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Shurooq showcases Sharjah’s investment opportunities in Germany

posted on 05/03/2015

The Sharjah Investment and Development Authority, Shurooq, has launched a road-show in Stuttgart, the capital of the southwest German state of Baden-Wurttemberg.

With the support of the Baden-Wurttemberg International Agency for International Economic and Scientific Cooperation, Shurooq organised the seminar in Stuttgart on 2nd-3rd March, attended by Ahmed Al Qaseer, COO of Shurooq, Elie Jamil Armaly, Director of Business Development at Shurooq and Binu Pisharadi, Commercial Manager at Sharjah Health Authority and Sharjah Healthcare City, bringing attention to the multitude of investment opportunities in Sharjah, particularly in the healthcare sector. As part of the road-show, Shurooq also met with high level members of the Ministry of Finance and Economics of the Baden-Wurttemberg province.

Following the road-show, Shurooq will be participating in ITB Berlin, the world's largest tourism trade fair, which is taking place from 4th-7th March. This will be the eighth consecutive year the Authority is taking part in the business-to-business event, in line with its strategy to promote Sharjah as a leading investment destination, both in the region and the world, at major international events.

The road-show in Stuttgart builds upon a growing relationship between Sharjah and Germany. Earlier this year, Shurooq welcomed a German delegation at the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce to explore opportunities for increased cooperation with the healthcare sector of Europe's largest economy. In 2013, the Authority staged the first Sharjah-German Roundtable, attended by a group of German business leaders and several agencies from Sharjah.

Speaking of the road-show, Ahmad Al Qaseer said, "The burgeoning relationship between Sharjah and Germany shows enormous promise. We recently had the privilege of welcoming high-level representatives from across the spectrum of Germany's healthcare sector, which has an unparalleled reputation and has played an important part in the development of Sharjah's own healthcare sector. We were delighted to be invited to Stuttgart to showcase the multiplicity of investment opportunities in Sharjah – particularly the opportunities in what is set to become the largest healthcare hub in the UAE. Stuttgart is renowned for its stellar reputation for research and development, as a global hub for scientific, academic, and research organisations. Sharjah is focusing on and developing a burgeoning reputation of its own in these areas." There are more than 1,000 German companies in the UAE, while around 12,000 German nationals also live in the country. The UAE's Ministry of Economy forecasts that trade between the UAE and Germany could surge to 15 billion Euros over the next few years – an increase of almost 50 percent over 2013.

Speaking about the 2015 ITB Berlin exhibition, Ahmed Al Qaseer added, "Shurooq is delighted to once again participate in ITB Berlin, which provides an indispensable opportunity to promote Sharjah and highlight the rapid progress the emirate is making, on a truly international stage. It is a natural fit; the ITB is the largest tourism and trade fair on the planet, while Sharjah's unique tourist attractions are driving a travel and leisure market which is projected to soar to almost Dh2 billion by the end of the decade. We are also looking to highlight the opportunities available in Sharjah in other key sectors, such as the environment, healthcare, and transport and logistics." – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


UAE, Korea discuss stronger cooperation on food security, sustainable development

posted on 05/03/2015

Dr. Rashid Ahmed bin Fahad, Minister of Environment and Water, and South Korea's Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Lee Dong-phil, on Wednesday met to discuss ways of bolstering and promoting cooperation on food security and sustainable development in the service of the interests of their two countries.

During the meeting, Minister Bin Fahad stressed the UAE's interest in developing relations with South Korean in various spheres.

The two parties discussed Korean food exports to the UAE, the exchange of expertise and knowledge in areas relating to agriculture and modern equipment.

He also highlighted that the UAE has advanced infrastructure that has contributed to increasing food exports to Asia and Northern Africa.

The two parties also viewed their future plans and efforts to bolster sustainable development.

They agreed to prepare a memorandum of understanding on enhancing cooperation in sectors such as agriculture, food production and scientific research.

For his part, the South Korean minister expressed his country's interest in promoting trade and cooperation with the UAE.

He also praised the UAE for its notable efforts and food imports, exports and re-exports. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


ADNOC signs MoU with Korea's KNOC, KIGAM for cooperation on oil field development

posted on 05/03/2015

The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) on Wednesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Korea National Oil Corporation (KNOC) and Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources (KIGAM). The MoU provides for cooperation in research and development activities for oil fields development in UAE.

The agreement was signed by Abdulla Nasser Al Suwaidi, ADNOC's Director General, Moon Kyu Seo, KNOC's President and CEO and Kyu Han Kim, KIGAM President in the presence of a number of senior officials from all parties.

By entering into the MoU, ADNOC, KNOC and KIGAM have expressed their intentions to promote joint research and technological cooperation related to oil concessions in UAE. The scope of cooperation will include petroleum geology/geophysics/basin/geo-chemical analysis; reservoir characterisation by using field data; well stimulation and enhanced oil recovery considering the reservoir characteristics. ADNOC, KNOC and KIGAM also have plans for exchange of experts, regular technical seminars and workshops, aiming at promoting R&D cooperation.

Abdulla Nasser Al Suwaidi, ADNOC Director General, said "initiatives such as the recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between ADNOC, KNOC and KIGAM reinforce ADNOC's commitment to grow its oil and gas portfolio capacity and demonstrate that ADNOC have a road map to achieve this objective through research and development (R&D.)" "ADNOC fully believes in the importance of scientific research and modern technology in enhancing oil recovery, for that end we are seeking to build constructive partnerships with the major international companies to provide a solid research and development that contribute to our efforts aiming at increasing ADNOC's oil and gas portfolio capacity", he added.

On his part Kyu Han Kim, President of KIGAM, said, "Through the MoU, KIGAM is going to expand joint research collaborations with UAE, the oil-producing country with advanced technologies". He also added that as a leading organisation responsible for R&D program, KIGAM is committed to do its best to make sure that joint research and exchange of experts will go as smoothly as planned.

Moon Kyu Seo, President and CEO of KNOC, said that "We highly anticipate this MoU will be able to give a momentum for ADNOC, KNOC and KIGAM to implement field oriented R&D programs in our concessions. And I hope this cooperation in R&D will contribute to benefits in technology and economics of Haliba's appraisal and development." It is expected that this partnership between UAE and Korea will be helpful not only to strengthen the R&D capabilities of all the parties(ADNOC, KIGAM, and KNOC), but also to bring higher productivity to the oil field business, currently operated by Al Dhafra.

Korea Abu Dhabi Oil Corporation (KADOC), the Korean Consortium which joins KNOC and GS Energy is currently engaging in development activities in three oil concessions. Al Dhafra Petroleum Operations Company, a product of a Joint Venture and Field Entry Agreement that was signed in 2012 between ADNOC and KADOC, is now engaging in overall activities in the three oil concessions. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


ADNOC announces crude prices for February

posted on 05/03/2015

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, ADNOC, has announced its crude oil prices for February.

A company statement said that the prices are as follows: Murban US$56.55 per barrel, Das US$56.05, and Upper Zakum US$53.80 per barrel.

ADNOC announces its crude oil prices retrospectively on monthly basis. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Dubai top city in the Middle East for quality of living

posted on 05/03/2015

Dubai ranked first in the Middle East and Africa region for quality of living, according to a report released on Wednesday by human resources consultancy Mercer.

The 2015 Quality of Living report, which ranks 230 cities, indicates that Dubai was ranked 74th globally, having dropped one spot from 2014, while Abu Dhabi took the 77th spot, up one place from 2014.

In another report by the Alumni Association of graduate business school Insead released November last year, Dubai was ranked the most attractive place to live in terms of professional and private life. The report surveyed respondents of 35 different nationalities to rate 15 key cities in the world in terms of economic dynamism (quality of labour, access to funding); quality of life (sports and cultural facilities, air quality); cost of living (real estate, dining, entertainment) and overall attractiveness (young talent, access to technology). Dubai ranked first in economic dynamism, third in overall attractiveness and fourth in terms of quality of life and cost of living.

As per Mercer's report, most of the countries in the region maintained a stable position compared with 2014, with Amman, for instance, climbing five places to 122, according to the report. However, Beirut dropped eight places to rank 181, while Cairo fell nine places to 170.

Vienna was the city with the best quality of living for the second consecutive year. It was followed by Zurich, Auckland, and Munich, having taken the second, third, and fourth place respectively. Fifth-place was taken by Vancouver, followed by Singapore at 26.

Infrastructure has a big effect on the quality of living that expatriates experience, said Nuno Gomes, Information Solutions Middle East Leader at Mercer, in a statement.

"While often taken for granted when functioning to a high standard, a city's infrastructure can generate severe hardship when it is deficient. Companies need to provide adequate allowances to compensate their international workers for these and other hardships,” Gomes added.

He said that multinational companies need to be aware of current events and local circumstances to ensure their expatriates are compensated appropriately and an adequate hardship allowance is included in compensation packages.

"Factors such as internal stability, law enforcement effectiveness, crime levels and medical facilities are important to consider when deciding on an international assignment, and the impact on daily life that could be encountered by the expatriate in overseas placements,” he said.

Mercer's report considers a city's political and social environment, medical care and health considerations, public services, recreation facilities and natural environment, among others. – Gulf News -


Etisalat and Ericsson sign strategic partnership to advance 5G Technology

posted on 05/03/2015

Etisalat Group and Ericsson have entered a strategic partnership to develop the next generation of mobile technology, 5G, with exchange of knowledge, share pioneering solutions and tap into the potential of the latest technology, which will help deliver the future Networked Society.

Last year, Etisalat announced that it was aiming to be the first company in the region to roll out 5G in the coming years and has already demonstrated 115Gbps data transmission rate capability as part of the development of 5G. The technology will be vital to support the growing demand for data required by customers. With faster speeds, lower latency and better performance in highly dense areas, 5G is an evolution of the user experience. In addition, it will enable new device-to-device and Machine-to-Machine applications that will impact traffic safety control, tactile internet and industry.

The partnership will also tap into the potential of the 450Mbps LTE speed that can be accomplished thanks to its License Assisted Access (LAA) technology. LAA will help to improve mobile data speeds and reduce congestion, benefiting all wireless network users, and spearheads the journey to 5G.

Hatem Bamatraf, Chief Technology Officer, Etisalat Group said: "Etisalat is at the forefront of technological development. Our belief in mobile broadband and dedication to innovation drives us to be the first telco to roll out 5G. Partnership is essential to bringing 5G to the market and, through our collaboration with Ericsson, we hope to gain a deeper understanding of the full potential of 5G, and subsequently, accelerate the transition to a Networked Society." Rafiah Ibrahim, President Ericsson Region Middle East and East Africa: "Today, Etisalat stands at the forefront of leading the transformation in the Networked Society. With this enormous transformation that our industry is witnessing, Etisalat has a significant role to play – not just in the evolution of communication, but in the evolution of businesses and society as a whole. Through our strategic partnership, we will explore together with Etisalat the possibilities and opportunities that 5G technology brings." Ericsson is working to ensure that 5G will enable the thousands of new use cases, to evolve existing technologies, research complementary ones, and work toward a smooth transition to 5G that provides benefit without impact on carbon footprint. The aim of 5G is to build on the maturity that telecom systems have already reached; 5G will bring the evolved versions of existing radio-access, cloud and core technologies together with some new complementary technologies, to cater for more traffic, more devices and more types.

5G is a shift in mind set: moving from the one-size-serves-all networks with vertical infrastructures to agile networks that can be programmatically built for specific high-level use cases.

Today's networks support just over 7 billion subscriptions with voice, data and mobile-broadband services. The mobile data traffic in Q1, 2014 exceeded the total mobile data traffic in 2011. In 2020, there will be more than 9 billion subscriptions, and billions of things will be connected – all with varying needs. Some will need low-cost connectivity or solutions that consume a minimal amount of energy. Others will require very high speeds to transfer critical data in real time or will need massive amounts of bandwidth. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


DFM's market capitalisation increased at the end of February by 6.4% to Dh 349.3 billion

posted on 05/03/2015

The Dubai Financial Market General Index increased by 5.2% to 3864.7 points at the end of February compared to 3674.4 points at the end of January. The Financial & Investment services index decreased the most by 10.1% and the Real Estate and Construction index up 7.7%, and the Insurance index increased by 4.6%. In contrast, the Industrial index down by 16.9%, and Transportation index down 0.4% The market capitalisation increased at the end of this month by 6.4% to reach Dh 349.3 billion compared to Dh 328.3 billion at the end of January. The value of shares traded reached during this month Dh 13.3 billion, compared to Dh 15.3 billion recorded during January, down by 12.6%. The number of shares traded decreased by 7.7% to reach 8.2 billion shares during this month compared to 8.9 billion shares traded during January. The number of transactions executed during February down by 17.8% to reach 130.9 thousands compared to 159.2 thousand deals carried out during the previous month.

As for the sectors' contribution to trading volumes, the Real Estate and Construction sector ranked first in terms of the traded value, to reach Dh 8.2 billion, or 61.6% of the total traded value in the market. Banking sector ranked second at Dh 2.2 billion or 16.3%, followed by The Financial & Investment services sector with Dh 1.7 billion or 12.4%. The Transportation sector with Dh 587.5 million or 4.4%, the Consumer and Discretionary sector with Dh 371.7 million or 2.8%, the Services sector with Dh 133.7 million or 1.0%, the Insurance sector with Dh 87.8 million or 0.7%, and the Telecommunication sector with Dh 80.7 million or 0.6%, and the Industrial sector with Dh 40.5 or 0.3%.

The value of stocks bought by foreign investors during this month reached Dh 6.7 billion comprising 50.3% of the total traded value. The value of stocks sold by foreign investors during the same period reached Dh 6.6 billion comprising 49.7% of the total value traded. Accordingly, DFM net foreign investment in-flow reached Dh 69.6 million.

On the other hand, the value of stocks bought by institutional investors during this month reached Dh 4 billion comprising 30.1% of the total traded value. The value of stocks sold by institutional investors during the same period reached Dh 3.8 billion which constitutes 28.5% of the total value traded. DFM net institutional investment in-flow amounted to Dh 209.6 million. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Dubai Film and TV commission reduces its processing fees

posted on 05/03/2015

The Dubai Film and TV Commission, DFTC, the organisation committed to establishing Dubai and the UAE as a premier filming destination for local and international productions, is pleased to announce that it has reduced its processing fees to all filmmakers and producers in Dubai.

In its commitment to ensuring an easy, cost effective and outstanding filming experience to filmmakers and producers, DFTC has reduced the processing fees from Dh800 to Dh500 per application for each project filmed in Dubai. Permit applications must be submitted a minimum of five (5) business days prior to the first filming day, and location fees remain the same as per fees structure on DFTC website.

Jamal Al Sharif, Chairman of Dubai Film and TV Commission and Managing Director of Dubai Studio City, said, "One of DFTC's goals and objectives is to develop initiatives to reduce cost of media production in Dubai and with this we are moving in the correct direction. We know that every dirham spent in productions makes a big difference to the producer, whether it's a big budget film, TVC, TV series or a corporate video. We are really keen to provide a filming experience to those producers that is cost effective, inclusive of all facilities they get in well-known production cities and with a full wide range of locations and advanced infrastructure." Jamal added, "The media industry lives off creative and innovative people, hence providing an efficient and flexible film production environment in Dubai is important for the growth of pool of talents. We have an ongoing vision and plan in doing so, and it is essential for us to ease the production process for all filmmakers and producers. We are working on more initiatives to further reduce costs for filming in Dubai, which will be announced in the near future."

Since its establishment in 2012, DFTC has been embracing an ongoing plan to ease film production in the city, and has introduced a number of initiatives and projects to ensure a seamless filming process, and to facilitate the emirate's production industry. Another key initiative introduced by DFTC last year is the Automated Registration System, which was launched in June 2014 to streamline the permit application and approval process for filmmakers through an automated script clearance and film permitting system.

Registration to apply for a filming permit is quick and easy. Applicants will be asked to provide company details, documentation supporting your establishment (e.g. trade license) and passport and visa copies of the named manager on the trade license. Once a request has been approved, the applicant will be sent login credentials via email.

The system will automatically store their information, so the applicant will not be required to re-enter it for each application. Applicants are urged to keep their company information updated in the system, including trade license renewals. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Phase 2 of Etihad Rail on track

posted on 05/03/2015

The government has released Dh700 million as an initial allotment to start construction on the second phase of the Etihad Rail project, Minister of Public Works Abdullah Bel Haif Al Nuaimi said.

Al Nuaimi made the announcement as he briefed the press on Wednesday on the forthcoming MENA Rail Conference and Exhibition, which is scheduled to be held in Dubai on March 17-18. He said the contract for phase 2 of the Etihad Rail project has been awarded.

"Etihad Rail project is on track and it is moving as per schedule. The government is funding phase two of the project because this has immense strategic value and we will make sure the project is delivered on time,” said Al Nuaimi.

The 628-kilometre-long Phase Two connects the 264-kilometre-long Phase One to Mussaffah and Khalifa Port in Abu Dhabi, Jebel Ali in Dubai and to the Saudi and Omani borders. Phase One, which was completed at a cost of Dh4.7 billion, runs between Shah and Habshan to Ruwais in Abu Dhabi.

The federal rail network is estimated to cost around Dh40 billion, but the breakdown of expenditure in Phase Two was not immediately available.

The 1,200-km Etihad Rail line will link major industrial zones, cities and ports, connecting all the emirates of the UAE, and will eventually connect with the GCC railway.

However, he hinted that there could be some delays in the completion of the GCC Rail link which is scheduled to be ready by 2018.

"When the project was first announced in 2008 it was scheduled to be ready by 2018. From our side we are ready and Saudi officials have also confirmed that they are ready but we don't have similar confirmations from other GCC countries. A GCC transport ministers' meeting is scheduled in November and we will only have a clear picture then,” he said.

The 2,177-km-long GCC rail network will link all six GCC states by rail for the first time, providing an alternative to air or sea travel for both goods and passengers in the region, and was initially scheduled to be fully operational in 2018.

According to Al Nuaimi, a realistic date for full operation of the GCC Rail could be 2020.

"We are all working towards a common goal. All the parties have agreed on the technology to be used and other specifications. Each country will link its rail line as and when it is ready and the network will be operated in a unified system,” he said.

Delving into the reasons for possible delays, he hinted that sinking oil prices could be one of the issues.

"Lower oil prices are impacting everyone but it won't be a hindrance in the completion of such a vital project. It might cause a slight delay but it is highly unlikely that it will have any adverse impact on the project,” said Al Nuaimi.

Setting the ground for rail operations, the Ministry of Public Works is currently formulating federal rail regulations.

"A couple of months ago we got an approval from the cabinet to work on the law and by the end of this year, we hope the new regulations will be ratified by the government,” he informed.

They will cover various aspects of rail operations as well as dealing with land acquisition and compensation.

Speaking about the MENA Rail Conference, he said the conference, which is being organised jointly by the UAE Federal Transport Authority and the ministry, will see the launch of several rail projects, including Metro, high speed rail and federal rail networks cross the region.

To be held at Dubai World Trade Centre, the event will see the participation of around 6,000 delegates and 162 presenters from 72 countries. – Gulf News -


UAE hands over 200 buses to Egypt s public transport sector

posted on 05/03/2015

CAIRO: The UAE has delivered 200 buses to Egypt as part of a plan to provide 600 units to Egypt's public transport sector.

A special ceremony was organised at Abdeen Square to mark the handing over of the buses in the presence of Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State and Chairman of Coordination Office of UAE-funded Development Projects in Egypt, and senior Egyptian officials.

One hundred buses were made by the Abu Dhabi-based Hafilat Industries LLC, and the other 100 were made by the Egypt-based GB Polo Buses Manufacturing S.A.E. (GB Polo).

The UAE's bus project is aimed at reducing traffic congestion in the Egyptian capital and serves some 600,000 citizens. It will also reduce the public transport fare by 50 percent and increase road safety.

In a statement, Minister Al Jaber said that the initiative is in line with the directives of UAE leaders and their unwavering stance on Egypt and its efforts to fulfil the ambitions of the Egyptian people in all spheres, as well as to provide practical responses to challenges.

"UAE development projects are notable for being swiftly implemented to benefit the ordinary people at the earliest," he added.

For his part, Governor of Cairo, Jalal Mustafa Saeed, praised the UAE for its efforts and unwavering support for Egypt.

He described the UAE's efforts and stance as sincere and said that Egyptians love the UAE and greatly appreciate its efforts.

He noted that firm relations were established by the late founding father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, whose approach is being followed by his sons.

The governor also noted that the UAE-funded projects in Egypt benefit more than 10 million citizens and are set to create some 900,000 jobs.

The buses, he added, will reduce the use of private vehicles and help ease congestion. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Hamdan bin Zayed orders Dh10m donation for Syrian, Iraqi refugees in Lebanon

posted on 05/03/2015

H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in the Western Region and President of the Emirates Red Crescent (ERC) has given instructions to the agency to allocate Dh10 million for helping Syrian and Iraqi refugees in Lebanon who were affected by the bitterly cold winter weather.

Sixteen thousand refugee families, including 1,000 from Iraq, will receive the winter aid which will include food supplies, healthcare supplies, blankets, warm clothes and medicines in the next three weeks, said Secretary-General of the ERC, Mohammed Ateeq Al Falahi.

Al Falahi noted that the agency is intensifying its efforts to continue to carry out the Tarahamu ('Show Compassion') humanitarian campaign which was launched by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and was supported by Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

The targeted Iraqi refugees were forced out of camps in Iraq's Kurdistan by heavy snow and rain.

In early January, and as part of the UAE's response to the plight of the refugees in the Levant, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed launched the Show Compassion campaign with the aim of providing warmth to one million people to help them survive the harsh winter as the Levant countries were hit by snowstorms which caused temperatures to drop to below zero.

He also ordered an airlift to transport winter clothing, blankets, food and other essential items to the refugees in Jordan and Lebanon, in addition to the affected people in Gaza and other parts of Palestine. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Dubai Airports organises writing contest as part of Emirates Airline Festival of Literature

posted on 05/03/2015

Dubai Airports is organising a travel-related writing contest on Twitter as part of its sponsorship of the Emirati Strand at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature 2015.

Open to everyone globally, the contest accepts original Arabic or English poetry and prose related to travel, not exceeding 110 characters, on twitter. Participants can also support their text with an image using Dubai Airports' Instagram page. The winner will be selected by Dubai Airports based on the originality of the entry and the number of ‘favourites' and ‘retweets' it receives online. The winner will be announced on the final day of the festival on March 7th.

Anita Mehra, Vice President of Communications and Business Development at Dubai Airports, commented, "We believe that using social media to organise the contest is a great way to connect with a global audience and encourage more and more people to be creative and express themselves through their writing." "This is the fifth year of our association with the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature as sponsors of the Emirati Strand, and we are very pleased with the way the festival as a whole and the Emirati segment in particular has grown over the years," she said.

The Emirati Strand offers budding and established indigenous authors and thinkers a platform to present their work to international audience and make reading and writing popular.

Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the five-day festival opened on March 3rd, and features more than 120 award winning authors, poets and journalists from around the world. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


12th edition of the Sharjah Biennial gets underway today

posted on 05/03/2015

The 12th edition of the Sharjah Biennial (SB12), the longest running and perhaps most influential contemporary art event in the Gulf, opens today, 5 March under the title "The Past, The Present, The Possible".

Organised by Sharjah Art Foundation and curated by Eungie Joo, a former curator at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, the Biennial will showcase works by 50 artists from 20 countries, 36 of whom will be presenting newly commissioned pieces, some in unexpected sites throughout the city of Sharjah and beyond, extending to the emirate's eastern coast.

SB12 opening programme will feature a range of events including performances, film screenings and tours.

In the 2013's edition, around 90,000 people visited the event.

"Sharjah Biennial 12: The Past, The Present, The Possible", various venues, Sharjah, 5 March-5 June.


RAK TDA welcomes Disney’s Cinderella spectacle

posted on 05/03/2015

Tourism Development Authority, RAK TDA, in collaboration with Red Curtain, is delighted to announce that one of the most famous Disney versions of a children's fairy tale of all time, Cinderella, will be performed in Ras al-Khaimah at the Convention Centre of Rixos Bab al Bahr, starting on the 5th of March for a 3-day run.

H2 productions, the producers behind the show, have been producing family theatrical productions in the UK for 20 years and for the last 8 years, they have been enthralling and delighting audiences in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Cairo and Muscat. With over 250 performances in the Middle East, H2 productions looks forward to captivating audiences in Ras al-Khaimah.

A professional cast of 10 musical theatre performers will travel from the UK for this production and the combination of experienced comedy actors and an exuberant young ensemble will amaze audiences with their vocal and dancing abilities.

Steven Rice, Chief Executive Officer, Ras al-Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, said, "Ras al-Khaimah's numerous line up of world class performances and events, in addition to its natural assets of beach and nature combined with the great portfolio of world-class hotel brands, make it the best destination for domestic and international holiday makers." Tickets for the show will be sold at kiosks in Manar Mall and Hamra Mall, as well as on Ticket Master. Performances will take place twice a day, at 4:30 p.m. and at 8:30 p.m. from March 5th - March 7th. Tickets range between Dh150 and 250. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Emoji app celebrates Emirati culture

posted on 05/03/2015

A smartphone app with emojis created specifically for the UAE has been launched.

Instead of generic smiley faces, hand signals and heart-shaped symbols, Dubai Emoji features famous landmarks, cultural symbols and Arabic phrases.

It was created by American expatriate Derrick Branford as a way of "giving back to Dubai”.

"Most of the locals I spoke to wanted Arab hand gestures, the anti-evil eye and the sports teams, and CrossFit emoji, as that's what's popular here,” said Mr Branford.

"The main priority was to make sure I represented the city as a whole, without replicating anything which already existed. I wanted to give back something that was fun and a celebration of Dubai, as we all want to celebrate Dubai for the life it gives us.”

The app features 70 symbols including a dokha pipe, yolla dance, Dubai Expo 2020, aviator sunglasses, dates and tea.

Emirati Saeed bin Sulaiman downloaded the US$1.99 (Dh7.5) app on the first day of its release on Tuesday.

He said many symbols have deep cultural significance, with one of the hand gestures, for example, commonly known as the sign for waiting among Emiratis. "It's what our mums did to us when we were out in front of other people, but we knew when she did that we were in so much trouble when we got home,” he said.

Other emojis such as football team badges are already proving popular. "I've already used almost all of the signs,” said Mr bin Sulaiman.

Faris Al Hammadi, also Emirati, said: "This gives us an identity. Some of the current mainstream emojis are perhaps against our culture but this is actually for us. Culturally we relate to it – the hand movements, the clothing. I think it's going to be wonderful.”

Dubai Emoji can be downloaded from the Apple App Store. – The National -


Yas Marina to host the Zayed Marathon 2015

posted on 05/03/2015

Leading stakeholders of the UAE Government joined forces yesterday at Yas Marina Circuit to announce the launch of the Zayed Marathon 2015, the day the UAE runs together.

Held on 21st March, the race is organised by the Armed Forces Officers Club in collaboration with Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi Sports Council, and SEHA, the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company.

All of these large corporate and government agencies are supporting the run in order to foster healthier and fitter communities, a sense of inclusiveness among the UAE's residents and to celebrate the country's national identity.

It was also announced that registrations are now open for the annual event, which raises money for the Healthy Kidney Foundation, and is open to runners of all abilities, aiming to get members of the community fit and active by running together. All proceeds from the Dh100 registration fee will go to the Healthy Kidney Foundation.

The Zayed Marathon honours the country's founding President, the late Sheikh Zayed, an avid supporter of kidney charities, and is held under the patronage of H.H Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs.

Featuring a brand new pro-field category for more experienced runners, the Zayed Marathon is the only run in the region to offer a mixture of traditional UAE heritage and fitness and encourages runners of all abilities from beginners to the more advanced to get active and run together.

Two distances, a 10K and 5K run around the iconic F1 circuit, are open to participants of all ages and nationalities, and there is also a 5K "Hand Cycle" race for wheelchair competitors. There is a total prize fund of Dh250,000 this year, with cash prizes awarded for first, second and third places in all events.

This year, for the first time, all entrants to the Zayed Marathon will have their BMI index and other data measured on site as part of the Yas Marina Circuit's ongoing ‘Big Data' health audit initiative to benchmark the UAE's activity habits.

Lt. General Mohammed Al Kaabi, of the Armed Forces Officers Club, said "The Zayed Marathon seems to get bigger and better every year, and has become a key event in the Abu Dhabi health and fitness calendar.

"It's a fantastic opportunity for people – whether they're seasoned athletes or complete beginners – to come together for a great cause, have some fun and of course enjoy the fitness benefits. We are honoured to be continuing the work of Sheikh Zayed, raising money and awareness of the Healthy Kidney Foundation," he added.