The UAE will host Expo 2020!

Expo 2020 Sculpture unveiled in Masdar City

posted on 03/03/2015

A 6-meter-tall "Expo 2020" Dubai sculpture has been erected at Masdar City, one of the world's most sustainable urban developments, in the presence of Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State and Chairman of Masdar, and Dr. Ahmad Belhoul, CEO of Masdar, together with the attendance of Masdar employees, Masdar Institute students, and Masdar Free Zone tenants.
One of three large sculptures displayed in Abu Dhabi, the Finnish-born artist Kustaa Saksi created the Wi-Fi-enabled structure with screens illustrating three of the expo's themes – sustainability, mobility and opportunity.
"We're proud to host at Masdar City the Expo 2020 Dubai sculpture, a symbol of the progress we have made in the UAE and a reminder to continue persevering with our signature spirit of innovation," said Dr. Belhoul. "Masdar's work to forge local and international partnerships, accelerate sustainable development and provide new employment opportunities and diversified economic growth is a reflection of the expo's themes." Connected to a 4G network, the sculpture provides detailed information about Expo 2020 Dubai's history, while offering visitors an opportunity to learn about outstanding innovations and participating pavilions. The audience can also click through a separate interactive screen to become better informed about topics the expo will explore.
Kustaa Saksi is a renowned illustrator who experiments with patterns, shapes and textures. His work has appeared in galleries across the globe, including London's Victoria and Albert Museum, the Artefact Gallery in New York and Louvre des Antiquaires in Paris.
Expo 2020 Dubai commissioned 21 sculptures that together make up the expo's logo like a large puzzle. The public is encouraged to visit the sculpture, which will reside in front of Masdar City's multi-use building until March 22nd. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/general/1395277332549.html

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DXB starts 2015 in top gear; monthly traffic boosted by Dubai Shopping Festival, holiday season

posted on 03/03/2015

Dubai International has begun the new year with another record monthly traffic by welcoming more than 6.8 million passengers in January. According to the traffic report issued by operator Dubai Airports today, passenger traffic rose 7.7 per cent to 6,895,668 in January 2015, up from 6,400,706 in the same month in 2014.
This follows Dubai International's performance in 2014 during which the airport welcomed 70.4 million passengers to claim the title of the world's number one airport for international passenger traffic. "Considering that Dubai International is projected to welcome over 79 million passengers in 2015, there is no better way to begin a year than with a record month," said Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports.
Regionally, Eastern Europe remained the fastest-expanding market in terms of percentage growth* (+71.9 per cent), followed by North America (+16.9 per cent), the Indian subcontinent (+12.2 per cent) and Asia (10.5 per cent). Russia & CIS recorded fewer visitors with traffic dropping -22.7 per cent due to the political and economic instability in the region, while traffic on Australasian routes also registered a marginal dip of -1.6 per cent. Routes to the Indian subcontinent (+171,552 passengers), AGCC (+115,317 passengers), and Western Europe (+105,409) topped in terms of growth in passenger numbers.
Most markets were boosted in January by holiday traffic as well as visitors to the annual Dubai Shopping Festival.
Aircraft movements totalled 34,643 in January 2015, up 6.2 per cent compared to the 32,625 movements recorded in January 2014.
Freight volumes at Dubai International continued the downward trend in January, contracting 5.5 per cent to 186,230 tonnes, from 197,021 recorded in January 2014. The contraction is the result of a total of shift of cargo operations to Al Maktoum International at Dubai World Central since May 2014.
"The opening of Concourse D later this year will increase our annual capacity to 90 million passengers and make sure we can continue to accommodate the increasing number of travellers who choose to fly through DXB. It is also a strong endorsement for our US$7.8bn SP2020 expansion plan which will allow us to remain one step ahead of our expected growth by increasing our capacity both on the ground as well as in the air," Griffiths said. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395277365296.html

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Emirates to commence daily service to Bali

posted on 03/03/2015

Emirates announced that it will launch a new daily service to the island of Bali in Indonesia, from 3rd June 2015.
One of the most popular islands in Indonesia with spectacular mountains and picturesque beaches, Bali is a leading tourist destination which welcomed more than 3.7 million foreign tourist arrivals in 2014. Emirates' new service will add to Bali's global connectivity, further stimulating the island's economic and tourism growth.
Bali will be Emirates' 148th global destination, adding to the airline's route network in the Asia Pacific region which currently spans 23 destinations in 13 countries. The non-stop service between Dubai and Bali will be operated by a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft in a two-class configuration.
"Bali is a significantly important market for Emirates. There is high interest in Bali from across our network, specifically in the leisure segment. We are pleased to be able to offer the Emirates product on a daily basis, connecting passengers in Bali to Dubai and to more than 80 destinations in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas, via one convenient stop in Dubai." said Thierry Antinori, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, Emirates airline.
"The new service will greatly increase convenience, choice, and consistency of travel experience for consumers who currently have to travel via multiple stops, or via other points in Indonesia to reach Bali." Emirates' new daily flight to Bali will depart Dubai as EK398 at 0820hrs* and arrive at Bali's Denpasar International Airport at 2140hrs* the same day. The return flight, EK399, will depart at 2340hrs* and arrive at Dubai International Airport at 0500* the next day.
Throughout all cabin classes, passengers can enjoy more than 2,000 channels of entertainment on demand on ice, the airline's award-winning in-flight entertainment system.
Passengers on all Emirates flights also have the added bonus of generous baggage allowance with 30 kilogrammes for those travelling in Economy Class and 40 kilogrammes for Business Class.
Emirates commenced services to Indonesia in 1992 with three flights per week via Singapore and Colombo, and since March 2013, the airline has been operating three non-stop flights daily from Jakarta to Dubai with a Boeing 777 aircraft. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/economics/1395277345482.html

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DMCA to offer marine craft driving license services at Dubai International Boat Show 2015

posted on 03/03/2015

Dubai Maritime City Authority (DMCA) announced that it will be offering Marine Craft Driving License services in Dubai during its participation at this year's edition of the Dubai International Boat Show (DIBS).
This step is in pursuance of Resolution No. 11 of 2013 to issue Implementing Regulations (IR) of Resolution No. 11 of 2010 for licensing of marine crafts in the emirate of Dubai. This is poised to support the ongoing efforts to create a vibrant and secure maritime sector in Dubai in line with the Maritime Sector Strategy (MSS), which is aimed at developing, regulating and promoting the local maritime sector and help reinforce Dubai's position as a first-class international maritime hub.
Ali Al Dabbous, Executive Director of Operations, DMCA, said, "The implementation of Dubai Marine Craft Licensing mechanisms in accordance with the set Implementing Regulations (IR) serves as a key step forward to achieving the objectives of Dubai Maritime Sector Strategy, which primarily focuses on activating the role of the maritime industry as a key contributor to excellence and leadership under the wise vision of Dubai leadership. Offering our integrated portfolio of marine licensing services complements DMCA's approach to issue advanced maritime initiatives, which offer robust foundations to enhance industry's competitiveness and create an integrated, safe and sustainable maritime environment that is able to respond effectively to market changes and emerging trends--in order to attract regional and international investors while also promoting the emirate's leading position as a key player in the international maritime landscape." Dabbous added, "Our specialised and well-trained team will help all customers certify their marine crafts of all types and help their crew obtain their marine driving licenses upon verifying their compliance with all technical specifications, maritime safety regulations and local environmental conditions within a world-class environment that adheres to set international standards." To maintain individual and corporate customer satisfaction, DMCA's pavilion at the event will include an integrated platform to complete marine licensing procedures and necessary tests to easily and quickly obtain a marine craft driving license.
Adel Kalantar, Director of Registration and Licensing at DMCA, said, "The Authority is committed to offering best-in-class initiatives aimed at maintaining a more competitive maritime sector in Dubai while also providing highest standards of safety and sustainability across the maritime industry to help more attract investors from the region and the rest of the world. The licensing of recreational, commercial, sports, touristic and traditional marine vessels represents a regulatory framework to achieve integration between all aspects of maritime safety, secure navigation and operational efficiency across the Dubai coastline." The Marine Craft Driving License Service has seen outstanding response from users, with over 1400 licensees issued so far. This number is expected to heavily increase in 2015. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395277361997.html

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Sunshine harnessing solar tiles to cover Dubai Frame

posted on 03/03/2015

The Dubai Frame, Dubai's latest tourist attraction to be opened this year, may not have its shiny façade plated in gold, an image typically associated with the glitz and glamour of the city. But the 150m-high window frame-shaped observatory will add sheen and green to its structure by harnessing sunshine through solar tiles that cover the building, the head of Dubai's Sustainable Committee revealed on Monday.
Abdullah Raffia was speaking after a presentation at the Green Energy Middle East Conference held on the inaugural day of the Middle East Electricity Exhibition.
Rafia, who is also assistant director-general for engineering and planning sector at the Dubai Municipality, said officials looked into all types of materials that will go with the image of Dubai when they discussed about the colour and appearance of the building.
"The whole building … you know 150-metre high … with gold-plated material…. We could have given that as a present to Dubai. But we found a good solution that will give the same colour and sheen to the building that we planned and at the same time produce energy.”
Speaking to Khaleej Times later he said the Dubai Frame will open in October.
"We are getting a lot of (energy saving) gadgets in.... It will be a green building and it will be eco-friendly. It will give Dubai, the people of Dubai, what they are worth,” he said.
Located near Gate 4 of Zabeel Park, the structure that will have an almost 100m wide glass-covered skywalk showing the view of both the modern and old sides of Dubai, is expected to attract 2million visitors annually.
Choosing photovoltaic tiles that will produce solar energy, Raffia said, shows the change in attitude of decision makers and Dubai's approach towards sustainability.
"There are very expensive materials that you would use on an iconic building because the city requires that kind of an image. But the next day when you discover that there is something else that gives you the same effect but also produces energy, we will definitely go for that.”
With revolutionary technological advancement happening in renewable energy sector, Rafia envisions future buildings in Dubai to produce energy in multiple ways.
"We have a city where we can use all the roofs for solar energy ... the sidewalks, the shade of the car parks, all the industrial buildings with inclined roofs, all (other) buildings' roofs, all the walls, the options are endless,” he said.
With the green building regulations in place and rooftop solar production soon to begin in Dubai buildings, he said, Dubai is heading in the right direction towards becoming one of the top 10 most sustainable cities. In two to five years, according to Raffia, Dubai's target of 15 per cent renewable energy by 2030, will not just be achievable, but a thing of the past.
"In 50 years, we may send out the last barrel of oil. But we will still be celebrating because we will no longer be depending on such energy by then.” – Khaleej Times - http://www.khaleejtimes.com/kt-article-display-1.asp?xfile=data/nationgeneral/2015/March/nationgeneral_March22.xml§ion=nationgeneral

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UAE has no plan to de-peg Dirham from US Dollar: Governor of Central Bank

posted on 03/03/2015

The UAE has no intention to de-peg the UAE Dirham from the US Dollar because the US currency ensures economic stability and our investments are basically in US Dollar, Mubarak Rashed Al Mansoori, the Governor of the UAE Central Bank, said yesterday.
'We are fortunate in the UAE to have pegged the Dirham to the US Dollar. A strong Dollar offsets some of our losses as part of oil exports. As an oil producer, we export oil and other services to neighbouring countries whose local currencies are also pegged to the Dollar,' Al Mansoori told the seventh Global Financial Markets Forum (GFMF), the annual conference organised by the National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD), which concluded yesterday in Abu Dhabi.
In a joint discussion panel with Hamood Sangour Al Zadjali, Executive President of Central Bank of Oman, on regulators' views on market opportunities and risks, Al Mansoori said the developments in the global economy were confusing and interesting as a result of US economic growth, slowdown of the European economy and projected growth in China.
He emphasised that the UAE economy is less vulnerable to the negative impact of low world oil prices due to the fact that the oil revenues constitute 30 percent of the UAE's GDP.
'We have strong financial abilities, Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWF) and banks having high ratio of liquidity. Our banks have huge reserves to handle bad debts and any possible challenges facing the global economy,' he underscored.
The apex bank, he added, had made several resolutions and introduced regulations to address risks that stemmed out of real estate investment, a move that has provided stability and control over any expected developments in this sector.
He noted that risks facing the banking sector would increase in the future as the UAE is bracing to host Expo 2020 in Dubai and undertake mega projects in Abu Dhabi.
'Considering these developments, we should have a vibrant, deep financial market, and laws regarding insolvency and debts,' he concluded.
The governors of central banks of the UAE and Oman also agreed to join their forces in the fight against cybercrimes in the financial sector, particularly in the UAE, following the expansion in the smart phone banking applications and enforcement of new legislations aimed at encouraging innovations and ensuring financial stability.
Panellists agreed that the strong dollar is helping oil exporting countries' economies since they are selling in dollars and that it compensates for the sliding oil prices with a higher purchasing power. Investments are mainly denominated in dollars. The peg to the dollar was also seen as a positive factor by the UAE side.
The world economy is expected to grow by about 3.5 percent this year which was seen as positive but pointed out that the growth scene has changed and become more country specific.
Panellists welcomed the US economy's recovery and China's good long-term planning.
They also debated whether it is better to favour rapid growth with the risk of generating bubbles or stability. Regulators said that after the global financial crisis, they started to be more strict in implementing regulations. Panellists said central banks can provide a platform for stability but that it was not in their power to provide growth.
They also agreed that cyber-crime is one of the big risks to beware of today. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/economics/1395277349107.html

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Dubai Islamic Bank to distribute 40% cash dividend for 2014

posted on 03/03/2015

Following the conclusion of its Annual General Meeting (AGM), Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) announced that the assembly has approved the distribution of a 40% cash dividend for 2014, a 60% increase from the previous year.
The assembly also approved the bank's 2014 financial statements. For the 12 months ended December 31, 2014, DIB reported a net profit of Dh 2.8 billion, a significant increase of 63 per cent compared to Dh 1.70 billion in 2013. The assembly also reviewed the Fatwa and Sharia Supervisory Board Report, and reappointed KPMG as the bank's external auditors.
Commenting on the successful financial year, Mohammed Ibrahim Al Shaibani, Director-General of His Highness The Ruler's Court of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Islamic Bank, said, "2014 witnessed rapid growth across the bank, far ahead of the industry average, in spite of challenging market conditions. DIB continues to play a strategic role as a key contributor to Dubai's long-term ambitions, in the emirate's vision of becoming the capital of the Islamic economy. The 2014 performance is yet another milestone in our impressive journey, and as 2015 marks the 40th anniversary of the bank, we can look back with pride over the past four decades at all we have achieved, and the role we have played in spurring the rapid growth of Islamic finance in the UAE and across the world." Whist realising its best ever performance in the bank's rich history, DIB continued to build upon its existing franchise with expansion within and outside the home country. In May 2014, it completed a 24.9 percent acquisition of Bank Panin Syariah in Indonesia and intends to enhance this stake to 40 percent pending approvals from the regulator.
The bank's healthy financial position was also reiterated by Fitch Ratings, which reaffirmed the bank's Long-term Issuer Default Rating at 'A' with a stable outlook with both Fitch and Moody's maintaining the outlook and ratings on the bank.
Illustrating growing international interest in the brand, DIB raised its foreign ownership limit to 25% last year, following which the bank scrip was chosen to be included in the MSCI basket when the UAE was upgraded to ‘Emerging Market' status. Local, regional and international analyst coverage and investor interest has grown significantly as the bank continues to be one of the most actively traded stocks on the DFM. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/economics/1395277317569.html

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Universal broadband is a real target to achieve through public-private partnerships, says Etisalat Group CEO

posted on 03/03/2015

BARCELONA: Universal broadband is a real target that can be achieved through public private partnerships to promote greater digital, social and financial inclusion in the developing world, observed Ahmad Julfar, Chief Executive Officer of Etisalat Group.
He was addressing an audience of some of the world's leading figures in telecommunications at Mobile World Summit (MWS), the premier event of the ongoing 2015 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
Julfar also holds the position of Vice Chair of the GSMA, which organises the annual Congress and unites over 800 telecom operators and over 250 companies that operate in the broader mobile eco system.
Etisalat CEO said that the public internet needs to evolve further and this requires investment in capacity, new solutions, technologies and innovative business models. The telco sector will not be able to drive this alone, as they face the risk of a big disruption due to the shifts across the value chain.
"Etisalat believes that access to broadband is a basic right for everyone and it can be served smartly, where needed," he said. "But providing universal access to broadband poses a challenge for telcos because network investments not only have long pay-back periods and capex on infrastructure today yields diminishing returns." Julfar said that "new investment models based on semi-public funding from governments or infrastructure-sharing models defined by regulators are urgently needed and should be encouraged." Sharing his views on ‘connecting billions across the developing world,' Julfar said, "The benefits of increasing connectivity are clear to see in economic, social and environmental fields, but there is a clear digital gap. Some 60 per cent of the world's population remains unconnected, the majority of which is in rural areas of the developing world." By 2020, approximately 3.8 billion men and women, or half of the world's population will be connected to the internet via mobile and a vast majority of the new users will be in developing countries.
"Telecommunications revolutionises everything we do; it is the industry that changes all other industries. Governments know it. That's why, over the past 10 years, more than 150 governments have developed or are developing national broadband networks. The primary goal is to make the country benefit from the economic impact of broadband. And we share a common interest to keep investing in the future internet." He proposed a number of changes the telecommunications ecosystem - Governments, Regulators, Internet companies and NGOs – should embrace. These include: new competitive models to allow telcos to focus on market value creation through collaboration between private and public sectors to distribute more choice, affordability and welfare to citizens.
Julfar added: "Some of the most innovative models today come from emerging countries. Etisalat Group takes a different approach in various developing countries that it operates in, and not one size fits all. Our ability to be flexible to meet individual market need drives our growth across the region. This flexible approach has enabled Etisalat Group to extend service provision for millions of people." Etisalat Group today encompasses 19 countries across two continents, and includes dynamic emerging markets across the Middle East, Asia and Africa serving over 182 million subscribers.
Julfar was joined on the panel by HM Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, United Nations Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development; Jon Fredrik Baksaas, Chairman, GSMA and President and CEO, Telenor Group, and Ann Cairns, President, International Markets, MasterCard. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395277362187.html

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Sultan bin Tahnoun opens Royal Rose Hotel Abu Dhabi

posted on 03/03/2015

Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoun Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Transport Department and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture has opened the Royal Rose Hotel, Abu Dhabi, one of the City Seasons Group Hotels owned by the Bin Ham Group.
At the beginning of the ceremony, Sheikh Sultan unveiled a special plaque and cut the opening ribbon, after which he toured suites and the health service and recreational facilities. The hotel has 355 guest rooms and royal luxury suites and was built at a cost of Dh700 million dirhams.
The opening ceremony was attended by Sheikh Musallam Salem bin Ham Al Ameri, a Member of the Advisory Council of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and Chairman of Bin Ham Group, and a number of ambassadors and representatives of government institutions and companies.
Sheikh Musallam extended his thanks and appreciation to Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoun Al Nahyan for opening the Royal Rose, noting that the Bin Ham Group is seeking through its local investments to strengthen the national economy.
He said that the private sector plays an important role in stimulating economic activity in the country and become a complement to the role of the public sector.
He pointed out that the group is working to expand its business through the hotel sector, which is one of the main reasons for the growth of the tourism sector, attracting visitors from different parts of the world as the UAE has become a focal point of tourist attraction both regionally and globally. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395277342333.html

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Abdullah bin Zayed, Luxembourg's Crown Prince review friendship ties

posted on 03/03/2015

H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister, on Monday received Crown Prince Guillaume of Luxembourg, who is currently visiting the UAE.
Sheikh Abdullah welcomed Prince Guillaume and his accompanying delegation, wished success for his visit and expressed the hope that it would contribute towards further enhancing friendly bilateral ties and serve the interest and good of the two people.
The meeting tackled the state of affairs of bilateral cooperation ties and means to bolster them in various fields in a way that opens up new avenues of joint action. The two parties also explored prospects of creating opportunities of joint partnership in different sectors.
They also exchanged views and consultation on a variety of latest regional and international developments of mutual concern.
Countess Stephanie de Lannoy, wife of Prince Guillaume, Pierre Gramegna, Minister of Finance, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, Khaled Ghanem Al Ghaith, Assistant Foreign Minister for Economic Affairs, and Sulaiman Hamid Al Mazrouie, UAE Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium and non-Resident Ambassador to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, attended the meeting. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395277357213.html

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Hanif Al Qasim: Promotion of our national identity values comes on top in agenda of our wise leadership

posted on 03/03/2015

Dr. Hanif Hassan Al Qassim, Chairman of the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue, has stressed that the well-established principles of the UAE national identity constitute a central part of the vision of wise leadership towards a promising future in which new generations will contribute towards preserving the Arab and Islamic identity.
He hailed the keenness 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 the Members of Supreme Council and Rulers of Emirates, to provide practical mechanisms so as to boost awareness regarding these national identity principles.
Al Qasimi made the remarks while speaking at a symposium held at his Majlis in Dubai yesterday evening. Emirati writer and thinker Abdul Ghafar Hussein also addressed the symposium, focussing on the values of loyalty and allegiance, among others. The event was attended by Bahrain's Minister of Education, Majid Al Nuaimi, and a number of personalities of different disciplines.
He referred to continuous efforts to encourage innovations of young people to upgrade and update the performance of business segments and develop concepts of various components of society, referring to the third Governmental Summit, held recently in Dubai in the presence of many VIPs and decision-makers representing over 90 countries from different continents.
Al Qasim said the UAE was ranked world's top when it comes to co-existence, noting that over 200 nationalities live in the UAE, as per the report of the UN's International Organisation for Peace, Care and Relief (IOPCR).
On his part, Hussein said loyalty, allegiance, solidarity and co-existence are components of Emirati values that pass from one generation to another, adding that those values had been cherished by the founding fathers who had contributed so much to this country despite challenges during certain historic phases. He referred to the legacies of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, who laid the foundation of this nation, based on authentic noble values. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395277353949.html

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UAE partakes in Arab League anti-terror meeting

posted on 03/03/2015

CAIRO: The UAE has participated in the 17th meeting of the Arab League's Counter-Terrorism Team of Experts which was held at the pan-Arab organisation's headquarters in the presence of representatives of counter-terrorism agencies of member countries.
The UAE delegation to the meeting is led by Mahash Al Hameli, Director of Security and International Cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The UAE delegation includes Ali Abdullah Al Shamsi, Mohammed Abdul Rehman Al Zaabi, who represent the Ministry of Interior, and Ali Al Shamili, Director of Arab League Affairs at the UAE Embassy in Cairo.
In his opening speech, the head of the Arab League's Counter-Terrorism Team of Experts, Ahmed Mustafa, emphasised that the Arab region is going through unprecedented challenges including an increasing number of terrorist acts and the existence of violent and terrorist organisations such as ISIL (Daesh) that are harming all people. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395277362423.html

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Masdar Institute to reveal innovations in Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture at Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture 2015

posted on 03/03/2015

Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, an independent, research-driven graduate-level university focused on advanced energy and sustainable technologies, yesterday announced it will highlight key research projects for their innovative role in safeguarding food security and sustainable agriculture at the Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture (GFIA) 2015.
GFIA is being organised from 9-11 March 2015 under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Presidential Affairs and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority, at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC).
Faculty members will lead teams that will showcase the research projects at the Masdar Institute stand (A-241). The projects will include development of sustainable food and bioenergy through an Integrated Seawater, Energy and Agriculture System (ISEAS) pilot facility, improvement of Abu Dhabi's soil texture and quality through the use of palm frond waste, and regeneration of specific Abu Dhabi soils for agricultural purposes through the introduction of beneficial microbes with moisture and water retaining biodegradable micro-beads. In addition, two faculty members will participate in panel discussions and share their expertise at the event.
"The Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture is an effective platform to showcase some of our regionally relevant research projects. This event will validate the valuable contributions of our research to local as well as international stakeholders. As a leading research-oriented academic institution seeking innovation in clean energy and sustainable technologies, Masdar Institute remains committed to obtaining solutions to challenges faced by the UAE and the region," said Dr Steve Griffiths, Executive Director, Office of Institute Initiatives, Masdar Institute.
The display of the project that seeks to transform Abu Dhabi's palm frond waste into a food security solution will be led by Dr. Lina F. Yousef, Assistant Professor, Water and Environmental Engineering. The research is expected to result in new technologies for enhancing the agricultural landscape and for water conservation in soil, which is directly relevant to the UAE's vision of becoming a leader in environmental conservation and water resource management. Dr Yousef will also be part of a panel discussion on restoring and managing marginal lands for agriculture.
At the same time, Dr Hector H. Hernandez, Assistant Professor, Chemical Engineering, will brief visitors on the display of the research project that aims to regenerate specific Abu Dhabi soils for agricultural purposes. This project has the potential to help alleviate the poor conditions of the UAE soils and increase both the overall production of food from current agricultural farms and increase the availability of farmland for future use. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395277340995.html

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ADEC’s Director General highlights the pivotal role played by school leaders to help enhance study assessments

posted on 03/03/2015

One of Abu Dhabi Education Council's (ADEC's) most important gatherings occurred yesterday, where Dr. Amal Al Qubaisi, Director General at ADEC, expressed appreciation and admiration to an audience of public and private school leaders, regarding their participation and support in two pivotal international studies that will help shape the future of Abu Dhabi and the UAE.
The meeting was held for school leaders from across 232 public and private schools in Abu Dhabi, where 10,000 students are participating in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) from February until May 2015. Additionally, school leaders from across 117 schools in Abu Dhabi which represents 5,000 students participating in the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), were also present at the town hall meeting.
"Education is vital for the economic prosperity of a nation, is a key pillar of the UAE's growth and is among the top priorities for our UAE's leadership. Your schools participation in TIMSS and PISA will not only help shape the future for Abu Dhabi and the UAE, but will result in demonstrating the improving quality of our education system to the world," said Her Excellency.
TIMSS is an international study of student achievement in Mathematics and Science that has a strong curriculum focus. This year, a sample of sections in Grades 4 and 8 from selected public and private schools are participating in the study assessment. Their participation will help identify background factors that may influence achievement and inform education policies and directions.
PISA on the other hand, is an international study of student achievement in Reading Literacy, Mathematics and Science, and is mainly focused on the application of skills to real life situations. This year, a sample of 15 year old students in Grades 9 to 11 from selected public and private schools are participating in PISA 2015.
"TIMSS and PISA are not examinations; they are studies that have a strategic role within the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, since both assessments support the human capital strategies of the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030. ADEC is proud of each of your schools for participating in such an important initiative which will not only help reform the education system but will also help identify strengths and weaknesses in each of your schools in comparison to more than 60 other education systems across the world," said Dr. Al Qubaisi.
She emphasised the pivotal role played by school leaders in highlighting the importance of these studies within the entire school community (teachers, students and parents).
"Students idealise their teachers, thus a teachers role is critical in encouraging students to willingly participate in the studies. Parents should also be well informed on all steps and procedures regarding the assessments, so that they can further encourage their children to feel proud of representing the Emirate. You must always remember that your schools will help inspire future generations and other schools to take part in these essential studies," said ADEC's Director General.
Dr. Al Qubaisi explained that different countries and education systems participate in TIMSS and PISA due to providing excellent opportunities to benchmark levels of learning achievement in education, while identifying background factors that are influencing achievement within an education system.
"Policies, practices and achievements across different educational systems in the world are compared in these important study assessments, which will help the UAE determine where it stands and how it can further improve on certain aspects," she concluded. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395277357169.html

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Sultan witnesses signing ceremony of MoU between Universities of Sharjah, Cairo

posted on 03/03/2015

H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah and also President of the University of Sharjah (UoS), yesterday morning attended the signing ceremony of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Universities of Sharjah and Cairo at the President of UoS' office.
The move reflects the two universities' conviction about the importance of Arab and international cooperation in the fields of higher education, excellence in education, training and scientific research.
The deal was signed by both, the Chancellor of the UoS, Dr. Hamid M. Al Naimi, and the President of University of Cairo, Dr. Gaber Nassar.
Among the clauses of the MoU, the two parties will develop academic curricula, research, joint cooperation, hold conferences and workshops, exchange expertise and publications as well as conduct student and teaching staff swap programmes. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395277343645.html

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Federal Supreme Court adjourns hearings in case of a defendant accused of communicating with a foreign state

posted on 03/03/2015

The State Security Division of the Federal Supreme Court, which was supposed to deliver its verdict yesterday in the case in which A.R.A is charged with communicating with a foreign state, decided to convene on March 9 to re-hear the defence witness to clarify some points before the final judgment is pronounced.
Meanwhile, the Court also adjourned, at the request of the defence lawyers, until March 23, the hearings in the case in which an Arab resident (M.K.M) is accused of having committed hostile acts against a foreign state, to hear defence witnesses.
The State Prosecution has accused the defendant M.K.M, owner of an electronics company, of importing electronic chips which contained electric circuits used in launching military ammunitions and voice analyser, though he claimed he imported the devices for two government entities in the UAE. He also forged documents belonging to the said governments and re-exported the equipment to his home country, a practice which could mar political relations between the two countries.
According to the charge sheet, the defendant engaged by means of agreement, aiding and abetting with another unknown person to forge official documents, stamps and signatures and presented them to a company in another country to import the electronic chips.
He and his accomplice also committed the same illegal practices to import a voice analyser to a local university from a foreign company. He was also charged with importing and re-exporting these devices without a license from the Committee on Commodities Subject to Import and Export Control.
The State Prosecution said the defendant has committed offences punishable by some clauses of the Federal Penal Code, Federal Law No. (3) of 2009 regarding Weapons, Ammunition and Explosives, and Federal Law No. (12) of 2008 concerning the Commodities Subject to Import and Export Control.
The defendant denied the charges filed against him while his lawyer requested the court to summon the defence witnesses. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395277356596.html

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Mohammed bin Rashid Issues Decree forming International Humanitarian City Authority, Chaired by Princess Haya

posted on 03/03/2015

In his capacity as Ruler of Dubai, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has issued Decree No. (5) of 2015 forming the Board of Directors of Dubai International Humanitarian City Authority.
The Decree names Her Royal Highness Princess Haya bint Al Hussein, wife of UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, as the chairperson of the board.
The Decree also names Ibrahim Mohamed Bumelha as Deputy Chairman and appoints eight board members: Abdullah Ahmed Al Habbai, Abdullah Abdul Rahman Al Shaibani, Major General Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri, Helal Saeed Al Marri, Hisham Abdullah Al Qasim, Saeed Mohamed Hareb, Dr. Mohammed Ateeq Al Falahi and Hamad Saeed Al Shamsi.
Pursuant to the Decree, the Board of Directors shall be valid for three renewable years.
The decree is effective as of 19th December 2014 and shall be published in the Official Gazette. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395277347628.html

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HAI drills two wells in Sudan worth Dh 400,000

posted on 03/03/2015

The Human Appeal International, HAI, has completed the drilling of two Artesian wells in Sudan valued at a cost of about Dh 400,000 to serve approximately five thousand people.
Obaid Al Matrooshi, Deputy Secretary-General of the HAI, said in a statement on the occasion that the drilling of wells is "one of the basic strategic projects of the HAI and we are implementing them as per the directives of our wise leadership to provide and carry out water projects around the world." He pointed to the continuation of HAI's work to provide more wells so as to support people's stability and enhance the UAE leadership's charitable and humanitarian position in the region. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395277330920.html

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Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak app for CVs launched on smartphones

posted on 03/03/2015

The General Women's Union yesterday launched the Curriculum Vitae application of 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, on smartphones using the Android operating system, as the first mobile biography application at state level, demonstrating Sheikha Fatima's commitment to further the march of the pioneering personality of women working in the state, and as part of her support for the issues of Arab women regionally and internationally.
In a statement on the occasion, Noura Khalifa Al Suwaidi, the Director of the General Women's Union, said that the launch of this interactive application coincides with the Mother's Day anniversary and International Women's Day, for the importance attached with these great occasions in the march of Emirati women's progress and also to celebrate achievements and gains made at the local level. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/general/1395277329061.html

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Dubai Health Authority Call Centre goes 24/7

posted on 03/03/2015

In a move to provide customer-centric services, the Dubai Health Authority, DHA, announced yesterday that it has extended its Call Centre operations to provide round-the-clock support to its customers.
Sheikha Al Rahoomi, Director of Customer Relations at DHA, said, "From 1st of March, the DHA Call Centre is operational 24/7. This decision is in line with the vision of Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, that government entities should provide services for 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and ensure that they go to the people rather than people going to the government for services. In line with H.H.'s vision and the Dubai Health Strategy 2013-2025, the Authority decided to expand its call centre services." Al Rahoomi said the customer-centric approach will ensure callers have 24/7 access to get their queries resolved.
DHA's Call Centre was established in December 2011 and since then, customer service representatives have answered 450,000 calls. Call Centre agents are fluent in English, Arabic, Urdu/Hindi, Farsi and French.
Al Rahoomi said a majority of the queries pertain to licensing services, medical fitness services, complaints and suggestions, information with regard to health services as well as information about DHA's campaigns and events. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/general/1395277336933.html

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Global Village: bringing world cities under one roof

posted on 03/03/2015

Many cities hold exhibitions and fairs displaying artefacts and produces of other countries. While they do represent the global theme of today's business culture, they lack the more significant aspect of the chance to witness the culture that goes into making the product and to see the people behind it all. Dubai has brought together the entire world in one destination, the Global Village, which is itself is unique to the city. The way Global Village answered this need through the true manifestation of the architectural, traditional and cultural colours of the modern connected world at one destination, is truly exceptional.
According to a report published by the Khaleej Times daily, Global Village has become one of Dubai's biggest brands and tourism destinations, with a team of over 10,000 people ensuring the delivery of a fantastic experience for visitors over its more than five-month season. It welcomes nearly five million guests a year and is regarded as one of the region's most popular home-grown tourism and cultural leisure brands.
Conceived in the cradle of a kiosk-form theme park in 1996, Global Village continues to grow in leaps and bounds. This year's addition of Cambodia, Iraq and The Americas totals 31 pavilions with more than 70 countries representing every continent as the brand's cultural reach and diversity excels.
In addition to the pavilions and new national representations, visitors can sample a colourful and international selection of handmade goods, artefacts and tasty samples from 150 kiosks and 3,500 shopping outlets at Global Village, adding more colour and vibrancy to the event.
Despite the end of the Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) a few weeks ago, the charm and euphoria of the Global Village is continuing to attract more and more visitors each and every day due to the revolutionary vision of its management.
"Global Village has hosted nearly 3.3 million visitors until the end of the DSF and the season is still at its peak with wonderful weather and many more special activities and concerts planned until April 11th. We have had a very good response to all the new enhancements and special events, which we have activated throughout the season and will continue to do so for the benefit of all our guests," Ahmed Hussain, COO of Global Village told the daily.
The shopping bonanza is not the only attraction at the Global Village. The venue is hugely popular for its dining experience. This year, Global Village extended its dining options with more restaurants and cafes providing various choices to savour food and unique tastes from around the world.
"We have already begun preparations for the next season of Global Village and would like to invite any new investors and partners who would like to be a part of the 20th edition of Global Village. We want to encourage entrepreneurs and SMEs and believe that Global Village is a very good platform for them," Hussain added.
In addition to bringing new revolutionising ideas on-board, the COO of the Global Village believes on the importance of traditional voice of the customers for business enhancement. He is keen on recording the response of the guests and the shoppers to further improve the quality of the services and live up to the expectations of the visitors.
"We had conducted a survey for our visitors to gauge their feedback and response to all our new initiatives this season. We are proud that across all our categories – entertainment, shopping, food, parking, friendliness and services – we have been ranked very highly. The idea behind conducting this survey is to ensure that we meet and exceed the expectations of our guests," he said. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/general/1395277326195.html

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Maraya Art Centre and Barjeel Art Foundation host opening night for 2 unique exhibitions

posted on 03/03/2015

SHARJAH, 3rd March, 2015 (WAM) -- Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairperson of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority, Shurooq, attended, on Sunday evening, the opening night of two revolutionary art exhibitions at Maraya Art Centre, Sharjah's innovative contemporary visual arts hub, in collaboration with Barjeel Art Foundation, in participation of a group of creative young artists from the region and beyond.
The opening night of the bespoke exhibitions, respectively titled ‘Accented' and the 2nd edition of ‘Aide-Memoire' was attended by Abdullah Al Owais, Chairman of Sharjah Department of Culture and Information, Hisham Al Madhloum, Director of Art Directorate at the Department of Culture and Information in Sharjah, Manal Ataya, Director General of Sharjah Museums, Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, CEO of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority, Department and Badr Jafar CEO of Crescent Enterprises.
Both exhibitions were well received by specials guests, art critics and members of the public alike.
Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi toured the two exhibitions and met a number of the participating artists. She expressed her appreciation of the high level of artworks which address the impacts of technological evolution on the modern life from cultural perspective. She added that the diversity of accents and languages around the world reflect the richness of human civilisation and that this diversity must be used as a stimulus to communicate with and explore others, and to cooperate with them to promote international peace and stability. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/general/1395277340168.html

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New heat-tolerant algal species discovered in Abu Dhabi corals

posted on 03/03/2015

A new species of algae has been discovered in coral reefs of Abu Dhabi, an organism that helps corals survive seawater temperatures of up to 36 degrees Celsius, temperatures that would be lethal to corals elsewhere in the world.
In a collaborative project between New York University Abu Dhabi and the University of Southampton in the UK, researchers have identified a unique species of symbiotic algae that occurs in corals in the southern Arabian Gulf. The new species has been named Symbiodinium thermophilum, after its heat-loving properties. The breakthrough discovery was published this week in Nature's journal, Scientific Reports.
"The Arabian Gulf is the world's hottest sea," said John Burt, Associate Professor of Biology and head of the NYU Abu Dhabi Marine Biology Lab. "Abu Dhabi reefs can provide incredible insight into how corals may adapt to increasing temperatures expected under future climate change." "We used novel molecular biological approaches to identify this species," explained Professor Jorg Wiedenmann, Professor of Biological Oceanography and Head of the Coral Reef Laboratory at the University of Southampton. "These approaches allowed us to get much higher resolution to distinguish these symbionts from those in other parts of the world's oceans." Reefs are made up of many coral species, most of which live in a mutually beneficial relationship with microscopically small algae hosted in their tissue. These symbiont algae produce sugars that contribute to the diet of the coral in return for shelter and nutrients that are vital for algal growth.
However, the symbiotic association is vulnerable to changes in environmental conditions, in particular to increases in seawater temperature. Heat-stress induced loss of the algal partners from the coral host can result in the often fatal process known as "coral bleaching." "Understanding how corals survive under the extreme temperatures in the Arabian Gulf will give us important insights into the ability of reef corals to handle the heat stress, which is threatening their survival in the oceans that are warming up in response to climate change," explained Professor Wiedenmann. "It gives hope to find that corals have more ways to adjust to stressful environmental conditions than we had previously thought," he added.
"We monitored the stability of the symbiotic partnership seasonally for two years to ensure that this partnership was stable through a range of temperatures," comments Professor Burt. "We can confirm that this new type of alga is indeed a consistently dominant symbiont across several common coral species in Abu Dhabi," he added.
"This finding shows us the unique nature of corals in Abu Dhabi", said Professor Burt. "But it also highlights the importance of coral reef ecosystems in the Emirates and the need to ensure their conservation into the future." Recent conservation and research efforts supported by the Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi (EAD) have helped in this regard, Burt said. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/general/1395277325866.html

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Global sports awards unveiled for Abu Dhabi

posted on 03/03/2015

PARIS: In the saturated and omnipresent world that is the media today, athletes in particular have a way of becoming outsized, heroic figures.
We honour them annually for their ability to be better and seemingly larger in every sport. From the Ballon d'Or to Olympic medals and Sports Personality of the Year, athletes are in no short supply of hardware to add to the colourful stories of their careers.
Now, however, a major international award scheme hosted by Abu Dhabi Media will honour the work of those who tell those colourful stories.
Monday night at the Louvre in Paris, the International Sports Press Association (Aips) announced the launch of the Sport Media Pearl Awards to recognise the work – integral to the production of sport – not performed by athletes, but by the sports media.
The awards will be presented at a gala dinner in the UAE capital in December.
They will be the culmination of a rigorous and independent international search and judging process by Aips, which will seek to identify and reward the very best in sports journalism.
The announcement represents a new, ambitious effort to reward excellence in sports journalism in a global fashion that is largely without precedent.
While journalism as a profession is regularly rewarded through the Pulitzers or any other of a prolific number of industry awards, sports journalism is without any kind of annual international standard-bearing prize.
The Sport Media Pearl Awards aim to fill that void.
Aips, a Paris-based professional body for sports journalists, which has more than 10,000 representatives in more than 160 countries, will independently take open entries from around the world in any language.
Freelancers will also be able to submit entries on the awards website but only those published between September 1 last year and August 31this year will be considered.
In a months-long process, it will cut those down to a shortlist of 10, from which three will be selected to attend the ceremony.
The Sport Media Pearl Awards will recognise six main categories: photography, writing, video, audio, blogging and "sport for a better world”. The photography, writing and video categories will each contain two awards.
There will also be three categories honouring lifetime achievement, investigative reporting and web app development.
The Abu Dhabi ceremony and dinner will come at the end of a two-day conference aimed at becoming a global forum for the profession and its future.
Organisers describe the awards as aiming "to become the most significant international accolade across every platform for achievement in sport storytelling”.

2- Award outlines:
Journalists will be honoured in six key disciplines, as well as with three special awards. Here is a look at the criteria that will be used to determine each winner:
Sport for a Better World
This will be given to the sports journalism that, according to the organisers, is "dedicated to coverage of a sporting initiative ... that aims to better the lives of the less fortunate or marginalised”. It will be the award most purely aimed at recognising journalism that captures sport's human side. This honour will carry with it a donation of US$50,000 (Dh183,648) to the cause brought to light by the piece of journalism.
Photography
Two awards will be open to professional photographers. Print or web-based photographers will be eligible to win in either the "athletic prowess” category – a world-record moment, a career-defining achievement or some other kind of transcendent success; or "emotion” category – poignantly capturing the jubilation, heartbreak or incredulity of a moment.
Writing
Awards are for best column and best colour piece. Judges of the best column will seek to find writing that analyses and illuminates a given sport, that displays a profound understanding of a given sport and the writer's ability to transmit that meaning to readers. The best colour will reward the most resonant piece of writing, which singularly captures the life of sport and the gravity of the moment inherent to sport.
Audio
This will recognise the role of the auditory – be it a telecast, radio broadcast or podcast – in amplifying the sense of the occasion in sport.
Video
There will be two video awards. The first will reward the complexity and enlightening nature of the documentary, while the second will be awarded for the capture of an action sequence – the single highlight that displays sport's ability to excite and amaze.
Journalist weblog
This award will aim to find the best, most innovative writing in the world of new media. The most resonant writing for a web audience, the ability to foster community and the most dynamic sense of communicating on a digital platform.
Special categories
There are also special categories. "A Life in Sport” will honour lifetime achievement by a sports media professional, "Investigative Reporting” will recognise the dedication given to digging for hard, important stories and the "Best App” will reward the best platform that engages sports fans.
For more on the Sport Media Pearl Awards click here. – The National - http://www.thenational.ae/uae/global-sports-awards-unveiled-for-abu-dhabi

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Third Dubai Desert Triathlon set to be a success

posted on 03/03/2015

The third edition of the Dubai Desert Triathlon, to be held on the 13th March, has generated significant excitement within the triathlon and endurance horse riding communities in the United Arab Emirates and the Middle East.
The Dubai Sports Council, in partnership with Meydan, developed this innovative event in April 2014, which combines the traditional Emirati heritage sport of endurance horse racing with the triathlon disciplines of running and cycling.
"We are very pleased with the response we have had from teams, triathletes and endurance riders so far. This is the third running of the Dubai Desert Triathlon and we see this as the new sport from the Middle East" said a spokesperson from Dubai Sports Council.
"This event showcases not only the strength of these sports in Dubai and the region, but also the creativity and innovation which has become Dubai's international trademark" the spokesperson added.
The event, which will take place at the Dubai International Endurance City, DIEC, has attracted competitors from across the region and internationally. Competitors who are not registered horse riders can participate as teams and can be matched with a rider to complete their team.
The event will kick off at 6am with a 5km run, a 50km cycle and finishing with a 40km endurance horse ride in the Dubai International Endurance City (DIEC), which is approximately a 40 minute drive from Dubai next to Bab Al Shams Desert Resort and Spa.
Athletes will be competing for honours in the categories of fastest overall individual triathlete and fastest team.
DIEC will also be transformed into a triathlon village for the day, with activities and entertainment for families supporting the event. The village will be established close to the transition area so spectators can catch all the action as the individual triathletes and teams vie for the honour of winning the third Dubai Desert Triathlon. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/sports/1395277324806.html



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