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‘Happy Dubai’ initiative to boost tourism sector

posted on 17/09/2014

The initiative #Happy Dubai provides everyone the opportunity to express their happiness about the services rendered by the emirate's civic service authority.

The Dubai Municipality (DM) is launching a quality and unique initiative called Happy Dubai to once again train all eyes on Dubai. The initiative #Happy Dubai provides everyone the opportunity to express their happiness about the services rendered by the emirate's civic service authority.

Hussein Nasser Lootah, Director-General of the Dubai Municipality, said the initiative is designed to highlight the services the municipality is providing, along with a creatively technical touch, with the aim of attracting attention to Dubai.

DM's various initiatives and the projects Dubai adopts in different fields give the emirate its ‘special style' which makes it ‘stand out' among the most developed cities in the world.

The move is in keeping with the good position the U.A.E. has held worldwide in terms of people's happiness. It is the 14th happiest place in the world though people of 200 nationalities live here. This achievement shows that its innovative projects and initiatives see to it that it stays ahead in the ambitious development march.

"The supportive environment the Dubai government provides for innovation has turned it into a robust magnet for creative energies in different sectors,” he said.

He also said the emirate was rated the best among six cities in holding festivals and events. – Khaleej Times -§ion=government


Abu Dhabi’s new cruise terminal design takes inspiration from dhow

posted on 17/09/2014

Abu Dhabi unveiled the design of its new Cruise terminal building which gives modern as well as traditional look taking inspiration from the Ghaf, U.A.E.'s national tree, while its roof has taken cues from a traditional dhow.

Traditional Arabic ornaments, colours, and shapes combined with modern architectural elements define the new building's distinctive style which celebrates the U.A.E.'s cultural heritage and pays tribute to its long maritime history.

A particular eye-catcher is the building's roof design which is a lattice-work, taking the U.A.E.'s national tree — the Ghaf as inspiration. Wooden beams inside the building take inspiration from the U.A.E.'s traditional dhow sailing vessels.

The design was unveiled by Abu Dhabi Ports Company and Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) exhibited the design at the Sea trade Med 2014 in Barcelona, Spain.

Covering 8,000 sqm., the new building will include all key passenger facilities, as well as a mezzanine level with souvenir shops, restaurants, office facilities and waiting areas for cruise staff. It will feature tourist information services and passport border control counters to ensure that the customs process is smooth and timely.

Ground clearance work for the new terminal, which will be capable of handling three cruise vessels simultaneously, has already begun with a completion timetable anticipated at 2016.

Earlier this year, the U.A.E. announced a new multiple entry visa which will make tourist travel between the U.A.E. and neighbouring countries significantly easier. The new multi-entry visa had been on cruise lines ‘wish-list' for some time as it will help the logistics when planning itineraries around the Gulf region.

"ADPC and its partners TCA Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Oman established ‘Cruise Arabia' at the end of 2013, as an initiative which promotes the Gulf region as an attractive tourist destination and brings the partners together to combine forces to make the cruising experience for tourists and cruise staff as comfortable as possible.

"Our investment in a larger higher quality cruise terminal building recognises the fact that Abu Dhabi now features on a growing number of itineraries,” says Capt. Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, CEO of ADPC.

In addition to state-of-the-art cruise facilities and comprehensive infrastructure, ADPC recently introduced a loyalty programme for cruise vessels calling at Zayed Port. The programme includes special home porting conditions and further incentives, making the stay for cruise liners at Zayed Port even more attractive.

Abu Dhabi's cruise passenger arrivals have increased five-fold since the sector began in the emirate in 2007 with anticipated arrivals this season reaching 200,000 passengers from 95 vessel calls. – Khaleej Times -§ion=uaebusiness


Abu Dhabi tourism looks to expand CIS Footprint

posted on 17/09/2014

Abu Dhabi's tourism industry is looking to make headway in the high potential CIS market with a planned roadshow this month in Almaty in Kazakhstan and, for the first time in Baku in Azerbaijan.

"Azerbaijan has been added to the itinerary as the arrival of hotel guests from the country is showing uplift across a number of fundamentals without any dedicated promotion," explained Mubarak Al Nuaimi, Director, Promotions & Overseas Offices, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi).

"We have identified a burgeoning appetite for the destination within the market which could deliver significant returns if it is nurtured." In the first seven months of this year, the number of Azeris checking into Abu Dhabi's accommodation rose by 16% with guest nights rising 30% and length-of-stay expanding by 12%.

"The figures remain small – only 788 Azeris came so far this year but they stay, on average, for a healthy 4.39 nights," explained Al Nuaimi. "If we can build destination awareness in the country and grow the arrivals numbers, we will have a healthy proposition." Eight stakeholders are joining the TCA Abu Dhabi led road show to Azerbaijan, the largest country in the Caucasus with Azeris spending, according to the country's Centre for Economic and Social Development, about US US$3 billion a year – US $400 million of which goes on shopping. Among the stakeholder contingent is Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC) looking to connect with an Azeri carrier.

"The country has established outbound tourism infrastructure with 140 local tour operators and great MICE potential," explained Al Nuaimi. "Given Abu Dhabi's recognised value-for-money proposition in terms of service delivery for competitive pricing, we are confident of building a market from Azerbaijan." The Abu Dhabi delegation, which later moves on to Almaty in Kazakhstan, also includes Emirates Palace, one of the world's most opulent hotels, Al Ain Zoo, the InterContinental Abu Dhabi, Etihad Airways, The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi, Le Meridien Abu Dhabi and Farah Leisure Parks Management LLC which operates Ferrari World Abu Dhabi – the world's largest indoor theme park – and Yas Waterworld on Yas Island.

Emirates Palace, one of the world's most opulent hotels, is using the CIS roadshow to introduce its newly renovated SPA which has been designed to exude Moroccan charm with therapies rich in ancient traditional and bespoke treatments. The hotel has also undergone an upgrade of all its in-room technology for guest convenience and comfort. The palace is also planning a special January 6 and 7 celebration to mark the Orthodox Christmas and New Year and has Russian speaking staff available for guest relations.

The Abu Dhabi InterContinental hotel meanwhile will be promoting its newly-revitalised Bayshore – a private, beachfront destination in its picturesque marina. It has 300 metres of natural beachfront, a stunning infinity pool, swim-up bar, separate children's pool and play area, premium health and sports facilities, day spa and restaurant. Guests can relax on sun-loungers on a white, sandy beach or in one of seven private cabanas complete with butler service. There's a large, outdoor Jacuzzi and a shaded pool for children with a fun waterslide play area. There's a new Bayshore Bar, plenty of watersports, a state-of-the-art gym and day spa.

"By the end of next year Kazakhstan is expected to rank among the world's top 10 oil producing nations and we anticipate an upsurge in business between the country and the U.A.E.," said Al Nuaimi. "Prospects are strong for MICE and leisure – where people come for business and stay on for leisure." From January to July this year, 5,765 Kazakhs stayed in Abu Dhabi's hotels and resorts, which is almost the same as for the first seven months of 2013. However, while the numbers remain somewhat static – room nights delivered by the Kazakh guests went up 11% to 19,149 with them staying, on average, 3.32 nights.

One stakeholder with the CIS firmly in its sights is The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort which wants to grow its Azeri and Kazakh business by 20% this year. "Both countries have a short flight time from the U.A.E. and both have both frequent independent traveller and MICE potential," said Yulia Korosynskaia, Complex Sales Representative. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


TDIC reveals the first residential development in Saadiyat’s Cultural District

posted on 17/09/2014

Abu Dhabi's Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC), the master developer of major tourism, cultural and residential destinations in Abu Dhabi, revealed yesterday the first residential development in the Saadiyat Cultural District. Mamsha Al Saadiyat, meaning Saadiyat Walk, which will be showcased at Cityscape Global 2014, is a 1.4 kilometre beachfront mixed-use project that will offer residents a luxurious beach-inspired lifestyle as well as easy access to diverse retail, dining and entertainment features.

The new residential development will be unlike any other in the U.A.E. and throughout the region where future residents will live in a beachfront property that is minutes from the heart of Abu Dhabi's future cultural hub. The Saadiyat Cultural District will become home to three iconic world-class museums – Louvre Abu Dhabi, Zayed National Museum and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi – along with The District, a premier retail destination that is being developed in partnership with L Real Estate (LRE), a global real estate development and investment fund sponsored by LVMH.

Ali Al Hammadi, TDIC's Chief Executive Officer, said, "We are very pleased to announce the launch of Mamsha Al Saadiyat, which will further enhance the appeal of both the Cultural District and Saadiyat as a whole, as a one-of-a-kind development, both regionally and internationally. Due to its unique location, community features and services, we anticipate strong demand for Mamsha Al Saadiyat as it will offer residents an address like no other in the world before." Comprising five clusters, each approximately 250 metres long, the development will feature nine low-rise residential buildings including apartments and townhouses. The unit sizes will range from one to four-bedrooms to lofts and penthouses, with a gross floor area from 106 to 454 square metres. All buildings will feature ground-level retail offerings and pool terraces. The complete project, which will be developed in phases, will also encompass a serviced-apartment building and a retail village offering approximately 5,000 square metres of leasable area, for both retail and dining outlets.

Ahmed Al Fahim, Executive Director of Marketing, Communications, Sales and Leasing at TDIC, said, "Given its unique location neighbouring world-class museums in addition to being a beachfront development, we strongly believe that Mamsha Al Saadiyat sets itself apart from other residential developments in the region. It is truly a one-of-a-kind investment opportunity and will surely attract investors locally and from around the world." The design scheme reflects the relaxed, energised lifestyle envisioned for community members and visitors, with modern architectural designs and a material pallet characterised by simple white render and glass handrails. The facade options have been chosen in order to minimise the impact of the sun - both for energy savings and human comfort.

In terms of community facilities, residents and visitors will be able to enjoy the use of various health clubs, direct access to the beach, plus dedicated pedestrian and cycling lanes located throughout Mamsha Al Saadiyat. Moreover, a headland park located at the western end of the beachfront walk along the development and overviewing the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, with a pier that stretches approximately 200 metres into the sea, will provide visitors with beautiful views of the museum and all of Saadiyat Beach.

"The fact that residents can access the best cultural, retail and educational offerings minutes just from their homes re-enforces just how distinctive and valuable Mamsha Al Saadiyat is – whether from a community or investor perspective. We look forward to the day when we will welcome homeowners to their new address on Saadiyat," added Al Fahim.

Added benefits that residents can make use of include the close proximity of Manarat Al Saadiyat, the popular exhibition centre and the U.A.E. Pavilion as well as Cranleigh Abu Dhabi, the leading British-curriculum school. Furthermore, both the Beach District – with its high-end residential, hospitality, leisure and retail offerings - and the Marina District – currently home to New York University Abu Dhabi – are located nearby. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Abu Dhabi City Municipality achieves completion rate of 60 percent in Abu Dhabi's new addressing system

posted on 17/09/2014

The Abu Dhabi City Municipality has so far achieved a completion rate of 60 percent in Abu Dhabi's new addressing system in Al Maria Island, Al Nahyan Camp, Bahya city and Al Falah new City.

The Municipality is moving ahead with the implementation of the project across Abu Dhabi city as per a pre-set plan, and the project is set for final completion in Abu Dhabi city and suburban areas in October 2015.

According to the Municipality, the Addressing System will be later implemented in Al Ain city and the Western Region using the same specifications and technical standards.

"More than 60% of signboards with the new names, addresses and streets had been erected, implementation plans had been approved, and streets' starting and ending points had been specified, besides selecting names, laying column foundations for street name signboards and installing buildings numbers signs, whereas the streets name signboards will be installed after being approved by the competent authorities," the civic body said in an announcement.

Concerning the mechanism of communication with the community to introduce the new addressing system and sensitising the population with the names of districts, streets and numbers, the Municipality reiterated its keenness to launch a distinctive large-scale media and advertising campaign in the upcoming period tailored to this strategic project.

It is worth mentioning that the Department of Municipal Affairs in Abu Dhabi had launched the new addressing system project (Onwani), whereby the Abu Dhabi City Municipality will install new names on thousands of streets and assign unique and distinctive addresses for more than 65,000 homes and businesses.

The move is intended to streamline addresses in a way that contributes to further simplifying mobility and making it easier for residents and visitors to locate their destinations all over the city. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Shurooq promotes Sharjah in Shanghai

posted on 17/09/2014

The Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) has successfully concluded an investment roadshow to Shanghai China as part of its ongoing strategy to promote the Sharjah as a world-class destination for international investment. The roadshow followed Shurooq's participation, in partnership with the U.A.E. Ministry of Economy, in the 18th China International Fair of Investment and Trade in Xiamen, which took place on 8th – 11th September.

The roadshow was aimed at promoting Sharjah's investment potential among Chinese investors and familiarising the Shanghai business community with the wide range of opportunities available in Sharjah's fast growing and diversified economy.

The first day of the roadshow saw the Shurooq delegation, headed by Mohamed Al Musharrkh, Head of Investment Promotion, including Diana Yonghui Ma, Investment Promotion Executive, meet with a group of investors from the Networks of Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai. During the meeting the delegation made use of the opportunity to introduce Sharjah's key growth sectors – leisure and tourism, logistics, healthcare, and environment and explore the numerous opportunities these sectors have to offer businesses in Shanghai that are looking to expand their base of operations into the Middle East.

The second day of the roadshow featured the Sharjah - Shanghai Seminar, co-organised between Shurooq and the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade Shanghai Sub-Council (CCPIT Shanghai Sub-Council). The seminar focused specifically on presenting the many benefits Sharjah offers as a regional investment hub, including its strategic location, excellent infrastructure and logistics capabilities, diversified economy, and the range of premium development projects currently underway in the Emirate. The seminar was also preceded by a meeting between Shurooq's Head of Investment Promotion Mohamed Al Musharrkh and Mr. Wang Lie, Vice Chairman of the Council.

Mohamed Al Musharrkh, Head of Investment Promotion at Shurooq, said, "The Chinese business community and Sharjah already have a strong working relationship, one that has been carefully fostered by His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah. Under the directives of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, bilateral trade between China and Sharjah has seen rapid increases in recent years. Between 2010 and 2012 alone, the value of total trade exchanges – imports, exports and re-exports – jumped more than 18 per cent, from DH 3.3bn to more than DH 3.9bn, equating, equating to a compound annual growth rate of 8 per cent. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Dubai Parks and Resorts LLC completes 30 percent of the infrastructure development

posted on 17/09/2014

Dubai Parks and Resorts LLC, a Meraas Holding company, yesterday announced that Phase 1 of its multibillion dollar entertainment and leisure destination has made significant progress with the engagement of a number of world class contractors and consultants.

More than 1,500 personnel have been deployed to develop an initial area of approximately 25 million sq. feet at Phase 1 of Dubai Parks and Resorts. The number of workers on site is expected to increase four-fold by 2015. With nearly 30 percent of the infrastructure development already complete, work on the power substation has registered 35 percent headway while excavation work for the district cooling facility has also commenced.

Taking shape at Jebel Ali, the first phase of Dubai Parks and Resorts will comprise three theme parks: Motiongate Dubai, Bollywood Parks Dubai, and LEGOLAND Dubai. The development will also feature Riverpark – a grand entrance plaza and Lapita, a family themed hotel. The first phase is scheduled for completion in 2016.

Programme management firm Samsung C and T is overseeing the overall progress of the project to ensure its components adhere to scheduled timelines and budgets, while Kier Group is building the utilities component. ETA has been engaged for the power sub-station project and National Central Cooling Company PJSC, Tabreed" has been mandated to set up the district cooling facility.

Besix Orascom is responsible for the majority of the LEGOLAND Dubai building works, Laing O'Rourke and Al Futtaim Carillion for a large part of Motiongate Dubai, and ARCO General Contracting EST for Bollywood Parks. Hill International has also been contracted to manage the production and installation of all shows and rides, and provide construction management consultancy services for Phase 1 of Dubai Parks and Resorts.

Raed Al Nuaimi, CEO of Dubai Parks and Resorts LLC, said, "A mega project such as Dubai Parks and Resorts requires partners that have a strong track record in developing and delivering leisure and entertainment concepts of this scale. Following a stringent bidding process we have selected consultants and contractors with whom we are working closely to deliver an entertainment experience that brings to life the U.A.E. leadership's vision of positioning Dubai as a leading global tourist destination." Launched under the directives of Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum , Dubai Parks and Resorts has been designed as a mega leisure and entertainment destination to serve regions within a four hour flying distance from Dubai. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


FGB plans to launch U.A.E.’s first personalised credit card

posted on 17/09/2014

FGB has announced that it will soon be launching "My Card" - a personalised credit card, allowing the customers to choose their own design, card programme and the loyalty scheme.

"My Card" will also allow customers to design their card from a choice of over 1 Million Images, as well as being able to upload their own pictures. Customers will also have the flexibility to select from a range of credit card draw based programmes offering exclusive prizes and experiences worth Dh 3 million annually.

In addition to the above, FGB customers can benefit from three different loyalty programs on their card at the same time. Customers can switch between First Rewards, First Miles and First cashback at any point of time .

Girish Advani, Head of Mass Market Segment at FGB, said: "The challenge in the cards business today is to make products truly personal. We at FGB believe "My Card" delivers this to our customers and allows them to create their own Masterpiece.” – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Etisalat announces new data plans for prepaid and post-paid customers

posted on 17/09/2014

Etisalat announced yesterday the addition of two more pocket-friendly mobile data plans for prepaid and post-paid customers – the 3GB, and 10GB plans, offering highly tailored options to meet its customers' daily data needs.

The 20GB mobile data plan, already available for post-paid customers, will now be available for subscription in prepaid.

Furthermore, to reduce customers' exposure to out-of-bundle charges, Etisalat also launched three flexible Data Boosters for prepaid and post-paid customers – 100MB, 0.5GB and 1GB.

"The U.A.E.'s first-of-its-kind Data Boosters are a great ‘in-between' option to upgrade data allowance after customers exceed their monthly data package allowances. As an example, if a customer subscribed to a monthly data plan uses most of the data allowance halfway down the month, the customer can top it up with a Data Booster. As a result, the customer can enjoy the sum of monthly balance and new booster data, both of which will be valid for the remaining duration of the monthly data plan," according to the telecom service provider.

Etisalat's new mobile data plans are available at pocket-friendly monthly rates: 3GB for Dh 149 and 10GB for Dh349. Prepaid and post-paid customers can subscribe to three Data Boosters: 100MB for Dh20, 0.5GB for Dh40 and 1GB for Dh60.

Both, new data plans and Data Boosters, will be available to customers starting tomorrow. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Rise in electricity and water accounts across Dubai

posted on 17/09/2014

The number of electricity and water accounts at Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) has recorded a remarkable increase in all customer segments by the end of the 2nd quarter of 2014. Electricity and water accounts totalled 698,285 by the end of June 2014, compared to 668,762 during the same period of last year, a growth of about 4.5%.

"This net growth rate is rather good as DEWA removes cancelled accounts or accounts that are no longer in use due to demolishing of old buildings or any other reasons, from the total consumption account numbers. The net number of new accounts added during this period is 29,523 new accounts," said Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD and CEO of DEWA.

"The number of electricity accounts grew to 662,801 by the end of June 2014 compared to 636,960 by the end of June 2013. The number of water accounts increased to 591,059 by the end of the second quarter of 2014 compared to 565,558 meters during the same period last year," added Al Tayer. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


flydubai expands its network in Central Asia with flights to Almaty and Shymkent

posted on 17/09/2014

flydubai's inaugural flight to Almaty landed yesterday at Almaty International Airport and was met by a traditional water cannon salute. This marked the start of the airline's operations to Kazakhstan.

Upon arrival in Almaty the inaugural flight was received by Akhmetzhan Yessimov, Mayor of Almaty, Askar Mussinov, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Suhail Mattar Al Ketbi, U.A.E. Ambassador to Kazakhstan, Askar Shokybayev, Consul General of the Republic of Kazakhstan in Dubai and the Northern Emirates, and other senior officials.

On board the flight were Director General of Dubai Municipality, Hussain Nasser Lootah, flydubai's Chief Executive Officer, Ghaith Al Ghaith, and Senior Vice President Commercial (U.A.E., EU, ME, CIS), Jeyhun Efendi. Accompanying them was a senior delegation from Dubai Municipality including Mohammad Abdul Kareem Julfar, Dawoud Abdul Rahman Al Hajeri, Khalid Mohammed Sharif Al Awadhi, Humaid Saeed Al Marri and Mohamad Mahmood Al Noori.

Commenting on the launch of flights, Ghaith Al Ghaith said, "The start of flydubai's direct flights from Dubai to Almaty and Shymkent, provides a convenient link between these economic hubs in the Middle East and Central Asia. It marks a milestone in the relations between our countries and sees the expansion of flydubai's network in the region to five countries." Kazakhstan and the U.A.E. have both demonstrated impressive growth in various industries, including oil, Islamic finance and construction. With flights from Dubai operating four times a week to Almaty and twice a week to Shymkent, these routes present new opportunities for increasing business, tourism and trade.

With breath-taking natural landscapes, unspoiled nature reserves, rugged snow-capped mountains and ancient cities, Kazakhstan is the perfect destination for skiing, hiking, mountain climbing and sightseeing and is only a four-hour direct flight from Dubai.

Commenting on flydubai's growing network, Jeyhun Efendi said, "We are pleased to increase capacity between Dubai and Kazakhstan. Business Class will be available on our flights to Almaty and Shymkent, providing passengers with a more personal and comfortable travel experience. In addition our inflight entertainment system, with over 1,000 hours of entertainment, is available in English, Arabic and Russian." During the trip to Almaty the airline showcased its Business Class offering and its ever-expanding network. flydubai will also host representatives from the Kazakhstani business community in the evening at an inaugural dinner to mark the launch of flights and highlight Dubai as a leading tourist destination.

flydubai has built up a network of 80 destinations across 41 countries and many of these destinations were previously underserved from Dubai, including Ashgabat in Turkmenistan, Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan and Dushanbe in Tajikistan. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


New road links Oud Metha to Downtown Dubai

posted on 17/09/2014

A five-kilometre-long stretch of Al Asayel road will open for traffic on Wednesday, offering motorists another option to access the Downtown Dubai area, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has announced.

The new road, that will include two tunnels and two bridges, will link Oud Metha street with The Dubai Mall, bypassing 2nd Zabeel Road and Financial Centre street.

The Dh300 million project is one of the key phases of the Parallel Roads network, which extends from Shaikh Rashid Road in the north up to the outskirts of Abu Dhabi emirate to the south, passing through the Business Bay area.

Mattar Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of the RTA, hailed the progress made on the massive project before opening the road that offers an alternative and seamless corridor for motorists between Oud Metha, Zabeel, Jumeirah and the Business Bay districts.

The project comprises two tunnels; each comprising three lanes in each direction. The first tunnel branches from the 2nd Zabeel Road and extends 850 metres, and the second tunnel branches from the Trade Centre Road and stretches for 600 metres.

Also part of the project are two bridges of two lanes in each direction at Business Bay, extending 700 metres.

The project offers free access to The Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa through Emaar Boulevard.

"The Parallel Roads Project is one of the biggest projects currently undertaken by the RTA and is capable of easing the traffic flow along the area to the east of Shaikh Zayed Road. It also serves traffic inbound from Shaikh Zayed Road and outbound to Business Bay besides linking Al Khail Road with the internal roads of Business Bay,” stated Al Tayer.

He added that Al Asayel Road is a key corridor of the Eastern Parallel Roads Project and is linked with the Godolphin Project the RTA intends to undertake in the next stage.

"The Godolphin project involves the construction of roads, bridges and tunnels linking to the parallel roads, having a positive impact on easing the pressure on the roads surrounding Zabeel besides providing entry and exit points to and from Shaikh Zayed Road and Al Khail Road,” he said.

As part of the future plan, the RTA will link Al Asayel Road with Shaikh Rashid Bin Saeed Crossing through a bridge across Oud Metha to link Bur Dubai with the Lagoons, Al Warqa'a, and International City.

Recently, RTA opened several important parts of the parallel roads network, including seven bridges at the Jumeirah Lakes Towers that helped ease congestion in the area.

The project also included the construction of a tunnel to link Shaikh Zayed Road with Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Road.

In the second phase, several roads were built around Jebel Ali Racecourse, Emirates Hills, Springs, Meadows, Jumeirah Islands and Jumeirah Park. The project, which extends about 20km, constitutes 14 per cent of the total Parallel Roads Project, and comprises three to four lanes in each direction as well as six bridges and three underpasses crossing the eastern and western roads.

In phase One, the RTA built roads at Al Barsha, and Al Quoz Industrial and Residential areas extending from Hessa Road to the south up to Meydan Road to the north in a sector extending 15km on the Eastern Parallel Road and 18km on the Western Parallel Road, comprising three lanes in each direction. – Gulf News -


U.A.E. residents buy more local vegetables than in 2011

posted on 17/09/2014

A study commissioned by the Abu Dhabi Farmers' Services Centre has found that nearly three-quarters of all consumers purchase local vegetables for their freshness.

A survey as part of the study interviewed a total of 800 people across the U.A.E. and found that larger groups of U.A.E. residents agree that local vegetables are produced in an environmentally friendly manner.

The study is the second public perception survey conducted by the Abu Dhabi Farmers' Services Centre.

The first study was conducted in 2011. In November 2012, ADFSC launched its Local Harvest brand of fresh local produce from farms in Abu Dhabi, said Chris Hirst, Chief Executive Officer, ADFSC.

ADFSC organised a follow-up survey to measure the change in perceptions of U.A.E. residents towards local produce and assess the public's awareness of Local Harvest.

"Freshness is still the primary driver for consumers to purchase local vegetables, however perceptions of local vegetables have improved over the past three years, with a higher proportion of residents agreeing that local vegetables are good in quality, safe to consume, reasonably priced, grown in an environmentally friendly manner and are more nutritious and healthy compared to imported ones,” Hirst said.

"More U.A.E. residents are buying local vegetables today compared to 2011. Clearly, local vegetables are finding greater acceptance among the residents of the U.A.E..”

Today nearly one-third of all consumers purchase local vegetables due to their quality.

The study also found that 13 per cent of those surveyed in 2014 compared with three years earlier agree that local vegetables are safe to consume.

Abu Dhabi Farmers' Services Centre has introduced a number of key concepts to Abu Dhabi farmers since its inception, including Global GAP certification. Global GAP is the internationally recognised standard for farm production.

The survey included telephone and face-to-face interviews of men and women from a variety of nationalities aged 18 to 50 and older. Results of the survey will help ADFSC and Local Harvest market products better to consumers in the U.A.E..

Local Harvest's range of fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry, dates and honey are available at major hypermarkets, supermarkets, souqs and online at – Gulf News -


Mohamed bin Zayed, Georgia's Prime Minister discuss cooperation ties

posted on 17/09/2014

His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the U.A.E. Armed Forces, yesterday at Mushrif Palace, the visiting Georgian Prime Minister, Irakli Garibashvili and his accompanying delegation.

Upon his arrival at Mushrif Hall, the Georgian Prime Minister shook hands with key officials. Sheikh Mohamed greeted the top officials accompanying Garibashvili.

The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi held talks with Garibashvili on friendship and cooperation ties between the U.A.E. and Georgia, and ways to enhance them in the best interest of the two countries. They exchanged views on the latest regional and international developments, as well as issues of mutual interest.

During the meeting, Sheikh Mohamed welcomed the Georgian Prime Minister's visit, stressing that such visits would bolster the bilateral relations and contribute to opening up new cooperation fields, exchanging expertise and experiences in order to build stronger partnerships that would benefit development process between the two countries.

The two parties also discussed avenues of cooperation and existing coordination between institutions and authorities of the two countries, and the importance of developing them in all economic, investment, trade, social and educational fields.

Sheikh Mohamed added that the U.A.E.-led by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, is looking forward to enhancing constructive friendship relations with Georgia, which are based on cooperation, dialogue and joint interest of the two friendly countries.

He also hoped for further promotion of relations on par with aspirations of leaders of the two countries through effective cooperation and opening up new fields of joint work in the economic and development projects.

On his part, Georgia's Prime Minister expressed his pleasure to visit the U.A.E. in the light of the growing cooperation in a number of economic, investment and trade fields between the two countries, hailing the progress being witnessed by the U.A.E. in all aspects, which has availed the country a stature regionally and internationally.

He also emphasised his country's desire to strengthen the relations with the U.A.E., expressing his confidence that cooperation between the two sides would grow to the best, thanks to the genuine desire to boost them in all domains between the two countries.

The two side also discussed a number of the latest development regionally and internationally, as well as issues of mutual interest. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


GCC plays instrumental role in regional stability, says Gargash

posted on 17/09/2014

RIYADH: 'The Conference of the Arabian Gulf and Regional Challenges' organised by the Institute of Diplomatic Studies, in collaboration with the Gulf Research Centre in Dubai opened yesterday at the Intercontinental Hotel in Riyadh.

In the opening remarks, Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, called for addressing the risks and challenges that surround the Arab Gulf States and follow a multi-faceted response to confront them.

He also called for regional and international cooperation to contain the explosive conflicts and address the phenomenon of terrorism which has become a major threat to the stability and security of the international community which requires concerted international efforts to combat this dangerous phenomenon and fortify the internal front in our countries in the face of these dangers in neighbouring countries.

U.A.E. Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr. Anwar Mohammed Gargash delivered a speech on the GCC and regional changes, in which he said the GCC had been playing a pivotal role in regional security and stability.

He underscored the so-called extremist political Islam as one of the major challenges facing the region's security, as well as economic and social welfare. Other challenges, he added, include, trans-border crime and terrorism.

Dr. Gargash said in order to confront such challenges, particularly the terrorism, the U.A.E. established the Centre for Countering Violent Extremism (Hedayah) to serve as the premier international institution for training, dialogue, collaboration, and research to counter violent extremism in all of its forms and manifestations.

The U.A.E. also hosts the Muslim Council of Elders, the first independent international body that aims at promoting peace in Muslim societies. The country recently ratified a federal counter-terrorism law and is an active member in a number of regional and international counter-terrorism bodies.

Dr. Gargash warned that ISIL currently represents the most notorious terrorist group following its heinous crimes in Syria and Iraq.

"The U.A.E. believes that a clear and inclusive policy must be adopted to confront terrorism. Terrorism is not just represented by ISIL but also by many other organisations in our Arab region," he said.

He also commended the steps taken recently during the NATO summit in Wales and the ministerial meeting in Jeddah, describing them as a positive start to put an end to the inhumane acts of terror.

Dr. Gargash also referred to the complex situation in Yemen and the snowballing Houthi crisis and said some forces exploit the deteriorating security there to undermine political transition.

He said a host of challenges were posed at the GCC consensus, including religious extremism, sectarianism and ambitions by some regional powers which manifested in the Iranian occupation of the U.A.E.'s three islands of Abu Musa, Greater Tunb and Lesser Tunb.

Dr. Gargash renewed the call by the GCC countries to enforce the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and expressed the hope that the P5+1's upcoming talks with Iran would lead to tangible outcomes.

He also referred to the recent Israeli aggression against Gaza which led to killing of innocent civilians. He commended the role played by the Egyptian diplomacy and said a lasting peace was possible through a comprehensive two-state solution, based on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as a capital for the Palestinian state.

Dr. Gargash said it is key for the GCC to stay away from Arab conflicts and polarisation and to refrain from intervention in others' affairs. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


MICAD and UNOCHA sign agreement for relief efforts in Syria

posted on 17/09/2014

The U.A.E. Ministry of International Cooperation and Development, MICAD, yesterday signed an agreement with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, UNOCHA, to coordinate humanitarian response activities inside Syria.

The agreement, which was signed by Hazza Mohammad Falah Al Qahtani, the Under-Secretary of MICAD, and Rashid Khalikov, Director of OCHA, Geneva, states that the U.A.E. will provide Dh3.7 million (US$1 million) to UNOCHA towards the cause.

Commenting during the signing, MICAD Minister, Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, said, "The U.A.E. is keen to work with international organisations to ensure the delivery of humanitarian aid to those most in need. We are pleased to provide support to UNOCHA in its active role of coordinating and guiding relief operations. Together we can ensure the delivery of urgently-needed humanitarian aid to communities inside Syria." Mr. Khalikov said, "I am here today to sign an agreement with the honourable representatives of the Ministry of International Cooperation and Development of the Government of the United Arab Emirates in support of UNOCHA's mandate as a coordinator for humanitarian action. Out of its deep understanding of the importance and increasing need for humanitarian coordination, the U.A.E. government has made another generous gesture by allocating US$1 million to support the humanitarian coordination and advocacy activities for the Syria Humanitarian Response Plan." The funds to UNOCHA are part of an overall U.A.E. commitment of Dh220 million (US$60 million), which the country pledged during the International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria which was held last January. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Saqr Ghobash commends U.A.E.- Arab Labour Organisation cooperation

posted on 17/09/2014

CAIRO: U.A.E. Minister of Labour, Saqr bin Ghobash Saeed Ghobash, has said the U.A.E. takes interest in the resolutions of the Arab Labour Organisation in line with the country's political method based on continuous cooperation with Arab action to safeguard mutual interests and achieve prosperity of Arab peoples.

Ghobash was addressing the 41st Arab Labour Conference, being held in Cairo with participation of Arab government delegations, representatives from private sector and labour organisations.

"This conference comes amid huge challenges being experienced by the Arab labour market given many changes in the region that imposed many obligations that must be dealt with on the basis of solidarity and shared responsibility dispensed by our political leadership to address aspirations of people, especially the youth who look forward to jobs and stability. Those issues require constructive dialogue among three parties of production: governments, employers and workers to achieve the logo of this conference," he added.

Ghobash said the sound strategic planning for sustainable development needs political stability so as to achieve social justice, a genuine key for addressing challenges, among others, unemployment among the youth.

He referred to the achievements attained by Egypt, notably, the Suez Canal Development Project, following the election of President Abdel Fatah al-sisi. Ghobash said the project would provide many job opportunities to Egyptians.

He welcomed the report of Ahmed Luqman, Director-General of Arab Labour Organisation on "Arab Cooperation and its Horizons to Support Employment", adding that the report analyses the reality of the Arab labour market.

Ghobash hailed the struggle of Palestinian people in the light of challenges posed by Israel, citing the difficulties faced by the Palestinian businessmen and workers. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Hamdan bin Mohammed launches Emirates maritime control centre

posted on 17/09/2014

H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council has established Emirates maritime control centre to boost the stature of Dubai as a hub of maritime activities in the world, and settle the disputes emanating from marine trade transactions.

The move reflects the Emirate's commitment to building an integrated legal environment to serve the competitive strategies of marine sector in Dubai, as one of main marine global hubs.

Sultan bin Sulayem, CEO of Dubai Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, thanked Sheikh Hamdan for approving the establishment of the Emirates maritime control centre, noting that " It represents a main legal foundation for marine sector in Dubai." The centre will be handling and settling ships lease contracts, goods transport contracts, sale of used ships, ship building and repairing contracts, insurance and re-insurance policies, problems of marine collisions, marine aid and rescue, and disputes related to the settlement of marine losses. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


U.A.E. University ranked among world's top 400 Universities

posted on 17/09/2014

The U.A.E. University has been ranked among the best 400 universities, according to the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings. The QS based its classification on a number of strict requirements, among others, the academic reputation, recruitment and productivity indicators, research, proportion of teaching staff to students, attractiveness of university to professors and foreign students.

This classification is based on a global survey of more than 3, 000 international universities, views of more than 50, 000 academics and employers along with research indicators.

This excellence is attributed to the continuous support of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the keenness of Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.

It is worth mentioning that the U.A.E. University always strives to maintain its position among the best universities in international rankings of universities in line with the global standards adopted by the university in its quest for excellence. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


U.A.E. University students to study nuclear research in Geneva

posted on 17/09/2014

The Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, ADFD, has sponsored two female students studying at the Department of Physics in the Faculty of Science at U.A.E. University, to go for practical training at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, CERN, in Geneva, Switzerland, under the framework of the strategic partnership between the two sides.

The decision came during a meeting attended by Deputy Director of U.A.E. University, Dr. Mohammed Al Bili, Salem Saeedan Al Rashidi, Director of Support Services at ADFD, Dr. Sulaiman Al-Kaabi, Assistant Dean for Professional Development in the College of Sciences and Head of the Physics Department at the University, to discuss opportunities for training students to develop their skills and expertise in relevant international centres such as CERN, where the two students will be studying. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Dubai Cares announces School Health Program in Vietnam

posted on 17/09/2014

Dubai Cares yesterday announced a new humanitarian investment of Dh 7,346,200 (USD 2 million) in a health and education programme in Vietnam, benefitting 905,000 children across 2,600 schools.

The programme aims to reduce the incidence of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) amongst students in Vietnam over a three year period and gradually eliminate one of the leading causes of student absenteeism in the country.

The programme supports the vision of Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to give children - regardless of their nationality, creed or religion- the opportunity to become positive contributors to society by eliminating the barriers to education that children in developing countries face on a daily basis.

His Highness's vision extends far and beyond the Middle East region, addressing the educational development agenda around the globe including countries such as Vietnam. NTDs such as Soil Transmitted Helminths (STH), more commonly known as intestinal worms, have long been known to limit physical and mental growth in children, affecting participation and productivity in schools. The World Health Organisation (WHO) - the United Nations public health arm -has called for greater efforts to control STH as a key priority as part of its larger neglected tropical disease (NTD) agenda.

In partnership with international development organisation Thrive Networks (formerly known as East Meets West Foundation), Dubai Cares will roll out the school-based deworming programme across four rural provinces in Vietnam, for improved health outcomes amongst students.

Commenting on the partnership and the programme in Vietnam, Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Cares said: "With programmes in 35 countries, Dubai Cares relies on key partnerships with organisations such as Thrive Networks to effectively implement a variety of programmes across the globe.

The affliction of STHs have resulted in serious challenges to the physical and educational development of many children and their communities worldwide, including those in Vietnam. These, and other parasitic diseases contribute to a high-level of infant, child and maternal malnutrition, which in turn impact children's learning capabilities. Through this programme, we will be supporting an integrated and holistic initiative that sees all members of the community work together to ensure success against this devastating issue." Under the partnership, Dubai Cares will work with Thrive Networks on a programme that combines sanitation and hygiene into deworming activities with the ultimate goal of delaying reinfection and increasing sustainability. As part of the programme, over 905,000 preschool and school-age children from 2,634 kindergartens and primary schools will benefit from deworming treatments. Along with treating the children, the programme will also train teachers and community health workers to administer the medicine to their students at school, thereby ensuring a cost-effective and scalable approach.

In addition, the programme will see teachers, amongst 10,000 individuals including health workers and local Vietnam Women's Union members, receiving training to deliver education in their communities on improving personal hygiene, handling food properly and eliminating unsafe soil fertilisation practices. The knowledge and educational components of the programme will ultimately benefit the wider community as it helps keep re-infestation rates low.

Thrive Networks Vietnam Country Director Minh Chau Nguyen said, " We are excited to launch a first of its kind integrated approach to deworming that includes improving access to sanitation and raising awareness of hygienic practices. The project offers a significant opportunity for the WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene in Schools) and NTD communities to collaborate, learn from each other, and generate evidence that will motivate global communities to adopt an integrated approach to help eradicate STH." – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Mohamed bin Zayed meets U.A.E. chess players

posted on 17/09/2014

His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the U.A.E. Armed Forces, has received a delegation from the U.A.E. Chess Federation, UAECF, headed by Saeed Mohammad Al Miqbali and Saud Mohammed Al Marzooqi, Manager of UAECF.

The delegation included chess players from different age groups who have made significant achievements in the Asian and regional championships, as well as gold, silver and bronze medals winners.

Speaking on the occasion, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed said he was impressed by the great achievements of male and female U.A.E. players so far in various tournaments, and stressed his confidence in their competence and the ability of U.A.E. cadres to attain high stature in many fields, including sports.

Sheikh Mohamed added, "Nations are built on brains and not the possession of wealth. It is through the leadership of men and women alike, an approach that needs to be adopted by all, is how a great civilisation is built and how a country develops a better future for its children and grandchildren." – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


U.A.E. eyes Guinness World Record with tennis ball mosaic

posted on 17/09/2014

The U.A.E. will seek to enter the Guinness World Records on Wednesday with the creation of a unique mosaic using only tennis balls on the tramlines of the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the International Tennis Federation (ITF).

The mosaic will be set up at the Events Arena of the Jumeirah Beach Hotel with top ITF dignitaries scheduled to visit the site at 5:30pm this afternoon.

This will be a first-time Guinness World Record using tennis balls to depict the three-finger peace and victory sign of His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the U.A.E. and Ruler of Dubai.

The attempt is one of the additional events happening during the course of this year's AGM.

"The Guinness World Record attempt is such a fantastic opportunity for the U.A.E. to be in the international limelight,” said Sara Baker, the General Secretary of Tennis Emirates.

"Tennis has a popular following here and I am sure we will have some movement at the grassroots level taking place due to the Guinness World Record attempt.

The ITF will also be conducting the draws for the preliminary rounds of the 2015 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas on Thursday (September 18).

On Sunday, the Davis Cup — one of the oldest sporting trophies — was unveiled and put on display at The Dubai Mall by Shaikh Hasher Al Maktoum, Shaikh Hasher Al Maktoum, President of Tennis Emirates and Director General of Dubai Information Department.

The trophy will be kept at The Dubai Mall until Thursday, when it will be shifted to the Madinat Jumeirah Hotel for the draw ceremony.

Scheduled to be held from September 16 to 18 under the patronage of Shaikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Sports Council (DSC), the annual meeting of the ITF has brought together nearly 200 top officials from the world of tennis from across the globe.

The hosting of such an important meeting falls within the strategic thinking of the Dubai Government at large and the DSC in particular.

Besides deliberating over several issues at the meeting, the delegates will also have an opportunity to take in the culture and heritage of the U.A.E. by participating in various social programmes put in place by the local organising committee.

"The unique part of the ITF AGM lies in the fact that this is the first time ever that such an important meeting is being held in west Asia or the Arab world and that's reason enough for us to be pleased,” Baker added.

Backed by Tennis Emirates, the Ministry of Interior, the DSC, the General Authority of Youth and Sports Welfare (GAYSW), the Road and Transport Authority (RTA), the Dubai Convention Bureau and Jumeirah Beach Hotel, the closed-door ITF AGM began in earnest at 9am on Tuesday. – Khaleej Times -§ion=nationsports