The UAE will host Expo 2020!

Upgraded Ghantoot hotel to tap into tourism surge ahead of Expo 2020

posted on 27/08/2014

A Hong Kong-based hotel operator is counting on tourism demand for Dubai leading up to Expo 2020 to drive business at a former royal-owned estate in Ghantoot.
Swiss-Belhotel, which manages luxury and budget accommodations, in June took over the operations of the cavernous resort in the Abu Dhabi emirate close to Jebel Ali in Dubai, from a local operator. This is its first U.A.E. property.
Built as a palace guesthouse for a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family and now leased by a Saudi national, the property is undergoing refurbishment to turn it into a four-star resort. The upgrades are expected to take another six months.
"We are adding around eight rooms, upgrading food and beverage [offerings], developing the beachside and pool area to make it a destination as it is becoming more popular with the excitement around the world trade fair in 2020, and the whole area is going to grow,” said Gavin Faull, the chairman and president of Swiss-Belhotel International. "The four-star market is underserved. Not everybody wants a five-star, and there is a market opportunity with the trade fair coming up.”
Formerly known as Cassells Ghantoot Hotel, it was managed by Five Continents Hotels and Resorts.
Dubai has a total of 69,948 rooms from 351 hotels, with the majority in the luxury and upmarket segments. In the pipeline are another 24,278 rooms from 83 hotels, mainly serving the same segment, according to STR Global.
"There will be a competitive reaction from the market [due to the supply] but not a glut because of the growth of airline traffic, the huge transit traffic, and the airport expansion,” Mr Faull said. "[Room rates] are strengthening and we are almost back to the pre-global financial crisis rates as demand is strong in Dubai.”
During the first half of the year, Dubai received a record 5.8 million tourists, but the rate of growth was 2.3 per cent, a considerable slowdown from the same period last year.
For the full year, occupancy is expected to be 77.4 per cent, down 3.3 per cent year-on-year, according to STR Global forecasts.
Dubai's hotel room rates are among the most expensive in the world. The average daily rate this year is expected to touch Dh920.97, up by 5.7 per cent from last year.
Weekend room rates at the Ghantoot property now start at Dh226 a night according to its website, less than half of some nearby Dubai properties in Jebel Ali and the Green Community.
The 88-room Swiss-Belresort Ghantoot, located off the Dubai-Abu Dhabi motorway, is targeting Saudi Arabia, Germany and China as its major source markets. To drive its weekday occupancy, it is also marketing to business travellers and the events sector.
The expected first year occupancy rate is 60 per cent, according to Mr Faull.
Swiss-Belhotel is working with airlines, tour operators such as Alpha Tours, and e-commerce partners to drive up the visibility of the property.
It has 55 properties in operation and 70 more in the pipeline, including in Muscat, Riyadh, Doha and Erbil, Iraq expected next year.
In Kurdish Iraq's Erbil, Swiss-Belhotel expects to open a 110-room greenfield property currently under construction in the next year despite the violence elsewhere in the country.
"The market may slow down a bit, but we are confident about it. There's a lot of development going on in Erbil,” Mr Faull said. "The biggest solution to political instability is economic growth.” – The National - http://www.thenational.ae/business/travel-tourism/upgraded-ghantoot-hotel-to-tap-into-tourism-surge-ahead-of-expo-2020

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Jumeirah at Etihad Towers awarded Green Globe Certification

posted on 27/08/2014

Jumeirah at Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi recently announced that it has been accredited with the internationally renowned Green Globe Certification (GGC).
The property was awarded 85 per cent in the initial audit and was praised for having a good sustainability management plan, an excellent health and safety system, effective waste reduction management and excellent training measures in place. Additional factors for the accreditation include effective communication to guests on water and energy saving measures and other services. – Khaleej Times - http://www.khaleejtimes.com/biz/inside.asp?xfile=/data/uaebusiness/2014/August/uaebusiness_August277.xml§ion=uaebusiness

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Sharjah Biennial 12: A date for your diary

posted on 27/08/2014

The next edition of the Sharjah Biennial (SB12) will open on March 5 next year. Under the title The past, the present, the possible, the concept for the event began with a private conversation between artist Danh Vo and curator Eungie Joo in early 2013. Together they discussed the relevance of contemporary art and the potential of artistic positions to imagine something beyond current states of social and political confinement — and the need for artists to play active roles in imagining the possible.
SB12 will invite more than fifty artists and cultural practitioners from approximately 25 countries to participate in this process by introducing their ideas of the possible through their art and work.
The programming will begin next month with a series of monthly talks and will culminate in mid-May when the annual March Meetings will take place, having been moved this year to a later date.
Since 1993, Sharjah Biennial has commissioned, produced and presented large-scale public installations, performances and films, offering artists from the region and beyond an internationally recognised platform for exhibition and experimentation.
* SB12 will be on view from March 5 – June 5, 2015, with opening events taking place March 5 – 8. – The National - http://www.thenational.ae/blogs/the-art-blog/sharjah-biennial-12-a-date-for-your-diary

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Keep track of Yas F1 action from your phone

posted on 27/08/2014

Now, all the details of the race season at the Yas Marina Circuit is just a hand swipe away. This comes in the form of the YasHUB smartphone and tablet app, which will provide the latest info during the build up to this year's Formula 1 race.
It also allows multiple aspects of race goers' weekends to be tailored into a bespoke package. The app represents a collaboration between the circuit's promoters and its external partners - SMG Mobility, the mobile division of Starcom MediaVest Group - and Flip Media.
Free for download on the Apple and Google Play stores, features include a ticket selector that allows race goers to tailor their own ticketing package from a range of options, from choice of seating, food and beverages and entertainment through to Paddock or VIP access options.
All through to the actual racing day, the app updates users on the latest Formula 1 developments. "Its development signifies Yas Marina Circuit's evolution away from our previous incarnation as a traditional advertiser for our first ever Grand Prix race in 2009 towards our new reality as a content publisher and media brand,” said Nick McElwee, Director of Sales and Marketing for the promoter. "A brand that is highly active in the social space and one that builds meaningful and lasting interactions with our thousands of global fans.”
The Circuit had commissioned the app especially as part of a wider strategy to provide digital solutions that can improve customer engagement experiences. – Gulf News - http://gulfnews.com/business/media-marketing/now-keep-track-of-yas-f1-action-from-your-phone-1.1376679

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DEWA launches bill payment on Samsung Galaxy Gear 2 watches

posted on 27/08/2014

Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, DEWA, has added a bill-payment feature to its smart app on Samsung Galaxy Gear 2 watches, a new service which reflects DEWA's commitment to developing and providing innovative services to its customers via different smart devices.
DEWA's application on the Samsung Galaxy Gear 2 offers several services and features, including access to bill information, customer service centre locations and contact numbers.
Moza Al Akraf, Acting CIO at DEWA, said, "At DEWA, we provide pioneering services and applications that support our objective to reach our customers anytime, anywhere. Customers can now use Samsung Galaxy Gear 2 smart watches to gain instant and easy access to our services and make payments securely using their favourite smart devices to complete their transactions. These efforts will help us to achieve our goal to complement smart transformation in the U.A.E. and achieve the vision of our wise leadership." – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/general/1395268929754.html

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Phase 2 of Mall of the Emirates’ Evolution 2015 underway

posted on 27/08/2014

Majid Al Futtaim, the leading shopping mall, retail and leisure pioneer across the Middle East and North Africa, recently announced that phase two of Mall of the Emirates' strategic redevelopment, Evolution 2015 is currently underway.
This stage will see the mall expand by a gross leasable area of 25,000sqm to include the introduction of a new, major Vox Cinemas experience, retail anchor stores as well as new lifestyle options, and a diversity of dining choices. With a phased completion with elements unveiling by mid-2015, Evolution 2015 will see the launch of brands making their debut in the Middle East at Mall of the Emirates alongside the expansion of existing luxury and lifestyle shopping brands, at an overall estimated investment of more than Dh1 billion.
"In embarking on phase two of Evolution 2015 at Mall of the Emirates, we have surveyed the needs of our two key audiences — guests and retailers — to see how we can best meet their changing needs,” said Dimitri Vazelakis, executive managing director of shopping malls for Majid Al Futtaim Properties. "More space for luxury maisons, the introduction of new fashion brands, an enhanced dining experience and a state-of-the-art cinema destination – these are some of the most anticipated elements, and what we are turning into reality at Mall of the Emirates today.”
Recognising that fashion accounts for almost half of Mall of the Emirates' current sales, Evolution 2015's phase two will see more spacious premises for some premium brands alongside fashion lines choosing the mall as their regional launch platform. Vox Cinemas in Mall of the Emirates, among the U.A.E.'s most preferred movie-going destinations, is creating an entirely new destination for film-lovers, with 24 screens, advanced technologies including Vox Max large-scale screens, and an expanded Vox Gold premium experience.
Evolution 2015's phase two will also unveil a new dining destination at Mall of the Emirates featuring approximately 12 food and beverage options to complement the new lifestyle retail and cinema offer. New brands as well as popular restaurants and cafés will feature in this new leisure precinct. Rounding out the Mall of the Emirates Evolution 2015 are the elements that will ensure guests' convenient access and comfort, including parking for more than 1,300 cars as well as new prayer rooms.
"Mall of the Emirates is one of the most trusted and premium retail destinations in the region, and Evolution 2015 enables us to expand and enhance the experience that we offer to our guests and retail partners by innovating, maximising our offer and delivering a consistently superlative experience,” Vazelakis added. – Khaleej Times - http://www.khaleejtimes.com/biz/inside.asp?xfile=/data/uaebusiness/2014/August/uaebusiness_August281.xml§ion=uaebusiness

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Emirati film ‘Royal Love’ out in U.A.E. this week

posted on 27/08/2014

Although Emirati film Royal Love was shown for the first time at the Gulf Film Festival in 2013, it will hit cinemas for the first time across the U.A.E. this Thursday.
At a press screening on Tuesday, filmmaker Jamal Salim said financing the film was the hardest part of creating it. He had to pay out of his pocket for the 14 days of filming — a period kept short to match his budget.
"In the Arab world, the U.A.E. has the most film festivals,” he said, going on to mention several film financing companies in the region. "I think about 70 per cent of financial support goes to films made outside of this country. It's a disaster.”
Houda Salah, a TV anchor and actress, is the female star of Royal Love. She says the film, a tale of love defying all odds, differentiates itself from others by representing "modern Dubai”. – Gulf News - http://gulfnews.com/arts-entertainment/film/movie-news/emirati-film-royal-love-out-in-uae-this-week-1.1376693

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Tecom Investments launches Villa Lantana project in Dubai

posted on 27/08/2014

Tecom Investments recently announced the launch of Villa Lantana, a freehold villa community conveniently located next to Umm Sequim Road in Al Barsha South.
Ideally situated in the heart of Dubai's growth corridor of Al Barsha South, Villa Lantana is in close proximity to Dubai's main arterial roads and enjoys fast and easy access to the city's primary business areas, retail and entertainment hubs, and educational establishments. Construction is currently underway with project completion set for the fourth quarter of 2015.
Villa Lantana's 440 contemporary homes are set in a well-planned neighbourhood. Consisting of three, four and five bedroom detached and semi-attached family homes, the development is set across two landscaped gated communities. Sales to the public are expected to open in early September with prices starting at Dh2.375 million.
The project will offer interested buyers the choice of 17 different villa designs and 11 floor plans. Residents of Villa Lantana will benefit from a retail centre, parks and playgrounds, as well as sports facilities including sports centres with gyms and pools, sports courts and outdoor jogging tracks.
All amenities and full landscaping will be completed in time for handover.
Badr Al Gargawi, chief executive officer of the development and planning division, Tecom Investments said: "Villa Lantana enjoys an excellent location and a freehold status, a combination that is a rarity in Dubai especially for residential villas. The project was designed to meet the demand for family homes located in the centre of new Dubai. We are confident that this new residential villa project will prove to be both an astute investment and a real community where families can grow and thrive.” – Khaleej Times - http://www.khaleejtimes.com/biz/inside.asp?xfile=/data/uaebusiness/2014/August/uaebusiness_August282.xml§ion=uaebusiness

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Abu Dhabi to attract more Indian tourists

posted on 27/08/2014

With Indian visitors emerging as the largest number of international hotel guests for Abu Dhabi over the past year, the emirate's tourism industry is embarking on a five-city road-show aimed at keeping the destination foremost in the country's outbound influencers' mind-set.
From August 25th-29th, some 14 Abu Dhabi tourism stakeholders, including Etihad Airways, Yas Island, hotels, tour operators and attractions, will join the road-show across the Indian cities of Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai and New Delhi on a trip organised by Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi).
In the first six months of this year, 107,995 Indian guests checked into Abu Dhabi's hotels and resorts – a growth of 35% over the same period last year. The arrivals delivered 408,862 guest nights, which was up 22% year-on-year with the average-length-of-stay being 3.79 nights.
"The destination is benefitting from excellent air uplift from India at the moment with our national airline, Etihad Airways, and its partner Jet Airways, providing convenient and quick travel options to Abu Dhabi from tier 1 and tier 2 cities all over the country," said Mubarak Al Nuaimi, Director, Promotions and Overseas Offices, TCA Abu Dhabi. "This will be boosted further this February when Etihad launches daily flights from the West Bengal capital of Kolkata to Abu Dhabi." Currently Etihad Airways operates 112 flights per week from 10 Indian destinations to Abu Dhabi International.
"We anticipate further consumer interest coming for the destination with the planned release this October of the much-anticipated Bollywood movie 'Bang Bang', starring Hrithik Roshan and Katrina Kaif, parts of which were shot in Abu Dhabi," added Al Nuaimi."We also expect our profile in India to rise with the opening shortly of Sanjeev Kapoor's ‘Signature' restaurant in the Nation Towers on Abu Dhabi Corniche." Indian weddings are being actively pursued by Abu Dhabi stakeholders. The iconic Yas Viceroy – the only hotel in the world straddling an F1 race track – says it has successfully handled three huge Indian weddings over the past few years.
Al Ain Zoo is also reporting increased visitation from Indian travellers swayed by its special discounted family packages and its Asian Month event – an Indian traditions-themed month.
"The Indian market is huge in the U.A.E. now in terms of tourists and residents," said Ghanim Mubarak Al Hajeri, the zoo's Director General. "They are quite good spenders on entertainment and enjoying family life. There is a growth in Indians visiting the zoo every year, particularly during our Asian month." – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/general-economics/1395268925740.html

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10th World Islamic Economic Forum introduces new features to celebrate Dubai as land of creativity and innovation

posted on 27/08/2014

The World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) Foundation and Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry (Dubai Chamber) yesterday unveiled at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur details of the upcoming 10th WIEF which will be held in Dubai from October 28 to 30, 2014 at the Madinat Jumeirah Conference Centre. The annual forum will be hosted in Dubai for the first time following successes across the globe including Kuala Lumpur, Islamabad, Kuwait, Jakarta, Astana, Johor Bahru and London.
Themed ‘Innovative Partnerships for Economic Growth', the Forum aims to forge greater collaboration between nations, bringing a new era of prosperity for the global economy. Innovative partnerships is an important dimension required to recognise and develop different models for economic growth, offering tremendous opportunities for players with varying expertise and resources to join forces to create joint ventures that are greater in value than the sum of their parts.
Recognised for its significant contributions to progress in the global Islamic economy over the last 10 years, the annual forum will highlight Dubai's pursuit to play a key role in shaping the US$ 8 trillion Islamic economy, and introduce new features to celebrate Dubai as the land of creativity and city which embraces the culture of innovation. The new features include: Ideapad: Technology & Innovation Showcase – Platform for entrepreneurs and innovators to give a 15-minute pitch on stage to capture the attention, interest, and potentially, investment, of the forum's international audience Business Exchange – Business match-making programme where selected companies give a three-minute pitch about their business, followed by a networking session with delegates There will also be a specialised session on the second day of the Forum to inaugurate and drive the Halal bio-economy agenda focusing on food security, healthcare and well-being of the global Muslim community. ‘Mobilising Capital from Waqf, Pension Funds and Unit Trusts: Developing Best Practices' is another thought-provoking panel discussion which will be introduced at the 10th WIEF.
These new features will complement the current programme which includes panel discussions, Masterclass sessions, networking events and the Marketplace of Creative Arts Festival (MOCAFest).
Key topics of the 10th WIEF include: Global Economic Outlook: Developing a Resilient Model for Developing Economies Global Financial Landscape Islamic Finance's Pivotal Role in Enabling Trade & Streamlining the Halal Supply Chain Socialising Education and the Role of Universities Retaining Young Talents Sustainable Urban Planning – Creating Smart Infrastructure and Holistic Communities Rise of Women Entrepreneurs – Developing a Peer Network The Honourable (Hon.) Tun Musa Hitam, Chairman of the WIEF Foundation, said; "The Islamic economy is not insulated from happenings around the world and our focus, at the World Islamic Economic Forum Foundation, is bringing to the fore opportunities which will ensure continued progress for the economy and the people. Three ways we can achieve this are by exploring prospects in smaller, non-majority Muslim markets, leveraging the continued growth of Islamic finance and, represented in our theme for 10th WIEF, forging innovative partnerships for business success." "The upcoming 2015 Asean integration, as well as the increasing purchasing power of Muslim consumers, underscores the strong growth potential of the Islamic economy. Our priority for the 10th WIEF is bringing global leaders, businesses and all members of the community together to realise these opportunities for sustainable development worldwide. We all have a part to play," he added.
Abdul Rahman Saif Al Ghurair, Chairman of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry, said, "The Arab world offers one of the most comprehensive and attractive Islamic capital market systems in the world, and Dubai, already the region's key business hub, is the gateway for businesses to unlock the potential of the Islamic economy across the Gulf and wider Middle East." "The close collaboration between the WIEF Foundation, Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry, and Dubai Capital of Islamic Economy in preparation for this forum is testament to the success formula of innovative partners for economic growth, and we are confident that more such partnerships will be forged when global leaders and businesses converge in Dubai for the 10th WIEF," he added.
Discussions around economic and social matters continue to be key areas of focus at the annual Forum which is the largest international gathering of heads of government, economic experts and stakeholders to share experiences and knowledge about Islamic economy. The 10th WIEF which is expected to be attended by more than 2,500 participants from 140 countries, will offer a global platform to form innovative partnerships based on the seven pillars of the Dubai Capital of Islamic Economy initiative launched in 2013: Islamic finance, Halal food industry, Halal tourism, Islamic digital economy, Capital of Islamic art and design, Centre for Islamic economy standards and certification, and International centre for Islamic information and education.
The 10th WIEF continues to attract international partners and welcomes more organisations to be part of this prestigious, global Forum through various packages. Benefits include special access to key delegates, usage of Forum assets and resources, as well as numerous branding and communication opportunities.
In addition to the annual WIEF, the Foundation also organises and hosts roundtables, workshops, leadership programmes, business networking forums, internship and scholarship programmes and more such activities to educate, empower, exchange expertise and address economic challenges in a more personalised scale. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/economics/1395268945256.html

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Masdar Institute students gain exclusive professional experience through JICE Summer Internship Program in Japan

posted on 27/08/2014

Japan's focus on energy-efficient technologies, clean energy sources, sustainable public transportation systems, smart communities, and an advanced infrastructure that can withstand natural disasters had a strongly impact on the students from Masdar Institute of Science and Technology during its third annual summer internship in Japan.
Sponsored by Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan (METI) and organised by the Japan International Cooperation Centre (JICE), the internship program that began on 18 May concluded on 7 July. The program offered the students exclusive professional experience, widening their knowledge horizon.
Engineering Systems and Management students Shamma Al Jaberi, Abeer Almaazmi, Majid Aljasmi, Bader Mohammad, Muna AlAteibi and Reem Ketait, Electrical Power Engineering students Nada Al Awadhi and Hajer Al Yammahi, and Chemical Engineering student Elham A. Abdulkarem, interned with five Japanese companies – JGC Corporation, Mitsubishi Electric, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Chiyoda Corporation and Toshiba Corporation.
Dr. Behjat Al Yousuf, Dean of Students, Masdar Institute, said, "Nine U.A.E. nationals from Masdar Institute concluded the JICE internship program this year by an evaluation from the industries and Masdar Institute faculty who visited the student during their internship in Japan. The internship was a significant achievement for the two male and seven female students who spent six weeks of intensive training at Japanese industries and research and development labs. Students were introduced to research in areas such as ocean energy technology and evaluations of cloud computing infrastructure for the first time. These learning opportunities provide our U.A.E. national students with insight into scientific approaches to impressing environmental challenges in addition to exposure to social and work culture in Japan, one of the world's most technologically innovative countries. With the support of the U.A.E. leadership, we continue to offer internship opportunities with top-level Japanese global corporations and we hope the program benefited the participants." Muna Al Ateibi who interned with Toshiba, said, "My internship work was closely related to my research interest in Masdar Institute. I got an opportunity to work with Toshiba's Industrial Automation and Control Systems Security (IACS) group. Within the group, I was performing security vulnerability testing for control systems as well as analysing the requirements of control systems security standards." Al Ateibi's research aims to enhance the security in smart power grids systems and make the future systems more sustainable. She believes Japan is ranked as the top Asian country in 2013 global sustainability index because of the government's strong faith in sustainability.
She added: "In manufacturing, the focus is on energy-efficient technologies, as well as recycling with emphasis on ‘waste-to-energy' and ‘waste-to-products'. Millions everyday rely on an efficient public transportation system that includes the bullet train, metros, subways, and busses. Japan has set its strategic vision to shift to renewable and clean energy sources as can be witnessed by the presence of mega photovoltaic solar fields. There is also a focus on developing a smart community. Learning about all these factors have given me a rich experience." Hajer Al Yammahi, who interned with Chiyoda Corporation, believes that through the experience she has learnt key factors that will help prove useful to her professional life. At Chiyoda, she focused mainly on renewable energy technologies such as photovoltaics (PV) and concentrated solar power, visiting industrial plants and other sites.
Al Yammahi said, "The Japan internship experience has taught me a lot in terms of remaining independent for anything I need, being punctual, well organised, and more responsible. Moreover, I feel I am greatly influenced by the Japanese culture and the lifestyle there. This internship has successfully expanded my knowledge horizon in renewable energy, especially solar power. It was truly an amazing experience." For Nada Al Awadhi, the Japanese dedication to work, remaining highly focused despite long working hours and the team spirit between employees regardless of the positions were some of the things that impressed her most. She also feels that because the management deals individually with the staff, the work environment remains healthy and supportive.
Al Awadhi said, "Japan has managed to survive numerous disasters, including wars, earthquakes, and tsunamis to remain a leading economic powerhouse globally. The Japanese people thrive on equality, excellence, and dedication. Living in Japan for almost two months, I was able to sense all that through the way they live and the way they have developed their advanced infrastructure. The one thing that comes to my mind is the public transportation system, which is what I will miss the most about Japan." During the internship, Bader Mohammad who interned with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries focused his research on sustainable construction. Mohammad said he admired the Japanese self-motivation and dedication.
Mohammad added, "The idea of sustainability in terms of conserving energy, and recycling waste is understood by every person in Japan. All the companies we interned in had the policy of switching off the lights even during lunch time to save energy. Also, a plastic bottle of water has a different bin than for the lid, because they are recycled separately. Technologically, they are one of the pioneers in creating advanced technologies that contribute to cutting edge sustainability solutions." The annual JICE summer internship program in Japan for Masdar Institute students is intended to provide advance learning opportunities in the latest research and development in the field of clean technologies. Organised annually, the program also aims to offer the interns a closer understanding of the social and work culture in Japan, one of the world's most technologically innovative countries. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates-international/1395268956443.html

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U.A.E. signs MoU with UN on maintenance of Hall 17 at Geneva headquarters

posted on 27/08/2014

GENEVA: The United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the United Nations whereby U.A.E. will fund the maintenance of Hall No. 17 of the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG).
According to the MoU, UNOG's Hall No. 17 will bear the name of the United Arab Emirates.
The MoU was signed at a ceremony at UNOG by Ambassador Obaid Salem Al Zaabi, Permanent Representative of the United Arab Emirates to the United Nations in Geneva and other International Switzerland-based Organisations, and Michael Moller, Acting Head of the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG). – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates-international/1395268958485.html

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Iraq's Dohuk Governor thanks U.A.E. for supporting refugees, displaced families

posted on 27/08/2014

DOHUK: Governor of Dohuk, Farhad Atroshi, has thanked U.A.E. for supporting Iraq's Kurdistan Region and its Dohuk Governorate which alone hosts more than 100,000 families displaced by violence.
Atroshi made his remarks as he met with U.A.E. Consul-General to Iraq's Kurdistan Region, Rashid Al Mansouri, to discuss the U.A.E.'s aid for the displaced Iraqis and Syrian refugees.
The two sides also discussed the nature and size of aid for refugee families in Dohuk as well as the U.A.E.'s decision to set up a camp for the displaced in the governorate.
During the meeting, Atroshi requested Al Mansouri to pass to the U.A.E. government a request for considering the possibility of meeting Dohuk Governorate's need for medicine and medical supplies for treating emergency cases, as U.A.E. sent similar medical aid earlier this month to Erbil, the capital city of Kurdistan Region. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates-arab/1395268960485.html

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ERC is implementing developmental projects worth Dh53 million in Palestine

posted on 27/08/2014

The Emirates Red Crescent (ERC) is currently undertaking a number of health, educational, religious and developmental projects in the occupied Palestinian territories valued at Dh 53 million.
ERC Secretary-General, Dr. Mohammed Ateeq Al Falahi, emphasised the determination of the U.A.E. key relief agency to provide sustained assistance to the Palestinian people with the aim of supporting socio-economic development and easing their daily suffering.
He said the ERC was coordinating with the Palestinian Red Crescent, government bodies, non-governmental organisations, as well as with local municipalities and councils in the West Bank to implement these projects for the benefit of underprivileged Palestinians in Jerusalem, villages and refugee camps.
Rehabilitation of disabled persons, he added, had taken the lion's share of allocated funds at Dh 23 million. Education came second with Dh 20m, followed by Mosques with Dh 3.6m, health with Dh 3.5m while the remaining funds were channelled into soup kitchens projects.
Of the major projects were the Dh 21 million Emirates fund for rehabilitation of persons with disabilities. The three-year project is carried out via the Palestinian Social Affairs Ministry and will serve 519 disabled persons. The ERC also offered Dh 7.3m in support of the Birzeit University and Dh 2.2m for purchasing medicines for thalassemia patients. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395268943699.html

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U.A.E.-funded projects for Syrian refugees kick-started in Jordan

posted on 27/08/2014

Earlier this week, as part of a generous US$ 5 million donation from the Government of the U.A.E., the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, UNHCR, announced that implementation of the donation had commenced.
The U.A.E. earmarked US$ 3 million for water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and US$ 2 million for health. The health portion will run until the end of this year and the WASH portion until April 2015.
The generous grant is enabling UNHCR to strengthen the provision of essential health services for Syrian refugees in Azraq and Zaatari camps in the form of primary health care, mental health, nutrition, rehabilitation and reproductive health services.
The project is also addressing some of the growing challenges related to providing dignified sanitary conditions in Zaatari camp through drainage and waste water management, proper disposal of medical waste, rodent control and a topographic survey, all of which target considerably improving overall WASH services in Zaatari camp.
"Clearly, essential health services and the improvement of water and sanitation facilities in Zaatari are a priority, especially given the number of beneficiaries at present and the protracted nature of the current situation," said Imran Riza, UNHCR Regional Representative to the GCC Countries.
It is expected that some 115,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan will benefit from these two projects.
Za'atari camp has offered protection and assistance to more than 400,000 Syrian refugees since its establishment on July 28th 2012.
Underscoring the timeliness of the U.A.E. contribution, Riza noted that, "the needs are enormous and it is only through strong partnerships, such as the one we enjoy with the U.A.E., will we be in a position to adequately address the mounting needs of this increasingly protracted population of refugees," he added.
In late July, UNHCR and the Ministry of International Cooperation and Development (MICAD) signed two cooperation agreements formalising the grant.
Jordan is home to some 610,000 Syrian refugees. There are more than 90,000 Syrian refugees in Zaatari and Azraq camps.
Regionally, it is expected that the total registered Syrian refugee population stands at almost 3 million. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395268935922.html

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Registration of Emirati woman for national service eased

posted on 27/08/2014

Staff Major General Pilot Sheikh Ahmed bin Tahnoun Al Nahyan, Chairman of the National and Reserve Service Authority, has ordered easing of the registration procedures for an Emirati woman interested to join the national and reserve service.
Earlier Emirati woman, Wa'd Al Hammadi, who applied to register at the Al Nahyan Camp in Abu Dhabi, was declined when her guardian, admitted to the Intensive Care Unit at Khalifa Hospital to receive treatment, failed to show up. However, the conscription division team accompanied her to the Khalifa Hospital to get an approval from the guardian, being a condition for Emirati women to join the national service.
Al Hammadi said she was the only among her seven sisters who decided to join the service, adding that she encourages her sisters and other Emirati women to join the national service- being a national duty and allegiance to the leadership. Al Hammadi is looking forward to servicing in the Armed Forces after completing the national service.
Her father, Yousif Al Hammadi, thanked those in charge of the national service, saying "The joining of our sons and daughters to the national service, is the least we can give to this giving nation." He expressed his pride about the decision of his daughter to join the first batch of the national service, wishing that he would join if he was well. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395268955816.html

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US Congressional delegation visits ZU

posted on 27/08/2014

US Congressional delegation yesterday toured Zayed University (ZU), where it was briefed by Professor Reyadh Almehaideb, Vice President of ZU, on the vision and mission of the university to become a modern institution.
Almehaideb presented to the guests a demonstration on the study programmes offered by ZU for Bachelor and Postgraduate students in the fields of Communication, Media, Arts, Sustainability Sciences, Innovative Industries, Education, Creative Technology, Islamic World Studies, Arabic Language. Master Degree programmes offered by ZU include 20 different scientific disciplines.
He underlined that ZU observes the highest international standards in terms of efficiency and quality, noting that the university attracts teaching and technical staff from around the world to provide highly qualitative and academic atmosphere that develop skills of students.
Almehaideb also stressed the interest of ZU in the student swap programmes. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/general/1395268950978.html

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Al Tayer stresses importance of U.A.E.-India deep strategic partnership

posted on 27/08/2014

Mattar Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), has stressed the importance of the deep strategic partnership between the U.A.E. and the Republic of India in the economic, business, finance and service fields, among others.
To this effect Al Tayer received at his office in the RTA an Indian delegation headed by Saurabh Patel, Cabinet Minister, Department of Energy, Petrochemical, Mining and Metals, in the local government of the State of Gujarat.
During the meeting, which was attended by a host of RTA top executives and members of the visiting delegation, the two parties explored means of boosting cooperation and exchanging expertise between the RTA and the Indian companies operating in the roads and transport sector, besides exploring the forthcoming roads, transport and infrastructural projects in the Emirate of Dubai.
At the outset of the meeting, Al Tayer welcomed the Indian official and commended the partnership and cooperative relationships linking the U.A.E. and the Republic of India in various fields including roads and transportation.
"The relationship between the business communities of the U.A.E. and India are tantamount to a genuine strategic partnership that has gone through several stages of growth and evolution over several decades in a number of economic, business, service, financial and industrial fields among others," commented Al Tayer.
"Dubai has shaped into a vital strategic centre for investments and a variety of projects and business prospects, thanks to the security and safety environment in place, facilities provided and infrastructure that surpasses by far what advanced countries provide," he continued.
"Development and prosperity witnessed in various fields can only be achieved by the will power, hard work, and human and financial resources in addition to other ingredients such as ambitious plans, sound planning, timely delivery and continuous follow up," he added.
Mr Patel expressed his delight with this visit hoping that it would be marked by improved cooperation, and sharing of expertise and practices with the RTA through broadening and boosting the participation of Indian firms and entities in the projects undertaken by the RTA.
"The RTA has made unprecedented achievements manifested in the construction of several vital projects in the emirate in a record time, covering mass transport and infrastructure, thanks to the prudent leadership, shrewd vision, futuristic perspective, and optimistic spirit adopted by the U.A.E. towards achieving the best in all fields and at all levels, and bringing more happiness to citizens, residents and visitors hailing from all over the globe," commented Patel.
Following the meeting, the RTA's Rail Agency officials took the visiting delegation in a tour of the Dubai Metro. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395268941913.html

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ADU receives international accreditation from ABET

posted on 27/08/2014

Abu Dhabi University's College of Engineering has received international accreditation from the world-renowned prestigious Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) of ABET, after its success in passing international standards and procedures implemented by the commission to ensure quality of education, curricula, learning outcomes and a high calibre of graduates.
Commenting on this new accolade, Ali Saeed bin Harmal Al Dhaheri, Chairman of Abu Dhabi University's Board of Directors, explained that receiving this international accreditation translates ADU's mission and its eagerness to develop academic programmes that meet the educational needs of the policy agenda of Abu Dhabi's Government and its Economic Vision 2030.
Receiving international accreditation has also been one of the main goals highlighted in Abu Dhabi University's new five year strategic plan 2014 -2019.
Mr Al Dhaheri pointed out that the University will continue to seek the highest international standards, through other programmes offered at ADU in different disciplines which are currently also seeking international accreditation from specialised accreditation bodies.
Dr. Nabil Ibrahim, Chancellor of Abu Dhabi University, said, "Receiving the ABET accreditation for the Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering, the Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering and the Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering that are offered through ADU's College of Engineering is such a wonderful start to the new semester of the upcoming academic year." – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/general/1395268938135.html

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Ministry of Environment and Water signs strategic MoU with Norway Fishing Foundation

posted on 27/08/2014

The U.A.E. Ministry of Environment and Water (MoEW) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Nor-Fishing Foundation and Informa Middle East Limited, one of the region's leading providers of high quality conferences, to organise ‘Aqua Middle East' (AquaME) and ‘Aqua ME Summit' in conjunction with AgraME taking place from 16th-18th March 2015 at the Dubai Exhibition and Convention Centre.
Nor-Fishing Foundation was established in 1992 by the Norwegian Ministry of Fisheries. Over the last 30 years, not only have they been responsible for organising the Norwegian international fisheries exhibition "Nor-Fishing" – regarded as the leading international fisheries trade show – but also the leading international aquaculture venue "Aqua Nor" in Norway, making them the ideal international partner for AquaME.
The partnership is a move to consolidate and encourage co-operation to improve the aquaculture sector, which falls in line with the U.A.E.'s strategic objectives to promote food security and environmental sustainability contributing to the U.A.E.'s Vision 2021.
The MoU was signed by MoEW Assistant Under-Secretary for Support Services, Abdul Rahim Al Hammadi, and Nor-Fishing Foundation Chairman of Board, Mrs Liv Holmefjord, and Informa Middle East Limited Exhibition Director Richard Pavitt, earlier this week in Trondheim, Norway, in the presence of Mohammed AlJuwaied, U.A.E. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Norway.
Under the MoU, all parties will work in close collaboration towards promoting the development of the aquaculture and fishing industry by hosting an exhibition to attract local and international suppliers from within these industries. Furthermore, in parallel to the trade show, the AquaME Summit, the second edition of the Aquaculture Investment Forum, will be organised to bring experts and specialists from around the world to exchange experiences, transfer knowledge and review best practices, advances and innovations in research, science and technology thereby strengthening the aquaculture and fishing industry in the U.A.E..
The total current market valuation of investments in to the U.A.E. aquaculture sector stands at US$ 321 million, with 20 million of that amount being invested in to the Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Marine Research Centre. The project, which was launched in February 2013, aims to produce 10 million juveniles per year of local indigenous species and will contribute to enhancing food security in the U.A.E.. Furthermore, the centre will support research focusing on overexploited species and habitat conservation measures. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395268937721.html

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DFWAC dealt with 229 victims of domestic violence in 6 months

posted on 27/08/2014

The Dubai Foundation for Women and Children (DFWAC) has received 229 cases of domestic violence during the first half of this year, including 222 external cases and 7 sheltered internal cases, as confirmed by Afra Al Basti, Director-General of DFWAC, who said that the number of cases received by the institution during this period increased by up to 50% compared to the same period last year, during which the Foundation received 155 cases including 141 external cases and 14 sheltered cases.
"This increase is due to the higher level of awareness among members of the community, as they became more aware of the importance to get help from the concerned authorities if they were abused, as a result of outreach efforts made by DFWAC and all those involved bodies" she added.
"DFWAC is gaining every day the trust of more members of the community, especially in its ability to help them in a scientific and professional way, also offering the best services in a context that ensures their privacy, which is clearly reflected in the increasing number of cases that we receive every year," she said.
Al Basti said that the cases of external cases of domestic violence victims received by DFWAC during the first half of this year ranged in age from 18 to 60 years, and accounted for 53% of the total external cases for all groups during the same period.
She added that the majority of the victims were females, and 33% of them were Emirati Nationals. Husbands and ex-husbands were mainly responsible for the violence.
According to the Director-General of DFWAC, 96% of these cases involved emotional/verbal abuse, 72% neglect and deprivation, 53% involved financial abuse, and 23% some form of sexual abuse.
"Cases are directed to DFWAC through self-admission, calling the hotline, or from our partners such as public prosecution, courts, various departments and sections of the police, embassies and consulates, other shelters and other help-lines in other emirates," she added.
"A comprehensive evaluation is made for each case and then is accepted either as an external or internal case that requires immediate shelter at the foundation, after which a case manager is allocated to follow all the procedures and then take the history of the abuse suffered by the case, and put a support plan for the case to be implemented and evaluated periodically," Al Basti said.
The Director-General also said that the foundation provides many services to victims of human trafficking, such as the helpline 800 111, emergency shelter, supporting services, and it also provides a customised rehabilitation plan for all problems and cases which are divided to external and internal or sheltered cases. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/general/1395268935681.html

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ADM hands over house to elderly Emirati in Al Ain through its mobile service

posted on 27/08/2014

As part of the grant bestowed by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander of the U.A.E. Armed Forces and Chairman of the Executive Council, Abu Dhabi Municipality has continued the handing over of Al Falah communal houses to entitled citizens, with 553 houses delivered so far, a completion rate that exceeds 80 percent of the targeted total number of beneficiaries.
The work team at the Customer Service Division completed the hand-over of a house to an elderly Emirati lady using the mobile service provided by the Municipality to serve this community segment, thus eliminating the need to attend in person at the Municipality's premises to complete the procedures.
The procedure reflects the Municipality's keenness to provide all facilities for citizens and promote the civilised service it has launched by dispatching mobile service cars to provide municipal services to a broad sector of the community such as the elderly and those with special needs by reaching out to them at their own homes in a smooth and problem-free manner.
The municipal team completed all the procedures of the handing over of the house to the Emirati lady, and delivered the keys of her new house using the mobile service car equipped with office equipment, enabling employees to provide the services in an efficient manner.
Beneficiary, Bakheeta Maanes Yazrub Salim Al Amri, and her son Mabkhoot Mohammed, who was present at the time of the handing over of the house, extended their sincere thanks, appreciation and gratitude to President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the U.A.E. Armed Forces and Chairman of the Executive Council, for their generous grants.
They also paid tribute to the keen attention of prudent leadership to provide decent living for citizens. "Our wise leadership spares no effort in bringing happiness to the people of the U.A.E. and we pray to Allah to bring boons and prosperity to the U.A.E. under the wise leader, H.H. the President and the H.H. the Crown Prince." They paid high tribute to the services provided by the Municipality to citizens and its keenness to deliver services to them at their homes.
The Customers Service Division deploys a number of mobile service vehicles for the elderly and the disabled. Services are provided in a vehicle fitted with electronic equipment to deliver integrated services on the spot.
The mobile service project was conceived as part of the Municipality's strategy to achieve the highest levels of customer satisfaction through harnessing existing channels in communicating with customers.
The service request steps start by calling the Call Centre of the Municipality and furnishing the Call Centre staff with the required details (name, date of birth, status, address, required service), after which a welcoming text message will be sent to the customer.
Following the fixing of a date, another text message will be sent advising the time fixed for completing the service.
As for the service requirements, the Municipality stated that the service was dedicated to the disabled and elderly. The Municipality is keen to meet the requirements of the public, provide convenient service, expand communication channels, identifying public needs and expectations from the Municipality, and endeavouring to provide them in an efficient manner. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/general/1395268939578.html

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Germany hosts Aseel Arabian Horses Cup

posted on 27/08/2014

Under the patronage of Shaikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, the three-day events of the Aseel Purebred Arabian Horses Cup Germany 2014 is scheduled to draw to a close in Kassel, Germany.
The event comes within the keenness of Shaikh Mansour to support and encourage Arabian horse racing in line with the privileged position enjoyed by equestrian sport in the U.A.E..
A special reception was held and attended by Jumaa Al Junaibi, U.A.E. Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany, during which he delivered a speech in which he expressed his pleasure with the hosting of the event in Germany to underline the civilised image of the U.A.E. and to promote the noble sport of racing. Al Junaibi reiterated the importance of such a move to preserve the sports of the fathers and grandfathers and communicate with the new generations about their glorious past, deepening the perceptions of the values of originality and national identity.
Al Junaibi praised the support and encouragement of Shaikh Mansour for small breeders and owners worldwide to increase attention to Purebred Arabians and promote the culture and civilisation of the U.A.E..
The events of the Aseel Purebred Arabians Cup included a number of horse riding events mixed with Arab culture. The focus was on the art of horse riding.
Races were held over 36-km, 63-km and 84-km, alongside horse riding, dressage and western styles of riding. The event provided a good opportunity for social communication and included a Purebred Arabian horse show which highlighted handicrafts and arts as well as Salukis, Falcons and Camels.
The events were scheduled to culminate Sunday with the Aseel International Cup 2014. The trophy will be awarded to the winning horse of the show alongside the winners of the mares and stallions categories of the Aseel Cup. Additional prizes will be presented to the outstanding riders in the show, particularly in the saddled horses' show which reveal the unique characteristics and features of the Purebred Arabian horses. The winners in the various categories and competitions will be voted for by international judges.
Meanwhile, the Aseel Club is celebrating the 40th anniversary of its foundation and the 10th anniversary of hosting the Aseel Cup. The occasion will be attended by international guests from Arab and European countries and the USA, as well as celebrities from different parts of the world. The events will be held at the Kassel Park, the historical Castle and Orchards surrounding the Bavarian city, which provide an attractive environment for the public, international guests, sponsors and the attending media. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.khaleejtimes.com/sport/inside_sport.asp?xfile=/data/horseracing/2014/August/horseracing_August11.xml§ion=horseracing

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