EMIRATES NEWS (29/8/2012)

Abdullah bin Zayed meets German Foreign Minister 

            Berlin: The foreign minister H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan and Germany's foreign minister Guido Westerwelle on Tuesday discussed bilateral relations between their two countries, matters of common concern as well as regional and international issues, in the Middle East in particular. In attendance at the meeting were ambassador of the UAE to Germany Mohammed Ahmed Al Mahmoud and director of the foreign minister Mohammed Mahmoud Al-Khaja. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


UAE-Jordanian field hospital launched to help Syrian refugees

   Al Mafraq, Jordan: The UAE-Jordanian field hospital, set up at the refugee camps near the border with Syria to help Syrian displaced from their country, was officially launched yesterday in a ceremony here by Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh.

In attendance at the launch ceremony were Jordanian Health Minister Abdellatif Wurekat, Ambassador of the UAE to Jordan Abdullah Nasser Al Ameri, UNHCR representative to Jordan Andrew Harper, WFP Country Director Maha Ahmad, representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross and officials of the UAE's Red Crescent Authority (RCA) and Jordanian charities.

Tens of volunteer doctors, nurses, health professionals, technicians and administrators from the UAE, Jordan and other countries jointly run the hospital's clinics and provide free full medical care for thousands of Syrians who were displaced to the Jordanian territory.

Operating this field hospital is in line with directives from the UAE's top leadership to alleviate the suffering of patients in Amman, Mafraq, Ramtha, Ma'an, Irbid and other cities.

In remarks at the opening ceremony, Judeh said: "the advanced medical equipment and the highly trained staff at the hospital reflect the great interest the UAE has in helping Syrian refugees and alleviating their suffering and meeting their needs." The Minister expressed gratitude for President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, His Highness Gen. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in the Western Region and Chairman of the Red Crescent Authority (RCA) for their humanitarian initiatives to help the needy and victims of disasters worldwide.

He said the UAE is at the forefront of international humanitarian efforts as part of the approach established by the late founding father Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

He expressed special thanks to H.H. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed saying he is well known for his philanthropist initiatives to help underprivileged old people and children in particular.

For his part, Jordanian Health Minister Abdellatif Wurekat said the hospital sets an example of real partnership and optimal volunteer work for underprivileged people.

He added that setting up a fully operational hospital like this with 500-bed capacity is not something easy to do within days.

The senior Jordanian officials were briefed by Emirati cardiologist Adel Al Shameri, CEO of the UAE-Jordanian Field Hospital, on the units, specialisations and services provided to the refugees. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Mozambique President visits UAE Pavilion at "Maputo International Trade Fair"

            The Mozambique capital city of Maputo has seen the launching on Monday of the 'Maputo International Trade Fair', in which the UAE Ministry of Foreign Trade (MOFT) is taking part through a delegation that includes a number of national companies and institutions from both the private and public sectors.

The Ministry of Foreign Trade's stated objective of participating in the 48th edition of the annual fair is to promote UAE investments, strengthen the country's trade exchange and explore existing opportunities in the African continent.

The international event, which is seeing the participation of over 1500 international companies and entities and is attended annually by over 60 thousand visitors was officially inaugurated by Mozambique's President Armando Emilio Guebuza, who visited the UAE's country pavilion and met with the MOFT officials and UAE company and commercial entity heads and representatives taking part.

MOFT officials presented a commemorative gift to the president, who in turn welcomed the UAE's participation in the fair pointing out to the latter's strengthening economic and investment prowess both regionally and globally. The President went on to emphasise the importance of seeking to launch direct commercial flights between the UAE and Mozambique in order to further strengthen commercial exchange between the two countries in particular and the African continent as a whole.

Taking part in the UAE Country Pavilion, are a number of UAE government entities and companies that include the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Free Trade Zone Authority and Department of Economic Development of Ras Al Khaimah, in addition to a number of large UAE companies such as Al Jaber Group, Emaar Properties, The Dahra Agricultural Company and others.

For his part, Mohammad Hamdan Al Zoaby, head of the Trade Promotion Department at MOFT, underlined at the fair the importance of the African market to the UAE within the framework of the country's strategy of diversifying investment opportunities for public and private UAE companies and institutions. Al Zoaby pointed out that Mozambique possesses a multitude of investment opportunities especially in sectors such as "oil and gas; agriculture; fisheries; coal, gold and diamond mining and infrastructure". The Emirati official also added that the African country enjoys a strategic location in the continent as it is surrounded by the Indian Ocean to the east, Tanzania, Malawi and Zambia to the North, Zimbabwe and South Africa to the West and Swaziland to the South.

Al Zoaby added that the UAE delegation at the fair will be holding a series of meetings and discussions with a number of other institutions and entities throughout the duration of the fair, which is scheduled to last until the 2nd of September, 2012. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


UAE elected Member of International Telecommunications Satellite Organisation Advisory Committee

            The United Arab Emirates has been elected as a member of the International Telecommunications Satellite Organisation (ITSO) Advisory Committee.

The selection came during the 35th Meeting of the Assembly of Parties held in Kampala, Uganda last month.

The UAE is among a group of 21 nations to comprise this advisory committee whose objective is to further the ITSO commitment to develop a global satellite communications system. This committee will represent the 150 members of the organisation to deliver upon this objective. A member nation to the ITSO, the UAE was represented by Hasan Al Suwaidi, UAE Ambassador in Kampala, who led a delegation that included Eng. Khalid Al Awadhi, Manager, Space Services in the UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA).

Commenting on the TRA participation and the UAE's election into the advisory committee, Mohamad Ahmad Al-Qamzi, Chairman- TRA Board of Directors remarked, "The UAE, through TRA representation, is often a part of international organisations that aim to augment the status of the global communications infrastructure and the status of less developed nations. As a progressive nation in the telecommunications field and a regional leader in ICT in the Middle East, the UAE is uniquely positioned to make a significant contribution to such agendas. The TRA's Spectrum Affairs department is pleased to take on this responsibility and is looking forward to being a part of this esteemed mission." The 35th ITSO Assembly Meeting discussed several critical issues with relation to developing a global communications satellite system in addition to addressing the importance of providing satellite services to lesser developed nations.

Director General of TRA, Mohamed Nasser Al Ghanim stated, "Our involvement in this committee further exemplifies the merit of our already strong track record in taking a lead in the development of infrastructure that aims to provide compatibility and benefit to users of ICT on a global scale. We have shown our dedication to the ITSO agenda by representing our country as a member nation, and through this election to the committee, we have once again embodied the leading role that serves as an example to other nations in our region." The TRA is responsible for the management and regulation of the Radio Spectrum in the UAE and regularly represents the country in international forums. Its primary objective is to facilitate the successful coordination of spectrum and satellite orbital assignments promoting international cooperation and minimising harmful interferences.

The ITSO incorporates the principle set forth in Resolution 1721 (XVI) of the General Assembly of the United Nations, which stipulates that communication by means of satellites should be universal as soon as feasible and achievable on a global and non-discriminatory basis. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Kyrgyzstan exempts Emiratis from entry visa

            Kyrgyzstan on Tuesday announced that it had exempted the nationals of the UAE from entry visa for up to 60-day stay on its territory.

Director of Consular Services at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Ahmed Salim Elham Al-Dhaheri said a note sent to the Ministry by the Kyrgyz Embassy in Riyadh announced that the nationals of the UAE were added to the list of 44 countries whose nationals are exempt from visa requirements to enter Kyrgyzstan.  – Emirates News Agency, WAM


ENOC and Aldrees sign joint venture to establish service stations in Saudi Arabia

            Dubai/Riyadh: Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC), Dubai's leading petroleum retailer with a significant footprint in lifestyle and consumer retailing, has signed a joint venture agreement with Aldrees Petroleum '&' Transport Services Company (Aldrees), one of Saudi Arabia's largest petroleum retailers and commodity hauling companies, to set up service stations in different locations across the Kingdom.

Burhan Al Hashemi, Managing Director of ENOC Retail, the specialised retail business of ENOC, and Eng. Abdulelah Saad Aldrees, Chief Executive Officer of Aldrees, signed the agreement yesterday.

As per the 50:50 joint venture, the service stations will feature all the specialised and popular brands operated by ENOC including ZOOM, Pronto, Super Lube and Super Wash. The first station under the partnership is expected to open early next year, followed by the progressive roll-out of the rest in due course.

With more than 70 million customer transactions annually, ENOC Retail, today, has over 4,000 employees who spearhead the retailing of fuel, petroleum products and an array of products and services, most of them targeted at the everyday requirements of motorists. The retail business also has many brands in the food '&' beverage sector, providing management services and franchising the brands across the Middle East and North Africa region.

One of the largest petroleum retail and commodity hauling companies in Saudi Arabia with a network of more than 450 petrol filling stations, Aldrees has a fleet of 1,032 tractor heads with 1,376 cargo carriers ranging from chemical/lubricant tankers, trailers, bulkers, to flat beds. The company serves a majority of the transport market and supply fuel to key accounts in both private and government sectors.  – Emirates News Agency, WAM


UAE to expand oil production capacity to 3m bpd this year

            The UAE is on track to expand its crude oil production capacity to 3 million barrels per day (bpd) by the end of the year, two industry sources said on Tuesday.

The UAE, one of the world’s top oil exporters, increased its production capacity from 2.7 million bpd to around 2.8 million bpd earlier this year and expects to add another 200,000 bpd of capacity over the next few months.

“Oil production capacity in the UAE should reach 3 million bpd by the end of this year, and already the current capacity is around 2.8 million bpd,” said an industry source familiar with the projects.

In July the Opec country’s production was ramped up close to its maximum capacity of 2.8 million bpd, the source added.

The maximum capacity has been tested and everything is going ahead as planned,” he said.

Abu Dhabi plans to invest US$60 billion (Dh220.32 billion) over the next five years to boost production capacity to 3.5 million bpd.

The bulk of the capacity increase this year will come from the Zakum oil fields, said a second industry source, adding that production at the Murban-Bab field had also increased in 2012 but declining to say by how much.

Bab is operated by the Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations (ADCO) concession, which is currently in a tender to renew its deals before they expire in 2014.

BP is a partner in ADCO with Royal Dutch Shell, Total, ExxonMobil and Partex Oil and Gas, with ADNOC holding a controlling stake.

ADCO is the largest concession, with the capacity to produce between 1.4 million and 1.5 million bpd, and its contract renewal is important to Abu Dhabi’s plans to boost its oil capacity to 3.5 million bpd.

The concessions system in the UAE allows oil and gas producers to acquire equity shares in hydrocarbon production from the Opec member in return for investing in projects. – Gulf News


Dubai consolidating as leading MICE destination

The Dubai Convention Bureau (DCB), a division of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), has, in line with their vision to position Dubai as the leading tourism destination and commercial hub of the world, collaborated with a number of private and public sector organisations to secure some of world’s leading conferences and exhibitions for Dubai.

The DCB has in the past contributed to bringing prestigious events and conferences to Dubai such as the International Diabetes Federation, World Heart Federation,  International Bar Association and the World Energy Forum and is continuing to solidify Dubai’s place as a leading MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions) destination.

Hamad Mohammed bin Mejren, CDME executive director, Business Tourism, said: “The leadership of the UAE has continually underlined and supported the importance of the development of the MICE industry in the Emirates, recognising that congress development is key to tourism success. The strong infrastructure network, air accessibility and abundance of hotel options in Dubai make it an ideal choice for international meetings.

Dubai has established a considerable reputation as an exceptional destination for meetings and conferences and has hosted some impressive international events.

In 2011 Dubai hosted 34 international association meetings, not taking into account corporate meetings, incentives and exhibitions.

The International Convention and Congress Association (ICCA) ranked Dubai as first in the Middle East and as one of the major international meeting destinations globally, with Dubai surfacing as a top contender amongst well established meetings destinations such as Singapore, Hong Kong and Melbourne.

This year Dubai will be hosting The World Conference on International Telecommunications, the Global Standards Symposium and The World Telecommunication Standardisation Assembly, with a total number of delegates expected to be over 11,000.

In 2013 the Emirate will be playing host to the Interdisciplinary World Congress on Low Back and Pelvic Pain, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication Congress & Exhibition, and the International Destination Expo 2013.

Further major international events are also set to take place in Dubai in 2014, namely the duel events of the Congress of the Asian Pacific Dental Federation (APDF) and the Scientific Conference of Asian Pacific Endodontic Confederation (APEC) and the International Symposium on Electronic Art, which will be taking place outside of Europe for the first time since its inception. – Khaleej Times


Drydocks debt deal okayed

            A special court in Dubai on Tuesday sanctioned the US$2.2 billion debt-restructuring plan of Drydocks World after creditors approved the proposals.

“The sanctioning of the company voluntary arrangements concludes the formal approval of Drydocks World’s debt restructuring proposals,” Drydocks World, the shipbuilding arm of Dubai World, said in a statement following the hearing.

The ruling by the special tribunal said 97.8 per cent of Drydocks’s creditors agreed to the terms. A government decree allows the tribunal to enforce a restructuring proposal if at least two-thirds of the creditors agree to it.

The Middle East’s biggest shipyard turned to the Dubai World Tribunal in April to push through full consent for its restructuring. The tribunal is a special judicial body set up in 2009 to handle liquidation matters connected to Dubai World and its subsidiaries.

New York-based investment company Monarch Alternative Capital LP, which won a US$45.5 million claim against Drydocks in a London court, did not vote on the proposal, while JP Morgan Securities abstained, Adrian Cohen, partner at Clifford Chance LLP, the law firm representing Drydocks, told the court on Tuesday.

Under the restructuring plan, Drydocks proposes to repay US$2.2 billion of principal in full over five years. The proposed timeframe would be similar to the US$25 billion restructuring deal reached by Dubai World with its creditors, which extended its debt repayments through new five and eight-year facilities with reduced margins.

Drydocks World is among several Dubai companies seeking to restructure debt in the wake of the global recession. Dubai World, one of the three main state-controlled holding companies, reached a deal in March 2011 with about 80 banks to delay payments on US$25 billion of debt, while Dubai Group is seeking to restructure US$6 billion of bank debt.

In 2008, the shipbuilding firm borrowed US$2.2 billion to finance two acquisitions in Singapore to gain ships and Asian shipbuilding sites. The company borrowed US$1.7 billion for three years at 170 basis points, or 1.7 percentage points, over the London interbank offered rate, or Libor. It borrowed another US$500 million for five years at 190 basis points over Libor.

Bookrunners on the 15-lender syndicate were BNP Paribas, HSBC, Mashreq, Standard Chartered and Lloyds TSB Bank among others.

Drydocks World, which has built and repaired more than 2,000 vessels of various types and sizes, is considered the most prominent name in the maritime industry. It operates the Middle East’s largest shipyard in Dubai, where it builds and repairs ships and oil drilling rigs. It has yards operating in Singapore and in Graha, Pertama and Nanindah in Indonesia.

The Dubai-based shipping firm is expected to complete a joint venture agreement with Malaysia’s Kuok Group in third quarter. It sealed a joint venture deal in June with a company backed by Malaysian billionaire Robert Kuok that could see the Asian firm buy as much as 70 per cent of its southeast Asian business. The new group will be active in nine countries, own around 300 vessels and operate six shipyards. At present, Drydocks operates a fleet of 160 vessels comprising of tankers, bulk/cargo vessels, supply vessels, tugs, anchor handling tugs and barges. – Khaleej Times


Bank credit up 1.5% in Q2

            Domestic credit extended by UAE banks grew by around 1.5 per cent in the second quarter of 2012 compared to the previous quarter despite a decline in deposits, according to official data.

The increase in lending was mainly to the government as it swelled by about 3.8 per cent while personal loans grew by nearly 2.1 per cent.

The figures by the Central Bank showed loans provided by the country’s 51 banks to local companies rose by only about 1.3 per cent while mortgage credit edged up by just 0.3 per cent in the same period.

“The increase in domestic credit in the second quarter is reasonable considering the slackening demand for loans by companies and the cautious lending policy adopted by banks,” the central bank said.

From around Dh1,070 billion at the end of the first quarter, total loans provided by the country’s 23 national banks and 28 foreign units increased to nearly Dh1,090 billion at the end of the second quarter.

Personal loans rose from Dh253.8 billion to Dh259.2 billion while corporate credit grew from Dh382 billion to Dh397 billion, the report showed.

Loans to the government swelled from Dh110.5 billion to Dh114.2 billion and mortgage credit from around Dh239.9 billion to Dh240.6 billion.

The report showed deposits with banks declined by around 3.4 per cent to Dh1,107 billion at the end of June from Dh1,146.1 billion at the end of March.

Total bank assets slipped by about 0.5 per cent to Dh1,732.7 billion from Dh1,741.4 billion, maintaining their position as the largest in the Arab world.

The report showed banks’ investment in central bank certificates of deposits dropped by 3.2 per cent to Dh79.6 billion from Dh82.2 billion.

The banks’ shareholders equity remained almost unchanged at around Dh278.6 billion while their combined capital adequacy was as high as 20.8 per cent at the end of the second quarter, the report showed. – Emirates 24|7


Dubai’s most popular residential areas to rent in H1 2012

New Dubai scores high when it comes to the most sought-after residential communities in the city this year, according to real estate agencies.

According to Better Homes, Dubai Marina beats all other communities when it comes to rent.

“The most popular residential areas in leasing for the first half of this year was Dubai Marina,” Annetta Shaw, Head of Residential Sales and Leasing, Head Office, Better Homes told Emirates 24|7.

Rushiraj Mehta of Legacy Real Estate believes that within the villa category Springs and Meadows recorded a decent jump in rent transactions in the first quarter of this year, making these communities a popular choice.

“The Springs and Meadows recorded a 5 to 8 per cent jump in rental deals in Q1 of 2012. The increase was not that huge due to a high number of available villas but still decent considering the size of this community,” Mehta elaborated.

Within the apartment category, Mehta believes Executive Towers in Business Bay beats all other communities and buildings. 

“Executive Towers in Business Bay recorded a minimum of 10 per cent increase over the previous year and Emaar’s Greens clocked a 5 to 8 per cent jump in rental deals over the same period last year,” he added.

As per Asteco estimates, towards the end of H1 2012, rental rates in established quality communities achieved average increases of 6 per cent.

Apartments in Dubai Marina and Downtown Dubai were the most sought after witnessing a 10 per cent increase, with a two-bedroom apartment fetching between Dh90,000 and Dh120,000 per annum.

Within the villa category, Asteco figures show that the rent increase was seen most in Mirdiff area as demand strengthened.

“Mirdiff showed the largest increase with rent for a three-bedroom house increasing to Dh90,000 per annum a 13 per cent jump from Q1 2012. Double-digit (11 per cent) growth was also recorded in Arabian Ranches,” said a report by Asteco. – Emirates 24|7


Dubai leads on hiring as confidence surges back

            More than half of Dubai financial recruiters plan to hire more permanent staff before the end of the year - the second-highest percentage globally.

An international survey of almost 2,200 finance executives for the recruiter Robert Half found 52 per cent of those questioned in Dubai intend to hire.

That is slightly less than Brazil at 57 per cent but substantially more than the global average of just 24 per cent.

James Sayer, the director at Robert Half UAE, said the results did not come as a surprise to the recruiter.

"We have been experiencing an uplift in confidence for a number of firms within the UAE [this year]," he said. "We seem to be bearing the storm in a good way at the moment."

The survey revealed that while many of the larger multinationals were putting off plans to hire more staff because of the continuing uncertainty in Europe, that is not the case for many companies based here.

"Many local companies are hiring in response to strong growth and demand in the region," Mr Sayer said.

Phil Whitehead, the associate director at Gulf Recruitment Group, said many of its clients were also upbeat -and expected next year to be even better than this year.

Private bankers and wealth managers are most in demand, said Mr Whitehead.

"The majority of the hiring managers and senior executives we speak to want to hire."

Eight out of 10 executives in the UAE are confident about the country's growth prospects. Almost two thirds of UAE finance executives, 64 per cent, cited rising workloads as the biggest driver for increased hiring. But 81 per cent said it was hard to find skilled financial professionals.

Jobs in auditing, risk, financial planning and analysis and IT finance were listed as being particularly difficult roles to fill. And 85 per cent of those surveyed here said they were worried about losing top performers to other companies this year.

Mr Sayer said firms looking to attract and retain the most talented professionals should review their salaries and benchmark them against others.

According to the Robert Half Global Financial Salary Guide 2010-2011, a chief accountant with 10 to 15 years' experience who works for a large company is expected to earn US$115,000 (Dh422,418) to US$130,000 a year in Dubai.

"Available talent in the Middle East is quite limited, so from a purely supply and demand perspective, salaries are generally higher here in the Middle East," said Mr Sayer.

A large proportion of the workforce are expatriates, which also pushes up salaries.

But not all finance professionals earn substantially more in the UAE.

An internal auditor with 10 to 15 years' experience who works in a large company is expected to earn US$68,000 to US$100,000 in Dubai, US$80,000 to US$96,000 in Singapore and US$90,000 to US$129,000 in Hong Kong, according to the guide. – The National


UAE's 16th NASA Intern helped to assure Astronaut life support

            Under an historic agreement between the UAE's not-for-profit Arab Youth Venture Foundation and NASA, the 16th elite Emirati research fellow, Hayam Al Blooshi, an Abu Dhabi female engineering graduate, has returned home from four month mission internship at the U.S. Space agency where she conducting specific activities in the design, construction, and testing of advanced spacecraft water recycling. to assure precious resource sustainability in space.

At NASA Hayam was partially responsible for design of mechanical systems, fabrication and assembly, pressure safety documentation, and controller performance optimization to address the need to supply drinking water to astronauts in flight. Such technologies will be integrated into NASA's next generation life support systems.

According to Hayam Al Blooshi, "Working with leading scientists at NASA was a unique opportunity and I gained so much knowledge in the field of my studies while adding further skills in other key areas such as resource scarcity and sustainability. While at NASA I participated in a panel discussion An Introduction to the UAE', in order to give the NASA research community an insight into our culture and economic diversity. I hope my achievement will be a motivation for younger female Emirati to work hard and fulfil their dreams." In addition to Hayam's work in Silicon Valley's NASA Ames Research Centre other dynamic Emirati university engineering students' have worked on NASA missions related to nano/phone sats, Mars rovers, wind-turbine research for use in avionics, gray water recycling, remote sensing analysis, green building renewable energy infrastructure, and more.

Lisa LaBonte, CEO, Arab Youth Venture Foundation commented, "Like with much of NASA's ground-breaking space research, what emerges are ancillary terrestrial applications -in this case, water recycling methods and technologies that have direct relevance for green building infrastructure and other sustainable water recycling systems to be used here on earth.         The UAE nationals engaged and excelling in such leading edge research and engineering design provides yet further evidence as to the world class intellect, motivation, and abilities of our Emirati youth." Envisioned by AYVF in UAE in 2007, the NASA-AYVF Innovative Partnership Program was signed in 2009 and launched in 2010. The immersive program selects only the most dynamic minded Emirati university engineering students to spend up to four months at NASA in USA. In 2011 NASA began using the UAE/AYVF model for its international internships. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Municipality of Abu Dhabi City seizes 140 kg of anonymous cosmetics

            The Municipality of Abu Dhabi City has seized 140 kilograms of cosmetics of unknown origin; some of them bear medical allegations or have no product labels written in Arabic or English.

During its crackdown in the closing nights of the holy month of Ramadan 227 female beauty salons and centres were inspected in a bid to verify their compliance with the health stipulations as well as the public health codes, 3 salons and 18 centres have been served with warnings.

The Municipality stressed the importance of compliance of beauty salons and centres with the standards '&' stipulations of cleanliness and public health, and called on visitors of these outlets to ensure the implementation of such standards and take early action towards reporting to the Municipality any practices or offences jeopardising the health and safety of the community.

Khalifa Al Rumaith, Director of Public Health at the Municipality of Abu Dhabi City, praised the results of the campaign and said: "Municipal inspection teams covered the entirety of Abu Dhabi city under the campaign that principally aimed at educating operators and staff of beauty salons on health practices ought to be observed in their outlets, raising the awareness of beauty salons customers on how to safeguard their safety '&' health, and eliminating any violations or contraventions to the health stipulations and standards inside these centres.

"Tracking beauty salons and centres as well as other facilities related to the public is not linked in fact to a specific campaign or timing, and the municipal surveillance teams carry out daily monitoring and health control measures," he added.

Al Rumaithi continued: "The Municipality made it clear that it will not hesitate to take necessary measures against any party proved to have violated the applicable health stipulations in a way inflicting damage to the health '&' safety of the community. In case any entity is caught adding harmful materials, the products will be immediately confiscated and legal measures will be taken against the offender; which might be as tough as closing the entity, abolishing the trading license, prohibiting the practicing of the activity, imposing hefty fines, and confiscating any materials proved by lab tests to contain petroleum, chemical or harmful products." The campaign was set off in the closing nights of Ramadan as beauty salons and centres were busy with customers on the eve of Eid al Fitr in order to ensure their compliance with the health stipulations and public health codes in place under the strategy of the Municipality to maintain the public health and safety, and combat any risks undermining the safety and public health of the community. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


MoH withdraws Augmentin 250 mg from market

            The Ministry of Health (MoH) has ordered the withdrawal of Batch No. 517999 of Augmentin 250 mg for children, made by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), from all public and private hospitals, medical centres, clinics and pharmacies as tiny plastic pieces could mix with the medicine due to a manufacturing failure.

In a statement issued yesterday, MoH's Assistant Undersecretary for Medical Practices and Licensing Dr Amin Hussein Al Amiri said the circular issued by the Ministry also bans further imports of the same batch and orders GSK to provide a detailed report on the withdrawal of the drug and to provide enough quantities to make up for any possible shortage.

All other batches of the said product are safe for human consumption and any side effects which might develop should however be reported online to the ministry, the official said.  – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Al Wasl reveal ambitious plans for Zabeel Stadium

            Al Wasl have announced plans to increase the capacity of the Zabeel Stadium to 25,000 whilst making it the first air-conditioned such venue in the UAE.

While no timeline has been put on the project, Wasl spokesman Tariq Abdullah has confirmed meetings will be held “in the next three days” to discuss the matter in further detail.

The work will see the capacity of the Zabeel Stadium, Wasl’s home since 1974, expanded by 7,000 from its current capacity of 18,000, while operations will also include developing the seating area for spectators and the media.

“The new stadium will be air-conditioned and will be able to hold 25,000 fans,” Abdullah told Sport360°. “We still don’t know what the design will look like, but there will be a meeting with DSC (Dubai Sports Council) and the Dubai Municipality.

“The will explain everything, what the design will be. We don’t have all the details yet, but we will know more at the end of this week.”

The redevelopment of the Zabeel is unlikely to be only sports venue in Dubai to undergo extensive work in the coming years, in accordance to the directives of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Similar projects are also set to be unveiled in the coming months with the aim of making the facilities complement the urban and social development witnessed throughout the emirate in recent years.

Clottey decision soon

Meanwhile, aside from their ambitious plans for their stadium, Wasl are also continuing with their attempts to strengthen their playing squad before the new season.

Having announced the signing of former Al Jazira defender and Australia captain Lucas Neill over the weekend, the club have now set their sights on signing a new striker.

Talks with Ghanaian striker Emmanuel Clottey remain “ongoing” with Abdullah expecting an announcement to be made within the next 48 hours.

The Berekum Chelsea star has emerged as the club’s first choice to replace the outing Juan Manual Olivera after cooling their interest in former Middlesbrough striker Afonso Alves.

The Brazilian, 31, is a free agent after leaving Qatari side Al Rayyan at the end of last season and has held talks with Wasl. However, his hopes of a move to the UAE now appear to hinge on whether the Cheetahs can agree a deal for Clottey.

“We are still in negotiations with Emmanuel. He is our No1 choice and we’re still talking to his club,” said Abdullah. “Afonso is a standby option.”

Asked if he was confident of tying up a deal for Clottey, Abdullah replied: “Yes, we hope so.”

On Lucas Neill’s arrival at the club on a one-year deal, Abdullah added: “Everyone is delighted with Neill’s signing. He was a player Metsu identified and the board agreed with that so we are happy to have him.” – Sport 360°

UAE Balloon wins Poland's International Hot Air Balloon Festival

            The UAE Hot Air Balloon has made waves in Europe, winning the cup of 28th Poland International Hot Air Balloon Festival.

The UAE balloonists outperformed their European rivals, especially those from France and Norway.

Captain Abdul Aziz Al Mansouri, Pilot of UAE Balloon, stated after his return home from Poland, that the team, flying a balloon carrying portrait of His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of UAE Armed Forces, had put splendid show to harvest the title.

He paid tribute to Lt. General HH Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, for his substantial support for the team Abdul Rahman Naqi, Team Manager, said the team was bracing to capture title of Khalifa Balloon during the 6th UAE Balloon Championship next December 2012.

The UAE hot air balloon's vision is to bring the peaceful message of the United Arab Emirates to other countries around the globe using the majesty and dignity of ballooning. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Emirati female volunteers in Jordan honoured

            Emirati female volunteer medical team members of the UAE-Jordanian field hospital, recently deployed in the Jordanian city of Mafraq near the border with Syria to help Syrian refugees, were honoured by Ambassador of the UAE to Jordan Abdullah Nasser Al Ameri.

The volunteers received certificates of appreciation from the ambassador in recognition of their active involvement in humanitarian work. The hospital will be officially launched tomorrow Tuesday in attendance of senior Jordanian officials, diplomats and representatives of local and international humanitarian and health organisations. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Dubai's non-oil foreign trade volume increases 12pc in H1 2012

            Dubai's non-oil foreign trade has climbed to a record Dh 602bn during the first half of 2012, reflecting a 12pc increase compared to the Dh 537bn achieved over the same period in 2011, according to the latest statistics from Dubai Customs.

Ahmed Butti Ahmed, Executive Chairman of Ports, Custom and Free Zone Corporation, and Dubai Customs Director General, explains that these figures include non-oil direct trade, free zone trade and customs warehouses. Dubai's imports have shown a growth of 11.5pc in H1 2012, fetching Dh 357bn compared to Dh 320bn in H1 2011; while the value of exports and re-exports hit Dhs245bn with a growth rate of 13pc as compared to Dh 217bn over same period last year.

He commended Dubai's foreign trade sector for breaking the barrier of Dh 600bn for first time in its history, noting that this sector has suffered major losses in 2009, dropping from Dh 458bn in 2008 to Dh 361bn in H1 2009 amid the global economic crisis.

Nonetheless, the sector managed to get back on track during first halves of 2010 to 2012, registering Dh 436bn in 2010, Dh 537bn in 2011 and Dh 602bn in 2012.

Ahmed Butti Ahmed further pointed out that the Department is continuing to establish better regulations and customs procedures, which provide more facilities for traders, cargo companies and all customers within a more attractive investment environment.

Dubai Customs looks toward promoting Dubai's position as one of the world's leading financial and business hubs, as well as preserving its gains as a crucial link in global trade connecting various countries through a robust network of ports and airports.

Unwrought, worked and semi-manufactured gold topped the list of Dubai's imports reaching Dh 59bn during the first half of 2012, followed by jewellery at Dh 25bn, diamonds at Dh 24bn, telecom equipment at Dh 23bn and automobiles at Dh 15bn.

Gold was also ranked as the top exported product from Dubai during H1 2012, at a value of Dh 42bn, followed by diamonds at Dh 8bn, jewellery and precious metals at Dh 3bn, aluminium at Dh 2bn and non-crude oil at Dh 2bn.

In terms of re-exported products from Dubai, telecom equipment came in first at Dh 29bn, followed by diamonds at Dh15bn, jewellery and precious metals at Dh11bn, oil products at Dh10bn, and IT machinery at Dh 9bn.

According to the figures released by Dubai Customs' Department of Strategy and Corporate Excellence, India has managed to maintain its position as Dubai's top foreign trading partner with a total trading value of Dh 77bn (13pc of Dubai's overall foreign trade exchange); while China came in second with Dh 53bn (9pc), followed by the US at Dh 36bn (6pc), Switzerland at Dh 32bn (5pc) and Saudi Arabia at Dh 23bn (4pc).

Accordingly, Dubai's trade exchange value with these top five countries hit Dh 221bn in total, accounting for 37pc of Dubai's overall foreign trade during the first half of 2012. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


DED issues 1426 trade licenses in July 2012

            The Department of Economic Development (DED) has issued 1426 trade licenses in July 2012 showing an increase of 9 per cent over the same period last year.

The professional sector accounted for the highest increase in number of licenses (29%) followed by the commercial (4%), industry and tourism sectors, compared to July 2011.

According to the figures released by the department, the increase in licenses relates to a higher level of interest in commercial and professional activities among businessmen and investors in Dubai. Commercial licenses accounted for 72 per cent of the total licenses issued last month, followed by professional (26%), industrial and tourism (1% each) licenses.

The total number of licenses amended in July 2012 was 5,493, compared to 4,991 in July 2011, an increase of 10 per cent, while the total number of business registration and licensing (BRL) transactions reached 45,933, compared to 41,700 in July 2011, an increase of 10 per cent.

The number of reserved trade names reached 5,021 in July 2012, a 22 per cent increase compared to the same period in 2011, while the number of initial approvals reached 2,325, a 19 per cent increase year on year.

The total number of commercial activities licensed in July 2012 was 3,496, with General trade leading the list of the top 10 licensed activities with (192 licences) followed by Dyes '&' paints (122 licenses), Carpentry and flooring (117), Tiling of floors and walls (113), and Sanitary extensions '&' wares (108).

The number of professional activities licensed in July 2011 reached 1,030. Residences and building cleaning services led the list of the top 10 licensed activities in this category with 54 licences, Restaurants (39), Sewing (36), and Sewing and embroidery (31) were the other leading activities in this category.

In the tourism sector, Inbound tourism was the leader with nine licenses followed by Travel agent and tourism (5). In the industrial activities segment, Cardboard rolls and tubes led the list of licensed activities with two licences followed by Prefabricated buildings and their parts, Meat products, Poultry products, and Elevators with one licence each of the total industrial activities (31). – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Dubai tops Mena as investment bankers’ favourite

            Dubai is the most favoured place of UK investment bankers to work in the Middle East and North Africa region, according to a survey.

Investment bankers favour working in Singapore over New York and London, where they face lower wage growth and higher taxes, according to recruitment firm Astbury Marsden.

Thirty-one per cent of respondents chose Singapore as their most favoured location, followed by New York (20 per cent) and London (19 per cent), the recruiter said in its annual ‘Preferred Location Survey’.

Hong Kong and Dubai got 16 per cent and 15 per cent, respectively. The survey found 60 per cent of bankers expect the Asia-Pacific region to the largest financial centre in 10 years.

“A fast growing, low-tax and bank-friendly environment like Singapore stands as a perfect antidote to the comparatively high-tax and anti-banker sentiment of London and New York,” Mark Cameron, chief operating officer at Astbury Marsden, said in the statement. “Financial centres in the West have taken a real battering since the start of the financial crisis.” Financial-services firms in London have come under intense pressure from governments and regulators to cut compensation amid public anger about trillions of dollars of taxpayer assistance to banks, including the UK’s Royal Bank of Scotland Group and Lloyds Banking Group.

London’s financiers may receive £2.3 billion (US$3.6 billion) in bonuses for 2012, the lowest in more than 14 years as their firms deal with weak trading conditions and job cuts, the Centre for Economics & Business Research Ltd said in May.

“Cities like Singapore and Hong Kong have been quick to capitalise on setbacks in London and New York, courting investment banks and reacting to demand from expats and tourists for facilities such as sporting, music and other international events,” Cameron said.

“This has made them popular destinations for expat investment bankers and hedge fund staff.”  Astbury Marsden surveyed 462 people in late July. – Bloomberg


DIC sells stake in US$300m Infrastructure Fund

            Dubai International Capital (DIC), the private equity arm of Dubai Holding, has sold its stake in the US$300 million MENA Infrastructure Fund to international Islamic investment firm Fajr Capital, the latter said yesterday in a press statement.

While announcing its acquisition of DIC’s stake in the fund, Fajr Capital said it will take its place alongside the two other general partners and co-sponsors of the fund, HSBC Bank Middle East and Abu Dhabi-based Waha Capital, and will also be a limited partner with other regional and international investors.

David Smoot, Chief Executive, DIC, said: “This is another successful exit for DIC and follows a string of profitable exits of regional portfolio assets in recent months. MENA Infrastructure Fund has a good track record and I am confident Fajr Capital will prove a strong partner in taking the business to its next stage of development. We wish them success alongside Waha Capital and HSBC.”

Fajr Capital is an international Islamic investment firm with a focus on financial services and other strategic sectors in key Muslim markets. It is backed by the Abu Dhabi Investment Council (ADIC), the Alsubeaei Group, the Government of Brunei Darussalam, the HSBC Group and Khazanah Nasional. The MENA Infrastructure Fund is its second investment this year.

“We feel privileged to be entrusted by DIC, HSBC and Waha Capital to contribute to the success of the MENA Infrastructure Fund,” said Adib AlZamil, Chairman of Fajr Capital, who described the transaction as an important milestone for the firm. “This investment combines several commercial advantages: high-quality infrastructure assets, a seasoned management team and the platform to launch further funds with world-class partners. It also creates social value by connecting financial services to the real economy and by supporting a vital sector in the MENA region,” he added.

“The transaction strengthens Fajr Capital’s position in the MENA region,” the statement said. “It builds exposure in the key markets of Egypt, the Sultanate of Oman and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, increases the firm’s assets under management and brings in a dedicated team of investment professionals with a strong track record in the MENA infrastructure and energy sectors,” it added.

The US$300m MENA Infrastructure Fund is a Dubai-based specialist asset manager established in 2007 to invest in infrastructure and energy projects in the Middle East and North Africa. Its three investments to date include Alexandria International Container Terminals, which runs terminals in Egypt’s two main commercial ports, Alexandria and Dekheila, in partnership with international operator Hutchinson Port Holdings; United Power Company, which runs a 270MW power plant in Manah, Oman, and is the region’s first independent power project with private sector participation; and Qurayyah IPP is a 3,927MW power plant under construction in Qurayyah, Saudi Arabia and is the largest combined cycle gas fired power plant project in the region. – Emirates 24|7


Emirates Steel appoints 1st UAE National as Chief Executive Officer

            Emirates Steel's Board of Directors agreed at a meeting yesterday to appoint Engineer Saeed Ghumran Al Romaithi as the new Chief Executive Officer.

Commenting on the new appointment Engineer Suhail Mubarak Athaeeth Al Ameri, Chairman of Emirates Steel, said: " Appointment of Saeed Al Romaithi comes as part of a clear and well-defined strategy to increase the numbers of UAE nationals within the workforce and to make benefit of high qualified cadres in leadership positions." He added that "Al Romaithi and his colleagues have joined the company and handled a number of advanced assignments until they qualified for the new positions. Their promotion comes at a time when the Company is expanding rapidly and moving quickly to realise the goals and strategic ambitions of our leadership".

According to the Company's 2010-2015 strategic plan, half of the people working for Emirates Steel will be UAE nationals by 2015. Currently, 25 per cent of the workforce at Emirates Steel are UAE nationals.

On his appointment as CEO, Al Romaithi said, "I am honoured to be entrusted with this key position and to be given the opportunity to lead such a highly qualified team. Emirates Steel has already made its mark on the regional steel sector in just a few short years. Together, we will be focused on achieving even greater success to support the Emirate's economic diversification initiative". – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Social media giant LinkedIn connects with Dubai bringing jobs

            LinkedIn, the social network for professionals, plans to boost its Middle East connections by opening an office in Dubai, just months after Facebook’s high-profile entry to the market.

The business-networking site is recruiting staff for its new base, which is expected to be in Dubai Internet City.

Six positions are being advertised for the Dubai office, including an office manager and receptionist.

An executive at Dubai Internet City told The National that Linked-In had been in talks to open an office in the free zone, but added nothing had been confirmed. “They have shown an interest. There has been a discussion.”

Sources close to LinkedIn, meanwhile, confirmed Dubai Internet City had been chosen as the location and said that the office would officially open either next month or October.

LinkedIn is expected to sell corporate recruiting services from the Dubai office and is seeking specialists in this area to work there.

More than half of LinkedIn’s revenues come from its hiring-solutions division, in which revenues rose to US$121.6 million (Dh446.6m) in the second quarter of this year, a 107 per cent increase on the same period last year.

LinkedIn, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, reported an 89 per cent rise in total revenues to US$228.2m for the second quarter, beating analysts’ expectations.

The firm’s share price has increased since its initial public offering, bucking the trend among other internet businesses such as Facebook.

It is understood that LinkedIn’s new office will not handle general advertising sales. The Dubai-based agency Clique Mediahandles LinkedIn’s advertising sales across the Middle East and North Africa.

Lorcan Carpenter, the recruitment manager working for LinkedIn who posted advertisements for the Dubai-based jobs, did not respond to a request for comment about the company’s new office.

LinkedIn will be the second big social network to set up shop in Dubai this year, after Facebook opened a regional office in May in Dubai Internet City, where it employs three staff.

Jonathan Labin, the head of Facebook’s operations in Dubai, said this month that the social network planned to boost its local staff base.

PK Gulati, a prominent technology investor based in Dubai, said the city’s infrastructure made it an appealing destination. “Dubai has been successful in claiming its position as a hub, and the place to be,” he said. “It’s very good that we have these brands, there’s no question about that. It’s good to see more names coming in.”

Mr Gulati added that LinkedIn’s planned office in Dubai suggested that it viewed the Middle East as a growth market.

“It’s a very commercial decision in my opinion, in a sense that they believe that it’s a revenue market for them.” – The National


Average mobile phone bill in UAE stands at Dh1,569

            Mobile phone users in the UAE paid nearly Dh20 billion in bills to Etisalat and du last year, providing the two service providers with nearly 77 per cent of their total income, official data showed on Monday.

At the end of June 2012, mobile phone subscribers in the second largest Arab economy totalled 12.74 million, an increase of nearly one million since the beginning of the year, the figures showed.

Etisalat, one of the largest telecom firms in the Middle East, had around seven million subscribers at the end of June, controlling nearly 55 per cent of the local GSM market. Du had nearly 5.7 million, a share of 45 per cent.

The figures, published in the semi official daily Al Ittihad, showed mobile phone revenue accounted for nearly 77 per cent of the overall income of Etisalat and Du. “Mobile phone users paid around Dh20 billion in bills to the two companies out of their total revenue of Dh26 billion in 2011,” the report said, citing data by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority.

It showed pre-paid GSM users accounted for nearly 88 per cent of the total mobile phone subscribers in the UAE, standing at 11.22 million in June.

With an estimated population of 8.2 million, the UAE had a mobile phone penetration ratio of 155 per cent in June, one of the highest in the world.

The report showed Etisalat and Du had 1.1 million fixed line users in June, including around 546,000 subscribers in Du. – Emirates 24|7


RTA starts building 13 new pedestrian bridges

            Maitha bin Udai, Executive Director of the Traffic & Roads Agency, Roads & Transport Authority (RTA), announced the start of construction works in 13 new footbridges out 31 bridges intended to be constructed by the agency over the next five years.

"RTA has opened two pedestrian bridges this year; the first one in Abu Baker Al Siddique Road, and the other in Emirates Hills. During the past two years, RTA opened many other footbridges in Khalid bin Al Waleed, Al Mankhool, Bani Yas, Damascus, Al Rasheed, and Al Rabat Roads in addition to Abu Baker Al Siddique Road,” said Maitha.

"Pedestrian bridges currently being constructed by the agency in various districts of Dubai, include two on Emirates Road; one near the fruit and vegetables market and the other near workers’ accommodation at Al Awir. Others are in Al Mina, Sheikh Rashid, Umm Suqeim, Al Wuhaidah, Amman, Latifa bint Hamdan, Abu Baker Al Siddique and Al Khaleej Roads.

"The agency is also trying to curb pedestrian accidents through awareness campaigns, particularly targeting students. The key problem facing traffic awareness champions is that many people, especially labourers, are unaware of traffic safety rules, thus the key challenge lies in educating them on the importance of using pedestrian crossings, tunnels and bridges to avoid run-over accidents. RTA is always running awareness campaigns focusing on working class areas such as Jebel Ali, Al Qouz and Sonapur,” said Maitha.

The total number of pedestrian bridges constructed in Dubai reached 74 by the end of last year, and the number is set to touch 105 by 2016. – Emirates 24|7


Dubai makes waste management binding on malls

            With only one in five Dubai shopping centres and malls segregating waste at source, Dubai Municipality has moved to address issues malls face in implementing the policy.

A senior Dubai Municipality official told Gulf News that the initiative is part of efforts to achieve 100 per cent implementation by 2013.

Shopping centres and malls had been sent a circular last year urging them to segregate waste at source. However many of them did not comply with the Waste Management Department’s deadline, which was set for February this year.

The Waste Management Department had also asked shopping centres and malls to submit monthly reports on the action they had taken to segregate waste. So far, only 20 per cent of shopping centres and malls have been able to comply with the directives and they have been informed that Dubai Municipality is appraised of the situation.

“We will soon hold a meeting with the representatives from shopping centres and malls to discuss reasons for non-implementation. We want to know if they are facing any problems in implementing and want to remove those hurdles. We do not want to give them any reasons for non-implementation,” Abdul Majid Saifaei, director of the Waste Management Department at the municipality, told Gulf News.

Earlier, major retail establishments were told that Local Order No 11/2003 would be applicable if they failed to comply with the directives by February 2012.

Saifaei said, “Our goal is to ensure that all the malls and shopping centres comply. Imposing fines is not our goal, we will listen to what the issues are so that these are effectively taken care of.”

The meeting with retail establishments is set to take place in the coming weeks and Dubai Municipality is confident of meeting its target of 100 per cent waste segregation by 2013.

Dubai aims to ultimately recycle 100 per cent of its waste and bring the percentage of garbage being sent to landfills from the existing 80-90 per cent to zero by 2030. Asking shopping malls to segregate waste at source will help the emirate attain this goal.

According to the Middle East Council of Shopping Centres (MECSC), Dubai currently has 70 shopping malls and shopping centre units totalling 2.6 million square metre of retail space.

Last year, an average of 8,000 tonnes of general municipal waste was generated daily in Dubai, with the individual average put at 2.8 kilograms daily. Dubai has succeeded in cutting its daily waste generation from around 10,000 tonnes a day over the last few years. – Gulf News


Striking Abu Dhabi university campus has become an instant landmark

            A striking and unique piece of architecture has helped to put the UAE's higher education on the world map while becoming an instant landmark.

Zayed University's new Dh3.7 billion Abu Dhabi campus in Khalifa City, which opened to students in September last year, spans 80 hectares and holds a four-storey library containing half a million books, a convention centre with more than 1,000 seats and 400 seminar rooms.

"It was a massive undertaking that had to be fast-tracked," says Alexander Maul, a senior partner of Hadi Teherani Architects, part of the German firm Bothe, Richter, Teherani, which designed the campus.

"The project began in February of 2009 and the campus had to open in August of 2011."

Up to 8,000 employees had to work for 28 months to design and build the enormous development in such a short time.

What makes the campus instantly noticeable, even from a considerable distance, is its enormous, smooth, wave-like roof that reflects the desert sun.

The roof is made of 8,000 tonnes of steel shielded by 25,000 aluminium panels. It is a continuously curving, jointless sculpture that is impervious to the elements.

The free-form appearance of the roof was kept intact by minimising and hiding all of its structural supports.

"The roof is a unique organic and free-flowing form, just like the dunes of the desert, which is intended to blend into its surrounding with the location being its main inspiration," says Mr Maul, the project leader.

Another key concept of the design is its striking courtyard, an essential part of the campus.

Although it was not in the original architectural drafts, the designers were asked to include a 2.4-metre wall splitting the courtyard to keep male and female students separate.

Mr Maul says: "We, as Germans, don't like the wall. We had one in the past and didn't want another."

In practice, the wall has not achieved its aim. Some areas of the courtyard still offer views of the other side.

Complaints prompted the university to designate the whole area off limits.

Sustainability is also a key aspect in the structure's design, manifest in the use of shading rather than energy to cool the buildings.

"We made sure the cooling was done naturally and without money," Mr Maul says, explaining the intention was to reduce the use of air conditioning.

"The roof and facade of the design is not straight so the sun cannot affect it as much. We also used horizontal lamellas made of aluminium which still let in a lot of light while keeping the insides cool."

Attempts to keep the heat at bay work well, says Matt Duffy, an assistant professor of communications who began teaching at the university before the new campus was built.

"Heat is definitely not an issue," says Dr Duffy. "I would say it is actually too cold at times."

The 6,000-student capacity also enabled the university to increase its Abu Dhabi enrolment.

In its first term, the Abu Dhabi campus had 966 new female students and 296 new male students register for classes, an increase of 41 and 49 per cent over enrolment in 2010.

But the total number of students is just under 4,000, well under the campus's capacity.

"The campus was definitely built for growth," says Dr Duffy, who says the new grounds sometimes produce a feeling of disconnection.

"The old campus in the city was more quaint and I could walk out to a local barber for a haircut."

What the new campus lacks in location it has made up for in facilities.

"Here I was able to take the students to a conference room and set up a multimedia presentation, no problem. It wasn't so easy on the old campus," Dr Duffy says.

Hadi Teherani, the project's lead designer and co-founder of Bothe, Richter, Teherani, says: "Zayed University embodies an education move forward for upcoming generations.

"It is also all about the development potential of this society, about new ideas and new products; last but not least, about the local significance of the country." – The National


100 free heart surgeries to be done in Zayed’s memory

            Burjeel Hospital has pledged free cardiac surgeries as part of a compassionate community initiative dedicated to the memory of the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. The initiative will provide 100 free heart surgeries to deserving poor patients in the Middle East.

Founder and managing director of Lifeline Hospital Group and Burjeel Hospital, Dr Shamsheer Vayalil, said he wanted to launch the initiative as a tribute to the UAE’s founding father.

“Sheikh Zayed dedicated his life to ensuring the welfare of all citizens, both in the UAE and throughout the Middle East, whatever their financial circumstances, and through Burjeel Hospital, we want to continue the legacy of his kind-hearted work.”

The Columbia Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, which is ranked in the top 5 US hospitals for their cardiac programme, will be offering their expertise to Burjeel Hospital.

The free surgeries are planned from November 2012, and a team of cardiac experts will soon commence the process of screening patients for their suitability for these free surgeries. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Over 14,000 families get homes from project

            A total of 14,538 UAE national families received the keys of their new homes from the Sheikh Zayed Housing Programme since it was established in 2000 until the end of H1 this year.

Acting Director General of the Sheikh Zayed Housing Programme Mohammed Abdulaziz Jassim stressed in a statement on Monday the keenness of the programme to implement the strategy to guarantee the citizens stability with regard to their housing needs.

The set targets for the construction and delivery of homes have been met within record times according to a developed plan, he noted.

The keenness of the programme on providing decent homes to the nationals translates the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Jassem added. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

Mohammed bin Rashid crowned FEI World Endurance Championship winner

            Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum was crowned winner of the 2012 FEI World Endurance Championship for the Individual and Team categories during yesterday's honouring ceremony at Euston Park in Suffolk, UK.

Sheikh Mohammed, who led the UAE team to harvest gold, was given a warm welcome upon his arrival to attend the ceremony which kicked off by screening video shots from various stages of the 2012 FEI event. The screening was concluded with Sheikh Mohammed galloping to victory riding the 12-year-old Madji Du Pont followed by Sheikh Rashid Dalmouk Al Maktoum and Ali Khalfan Al Jahouri.

1st Vice President of the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) John McEwen presented Sheikh Mohammed with the 2012 FEI World Endurance Championship gold medal for the individual category. McEwen also presented the silver medal to Sheikh Rashid Dalmouk and the bronze medal to Ali Al Jahouri. Winners also received prizes from Longines.

Concluding the equine event for 2012, FEI Endurance Director Ian Williams congratulated endurance champions and praised their performance.

Sheikh Mohammed greeted riders from Oman and France commending their efforts as praise-worthy rivals. His Highness stepped down heading to greet Margaret Wade, the Australian rider who was injured during her participation in one of the endurance events.

Entering the ceremony grounds on horseback led by Dubai Crown Prince H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the UAE riders then received gold medals for winning the team category. Gold medals went to Chairman of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority H.H. Sheikh Majid bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Sheikh Rashid Dalmouk Al Maktoum.

The French and Omani teams were also honoured with silver and gold respectively.

FEI Endurance Director Ian Williams thanked Longines, Meydan and Emaar for their support and efforts in making this event a huge success. Williams announced that the next 2014 World Endurance Championship will be held in Normandy, France. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


UAE to host VGT's conference on combating online child sexual abuse

            Abu Dhabi will play host to the Virtual Global Taskforce's fifth biennial international conference on 11 -13 December 2012 which aims at combating online child sexual abuse. The conference, titled International Collaboration: An Enabler for Prevention, will examine the motivating factors behind paedophile activity and attributes associated to their victims.

By focusing on child sexual abuse victims and offenders and maximising global partnerships, the conference will provide a unique opportunity to challenge ideas and explore technological solutions.

Delegates will be encouraged to explore new methods to prevent online child sexual exploitation and through the VGT strategic partnerships with non-government organisations, industry and -private sectors influence change.

VGT Chair Neil Gaughan said that one of the VGT's most effective strategies against internet-facilitated child sexual abuse is cooperation. Fittingly, the theme of the conference is "International Collaboration: An Enabler for Prevention." "No single agency can deal with this crime in isolation. We continually work together with our partners to ensure the safety and security of children, regardless of where they live. This international conference provides an opportunity for all of us to learn, understand, and develop collaborative response strategies that highlight child protection," said Mr Gaughan.

With only four months until the conference, registrations are filling up quickly. CGT calls on interesting participants who would like to hear from experts from countries including Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, New Zealand, and the United Arab Emirates and to have your voice heard, to register before 15 September 2012 and receive the early bird discount.

The conference will harness unique international networking opportunity with experts specialising in child protection. Delegates can also expect an opportunity to discover and explore new technology-enabled crime methodologies, issues and challenges. The conference will also expose delegates to high-calibre speakers and thought-provoking strategies being developed by global law enforcement.

Issues covered during the VGT Conference include: The dynamics of online victimisation and victim narratives as an enabler for prevention, The risks associated to child sexual exploitation investigations and the importance of establishing protocols for viewing imagery evidence, The importance of behavioural analysis in child sex offence investigations, Understanding the legislative framework and where it needs to be enacted, An overview of the technology child sex offenders are using and what future technology is required to combat the threat, and The benefit of blocking websites versus shutting them down.

Mandatory reporting and why it is successful, The importance of collaboration in combating this crime type and The VGT footprint and its global engagement strategy will also come under discussion.

Major Nasser Al Nuaimi, Chairman of the UAE Higher Committee for Child Protection, Ministry of Interior, and UAE Representative at VGT, said the UAE, as a host, had made significant arrangements to match the high international profile of the event.

The UAE, he said, would use the international platform to present its national exemplary projects and initiatives on child protection and welfare.

He said HH Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior had spared no effort to establish the UAE as a model for other countries in terms of child protection and safety.

The Virtual Global Taskforce (VGT) seeks to build an effective, international partnership of law enforcement agencies, non government organisations and industry to help protect children from online child abuse.

The objectives of the VGT are: - to make the internet a safer place - to identify, locate and help children at risk - to hold perpetrators appropriately to account. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


UAE help for 4-month old Syrian refugee girl

Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in the Western Region and Chairman of the UAE Red Crescent Authority has ordered treatment of a four-month old Syrian refugee girl who is diagnosed with a potentially fatal disease which requires a bone marrow transplant.

For the past few weeks, the parents of Lujain tried desperately to get her a life-saving treatment but were faced with high expenses of the surgery.

Sheikh Hamdan issued his directives to the UAE embassy in Amman to pay for Lujain's surgery with bone marrow to be donated by one of her parents. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


The UAE comes to Yemen's rescue

            Yemen is desperately in need of assistance - and much of it is coming from the UAE.

The UAE Red Crescent Authority led the way in contributions to Yemen last year with approximately Dh200 million in donations, making the troubled republic the No1 recipient of the authority's aid.

"We need more help than before," said Abdulhakim Al-Eryani, a consular officer at the Yemeni Embassy in Abu Dhabi. "More than one year of damage will take many more years to recover from."

Continued protests and conflict have resulted in almost half of the Yemeni population being undernourished, and 5m need immediate attention.

"Some of the biggest problems are food, electricity and gas," Mr Al-Eryani said. The water supply has also been greatly affected by Yemen's instability. Water availability is among the most limited in the world.

More than 30 per cent of the country's water supply systems are not functional, with Sana’a forecasted to become the world's first capital to run out of water, according to a report by the UAE Office for the Coordination of Foreign Aid (OCFA).

Earlier this summer, Yemen's dire situation prompted a group of seven international charities to issue a joint warning, asking the global community to contribute emergency aid.

The UAE, as it has countless times in the past, heeded the call.

A few weeks after the announcement, Sheikh Khalifa, the President, ordered Dh500m to be spent on buying food items from Yemeni establishments. The money was not only to help alleviate the suffering of millions of undernourished people, but also to stimulate the local economy. "This humanitarian gesture of the UAE leadership reflects the deep-rooted fraternal ties between the UAE and Yemen," the Yemeni president Abdrabu Mansur Hadi said in a subsequent meeting with Abdullah Al Mazroui, the UAE Ambassador to Yemen.

The UAE Government's contribution was in addition to the Dh292.1m that UAE donors had already disbursed in 2011, according to the OCFA.

Red Crescent aid to Yemen increased from 136.5m in 2009 to almost Dh300m in 2011.

"We operate in Yemen under any circumstances and we strive to make our services on par with the challenges that the country is facing," said Dr Mohammed Alfalahi, secretary general of the UAE Red Crescent.

"We support the Yemeni people in the good times and the bad times alike. In fact, we increased our efforts there in order to help them to improve their way of life."

OFCA's aid to Yemen comes in the form of relief efforts as well as medical, educational and constructive assistance, and development projects.

One of the projects is Sheikh Khalifa City in Hadramaut and Al Malka, which is to house victims of the 2008 floods.

The Red Crescent provided 1,000 houses at a cost of Dh100m after torrential rains from a 2008 cyclone killed almost 100 and displaced more than 25,000 residents.

Another project is the Mazraq 2 camp for internally displaced peoples (IDP) in the northern governorate of Hajjah, providing shelter for more than 7,000 people who were displaced by the conflict between rebels and government forces in the neighbouring Saada governorate.

It is the only IDP/refugee camp in the country that is not underfunded. Its tents provide fans and round-the-clock electricity, among other services, according to the United Nations news agency IRIN.

"We need this aid to continue," said Mr Al-Eryani. "It will take a lot of time for Yemen to become stable once again. At that time, we are the ones who hope we can help others."

Although Yemen could not repay to the Emirates in a monetary or material way, Mr Al-Eryani said that the UAE had won the Yemeni people's hearts.

"Emiratis are more than brothers to us, and they will always have our support," he said, adding that Yemen had never felt abandoned by the UAE or its leaders.

"We appreciate their help and will remember it forever." – The National


Dodsal wins US$450m pipeline deal

            The UAE’s Dodsal Group has won an estimated US$450 million contract to build two pipelines from a gas processing plant south west of Abu Dhabi to industrial users to the north east of the capital, two sources said on Sunday.

The 297 km pipeline will supply gas to Emirates Aluminium (Emal) and other industries in Taweelah, a new industrial hub between Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

"The contract was awarded a few weeks ago and work has begun," one source involved in the project said, adding that completion is scheduled for 2015.

A source at Abu Dhabi Gas Industries Company (Gasco) confirmed the company awarded the contract to Dodsal.

Habshan is an oil and gas hub in the western part of the emirate of Abu Dhabi.

Gasco is a joint venture between Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) which owns 68 percent and Shell (15 percent), Total (15 percent) and Partex (2 percent). – Emirates 24|7


UAE GDP to pick up in 2012

            The UAE’s real economy expanded by around 3.2 per cent in 2011 mainly because of higher oil prices and production and is projected to pick up by about 3.5 per cent in 2012, according to a UN group.

The other members of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are also expected to record strong GDP performance through 2012 in contrast with other Arab nations which have been hit by political unrest, the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (Escwa) said in a report.

It showed real GDP growth in the GCC increased to 5.7 per cent in 2011 from 4.4 per cent in 2010 and is projected at 4.6 per cent in 2012.

In the other Arab countries, mainly oil importers, real GDP slowed down from 5.7 per cent in 2010 to 2.3 per cent in 2011 and could rebound to 2.6 per cent this year. Excluding Iraq, which is recording strong performance, the combined growth in the non-GCC countries stood at 0.7 per cent in 2011 and is projected at around 0.8 per cent in 2012, said Escwa which groups most Arab nations.

“After the pessimism that prevailed in 2008 and 2009, the economic outlook of the Escwa region improved in 2010. However, uncertainty returned in 2011 as social movements spread across the Arab world,” it said.

“Political unrest has had direct adverse effects on economic activity in Bahrain, Egypt, Syria and Yemen, and negative spillover effects on neighbouring countries, particularly Jordan and Lebanon. Political unrest contributed to higher oil prices which boosted growth rates in oil-exporting countries.”

The report showed growth in the Escwa region is estimated to have increased from 4.7 per cent in 2010 to 4.8 per cent in 2011.

Growth was especially high in several oil-exporting countries, reflecting high crude prices that averaged US$107 a barrel.

But it added that political unrest reduced growth rates in the more diversified economies (MDEs), particularly Syria and Yemen where growth rates are estimated to have contracted by two per cent in 2011.

“In 2011, GCC countries benefited from high oil prices and grew by an estimated 5.7 per cent, up from 4.4 per cent in 2010.”

The report noted that the UAE, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia increased oil production to compensate for the disruption of oil production in Libya during the war.

“The economic performance of those countries was not significantly impacted by social movements because high oil prices enabled them to maintain fiscal expansion and support household income and private consumption,” it said.

“This was not the case in Bahrain, where the social unrest of 2011 tarnished the country’s reputation as a stable financial hub and key financial and tourism sectors suffered causing economic growth to drop from about 4.5 per cent in 2010 to around 2.5 per cent in 2011.”

The report said growth in GCC countries is mainly driven by the oil sector, but added that the non-hydrocarbon sector is increasingly contributing to growth.

In Saudi Arabia, the non-oil sector is estimated to have grown by five per cent in 2011, which is one of the highest growth rates in decades.

This growth rate is expected to remain at five per cent in 2012 supported by high public spending and investment and increased private consumption, it said.

“As for 2012, the outlook for the Escwa region is extremely uncertain, as the situation in Syria is expected to remain highly volatile and political uncertainty is still characterising the transitional phase in Egypt and Yemen,” Escwa said.

“The region is vulnerable to a global downturn which could affect oil prices and reduce demand for non-oil exports. Oil-exporting countries will drive growth as crude prices are expected to remain high at around US$100 a barrel.”

A breakdown for Escwa’s 14 Arab members showed real GDP growth is forecast at 4.5 per cent in Saudi Arabia, seven per cent in Qatar, four per cent in Oman, and 3.5 per cent in both Kuwait and Bahrain.

Outside the GCC, it was estimated at 10.5 per cent in Iraq, five per cent in Palestine, 3.2 per cent in Jordan, 2.5 per cent in Lebanon, 1.6 per cent in Egypt and one per cent in Yemen. The report projected zero growth in Sudan and a 5.5 per cent contraction in conflict-battered Syria. – Emirates 24|7


Etisalat Information Services launches first Arabic domain of UAE Yellow Pages ".emarat"

            Etisalat Information Services (eIS), a business unit of Etisalat Services Holding yesterday announced the first Arabic domain name for the Yellow Pages in the Middle East, and the revamped Yellow Pages website, improving its user experience.

The UAE Yellow Pages can be accessed by typing yellowpages.ae or yp.ae in English, or by typing in Arabic script safhat-safraa.emarat. The Arabic domain name has been designed to facilitate easy access of Arabic speakers. It will extend the reach of the new website to Arabic Internet users and thus will be helpful to a wider range of customers. Arabic domain name - still rare in the Middle East - is indicative of eIS's innovative efforts to extend reach of its products to a maximum number of multi-lingual customers. Those who are unfamiliar or uncomfortable with Latin characters are now not deprived of the benefits of Yellow Pages.

Among the features that have been worked on is the look and feel of the website, which has been improved. The database has been updated reflecting recent changes in the listing while the search speed has been enhanced. More maps have been added to the search results page with all listings on the search page bearing markers on a single easy-to-use map. More information is also available on the listings with advanced search options and city guides have been added for each emirate. Social networking links have also been added to the footer to cater to the growing popularity of social media networks.eIS partnered with Express Print Publishers (EPP) in June 2011 with a clear business plan to enhance and ensure that Etisalat Yellow Pages are available with enhancement in print, online and mobile.

Etisalat Information Services maintains UAE consumers' directory listing database, which have been published for more than 30 years. It also produces annual yellow pages telephone directories for residence and commercial usage, besides managing online directories and a mobile application for iPhone. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Empower's district cooling consumption rose 23.2% in July 2012 against same period last year

            Emirates Central Cooling Corporation (Empower), the largest district cooling service provider in the region, has said that consumption of district cooling provided by the company rose by 23.2 percent in July 2012, compared to same period last year. The company also reported that its total square footage committed to district cooling has achieved a remarkable increase.

Ahmad Bin Shafar, CEO of Empower, said that the increase reflects the economy rebound in the UAE and it shows that the country is on the right way to partially outperform conventional AC systems in the favour of district cooling. He added that with every increase in district cooling consumption there is savings being achieved in electricity and water consumption in Dubai which contributes in reserving the natural resources of the emirate. He stressed that Dubai is increasing its dependence on district cooling for the better of the environment and to reduce operating and maintenance costs of chilling.

Bin Shafar added that this increase in district cooling consumption came as a result of Empower's higher occupancy rate that reached 16.1 % in Jumeirah Beach Residence, Al Khail Gate, Dubai International Financial Centre and TECOM C. Moreover, the company is serving new buildings in Business Bay and Ghoroub Mirdif. Empower also is operating new plants in Business Bay and Dubai Academic City.

Empower's district cooling systems (DCS) provide effective and efficient means of air conditioning. Water is cooled in central plants and distributed through a network of piping systems to individual customer buildings. Empower which is a joint venture between Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) and TECOM Investments has world class work-stations being built on various locations in the Emirate of Dubai.

Bin Shafar said that Empower is well prepared to cater to the demand of district cooling through building up new plants to increase its production. He said that with the rapidly increasing penetration of district cooling in Dubai, the Emirate is in a leading position in the world in supporting green initiatives which district cooling is part of it. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Emirates dominating the skies

   With no less than 11 new destinations under its belt so far in 2012 with another five more to commence before the year is out, one has to wonder just where growth from Emirates comes from and whether this behemoth will ever stop expanding.

New services to Washington DC, Phuket, Adelaide, Lyon and a resumption of flights to Tripoli, with Warsaw just one of the new destinations for 2013, Emirates is not exactly short of ideas on where to fly to next.

And it’s precisely this targeted expansion policy that sets it apart from both its peers, rivals and critics.

Since the turn of the year, Emirates has launched flights to Dallas, Seattle, Rio, Ho Chi Minh, Barcelona, Lisbon, Lusaka, Harare, Buenos Aires and Dublin and has eyes on more US cities from next year onwards.

Even with record fuel prices that pummelled profits down by 72 per cent, Emirates still managed its unique feat of staying profitable by over US$400 million. It is hard to pinpoint a single item relating to their success to date, but the cultured, experienced and in some ways, unmatchable management team has continued to be the catalyst for the airlines growth.

While not far to compare apples to oranges, Emirates’ recent growth has been partnered with that of the relentless expansion seen at flydubai.

Where Emirates is arguably the fastest growing full service carrier, flydubai holds that same accolade for the low-cost carrier market and between their partnership and interline arrangements, passengers flying to, through and in the GCC are benefiting immensely from this lucrative partnership.

Emirates has a current fleet of some 168 airplanes, dominated by the 777-300ER, which without a shadow of a doubt forms the backbone of all of its long haul operations.

The airline is phasing out its ageing A330-200s, in part due to increased maintenance and fuel costs and also because of the poor resale values for A330s in general, afflicted by the introduction of the revolutionary Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Emirates still has some 220 airplanes on order. These comprise as follow:

·  50x A350-900

·  20x A350-1000

·  68x A380-800

·  69x 777-300ER

As the flagship of its fleet, the A380 has come under scrutiny for cracked wings, forcing Emirates to stand down each of its A380s for days and weeks at a time to inspect and now to repair the broken brackets for which Airbus will not deliver a permanent fix until 2014, much to the ire of Emirates management.

Questions have in recent years been asked about where Emirates would eventually place all of these airplanes. Most usually from critics like European airlines and industry observers who know nothing about the way the GCC market works, much less understand how Emirates works.

The fact remains that the three key alliances today, the Star Alliance, Oneworld Alliance and SkyTeam would pretty much bend over backwards to have Emirates amongst their ranks. Emirates, however, has other plans.

Emirates has wisely avoided  any of these alliances. All it would do is lead to customers flying on other carriers, driving traffic to other hubs and leave Emirates less well off and perhaps even slow or regress the current growth strategy that the carrier has. These three alliances need Emirates more than Emirates needs them. Emirates is better off without them. Strategic codeshares, such as the one struck with US low cost airline JetBlue is the way forward.

There’s less complication because of fewer parties involved and there’s a greater propensity to expand the codeshare across networks with relative ease as a result of that lessened complexity, as well as lower costs of implementation.

Dubai International Airport is firmly on track to smash through the 50 million passenger barrier mark for 2012, eclipsing the record year last year and that is in large part down to Emirates continued global reach and new services, complemented at the regional level by the expansion witnessed at flydubai — which incidentally is now the second biggest airline at the airport.

Emirates has used the progressive UAE and Dubai Government-backed aviation policy to its advantage. Where the likes of Europe continually and needlessly bleat on about how Emirates somehow has a mythical “subsidising support” behind it, the reality is that these critics, wherever they may be, are simply unfit to compete with Emirates agility.

A great case in point here is the ailing airline Qantas. It has sounded like a broken record when levelling charges at Emirates, yet it doesn’t have a single city in the GCC on its network to try and even compete with Arabian airlines, much less directly with Emirates.

The fact remains that Emirates is not afraid of competition. Its products, while perhaps not five-star rated by SkyTrax, simply blows that of its rivals out of the water. And Emirates fares, in some instances, aren’t even the cheapest, yet people still keep flocking to them to fly on.

Emirates’ plans to expand in North and Latin America is its next obvious push. New airplanes like the A380 and the 777-300ER is allowing the airline to initiate services that perhaps were not once reachable. Maximising the economic and technological performance out of these new jets is giving them a great competitive edge. After all, how many US airlines have reacted to Emirates’ flights to Dallas or Seattle by launching their own to Dubai? That in and of itself speaks volumes about not only the state of the US industry but also how airlines are not able to compete effectively against Emirates but instead pay low value lip service to the “subsidy” myth that has never ever been substantiated, despite the openness of Emirates financial workings available for everyone to peruse.

Like it or not, Emirates potential to growth further is matched not just by its planned fleet of around 300 airplanes by the turn of the decade. As Airbus gets to grips with the A380 wing issue, the airline will likely order more.

If the airline opts to shift or split operations between Dubai International Airport and Al-Maktoum International Airport, it will need even more capacity to placate that demand. Dubai is the true nexus of global air travel and Emirates is leveraging its position in the city to thrust forward its reach to all parts of the globe using its one-stop mantra.

Where the A380 is giving Emirates added capacity to destinations capped by restrictions, such as London Heathrow, it’s clear that Emirates growth today could not have come about had it not at the 777 in its fleet.

So its stands to reason that by mid-decade, the airline will be amongst the first, if not the first to order the 777-8X and 777-9X families.

Just as the 777-200ER pushed Emirates onto the world stage in the mid-to-late 1990s, it’s the 777X family that will propel Emirates to even greater heights at the turn of the next decade.

The writer is chief analyst at London-based StrategicAero Research, a private aviation consulting firm operating in Europe and the Middle East. Views expressed by the author are his own and do not reflect the newspaper’s policy. Saj Ahmad (AVIATION FOCUS)  – Khaleej Times


Olympics and Eid pull in increased ad spend on digital platforms in the UAE

            Spending on digital ads in the UAE has been on a red hot streak since the start of the year and it got a lot hotter during the many campaigns that were run locally during the Olympics and the Eid festivities. The increased digital exposure, according to ad industry sources, might even have come at the expense of traditional ad platforms.

One factor that is influencing the transition to digital is the cost of putting out an ad or marketing campaign as compared to doing so in print or on television. Unlike at any time in the past advertisers are intent on getting as much out of a marketing dirham as is possible. This, in its own way, is influencing the shift to anything to do with digital.

And the chances are that advertisers would not need to shell out more on digital campaigns. “We don’t foresee a firming up of digital ad rates soon,” said Satish Mayya, chief operating officer at BPG Maxus. “Websites want an increased share from marketing budgets and hence they are competing on rates and innovations.

“Yes, we can see pricey tags on newer innovations such as ‘animated homepage takeovers’ and ‘skinned homepage executions’. However, rates on standard banners are mostly priced as last year - in short, suppliers have become more flexible, cost-effective and innovative.”

At the start of this year, except for a handful of leading websites which raised their ad tariffs by 3 to 5 per cent, the majority held back on going for major hikes. Even where rates were raised, advertisers and agencies could still try and bring them down through negotiations and going for longer contracts.

What of the hugely popular social media portals? “Ad costs on Facebook and Google AdWords are based on bids and not on preset rate cards,” said Tanvir Kanji of Inca Tanvir. “It’s more a situation of supply and demand depending on the target group and, hence the costs keep fluctuating by the minute.

“Digital strategy is totally dependent on the product and service and the target audience. Since the medium is relatively new, there is a lot of experimentation going on, a lot of hits and misses.

“But the basic of using digital, specifically social media, should be to engage the consumer through inter-action to start a digital ‘word-of-mouth’ spiral. This is easier said than done.”

UAE’s advertisers and their agencies are now working on making the “done” part of it easy. – Gulf News


‘Capital’s literacy levels impressive’

            Illiteracy rate in the emirate of Abu Dhabi declined from 75.12 per cent in 1971 to 12.08 per cent in 2000 and only 6 per cent in 2011, one of the lowest rates in the Arab world, where the average in 2009 was 27.3 per cent, official figures revealed.

“The total number of schools in the emirate for the school year 2010/2011 year was 480 (299 government and 181 private), comprising 13,528 classrooms, 306,497 pupils, 22,218 teachers and 8,055 administrators. The number of pupils per teacher was 13.8 and the number of pupils per classroom was 22.7,” Statistics Centre-Abu Dhabi (Scad) said.

Scad issued on Saturday figures reflecting the emirate’s remarkable achievements in the education sector, in regard to which the Abu Dhabi government has spared no effort in its endeavour to provide high quality educational infrastructure.

Formal education in the emirate began in the 1960s, but the rapid development of this sector started in 1971, the year in which the UAE Federation was declared and the Ministry of Education and Youth was created.

Emirati women, thanks to the great attention they receive at the highest levels, have been able to notch up several achievements in different spheres of life, most notably in the field of education. Female education started for the first time in Abu Dhabi in the academic year 1963/64 and at the time the total female enrolment was only 131 pupils. This number continued to increase dramatically in the course of the following decades, exceeding 150,000 in 2011, with females considerably outnumbering males in government schools.

The ratio of female to male pupils in all stages of general education has continually and gradually increased, with growing interest in woman’s education, rising from 0 per cent in the school year 1960/1961 to 95.9 per cent in the school year 2010/2011.

In 2007/2008, the dropout rate in all grades of the first cycle of government education was 0.7 per cent, and the corresponding rate for males and females was 1.0 per cent and 0.4 per cent, respectively. The dropout rate increases with education stage, with 0.7 per cent dropping out in the first education cycle, increasing to 1.3 per cent for the second education cycle, and finally increasing to 4.1 per cent for the secondary education stage. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


New publication to support growth of research, education in UAE, Arab world

            Strategic Visions — a new scholarly, periodical quarterly publication focusing on political, economic, legal, social, media and security issues — will be out by the end of the year, the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR) announced on Sunday.

The publication would also be throwing light on applications of information technology in the study of the humanities through the publication of relevant studies and research, the ECSSR added.

“The content of the publication reflects one of the centre’s founding principles of serving the community by supporting the development of academic research and education through the publication of rigorous, strategic studies in various fields. Such studies are subject to strict publication standards, and are undertaken by outstanding academics and researchers from the UAE, the GCC, the broader Arab world and beyond,” Dr Jamal Sanad Al Suwaidi, ECSSR director-general stated.

Speaking about objectives of the magazine, Dr Al Suwaidi explained that it would highlight issues of strategic interest to the UAE, the Gulf, Arab communities, and a broader international audience. Besides, it would encourage academic research from universities in the UAE, as well as elsewhere in the Gulf, the Arab world and other parts of the world and enrich existing research in the fields of economics, political science, law, the social sciences, media and security. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Nominations pour in for Sheikh Zayed book prize

The Sheikh Zayed Book Award competition has received 65 nominations so far for its children's literature category.

Nominations are to close at the end of September. The competition, in its seventh year, presents awards to Arab writers who have had a positive effect on the region's culture and society.

The competition is administered by the Tourism and Culture Authority Abu Dhabi and has nine categories, including literary and art criticism, translation, Arabic culture in non-Arab language and children's literature.

The first winner in the latter category was Mohammad Ali Ahmad from Egypt, who won in 2007 for his book, A Journey On Paper.

Lebanon's Abdo Wazen won last year for his book The Boy Who Saw the Colour of Air.

In 2010, Qais Sidqi from the UAE won the award for The Gold Ring. He was the first Emirati to win a Sheikh Zayed Book Award.

His book was an introduction to the world of falconry, an important sport in the Arabian Gulf region for many generations.

Mr Sidqi presented his story in the form of a comic, created in collaboration with a team of Japanese artists.

This year's winners are to be announced ahead of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair next March. – The National


Emirati film to be shown in Capital

            Emirati director Nawaf Al Janahi’s much talked about movie, The Circle, is back on the big screen, this time in Abu Dhabi.

On September 5, the film will be screened at the New York University here, along with Layers, a seven-minute documentary by Manal Wicki, exploring the abaya through inter-generational dialogue that uncovers the dress’ multiple representations.

“I’m so happy to have this opportunity to see The Circle. I heard so much about it and always wanted to see it, but it never came to the cinema,” said Laura Fieldman, a local resident. “I have seen Janahi’s Sea Shadow in the Abu Dhabi Film Festival last year and I loved it, so I’ve been searching for his other movies. I know the only other long feature he did was The Circle, but it was not available anywhere, so I’m really pleased there is now a chance to see it,” added Stephen Morley, who describes himself a big fan of Arab movies.

The Circle was premiered in April 2009 at the second edition of the Gulf Film Festival in Dubai and later it was also screened at the Dubai International Film Festival. As Emirati director Nawaf Al Janahi previously explained for Khaleej Times, the film’s rights were bought by MBC, but the corporation failed to find a distributor for the big screens or to show it on its TV channels.

Until 2011, the movie was screened on various international film festivals, gaining great critical reviews all the way from Algeria and Iraq to Italy and Australia. It was considered by many to be the door opener for Emirati movies. Al Janahi wrote the script back in 2001, but he had to wait for several years before he could bring his story to life. The 82-minute film is about the relationship between death and destiny.

Ibrahim, a poet and a journalist, discovers that he is dying soon from a fatal disease. He confronts his crook partner, Bader, and demands his share to make sure that his wife has a better life after he’s gone. Shihab, a professional thief, forced by his boss to do jobs for him in order to pay off a huge debt, plans to quit the crime world to take care of his younger sister. They both meet accidentally just as they begin seeing the world from different perspectives.

Both films are opened to the public and each one will be introduced by its director, with a question and answer session following the programme. – Khaleej Times


Wild Wadi to launch new waterslide

            Adding to its 30 rides, Dubai’s Wild Wadi Waterpark will unveil a new Jumeirah Sceirah water slide on September 4, promising thrill-seekers a new and daring ride. The water slide has two tandem slides. Thrill-seekers will make their way up to a height of 32 metres where they will stand on a trapdoor. They will then be released rapidly descending down the 120 metre slide through a tunnel at a speed of over 80km/h.

            A breathtaking 360 degree view of the Arabian Gulf and the entire city is visible at the top of the slide. – Gulf News


Mohammed bin Rashid wins Longines FEI World Endurance Championship at Euston Park

            Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum yesterday won the individual gold title of the Longines FEI World Endurance Championship at Euston Park in Suffolk, UK, where a total of 152 riders from 38 countries from all over the world lined-up at the start-line to compete for the prestigious title.

Riding Madji du Pont, Sheikh Mohammed was crowned champion of the world endurance race after crossing the finish line in about seven hours.

Sheikh Mohammed led a team of elite UAE riders including Dubai Crown Prince H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority H.H. Sheikh Majid bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Sheikh Rashid bin Dalmouk Al Maktoum, Ahmad Mohammad Ahmad Belqazi and Ali Khalfan Al Jahouri.

The epic victory is the third in a row following victories in 2008 World Endurance Championship- Malaysia and in the 2010 World Endurance Championship- Kentucky, USA.

The 180-km route comprises of six loops between 20km and 38km, five of which take riders on different routes around the Suffolk countryside covering heathland, forest tracks, river meadows and open farmland.

Sheikh Rashid bin Dalmouk Al Maktoum was the runner up while Ali Khalfan Al Jahouri steered to the third rank H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, and Mohammed Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister for Cabinet Affairs, were present at the memorable event. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Ambitious plans in Ajman to woo investors, tourists

            The municipality of Ajman has undertaken several projects to improve the infrastructure in the emirate and attract investors and tourists.

The demand for licenses to start industrial, commercial and entertainment businesses in the emirate has picked up, Sheikh Rashid bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, Chairman of the Ajman Department of Municipality and Planning, stated.

In view of this, the civic body is speeding up work on several road projects to improve traffic movement. "The roads and road improvements would be of the best international standards," he said in an interview with Khaleej Times.

The municipality has just completed the construction of Sheikh Jaber Al Sabah Road, Al Nuaimia Main Road and College Street in the Al Nuaimia area. In the same area, a number of internal streets have been paved and made two-way, several parking lots constructed, and street lighting and drainage installed at a cost of Dh29 million.

The municipality currently is working on the designs of road improvements in Al Zahra and Al Muwyhat areas, where the internal streets would be paved for two-way traffic. The streets would have 2.5-metre-wide hard shoulders, according to the paper.

This project is estimated to cost Dh16 million, which includes street lighting to ensure the safety of the residents, Sheikh Rashid said. He pointed out that the municipality has also finalised the designs for developing areas like Al Nakheel, Al Rameelah and Al Bustan. Work is on to revive heritage tourism by constructing Salih Souq, reviving the old city areas and improving the Ajman Museum. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Sharjah tourism industry robust

            The growth of Sharjah’s hotel industry would enable the emirate to target new tourism markets in continents such as the America and Australia, says Mohammed Ali Al Noman, Director General of the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority.

Speaking to The Gulf Today during the week, Al Noman disclosed that Sharjah currently records 80 per cent hotel occupancy. The current figure of 9,000 rooms is set to rise to a total of 13,000 in the next few years, he added.

He also drew attention to the challenges and opportunities faced by the tourism sector in Sharjah, particularly eco-tourism. He said tourism in Sharjah has positively outpaced the momentum of the previous years, thanks to the directives of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah.

Offering an overview of the current and future outlook of tourism in Sharjah, Al Noman pointed out that approximately 1.6 million tourists currently visit the emirate each year.

Of these, close to 30 per cent come in from the East Asian and European countries, especially Germany and Russia. He contrasted this with 650,000 tourists who visited Sharjah in the year 2000, 40 per cent of whom were travellers from the Gulf countries.

Meanwhile, Sharjah Media Centre, the official media entity of the government of Sharjah functioning under the umbrella of Sharjah Media Corporation, recently held a session titled “The Promotion of Sharjah’s Cultural, Environmental and Tourism Sectors”.

Held under the patronage and in the presence of His Excellency Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman of Sharjah Media Corporation, the session highlighted the challenges faced by the eco-tourism industry. It also explored ways to attract more projects to Sharjah with the goal of driving the emirate’s tourism sector to its next growth trajectory.

Three major environmental and tourism projects were announced during the session, which included the Al Hafya Educational Reserve Centre, an enclosure for mountain dwelling animals, the first-of-its-kind exhibition centre that will remain open throughout the year showcasing predator birds and animals, and a purpose-built recreational water park project for families. Marwan bin Jassim Al Serkal unveiled details about the Al Majaz Waterfront Entertainment Project, noting that it will be the first project to be opened by Shurooq.

He stressed that Al Majaz Waterfront had been transformed from a park on the Khalid lagoon and currently features tourist attractions such as a musical fountain, fine dining restaurants, recreational facilities and venues for diverse events.

Al Majaz Waterfront has been transformed into a leading tourist destination in Sharjah. It will also attract more residents and visitors, which will have a positive impact on Sharjah ís economy, according to Marwan bin Jassim Al Serkal, Chief Executive Officer of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq).

Al Serkal added that Sharjah has earmarked several new tourist-friendly areas for development. The Al Sabha district, for instance, will be shaped into a key ecological zone through maintaining its existing environmental life.

The Maliha region has also been identified as a potential tourist attraction. In addition, a water park, which is being developed in cooperation with a local development company, will evolve into an entertainment and tourism centre for family and children featuring water slides up to a height of 30 metres.

The Environment and Natural Reserves Authority undertakes major developmental projects that prioritise the provision of natural landscape and the migration of birds and other animals, besides raising awareness on the flora and fauna, explained Hana Saif Al Suwaidi, Director General of Sharjah Environment and Protected Areas Authority (EPAA) during the recent session. Al Suwaidi reiterated that the Wasit Reserve Rehabilitation project, which was converted from a landfill into a reserve, contains dozens of protected birds including the grey swan that has returned to the reserve after a hiatus of ten years.  – The Gulf Today


Hamdan bin Mubarak champions green lab project

            Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Public Works, has adopted a “green laboratory” project.

The new initiative aims to run a whole laboratory by using solar energy and air fans.

It also attempts to offer scientific sustainable devices to students and to prepare for the curriculum by highlighting the importance of sustainability.

Sheikh Hamdan presented his new policies on sustainability in his meeting with the Ministry on Thursday.

The new initiatives include a move towards a power consumption decrease and an aim towards a general decrease in pollution.

This is in line with the Emirati government’s aim to activate sustainability in projects and to limit power consumption.

This new lab project is the first experience of running a building with solar energy and wind.

It also focuses on spreading knowledge on sustainability in collaboration with the Ministry of Education.

Sheikh Hamdan presented a study explaining the importance of using renewable energy systems through solar water heaters instead of electric heaters. Some other initiatives related to sustainability were put into practise to regulate air conditioning and water heating by using solar energy.

The project also focuses on recycling the waste in construction establishments and the use of Eco-friendly materials.

The Minister requested a forum of the Ministry of Public Works to recognise the best practises in sustainability across the country. – Gulf News


Cabinet approves setting up Consultative Council for Arabic Language

            The UAE Cabinet has approved the setting up of the Consultative Council for Arabic Language in line with directives from Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

The decision reflects the vision of the prudent leadership and reflects efforts by the federal government to preserve the national identity promote Arabic language in the UAE through innovative methods as per the best practices.

The Cabinet's Resolution No. 8/184W/27 for 2012 appoints Minister of Youth, Culture and Community Development Abdul Rehman Al Owais as chairman of the new Council for a three-year term.

The council's members are: Assistant Undersecretary for Arts and Culture at the Ministry of Youth, Culture and Community Development Bilal Rabea Al Budoor, Head of the Curricula Department at the Ministry of Education Sheikha Kholoud Al Qasimi, Head of the Arabic Language Institute for Non-Native Speakers at Zayed University Dr. Obaid Ali Bin Butti Al Muhairi, Editor-in-Chief of Albayan newspaper Dhaen Shaheen, Professor at The UAE University Fatima Hamad Al Mazrouei and writer Nasser Ali Khamis Al Dhaheri.

The new advisory council will be responsible for proposing and discussing projects on preserving Arabic language, supporting initiatives for the implementation of guidelines and recommendations outlined in the Arab Language Charter, coordination among governmental and private bodies on the implementation of the charter as well as for submitting a periodical report on progress made in this regard.

Last April, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid launched a number of initiatives aimed at preserving and promoting Arabic language. These include an Arabic Language Charter, the formation of a council to implement the principles of charter, nurturing all efforts to promote Arabic language, reviving the use of Arabic as the language of science and technology, supporting creative students, launching a faculty for translation as well as an online initiative to enhance Arabic content on the internet. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


UAE non-oil foreign trade stood at Dh1.3 trillion in 2011

            The non-oil foreign trade sector in United Arab Emirates surged Dh1.3 trillion in 2011 compared to Dh1.1 trillion in previous year, up by Dh200 billion at growth rate of 18. 2 per cent, according to the initial statistical reports released by the Federal Customs Authority (FCA).

It added in a statement issued yesterday that the total of UAE non oil foreign trade increased to Dh927.7 billion during the year, while the value of free zones' trade increased to Dh367.7 billion, of which Dh212.5 billion was value of the imports and Dh145.2 billion was value of the exports and re-exports.

FCA declared in a press release that the primary statistical database of the year 2011 is an important economic standard indicating the national economy recovery and the increase of the national products competitiveness in the world markets. Moreover such data show the state policies' successes following the world financial crisis and represent how far the rational leadership has turned the economic diversification policy to a real fact bringing up several positive impacts on the market activity and the national products competitiveness.

It pointed out in its statement that the imports have restored the growth ratios as prior to the world crisis and that the imports have been raised from Dh 485.4 billion in 2010 to Dh 602.8 billion in 2011, achieving an increase of 24 per cent, thus reflecting the world trust in the national economy with its two branches: the governmental sector and the private sector and also the belief in the state ability to recover its position in the retail trade and supplying the markets abroad with the products needed again.

It added that the magnificent exports growth rate expresses the high competitiveness of the national products together with that the increase of the exports versus the decrease of the imports means that the exports contribute to minimise the financial deficit, the matter which results in a series of positive impacts like having more foreign currency invested, enriching the national labourer experiences and extending the national products presence in the world markets.

FCA declared in the press release that 10 countries dominated almost 67 per cent of the total value of the imports of UAE. The total value of UAE imports was about Dh 369.6 billion in 2011. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


NBAD named safest Bank in Middle East

            The National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD), has been ranked for the fourth consecutive year one of the 'World's 50 Safest Banks' and the safest bank in the Middle East by Global Finance magazine.

"We are proud to be recognised as one of World's 50 Safest Banks and to be listed as the safest bank in the Middle East and the UAE," said Michael Tomalin, the Group Chief Executive of NBAD. "This recognition reflects NBAD's solid strategy and the prudent risk management it has adopted during the market instability. It also confirms NBAD's robust management and its strong financial position over the years." The world's 50 safest banks were selected through a comparison of the long-term credit ratings and total assets of the 500 largest banks around the world. Ratings from Moody's, Standard '&' Poor's and Fitch were used.

NBAD is rated senior long term/short term A+/A-1 by Standard and Poor's, Aa3/P1 by Moody's and AA/F1+ by Fitch. Recently, Standard '&' Poor's has raised its assessment of

NBAD's capital and earnings to "very strong", and the Bank's stand-alone credit profile (SACP) to a from a- giving it one of the strongest combined rating of any Middle Eastern financial institution. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Higher bank assets boost UAE creditor position

            An increase in the foreign assets of the Central Bank and the country’s commercial banks allied with lower liabilities to widen the UAE’s creditor position in the first quarter of 2012, according to official data.

From around Dh92.5 billion at the end of 2011, the net foreign assets of the Central Bank and the country’s 51 banks surged to nearly Dh156 billion at the end of March, their highest level since the end of 2007.

The figures by the Central Bank showed its foreign assets holdings swelled from about Dh142.2 billion at the end of 2011 to Dh150.9 billion at the end of March.

The foreign assets of the UAE’s 23 national banks and 28 foreign units also soared from around Dh248.8 billion to Dh293 billion in the same period.

Their foreign liabilities dipped from about Dh289.8 billion to Dh282.9 billion. The decline turned their debtor position to a creditor status, with the banks’ combined net foreign assets standing at about Dh11 billion at the end of March 2012 compared with –Dh41 billion at the end of 2011.

The decline in foreign liabilities of the banks was mainly in deposits by foreign banks with UAE banks as they dipped from Dh72.3 billion to Dh60.3 billion.

The bulk of the increase in their foreign assets was in deposits with other banks as they surged from about Dh83.8 billion to Dh105.2 billion.

The report showed the banks and Central Bank’s claims on the private sector edged up to around Dh822.4 billion at the end of March from Dh819.2 billion at the end of 2011. Total claims on the government dived to nearly Dh29.9 billion from around Dh44.7 billion in the same period. – Emirates 24|7


GCC states to spend US$252 billion on energy production in the next 5 years

            Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states are set to invest US$252 billion over the next five years on projects for setting up new power production plants, distribution systems and supply grids; recent reports claimed.

In the UAE, Shams 1 will be one of the world's largest concentrated solar power plants, with a capacity of 100 megawatts.

As energy bills keep rising, with the galloping cost of production and transmission internationally, designers, developers and end-users are increasingly looking to innovative new technology to reduce costs.

With lighting taking up 19 percent of all electricity worldwide according to statistics from the International Energy Agency (IEA), interest in energy-efficient lighting systems and design is spreading.

Epoc Messe Frankfurt, organisers of Light Middle East 2011, the key regional trade platform for lighting design and technology, have reported considerable interest in the energy and cost-saving potential of modern lighting systems. "With energy becoming ever more expensive, there is huge interest in the cost-reduction potential afforded by new technology," said Ahmed Pauwels, Chief Executive Officer of Epoc Messe Frankfurt. "And it is not just the high costs -- there is also increasing awareness on the environmental effects of climate change. Light Middle East 2011 will bring the latest energy efficient products and developments available internationally to interested professionals in the Middle East," he added.

"It is predicted that the use of energy efficient lighting solutions -- all of which already exist today, but are not widely implemented -- could save an average of 40 percent per year in terms of CO2 emissions and in energy costs," Pauwels stated.

Light Middle East 2011 runs from September 12 to 14, at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre. Over the years it has grown to be the largest trade event and conference for lighting design and technology in the region. Highlighting the latest trends and developments in the industry, the three-day event reflects the increasing concern over green issues that are impacting the world of lighting internationally.

This year's conference running alongside the exhibition is entitled Light Insight Arabia and will focus on better lighting solutions. The conference is expected to be a key meeting place for architects, lighting consultants, designers, manufacturers and suppliers, to name a few. Serving as a platform for industry professionals to discuss sustainable lighting solutions and energy efficiency, the conference with a focus on intelligent lighting design on Arab projects across the region will feature leading speakers from around the world as well as local experts from the GCC region. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Dewa still No. 1 in e-Government Quality Services Assessment

            The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, or Dewa, has recently won first place in the annual Dubai e-Government Quality Services Assessment for the sixth consecutive year. This achievement was announced based on the e-Services 2011-12 assessment report by the Dubai e-Government.

DEWA won the category of government bodies offering “less than 50” e-services. The report included assessments of Dewa’s e-Services, which reflected positively on the solid and stable performance of Dewa’s systems, e-service connections, requirements and time of response.

“In line with the e-government strategy to excel e-services in Dubai, we recognise this win as another milestone towards Dewa’s vision as a world-class sustainable utility not just on a local level but on a global one as well. The win of the ‘less than 50 e-services category’ is an addition to the successes of e-government offerings, which aims to raise the number of users relying more and more on the latest technological advances to support the UAE’s strategy to adopt the best government practices, and promote Dubai as the regional hub for business and finance,” Dewa managing director and chief executive officer Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer said.

The Dewa has maintained its leadership to this category of e-Government Quality Services based on its continuous strategy to acquire the latest technologies. – Khaleej Times


Elite Residence joins top towers

            Dubai Marina is set to get almost 700 new apartments after the handover of a building that is said to be the world’s third-highest residential tower.

Elite Residence, fifth from left in the photo above, a 91-storey structure, that stands at 381 metres, has 696 apartments and is capable of housing 1,500 people.

Princess Tower, fourth from right, is the world’s tallest residential building. The Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building at 828 metres, includes apartments but is not considered to be a residential tower.

To qualify for the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat residential list, a building must be at least 90 per cent residential. Dubai is currently home to the world’s top four tallest residential towers. – The National


Spectacular revamp for Dubai's JBR Walk

            An expansive retail, leisure and entertainment centre is being built as the centrepiece of Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR), a development of 40 towers running along the Dubai seafront.

In a move that will completely change the face of JBR Walk, one of Dubai's most popular leisure attractions and walkways, Meraas Holding is set to construct a mall of shops and restaurants that will run for nearly 1km along the beach from The Hilton Hotel at one end to the Sheraton Hotel at the other.

"The project involves the creation of an integrated retail and leisure area with underground parking facilities meant to upgrade and develop the beachside area, in front of Rimal and Amwaj sectors," said a spokesman at Dubai Properties Group (DPG), the owner of JBR.

"The new development will offer visitors and residents an even wider variety of shopping, dining and retail destinations, upholding JBR's status as one of the GCC's top tourist attractions."

Meraas Holding would not disclose any specific information about the project but Benoy Architects, which designed Ferrari World Abu Dhabi and Sowwah Square, is thought to be the lead architect.

DPG said development activity had already started and would be completed in "less than" 18 months. It also confirmed the project would be low-rise and would not impinge on the views of JBR residents.

"The new development has been planned so as to ensure that sea views will not be blocked for any residents within the community," said the DPG spokesperson.

Analysts said the Meraas development at JBR could be a success, given the area's current focus on food outlets rather than retail stores.

"JBR Walk doesn't necessarily provide adequate retail provision and is very food-outlet biased, so this will go towards that balance and hopefully it can add to the experience of the Marina rather than hinder it," said Richard Paul, a director at Cluttons, a property specialist.

"In the long run as the tram system completes and the traffic problem alleviates, I imagine it can only bring positives."

Throughout the UAE, major companies are investing heavily in retail and leisure developments.

Nakheel is one of the biggest investors in the sector as it looks to borrow Dh300 million (US$81.6m) from banks to build a shopping, restaurant and marina complex called The Pointe, on the tip of the Palm Jumeirah.

It is also doubling the size of Dragon Mart and considering doing the same for Ibn Battuta Mall, as well as constructing a mall on the Palm Jumeirah.

Emaar is expanding the size of Dubai Mall by 92,000 square metres and Meraas is also developing The Avenue, a retail strip in the heart of Dubai.

In Abu Dhabi, a total of 260,000 sq metres of retail space is expected to be completed this year on top of 1.67 million sq metres currently available in the capital, according to the property consultancy Jones Lang LaSalle.

Developers are set to hand over three malls in Abu Dhabi: Paragon Bay Mall on Reem Island; Capital Mall in Mohammed Bin Zayed City; and Deerfields Townsquare in Al Bahia.

There are also new smaller developments such as Etihad Towers, Galleria at Sowwah Square and Emporium at Central Market all forecast to open in the next couple of years.

Originally designed to be a major retail shopping area, The Walk at JBR was unsuccessful in its early years for many retailers and many eventually shut up shop. Virgin Megastore was one of the last to close its shop on the plaza level of JBR this year.

JBR residents have been sent information on the Meraas project in a letter outlining the construction plans.

"During the construction phase, Meraas has put plans in place to minimise inconvenience to the community and include additional temporary parking as well as traffic management," DPG said.

"Residents and visitors will continue to have access to the beach through pedestrian crossings adjacent to the car park. We are also looking at strengthening the police presence at The Walk to assist pedestrians and to better manage the traffic." – The National


Dubai Police Dog Squad: Scent of a crime more than enough

            Sniffer dogs at Dubai Police carried out 3,794 inspection mission security in the past 12 months, of which 1,699 checks were in the first half of this year.

These included checks for drugs and explosives, besides checks at crime scenes, searches for bodies and missing people, and detection of the causes of fires.

Abdul Salam Al Shamsi, Director of Training of Dogs at Dubai Police said that the department plays an important role in providing security and safety of the community of Dubai The dog squad was founded in 1976 and began with 6 trained dogs. Today the number of dogs is 66.

Among the more prominent achievements of the squad in the past 12 months  are a case where a knife used in a crime was found by the digs in the Rashidiya area and the dogs tracing an assailant in the Al Barsha area, picking up the scent from the victim’s body at a construction site.

In this case the dog tracked the scent for more than half a mile and stopped at a set of bags. In it were slippers and blood-stained clothes of the killer.

The dogs come from specialised farms in Europe, and the most prominent breeds are  German Shepherds, Dutch Shepherds, Labradors and Cocker Spaniels.

According to Al Shamsi, the dogs are especially useful in searches covering large areas, like farms and in the desert.

Al Shamsi added that dogs have been a big part of the detection of drugs and have been responsible for many busts. – Emirates 24|7


10th Adihex from Sept 5

            Over 600 exhibitors from at least 40 countries are setting up pavilions at the 38,000sqm Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition (Adihex), taking place at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre from September 5 to 8.

            This is the 10th anniversary of the Adihex, and the organisers, Emirates Falconers Club with the support of Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, are planning a show to remember.

“It is a very special anniversary for us since 10 years ago the exhibition was inaugurated by Sheikh Zayed himself,” said Abdulla Al Qubaisi, in charge of the Adihex’s organisation.

“In hall 12 we are setting up an arena where there will be full-day programmes, starting with horse shows, camels, saluki, falcons and traditional activities,” he told Khaleej Times.

Apart from one day reserved for camel auctions, all other camel events will be shows presented by the Emirates Heritage Club.

The falcon beauty show is for farm-bred falcons only, from breeders participating in the exhibition. So far, there are 23 breeding farms registered, most of them from the UAE, a figure already higher than in previous years.

“All falcons sold at the Adihex are captive bred, since this is the very reason Sheikh Zayed established the exhibition, to promote farm bred falcon and preserve the wild ones,” explained Al Qubaisi.

Depending on species, age, gender and abilities, falcons at the Adihex sell starting from Dh5,000 and go as high as Dh60,000. This is one reason why the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital (ADFH) is very important at the Adihex.

“It is a very big and very important event for us because it is a place where falconers come from all over the Gulf region, not just Abu Dhabi and the UAE,” said Dr Margit Muller, director of the ADFH.

“So what we will be doing is to open a clinic for examination because there will be falcons for sale from breeders, and those falcons will be health checked, so people who are buying can rest assured that they are not going home with a falcon that is ill,” she explained.

The ADFH will also promote at the Adihex this year all its falcon services, which includes preventing checkups, all kinds of treatments and surgeries, moulting cages and, more recently, falcon breeding.

“We will use the Adihex also to launch our new website for the Falcon Hospital, which is just about to be finished. It will have the same address, but it will be completely changed — much more interactive, with a lot more information and very clear navigation,” revealed Dr Muller. – Khaleej Times


Preparations underway for Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival

            Warsow: Preparations are underway here for the 8th round of the Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival and the Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies IFHAR Cup which will be held for the first time in Poland under the umbrella of the Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival.

The Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival which will kick off tomorrow will be held on directives by H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs.

The event is organised by Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture '&' Heritage - ADACH, in coordination with Abu Dhabi Sports Council, the Emirates Arabian Horse Society, the International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing Authorities (IFHAR), the General Authority of Youth and Sports Welfare, Emirates Airline, and is supported by Invest AD, Areej Al Ameerat, the UAE's General Women's Union, Fatima Women Sports Academy and other bodies and corporations.

At a press conference held by organisers yesterday in the Polish capital, Ambassador of the UAE to Poland Asem Mirza Al Rahma hailed the support provided to sports by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs.

He also expressed gratitude to H.H. Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women's Union (GWU), Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation (FDF) and Chairwoman of Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood for her support to women sports.

Present at the conference were Lara Sawaya, director of the Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival and head of IFAHR ladies racing, Khalid Abdullah Al Hussain, Director of Sports Affairs at the General Authority of Youth and Sports Welfare, Abdullah Al Muhairi, Head of Public Relations at ADACH, Abdul Rahim Al Hashimi, Head of Public Relations and External Cooperation at GWU and others. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Largest indoor ice rink in Al Ain

            Residents and visitors to Al Ain have got one more reason to rejoice as the largest indoor ice rink in a shopping mall in the city is now open for skating enthusiasts. Since the artificial ice at the skating rink has been replaced with real ice by the mall management, the visitors have got a year-round leisure destination.

Khalid Shraim, senior marketing manager at the mall, said: “We are excited about replacing the artificial ice with real ice in our skating rink. This is in response to visitors’ preference for skating on real ice. The new ice rink is the biggest indoor ice rink in a shopping mall in Al Ain, covering an area of 600 square metres.”

Ayman Sartawi, recreation facilities manager at the mall, said that the new rink is designed to be a year-round destination for families and skating enthusiasts. It offers a variety of skating activities for fun, entertainment and sports for families who would like to spend time together in an enchanting environment.

He said that the new rink uses technology that maintains ice consistency at all times. Safety and quality ice are ensured when the ice rink is in operation.

The new skating rink will host sporting events ranging from hockey competitions to live concerts. He added that the ice rink would offer skating lessons round the year and the mall expects great demand from visitors and people living in Al Ain city and in the neighbourhood.

Public skating as well as private and public skating lessons and special events like birthday parties, private functions and corporate events will be held at the rink. – The Gulf Today


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