The UAE will host Expo 2020!
  • Arabic
  • French
  • German
  • Spanish
Supported by the UAE National Media Council

RAK’s Al Marjan islands to rival Ibiza and Miami

posted on 02/03/2015

Music festivals and beach parties to rival Ibiza and Miami are planned across four man-made islands in Ras Al Khaimah.

Property developers are in talks with music companies and promoters to stage shows that will transform the northernmost emirate into an entertainment hub.

Attracting events to Al Marjan Island, a cluster of four islands extending 4.5 kilometres into the Gulf, is part of longer-term plans to draw more tourists and residents.

"Just like Ibiza or Miami, which are destinations where the attractions are all on the water, it's an idea we are working to develop in Al Marjan Island,” an official for the islands said.

"We're hoping to get music lovers from all around the world to all the islands. We're working to bring music festivals for people in the UAE also to enjoy.

"We're also hoping to attract beach clubs, because we do have beautiful beaches.”

Development will take between three and five years, the official said.

The beach clubs and parties are likely to roll out on Dream Island followed by the other three.

The other islands are Breeze, Treasure and View, Al Marjan Island Company said.

RAK's beaches are popular with visitors from Germany, Russia, the UK and India, as well as UAE residents.

About 330,048 people visited the emirate in the first half of last year, a dip from 577,900 during the same period in 2013, according to tourist authority figures. The slump was blamed on a weak rouble, resulting in fewer Russian tourists to the Emirates.

The plan to tap other tourism sources in the UAE was welcomed.

"This is a fantastic idea, and having other options will help, particularly with the sudden drop in arrivals from Russia, with the rouble suffering a hit of 35 to 40 per cent against the dollar,” said Kulwant Singh, managing director of Lama Tours and Holidays.

"RAK is known for expensive hotels so if this happens, we can get tourists not just from Moscow and St Petersburg, but we can tap Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

"RAK is widening its reach and this will help to target other markets interested in beach parties, like the UK.”

The company handles about 10,000 tourists a year heading to RAK.

"We have mainly day visitors for RAK but if they are able to start new attractions, the day visitors will increase; they will stay overnight for a day or two, if we were to do a Dubai-RAK combination. The same is now happening with Dubai and Yas Island,” said Mr Singh.

There have been several hyped developments announced during the boom years across the UAE that failed to take off because of the global downturn.

The US$1 billion (Dh3.67 bn) Real Madrid Resort Island project, announced in 2012 for RAK, was to include a theme park, stadium and a museum on a 50-hectare site, but it was shelved a year later because of a lack of funding.

A partly solar-powered project named after a former Wimbledon tennis champion, the US$817m Boris Becker Beach Resort & Tennis Academy, was launched in RAK in 2008 but was also shelved.

The recreational and residential development was to include holiday homes, a hotel and conference facilities.

Indian Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan endorsed the Shah Rukh Khan Boulevard residential towers in RAK but, again, they were also shelved in 2008.

Families who choose to stay in alcohol-free hotels in RAK may be disappointed with plans for clubbing on the beach, but industry experts insisted both sides could coexist.

"Alcohol and parties are not an issue any more. This is what is needed because people will come from other emirates and other countries,” said Khalid Motik, managing director of E-Hjeez, an online travel portal.

"The main market is because of the beaches – people come for the sun from Germany, Russia, the UK. These new activities are needed and then RAK has very good potential, both locally and regionally.” – The National -


Waterfront developments and UAE yacht code to bolster leisure marine industry in the GCC

posted on 02/03/2015

With 2015 hailed as the year of innovation for the UAE, new waterfront developments, creative design solutions, and investment in waterside living and tourism are going to shape the nation's leisure marine industry, according to industry experts.

Focussing on marina development and intelligent yacht design, the 2015 Middle East Boating Conference, as part of Dubai International Boat Show 2015, will offer the perfect platform for global experts and industry authorities, as well as boating enthusiasts, to address the latest trends, technologies, plans and regulations affecting the marine leisure sector in Dubai and beyond.

The conference is being held on 2 March 2015 at the Westin Mina Seyahi Hotel and addresses topics including Waterfront Developments, Innovation through Design and Intelligence, Law and Best Practice in Yachting Purchases, the Importance of the Middle East for Superyacht Builders. Leading speakers and eminent group leaders who be providing key industry insights include Amer Ali, Executive Director of Dubai Maritime City Authority, Matthew Chatt-Collins, Head of Yacht Design at UK firm Andrew Winch Design, expert in marina design and architecture in the region Emmanuel Delarue, CEO of NDA Group in China, and a panel session moderated by Nabil Farhat from World of Yachts and Boats.

Boasting year round sunshine and luxurious lifestyles - with some of the world's highest concentration of millionaires - the region is well positioned as a preferred yachting destination. Growing investment in waterfront developments and world class marina facilities will continue to drive demand for a leisure marine lifestyle especially in the small to mid-size boat market, industry experts say.

Nawfal Al Jourani, Director of Communications at the Dubai Maritime City Authority, said, "With waterfront attractions coming to fruition, yacht sales expected to boom over the next five years, and as the region begins to rival existing boating destinations worldwide, we are likely to witness a boost in sales of small to medium water crafts as more people take up a boating lifestyle" Mr Al Jourani will be speaking about 'Dubai Strategic Maritime Directions' at the Middle East Yachting Conference.

Work on several developments in the UAE are already underway including, the expansion of marinas, waterfront facilities and yachting support services - providing ample opportunity for growth in the leisure marine market.

The three kilometre Dubai Canal project which is expected to be completed in the next two years will run through the heart of Dubai, connecting the already extended creek at Business Bay with the Arabian Gulf at Jumeirah beach. Adding an extra six kilometres to Dubai's existing waterfront, the canal is expected to attract 20 - 22 million visitors per year as its banks will be lined with over 450 new restaurants, public spaces, world class hotels, and number of jetties for yachts on either side of the water.

Further defining Dubai as a waterside living and tourist destination, the Deira Island project at the Palm Deira will create 40km of additional waterfront, including a creek marina for large yachts and additional marina facilities directly outside residences.

Recognised expert in marina design and architecture, Emmanuel Delarue, CEO of NDA Group, agreed that there is tremendous opportunity for the leisure marine lifestyle to continue to grow as more waterfront developments and marina projects are completed.

"Dubai has a long standing boating tradition and the region is really embracing its passion for yachting and watersports. With millions of people flocking to enjoy the UAE's waterfront lifestyle, and a high number of high net worth individuals looking to spend millions on superyachts, by investing in marinas with real lifestyle and expanding existing waterways, the region will continue to develop as one of the world's most desirable destinations for tourism and outdoor living." Delarue said.

Delarue will deliver a presentation on 'Realising the true potential of marinas: lifestyle and value at their best' at the Middle East Yachting Conference, which focuses on waterfront developments in the GCC.

The recently announced UAE Yacht Code is also set to play a key role in boosting the country's global recognition in the international maritime industry. A global first, the new code identifies the requirements that yacht builders and owners must meet when designing, producing and operating superyachts 24 meters or more in length, intended for private use.

With larger yachts increasingly being custom built based on individual designs, current codes and regulations for the larger yachts are based on conventional steel ship technology which impose strong limitations on the innovative yachting industry.

Demonstrating the importance on innovative and flexible design, Head of Yacht Design and Director at Andrew Winch Designs, Matthew Chatt-Collins said, "With innovative design always at the forefront of every project, we create unique designs for individual clients by taking their dreams and turning them into a reality." An expert in exclusive yacht building and Winner of the World of Superyacht Award for Best Yacht of the Year Over 82m with Equanimity, Chatt-Collins, will be speaking about Innovation through Design and Intelligence at the Middle East Yachting Conference.

The new UAE Yacht Code is free of restrictions in terms of number of passengers on board and allows yachts to be made of any construction material, e.g. steel, aluminium, composites or wood. Manufactures are also given greater flexibility in the formation of the yacht's hull using a single or a multi-structure hull, and the regulations do not govern a maximum length for the yacht with using sails and engines of different kinds. The required level of safety remains the same as legislated in current international regulations.

"As the UAE continues to embrace innovation, this will drive development in so many areas, including the yachting industry. With first-rate waterfront projects and yachting facilities, and now less restrictive superyacht manufacturing regulations, we are likely to see more international shipbuilders entering the UAE market which will be decisive in securing the region as a global manufacturing hub and yachting destination," said Nabil Farhat, Publisher of World of Yachts and Boat. Farhat will be moderating the panel discussion about 'Why is the Middle East important for Superyacht builders' at the conference.

"The Middle East Yachting Conference has always been a key networking event during the Dubai International Boat Show, combining topics of regional interest with international relevance and bringing active discussion for both international and locally-based delegates. With attendees and presenters including industry professionals, exhibitors and local maritime authorities, the conference brings all stakeholders together under one banner and offering unparalleled insights into the market and industry," said Trixie LohMirhmand, Senior Vice President, Dubai World Trade Centre, organiser of the show. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Dubai’s RTA pushing forward with metro station towers project

posted on 02/03/2015

Plans to build hundreds of flats and offices above Dubai's busiest metro station took a step forward on Sunday as Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) said it planned to issue tenders in May.

The RTA issued detailed guidelines to potential developers to build Union Oasis, a tower project above the two-level, 15,000 square metre Union Metro station in Deira, saying that it would invite tenders through an auction process.

Dubai's authorities have been crafting plans for high-density developments on a number of metro stations since before the rail system was opened in 2009.

Previous studies were commissioned, but any plans for work were delayed by the global financial crisis.

The project above Union station would be the first of its kind in the region, encouraging more people to use the rail system and to bring more businesses and homes to old Dubai.

The exact size of the towers and the mix of uses in them will be left to developers to determine in their bids. Deira's location close to Dubai International Airport will probably mean that the buildings are unlikely to be more than 20 or 30 storeys high. The size of the plot is also likely to mean that the scheme is restricted to three or four towers.

"The main objective of issuing this guideline is to highlight all particulars and commercial ends of the Union Oasis project,” said Abdullah Yousef Al Ali, the chief executive of the RTA's rail agency. "[The project] would contribute to the rejuvenation of Deira.”

Historical parts of the city such as Deira, long a thriving centre of Dubai, have struggled to compete with swanky developments in the newer parts of the city, prompting an exodus by richer inhabitants.

However, in recent years a number of developers have attempted to reverse this trend.

Dubai International Real Estate is working on delayed plans for the Jewel of the Creek, a 123,955 sq. metre hotel and apartment scheme between Al Maktoum and the Floating Bridge, and last year Dubai Municipality announced plans for the City of Aladdin, three connected towers to be built on the Deira side of Dubai Creek.

The property developer Nakheel is also pressing ahead with plans for 94 hotels and resorts at its Deira Islands scheme. – The National -


AUD welcomes Expo 2020 Dubai University Roadshow

posted on 02/03/2015

The American University in Dubai, AUD, welcomed yesterday the Expo 2020 Dubai University Roadshow committee looking to mobilise faculty members as well as students to be part of the global event.

Maitha Al Mehairi, AUD student and President of the Khaleeji Club, introduced the committee. She opened the presentation by expressing her pride in her identity as a UAE national, and quoted Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum's words, "The race for excellence has no finish line".

The Expo 2020 Dubai team visited the campus to present the AUD community - students and faculty, with all there is to know about Dubai Expo 2020.

The Expo team led a fun and interactive presentation with an auditorium full of students. They defined what World Expos are and what these exhibitions have accomplished throughout the decades, and spoke about the specifics of the Dubai Expo and what to expect, ending with the role of youth and the various ways to begin their involvement starting as soon as today.

World Expos, some of the largest and oldest events, take place every five years in a different city of the world and have been inspiring people with innovations exhibited since 1851. They last for six months and offer millions of visitors the opportunity to attend demonstrations and cultural events, as well as discover pavilions of countries from around the world.

Expo 2020 Dubai, the first to ever take place in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia (MENASA) region, is themed ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future', with three sub-themes, Mobility, Sustainability, and Opportunity. It is expected to attract 25 million visitors - 70 percent of which will be international - running from 20 October 2020 through 10 April 2021.

The Expo team encouraged the students to be involved and register with Expo 2020 through the available mobile application, and read the available iBook related to Expo 2020. Students were also encouraged to volunteer for the upcoming Milan Expo 2015, where the UAE will be represented.

The Expo 2020 Dubai University Roadshow team also met with faculty members from AUD to share how they can be involved in this event and the ways of possible collaboration, whether through relevant research on the theme of Expo, through encouraging the youth to be involved, or even through personal volunteering during the event.

Dr. Lance de Masi, AUD President, sees participation of AUD faculty and students in Dubai Expo 2020 as an opportunity for them to contribute to society and the world by being part of something big, unique, and important. "My thermometer tells me that within the institution, there is a high level of interest, commitment and passion for this national undertaking". – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Dubai Municipality opens solar powered Al Khazan Park

posted on 02/03/2015

Dubai Municipality yesterday opened Al Khazan Park, the first Dubai park to run completely on solar power, in the presence of Hussain Nasser Lootah, Director General of Dubai Municipality and Abdullah Al-Shibani, Secretary General of the Executive Council of Dubai and other officials.

It is part of an ongoing drive to make Dubai parks more environment-friendly and energy-efficient, said Mohammad Al Fardan, head of parks and recreation section, Dubai Municipality.

"The municipality is also opening new parks, including at least two this week, to increase green space and leisure options for residents," he added.

A new park is opening in Al Muhaisnah and Al Warqaa as part of the municipality's Plantation Week 35, which ends on Thursday.

The park does not use electricity from the main grid, relying instead on solar power for lighting and irrigation pumps. Even the office and washrooms run on underground batteries charged by an on-site solar grid. Al Khazan Park, which first opened in 1980, is named after the 40-metre-tall water tank centred in its garden. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


TCA Abu Dhabi launches National Library E-Shopping Service

posted on 02/03/2015

The National Library, a Division of Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, TCA Abu Dhabi, has launched a new e-shopping website, dedicated to selling and delivering National Library publications to readers across the Arab world.

The new e-bookstore, available online and via a mobile app, forms part of the National Library's broader aim of providing all means of promoting reading inside and outside the UAE.

Abdullah Majid Al Ali, Director of Library Management, said, "Our progression into the digital realm highlights our determination to be on par with the latest advancements in the book publishing industry that has witnessed rapid technological leaps, and the National Library will live up to the challenge by supporting the book industry through online book publishing and distribution." "The new e-shopping website will provide highly efficient services to deliver books to readers wherever they are, helping the process of book distribution, which currently faces considerable difficulties in the Arab world," he added.

Containing a section for feedback and enquiries directly sent to the management team for the purpose of offering a refined, highly-effective e-service, the new e-shopping website serves as a communication link between the National Library and readers of all categories.

The easy-to-navigate website introduces the National Library and its goals and offers information about its latest publications. An intuitive ‘Sections' tab takes visitors to the subject of their choice, with all related books and publications categorised under more than 20 classifications, which makes it easy for readers to locate their fields of interest.

The site features more than 1,500 titles for sale, with most popular titles listed in a ‘Best Sellers' section. By clicking on a book, readers will be directed to the overview page with the title, general topic and the cover photo. The website also includes an e-newsletter covering the National Library's initiatives and discusses its latest conferences, seminars and activities.

The National Library is one of the UAE's oldest key public library resource, with neighbourhood and shopping centre branches operating across the emirate, where residents of all ages and interests have easy access to the different types of knowledge and databases for researchers. The National Library is a long-term project developed by TCA Abu Dhabi to achieve its goal of making culture and knowledge a priority for the whole society. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Dubai Canvas Festival opens with participation of 3D Art leading figures

posted on 02/03/2015

Dubai Canvas Festival, which is organised by Brand Dubai, a subsidiary of the Government of Dubai Media Office (GDMO), kicked off in Dubai yesterday.

The week-long Festival is held at THE BEACH, opposite Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR) with participation of a host of famous three-dimensional (3D) artists. 3D art is the theme selected for this year's session.

Dubai Canvas, being organised in the region for the first time, supports the vision of transforming Dubai into an open air museum and presents an added value to Dubai's vibrant cultural agenda, affirming its position as a hub for innovation.

Dubai Canvas Festival is a direct translation of Brand Dubai's strategy, which aims to promote innovation as well as build channels of communication between Emirati talents and their counterparts around the globe; hence, creating an environment conducive to creativity and innovation, and fostering a highly competitive atmosphere with the participation of international elite artists of 3D, which demonstrate spectacular optical illusions painted on the pavement.

In cooperation with the Cultural Office of H.H. Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Women Establishment and wife of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and ‘Meraas', a Dubai-based holding company, the Festival offers an unforgettable experience to art enthusiasts through introducing renowned 3D artists such Kurt Wenner, the pioneer of 3D pavement art who has inspired other artists to take up the same technique. Wenner has presented numerous dynamic multi-dimensional art images through line graphics and optical illusions.

Dubai Canvas Festival features various activities that include a lecture delivered by Kurt Wenner, as well as several workshops that will allow the public to share such an incredible experience of awesome street art. Moreover, the festival will host other entertainment games and features a kids' art zone, dedicated for children to demonstrate their artistic skills.

Alongside Kurt Wenner, leading figures in 3D art such as Peter Westerink (German), Juandres Vera (Mexico), Anthony Cappetto (Italy), Julie Kirk Purcell (US), etc. will take part in the events. visitors and art enthusiasts will be able to meet and greet the artists and watch them as they hold live performance daily from 4:00 pm to 10:00 pm on weekdays and all day on weekends .

Dubai Canvas Festival is well received by the Beach's visitors, and public attention echoed the grand artistic event during its preparation phase. People started taking photos next to the festival's logo at the Beach and posted them on social media platforms.

In order to increase awareness about the global event, Brand Dubai launched a photography competition on Instagram for Dubai Canvas' visitors. The competition's theme is "Shoot – Post – Win".

The competition aims to encourage Instagram subscribers to take photos in the festival and post them on Instagram using the hash tag (#DubaiCanvas).

According to the competition's terms and conditions, submission ends by final day of the festival, March 7th 2015, all photos must be taken with a mobile phone and no photo editing applied.

A dedicated jury committee will evaluate the entries and choose three winners based on quality, creativity and 3D representation. The first winner will receive Dh20,000, the second winner will receive Dh15,000 and the money prize for the third winner will be Dh10,000. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


LTE-Advanced is a reality as du announces the introduction of the technology on its live network

posted on 02/03/2015

Marking yet another first, du announced the successful introduction of the first LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) live network in the UAE, making it the very first telco with CAT-6 ready LTE network in the UAE. This reiterates the UAE's global standing as a frontrunner intelecomand marks an important step closer to 5G technology.

The launch of the LTE-A Carrier Aggregation capability would allow du to offer its customers unsurpassed mobile broadband speeds up to 225Mbps - therefore marking a clear enhancement of customers' user experience in terms of upload or download speeds or audio and video streaming. More importantly, the new capability targets the significant increase in the average user throughput in addition to the superior coverage. Significantly, this also paves the way for more leading smartphone manufacturers to commercially launch an expanded range of LTE-A CAT-6 handsets in the UAE.

Saleem Al Blooshi, Executive Vice President, Network Development and Operations, du, said: "We are proud of achieving this tremendous milestone. This is a result of our "smart investment" strategy that puts customers at the heart of our focus and we are very keen on introducing capabilities that can be utilised and experienced by our customers immediately, much beyond simply focusing on announcing higher speeds. Having said that, it is important to note that we have invested in such technology once we started to get confirmation from the major smartphone manufacturers that this capability (a.k.a. CAT-6 capable handsets) is readily available in many of these new smartphones already launched in the UAE. With our launch of LTE-A in the UAE, customers using any of these new CAT-6 smartphones will enjoy new unprecedented speeds when in an area covered using this new technology".

"We are excited that this important milestone also represents another step forward towards du's readiness to the Smart City vision by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai." du commercially launched LTE1800 on June 12, 2012. In August 2014 du announced VoLTE has been successfully installed and tested over its commercial LTE network and demonstrated VoLTE calls during GITEX 2014 and commercial launch is expected Q1/Q2 2015. du has successfully demonstrated LTE-A with 900Mbps over its LTE network in GITEX 2014 by combining three carriers with MIMO 4x4. du has also successfully tested LTE-Advanced with carrier aggregation over it is commercial network with 300Mbps peak throughput by combining band 20 (800 MHz) and band 3 (1800 MHz) in July 2014. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


TRA reveals data for Q4 2014

posted on 02/03/2015

The General Authority for Regulating the Telecommunications Sector, TRA, has revealed statistics for the fourth quarter of 2014 on the nation's most popular mobile phone handsets, social networking platforms and applications websites. Investigating the current state of the market, the report reveals the market share of mobile phones in the UAE by manufacturer and model.

According to the report, during the period between 1st August 2014 and 31st December 2014, 61% of handsets registered on UAE networks were smartphones, a figure that has been constantly increasing overtime. In terms of smartphone models, the iPhone 5s was the most commonly used in the UAE, comprising 4% of total handsets registered on UAE networks, a figure that increased by 22% during Q2 2014, 6% in Q3 2014, and a further 9% during Q4 2014. The report illustrates that the iPhone 5 was the second most popular smartphone with 2.4% of the market share. The iPhone 5 reversed its upward trend during the 4th quarter. The third most commonly used smartphone was the Samsung S III (2.1%), followed by the newly released handset, iPhone 6 (1.7%), iPhone 4S (1.6%), Samsung S4 LTE (1.5%), Samsung Note 3 (1.3%); and Samsung S5 (1%).

Commenting on the review, Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, Director-General of the TRA, said, "The report illustrates a number of interesting trends emerging in the UAE's mobile handset market. It also demonstrates the dynamic nature of consumer patterns in relation to handset choices." In relation to smartphones, the iPhone 5s recorded an increased in market share during the third quarter of 2014 and continued to be the most commonly used handset in the UAE in Q4-2014. During Q4-2014, other smartphone handsets that witnessed increases in market share include the iPhone 6, Samsung Note 3, and Samsung S5. Handsets whose market shares have declined include, Samsung S III, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, and Samsung S4 LTE. Blackberry handsets disappeared in Q4 2014 from being within the 15 most commonly used smartphone handsets in the UAE.

The report indicates that 40% of all handsets registered on UAE networks were manufactured by Nokia, although this figure has been declining over time; the percentage decreased by 5% during the last two quarters and by about 12% during Q4-2014 alone. This was followed by Samsung (24.3%), Apple (11.4%), BlackBerry (5%), Sony (1.2%), HTC (1.2%), then the newly emerged manufacturer Lenovo (1.2%) and Huawei (0.9%). Although the growth has declined, Samsung recorded increases in its market shares in Q4 2014. In fact, all handset manufactures witnessed increases in their market shares with the exception of Blackberry.

In terms of specific handset models (including handsets that are not Smartphones), the iPhone 5s was the most popular mobile handset in the UAE in Q4. The Nokia 105/1050 (3%) was the second most popular handset followed by the iPhone 5 (2.4%), Nokia 101/1010 (2.3%), Nokia 1280/1282 (2.1 %), the Samsung S III (2.1%), Nokia E5 (1.9%), iPhone 6 (1.7%), iPhone 4S (1.6%), Nokia X1 (1.5%), and Samsung S4 LTE (1.5%), Samsung Note 3 (1.4%), iPhone 4 (1.2%), Samsung S5 LTE (1%); and Samsung S4 (0.8%). Without exception, all market share of all feature phones including the 105/1050, Nokia 101/1010, Nokia X1, E5, and 1280/1282 declined during Q3 2014 and continued to decline in Q4 2014.

The report also provides information on the most popular mobile operating systems used in the UAE. Android was the most commonly used operating system in the UAE as of Q4-2014, while the use of Symbian has been declining over time. The market share of iOS is steadily increasing while the market share of RIM (the operating system for Blackberry) is progressively declining.

In terms of social media, UAE smartphone and fixed Internet users made a total of 16 billion visits to social networking websites during the period 1st August 2014 to 31st December 2014. Visits to Facebook accounted for 91% of total visits to social networking sites, followed by Twitter with 6.6% of visits, then LinkedIn, Maktoob and MySpace. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Quarter of Japan oil imports from UAE in January, 2015

posted on 02/03/2015

TOKYO: Imports of Japan's crude oil from the United Arab Emirates last January were 27.05 million barrels, accounting for 25 percent of total imports, according to data of the Energy and Natural Resources Agency of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Economy in Japan.

The agency announced that the proportion of Middle East oil imports amounted to 80.3 percent of total imports in January, adding that within this amount Arab oil percentage stood at 75.3 percent. The three-quarters of Japan's oil needs came from the Gulf Cooperation Council states and Iraq. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Strata to subcontract Vertical Fin and ATR Rudder work to GSE Industria Aeronautica

posted on 02/03/2015

Strata Manufacturing PJSC, a composite aerostructures manufacturing facility, wholly owned by Mubadala Development Company, yesterday announced the signing of its first international outsourcing agreement that will subcontract its ATR vertical fin and rudder programs to GSE Industria Aeronautica srl in Italy.

This deal represents a significant milestone for Strata, whereby new capabilities will be developed in placing work packages in various geographic locations and managing a global value chain. It is also the first step towards expanding Strata's capabilities beyond aerostructures composite manufacturing by forging new relationships with other aerostructure manufacturers from around the globe.

The eight year contract, valued at approximately US$120 million, will include the delivery of 90 shipments per year to the final assembly line of the ATR aircraft in Toulouse, France. The first ATR rudder produced by GSE under this agreement is expected to be delivered in March of this year.

This new phase of development requires a range of skilled resources from the aerospace industry and deep understanding in aerostructures manufacturing, as the new supplier is trained to meet the on-time delivery of products in accordance with the rigorous and high quality standards expected by the aerospace industry.

This deal will also strengthen Strata's global competitiveness, as the company provides comprehensive solutions and benefits by using low-cost suppliers able to manufacture less complicated parts or by co-locating manufacturing closer to its customer thereby lowering shipping costs and mitigating against risks associated with the movement of high value aircraft parts.

Badr Al Olama, CEO of Strata, said: "This is an important program to Strata's journey in establishing a leading position that reinforces Abu Dhabi as a growing manufacturing base for the global aerospace industry." He continued: "The company will develop its supply chain capabilities, and support the development of UAE nationals in global project management. Furthermore, Strata will have more capacity within its facility to bring in new programs that require advanced technologies. This paves the way towards becoming one of the top three composite aerostructure manufacturing companies by 2020." GSE aerospace is an Italian private company located in Brindisi, Italy specialised in manufacturing engineering of structural aeronautic components, fabrication sheet metal parts and composite parts, plus the assembly of structures of aircraft and helicopters.

Massimiliano Elisei, CEO of GSE Aerospace, said: "By signing the contract, GSE confirms the international vision of its business and hopes that the new relationship with Strata will turn into stable successful partnership for other programs. To highlight the importance of the agreement, the senior leadership of the company, led by the owner Francesca Armellini, have joined the event yesterday".

An experienced team from Strata will be based in Italy and will include a diverse set of skilled professionals with project management, quality management and manufacturing engineering expertise. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Abu Dhabi has become a centre of finance and business and a nurturing source of innovation and creativity: Nahyan bin Mubarak tells GFMF

posted on 02/03/2015

The seventh Global Financial Markets Forum (GFMF), the annual conference organised by the National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD), kicked-off yesterday in Abu Dhabi with speeches from UAE and global policy makers, asset managers, sovereign wealth funds (SWF), and bankers.

Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, the UAE Minister of Culture, Youth, and Social Development, inaugurated the GFMF with a keynote speech, in which he said that "Abu Dhabi has become not only the centre of finance and business but also a nurturing source of innovation and creativity that promises to benefit the world." "Abu Dhabi and UAE have shown the world that people from different cultures can live and work together in peace and harmony," He added. Highlighting the link between culture and finance, Sheikh Nahyan said that capital markets around the world recognise the worth of operating in Abu Dhabi and have played a role in strengthening its culture. "Our financial sector has been exemplary and provided a safe, robust and innovative market. We are proud of business environment in the UAE and we hope to promote a sustainable development." He remarked that 2015 is the year of innovation in the UAE and this is already reflected in the innovations achieved by the country's financial and capital markets. H.E said that financial markets will continue to innovate based on the three principles adopted by the architects of the financial sector of this country – openness, access and transparency.

In his keynote speech, Nasser Ahmed Al Suwaidi, the Chairman of Abu Dhabi Department of Energy and Chairman of NBAD, confirmed that GFMF has become the financial event of the year in the region. It is widely recognised as a gathering which provides an outstanding platform for knowledge sharing through discussions on topical financial and economic issues of our times.

"GFMF represents a unique opportunity for NBAD's most valued clients to network with --- and to learn from --- our many esteemed guests, which include leading industry insiders, global policy decision-makers, investors, economists and experts from the world of academia, ' he said.

"Abu Dhabi and the UAE are at the heart of the West-East corridor, the high growth area of the world which spans from West Africa to East Asia. Our geographic position provides us with a unique opportunity to capitalise on the significant business that will be done between East and West. Abu Dhabi is already a key player in the Gulf region and is increasingly becoming a major player on the global scale as well," Al Suwaidi added.

"There are many exciting things happening in Abu Dhabi, and many of them are a direct result of Abu Dhabi's Vision 2030, an initiative by the Government of Abu Dhabi to develop and diversify the economy beyond oil revenues. From a financial perspective, the recent introduction of Abu Dhabi Global Markets puts Abu Dhabi on the map as an emerging leader in the financial services industry," he concluded.

Ahmed Al Sayegh, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) said that "Our Nation's and our Emirate's journey of growth and development from the outset has been very strategic, carefully planned and precisely implemented . An exciting journey and growth trajectory that began more than 43 years ago under the leadership of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and that continues today with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE." "A blueprint of exchange between the UAE and beyond that continues today and that makes Abu Dhabi not just an influential hub for global commerce but also a hub for arts and culture, a hub for education and a hub for healthcare with the latter being located within Abu Dhabi Global Market' (ADGM) jurisdiction on Al Maryah Island," Al Sayegh added .

"Over the past 12 months we have made significant progress with the development of the three main pillars of ADGM – the Registrar, the Financial Services Regulator and the Courts”. "The Board of ADGM took the innovative step of making English common law on civil and commercial matters directly applicable in our financial centre. This is the first time such an approach has been adopted in the Middle East. A similar approach was taken with great success by Hong Kong and Singapore," Al Sayegh explained .

"We are committed to delivering a commercial regulatory framework that will be both pragmatic and dynamic. It is designed to ensure that a balance is struck between the need to encourage entrepreneurial activity and investment and the need to protect the market and the integrity of our reputation. Firms that wish to operate from ADGM will have the ability to utilise a variety of legal structures under our Companies regulations" said Chairman of ADGM.

In his keynote speech, Husain Al Nowais, Chairman of The General Holding Corporation (Senaat), emphasised the importance of economic diversification saying that it is the reason the UAE is considered the pioneering nation it is today.

"The UAE placed investment of its oil proceeds at the heart of a well-considered diversification strategy.. In 1970s, the General Industry Corporation (GIC), which today we call Senaat, was created to plan and implement Sheikh Zayed's vision for industrial and economic diversification". "Senaat invested over the last five years 16 billion dirhams developing the metals sector and plans to invest 5 billion dirhams in the next 2 years," he disclosed.

The Chairman of (Senaat) added that the vision of our late founding father Sheikh Zayed has created global players with significant ripple effects on the local economy such as Emirates Global Aluminium,; Emirates Steel, and Borouge. Today, the UAE has nearly 6000 industrial establishments with an investment of 150 billion dirhams, contributing to about 15 per cent of the UAE's total GDP.

H.E. shared his thoughts on necessary steps to take the industry sector to the next level. He stated that "Senaat" welcomes the creation of a domestic bond market, to provide longer-term funding. He urged local banks to establish deeper relationships with major export credit agencies ECAs and be able to act as an intermediary in big deals." Al Nowais also encouraged finical sector to develop local commodities market and provide commodity hedging specifically Iron Ore, Copper, Grain as there has been a large increase in liquidity in the market.

Mark Schwartz , Vice Chairman of the Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Chairman of Goldman Sachs Asia Pacific, Alex Thursby – Group CEO of NBAD, discussed the role of Asia within the West-East Corridor. Both of them were very bullish about Asia, including China, India and South-East Asia. Trade has grown remarkably in all these countries and investment has followed.

They also discussed the risks associated to the region and the impact of the Chines economy's slowdown. Mark Schwartz insisted on the need for China to continue reforms especially in the area of capital market as well as social reforms, and to address severe environmental issues. Mr Schwartz did not see any risks on the financial level though in spite of the country's heavy debt.

Panellists found that the bearish the views on China that are shared in Europe and in the USA, unjustified and suspected an unnamed wish for China to fail.

"I think the banking system is strong and its liquidity is strong," Mr Thursby said, adding that the saving ratios of the country give confidence about the growth potential. Concerning the issue of public and private debt that has reached about US$28 trillion, Mr Schwartz said that 280% of the GDP may sound a lot but that "there is so much growth ahead".

As for declining oil prices and their impact on the West-East corridor strategy, Mr Thursby said that the Gulf has the capacity to hold that for a long time and to grow further and that the region's oil is still the cheapest. Importing and developing countries also benefit from the trend which is positive. He also insisted on tremendous opportunities ahead in Egypt, provided the country brings in the right infrastructure and reforms. "It can become very similar to China. The impact of Egypt on the rest of the Middle-East can only be positive." Among the other positive developments on the Africa continent is the relationship of governments with the private sector.

The first day of 2015 GFMF also featured panel discussion on "Future of Energy. Panellists discussed their various approaches towards renewable energy. The key question panellists they focused on was weather renewable energy actually makes money and is a profitable business.

According to Paddy Padmanathan – President & CEO, ACWA Power, the rates of return for investment in renewable energy is projected to be in double digits in the future.

Kuwait Petroleum Corporation is still new in this sector, Nizar Al-Adsani – Deputy Chairman & CEO of Kuwait Petroleum Corporation recognised. "we have taken fossil fuels for granted for too long", he said. "This is why we have invested in funds that develop solar power for instance.

Masdar has developed integrated holistic initiatives to tackle the challenge and invested in renewable energy across the world including Spain, the UK and the MENA region. "But energy is not only about generation, it is also about energy efficiency" said Bader Al Lamki – Director of Clean Energy, Masdar Rafi Baghdjia, Chief Operating Officer at Shell Abu Dhabi said the company is considering wind energy. Mr Baghdjian stressed the main debate should be climate change and that the world should move from coal energy to low carbon energy.

Panellists also agreed that fossil fuels will still continue to be a major part of energy generation, but that renewable energy is no longer just an alternative element. It has now become part of an energy mix.

A panel discussion titled, "The role of philanthropy in today's rapidly changing world" was also held on the first day. David Gibson-Moore from the LGT Group Foundation, who moderated the session, pointed out how appropriate it is to have this discussion in the UAE, which is one of the largest aid contributor in the world.

The underlying theme of the discussions that followed was how there has been a fundamental shift in the way organisations look at philanthropy and how it is being done.

Claire Woodcraft-Scott spoke about how the Emirates Foundation was transformed. "In the 21st century there is a fundamental shift in how capital is deployed, where the days of cheque-writing are over." She also pointed out that more and more philanthropic organisations are moving away from traditional way of functioning where they gave short term grants to more result-oriented way of doing long term funding. A view that was endorsed by the two other panellists as well.

Claire also highlighted that the Emirates Foundation has gone from focusing on multiple sectors to just one issue – youth development.

Tamer Makary reiterated the importance of a public-private partnership to achieve this cooperation. He also pointed out that it is important to respect local customs. "Localised empowerment should be a by-product of any programme." 2nd day of 2015 GFMF The 2nd day of 2015 GFMF will feature a conversation with Mohamed A. El-Erian, the Chief Economic Advisor at Allianz, the corporate parent of PIMCO where he formerly served as chief executive and co-chief investment officer. El-Erian, who chairs President Obama's Global Development Council, is a columnist for Bloomberg View and a contributing editor at the Financial Times.

It also include panel discussions on "The regulators' perspective ", "Sovereign Wealth Funds' view on the world today", "aviation", "financing trends in a challenging environment", and "global asset manager and allocators" comprising of global asset managers, investors, bankers, decision makers and thought leaders. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Masdar Institute-University of Tokyo to tackle regional security through water-energy-food management

posted on 02/03/2015

The Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, an independent, research-driven graduate-level university focused on advanced energy and sustainable technologies, and the University of Tokyo, have yesterday announced a special joint seminar to support regional security through proper management of the water, energy and food nexus.

To be held on 3rd March at the campus of the Masdar Institute's Centre for Smart and Sustainable Systems (iSmart), the seminar, entitled ‘Nexus of Energy-Security and Water-Energy-Food' will be led by faculty and graduate researchers. They will highlight the trajectory of the successful collaboration between the Masdar Institute and the University of Tokyo, including implementation of joint research and joint symposia, exchange of research materials, and publications in water, energy and food-related research. The seminar will also cover the important role of the Japan International Cooperation Centre (JICE) in facilitating the internships of Masdar Institute's Emirati students with leading companies in major Japanese industries.

Other research reports that will be presented at the seminar will include electricity trading among Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, ‘Feed-In-Tariff' schemes, presentations on working with Fundacion Capital, a non-government organisation (NGO) in Colombia, South America, and challenges faced by Central Asian countries in the construction of the Rogun dam.

Dr. Fred Moavenzadeh, President of the Masdar Institute, said, "The seminar with The University of Tokyo reflects the long-term collaboration in strategic areas between two world-class research-based institutions. The discussions will bring out the extent of research conducted by faculty and students in the interconnectivity of water, energy and food sectors and their role in the regional economic growth." From The University of Tokyo, graduate student Aoi Minamisaka will present his views on ‘The Effect of Electricity Trade on Regional Cooperation: The Analysis of SAARC using Game Theory.' Graduate students Ryota Doi and Gun Matsuo will discuss ‘Security Implications of Planned Electricity Trade in the Middle East.' A paper on ‘Water-Energy-Food Nexus in Central Asia' will be analysed by Dr. Mikiyasu Nakayama, Professor, Department of International Studies, Graduate School of Frontier Sciences.

From the Masdar Institute, Dr. Mohamed Omar, Head of iSmart, and Associate Professor, Engineering Systems and Management, will speak about ‘University of Tokyo and Masdar Institute: A Positive Example of a Collaboration Framework,' while Dr. Sameh El Khatib, Assistant Professor, will present his views on ‘Modelling a Nexus: Where to Start.' Since signing the collaboration agreement in January 2014, the two institutions have steadily expanded their joint research activities. In addition, the collaboration also covers an annual internship programme, which is sponsored by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan (METI) and organised by JICE. The JICE internship offers Emirati students exclusive professional experience at leading Japanese corporations, as well as advance learning opportunities with the latest research and development in clean technologies. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


ADSB delivers 34 boats to CICPA

posted on 02/03/2015

ABU DHABI 2nd March, 2015 (WAM) -- Abu Dhabi Ship Building (ADSB) yesterday announced that it has delivered 34 high-speed interceptor boats to the Critical Infrastructure and Coastal Protection Authority (CICPA).

ADSB, along with their joint venture design partner Yonca Onuk, executed the contract for construction and delivery of the boats to CICPA between March 2011 and December 2014.

The MRTP16 High-Speed Interceptor is a 16m advanced composite fast intervention boat that can be used in a variety of quick response missions in the Arabian Gulf. Each vessel was constructed from high-tech composite materials including kevlar and carbon fibre. The 26 ton high-speed interceptors can reach speeds of up to 65 knots and can carry five people.

The boats are powered by two MTU engines propelled by Arneson Surface Drives. The high-speed interceptors are equipped with state of the art communication systems by and each ship is fitted with advanced ammunition.

ADSB specialises in the construction of highly complex small naval boats primarily designed for coastal defence operations against air and surface threats in addition to other tasks like patrolling, coast guard duties, law enforcement, fishery protection, and research and rescue.

Dr. Khaled Al Mazrouei, CEO of ADSB, said, "This delivery continues our proud partnership with CICPA. Supporting this vital organisation to protect the country's territorial waters and maritime facilities from all threats is a great honour." – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Senaat to invest Dh5 billion in developing industrial projects over next 2 years

posted on 02/03/2015

Senaat, one of the UAE's largest industrial holding companies, is planning to invest Dh5 billion on further expanding its portfolio of industrial projects over the next two years. Over the past five years, Senaat has invested over Dh16 billion developing the metals sector.

The announcement was made by Husain Jasim Al Nowais, Senaat's Chairman, when he spoke at the Global Financial Markets Forum, the high-profile annual conference organised by the National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD). Al Nowais addressed the 1,300 delegates attending the premier annual financial markets conference in the MENA region and talked them through the UAE's illustrious industrial journey. Al Nowais shared his views on the country's diversification efforts and where he sees UAE industry heading in light of recent market developments.

Senaat, as a key contributor to Abu Dhabi's Economic Vision 2030, is the exclusive Industrial Partner at GFMF. Al Nowais said, "Lately we've found ourselves relentlessly pursuing one common goal: diversification. While we owe much of the early stages of our incredible success to oil, our coming together through an event such as GFMF is a testament to how far we've come since then.

"It is in fact partnerships such as these, that allow us to come out to the world and demonstrate that we are in fact so much more than just oil-producing nations and that our strength lies in the diversity of our crafts and our cooperation. I congratulate NBAD on having created such a world-class event that is now symbolic of Abu Dhabi." He added, "At Senaat, our commitment to the industrial sector is solid. Our industrial journey has clearly been paved by successes, and sound collaboration with the financial community. But how do we take what is exceptional today and make it the best choice of tomorrow? I believe we need further support from the financial community.

"The industrial sector would welcome banks exploring ways, including the creation of a domestic bond market, to provide longer-term funding that better matches the average life of assets on the balance sheet of industrial players. We, as the industrialists, would like to see local banks establish even deeper relationships with major Export Credit Agencies and be able to act as an intermediary in such deals. We also need to develop the commodities market, specifically Iron Ore, Copper and Grain, as it will help with commodity hedging.

"I am very confident about the future of our country and this is why we are investing Dh5 billion in more industrial projects over the next two years. I hope this will inspire others to contribute to the development and diversification of our economy." GFMF, which started today, tackles major challenges and opportunities in today's world economy from the perspectives of regulators, asset managers, sovereign wealth funds, bankers and politicians and brings together some of the most distinguished decision makers in policy, business, technology and education the world-over. High-profile figures in attendance at this year's edition of the GFMF include Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, General Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret), who served as National Security Advisor, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Secretary of State of the USA and Ahmed Al Sayegh, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Global Market, among others. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


UAE introduces farming technology to sustain resources: Minister of Environment says on Afforestation Week

posted on 02/03/2015

Increasing the celebrations during the UAE's Afforestation Week underscores the government's determination to move forward on the course charted by the late founding father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, said Dr. Rashid Ahmed bin Fahad, Minister of Environment and Water.

'The wise leadership, led by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Their Highnesses Supreme Council Members and Rulers of Emirates, has made landmark achievements. Progress has come in the expansion of greenery, a key component in urban planning, and other policies, including the use of lands, establishment of nature reserves, conservation of biodiversity, combating desertification, protection of ecologically sensitive areas, management of air quality in urban centres and reducing the impact of climate change,' the minister said in a statement recognising the 35th Afforestation Week. This year's celebrations seek to highlight the role of smart innovations and advanced technologies in afforestation and horticulture, and to raise public awareness about sustainability of the vegetation cover and conservation of local plants and habitats.

The minister opened the Week at the Official Park in Abu Dhabi, under the theme ‘Together let us plant the UAE'.

He added that innovations and modern systems were important to the agricultural sector in the UAE and had consolidated its resilience to tackle challenges regarding afforestation, expansion of greenery, scarcity of water, inclement weather conditions and poor soil.

'Through optimum use of innovations, modern techniques and accumulated experiences of sustainable traditional practices, we have managed to overcome many challenges and pressures by introducing advanced irrigation methods, better management of water resources, the wide use of treated water, deployment of renewable energy sources to desalinate water in wells in farms and forests, and planting new species that are responsive to the type of water, soil and climate in our country,' he noted.

The minister further stressed the need for investing in 2015, as a year of innovation and approved by the Federal Cabinet under the directives of the President, and the National Innovation Strategy, launched by Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to pursue research and development to seek innovative solutions that strike a balance between the nation's ambitions to achieve a modern, successful agricultural revolution, environmental considerations and the protection of resources.

The Ministry, he said, launched the Agricultural Innovation Centre last year, together with international partners, to adopt and encourage innovations that better suit arid regions.

Nationwide celebrations will feature the opening of new parks and nurseries, the distribution of plants, public awareness lectures and workshops. Afforestation Week is an annual event that aims to promote environmental sustainability through the dissemination of awareness messages directed to all segments of society.

The launch of the week comes in the context of highlighting smart technologies and innovations in agriculture, landscaping and aesthetic spheres, and to further enhance sustainability awareness among community members, while preserving local plants in their natural habitats and encouraging their use in reforestation projects. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


UAE, Nigeria wrap up negotiations on judicial cooperation

posted on 02/03/2015

UAE and Nigerian officials have concluded three days of negotiations on ways to boost legal and judicial cooperation.

The first and final round of negotiations discussed treaties on areas such as Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, Judicial Cooperation on Civil and Commercial Matters, and on Extradition of Criminals and Transport of Convicted People. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Mohammed bin Rashid issues law establishing UAE Water Aid Foundation, Decree forming its Board of Trustees

posted on 02/03/2015

In his capacity as Ruler of Dubai, Vice President and Prime Minster, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has issued Law No. (3) of 2015 establishing the ‘UAE Water Aid Foundation', a non-profit organisation. The foundation will be annexed to the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA).

Sheikh Mohammed also issued Decree No. (8) of 2015, forming the Board of Trustees of the UAE Water Aid Foundation, chaired by Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) and membership of representatives from Ministry of International Cooperation and Development, UAE Red Crescent Authority, UAE University, Khalifa University of Science, Technology and Research, and in addition to two representatives from DEWA.

Pursuant to the Law, the Board of Trustees is valid for three renewable years. This decree is considered valid from the date of issuance and to be published in the Official Gazette As defined by the Law No (3), objectives of the foundation include bolstering UAE's contribution as a key player in international sustainable development and humanitarian work. The new foundation is tasked with finding sustainable solutions to water shortage through the use of solar energy to desalinate and purify water. The foundation also aims to improve access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation in the world's poorest communities.

The law details the terms of reference which include providing drinking water to disadvantaged people around the world and developing permanent solutions to water scarcity using modern technologies. As per the law, the foundation is entitled to finance and support water technologies projects combating drought as well as developing sustainable solutions to water purification and desalination using solar energy.

Moreover, the foundation will support partnerships with regional and international NGOs, institutions, national governments, service providers and private sectors to overcome water shortage. Pursuant to the Law, the foundation can raise funds and collect donations in support of researches and studies towards production of clean water using solar energy and other innovative solutions to help millions around the world who suffer from scarcity of drinking water.

In June 2014, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum launched the UAE Water Aid ‘Suqia' campaign to provide access to fresh drinking water for five million persons who suffer from shortage of drinking water in different parts of the world. The campaign has surpassed its target achieving more than Dh180 million, enough to provide water to seven million persons. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


UAE Attorney General: Accused of Al Reem Island crime referred to Supreme Court

posted on 02/03/2015

The UAE Attorney General, Counsellor Salem Saeed Kubaish, has said that Alaa Bader Abdullah, the accused in the case of the crime known as Al Reem Island killing, has been referred to the Federal Supreme Court for the hearing of charges brought against her, i.e., the deliberate killing of the victim Ibolya Ryan, stabbing her with a knife, and then proceeding to attempt to kill the residents of an apartment in the Al Habtoor building on Abu Dhabi Corniche by planting a crude explosive device near the door of the flat, attempting to ignite a detonator fuse aimed at killing the residents, a crime which was not completed to the fuse not working.

She was also accused of charges of "collecting explosive materials, which is prohibited to be assembled by law, without a license, and established and managed electronically an account on the internet under a pseudonym with a view to promoting ideas of a terrorist group, publishing through this account information intended to distort the reputation, prestige and stature of the state and undermine its figures, in addition to funding a terrorist organisation knowing that it will be used in terrorist acts, and that she committed those crimes with terrorist intent to cause death, to stir up fear among people, to compromise the prestigious stature of the state and threaten its security and stability." The Attorney General said the charges were filed against the accused after extensive investigations which revealed that before committing her crime, the accused listened to lectures by Osama bin Laden and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, (leaders of al-Qaeda), watched video clips of killings and beheadings perpetrated by terrorist groups and then read articles about terrorist acts, which influenced her beliefs, turning her into a proponent of these destructive and terrorist ideologies.

At a later stage, he added, she embraced the takfiri and jihadist ideology and then engaged in terrorist acts in support of the terrorist organisations al-Qaeda and Daesh, and through her disguised e-account on the internet of violent and terrorist groups, she promoted and published audio-visual and print materials of terrorist groups.

The Attorney General said that the accused donated funds to al-Qaeda with the aim of financing terrorist operations inside the UAE. 'The accused committed her crime against a foreign resident (a US woman) in a shopping centre to spread terror among both expatriate residents and visitors and embarrass and undermine the State authorities globally." He added that the accused had confessed in detail to investigators to have committed these crimes. During these investigations, the Attorney General emphasised that the accused was provided with all legal guarantees. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


ERC delegation travels to Philippines to launch number of development projects

posted on 02/03/2015

An Emirates Red Crescent, ERC, delegation, headed by Dr. Hamdan Musallam Al Mazrouei, Chairman of the ERC, will travel to the Philippines capital city Manila tomorrow, to inaugurate a number of projects and vital facilities in health and education sectors.

The project comes within three agreements signed by the authority with the Philippines government to assess the damage caused by typhoon Haiyan in two provinces of the Philippines last year.

Secretary-General of the ERC, Mohammed Ateeq Al Falahi, said that the agreements come within the authority's efforts to follow up the typhoon victims situation and to observe the results of the efforts made by several delegations relief conducted visits to the Philippines after the occurrence of Haiyan, in coordination with local authorities and in cooperation with the UAE Embassy in Manila.

Al Falahi added that the ERC delegation will sign a number of agreements in coordination with the Philippines Red Cross to implement the second phase of the relief programme which comes in implementation of directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, for humanitarian aid worth ten million dollars for the relief of Haiyan victims as well as rebuilding affected hospitals and schools. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


ERC opens health and service projects in Erbil camps

posted on 02/03/2015

ERBIL: The Emirates Red Crescent, ERC, yesterday opened a number of health and service projects in the camps of displaced Iraqis in Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan Region, in order to provide more comprehensive care to tens of thousands of displaced people coming to the region from neighbouring provinces as a result of the escalation of events in the region.

The projects of the ERC included two health clinics, a bakery project and a lighting project, which serves more than three thousand displaced people.

The ERC delegation was headed by Dr. Mohammad Atiq Al Falahi, Secretary-General of the ERC and with the membership of Saeed Suhail Al Mazroui, Director of International Aid Management, and a number of volunteers, accompanied by Rashid Mohammed Al Mansouri, Consul-General of the UAE in Erbil, and representatives of the Barzani Charity Foundation, which launched the projects to make a quantum leap in improving the lives of the displaced.

Dr. Muhammad Atiq Al Falahi stressed that these projects embody the keen interest of the wise leadership of the UAE led by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to alleviate the suffering of displaced Iraqis and stand by them in difficult circumstances that have affected much of their lives.

Al Falahi said that these projects came to light thanks to the support of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and the follow up of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in the Western Region and Chairman of the Emirates Red Crescent. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Somalis injured in Mogadishu blast to receive treatment at UAE hospitals upon directives of President

posted on 02/03/2015

Upon the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and follow up of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, a number of Somalis injured in the terrorist attack on a Mogadishu Hotel in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, arrived here yesterday evening.

The attack claimed the lives of 11 people, and left many others injured.

The injured were received at the airport by UAE Ambassador to Somalia Mohammed Ahmed Osman Al Hammadi, Somali Ambassador to UAE Abdelkadir Sheikhey Mohammed Al-Hatimi and a number of UAE health officials. The ambulances were ready to pick up and rush the injured to the hospitals, which were already prepared to receive them.

Al Hammadi said the injured were admitted to a number of UAE hospitals, adding that six of them were rushed to the Zayed Military Hospital, three to Al Mafraq and three others were referred to Al Ain Hospital to receive treatment.

"The move reflects the UAE's solidarity with the people of Somalia in the face of terrorism and extremism," he said, noting that the arrival of 12 injured Somalis and four companions, comes within the framework of humanitarian initiative of the UAE leadership of Sheikh Khalifa, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, who have been backing Somalia since the crisis begun in that Horn of Africa nation.

On his part, Al Hatimi thanked the UAE leadership for its continuous support to the people of Somalia, saying, "This support is not new and had started during the days of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Somalis will never forget these generosities of the UAE." Meanwhile, the injured commended the stance of the UAE, referring to the humanitarian gesture of the UAE President. They wished the UAE President and Emirati people well.

They also expressed their satisfaction at having arrived in the UAE, where they will receive better care at the hospitals. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


ADP Forensic Evidence Department identifies DNA typing of archaeological bone samples

posted on 02/03/2015

The Forensic Evidence Department at Abu Dhabi Police has announced that it has succeeded in achieving a complete DNA profile match of two bone powder samples. One of the samples is approximately 400 years, the second dates back some 150 years. The Forensic Evidence Department at Abu Dhabi Police was one of only three out of 18 laboratories around the world to have correctly matched both samples.

Tests were conducted at the Faculty of Medicine at Charles University, in collaboration with the Forensic DNA Service Institute, FDNAS, and other international forensic research institutes in Prague, Czech Republic.

Brigadier Abdul Rahman Al Hammadi, Head of the Forensic Evidence Department, said that both samples were collected from archaeological excavations and provided by the National Museum and Institute of Archaeology in Prague. He also noted that based on burial pattern and archaeological artefacts discovered in the excavation site, the samples are estimated to be 150-400 years old.

He also explained that the tests were conducted by examiners from the Forensic Biology Laboratory of the Forensic Evidence Department at Abu Dhabi Police, which enjoys a prestigious reputation as one of the most sophisticated laboratories in the region and includes an elite team of highly trained and certified experts and professionals.

Lieutenant Ahmad Anwar Al Afifi, Forensic Evidence technician, said that the case study was designed to test the efficiency of old bone sample analysis at various forensic laboratories worldwide. The laboratories were asked to conduct DNA profiling from two different bone powder samples, dating back 150 years and 400 years respectively.

Lieutenant Al Affifi also noted that all participating laboratories achieved a 100% match of the DNA profile on the first sample; however, identifying the DNA profile of the second sample that dates back 400 years represented a considerable challenge.

Elaborating on the case, Lieutenant Al Affifi indicated that according to the test results, 13 laboratories had identified the complete DNA profile of the first sample, and was a match to the DNA typing stored in their database. Three laboratories, including the Forensic Biology Laboratory of the Forensic Evidence Department at Abu Dhabi Police, were able to achieve 100% match of the DNA profile of both samples. This proves the high-end quality of performance of the laboratory in conducting such tests, and positions the lab among the world's most advanced laboratories, as one of only three laboratories that achieved a 100% match DNA profile on the second sample.

In conclusion, Lieutenant Al Affifi said that this achievement is a prestigious addition to the record of the Forensic Evidence Laboratory at Abu Dhabi Police, and proves its readiness to conduct such globally recognised tests. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Shell Eco-marathon: UAE team suffers setback

posted on 02/03/2015

MANILA: A team from the UAE suffered a setback in the Shell Eco-marathon, where students from across the globe are testing their ultra-efficient vehicles.

Without Limits, from the Higher College of Technology in Ruwais, had an accident in their ultra-efficient diesel-operated vehicle. "If we don't have accidents, we won't learn. Today, I learnt,” said Ibrahim Al Nadabi, a team member.

No one was injured and the car suffered minor damage to the left body frame, which was immediately repaired.

The team manager Abdulaziz Almeiri blamed the track's clockwise direction. "It's very counter-intuitive trying to steer to the right compared to last year's [counter] clockwise direction,” he said.

Three Emirati teams are competing against 126 other groups to find out who can build the most fuel-efficient car.

Shell's technical adviser Norman Koch said that the new circuit was more challenging, and as a result he doesn't "expect to see the same distances as in previous years”.

Manila is the first stop on a three-phase tour of the eco-marathon, which then heads to Detroit in April and concludes in Rotterdam, the Netherlands in May.

The eco-marathon began as a friendly bet between Shell scientists in Illinois to see who could drive their car the farthest on one gallon of fuel in 1939. It has turned into a global event to encourage engineering students to explore new techniques for fuel efficiency. – The National -


Sheikh Abdullah Al Qasimi wins Sharjah Rally

posted on 02/03/2015

Sheikh Abdullah Al Qasimi won the Sharjah Rally after a great battle with Mohammed Ben Sulayem. Al Qasimi then paid a tribute to the 14-times FIA Middle East Champion for a stirring comeback 12 years after retiring from competitive motor sport.

"Mohammed was much faster on the technical sections, and it was as if he had never been away," said Al Qasimi, who was partnered by Ghaby Khoury in a Mitsubishi Evo 9 for the second round of the UAE Rally Championship.

They had a winning margin of 45 seconds over Sulayem and his long-time Irish co-driver Ronan Morgan, who were back together in the Ford Escort WRC which they took to victory in the 1999 Jordan International Rally before the car was retired.

A time penalty accounted for 30 of those seconds, and but for mechanical problems in the 20-year old Escort it might have been a different story at the finish on Saturday.

Oman's Khalid Al Manji and Saif Al Aisiri in a Subaru Impreza took third place, and the top six was completed by two more Omanis, Faisal Al Rashidi and Walid Al Rashidi in another Subaru, Emiratis Ali Mater Al Ketbi and Rabab Al Tajir in a Nissan Patrol, and Saudi Arabia's Ibrahim Al Mohana with the UAE's Rashid Al Ketbi in another Nissan Patrol.

Sheikh Abdullah was full of praise for Sulayem at the finish, and both men are determined to work together to bring about a revival of rallying in the UAE where it has fallen behind other motor sport disciplines in recent years.

"Mohammed's car had been parked for the last 15 years and it gave him problems," said Al Qasimi, founder and President of the Emirates Motorsport Club, organisers of the UAE National Rally Championship. But he was back up to speed. Really, he was the winner.

"We are trying our best to revive rallying, and it seems to be coming back better than I had expected, but now I hope it will go better and better. We are working together as friends to rebuild the spirit of rallying. We want to bring a new generation of drivers into this sport, and I think in the next rally we will see many more." Sulayem said, "Getting in a rally car for the first time in 12 years, the memories came flooding back and it was fun. But this is not about me. It's about encouraging youth to come into rallying.

"Abdullah is doing a great job to bring more drivers into the sport. He is working hard and I'm very grateful to him. This was a very well organised rally, supported by the Government of Sharjah, and we will work together now to attract the next generation of drivers." Sulayem had not competed since scoring his 15th victory in the Dubai International Rally in December 2002, but he won the first special stage, beating Al Qasimi by one second, despite a broken rear drive shaft.

That meant he was reduced to 2WD power on the next stage which Al Qasimi won by 43 seconds. Sulayem took the next three stages to close the gap to 15 seconds, but his challenge faded when he lost fuel pressure and punctured on the last stage. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –