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Dubai transcends 14 grand cosmopolitan cities in public transport services

posted on 19/04/2015

A scientific study commissioned by Simon-Kucher & Partners Co. revealed that Dubai has outclassed 14 established metropolises in providing public transit means characterised by high-quality, durability, safety, speed, luxury, cleanliness, and on-time journeys. Dubai mass transit systems also stood out in terms of the availability of passenger information and modern technologies such as the smart apps enabling public transport users to pre-plan their journeys in order to get to their respective destinations in a smooth, safe and express manner.

Mattar Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), expressed his delight with the findings of the study which proved the superiority of Dubai city to established metropolises some of which started developing their public transport systems more than a century ago.

"The massive investments injected by the Dubai Government in the transport infrastructure proved both successful and effective. The spiralling growth of public transport ridership illustrates the evolution of the culture and attitudes towards using public transport by various spectrums of the community. The RTA has taken quick and solid steps towards fulfilling the objectives it set since inception namely; the provision of an integrated roads and transport system that ensures smooth traffic flow, provides highest safety levels to all users, and realises the multi-modal integration of public transport in the Emirate of Dubai," said Al Tayer.

"The urbanisation achieved over decades by several countries and metropolitan cities of the globe including the UAE and Dubai Emirate in particular, has been associated with plenty of challenges and issues such as urban transport problems; which are mainly reflected in congested roads, snarls, noises as well as all sorts of audio-visual environmental pollutions. Accordingly a need emerged for developing systems and means to make life easier in these cities in a way that addresses social, economic, and service aspects, including a system of transport forming an integral part of the economic and urban development in advanced cities," stated Al Tayer.

The sound planning of public transit means plays a crucial role in achieving the future development of mass transit systems in any country or city aspiring to achieve modernisation of various social, economic, service and tourist aspects. The effective planning can best be achieved through concerted efforts of all public and semi-public entities, strategic partners, public transport riders, business community, and educational institutions such as schools and varsities as well as social and humanitarian organisations. It also requires instilling and promoting the culture of using public transport means among new generations as they will grow up accustomed to using these means rendering them their first daily mobility choice," added Al Tayer.

Findings: The study of Simon-Kucher & Partners Co. conducted in August and September 2014, covered the Dubai Metro, public buses, and marine transit means (didn't cover the Dubai Tram as it was opened after the completion of the study). The study concluded to name Dubai city the first city in the world in providing public transport means serving the airport; with a service frequency of 20 journeys per hour. Dubai has also been named as the best city offering one-way ticket fare as this sort of tickets in Dubai is considered the cheapest compared with other metropolitan cities worldwide, whereas Zurich was named the most expensive in this aspect worldwide. Moreover, the monthly fares in Dubai rank it among the best three cities in the world, whereas London is classified as the most expensive in terms of monthly tickets.

The study showed that public transport means in Dubai and Zurich are the best worldwide in terms of cleanliness of transit modes and associated facilities such stations, stops and other infrastructural components. Dubai was also ranked second in the world in the quality of services offered and the overall satisfaction of public transport users. Dubai tops the world cities in providing the highest number of service hours via customers' service centres and the hotline represented by the Call Centre at Customers Service Department of the RTA .

Effective Planning: The CEO of RTA Rail Agency Abdullah Yousef Al Ali, said: "The public transport sector plays a pivotal role in driving the development of any city in the world. As far as the economy is concerned, transportation in general and public transport in particular is vital for connecting the production elements and areas by offering transportation to individuals, commodities and raw materials. The transportation system has also a social dimension in connecting community members especially with the sprawling urban expansion of cities which resulted in spreading community members keeping them a distance apart, thus a wide-ranging advanced mass transit network is essential to keep people connected.

"As for urbanisation, the public transport network in the city serves the requirements of various districts and sectors enabling them to run daily activities and events of the city through lifting individuals, materials and services from one place to another. Accordingly, this facilitates the realisation of the intended objectives of working, shopping, entertainment, besides achieving personal interests and serving other humanitarian activities," added the CEO of RTA Rail Agency.

Dr. Yousef Mohammed Al Ali, Executive Director of RTA Public Transport Agency, said: "The RTA has attached utmost importance to effective planning for establishing a wide and advanced public transport system and considers the urban transport planning a multi-faceted as well as a multi-stage process aimed at setting sound pillars of a sustainable mass transit system. This planning process is required to match the ongoing urban expansion in accordance with specific timeline and objectives to meet the needs of the people for accessible, smooth and safe mobility means as well as suitable levels of other ancillary services.

"Given the existing growth rates, high population density in cities, and multitude requirements of living in an urban environment, charting pre-set plans of a solid public transport network capable of fulfilling the needs of users, has become an overriding requirement. Such plans have to address the rising numbers of private vehicles associated with the high growth rates and improved living standards since they also add to tailbacks, trigger traffic accidents and generate environmental pollution," added the Executive Director of Public Transport Agency. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre established

posted on 19/04/2015

Vice President and Prime Minister His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has issued, in his capacity as the Ruler of Dubai, a resolution establishing the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), to which, the Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology (EIAST) shall affiliate.

According to the resolution, the MBRSC is mandated to develop research, projects and studies on space, in a way that will support UAE's drive for advancing this sector and for building national capabilities related to the space knowledge and science.

The Centre shall oversee preparations and implementation of all phases of the UAE probe exploration mission to Mars. Additionally, it will work on all projects related to science and applications of satellites, as well as other advanced technology projects assigned to it by the relevant authorities. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


UAE ranks 16th globally in exports, says WTO

posted on 19/04/2015

The UAE has retained its high ranking among the world's top 16 exporter, according to the World Trade Organisation's Report on International Trade Trends.

The report, released recently in Geneva, shows that UAE ranks16th among global exporters and is the number one market for merchandise exports in the MENA region.

In imports, UAE ranks 19th and is the most important market for merchandise imports in MENA. The WTO report says UAE merchandise exports reached $ 359 billion, which is 1.9% of the total world exports. UAE imports grew by 4% and it accounted for 1.4% of the total world exports. Regionally, UAE accounts for 28% of the Middle East merchandise exports and 33% of imports during 2014.

According to the report, UAE ranks 19th among global importers of services. The total value services imports to UAE is $ 72 billion, which constitutes 1.5% of the total global imports of services. However, this rank goes up to 13 when EU is considered as a single bloc. The UAE exports of services increased to $ 17 billion, ranking 25 globally, if EU is considered a bloc.

Economy Minister Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri said: "UAE has become a major player in international trade. Our country bolstered its position in global trade scene and we expect it will continue to do so for the coming years. The trade policy of the UAE, advanced infrastructure, strategic location and legislative environment are all factors contributing to the continuous growth of our trade sector. During the past few years, enormous efforts were exerted to increase the level of competitiveness of the UAE and increase the opportunities of growth and development in all sectors, including trade."

The report showed that global trade saw modest growth by2.4% during 2014 and projected growth to reach 3.3 during 2015 and 4% during 2016. The reports states that many risks and challenges affected the growth of global trade including geopolitical tensions, monetary policies, exchange rates fluctuations, slowdown of growth in emerging economies and decrease in oil prices.

The reports says that abolishing protective measure, easing access to markets and reforming global trade rule can boost international trade. 2014 saw growth in developing countries exports with 3.3% increase, a bigger growth than that of developed countries, which was 2.2%. Developing countries imports grew by 2% while developed countries imports grew by 3.2%. The reports projects developing countries imports to increase by 3.7% and 5% in 2015 and 2016 respectively. Developing countries exports are expected to grow by 3.6% in 2015 and 4.1% in 2016.

The merchandise exports of the Middle East region dropped by 4% during 2014 compared to 2013 while imports increased by 1% for the same period. The services exports from the region increased by 6% in 2014 compared to 2013 while services imports grew by 9%. UAE's share of the region's services imports stand at 27% while it accounts for 14% of the total services exports of the region. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Hamriyah Free Zone showcases its strengths at Hannover Messe

posted on 19/04/2015

Hamriyah Free Zone had participated in the "Global Business & Markets" showcase at Hannover Fair that ran through April 13 to 17.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi jointly opened the "Hannover Messe" – the world's biggest industrial trade fair that brought 6,500 companies from around 70 countries to the Hannover fairground.

"We've done our best to make the Hamriyah Free Zone a great place for international companies to conduct business in. We offer the best infrastructure facilities and high quality services to welcome foreign investment in various sectors like manufacturing, trade and services," said Saud Salim Al Mazrouei, Director of Hamriyah Free Zone Authority (HFZA) and Sharjah Airport Free Zone Authority (SAIFZONE) on the side-lines of the event.

"The event that attracted over 240,000 visitors was an excellent venue to woo potential investors and decision makers from various sectors including industrial automation & IT, power transmission & control, energy & environmental technologies, industrial subcontracting, production engineering and services and research and development", he added.

"It was also an ideal platform to interact with SME entrepreneurs and industry professionals", said Ali Al Jarwan, Deputy Commercial director of HFZA who led the HFZA delegation to Hannover.

Hannover Messe , which was launched in 1947, has been attracting a huge number of visitors every year.

"Hamriyah Free Zone Authority (HFZA), the second largest industrial free zone in the UAE with over 6100 companies, has been participating in the Hannover Messe for many years due to its importance," explained Al Jarwan.

HFZA has become an ideal transshipment hub for the Indian Subcontinent, North and East Africa and the Arabian Gulf. The biggest sectors in HFZA are oil and gas and maritime and steel. HFZA possesses the second largest oil storage zone in the UAE. HFZA has many other sectors like building materials and food production, in addition to others. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


UPC to launch its new vision for future at Cityscape 2015

posted on 19/04/2015

The Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC) will unveil a new corporate vision at Cityscape 2015 that more accurately defines its role, it was announced yesterday.

The updated vision and mission statements reflect the way the organisation has evolved since its inception in 2007 and are more specific in the way they represent the UPC's objectives. Both are more aligned with the UPC's mandate as guardian of the Abu Dhabi Vision 2030.

The UPC will also officially announce the projects that have been given the go-ahead in Q1 2015, following the recent announcement of 76 Emirate-wide projects during 2014, in addition to showcasing a range of sustainable products through their Estidama Experience Centre.

The Estidama Experience Centre is one of several interactive components which are sure to make the UPC's stand one of the highlights of this year's Cityscape, which runs from April 21 to 23 at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre. Cityscape is the Middle East's largest annual real estate event.

Other unique offerings at the UPC stand this year will include the impressive, scale model of the Abu Dhabi Metropolitan Area that has proved a hit at past Cityscapes, and interactive kiosks where people can learn about the Emirate's framework plans, as well as the UPC's master plans, policies and initiatives.

With the theme of ‘Help for All', the Estidama Experience Centre will display a selection of technologies and practices that can be applied to both new and existing villas, highlighting that everyone can take steps to create a sustainable home.

It aims to demonstrate the different ways that homeowners can maximise resource efficiency and quality of life, whether they are looking to make improvements to their existing villa, or are looking to build a new home. The Experience Centre will illustrate how relatively small changes in design can play an important role in supporting Abu Dhabi's sustainable future.

Visitors will be able to watch demonstrations of how insulated villa windows reduce the transfer of heat from outside to inside, which results in an 18% reduction in cooling energy, and how adding external wall and roof insulation, in addition to the windows, reduces the transfer of heat from outside to inside, thereby requiring 39% less energy to cool the villa. Through these measures, air infiltration is improved, which adds a further 4% saving, which in total brings the predicted savings in cooling energy to 43%. The Estidama team will be conducting air leakage demonstrations to show how air infiltration is affected by different window selections, which can reduce the amount of outside air from entering the villa.

A solar hot water heater will be on display to demonstrate how energy from the sun can be used to heat water in a villa, without using energy from the mains supply; studies have shown that by using energy directly from the sun, between 50-70% of the energy required for a villa's hot water needs is provided for free. An insulated water tank will also be on display, to show how cold water can be kept cooler in hot climates.

The UPC's scale model of Abu Dhabi, measuring 23 metres by 17 metres, will once again be a centrepiece of the Cityscape exhibition. It shows the Abu Dhabi Metropolitan Area and includes new and existing projects as well as famous landmarks such as the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Emirates Palace and Ferrari World on Yas Island.

The model includes renditions of Al Raha Beach East and Al Maryah Central, which are among the 76 projects approved by the UPC in 2014. The model also includes the latest progress on Al Reem Island.

There will be interactive kiosks at the stand, where visitors can find out more about the UPC's development frameworks under Abu Dhabi Vision 2030; including Plan Capital 2030, Plan Al Gharbia 2030, Plan Al Ain 2030 and Plan Maritime 2030.

Dedicated ‘Infopods' will be available, explaining the guiding principles behind the UPC's ‘Complete Sustainable Communities' (CSC) initiative. This year's UPC stand will once again feature an interactive fly-through screen; using a control pad, users can navigate their way around a virtual community, exploring the kinds of facilities such as shaded streets and various community facilities, including schools, medical centres and mosques, that make up a Complete Sustainable Community.

The CSC initiative encompasses the UPC's suite of policies, regulations and manuals and demonstrates how they combine to help planners create high-quality, liveable and sustainable communities.

Falah Al Ahbabi, the UPC's Director General, commented: "Cityscape provides an excellent opportunity for delegates and exhibitors to look towards the creation of strategic public-private partnerships. Working collaboratively will support the achievement of Vision 2030, which is the ultimate goal of the Government of Abu Dhabi, by encouraging sustainable growth. Abu Dhabi is developing at an incredible pace and we, as government entities, must be proactive in developing the kind of platform required to support this growth."

"This growth should not comprise the sustainability of the Emirate. Therefore, Estidama is at the heart of any urban plan or development in Abu Dhabi, whether it be residential, commercial, community or mixed-use. Additionally, the UPC always considers the lifestyle component, to ensure that a development is as liveable as possible. Ultimately, we are transforming Abu Dhabi into a world-class sustainable capital city, to ensure the longevity of the Emirate for future generations."

Since 2008, the UPC's Urban Development team has delivered 454 projects and master plans. In addition to those outlined above, these Projects and Master Plans include Zayed University (Zayed City), Al Maryah Island, the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi (Saadiyat Island), Abu Dhabi World Trade Centre and Yas Waterworld, among many others.

Since the Estidama programme was launched four years ago, a total of 11,881 villas and 921 buildings have been awarded a Pearl Rating. As of March 2015, 1,932 villas were awarded a 1 Pearl Rating, 9,355 villas 2 Pearls, and 594 villas were awarded a 3 Pearl Rating. Of the buildings, 363 were awarded a 1 Pearl Rating, 521 buildings 2 Pearls, 34 buildings 3 Pearls, two buildings 4 Pearls, and one building was awarded a 5 Pearl Rating. The numbers include Pearl Design Rated awarded projects across the Emirate. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Hanif's Majlis hosts seminar on Operation Decisive Storm

posted on 19/04/2015

Dr. Hanif Hassan Al-Qassim, Chairman of the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue Board of Management, has emphasised that the world is currently witnessing unprecedented solidarity and cooperation for the Arab and GCC initiative regarding the Operation Decisive Storm aimed to achieve legitimacy and eradicate sectarian problems, which threaten the security and stability of Yemen, since that country represents the security and national depth of GCC States and the Arab Region.

The forum, held at his Majlis in Dubai, featured dialogue on the changes and repercussions of the situation of the GCC States regarding Operation Decisive Storm, and noted the international supportive stance in various forms and through different mechanisms to the military operation.

Among those who attended the meeting were Lt. General Dahi Khalfan Tamim, Deputy Chairman of Police and General Security in Dubai, a number of intellectuals, officials and public figures. Dr. Al-Qassim said that a lot of problems that face the Arab and Islamic communities need to be solved through interactions and dialogue in the framework of cooperation and tolerance, as well as by enhancing the right understanding of the culture of peace.

He also highlighted the wise leadership's keenness on launching visions and objectives which would contribute to the adoption of ideas and positive initiatives aimed at positioning the country as per its stature among the countries of the world. He praised the dialogue among the audience which reflected their awareness and far sighted visions.

Al Qassim expressed his appreciation for the Arab and GCC leaders and peoples for their unprecedented and historic stance towards addressing the security challenges at the Arab, regional and international level. He also reiterated that Operation Decisive Storm has achieved its strategic goals due to the strong support provided by the Arab peoples and governments to their leaders which reflected full confidence and solidarity. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Abu Dhabi to host Global Forum for Promoting Peace in the Muslim Societies 2015

posted on 19/04/2015

Abu Dhabi will host the second session of the Global Forum for Promoting Peace in the Muslim Societies 2015, from April 28 to 30, at the St. Regis Hotel Corniche, Abu Dhabi, in the presence and with the participation of more than 350 Muslim scholars and intellectuals from around the world.

The forum, chaired by Sheikh Abdullah Bin Bayyah, will hold a series of sessions and workshops with the participation of a group of scholars to promote the culture of peace and strengthen efforts to counter extremist ideologies contrary to human values and principles of tolerant Islam as well as address the risks of religious sectarian violence that prevails in many Arab and Muslim communities.

The convening of the second session of this forum in Abu Dhabi follows the initiative launched by Sheikh Bin Bayyah, who heads the scientific committee of the forum.

The three-day long forum will also discuss solutions to the issues facing Muslims worldwide and address the causes of the divisions in the Muslim societies.

Expressing his delight at the holding of the second session of this important forum in Abu Dhabi, Bin Bayyah said, "We hope to reach effective solutions to the causes of division, violence and chaos that prevail in our Arab and Muslim region at the moment," stressing that "the only way to counter the forces that tear the Muslim world apart is to know the roots of misinformation and misunderstanding that feed the extremist ideologies, sectarian hatred, violence, and deadly destruction."

He described the global forum, at its second session in Abu Dhabi, "as an important event for the entire world. Its mission aims to come to terms with the self and the other, renounce violence and lay the foundations of peace everywhere, and establish understanding among all peoples. It is an important initiative that aims to refute extremist ideologies by making provision for real understanding of Islam as a religion of wisdom, compassion, tolerance and patience, as outlined in the Quran and sayings 'Ahadith' of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH)." – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


UAE polio campaign vaccinates millions of Pakistani children

posted on 19/04/2015

ISLAMABAD: The UAE has immunised millions of Pakistani children with than 44 million polio vaccines in the first three months of 2015 as part of the Emirates Polio Campaign launched under directives from President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan on an initiative by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of UAE Armed Forces.

The UAE Pakistan Assistance Programme (UAE-PAP) said total of 15,278,016 polio vaccine doses were given to Pakistani children aged under five years in March in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Baluchistan, Sindh and the tribal provinces. In February, children in these regions were given 14,977,824 additional doses of the vaccine in February, while in January, 13,826,386 doses were administered.

The UAE-PAP polio campaign used more than 10,000 teams using healthcare centres and mobile units for remote villages, refugee camps and border areas.

The UAE-PAP administration said that the polio vaccination campaign is being carried out on schedule with the fourth dose expected to be completed this month.

The second phase of the "Emirates Polio Campaign" in Pakistan, targeting 17 million children in 53 areas with around 51 million vaccination doses under the slogan, "A Healthy and Bright Future for All". – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Sheikha Fatima calls for assessing needs of families

posted on 19/04/2015

H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women's Union (GWU), Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation (FDF) and President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, has called for assessing the needs of families in conjunction with partners, to meet their requirements.

The remarks were made during the first FDF meeting in 2015 in Al Mushrif, Abu Dhabi, chaired by Sheikha Fatima. She was briefed by the FDA officials on a number of development projects being implemented by the Foundation.

Sheikha Fatima commended the FDF's achievements at local, regional and international levels, which further boost the role of Abu Dhabi Emirate as a social hub in terms of family care to ensure cohesiveness and stability of the family.

She called for motivating the FDF's employees so that they continue discharging their effective role to complement the achievements of the FDF.

"We in the UAE, believe that human being is above all and should be attended to by all government entities to ensure well-being. The wise leadership urges the institutions to care for families and individuals across the UAE," she said.

The meeting was attended by Nora Al Suwaidi, director of the GWU, directors of the departments and others.

Mariam Mohammed Al Rumaithi, director-general of the FDF, welcomed Sheikha Fatima, citing the importance of her continuous follow-up, which positively impacts the overall performance of the FDF. She also reviewed the previous meetings of the Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation in 2014, and measures taken in this respect.

Al Rumaithi noted that the FDF, like other institutions and government bodies in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, contributed to achieving the goals and programmes of the development strategy pursued by the Government of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

She said during the meeting that the Foundation carried out the first five-year plan 2009 - 2013, and submitted the final report to the secretariat of the Executive Council. Al Rumaithi added that the FDF also prepared its second five-year strategic plan 2014 - 2018. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Lubna: UAE backs international efforts to eradicate chronic, contagious diseases

posted on 19/04/2015

Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, Minister of International Cooperation and Development (MICAD) and Head of the UAE Committee for Coordination of Humanitarian Foreign Aid, the wise leadership of the UAE, led by 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, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, supports efforts being made by the international community to eradicate chronic and communicable diseases and epidemics.

Commenting on yesterday's announcement by the UAE Pakistan Assistance Programme (UAE-PAP) that it had immunised 44 million children in Pakistan with polio vaccines in the first three months of 2015, Sheikha Lubna said the UAE's health campaign reflected its tireless efforts to eradicate polio in countries plagued badly by the life-threatening disease, particularly in Pakistan.

The campaign is part of the Emirates Polio Campaign launched under the directives of President Sheikh Khalifa on an initiative by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed.

The minister hailed the honourable role being played by the UAE-PAP's work team to deliver vaccines to the targeted children. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


UAE wins seat in SOMENA Regional Advisory Council

posted on 19/04/2015

MARRAKECH: UAE Special Olympics has added another feather in its cap when Thani Juma Belregad won a seat in the Special Olympics Middle East and North Africa (SOMENA) Regional Advisory Council in the council's elections which held during the ongoing meeting in Moroccan city of Marrakech.

Belregad will also act as advisor to the SOMENA Regional President.

The Marrakech meeting, which is scheduled to conclude tomorrow under the presidency of Ayman Abdel Wahab, Regional President & Managing Director of the Middle East/North Africa region, will discuss the MENA's strategic plan that will be presented to the upcoming international strategic conference in Bahrain.

Mohammed Mohammed Fadil Al Hamili, Chairman of UAE Special Olympics, said the landmark achievement was a fruit of the support provided to the sports by 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.

On his part, Belregad affirmed that he would do everything in his power to develop and advance games of mentally challenged persons in the region.

He said that his election to the post highlighted the UAE strategy towards adaptive sports and parasports. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Italian Academy honours Jawaher Al Qasimi for empowering working Emirati women

posted on 19/04/2015

The Italian Academy, one of the world's most prestigious institutes for fashion and design, has honoured H.H. Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, and Honorary Patron of the Sharjah Business Women Council (SBWC), for her major role in empowering and supporting Emirati working women.

The academy also appreciated her efforts of supporting cooperation between women who work in traditional Emirati crafts and students of the Italian Academy in Florence, during the grand fashion show held in Florence, Italy, on Friday, 17th of April.

The honouring coincided with a visit by the delegation of the SBWC and the Executive Office of Sheikha Jawaher to the headquarters of the academy in Florence - one of the most prestigious institutes for art, interior design, fashion, accessories and photography. The honouring ceremony took place on the side-lines of a fashion show held by two of the Italian Academy's talented students. Andrea Mazzone and Francesca Baldanzi, who featured the event using over 3,000 feet of thread and embroideries, the stylistically traditional of "Talli" pieces are the product of more than 20 Emirati women working together within the "Bidwa" project of the SBWC.

Ameera BinKaram, Chairperson of SBWC, and 65-year-old Emirati woman, Fatima Mahmoud "Umm Ahmed" from Dibba Al Hosn, received the honouring on behalf of Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi.

"Umm Ahmed" supervises the training and teaches Emirati women the skills of "Talli" craft within the "Bidwa" project, which was launched by the SBCW, to support and empower women economically and socially.

The Italian pieces inlaid with the Emirati "Talli" were greatly admired by designers, students and audience members alike, who were visibly impressed by the striking colours and patterns which incorporate the latest fashion trends while staying true to the vibrant traditional Emirati spirit of the designs.

During the visit, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed between the SBWC and the Italian Academy, to strengthen cooperation between both sides in the area of developing traditional Emirati crafts - especially "Talli" - and to incorporate it into modern fashion designs and other fashion products while promoting it globally.

The MOU was signed by Ameera BinKaram, and Vincenzo Giubba, Founding President of the Italian Academy during a press conference at the academy's premises, in the presence of a large number of Italian and international media representatives.

Due to the positive result of the series of previous contacts between the SBWC and the Academy, the MOU aims to move the "Talli" craft and other UAE's traditional crafts forward and to more advanced levels of popularity and worldwide fame.

Following the signing of the memorandum, BinKaram underlined the eagerness of Sheikha Jawaher to empower and support Emirati women in all walks of life. The Sharjah Business Women Council seeks through the "Bidwa" programme to revive the traditional Emirati crafts and train women on how to skilfully take up the traditional crafts and make their own high quality products in a professional manner as well as help them sell their products in local and global markets.

During the press conference, BinKaram said, "We are delighted at this collaboration with the Italian Academy, where the memorandum of understanding will provide additional support to producing women working in the UAE craft sector by marketing their creative products on a global scale and incorporating them into fashion and other fashionable products. We also aim to expand the vocational training programmes for producing women and develop their skills through cooperation with international designers, able to promote passion for "Talli" and other traditional crafts."

Vincenzo Giubba, Founding President of the Italian Academy, also expressed his pleasure and that of the academy students over this cooperation with the Sharjah Business Women Council. He said, "This collaboration will constitute a new addition for us at the academy, in terms of the quality of designs used, and even the ideas inspired by the traditional crafts created by Emirati women. We strive to develop this collaboration to include more areas, through other sections and traditional lines and crafts undertaken by the SBWC as part of the "Bidwa" programme."

Giubba introduced the audience to the role played by the SBWC in supporting talented Emirati women and qualifying them to enter the business world, with a focus on fashion. The founding President of the academy announced that the designs that were displayed during the fashion show will be offered for sale through global fashion houses that cooperate with the academy - with a percentage of the sales be allocated for the Emirati women who mastered in turning the coloured threads into perfectly made fabrics.

During the visit, the SBWC delegation toured the Italian Academy and its various administrative and educational departments, and also visited a number of classrooms, focusing specifically on those studying fashion design, products design, graphic design and photography. The delegates met with a group of students from various countries and listened to their views and reasons behind the selection of the subject they choose to study as majors.

Last year, the SBWC launched the "Bidwa" project to support and develop traditional crafts with a view to enhancing women's contribution to economic sectors in the UAE and preserve traditional Emirati crafts by marketing products inspired by the authentic local heritage.

The Council managed to reach 200 producing women through field visits to neighbourhoods and cities in Sharjah to train them on how to develop the "Talli" craft and other traditional crafts.

"Bidwa" is part of "My Heritage" programme launched by the Council two years ago, as a platform that brings together companies and individuals committed to ethical practices in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia, to meet the demand for products and accessories related to the lifestyle in both local and international markets.

The project aims to preserve traditional crafts by passing on traditional crafts to younger generations and creating high-quality products that appeal to the market, in order to achieve a sustainable source of income for women, thus providing them with economic empowerment that ensure social stability and security, independence and a decent living. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


National Service And Reserve Authority Signs MoU With Etihad Airways

posted on 19/04/2015

The General Command of the Armed Forces, represented by the National Service and Reserve Authority (NRSA), has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Etihad Airways.

The ceremony at Etihad Airways' Headquarters in Abu Dhabi also included a tour of the airline's Medical Centre which has been certified to conduct the National Service's medical examinations and screenings.

The MoU was signed by Major General Pilot Sheikh Ahmed bin Tahnoon, Chairman of National Service and Reserve Authority, and Mohamed Mubarak Al Mazrouei, Etihad Airways Chairman. Hamad Al Shamsi, Etihad Airways Deputy Chairman, and Mohamed Hamad Al Mehairi, Etihad Airways board member, also attended, accompanied by James Hogan, Etihad Airways' President and Chief Executive Officer.

UAE nationals from across Etihad Airways have been undertaking national service training since the end of 2014 and more are expected to join the program during the year.

Under the MoU, the Etihad Airways Medical Centre will conduct examinations for the airline's staff who are called upon for national service. The airline will comply with the agreed guidelines and report the results to the National Service and Reserve Authority.

Etihad Airways was applauded by Sheikh Ahmed bin Tahnoon for its initiatives which show the airline's commitment and capabilities in promoting the national service program.

He said: "The MoU will ensure close collaboration and coordination between all parties, especially in the area of medical examinations, which will be conducted at the world class Etihad Airways Medical Centre."

Etihad Airways announced last week that it had received accreditation from the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) to operate the country's first Aeromedical Centre (AeMC), allowing the Medical Centre to perform functions on behalf of the GCAA.

Mohamed Mubarak Al Mazrouei, Etihad Airways' Chairman said: "We are delighted today to build upon the partnership with the National Reserve and Service Authority and cement Etihad Airways commitment to UAE national service initiative, which has been approved under Federal Law No. 6 of 2014, issued by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE.

"We are proud of the role that UAE nationals play in the national airline and the crucial role they'll play as part of the national service program."

James Hogan said: "As the national carrier of the UAE, Etihad Airways is committed to growing and developing a highly qualified cadre of UAE nationals and empowering them to play an even greater role in the airline's world-class business.

"Since the launch of our UAE national development strategy in 2007 the composition of our UAE national workforce has increased from four to 23 per cent, and we now employ more than 2,200 UAE nationals across the spectrum of our operations."

Mr Hogan stated that Emiratis are now the number one nationality group in Etihad Airways as well as the number one nationality group at the manager and higher management levels.

Currently there are more than 150 UAE nationals working in positions at the airline's offices and airport destinations across the Middle East, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Americas.

Many of them have also been placed on assignment with Etihad Airways' partner airlines worldwide. More than 6,000 UAE nationals are set to join the airline by 2020.

Mr Hogan added: "Etihad Airways will continue to utilise strategic collaborations with a wide a range of UAE government, educational and Emiratisation institutions, including the Abu Dhabi Tawteen Council, Higher Colleges of Technology, Ministry of Higher Education, and Abu Dhabi University."

UAE nationals also have the opportunity to join 21 Graduate Development Programs which are certified by the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM). These areas include cadet pilot training, technical engineering, information technology, finance, sales, airport operations and human resources.

The programs are designed to match the needs of the airline with career opportunities for the national workforce.

Upon completion Graduate Managers are also awarded an IATA diploma depending on their chosen specialisation. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Khalid bin Sultan Al Qasimi announces official launch of new postal code system in Sharjah

posted on 19/04/2015

Sheikh Khalid bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairman of Sharjah Urban Planning Council (SUPC), has launched the first phase of the actual operation of the postal code system in Sharjah, implementing the directives of H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah.

As part of the inauguration, Sheikh Khalid installed the first postal code sign on Thursday April 16th, the move, which follows the pilot phase of the project, signalled the implementation of phase one in Al Majaz 2, Sharjah, officially launching the new project.

The postal code system, which aims to raise the efficiency of the postal services provided to the emirate's community, will be linked to the geographical information systems (GIS), as per the internationally applicable standards.

The first phase of the postal code project, which is implemented by Sharjah Urban Planning Council, in collaboration with the Department of Planning and Survey, and the Emirates Post Group, will cover Al Majaz 2 and Al Rahmaniyah 5.

Covering Sharjah City, the project will involve the installation of signboards designed in accordance with the addressing system and spatial guidance, as well as the postal code proposed by the Emirates Post Group that caters to the needs of the Postal Distribution Department to facilitate and speed up the process of postal distribution to the required locations across the emirate.

Sheikh Khalid said, "This vital and important project comes in line with the vision and directives of Sheikh Sultan, to develop essential projects to serve the emirate's residents, visitors and future generations. This project emphasises our commitment to developing integrated infrastructure according to the highest international standards and high quality specifications, to ensure their sustainability in meeting the various needs of our society. The postal code is a key factor to improve the level of services provided to the public. Equipped with the latest technologies, the postal code system will offer easy and fast postal services to both individuals and the business community, which will contribute to strengthening the position of Sharjah as an urban and investment-friendly environment."

The postal code system will allow the community and all divisions of society – including emergency services, and other service sectors – to use it in a simplified manner that helps them easily identify their destinations and the city's streets and roads in a very short time. It will also boost trade movement and business activity by facilitating the travel of people and the accurate delivery of services to outlets and the business community. The system will also help visitors to travel easily and identify their various destinations throughout the emirate of Sharjah.

The SUPC has launched a mobile app for Sharjah's postal code system to provide easy and accessible services to everyone. The mobile app has been developed in line with the best international practices in this field, to facilitate the identification of the postal code of each area. The app will enable its users to know the postal code through maps, and will allow them to receive the postal code along with the area's maps. It also adds the user to the list of contacts, so as to identify his or her place easily in the event of frequent visits to the same area. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Makani to be usable on Google and HERE maps

posted on 19/04/2015

Dubai's own satellite location address and navigation system, Makani, will be compatible with Google and HERE maps, an official said. Dubai Municipality's Makani (My Location) assigns a 10-digit number to every building in Dubai on a digital map and guides users to the location — down to its front door or main entrance — using the free Makani smartphone app.

It is accurate up to one metre of the pin selected on the map.

Makani numbers are also going up on buildings, allowing residents or tourists without digital access to guide friends, taxis or emergency responders to the location.

All they have to do is say the number over the phone or text it — there is no need to give directions, street names or landmark references. The recipient simply copy pastes or punches in the number in the Makani app to see the building or location.

In the future, the building or address will be traceable on Google and HERE maps as well using the Makani number, said Abdul Hakim Abdul Kareem Malek, Director, Geographic Information System Department, Dubai Municipality.

Malek expects Google and HERE compatibility to be online by 2016, if not this year for at least one of them.

The compatibility can boost the number of people using Makani numbers and help it gain currency in everyday use, he said.

HERE maps are found in Nokia and Windows smartphones while Google maps are popular in Android and Apple mobiles.

There are millions of Google and HERE map users in Dubai and the Makani app itself has been downloaded more than 10,000 times on Google Play (the Android app store). It has a 5-star rating on the Apple store for iPhones.

The Makani app will also be available on Windows and BlackBerry smart app stores within April, Malek said.

Makani coordinates can also be converted to formats used on other location tracking systems such as DMS (Degree, Minutes, Seconds) and Latitude-Longitude within the app itself.

"Soon everyone in Dubai will start using Makani — friends, taxis, courier companies, ambulances,” he added.

The system is still new; it was officially launched on April 4 by Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai.

However, the Makani numbers for most buildings have been available on the app for much longer than that. The physical plates are being rolled out and expect to be in place for all buildings within six months.

There are around 125,000 buildings in Dubai that will be registered with Makani.

Virtually all buildings recently received Makani number stickers and guides to build awareness on the system. The stickers, sometimes found in reception areas or next to lifts, will be replaced by permanent Makani plates on front entrances.

"Seeing is believing and the plates will help introduce a culture of change in how we give and use addresses.”

With Makani, the problem of language, accent or pronunciation differences does not arise.

The plates can also be scanned by smartphones using the QR code reader apps, providing a digital copy of the number that can be quickly shared online.

"Makani is a first of its kind system in the world. It's getting great feedback and everyone will be forced — in a positive sense of the word — to use it,” Malek said.

He added that he has met Emirates Post officials who have shown interest in Makani and praised the advantages of the system during a presentation. "It's their decision if they want to use it. They are happy with it.”

Malek added that he anticipates Dubai taxi operators will use Makani by the end of the year. "Already some taxi drivers are using it of their own accord,” he said.

Makani can also be used online through its website,

Malek had earlier said there is a plan to integrate other services with Makani, such as displaying the location's contact information, services and nearby facilities, possibly using Augmented Reality features on smartphones. – Gulf News -


National Ambulance receives International Accreditation for its high standards of pre-hospital care in northern regions

posted on 19/04/2015

National Ambulance has been awarded Joint Commission International Accreditation (JCI) for its high quality Emergency Patient Transport service in the northern regions.

The award makes National Ambulance the only pre-hospital service in the UAE to have achieved this prestigious international standard.

JCI is an international standard for quality healthcare and patient safety. It requires health care organisations to meet exacting performance standards across all of its operations including clinical governance and administration.

The standards are respected across the world and reflect the achievement of high quality and best practice in patient care. The award swiftly follows JCI accreditation for National Ambulance's private client provision.

Commenting on this landmark achievement, Mohamed Ibrahim Al Ameri, Chairman of National Ambulance Board of Directors said, "The successful accreditation of our service in the northern regions is another significant milestone in the pursuit of excellence National Ambulance has embarked upon since its inception."

Ahmed Saleh Al Hajeri Deputy CEO of National Ambulance said, "We are proud of this important achievement as we are the only pre-hospital service in the UAE to have reached this standard; reflecting our long-standing commitment to providing quality in emergency pre-hospital care. This commitment is demonstrated in our utilisation of advanced technologies, the most modern vehicle fleet and the retention of a well-trained team that is dedicated to providing excellence in all we do."

National Ambulance commenced operations in the northern regions to provide round-the-clock, rapid emergency response to patients across UAE's northern regions. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


UAE inventor wins four medals in Geneva exhibition of inventions

posted on 19/04/2015

GENEVA: UAE inventor Ahmed Majan won four medals for his latest inventions at the 43rd International Exhibition of Inventions, which concluded yesterday in Geneva. The fair is recognised as the world's most important market place for exhibitors from 45 different countries.

Majan said he presented five inventions, three of them new, in the tough competition from around 1,000 inventors and producers from across the world.

Two of his innovative creations the smart saddle, which was displayed for the first time, and a GPS for tracking a solar-powered bicycle scooped gold medals. He also won two silver medals for his remote control device of fishing nets and a smart duck trap. Majan won the highest number of accolades that an individual could harvest.

The Emirati inventor dedicated the landmark achievements to 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 other UAE leaders.

'Support and encouragement by the visionary and thought leader, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, often leads to achieving the top position and provides the key to excellence,' Majan said, adding that his participation at the exhibition was aimed at proving the UAE's merit at the top rank and raising the country's flag aloft at this international invention forum.

He also praised H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, for his continued encouragement and unwavering support for his career towards innovation and invention.

The UAE Permanent Representative to the UN and other International Organisations in Geneva, Obaid Salem Al Zaabi, said Majan's participation at the Geneva exhibition of inventions reflected the bright image that the citizen has achieved in areas of innovation and invention.

The UAE, he added, always encourages innovations that serve the humanity.

Majan has also received special citation from the Chinese Innovation and Invention Society for having invented the smart saddle. Spanish inventors honoured Majan during their visit to the UAE pavilion at the exhibition. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


President's initiatives Follow-up Committee approves housing projects

posted on 19/04/2015

In line with the directives of the President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Follow-up Committee of the Initiatives of UAE President has approved a list of 504 eligible citizens whose houses require maintenance or replacement.

These projects are in implementation of the directives of the President 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 to secure adequate housing for the citizens across the UAE.

The approval came following a meeting of the committee, held under the chairmanship of Ahmed Juma Al Za'abi, Deputy Minister for Presidential Affairs.

The projects include maintenance of 105 houses at a total cost of Dh 40.1 million and urgent replacement of 75 houses at a total cost of Dh 63.9 million.

The committee also approved construction of 330 houses for citizens in Ajman, costing Dh 239.3 million and completion of a 45-house residential complex in Umm al-Qaiwain at a cost of Dh 37.4 million.

Also approved were road projects in Umm al-Qaiwain, Fujairah and Sharjah at a total value of Dh 60.4 million. The committee sanctioned an Dh 20 million package as part of the Fujairah water pipeline project.

To meet the rising demand for electricity, the committee approved an Dh 15.7 million project to supply and install a third transformer in Khor Fakkan power station.

Al Za'abi said the projects were being implemented in keeping with the wise leadership's directives to provide stable and decent living standards and comfort to the UAE citizens.

He praised the support extended by H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, to the committee and its projects, which are expected to be implemented on schedule and in accordance with the field's current best practices.

The meeting was attended by Jabr Mohammed Al Suwaidi, Saeed Mohammed Al Meqbali, Rashid Saeed Al Amri, Mohammed Ibrahim Al Mail, Mohammed Hassan Al Ma'ini and Ali Mohammed Dahmani. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Mohammed bin Rashid tours Arabic calligraphy exhibition

posted on 19/04/2015

Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum yesterday visited the Dubai International Arabic Calligraphy Exhibition at Wafi Mall, Dubai, and viewed collections of calligraphy masterpieces by accomplished artists from across the Arab and Islamic world and Europe.

Organised by the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority from April 14th to May 15th, 2015, the exhibition showcases 140 masterpieces and works of classic and modern Arabic calligraphy.

Sheikh Mohammed directed the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority to organise such cultural and heritage events in Dubai and across the UAE, particularly in central markets, parks, metro stations as well as air, land and sea ports so as to make Dubai a large diverse cultural and artistic museum.

H.H. expressed his absolute support for cultural events that promote the rich Arab culture and instil it among present and future generations as 'we want them to adhere to it and taste its beauty, whether in poetry, literature, reading or written and spoken form.' 'Whoever reads the holy Quran and becomes conversant in reciting its verses and comprehending their meaning will definitely be skilful in Arabic, the language of the holy Quran,' Sheikh Mohammed said.

'Our language is our identity; we should protect, preserve and promote it so that it becomes a source of pride and dignity for our future generations,' he added.

Sheikh Mohamed was accompanied during the tour by Mohammed Ahmed Al Murr, Speaker of Federal National Council (FNC), Abdul Rahman bin Mohammed Al Owais, Minister of Health, and Chairman of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, Ibrahim Mohammed Bu Melha, Dubai Ruler's Advisor for Humanitarian and Cultural Affairs, Khalifa Saeed Sulaiman, Director General of Dubai's Protocol Department, and a group of cultural figures. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Tackling the T-Rex and other Dinosaurs at SCRF 2015

posted on 19/04/2015

For the first time in the UAE, the Sharjah Children's Reading Festival is bringing T. Rex: The Killer Question exhibition this year, taking place from April 22 to May 2 at the Expo Centre.

Featuring everything children and visitors need to know about the most famous and fearsome dinosaurs from the terrifying T- Rex (Tyrannosaurus Rex to the experts) or the tricky Triceratops or even the armoured Ankylosaurus, head on over to the SCRF 2015 where all these and more will be on display.

There they will be able to find out what those dinosaurs looked like, their eating behaviour and how they evolved. The visitors can inspect the T. Rex skeleton and examine unearthed bones freshly delivered from London's Natural History Museum. There will be plenty of model dinosaurs on display and raft of information to help the visitors sort out fact from fiction surrounding those most fascinating prehistoric creatures.

SCRF is among the largest festivals of its kind and brings together more than 120 international and local publishers over the 11-day event. Organised through the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) this year's 7th edition will feature 2,028 events and activities geared to cultivating a love books and reading among young people in the UAE.

Hind Abdullah Lenaid, General Coordinator of Sharjah Children's Reading Festival, said, "We are delighted to be able to bring this world renowned exhibition to Sharjah Children's Reading Festival this year. Dinosaurs have always held a great fascination for young people and adults alike and we are sure visitors to the festival will be captivated by the display. It is always our intention in the UAE to think of the child first and to promote their wellbeing not only physically and educationally but also culturally. In that way, and in line with the directives of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, to promote literacy and child welfare, the SCRF aims to enrich children's imaginations and provide them with friends for life through the gift of reading."

The UAE tops the list of participating countries with 40 publishing houses, followed by Lebanon with 25 and Egypt with 17 publishing houses, alongside Australia, Canada, and India, among many other countries. A raft of entertainment and creative activities will be laid on for young people during the festival such as face painting, shape making, theatre shows and sand art. There are also story-telling sessions, competitions and puppet shows. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –