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UAE officially receives flag for next Expo 2020 Dubai

posted on 26/11/2015

PARIS: The United Arab Emirates (UAE) yesterday officially received the flag as the host of the next world's largest expo in Dubai in 2020 during a grand ceremony in French capital of Paris.

President and Director of the Paris-based Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), the governing body of World Expos, presented the baton for Expo 2020 Dubai to H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Emirates Group, and Chairman of the Supreme National Committee for Expo 2020 Dubai.

Expo 2020 Dubai, themed 'Connecting Minds, Creating the Future,' has identified three sub-themes around which the global community will gather to sign new collaborations, in order to find solutions to essential matters and to leave a mark of a strong social and economic collaboration around the world.

Milano hosted expo 2015 for six months from May 1 to October 31, 2015.

Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashimy, Minister of State delivered a speech which she started by condemning the act of terror which took place recently in Paris.

Below is a full text of Reem Al Hashimy's speech: Fellow delegates and members of the Bureau Internationale des Expositions.

Before I speak about Expo 2020 and its' place in my nation's heart, I would like to take a simple moment to add my voice to billions of others, around the world, in condemnation of the terror that so recently visited the streets and the people of this great city of light.

Hatred, bigotry and fascism affects us all, because it attacks us all. Wisdom, decency, common purpose and love must be our way of neutralising barbarism.

But, surely, that is what this great institution is all about: to present and reflect our abilities to bring about only the very best our civilisation can offer. To bring hope, and light and life onto the streets and into our hearts that is our opportunity. The opportunity you have given to us.

Ladies and Gentleman, on behalf of the Expo 2020 Organising Committee and the people of the United Arab Emirates, I want to formally thank you for the vote of trust you have bestowed upon our nation.

All of us in the team are deeply conscious of the honour this represents, not least because Expo 2020 will be the first World Expo held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region and specifically hosted by an Arab Nation.

You have brought about a truly historic occasion. And we are more than aware of the extra burden of responsibility this places on our young nation.

I assure you now, that going forward we will work with the same meticulous care and diligence that I hope you feel we have shown to date.

Our aim is both very simple and truly ambitious: to ensure that Expo 2020 Dubai more than repays your faith with an event that we intend will enthral and amaze our visitors.

But before I say more about that, I want to reflect on what it actually means to host a World Expo.

Looking back, the utterly memorable and genuinely significant Expos have almost always managed to accomplish at least three things, simultaneously: 1. They have captured and enshrined both the heart of the host city and the pulse of the nation.

2. Absorbed the prevailing temperament of the world, celebrating the positive aspects and demonstrating the opportunities that lie ahead.

3. And most have also gazed into the future to predict the coming trends in technology, industry, innovation and across society at large.

With your generous support, we are now undertaking our own Expo, wholly aware that we have some pretty tough acts to follow.

Not least because all our nations stand balanced right on the edge of so many global tipping points: political, technological, economic, social and environmental.

So crafting a theme that has relevance to the times and to the temper of the world was essential in choosing the right path to follow.

In finding a proposition that was persuasive, distinctive and clear; that reflected the identity and spirit of the UAE, yet was wholly relevant to today's global needs, we realised the vital importance of connections.

That only working together can we hope to solve some of the towering challenges that lie ahead. Your votes signified that you felt the same way too.

Connecting Minds, Creating the Future recognises that by our very nature we are social creatures whose most basic drives lead us to bond together in communities to find collaborative solutions to common challenges.

We know that we need to blend the thoughtful with the thought-provoking, the hopeful with the hospitable.

Celebrating humanity's combined brilliance and ensuring our guests enjoy the celebration.

This is where the subthemes are needed to concentrate our efforts, to be a catalyst, provide focus and lead on to progress.

The sub-themes identify and underscore the drivers of progress.

Realising Opportunity means we must be more inclusive with greater outreach to the citizenry of the world.

Mobility spans every mechanism from physical logistics and transport, to the built environment and its supporting infrastructure, to real and virtual communications, taking our message and our methodologies beyond our borders.

And Sustainability is there both in word as in deed. We intend to make this the first expo where sustainability has been built in from the word go. Also built in from the earliest moments, our Expo legacy encompasses the economic effects on tourism and business, the reputational legacies in national pride and international impression.

Then there are the Physical legacies: structures and infrastructures with cultural, educational and commercial benefits including research institutes, business and residential spaces.

Make no mistake, our site will transform into a very special area, clustering together science and industry hubs that play to Dubai's strengths in logistics, air transport and education, providing a further boost to our growing knowledge economy, embedding science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics into the curriculum, helping to prepare our young for the jobs market of the future.

There is, of course, a higher, non-commercial legacy too: Our determination to create a meeting of minds, real and virtual, to encourage and foster empathy between us all, and across the globe, but especially in our region where confidence and belief in our self-worth will, we hope, lead to better understanding of our place alongside every other citizen of the world.

And, in so doing we hope to foster genuine empathy, in its true meaning, and with it, tolerance. Even before we open our gates the work has started with initiatives like Expo Live and the Challenge Fund: championing and rewarding innovative solutions to collective global issues. And with outreach programmes across the spectrum, such as YouthConnect.

Just recently, we had the privilege of hosting almost 700 young people at the first of these annual events. They helped design the agenda and choose the speakers and presenters. They told us clearly what they expect for the future and from their Expo we listened hard and we learned a lot.

They want and need opportunity, they want hope, they want to contribute to a fairer, more decent global civilisation. They want Expo to accept and reflect all these things and then offer them back to the world.

Simultaneously, we are engaging with young entrepreneurs for their support and participation, and talking repeatedly to SME's across the region, to ensure they understand the vital role they have to play.

Similarly, we are constantly meeting with business leaders from many of your own countries through the forum of the international Business Councils.

Events like this are just the beginning: there will be many, many, more over the coming five years extending the conversation from business out into education and beyond, to arts and culture, entertainment and sport.

Above all, out onto the streets and homes; not least our own.

And to help us get the measure of this, to monitor the global pulse, understand the latest thinking and enabling technology, just a few days ago, my team and I sat with three dozen global thought leaders in Dubai.

Over 48 hours, each of our guests presented the very best they could bring from areas as diverse as architecture and artificial intelligence, climatology and culture.

The thinking was wholly positive, utterly forward looking, perilously profound above all it was fresh and new. We listened, we learned, we debated and we discussed. In so many ways it was a connection of minds, that came together aimed at creating the future.

Friends and fellow participants, the clock is ticking; the countdown has begun to Dubai 2020.

We have hit the ground running, determined not to waste a single minute in doing all we can, with your involvement and support, to make this Expo one that is seen as genuinely meaningful, impactful and enjoyable.

We've already up'd the pace, working to a comprehensive Master Plan that brings all the different threads into a coherent programme that we look forward to telling you more about at next year's June Assembly.

We're excited about the process of delivery. It's a huge and challenging undertaking but, as you have seen, the UAE strives to be a dynamic and highly ambitious nation with a record of getting things done on time and in budget.

And just as you have all collectively come together to award this milestone Expo. So, I hope, you can see your place alongside us as official participants in 2020.

We recognise that this will be easier for some countries than for others, where resources are more constrained.

To that end, we are constructing a calendar of one-to-one meetings with each participant to ensure that every country has the opportunity and funding to tell their own distinctive, national story.

In doing so, the UAE will break new ground by offering all member nations their own individual pavilion, their own unique narrative.

The last time we addressed this assembly we were delighted to tell you that we were on time and on track, that Expo 2020 Dubai had the whole-hearted and unconditional support at every level of Government.

Today, it is my distinct pleasure to tell you that nothing has changed. Except for the better.

The desire to help, to get involved grows stronger by the day.

This time it is my honour to add that we are registered and ready for the journey ahead.

Friends and colleagues, we started this journey together as members of the BIE It is our most fervent wish that we should continue together with universal effort and participation. Not just by providing the bricks and mortar, or rather the concrete and glass, for the pavilions but also by continuing to give us your enthusiasm, engagement, support and backing with messages, ideas, content and legacy. A legacy that will have a meaningful impact for years and decades to come.

I thank you all for your kind attention today, your belief in what we are doing and, of course, for your boundless backing enthusiasm and encouragement. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Emiratis ready to join Expo 2020 preparations

posted on 26/11/2015

Young Emiratis say they are willing to put their careers on hold to help the country prepare for Expo 2020.

Dubai will on Wednesday be officially confirmed as the host nation at a special assembly in Paris by the world fair organisers.

The UAE's registration as the expo host will be formally ratified at the general assembly of the Bureau of International Expositions, the governing body overseeing world fairs, at its headquarters in France.

Emiratis who served as the country's ambassadors at the recently finished Milan Expo said they would take time off from their careers to help prepare for Dubai's event.

"This is the biggest thing ever for us. I know a lot of guys who will give up their jobs to work in Expo 2020,” said Khaled Saad, a laboratory chemist at Abu Dhabi Oil Refining Company.

"The UAE being confirmed as the expo host is a highly anticipated event and we want to be associated with the Expo from the start. I would do the impossible to be part of the Expo.

"It would be a dream come true to do this for my country. It was a learning experience to be part of the Milan Expo but our Expo 2020 will leave a legacy.”

Building work at the Expo site in Dubai South can start when the UAE's bid dossier is ratified in Paris. But most young people do not want to wait five years to be part of the event.

"For sure I'm planning to contact the Expo 2020 organisers immediately to find out any opportunities because I would like to participate from now onwards and not wait for the next four or five years,” said Amal Al Kuwaiti, a contract engineer with Abu Dhabi Distribution Company.

Ms Al Kuwaiti helped visitors at the UAE pavilion in Milan to understand the country's culture, heritage and economic growth, and had also volunteered at the Shanghai Expo five years ago.

"I would take time off, spend my annual leave on this, because I would be so proud to be part of the preparation and organising.

"This ratification will help the country set future goals and motivate us to work harder. It is a big achievement because it's the first time the Expo will be hosted by a country in the Middle East.”

Others say the popularity of the UAE's sand-dune-inspired pavilion convinced many visitors at the Milan Expo to come to Dubai as well.

Many citizens can already imagine the structures that will be set up in Dubai South under the initial masterplan, such as the central Al Wasl Plaza that will connect the themes of opportunity, mobility and sustainability.

"Every time I travel towards Abu Dhabi I'm full of happiness because I think of all the pavilions that will be built here and how our country can show its creativity,” said Saleh Al Raeesi, who lives in Kalba and works with the Emirates Identity Authority in Fujairah.

"The plan of the Wasl area for our Expo is a thoughtful choice because Al Wasl means connection. This is a very exciting time for our country because now the actual preparations can start.

"This will be the start of great ideas and I definitely want to be a part of it.” – The National -


UAE Space Agency launches Planet Mars contest

posted on 26/11/2015

As part of the UAE Space Agency's efforts to support scientific research, innovation, and space-related projects, the agency has launched the 'Planet Mars' competition for all age groups and nationalities nationwide.

It said in a statement that the event will take place in conjunction with UAE Innovation Week.

The competition has invited interested candidates from all age groups and nationalities residing in the UAE to present innovative designs for virtual homes to accommodate the future population of planet Mars.

"The designs must be compatible with the harsh climate on the Red Planet, where gravity is 38 per cent that of Earth, with low temperatures, strong winds, and the volatile seasons," said a statement.

The designs submitted for the competition should take into account a home with a capacity for two people with an area of about 500 sq. m or more, and should provide practical and adequate living conditions for the residents, such as the ability to work and conduct research within special units, and do various recreational activities.

These homes should be built using materials available on planet Mars, or for example, through recycling the spacecraft that transported the astronauts there, it said.

The agency noted that in-depth research on the existing conditions on the Red Planet will be a main factor in the selection of the winning design, since participants will be required to research possible ways to enable the residents of these homes to breathe, find sources of food and drink, generate power, dispose of waste, and cope with the effects of low gravity on their health.

The participants should present a complete and clear design compliant with specific measurements, a description of the materials used, and a detailed and accurate explanation of how the house will be built or assembled.

The jury, set up by the agency, will choose the most creative design reflecting a high level of imagination by the owner, and not just a professional graphic design.

The winner will get his design built, which will be exhibited during the awards ceremony "Think Science" to be held in March next year.

Dr. Khalifa Al Rumaithi, chairman of the UAE Space Agency, said, "The UAE Space Agency seeks to attract and train UAE nationals to become leaders in space science and technology. It also supports scientific research efforts as part of a comprehensive strategic plan aimed at the development of the national space sector in the UAE. This contest falls directly under these support efforts."

For his part, Dr. Mohamed Nasser Al Ahbabi, director general of the UAE Space Agency, said, "The competition encourages conducting deep research on the natural and climatic conditions of the Red Planet, and thus allows participants to expand their horizons and unleash their imaginations on the natural resources that may be available on Mars, and which can be developed on planet Earth to make up for the living requirements on the planet that has captured the attention of scientists over the past years."

The people wishing to take part can upload the design to the competition website as of (November 25), and attach any relevant information or explanation about the design of the house. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Masdar Institute Solar Platform to make CSP and Thermal Energy Storage Technologies more efficient and affordable

posted on 26/11/2015

The Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, an independent, research-driven graduate-level university focused on advanced energy and sustainable technologies, yesterday announced the launch of its new Masdar Institute Solar Platform (MISP), a concentrating solar power (CSP) research facility in Masdar City designed to advance innovative and cutting-edge CSP technologies and play a central role in the recently launched Masdar Solar Hub.

The inauguration of the MISP was attended by Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State, Chairman of Masdar, and Chairman of the Masdar Institute Board of Trustees Executive Committee. Jens Eikaas, Norwegian Ambassador to the UAE, delivered opening remarks on the importance of UAE-Norwegian research and development collaborations.

In a keynote speech, Masdar Institute's Dr. Steve Griffiths, Vice President for Research, highlighted the Institute's efforts to establish partnerships in public and private sectors to enhance research and development of critical technology-based innovations in key UAE industries.

The launch of the facility featured an announcement by EnergyNest, a Norwegian thermal storage technology developer, that it has validated at the facility its thermal energy storage (TES) pilot that stores thermal energy up to 400 C, making it the first high-temperature thermal energy storage system in the Middle East. This innovative new technology, which uses a special concrete as storage media and a smart modular configuration, has the potential to drop the costs of TES systems in CSP facilities significantly.

The launch also featured an in-depth panel session, which explored the opportunities and potential of the MISP and the Masdar Solar Hub to accelerate the UAE's growth in the solar energy markets.

Dr. Behjat AlYousuf, Interim Provost, Masdar Institute, said: "We are pleased to announce the official launch of the Masdar Institute Solar Platform, which will provide pioneering solar power companies, universities and our own faculty and students a place to research, develop and test concentrating solar and thermal energy technologies. The Masdar Institute Solar Platform will help to validate CSP and thermal energy technologies at the pre-commercial level by providing the tools and expertise required to test these systems at Masdar Institute's unique solar beam-down tower, which is the critical link required to translate next-generation CSP systems into commercially viable products. The MISP will help to position the UAE as a global hub for CSP technologies and a leader in the evolving energy market."

Guests at the MISP launch enjoyed tours of the platform, where a wide range of innovations are currently being tested on-site, including new silicon mirrors that can better handle the UAE's harsh desert conditions and the storage of thermal energy for the production of power using a novel single-tank storage system.

Using Masdar Institute's one-of-a-kind 100 kW beam-down CSP facility, the aim of the Solar Platform is to build a high-performance CSP research and demonstration infrastructure in the region. This will provide the foundation for new product development, cooperation with local and international companies and academic organisations, and the creation of human capital highly trained in CSP and thermal energy storage (TES) systems in Abu Dhabi -- efforts which directly support Abu Dhabi's initiative to provide 7% of its power generation capacity from renewable energy technologies by 2020.

Dr. Christian Thiel, CEO, EnergyNest, said: "The platform at Masdar Institute allows for a truly unique storage technology to be demonstrated and showcased to the world. We are extremely excited over the prospects of our new thermal storage technology for the region - and we look forward to continuing research efforts and expanding our collaboration activities with Masdar"

Dr. Nicolas Calvet, Chair of MISP and Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Materials Engineering at Masdar Institute said: "The MISP takes Masdar Institute's novel beam-down CSP pilot plant and transforms it into a unique research tool for development of TES systems and CSP components."

The main purpose of the MISP is to develop and leverage both human capital and solar resources to increase the implementation and utilisation of CSP in the UAE, which is considered a promising source of solar power for large scale power generation.

"Right now, there is a big focus on PV since costs have come down thanks to investment in research. CSP coupled with TES is an alternative to PV that is capable of producing constant power 24 hours a day, making it well suited for system integration and overcoming the storage challenges that PV currently faces," said Dr. Calvet.

The innovative R&D outcomes produced by the MISP intend to lead to the creation of next-generation CSP and TES technologies that are more affordable and efficient, making thermal solar energy a more viable option for solar power generation in the UAE and around the world, helping the UAE reach its innovative renewable energy ambitions. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Zayed Future Energy Prize to play crucial role in Paris Conference on Climate Change

posted on 26/11/2015

NEW YORK: The Zayed Future Energy Prize and Masdar for Future Energy is to participate in the United Nations Conference on Climate Change, which will launch on 30th of November in the French capital, Paris, to shed light on issues of future energy and finding innovative solutions to energy.

Among the events in which the Zayed Prize and Masdar will participate in at COP21 will be a debate on the role of women in the issue of climate change, as well as the challenges facing them, as part of the "Women's Forum of Sustainability and Renewable Energy", which was launched at the United Nations on the sidelines of the 70th Session of the General Assembly in September.

Dr. Nawal Al Hosni, Director of the Zayed Future Energy Prize and Director of Sustainability at Masdar, said that women are the most affected as a result of the repercussions of climate change, although their role is still limited in this regard.

He said, "The Zayed Prize and Masdar for Future Energy are initiatives through which the UAE is seeking to establish its stature globally in the field of sustainable development, and as such they will play a major role in the Paris Conference." – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Dubai crude oil price for February delivery is US$0.50 p.b. less than average daily settlement price

posted on 26/11/2015

The Department of Oil Affairs in the Government of Dubai has announced that it has notified its customers that the official price of Dubai crude oil for delivery next February will be US$0.50 less than the average daily settlement price of the Oman Crude Oil Financial Contract in Dubai Mercantile Exchange contracts traded over the next month.

Abdullah Abdul Karim, Director-General of the Department, told Emirates News Agency, WAM, that the department sets the price of Dubai crude oil in the markets in parallel with Oman oil prices, which reinforces the transparency of pricing process commitment and setting a fair value of crude oil in the Middle East.

The official monthly price of Dubai crude oil, with the transition to the pricing of futures contracts, is determined in advance, and a differential price is placed three months prior, "M-3", while the official final monthly price is determined at the end of the second month, "M-2".

DME Oman crude oil is considered a benchmark for pricing crude oil by the countries that produce it, and it gives them a differential price that reflects the quality of the product.

Every day at 12:30 p.m. Dubai time, Dubai Mercantile Exchange determines the daily settlement price of the Oman contract, which is the average price of transactions made in the five minutes from 12:25 p.m. to 12:30 p.m., Dubai time.

On the last circulating day of the month, the settlement's window lasts for thirty minutes from 12:00 p.m. until 12:30 p.m., Dubai time. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


UPC approves 21 state-of-the-art projects in Q3 2015

posted on 26/11/2015

A stunning new extension to the College of Medicine and Health Sciences (CMHS) in Al Ain is among a number of innovative and sustainable projects awarded detailed approval by the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council, UPC, in Q3 2015.

This brings the total number of projects given detailed approval to date in 2015 to 69, with a GFA exceeding 4.6 million m2. These projects include educational institutions residential, mixed-use and commercial buildings.

The extension to CMHS, which is part of UAE University, will feature state-of-the-art facilities for 500 students including auditoriums, laboratories, tutorial rooms and clinical examination rooms, among others.

The design is a modern take on the original architecture and includes a shaded pedestrian bridge that connects the expansion to the existing campus. While the extension has been designed to blend with the existing buildings, sustainability has been paramount. The extension incorporates best-practice sustainability components to ensure high water and energy efficiency, in addition to providing a healthy working environment for students and staff. As a result, the project is in the process of working towards a 2 Pearl Rating under the UPC's Estidama Pearl Rating System (PRS).

Located near Tawam Hospital, the CMHS is the first and highest ranked medical school in the UAE. It opened in 1984 and admitted its first batch of students two years later.

"2015 is the UAE's Year of Innovation and the UPC is proud to be granting approval to a project that incorporates many innovative features. The UPC believes that innovation provides a strong foundation for progress and is continually working on new projects that benefit its stakeholders and the wider community," said Mohamed Al Khadar, Executive Director, Urban Development and Estidama Sector, UPC.

"The College of Medicine and Health Sciences is an important and historical facility. We are delighted that the expansion will fit in so seamlessly with the existing facility, and that many more students will now be able to further raise the standard of healthcare in our country. It gives me great pleasure to approve this project, along with 20 other projects in this quarter, highlighting continuing buoyancy in Abu Dhabi's development sector."

The project is one of 21 major real estate projects and master plans given detailed approval by the UPC in the third quarter of the year. In total, 18 projects in the Abu Dhabi Metropolitan Area received approval, along with three in Al Ain and Al Gharbia. They add up to a combined Gross Floor Area (GFA) of 1.6 million m2.

The UPC is responsible for approving large-scale projects and master plans as well as managing the Emirate's mandatory Estidama PRS for sustainable design, construction and operation.

Among the most notable projects approved by the UPC in Q3 across the Emirate were Al Salama Hospital on Old Airport Road, a residential community in Masdar City, the New York University precinct on Saadiyat Island and a mixed-use development in Al Gharbia.

In Abu Dhabi, Al Salama Hospital near Zayed Sports City is a 120-bed inpatient facility that will be operated by Health Authority – Abu Dhabi (HAAD). When operational, the 24-hour facility will incorporate a full range of clinical and non-clinical support departments, as well as inpatient accommodation, and a range of services from day-case procedures to full intensive care. The building has been awarded an Estidama 1 Pearl Rating, based on measures to optimise energy and water conservation. The design makes full use of available natural light, and includes measures to limit greenhouse gas emissions and the transfer of heat through the building facade.

Also in Abu Dhabi, the Neighbourhood One Residence in Masdar City has received approval. The master plan is for a residential community made up of nine low-rise blocks containing a total of 500 one- and two-bedroom apartments. In line with the UPC's Abu Dhabi Community Facility Planning Standards (CFPS), the complex will have access to a gym, retail facilities and other amenities, as well as pedestrian-friendly walkways connected to the heart of Masdar City. This project is aiming to achieve a 3 Pearl Rating under the PRS. Other sustainable features include an innovative façade design, with the building clad in decorative sun-shading to minimise heat penetration.

On Saadiyat Island, the NYU Precinct Plan has been approved, which will create a mixed-use community surrounding the NYU campus that will complement the waterfront precinct and other developments. NYU Precinct is located within the Saadiyat Marina District– the island's vibrant, high density and sustainable Central Business District.

In Al Gharbia, the UPC also approved plans for a new mixed-use commercial and residential building in Madinat Zayed. The building design consists of 112 studio, one- and two-bedroom residential apartments over three floors.

Since 2010, the UPC has given detailed approval to a total of 461 projects and master plans, with a combined GFA of 16 million m2.

In parallel, the UPC announced that by the end of the third quarter, 331 projects have been awarded Estidama Pearl Design Rating throughout the Emirate. The figures show that a 1 Pearl Design Rating has been awarded to 80 villas and 37 buildings, while a 2 Pearl Design Rating has been awarded to 156 villas and 58 buildings. Since the Estidama Pearl Rating System was launched four years ago, the Estidama team has reviewed many projects – a total of 12,136 villas and 1,024 buildings have been awarded a Pearl Design Rating.

The UPC's figures show that the 76 buildings awarded a Pearl Rating in Q3 will achieve a 33% reduction in predicted energy use compared to a baseline building performance, and a predicted 47% water saving.

Meanwhile, 213 people attended the three Estidama training sessions held over the Q3 period, two thirds of whom represented the private sector. So far this year, more than 1,000 people have been through the sessions. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Aldar leased residential portfolio showcases high occupancy and continued growth

posted on 26/11/2015

Aldar Properties, Abu Dhabi's leading listed property development, investment and management company, released figures yesterday showcasing the exceptional performance of the company's managed residential portfolio. Of Aldar's 4,732 residential units, 4,669 are currently leased, representing a 98.7 percent occupancy rate. This demand is being driven by tenants' continued upgrade to quality as well as a desire for "destination living" within Abu Dhabi.

In order to support the ongoing performance of its residential portfolio, Aldar is embarking on a series of community enhancements. The enhancements include additional car parking, prayer rooms, CCTV, children's play areas and the replacement of light fixtures with more energy efficient LED systems. Demonstrating Aldar's commitment to working closely with its communities, much of this activity is being undertaken in response to demand from property owners and residents.

Commenting on Aldar's managed residential portfolio, Talal Al Dhiyebi, Chief Development Officer at Aldar, said, "High occupancy levels across the portfolio ensures that we generate strong recurring revenues. Demand for quality homes is strong in Abu Dhabi and we are building a reputation for developing highly desirable communities that people want to call home. We are committed to providing a high quality of life for our tenants, as evidenced by our programme of enhancements."

Aldar's leased residential portfolio's net operating profit of DH 370.6 million represents year on year growth of 56.4 percent from Dh 133.7 million during 2014 Speaking about the revenue growth, Al Dhiyebi said, "Our strategy is delivering results and the market fundamentals are working in our favour. The year on year revenue growth of 56.4 percent shows that the recurring revenue stream from residential properties is now fully optimised and we are optimistic for the future." – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


President reiterates UAE's consistent and principled position of the UAE in supporting the inalienable rights of Palestinian people

posted on 26/11/2015

NEW YORK: President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has called on the international community to rescue the peace process and take appropriate procedures to stop Israeli violations against Al Aqsa Mosque, by committing Israel to basic standards for serious negotiations based on the terms of reference on a two-state solution.

His Highness stressed that these standards would be capable of ending all Israeli occupation manifestations in all the Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, and the opportunity to establish a viable Palestinian state with Al-Quds as its capital, living alongside the state of Israel in permanent peace and security.

This came during the solidarity message addressed by His Highness the President to Paul Badji, Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, on the occasion of the Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People which falls annually on November 29th.

During his message, Sheikh Khalifa reiterated the UAE's consistent and principled position of the UAE in supporting the inalienable rights of Palestinian people and the need for full international recognition of an independent and sovereign state with Jerusalem as its capital, condemning provocative Israeli policies and practices and its repeated violations.

He stressed that these practices are null, void and illegal and constitute a material breach, legally and politically, a flagrant violation of the provisions of international law, international humanitarian law and the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 and the international legitimacy resolutions, particularly Resolutions Nos. 242 and 338 and the principle of land for peace.

His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan said that the Israeli government is fully responsible for the serious consequences that may result from the policies of escalation in the Palestinian territories, which is in opposition in form and substance with the efforts to achieve a just settlement to the Palestinian issue. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


UAE holds Israel accountable for escalation of violence in Palestinian territories

posted on 26/11/2015

NEW YORK: The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has held Israel responsible for the escalation of violence in the Palestinian territories, while stressing solidarity and support of the UAE's people and government for the Palestinian people to restore territorial integrity and all its rights, including the establishment of its independent state with Jerusalem as its capital.

This came in a statement delivered by the UAE delegation before the two-day special session organised by General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) pertaining to the article on the agenda of the Palestinian Cause, stressing that the continuation of Israel's occupation of land and expanding its illegal settlements fuelled the frustration of the Palestinian people.

The statement shed light on the message of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan to the Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, which falls on 28th November every year.

It also noted that the deliberations of the General Assembly on this article come at a very critical stage for the Palestinian issue, both in terms of the worsening situation on the ground and at the level of continuing stagnation in the political process that is still moving toward a dead end.

The statement also referred to the repeated violations on Al-Aqsa Mosque and Islamic and Christian holy sites by groups of Jewish extremist settlers under the protection of the Israeli military forces.

The statement tackled the violence and chaos that spread in the Palestinian territories over the recent months, particularly in the cities of East Jerusalem and Hebron following a serious escalation by the Israeli government and the settlers, while stressing that Israel has committed the most heinous crimes against the Palestinian people such as killing of civilians, destruction of their homes and mass arbitrary arrests that even included children, as well as building of more settlements outposts and confiscating of lands.

It also referred to the inhumane blockade measures imposed by Israel since 2006 on the Gaza Strip, where the population is suffering from poverty, displacement and destruction on a daily basis.

The statement renewed the UAE's condemnation of these provocative Israeli policies and practices and all other serious and repeated violations in the Palestinian territories and considered them as invalid and illegal, which constituted a material, legal and political breach of the provisions of international law and international humanitarian law, as well as the resolutions of international legitimacy.

It also urged the international community to assume its responsibilities regarding all practices and serious violations committed by Israel aimed at changing the status quo in Jerusalem, calling for sparing no efforts to save the peace process and take measures to halt the Israeli incursions into Al-Aqsa Mosque.

In this context, the statement emphasised the importance of the Security Council to discharge its main role including the issuance of a resolution which aims to develop necessary mechanisms and procedures to ensure the safety of civilian Palestinians.

The statement stressed that the UAE will continue its involvement with a series of decisions adopted by the UN General Assembly under this article, stressing that a just, comprehensive and durable solution to the Palestinian issue is the key to ensuring peace and security in the Middle East.

The statement pointed out that this will only be achieved with the effective support of the international community for the rights of the Palestinian people.

The statement also stressed the need for full Israeli withdrawal to the 4th of June 1967 line, including the Holy City of Jerusalem and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, which is in line with the two-state solution, international law, the Charter of the United Nations and the resolutions of international legitimacy, the principle of land for peace, and the Road Map as well as the principles of the Madrid and the Arab peace initiative. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Abdullah bin Zayed receives Yemeni Foreign Minister

posted on 26/11/2015

H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister, and his Yemeni counterpart took stock of the latest developments in Yemen and the impact of the unfolding humanitarian situation on internally displaced persons (IDPs) and those affected by acts of violence and aggression perpetrated by the Houthi and Saleh militias.

Sheikh Abdullah and the visiting Yemeni Foreign Minister, Dr. Riyadh Yassin, also exchanged views on the current regional and international events.

The Yemeni minister appreciated the important and significant role being played by the UAE in backing the legitimacy in Yemen within the Saudi-led Arab Coalition.

Fares Mohammed Al Mazrouie, Assistant Foreign Minister for Security and Military Affairs, and Salem Al Ghafli, UAE Ambassador to Yemen, attended the meeting. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


UAE Ambassador participates in celebrations of 70th anniversary of UNESCO

posted on 26/11/2015

HANOI: Khalid Ibrahim Abdulaziz Shuhail, UAE Ambassador to Vietnam, has taken part in the celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the establishing of the UNESCO-1945-2015.

The ceremony, held at Imperial Citadel of Thang Long - Hanoi, was attended by Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh and Head of the UNESCO Office in Vietnam, Katherine Muller-Marin.

The programme included a number of speeches for Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Head of the UNESCO Office in Vietnam, and others.

A two photo reportages on UNESCO's achievements during the past 70 years and the cultural achievements in Vietnam were presented, as well as some quotes from popular music and folklore.

A number of heads of diplomatic missions accredited to Vietnam, representatives of international and regional organisations and a number of Vietnamese officials attended the ceremony. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Private Military ceremony conducted for martyr Naser Ali Al Bloushi

posted on 26/11/2015

A private military ceremony was conducted this morning for martyr Naser Ali Al Bloushi, at Al Bateen Airport in Abu Dhabi, with the participation of a number of senior officers.

Following the ceremony, a private aircraft of the Joint Armed Forces transferred the martyr's body to his family in Fujairah.

Naser Al Bloushi died this morning, when he succumbed to injuries he sustained while participating in the Saudi-led Arab coalition's Operation Restoring Hope in Yemen. Al Bloushi, who was being treated at a hospital in Germany, was injured during an incident at Mareb, last September. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Al Bayt Mitwahid video booths launched across the UAE in association with Martyrs' Families' Affairs Office

posted on 26/11/2015

ABU DHABI, 26th November, 2015 (WAM) -- As part of the Martyr's Day activities on November 30th, the Martyrs' Families' Affairs Office, MFAO, in partnership with Al Bayt Mitwahid Association, has launched video booths at key locations in the country to enable members of the community to post the largest number of ‘Honour and Pride Messages' in appreciation of the sacrifice of UAE national heroes.

The video booths will be available from November 28th to December 7th at the following locations: Abu Dhabi – Yas Mall and Bawadi Mall, Dubai – Mall of the Emirates, Sharjah – Mega Mall, Ajman – Ajman City Centre, Umm Al Qaiwain – Carrefour Supermarket, Ras al-Khaimah – Al Manar Mall and Fujairah – Fujairah City Centre.

A team of volunteers from the ‘Takatof' programme will be on hand at the video booths to explain to visitors the process of recording the video clips. Thereafter, the video content will be disseminated across social media networks.

The MFAO at the Crown Prince's Court of Abu Dhabi has announced a series of activities to honour the UAE's national heroes on the occasion of Martyr's Day on November 30th. The activities are aimed at uniting all segments of the UAE society under one campaign to express appreciation for the sacrifices of the heroes who gave their lives for the security and stability of their homeland. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Armed Forces celebrate graduation of 4th batch of national service recruits

posted on 26/11/2015

The General Headquarters (GHQ) of the UAE Armed Forces celebrated yesterday the graduation of the 4th batch of national military service and reserve recruits, who completed three months of basic training in different training centres across the country.

The recruits will move to the next phase during which they will perform roles and duties in units and commands of the Armed Forces.

The graduates staged a military parade showing their full readiness to defend the nation.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, attended the graduation ceremony at the Al Liwa training camp.

A number of commanders of the Armed Forces attended graduation ceremonies in other training camps.

Meanwhile, the Khawla bint Al Azwar Military School for Girls also celebrated the graduation of the 3rd batch of national military service and reserve female recruits and of the 48th batch of regular recruits.

The ceremony, held under the patronage of Brigadier Mohammed Suhail Al Neyadi, Director of Strategic Planning at the National Service and Reserve Authority, was attended by Colonel Afra Saeed Al Falasi, Commander of the School.

Colonel Al Falasi said the female recruits should be proud today after successfully passing the training and acquiring skills, disciplines and readiness to serve their country.

She paid tribute to President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women's Union (GWU), Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation (FDF) and President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, and "Mother of the Nation" for supporting women's empowerment.

In Al Ain Camp, three ceremonies were held to celebrate graduation of new recruits, following 13-week training course.

In Ajman's Al Manama Camp, a ceremony was held to graduate the 4th batch of national service and reserve recruits, who completed basic training, as well as training on infantry, shooting, field skills, jui-jitsu, chemical defence and other military and security-related subjects.

The training camp commander congratulated the graduate recruits and renewed loyalty to the UAE, under the wise leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Upon directives of President, Khalifa Foundation renovates school in Socotra Archipelago

posted on 26/11/2015

HADIBO, YEMEN: Upon the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and follow up of H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, The Khalifa Foundation team has renovated Al Zahraa Secondary School for Girls in Socotra Archipelago.

The school recently suffered huge damage caused by hurricanes Tshabalala and Meg.

An official source at the Khalifa Foundation said a new power generator has been bought for the school following the team's assessment of the damage. Al Zahraa School is the biggest on the island with over 1,200 students.

The source said that the Foundation's team would also implement a facelift of a number of buildings on the island, and added that the foundation dispatched 16 cargo planes and four ships carrying 12,000 tonnes of food stuff, tents, and blankets for the inhabitants of the island.

The school administration and the teaching staff thanked the UAE for its support to the island and referred to the renovation of the educational buildings. They also extended their gratitude to the UAE leadership, citing continuous support to the people of Yemen during this current critical situation. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Al Maktoum family items sell for record breaking Dh50 million at Al Jalila fundraising gala dinner

posted on 26/11/2015

In an unprecedented charity auction that raised Dh 89.8 million at Al Jalila Foundation fundraising gala dinner, the race helmet worn by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, during His victorious win at the FEI World Endurance Championship in 2012, sold for a record-breaking amount of Dh 24,050,000. Also, among the prestigious auction items was Al Yamamah saddle donated by H.H. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, which he rode to victory at the 2014 Altech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France. The saddle sold for a record-breaking Dh 2,400,000.

The second highest auction sale of the evening was for HH Sheikh Zayed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum's Dubai Distinguished Vehicle Number Plate code O number 9, the first time that a single digit Dubai plate has ever been auctioned, which fetched Dh 23,900,000. Other auction items included an Arabian Horse, a luxury holiday experience; 300 Year Old Quran; a sculpture by famous Emirati artist; antique pistol statue; limited edition timepieces and a number of Etisalat distinguished telephone numbers.

The gala dinner, which was brought together under the theme of ‘Research for Life', was attended by over 350 guests including HRH Princess Haya bint Al Hussein; Dr Raja Al Gurg, Member of the Board for Trustees and Chairperson of the Board of Directors, Al Jalila Foundation; Humaid Mohammed Obaid Al Qutami, Director General of Dubai Health Authority; Abdullah Al Shaibani, Secretary General of Dubai Executive Council: Members of the Board of Trustees of Al Jalila Foundation and a number of philanthropists and members of the community.

Dr Raja Al Gurg, Member of the Board for Trustees and Chairperson of the Board of Directors, Al Jalila Foundation, commented after the auction: "Our success tonight is testament to the generosity of the people of the UAE. We are very grateful for the support of our sponsors, auction donors and everyone for a wonderful evening. It's truly inspiring to see the community come together to support local medical research."

During his welcome Dr Abdulkareem Al Olama, CEO of Al Jalila Foundation, said: "Al Jalila Foundation, like the rest of Dubai, is a product of the vision and foresight of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, one that has altered the course of medical innovation in the United Arab Emirates. There is no one who embodies better the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and the mission of Al Jalila Foundation than Chairperson of Dubai Healthcare City Authority, HRH Princess Haya bint Al Hussein. Her passion for hunger alleviation, nutrition awareness, and the improvement of healthcare systems is recognised and celebrated the world over. We are so honoured by HRH Princess Haya's continued support and patronage. It is indeed a privilege and an honour for myself and my team to lead this ground-breaking institution into the future."

The total proceeds of the charity gala reached Dh 89,837,000 which included an Dh 25 million donation from Mr Sunny Varkey and Dh 10 million from a long-term supporter of the Foundation, Raghuvinder Kataria.

The auction organised by Emirates Auction, a leading global auction house, began online to enable a wider participation and attracted more than 600 bids, including international participants, and culminated with a live auction at the charity gala. Emirates Auction holds five Guinness World Records for the most expensive car plates, properties and vessels sold at auction. Following Al Jalila Foundation charity auction, Emirates Auction now holds the world record for the highest amount ever raised for a race helmet and horse saddle, adding to the company's long list of accolades.

Also, earlier this month Al Jalila Foundation received an Dh 60 million donation from Dr Rajen A. Kilachand. In addition, donations to the value of Dh 90 million came from Abdul Salam Kandampath and Shamlal Madathum Parambath, Dr Azad Moopen, Dr B R Shetty, Mr Micky Jagtiani, Mr Nilesh Ved, Mr Puthan N C Menon, Mr Faizal Kottikollon & Ms. Shabana Faizal.

Al Jalila Foundation's investments in medical research and education aim to nurture a future generation of highly-qualified medical professionals through postgraduate scholarships, research seed grants and international fellowships. The Al Jalila Foundation Research Centre, the UAE's first independent multi-disciplinary medical research centre, will bring together local and international scientists to address the region's most pressing health challenges: cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, obesity and mental health. The state-of-the-art centre is scheduled to open in 2017 at Dubai Healthcare City. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -