The UAE Red Crescent Society, RCS, has decided to constitute a board of trustees and an organising committee to administer the Sheikha Fatima Prize, which will be awarded to sponsors of orphans in October. The board and the committee will work under the direct supervision of Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed al Nahyan, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Chairman of the RCS.
HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, wife of HH the President, Chairwoman of the UAE Women's Federation and Honorary Chairperson of the RCS Women's Committee, instituted the Prize last year to honour noble deeds. Last year the prizes were awarded to those who looked after their parents in old age. HH President Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al Nahyan awarded the prizes last year.
The meeting praised the role of Sheikha Fatima in supporting the humanitarian and charitable activities of the RCS. It also expressed its gratitude to Sheikha Fatima for her confidence in the RCS for administering the prize to be awarded to the sponsors of orphans this year. Khalifa Nasser al Suweidi, RCS Board Chairman, said that Sheikha Fatima's gesture in instituting the prize was part of her charitable activities and humanitarian initiatives.
He also said, "The institution of the prize was part of Sheikha Fatima's efforts to inculcate a sense of gratitude among the people of the country for the progress under the wise leadership of President Sheikh Zayed," who spares no effort to provide all amenities and prosperity to the people of the country out of his desire to preserve Islamic traditions.
The Board also expressed its appreciation of the big response from the Ministries, Government and semi-Government establishments to its proposal to make special arrangements for the handicapped who come to these establishments to transact business.
Al Suweidi said that the proposal was supported by Sheikh Hamdan and was another of the RCS's humanitarian initiatives and showed its concern for the welfare of the handicapped to integrate them into the mainstream of the society as productive members. The meeting also praised the role of the Women's Committee of the Society in supporting its humanitarian activities by organising many activities like exhibitions and seminars.
The major leap forward in the activities of the Women's Committee reflected the importance given to women as a pillar of the country's developmental process. The meeting also reviewed the activities of the various sections of the RCS and expressed satisfaction over their achievements in alleviating the sufferings of the weaker sections in the society and also in carrying the message of charity to the people of the country.
It also reviewed several messages and letters of thanks received by the Society from various Arab and foreign countries for the help rendered by the RCS. The Board received a letter of thanks from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies for its aid programmes in Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia as well as a letter from the International Committee of the Red Cross for contributing to its budget.
It also received a letter of thanks from the Syrian Red Crescent for the financial support provided to it. The meeting also decided to carry out an aid programme in Kosovo province in co-ordination with its offices in Bosnia and Albania. (Carried in all papers; this report from the Emirates News)
The Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, ADCCI, yesterday signed a protocol agreement with Slovenia to boost trade co-operation. Addressing a high-level Slovenian delegation, Mohammed Shabeeb al Dhahiri, ADCCI Board member, said the trade figures do not reflect the warmth and closeness of relations between the UAE and Slovenia.
Al Dhahiri suggested that both countries should exchange trade delegations and participate in exhibitions to explore the immense opportunities for investment and bilateral co-operation in commercial and industrial projects. The UAE offered great opportunities and provides substantial markets, al Dhahiri told the visiting delegation, pointing out that Slovenia could also provide good markets for goods produced in the Emirates.
Leader of the Slovenian delegation, Matevz Bambic, Director, International Co-operation Department, said though his country is very small it has a growing economy offering many investment opportunities as Slovenia has a strong industrial base.
The new trade law in Slovenia provides incentives in 23 sectors, Bambic said, adding that the Chamber of Commerce he represents has 40,000 members. Later, presenting a documentary film about the lush beauty of his country, Bambic urged UAE businessmen to visit Slovenia both as tourists and businessmen. (The Emirates News)
For the first time ever in the UAE, the Al Maha Nature Reserve, part of the Emirates' $12.5 million eco-tourism project to be completed in 1999, will re-introduce indigenous wildlife and plant species to the desert.
Al Maha's animal breeding and reintroduction programme will run over 5 years with the aim of covering about 200 indigenous species. The first stage will be the introduction of herbivores like the endangered Arabian oryx, desert and mountain gazelle and smaller game animals.
At a later stage, the ostrich, Arabian fox and caracal will be brought in followed by breeding programmes for endangered bird species. Beyond the immediate perimeter of the resort, selected locations that have been damaged by overgrazing will be rehabilitated with indigenous flora with some of these sites having water holes where guests will be able to view game.
Within the resort landscaping with indigenous plant species will include the re-creation of an old palm plantation around the main swimming pool with the ancient irrigation system, 'falaj', connected to the spring in the courtyard of the main building. Vegetation will be concentrated around accommodation units to ensure privacy and all units will be connected by landscaped pathways.
Emirates will enlist the help of a wildlife and conservation specialist for the process of reintroduction of animals and plants and veterinary checks. A field manager will be appointed to oversee the ongoing ecological work.
Several eco-friendly measures will be established at Al Maha Resort to ensure that the desert environment is preserved as far as possible. There will be facilities to harness solar power and recycle water to ensure the most efficient use of resources while all water will be purified, recycled, refiltered and used for ecological rehabilitation and irrigation.
Within the building, special glass will be used in all windows to maintain energy efficiency and cut down on energy loss. Recycled materials will be used wherever possible including recycled paper for stationery and recycled packaging for toiletries and other amenities. Waste materials will be recycled and used in ecological projects.
Selection of suppliers will also be made based on ecological norms - for example, laundry services will be subcontracted to city businesses that are best able to use desalinated water, biodegradable detergents and non-plastic substances.
Manager Williams was born in South Africa and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Ecology. He has over 10 years' experience in the management of game reserves and in eco-tourism and conservation projects in Africa.
Williams says, "Most other eco-resorts fall short when it comes to service levels. We wanted to combine experience-driven tourism with an exclusive leisure aspect and we believe we have a winning combination." Al Maha Resort, which is spread over 3,300.0 acres, has 25 suites done up in typical Arabian ambience. Over 98 per cent of the land will be dedicated to the nature reserve.
At the rack rate of $860.0 per suite per night, guests can enjoy gourmet meals, a lounge, a well-stocked library, a craft shop, two swimming pools, a business centre with secretarial services, guided safaris, treks on camels and horses, archery, falconry, dune driving lessons and trips to nearby locations to explore the terrain. (The Emirates News)
The archaeological wealth of the three Abu Dhabi islands of Sir Bani Yas, Dalma and Merawah, that first came to light in 1992 following a survey by the Abu Dhabi Islands Archaeological Survey, ADIAS, is highlighted in a new book published with the support of the Ministry of Information and Culture.
The book, entitled 'The Abu Dhabi Islands Archaeological Survey-Season One' is written by Dr. Geoffrey King, Director of ADIAS and Pro-Director of the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, and covers the results of the first detailed archaeological survey of the three offshore islands west of Abu Dhabi, which was carried out in 1992, Peter Hellyer, ADIAS Co-ordinator, told reporters here on Tuesday.
In the book, Dr. King, who has previously worked at the site of the ancient Islamic port city of Julfar in Ras Al Khaimah, reports that discoveries of major significance were made during the survey on each of the islands.
The 96-page book published by the UK-based Trident Press for the Ministry of Information and Culture, details all the sites surveyed along with illustrations, maps and photographs. The survey indicated that the western areas of Abu Dhabi Emirate are as important in terms of archaeology as the better known Northern Emirates.
The study also revealed that the waters of the Gulf have been a major means of communication for an extended period of time. Following the discoveries of archaeological sites recorded in the book, President HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al Nahyan ordered the formal establishment of the Abu Dhabi Islands Archaeological Survey.
In the six years that have followed, under the patronage of Lt. General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan, Chief of Staff of the UAE Armed Forces, the ADIAS commenced excavations on many of the major sites first identified in the 1992 season, Hellyer said.
Dr. King's book is the first to be published on the archaeology of Abu Dhabi's coast and islands. He says that it helps fill in what was once a "blank on the historical map of Arabia." The book also summarises for the first time the available historical information on the islands. It reveals, for example, that Sir Bani Yas was first known by that name around 1590 - over 400 years ago.
On Sir Bani Yas, evidence of settlement in the 5th to 8th century AD was found in Al Khor district on the east of the island, the first time that sites of this period had been recorded in Abu Dhabi. In subsequent excavations, the settlement proved to be a pre-Islamic Christian monastery, the first and so far the only evidence of the presence of Christianity in the Emirates prior to the coming of Islam.
Work on the Sir Bani Yas site is not yet completed. The site is important because: it offers first evidence of the presence of Arab Christians in the UAE before the coming of Islam; it is the largest pre-Islamic site anywhere in Eastern Arabia and the only one where excavation is possible; and the site was abandoned and not destroyed around the end of the Umayyad Caliphate, suggesting a peaceful conversion from Christianity to Islam.
A large mound near Sir Bani Yas airport has been identified which has pottery from the Third Millennium BC, i.e. around 4,000 years Before Present, and may be a Bronze Age burial. If this is confirmed by future excavation, it will be the first tomb of its type and period identified on Abu Dhabi's offshore islands, Hellyer explained.
On the island of Dalma, another important discovery was made, dating back to at least 6,000 years ago. The site, in the children's playground of the local branch of the Abu Dhabi Women's Association, yielded flint tools, beads and pottery of a type known from the city of Tell Ubaid in southern Mesopotamia.
Since at the time the city flourished, around 6,000 to 7,000 years ago, Dalma was already an island, the pottery must have been imported to Dalma by sea, the earliest evidence yet found of the long maritime heritage of the people of the Emirates.
Excavations in March this year, carried out with the support of Minister for Information and Culture Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al Nahyan, uncovered evidence of buildings, one up to seven metres in diameter. These are the oldest buildings yet found in the Emirates. Surveys on Dalma have also produced evidence of settlement at later periods, including the First Millennium AD (before Islam) and from the Islamic period.
On the island of Merawah, another important site was found, again probably 6,000 years old. On the site, on a headland overlooking the sea, a large number of flint arrowheads and other tools were found, all of a type from the Late Stone Age. Merawah has been a major focus of ADIAS activity under the patronage of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
The Late Stone Age has been mapped in detail, while several nearby cairns have been excavated, producing a number of human burials and pottery, Hellyer said. Further work on the island has included mapping of a major late Islamic site, while a full geomorphological and geological study is under way.
The island contains the most extensive exposures of the late Pliocene, Pleistocene and Holocene geology known anywhere in the coastal regions of Abu Dhabi. Dr. King has thanked the Ministry of Information and Culture and the Minister, Sheikh Abdullah, for their support in publishing the book. (Carried in all papers; this report from the Emirates News)
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