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Abdullah bin Zayed hails UAE - Portuguese relations

posted on 29/07/2015

LISBON: H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister, stressed that the UAE and Portugal have distinguished historic bonds based on understanding, mutual respect and keen interest in developing relations in a way that reflects aspirations, interests and directives of leaders in both countries.

Sheikh Abdullah made the remark on Monday, while heading the UAE side during the 2nd UAE- Portuguese Joint Ministerial Committee Meeting. The Portuguese side was chaired by Paulo Portas, Deputy Prime Minister of Portugal.

The UAE Foreign Minister expressed his pleasure at attending these meetings in Lisbon. He added that he had met the Portuguese Deputy Prime Minister and discussed with him a number of regional issues and international challenges.

"There are similarities in views between the UAE and Portugal regarding the situation in the region," Sheikh Abdullah said, calling for focussing on the food security and introduction of a third party besides the UAE and Portugal to acquire more experience and knowledge.

He praised the agreements and memorandums of understanding (MoUs) signed by the two sides yesterday to support and develop bilateral co-operation.

The UAE Foreign Minister thanked the heads and members of the preparatory committee for their diligence to make this meeting a success, as well as the follow-up of the joint committee's work and implementation of resolutions. He thanked Portas for Portugal's hosting of the meeting.

The Portuguese Prime Minister welcomed Sheikh Abdullah and the delegation accompanying him, and commended the efforts of the two delegations to make the meeting a success. He welcomed the signing of a number of agreements and MoUs to strengthen bilateral relations.

"The UAE and Portugal share many similarities," he said.

A number of MoUs signed by the two sides covers areas of diplomacy, academics, trade and tourism. The two sides also signed the air transport services agreement. The minutes of the meeting were signed by the UAE Foreign Minister and the Portuguese Deputy Prime Minister.

Sheikh Abdullah and Portas held a joint press conference. Portas stressed the importance of the agreements and MoUs signed by the two sides, adding that they reflect commitment and success of the meetings between the two sides. He noted the trade exchange between the UAE and Portugal soared over the last four years, praising the UAE policies, which always seek solutions.

The UAE Foreign Minister hailed the role of the Portuguese Deputy Prime Minister to bolster relations, noting that the two countries are planning to set up a joint business council to avail more investment opportunities for investors in both countries. He added that the meeting tackled how best to enhance co-operation between the GCC states and EU.

Sheikh Abdullah expressed his pride that the UAE was the first Arab country to get an exemption from the pre-entry Schengen visa requirement to a number of EU countries, commending the Portuguese side for its support to this resolution.

At the end of the meeting, Portas presented to Sheikh Abdullah, the Benfica FC jersey after Emirates Airline becomes the official shirt sponsor of the Portuguese Benfica FC.

The Portuguese Deputy Prime Minister hosted a banquet in honour of the visiting UAE Foreign Minister.

Among others present were Khalid Ghanem Al Ghaith, Assistant Foreign Minister for Economic Affairs, Sheikha Najla Al Qasimi, the UAE Ambassador to Portugal, and a number of senior officials representing the Ministries, agencies and corporations from both countries. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Portuguese President receives Abdullah bin Zayed

posted on 29/07/2015

LISBON: Anibal Cavaco Silva, President of Portugal has received H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Foreign Minister, who is currently visiting the country.

Sheikh Abdullah conveyed greetings 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 to the Portuguese President.

Mr Silva reciprocated his greetings to President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, wishing further progress and welfare to the UAE.

Sheikh Abdullah underscored the historic relations between the UAE and Portugal, and the importance of enhancing them and building new communication bridges between the two friendly peoples and countries.

He also emphasised the importance of translating the two countries leaderships' keenness on enhancing friendship bonds and building fruitful cooperation and investment partnership for the best economic interest in various fields.

During the meeting, they discussed the overall cooperation relations between the UAE and Portugal and ways to enhance them to include a number of domains which would contribute to opening new horizons of joint work as well as ways of creating partnership opportunities between the two countries in various fields.

They also exchanged views on a number of issues of joint interests between the two countries as well as the latest developments in the regional and international arenas.

Assistant Foreign Minister for Economic Affairs Khalid Ghanim Al Ghaith, and the UAE's Ambassador to Portugal, Sheikha Najla Al Qasimi attended the meeting. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Abdullah bin Zayed meets Portuguese counterpart, discusses bilateral cooperation

posted on 29/07/2015

LISBON: H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Foreign Minister yesterday met with Rui Machete, Minister of State and Foreign Affairs of Portugal and discussed ways to strengthen cooperation between the two countries in various fields.

During the meeting, they discussed cooperation and distinguished friendly relations between the UAE and Portugal, and ways of strengthening and developing them in the political, economic, investment, and trade sectors.

H.H. Sheikh Abdullah and Mr Machete also discussed the importance of developing and expanding joint cooperation to meet the aspirations of the two countries, and reviewed current regional and international developments and exchanged views on a number of issues of common concern.

The meeting was attended by Khalid Ghanim Al Ghaith, Assistant Foreign Minister for Economic Affairs, and Sheikha Najla Al Qasimi, UAE's Ambassador to Portugal. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


UAE condemns Iran's repeated interference in Bahrain's internal affairs

posted on 29/07/2015

The UAE has strongly condemned the blatant Iranian interference in the internal affairs of the Kingdom of Bahrain and Tehran's failure to observe principles of good neighbourliness, which represent a clear violation of the international norms, conventions and charters.

In a statement, Dr. Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, condemned Iran's repeated attempts to stir sectarian strife among the people of the Kingdom of Bahrain.

He said that the UAE has followed, with strong indignation, the statements made by official departments in Iran, which constitute blatant transgression of an independent and sovereign country and of its identity and Arabism, calling for the importance of retracting and stopping these statements.

Dr. Gargash was surprised at the Iranian calls to open a new page with the countries of the region in order to combat terrorism at a time when, ironically, Tehran is trying to destabilise the security and stability of countries in the region in general and Bahrain in particular through training terrorist groups, providing shelter to those who escaped from justice and attempts to smuggle weapons and explosives into Bahrain. "The Bahraini authorities foiled a few days ago these subversive acts that aimed at undermining the security and stability of Bahrain."

He emphasised that the remarks and attempts made by the officials in Iran "do not reflect a desire to improve relations or enhance an atmosphere of stability in the region. Instead, these would contribute towards creating tension and igniting sectarian strife through provocative statements which are contrary to all international charters and laws, besides being completely incompatible with the true values of Islam and its tolerant principles."

Dr. Gargash also denounced the terrorist blast in Bahrain, which killed two policemen and critically injured a third in the area of Sitra. He also emphasised that the security and stability of Bahrain is a cornerstone in the security and stability of GCC. He also praised the Bahraini cultural figures who had expressed their support, adding that they are united behind their wise leadership.

He concluded by reiterating the UAE's complete support to the actions and measures taken by the Kingdom of Bahrain to enhance its security, stability and safety of its people. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


UAE's aid to Yemen stood at Dh 485 million in 2015

posted on 29/07/2015

The UAE provided humanitarian aid worth Dh 485 million to Yemen this year in response to the humanitarian situation in that country, the Ministry of International Cooperation and Development announced in a report issued yesterday.

The humanitarian assistance came as part of the efforts to implement the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to provide urgent food and medical assistance to the people of Yemen, who are suffering from a severe shortage of food and medicines due to the unfolding developments in Yemen.

The aid included Dh 170 million to provide electric power, Dh 131 million for food, Dh 73 million for medical supplies and Dh 58 million to provide a variety of relief items.

The UAE humanitarian donor bodies played a key role in providing aid to victims of the current humanitarian conditions through launching airlift operations aimed at providing various kinds of relief assistance to them.

Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, Minister of International Cooperation and Development (MICAD), emphasised that "The UAE is committed to alleviating the crisis gripping Yemenis by providing urgent humanitarian aid, which includes food, medical supplies, water and sanitation stuff, fuel and humanitarian assistance."

She added that the UAE does not hesitate to provide various kinds of support and launching relief bridges for those affected by any kind of humanitarian crises, and "this approach has contributed to positioning the country among the top humanitarian donors." – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


New fuel prices announced for August

posted on 29/07/2015

The Fuel Price Committee, chaired by Dr. Matar Al Nyadi, Under-Secretary for the Ministry of Energy, yesterday announced the gasoline and diesel prices for the month of August 2015 across all petrol stations in the UAE.

The announcement was made at the committee's meeting that was attended by its members including Younis Khouri, Under-Secretary for the Ministry of Finance, Abdullah Salem Al Dhaheri, CEO of ADNOC Distribution, and Saif Al Falasi, CEO of Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC).

Effective from August 1st, the new gasoline prices will be: Diesel Dh2.05, Super (98) Dh2.25, Special (95) Dh2.14, and E Plus (91) Dh2.07.

All petrol stations in the UAE will retail diesel at Dh 2.05 per litre instead of the previous Dh 2.90, dropping 85 fils per litre or a 29% drop. Gasoline (95 Octane) will be sold to consumers at Dh 2.14 per litre instead of the previous Dh 1.72, with a 42 fils increase in litre price to represent a 24% hike.

Dr. Matar Al Nyadi said the committee based the new prices on the average global prices for gasoline and diesel during the month of July with the addition of transport, distribution and operating costs - as approved by the cabinet for distribution companies.

He added that the Fuel Price Committee will monitor the global prices of gasoline and diesel on a daily basis and will announce the prices for the following month on the 28th of each month based on average global prices during that month.

Al Nyadi said that the reduction of diesel prices for August from Dh 2.90 to Dh 2.05 will serve as a stimulating factor for the economy. This will enhance the competitiveness of the national economy, reduce the prices of commodities and eventually reflect positively on the economy.

He added, "The ministry has coordinated with all relevant entities in the country including the Ministry of Economy and the Supreme Committee for Consumer Protection to monitor the movement of prices and safeguard the rights of consumers. This will ensure that people across the country benefit from lower diesel prices, which would mean lower operating costs for a wide number of vital sectors such as industry, shipping and cargo.

"As for the increase in gasoline prices, the impact on individuals will be minimal as the prices for cars with 4 cylinders will increase on average by nearly Dh18, for 6 cylinder on an average by nearly Dh25 and 8 cylinder by Dh45. Such an increase would not create an additional burden on car owners with limited incomes. Additionally, it will promote rationalised consumption and incentivise people to choose most fuel efficient cars, while curbing the increase in the number of cars on the country's roads in the future." – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Fuel deregulation will not affect prices of goods, Ministry of Economy affirms

posted on 29/07/2015

The Ministry of Economy yesterday reassured that the decision to deregulate fuel prices in the UAE from August 1 will not have an adverse impact or lead to any increase in the price of consumer goods. The Ministry further reiterated that it will work in cooperation with relevant authorities across the emirates to tighten control over the market and prevent any attempt to exploit the decision to deregulate fuel prices by raising the price of consumer goods.

In an official statement, the Ministry said projections indicate that diesel prices will decline markedly triggering a related reduction in transport costs of consumer goods and thereby ensure that the prices will eventually decrease rather than climb further.

Mohammed Ahmed bin Abdul Aziz Al Shehhi, Undersecretary, UAE Ministry of Economy for Economic Affairs, stressed that the Ministry prioritised consumer protection as a fundamental pillar in its commitment to strengthening the UAE's social security standards. He said that the deregulation of fuel will not adversely affect the prices of goods traded in the UAE, as prices will be subject to intense and continued monitoring by the Ministry's Consumer Protection Department.

Al Shehhi pointed out that the initiatives launched by the Ministry of Economy and the Supreme Committee for Consumer Protection over the past few years have succeeded in stabilising the market and limiting attempts to monopolise or spike prices of goods traded across the emirates.

He also commended the significant role of the Committee in planning and executing consumer protection policies, supporting price stability and balancing market performance while enhancing economic growth.

Al Shehhi stressed that the Ministry of Economy will not tolerate violations to the law or any attempt to unfairly increase or manipulate prices. He further explained that the country's judicial system gives the Ministry absolute legal authority to issue fines according to the nature of violations. The Federal Law No. 7 of 2011, he added, was introduced as a modification of Law No. 24 of 2006 to intensify penalties on tradesmen who sell over-priced items.

Al Shehhi called on all consumers in the UAE to remain vigilant and immediately inform the Ministry of Economy and related entities of any price increase following the announcement of the deregulation of fuel prices in the country. He also invited them to call the Consumer Protection hotline (600522225) to notify the Ministry of such related violations.

The Undersecretary noted that since 2014, the Ministry of Economy has clarified to all retail outlets and restaurants in the UAE that unwarranted price increases at their outlets would not be approved unless they requested for the same though formal applications submitted to the Ministry. The Consumer Protection Department has been mandated to study these applications and conduct a feasibility analysis prior to referring them to the Supreme Committee for Consumer Protection for a final decision. Furthermore, he added that the Ministry now requires an official application to be submitted by companies looking to increase the prices of their products.

On his part, Humaid bin Butti Al Muhairi, Assistant Undersecretary of the Ministry of Economy for Commercial Affairs, said that the Ministry will escalate market supervision in the UAE following the deregulation of fuel price from August 1. He encouraged consumers in the UAE to cooperate with the Ministry's Consumer Protection Department and its inspection teams to help regulate market dynamics through notifying the teams of any price hikes in products. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


ADNOC Distribution says UAE offers competitive fuel prices

posted on 29/07/2015

Abdulla Salem Al Dhaheri, CEO of ADNOC Distribution has said that the UAE still maintains one of the most competitive prices in the region and the world at large in terms of per capita fuel spending compared to the average income of individuals Al Dhaheri was commenting on the announcement by the Ministry of Energy to deregulate fuel prices with effect from 1 August, 2015.

"This can be largely attributed to the solid economic foundations established by our wise leadership and its directives to provide a competitive environment with zero taxes on income and expenditure making the UAE module unique and attractive." he added.

Al Dhaheri further elaborated when setting the new prices, "we have considered International prices as the benchmark and include an added operation cost and minor profit margin. The new direction of deregulating the prices will allow ADNOC Distribution to leverage its expansion plans to meet the rising demand for petroleum and allied products by the public in line with the sustained urban growth the UAE is witnessing across all regions. The decision will also in the long-term allow us to enhance the quality of products and services and deliver an improved customer experience via our service centres."

Al Dhaheri added given the prevailing global prices, it was a real challenge for ADNOC Distribution to cut down diesel prices that have been reduced by 29 per cent. The decision to reduce diesel prices has been taken in public interest with the aim of supporting the national economy and ensuring its global competitiveness. "We are confident that the move will positively impact our economy, and will in turn reduce the operational costs across a wide range of pivotal sectors including industries, transportation, shipping among others."

He concluded with the announcement of new prices, ADNOC Distribution confirms the readiness of its employees to meet public demand for a variety of fuel products via its state-of-the-art infrastructure facilities and advanced network of service stations. ADNOC Distribution currently operates 386 service stations across the UAE. "The company will utilise the minor profit margin accrued following the deregulation of the fuel prices to add 125 new service stations that will provide value-added and convenience-enhanced services to customers in the UAE," Al Dhaheri said. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Abu Dhabi Investment Authority appoints Hisashi Kuroda Head of Japan, Internal Equities Department

posted on 29/07/2015

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) said yesterday that it has appointed Hisashi Kuroda as Head of Japan, Internal Equities Department, effective immediately.

Mr Kuroda will be responsible for developing strategy, managing risk and overseeing management of the Japan-focused investment portfolio in ADIA's Internal Equities Department. Based in Abu Dhabi, Mr Kuroda will report to Greg Eckersley, Global Head of Internal Equities.

With over 20 years of experience in equity research and portfolio management, and a strong and consistent track record of outperformance, Mr Kuroda joins ADIA from Meiji Yasuda Asset Management, a leading Japanese investment management and trust services advisory, where he spearheaded the company's Japanese Equity Team since 2010 in his capacity as General Manager.

Earlier in his career, Mr Kuroda spent eight years with Blackrock Japan (formerly Merrill Lynch Investment Managers Co.) in the Japanese Equity Large Cap Team, starting as an Investment Analyst, followed by Portfolio Manager (Equity), and ultimately Director.

Commenting on the appointment, Mohamed Alqamzi, Executive Director, Internal Equities Department at ADIA, said: "It gives us great pleasure to welcome Hisashi to lead our Japanese Desk. His deep knowledge and exceptional track record in managing Japanese equities will further enhance our internal capabilities in one of the world's most important and dynamic equity markets."

Mr Kuroda holds a B.A. in Economics from Keio University in Japan and an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in the USA. He is also a Chartered Member of the Securities Analysts Association of Japan. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


New family area opens at DXB Terminal 3

posted on 29/07/2015

Dubai International Airport, Terminal 3, has announced the opening of a new facility for travelling families with kids.

Located between Gates B7 and B8, the Concourse B's Zen Garden features a children's area complete with creative play equipment, television screens featuring children's programming, and baby changing rooms. The area also features conversational-style seating with a range of both individual and group seats, and is located close to various food and beverage outlets.

"We recognise that passengers waiting for a flight have valuable time that they would like to put to good use, be it catching up with work, sharing a meal with friends, shopping or spending time with family. These new facilities are the first of a series of changes we are making across the terminals at Dubai International to create welcoming spaces for the comfort and convenience of our customers," said Chris Garton, Executive Vice President – Operations at Dubai Airports. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Etihad CEO James Hogan emphasises importance of consumer choice and innovation at 2015 GBTA convention

posted on 29/07/2015

ORLANDO, FLORIDA:Etihad Airways President and CEO James Hogan has emphasised the importance of consumer choice and innovation as the fundamental drivers of competition in the international airline industry during a public conversation before an audience of approximately 4,000 attendees at the 2015 Global Business Travel Association, GBTA, Convention in Orlando, Fla.

In a discussion, which focused on emerging opportunities and challenges in the global aviation industry, Mr Hogan noted that business and leisure travellers alike are demanding, and should rightly expect, choices in network, schedules, product and services, loyalty rewards, convenience, and price.

"What we bring to the market is competition, we bring fantastic choice in regard to product and services," Mr Hogan told the audience. "We see strong demand in premium and we're very focused on the business traveller – when you look at our lounges, when you look at the services that we provide – to ensure that the trip is as seamless as it can be."

Mr Hogan highlighted the impact of rapidly growing markets like China, India and Southeast Asia on international traffic flows and traditional international hubs. He also emphasised Etihad's unique approach to constantly innovating in order to better serve customers.

"Innovation – one of the greatest things about travel in this era is the consumer can find out so much about your business. In our culture, we don't have passengers, we have guests and that guest experience – whether it's first class, business class or economy – is fundamental, and treating the guest with respect," Mr Hogan said.

Mr Hogan also discussed Etihad's unique business model which extends the airline's organic growth through codeshare partnerships and equity investments in key global airlines, including airberlin, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, Aer Lingus, Alitalia, Jet Airways, Virgin Australia, and Swiss-based Darwin Airline, to offer greater choice to consumers, including a network of more than 500 destinations worldwide – all at greater convenience, with one booking and one fare. The airline's hub in Abu Dhabi now serves as a gateway between the Middle East, Asia and Australia and destinations in Europe and America.

Etihad Airways' booth at the GBTA EXPO showcases The Residence, Etihad Airways' exclusive luxury travel offering available aboard its Airbus A380 aircraft.

The A380 will make its debut in the United States on December 1 when Etihad Airways inaugurates the airline's first A380 service between New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport and Abu Dhabi. In the United States, the Business Studios are already available to travellers who fly from Washington's Dulles International Airport to Abu Dhabi – and beyond. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Khalifa Port sets new productivity record on CMA CGM Thames

posted on 29/07/2015

Abu Dhabi Terminals, ADT, manager and operator of Khalifa Port Container Terminal, KPCT, set a new productivity record by handling 2615 moves in just under 13 hours on the 9,365 TEU CMA CGM Thames which called into Khalifa Port on Tuesday 21st July. An operational productivity metric and record of 206 Berth Moves per Hour (BMPH) at an average of 46.38 Gross Moves per Hour (GMPH) was achieved during her port stay.

This is the first time ADT has crossed the important benchmark of 200 berth moves per hour; achieving and maintaining these high levels of productivity is one of the key value drivers for both the shipping lines and port operator in order to maximise efficiencies and increase terminal throughput and capacity.

"This productivity record is the result of excellent collaboration and planning by both CMA CGM and ADT operational teams. KPCT ranks among the top five in Europe, Middle East and Africa with regards to port productivity and this record expresses continued confidence in ADT's ability to perform and maximise value for our customers," said Simon Brebner, Chief Commercial Officer at ADT.

Claude Lebel, Senior Vice President at CMA CGM Gulf Regional Office in Dubai commented: ‘'Fast turnaround is essential for our ships and Abu Dhabi Khalifa Port has set their new record moving 206 units per hour allowing our vessel to be completed in 13 hours. This is our third call for this new service and a good cooperation with ADT can only improve the service we render our customers."

The productivity is evident from the volumes that are increasing year-on-year at KPCT. The total number of TEUs handled by ADT during the first 6 months of 2015 increased by 36 percent compared to same period in 2014.

As a terminal operator that places safety and operational efficiency as its priority, ADT continuously invests in state-of-the-art IT systems and port-centric logistics solutions. By mid-2016 ADT will enhance its terminal handling capabilities to 2.5 million TEUs by adding three new Super Post Panamax cranes. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


DP World starts work on US$1.6b terminal at Jebel Ali

posted on 29/07/2015

Ports operator DP World announced on Tuesday the start of construction work on a new US$1.6 billion container terminal at Jebel Ali Port.

DP World Chairman Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem said the Phase 1 of the Container Terminal 4 (T4) project will deliver new capacity of 3.1 million TEU (twenty-foot equivalent units) by 2018, taking Jebel Ali Port's total capacity to 22.1 million TEU. The port complex will be equipped with at least 110 cranes with a total quay length of around 11,000 metres by that time.

T4 will be located on a reclaimed island north of the existing Terminal 2 allowing DP World to further expand capacity to a total of 7.8 million TEU in line with market demand. As part of the project, a bridge is being built to provide access to the island from land near Terminal 2. Work is scheduled to get the 3,000 metre causeway and bridge partially open to traffic before the end of 2015.

Bin Sulayem said the new capacity is a response to feedback from customers expressing the need for more capacity at Jebel Ali due to an expected increase in trade in the run up to Expo 2020. Shipping lines will be able to bring more of the world's largest vessels to our terminals so helping improve the efficiency of the region's supply chain."

Meanwhile, Jebel Ali and other DP World terminals in the UAE handled 7.9 million TEU in the first half of 2015, representing a growth of six per cent compared with the first half of 2014.

Bin Sulayem said Jebel Ali continues to respond to market demand as in the past. "Despite the addition of two million TEUs capacity in Terminal 3 scheduled in the second half 2015, the port still experiences high levels of utilisation."

"With Jebel Ali's total capacity set to reach 22.1 million TEU in 2018, we are ensuring our flagship asset in Dubai continues to have sufficient capacity to serve the future growth demand of the UAE and the wider region," he said.

Terminal 4 will be equipped with semi-automated quay cranes, providing operational efficiencies for customers, comfortable and safe working conditions for employees and environmental benefits for the community at large by reducing the carbon footprint. Under Phase 1, T4 will feature a 1,200 metre long quay with an 18 metre draft, and 13 of the world's largest and most modern quay cranes, remotely operated from a sophisticated control room off the quayside. Some 35 Automated Rail Mounted Gantry cranes will operate in the yard.

"We have invested significantly in the infrastructure, equipment, technology and training of our teams at Jebel Ali. Our priority is to ensure that we can serve our customers efficiently and help them realise the benefits of scale that the fleet of new, larger vessels bring.

"Today, Jebel Ali has the capability to accommodate ten of these mega container ships simultaneously. The new state-of-the-art facility at Terminal 4 will increase this number significantly," said Bin Sulayem. – Khaleej Times -


Ministry of Economy discusses cooperation with JETRO

posted on 29/07/2015

Juma Mohammed Al Kit, Assistant Under-Secretary of UAE Ministry of Economy for Foreign Trade, has discussed with a delegation from the Central Office of Japan External Trade Organisation, JETRO, in a meeting held at the Ministry's headquarters in Abu Dhabi, ways to enhance trade and investment relations and promote communication between the business community in the two countries.

The Japanese delegation included Masayoshi Watanabe, the former Managing Director of JETRO Dubai & MENA, the Central Office of Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) for the Middle East and North Africa Region, and Masami, who will be the new Director of the Regional Office in Dubai.

Al Kit commended the distinguished efforts of Watanabe during his tenure in Dubai that contributed to the development of trade and investment relations between the UAE and Japan, which saw remarkable developments during the past period.

He stressed the UAE's keenness to strengthen the partnership with Japan by working to increase trade exchange and investment cooperation and focus on the importance of the role played by the private sector in promoting the trade exchange between them.

Al Kit said that the relationship between the UAE and Japan witnessed significant developments over the past few years, citing that Japan is among the top five trade partners of the UAE and the volume of the non-oil trade touched $14 billion dollars at the end of 2014. The figures reflect the depth and strong commercial relationship between the two countries.

He called on the Japanese side to intensify the presence of the Japanese private sector in various trade and investment events, which are held in the country. They provide an opportunity to meet with investors from around the world to discuss the areas of partnership, cooperation and investment.

For his part, the Japanese official praised the level of relations between the two friendly countries and the efforts of sustainable development in the UAE, noting the keenness of the Government of Japan to promote trade and investment cooperation with the UAE. He also underlined the importance of development of communication and cooperation between the public and private sectors of the two sides to enhance trade and investment relations. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Department of Transport in Abu Dhabi studies reusing pavement milling materials in main road construction projects

posted on 29/07/2015

The Department of Transport (DoT) in Abu Dhabi announced yesterday that it is currently studying an initiative to release a technical guideline for the management of the milled asphaltic materials generated from road maintenance and rehabilitation projects in Abu Dhabi.

The DoT project, which is closely coordinated with different relevant stakeholders in the Emirate, aims to develop procedures and operational policies as well as technical specifications for management of milled asphaltic materials produced from roads and pavement maintenance works. Another objective of this project is to evaluate the environmental and economic impacts in case this guideline was enforced.

The DoT has said that this step comes as part its efforts to issue technical regulations that would have positive impact on sustainability and environment, in addition to cost reduction.

"The importance of this project stems from the fact that there are large quantities of milled asphaltic materials generated each year from demolishing existing asphalt pavement as part of the rehabilitation and maintenance work executed by DoT as well as other government entities or private agencies. This calls for specific guidelines and regulations able to handle these disposed materials. Therefore, the DoT endeavours to explore practical solutions to recycle and reuse these materials in the construction and maintenance of roads and other related fields," according to the Department of Transport.

On the other hand, the DoT says it endeavours through recycling and reusing of the milled asphaltic materials to have a significant effect on materials sustainability and environment conservation. "This practice can reduce opening new borrow pits, hauling quarry materials, air pollution, economic cost and many other environmental concerns. The developed guidelines, once implemented, will contribute to rationalising the impact of materials transportation from quarries which are located at far distances, and it will also eliminate the negative influence of transporting the milled materials to landfills," the DoT said. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Dubai Land Department reports Dh 129 billion real estate transactions for the H1 2015

posted on 29/07/2015

The total amount of real estate transactions recorded by the Dubai Land Department, DLD, during the first half of 2015 reached Dh 129 billion, through 23 thousand transaction, annual report issued by Real Estate Research and Studies Department of DLD has said.

In details, the report reveals the sales and mortgages transactions along with other transactions, as the sales accounted a total value of Dh 53 billion, while the mortgages accounted more than Dh 65 billion, leaving all remaining operations with the total value of Dh 10 billion.

Commenting on the results, Sultan Butti bin Mejren, Director General of Dubai Land Department, said: "The report confirms beyond any doubt that the real estate sector in Dubai is heading towards sustainable growth. This can be ascertained from the continual increases from one quarter to the next, which have been a feature of the market over the last two years. In light of the report's findings, investors and developers can have realistic expectations and can formulate effective strategies in the short and medium-term to meet the needs of the sector. The reliable data in the report is far removed from fallacious information about the market that certain parties are trying to broadcast in order to achieve personal gain."

Looking at the transactions, Sales and mortgages relating to land transactions recorded more than Dh 106 billion from the total real estate figure for H1 2015, with the total of 8,240 transactions. The commercial lands (already built on) acquired the lion share in terms of value for the type of land with 47% in total, noting that other lands include agricultural land devoted to the development of industrial projects, exhibitions, hotels and residences, and other uses.

The value of transactions by the kind of property, showed that the buildings and units transactions exceeded 15,355 transactions with a total value of Dh 20 billion during H1 of 2015.

In reference to areas, "Al Yafra 2" area of Dubai was revealed to be the most attractive for transactions, in terms of land value sales, with the value of its transactions reaching Dh2 billion, as for mortgages of lands, "Al Barsha South 1" came in first through 348 transaction worth of Dh 360 million.

It was different for unit sales, Business Bay area came in first with the value of its transactions reaching Dh 2.5 billion. As for mortgages of units, Dubai Marina came in first with transactions value reaching Dh 1 billion. As for buildings, "Al Thunaya 4" topped all areas in terms of building sales, with the value of its transactions reaching Dh 377 million through 158 sale transaction, as well as for mortgages of buildings with a total amount of Dh 246 million. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


UAE consumer confidence at highest level in MEA

posted on 29/07/2015

Consumer confidence in the UAE has declined seven index points in the second quarter to a score of 108, according to the latest Nielsen's Consumer Confidence Index Report.

Despite the decline from the first quarter, the consumer confidence level remains the highest level in the Middle East and Africa (MEA).

In the UAE, sentiment for the three economic indicators decreased, as future job prospects declined four percentage points to 62 per cent; personal finances sentiment decreased three percentage points to 64 per cent; and immediate spending intentions declined three percentage points to 47 per cent. 41 per cent of UAE respondents believe they are in recession, as the sentiment increased two percentage points from the first quarter.

"In the United Arab Emirates, job security concerns are amplifying as lower oil prices can fuel expectations of government spending cuts," said Arslan Ashraf, managing director, Nielsen Arabian Peninsula. "Additionally, two key sectors of the economy - real estate and tourism - are showing signs of softening. As such, consumers are saving more and spending less, intending to pull back spending on new clothes, out-of-home entertainment and home improvements expenses."

Most UAE respondents are in a saving, rather than a spending, mind-set as more than two-thirds (70 per cent) say they are actively taking action to save on household expenses compared to a year ago. Among those who say they are taking actions to save, the top two areas earmarked for reduction are spending on clothing (50 per cent) and spending less on take-out meals (46 per cent).

The fear of losing a job (26 per cent) is the top concern in the UAE. Furthermore, parent's welfare and happiness (11 per cent) is also a key issue, as well as worries about the state of the economy and a balanced work/lifestyle (both nine per cent). Elsewhere, confidence declined five points in Egypt to 85; and two points in Saudi Arabia to 105. Confidence levels in Pakistan (102) and South Africa (87) were unchanged from the first quarter.

Regionally, while sentiment about job prospects edged up one percentage point to 45 per cent, personal finances sentiment declined two percentage points to 58 per cent, and immediate spending intentions declined three percentage points to 36 per cent from the first quarter. Recessionary sentiment increased in four of five Middle East/Africa markets: Egypt and South Africa each increased three percentage points to 82 per cent and 73 per cent, respectively, and Saudi Arabia and the UAE increased two percentage point to 45 per cent and 41 per cent, respectively.

Regionally, quarter-on-quarter discretionary spending and saving intentions changed marginally across most lifestyle categories. Intentions to save declined two percentage points to 37 per cent, but plans to invest increased two percentage points to 12 per cent. Paying debts was the priority for 22 per cent of respondents, an increase of three percentage points, and spending on new clothes (27 per cent) and holidays/vacations (19 per cent) increased one percentage point each from the first quarter. – Khaleej Times -


Population rise comes with progress: paper

posted on 29/07/2015

In an editorial yesterday, the Abu Dhabi-based English-language daily newspaper, The National, said that the newly published data from Statistics Centre – Abu Dhabi (SCAD), reveals the dizzying pace of change in the emirate over the past few decades. "With the population now 133 times what it was in 1960, having grown at an average annual rate of 9.5 percent, and the number of citizens doubled 46 times - with the non-citizen population increased 243-fold - this dramatic change has affected almost every aspect of life," it said.

"Abu Dhabi society has changed and its citizens are open to many external influences. The influx of workers of more than 200 nationalities has brought different values and new norms, and created a highly diverse environment. The rapid evolution of the country has seen the development of important institutions, including schools and universities," added the editorial.

The paper said that while many changes have been widely welcomed, there are those among the older generation who worry that some young people may have lost touch with their roots and traditions. As the veteran Emirati tour guide Hamad Saeed Al Ketbi told the paper, he would like to see young people make more effort to preserve the past.

"The UAE of today is undoubtedly different from the one of generations past. But that doesn't mean it is worse. Society is affected by many things: better health care means people live longer and more children survive. Cultural changes mean more women go into higher education and employment and therefore delay marriage. All of these changes have disrupted traditional family structures, but it's not clear that the changes in themselves are bad. Rather, it is the way society has reacted to them that provokes mixed feelings," he said.

"It is vital to remember and respect the past, previous generations built the society we see around us," he added.

The editorial concluded by saying that at the same time, it is necessary to trust young people. "They were born at a set point in time, with the cultural norms and social expectations of that time. The society they create will similarly be forged by the requirements of the day and, in turn, will influence the succeeding generations – and all will look back to their youth as some kind of golden age while bemoaning most of what has happened since," it said. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Abu Dhabi University invests Dh35 million in new on-campus residential facilities for staff and faculty

posted on 29/07/2015

Construction works have already started on an area of 9, 202 m2 of Abu Dhabi University's ever-growing campus, with Dh 35 million invested to develop new residential facilities that are set to house around 60 new staff and renowned faculty members who will be joining the University within the upcoming academic year.

With the constant growing demand of students enrolling in 31 undergraduate and 17 postgraduate programmes offered on Abu Dhabi and Al Ain campuses, ADU has started recruiting candidates who hail from prestigious universities and research centres across the globe.

Chairman of Abu Dhabi University's Executive Board, Ali Saeed bin Harmal Al Dhaheri explained that the University has recruited around 60 new members of international experience in teaching and scientific research to enrich its already outstanding academic cadre.

"Bringing in additional renowned academic leaders and faculty members will reflect positively on the academic outputs of Abu Dhabi University's programs, elevating them to an international level that allows them to compete globally and meet the needs of the policy agenda of Abu Dhabi's Government and its Economic vision 2030. The project to build new on-campus residential facilities is part of a comprehensive plan that ADU is implementing to modernise Abu Dhabi and Al Ain campuses following the highest international standards of worldwide higher education institutions", he added.

Al Dhaheri said that the University's search for renowned faculty members with international qualifications is yet another step that positively support its pursuit of international accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) after being was granted candidacy for a period of 5 years.

On his part, Dr. Nabil Ibrahim, Chancellor of Abu Dhabi University stressed that the new facilities were designed according to the highest international modern standards to provide faculty and staff with a suitable and comfortable living environment that caters to their various needs. "The new faculty and staff accommodation building is a vital addition to ADU's 103 current on-campus faculty and staff accommodation units, that have been enhanced with 101 off-campus units in both Abu Dhabi and Al Ain to cater to the growing number of the University's academic and administrative body reaching just about 517 members", said Dr. Ibrahim. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Mohammed bin Rashid lauds UAE's experience in support of orphans and minors

posted on 29/07/2015

Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has issued a number of directives to ensure better care for orphans and minors so as to become effective contributors to the society.

The move follows the briefing Sheikh Mohammed received on the feedbacks of "The UAE Initiative for Connection with Orphans and Minors."

Sheikh Mohammed said the UAE assists people worldwide, citing that the country has been ranked world's top in providing foreign aid compared to its GNI. He disclosed that the UAE sponsors over 200,000 orphans in various countries through humanitarian initiatives, accounting for three per cent of the total number of orphans who receive sponsorship worldwide. "The UAE has a comprehensive local care system for the orphans and minors, as per world standards. We have to continue upgrading this system."

He added that achieving the top position has become the UAE's culture, not only at the level of leadership, but also at the level of all categories of the society.

Sheikh Mohammed thanked the higher committee of the UAE Initiative for Connection with Orphans and Minors, all agencies and individuals, on activating this initiative and its feedbacks that would contribute to ensuring decent living conditions for this category in the community.

He was briefed about the UAE's first guide about the sponsorship of orphans and minors. The societal participation is the core of implementing the UAE model in sponsorship of those falling in this category.

Earlier, Sheikh Mohammed launched the initiative to meet the requirements of the orphans and minors.

Among others present were H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Chairman of the Higher Committee of the Initiative, and Khalifa Saeed bin Suleiman, Director General of the Protocol and Hospitality Department in Dubai. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


DFWAC’s helpline 800111 receives 552 calls related to abused victims in 6 months

posted on 29/07/2015

The Dubai Foundation for Women and Children, DFWAC, has received 552 calls through its helpline "800111" related to abused victims of women and children, out of the total 2034 calls it received during the first half of this year, 2015, Afra Al Basti, Director General of the Foundation has said..

She said the calls it received were mostly about family counselling and volunteering and donating.

Al Basti said that the number of calls that the Foundation received during the second quarter of this year totalled 1247, an increase of 63% compared to the first quarter in which it has received 787 calls, which indicates that DFWAC's helpline is gaining more trust among community members every day.

She noted that the calls received by the helpline during the second quarter included about 465 calls related to cases of violence against women and children, including 398 calls from the victims, and 48 calls by friends or relatives of the victims in addition to 19 calls by official parties such as school, police, embassies and others.

She added that calls related to abused victims during the second quarter included 254 calls about victims of domestic violence, or about 50% of the calls, as well as 28 calls about victims of child abuse and 8 calls about victims of human trafficking, as well as other calls related to other categories of victims of violence.

Al Basti explained that 261 victims (51%) out of the 465 calls indicated that they were exposed to verbal abuse, and 116 victims (23%) to physical abuse, and 63 victims (12%) of financial abuse, and 62 victims (12%) to negligence, in addition to the eight victims (2%) that have been subjected to sexual abuse.

She added that only 8% of the cases received by the Foundation through the Helpline during the second quarter were in urgent need for support, but none of the cases were under an immediate threat.

The Director General confirmed that about 42% of the helpline callers during the second quarter of this year were Emirati Nationals, and the rest of the calls came from residents of other nationalities in the UAE.

She added that the helpline has achieved a new success during the second quarter of this year by receiving 183 calls from children under the age of 18, or about 36% of the total calls related to victims of violence during that period, where the Foundation seeks to raise more awareness among this age group in the community about how to prevent exposure to abuse and violence.

Al Basti pointed out that the importance of the Helpline 800111 is to provide immediate assistance 24 hours a day for situations that are exposed to abuse in any part of the country, especially those under serious threat, in coordination with the various legal and concerned entities.

She added that DFWAC's helpline holds the membership of the International Child Helpline, which is a global network of 179 free call centre for the protection and care of children in 143 countries that receive more than 14 million calls per year.

It is noteworthy that DFWAC's helpline "800111" is the ninth call centre that holds the International Child Helpline membership in the Middle East and North Africa, and the second within the UAE, which makes the UAE the only country in the region, which includes two helplines registered with the network. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Abu Dhabi Police personnel complete rope rescue training

posted on 29/07/2015

A total of 40 personnel from the Emergency and Public Safety Department at Abu Dhabi Police have completed their rope rescue training, which consists of rope rescue procedures in high places and in areas with difficult and severely rugged terrain.

The trainings were conducted in Al Ain at Jebel Hafeet and in Abu Dhabi, from the top of the 160-meter high Hyatt Capital Gate Hotel, also known as the Leaning Tower of Abu Dhabi, which consists of 33 floors.

According to Colonel Mohammed Ibrahim Al Ameri, Head of the Emergency and Public Safety Department at Abu Dhabi Police, the personnel passed the stages of training in the specialised courses for rope rescue in high places and high-rise towers.

"Commensurate with the highest international standards, the trainees used the most advanced and sophisticated mechanisms for such difficult field missions that take place in areas of rough terrain or high elevation," he said.

He pointed out that as per the strategy of the Abu Dhabi Police General Headquarters (GHQ), the training undertaken by the national cadres embodies the objective of providing the best services to the community and of staying abreast of the current developments that the nation is witnessing in various fields. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


New projects to boost the quality of life in Dubai

posted on 29/07/2015

A raft of new projects to further boost the quality of life in Dubai are set for completion by the end of the year, Dubai Municipality officials say.

Projects ranging from the new Dh299 million Dubai Safari Park to a Dh269 million fish market and an iconic Dh160 million project shaped like a giant Dubai frame are being built to bring added value to the lives of people living in the emirate.

As part of the initiative to transform the city, the municipality announced that some 68 projects worth around Dh4.5 billion currently either being reviewed, designed or implemented.

Redesigning and renovating several parks for the purpose of increasing green spaces in the city and delivering public squares and the African Village are just some of the projects to expect within the coming years.

In a presentation held in the presence of Hussain Lootah, Director-General of the municipality, at the municipality, Mohammed Mashroom, General Manager of the Public Projects Department, said over 10 projects are set for completion this year.

"Among the two large projects to be completed this year are the fish market, which is 85 per cent complete, and the Dubai Frame project, which is 75 per cent complete. The fish market will be ready in September while the Dubai Frame project is expected to be ready on the 44th UAE National Day this December,” he said.

The Dubai Frame will frame views of the city allowing a scene of Old Dubai from one side and the New Dubai skyline from another.

As for the long-awaited zoo park coming up opposite Dragon Mart, Mashroom confirmed that it will be ready by the end of November. "Currently the basic iron structures forming the animal cages are being fitted and work is being done to finish the main building. Other works to design the zoo park are also being finalised.”

Among other projects to be completed this year are the market for buying and selling used furniture, which is 90 per cent ready, he said. "There is also the Hatta Heritage Souq and Motel, expected to be ready in December, Dubai Club for Special Sports to be ready in October, villas in Hatta and Al Quoz. The Hatta community centre, and the Dubai Centre for Wetlands, also to be completed in October.”

Throughout next year, Mashroom added, the municipality will complete nine big projects, including the African Village as part of the Safari project, which will be ready in June 2016, General Directorate and Foreign Affairs building, Al Thuraya Astronomy Centre, Zayed University project, and the Scrap Materials Market.

"Around 25 horticulture projects and eight park redesigning projects are being reviewed in Al Mizhar, Al Quoz, Al Muteena, Al Khawaneej, Al Warqa'a 3 and other locations. Three parks and public squares are being designed throughout the current phase. All these projects are estimated to cost Dh100 million in total,” he said.

The municipality's public projects department said it has confirmed the implementation of 11 service projects this year worth above Dh79 million. Nine parks and public square projects worth around Dh77 million are already under construction, including the Quran Park project, which is currently in its third phase of construction, and Palm Park, which is expected to be ready in December 2016.

Other future projects to be reviewed and studied were also discussed during the presentation. The estimated cost of these projects is Dh2.6 billion, said Mashroom.

"The municipality is currently also reviewing 14 other projects worth over Dh1.3 billion, and they are already being designed. Among them is the Mohammed bin Rashid Library, which is expected to cost Dh385 million, the Mohammed bin Rashid Electronic College to cost Dh320 million and the Global Court project worth around Dh133 million.” – Gulf News -


Tallest date palm contest to recognise farming skills

posted on 29/07/2015

The Liwa Dates Festival welcomed, for the first time in its 11-year history, a new competition that is neither about ratab - half ripe dates - nor about the UAE heritage.

The new contest celebrates palm tree farming skills and the passion for the Arab's tree of life.

The tallest date palm tree competition proved highly popular among the farmers as it highlighted their efforts and care for growing the trees.

Abdullah Al Qubaisi, Director of Projects Management at the Cultural Programmes and Heritage Festivals Committee, states that the festival developed new and improved activities this year.

"We came up with new competitions that recognise people's work all year long," he said.

The tallest date palm tree competition will be held once every three years, he added.

This year, only palms located in Liwa oasis will enter the competition. There are over 40 million palm trees in the UAE and a good few million of them are in Liwa.

Obaid Al Mazrouei, Director of the festival said the competition will recognise the hard work of farmers, since plenty of care is required for tress to grow tall.

"The height of the palm tree is not related to the quality of its dates, but having this competition will help us establish a record for the tallest date palm trees in Liwa. The information can be used for all kind of purposes, even tourism," said Al Mazrouei.

"It is not difficult to grow a tall palm tree, but it takes a lot of care and dedication. To reach a great height, the tree must be 50 years old or more, so the competition is also a way to say thank you to the people who are taking care of these old palms," he added.

Since the opening of the festival, nearly 100 farmers have entered the competition, and more are expected before the deadline. Daily, a group of judges visit the orchards, measuring the palm trees from base to the top leaf. The top three winners will be awarded Dh50,000 for the first place, Dh30,000 for the second and Dh20,000 for the third place. – Khaleej Times -


Experts guide farmers about pest control at Liwa Date Festival

posted on 29/07/2015

Visitors to the Abu Dhabi Farmers' Services Centre booth at the Liwa Date Festival have the opportunity to speak to date palm experts and learn about the centre's holistic approach to controlling pests.

Ahmed Al Suwaidi, ADFSC Communications Section Manager, believes it is important to have the right technique when it comes to pest management. "Integrated pest management is a combination of techniques to control and manage insects, viruses, bacteria, and any harmful organisms in a sustainable manner in tandem with proper fertiliser and irrigation methods."

Over 21,000 farmers have benefited from the programme.

Abu Dhabi Farmers' Services Centre's IPM programme has steadily evolved since it was first introduced three years ago.

The programme, was first introduced primarily to tackle the red palm weevil; however, it has grown to become more holistic and includes sciences of pest management and farm management, where greater focus is placed on the types and timings of agricultural inputs and processes such as fertiliser, soil conditioner, pollination, pruning and pest management control.

The programme attributes some of its success to a combination of pheromone and light traps placed at farms around the Emirate.

Light traps are used to reduce the spread of the fruit stalk and stem borer, whilst the pheromone trap is distributed to attract the red palm Proper installation of light traps installed can help reduce the numbers of pests before they infect the date palms.

Abu Dhabi Farmers' Services Centre also distributed around 11 million date nets this year, which protect the fruit from pests and allow the fruit to ripen until it can be harvested. The IPM programme is developed by ADFSC's technical development section and is delivered by the centre's technical projects section. Dr. Alaa Joma, director, ADFSC technical service division said: "Pruning prevents pests from entering the base and stem of the date palm trees. Mechanical pollination delivers more viable date palm pollen, more efficiently resulting in a higher yield, better quality, and greater return for the farmer."

Technical staff and ADFSC Extension Engineers are on site to answer questions and give practical technical advice on date palm care, irrigation, pest management, pollination and more. – Khaleej Times -