royal' visit highlights Dubai's status as the region's leading cruise hub, and the growing attraction of Dubai as a destination for cruise tourists. Having both of these vessels - Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary 2 - not only make calls at Mina Rashid but also stay overnight for the first time marks a significant step in our evolution as a cruise centre. These extended stays reflect the fact that visitors want to see and do more when they visit our city, and take in some of the wealth of attractions as well as learning more about our local culture and heritage."

Angus Struthers, Marketing Director at Cunard, said: "Dubai is one of the signature ports that Cunard's passengers particularly look forward to visiting as part of our annual world voyages. We are delighted that Queen Elizabeth, Cunard's newest ship, and Queen Mary 2, our flagship and the only ocean liner in operation today, are both featuring an overnight stay in Dubai for the first time ever this week. With consecutive stays, this creates a four day period spotlighting the great modern icons of both the city of Dubai and the ships of Cunard Line." – Emirates 24/7 – Read more: http://www.emirates247.com/news/emirates/two-queens-in-2-days-stop-over-at-dubai-port-2014-04-21-1.546276


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UAE scheme for Drinking Water to go into force as of 1st October: Bin Fahad

posted on 21/04/2014

The UAE mandatory technical regulation for drinking water will take effect as of 1st October 2014, Dr. Rashid Ahmed bin Fahad, Minister of Environment and Water, and Chairman of Emirates Standardisation Metrology Authority (ESMA), announced yesterday.

The minister made it clear that any drinking water products which don't comply with the UAE Scheme for Drinking Water, approved by the UAE cabinet, and don't carry the Emirates Quality Mark (conformity mark recognised by ESMA) will not be allowed into the market.

The new mechanism, he emphasised, is part of ESMA's strategy to regulate and monitor products which have direct impact on health, safety of the consumer and the environment and to promote knowledge-based, competitive economy, sustainable environment and integrated infrastructure.

The minister explained that ESMA board had decided to grant an additional six months till October instead of 1st April for the enforcement of the system in response to requests by water producers and suppliers to allow them distribute their stock of drinking water and other imported products which don't carry the Emirates Quality Mark (EQM) in local market. The new comprehensive control system aims to improve water standards in terms of quality by unifying control mechanisms on drinking water which include production, processing, packaging and distribution.

Bin Fahad told a forum, organised by ESMA for 150 producers, suppliers and bottlers of drinking water and associated products, the grace period was granted to avoid any shortage of bottled water supply in the local market and spare these companies any financial loss.

'The UAE Scheme for Drinking Water, prepared by ESMA in partnership with other public and private stakeholders on par with international best practices, defines the technical standard requirements for drinking water, and effective control and monitoring mechanisms regarding production, import and distribution processes,' the minister said.

The minister noted that 154 companies had registered with the system (98 in 2013 and 56 since the beginning of 2014) of which 93 were local companies accounting for 60.4% of the total companies.

He added that 8 out of 14 companies applied for the Emirates Quality Mark had been awarded the registration certificates. The remaining 6 were on the final processes of auditing and conformity assessment. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


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Al Jalila Foundation offers Dh8 million worth of fellowship and seed grants for biomedical researchers

posted on 21/04/2014

Al Jalila Foundation, a global philanthropic organisation dedicated to transforming lives through medical education and research, has welcomed applicants to its fellowship and seed grant programmes, which aim to improve healthcare in the UAE by supporting talented biomedicine academics.

An amount of Dh8 million have been earmarked for the two research funding and education schemes.

Researchers are invited to apply for seed grants of up to Dh 300,000, which will give them the opportunity to investigate regional health issues through basic science, applied, or clinical research projects. The grants are available to all nationalities, provided the research is conducted in the UAE.

Applicants should hold positions at local universities, research institutions or clinics and will be assessed through an international peer review process, according to the foundation.

The fellowships are available exclusively to Emirati biomedical professionals, offering them the opportunity to study at world-renowned institutions, with an aim to migrate global best practice to the UAE. Applicants will be considered by the Foundation's Scientific Advisory Board for a place on a three-month Student Research Elective or year-long Research Training Support programme.

Al Jalila Foundation has said that it hoped the funding will promote regional research into cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, obesity and mental health. These five health issues have been identified by the Foundation as a focus for the newly-announced Al Jalila Foundation Research Centre, the UAE's first ever standalone medical research centre. The application deadline for 2014 Fellowship and Seed grants is 15 June 2014. Fellowship grants recipients will be announced by 15 July 2014, while Seed grants recipients will be announced by 15 September 2014. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


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Three Coronavirus cases tested negative, left hospital: HAAD

posted on 21/04/2014

The Health Authority - Abu Dhabi (HAAD) has said that 3 of the individuals who are in isolation in hospital with MERS Coronavirus have now tested negative for the virus, and will be leaving hospital soon.

HAAD said that these 3 cases were confirmed positive through routine screening of contacts, and were kept in isolation at hospitals as a precautionary measure. They were able to clear the virus within 10 days themselves without any treatment.

HAAD also expects that the other individuals with positive MERS Coronavirus currently in isolation in hospitals will likewise soon test negative and be able to go home. They are being tested daily to check on their positive status. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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AKhbar Al Sa'a: Active Emirati initiatives to support Global Peace

posted on 21/04/2014

The Akhbar Al Sa'a (News of the Hour) Bulletin said UAE policy is promoting peace and dialogues among the countries of the world and their peoples and cultures out of its belief in the common destiny of the humanity from one hand, and in addressing the challenges through joint cooperation and mutual understanding on the other hand.

The daily bulleting of the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR) stressed the significant keenness of the UAE to present the true image of Islam and its teachings of tolerance that encourage peace, mutual understanding and interaction between humans after that standing was distorted by actions of some extremist religious groups and forces and their violent practices, which are far from the spirit of tolerance and moderation.

Under the title: "Active Emirati initiatives to support Global Peace", the bulletin said that the most important characteristic of the role played by the UAE under the leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan in this regard, is the initiative and the practical move in order to develop a conceptual and firm framework to support peace in the world and presenting the true image of our Islamic religion in the rejection of extremism and intolerance.

In this context, the bulletin referred to the 3rd Dubai World Peace Convention, held under the patronage of Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum from April 17-19, with participation of an elite of scholars and thinkers from various Arab and Islamic countries. The conference from its first edition aims to achieve several key objectives including honouring all those who are working to promote world peace, lay the foundations for peace and stability at the level of the world, encourage the spirit of initiatives and excellence in world peace and promoting a culture of inter-faith dialogue.

The bulletin concluded by saying that; 'one of the most important initiatives of the UAE in supporting peace and tackling extremism in the world is the establishing of the first-ever International Centre of Excellence on Countering Violent Extremism (Hedayah), which was opened in December 2012, in a confirmation of the UAE global role in promoting world peace through instilling the values of moderation and tolerance to counter violence and terrorism trends.' – Emirates News Agency, WAM – Read more:


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Egyptian Coptic Church: UAE led by Khalifa is a pioneer country in sponsoring peace, religious tolerance

posted on 21/04/2014

The Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church has commended the leading role of the UAE under the leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan in consolidating the concepts of the policy of religious tolerance and brotherhood among religions and working to spread the values of love and peace throughout the Arab region and the world.

During the celebration of Easter last night in the cathedral in Abu Dhabi, Father Isaac Al Anba Bishoy, Pastor of the Cathedral of Saint Antony for Coptic Orthodox in Abu Dhabi, extended thanks and appreciation to 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, Their Highnesses, the Rulers of the Emirates and to His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces for the tireless efforts made by the UAE to achieve equality and brotherhood among the peoples of all religions.

Ihab Imam Hamouda, Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt to the UAE, extended his thanks and appreciation to the UAE's Government and its people under the leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan for historical stands in supporting Egypt and its people to regain its position that it deserves amid its regional and Arab surroundings.

The Egyptian Ambassador conveyed the greetings of Adli Mansour, the Interim President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, to Coptic Egyptians living in the UAE on the occasion of Easter, commending the significant role played by the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church, along with Al-Azhar, to work on unity, renounce violence and strengthen the bonds between the people of one nation of Muslims and Christians.

The ceremony was attended by representatives of Presidential Court, the Office of His Highness the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, the General Authority for Islamic Affairs and Endowment and members of the Egyptian Embassy.

The ceremony was also attended by the heads and members of Christian denominations in Abu Dhabi, a number of religious Muslim representatives, businessmen, the Women's Association of Egypt and the Egyptian community of both Christians and Muslims. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


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