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Hamdan bin Mubarak, Australian Minister of Trade and Investment sign

posted on 16/04/2014

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, and Andrew Robb, the Australian Minister for Trade and Investment, yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the development of policies with respect to higher education, vocational education and training, research and the opportunities for citizens of each country to study in the country of the other.

The MoU stipulates the development and setting up of professional reference standards to improve and facilitate the recognition of qualifications and accreditation, make the necessary arrangements, and the strengthening of arrangements for the transfer of any courses between institutions in both countries, as well as to identify opportunities for the development and strengthening of the bonds of cooperation between them.

The MoU also stipulates the exchange of information in areas of mutual and common interests such as systems and standards of higher education, vocational education and training, and research applied in the two countries, along with teaching materials, curricula, standards and accreditation systems and designations of grades awarded to assist in the interpretation and evaluation of scientific degrees, diplomas and certificates.

The MoU aims to boost bilateral trade, investment and cultural relations between Australia and the Arab region. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Car demand strongest in UAE, Middle East

posted on 16/04/2014

Car sales in the UAE and the rest of the Middle East, Africa and Pakistan (MEAP) region are likely to get a major boost in the next two years, when nearly eight out of every 10 people will buy a new or pre-owned vehicle, a new survey suggests.

According to a new study by Nielsen, a global provider of information and insights into what consumers watch and buy, demand for automobiles in the MEAP region, as well as in Latin America, will be the strongest in the world, with 75 per cent of consumers saying they intend to buy a car in the next couple of years.

Nielsen's Global Survey of Automotive Demand polled more than 30,000 Internet users in 60 countries to identify where vehicle demand is greatest and find out the common motivators for car purchase.

Demand will be second strongest in Asia-Pacific, where 72 per cent of respondents intend to buy a car. More than half of North Americans (56 per cent) and half of Europeans (50 per cent) expect to acquire a new or used car in the next 24 months. Within the MEAP region, demand will be highest in Pakistan (78 per cent), followed by UAE, Egypt (74 per cent) and Saudi Arabia (72 per cent).

Akash Pal, executive director for consumer insights at Nielsen Africa and Middle East, said the strong demand can be attributed to the increase in consumer confidence levels and growing expatriate population. The positive business environment, competitive interest rates and ownership costs, as well as the lack of more efficient public transportation, are also lifting car demand in the region.

"We expect a surge in demand based on [the factors mentioned]. It will also mean increased competition as consumers will expect better value for money and more importantly, after sales service,” Pal told Gulf News.

For the last few years following the global recession, car sales have enjoyed a steady recovery, with automobile dealers reporting double-digit sales growth. Porsche Middle East recently reported a 26 per cent jump in sales between 2012 and 2013. German car giant Audi Middle East recorded a 16.3 per cent growth across the GCC and Levant during the same period.

"The current public transport system is evolving at a very fast pace in Dubai, however, personal transport is still considered a must here,” said Robin The, MRIC country manager and UAE director of valuations and advisory at Chesterton Middle East and North Africa.

He said that Dubai's successful bid to host the World Expo in 2020, the present surge in the UAE economy and growing number of expatriates will influence the demand for personal transport and "trigger the growth parameters” for the automobile industry. "This will also have an impact on our cars valuation business,” he added.

It's not just new cars that are selling well. In the UAE, consumers are spending Dh50,000 to Dh60,000 on second-hand vehicles. According to Carla Magano, sales representative at Philippine Used Cars in Sharjah, sales of pre-owned vehicles are on the up.

"There's been a fast turnover of stocks at our showroom. Of the 20 to 25 units that we get monthly, we sell 15 cars. We've been getting more inquiries from potential buyers. The rise in demand has been due to faster loan approvals and easier access to car financing,” Magano told Gulf News. – Gulf News – Read more: http://gulfnews.com/business/general/car-demand-strongest-in-uae-middle-east-1.1319917


Expo 2020 impact will spread beyond UAE borders

posted on 16/04/2014

The hosting of Expo 2020 in Dubai will reshape the way business is being done in the UAE and the region and the spillover of the event will positively impact the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and wider Middle East, North Africa and South Asia region (Menasa), according to experts from global professional services firm Deloitte.

As the first-ever World Expo to be held in the Menasa region, Deloitte analysts say Dubai Expo 2020 will undoubtedly have an impact beyond the borders of Dubai and the UAE.

"While close to US$7 billion [Dh25.7 billion] has reportedly been earmarked for development and infrastructure projects in Dubai so far, and tens of millions of visitors are expected in the first six months, the fact that Dubai is itself strategically located within four hours of a third of the world's population this Expo has potential for wider impact leading up to the event and afterwards for years to come,” said Mutasem Dajani, Deloitte's UAE regional managing partner.

Experts say beyond commerce there is also a real human development dimension to the Expo, with investment and job creation expected to benefit the regional economies.

The construction, tourism, hospitality and leisure sectors have obvious potential to benefit from development spending and job creation. Technological innovators in conventional and alternative energy as well as engineering, urban planning and logistics will also likely see a host of in-region opportunities.

In a city where hotel occupancies are already high, Expo 2020 is estimated to require an additional 50,000 rooms in more than 200 properties of all categories from budget through to luxury, which is expected to create 100,000 new jobs in tourism and hospitality (out of 277,000 employment opportunities in total). The impact is therefore bound to be felt in neighbouring cities, particularly Abu Dhabi, as they absorb part of this demand.

Pundits are expecting a significant boost in the previously predicted growth rates of 4 per cent in the economy (Shanghai achieved 13 per cent GDP growth in the five years leading up to the 2010 Expo). Bank of Americal Merrill Lynch estimates a boost to the Dubai economy of US$23 billion between now and 2020 and Arabia Monitor predicts that total receipts from visitors to Expo 2020 could reach US$60 billion.

"There is no doubt that Expo 2020 will have a significant impact on Dubai and act as a catalyst, further energising the hospitality, leisure, retail and consumer businesses here,” said Anis Sadek, Deloitte's Dubai managing partner. "It only takes a quick analysis of the impact of an expected additional 20 million international visitors over a six-month period to see that significant investment in hospitality and retail infrastructure will be required.”

Experts say there are likely to be a number of secondary and indirect effects to the financial advisory services, in addition to the direct opportunities to advise on the capital for projects to build new infrastructure.

Hosting Expo 2020 in Dubai is likely to boost the attractiveness of Dubai as a base for overseas companies wishing to invest in the Middle East. "It is easy to forget that there are still a great many companies around the world that do not have operations in the Middle East and have never invested here, and Expo 2020 should be yet another important component of any strategy to give Dubai a more prominent place in the business world,” said Humphry Hatton, CEO of Deloitte Corporate Finance. – Gulf News – Read more: http://gulfnews.com/business/economy/expo-2020-impact-will-spread-beyond-uae-borders-1.1319807


More renewable energy needed to avoid catastrophic climate change: IRENA Director General

posted on 16/04/2014

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) reinforced the call to action from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to limit global temperature increase and avert catastrophic climate change in a statement issued yesterday.

The transition to a sustainable global energy mix must be accelerated, the Agency said, in order to reduce global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 40-70 percent compared with 2010 by 2050.

Renewable energy, IRENA highlights, is the economically viable and technologically proven option to keep CO2 levels below the widely accepted threshold of 450 parts per million (ppm).

"The latest report by the IPCC reconfirms that averting catastrophic climate change is possible if we act now. But we need to act decisively. Renewable energy, in combination with energy efficiency, provides the most affordable and technologically mature path to bring about the necessary change,"

Adnan Z. Amin, IRENA's Director-General, said at the opening of the World Green Economy Summit in Dubai. "The accelerated deployment of renewable energy significantly reduces energy-related carbon dioxide emissions at a reasonable cost, and also provides other benefits, including enhanced energy security, more local jobs and value-creation, and a cleaner and healthier environment."

With an average concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere of 398 ppm at the beginning of 2014, renewable energy provides a path to lower energy-related CO2 emissions and will help prevent a build-up of atmospheric CO2 beyond 450ppm, the widely accepted threshold to keep global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by 2100.

Based on the world's current path, annual global energy-related CO2 emissions will rise from 30 gigatonnes (Gt) in 2010 to 41.4 Gt in 2030, according to IRENA estimates. The IRENA global roadmap for a transition to a sustainable energy future.

"REmap 2030", due to be published in May, shows that renewable energy can reduce emissions by 8.6 Gt to an estimated 32.8 Gt in 2030. Based on numbers from the International Energy Agency, energy efficiency can yield an additional 7.3 Gt reduction, resulting in global energy-related CO2 emissions of 25.5 Gt by 2030. In addition to improvements in energy efficiency, this path would include a quadrupling of the share of modern renewable energy sources in the global energy mix by 2030.

The renewable energy transition also has positive socio-economic impacts. Investments in renewable energy will create an additional 11 million jobs globally by 2030, and reduce the dependence on imported energy.

Accounting already for around half of all new additions to power generation capacity worldwide, renewable technologies are the most economical solution for new capacity in an increasing number of countries and regions. Renewable energy has entered into a virtuous circle of falling costs, increased deployment and accelerated technological progress.

IRENA emphasized that the world needs concrete actions and partnerships to mitigate climate change. In this context IRENA welcomed the upcoming Abu Dhabi Ascent to the Summit, a high-level meeting hosted by the United Arab Emirates on May 4 and 5 to generate momentum for the UN Climate Summit in September.

The Abu Dhabi Ascent focuses on tangible actions and partnerships for countries, businesses and organizations. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


World Green Economy Summit explores creative solutions towards sustainable green economy

posted on 16/04/2014

Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Vice Chairman, Dubai Supreme Council of Energy and CEO, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), opened the World Green Economy Summit yesterday by highlighting the UAE's achievements in advancing the green economy. "This Summit will help us to achieve economic and social development as we seek to battle climate change, and form a roadmap towards a greener economy." The opening plenary, titled, Laying the Foundation for a Green Economy, commenced with plenary opening session from Adnan Z Amin Director General, IRENA.

Reem Ebrahim Al Hashimy, Minister of State, and Managing Director of the Higher Committee on Hosting the World Expo 2020, told the opening session, "We want to be a centre of energy. We have a strong hydrocarbon base, but relying on oil reserves has never been our strategy. 30% of our country's GDP is oil based, with less than 5% in Dubai. The promise of a green sustainable long term form of energy has guided not just IRENA but also the EXPO 2020 campaign. We are committed to delivering one of the most green expos ever and are looking at how we can design a site and a mechanism that is sustainable. To be able to do this, we need to start in advance, and we look to international partners to play their role. The legacy of our EXPO site has to live beyond the six months of World EXPO." "We all have a stake in the green economy and one of the most sobering issues for me is that averting catastrophic climate change is possible, but only if we act now and triple renewable energy deployment in the near term. People often ask why IRENA is based in a hydro carbon economy - I say it exists here, in the UAE because this is where the vision is." Adnan Z Amin, Director General, IRENA commented before the panellists commenced their debate.

Hakima El Haite, Minister of Environment, Morocco, commenting on the changes being made in Morocco to drive a green economy, said, "In Morocco we have started institutional and legal reforms in order to start work towards a green and sustainable economy. 96% of our energy comes from outside, but our goal is to reduce that to 40% by 2020 - highlighting the imperative for more sustainable energy sources. The State needs to be the example that we follow; all policies need to focus on green growth - something that we adopted as a measure to fight poverty and create growth." Alun Davies, Minister of Natural Resources and Food, Government of Wales, focused on, "The challenge facing all of us, is how we will drive growth in the 21st century, and how we will work together as nations and regions. Energy will be a key component of future industrial growth, and this needs to be clean and renewable. How we achieve that will vary across the world - in Wales, we are taking an old economy and adapting it to meet new challenges for future generations, whereby government has to make decisions based on the impact on the future. We want to drive behavioural change and the way in which our economy works. One of the most exciting challenges facing us is how we power the economy of the future. People, society, government, and business must work in partnership to ensure that around the globe we can all learn lessons for future generations." The World Green Economy Summit (WGES) is the first event based on improving the profitability of sustainability practices, products and services in the Middle East and North Africa region, bringing together world leaders, united in pursuing a sustainable future for humanity to forge global partnerships that accelerate the transition to a green economy.

WGES is an initiative of Dubai Electricity '&' Water Authority (DEWA) and will be held under the theme 'Global Partnerships, Sustainable Future', in partnership with World Climate Ltd. WGES looks to complement the sustainable future vision of the UAE and the global efforts to combat climate change, and will be held at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre on 15th and 16 April 2014. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Plastic waste turns a death trap for animals in UAE

posted on 16/04/2014

Deaths of wild animals caused by their by ingesting discarded waste, especially plastics, is increasing in the UAE's deserts as the discarded rubbish is reaching epidemic proportions, underlining the need for more deterrent measures, according to prominent UAE-based scientist, Dr. Ulli Wernery.

"You have plastic in your stomach, it disintegrates slowly and releases a lot of different poisons and then it damages and destroys mainly the intestines and the liver," Dr. Wernery, who is the Scientific Director at Dubai's Central Veterinary Research Laboratory (CVRL), said.

"Death by plastic, a modern phenomenon, takes months, if not years, in most cases, and happens in one of three excruciating ways," Dr. Wernery said in an article published by the Khaleej Times daily. He said that in the first, and most commonplace way, the animal ingests plastic over the course of years that cannot be digested. The plastic sits in the animal's stomach, making it think it is full, so it fails to eat, eventually starving to death. The second way is an obstruction of the animal's intestines, which causes it to die within 48 hours. The third, another long-term death that causes much suffering, is via poisoning.

"With increasingly more campers exploring the UAE's wadis comes more pollution and things are getting worse," he said, "[We need] zero tolerance, and you've got to fine these people, they have to feel it in their pocket, otherwise they will not change." The paper went on to say that it is not just desert animals that are dying, but also marine life, with widely-publicised cases of turtles eating plastic bags that appear to be jellyfish in the motion of the sea.

Dr. Wernery says there is evidence to suggest polar bears and birds that have fed on fish contaminated with tiny particles of broken down plastic, called nurdles, have had their sexual hormones affected, causing a low rate of reproduction or an increased likelihood of male newborns.

This kind of issue is common across the globe, the German scientist says. "Everybody knows that it's bad and getting worse and worse. It's a global problem." – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Dubai Metro ridership hits 40 million in Q1; Burj Khalifa 2nd busiest station

posted on 16/04/2014

The Roads and Transport Authority RTA announced that the Dubai Metro, comprising the Red and Green Lines, has posted high ridership during the first quarter of this year clocking 40,655,978 passengers, which compares well with the ridership recorded for the same period last year amounting to 33,341,095 riders.

Abdullah Yousef Al Ali, Acting CEO of RTA Rail Agency, said: "The number of the metro riders during the first three months of this year constitute a solid indicator that the Dubai Metro has become one of the prime transit means commanding the attention of the Dubai residents, visitors and tourists, offering smooth mobility and access to key parts of the city in a way that measures up to the needs and expectations of users.

"This year has witnessed a remarkable growth in the number of metro riders compared to the previous year; which has always been the core of our plans tailored to delivering a whole host of initiatives and service improvements capable of enticing all community members to use the metro as a primary transit means characterized by security, luxury and safety. The directives of His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to transform the metro stations into galleries radiating the stylish as well as the heritage-inspired features of Dubai Emirate, is bound to have a robust contribution to uplifting the footfall of the metro stations rendering them a venue for visual pleasure and peace of mind,” added Al Ali.

Elaborating the breakdown of the metro ridership per line and station, Al Ali said: "The number of Red Line trips made during the first quarter of the current year has reached 30,400 compared to 26,359 trips made during the same period last year. The number of the Green Line trips topped 23,876 compared to 7,841 trips made during the same period last year. The number of passengers using the Red Line during the first quarter of this year amounted to 26,138,923 passengers, compared to 21,803,705 passengers lifted during the same period last year. The total number of users of the Green Line in the first quarter of this year soared to 14,517,055 riders compared to 11,537,390 riders last year. Deira City Centre station on the Red Line has topped passengers count clocking 1,841,072 passengers, with Burj Khalifa - Dubai Mall Station ranking close second with ridership hitting 1,813,854 passengers. The Union Station came third reporting 1,705,712 passengers, and Al Rigga Station was fourth in the passenger pecking order recording 1,626,775 passengers”

Al Ali went on saying, "Al Fahidi Station on the Green Line came first during the first quarter of 2014 recording a ridership of 1,657,650 passengers, followed by Bani Yas Station with 1,609,747 passengers, and in the third place came Al Ghubaiba Station recording 1,207,237 passengers, ahead of Oud Metha Station ranking fourth with ridership as much as 1,054,012 passengers.” – Khaleej Times – Read more: http://www.khaleejtimes.com/nation/inside.asp?xfile=/data/transport/2014/April/transport_April7.xml§ion=transport


RCA team in Philippines to assess needs of Haiyan-struck regions

posted on 16/04/2014

Manila: A UAE Red Crescent Authority (RCA) team is currently visiting Philippines to assess humanitarian needs of areas and population affected by Typhoon Haiyan within the UAE's US$ 10 million support and assistance programme, ordered by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The powerful tropical cyclone struck Philippines in November 2013, and devastated portions of the Southeast Asian country.

Fahad Abdul Rahman bin Sultan, Head of the RCA delegation, met separately with Gwendolyn T. Pang, Secretary General of Philippine Red Cross, and officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs, to discuss the situation on the ground and the possibility of implementing infrastructure, health, educational and services projects.

The RCA team was informed about the kind of recovery and rehabilitation projects needed to bring life to normalcy in the typhoon-struck regions.

The RCA team will tomorrow take a field tour of these regions to study the situation on the ground and determine the best mechanisms to carry out health and educational programmes. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


RCA offers Makassed Charity Hospital in Jerusalem Dh450,000 to buy medicine

posted on 16/04/2014

The UAE Red Crescent Authority has provided a grant worth Dh450000 to the Makassed Charity Hospital in Jerusalem to buy drugs to enable the hospital to perform its medical and humanitarian commitment to Palestinian patients residents of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Humaid Rashid Al Shamsi, Acting Deputy Secretary-General of the International Aid in RCA, said that the grant comes as part of an existing programme of aid, continuously implemented by the Authority in the Palestinian territories since many years. He pointed out that previously, the authority provided health assistance to Palestinians to buy expensive medicines for patients with Thalassemia He added that the Red Crescent aid to Palestine, especially Jerusalem, is aimed at alleviating the economic hardships that Palestinians suffer and to support health and education programmes. He pointed out that RCA projects in the Palestinian territories include education, health and relief programmes, orphanages, building houses, providing facilities for the needy and supporting people with disabilities. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Abu Dhabi Customs foils attempts to smuggle of 7.8 kg of narcotics

posted on 16/04/2014

Abu Dhabi Customs has foiled two attempts to smuggle narcotics weighing 7.8 kg in two different operations at Al Ghuwaifat customs post and Abu Dhabi International Airport Customs Post.

Inspectors at Al Ghuwaifat, in collaboration with the anti-drugs department, subjected two Asian truck drivers to a technical inspection at the customs' post truck exit point.

After scanning the first truck, inspectors found a high density substance in a cabinet behind the radio containing 372 capsules of heroin weighing 3.8 kg.

In the second truck, specialists detected a strange substance professionally hidden behind the drivers seat, which was found to be a narcotic substance weighing almost 973.4 grams.

In another operation, customs inspectors and employees from the anti-drugs department at Abu Dhabi International Airport suspected an Asian traveller coming from a South American country. When subjected to inspection, a white substance was found which turned out to be 3.8 kg of narcotics inside four plastic bags wrapped in a professional manner in the traveller's bag.

Mohammed Khadim Al Hameli, Acting Director-General of the General-Directorate of Customs, commented, "The General-Directorate of Customs in Abu Dhabi continues to play an important and vital role in maintaining security in the UAE and ensuring the safety of its residents. The Directorate's staff are considered to be our first line of defence and are vital to maintaining safety within the UAE through its land, sea and air ports." Al Hameli praised the customs officers' commitment to performing their duties to the fullest and with utmost responsibility and accuracy.

The smugglers and seized substances were transferred to the concerned authorities to complete inspection and to finalise the necessary legal procedures. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


HAAD issues statement on three new cases of MERS Coronavirus

posted on 16/04/2014

The Health Authority - Abu Dhabi (HAAD) announced three new cases of MERS Coronavirus (MERS COV). The new cases were identified through screenings for contacts of affected individuals and that they are all asymptomatic - i.e. have no symptoms and are well.

From previous asymptomatic cases in the UAE, individuals tend to clear the virus themselves within 10-14 days, but are kept in isolation in hospital during this time.

HAAD confirmed that the current situation is not a public health concern and that it is coordinating with the Ministry of Health (MOH) and other authorities in the country, and has taken all necessary measures as per international standards and recommendations from the World Health Organisation (WHO).

HAAD advises the public to follow these tips to help prevent respiratory illnesses: Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, and help young children do the same. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer.

Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze then throw the tissue in the trash.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Avoid close contact with people with fever or flu-like illnesses.

HAAD stressed the need to follow information released about the illness by the Ministry of Health and Health Authorities. Cases of MERS COV have been reported by the WHO from 2012.

The MOH stated that the WHO confirmed the virus is not a concern for public health at the moment, and that the current situation does not require a travel ban to any country in the world, screenings at different ports, or any restrictions on trade.

The MOH confirmed that it is monitoring the situation closely to ensure the health and safety of everyone. The WHO is working closely with all Government and Health Authorities to understand the risks of this virus and the way it spreads between people. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


NMC’s pavilion praised in Sharjah event

posted on 16/04/2014

Abdullah Bin Mohammed Al Owais, Chairman of the Department of Culture and Information in Sharjah, and Mohammed Diab Al Mousa, Adviser at the Amiri Diwan, have visited the participating pavilion of National Media Council (NMC) in the Sharjah Heritage Days, being held in the Heart of Sharjah Area till April 25.

Upon arrival, they were received by Director General of the National Media Council (NMC), Ibrahim Al Abed, Ali Hassan Rashid Al Jarwan, head of the NMC Office in Sharjah, and a number of NMC officials. Al Owais toured the pavilion and got familiarised with the ancient lifestyle and daily life as well as other activities done by women. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Hamdan bin Mohammed leads friendly match between Dubai Government Team and UAE National Wheelchair Basketball Team

posted on 16/04/2014

Nad Al Sheba Sports Complex hosted yesterday, Tuesday, a friendly basketball match between UAE National Wheelchair Basketball Team and Higher Committee for Protection of the Rights of People with Disabilities Team. The match was held under the slogan "Together ... We Integrate" and in line within the My Community ... A City for Everyone' initiative that aspires to make Dubai a friendly city for people with disabilities.

The initiative acquired patronage and support of Dubai Crown Prince and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Sheikh Hamdan led the UAE National Wheelchair Basketball Team and his brother, Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum led the Higher Committee for Protection of the Rights of People with Disabilities Team, Chairman of the Higher Committee for Protection of the Rights of People with Disabilities Team. The generous gesture reflects Dubai Government's unlimited support for this segment of the community.

This match is the first of series of events organized by the General Secretariat of Dubai Executive Council in coordination with the Higher Committee for Protection of the Rights of People with Disabilities to increase awareness about the initiative that was launched late last year with directives from Dubai Crown Prince.

Sheikh Hamdan affirmed that the United Arab Emirates' keenness to support people with disabilities initiates from a solid commitment to provide quality life for all segments of the community. He indicated that the government is working to provide all requirements to positively engage this segment in the society and enabling them to fully participate in the development and future of the nation.

Sheikh Hamdan said: "when the community stands up to its responsibilities, the individuals' capabilities reaches its peak and they can achieve miracles. We hope ‘My Community ... A City for Everyone' initiative will help in achieving that. We are very happy with this match; it is an experiment through which we tried to shade light on our efforts to remove obstacles and overcome any barriers hindering the unleashing of such great potentials." The Crown Prince called everybody to cooperate in recognizing the objectives of this noble target. He said: "we are equal and enabling all segments of society is a goal which receives our utmost attention until everybody is turned into a positive and productive force; we are keen to give equal opportunities for all and we want all members of society to be positive partners in the development process. Today, members of our National Wheelchair Basketball Team trained us to use the wheelchairs, pass the ball and score." The match witnessed hard competition between Sheikh Hamdan's team and Sheikh Mansour's team. In the second half, the teams were mixed and each team included players from UAE National Wheelchair Basketball Team and the Higher Committee for Protection of the Rights of People with Disabilities Team.

By the end of the match, Sheikh Hamdan greeted both teams and thanked the players of UAE National Wheelchair Basketball Team. He praised the players' skills and spirit calling them to keep success in their minds when representing the United Arab Emirates in the international events as they are partners in responsibility toward the country and the nation. Sheikh Hamdan also asked the team to set example for their pairs and prove ability to conquest disability and challenges.

HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed stressed on the importance of increasing awareness about the abilities and potentials of people with disabilities. He said: "the challenge our Dubai Government Team faced today is only a glimpse of what our brothers and sisters with disabilities have to deal with everyday. They are not different from us except that they need different approach to unleash their outstanding potentials. What they achieve everyday inspires me. They are true role models in perseverance and determination."

Better Life From his side, Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum indicated the importance of real community partnership to enable and empower people with disabilities and give them the opportunity to prove themselves as active members of the community. He added, "It is our duty to provide people with disabilities a full opportunity to employ the talents and capabilities God graced them with in what is useful to them and to their community. We are confident that our obligation as a community will ensure better life for our brothers and sisters with disabilities." Sheikh Mansour touched on Dubai's endeavours to legislate a law to protect people with disabilities in Dubai from discrimination, abuse, negligence or exploitation. He asserted that the anticipated law is the result of direct support from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, and in coordination with Dubai's Community Development authority.

Sheikh Mansour concluded that "converting Dubai into a friendly city for people with disabilities can only be achieved by cooperation between the public and private sectors in addition to all aspects of the community. We should all come to a common understanding that a person with disability must not feel different even if that require fundamental changes in our laws, regulations and daily practices." Meanwhile, Sheikh Mansour signed the ‘My community ... A City for Everyone' pledge, affirming Dubai's commitment to protect, integrate and enable people with disabilities.

Overwhelming happiness Captain of UAE National Wheelchair Basketball Team Tariq Ali Abdullah expressed his happiness for the event. Tariq said: "on behalf of the team, I would like to thank the leadership represented in HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, and Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Higher Committee for Protection of the Rights of People with Disabilities, for their generous gesture and for giving us the opportunity to prove our ability. Today's match is a demonstration for our potential." Meanwhile, the audience praised the match and what it stands for. They affirmed that Sheikh Hamdan and Sheikh Mansour participation in the match has successfully delivered an important message to educate the community, alert them to cooperate to enable people with disabilities and help them to overcome challenges to become active citizens and icons for creativity and success in all aspects of life.

Through ‘My Community ... A City for Everyone' initiative, Dubai is aspired to backing up the efforts to empower people with disabilities within an overarching framework that contributes to enhancing the effectiveness of existing projects and initiatives and in line with the international Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which the UAE joined in 2008. The initiative sets crucial foundation to affirm UAE commitment to the articles of the international convention.

Launched in November 2013 under patronage of Dubai Crown Prince and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the initiative aims to support Dubai's current efforts to empower people with disabilities within an overarching framework that contributes to enhancing the effectiveness of existing projects and initiatives, and developing more initiatives of such sort in accordance with a vision that aims to maximise the participation and integration of this segment in the community, and to create new opportunities through which to overcome all the obstacles that may stand in the way of positively engaging and integrating this segment in their social environment as individuals who possess productive and creative capabilities. The committee is under chairmanship of Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and membership of nine director generals from various Dubai Government's departments and a member representing the people with disabilities. Pursuant to the law, the committee works to facilitate and confront any challenges hindering the efforts to convert Dubai into a city friendly to people with disabilities. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Mansour bin Zayed honours sports champions

posted on 16/04/2014

A total of 94 sports stars who raised the UAE flag aloft at regional and international championships in 2013 were recognised yesterday at a grand ceremony held at the National Theatre in Abu Dhabi.

H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, honoured Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, winner of the 'Sport Personality of the Year' for her leading, constructive and active role in serving and advancing the sports, especially women's sports.

Abdul Rahman bin Mohammed Al Owais, Minister of Health, and First Deputy Chairman of the National Olympic Committee, was also honoured for his outstanding contributions to the sports.

The glittering national event was organised by the General Authority Youth and Sports Welfare and attended by H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the National Olympic Committee, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, and a number of Sheikhs, ministers, senior officials and chairmen of sports associations.

Speaking after screening of a documentary on 2013 sports achievements, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, and Chairman of the General Authority for Youth and Sports Welfare, paid gratitude to President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, for their consistent support for sports and sportsmen.

He also thanked His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, for their support and encouragement to UAE sports movement.

He congratulated the sports champions who won the President's sports grant.

'Success of the sports sector in the State needs a full-fledged partnership of all stakeholders,' Sheikh Nahyan emphasised. Cash prizes of AED 25 million were given to 492 champions. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Cinema-literature connection in focus at ADIF

posted on 16/04/2014

Cinema and literature have been sharing an intimate connection ever since the invention of the silver screen and the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF) will honour that connection for the first time this year.

The 24th edition of the fair, which will take place from April 30 to May 5, will have a ‘mini', 30-seat cinema hall set up on its premises dedicated to Emirati films.

"This move represents a step towards supporting an evolving sector on a local level, which requires unremitting institutional efforts to create a new mentality that takes cinematic expression more seriously and stimulates discussion using a more open and inspiring visual language,” said Mohammed Al Shehhi, director of research and publishing at the National Library.

The Black Box Cinema project was created for ADIBF by Emirati filmmaker and actor Nawaf Al Janahi. It involves the screening of 15 Emirati short films, documentaries and animation films throughout the duration of the fair, as well as six workshops and seminars discussing the local cinematic movement, filmmaking artistry and film criticism.

"There are a few Emirati films based on books adaptations, but they are either technically or aesthetically not well made, and we didn't want to present films based on this criteria. We wanted quality films,” said Al Janahi.

Initially, Al Janahi planned to include long feature movies, but since the screening is for ADIBF visitors — who may not have 90 minutes to spare for a movie at the fair — the cinematic programme was reduced to 30 minutes for each screening.

There is a fixed programme that allows the screening of each film twice daily, but fair visitors who purchase a book with a cinematic subject may choose to see any film they want from the programme, any time between 2pm and 5pm. All films have English subtitles.

Entry to the Black Box Cinema as well as ADIBF is free. "It's no secret that filmmakers make strenuous efforts to realise their dreams.

These efforts need effective support for us to be able to see our image reflected in inspiring movies that convey our voices. The Black Box Cinema project offers a glimpse of what is being achieved on the ground and establishes a dialogue among filmmakers,” said Al Janahi. – Khaleej Times – Read more: http://www.khaleejtimes.com/nation/inside.asp?xfile=/data/entertainmentnation/2014/April/entertainmentnation_April4.xml§ion=entertainmentnation