Mohammed bin Rashid opens Burj Al Arab Terrace

posted on 26/05/2016

Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum yesterday opened the Burj Al Arab Terrace in the presence of Deputy Ruler of Dubai H.H. Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
A world-first in marine and off-site construction, the Burj Al Arab Terrace is an outdoor luxury leisure facility that offers a one-of-a-kind hospitality experience.
Jumeirah Group, the global luxury hotel company and a member of Dubai Holding, manages Burj Al Arab, one of the world's most luxurious hotels and a prominent landmark of Dubai.
The architectural form of the Terrace has been designed to reflect the shape of Burj Al Arab, creating a fusion of sophisticated, contemporary structures and tranquil stretches of water. Linked by a central walkway, flanked on either side by crystalline beaches and private cabanas, it gives the effect of a stylised tropical forest canopy, with contrasting areas of dappled light and shade.
Chairman of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum; H.H. Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum; Chairman of Dubai Holding Mohammad Al Gergawi; and Director General of Dubai Protocol Department Khalifa Saeed Sulaiman and a host of senior officials and tourism industry leaders attended the opening event.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid toured the outdoor luxury leisure facility and was briefed on the construction phases, design, building technologies and the methods used to transport the ‘artificial island' from Finland to Dubai.
Sheikh Mohammed praised the concept of the project, which he said, represents the highest innovation and creativity in design and implementation. His Highness said that innovation and excellence are a hallmark of projects implemented in the UAE and Dubai is keen to encourage such creativity to achieve progress in all fields.
His Highness further said: "A few days ago, we inaugurated the world's first 3D printed office, and today we are opening Burj Al Arab Terrace, the first manmade luxury beach facility of its kind. Both projects reflect Dubai's vision to achieve global leadership in innovation and excellence.
The 5,000 ton artificial island was constructed at a shipyard site in Finland and then transported by ship to Dubai in eight pieces, ensuring minimal disruption to guests, as well as the seabed and marine life. Now in place, the 10,000m2 outdoor luxury leisure facility seamlessly stretches 100m out into the sea and is home to Scape Restaurant, two stunning pools, dedicated butler-serviced cabanas, and a beach area with luxury day and sunbeds. As such, Burj Al Arab Terrace not only pushes the boundaries of construction, but also of design, architecture and hospitality.
Vice Chairman and Managing Director of Dubai Holding Ahmad Bin Byat expressed his gratitude to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum for supporting innovation in all forms across sectors, including tourism and hospitality, an important pillar of the local economy.
Bin Byat said that Sheikh Mohammed's support for innovation and creativity encourages people to present new projects and ideas that can contribute to the country's economic development. The Managing Director of Dubai Holding also said that the new project further raises Dubai's profile as a global hub for tourism and upscale hospitality.
Burj Al Arab Terrace is a world-first in marine and off-site construction. The project was developed by Finnish marine construction experts ADMARES. – Emirates News Agency, WAM – http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395295935358.html

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Abu Dhabi Crown Prince, Egyptian President discuss relations, regional, int'l issues

posted on 26/05/2016

CAIRO: His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi yesterday discussed bilateral relations and a number of regional and international issues of common interest.
The talks took place at the al-Ittihadiya Presidential Palace where Al-Sisi received H.H. Sheikh Mohamed and members of the delegation accompanying him during a visit to Cairo.
President Al-Sisi welcomed H.H. Sheikh Mohamed and praised the excellent bilateral relations and their development due to the historic and close co-operation.
He thanked the UAE, under the leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, for taking an honourable stance for Egypt and its people.
H.H. Sheikh Mohamed extended his condolences to the Egyptian people for the victims of the Egyptair flight that crashed recently in the Mediterranean. He prayed to Allah Almighty to spare Egypt and its people from any misfortunes.
He conveyed to the Egyptian president, the greetings of H.H. Sheikh Khalifa and his best wishes of the continued progress, security and prosperity for Egypt.
Al-Sisi requested H.H. Sheikh Mohamed to convey his greetings and best wishes of further progress to H.H. Sheikh Khalifa for the UAE and its people.
H.H. Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan, National Security Adviser attended the meeting during which the parties examined bilateral relations and co-operation between the two countries and discussed ways of promoting these relations to serve the common interests of their brotherly peoples and capitalise on available opportunities in trade, economy, and development.
They also discussed international and regional issues with a focus on the crises in Syria, Yemen and Libya, as well as the dangers posed by terrorism for regional security and stability.
At the conclusion of the meeting, the parties underlined the need for the two countries to maintain strong strategic and historic relations, thanks to the keen interest of their leaders in continuing fraternal co-operation that serves the mutual interests of their countries and the whole Arab region.
They also underlined the importance of doubling Arab efforts and aligning them with the international community's efforts in order to put an end to the regional crisis and promote peace and security for states and their peoples.
They noted the need for combating all forms and manifestations of extremism and terrorism, regardless of their motives and pretexts, and by all possible means. They also stressed the need for co-ordinating and integrating all relevant efforts being made by the states.
H.H. Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed stressed that the UAE stands with Egypt and its people in their fight against terrorism, and said that Egypt's stability is vital for the stability of the Gulf region, the Middle East and the whole world.
The parties also stressed that intra-Arab co-operation and solidarity can counter all challenges and foreign interference of several parties that seek to undermine the security and stability of this region.
Later, the Egyptian president hosted a luncheon at al-Ittihadiya Presidential Palace in honour of H.H. Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed.
The meeting and the luncheon were attended by Ali bin Hammad Al Shamsi, Deputy Secretary-General of the Supreme National Security Council; Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Affairs Authority (EAA); Mohammed Mubarak Al Mazrouei, Under-Secretary at the Court of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince; Juma Mubarak Al Jenaibi, Ambassador of the UAE to Egypt; Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail; Mustafa Sherif, Chief of the Egyptian President's Office; Dalia Khorshid, Egyptian Minister of Investment; Major General Khaled Fawzy, Egypt's Chief of Intelligence, and other officials. – Emirates News Agency, WAM – http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395295936476.html

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UAE's media strengthening fight against terror, extremism: Al Jaber

posted on 26/05/2016

CAIRO: Dr. Sultan bin Ahmad Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State (Chairman of the Board of Director of National Media Council (NMC), on Wednesday stressed that the UAE media sector is playing a vital role in combating terrorism and extremism in line with the directives and vision of the country's leaders for countering violence and hate speech.
Al Jaber was delivering the UAE's opening speech at a meeting of the Council of Arab Information Ministers at the Arab League. The UAE is chair of the Council's 46th round of meetings.
He said, "The current circumstances in the Arab World underline the need for keeping the focus on the intellectual aspect of a UAE proposal on the role of media and directives from leaders for promoting positive thought and rejecting subversive thought that provokes racism and hate."
The proposal, which was endorsed by the pan-Arab council, highlights the role of the media and leadership in spreading the values of tolerance and peaceful co-existence, combating extremism and invigorating action to project these values and reflect the true essence of human civilisation, he noted.
He added that these values are also the optimal way to counter extremism and terrorism.
Al Jaber spoke about the UAE's relevant initiatives including the establishment of the Muslim Council of Elders to promote peace in Muslim communities and project the civilisational aspect of Islam, the Sawab Center to expose erroneous practices that distort Islam as well as shed lights upon the true spirit of this tolerant religion, and the Hedaya Center to counter all forms and manifestations of extremism and promote dialogue and co-operation.
Stressing the need for joint action to counter attempts to distort the image of Arab and Islamic civilisation as well as to uproot terrorist and extremist ideology.
He called for expanding the Arab Media Honour Code of Conduct to include online media and social media on which the Arab youth rely heavily as sources of information and news.
Al Jaber said this would immunise Arab societies against extremism and terrorism.
He also highlighted the importance of co-ordination between Arab countries to allow the media industry to play an effective role in highlighting major issues in the Arab region and the Arab Coalition's huge efforts against terrorism in Yemen and its recent success in countering al-Qaeda, as well as support Saudi Arabia's efforts to secure the Hajj season and keeping it as an non-politicised occasion.
At yesterday's meeting, Bahrain became the chair of the next round of meetings of the Council of Arab Information Ministers. – Emirates News Agency, WAM – http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395295928706.html

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Solar Impulse 2 plane lands in Pennsylvania

posted on 26/05/2016

Solar Impulse 2 has landed at Lehigh Valley International Airport in Pennsylvania after a flight that lasted more than 16 hours.
Bertrand Piccard took off from Dayton, Ohio on Wednesday after being grounded for 24 hours due to a hangar malfunction.
The flight, which took 16 hours and 47 minutes and travelled 1,044 km at an average speed of 62km/h with a maximum altitude of 4,572m, is part of an attempt to be the first plane to fly around the world using only the power of the Sun.
Co-pilot and co-founder Andre Borschberg will now fly the plane to New York City, including a flyover of the Statue of Liberty, while Piccard prepares for the Atlantic crossing which will take place a few days later and could take up to a week.
If the weather permits, Borschberg will leave as soon as possible to complete the crossing of the United States.
The Masdar-sponsored project began in Abu Dhabi in March 2015 and is expected to end in the capital. – The National - http://www.thenational.ae/uae/environment/solar-impulse-2-plane-lands-in-pennsylvania

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UAE keen on stronger cooperation with China, Hong Kong: Economy Minister

posted on 26/05/2016

Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, has emphasised the keen interest of the United Arab Emirates to strengthen co-operation with China and Hong Kong in the light of the common desire of both governments and their continuing efforts to work for the mutual benefit of the two friendly peoples.
In a statement to the Emirates News Agency (WAM), following his visit to Hong Kong, Al Mansouri said that the UAE and Hong Kong share numerous economic goals that have contributed to the development of the growing economic relations between them.
He noted that the UAE has made great strides with Hong Kong to provide a common environment promoting entrepreneurship, innovation and sustainability.
During his visit, Al Mansouri held a number of bilateral meetings with senior officials of the Hong Kong and Chinese governments, and stressed that the economic and trade relations between them is growing steadily.
Al Mansouri said that the official statistics indicate a significant increase in the annual volume of trade exchange between the UAE and Hong Kong, where the non-oil trade between them has risen from US$4.1 billion in 2011 to more than $6.2 billion in 2015, and added that these figures indicate the depth and strength of relations between the two sides.
The visit to Hong Kong on 18th and 19th May included the participation of the UAE delegation, led by the Minister of Economy, in a number of dialogue sessions within the activities at the Belt and Road Summit in Hong Kong, which dealt with ways of achieving development goals and increasing the investment opportunities offered by the China-proposed Belt and Road initiative.
The Belt and Road initiative refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, launched by the Chinese president in 2013.
The Minister of Economy stressed the importance of the China-proposed Belt and Road initiative launched by China recently as it has a direct impact on the promotion of international trade by opening up opportunities for the development of economic co-operation among more than 60 countries across the Middle East, Asia, Europe and Africa.
Stressing that the UAE's economic and trade relations with China and Hong Kong are strong, Al Mansouri said that there are many opportunities to promote existing economic relations to the highest levels in the light of the Silk Road and Economic Belt Initiative. – Emirates News Agency, WAM – http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395295919293.html

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ADFD plays vital role in development of Kingdom of Jordan

posted on 26/05/2016

Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) and the Government of Jordan enjoy strong historic ties that date back to more than four decades. Both countries have worked together towards achieving their sustainable development goals, supporting projects in fundamental sectors that benefit local communities.
Since commencing operation in Jordan in 1974, ADFD has funded 11 development projects worth AED507 million and managed 17 government grants to the tune of AED4.610 billion. This takes the total number of projects supported and managed by the Fund in the kingdom to 28 projects with a total project outlay of AED5.117 billion. These projects cover multiple sectors including mining, water and irrigation, energy, healthcare, transportation, housing, education and agriculture.
In addition to the concessional loans extended by ADFD to Jordan during the past decades, the UAE Government has provided the Kingdom with grants to fund projects that support economic and social development and ensure improved livelihoods for its citizens.
In 2013, the UAE allocated AED4.6 billion (US$1.25 billion) to Jordan as part of a US$5 billion grant that was approved during a GCC summit. Managed by ADFD, this grant is allocated towards funding vital projects that help accelerate economic development in Jordan.
Commenting on the distinguished relations between ADFD and the Government of Jordan, Eng. Imad Fakhoury, Minister of Planning and International Cooperation in Jordan, said: "Jordan and the UAE maintain deep-rooted ties that have grown from strength to strength over years due to the continued engagement between His Majesty King Abdullah II Ibn Al Hussein, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. This engagement has had a positive impact on both countries and has been translated into many successful development projects."
Lauding the UAE's crucial role in promoting economic development in Jordan, Fakhoury wished the UAE further progress and prosperity under the wise leadership of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. He also thanked ADFD for its continued support of Jordan's development since 1974, and for standing by the country to address its various economic and social challenges through financing development projects aligned with the Jordanian government's development priorities.
ADFD's funded development projects in Jordan have contributed to enhancing the social and economic standards of Jordanians and boosting the government's development goals and plans. The sectors supported by the Fund in the Kingdom includes: Energy: Meeting Jordan's surging energy demand represents a major challenge for the Jordanian government in its efforts to reduce the energy bill that puts pressure on the government expenditure. To help the Jordanian Government tackle this issue, ADFD has supported a number of projects in energy sector, such as: LPG Terminal in Aqaba City: A dedicated terminal for handling LPG is being constructed in Aqaba in line with the best practices and global safety standards. The project aims to help the Kingdom meet its LPG demand and increase its LPG handling capacities.
Construction of Storage Facilities for Petroleum Derivatives: The project aims to increase Jordan's storage capacities for petroleum derivatives by 60%, helping the country achieve oil security and create 200 new job opportunities.
Installation of Solar Panels in Al Quweira Region: The project aims to generate 75 megawatts of electricity from renewable sources and create 200 new job opportunities for people living in the Al Quweira region. Additionally, it seeks to reduce the cost of Jordan's fuel imports and encourage the private sector to invest in renewable energy sector.
Water and Irrigation: ADFD contributed to the development of many projects that serve the water and irrigation sectors in Jordan. The Fund financed the development a number of dams and irrigation projects that helped in replenishing ground water to Jordan's rapidly depleting aquifers and providing clean drinking water for its citizens. These projects have also had a direct impact on other vital economic sectors such as industry, agriculture and services. Some of the important projects supported by ADFD include: Construction of King Talal Dam Construction of Al Wahda Dam Construction of Zarqa-Ma'een Dam Construction of Kufranja Dam Renovation of Hasban – El Kefrain irrigation project Renovation of Southern Ghurs irrigation project Transportation Sector: ADFD financed the construction of a network of roads including international thoroughfares, ring roads in different provinces and a large network of rural and agricultural roads, strengthening Jordan's civil infrastructure and facilitating easy movement of people and goods between Jordan and the rest of the region and the world. These projects allowed Jordan to create a favourable climate for investment and reduce the number of road accidents, while also enhancing the competitiveness of the national economy. Some of the important projects supported by ADFD include: Road connecting Al Azraq with Syrian border Amman development corridor project Construction, expansion and improvement of roads Housing Sector: ADFD financed the development of Al Karamah residential district in Aqaba City. The project involved the construction of new housing units for residents of the southern Shallalah area who lacked basic services. The development project aimed to boost tourism in southern Shallalah, and provide all modern services to its citizens to empower them socially and economically.
Healthcare sector: ADFD contributed to the financing of a number of projects in the healthcare sector that helped the country extend the reach of healthcare services to larger segments of society, and efficiently manage the significant pressure on healthcare services due to the continued influx of refugees. The ADFD-financed projects also helped Jordan enhance its status as medical tourism hub by supporting the development of specialty hospitals and fitting out the existing facilities with the latest medical equipment. The Fund also provided assistance for the expansion of King Hussein Cancer Center. Some of the projects funded by ADFD in the healthcare sector include: Construction of a specialised children's hospital at King Hussein Medical City Provision of medical equipment to support the expansion of Al Bashir Hospital Construction of an oncology treatment centre Expansion of King Hussein Cancer Center Education and Higher Education Sector: ADFD funding for Jordan's education sector aimed to replace unsafe and overcrowded school buildings and phase out double shift and rented schools. The fund also supported the establishment of computer and science laboratories at schools to improve the quality of education and meet the unexpected increase in the number of students due to the enrolment of nearly 150,000 Syrian student.
In the higher education sector, ADFD aimed to enable public universities and community colleges to enhance the quality of education through setting up laboratories and supporting facilities. ADFD supported the following projects: Construction of (31) schools in various regions of Jordan Development of public universities Development of technical education at community colleges For his part, Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, Director General of Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) congratulated the leadership, government and people of the Kingdom of Jordan on the occasion of its Independence Day which falls on May 25. He also emphasised the strength and importance of historical relations between the UAE and Jordan, which flourished thanks to the wisdom of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and His Majesty King Abdullah II, King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
Al Suwaidi concluded that ADFD has actively assisted Jordan in its development process since 1974 through the financing of major development projects that have had a positive impact on the lives of thousands of Jordanians. These projects have helped the Jordanian government in achieving its development goals and providing improved standard of living for its citizens. – Emirates News Agency, WAM – http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates-arab/1395295942446.html

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Renewable Energy employs 8.1m people worldwide" new IRENA report

posted on 26/05/2016

More than 8.1 million people worldwide are now employed by the renewable energy industry – a five percent increase from last year – according to a report released yesterday by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) at its 11th Council meeting.
The report, Renewable Energy and Jobs – Annual Review 2016, also provides a global estimate of the number of jobs supported by large hydropower, with a conservative estimate of an additional 1.3 million direct jobs worldwide.
"The continued job growth in the renewable energy sector is significant because it stands in contrast to trends across the energy sector," said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin. "This increase is being driven by declining renewable energy technology costs and enabling policy frameworks. We expect this trend to continue as the business case for renewables strengthens and as countries move to achieve their climate targets agreed in Paris."
The total number of renewable energy jobs worldwide rose in 2015 while jobs in the broader energy sector fell, finds the report. In the United States for example, renewable energy jobs increased 6 per cent while employment in oil and gas decreased 18 per cent. Likewise in China, renewable energy employed 3.5 million people, while oil and gas employed 2.6 million.
As in previous years, enabling policy frameworks remained a key driver of employment. National and state auctions in India and Brazil, tax credits in the United States and favourable policies in Asia have all contributed to employment increases.
Countries with the most renewable energy jobs in 2015 included China, Brazil, the United States, India, Japan and Germany. The solar photovoltaic (PV) sector remains the largest renewable energy employer worldwide with 2.8 million jobs (up from 2.5 at last count) with jobs in manufacturing, installation and operations & maintenance. Liquid biofuels was the second largest global employer with 1.7 million jobs, followed by wind power, which grew 5 per cent to reach 1.1 million global jobs.
"As the ongoing energy transition accelerates, growth in renewable energy employment will remain strong," said Mr Amin. "IRENA's research estimates that doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix by 2030 – enough to meet global climate and development targets – would result in more than 24 million jobs worldwide."
-- Select report findings: - Solar PV is the largest renewable energy employer with 2.8 million jobs worldwide, an 11 per cent increase from last count. Employment grew in Japan and the United States, stabilised in China, and decreased in the European Union.
- Strong wind installation rates in China, the United States and Germany drove a 5 per cent increase in global employment to reach 1.1 million jobs. Wind employment in the United States alone rose by 21 per cent.
- Jobs in liquid biofuels, solar heating and cooling, and large and small hydropower decreased due to various factors including increased mechanisation, slowing housing markets, the removal of subsidies and the drop in new installations.
With more than a third of the global renewable energy capacity additions in 2015, China led employment with 3.5 million jobs.
In the European Union, the United Kingdom, Germany and Denmark were the global leaders in offshore wind employment. Overall, job figures in the EU declined for the fourth year due to weak economic growth. Jobs fell 3 per cent to 1.17 million in 2014, the last year for which data is available. Germany remains the highest European Union renewables employer– employing nearly as many as France, the United Kingdom, and Italy combined.
In the United States, renewable energy employment increased 6 per cent driven by growth in wind and solar. Solar employment grew 22 per cent – 12 times faster than job creation in the United States economy ¬– surpassing jobs in oil and gas. Employment in wind industry also grew 21 per cent.
Japan experienced impressive gains in solar PV in recent years, resulting in a 28 per cent increase in employment in 2014.
In India, solar and wind markets have seen substantial activity, as the ambitious renewable energy targets are translated into concrete policy frameworks.
Africa has also seen many interesting developments leading to job creation, including solar and wind development in Egypt, Morocco, Kenya and South Africa.
IRENA's early research indicates that the renewable energy sector employed larger shares of women than the broader energy sector. – Emirates News Agency, WAM – http://www.wam.ae/en/news/international/1395295933312.html

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Ministry of Finance announces AED 2 billion revenue from e-Dirham in Q1

posted on 26/05/2016

The Ministry of Finance, MoF, has announced that the Federal Government revenue collected through the e-Dirham initiative reached more than AED2 billion in Q1 2016, up 4.2 percent from AED1.92 billion in Q1 2015.
The number of service transactions carried out through e-Dirham during the first quarter of 2016 rose 10.7 percent to nearly 10.1 million, compared to 9.1 million transactions during the same period in 2015.
Saeed Rashid Al Yateem, MoF Assistant Under-Secretary of Resources and Budget Sector, said, "The figures point to the growing popularity of the e-Dirham system. It is now becoming the preferred mode of payment of individuals, corporate houses, and institutions."
The total payment receipts through the e-Dirham system increased by 24 percent for the first three months of 2016, nearly 5.1 million receipts in Q1 2016 compared to about 4.1 million receipts in Q1 2015. The number of sold e-Dirham ‘Al Haslah' prepaid cards reached 2 million by the end of March, 2016.
"e-Dirham is the initiative of the Federal Government in the financial sector. The Ministry of Finance is keen to promote and upgrade the e-Dirham system to fulfil its vision and strategic goals in enhancing the efficiency of the government's services and collections. e-Dirham helped the digital economy grow and aided the move towards smart governance," Al Yateem added.
"The UAE Federal Government, ministries and local authorities have been promoting electronic payment gateways. These efforts have shown highly positive results. The total e-collection of the ministries, authorities and federal government entities crossed AED 8.2 billion for 36.14 million government transactions last year," Al Yateem added.
In partnership with the National Bank of Abu Dhabi, the e-Dirham system has been in existence for 15 years now and its second generation, G2, services began in 2011. The e-Dirham user base and number of payment transactions have expanded rapidly over the years. Offerings include the ‘Al Haslah' prepaid cards, e-wallet, point-of-sale transactions, and e-Dirham self-service kiosks.
This year, the MoF started a media campaign to promote the brand and bring its many advantages to the notice of more potential customers. The campaign raises awareness not only on e-Dirham as a smart and secure substitute for cash, but also on the digitisation of financial transactions for public services.
Saif Ali Al Shehhi, Senior Managing Director, UAE Government and VVIP Clients, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, said, "The figures on e-Dirham usage for the first quarter of 2016 reflect the success of the system, which is being patronised by more clients. That trend is gaining ground day by day because of the system's convenience, efficiency, and its latest payment technologies. Since the G2 launch, 110 million e-services worth nearly AED24 billion have been transacted through e-Dirham."
"e-Dirham minimises people's reliance on cash and increases their control over expenses. This could also mean efficiency of revenue collection for companies," Al Shehhi added. – Emirates News Agency, WAM – http://www.wam.ae/en/news/economics/1395295913228.html

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MoI hosts dialogue on child rights law "Wadeema" with 33 entities

posted on 26/05/2016

The Human Rights Department at the General Secretariat of the Office of H.H Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior hosted an interactive dialogue session on the child rights law "Wadeema", which was attended by 33 societal and governmental entities.
In his welcome speech, Major General Khalifa Hareb Al Khaiaili, Acting Assistant Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Interior for Naturalisation, Residency and Ports Affairs, reiterated the Ministry of Interior's unwavering commitment to establish the UAE as a cultural beacon, one that is a role model in the region for reinforcing child protection and safety, through effective precautionary measures to promote safety and security in the society.
He said: "Partnerships amongst the different sectors are essential to achieve the objectives set out in the "Interactive Dialogue", notably to introduce the law as a comprehensive international and national child protection requirement; and determine the respective responsibilities assumed by the concerned authorities and personnel. The objectives also include shedding the light on the mechanisms to provide protection and prevention for children; the criminal penalties incurred by violators, and their connections to the other regulations."
The session was attended by Major General Salem Mubarak Al Shamesi, Director General of Finance and Support Services at the Ministry of Interior; Brigadier Ahmed Mohammed Nekhairah, Head of Human Rights Department at the Ministry of Interior; Judge Dr. Hatem Aly, UNODC's representative and head of the sub-regional office for the GCC; and Mohammed Salim Al Ka'bi, Chairman of the Emirates Human Rights Association, EHRA.
Also present were Amina Za'al Al Muhairi, Deputy Director of Human Rights Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; and a large crowd of guests including representatives of ministries, federal and local governmental entities, and civil society organisations concerned with human rights in the UAE. – Emirates News Agency, WAM – http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395295925272.html

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Government organisations mark local, national programmes for the UAE Year of Reading

posted on 26/05/2016

Mohammed Abdulla Al Gergawi, Chairman of the Higher Supervisory Committees for Year of Reading and UAE Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs and the Future, said, "There are more than 340 major reading initiatives and activities taking place across the country involving over 100 local entities working in co-ordination with the Higher Supervisory Committees for Year of Reading to achieve the objectives of this initiative. The aim is to weave the habit of reading into the very fabric of UAE society to nurture a generation of readers."
"The Year of Reading is intended to be a stepping stone to change in the UAE's society, a shift in habits and behaviours towards building a culture of reading and making it an inherent part of people's lives. These important programmes and initiatives aim to promote reading as a social habit, which is part of everyday life in the UAE, building a force for positive development," Al Gergawi commented.
The minister's statement coincided with the announcement of the projects and programmes being undertaken by the co-ordinating committees overseeing the 2016 Year of Reading in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Umm Al Qaiwain and Ajman as well as the committees of the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development.
Abdul Rahim Al Batih, Head of international Relations at Abu Dhabi Media, spoke about the programmes and activities that took place in the emirate of Abu Dhabi and highlighted the most important events in the Year of Reading including the Abu Dhabi Reads Campaign; Read a Story with a Star; the Innovative Reader competition; Al Ittihad Book of the Month; the Abu Dhabi Airport Reading Corner, and the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair.
The ‘Abu Dhabi Reads' campaign was organised by the Abu Dhabi Education Council and consisted of a series of events and activities that promote reading skills among school students as well as inculcate the reading habit in adults. Read a Story with a Star was organised by the National Library at the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority in collaboration with the Department of Municipal Affairs and Transport in Abu Dhabi. The event was held in Al Bahia Park and was attended by 150 children. The Innovative Reader competition was organised by Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority targeting boys and girls between 7 and 12 years of age.
The Book of the Month with Al Ittihad newspaper was part of Abu Dhabi Media's campaign for the Year of Reading, and represents a book that is chosen and distributed to Al Ittihad newspaper readers, while the Abu Dhabi Airport Reading Corner was launched by Abu Dhabi Airports, in collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority.
The Corner is a library at the Abu Dhabi International Airport designed to provide books in several languages for travellers. The Abu Dhabi International Book Fair is part of the "Kitab" strategy that aims to transform Abu Dhabi into a global hub of publishing and is a major regional platform for publishers, distributors, agents, cultural organisations, educationalists and readers.
Addressing the most prominent events in the Year of Reading, Aisha Miran, Assistant Secretary-General, Strategy Management and Governance Sector, said that the largest library in the Arab world will be established through the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Library. The project will include several libraries, as well as initiatives that aim to protect the Arabic language and encourage reading among the next generation. Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) also launched its public transport library initiative, providing small libraries in metro stations that consist of books in Arabic and English, and allowing passengers to borrow books to read and return them for the use of others.
Speaking of the activities of the emirate of Fujairah in the Year of Reading, Saeed Al Afkham, Director-General of the Fujairah Culture and Media Authority, said that some 96 events had been announced, of which 66 had been implemented, with the balance to take place by the year's end. Al Afkham spoke about a number of key initiatives taking place at the Fujairah International Exhibition for Education and Employment, which was held under the slogan ‘We Live to Read' at the Fujairah Exhibition Centre with the participation of 80 entities and 150 universities and educational institutions from around the world.
The Fujairah Foundation of Natural Resources has launched an initiative titled ‘Tourist's Reading' at the beginning of April, which aims to introduce tourists in the United Arab Emirates to the many historical, national, geographical and economic features in the Emirates while aiming to familiarise them with the most prominent initiatives and activities taking place across the country.
In April 2016, Fujairah College held its ‘Students Media Forum' under the banner ‘Reading is the Path to Creativity', organised by the students of the Faculty of Mass Communication and Public Relations Department in Fujairah.
The Fujairah Education Council will launch its ‘Reading for All' campaign in September, targeting remote areas, villages and inland cities in the emirate. The campaign includes literacy programmes and activities and a variety of contests and reading workshops conducted by selected reading ambassadors and staff from the Council.
Under the patronage of Sheikh Dr. Rashid bin Hamad Al Sharqi, Chairman of Fujairah Culture and Media Authority, the Fujairah Centre for Books and Documentation will be opening in October 2016. The Centre will include a public library open to researchers and readers, as well as a centre to document the heritage of the emirate's history and convert them into digital files for the benefit of the upcoming generations.
Abdullah Ali Bu-Aseeba, Director of the Umm Al Qaiwain Office of the Ministry of Information and Culture spoke about the emirate's special events taking place within the Year of Reading, highlighting the main events such as ‘A Story on the Beach' which saw tremendous participation from volunteers, citizens and community police.
A ‘mobile book carts' initiative was also launched in the hospitals and medical centres of Umm Al Qaiwain, aiming to encourage patients and waiting area visitors to read. In collaboration with the Choueifat International Private School, the Women's Association of Umm Al Qaiwain also launched a programme ‘The World of Fun Reading' that ran for three months in the emirate.
Nahidah Al Awadhi, Project Management Director, Executive Council in the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah explained the main events taking place in Ras Al Khaimah implemented as part of the Year of Reading, including a book fair as well as additional events in collaboration with the Union of Writers.
The Public Works and Services Department had dedicated a special reading wing in the Products Exhibition, which was held in Sheikh Saqr Park, to target foreign workers in the emirate. The Department of Economic Development is working alongside Fujairah on an ‘A Book in Every Home' initiative that will last over three years and include the distribution of packs of three non-fiction books which aim to enhance the public's general knowledge. The department is also involved in the project ‘Relax and Read', which aims to stimulate building a library and promotes free books to the owners of licenced cafés in Ras Al Khaimah.
Commenting on upcoming events during this year, Al Awadhi said that the Department of Economic Development will launch a volunteer project to train university students to promote Arabic content creation across world encyclopaedias and Wikipedia by using the assistance of professional trainers from the Wikimedia Egypt International Foundation. Additionally, a collaboration between the Department of Development and Ras Al Khaimah Transport to create the ‘Reading Journey' initiative will provide public transportation vehicles affiliated to Ras Al Khaimah Transport with books free of charge to bus riders.
The Sheikh Saqr Programme for Government Excellence also provides a draft summary of the best global articles around leadership and strategy.
The Ras Al Khaimah Award for Educational Excellence launched a programme that aims to treat students with dyslexia in public schools by providing a treatment plan through courses and workshops as well as intensive training for students. – Emirates News Agency, WAM – http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395295942893.html

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Saif bin Zayed honours MoI employee for rescuing young man from drowning

posted on 26/05/2016

H.H. Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, awarded, at his office on Tuesday, the Second Class Rescue Medal to First Warrant Officer Rashid Abdullah Mohammed Al Ra'aisi, from the Ajman Police General Headquarters. This accolade was in recognition of the First Warrant Officer's courage and positive patriotism in rescuing a young man from drowning at Hamriya Beach in Sharjah.
H.H. Sheikh Saif praised the bravery of the honoree, as well as his dedication and responsible conduct, which saw him rescue the young citizen who almost drowned due to extreme fatigue.
Sheikh Saif said that this noble act of bravery reflects the nobility of the UAE people and their dedication to extending a helping hand to anyone who needs it. Furthermore, H.H. Sheikh Saif encouraged all sons and daughters of the UAE to maintain this gracious and civilised spirit.
Al Ra'aisi expressed his heartfelt thanks and gratitude to H.H. the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior for the kind gesture, and for awarding him the precious medal. However, Al Ra'aisi insisted that his actions are part of his humanitarian and national duty. He also vowed to exert further efforts to serve his homeland in the name of the Ministry of Interior, whose primary aim is to maintain the security and safety of the country and its residents. – Emirates News Agency, WAM – http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395295901281.html

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Sharjah Archaeological Exhibition in Spain attracts more than 45,000 visitors

posted on 26/05/2016

SPAIN: The Sharjah Archaeological Exhibition, which was organised by the Department of Culture and Information in Sharjah in conjunction with the Autonomous University of Madrid, UAM, at the National Archaeological Museum of Spain, has continuously received visitors to be briefed on a number of important original artefacts that have been discovered in various archaeological sites in the Emirate of Sharjah.
The exhibition has seen a high turnout and marked interest from Spanish society of all ages as well as students of schools and universities. More than 45,000 people visited the event.
The exhibition will run until the end of this month at the Autonomous University of Madrid. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395295907118.html

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