The UAE will host Expo 2020!

Solar Impulse 2 reaches China

posted on 31/03/2015

The first solar plane making a round-the-world flight entered Chinese airspace on Monday in its fifth leg that proved the most challenging since its start from Abu Dhabi.
Solar Impulse 2 (Si2) was scheduled to land at Chongqing in China at 1am local time Tuesday (UAE time 9pm Monday), a spokesperson told Gulf News. "All is going well so far. [Betrand] Piccard [who is piloting the plane] is very happy,” Elke Neumann, a press officer at Solar Impulse, said on the phone from Nanjing in China, where she and her teammates have already arrived for advanced preparations for the flight's sixth leg.
However, the flight's planned departure after a few hours of landing at Chongqing for Nanjing has been cancelled due to possible bad weather, she said.
"I wish we could fly on Wednesday, but we have to wait for the weather forecast,” Neumann said.
Piccard and the team are delighted that a challenging flight has been successfully completed.
The 19-hour-long flight of 1,375 kilometres from Mandalay in Myanmar was physically demanding for the pilot as he had to use an oxygen mask for almost 15 hours in the unpressurised cockpit, facing temperatures plunging to minus 20 degrees Celsius.
The flight was demanding with steep ascent and limited time allowed for high altitude preparation while flying over the Himalayas at the beginning of the flight.
During the pit stop at Chongqing in China, a solar cell of the flight, which was damaged during the stay in Myanmar, will be repaired, Neumann said. The damage reduced the flight's capacity to capture solar energy by two per cent.
As bad weather has delayed the departure from Chongqing, the team is not bothered about the amount of energy remaining in the batteries after landing. Otherwise the decision on immediate departure would have depended on this factor.
André Borschberg will continue onward to Nanjing in China from Chongqing.
During the coming months, Piccard and Borschberg will cross the Pacific Ocean and stop in the USA, North Africa or Southern Europe before returning to Abu Dhabi to complete the circumnavigation of the world.
Piccard (initiator and chairman) and Borschberg (co-founder and CEO), will continue their journey, travelling 35,000 kilometres around the globe, accumulating 500 flight hours over five months, to spread the message that clean technologies can be achieved through a pioneering spirit. – Gulf News - http://gulfnews.com/news/uae/environment/solar-impulse-2-reaches-china-1.1481794

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New YahClick Broadband Portfolio comes to market

posted on 31/03/2015

YahClick, the satellite broadband service of UAE headquartered Yahsat, has announced that its satellite broadband service, YahClick, yesterday launched YahClick Pick and Click, a brand new product portfolio of simpler, faster and affordable broadband service plans for current and new subscribers.
YahClick currently offers a wide variety of options to subscribers in the Middle East, Africa, and South West and Central Asia, with broadband packages designed to support every business and consumer need.
In order to provide a superior customer experience and to simplify the choice in each country, YahClick is launching YahClick Pick and Click, a newly developed family of solutions and bundles. In addition, the products will have clearly defined data allowances to ensure easy differentiation of performance.
David Murphy, Chief Commercial Officer, said, "The launch of YahClick Pick and Click is a vital step towards realising our ambition of bringing about a truly connected world. We have listened to our service partners and customers, and have responded with packages that are simple to understand."
He added, "Any individual or business user can subscribe for which ever plan is best suited to their needs. A further advantage of the new products is that subscribers will all be offered 30 day plans with firm start and finishing dates. Our objective is to make it easier for our customers in all our markets to become quickly connected to the world."
As of today, subscribers to YahClick will only need to choose from three basic packages: Lite, Empower, and Premium. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395278656813.html

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TRA launches "Secure your Mobile" initiative across UAE

posted on 31/03/2015

The General Authority for Regulating the Telecommunications Sector, TRA, announced yesterday the launch of ‘Secure your Mobile', a first of its kind nationwide initiative to protect mobile phones in the UAE, in collaboration with Etisalat and du.
Through this initiative, TRA aims to reduce the number of lost or stolen devices by enabling owners to block their devices across the UAE as soon as they are successfully reported. Any lost or stolen device can now be reported to Etisalat or du and within 48 hours, the phone will be blocked in both Etisalat's and du's mobile networks at no additional cost and no calls or messages can be originated from or received by the reported mobile device.
Saif bin Ghelaita, Director Technology Development Affairs, TRA, said, "With the UAE having the highest consumers of smart devices, we understand how valuable smart devices have become to people in UAE who nowadays use their devices as a primary means of computing. Therefore, it is critical we help protect our residents by implementing systems with an easy mechanism to enable users to block stolen or lost mobile devices immediately after reporting them. Our main objective from this campaign is to protect our consumer's mobile devices by limiting the chances of getting them stolen or misused."
Fares Hamad Fares, Vice President, Corporate Communications at Etisalat, said, "Etisalat is always keen to support initiatives taken by the UAE TRA. We welcome this important initiative that is in line with our ongoing efforts to educate customers about all forms of potential fraud. We are contributing to the protection of our user's mobile devices and reducing the risk of theft of important personal data and misuse. We will continue to harness our potential and provide all necessary support for the success TRA's campaign in achieving its desired goals."
Hala Badri, Executive Vice President, Brand and Communications, du, said, "Protecting customers from electronic fraud is gaining increased importance in today's world that highly relies on digital connectivity. We, at du, are keen on educating and increasing our clients' awareness about how they can maintain their online security, which starts with the protection of their devices and smart phones. This isn't du's first initiative of this nature, we have launched and supported several similar initiatives on information security throughout the past years, and our last was the Information Security Conference that we organised for two consecutive years." – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395278650871.html

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UAE GDP rose more than 236-fold from Dh6.5 billion in 1971 to Dh1,540 billion in 2014 says, Minister of Economy

posted on 31/03/2015

Under the patronage of Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Annual Investment Meeting (AIM 2015) was inaugurated on Monday, March 30th, 2015) at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre by Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy.
Day One saw impressive presence of official delegations from more than 144 countries. The strong response on the first day demonstrated the huge potential for attracting investment in hotspots across diverse regions in the world.
The first day focused on latest trends in foreign direct investment (FDI), growth prospects in emerging markets and the importance of attracting foreign investment globally in general and in emerging markets in particular.
AIM 2015 presented a platform for decisions makers, officials, investors, entrepreneurs, experts, analysts and academics who gathered under one roof to discuss FDI challenges, potential and growth.
Participants in AIM 2015 had the opportunity to hold meetings, make contacts and share expertise with peers from all over the world. A variety of sessions were held on the first day.
AIM has gained great significance with international participants from across the world actively participating in the event.
AIM 2015 kicked off with a welcome speech by Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy who said, "The world today is changing faster than we can imagine, and several global developments have had their impact on the UAE and wider region. Factors like the decline in oil prices or the depreciation of the euro are affecting different countries in different ways and re-shaping the global economy."
"A key factor on the minds of many of us present here today is the slower growth in developing countries. The growth rate is projected to rise moderately in 2015–16, from 3.3 percent in 2014 to 3.5 percent in 2015, according to the latest IMF estimates, "Al Mansouri added.
He said, "In sync with global economic growth, the UAE economy is expected to continue to grow despite the decline in oil fortunes. Although the UAE is now less dependent on natural resources as a source of revenue, petroleum and natural gas exports still play an important role in our national economy."
He added, "The UAE GDP increased more than 236-fold from Dh6.5 billion in 1971 to Dh 1,540 billion in 2014."
The first day began with the release of the 2nd edition of AIM Annual FDI Report by Dr Karl P. Sauvant, Resident Senior Fellow, Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment, Columbia Law School, Earth Institute, USA.
The annual publication of the AIM highlighted the general theme of the conference and revealed the latest trends in FDI globally and regionally, in particular in growing markets. A special focus was given to the competitiveness of fast growth markets and key opportunities and challenges they have to face in a fast moving and unpredictable world.
The report release was followed by the first Plenary Session, a Global Leaders' Debate. This session included business leaders, senior public officials and heads of international institutions and academia representing some major stakeholders of the international investment community.
The second Plenary Session entitled "Policy Options for the Promotion of Innovation and Technology Transfer through FDI" highlighted the policies that are needed in both host and home countries, at national and international levels to encourage technology transfer and dissemination through FDI.
The session, chaired by Capital Finance International (CFI) representative, featured international thought leaders such as Khosh Choksy, Vice-President of Turkey and Middle-East Affairs, US Chamber of Commerce.
The third Plenary Session entitled "Innovation in the global factory the role of global value chains" explained how global value chains (GVCs) are reshaping the geography of global business.
This session was led by the OECD and explored the implications for firms and governments, such as how MNEs surf on the waves of the global factory model, which allows the company to significantly reduce its exposure to international risk (through a significant reduction in its FDI) while maintaining their presence in international markets.
The Annual Investment Meeting (AIM) 2015 included a Ministerial Roundtable for ministers of several countries specialised in investment, economy, finance, foreign trade, foreign affairs and international cooperation.
Dawood Al Shezawi, CEO, AIM's Organising Committee said: "This roundtable aimed to discuss the prospects for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and ways to support and develop its flow between countries."
Featuring ministers responsible for economy, investment and international cooperation in several countries, the event discussed ways to develop and support direct investments, knowledge and developments, as well as exchange experiences in this regard, including bringing benefits to the delegates visiting AIM.
AIM 2015 is themed on "Sustainable Development through FDI Induced Innovation and Technology Transfer". – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/economics/1395278672750.html

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DIFC highlights Dubai’s status as global investment hub at Middle East Investment Summit 2015

posted on 31/03/2015

Rajesh Pareek, Chief Financial Officer, Dubai International Financial Centre Authority, DIFC Authority, has highlighted that the Dubai model has been to create a business friendly economy, supported by robust, world-class regulatory and legal frameworks. As a result, Dubai has organically emerged as a leading regional trade and finance hub with minimal government control and private sector regulation backed by state-of-the art infrastructure and a world-class business environment.
Pareek believes that since Dubai is widely recognised as a global financial hub connecting this region's markets with the economies of Europe, Asia and the Americas, DIFC plays a pivotal role in enabling domestic and foreign investment. He emphasised that DIFC is proud to be a key part of Dubai's economic vision that is built on the ambition of shaping the emirate into an international financial capital.
In his keynote address at the opening day of the Middle East Investment Summit 2015, running from 30th to 31st March, Pareek said, "The Middle East and North Africa is home to nine of the world's largest sovereign wealth funds with assets of approximately US$2 trillion. Private wealth in the Middle East and Africa is projected to see annual growth of 6.5% and expected to reach US$7.2 trillion in 2018. However, the Middle East's financial sector represents both an opportunity and a challenge to local and international financial institutions, requiring the region's policy makers to develop an indigenous financial asset management industry to encourage investment in the region."
Citing the successful DIFC model, Arif Amiri, Deputy CEO of DIFC Authority, said, "Companies and financial firms are increasingly drawn to DIFC for its premium offering of an attractive and enabling location. Today, DIFC is proud to host most of the world's top 25 banks, 11 of the top 20 money managers, nearly all the top 10 global law firms and seven top insurance companies. We will continue to serve as the business and financial hub connecting emerging economies with the developed markets."
In addition, Amiri stressed DIFC's strong commitment to consolidate its position as a financial powerhouse that offers the most attractive infrastructure, enhanced legal and judicial framework, and investment-friendly laws. "2014 was the most successful year for DIFC with an 18% increase in the number of active registered companies operating within the centre. Today, more than 2,000 people are employed within the DIFC," Amiri concluded.
The Middle East Investment Summit 2015 focuses on investment opportunities and strategies in emerging markets. Convening the region's top financial and banking institutions, fund managers, investment analysts and asset management firms, the event comprises panel discussions that explore evolving areas of interest in the investment space. – Emirates News Agency, WAM – http://www.wam.ae/en/news/economics/1395278655901.html

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Government services go smart at Dubai expo

posted on 31/03/2015

The latest smart government services and projects are on show at the Dubai Government Achievements Exhibition (DGAE) until Monday.
The exhibition showcases how technology has been transforming the delivery of services over recent years. Many, if not most, services are now available on mobile devices through smart apps.
The push towards smart services is reducing paperwork and waiting lines at traditional service counters — all part of the overarching strategy to transform Dubai into a Smart City, where services are accessible from anywhere at any time.
At DGAE, being held at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre for the third time, government departments are promoting their "success stories”, which mostly revolve around technological innovations.
Gulf News combed through the show to highlight some projects at the cutting edge of service delivery.
Dubai Smart Government: New online search engine
Dubai Smart Government (DSG) is demonstrating Search Dubai, a new online search engine that only shows results from Dubai government websites.
"It's like Google, customised for Dubai government services. You will only see results related to our [government] services and websites, everything else will be kept out,” said Wasim Al Ayoubi, senior e-services integration specialist, smart services department, DSG.
He explained that, for instance, a query for "bills” will return the web page of departments such as utility and communication where users can see or pay bills. A similar process will work for "fines”.
What's more, Al Ayoubi added, users don't need to sign in separately for different government websites if they first sign in to Search Dubai using the DSG My ID log in. The option does away with the need to separately register for different websites or remember multiple usernames and passwords.
Dubai Municipality: Fast 3D drone surveys of topography
Dubai Municipality is displaying its new unmanned survey drone that takes thousands of aerial pictures along with capturing topographical and spatial data, which is processed to render one composite 3D image of the survey area.
The image shows elevations, such as hills, and depressions on the surface, which is used to determine what areas need to be "filled” or "cut” to make them level, as part of projects to be built on the land.
The system allows surveyors to cover a wide area, of up to one kilometre square per sortie, reducing the time and effort needed for the same task by humans. The specialised imaging service can be marketed to real estate developers and consultants, allowing the scanning of rugged areas too difficult to reach or cover by officials.
Dubai Police: Radar for special needs parking violations
Dubai Police is displaying their new means of catching traffic violators.
A radar, modelled after the Burj Khalifa, is designed to prevent able-bodied motorists from parking in spaces designated for those with special needs.
"The radar was built by the Police's Traffic Technologies Department,” Major Hussain Ahmad Bin Galaita, Director of the Radar Department at Dubai Police, said. "The radar features two cameras which can take both pictures and video. One camera is aimed at the licence plate of the vehicle while the other identifies the passengers. A steep fine of Dh1,000 and four black points are given to those who illegally park in the special-needs designated zone or fraudulently use the special needs sticker.”
The Burj Tower radar, which uses laser technology to catch speed offenders, was also displayed. It keeps track of offenders on both sides of the road and is capable of detecting various traffic offences, including failure to keep a safe distance.
"We also have another radar which is designated to catch those who unlawfully use the hard shoulder,” Bin Galaita said. "This radar was also designed by Dubai Police.”
Dubai Customs: Smart scans of travellers' baggage
Dubai Customs unveiled an array of innovative projects at the exhibition on Monday. Among them was the Smart Customs Inspection System, which inspects travellers' luggage at airports. The Bags Smart Inspection System has been invented by Dubai Customs and aims to improve the customs experience for air travellers, ensuring smooth and seamless airport procedures.
"The integrated multi-function system is capable of recognising its operator, identifying a passenger's risk level, recommending the safety level for manual inspection referral, and timing the inspection process,” Inspections Manager Ahmad Shehdad said.
"Once the inspection is complete, the system asks for the traveller's feedback and measures their levels of satisfaction and happiness. That way we know how to further develop the system.”
An Advanced Container Scanning System was also displayed at the Dubai Customs stand. The device is the latest world-class integrated system for container X-ray screening and is capable of scanning the contents of 150 containers per hour moving at 8 to 15 km/h — that is one truck every 24 seconds.
Obaid Al Mansouri, duty manager of the Dubai Customs office at the Hatta border, said Dubai Customs had also developed a quad bike to help expedite truck movement.
"The quad bike relieves truck drivers from the trouble from personally going to our offices to clear the entry point. It comes equipped with a laptop but will soon be fitted with a scanner and printer. A number of tedious procedures were eliminated by the simple introduction of this quad bike. Our officers visit the vehicles themselves and finish the inspection process on the spot. As the Hatta road is narrow and subject to bottlenecks, the quad bike quickens the whole inspection process and saves us a lot of time.” – Gulf News - http://gulfnews.com/news/uae/government/government-services-go-smart-at-dubai-expo-1.1481672

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Abu Dhabi International Airport welcomes South African Airways' inaugural flight from Johannesburg

posted on 31/03/2015

Abu Dhabi International Airport last night welcomed the arrival of South African Airways' (SAA) inaugural flight from Johannesburg to the UAE's capital.
The maiden flight, which was greeted with a traditional water cannon salute, marks the start of SAA's operations to Abu Dhabi International Airport , with the carrier offering daily direct flights between Johannesburg and the UAE's capital.
The commencement of direct flights between Johannesburg and Abu Dhabi by SAA forms part of the airline's growing network, with onward destinations through a codeshare agreement with Etihad Airways substantially increasing the airlines Asian end points.
SAA's flight to Abu Dhabi, SA 278, will arrive into the capital at 20:25hrs, with the return flight, SA 279, departing Abu Dhabi for South Africa's largest city at 02:05hrs.
The route will be served by an A330-200 aircraft with a two class configuration, catering for a capacity of 222 passengers.
Ahmad Al Haddabi, Chief Operations Officer at Abu Dhabi Airports, said, "We are delighted to welcome South African Airways to Abu Dhabi International Airport, which builds our connections with the continent. The addition of yet another major airline to our network of carriers reaffirms our position as a thriving global transport hub."
Nico Bezuidenhout, acting Chief Executive Officer of SAA, said, "The addition of Abu Dhabi to our international route network delivers not only an important new destination for our customers, but also sees SAA increase its Asian network substantially. The codeshare agreement with Etihad, as well as the double daily frequency on the route, should generate significant volume and positive returns for both South African and UAE business and tourism travel volumes, with onward network end points increasing greater reach." – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395278665177.html

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Etihad Airways launches new daily service to South Africa

posted on 31/03/2015

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE, is now able to provide enhanced access to and from South Africa following the launch yesterday of a new daily service between Johannesburg and Abu Dhabi by its code-share partner, South African Airways.
A delegation comprised of senior SAA management, South African government officials and visiting travel trade and media representatives, was welcomed to Abu Dhabi last night.
The new service has been introduced as part of an expansion of the strategic partnership agreement between the two airlines, and complements Etihad Airways' existing daily service from Abu Dhabi to Johannesburg, to provide guests with a double-daily service and greater choice and flexibility whether travelling from Africa, the UAE or beyond.
As a result, South Africa's Airways guests who travel from Africa, can access up to 35 new code-share destinations, pending regulatory approval, with connections through the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi hub to key destinations in the GCC region, Europe, North and South East Asia, the Indian Subcontinent and Australia.
Etihad Airways' guests will benefit from enhanced access to Africa on South Africa's Airways new service from Abu Dhabi to Johannesburg, and subject to outstanding regulatory approval, onwards to 17 code-share destinations across South Africa's Airways network in Africa.
Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways Chief Commercial Officer, said, 'We are delighted to welcome the South African Airways to Abu Dhabi, and we are confident that its new service will prove popular with the increasing numbers of business and leisure travellers that fly between South Africa and key markets around the world.
'This partnership will enable us to change the size and shape of our global networks so that together we can offer more than 1,000 city pair connections every week via our respective hubs.
'By working closely together, we can enhance the benefits provided to our guests who now have greater choices, better flight connections, access to each other's premium lounges and more opportunities to earn and redeem miles when travelling with either airline.' Nico Bezuidenhout, South African Airways Acting Chief Executive Officer, said, 'The introduction of an SAA frequency between Johannesburg and Abu Dhabi through our code-share and extended relationship with Etihad Airways will not only benefit passengers in terms of greater connectivity, particularly in the South East Asia region, but it will also provide Etihad Airways guests with greater access to the African continent through our extensive African network.' Tourism plays a vital role for both countries. Millions of tourists visit South Africa every year, including nearly 300,000 from the Middle East region in 2014. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395278646695.html

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Emirates set to close US$913 million Sukuk, marking a world’s first for utilising UKEF-backed Sukuk for aircraft financing

posted on 31/03/2015

Emirates has announced the successful pricing of US$913,026,000 Certificates due 2025 (the "Certificates") issued by Khadrawy Limited and with the benefit of a guarantee by Her Britannic Majesty's Secretary of State acting by the Export Credits Guarantee Department of the UK Government (currently operating as UK Export Finance) ("ECGD" or "UKEF") (the "ECGD Guarantee").
The proceeds from the issuance of the Certificates will be used to fund the acquisition of four Airbus A380-800 aircraft, which are expected to be delivered in April, May, June and July 2015. The aircraft will be leased to and operated by Emirates.
The issuance of the Certificates, in the principal amount of US$913,026,000 with a tenor of 10 years, marks the world's first Sukuk financing supported by UKEF and the largest ever capital markets offering in the aviation space with an Export Credit Agency guarantee. The transaction also represents the first time that a Sukuk has been used to pre-fund the acquisition of aircraft and the first ever Sukuk financing for A380 aircraft.
"Emirates has always taken a diversified risk approach to our aircraft financing. Together with our bank partners and ECAs (UKEF, Coface and Euler Hermes), we continually look for solid and innovative opportunities in the global market to finance our growing aircraft fleet, and we are very pleased with the tremendous response to this landmark transaction," said Nirmal Govindadas, Emirates Senior VP, Corporate Treasury.
Following a focused marketing effort commencing on March 16th, the Certificates, to be issued pursuant to Regulation S and Rule 144A under the United States Securities Act of 1933, were priced on 25th March at a profit rate of 2.471% (90 basis points over the interpolated mid-swap rate). The Certificates saw strong demand from global investors, attracting orders exceeding US$3.2 billion and recording an oversubscription of 3.6 times.
The deal attracted interest from a diverse group of conventional and Islamic investors. The Certificates were allocated to over 45 global institutional investors, with approximately 39 percent of the Certificates distributed to the Middle East and Asia, 32 percent to Europe and 29 percent to the United States. By investor type, approximately 47 percent were distributed to fund managers, 38 percent to banks and 15 percent to insurance companies and pension funds.
Mr Govindadas added, "The strong and diversified investor demand for the offering is a testament to investor confidence in the strength of the Emirates franchise."
The Certificates are expected to be issued on 31st March 2015 and admitted to listing and trading on the regulated market of the London Stock Exchange and on NASDAQ Dubai.
Citigroup Global Markets Limited, HSBC Bank plc, J.P. Morgan Securities plc and National Bank of Abu Dhabi P.J.S.C. acted as Joint Structuring Agents and Joint Lead Managers; Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank P.J.S.C., Dubai Islamic Bank, Emirates NBD Capital Limited and Standard Chartered Bank acted as Joint Lead Managers and NCB Capital Company acted as Co-Lead Manager. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/economics/1395278660699.html

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Abu Dhabi Ports and Advanced Manufacturing Solutions sign Musataha agreement

posted on 31/03/2015

Abu Dhabi Ports has signed a Musataha agreement with Advanced Manufacturing Solutions LLC (AMS), a subsidiary of the FourWinds Group of Companies, to build a state of the art steel foundry producing automotive parts such as steep brake disks and brake calipers for the global automotive industry, at Khalifa Port's Industrial Zone (Kizad).
The new foundry will be developed in three phases and ultimately will have a capacity of 300,000 metric tonnes per annum, making it amongst the largest single-source foundries in the world producing automotive parts.
The steel foundry products will cater for both local and international markets, exporting via Khalifa Port, for end use by the world's largest, high-end vehicle manufacturers such as BMW, VW, and Mercedes-Benz as well as world leading automotive parts companies. One such company, Continental Teves AG, has entered into an agreement to buy the full output of AMS's first production line to support Continental's demand from its European markets and its long-term strategy for the region.
Phase 1 of the foundry, estimated at USD 140 million (AED 514 million), will have an installed capacity of 75,000 metric tonnes per annum, and will produce grey iron for brake discs and ductile iron for brake calipers.
Phase 2 of the project will increase the capacity up to 145,000 metric tonnes per annum and Phase 3 will take the capacity to 300,000 metric tonnes per annum.
Covering 233,000 square meters, the foundry will employ a highly automated process and will be one of the most technologically advanced foundries in the world. Managed and operated by a highly qualified and trained team of experts, the foundry will align its production to the highest quality levels and will meet top international environmental standards.
Vivek Rao, the CEO of FourWinds Capital Management stated, "FourWinds Group of Companies, and its parent company, Tharwa Investments highly appreciate the support and dedication of the UAE government and its leadership in paving the way for a successful investment experience in Abu Dhabi. We are also very proud of our local partnership with M O D Royal Projects Management on this project."
Captain Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, CEO, Abu Dhabi Ports added, "Abu Dhabi Ports is pleased to welcome its first automotive OEM (original equipment manufacturer) to Kizad. The automotive sector in the UAE has been experiencing double digit growth over the past few years, and having a locally based auto parts and accessories foundry, supports this industry and its growth within the Emirates and the region. In addition, the close proximity to Khalifa Port will enable AMS to reach its international customer network quickly and cost effectively. Abu Dhabi Ports is dedicated in providing the necessary support for the successful development of this important project."
Advanced Manufacturing Solutions is a subsidiary of the FourWinds group of companies and the parent company Tharwa Investments. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/economics/1395278661021.html

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Marketing Challenges International to represent Dubai Business Events in North America

posted on 31/03/2015

Dubai Business Events, DBE, a division of Dubai Tourism, has signed an agreement with New York-based Marketing Challenges International, MCIntl., to help grow Dubai's reputation in North America as a leading business events destination.
The agreement will see MCIntl. act as an extension of DBE in North America, representing Dubai to all key business events stakeholders and meetings for media in the United States and Canada. Services rendered by MCIntl. will include generation of leads for the business events industry in Dubai, inviting key meeting planners and business events journalists to visit Dubai for study missions, and assisting DBE with its participation in key US-based exhibitions, sales missions and workshops.
Commenting on the new agreement with Marketing Challenges International, Steen Jakobsen, Director of Dubai Business Events, said, "Marketing Challenges International is a very strong and experienced company which specialises in representing international destinations in the North American business events market. It's a privilege to work with them, and we have high expectations that they can help elevate Dubai's position in North America and contribute to a growth in the number of business events held in Dubai."
Michel Couturier, Managing Partner for Marketing Challenges International, said, "We are thrilled to have been selected to market Dubai in North America. We clearly understand DBE's mandate to further develop and increase Dubai's share of the international business events market. Promoting Dubai as a global hub for meetings and conventions is a tremendous mission which we are very proud to undertake. Our strategy is to build on the growing recognition of the brand ‘Dubai' to showcase what Dubai has to offer to the business events buyers." – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/economics/1395278660220.html

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FNC Speaker signs Common Principles for Support to Parliament

posted on 31/03/2015

HANOI: Mohammed Ahmed Al Murr, Speaker of Federal National Council (FNC), on Monday endorsed the Common Principles for Support to Parliament during the 132nd IPU Assembly being held in Viet Nam capital of Hanoi from 28 March to 1 April 2015.
IPU says the number of parliaments and organizations endorsing the Common Principles for Support to Parliament had been steadily increasing.
Adopted at the 131st IPU Assembly in October 2014 and put together by a group of parliaments and parliamentary development entities, and the result of more than four decades of experience on parliamentary development, the Common Principles offer clear guidelines for those receiving or providing support to parliaments. Coordinated by IPU, they aim to improve the quality of the support available to parliaments and to encourage the parliamentary community to work together more effectively when planning, designing and providing support.
The suite of ‘Common Principles for Support to Parliaments' set out below, comprising one over-arching General Principle and nine further focussed Principles, is designed to achieve two main objectives: *Assist partners engaged in the front line of parliamentary support and parliaments worldwide to work together with improved relevance, sensitivity and effectiveness, and, * Enable partners and parliaments to work towards sharing a fundamental approach for the design and implementation of parliamentary support.
The Principles are intended to provide an inclusive and enabling framework for partners which: ? Reflects an effective, practical approach to support for parliaments.
? Takes full account of the uniqueness of each parliamentary institution, while recognizing emerging international standards encompassing all democratic parliaments.
? Emphasizes inclusive parliamentary ownership over its development and change process.
? Advances a culture of partnership, trust and mutual respect.
In particular, the Principles are designed to promote good communication and co-operation at local, regional, and global levels and to assist in ensuring that partners' roles and responsibilities in providing parliamentary support are transparent, mutually agreed, and complementary.
General Principle Effective parliaments are essential to democracy, the rule of law, human rights, gender equality, and economic and social development. Parliaments require access to excellent technical support in order to contribute fully in these areas.
Specific Principles 1. Parliamentary support partners are guided by the needs of parliament.
2. Parliamentary support partners are attentive to the multiple, overlapping social, economic, and political contexts in which parliaments operate.
3. Parliamentary support aims for sustainable outcomes.
4. Parliamentary support is inclusive of all political tendencies.
5. Parliamentary support is grounded in emerging international democratic parliamentary standards.
6. Parliamentary support addresses the needs and potential of women and men equally in the structure, operation, methods and work of parliament.
7. Parliamentary support utilizes locally and regionally available expertise.
8. Parliamentary support partners and parliaments commit to excellent co-ordination and communication.
9. Parliamentary support partners act ethically and responsibly. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395278672512.html

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IPU's committee adopts UAE-co-proposed draft resolution on National Sovereignty, Non-intervention in the Internal Affairs of States and Human Rights

posted on 31/03/2015

HANOI: Participants in the meeting of the Standing Committee on Democracy and Human Rights of the Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly (IPU) have adopted a draft resolution entitled "International Law as it Relates to National Sovereignty, Non-intervention in the Internal Affairs of States and Human Rights", Ali Jasim, Member of the UAE's Federal National Council (FNC) and Co-Rapporteur of the committee, said Monday.
Jasim made his remark during his participation in the committee's meeting on the sidelines of the 132nd IPU Assembly in Hanoi, Vietnam.
He noted that the FNC's Parliamentary Division co-proposed the draft resolution during the 130th IPU Assembly. He noted that the adoption of the draft resolution is a victory for the Parliamentary Division.
In a statement to WAM, Jasim said, "The proposal was made because of attempts at international circles to use human rights as a pretext to interfere in the internal affairs of states in a way that damages the sovereignty and security of these states and threaten the stability of international relations. This requited reviewing and debating so as to govern the international legal perceptions of the relation between protecting human rights and non-interference in the internal affairs of states as international collective security relies on the effective cooperation between states that is governed by the relevant international laws."
In the draft resolution, he added, emphasises the permanent responsibility of each individual State to protect its populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.
Jasim noted that the draft resolution also stresses that women are the main victims of situations of crisis and conflict, and that armed conflicts, terrorist acts and drug trafficking heighten women's vulnerability and place them at greater risk of gender-based violence and abuse in the form of rape, kidnapping, forced and early marriage, exploitation and sexual slavery.
It also emphasises that, in such situations, specific groups of women, such as young girls, refugees and internally displaced women, are even more at risk and in greater need of protection.
The draft resolution emphasises that occupying States should respect, promote and safeguard the human rights of persons living in the occupied territories.
The draft resolution seeks to ensure that there is no contradiction between the principles of national sovereignty and human rights. It reflected the opinions of parliamentarians from around the world on the issues of international peace and security. It considers that that the application of a "double standard" in statements on or reactions to violations of international human rights law, or their politicisation, will ultimately undermine the very validity of that law.
Following is the full text of the draft resolution of "International Law as it Relates to National Sovereignty, Non-intervention in the Internal Affairs of States and Human Rights", revised at the end of the 131st IPU Assembly.
This text contains all the amendments made to the draft resolution during the 131st IPU Assembly.
No changes have been introduced regarding the substance of the draft.
"The 131st Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,
(1) Recalling the relevant provisions of previous resolutions of the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the United Nations General Assembly with regard to international law, human rights, national sovereignty and non-intervention in the internal affairs of States, as well as the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action and the relevant international human rights instruments, all of which are of paramount importance to the promotion of the rule of law among nations,
(2) Reaffirming that the sovereign equality of States is the basis for international cooperation and an essential factor of stability,
(3) Considering that international law defines the legal responsibilities of States in the conduct of their international relations and establishes the obligations of each State towards all individuals within its territory and subject to its jurisdiction,
(4) Mindful of the fundamental importance of the rule of law for political dialogue and cooperation among all States, and underlining that the rule of law applies to all States equally,
(5) Aware that the rule of law, peace and security, human rights and sustainable development are strongly interrelated and mutually reinforcing,
(6) Reaffirming the universal, indivisible, interdependent, indissociable and complementary nature of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the commitment made by all States to respect, promote and protect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all individuals on their territory and falling within their competence in a fair and equal manner, including refugees and internally displaced persons, and underscoring that this is fully compatible with the principles of State sovereignty and non-intervention in the internal affairs of States enshrined in the UN Charter,
(7) Emphasising the responsibilities of all States, in conformity with the UN Charter, to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction of any kind on the basis of race, ethnicity, colour, sex, language or religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status,
(8) Stressing the importance of the existing international legal framework for women's rights and gender equality, in particular the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and existing UN Security Council resolutions on women, peace and security (resolution 1325 and others),
(9) Reaffirming that, while national and regional particularities and historical, cultural and religious contexts must be borne in mind, all States, regardless of their political, economic and cultural systems, have the duty to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms,
(10) Recognising that the respect, promotion and safeguarding of human rights is a matter of concern for all members of the international community,
(11) Underscoring the central role played by the UN Human Rights Council as a means of monitoring State policy for the promotion and protection of fundamental rights,
(12) Noting that, by ratifying international human rights law instruments, States accept the monitoring mechanisms foreseen in the instruments,
(13) Recalling the resolution adopted by the 128th IPU Assembly (Quito, 2013) on Enforcing the responsibility to protect: The role of parliament in safeguarding civilians' lives, in particular operative paragraph 6 encouraging parliaments "to monitor the executive's submission of country reports as required by the relevant treaty bodies, particularly those relating to human rights, [and] to become more involved with regional and international human rights mechanisms",
(14) Stressing that an independent judiciary, representative, accountable and inclusive institutions, an accountable administration, active civil society and independent and responsible media are important components of the rule of law at the national and international levels and necessary to guarantee democracy as well as respect for and the promotion and protection of all human rights,
(15) Recalling the permanent responsibility of each individual State to protect its populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity,
(16) Mindful that justice, particularly transitional justice in conflict and post-conflict societies, is a prerequisite for achieving sustainable peace, and reiterating that States bear primary responsibility for investigating and prosecuting international crimes,
(17) Stressing that women are the main victims of situations of crisis and conflict, and that armed conflicts, terrorist acts and drug trafficking heighten women's vulnerability and place them at greater risk of gender-based violence and abuse in the form of rape, kidnapping, forced and early marriage, exploitation and sexual slavery,
(18) Emphasising that, in such situations, specific groups of women, such as young girls, refugees and internally displaced women, are even more at risk and in greater need of protection,
(19) Recalling the responsibility of occupying States to respect, promote and safeguard the human rights of persons living in the occupied territories,
(20) Considering that the application of a "double standard" in statements on or reactions to violations of international human rights law, or their politicisation, will ultimately undermine the very validity of that law,
(21) Aware of the seriousness of the threats posed to international human rights law by the terrorist movements attempting to supersede the State by taking military action to seize territory and systematically murdering civilians,
(22) Desirous of seeing positive developments in the system of international cooperation and the settlement of international disputes through dialogue and other peaceful means, within the framework of the international collective security system,
(23) Considering that the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and the future Sustainable Development Goals could greatly contribute to such developments,
1. Reaffirms international law as the standard of conduct for relations between States;
2. Reaffirms its commitment to a democratic and equitable international order based on the rule of law and underlines the essential role of parliaments in upholding the rule of law at the national level through their legislative and oversight functions;
3. Reiterates the principles of the sovereign equality of States, State sovereignty, respect for their territorial integrity and political independence;
4. Reiterates the principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of other States, as a means of guaranteeing respect for human rights and democracy, and encourages States to respect and promote that principle;
5. Stresses that States have the right to choose, without external interference, their political, economic and social systems, and to organise internally in the way they deem appropriate, with due regard for international law;
6. Urges States to consider ratifying the core international human rights treaties, in accordance with their constitutional process, and to fulfil their treaty obligations to respect, promote and safeguard human rights without discrimination;
7. Underscores the importance of ensuring that women, on the basis of the equality of men and women, and minorities fully enjoy the benefits of the rule of law, and restates its determination to uphold their equal rights and ensure their full and equal participation, including in institutions of governance and the judicial system;
8. Underscores also the right of persons with disabilities to fully enjoy their human rights, inter alia, the right to participate in all aspects of life, including politics and public affairs;
9. Urges States to adopt all appropriate legislative, administrative and other measures for the implementation and the interpretation, in good faith, of their obligations under international human rights law, and calls on parliaments to play an active role in overseeing the implementation of those obligations;
10. Rejects any unilateral interpretation and application of international human rights law that is not in conformity with international law, including in national legislation, and reiterates that human rights may not be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person the right to engage in any activity or perform any act aimed at striking down any of the rights or freedoms recognised by international human rights law or at limiting them to a greater extent than is provided for in the relevant provisions of that law;
11. Expresses support for the UN Human Rights Council and the existing independent treaty-based mechanisms that monitor States' compliance with international human rights law, calls for such mechanisms to be further strengthened, and calls on parliaments to participate actively in these monitoring mechanisms;
12. Encourages parliaments to strengthen national systems for the respect, promotion and safeguarding of human rights, including by supporting the development of independent and effective national human rights institutions, in accordance with the 1993 Principles relating to the Status of National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (Paris Principles), and ensuring equal and effective protection for all, without discrimination based on religious belief, gender, age, sexual orientation, language, ethnic origin or other status;
13. Appeals to States to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State, and to resolve disputes by peaceful means, in such a manner that international peace and security, justice, human rights and fundamental freedoms are respected and in conformity with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter;
14. Strongly urges States, in the conduct of their foreign relations, to ensure that economic, financial and trade measures initiated by them are in compliance with international law and the purposes of the UN Charter;
15. Strongly supports the provision of humanitarian and economic aid by the international community in cases of disaster, crisis or armed conflict;
16. Reiterates that the UN Security Council bears primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security under the UN Charter;
17. Calls on States to strengthen the system of collective and individual security and to bring about greater democratisation of the international community, including through reform of the UN Security Council to ensure greater legitimacy of its decisions, and reform of the United Nations in general, particularly the machinery for dealing with major humanitarian disasters;
18. Invites States that have not yet done so to consider becoming parties to the Rome Statute and the Agreement on the Privileges and Immunities of the International Criminal Court, and calls on States to strengthen their national legal systems and to cooperate fully with the Court, so as to ensure that international crimes are properly investigated and prosecuted;
19. Expresses its full support for a new post-2015 development agenda that ensures a rights-based approach encompassing all human rights, addresses issues of justice, equality and equity, good governance, democracy and the rule of law, and promotes peaceful societies and freedom from violence;
20. Appeals for greater cooperation between parliaments, the IPU and the United Nations in the respect, promotion and safeguarding of human rights and the development of the rule of law at the national and international level; strongly supports UN General Assembly Resolution 68/272 on Interaction between the United Nations, national parliaments and the Inter-Parliamentary Union, which recommends that a new IPU-UN cooperation agreement be drawn up, so as to reflect progress and developments over past years and place the institutional relationship between the two organisations on a strong footing;
21. Proposes that a committee be set up within the IPU to prepare a declaration based on this resolution as a way of further contributing to the enhancement of peace and international security." – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395278685859.html

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FNC Speaker, IPU's Secretary General of the Inter-Parliamentary Union discuss cooperation

posted on 31/03/2015

HANOI: Mohammed Ahmed Al Murr, Speaker of Federal National Council (FNC), has discussed with the Secretary General of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), Martin Chungong, ways to enhance cooperation between IPU and FNC.
They also discussed the most important issues on the agenda of the 132nd Assembly of Inter-Parliamentary Union meeting (IPU) held in Vietnam.
Chungong briefed Al Murr on his visit to Syria and the report of the Secretariat General of IPU in this regard.
FNC Speaker emphasised that the UAE is always focussing on humanitarian work and ways to alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people, in particular the Syrian refugees.
On his part, Chungong hailed the positive efforts of the UAE Parliamentary Division and its various committees in the political and technical fields through Arabisation of the IPU's e-website site. The FNC is establishing the website in Arabic.
He also hailed the members of the UAE Parliamentary Division in the 132nd Assembly of Inter-Parliamentary Union meeting.
Dr Amal Abdullah Al Qubaisi, first deputy speaker of the Federal National Council, and other members attended the meeting. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395278675948.html

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Nahyan leads UAE delegation to international anti-terrorism rally in Tunis

posted on 31/03/2015

TUNIS: Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, on Sunday led the UAE delegation to the Nahyan anti-terrorism rally organised Sunday by the Tunisian government in response to the 18 March terrorist attack on the National Bardo Museum.
In the unity rally organised by the Tunisian government under the slogan "Le Monde est Bardo" (The World is Bardo), Sheikh Nahyan and the UAE delegation comprising Major General Fares Al Mazrouei, Assistant Foreign Minister for Security and Military Affairs, Salim Eisa Al Zaabi, Ambassador to Tunisia, as well as the UAE Embassy's diplomats Abdullah Hassan Al Shamsi and Obaid Sultan Al Kaabi, joined scores of officials, politicians, dignitaries from Tunisia, Arab countries, Africa and Europe to march alongside the Tunisian president, Beji Caid Essebsi, through the capital to Bardo Museum, the scene of the deadly attack.
Tunisia's Minister of Defence, Farhat Horchani, and Minister of Youth and Sports, Maher Ben Dhia, greeted Sheikh Nahyan upon his arrival at the Tunis–Carthage International Airport.
The two ministers expressed to Sheikh Nahyan Tunisia's appreciation of the UAE's high-level participation in the anti-terrorism rally.
Tunisian media hailed the UAE's participation in the rally and noted that it reflects the solid fraternal relations between the two countries and their peoples. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395278686044.html

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Arab League hails Sheikha Fatima's efforts in supporting women

posted on 31/03/2015

CAIRO: The Arab League today hailed the efforts exerted by 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 in the field of supporting Arab Women and promoting their conditions in various domains and named her " Mother of Humanity-Mother of the Arabs."
In her remarks to the Emirates News Agency, WAM, in Cairo, Inas S. Mekkawy, Head of Women, Family and Childhood Department in the League of Arab States emphasised that the Arab League's honouring of Sheikha Fatima by conferring upon her "The Pendant of Family Happiness" was in recognition of her role in supporting women issues and promoting their conditions, highlighting her pioneering role in empowering the Arab women and protecting childhood as well as for being the Head of the current edition of the Arab Women Committee meeting held at the Secretariat General of the Arab League.
The Pendant was conferred on Sheikha Fatima by the Arab League and Arab Family Organisation in recognition of her initiatives as a patron of the UAE and Arab families and her diligent and humanitarian efforts in addressing the Arab women and children issues, and ensuring family welfare. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395278670043.html

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Abdullah bin Zayed receives Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nicaragua

posted on 31/03/2015

H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister, today received the visiting Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nicaragua, Samuel Santos, and his accompanying delegation.
Sheikh Abdullah wished that the visit would contribute towards enhancing relations between the two countries in all fields.
During the meeting, the parties discussed the existing bilateral relations in the light of the development of joint cooperation in a number of fields, as well as ways to enhance them in the joint interest.
The parties also exchanged views on the latest developments regionally and internationally as well as other issues of mutual concern.
It is noteworthy that Sheikh Abdullah had paid a visit to Nicaragua in October 2009 and met with Daniel Ortega, President of Nicaragua.
During the meeting, the two sides had reviewed ways to support joint cooperation between the two countries in all domains, a number of issues and the latest regional and international developments, as well as issues of mutual interest.
On 4th September, 2014, the UAE and Nicaragua signed two Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) in the cultural, agricultural, livestock and fisheries fields in addition to preservation of environment.
The two MoU were signed by Ambassador Lana Zaki Nusseibeh, UAE's Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, and Maria Rubiales de Chamorro, Permanent Representative of Nicaragua to the UN.
Signing of the two MoU comes in the light of the UAE's keenness on boosting ties with Nicaragua. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395278674819.html

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Lubna Al Qasimi discusses cooperation between UAE and Netherlands

posted on 31/03/2015

Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, Minister of International Cooperation and Development, MICAD, and Head of the UAE Committee for the Coordination of Humanitarian Foreign Aid, has reaffirmed that the efforts of the UAE under the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to support the aspirations of the peoples of developing countries to respond to the victims of humanitarian crises, have become important work for all humanitarian organisations and UAE donors.
During her meeting with Lilianne Ploumen, Netherlands Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Sheikha Lubna said there is an urgent need to promote the development indications in the world that enhance human development and support the capacity of individuals in developing countries and poor communities through directing aid mainly in the fields of education, health and basic services, as well as strengthening the international response to humanitarian crises and disasters.
Al Qasimi commended the relations between the UAE and the Netherlands in various fields of partnership, particularly at the level of mutual cooperation, and their identical views towards the support of international development issues and to respond to the humanitarian crises, as well as supporting international community efforts in this regard, to enhance the pace of development and to provide an umbrella for those homeless affected by conflicts and natural disasters and to support the humanitarian response to the risk of the spread of diseases in various countries that lack the elements of health care.
The meeting covered aspects of cooperation and promoting joint action as well as the exchange of experiences and cadres in the fields of international development. The meeting also reviewed important issues on international development and the humanitarian arena.
The Netherlands Minister praised the UAE's efforts and contributions in the fields of international development, and its support for the ability of developing nations to achieve at the same time a leading advanced indicators leading in terms of economic development and the development of civilisation, and the opening to the foreign world, thus strengthened its position in the Middle East. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395278660176.html

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Emirates Red Crescent distributes aid to a thousand families in Lebanon

posted on 31/03/2015

Emirates Red Crescent has continued the implementation of the second phase of the Tarahamou campaign for the relief of families affected by the harsh blizzards in Lebanon.
The Tarahamou Campaign was launched as per the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and the support of Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, 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.
Dr. Mohammed Atiq Al Falahi, Secretary-General of Emirates Red Crescent, said that the authority has distributed aid to 1,000 Syrian refugee families in different regions in Lebanon.
The second phase aims to benefit 16,000 displaced Syrian and Palestinian families in addition to a thousand Iraqi families who fled to Lebanon recently. The UAE Embassy in Beirut is overseeing the implementation of the second phase of the campaign. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395278659337.html

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Government of Dubai Media Office organises a workshop on ideal use of social media in collaboration with Facebook and Instagram

posted on 31/03/2015

The Government of Dubai Media Office has organised a workshop on the ideal use of social media.
The workshop, held in collaboration with Facebook and Instagram, aims to capture the benefits from social media, avoiding undesirable risks; consequently, efficiently contributes to achieving the objectives set by media departments.
Held at the headquarters of the Government of Dubai Media Office, the workshop saw the attendance of Media Relations and Corporate Communications officials at Dubai government departmentes and institutions.
Facebook's Politics and Government Specialist in Europe, Middle East & Africa Elizabeth Linder and Political Outreach Associate Manager in Europe, Middle East & Africa (Instagram) John Tass-Parker lectured on means to ensure safe and sound use of social media while communicating professionally and efficiently with the public. The topics discussed touched on government programs and services, operations, including accounts and content management as well as means of safety, and privacy.
Senior Manager of Strategic Communications for the Government of Dubai Media Office Noora Yousef al Mansoori said, "We are committed to cooperate with Dubai's government departments and entities to provide adequate training opportunity, creating an added value to media communication and boosting public engagement. Al Mansoori went on to explain that organizing this workshop comes in answer to the growing role of social media and its far great significant as a platform of commutation.
The workshop highlighted the importance of utilising the best practices in technology so as to reach a significant number of users through the innovative use of Facebook and Instagram as key communication platforms for the government departments and entities. Further, the workshop discussed how to get official accounts verified.
The lecturers also pointed out that approximately 3.5 million users in Dubai are active on Facebook, female users constitute 26%. Moreover, in the past 30 days, Facebook's users in Dubai exchanged nearly 1.07 billion messages, 111.5 million comments and 45.8 pictures downloaded.
The data show the steady rise of visitors to the official Facebook accounts of government department, which reflects the growing role of social media as a significant and vital platform to communicate with the various government departments; hence, contributing efficiently to enhance social media engagement and public interaction as well as adopt novel approaches to communicate messages. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395278671507.html

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Saif bin Zayed inaugurates Smart Civil Defence Stations Project in Abu Dhabi

posted on 31/03/2015

H.H. Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, on Monday officially inaugurated the first phase of the Smart Civil Defence Stations project in Abu Dhabi, in a ceremony at the Abu Dhabi Civil Defence General Directorate's Operations Room at the Qubeisat Civil Defence Station.
The project is designed to boost civil defence stations' preparedness and operational capabilities, monitoring and maintaining effective command and control of events from the Operations Room.
H.H. Sheikh Saif reviewed the project's key objectives, which are intended to support and develop civil defence teams' performance; achieve emergency response in the shortest time possible; and ensure timely arrival to the incident site. This would mark a qualitative leap in the quest to improve civil defence stations' services.
The inauguration ceremony was attended by Major General Dr. Nasser Lakhrebani Al Nuaimi, Secretary General of the Office of H.H. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior and Chairman of the Federal Civil Defence Sector Development Council; Major General Ahmed Nasser Al Raisi, Director General of Central Operations at Abu Dhabi Police; Major General Salem Al Shamesi, Deputy Director General of Finance and Services; Brigadier Ali Khalfan Al Dhaheri, Director General of the Headquarters Affairs at Abu Dhabi Police; and Colonel Juma Al Dahmani, Acting Director General of Abu Dhabi Civil Defence .
Sheikh Saif carried out a drill using the new system to measure response time of a number of civil defence stations chosen randomly. He also attended an in-field testing of the smart civil defence stations system, whereas he reviewed the different stages of work and the proper ways of receiving and handling incoming emergency calls. Sheikh Saif also inspected the civil defence vehicles and met with the committee in charge of the project, praising the work team's diligent efforts and constructive ideas in completing the project.
H.H. Sheikh Saif toured the different facilities at the Qubeisat Civil Defence Station and urged staff members to maintain the distinguished achievements and to further contribute to improving the services provided by the civil defence sector to society.
Colonel Mohammed Abdullah Al Nuaimi, Chairman of the Executive Office of the Federal Civil Defence Sector Development Council, briefed H.H. Sheikh Saif about the project, which allows the operations room to electronically control civil defence stations. "As soon as the operations room is notified of an accident, the closest civil defence station in its area of jurisdiction is dispatched electronically through the system. The system operates by sounding the alerting siren, lighting the passageways and the parking space, and opening bay doors automatically," he said. He also indicated that all civil defence stations across the emirate are linked to the Central Operations Department of Abu Dhabi Police.
Colonel Al Nuaimi also enumerated the different smart systems that will be installed at the Smart Civil Defence Stations, notably, performance indicators to measure emergency teams response time and readiness and preparedness of civil defence stations; decoders that would sound the fire alarm siren at the closest station from the main operations rooms; accidents reporting and statistics; security surveillance of stations; access control including entry and exiting screening; identifying civil defence vehicles while responding to accidents; intercom systems; building management; and provision of water and electricity.
He also noted that the set of smart systems used in the project will allow the Civil Defence General Directorate to control civil defence stations via specially designed platforms. Through these platforms, the main operations room would sound the fire alarm siren; electronically open bay doors; switch lights on and off; provide civil defence members with information and guidance on the accident's location and type while heading to the vehicles through loudspeakers; assess the teams deployment time, starting from the receipt of the call to the minute when the first vehicle leaves the station. All of these systems operate according to international standards.
Adding further, Colonel Al Nuaimi said, "The system contributes automatically to reducing energy consumption significantly, and measure water levels in the tanks. It also allows senior officers to monitor the stations via Smartphones round the clock." He also noted that the project is one of the strategic initiatives implemented by the civil defence sector, and will include in the first phase 23 civil defence stations in Abu Dhabi City. In the second phase, the project will be implemented across Al Ain and the Western Region (Al Gharbia) stations; and finally at the rest of the stations in all of the cities across the UAE in the third phase. The key objective of the project is to establish performance indicators to measure emergency response time according to international standards. It is an integrated smart management system designed to improve civil defence stations' readiness and capabilities, and is fully supported by the Federal Civil Defence Sector Development Council.
In conclusion, H.H Sheikh Saif bin Zayed was briefed by Major Muhammad Al Buraiki, Project Manager, about the system's work mechanism. He said: "The allows the Civil Defence General Directorate to operate and run civil defence stations via control platforms, which can activate fire alarm sirens across the stations upon receiving the fire alert; open bay doors; switch lights on or off; provide instructions and guidance to civil defence staff members; and receive indicators on the stations' status: ‘station ready to receive alerts' – ‘station on duty and responding to an emergency alert' – ‘ station under maintenance'; as well as indicators pertaining to water levels in the tanks. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395278686231.html

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Buildings in Dubai to use 'green' concrete in construction

posted on 31/03/2015

As part of its strategy to make Dubai a green city, starting from 1st April, all new buildings' construction should use 'green' concrete, the eco-friendly Supplementary Cementing Materials, SCMs, alternative for Ordinary Portland Cement, OPC, the major component of concrete mix that is found to emit toxic gases.
With each tonne of OPC produced emitting more than one tonne of carbon dioxide and other toxic gases, Dubai Municipality has made it mandatory for consultants and contractors to use more greener and safer alternatives, officials said yesterday at a press conference.
The aim to keep Dubai a healthy city follows the highest standards of sustainable development and provide residents with a clean and pollution-free environment. The move followed a study by the municipality's Building Department that ascertained the negative impact that Portland cement can have.
"We are keen to provide what is best for the city. We are looking at every element of buildings," said Dubai Municipality Director-General, Hussain Nasser Lootah.
He said the new options comply with green building requirements, are more durable and offer better quality at the same or even cheaper rates.
Officials said the construction industry in the UAE depends solely on a dozen cement-manufacturing companies. "The capacity of the 12 cement companies in the UAE is 39 million tonnes, but we are producing only 19 million tonnes as per demand, which is going up slowly," said the Dubai Municipality Assistant Director-General for Engineering and Planning Sector, Abdullah Raffia. – Emirates News Agency, WAM – http://www.wam.ae/en/news/general/1395278647799.html

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Rak Ceramics makes a splash in Sao Paolo at Revestir 2015

posted on 31/03/2015

RAK Ceramics, a global hi-tech manufacturer of lifestyle ceramics solutions with a turnover of one billion US$, announced its first ever participation at Expo Revestir, the biggest tile and stone exhibition in Latin America and the fourth largest exhibition in the industry globally. The exhibition took place earlier this month in Sao Paolo and attracted 45,000 visitors from top industry leaders, including architects, interior designers, retailers, builders and international buyers.
RAK Ceramics' 240 sq. metre booth featured highlights of the Maximus Mega Slab innovation, the largest tile in Gres Porcellanato, measuring a gigantic 1.5 x 3 metres. Maximus Mega Slab, produced using CONTINUA+ technology, was launched in February in Spain. The innovation will continue to be showcased throughout 2015 at a number of high profile trade shows and exhibitions around the world.
Speaking on the event, Abdallah Massaad, CEO of RAK Ceramics, said, "Our participation at Revestir reflects our commitment to our vision to expand our geographical presence into South America, one of our frontier markets, and is considered an important point of entry for us into this fast growing market. We are proud of our global reputation as a high-tech manufacturer of the most innovative ceramics' products, which attracted the CEO and President of The Brazilian Association of Manufacturers of Ceramics Tiles, Sanitaryware and Related Products to our booth. We look forward to being an integral part of this exhibition next year."
RAK Ceramics' total sales since 1991 reached AED 34.1 billion as of 31st December 2014. This is attributed to the continuous R&D efforts in technology and innovation along with a renewed focus on the company's core product lines of tiles, bathware, tableware and taps.
Stefan Schmied, President of Tiles and Sanitaryware division at RAK Ceramics, said, "RAK Ceramics' presence in South America this year was very important for us. We are using our top of the line global innovations to chart new territories and increase our customer base. We are very pleased with our participation at Revestir, which captured excellent attention from visitors and enabled us to secure substantial sales volumes with many new customers who expressed strong interest in purchasing and partnering with RAK Ceramics." – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/economics/1395278645168.html

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Masdar Institute launches official IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society

posted on 31/03/2015

Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, an independent, research-driven graduate-level university focused on advanced energy and sustainable technologies, today announced that it has received approval for the formation of the UAE Chapter of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' (IEEE) Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society (GRSS).
The letter of approval and the geo-code have been received by the UAE chapter, which has started the process of contacting professionals working in the field of remote sensing in the UAE. As part of the activities during the first year, the UAE Chapter will host a series of distinguished lecturers sponsored by the IEEE GRSS, along with organizing local meetings to share technical interests and foster collaborations.
The IEEE GRSS Chapter can also provide technical support to host remote sensing conferences in the UAE. In this regard, the chapter has already won the bid to host the Joint Urban Remote Sensing Event (JURSE) 2017 in Abu Dhabi and is planning to organize several regional workshops with active support from the Abu Dhabi Education Council and Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority.
"The main aim of establishing the IEEE GRSS chapter is to foster remote sensing research in the UAE," said Dr. Prashanth Marpu, Chair, UAE Chapter of the IEEE GRSS. " Masdar Institute has established itself as a leading organization in this region in the field of remote sensing. We have a strong group of professors who are actively involved in remote sensing research. We are proud to take a leadership role in this initiative. The IEEE GRSS chapter will help us in bringing together the remote sensing researchers and professionals in the UAE. Our aim is to establish active collaborations with various universities, industry and government agencies in the UAE," he added.
Faculty members that are part of the Institute's Earth-Observation and Hydro-Climatology Lab (EOHCL) have spearheaded key remote sensing research projects. . These faculty include Dr. Taha Ouarda, Professor and Head, Institute Center for Water and Environment (iWater); Dr. Hosni Ghedira, Director of the UAE Research Center for Renewable Energy Mapping and Assessment (ReCREMA) and Professor of Practice; Dr. Marouane Temimi Associate Professor; Dr. Prashanth Marpu Assistant Professor; and Dr. Annalisa Molini, Assistant Professor.
The EOHCL faculty are also presently involved in a joint four-year pilot study with the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to understand how the level of soil moisture affects dust emission in desert and dry environments. It had been selected by NASA in 2011 to be one of seven global pre-launch test sites for a new earth observation Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite, which was launched by NASA in January 2015 (smap.jpl.nasa.gov).
Masdar Institute is actively engaged in many more remote sensing research and development projects. The faculty team is working on a diverse range of research projects with special focus on desert and arid climate such as urban heat island studies, studying coral reefs in the Gulf, modelling solar irradiance in the UAE, and studying river drainage networks in the Eastern region of the UAE; monitoring oil spills, algal blooms, solar resources, and dust storms; national-level water budget; land-atmosphere interactions; modelling of hydro-meteorological variables; and understanding the impacts of climate change in arid regions.
The EOHCL continues to play a critical role in driving these projects and bringing sustainable benefits, regionally and globally. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395278673404.html

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Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park hosts MBA students from Kellogg School of Management

posted on 31/03/2015

Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, DEWA, has organised a field visit to the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park for MBA students from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, USA.
The visit is part of the field visits DEWA organises to educational institutes to demonstrate its current and future projects, initiatives, and programmes that support sustainable development.
"DEWA has faith in the next generation and is committed to supporting students in the energy sector and inform them about Dubai's energy projects and the latest technologies we use. DEWA works to achieve the Dubai Plan 2021 and enhance the leading position of Dubai as a global hub for trade, finance, tourism, and sustainability," said Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD and CEO of DEWA.
"The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park is one of the key strategic renewable energy projects in the world. It is based on the independent power producer (IPP) model, with a planned total capacity of 1,000MW by 2019 and 3,000MW by 2030. The 13MW first phase became operational on 22 October 2013, with the 200MW second phase operational by 2017. The Solar Park includes a Research and Development Centre (R&D), a solar-testing facility, an Innovation Centre, a University, and a training centre," he added.
During the Solar Park tour, DEWA's team presented an overview of DEWA's key projects and strategic initiatives. The team highlighted DEWA's three smart initiatives, which support the Smart Dubai initiative. Through the first initiative, called Shams Dubai, DEWA connects solar energy to buildings to encourage household tenants and building owners to install photovoltaic (PV) solar panels to generate electricity. The PV solar system will be connected to DEWA's grid. This encourages the use of renewable energy and increases its share in the energy mix.
The second initiative includes smart applications that use smart meters and grids. The third initiative is to create the infrastructure and charging stations for electric vehicles, to reduce air pollution and protect the environment from transport emissions. Last month, DEWA launched the first charging station at its head office. In the first phase, 16 charging stations will be installed throughout the Emirate.
At the end of the visit, the students thanked DEWA. They admired its smart projects and initiatives that support the sustainable development of the Emirate and contribute to developing the renewable energy sector in the region. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –

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