EMIRATES NEWS (30/9/2012)

UAE, Bahrain leaders discuss key issues

            President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan received here this afternoon at Al Rawdah Palace His Majesty King Hamad bin Eisa Al Khalifa of Bahrain, who arrived in the UAE on a private visit.

The Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, was present at the meeting.

The UAE President welcomed King Hamad and the delegation accompanying him, wishing them a good stay in their second country.

The two sides discussed the distinguished fraternal relations between the two countries in the light of the existing ties of coordination and cooperation. They also exchanged views on the latest developments in the Arab, regional and international arenas.

Sheikh Khalifa stressed the UAE's support for the Kingdom of Bahrain, expressing the hope that Bahrain would witness more progress and prosperity.

For his part, King Hamad expressed his pleasure about visiting his second country and at meeting with the UAE President. He commended the stance of the UAE towards his Kingdom. King Hamad expressed the keenness of the Kingdom to strengthen its ties with the UAE in the best interest of the two peoples.

The King of Bahrain praised the effective role of the UAE under the leadership of Sheikh Khalifa, citing his support for the Gulf Cooperation Council for Arab States (GCC) and all Arab issues.

Sheikh Khalifa hosted a lunch banquet in honour of King Hamad and his entourage. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Abdullah bin Zayed attends Obama's dinner banquet

            New York: H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister attended a dinner banquet hosted by the U.S. President Barack Obama in the attendance of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

            Some 130 presidents and heads of governments as well as foreign ministers of the countries participating in the 67th United Nations General Assembly session attended the feast. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


UAE calls for implementing UN recommendations on the Gaza conflict

            Geneva: United Arab Emirates, speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, called on all parties concerned to immediately implement the recommendations contained in the United Nations Secretary-General's report on the Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza conflict.

Obaid Salem Al Zaabi, Permanent Representative of the United Arab Emirates to the United Nations and other international organisations in Geneva, told the UN Human Rights Council, that Israel persisted with the occupation and the violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law, and in particular the Fourth Geneva Convention.

''The Palestinian people could not accept perpetual occupation and it was high time for the international community to implement the provisions of the international law. Negotiations were indispensable to achieve this goal,'' he said in his address at the Council's general debate on situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab Territories.

The Human Rights Council heard a presentation of the report of the United Nations Secretary-General on the progress made in the implementation of the recommendations of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict and then started its general debate on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories.

Presenting the report of the United Nations Secretary-General, Kyung-wha Kang, Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, highlighted the need to more earnestly pursue accountability for serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law that were documented by the Fact-Finding Mission. Nearly three years since the endorsement of the Mission's recommendations by the Human Rights Council, not one person had been indicted for any of the incidents that had been documented. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights field office continued to document violence perpetrated by Israeli settlers against Palestinians and their property, including destroying Palestinians' olive trees and other productive assets, and stressed the need to bring perpetrators to justice.

Palestine, speaking as a concerned country, said that the report showed clearly the measures that remained to be made by all parties involved, namely the concerned States, the international community, and regional and international organisations. Palestine would follow up on the recommendations and ensure that they became a reality on the ground. The occupation was the main cause of the suffering of the Palestine people. Palestine reiterated that international law and in particular the Fourth Geneva Convention must apply in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and in East Jerusalem.

Also speaking as a concerned country, Syria said that despite the fact that the occupation constituted the worst violation of human rights, many had forgotten the suffering of Arabs under occupation. Israel continued to commit grave violations of human rights, ignored its responsibilities with regards to torture, inhuman and degrading treatment of prisoners, and continued to deprive the inhabitants from the right to justice, access to courts and redress.

In the general debate, numerous delegates called for the implementation of the recommendations contained in the United Nations Secretary-General's report on the Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict and deplored Israel's violation of standards and principles of international human rights law and international humanitarian law in the occupied Palestinian territories and the occupied Syrian Golan. The on-going conflict and the occupation represented a failure of the international community to bring about the change that the Palestinian people deserved, said speakers and expressed concern about the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza; unless urgent action was taken, Gaza would no longer be liveable in 2020. Israel should put an end to impunity for settler violence, lift the blockade of Gaza and release Palestinian prisoners, while the international community should take all necessary steps to ensure the resumption of negotiations towards a lasting peace and the absolute respect for human rights. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Mohammed bin Rashid issues law on local military human resources in Dubai

            The Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has issued in his capacity as the Ruler of Dubai, law No. (6) of year 2012, on the local military human resources in the Emirate of Dubai.

The law covers all the local military personnel, Emiratis and expatriates, who work at the departments specified in the resolution No. (3) of year 2008, in addition to other departments to be specified by a decision from the Head of Police and Public Security in Dubai. The civil officials in the departments referred to in the previous article are subject to the Human Resources Department Law of Government of Dubai.

It specifies in article (4) the role of Human Resources Department of Government of Dubai regarding the law enforcement. Meanwhile, chapter (2) of the law, specifies job ethics, work relations, personal responsibility, committing of crime, disclosure of information, relations with public, gifts, bribes, political activism, clash of interests, work with others, exercise of trade activity, principles of communication and external communication and media statements.

The third chapter talks of work environment, working hours, holidays and official holidays, attendance, appearance, occupational membership and use of public vehicles. The fourth chapter states the human resources planning, job description, specification of deserved military ranks, appointment of officers and conditions of their appointment in case they are non Emiratis, appointment of non commissioned officers and personnel and the conditions in case they are non Emiratis. Meanwhile, the fifth chapter refers to the promotion. It specifies rules for promotion.

The sixth chapter tackles the salaries, bonus and incentives, while the seventh chapter covers performance and rewards. It includes the objectives of measurement and evaluation, periodic allowances, cash rewards and annual rewards.

The chapter ninth specifies types of leaves, sickness during the leave, issuance of full annual leave salary. Meanwhile, the 10th chapter covers the regulations for official missions or training.

The other chapters cover scholarships, Emiratisation, occupation health and safety, health insurance, punishment, board of discipline, suspension, mandate, complaints, termination of contract, death, home repatriation of the body, resignation, end of service dues.

This law annuls the law No. (2) of year 2008. It also annuls any other law contrary to the provisions of this law. The Head of Police and Public Security in Dubai will issue regulations and bylaws for the implementation of the provisions of this law, which has become effective from the date of issuance, and shall be published in the Official Gazette. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Bill Gates to address Abu Dhabi Media Summit on October 9

            Under the Patronage of His Highness Gen. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, the Abu Dhabi Media Summit (ADMS) begins on the 9th of October with the participation of more than 400 leaders from the global media industry.

The three-day summit will be held at the Yas Viceroy Hotel under the theme 'Redefining the digital frontier' and Former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates will give opening keynote. The summit will focus on digital media in emerging markets and on the technology disruption that is creating new distribution channels, marketing opportunities and audiences. .

The Summit sessions will focus on the nurturing of digital skills and talent; emphasise cross-industry perspectives and East-West dialogue; uncover the forces that are shaping the media landscape and identify new sources of innovation outside traditional western media centres.

The Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Media Summit, Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak said: "The continued evolution and strengthening of the Summit mirrors the continued development of Abu Dhabi and the UAE as an important hub for the media industry. As in previous years, the 2012 Summit will create unique opportunities for insights for all who attend. The 2012 event will also see an even greater emphasis on home-grown talent through a series of master classes and workshops." The Abu Dhabi Media Summit features a unique combination of high-profile public sessions, off-record forums and private conversations. It brings together top-tier global media, technology, venture capital and creative industry players and their emerging-market counterparts. Selected entrepreneurs and start-up companies are also featured, bridging the gap between established industry leaders and disruptive entrants.

This year the Summit will also feature new sessions that give local and regional media entrepreneur’s unprecedented access to global entrepreneurs and venture investors in a series of show-cases, work-shops, master-classes and inspirational talks. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


UAE wins International Voting to Host 'Global Federation of Competitiveness Councils' Summit

            The Emirates Competitiveness Council officially announced that UAE has won the international bid to host the third edition of the Global Federation of Competitiveness Councils (GFCC) Summit.

This is a significant achievement for the country, as the summit is a prominent gathering of Competitiveness Councils from around the world.

Over 100 international delegates, competitiveness thought leaders and decision makers from government, the private sector and academia will convene in Abu Dhabi and Dubai from 27-29 November 2012, to trade ideas on how to enhance national and global competitiveness and prosperity through innovation. Winning this bid is another endorsement of UAE as a world-leading destination for international events and exhibitions.

Abdullah Lootah, Secretary General of the Emirates Competitiveness Council, elaborated on winning the bid: "Being chosen to host an event of this importance is a major testament for the UAE. It upholds our position as a world leader in competitiveness, and enhances our drive to continue building an innovation-driven, knowledge-based economy." The Global Federation of Competitiveness Councils (GFCC) is considered a leading gathering and consortium bringing together the largest number of competitiveness councils and centres from around the world. The UAE is one of the founding members of the GFCC, along with the United States, Brazil, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Russia and Australia are members of the Board of Directors in this federation, which includes several other member countries. The UAE is consistently ranked among the world's most competitive economies by international ranking agencies.

It is worth mentioning that the World Economic Forum in its latest Global Competitiveness Report 2012-2013 announced that the UAE is the only Arab country listed among the 35 countries that have economies driven by innovation.  – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Abu Dhabi to promote its business tourism industry at IMEX America

            Abu Dhabi's business tourism industry is expanding its influence Stateside with a debut appearance, next month, at IMEX America - the USA's largest exhibition for the meetings sector - in Las Vegas.

Eight local industry stakeholders will join Abu Dhabi Tourism '&' Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) in its 100 square metre pavilion.

They include: Al Masaood Travel, one of the emirate's largest travel and tour operators; the soon-to-open, beachfront The Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi, which will mark the luxury brand's entry into the UAE capital; Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company, which operates the Gulf's largest and most modern exhibition and convention centre; The Vision Destination Management; Emirates Palace, which is one of the world's most opulent hotels; the state-of-the-art Yas Marina Circuit, home to the annual F1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix; the four-star Aloft Abu Dhabi hotel which adjoins Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre and Etihad Airways, the award-winning national airline of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

"The US currently ranks as Abu Dhabi's fifth most productive overseas market for hotel guests and we anticipate arrivals from the States growing as our recently-opened promotions office in New York takes effect and with Etihad planning to launch flights from Washington DC to Abu Dhabi next March," said Mubarak Al Nuaimi, International Promotions Manager, TCA Abu Dhabi.

"Home to the largest associations market and corporate headquarters of Fortune 500 companies, the US is a fertile ground as a source market for meetings events. Abu Dhabi's interest in reaching the US MICE market through IMEX is three-fold. First it is a rich source market for our pipeline of events. Secondly, it is an opportunity to brand and put Abu Dhabi on the map as a top MICE destination in the Arabian Gulf and thirdly, to tap into the expertise and knowledge of the USA's MICE industry to spur the development and growth of our local MICE players." Abu Dhabi, which was recently voted 'Best Luxury MICE Destination Of The Year' in the 11th China Travel Meetings Industry Awards, has made significant headway over the past two years in attracting major convention business to the emirate - the latest 'win' being the November 2012 hosting of the International Conference on Neurology '&' Epidemiology which will bring between 600-800 of the most eminent practitioners in these specialised fields to the UAE capital.

Other major conventions due in Abu Dhabi emirate include: the World Travel '&' Tourism Council's Global Summit in April 2013 to be attended by around 1,000 of the travel and tourism industry's leading decision makers; the 16th World Congress of Health or Tobacco 2015; the 20th Asia Pacific Society of Cardiology 2015 and the 70th Annual Conference of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums 2015.

"Having under our belt the successful hosting in February of this year of the World Ophthalmology Congress which was attended by upwards of 10,000 delegates, our major meetings credentials have been significantly strengthened," explained Al Nuaimi.

"We are now looking to build on this reinforced reputation for hosting capabilities, which is powerfully supported by an increasing room stock in a range of accommodation styles and more competitive rates, innovative venues and an increasingly polished and productive local service sector." Abu Dhabi has said it anticipates the direct economic impact of business events on Abu Dhabi growing to Dhs5.1bn (US$1.4bn) by 2020. In 2010, according to TCA Abu Dhabi research, 500,000 domestic and international business event visitors arrived in Abu Dhabi where they notched up an average per capita spend of Dhs2,400 (US$657.5), making the total economic benefit to Abu Dhabi from MICE visitors around Dhs2.4bn (US$640m).

At IMEX America, Abu Dhabi will also be pushing forward its Advantage Abu Dhabi initiative which catalyses and seeds innovative and viable business events, including conferences and exhibitions. TCA Abu Dhabi supports successful proposals via financial and non-financial incentives. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Hazza bin Zayed: Abu Dhabi continues building solid industrial sector

            The government of the emirate of Abu Dhabi will continue the development its economic growth assets and the building of solid industrial foundation for the comprehensive and sustainable boom in its effort to realise the vision of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and reflect the interest of His Highness Gen. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces in continuing the nation's growth and development aspired for the leadership and the people alike, according to H.H. Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, National Security Advisor and Deputy Chairman of Abu Dhabi's Executive Council.

Sheikh Hazza made his remarks as he inaugurated the completion of Emirates Steel's Dh 7 billion (US$ 1.9 billion) Phase 2 expansion programme in an event staged on facility grounds in the Industrial City of Abu Dhabi (ICAD1).

Expressing satisfaction over the expansion's high-quality production system which uses state-of-the-art technology to provide highly efficient services.

He also praised the highly qualified Emirati human resources who contributed to the success of the new project which is among the national industry's assets for speeding up the emirate's non-oil gross domestic product.

Sheikh Hazza also praised the role of the private sector in the national industrial sector as a driver for the nation's economic growth.

Sheikh Hazza toured the site of new expansion by Emirates Steel, the only integrated steel plant in the UAE. He was accompanied by H.H. Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chief of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince's Court, Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoun Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, H.E. Ahmed Mubarak Al Mazrouei, Secretary General of Abu Dhabi Executive Council, Hussain J. Al Nowais, GHC Chairman of General Holding Corporation (GHC), the parent company of Emirates Steel, and other senior officials.

Phase 2 has increased Emirates Steel's total production capacity to 3.5 million metric tons per annum (MTPA). He relayed to reporters at a press conference that the development is part of the massive endeavour that is set to increase Emirates Steel's production to around 5.5 million MTPA within the next three years.

Emirates Steel launched the two-phased, Dh 10 billion (US$ 2.72 billion) expansion program in January 2006, completing Phase 1 in June 2009 at a cost of Dh 3 billion (US$ 816 million), more than doubling production capacity and making it the largest steel plant in the UAE, capable of manufacturing raw steel from iron oxide pellets.

Emirates Steel is also the leading producer of reinforcing bars (rebar), and is recognised as one of the foremost wire rod producers in the GCC. Besides the Company's finished rebar, wire rod and sections; Emirates Steel also has the capacity to produce and sell Direct Reduced Iron as a semi-finished product.

The Company is now the sole producer of jumbo and heavy sections in the MENA region, which will offer improved products and drastically reduced lead times in terms of piece count and cut-to-length services .  – Emirates News Agency, WAM


New Smart e-Gate system to start January 1

            The new smart e-Gate system currently under trial at Terminal 3 at Dubai International Airport will be officially launched on January 1, 2013, a top official said on Wednesday.

Addressing the Indian business community at the India Club, Major General Mohammad Ahmad Al Merri, Director General of the General Directorate for Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai (GDRFA), said: “With the smart e-Gate in place, it will be easier and faster for passengers to pass through passport control.”

The new system has been installed to cater to the growing number of passengers using Dubai airport. It can gather passport information within seconds and capture biometric data using a hi-tech camera. The data is then compared with existing records for any discrepancies.

Earlier, Al Merri stressed the importance of customer and community service. In his talk titled “Is Business a Service or Service a Business?’, he said the success of any organisation depends on customer satisfaction. “Excellence is a start not an end... We need teamwork in the production line and the staff should believe in the work they do. We have a responsibility to provide a healthy environment for our staff. We should expand the scope of our work environment and reach out to the community,” he said, adding that each of these factors contribute to taking Dubai to greater heights.

Ram Buxani, Chairman of the India Club, said Al Merri spoke on the subject of service as it is close to his heart. “We as a business community have generally made our businesses profit-churning mines. But there is great wisdom in His Excellency’s message.” – XPRESS


UAE-Japan trade grows 14.5%

            The value of Japan’s bilateral trade with the UAE increased by 14.5 per cent to US$27.2 billion during the first six months of 2012.

In addition to the effects of increased price of crude oils, a 71 per cent increase in Japan’s exports of motor vehicles, 37 per cent increase in general machinery exports and 97 per cent increase in iron and steel products exports to the UAE have also played a considerable role in the increase in trade value.

Price of crude oils rose by 11.75 per cent during the first half of 2012 compared to the same period in 2011.  As crude oil import covers a major portion of the imports from the UAE, fluctuations in its price will affect the value of bilateral trade in a significant way.

The average price of crude oils during the first half of 2012 was US$119.44 per barrel whereas; it was US$106.88 during the same period in 2011. The volume of crude oil imports, at the same time, has declined by 3.23 per cent to 145.9 million barrels, compared to 150.8 million barrels during the first half of 2011.

Japan exports to UAE

Japan’s exports to the UAE grew by 45.93 per cent during the first six months of 2012, driven by surge in automobile, machinery and iron and steel exports.

Motor vehicle exports, that jumped 71.08 per cent during this period, formed 48.23 per cent of Japan’s total exports to the UAE, with a value of US$2,228 million. Japan reached a record US$2,245.50 million export of motor vehicles to the UAE during the first half of 2008 (45.37 per cent of the total exports to the UAE), which still remains unbroken.  However, the global financial crisis brought Japan’s motor vehicle exports to the UAE down to US$746.76 million during the first half of 2009 (24.43 per cent of the total exports), and to US$1,619.10 million during the first half of 2010 (45.30 per cent of the total exports).

The evident recovery in 2010 was again curtailed in 2011 due to the Great East Japan Earthquake and the tsunami in March that year, which brought the export down to US$1,302.40 million during the first six months of 2011.  Now, as the financial crisis is almost over and the production facilities in the North East Japan are returning to its previous positions, Japan’s Motor vehicle exports to the UAE is closing in on the record registered in 2008.

Export of passenger motor cars, covering 66.71 per cent of the motor vehicle exports to the UAE rose by 78.27 per cent with a value of US$1,486.4 million. Nearly 68 per cent of the passenger motor cars exported to the UAE belonged to higher capacity cars having 3,000cc or above.

Export of this category of cars grew by 102.8 per cent to US$1,001 million, compared to US$498 million during the first half of 2011. UAE was the 6th largest export market for Japan for passenger motor cars. US, Russia, Australia, China and Canada were the other major markets in the order of export value. A major increase was also witnessed in the export of motor trucks, which, more than doubled the export value to US$372 million during January – June 2012 from US$185 million during the same period in 2011. Export of public transport vehicles has also increased by 116.5 per cent to US$125.8 million.

Export of general machinery to the UAE grew by 37 per cent to US$853.8 million during the period under review, compared to US$623.4 million during the same period in 2011. A 400 per cent increase in export was recorded for air or vacuum pumps to US$93.7 million from just US$18.7 million.

Export of self-propelled bulldozers, angle-dozers or graders rose by 45 per cent to US$134 million from US$92.5 million. There had been a big jump in the export of machines and mechanical appliances, bringing the value to US$32.2 million from just 2 million in the previous first half. Similarly, exports of machinery for working with plastics or rubber registered a major increase from less an a million UD dollars during the first six months of 2011 to US$30 million during the first half of 2012. Similar increases have also been registered for the exports of steam boilers and gas turbines.

Export of Iron & Steel products to the UAE almost doubled during the first half of 2012 to US$366 million, from US$185.5 million during the same period in the previous year. Among iron and steel products, export of tubes and pipes scored the highest increase, i.e, from US$162.4 million to US$349.1 million when comparing the two first halves of 2011 and 2012. At the same time, export of iron and steel materials registered an increase of 21.7 per cent to US$113.3 million, with the flat rolled iron or steel registering a 60 per cent increase in exports.

Export of Electrical machinery as a whole scored an increase of 7.76 per cent to US$300.5 million from US$278.9 million. Major among the electrical machinery that showed increase in exports were transmission apparatus for radio telephony (+ 11 per cent to US$73.6 million) and the insulated cables and wires (+ 23.4 per cent to US$47.4 million) and electrical ignition machinery (+48.8 per cent to US$34.9 million)

Export of tyres rose by 15.9 per cent to US$240 million during January-June 2012, compared to US$207.2 million during January-June 2011. UAE was the 4th largest export market for new tyres for Japan after US, Australia and Russia during the first half of 2012.

Japan’s imports from UAE

The value of Japan’s imports from the UAE increased by 9.7 per cent to US$22.61 billion during the first six months of 2012, compared to US$20.61 billion during in the same period in 2011. 98.4 per cent of imports from the UAE were consisted of mineral fuels that include crude oils and other gaseous hydrocarbons. Out of the remaining 1.6 per cent imports, 1.3 per cent was comprised of aluminium, the 2nd largest export item of UAE.  Other items in small quantities include copper scraps, precious stones and metals and live animals.

The value of crude oil imports alone covered 78.31 per cent of the total imports from the UAE, which showed an 8.14 per cent increase in value during the first half of 2012. Japan imported a total of 146 million barrels of crude oils with a value of US$17.43 billion during the first six months of 2011.  The volume of crude oil import was down 3.23 per cent, compared to the volume during the first half of 2011. The average price of crude oils surged 11.75 per cent US$119.44 per barrel, compared to US$106.88 per barrel during the same period in the previous year. UAE remained to be the 2nd largest supplier of crude oils to Japan during the first six months of 2012, covering a supply of 21.40 per cent of Japan’s total crude oil imports.  Saudi Arabia remained the top supplier of crude oils, with a 32.72 per cent share. Other major suppliers of crude oils to Japan were Qatar (10.31 per cent), Kuwait (7.35 per cent), Iran (6.07 per cent), Russia (4.43 per cent), Indonesia (3.76 per cent) and the Sultanate of Oman (2.98 per cent). There were as many as 16 other suppliers with smaller quantities, including Gabon, Iraq, and Australia.

The value of import of petroleum gases from the UAE rose by 22.28 per cent to US$4.1 billion, with a 2.42 per cent increase in the volume of import. The average price of petroleum gases increased 19.38 per cent to US$940 per Metric Tonne from US$787.4 per Metric Tonne during the previous first half. UAE was the 4th largest supplier of petroleum gases to Japan after Qatar, Malaysia and Australia. Gas import from Qatar rose significantly during the first half of 2012 to exceed supplies from major suppliers like Malaysia and Australia. The different kinds of petroleum gases that Japan imported from the UAE include liquefied natural gas, liquefied propane and liquefied butanes.

Beside oil and gas, Japan’s major import from the UAE is aluminium in different forms. UAE has been a traditional source of semi-finished aluminium for Japan, and during the first 6 months of 2012, Japan imported aluminium worth US$294.59 million from the UAE, 16.18 per cent higher in value compared to the value during the same period in the previous year. In terms of quantity, Japan imported 125.6 million Kg of aluminium during the first half of 2012, which was 32.45 per cent higher compared to the quantity imported during the first half of 2011. However, the average price of aluminium declined by nearly 12 per cent to US$2.35 per Kg from US$2.67 per Kg in the previous first half. UAE became the 4th largest supplier of the aluminium to Japan during this period, overtaking suppliers like Brazil and New Zealand, who were ahead of UAE in the previous year. The three top exporters of aluminium to Japan were Australia, Russia and China.

In addition to aluminium, Japan’s imports from the UAE included small quantities of copper waste & scrap, precious stones and metals, live animals, fish and seafood etc. Significant among them was the increase in the export of copper waste that rose by 68.2 per cent to US$14.8 million, compared to US$8.8 million in the first half of 2011. Export of fish, though was limited to nearly a million US dollars only, saw an big jump compared to the previous year’s first half, when it is almost nil, and nearly 0.2 million US dollars during the first half of 2010. Similar increase was also posted in the export of live animals, mostly horses, to US$4.4 million from almost nil during the first halves of the previous two years. – Emirates 24|7


Dubai-India trade reaches Dh77b in H1 2012

            India ranked first among Dubai's major trade partners during the first six months of 2012, with the value of trade exchange between the two emirate and the subcontinent amounting to Dh77 billion, accounting for 13% of the total value of Dubai's foreign trade which stood at Dh602 billion during the same period, according to Executive Chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone and Director General of Dubai Customs Ahmed Butti Ahmed.

The total value of Dubai's imports from India, which included primarily diamonds, jewellery, electronic devices and mineral oil, reached Dh35 billion during the first six months of 2012, while the value of its exports to India - mainly gold, diamonds, jewellery and copper wires - stood at Dh19 billion during the same period. Dh22 billion was the value of Dubai's re-exports to India (mainly diamonds, jewellery and silver), the official said in remarks as he met the Indian Economic Consul to Dubai Dr. T. Tiju.

Ahmed stressed that Dubai's trade relationship with India has been witnessing a considerable growth mainly due to the distinctive ties between the governments and people of the two countries and the joint economic agreements. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


UAE has tightest bank rules in GCC

            The UAE is enforcing the tightest banking regulations in Gulf hydrocarbon producers and this is hindering rapid growth in their asset and credit base, according to Saudi Arabia’s largest bank

In general, bank credit in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has started to recover due to low interest rates and other factors, National Commercial Bank (NCB) said in a study.

It said that the basic monetary stance in the United States-- as well as the West more generally-- is, if anything, likely to be further loosened with no near-term prospect of interest rate increases.

“Bank credit growth in the region remains generally very healthy with the positive momentum of recent months showing little sign of slowing markedly. Among other things, the region continues to benefit from historically low interest rates, thanks to its US Dollar pegs,” NCB said.

“At the same time, the GCC banking sector remains in generally robust health and eager to expand its asset base, although the regulatory and liquidity constraints in the UAE appear somewhat tighter than in the rest of the region.”

The report, citing banking data, showed credit growth in Qatar remains markedly faster than in the rest of the GCC, adding that the annual pace of growth has been in excess of 30 per cent since February.

Oman and Saudi Arabia constitute an intermediate category, NCB said, noting that Omani bank lending has been growing at more than 20 per cent a year since April. Lending in Saudi Arabia has tended to be in the range of 10-15 per cent. “Saudi Arabia has seen a particularly pronounced increase in lending to the public sector in recent months, although also private sector credit growth remains solidly in the double digits,” the study said.

Bank credit growth in Bahrain in March dropped from the low double digits, where it had been since last September, back to 7.8 per cent, it added.

Kuwait, by contrast, has seen a clear acceleration from 1.2 per cent YoY at the beginning of the year to 4.3 per cent YoY in June.

The UAE, which has the largest banking sector in the Middle East, remains the “relative laggard” with growth of 2.5 per cent in March, NCB said.

“The main fly in the ointment for the GCC banks is a clear loss of momentum in bank deposit growth…although the liquidity environment remains generally benign, the growing discrepancy between the rates of credit and deposit growth will over time likely present itself as a challenge.”

The report showed the loan-to-deposit ratio in Saudi Arabia has grown steadily in recent months, from less than 70 per cent in the spring to 75 per cent in July.
“In general, regional banks are affected – at least for now – by the greater economic confidence which has reduced the importance of investor risk aversion as a driver of deposit growth,” it said.

“Many investors have moved their savings to more profitable asset classes. Nonetheless, the cost of deposits faced by regional banks remains historically low, close to 0 per cent.” – Emirates 24|7


ADIB, Etisalat launch UAE’s First Islamic Telecom Card

            Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB), a top-tier Islamic financial services institution, announced on Wednesday the launch of the UAE’s First Islamic Telecom Card in partnership with Etisalat, the largest telecommunication company in the UAE, and Visa International.

The ADIB-Etisalat Card, available in Classic, Gold and Platinum versions, enables customers to earn free talk time for every dirham spent on their card, in addition to the best-in-market sign-up points.

Upon signing up for the new co-branded covered Card, ADIB Etisalat Cardholders will receive up to 70,000 “More reward Points” which is equivalent to 2000 minutes of free talk-time within the UAE. Cardholders will also earn up to 4 per cent cash back as “More reward Points” for every dirham whilst using their card for purchases anywhere in the world. Customers will also be able to enjoy unique privileges such as access to ADIB’s Travel Desk, and special discounts from national and international merchants as well as within the Etisalat partner network.  

Dhafer Luqman, Executive Vice President, Retail Banking at ADIB, said: “Our continued commitment is to provide our customers with innovative new products and services through partnerships with leading corporations in the UAE.” – The Gulf Today


Adwec to increase its power export to 1300MW

            Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Company (Adwec) will increase power supply to the northern emirates by 1300MW next year to eliminate the power shortage in these emirates.

Einar Al Hareeri, Head of Power Forecast Section at Adwec, said: “By 2013 Adwec will increase it power supply capacity to the northern emirates by 500mw form 700mw to meet the current shortage.”

Moreover, she remarked that Adwec will supply ADNOC’s new projects with power instead of relying on its own sources.

“Demand on electricity has reached 9.749mw by 2011 while it is expected to grow by 16.300mw in 2015 and the northern emirates’ power demand represent 40 per cent of the total,” Einar said.

Adwec’s peak electricity generation exceeded 10,000 MW for the first time in early July 2012. About 80 per cent of this record peak generation was accounted for by the Emirate of Abu Dhabi System’s electricity demand and the remainder was exported to the northern emirates’ utilities FEWA and SEWA.

Adwec’s peak electricity generation is expected to continue to increase until late the end of this year, when the annual peak electricity demand typically occurs. Adwec’s peak electricity generation is expected to increase markedly during the next three years, being principally driven by higher exports to FEWA / SEWA and significantly higher supplies to ADNOC.

Einar added that electricity supply to the northern emirates is to be provided to buildings, shops and new projects.

Adwec is seeking to increase power generation capacity by 2016 to 1600mw as well as water desalination production to 53 million gallons.

“Currently Adwec has 3000mw power surplus,” she added.

While Adwec meet 65 per cent of power demand across the emirates, Abu Dhabi authority seeks to provide 95 per cent of the total requirements of all services in different emirates through the end of 2013.

“The authority will work to increase the percentage of supplied desalinated water from 30 per cent to 41 per cent in 2013, while the authority is aiming to reducing the production of groundwater to represent nine per cent of the total water production rather than 24 per cent.”

In turn this will automatically increase the production of the desalinated water from 76 per cent to 91 per cent by 2013, she added. – Gulf News


Masdar company gets ‘Energy Business Leader of the Year’ honour

            The Masdar company has been recognised as “Energy Company of the Year,” and honoured with “Energy Business Leader of the Year” distinction during the first-ever Gulf Business Industry Awards.

The awards underscore Masdar’s commitment to maintaining Abu Dhabi’s leadership position in the evolving energy market and the company’s critical role in helping the emirate move from a resource-based economy to the one based on knowledge and innovation.

The awards are the GCC’s benchmark for recognising and trumpeting local business achievement.

They distinguish outstanding companies and executives whose leadership and business models promote strong financial standing, continued innovation and impactful growth.

“It’s an absolute privilege to be recognised as Energy Business Leader of the Year,” said Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, chief executive officer of Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s multifaceted renewable energy company.

“These awards emphasise the momentum at Masdar and the visible progress being made to transform Abu Dhabi into a future energy leader. With rapidly evolving energy markets, Masdar is ensuring Abu Dhabi remains a dominant energy exporter from valuable hydrocarbons to renewable energy.

“The UAE’s environmental stewardship was instilled by our nation’s founding father and president, the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan,” said Dr Al Jaber.

“It’s that spirit that continues to drive this nation as we look for ways to conserve our resources, integrate sustainable development and make long-term investments for our future social and economic growth - translating the leadership’s wise vision into reality.”

Launched by the Abu Dhabi leadership in 2006, Masdar is contributing to the diversification of Abu Dhabi’s economy and energy sources. The company invests in research, clean-technology companies and large-scale renewable power projects.

Masdar’s flagship solar power project in Abu Dhabi, the 100MW Shams One, is the largest solar project in the Middle East and North Africa.

Masdar has also developed projects in the United Kingdom and Spain, while also investing in clean-technology companies across North America, Europe and Asia.

Earlier this year, Dr Al Jaber received the United Nations’ Champions of the Earth award. Organised by the United Nations Environment Programme, the award honoured Dr Al Jaber for his positive impact on the environment.

The momentum for Abu Dhabi and its role in the global energy landscape continues this January with the start of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW).

The global gathering will address business, technology and financial challenges that are required for sustainable development.

Taking place from Jan.13-17, the ADSW will be the largest gathering on sustainability in the history of the Middle East.

The event will draw more than 30,000 participants from 150 countries, including globally recognised leaders from governments, the private sector, academia, non-governmental organisations and other stakeholders. – The Gulf Today


Emaar Group to operate The Address Masai Mara

            The Emaar Hospitality Group has further strengthened its global footprint with a new management contract to operate a resort near the Masai Mara in Kenya. The Address Masai Mara is scheduled for opening in 2013 and work is currently progressing, with a focus on integrating environmentally sustainable features.

“Emaar group has thrived in Dubai and our country will benefit tremendously from the expertise, international standards and practices that they bring. Emaar Hospitality Group has responded favourably to our country’s call for more investment in tourism and the Masai Mara venture is a timely boost to the sector,” said Hon Danson Mwazo, Kenya’s Tourism Minister.

“The Address Masai Mara will stand apart as a unique resort in our portfolio. As part of the Greater Mara Ecosystem, the resort is designed to uphold the highest standards in environment-friendliness, and all operations will be aligned to provide our guests a lifestyle experience that builds on their expectations of enjoying nature at its pristine best at the Masai Mara National Reserve,” explained Josef Kufer, Chief Operating Officer of Emaar Hospitality Group.

The resort will also create direct and indirect job opportunities for the local population, thus highlighting our commitment to work with the local community,” added Kufer.

The new resort in Kenya marks the second hotel management contract for the Emaar Hospitality Group in Africa. The Address Hotels & Resorts has already signed management contracts to operate The Address Marassi Golf Resort & Spa, an integral part of the Marassi master-planned community developed by Emaar Misr,

With easy access to the Olurruk Mara Airstrip, The Address Masai Mara will target safari tourists to the Masai Mara. The resort’s design and architecture interprets the concept of traditional Masai villages and will feature an array of restaurants and a wellness spa that uses traditional Mara herbs and concoctions. – Gulf News


Gitex Shopper to contribute about 10% of retailers’ annual sales

            Tech retailers are expecting to ring up about 10 per cent of their annual sales during the eight days of Gitex Shopper which starts this Saturday, they said.

The top sales magnets will be laptops, ultrabooks, tablets and smartphones, the chief executives of major electronic retail companies said yesterday during a press conference to announce the event.

“Gitex Shopper is a feeding frenzy,” quipped Vishesh Bhatia, chief executive of Jumbo Electronics.

The consumer electronics show contributes five per cent of Jumbo’s sales, he said, adding that they booked a 1200 square metre space, 300 employees on stand, 30 cash registers and 10 containers measuring 40 feet long.

For Jacky’s Electronics, Gitex Shopper represents two months worth of sales in those eight days, said Ashish Panjabi, the company’s chief operating officer.

Emax is expecting to earn about eight per cent of its annual sales during the show, said Neelesh Bhatnagar, chief executive of Emax, adding that he hopes to see a 40 per cent increase in business during Gitex this year compared to last year’s edition.

Some have noticed that consumers are holding back their purchasing decisions before the event, when retailers offer attractive bundles.

“The market was in a standstill for a month due to Gitex Shopper,” according to Dikran Tchablakia, chief executive of CompuMe.

Gitex Shopper will relocate to the Dubai World Trade Centre this year.

Organisers hope that exhibition sales will exceed at least Dh 200 million this year, up from Dh 193 million in 2011, said Helal Almarri, chief executive of DWTC.

Asked about consumers’ buying trends at Shopper this year, Bhatnagar said hand-held, portable devices were the “products of the future” that would combine the phone and tablet capabilities.

Consumers are also looking to upgrade their tablets, especially as the iOS6 does not work on the original iPad, said Panjabi, adding that the trend of using tablets for reading and education will continue.

Over 120 companies are participating this year, representing a 20 per cent growth from last year, with 48 new companies making an appearance, he said. These include Acer, Asus, Ferrari Headphones, HTC, LG, Nestle, Toshiba and Western Digital. – Gulf News


Abu Dhabi University awarded 'Inspirational Company' of the Bizz Awards 2012

            Abu Dhabi University has recently been awarded the recognition of "Inspirational Company" at the Bizz Awards 2012.

Organised by the World Confederation of Businesses (WORLDCOB), the prestigious Bizz award recognises companies and organisations for innovation, business excellence and outstanding management performance, making Abu Dhabi University the only higher education institution to ever receive the Bizz award in the Middle East region.

The announcement was made during a ceremony held in Doha in presence of the UAE's Ambassador to Qatar Juma Rashid Saif Al Dhaheri, and Chancellor of Abu Dhabi University Dr. Nabil Ibrahim.

Winners of the Bizz 2012 were chosen by the WORLDCOB's Evaluation Committee and a specialised research team that compiled various data on organisations that are compatible with the award's business excellence criteria, including: managerial leadership, management systems, quality of goods and services, creativity and innovation, social responsibility, and results, certifications and other recognitions.

On receiving the award, Dr. Nabil Ibrahim Chancellor of Abu Dhabi University expressed the University's pride and gratitude in being recognised for its excellence among the winners of the Bizz Award 2012; a feat that positions the University in a class of its own as it is the only university to ever receive this award in the Middle East region. He also expressed the varsity's interest in contributing to the national development process which meets the needs and requirements of the policy agenda of the Government of Abu Dhabi and its economic vision 2030  – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Publisher of Vogue to open cafe in Dubai

Publishing house Condé Nast International, known worldwide for its titles — Vogue, GQ, Vanity Fair, Tatler and The New Yorker, among others — has finally decided to enter the market here with the Vogue Café and coffee lounge.

It expects to open the Vogue Cafe at the Dubai Mall this year. It will be the company’s first such cafe in the Middle East, where luxury fashion labels such as Louis Vuitton, Burberry and Chanel are extremely popular among the region’s well-heeled shoppers.

 “The expatriate community and the local Emirati community are very conscious of brands,” said Stuart Nielsen, director of Conde Nast’s restaurant division. “People always love to eat and drink, and we see an opportunity because they love fashion.”

Situated at the 96,000 sq ft shoe district at The Dubai Mall (which will be operational from October 2012, and will be stocking over 250 luxury and high street brands), the café, is being launched in association with the Inspired Group — known in the UAE for food and beverage management.  The menu at the café has been put together by Conde Nast Restaurants’ chef Gary Robinson, and will offer a selection of international cuisines.

Conde Nast opened a similar cafe in Moscow in 2004. It has since opened two other establishments tied to its brands in the Russian capital. Even though Conde Nast’s popular titles are available in the UAE, there are no local versions of the same. The café is the company’s initiative to further expand the brand name of their titles worldwide, and especially in the UAE, where people are so fashion conscious. – Khaleej Times


World’s tallest hotel to open in Dec

            The world’s tallest hotel, JW Marriott Marquis, is expected to open its doors to guests in December this year.

Dubai is home to the world’s top three tallest structures — the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa; the world’s tallest residential building, Princes Tower; and, soon, the world’s tallest hotel, JW Marriott Marquis.

The Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, or DTCM, in Dubai has checked the hotel and has classified it as the tallest worldwide.

The hotel’s general manager gave a detailed presentation to the licensing and classification team of the DTCM on the services and entertainment techniques adopted at the hotel.

Majid Al Marri, director of the Hotel Classification Department, said the hotel is distinguished with a variety of facilities and restaurants, let alone spacious areas toning with the needs of all guests.

“The fabulous designs of the hotel, a new addition to hotel facilities in Dubai, will be up to guests’ expectations, tastes and needs,” Al Marri said, adding that the hotel will be added to Dubai’s list of world records.

“Dubai shall always be in the lead; a premier hub for tourism, business and finance across the region,” he added.

The JW Marriott Marquis Dubai hotel is to open door late this year in two phases; the first comprises 804 rooms, as well as an array of restaurants and lobbies. The brand “Marquis” is only limited to exceptional hotels of the Marriott International Hotels Group in terms of size and location.

This hotel will be the first of Marquis category outside North America (after the JW Marriott Marquis Miami), and that reflects Marriott International’s growing interest in Dubai and its global tourist position.

Hailing DTCM for its tireless effort in boosting tourism in the emirate, Al Marri said: “The licensing and classification spares no effort to develop and boost up all hotel services in Dubai.” – Khaleej Times

Abu Dhabi announces results of Economic Horizons of Abu Dhabi 2012 - 2016 report

            Economic Development Department of Abu Dhabi launched the results of Economic Horizons of Abu Dhabi 2012 - 2016 report, in attendance of Mohammed Omar Abdullah, Undersecretary of the Department, as well as a number of high officials and businessmen in the emirate.

Mohammad Omar Abdullah, after declaring the results in a press conference, asserted that the emirate's economy is undergoing a new phase of progress and improvement, and transformation towards diversification on the route of achieving the strategic purposes of Abu Dhabi economic vision 2030, inspired by the wise vision of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan in delineating the path for Abu Dhabi to be one of the leading advanced economies in the world.

He commended His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, and Chairman of the Executive council, for moving forward in developing the economy and realising the transformation towards sustainable economic development, culminating in realising the ambitions of the citizens for a decent and prosperous life.

Abdullah highlighted the spiralling economic and political developments globally and regionally. Such developments were not far in their influence upon the economies in the Arabian Gulf region including that of UAE in general and that of Abu Dhabi in particular. These developments proved the solidity of the underlying base of the economy of Abu Dhabi and its ability to surpass all challenges and difficulties.

He asserted that the past period is considered a strong evidence for the success of Abu Dhabi economy in surpassing the consequences of the global financial crisis that hit, in different ways, different parts of the world in 2009. At the time when some countries have achieved slow or negative growth rates, the emirate of Abu Dhabi could achieve real positive growth rates, making it among the least influenced areas by that crisis.

He added: "Oil revenues availed Abu Dhabi the opportunity to implement economic development plans and programmes as well as investment projects. These revenues also consolidated the common belief within the realm of global investments in the strength of the emirate as a secure heaven for investment. That has created clear development horizons and steady economic growth.

He added that one can feel proud of what had been achieved in Abu Dhabi throughout the recent few years, despite all economic foreign shocks. All that would happen by the virtue of our wise leadership and its profound awareness for pursuing such progress and insisting on realising the standards of luxury in the emirate.

Abdullah asserted that the department has prepared a number of plans for different strategic sectors, including the industrial plan that aims at achieving the economic vision 2030 on Abu Dhabi. Such a plan is to define the available opportunities and detect the challenges and turn them into positive opportunities

He said that the strategic plan for developing and encouraging exports, as prepared by the department to be part of other development plans as prepared by other concerned entities in sectors like tourism, transport, energy and infrastructure pertaining to medium and small size enterprises and direct foreign and local investments.

He lauded that qualitative leap that Abu Dhabi witnessed in its economic structure in that short period of time due to the wise leadership that is insistent on achieving diversified economy that helps in sustainable economic development and secures luxury for all residents; expats or locals.

He assured that economy diversification is an important pivot among the known priorities for the government of Abu Dhabi, and lies ahead of the political agenda of the emirate.

The press conference was incepted by Rashid Ali Al Za'abi, acting executive director for planning and statistics sector, with a speech in which he said that launching the report results aims at highlighting the economic forecasts in the emirate, which in turn reflects the economic trends of the government via development plans and enterprises that are under planning or implementation.

He added that the report is based on currently scheduled and applied policies which aim at achieving the economic purposes and ambitions of Abu Dhabi as mentioned in 2030 vision. The report is also based on the reality of global, regional and local economic developments that might witness further improvements in the future.

He added that the importance of the report is that it is the first of its kind in the emirate. It provides data and information about the future of the economic development in Abu Dhabi in the light of current economic situations. It is also important because the data it mentions are well established on the best analytical techniques, based on events and future trends. It also consolidates the confidence in the economy of Abu Dhabi and helps the businessmen to take their decisions, and clearly envisage and plan for their businesses.

Al Za'abi said that Studies Division in the department prepared this report based on many dialogues and discussions with a number of government authorities that are concerned with the economy of the emirate, through economic forecasts committee presided by the department. That committee was established specially for such a purpose. Its members include Statistics Centre of Abu Dhabi, Department of Finance, General Secretariat of the Executive Council, Abu Dhabi Economic Development council and Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council.

Such forecasts were prepared having in mind the views of businessmen and the consumers in the emirate according to the economic surveys done on businessmen, consumers, locals families, representative of industry sectors, labour market, and financial sector etc. such surveys are done on a regular basis by the department several times along the year, in order to reach a realistic report in relation to the mid and short term economic development forecasts in Abu Dhabi.

The results of Economic Horizons of Abu Dhabi report 2012 -2016 are based on implementing a number of big projects within the general economic strategies including industrial development strategy and other sectors strategies such as tourism, financial services, transport, energy, free trade and industrial zones, export encouragement, and direct foreign investment encouragement. Those results are based also on a package of various projects that are under implementation since the beginning of this year which will endear the private sector and energise local demand, create a qualitative change in the investment attitudes in realising economic vision 2030 of Abu-Dhabi.

Forecasts indicate a growth of GDP of Abu Dhabi with 3.9% during 2012. Such a gradual growth is expected to continue along the coming years to reach a rate of 5.7% during 2013 - 2016.

The report expects increase in the real development rate of the non-oil GDP during 2012 to reach 5.5% as supported by implementing big productive projects in the private sector. Such growth rate is going to reach 6.5% average during 2013 - 2016, as private sector investments will continue to grow after fulfilling the infrastructure in the free zones and other areas in the emirate.

In this context, the report expects a growth in family consumption with 9.6% (real prices) during 2012 and general growth continuation with 8.1% during 2013 - 2016 on the average, due to increase in economic activities and per capita income.

Those forecasts go along with consumer's trust indicator during the second quarter of 2012. Such indicator witnessed 130 points increase compared to 121 points during the same period last year.

Individuals trust indicator regarding the current situations showed increase during the second quarter of 2012 reaching 111 points reflecting optimism in the emirate, compared to pessimism levels during the same period of 2011.

Regarding private sector investment, the projects that Abu Dhabi declared will give a great push in investments in the emirate.

Forecast, in this respect, indicate increase in investment rate during 2012 (real prices) with 11.3% which will go on to reach 8.7% on the average during 2013 - 2016 along with the investor's confidence in the emirate economy endeared by the government efforts to strengthen business competitive atmosphere in order to create an open, interactive and globally integrated business environment according to 2030 vision.

Regarding government finance, government subsidies for the economy and the ability of that economy to face challenges, the report lauded the efficiency of Abu Dhabi government in handling the consequences of the global financial crisis, especially in 2009. The government motivated the overall demand in the emirate by means of government investment expenditure, making use of oil revenues surplus that resulted from oil price hike.

The report expected the continuation of that attitude from the government during 2012-2016 and redirecting the expenditure in line with the economic vision 2030, in the favour of fortifying the interest of socially motivated projects such as education, environment, infrastructure etc. that boost luxury for all residents either expats or locals.

The report said that that reflects the insistence of the government to provide luxury and splendid life for the people, as lauded by great international institutions, leaving UAE in the forefront in the international human development report 2011among Arab countries for the second consecutive years, and 30th globally.

As for exports, forecasts indicate that overall exports witnessed 30% increase (real prices) during 2012. Such a growth will increase in line with the improvement of world economic situations and increase of oil demand as shown in the following figure. Exports growth rate will raise up to 7.9% during 2013-2016 on average.

According to the report, the general index of business atmosphere during the second quarter of 2012 (June) witnessed an increase compared to the first quarter (March 2012) with (1) point to jump from 55 to 56 points which reflects optimism of the economic establishments in their look at Abu Dhabi as a secure heaven for investment, as the country enjoys security and stability.

The report referred to the incessant efforts exerted by the Department of Economic Development to boost foreign trade and promote for Abu Dhabi economy in the world great circles.

As for imports, the forecasts predict a 6.1% hike during 2012 in line with the increase of family consumption levels and growth of private and government investment, and continuing rise of growth rates reaching up to 6.3% during 2013-2016 The reports asserted the ability of Abu Dhabi government to fortify the attitude towards knowledge economy, diversification by means of encouraging converting industry private investment.

In this respect, the report mentioned that the Executive Council approved the set up of two new industrial cities, one in Ruwais, the other in Madinat Zayed, reflecting the keenness of the government for achieving balanced development by encouraging the investment in the Western region in order to qualify that region to adopt other industries rather than oil.

Forecasts refer to the leading sectors as continuing to play their role in motivating the emirate's economy during 2012-2016. Construction sector is the leading sector especially in light of that huge package of development projects that the government declared last February.

The report expects that converting industries sector will have a wider role in GDP, in line with the inception of implementing the industrial plan that will focus on technological and export industries in which Abu Dhabi enjoys promising advantage, resulting in impressive increase in non-oil exports. Add to that the inauguration of new industrial zones in 2012.

The report also asserted that converting industries sector is a point of interest as an important leading sector for the leadership. That sector is considered a main corner in achieving economic diversification and turning into knowledge economy, as stated in Abu Dhabi economic vision 2030 that comprised a number of strategic sectors as main engine for the development and economic diversification in the emirate such as petrochemicals, aerospace, defence, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and biology.

The report predicts that converting industries sector will witness tangible growth during 2012-2016, following the completion of the first industrial strategy for the emirate of Abu Dhabi, which took in consideration all various strategies for the upsurge of this sector and how to surpass the challenges.

The report referred to the recent directives from the Executive Council for approving setting off for building and improving the industrial cities. Such cities include vehicle park as a very important economic development project in the Western region. The report also referred to the council's support for Khalifa Fund for Projects Development in order to develop mid and small size project for the citizens.

The report also spoke about setting up two new industrial cities, the first in Ruwais to motivate chemicals, petrochemicals, plastics, oil and gas services, cement and building materials industries. The second in Madinat Zayed that mainly targets oil and gas services, food stuff and logistics industries. Setting those cities is expected to start during 2012.

The report expects that such a sector will see 5.2% growth rate during 2012 and 7.1% during 2013-2016, in the light of government policies for attracting more investors on one side and giving subsidies on the other.

The report said that construction sector is a leading one for the economy of Abu Dhabi during the past years. This sector achieved real growth rates from 2005 to 2010 mounted to 20.4% average. The report sees that this sector will continue boosting the economy with 11% growth and during 2012 it may reach 12% average.

The report said that such expected growth comes in line with a package of development projects such as housing projects and community facilities by means of re-qualifying the infrastructure for a number of housing areas. There is another package of infrastructure projects of roads, sanitary drainage, marine and air transport, education and healthcare to support development plans in the emirate.

As for tourism in Abu Dhabi, the report said it has achieved annual record results during 2011. Such progress is expected to reach 7.5% during 2012-2016. Such sector is important in achieving economic diversification according to 2030 economic vision.

As for personal and social services sector, the report said that such sector received the highest interest of the government in order to properly provide the community with the services needed. Healthcare sector is a leading one in economic development according to 2030 vision. This sector includes pharmaceuticals, and medical equipment that help in economic development.

The Executive Council, within that vision, approved recently a number of healthcare projects for setting up 14 facilities in order to secure high level of services.

Education took a special priority according to 2030 vision, as education is a corner stone of achieving more human development in line with transformation into knowledge economy.

The report also said, in this context, that the Executive Council approved all projects offered by Abu Dhabi Educational Council in order to boost such a sector that is expected to grow with 7% during 2012-2016.

The report is divided into three main chapters. The first is about the global future economic horizons; showing analytical view for the global economy depending on international recent periodicals and publications.

The second chapter is about the most important forecasts for the UAE economy as reflected in international reports. The third chapter is about the horizons of Abu Dhabi economy 2012 - 2016 comprising the most important hypotheses that shape the economic forecasts of the emirate; either globally, regionally or locally.

The report also considered the opinion polls results on development indicators, as done by the Department. Then it offered the most important economic forecasts for the emirate of Abu Dhabi including economic (oil and non-oil) real growth rates, as well as GDP components such as family consumption, private investment, and foreign trade. It also displayed inflation and growth rates in the various economic sectors and activities as expected in the emirate. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


UAE has rich MICE expertise to host world expo 2020: Egypt's Tourism Minister

            Cairo: The UAE's success of hosting prestigious international events will boost its likelihood to win the bid for hosting the world expo 2020, Egypt's Minister of Tourism Hisham Zaazou said yesterday.

''The UAE has rich experience which qualifies it to organise and host the world's largest exhibitions and conferences,'' he said as he received board of the Arab Centre for Tourism Media led by Secretary General Hussein Al Manaie.

The UAE, he noted, had built a world-class infrastructure and diversified its sources of income, thus earning a reputed place in the world's economy, and this makes it a destination of choice for international businesses and investment.

The minister congratulated Dubai for being crowned the World Festival and Event City 2012 by the International Festivals and Events Association.

The minister discussed with the Centre delegation of 15 Arab and Gulf media persons a host of issues relevant to the tourism sector and arrangement for the Centre's fifth forum in 2013. The delegation is in Cairo on an invitation from the Ministry.

Al Manaie said the Centre is currently mulling mechanisms to support the UAE's bid to host world expo 2020 through its different branches in Kuwait, Sudan, Algeria, Morocco, Oman and Jordan. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


UAE in top three in ME financial literacy

The UAE ranked among the top three in the Middle East for financial literacy, according to a new report from MasterCard.

The company’s latest Index of Financial Literacy showed that UAE consumers increased their overall financial literacy ranking in the region, going from sixth place in 2010 to third place this year.

In addition, UAE consumers were the most informed in the region when it came to knowledge about investments. The country scored highest in the investment component of the survey at 57 per cent, followed by Qatar (55 per cent) and Lebanon (55 per cent).

“It is encouraging to see that consumers in the UAE are becoming more financially aware and hence able to make responsible financial decisions for themselves and their families. Financial literacy is a key focus area for MasterCard, and we will continue to champion the cause,” said Eyad Al Kourdi, vice-president and country manager for UAE at MasterCard Worldwide.

Consumers in the UAE scored well on the index’s financial planning component at 65 per cent, and were particularly well-prepared when it came to saving regularly and early financial planning. The financial planning scores were followed by basic money management (60 per cent) and investment (57 per cent).

The score for UAE consumers’ investment know-how was the highest in the Middle East, and their score for financial planning (65 per cent) was higher than the Middle East average (64 per cent).

In the investment component of the survey, consumers in the UAE showed good understanding of their financial statements and the suitability of financial products for their needs.

The MasterCard Worldwide Index of Financial Literacy is based on a survey conducted between April 24 and June 10 this year, with 11,376 respondents aged 18-64 in 25 countries. This is the third Financial Literacy survey conducted since 2010.

The study polled consumers on three aspects of financial literacy, including their basic money-management skills, investment knowledge and financial planning, to determine the level of basic money management skills in terms of budgeting, savings, and responsibility of credit usage.

Middle East

The Middle East’s aggregate financial literacy score decreased slightly from 63 index points in 2010 to 61 in 2012. Consumers in the region scored highest in terms of knowledge about financial planning (64 per cent) followed by basic money management (62 per cent) and investment (54 per cent).

Egypt, with 69 index points, was ranked the top Middle East market with respect to the overall financial literacy index score, followed by Saudi Arabia (62 index points), the UAE (61 index points) and Lebanon (61 index points).

Egypt took the lead in terms of basic money management (75 per cent), followed by Saudi Arabia (65 per cent) and Lebanon (61 per cent).

Egypt also ranked first for financial planning (70 per cent), followed by Lebanon (66 per cent) the UAE (65 per cent) and Oman (65 per cent). – Khaleej Times


UAE to launch global consulting firm to provide services to education sector: Nahyan

            The UAE is planning to establish an international firm to offer consultancy services to the education sector in the country and beyond, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, unveiled yesterday.

Speaking at the scientific forum on Ipad applications in e-learning in attendance of Vice President of Education - Apple, John Couch, Sheikh Nahyan said the consulting house will represent Zayed University and Higher Colleges of Technology and will be headquartered at HCT's Centre of Excellence for Applied Research and Training (CERT).

''The firm will consolidate the UAE's leading edge as user of smart learning technology and deployment pad of this technology to the region and the world at large,'' he added. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


UAE envoy to Pakistan launches embassy website

            Islamabad: UAE Ambassador to Pakistan, Eisa Abdullah Al Nuaimi has launched embassy's website.

            This comes in line with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs plan to strengthen its performance, services as well as establishing unified electronic portal for diplomatic missions to upgrade the services provided and to facilitate communication with the external world.

            Al Nuaimi said that the website will be a reference for the services provided by the embassy to UAE citizens and Pakistanis as well as facilitating reviewing the consular services which include information on visas with all its kinds, the procedure of obtaining them, certificates attestation, documents and transactions in addition to main activities and events and details to contact the embassy.

            He added that the embassy would prove to be a bridge of communication between UAE and Pakistan.

            He cited that the launching of the website aims to keep pace with the requirements of the modern times and documents the achievements in the field of e-government, thanks to the wise directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.  – Emirates News Agency, WAM


UAE, Germany's State of Saxony ink cooperation agreement

            H.H. Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, and visiting Interior Minister of German State of Saxony Markus Ulbig signed yesterday at Abu Dhabi Police GHQ a declaration for boosting joint police cooperation in exchange of expertise and information in education and training, and mutual support and visits.

At an earlier meeting at his office in the Ministry, Sheikh Saif and his German guest reviewed a broad range of issues of common interest regarding police and security fields.

The German minister toured this morning the Department of Traffic and Patrols where he was briefed by its Director Brigadier Hussein Ahmed Al Harthi about traffic and safety strategy and efforts to adopt international best practices.

Mr. Ulbig lauded the strategic future plan of the department and positive results so far achieved. He said both sides share identical views and have sincere interest to exchange expertise. He also watched a demonstration on the state-of-the-art smart road patrols which Abu Dhabi Police plan to launch shortly. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Foundation delivers aid to flood-hit in Pakistan

            The Khalifa bin Zayed Foundation distributed 16,500 food parcels and 700 tents to flood victims in south of Punjab province in Pakistan on Monday.

            A team of aid workers is on the ground to assess the situation and purchase relief supplies from local markets.

            The foundation’s aid programme, ordered by the UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, will target more than 16,000 affected families.

            The UAE Ambassador to Pakistan, Eisa Abdullah Al Nuaimi, told WAM over the telephone that the humanitarian initiative from the UAE leadership at this critical juncture has received appreciation from the people of Pakistan.

            The humanitarian programme, he added, complements other projects the UAE has been implementing in charitable, developmental and social welfare fields in the country. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Hatta Border Port Crossing plays a vital role in enhancing Oman's economy

            Hatta Customs Centre plays a major role in enhancing trade and passengers movement between Dubai and Sultanate of Oman and has become a focal point for land transport between the Sultanate and other GCC States due to the services and facilities it offers to traders, goods and trucks.

Hatta Border Post has become one of the most important border crossings linking UAE with Oman as a result of the increasing movement of products, goods and people through the border post giving it a growing role in enhancing trade and tourism movement between the two countries.

The significance of Hatta Border Port Crossing is increasing at the time Dubai's trade with Oman has been witnessing a considerable growth during the past years, registering a 183% growth of Dh10.5 billion during the first six months of 2012 compared with Dh3.7 billion in the same period last year.

The value of Dubai's imports from Oman and its exports and re-exports to the Sultanate amounted to Dh2.1 billion, Dh3.3 billion and Dh5.1 billion respectively during the first six months of 2012.

Dubai Customs is keen on strengthening its cooperation with various government agencies in the border crossing and securing all the necessary facilities to companies and individuals which will contribute to enhance the trade and tourism movement between UAE and Oman.

Moreover, Dubai Customs works on developing the competence of its employees and inspectors capabilities operating at Hatta Border Post through enrolling them in specialised training courses on body language, inspection of goods, containers and trucks, intellectual property rights, manner of dealing with passengers in addition to providing them with the latest scanning and inspection equipment.

All these factors have considerably contributed to accelerating and facilitating the cargo traffic through Hatta Border Port Crossing as well as encouraging traders to use the port for bringing in goods from the Sultanate to UAE and vice versa.

According to the statistics provided by Hatta Customs Centre, the number of cleared customs declarations during the first six months of 2012 reached 150.000 as compared to 86.000 declarations in the same period last year, representing a growth of 74.5%. These figures include export, import, re-export, transit and temporary admission declarations.

The number of passengers and visitors arriving in the country through the border post reached 480.000 during the first half of 2012, while the number of passengers` vehicles and buses arriving in the country through the border crossing amounted to 203.000 and 1123 buses during the same period. The number of trucks reached more than 89.000 during the first six months of 2012 compared with the 74.000 trucks that entered the country during the same period last year. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Website launched for publicity activities of EnviroCities- 2012,

            A website has been launched for publicity activities of EnviroCities- 2012, the third International Environmental Conference slated to be held from 3 -5 December at Le Meridien Madina Hotel, KSA.

Dubai Municipality, Al Madinah Regional Municipality (KSA) and The Environmental Centre for Arab Towns are jointly organising the conference under the title, "Climate Change: The Role of Cities".

Obeid Salem Al Shamsi, Asst. Director General, Dubai Municipality said this after the sixth sitting of the higher governing body for the international conference.

He said: "Planning and preparations for the upcoming event is at its desirable pace and we hope, the newly launched website will do a good job in the publicity front." The conference is expected to bring together more than 500 delegates, leading figures in the field from around the world including government officials, corporate heads, NGOs, companies, researchers and planners, he added.

Hamdan Khalifa Al Shaer, Director, Environment Department, Khalid Badri, Director, Corporate Marketing and Relations Department and Ahmed Al Salman, Head of Media section also attended the meeting. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


UAE to start ‘intelligent ports’ program in 2013

The UAE will begin implementing the ‘intelligent ports’ programme next year to detect drugs and other contraband smuggled into the country in cargo and passenger baggage, according to Dr Hatem Fouad Ali, head of the UN office in UAE to combat drugs.

Dr Hatem said the ‘intelligent ports’ programme is still in the computer simulation stage.

He revealed this during a seminar on ‘Smart Technology for Border Security’ organised by the Department of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai on Monday. The seminar was attended by a number of international experts in the field of border security.

Dr Hatem said, under an agreement between the UN and UAE, officers at airport, sea ports and land border crossings will be trained in the use of electronic devices to detect prohibited things.

He said sea port officers will be trained to read shipping logs and itineraries and to co-ordinate with other port authorities. He said there is a plan to set up an electronic network for exchange of information between ports. Officers will also be trained to read ‘body language’ and speed reading documents carried by travellers.

Major General Khamis Mattar Alemsenah, Deputy Commander in Chief of Dubai Police, said that the biggest challenge for officers is balancing the completion of security procedures with quick and smooth movement of people and cargo. He said efficiency of the security services depends on security information and not on random searches.

Major General Mohammed Al Marri, Director General of the Department of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai, said more than one million passengers passed smoothly through Dubai International Airport last July.

Dubai Police statistics show that the number of people caught for violating UAE’s residency laws had fallen from 2083 in 2010 to 1288 in 2011. – Emirates 24|7


Abu Dhabi imposes new building permit rules

            A new system established by municipal authorities now requires land boundaries to be fixed and approved before construction processes can begin on a plot, the Municipality of Abu Dhabi City announced in a statement sent Monday.

The new system will ensure that the base map of Abu Dhabi city, which is also being developed by the municipality, will be updated as soon as a plot is handed over for construction, the statement added.

As part of the new regulations, provisional boundary lines for a plot must be identified and fixed before construction works are approved. \

Soil testing will also be conducted and a temporary fence set up before the construction permit is issued, said Salah Awad Al Sarraj, acting executive director of town planning at the municipality.

To obtain the necessary approvals, construction companies need to submit an application for provisional demarcation lines, a recent copy of land ownership certificate, a passport copy of the owner, power of attorney from the owner to the consultant, documents showing agreements with the owner, and the fees due.

Following this, the concerned municipal division will check the site and its boundaries before issuing a building permit, or pointing out areas that need to still be addressed before construction can begin.

Surveys conducted by the municipality stated that 87 per cent of contractors and consultants in the capital approved of the new system, Al Sarraj added. – Gulf News


Bundled offers place the shopper at the centre of the tech revolution

            Bundling is the only game that counts any more in tech retail. Visitors to Gitex Shopper 2012 will have plenty of product and service bundles awaiting them when they hit the aisles of the Dubai International Exhibition Centre this week.

Going for a smartphone? Why not receive a snazzy leather pouch free of charge along with it? If a tablet is what the buyer has an eye on, chances are that a keyboard will be thrown into the bundle. And for a generation-next Ultrabook, it is either a printer or a carry bag. Or both.

“With very little to choose between the prices on offer by tech retailers — physical and e-commerce portals alike — every other week of the year, how the bundles are put together is what matters most,” said Niranjan Gidwani, deputy CEO at Eros Group. “It will be more so during the peak retail week of the Shopper.”

Precisely. According to industry sources, the seven to ten days of sustained promotions during Gitex Shopper contribute 8 to 12 per cent of a retailer’s sales over a full year. In other words, what it offers is a platform to do some sustained selling to a captive audience and all this while keeping the marketing costs at optimum levels.

Sure, bundled offers are nothing new in the UAE’s tech sector. The earlier practice was to put in a few freebies with a best-selling product and that was the extent of it as far as the retailers were concerned. That has now changed with as much forethought given to the freebies as to the product itself.

The many e-commerce portals have a lot to do with this. Over the last 12 months, in particular, more local shoppers are getting a feel of buying gadgets over the web. While their numbers are still a distinct minority — about 5 per cent of the overall — it is a marketplace that is defined by prices.

“Price is definitely the number one reason for people buying online rather than offline,” said Byron Koller, digital marketing director at Cobone.com. “Secondly, consumers find it more convenient to buy from home, where they have instant access to product reviews, price comparison and other information from various online resources.

“Looking at buying habits, 25 per cent of buyers in the UAE have purchased from our electronics store.”

Brick-and-mortar retailers now have a chance to hit back through the Shopper. Smartphones, tablets and notebooks should make up 60 to 70 per cent of product transactions at this year’s event, with the latter category intent on creating some waves with the new line of Ultrabooks that vendors are putting out. Plus, there is the build up towards the launch of the Windows 8 operating system scheduled for October 26 and that, industry sources say, will sustain notebook sales momentum through the rest of the year.

And there is more to come. “The fourth quarter is always good due to Gitex, Eid and the Christmas/New Year seasons,” said Neelesh Bhatnagar, CEO of Emax. “With the launch of the iPhone 5, Windows 8, the new Microsoft tablet, the Nokia Lumia 920 and many new products, we expect the market to be aggressive.”

That is all for the weeks ahead, but during Shopper 2012 retailers are hoping that the tablet format will win back some much-needed traction. A case in point is the iPad. The latest model has now been in the market awhile, but is yet to record the sharp jump in sales that was there for the iPad 2 at the end of last year and in the first quarter of 2012.

Retailers expect next week to provide a turnaround: “iPad sales have remained consistent through the year,” said Ashish Panjabi, chief operating officer at Jacky’s Electronics. ”We anticipate a jump to happen during Gitex Shopper as this is when most retailers will be running special offers.”

In the final analysis, shoppers who can bide their time to buy the must-have products will be clear beneficiaries. Multiple retailers ensure that the days of dormant high prices are long gone.

At Gitex Shopper 2012, they can get their products and prizes too. – Gulf News


TCA Abu Dhabi announces sponsorship to IPAF

            The Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) announced yesterday that it will sponsor International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF), from next year marking the Prize's sixth cycle.

The Prize fits in well with the cultural focus of TCA Abu Dhabi, which is also responsible for the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair and the Louvre and Guggenheim developments.

With its ongoing association with the Booker Prize Foundation, IPAF will maintain its unwavering commitment to independence, transparency and integrity.

The change in funding comes at the end of the fifth year of the Prize which, since its inception in 2007, has grown from strength to strength with the support of the Emirates Foundation for Philanthropy. Following a new direction from its board, the Foundation was re-launched earlier this year as the Emirates Foundation for Youth Development, with a strategy that moves away from grant making to social investment in sustainable long term programmes which improve the lives of young people in the UAE positively and permanently.

Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Managing Director of the Emirates Foundation and Chairman of the Abu Tourism and Culture Authority, comments: Since its launch in 2007, the Prize has grown steadily building a reputation of transparency and independence not only regionally but also worldwide. It is with pride that Abu Dhabi will remain the main hub of the Prize. The new sponsorship will not affect the Prize's administration which shall remain the same. We see IPAF as an important Prize that has enriched global readers with the best in Arabic literature translated into different languages and we are committed to continue supporting this successful initiative.' Jonathan Taylor, Chairman of Trustees for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction, added “We have been hugely grateful to the Emirates Foundation whose steadfast support over the first five years of the prize enabled its successful establishment. We now start a new chapter in partnership with TCA Abu Dhabi, which will ensure the future of the Prize and the continuation of the independence and integrity for which it is noted.' Over five years, the Prize has been awarded to six winners and, to date, IPAF novels have been translated into some 20 languages. The 2008 and 2009 winners are now available in English and publication in English has been secured for the winners in the three subsequent years. Rights for the latest (2012) winner, Rabee Jaber, have already been sold in several languages including Polish and Spanish.

Looking forward, submissions for the 2013 Prize closed at the end of June and are at an all-time high, with over 130 eligible submissions from authors from 16 countries across the Arab World: a reflection of the Prize's importance for the Arabic literary community. From this year, publishers are able to submit any new title by an author who has previously been shortlisted for the Prize, in addition to three other novels.

The Prize also welcomes three new trustees this autumn namely Jordanian publisher Maher Kayyali; Lebanese-American publisher Michel Moushabeck and Emirati poet and film-maker Nojoom Alghanem.

The long list for the 2013 Prize will be announced in December 2012, followed by a shortlist announcement in January 2013. As is tradition, the winner will be announced at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair in April 2013. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Masrah Al Qasba wins award

The Masrah Al Qasba theatre in Sharjah has won the award in the ‘Refurbishment of the Year’ category at this year’s LEAF Awards.

The 300-seat state-of-the-art theatre is part of Al Qasba, Sharjah’s premier tourist, leisure and cultural destination. The ceremony was held at the Four Seasons Park Lane in London early this week.   The award was received by Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, CEO of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq).  

The annual LEAF Awards honour architects designing buildings and solutions that set benchmarks for the international architectural community.   The conversion of the Masrah Al Qasba theatre is the first project to be completed by magma architecture, the award-winning, multidisciplinary architectural practice, in the UAE.

 In the days of nomadic life, news was transmitted through oral narrative in the open-air of the nocturnal desert landscape, and the conversion draws its inspiration from a subtle atmospheric amalgamation of everyday life of the past and contemporary world of theatre.

 The theatre’s design wraps visitors in a sculpturally undulating space evoking recollections of the landscapes of Sharjah, with carefully concealed lighting elements shining through stretchable fabric surfaces enhancing the spatial sensation of continuous enclosure. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Countdown starts to Dubai clean-up drive

            Clean Up the World Campaign is hitting Dubai in November and the municipality has urged organisations, companies and community groups interested in participating to register their names.

The annual environmental campaign is supported by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and is held under the theme ‘Our Place...Our Planet...Our Responsibility’.

“The campaign aims to make our creek, beaches, parks and streets healthy and clean by removing and recycling rubbish that is spoiling them. In addition to the clean-up, we are also organising a range of other activities aimed at promoting environmental awareness such as competitions, workshops and educational awareness programmes,” said Engineer Abdul Majeed Saifaie, head of Clean Up The World Team and also the director of Waste Management Department, Dubai Municipality.

Hussain Gulam Hussain, chief coordinator of the event at the Waste Management Department, Dubai Municipality, said the civic body received enthusiastic support from all sections of the community for the campaign last year. “After finishing the first stage, to receive sponsorships, now we are preparing to receive registrations from organisations who wish to dedicate their time and human resources. It is sure that the campaign would exceed targets with much more participation than last year,” he said.

Interested organisations and groups can contact Clean Up The World coordinators Sharaf on 04-2064233 or Mukesh on 04-2064287 for details of the registration process. Registrations can be sent by mail (cuw@dm.gov.ae) or by fax on 04-2225659. The last date for registration is November 10. – Gulf News


Dubai's Football Centre launches Kids Academy

            The Football Centre is now running their very own Kids Academy where children will receive top-class coaching while enjoying the very best soccer facilities Dubai has to offer.

The academy structure has been carefully planned and includes various coaching techniques with the main ambition to help children improve their footballing ability in a fun, safe and controlled environment.

Former UAE ladies national player Shante Shanzikie heads a collection of highly-qualified and experienced coaches, who will guide the kids through a carefully planned 12-week program. The Football Centre also has a specially developed coaching program for toddlers.

Sessions are available every-day after school and on Friday and Saturday mornings and are open to all children aged between 3 and 14.

The coaching sessions come in a 12 week block at a total cost of Dh1020, with one session per week lasting one hour and 20 minutes each, but there is an option to have two per week.

The Football Centre boasts the very best in indoor football facilities, including UEFA accredited turf, a comfortable lounge to relax in, a viewing area for the pitches, wireless internet access, and Playstation 3s. It is also easily accessible; located behind Time Square Mall off the Sheikh Zayed Road.

Fabien Cresp, the Sports Marketing Manager at the Football Centre, said: “Our academy philosophy respects the need for a healthy and well balanced lifestyle.

“And as such we will provide an area where children can relax before or after each session or even do their homework, although we cannot promise we will be able to help!” – Sport 360°


Abu Dhabi’s 24-hour football event brings a smile

            Playing 24 hour-long, consecutive matches against different teams is a feat in itself, but Falcons Football Club are an impressive bunch and remarkably beat their opponents in all but two of their games played over the day-long marathon.

The matches were part of a unique initiative to raise funds for Operation Smile UAE, a charity providing free and safe reconstructive surgeries for children and young adults born with a cleft lip.

The event, GoFor24, spearheaded by John Hassan and held at The Dome@Rawdhat in Abu Dhabi, wrapped up over the weekend having raised over Dh60,000 for the charity, according to the event’s Facebook page.

A visibly tired but elated Morag Cromey-Hawke, executive director of Operation Smile UAE, expressed her thanks: “A big thank you to Reem Investments for allowing us to use these fantastic facilities, and to John Hassan, as well as Yasmine V. Trofast and Bambang Sugeng Bin Kajairi (both of Reem Investments) who helped us co-ordinate the whole thing.

“It’s been a fantastic event, everybody’s played, we’ve had 24 hours of non-stop football. We’ve got the final tally to do but I think we’ve raised over Dh60,000. So, that’s a lot of children who are going to be receiving surgeries."

Hassan, who founded GoFor24 with his hometown club Newbury Forest FC in London, admits to already looking for ways to make the next event an even bigger success.

“It went really well,” he said. “I’ve done two in London and now this one and have never actually filled all 24 opposing team slots, so I was really pleased that for this one we managed to have a new opposition team every hour for the host team.

“I’ve always looked to help charities that support children, and what touched me about Operation Smile UAE was that it takes very little to truly change a child’s life with this charity – Dh880 for a 45-minute surgery that they provide for free, and a child with a cleft lip has that surgery and just like that their life’s changed,” Hassan added.

“You see the before and after images of these kids and personally, you can’t help but want to help.”

The ADNIC Yas Run on November 24 will be another opportunity for the public to engage in sport while also contributing to Operation Smile UAE, as 10 per cent of all registrations will be going to the charity.

For more information, visit arabemirates.operationsmile.org. – Sport 360°

Dubai's hosting of Expo 2020 will provide job opportunities for citizens, residents, says Reem Al Hashimy

            Reem Ibrahim Al Hashimy, Minister of State and Managing Director of the Higher Committee for Hosting the World Expo 2020 in Dubai said that the expo is expected to provide more job opportunities in services sector for residents and citizens as well.

In an interview conducted by Journalist Fabrice Valserre of French Valeures Actuelles magazine, Al Hashimy said a committee has been set up to study all issues related to hosting of the Expo.

Al Hashimy stressed the importance of organising Expo in Dubai, expressing her hope that winning of the bid bears huge potentials to highlight Dubai's preparation to deal with expected challenge.

She noted that in case of selecting Dubai, it would be a first time to host an international expo in the Arab World, the Middle East, North Africa and India, referring to the support Dubai received from the Arab League.

Al Hashimy expressed her pride of Dubai's cultural diversity, a city which hosts 200 nationalities, adding that they live in harmony, and "This contributes to enriching culture and history of the UAE community".

Regarding hosting Expo 2020, the minister said, there are plans for new infrastructure to be added to the current one. She added that the allocated budget for development of infrastructure ranges between US$2- 4 billion in case Dubai wins the bid.

She added that Dubai is rallying votes of allies and partners to help it win hosting of International Expo in decisive moment in November 2013 in Paris.

The French journalist was invited by the National Media Council (NMC) to assess Dubai's preparations to win the bid to host Expo" 2020. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


UAE, Chile sign reciprocal visa waiver MOU

            New York:  The Governments of the of the United Arab Emirates and the Republic of Chile have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the exemption of entry visa requirements for holders of diplomatic, official and special passports on reciprocal basis.

The MOU was signed yesterday in New York by UAE Foreign Minister H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Chile's Minister of Foreign Affairs Alfredo Moreno Charme.

The MOU takes into account the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 and the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 1963 and emanates from a mutual desire to promote further development of bilateral relations and cooperation between the two countries.

Under the MOU, the two countries shall permit each other's nationals holding valid diplomatic, official/special passports to enter, exit from and transit through their respective territories without entry visa and without a fee.

The UAE and Chilean citizens who hold diplomatic, official/special passports are allowed to stay in each other's territory for a period not exceeding 90 days.

When either of the two countries appoints any of its citizens to its diplomatic and consular missions in the territory of the other Party, it shall inform that country of the appointment before the appointee's arrival to its territory.

Article 4 of the MOU states that both countries shall exchanged specimens of their passports through diplomatic channels no later than 30 days after the date of signature of this MOU. In case of any changes made by either country to the passports issued by it, it shall provide the other country with the specimen of its new passport before its introduction date.

If either country introduces any amendments to its internal regulations pertaining to the diplomatic or official/ special passports, it shall inform the other country.

Article 5 provides for nationals of either UAE or Chile holding diplomatic or official/ special passports are not permitted to work or engage in any profession or to study in each other's country without observing the rules and regulations applicable in both countries pertaining to those activities.

It stipulates that nationals of either country may enter the territory of the other country only through the border points designated for international passenger traffic and that nationals of either country holding diplomatic or official passports shall abide by the rules and regulations in force in the other country's territory throughout the duration of their stay.

The two countries expressed their readiness to guarantee the highest level of protection of passports and travel documents against forgery. They shall review them for compliance with the minimum security standards for machine-readable travel documents recommended by International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

Article 9 of the MOU stresses that this MOU does not affect the rights and obligations of the two countries arising from international conventions and agreements to which either or both of them are Party to.

According to article 10, any differences between the two Parties arising out of interpretation or application of this MOU will be settled by consultations and negotiations between them through diplomatic channels.

Article 11 of the MOU stipulates that any amendments to the MOU shall be mutually agreed upon by the two countries and done by the exchange of official notes through diplomatic channels.

This MOU shall enter into force 30 days after the date of receipt of the last notification by which Parties notify each other of the completion of the internal procedures necessary for this purpose. This MOU shall remain in force for an indefinite period, unless either Party notifies the other in writing through diplomatic channels of its intention to terminate it. Such termination shall take effect 30 days after the date of the official notification of termination.

This MOU has been drafted in duplicate in the Arabic, Spanish and English languages, all texts being equally authentic. In case of any divergence of interpretation, the English version shall prevail. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


UAE inks Air Services Agreement with Kosovo

The United Arab Emirates, represented by the General Civil Aviation Authority, has signed an air services Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and initialled an Air Services Agreement (ASA) with the Government of the Republic of Kosovo in Pristina, last week.

The agreement was initialled by Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi, Director General, of the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority, and Dritan Gjonbalaj, Director General of Civil Aviation Authority of the Republic of Kosovo. Representatives from Abu Dhabi Department of Transport, Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Sharjah Department of Civil Aviation, Etihad Airways and Emirates Airline attended the negotiations.

The two delegations agreed that any number of designated airlines of both parties will have the right to perform scheduled air services between the two countries. The UAE delegation designated Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways, Air Arabia, RAK Airways and FlyDubai as UAE national airlines under the Agreement. The Kosovo Delegation will designate its airlines in due course.

The MoU allows full flexibility on the routes, capacity, number of frequencies and types of aircraft, in any type of service (passenger or cargo). The signed memorandum also includes the exercise of fifth freedom traffic rights. In addition, both Parties agreed to allow unrestricted non-scheduled / charter operations between the two countries.

Al Suwaidi stressed the importance of open sky agreements like the one signed with Kosovo, which will contribute to boost the trade, tourism and investment between UAE and Kosovo, taking into account that now the Designated Carriers of the UAE and Kosovo can operate direct services between the two countries.

UAE now has air services agreements with over 150 countries, of which 114 are open skies or fully liberal arrangements. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


UAE Vice President launches "Mohammed bin Rashid Initiative for Smart Learning"

            His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, has launched the"Mohammed bin Rashid Initiative for Smart Learning" within the country's higher education sector.

Also present were H.H. Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs and Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research.

The initiative will reach about 13,000 male and female students in the foundation stages at Zayed University, the Emirates University and the Higher Colleges of Technology.

Sheikh Mohammed launched the programme at the Abu Dhabi Men's College headquarters where he signed on iPad, an appliance that will be used by the students in the implementation of the programme.

The ceremony was attended by other ministers, Lieutenant General Misbah Rashid Al Fattan, Director of the Office of the Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, in addition to a number of officials.

''Optimum use of technology in our universities and colleges will bring about a qualitative leap in the science and knowledge, which will build the capacities of our sons and daughters to address future challenges and start a new career path equipped with science and technology, that will open up new scopes for innovation and excellence and allow them contribute to building a knowledge-based civilised community,'' Sheikh Mohammed said.

''I'm proud of the excitement the students have shown towards smart learning and also glad at the commitment and loyalty they have made and this make me assured of the success of the initiative and its introduction into our national universities, colleges and schools for the benefit of present and future generations and future of our beloved State.'' The Vice President added that the UAE has a rich pool of competent human resources to lead the higher academic institutions.

''The UAE needs energies and minds of its children to realise further qualitative achievements in areas of science and technology,'' he concluded.

Vice President of Education - Apple, John Couch, who came from California to attend the grand ceremony, described the initiative as '' historic and the first of its kind in size and scope in the Middle East''. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


UAE Cabinet approves FNC's recommendations on preserving environment in the state

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, yesterday stressed that environmental security is an essential part and a key component of the UAE's national security and social stability.

He also said that there can be no sustainable development without a sustainable environment and that it is our duty to maintain a balanced environment for future generations.

He made his remarks while chairing the Cabinet meeting held this morning at the Presidential Palace in Abu Dhabi. It was also attended by H.H. Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, and H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs.

During the meeting, the Cabinet approved the recommendations of the Federal National Council (FNC) on the preservation of the environment in the state.

It also approved the development of strategic plans for dealing with disasters and environmental accidents at all levels, especially maritime accidents. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Sharjah announces new media awards

The Sharjah Government Communication Award 2013, which aims at raising media performance in government institutions across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), was announced on Sunday.

Online submissions will open from October 25 and will continue until August 15, 2013.

The voting process will also be conducted online.

Winners will be announced on September 26, 2013 and will be awarded at a banquet on October 1, 2013.

The Sharjah Government Communication Award is organised under the patronage Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah. The award is the first of its kind in the region.

Sheikh Sultan Bin Ahmad Al Qasimi, Chairman of Sharjah Media Centre, said there were almost 20 categories, but for the first chapter of the Award there will only be 11, divided into three groups.

He said there will be cash prizes for some of the awards.

Some of the categories are open to the entire GCC, some are only for the UAE and some are specific to Sharjah.

The categories include GCC Countries Lifetime Achievement Award, Sharjah Young Journalist of the year award, UAE social commentary columnist, blogger of the year award and the Most Informative UAE TV Programme of the year award.

The judging panel, introduced at the press conference, includes Dr. Adul Rahman Azzi, Dean of the Communications College at The University of Sharjah, Dr. Abdullah Jawdat Rizkallah, Founding Member and CEO of Al Risalah Satellite Channel and Ebrahim Al Abed, Director-General of the National Media Council, among others.

Rizkallah, said that competition creates excellence. He said: “Continuous improvement is what any media personnel should have in mind, as it is not enough to be best-but one should take that best and make it even better.” – Emirates News Agency, WAM


UAE posts 60,000 air traffic movements in August

            Air traffic movements in the UAE jumped 6.9 per cent to almost 60,000 in August 2012 compared to the same period last year, according to the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA).

Total air traffic movements in August at UAE airports stood at 59,940 with an average of 1,934 air traffic movements per day, the aviation body’s monthly report said.

Dubai International Airport led the growth with 27,199 movements, followed by overflights at 12,903 movements.

Abu Dhabi ranked third with 8,919 air traffic movements, according to the report, while air traffic movements at Sharjah International airport ranked fourth with 5,320 movements.

Local flights between UAE airports were fifth with 4,392 movements, while Al Maktoum International Airport witnessed 655 movements; Fujairah International Airport at 122 movements; Ras Al Khaimah International Airport at 291 air traffic movements; and Al Ain Airport at 139 air traffic movements, GCAA said in a statement on Sunday.

It further stated that the GCAA issued three Air Operator Certificates (AOC) as part of Aviation Safety activities in the month, besides having completed 23 licensing transactions for aircraft maintenance companies. – Gulf News


Jebel Ali's new terminal set to receive next generation container ships

            DP World, UAE Region, took a major step towards the development of a massive new container terminal at Jebel Ali in Dubai, with the signing of an agreement for the construction of the infrastructure to expand capacity at the flagship port by 4 million TEU 'twenty-foot equivalent unit'.

Terminal 3 will be one of the finest modern marine terminals in the world with a quay length of 1,860 metres, a draft of 17 metres, and a 70 hectare storage yard.

When operations commence at the new terminal in 2014 total capacity at Jebel Ali will reach 19 million TEU.

TOA-SoletancheBachy JV, specialists in infrastructure development, have been awarded the contract to design, construct, commission and equip the required terminal infrastructure, including the deepening of the channel depth to accommodate super post-panamax next generation container ships with a capacity of 18,000 TEU.

The signing ceremony at DP World Head Office in Jebel Ali was attended by DP World Chairman Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Vice Chairman Jamal Majid Bin Thaniah, Mohammed Sharaf, Group Chief Executive Officer, and Mohammed Al Muallem, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, DP World, UAE Region, among others.

Also present were Kiyoshi Miyawaki, General Manager of TOA Corporation - Dubai Office, and Alexandre Abinader, Middle East Manager of Soletanche Bachy.

Mohammed Al Muallem, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, DP World, UAE Region, said, "The planned capacity expansion at our flagship Jebel Ali Port is guided by demands from our customers and the return of confidence in regional markets. With its superior performance and customer service focus DP World will continue to contribute to the UAE's economic growth and enhance Dubai's role as the gateway hub of the region. Our investment today will ensure Jebel Ali continues be an important catalyst for economic development." Adnan Al Abbar, Senior Vice President, Planning and Development, DP World, said, "As the largest and busiest container port in the region, Jebel Ali is the preferred port of call for major global ship operators, who continue to order ultra large container ships 'ULCS' in line with emerging global trends. In addition, the port has unparalleled connectivity and delivers our customers the most efficient container handling service. We are confident that Terminal 3 will further boost Jebel Ali's regional leading position when it opens for business." Kiyoshi Miyawaki, General Manager of TOA Corporation - Dubai Office, said, "TOA Corporation is honoured to be associated with DP World's plans to expand capacity at Jebel Ali Port. TOA Corporation and our Joint Venture partners Soletanche Bachy will deploy their abundant and accumulated experience in marine terminal infrastructure construction to bring value engineering and ensure Jebel Ali's Terminal 3 will be among the finest in the world capable of handling next generation container liners. We look forward to the task ahead." Alexandre Abinader, Middle East Manager of Soletanche Bachy, said, "Soletanche Bachy is committed to work closely with its Joint Venture partner TOA Corporation and the DP World team. We will commit to this project all our capacity, know-how and track record of carrying out major projects within tight timescales. We are extremely pleased to have the opportunity to work and forge a long-term partnership with leading global marine operator DP World This is an impressive project that brings together some of the best companies in the industry, and we are proud to be a part of it." Jebel Ali's Terminal 3 will be equipped with as many as 19 Ship To Shore 'STS' quay cranes and 50 Rail Mounted Gantry 'RMG' cranes.

In the first six months of 2012 DP World, UAE Region, of which Jebel Ali is the leading facility, handled 6.6 million TEU, 7.3% ahead of the same period last year– Emirates News Agency, WAM


Independent monitoring affirms TDIC's ongoing commitment to worker welfare

            The first independent monitoring report compiled by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) detailing Tourism Development '&' Investment Company's (TDIC) worker welfare practices on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi was released yesterday.

The report, which provides an independent appraisal of TDIC's contractors' and subcontractors' compliance with the company's Employment Practices Policy (EPP), highlights positive findings and recommendations for improvements.

In order to extend its commitment to workers, TDIC, the master developer of major tourism, cultural and residential destinations in Abu Dhabi, created in 2009 its Employment Practices Policy, which is primarily based on and complements the UAE Labour Law. The EPP sets out the standards relating to workers' welfare that TDIC requires of its contractors for projects on Saadiyat Island.

TDIC appointed PwC in June 2011 to provide independent monitoring of TDIC and its' contractors' compliance with the EPP. PwC carried out initial and follow-up monitoring visits to the main contractors and a sample of eight subcontractors working on four of the major projects under construction on Saadiyat Island. Between June 2011 and May 2012, a number of 1,341 workers were interviewed, representing 9 percent of the total monthly average of workers on Saadiyat Island during the monitoring period.

Commenting on PwC's report, Sultan Al Mahmoud, TDIC's Executive Director of Strategic Performance and Chairman of the company's Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Committee, stated: "We are pleased to receive the compliance monitoring report of TDIC's Employment Practices Policy and the details of its observations concerning the welfare of workers on Saadiyat Island. The results demonstrate that improvements on various levels related to working and living conditions have been achieved and sustained.

"We recognise that transparency on these findings is important, and we have already taken action to improve the areas highlighted over the course of the monitoring programme. We realise that there are certain points that need further attention, and as always, TDIC will continue its commitment to working with all relevant parties - its contractors and partners - in overcoming any challenges in order to secure an internationally recognised standard of living for workers," explained Al Mahmoud.

The PwC report affirms in its monitoring results the level of cooperation received from TDIC. "Throughout our engagement as independent monitors, we found that TDIC and most of the contractors and subcontractors were supportive and facilitated the delivery of the monitoring programme. TDIC worked with us to help resolve any issues we did encounter," the report stated.

The EPP stipulates certain requirements which are based on the UAE Labour Law and, in certain areas, adopted international labour practices. These requirements, which TDIC has addressed and continuously worked on improving for the betterment of workers, include: contractors' recruitment process, contractors' employment process, possession of passports, payment of wages, accommodation and facilities, expressing grievances, EPP administration, and health and safety.

Al Mahmoud highlighted some of TDIC's initiatives in regards to workers' benefits. "From the very beginning, our aim has been to ensure that workers on the island were provided with the best care and comfortable facilities. In particular, the Saadiyat Construction Village, purposely built by TDIC in 2009 for its construction workers, has been recognised as a positive example of how comprehensive support for workers' needs can be provided in the region," he stated.

In May 2012, TDIC was awarded the Sustainability MEED Quality Award for Projects 2012 for its work on Saadiyat Construction Village - a high-quality, modern construction community project built to international standards to accommodate a capacity of up to 20,000 workers who are dedicated to developing the world-class projects on Saadiyat Island.

With its broad range of social, recreational and educational facilities - such as multilingual libraries, computer and Internet access, gymnasiums, and floodlit sporting area with four cricket pitches, basketball court and tennis court - the village has become an exemplifying model in the region. This accommodation facility is intelligently designed to ease the lives of the workers by providing them with barbershops, banking facilities, prayer rooms, spacious dining halls, food outlets and shops with highly affordable goods. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


UAE aquaponics project hailed as a success

            A year after it was set up, the world's largest aquaponics centre has started to sell salad crops to supermarkets across the UAE and will market its fish in one year's time.

Set up with a grant from the Khalifa Fund, the Dh4 million project combines traditional fish farming with a system that uses their waste as fertiliser for hydroponic vegetable tanks.

The Baniyas centre, located in the Zayed Higher Agricultural Centre for Development and Rehabilitation in Abu Dhabi, has so far produced 10 tonnes of fish.

The centre has two 2,400-square metre greenhouses - one for fish, one for vegetables.

Between them is a series of tanks and filters that turn the ammonia-rich waste from the fish into food for the plants.

The project started last year with 10,000 tilapia fingerlings - juvenile fish - from Holland.

"The 10 tonnes of fish we produced in the past year will be reused in the system for the coming year before we can start selling it to the Abu Dhabi fish market," said Mohamed Al Areefi, the director of the centre.

"We plan on providing the market with fish twice a week, or 600 kilograms a month."

A similar set-up has been running for 11 years in the Virgin Islands.

The fish excreta is high in ammonia, which is toxic. But the filters and cleaning tanks contain nitrosomonas bacteria that convert the ammonia into nitrites, and nitrobacter bacteria that process the nitrite into nitrate. This can then be used as fertiliser.

And due to its automatic recirculating system, aquaponics does not need much monitoring or measuring. It also uses organic chemicals in its tanks to give the plants more taste.

The centre started trials at the end of May, growing tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers and bell peppers using seeds from Holland, the US and Germany.

"We are planting the seeds now," said Mr Al Areefi. "In 21 days, we will get 60,000 heads of lettuce and the other produce will take around two months to grow."

Each crop is forecast to generate 10 tonnes of food in the next year.

Once fully grown, the produce will be sold to supermarkets across the UAE.

Of the trial crops already grown, the centre has sold up to 300kg of lettuce twice a week to supermarkets including Carrefour, Union Coop and the organic company Ripe in Dubai.

"In total, we sold a tonne of lettuce at Dh12 a piece from our trials," said Mr Al Areefi.

When fully operating, the centre should be able to produce up to 40 tonnes of produce and 12 tonnes of fish.

"We should be able to produce at least 52 tonnes of food by next year," said Mr Al Areefi.

The system, set up by JBA Agritech, uses water more efficiently than a conventional system. Its tanks contain 400,000 litres of water, which can be used for a year or two before it needs to be replaced.

Even the energy is expected to go green in the future, as the centre has plans to use sun and wind power to operate the system's pumps.

Mr Al Areefi is hoping for government support as many farmers have expressed interest in the technology.

"I hope this year, once it is complete, that the Government will subsidise it so people can replicate it," he said.

"It's a step towards helping the UAE's future food supplies." – The National


First locally made ship launched

            The Obaid bin Suloom Establishment for Manufacturing and Repairing Ships recently launched the first of its kind 100 per cent locally-made ship in the UAE and the Middle East.

The ship, billed ‘Obaid’, was floated out into the water in the Al Jurf area of Deira, Dubai, in the presence of senior officials, as well as a large number of fans and media people.

Finishing works spanning the installation of the engine, power supplies, cranes and navigation systems and devices will take two months, after which the ship will be ready for sailing.

Majid Obaid Al Falasi, Director of the Establishment, said the ship is the first of its kind in the UAE and the Middle East. “Obaid has been precisely designed to smoothly resist wild waves and other marine challenges.”

Elaborating, Al Falasi said the ship is 200 feet long, 48 feet wide and 28 feet high. “Weighing 450 tonnes, the vessel has been made of a mixture of wood and iron to sustain loads up 2,500 tonnes at a time.”

“Such a traditional profession is an essential part of the Emirati history and heritage which we should all sustain and maintain as always affirmed by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai,” he underscored.

Al Falasi said his 40-year-old establishment has manufactured more than 300 ships of different sizes, types and designs inspired by the rich marine experience of his late father Obaid bin Suloom.

“My father who was a captain, built the factory in the Al Hamriya area in 1970 and we started building ships weighing 300 tonnes. Now, our products are exported to many Gulf and European countries.”

“We are the first to mix iron with wood, especially imported from Africa, in making this ship which took one full year to be ready,” he added, noting that they are ready to manufacture similar and even bigger vessels, yet this time from wood only. “We never use fibre or any modern materials in our work; we are more stuck to our wood-based heritage.”

Indicating that the UAE marine cargo market can accommodate up to five giant cargo ships like Obaid, Al Falasi said their all new ships can travel anywhere south to Australia and north to Europe and America.

“The life span of the ship is expected to be 50 years with annual maintenance.” – Khaleej Times


Global online campaign aims at planting 20,000 trees

            A campaign aimed at planting 20,000 trees through “One-Like-One-Tree Facebook Campaign” was launched globally on Sunday to join the fight against climate change.

Through the launch of the campaign, a firm has pledged to plant one tree for every “Like” received. 

By just a simple click of the “Like” button, Facebook users can plant a tree, not a virtual tree, but a real one.

“This is part of our effort to encourage our fans to actively play a part towards conserving the environment,” said Wilson Lim, a top official of V-Kool International, the manufacturer of V-Kool window films.

Moreover, the users will receive an e-certificate of authentication, which includes planting location of their trees.

Subsequently, the users will able to view the photos of the planted trees on the Grow Trees official sites, according to the official.

The initiative is aimed at creating public awareness on the climate change and acting responsibly towards Mother Earth.

Educating kids

Meanwhile, in Abu Dhabi many organisations provide training sessions to educate children and families about the significance of horticulture.

One such organisation, Nahtam Social Responsibility, recently organised the Al Khas Plants exhibition titled  “Mustard cress head-making” which educated children on how to grow Al Khas mustard cress heads and decorate them in their homes.

“We need to highlight the importance of greenery in our lives. Plants do have an influence on the development of a healthy society,” said Umm Ahmad Twaha, a capital resident.

However, she lamented that her children Farah, 7, and Twaha, 9 are not very involved with nature-based activities because they live in apartments, nevertheless they yearn for more knowledge-based field trips.

“Schools should organise more field trips to cultivate the level of environmental awareness among school children.”

“They have been on yearly trips from their schools to the Abu Dhabi kids’ park zoo and malls. They enjoy the zoo but not the malls,” said Umm Ahmad.

“Many schools in the city do not send students on field trips. So how does one expect our future generations to become environmentally responsible citizens?” she asked.

Moreover, parents also showed keenness that more and more schools in the city should have trees in their compounds.

“They lack effective greenery. Schools should have more trees and appropriate foliage to offer children direct link with their natural surroundings,” added a parent.

Most public schools in the capital lack greenery in their large compounds. – The Gulf Today


EEG collects 805 tonnes of waste, recyclable material in six months

            The Emirates Environment Group (EEG) collected a total of 805 tonnes of waste and recyclable material in the first half of the current year by conducting a number of clean-up and recycling campaigns, revealed its chairperson Habiba Al Marashi.

She explained that active participation in recycling campaigns resulted in collection of a total of 19 tonnes of aluminium cans, 569 tonnes of paper, 44 tonnes of plastic, 159 tonnes of glass, four tonnes of Tetrapak beverage cartons and 10 tonnes of batteries.

The organisation regularly conducts recycling campaigns to collect material such as aluminium cans, paper, plastic, glass, tetrapak beverage cartons, batteries, mobile phones and printer toners.

Al Marashi urged residents and commercial establishments to participate in the organisation’s “Clean-Up UAE” campaign, saying that the recycling culture must be inculcated into the community.

The Clean-Up UAE campaign will be held on Dec.12.

“We strongly advocate the importance of recycling and saving trees. Our focus is to ensure the involvement of public sectors, private organisations, academic institution as well as families and individuals,” she said.

“These programmes aim to look beyond the mere separation of waste material and build the capacity of the youth of the country and expose them to the concept of recycling in order to achieve a sustainable and green future,” she elaborated.

Recycling culture

According to her, recycling culture among youth is very important as the individual consumption behaviour represents the most significant change in the availability of natural resources.

“Human behaviour and actions more often than not adversely affect the environment in the form of pollution and contamination.

“This highlights the importance of increasing levels of awareness by educating individuals on their responsibility towards environmental preservation.

“Government organisations, businesses and academic institutions should come together to encourage the participation of the wider community in the conservation of the environment,” Al Marashi remarked.

She also emphasised the role of women in this regard and that they have a vital part in educating youth and education begins at home. – The Gulf Today


Global Village VIP pack from launched

            Global Village, the region’s leading Cultural, Shopping and Entertainment family outdoor destination, will launched its VIP Package yesterday.

The VIP pack is popular due to the exclusive offerings with prepaid entry tickets, funfair tickets in addition to valet parking passes, loyalty cards (subject to category) and stickers with special numbers that grant priority parking in the VIP parking area.

The VIP package comes in three categories. The first category, of one-digit VIP parking space numbers starting from number 2 to 10 (inclusive), is priced at Dh4,000 and comprise 150 entry tickets, 100 funfair tickets, 25 valet parking passes, two car stickers and one loyalty card.

The second category priced at Dh1,500, has one car sticker with a special number for the VIP parking area, and contains 130 entry tickets, 50 funfair tickets and 20 valet parking passes. The third category priced at Dh900 contains one car sticker, 120 entry tickets, 30 funfair tickets and 15 valet parking passes.   

Saeed Ali bin Redha, Global Village Chief Executive Officer, said: “This marketing campaign offers visitors value-added benefits whilst helping them to enjoy the many attractions during the Global Village season, even when it is crowded. With numbers and categories, buyers will have easy access to VIP parking. ”

Global Village remains one of Dubai’s most popular and well-loved seasonal attractions with a team of over 10,000 people during its 161 days of operation.

For more details of the VIP package one can call 04-3624114 from 8am to 8pm.

The 17th season of the Global Village will be open from October 21 until March 30. For more information please visit the website: www.globalvillage.ae. – Khaleej Times


Bright future for UAE snooker as Khalid Kamali wins gold

            As the curtain fell on the prestigious 7th Arab Snooker Championships 2012 on Saturday, the UAE left the arena with a respectable haul of one gold and one bronze medal and a realisation their baize future is bright.

Young cueist Khalid Kamali was the toast of the Emirates as he earned the top honours in the youth competition as he edged past talented Ahmed Al Jalaad of Jordan 4-3 in the title showdown on Thursday.

The pinnacle of his fairytale run in the tournament came when he completed 130 clearance, which was both highest of the whole tournament and the highest of Kamali's career, in the final in front of TV cameras.

At the conclusion of the prize presentation ceremony presided over by Dr. Ahmad Al-Sharif, Secretary General of the Dubai Sports Council, Kamali said: "As I have said before, this is the biggest moment of my career.

"Winning the gold medal in such a tough match and the manner in which I achieved the success gives me a lot of confidence for the future. I hope that I will continue to live up to the expectations of my family and the local fans."

Meanwhile, in the seniors tournament, Syria emerged as the new snooker powerhouse in the making in the Arab world, as they took sealed 1-2 finish in the singles contests

Omar Al Kojah took the gold as he routed compatriot Karam Fatima 5-0, while the bronze medallists were Habib Subah of Bahrain and Ahmed Saif of Qatar.  

The UAE had high hopes of faring well, but defending champion Mohamed Shehab and former Arab Mo. 2 Mohammed Al Joaker both went out in the quarter-final stage.

In the team competition, hosts UAE took the bronze as their teamcomprising Shehab, Al Joaker and Abdulrahman Saif were edged 2-1 by eventual winners Iraq in the semi-finals.

Syria failed to added team gold to their singles domination as they were edged out 2-1 by Iraq in final late on Saturday night.

Besides the UAE-A team, the other bronze medallists in the team competition were Qatar who had lost to Syria 2-1 in the semi-final on Saturday afternoon. – Sport 360°


Pro golf makes a comeback at Dubai Creek

Professional golf returns for the first time to the Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club since it was redesigned, and the club is gearing up to host a quality field for the opening event on the MENA Tour on Monday.

The award-winning club will be staging the Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club Open, which carries a prize fund of US$50,000 (Dh183,500).

Spearheaded by European Tour veteran Stephen Dodd, Jake Shepherd, the winner of the inaugural edition of the Tour last year, and UAE’s just-turned pro Ahmed Al Musharrekh, a host of international players will tee it up in what promises to be an absorbing contest.

The event also attracted the likes of England’s Peter Richardson, currently placed third on the Asian Development Tour’s order of merit, Pakistan No2 Matloob Ahmed and Dubai-based Asian Tour veterans Ross Bain and Yasin Ali.

Encouraged by the overwhelming response by the players, the organisers have decided to expand the starting field to 120 to accommodate maximum possible players, instead of the initial 100.

Having played hosts to numerous tournaments, including the Omega Dubai Desert Classic on two occasions, the Dubai Creek is no stranger to international golf, but it will be the first time they will welcome the MENA Golf Tour players.

Mustafa Al Hashimi, Manager of Dubai Creek, said his greenkeeping staff have been preparing its par-71 championship course for the week since the last few months to ensure the players face pristine conditions.

“We look forward to welcoming players from different nationalities. The field is pretty strong. It will be interesting to see if the course record of 63 comes under threat.

“For that to happen, the players would need to summon their A-game when it comes to the approach shots and putting since the greens are so perfect.

“You never know what will happen in golf, but the course will provide a fair all-round test for the players.” – Sport 360°


Victory finish second in race two of Italian GP after bad start

Team Victory’s Arif Saif Al-Zafeen and Mohammed Al-Marri were left to bemoan a poor start as they finished second in race two of the Italian Grand Prix on Lake Como.

Al Zafeen and Al Marri failed to pull off what would have been a remarkable win-double, finishing second behind Spirit of Qatar 95’s Ali Al Neama and Matteo Nicolini.

Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani and Steve Curtis made it a double podium celebration for the Qatari team finishing third in Spirit of Qatar 96.

Al Neama and Nicolini laid the foundation for their first win of the season, in arguably their best drive since they first raced together in Class 1 in Abu Dhabi in 2011, by doing to Victory what they did to Spirit of Qatar 96 on Saturday and stealing away the advantage of pole position by winning the drag race from the green flag to lead into the first turn.

LFF10’s Luca Formilli Fendi and Giovanni Carpitella produced a blistering start but slowed on lap 2 and retired from the race elevating Spirit of Qatar 96 to fourth place ahead of Team Abu Dhabi and Zabo-Isiklar.

Fendi and Carpitella’s hopes of a podium evaporated on lap six when they took an imposed penalty lap for missing a buoy, dropping to fifth.

With six laps remaining, Al Zafeen and Al Marri set about trying to haul in Al Neama and Nicolini and overturn their 15 second advantage. But Al Neama and Nicolini controlled the final two laps to run out well-deserved winners.

“It was a very nice race. We gave 110 per cent,” said Nicolini. “We won it at the start. We had great acceleration and managed to pass Fendi first and then the others.” – Sport 360°

Abdullah and UN chief discuss urgent regional issues

            New York: Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Foreign Minister, met on Saturday UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the UN headquarters in New York where they exchanged views on urgent regional issues.

They discussed the Middle East peace process, the Palestinian issue, the crisis in Syria, the Iranian nuclear issue and other issues of common concern that are on the international organisation’s agenda.

Sheikh Abdullah reiterated the UAE’s support to the Palestinian cause which calls for the UN to enhance its role in finding a permanent, quick and just solution including putting further pressure on Israel to immediately halt its illegitimate colonisation activities on Palestinian territories and to withdraw from all Palestinian and Arab territories it occupied in 1967.

On the Iranian nuclear issue, the two sides agreed on the need for Iran to comply with the relevant resolutions of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the UN Security Council.

Sheikh Abdullah expressed to Ban the UAE’s support to the UN’s efforts including the mission of the United Nations-Arab League envoy for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, to stop violence and find a peaceful and comprehensive settlement of the crisis in accordance with the aspirations of the Syrian people.

Sheikh Abdullah pledged that the government of the UAE would continue to provide generous humanitarian assistance to Syrian refugees.

For his part, the UN Secretary General hailed the UAE’s humanitarian contribution. He expressed to Sheikh Abdullah the UN’s appreciation of the UAE’s efforts and significant humanitarian role in backing the efforts of the international organisation and the international community, including humanitarian efforts.

Ban expressed hope that the UAE would continue its role and contribution, and, in particular, its support to the United Nation’s humanitarian plans and programmes for disaster-hit regions including assistance to the Horn of Africa. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


UN lauds UAE's relief aid at time of disasters

            New York:  United Nations Special Advisor and Assistant Secretary-General for Civilian Capacities, Sarah Cliffe, has appreciated substantial contributions the humanitarian and charitable organisations in the UAE are offering to alleviate suffering of underprivileged population at times of regional and international disasters.

Cliffe said during a meeting with visiting UAE Assistant Foreign Minister for International Organisations Dr. Saeed Al Shamsi, on the fringe of the 67th regular session of the UN General Assembly, that the UN was looking forward for greater partnerships with the UAE in exchange of expertise and capacity building.

For his part, Al Shamsi said the UAE humanitarian role at the international scene sprang out of its leadership's political will, which had earned a prominent place in international humanitarian works thanks to the guidance of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Figures, he added, showed that UAE foreign assistance reached more than 1% of the gross domestic product, which exceeds the minimum rate of 0.7% the UN has set for advanced nations to provide aid to developing countries.

He stressed that countries and regional and international organisations needed to put on more concerted efforts in area of capacity building in order to deliver the Millennium Development Goals – Emirates News Agency, WAM


UAE calls to establish a zone free of nuclear weapons

            Vienna: The United Arab Emirates has called on all countries of the region to make a positive commitment to contribute to the establishment of a zone free of nuclear weapons in the Middle East, noting that all countries of the region should join the NPT, and fully implement and comply with comprehensive safeguards agreement and their international obligations.

Hamad al Kaabi, the UAE's permanent representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in his statement before the 56th Session of the IAEA General Conference, reiterated UAE's commitment of working with the Agency towards the enhancement of nuclear safety, security and safeguards worldwide, while promoting the peaceful use of nuclear energy and making use of the Agency's central role in this regard.

Following is the full text of speech of al Kaabi:

Mr. President, Allow me at the outset to congratulate you on your assumption of the Presidency of the 56th Session of the IAEA General Conference. I would also like to extend my thanks and appreciation to Director General Mr. Yukiya Amano for his commendable leadership as Director General.

My delegation welcomes the Republic of Fiji and the Republic of San Marino as new Members to the IAEA.

Mr. President, In light of the natural disaster that took place in 2011, resulting in the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident, the United Arab Emirates places utmost emphasis on nuclear safety and security as we take stern and progressive steps towards the development peaceful nuclear energy programme.

Mr. President, The Agency has played since its establishment a vital role in helping Member States to benefit from the peaceful use of nuclear energy. Since 2008, the UAE embarked on a nuclear power programme to meet the growing domestic demand for electricity. My country remains of the view that peaceful nuclear energy would contribute significantly to the future energy mix in the UAE and globally. All advancements of the nuclear programme in the UAE are in accordance with the national nuclear policy of 2008, which commits to using nuclear energy in abidance with the highest standards of safety and security, as well as with endorsed principles of complete transparency, commitment to the highest standards of non-proliferation, and full cooperation with the IAEA.

Mr. President, UAE started earlier this summer the construction of the Unit 1 of 'Barakah'' nuclear power plant, making it the first country among nuclear new comers to start the construction of a nuclear power plant in 27 years, The Construction License that was issued by the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation took into full consideration the early lessons learned from the Fukushima Daiichi accident. it included additional thorough assessment conducted in the in light of the Fukushima accident, which verified and enhanced safety features of the Plant especially against extreme natural events and the consequential loss of safety functions.

The UAE is one of the early members which adapted the IAEA integrated guidance for the development of new nuclear energy programme. We continue to work closely with the IAEA and with international partners, to establish a successful and sustainable peaceful nuclear energy programme. I would like to highlight several advances made in the past year pertaining to the positive advancement of the UAE nuclear power programme.

Mr. President, UAE recognises the primary role of the Agency, given its technical nature and wide membership, in strengthening the global nuclear safety, and in providing advice and expertise. Therefore, UAE calls for strengthening the IAEA role in this field, and welcomes all efforts by the Director General in response to Fukushima and the implementation of the IAEA nuclear safety plan.

UAE continues its transparent approach through benefiting from various comprehensive review services provided by the IAEA. In addition to the Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) mission, which was conducted in 2011, UAE requested another review mission, Integrated Regulatory Review Service Mission (IRRS). The outcomes of which were very positive, with no major gaps identified. In IAEA's words, (and I quote) "the mission found that the country understands the long-term commitments and responsibilities of nuclear power and is implementing its programme in line with the IAEA Milestones approach".

IAEA Integrated Regulatory Review Service Mission (IRRS) in the UAE, was the first time that an IRRS Mission was held at such an early stage in a country embarking on a nuclear programme. This fact highlights the advancement of UAE as a model for nuclear new-comers. UAE gives high importance to the peer-review services based on our policy and transparent approach to adopt the best practices. This approach is further demonstrated through publishing of these review reports to public.

In addition, UAE submitted its national report to the recent extraordinary meeting of the Convention of Nuclear Safety highlighting steps taken by the UAE to improve nuclear safety in light of Fukushima accident.

I would like to mention here that UAE has also recently joined Protocol to amend the Vienna convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage as well as the Joint Protocol Relating to the Application of the Vienna Convention and the Paris Convention, further demonstrating UAE's responsible approach.

Concerning Nuclear Security, UAE strongly endorses the role of IAEA's in Nuclear Security. Despite the fact that nuclear security is the responsibility of the state, we are of the view that that the Agency has an important role to play in strengthening international framework and training opportunities in the nuclear security field. in addition to the role involving the development nuclear security fundamentals to be implemented in member states. I note here that the UAE participated actively in the Nuclear Security Summits in Washington and Seoul, and in other international initiatives aiming to strengthen international cooperation framework in nuclear security.

Mr. President, The UAE accords primary focus on capacity building, specifically in relation to its national nuclear power programme. This is reflected by its commitment to an extensive capacity building programme. Through a growing participation in technical cooperation meetings, workshops, trainings, as well as fellowships and scientific visits, the UAE efficiently develops the necessary human resources for its nuclear programme as well as other nuclear applications. We also dedicate special attention to knowledge management in fields of nuclear power and nuclear applications. UAE for years has been hosting knowledge management database in cooperation with the IAEA.

Moreover, the UAE signed an updated Country Programme Framework, which defines the frame of reference for the short and medium-term planning of TC activities, between the UAE and the Agency, as part of a broader vision encompassing development strategies for the UAE.

National TC projects with the IAEA covered areas of nuclear applications for environmental and archaeological purposes, Radioactive Waste Management, Dosimetry, Environmental Monitoring, Early Warning Network for Nuclear Accidents and Radiological Emergencies, and the Development of National Nuclear Power Infrastructure for Electricity Generation.

My country remains keen on sharing its experience with other Member States embarking on a nuclear power programme, which is underlined through providing feedback in numerous IAEA activities, on its best practices, guiding principles, lessons learned and challenges. Moreover, the UAE actively supports the Agency work through several Committees including safety standards committees.

Mr. President, We believe that IAEA safeguards are credible means to assure that nuclear material and facilities are being used exclusively for peaceful purposes. They have however experienced a challenge with regards to verification during the last decade, some of these challenges continue. These challenges should be addressed to provide full assurance in relation to only the declared activities but also potentially non declared ones.

To this end, the Additional Protocol complements the safeguards system with better tools to provide assurance on both declared and possible undeclared activities. In order to keep IAEA's safeguards system credible, we believe it is essential for all Member States to fully implement their safeguards agreements, but bring into force the Additional Protocol.

More generally, we are convinced that for any State with a comprehensive safeguards agreement in force, a supplemented Additional Protocol in force would enhance the verification standard for that State. With 117 countries having brought an Additional Protocol into force, we are pleased to see seven additional countries brining into force an additional protocol since the last general conference. We hope that this number increases in the near future, with an objective to enable the Agency to meet its safeguards responsibilities, which include the verification of all nuclear facilities, and consequently, to build further confidence within the international community and the various regions. We support Director General Amano's efforts to further promote the global adherence to the Additional Protocol.

At the same time, my delegation calls on countries , in which the safeguards implementation under question, to fully cooperate with the IAEA in implementing their international obligations, with an objective to address all outstanding concerns ,to demonstrate the exclusive peaceful nature exclude potential military dimension to their programme.

Mr President, My delegation welcomes the director general efforts in consultation with the countries of the region to facilitate the early implementation of the comprehensive safeguards in the Middle East on all nuclear activities. We welcome the successful convening of the forum last November for this purpose. We are committed to support all efforts aiming to facilitate the establishment of a nuclear weapons free zone in the middle east, including the convening of a successful 2012 conference as stated in the 2010 NPT Review outcome document.

We call on all countries of the region to commit to positively contribute to establishment of the zone, noting that all countries of the region should join the NPT, and fully implement and comply with comprehensive safeguards agreement and their international obligations.

In conclusion Mr. President, My delegation would like to reiterate the UAE's commitment to working with the Agency towards the enhancement of nuclear safety, security and safeguards worldwide, while promoting the peaceful use of nuclear energy and making use of the Agency's central role in this regard. We thank the Secretariat for the comprehensive reports made available to Member States in relation to these matters, and reassure the IAEA of our full cooperation. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


UAE donates ambulance vehicles to IOM to transport Syrian refugees to Jordan

            Amman: Two ambulance vehicles and two buses for transporting Syrian refugees across the Syrian-Jordanian border to Za'atari refugee camp on Thursday were donated by UAE's Red Crescent to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

The donation was delivered by RCA's Secretary General Ateeq Al-Falahi to IOM Jordan Chief of Mission Davide Terzi during a visit by representatives of international relief organisations to the UAE-Jordanian field hospital, deployed at the refugee camp north of Jordan near the border with Syria to help Syrians displaced from their country.

Six other ambulance vehicles will be delivered to the international organisation within days.

This came during a visit by the IOM official, Andrew Harper, UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) Representative, Josephine Mahiga-Janbi, World Food Program (WFP) Syrian Refugee Operation in Jordan and Mesha'l Abdul Karim, Advisor to Jordan's Red Crescent to the field hospital.

70000 blankets, 1000 stoves, 20000 tons of palm dates and a large quantity of medicines were given out to refugees through the UAE-Jordanian field hospital since the launch last February of RCA's fund raising campaign "They Called for Help-- We Responded" which raised Dh 45 million for Syrian refugees, according to Al-Falahi.

One hundred prefabricated homes were delivered by the UAE's humanitarian major to Za'atari refugee camp to accommodate Syrian refugees, the RCA official said adding that assistance by RCA's Jordan operation reached twenty thousand Syrian families and ten thousand people were treated at the field hospital.

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

Representatives of the international agencies hailed the UAE's humanitarian initiatives to help the refugees whose humanitarian conditions were described by Terzi as "tragic". – Emirates News Agency, WAM


KZHF distributes 1500 food parcels among needy families in Yemen

            Al Hudaida: The Khalifa bin Zayed Humanitarian Foundation (KZHF) continued distributing food assistance among the needy Yemeni families in a number of villages in Hudaida Governorate. KZHF team yesterday distributed 1500 food parcels in villages and priority was given to poorest areas.

This comes in implementation of the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan's  Dh500 million grant to distribute food among the needy people after buying them from the local Yemeni market.

The people expressed their thanks and gratitude for the UAE on the humanitarian and charitable works in Yemen as well as lauding the KZHF for implementing this initiative. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


UAE-funded projects in South Waziristan inspected

            South Warzirstan: Upon the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, progress at development projects constructed by the UAE Project to Assist Pakistan was inspected by Director of the Project Abdullah Khalifa Al-Ghafli and Commander of the GOC 45th Engineers Division of the Pakistani Armed Forces Major General Zahir Shah.

The projects inspected aims to improve education, public health, infrastructure including roads and bridges in the Pakistani region.

Twenty projects to provide drinking water for remote villages, three schools, the Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Hospital, the US$ 38.01 million-Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Road project and three hospitals under maintenance and rehabilitation, were inspected in the tour.

The Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Hospital in South Waziristan will be a 50-bed facility dedicated to the treatment of women, children and the elderly in an area with inadequate health care.

Upon directives from President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE Project to Assist Pakistan which is part of efforts by the UAE to boost development and improve the humanitarian conditions in friendly countries, is running and funding 28 development and humanitarian projects worth US$54.5 million in South Waziristan.

Al-Ghafli expressed satisfaction at progress made at the said projects, stressing the need for intensive efforts to complete them within the set timeframe. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


UAE gears up for mega energy conference

            The UAE will play host to dozens of heads of state, scores of national energy ministers and hundreds of top leaders from the energy industry as it gears up to hold the World Energy Forum in Dubai next month to build a roadmap towards cleaner, safer and more sustainable energy that can benefit all nations and people.

Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, this will be the first time that this high-level international energy conference will be taking place outside the headquarters of the United Nations. Dubai was selected to host the event after fierce competition from other international venues and cities. More than 2,000 top delegates from around the world will participate in the three-day event that runs from October 22 to 24 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The forum is taking place at a time when authorities in the UAE and Dubai have taken major initiatives to diversify their energy resources by adopting clean and green energy solutions. The event will not only enhance the global awareness of Dubai’s Integrated Energy Strategy 2030, but will also provide a significant momentum to its various initiatives.

“In line with its 2021 Vision, the UAE has recently unveiled an ambitious initiative that lays the foundations for a green economy. This initiative underlines our country’s firm commitment to maintaining a sustainable environment while focusing on long-term economic growth. So join us in this call to action for the sustainable development of all nations of the world,” Sheikh Mohammad said in a message to delegates issued earlier.

With the United Nations designating 2012 as the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All, leaders from UN member states, international organisations and corporations participating at the forum will seek tangible progress towards cleaner, safer and more sustainable energy as well as achieving universal access to modern energy services.

“The United Nations recognises that having access to sustainable energy is a paramount issue for all countries that are aspiring to economic and social development in order to improve the lives and destinies of their citizens. At this timely international gathering, world leaders and energy experts will come together and seek to find long-term energy solutions that will inevitably involve a variety of energy mixes as well as innovative technologies, but that will also require a clear vision, courage and political will to bring about the change in the world,” Dr Harold Hyun-Suk Oh, Chairman of World Energy Forum, said in a statement issued earlier.

The conference will ensure that the voices of the nations and peoples who are excluded or underrepresented must be heard so that they too can benefit from modern energy services. A renewed debate on nuclear energy in light of Japanese experience in recent times will also feature in discussions. Apart from a special session on the role of energy in solving global water crises, other sessions where delegates can share their experiences and best practices will focus on governmental policy issues and legal framework, and the link between national and international energy policies and consumption, and climate change.

Major impact on economy

The World Energy Forum 2012 is expected to have a major impact on Dubai’s economy, especially on the tourism sector, as more than 2,000 global leaders and delegates descend on the city next month.

Tourism already contributes 31 per cent to Dubai’s GDP, a senior Dubai Government official told Gulf News. “This event will increase the contribution of business tourism to our economy as we strengthen our position as a major global business hub,” Eyad Ali Abdul Rahman, Executive Director of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, Dubai’s tourism promoter and regulator, said.

“Dubai is now rated among the top global conference hubs – with the likes of London, New York and Hong Kong. The successful hosting of the World Energy Forum will help Dubai gain in its bid for Expo 2020, that will set another benchmark for the emirate,” said Ghassan Aridi, Chief Executive of Alpha Tours,

Dubai - which successfully organised a large number of global events, including the Annual Meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund in 2003 that brought in 16,000 delegates and participants from 184 countries - is more than mature as a venue to host world-class events.

With more than 500 hotels hosting 85,000 rooms that collectively serve more than eight million tourists a year, Dubai’s large convention facilities along with eight exhibition halls provide the ideal platform for such events. According to industry officials, the forum will also will boost the meetings, incentives, convention and exhibition (MICE) segment, for which Dubai has become a regional hub.

“This high-profile event will help Dubai’s economy and raise the city’s international profile as a major conference destination,” said Michel Noblet, Managing Director of Hospitality Management Holdings, a UAE-based hotel operator that manages more than 30 hotels and resorts. “We expect hotel rates to go up during the event and this will help the tourism sector, including catering, transportation, restaurants and airlines,” he said. – Gulf News


Rains fill up more than 50 dams in UAE

            The recent rainfall is a blessing for the country. Though the region is among the world’s most arid climates, an increase in the level of groundwater has been filling the reservoirs of more than 50 dams across the country.

Official sources report a collection of an estimated 115 million gallons of water in the country’s dams due to the rains in the central and eastern regions of the emirate between August 29 and September 15.

The heaviest rainfall was on September 14 in Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah and the neighbouring areas of the northern and eastern emirates.

The Ministry of Environment and Water (MEW) said the dams which have been replenished by the rains are located in Al Ain and Liwa in Abu Dhabi, Kadra, Masafi and Difta in Ras Al Khaimah, Madam, Felli and Wadi Al Helu in Sharjah, and Masafi, Al Heil and Wadi Mai in Fujairah.

Though the rains were not heavy, most of the water made its way into wadis from the neighbouring mountains of Oman. However, the water collection is much less than the levels in 2006 which recorded the highest rainfall in 10 years.  The MEW at that time reported a collection of up to 21 million cubic metres or 4,620 million gallons of water in just 10 days from December 2 to 14.

The MEW’s Water and Dams Section monitors water resource and dams, studies the development and conservation of water resources, controls the consumption of groundwater from the wells, Aflaj and springs as well as water flowing through the wadis.

The ministry has built dams in strategic locations to store surface water. These dams include Ham Dam, Wurayyah Dam, Zikt Dam, Basseirah Dam, Bih Dam, Idhn Dam, Gulfa Dam, Tawiyaeen Dam, and Hadf Dam.

According to meteorologists, August and September are among the driest months of the year. The winter season, from January to April, witnesses the heaviest rainfall.
Cloud formation

During much of year, only small amounts of cumulus (puffy clouds) and stratocumulus clouds (dark, lumpy cloud) form but these clouds are seen more often in winter.

Cumulonimbus clouds (dense clouds involved in thunderstorms and other inclement weather) also develop in the summer months over the Hajar Mountains. These clouds occasionally result in light to heavy rain.

The rising water level is also raising concerns in some cities like Al Ain where civic administrations, with the help of various government agencies, have been taking measures to control any possible damage to the infrastructure as well as danger to public safety.

Abdullah Sultan Al Derei, Head of Studies and Infrastructure Development at Al Ain Municipality, said a series of measures has been adopted to reduce the water level at the Tilapia Lake. The water has also been tested to ensure it is free from contamination. The  level is being closely monitored with the help of the Environment Agency, Abu Dhabi, the sewage services and Al Ain Police. Different measures are being used to reduce the water level since August and roads leading to the lake have been blocked for public safety.

Al Derei said warning boards in Arabic, English and Urdu have been installed around the lake urging people to stay away. Permanent fences are also being installed. – Gulf News


Mohammed bin Rashid orders formation of events board

His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has ordered the setting up of a board for organising events and festivals in Dubai.

The board of directors will be chaired by Mohammad Ali Al Abbar, Chairman of Emaar, and will report directly to Sheikh Mohammad.

Sheikh Mohammad instructed Al Abbar to form the board of directors from the public and private sectors. The board shall consist of highly experienced and qualified people in the field of tourism promotion and event organisation.

Sheikh Mohammad also ordered that Dubai Events and Commerce Promotion Establishment (DEPE) be exempted from 10 per cent fees for events and activities carried out in Dubai.

The 10 per cent waiver will contribute to activating the establishment’s role to fulfil its obligations and carry out its responsibilities without financial and logistical obstacles.

Sheikh Mohammad also ordered restoring the annual budget of events to the previous budget and urged officials and government bodies concerned to intensify their efforts and launch creative initiatives to consolidate Dubai’s status as a global city for shopping, art, entertaining and festivals.

Addressing heads and directors of local government departments, Sheikh Mohammad said, “I want you to be transparent and work as one team so that Dubai will restore its reputation and leading role in hosting and organising exhibitions and tourist festivals as well as art and music events dedicated to children and families.”

“There will no longer be any obstacles and you will carry out your duties with flexibility and my personal support … I do not accept any excuses in the future because all facilities have been offered to you, and hence you must commit to implementing your responsibilities with faithfulness and hard work so as to achieve our required goals for our country, people and national institutions.”

Sheikh Mohammad reaffirmed the need to consider organising events and festivals in Dubai in synchronisation official holidays in the UAE and neighbouring countries so as to draw a large number of tourists of various age groups.

Sheikh Mohammad, accompanied by Sheikh Maktoum Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, and other officials, listened to a presentation given by Laila Suhail, CEO of DEPE, on the establishment’s vision to develop the events sector so as to enhance the national economy and draw more visitors to the UAE, by increasing and diversifying events and activities. – Gulf News


Tawazun to launch the Middle East's first manufacturing facility for precision-guided weapon systems in the UAE

            Tawazun Holding, the strategic investment firm focused on defence and specialised manufacturing, announced that it has partnered with the Dynamics division of Denel, owned by the Government of South Africa and South Africa's largest defence manufacturer, in a joint venture to build the Middle East region's first facility for the development, manufacture, assembly and integration of precision-guided systems for conventional air munitions.

The joint venture will be known as Tawazun Dynamics and be owned 51% by Tawazun Holding and 49% by Denel. The first customer for the initial system will be the UAE Air Force (UAE AF) and Tawazun Dynamics will both supply precision-guided weapon systems as well as product system management services to the UAE AF and other international clients.

Commenting on the partnership, Saif Mohamed Al Hajeri, Chief Executive Officer of Tawazun Holding, said: "The creation of Tawazun Dynamics marks the next chapter of Tawazun's continued focus on the development and diversification of the UAE's industrial base. To achieve this, it is important for us to work with recognised technology and product leaders in partnerships that capitalise on our relative strengths. We believe that Denel, with its history of successful products that focus on innovation and operational excellence, corporate governance and cultural values, matches our own ambitions and that our partnership will be a long-term and mutually-beneficial one." Mr. Riaz Salojee, Denel Group Chief Executive Officer, also commented: "With its investments in industrial knowledge-building, and its location at the crossroads of East and West, the UAE is poised to become a leader in defence engineering and manufacturing. We believe that, in Tawazun, Denel has found the right partner through which to further expand our strategic footprint, internationally exploit and expand our products and systems and cement our commitment to the Middle East region." The new entity will utilise and expand the engineering expertise in Denel in South Africa and also see the creation of technical jobs in Abu Dhabi. Denel has already overseen the training of the first set of UAE nationals who will work in Tawazun Dynamics.

The Tawazun Dynamics facility will be established in the Tawazun Industrial Park, which is Tawazun Holding's emerging knowledge hub for defence and strategic manufacturing in Al Ajban, just outside of Abu Dhabi, the capital city of the UAE. The plant will utilise Denel's world-class technology, systems and processes to transform conventional air munitions into precision-guided weapon systems. Details of the specific product systems will be announced at the start of 2013. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Majid Al Futtaim Properties awarded US$400 Million Mall of Egypt Construction Contract

            Majid Al Futtaim Properties, announced yesterday its plans to move forward with the Mall of Egypt.

Peter Walichnowski, Chief Executive Officer of Majid Al Futtaim Properties, commented: "We are now in our 20th year of operations and, notably, have been in Egypt for ten of those years. Egypt's strong economic fundamentals, such as its young and growing population, make it an attractive growth market. We are committed to building on our success in Egypt and investing in the country's long-term economic growth." Majid Al Futtaim has awarded the construction contract valued at US$ 400 million for Mall of Egypt to a 50/50 joint venture between Orascom Construction Industries (OCI) and the BESIX Group, which, pending approval by the 6th October Authority, will construct the project on a lump sum fixed price basis.

OCI Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Nassef Sawiris commented: "This is the largest foreign investment in Egypt since the election of the new government. We have been very impressed by the efficient manner in which the new leadership reviewed required regulatory approvals for this project and we look forward to continuing to work together. The Mall of Egypt development marks an important milestone in Egypt's economic recovery and signals a resurgence of private foreign investment in the country. Over the past decade Orascom Construction has been a key player in the construction of Egypt's mega commercial projects and is responsible for a total built-up area of over 2 million square meters, including the extension of Majid Al Futtaim Properties' Maadi City Centre. The Mall of Egypt award underscores the success of the joint venture in constructing large-scale commercial projects and we look forward to building on our long-standing relationship with Majid Al Futtaim Properties. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


ZADCO awards major EPC contract to NPCC-Technip consortium

            Zakum development company, (ZADCO), awarded the Engineering, Procurement and Construction, (EPC1), contract for the development of the offshore Upper Zakum field to the NPCC and Technip consortium led by NPCC.

The contract was signed at ZADCO's head office in Abu Dhabi on 19th September 2012 by Saif Al Suwaidi, ZADCO Chief Executive Officer and Aqeel Madhi NPCC Chief Executive Officer.

Following the signing of the contract, Al Suwaidi said that "I would like to thank NPCC and Technip for their interest in working with ZADCO. The project is a milestone in the history of ZADCO and Abu Dhabi. The consortium will therefore, play a significant role in achieving this project.

"Tremendous effort is also awaiting ZADCO, contractors and all related parties. I wish you all success in completing the project according to plan".

Madhi on the other hand stated that "we thank ZADCO for giving us this opportunity. It is an honour for us at NPCC to handle this important contract. It is one of the largest contracts ever signed by NPCC in the UAE. It took enormous effort from NPCC and its partner Technip to accomplish this feat. Both ZADCO and NPCC have been working together for the past three decades and we have great cooperation and understanding. NPCC will exert all efforts in completing the project on time to ZADCO's full satisfaction and acclaim and we will definitely succeed EPC1 scope of work includes about 240 Km of sub-sea pipelines, 128 Km of Subsea Composite and Fibre Optic cables beside the initial production facilities and Brownfield modification. The project is due for completion within 36 months.

Since 2009, ZADCO has implemented a production program to increase capacity at Upper Zakum field, and to tap undeveloped reservoirs.

The capital expenditure for the UZ750 upgrade is estimated at over US$10 billion. It represents part of ADNOC's long term strategy to increase and sustain Abu Dhabi’s oil production capacity by 2017.

The fundamental objective of UZ-750 extends beyond boosting the production from 550,000 b/d to 750,000 b/d. It will serve securing the production sustainability through gradual transition to the islands in addition to enabling capturing the upside potential from this super giant field.

ZADCO, part of ADNOC group of companies, is a prominent oil company mandated by ADNOC to manage and operate upper Zakum field and two other smaller fields, Umm Al Dalkh and Satah to meet shareholder's expectations.– Emirates News Agency, WAM


UAE non-oil trade up 5% to Dh 76.6b in Feb. 2012

            The UAE's non-oil foreign trade grew 5% (or Dh 3.6 billion) to reach Dh 76.6 billion in February 2012, compared with Dh 73 billion in February 2011 , preliminary statistics released by the Federal Customs Agency (FCA) showed.

UAE's non-oil exports made an unprecedented jump last February by 62% (or Dh 4.6 billion) to Dh 12.1 billion compared with Dh 7.5 billion in February 2011, FCA said in a press release.

Meanwhile, the UAE's non-oil imports in February 2012 grew by 8% to Dh 54.9 billion compared with Dh 49.5 billion in February 2011.

Re-exports stood at Dh 15 billion during the same month.

In terms of weight, the UAE's total foreign trade last February reached 7 million tons: 2.5 tons in exports, 3.7 million tons in imports and 742000 tons in re-exports.

The average weight of customs consignments handled at ports in the same period reached 29000 tons a day, or 4000 tons an hour, according to FCA. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Burj area ‘most desirable’ location

            The Downtown Burj Dubai area is fast becoming one of the most desirable addresses in the world, according to Damac Properties.

The real estate company has praised the recent announcement by Emaar Properties to develop a new hotel in the area, delivering a further 200 hotel rooms and 542 serviced apartments by mid-2015.

“The Burj Area is now one of the most desirable locations on earth,” Damac senior vice-president Niall McLoughlin said. “The announcement by Emaar to start work on another five-star hotel and serviced apartments in the area will only add to the exquisite ambience and style which has grown in stature over the past few years.”

Emaar announced that construction will start shortly on the 63-storey, 340 metre high “The Address The BLVD” serviced residences and hotel rooms.

“The development of a new project further confirms our statements that the Dubai property market is well and truly back. Serviced apartments will be a huge market in the coming years. We are also experiencing an impressive uptake in the Damac Suites & Spa managed hotel apartments in the Burj Area which will be completed and ready for handover early next year,” added McLoughlin.

Many developers see the serviced apartment sector as a key driver of Dubai’s tourism growth in the coming years.

This will support the tourism growth that a Bank of America Merrill Lynch report predicts will hit 15 million visitors in 2020, up from eight million in 2011. – Khaleej Times



New dates collection centre serves 2,400 farmers

            A new dates collection centre will serve about 2,400 dates farmers from Dubai to Fujairah, Dr. Rashid Ahmed bin Fahad, Minister of Environment and Water, said while opening the centre yesterday at Al Dhait.

The new state-of-the-art facility was opened by the minister and Rashid Mubarak Al Hajeri, Chairman of the Board Al Foah Company, in implementation of a memorandum of understanding signed by the two sides for transporting and marketing dates.

The minister said the move is part of a national plan to achieve food security and food sustainability.

''The dates collection centre will have the capacity of 20,000 packages a day or 12,000 tonnes of dates during the marketing season,'' he added, noting that the easy-to-reach centre will reduce transport costs and help farmers maintain the high quality of dates.

Al Hajeri said the project, the eighth in the network of dates collection centres, had been implemented in a record time of 90 days at a total cost of Dh 10 million. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


UAE's DTCM wins 3 awards at Leisure 2012

            The Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) of Dubai has won three awards at the current Moscow Tourism Fair "Leisure 2012".

The three awards recognise DTCM for the best participation in the fair, the best promotion of incentive and business tourism and for the best representative office in Moscow.

The awards were presented in a ceremony to Talal Khalifa Al Suwaidi, Head of Region of North and South Europe at DTCM.

For the 20th year in a row, DTCM participated in "Leisure 2012" which runs this year between 19-22 September in the Russian capital.  – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Museum braced for increase in school visits

            School visits to the Natural History and Botanical Museum are expected to increase significantly this year, according to the curator.

Shamsa Al Ketbi told Gulf News that the museum hosted almost 31,000 students last year and expects that number to rise to 40,000. The popularity is down to the fact that visits can be adapted to suit either primary or middle school children, making the museum an attractive destination for pupils of all ages.

The museum also provides guided tours for up to 30 students at a time and features exhibits focusing on Sharjah’s past and present, while interactive displays help them to learn how deserts are formed and how animals have adapted to live there. There is even a workshop on the different types of sand in the UAE and children are taught why it is a different colour in different areas of the country.

In other exhibits, pupils can take a trip back through time to encounter volcanoes, dinosaurs and meteorites, or walk along the seabed and learn about marine life in the Arabian Gulf.

Also, teachers can print out worksheets, in both Arabic and English, which help the students focus on the main themes in the museum.

However, Al Ketbi stressed that the museum also had an eye on the present and the future and had implemented a workshop on recycling.

The museum’s latest addition, she said, is the butterflies corner, which was gifted by his His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah.

The Natural History Museum was inaugurated in November of 1995 and was renamed Sharjah Natural History and Botanical Museum in 2008 after the addition of the botanical museum. – Gulf News


Four Emirati designers make cut for inaugural programme

Four Emirati designers have been selected to participate in the inaugural six-month Design Road Professional programme, Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) announced on Saturday.

Organised by Dubai Culture, Tashkeel and the Creative Dialogue Association (CDA), an independent not-for-profit organisation based in Barcelona, the Design Road Professional programme aims to encourage intercultural dialogue and creative exchange between local and international designers.

Furniture and objects designer Khalid Shafar, visual artist Zeinab Al Hashemi, graphic and fashion designer Aljoud Lootah and computational artist and designer Salem Al Mansoori will undertake extensive training in various aspects of design in Dubai, London and Barcelona from this month until March 2013.

“The selected designers for the inaugural Design Road Professional reflect the diversity of talent that Dubai has and fosters,” said Khalil Abdulwahid, Manager of Visual Arts, Dubai Culture. “Through this initiative, we aim to nurture the skills of these designers, thereby strengthening their talent to further contribute to Dubai’s evolving design landscape.”

During the six-month programme, the four designers will participate in trips, educational programmes, professional shadowing programmes and proposal development in collaboration with Kingston University, Elisava Design School and ADIFAD. The programme will conclude during Art Week 2013 in Dubai, where all four designers will get a chance to showcase their final products. – Gulf News


Emirates ID to soon be principal card for establishing identity

            By the end of 2013, the Emirates ID card may hold the capability of being a single docket of documentation and identification for a resident of the UAE, holding their passport, labour card, driving licence and health insurance details.

The move is expected following completion of the population register and electronic linkage system by next year. However, there is no obligation on any of the government entities to replace their cards with the ID cards.

An Emirates Identity Authority (Eida) spokesperson told Emirates 24|7 that according to the 1010-1013 strategy, the Emirates ID card is likely to be the principal reference card for establishing personal identity and providing population data in the UAE.

“Therefore, Eida is continuously coordinating with the government entities to accomplish the electronic linkage system project to update the personal information and maintain immediate accurate data of the individuals that is highly protected and confidential.”

As a result, the spokesperson added, in the future the official cards will be replaced with Emirates ID, which will be reflected by the completion of the population register and ID card project, in addition to the electronic linkage system project, which is expected to be done by 2013.

In the letter attached with the ID card,  Eida states: “Thanks to the soon to come integration infrastructure the Eida is currently working on the with the governmental, semi-governmental and private service sectors, the identity card usages are expected to extend to cover additional applications, especially after the registration of all UAE nationals and residents is completed.”

In the future, the identity card data may include many service cards in addition to the following applications: labour card, investors' card, social affairs card, electronic birth certificate, health card, driving licence, passport information, detail address and contact information.

In June, Saqr Ghobash Saeed Ghobash, Minister of Labour, had said that Emirates ID cards would replace labour cards by the second half of 2012.

Although Eida said it doesn’t include the e-wallet/payment facility for the time being, it confirmed that the ID card applications and security features support such services.

“We are always encouraging the private and government entities to benefit from the digital ID card applications for developing their services provided to customers, and lots of agreement and memorandum of understandings were signed to support this sentiment," the spokesperson informed.

The Eida Strategic Plan 2010-2013 says Emirates ID hopes to contribute to the evolution of the UAE towards a fully digital community by creating an infrastructure for developing e-services and activating smart ID card applications and digital certification to establish personal identity on electronic networks, such as the web. This will allow the transition of the UAE into an integrated e-government service provider.

The ID card is currently accepted as a proof of identity by over 150 government entities. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


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