U.A.E. made historic human development gains, says UNDP report

posted on 25/07/2014

TOKYO: Human development is improving in Arab states, with some countries such as the U.A.E. showing very high development, the 2014 Human Development Report, which was released by the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, in Tokyo yesterday, said. The findings also stated that there are wide variations between countries.
The report, entitled: Sustaining Human Progress - Reducing Vulnerabilities and Building Resilience, provides a human development perspective on vulnerability and proposes ways to strengthen resilience.
The U.A.E.'s Human Development Index, HDI, value has improved to 0.827 compared to last year's 0.825, placing the U.A.E. at 40th among 187 countries, and progress has been made on all three components of the HDI, including human health, education and gross national income, it was reported. For example, life expectancy in the U.A.E. has increased from 76.7 to 76.8 years, compared to last year's report. The expected years of schooling for a U.A.E. citizen is now is 13.3 years compared to 12 years last year.
"These are significant improvements putting the U.A.E. among the category of countries with Very High Human Development," said Sayed Aqa the United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in the U.A.E..
Since 1980, the U.A.E. has made notable progress on all dimensions of human development, said Mr. Aqa, who went on to say that between 1980 and 2013, the U.A.E.'s HDI value increased from 0.640 to 0.827, an increase of 29.2 percent.
The report also revealed that the U.A.E. is making steady progress on all aspects of human development. The U.A.E. Vision 2021 has laid out correct priorities for continuous development of the country.
Sayed Aqa said that key areas like women's empowerment, youth engagement, employment, human capital development and resilience to climate-related and human disasters are among the top priorities for policy makers, according the 2014 Human Development findings, adding that the UNDP is ready to partner with national institutions in the U.A.E. to realise the objectives of U.A.E. Vision 2021 for sustainable human development.
At the regional level, the report points to major challenges in the region including conflict, youth unemployment and inequality, which have created overlapping vulnerabilities that, if left unchecked, can hamper human development now and in the future.
"By addressing vulnerabilities, all people may share in development progress, and human development will become increasingly equitable and sustainable," UNDP Administrator, Helen Clark, said yesterday.
The report stressed that the large youth population requires particular policy attention to ensure adequate employment to take advantage of the demographic dividend.
"Youth is opportunity, history has proven this," said Sima Bahous, UNDP Director, Regional Bureau for Arab States. "Indeed, it is precisely at this point in the demographic arc, when the proportion of young people reaches a peak, that regions and countries around the world have achieved positive transformational change." The report calls for a commitment to full employment as a policy goal, the universal provision of basic social services and social protections, and better global coordination in shoring up resilience to vulnerabilities. It says these policy goals are achievable by countries at all stages of development, and advocates for "an international consensus on universal social protection" to be included in the post-2015 agenda.
Multidimensional poverty is a significant challenge for some countries in the region, with deficits in health and education seen as the main contributors to such poverty. The Multidimensional Poverty Index, MPI, places 82 percent of Somalis in this category. However, in absolute terms, Yemen has the largest number of people suffering overlapping deprivations some 7.7 million people in 2006, the last year for which data is available.
The report also introduced the idea of life cycle vulnerabilities, sensitive points in life where shocks can have greater impact, and it advocates for early investments in development to strengthen resilience.
This report comes at a critical time for global development, as attention turns to the creation of a new set of development goals following the 2015 deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395268092477.html

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U.A.E. condemns continuous Israeli attacks on Gaza

posted on 25/07/2014

GENEVA: The United Arab Emirates condemned the continuous Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people in Gaza Strip, which killed more than 650 civilians, wounded 4,000 people, mostly women and children, left many homeless and damaged properties.
'The continuous of Israeli attacks on the Occupied Palestinian Territory and the policy of revenge and oppression practiced by Israel against the Palestinian people represent a flagrant violation of the rights of the Palestinian people, and international laws and norms,' said Saeed Rashid Al Habsi, acting charge d' affaires of the U.A.E. Permanent Mission at the UN and other International Organisations, in a statement before the Human Rights Council's Special Session on the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
Al Habsi affirmed that these violations provide a clear testimony to Israel's refusal of the peace process.
He condemned continuous air bombardments of civilians and properties as a 'collective punishment' that breaches the international law. He said that targeting medical teams and aid workers is a crime mounted to international crimes.
The U.A.E., he said, demanded the international community and the UN Human Rights Council to shoulder their full responsibilities towards the Palestinian people and demand the occupying power to immediately cease its offensive and hold its accountable for all human casualties the Palestinian people suffered due to this inhumane aggression.
The U.A.E. also called for supporting the Egyptian initiative for ceasefire and urged regional and international parties to accept it and to create a permanent atmosphere for a sustained truce.
The U.A.E. also called the government and international organisations and non-governmental organisations to deliver urgent humanitarian assistance and services to the Palestinian people in Gaza.
In this context, he said, the U.A.E. government in coordination with UNRWA is running an air bridge to relieve displaced families in Gaza. Additionally, the Emirates Red Crescent has signed a cooperation agreement with UNRWA to build and rebuild Gaza in the tune of US$ 41 million. The U.A.E. has also set up a field hospital to provide medical care to the wounded in Gaza.
The U.A.E. demanded the UN Human Rights Council and the international community to provide immediate protection for the Palestinian people including East Jerusalem in consistence with the UN Charter, international law, international humanitarian law and international human rights law.
The U.A.E. also demanded the dispatch of an independent, international commission of inquiry for the Occupied Palestinian Territory to investigate all violations committed by Israel of the international human rights law and international humanitarian law. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395268115988.html

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Mohammed bin Rashid orders giant cargo planes to support Gaza air bridge

posted on 25/07/2014

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the U.A.E. and Ruler of Dubai, ordered another Boeing 747 cargo aircraft to be put under the disposal of Dubai's International Humanitarian City (IHC) until Sunday, as death toll of Palestinians in Gaza skyrocket past 700 and more than 140,000 Gazans are displaced.
Sheikh Mohammed also directed the IHC to source other high-capacity aircrafts, such as the Antinov, to participate in the airlift operation for Gaza. This massive airlift operation will bring the total cargo capacity to 150 tonnes of aid per day delivered to Jordan for passage to Gaza.
At the same time, Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNWRA) for Palestine Refugees also expressed his gratitude and thanks to HH Sheikh Mohammed for His personal commitment and support towards alleviating the pain and distress of tens of thousands of Gazans whose suffering sees no end. The Commissioner General Also expressed his admiration to the way the international Humanitarian City has been handling the Logistics operation with its UN and non-UN partners.
Emergency supplies have come from stocks at IHC, the world's largest logistics centre for emergency aid. New stocks are being procured to ship to Gaza and replenish supplies. Principal donors to the operation are: UNWRA, the U.A.E. Red Crescent, WHO, Dubai Airwing, the International Humanitarian City in Dubai, and the UN World Food Programme.
More than 35,000 blankets valued at Dh 757,000 ($206,000) arrived this morning at Amman's Marka airport from Dubai on board a Boeing 747, followed by two flights carrying hygiene kits worth Dh 65,820 ($17,920) and approximately Dh 304,000 ($83,000) in medical supplies from the World Health Organisation. The total value of the shipped goods has already reached over Dh 5.1m (approx. $1.4m).
From Amman, aid cargoes are then loaded onto trucks for transport into Gaza. The IHC made an urgent appeal to all relevant authorities to keep both the Allenby bridge and Kerem Shalom border crossing open during the Eid Al Fitr holiday, to ensure that humanitarian aid shipments do, in fact, make it in to Gaza without any delay or breaks, which would be detrimental to the plight of the citizens of Gaza. http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395268110050.html

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Hamdan bin Zayed: Khalifa maintains U.A.E.'s humanitarianism as core value on path to progress

posted on 25/07/2014

H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in the Western Region, has spoken out about the U.A.E.'s numerous achievements across the spectrum, including the Western Region's vision and its accomplishments.
In an interview given to Nation Shield, the official Journal of the U.A.E. Armed Forces, His Highness stressed that the nation's progress and pride follows the outstanding vision and tireless work of the founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who harnessed and utilised the country's wealth and potential.
There follows the interview in full:

Q. (Nation Shield): The state strategy aims to achieve balanced sustainable development, ensure prosperity for its citizens and strengthen the country's position regionally and globally. How does Your Highness view what has been achieved and what are your expectations in light of political and economic empowerment launched by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan?

A. (H.H. Sheikh Hamdan): The progress attained by our nation today is the harvest of a long process of continuous challenges, hard work, tireless effort and perseverance, led by the founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. It was he who harnessed the country's wealth and potential, and dedicated himself and his life to building the renaissance of the nation and the dignity of its citizens until he achieved progress, prosperity, security and stability for the U.A.E. and its people.
Comprehensive development achievements have continued, thanks to the wise and generous leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, Their Highnesses Supreme Council Members and Rulers of the Emirates, and His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the U.A.E. Armed Forces, as well as the concerted efforts of U.A.E. citizens.
The U.A.E. has achieved - in record time and in accordance with international standards - high rates of overall development in various fields, after its GNP jumped from only Dh6.5 billion when the union was established in 1971, to Dh1.5 trillion this year. The U.A.E. has been ranked the 14th happiest country in the world, and first among Arab countries in the second United Nations World Happiness Report in 2013.
I am pleased to point out that the U.A.E. has assumed, in recent years, the lead in many of the specialised reports of international and regional institutions, especially in the indicators of global competitiveness reports, which repeatedly classified the U.A.E. as one of the most progressive countries in the world in the fields of economics, business, infrastructure, human development, tourism, transportation, communications, information, culture, environment, and other indicators of sustainable development.
I cannot fail but note the position the U.A.E. has attained in the international community, as reflected by its winning the right to host Expo 2020. It is one of the largest and oldest exhibitions in the world, dating back to 1851, and receives, in a period of over six months, about 25 million visitors from all continents.

Q. What is Your Highness' evaluation of the overall achievements in social development and the level of public services provided by the state to its citizens in various service sectors - especially education, health, housing, social welfare and more?

A. Since its inception, the state has given top priority to the establishment of infrastructure for social development sectors, where infrastructure projects for these important sectors have been limited in number and potential, even non-existent in some cities and regions. The state continues in its efforts to execute more of these projects in all cities throughout the country.
For example, the huge financial funds allocated by the Federal Government for the development sector and social benefits in 2013 was Dh22.7 billion, which is 51 percent of the total budget.

Q. Since its inception, the U.A.E. has taken significant steps towards women's empowerment. Women in the U.A.E. have achieved excellent results in all fields. How does Your Highness evaluate Emirati women's achievements in political participation through membership of the Federal National Council? And what are your thoughts regarding their general role and empowerment?

A. The significant gains obtained by Emirati women at the national level, and the high position reached by them regionally and internationally, have not been achieved by chance. Thanks to the Leader of Women Action, Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of General Women's Union, for her pioneering efforts, strong will and solid determination which has helped overcome all obstacles and difficulties.
The past decade was a golden one. Today, U.A.E. women occupy four seats in the cabinet, which is one of the highest percentages of representation at the Arab level. Women are currently represented by eight out of 40 members in the Federal National Council, or 22 percent, which is also one of the highest percentages in terms of representation of women in parliamentary institutions.
Moreover, out of the 148 diplomats employed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, an Emirati woman became the first female to be a permanent representative of the state to the United Nations, and women are serving as U.A.E. Ambassadors in Spain, Sweden and Montenegro, and as Consul-General in Hong Kong.
We would like to refer to the outstanding international achievement the U.A.E. has made this year by ranking first globally for treating women with respect, according to the Social Progress Index, launched by the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council.

Q. The U.A.E. leadership, government and people have always provided humanitarian assistance to the needy in various parts of the world, which constitutes one of the main pillars of its foreign policy. How can the state play an even greater role in relief operations and reconstruction in areas of crisis and regional conflicts?

A. In view of the numerous initiatives launched by the U.A.E., the country has become a major centre for the United Nations and its humanitarian organisations, which made Dubai a starting point for their direct relief operations across the world when responding to disasters, calamities, armed conflicts, violence and wars.
It was no coincidence that our country received the appreciation of the international community, and has assumed the top ranking as the leading donating nation of relief assistance, according to Disaster Emergency Committee, DEC.
The volume of relief aid provided by the United Arab Emirates in 2013 alone was more than US$5.2 billion.

Q. The U.A.E. enjoys a proud regional and international reputation, thanks to our prudent leadership and its achievements in the development and prosperity of its citizens and residents. What would Your Highness say to the citizens so that they would maintain these achievements?

A. Throughout the past decade, our country has topped the Human Development Reports issued annually by the United Nations Development Programme, the latest of which was the 2013 report, which placed the U.A.E. in second place regionally and 4th globally among 157 countries in the world.
It recorded very high rates in the level of life expectancy, health, education, knowledge, standard of living, per capita income, gender equality, social welfare, communication and technology.
The concrete reality demonstrates that our citizens enjoy well-being, prosperity, happiness, security and stability, and feel reassured about their lives in the future. I must point out here, in addition, that our state has maintained its position of first place in the Arab world, and advanced three positions globally in the second survey, which was conducted by the United Nations in 2013, to measure the indicators of happiness and satisfaction among the nations of the world, to rank 14th..

Q. Thanks to the insight of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, our Armed Forces have become a safety valve in the defence of the nation and maintaining national interests and rights. How does Your Highness view their role and participation abroad in peacekeeping operations and aiding global stability?

A. The U.A.E. is a state of love and peace. It pursues consistent and clear strategies in its foreign policy. The most important is its belief in the peaceful co-existence between nations and peoples, and its constant calls for dialogue and peaceful means to resolve any differences or disputes, based on its commitment to the principles of the UN Charter and conventions, international laws and eagerness to support security, stability and world peace.
The U.A.E. has built a modern and strong army equipped with integrated kit and gear, and enjoys high combat capacity, readiness and willingness to deal with all global technical military developments to defend the nation's sanctities, territory, sovereignty and independence.
We proudly remember the positive and effective contributions of our Armed Forces along with the international community to the UN peacekeeping forces in many troubled countries and regions, including Lebanon, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Somalia and other areas, and not forgetting their participation in the fight against terrorism and piracy and their support for international efforts to remove mines and cluster bombs left by the Israeli invasion forces in South Lebanon in 2007.

Q. His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, issued the National Service Law, which has had a positive impact in the hearts of citizens and embodied the meanings of national cohesion. What are Your Highness' thoughts on the importance of this law?

A. The National Service Act is an important national decision that reflects that the protection of the homeland and preserving its sovereignty and national gains is a sacred duty of every citizen.
We highlight our support for the sincere efforts of the National and Reserve Service Authority, and the positive steps it has carried out for the implementation of this strategic law. It instils in them the spirit of discipline, order and responsibility. They will always be ready on the front lines to defend the nation.
We look forward with confidence to the first batch of graduates.

Q. The Western Region has made, through the efforts of Your Highness, many development achievements, and is currently witnessing the implementation of many projects which attracted large investment companies to the region - what are the implications of these developments for life in the region?

A. The comprehensive achievements that the Western Region accomplished in a short period reflect the wise vision of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and his passion and interest in the development of all areas across the country and turning them into modern cities.
During the past five years, the Western Region has witnessed major breakthroughs to upgrade its infrastructure in all its regions, provide high levels of basic services, especially in education, health, housing and comprehensive social development.
The value of the investment projects that have been completed and are being implemented in many sectors is more than Dh220 billion, and these projects are spread over a number of cities of the Western Region, especially in the cities of Zayed, Ghayathi, Marfa', Ruwais, Liwa, Sila' and Sir Bani Yas. The cost of the projects that have been invested in the oil and gas industry in the region is Dh125.73 billion and in the energy sector is Dh 57 billion.

Q. What are the most prominent features of the comprehensive plan for the development of the Western Region and what are the plans that have been drawn up?

A. The initiative for the Western Region Development Plan was launched in the context of the Overall Development Plan of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi up to 2030, where the volume of investments have ranged between Dh500 - 600 billion, including more than Dh100 billion allocated for the development of the Western Region.
The plan mainly aims to improve the lives of the citizens in those regions through an integrated strategy that seeks primarily to develop the public and higher education sector, upgrade and provide world-class health care, and provide the highest standards for sustainable infrastructure.
We have succeeded in attracting the attention of many major global investment companies and establishments that wished to partner for the construction of large strategic projects, mainly the construction of the Nuclear Plants Project at Barrakah, the Solar Plant Project in Ruwais, the Union Train Project, the Strategic Road Project linking Mafraq and Ghuwaifat, and others in the economic, trade and infrastructure sectors.
Plans to accelerate the development of the Western Region include establishing two industrial zones in Ruwais and Zayed cities on 16.4 square kilometres, creating many jobs.

Q. The Western Region is ideal location for tourism. What are the major tourism projects that have been completed and what is coming up?

A. We have made the tourism sector a fundamental pillar for growth and development of the Western Region, considering the tourism resources and potential of the region. They include our unique and charming nature that combines views of the sea, golden sandy beaches, beautiful green oases and the yellow desert sand that extends to the edge of the Empty Quarter. There are also historical archaeological areas whose history dates back millions of years.
During the past few years, a number of outstanding world-class tourism projects have been completed, including the Desert Islands Resort on Sir Bani Yas Island, the heritage touristic hotel Qasr Al Sarab in Liwa, Tilal Liwa Hotel, which overlooks the landscapes of the Empty Quarter desert and lush gardens that characterise the area of Liwa, in addition to the world-class City Mall.
The Desert Island project is in the area of Jebel Dhanna, where the volume of investments in public and private sector exceeds Dh11.5 billion.

Q. More than three decades have elapsed since the establishment of the Emirates Red Crescent. How does Your Highness view its achievements and the challenges it faces?

A. The founding of the Emirates Red Crescent in January, 1983, is a true translation of the vision and thought of the generous and humanitarian personality of the founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, which embodied all meanings of nobility, benevolence, generosity and giving.
The total cost of projects, charitable and humanitarian programmes carried out by the Emirates Red Crescent from its inception to 2013, is more than Dh8 billion, which has been used to provide aid to nearly 100 countries. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395268094696.html

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Emirates opens dedicated lounge at Glasgow Airport

posted on 25/07/2014

GLASGOW: Emirates is celebrating the start of the Commonwealth Games in style with the official opening of its lounge at Glasgow Airport by the airline's President, Sir Tim Clark.
Emirates is the first international airline to open a dedicated lounge at Glasgow Airport and marks the airline 10th year of service to the Scottish city. With the opening of the lounge, Glasgow becomes the 36th lounge in Emirates' network and its 14th lounge in Europe.
The lounge illustrates Emirates' ever-growing commitment to Glasgow and forms an unrivalled offering for the airline's First Class and Business Class passengers, as well as its Emirates Platinum and Gold Skywards members.
Sir Tim Clark commented, "Our new Emirates Lounge at Glasgow, the largest at the airport, represents a significant Euro 2.6 million direct investment. We have seen passenger numbers grow as we progressively developed our services and invested in Glasgow. The lounge opening today is a testament to the success of our double daily operation. It will be an unrivalled premium airport experience for our passengers travelling to popular destinations, including Bangkok, Perth, Sydney, and Singapore via our hub in Dubai." Amanda McMillan, Managing Director, Glasgow Airport, commented: "Emirates' new world-class lounge is a fantastic and welcome addition to Glasgow Airport. Over the course of the past 10 years, Emirates has established itself as Scotland's leading long-haul airline and the opening of the lounge further demonstrates its continued commitment to Scotland. Earlier this year, Emirates created aviation history when it became the first airline to bring the world's largest commercial aircraft, the A380, to Scotland. The opening of this lounge in what is Emirates' 10th anniversary year will enhance the already excellent service it provides to its Scottish passengers." The design of the lounge reflects the design aesthetic and contemporary style of Emirates Lounges at Dubai Airport's Concourse A, and features the airline's trademark fine beverages and gourmet food. The lounge provides passengers with extensive views of the airfield and is a short walk from Emirates' boarding point at gate 30. The lounge's facilities include formal and relaxed seating areas, a dining area, shower facilities and a business centre. With a relaxing water feature and bespoke artwork, the courteous service from a dedicated team completes the signature Emirates Lounge experience.
The lounge will showcase premium Scottish products, which will significantly increase business for local suppliers. The lounge employs 21 full-time positions at the airport. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/economics/1395268099568.html

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Dubai International passenger numbers up 6.2% during H1

posted on 25/07/2014

Passenger traffic at Dubai International rose to 34,676,090 during the first half of 2014, up 6.2% from the same period last year despite a runway refurbishment programme that reduced the airport to a one-runway operation and cut flights by over 26% during May and June.
Dubai Airports yesterday also released traffic results for June which showed a total of 5,067,726 passengers passed through Dubai International, the 18th consecutive month of more than 5 million passengers, down 8.5% from the 5,537,908 passengers in June 2013.
A total of 22,031 aircraft movements was recorded during the month under review, down 27% from the 30,191 movements recorded during June last year. The drop was a result of a planned reduction in flights as the airport was reduced to a single runway. In the first six months of the year 170,815 aircraft movements were recorded, down 6.6% from the 182,911 in the first six months of 2013.
Passengers per aircraft movements rose 16.1% to 235, from 202 during the same period last year as airlines, in particular Emirates, used larger aircraft.
The airport is now back to full operations with both runways reopening on July 21, 2014, paving the way for renewed growth towards the end of the year.
Regionally, the Americas reported strong growth during June this year with passenger traffic to North America growing 15.3% and South America up 32%. During the month London maintained its position as Dubai International's busiest city destination, followed by Kuwait, Bombay, Doha and Jeddah.
With all dedicated freighters moving to Al Maktoum International at Dubai World Central (DWC) as well as reduced passenger flights, cargo volumes in June dropped to 180,025 tonnes, down 14.3% from the 210,134 tonnes recorded in June last year. In the first six months of 2014 freight volumes fell to 1,183,247 tonnes, down 1.8% from the 1,204,951 tonnes recorded in the first half of last year.
"The first half numbers are impressive given the capacity reductions we put in place to allow us to conduct vital upgrades to both runways at our hub," said Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports. "However, this slight drag on our usual double-digit growth will be short-lived. The successful completion of the runway refurbishment comes just in time to accommodate the surge in passenger numbers expected with next week's Eid holiday." Dubai International is expected to have its busiest days on record between July 24 and July 27. To meet this demand Dubai Airports have introduced extra staff and facilities to meet the increase and eliminate any potential delays. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/economics/1395268118060.html

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DP World reports 9.3 per cent in H1 of 2014

posted on 25/07/2014

DP World Limited handled 29.4 million TEU (twenty-foot equivalent units) across its global portfolio of container terminals during the first half of 2014, with gross container volumes growing by 9.3 per cent on a like-for-like basis.
On a reported basis gross volumes grew by 10.7 per cent with new volume at London Gateway (UK) and Embraport (Brazil) contributing to the increase.
Growth in the first half was largely driven by an improved performance from our Asia Pacific and India Subcontinent, Europe and U.A.E. terminals. The U.A.E. delivered another strong performance handling 7.4 million TEU, representing growth of 14.1 per cent in the first half. Growth in Europe continued to accelerate in the second quarter, showing strong growth in the first half of 2014 when compared with the challenging first half of 2013.
DP World Chairman Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem commented, "We are very pleased with our performance in the first half of the year. As anticipated, we have seen a return to healthy volume growth in 2014 to the addition of a new capacity and pick-up in global trade. After a strong first quarter we have continued the positive momentum reporting an even stronger second quarter and overall very solid half year numbers." He added, "Our flagship Jebel Ali Port continues to achieve new records, with 3.8 million TEU handled in the second quarter. We will shortly open an additional 2 million TEU capacity at terminal 3 with a further 2 million coming on line later in the year. This will take total Jebel Ali capacity to 10 million TEU, ensuring that we are all placed to handle future capacity demands in Dubai." Group Chief Executive Mohammed Sharaf commented, "Our impressive performance in the first half of 2014 shows we have the right capacity in the right locations. The market is forecast to grow at approximately 5 per cent in 2014, and we remain confident in our ability to outperform it." – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/economics/1395268098622.html

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Emirates NBD announces H1 2014 results

posted on 25/07/2014

Emirates NBD has delivered an impressive set of financial results with net profit up 30% year on year to Dh2.35 billion.
The strong operating performance for the first half of 2014 was helped by solid revenue growth in both Retail Banking and Wealth Management and its Islamic Banking subsidiary, Emirates Islamic, which has successfully transformed itself to be one of the fastest growing segments within the group.
Net profit for the half-year ended 30th June 2014 amounted to Dh2.35 billion, up 30% from H1-13. Total Income for H1-14 grew by 27% to Dh7.04 billion, whilst Pre-Impairment Operating Profit forH1-14 improved by 35% to Dh4.91 billion.
Total assets grew by 2% to Dh348.3 billion in the first half of 2014. Customer loans increased by 1% during the first half of 2014 to Dh241.8 billion. Customer deposits also increased by 6% to Dh252.9 billion over the same period.
The Bank's Advances to Deposits ratio improved to 95.6% from 99.5% at the end of 2013. The Bank's NPL ratio improved further to 13.5% whilst the Tier 1 ratio strengthened to 15.6%. Backed by this stronger liquidity and capital profile, on 20th July 2014, Emirates NBD were able to repay the remaining Dh4.8 billion Ministry of Finance Deposits received in 2008.
Group Chief Executive Officer, Emirates NBD, Shayne Nelson, said, "During the first half of 2014, we have delivered another healthy set of results, with net profit up by 30% to Dh2.35 billion. This is driven by strong growth in both net interest income and non-interest income coupled with a firm control on expenses. As a result, the bank is in a healthier position than at the beginning of 2014 in each of these areas. I am confident that the Bank will continue to deliver excellent service to our customers and superior value to our shareholders." Emirates Islamic (EI) continued to show a steady performance with total income increasing by 28% to Dh918 million from Dh717 million for H1-13. Net financing and investing receivables grew by 4% to Dh23.8 billion from the end of 2013. As at 30th June 2014, the branch and ATM/SDM network of EI totalled 53 and 176 respectively.
EI growth continued with a net profit of Dh226 million compared to Dh112 million in H1-13, leveraging its expanded platform to better serve its Retail, SME and Corporate customers.
EI also contributed to an increase in fee income due to higher customer account volumes. EI recently introduced a trading platform for Murabaha in partnership with NASDAQ Dubai. This new initiative is starting to generate fee income.
The Bank's success continued to be recognised across the industry, with EI winning Best Premium Islamic Card and Best Self Employed Finance at the CPI Financial in early 2014. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/economics/1395268092665.html

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Finance House net profit increases to Dh61.2 million in H1 2014

posted on 25/07/2014

Finance House PJSC has registered a robust consolidated net-profit of Dh61.2 million for the six months ended 30th June 2014, marking an increase of 8.3% compared to Dh56.5 million in the corresponding period of the previous year.
Net Fee and Commission Income grew by 75% to reach Dh35.8 million compared to Dh20.5 million in the first half of the previous year. Similarly, income from investing activities nearly doubled to Dh65.4 million in first half 2014 compared to Dh33.6 million in the same period last year, on the back of improved performance of U.A.E. stocks.
Net interest income and income from Islamic financing and investing assets was marginally lower at Dh63.7 million compared to Dh66.9 million in the same period last year, primarily on account of significantly lower interest rates on short term money market placements with local banks.
As a combined result of the above, Total Operating Income for the half year ended 30th June 2014 jumped nearly 30% to Dh160.3 million compared to Dh123.5 million in the same period of the previous year. Due to continued expansion in business activities of the group, Total Operating Expenses were higher at Dh80.8 million compared to Dh58.6 million in the same period last year. In line with its conservative approach towards impairment provisioning, Finance House has set aside additional impairment provision of Dh18.3 million in the first half of 2014 compared to Dh8.4 million in the same period last year.
Total Assets grew by an impressive 26.9% YOY to reach Dh4.50 billion as of 30th June 2014 compared to Dh 3.55 billion at the same time last year. Customers' Deposits grew by 50.5% YOY to reach an all-time high of Dh2.66 billion as of 30th June 2014 compared to Dh1.77 billion at the same time last year. Net Loans and Advances including Islamic financing and investing assets grew by 13.6% YOY to reach Dh1.73 billion as of 30th June 2014, compared to Dh1.52 billion at the same time last year. The resultant Loans to Deposits ratio as of 30 June 2014 stood at 65%, leaving ample room for growth in lending book in the near term.
Shareholders' Equity as at 30th June 2014 stood at a healthy Dh703.9 million compared to Dh677.6 million at the same time last year. This is after distributing a generous cash dividend of 25% in April 2014, amounting to Dh75.6 million for the year ended 31st December 2013.
Commenting on first half 2014 results, Mohammed Abdulla Alqubaisi, Chairman of Finance House, said, "The stable economic environment in the U.A.E. has allowed us to focus on our core engines of growth which are commercial and consumer lending and proprietary investments. Our strategy of continuously seeking and addressing profitable and underserved niche segments has enabled us to generate healthy returns for our shareholders on a sustained basis. We are confident that this strategy will continue to serve us well in the near future as well." – Emirates News Agency, WAM- http://www.wam.ae/en/news/economics/1395268090595.html

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du's Q2 2014 revenues exceed Dh3 billion

posted on 25/07/2014

Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company PJSC, du, yesterday announced its financial results for the second quarter of 2014, which the company said demonstrated robust growth.
The company said that its revenues grew to Dh3.02 billion so far this year, a 13.7% increase against Q2 2013's Dh2.66 billion.
Osman Sultan, du's Chief Executive Officer, said, "I am pleased to report another quarter of solid growth, with double digit growth across many of our key indicators and an increase in the number of higher-value post-paid customers we serve. These results show that by continuously developing innovative propositions to meet our customers requirements and rigorously implementing our efficiency strategy, we are able to deliver steady growth despite a highly competitive environment." The Chief Executive Officer went on to say, "Our strong performance is reflected in our net profit before royalty, which was up 22% on 2013 at Dh 949 million. EBITDA for the quarter reached Dh1.29 billion, an increase of 17.9% compared to the same quarter last year. Data continued to be a key market driver during the quarter which translated into data revenues of Dh680 million in Q2 2014, an 18.6% increase on Q2 2013 as our customers demand for connectivity remained strong.
The company also said that it will issue shareholders with an interim dividend of 12 fils per share as a reward for their continued support. http://www.wam.ae/en/news/economics/1395268089613.html

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Masdar Institute’s Summer Research Internships help develop U.A.E. nationals in science and technology

posted on 25/07/2014

Masdar Institute of Science and Technology yesterday announced that its summer research internship programmes for undergraduate students is working to contribute to Abu Dhabi's human capital development.
The summer research internship programme is targeted at talented U.A.E. national undergraduates majoring in Science, Engineering or Math. The programme offers students a critically important research experience, motivating them to innovate and obtain new solutions in clean energy and advanced technologies. It is also expected to encourage them to seek higher learning opportunities at Masdar Institute. To be accepted for the highly competitive internship, interested students must apply for specific projects proposed by Masdar Institute faculty. Selected students then undergo a six-.week long internship.
This internship programme reflects only one aspect of Masdar Institute's initiative to contribute to the overall human capital development efforts in Abu Dhabi. Throughout the year, Masdar Institute organises knowledge-sharing forums, workshops and other such events, in line with the Abu Dhabi leadership's directive to transform the emirate and the U.A.E. into a centre for knowledge and intellectual capital.
Dr. Lamya Fawwaz, Executive Director, Public Affairs, Masdar Institute, said: "Supported by the country's leadership, our annual research internship programmes are designed to build capabilities of U.A.E. nationals in science and technology. In line with the U.A.E. directive, Masdar Institute will continue to develop future programmes in areas of new technology that will be offered to undergraduate interns every year. We believe the current group of students has gained fresh insights into conducting research with advanced laboratory equipment." Dr. Ken Volk, Outreach Manager, Masdar Institute, said, "We have 15 U.A.E. nationals participating in the summer research internship programme, which we believe will enrich their academic and laboratory experience . We thank the U.A.E. leadership for their continuous support to our human capital development initiatives." Participating interns under the summer internship programme are excited about the research experience they are receiving and the modern cutting-edge laboratory facilities at Masdar Institute.
Asmaa Almazrouee's research focuses on ‘Graphene Nanostructure Advanced Characterisation' and she is advised by Dr. Adel Gougam, Assistant Professor, Material Science and Engineering. A University of Sharjah student, Almazrouee said: "This research experience has been special because I was working with two doctors, instead of just another intern student. With more practical experience, I hope I can do something useful at Masdar Institute and publish a paper in the near future." Mariam Ahmed Ali Salem Al Dhaheri from the U.A.E. University participated in Masdar Institute Ektashif programme last summer and she loved the experience. Al Dhaheri is doing her ‘Core Research Laboratory' internship, advised by Dr. Mustapha Jouiad, Microscopy Suite Manager and Principal Research Scientist at the Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering. The programme involves learning to set up and operate electron microscopes. Her project is titled ‘Characterisation of API X52 steel pipelines using metallography and electron microscopy'.
About her experience, Al Dhaheri said: "This is a golden chance for me to get engaged in research and learn the proper scientific approach. I will definitely apply for Master's degree at Masdar Institute after my graduation." Dina Muraish from Abu Dhabi University is also doing a ‘Core Research Laboratory' internship with electron microscopes. She feels that, unlike other educational institutes or even companies, Masdar Institute, has within a short period of time, proven its place not only in the U.A.E. but also worldwide because its dedicated researchers seek worldwide sustainable solutions – an area she is keenly interested in.
Muraish added, "I have acquired more practical skills in high-tech laboratories, which I have never experienced before. I have gained worthy knowledge from highly qualified faculty that definitely did help me in getting a better insight into the many environmental problems that the U.A.E. and other countries face and how they could be resolved. The knowledge that I gained over here has given me more awareness to assist in making the U.A.E. an environmentally better place for future generations." http://www.wam.ae/en/news/general/1395268099802.html

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International preview of Louvre Abu Dhabi’s collection closes at Louvre, Paris

posted on 25/07/2014

An exhibition of more than one hundred and sixty of the finest masterpieces from Louvre Abu Dhabi's permanent collection, on show at the Louvre in Paris, is drawing to a close, having welcomed more than 122,500 people from around the world to date.
The exhibition, "Birth of a Museum", was inaugurated on 28th April by French President Francois Hollande, and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan.
U.A.E. Foreign Minister, H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, also visited the exhibition in May this year, when he was joined by French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius.
Birth of a Museum, at the Napoleon Hall in Musee du Louvre, will close in a few days on 28th July.
The public programme supporting the Birth of a Museum exhibition proved popular with strong attendance at all events, including a talk about the exhibition that was held on 5th May and attracted more than 420 people to the Louvre's Auditorium. Presented by Hissa Al Dhaheri and Khalid Abdulkhaliq Abdulla from TCA Abu Dhabi, the lecture delved into the background, history and collection of Louvre Abu Dhabi and introduced the French public to the on-going activities taking place in Abu Dhabi.
In a symposium on 18th June, "Louvre Abu Dhabi: For a Global History of Art", the project's history and progress were presented. Its aim, by bringing some of cultural globalisation's great thinkers such as Francois Jullien and Sanjah Subrahmanyam, was to discuss how the history of art can evolve by analysing the exchanges of civilisations.
Birth of a Museum has been another milestone for the Louvre Abu Dhabi, which is set to open late next year in the Saadiyat Cultural District, also the home to the Zayed National Museum and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi.
Louvre Abu Dhabi is a universal museum designed to house aesthetic expressions of different civilisations and cultures from the most ancient to the most contemporary. The previous Birth of a Museum exhibition was unveiled in Abu Dhabi last year at Manarat Al Saadiyat and welcomed visitors from all around the world.
Louvre Abu Dhabi was born out of an agreement between the governments of Abu Dhabi and France in 2007. The museum will display art, manuscripts and objects of historical, cultural and sociological significance – from both its permanent collection as well as loans from major French institutions.
Progress of Louvre Abu Dhabi continues and the collection is often showcased to a U.A.E. audience through a number of public programmes including exhibitions, performances and panels of scholars. Following the success of the third series of Talking Art Series at Manarat Al Saadiyat, the fourth series of talks will continue later in the year. The Abu Dhabi team is expanding in anticipation of the opening of the museum and the training of U.A.E. nationals is an on-going priority. A full-scale mock-up of one of the museums' galleries has been completed, while the iconic dome continues to be assembled and placed into position on the construction site. With a built up area of 64,000 square metres, Louvre Abu Dhabi is conceived as a complex of pavilions, plazas, alleyways and canals, evoking the image of a city floating on the sea. Hovering over the complex will be a vast, shallow dome - some 180 metres in diameter - perforated with interlaced patterns so that a diffused light, reminiscent of the shadows of palm trees, will filter through. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/general/1395268090551.html

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Ring Tailed Lemurs make their debut at Al Ain Zoo

posted on 25/07/2014

Al Ain Zoo recently welcomed a family of Lemurs, in collaboration with Al Bustan Zoological Centre in Sharjah. The family of five are the first of their kind at the zoo.
These animals, native only to Madagascar, are classified as 'Endangered' on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species due to their dwindling numbers in the wild.
Commenting on the new additions, Muna Al Dhaheri, Chief of Conservation and Education, said, "The new addition of the Lemurs is testament to the zoo's commitment to implementing and developing conservation programmes. Native to Madagascar, their presence at Al Ain Zoo is important and highlights our dedication to areas such as captive management, conservation research, captive breeding, propagation, and the reintroduction of endangered species into the wild whenever possible." "Al Ain Zoo is committed to providing an unmatched experience and learning environment where visitors can connect with wildlife and nature in a fun and exciting setting. Visitors can interact with the animals in large open mixed exhibits that are close to their natural habitat. The zoo has prepared a custom-made enclosure for the Lemurs that resemble their natural habitat." Al Dhaheri also assured that the preparations helped environmentally strengthen the Lemurs, and that the Zoo is providing them with entertainment within the enclosures to suit their actual behaviour in the wild.
As a routine procedure, Al Ain Zoo places any new animals joining the zoo for a minimum of 30 days in quarantine. The primates were placed in quarantine for a period of 45 days to ensure their safety and rule out any medical problems and diseases.
Lemurs, known for their distinctive long tails coated with black spirals, have several shades of brown covering their thick fur. Unlike other tree-climbing primates, lemurs prefer spending their time playing and resting on the ground. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395268089945.html

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