EMIRATES NEWS (9/10/2012)

Mohammed bin Rashid stresses UAE's commitment to sustainable environment

            The Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has underlined that the UAE is committed to building a sustainable environment that supports the economic growth.

He added that the investment would not only continue in infrastructure projects, but would also include the vital sectors, such as education, healthcare, and promotion of research, development and innovation culture.

"Tomorrow may bear for us developments and surprises that cannot be predicted, but looking forward to and reflecting on the broad outlines of reality, we can identify the features of future, and detect the opportunities and challenges that will come. Hence, there is a big responsibility we should not relent to bear", Sheikh Mohammed said.

The Vice President said in a preface to "The Business Year: Dubai 2012" edited by Dubai FDI, the foreign investment promotion office at the Department of Economic Development (DED), under a partnership with the International Business Consultancy, that Dubai's strategic location avails more trade and investment opportunities. He underscored that the significance of trade sector and the knowledge driven economy, being the major components for the sustainable development.

"Our Green Economy Initiative announced earlier this year invokes our commitment to diversify energy sources and preserve the environment, while bolstering our competitive status to become a leading centre for the export and re-export of green products and technologies," he added.

From now to year 2050, Sheikh Mohammad continued, the emerging markets will be the main engine of global economic growth, and trade flows will become more connected as mobility of goods, services and people will become more flexible. He added that the 40 years of hard work and perseverance had seen the UAE scoring many achievements, citing the prosperous economy, which earned the UAE global respect.

Regarding the UAE's attitude towards the international economic changes, Sheikh Mohammed said, "the world is currently undergoing a transition, which may have strong influence over this century. This transformation is indicating the centre of economy is shifting from the West to the emerging markets." He added that the UAE is positive about the current global trends as it is aware of the importance of preserving the national identity and traditions amidst its serious attempt to adopt promising opportunities, which future carries for the UAE people.

Sheikh Mohammed emphasised that Dubai continues to seizing the economic, cultural and scientific opportunities cherished by the future, indicating that it forges new connections to sustain the growth across this decade and the ones that follow.  – Emirates News Agency, WAM


UAE Culture minister makes pitch for interfaith dialogue

            Istanbul: The UAE Minister of Culture Abdul Rahman Al Owais emphasised on Friday the importance of interfaith dialogue so that the world could understand how Muslims see Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) and how lovingly they speak about him.

Speaking shortly after opening the UAE’s Burda Award exhibition at the Dolma Pasha Museum in Istanbul, the minister of culture, youth and community development also said that the gallery of collections owned by the Award reflects an ideology and a civilised cultural style for interfaith dialogue.

Owais opened the exhibition as part of the Emirati Cultural Festival that started in Turkey on Thursday. Organised by the ministry of culture, youth and community development in association with the UAE embassy, the festival will run until Oct.15.

The minister hailed the deep-rooted cultural relations between the UAE and Turkey and said that Istanbul was chosen for the Burda exhibition because of its special place in ancient Islamic history.

The gallery of Burda collections based in the UAE capital was airlifted to Turkey as part of the exhibition.

Burda Award, one of the most celebrated prizes in the Muslim world in love and remembrance of Prophet Mohammed, was first launched nine years ago with support from the UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed, who was minister of Culture at that time, recalled Owais.

The Award is named after Qassedat El Burda (Poem of the Mantle) — an ode of praise for Prophet Mohammed composed by the Sufi poet Iman Al Busiri.

The ministry endeavours to make Al Burda Award a leading and distinctive contest on the Islamic world level to celebrate the memory of the Prophet’s Birthday each year, and to honour the winners in diverse contests.

The awards are given in three main categories, including poetry in classical Arabic language, calligraphy and Islamic illumination art. Arabs, non-Arabs, Muslims and non-Muslims participate in the contest every year. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


IOM lauds UAE's relief aid to Syrian refugees

            Geneva: International Organisation For Migration (IOM) has hailed the UAE for its relief assistance to alleviate suffering of Syrian refugees.

''UAE has donated two ambulances and six buses for transporting refugees from the Syrian border to Za'tari camp in Jordan,'' the IOM said in a statement yesterday.

Meanwhile, the IOM said the Swiss Federal Office for Migration (FOM) had contributed USD 300,000 towards IOM's evacuation operations of most vulnerable migrant workers caught up in the Syrian crisis.

IOM will use the contribution to evacuate up to 250 extremely vulnerable Third Country Nationals (TCNs). These include minors, the elderly, pregnant women, people in detention due to their irregular status, those with medical conditions and nationals of countries with no diplomatic representation in Syria.

The majority of TCNs in Syria are female domestic workers who originate from more than 23 countries. Many have lost their jobs and are now stranded in conflict areas and at risk.

The funding will also facilitate the issuance of exit visas, the provision of transport to safe locations prior to departure, pre-departure health screening, and the provision of food, water and medicine in transit areas.

To date, IOM has helped some 2,000 vulnerable migrants to leave Syria. It has received 6,000 requests for evacuation from embassies and consulates inside Syria and in neighbouring countries. As of June, there were an estimated 120,000 migrant workers in Syria.

IOM recently appealed for USD 20.7 million to continue the repatriation of vulnerable migrants from Syria, the distribution of non-food relief items in Syria, Lebanon and Turkey, and the provision of transport and medical services for refugees fleeing from Syria into Jordan.

The Swiss contribution brings the amount of funding received since June 2012 to USD 3.3 million. Other donors include the USA, Slovakia, Chile and the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). The IOM has also allocated USD 900,000 from its Migration Emergency Funding Mechanism (MEFM) for the provision of life saving services to people affected by the Syrian crisis. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Lubna Al Qasimi concludes Thailand Visit - meets with country's Prime Minister

            Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, Minister of Foreign Trade, has concluded her official visit to the Kingdom of Thailand with a meeting with the country's Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra at the Government's Headquarters in Bangkok. The meeting was also attended by Mohammad Ali Omran Al Shamsi, UAE Ambassador to Thailand, and the delegation accompanying Sheikha Lubna .

The Thai Premier welcomed the UAE delegation's visit, saying that it will contribute towards strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries, especially in economics and commerce. Shinawatra added that the visit will push towards allowing relations between the two countries reach new heights, stressing on the importance of the bilateral partnership the two countries enjoy. She also underlined the importance of the regional partnership that exists between the GCC and the ASEAN group of countries.

During the meeting, Sheikha Lubna conveyed the UAE Government's greetings to the Thai Government, and discussed the results of the bilateral meetings she held during her visit with Ministers and members of the Thai private sector.

The Thai Prime Minister commended the UAE's efforts that have led to it becoming an important trade hub, adding that her country was proud of its unique relationship with the United Arab Emirates, especially in trade, which has provided Thai products with access to Middle Eastern markets. She also underlined her government's commitment to supporting these ties and developing them further through strengthening the role the public and private sectors of both countries play in this regard, pointing out to the many existing areas of cooperation between the UAE and Thailand, especially in the agriculture, services, tourism, and healthcare sectors.

Sheikha Lubna also affirmed the UAE private sector's interest in the opportunities that are available in Thailand, as was partially expressed by her accompanying trade delegation. She also underlined the importance of working closely with the Thai Minister of Commerce in utilising available opportunities between the two countries and working on eliminating obstacles facing investors from both sides. Lubna stated that there are plenty of opportunities for the spread of Thai commodities and products, especially rice, through the UAE, which is considered the world's chief rice re-exporter.

Ambassador Al Shamsi said that the number of UAE nationals visiting Thailand for tourism or medical treatment is constantly on the rise as a result of the country's good international reputation in both fields. He added that around 108 thousand Emiratis visited Thailand in 2011 and that he expects this number to grow even more over the coming years.  – Emirates News Agency, WAM


UAE economy right on track

            Abu Dhabi and Dubai are staging a gradual recovery from a slowdown, helped by high oil prices, accommodative monetary policy and fiscal policies in mild consolidation drive, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, or BofA ML, Global Research said.

“We thus see upside to our conservative real gross domestic product, or GDP, growth projections for the UAE of three per cent for 2012 and 2013,” the bank said in a statement.

The International Monetary Fund has estimated the GDP to grow by 3.5 per cent for the UAE. But the country’s central bank said recently that it could see an upside to IMF forecast.

According to the regulator, Dubai may achieve four per cent growth or more while an equally high growth is expected of Abu Dhabi following the recent decisions to create two new industrial clusters and to go on with some landmark projects, increased public spending in Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Qaiwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah, and expected high oil prices for the whole year.

“Abu Dhabi’s real non-hydrocarbon GDP growth has gradually recovered and likely implies upside to our real GDP growth projection of three per cent for 2012 for the UAE. Moderate ongoing fiscal consolidation and lower support to distressed entities should then allow capital spending to gradually increase while lowering the current elevated central government fiscal breakeven oil price of US$100 per barrel,” BofA ML said.

The bank noted that exceptional support to Dubai, banks and quasi-sovereign entities in 2009 has led to a near quadrupling of the Abu Dhabi central government fiscal oil breakeven price from US$33 per barrel at the eve of the global financial crisis in 2007 to a peak of  US$121 per barrel in 2009.

“At -21.8 per cent of GDP, the 2009 fiscal balance registered its worst reading since at least 1980, and only moderately narrowed to -10.8 per cent and - 4.1 per cent of GDP in 2010 and 2011, respectively, on a decidedly countercyclical or expansionary fiscal policy,” BofA ML said.

The bank projected a 2012 fiscal breakeven price at US$103 per barrel, assuming historical fiscal intake in line with recent outturns, which should lead to a moderate fiscal surplus of 2.8 per cent of GDP.

“This will be the first fiscal surplus since 2008 but still the smallest since 2004, and assumes a gradual decrease in net loans and equity and a moderate increase in capital spending,” it said. – Khaleej Times


IMF chief upbeat on Gulf growth

            The head of the International Monetary Fund has predicted that the economies of the oil-rich countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council will grow at sustainable but reduced rates.

Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the IMF, spoke at a news conference on Saturday after attending a meeting of the six-nation GCC.

IMF chief Christine Lagarde praised Gulf oil exporters for their help in stabilising the global economy by managing oil prices, despite complaints by some Western countries that energy costs are still too high.

“It gives me an opportunity to thank the GCC countries for their ... stabilising role in the global economy because of the good monitoring and good management of oil prices,” the  International Monetary Fund’s managing director said.

In return, Saudi Finance Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf praised the role of the IMF in dealing with regional economic woes in the wake of the Arab uprisings that replaced long-time leaders in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen and Libya and rattled local economies.

Lagarde was speaking at a news conference after meeting with senior officials of the Gulf Cooperation Council, which groups six wealthy oil-exporting countries — Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman.

Since OPEC ministers last met in June, Brent crude oil prices have surged about 20 per cent and have hovered around US$112-US$117 a barrel since mid-August, despite fragile economic growth in many consuming countries.

Last month, head of the International Energy Agency (IEA), which represents 28 importing countries said high oil prices were a concern for these nations.

In effort to cap high oil prices, sources told Reuters the United States is considering an emergency oil stocks release. Other members of the IEA, such as France and Great Britain, could also join the move. The Gulf states have managed to maintain high production levels, making up for lower supplies from Iran because of sanctions, and outages in the North Sea.

Top oil-exporter Saudi Arabia’s supply remained steady at 9.8 million barrels per day (bpd) in July and August, off multi-decade highs of over 10 million bpd earlier in the year.

The big three Gulf OPEC producers -Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates -collectively increased supply by around 400,000 bpd thanks to a 600,000 bpd jump in Kuwaiti production to 3 million bpd.

Earlier this year, GCC members pledged billions of dollars in additional financial resources to the IMF, and they have promised billions more in aid to poorer Arab states since last year’s uprisings in the region.

Oil Spending

Oil producers in the Middle East and North Africa plan to invest US$740 billion energy projects in the next five years, led by Saudi Arabia, according to Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation.

Saudi Arabia tops the list with committed investments of US$165 billion, mostly generated by Saudi Arabian Oil Co. and Saudi Basic Industries Corporation, followed by the UAE that plans to invest US$107 billion in the period, the lender known as Apicorp said in an e-mailed report.

Algeria overtook Qatar and Iran as the third-biggest investor, with US$71 billion of potential spending, largely the result of catch-up investment. Iran’s energy spending programme has been put at US$68 billion.

“Tighter international sanctions, and the retreat of foreign companies, have ended up taking a toll on Iran’s elusive energy investment program,” Apicorp said.

Countries in the region can finance projects on their own as long as the basket of OPEC crudes stays at more than US$100 a barrel, the report said. That’s US$10 higher than last year’s review. The OPEC crude basket was at US$106.99 as of Oct.4, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The review covers projects in the oil, gas, petrochemicals and power industries that are likely to see final investment decisions being taken. The bank selected the developments from more than 200 planned and announced public and private projects in the region estimating in size from US$100 million to US$20 billion, it said. Agencies


Mubadala announces first half 2012 financial results

            Mubadala Development Company (Mubadala), the Abu Dhabi-based investment and development company, yesterday released its interim financial statements for the first half of 2012. The results demonstrate continued growth of the business both in the UAE and internationally, and prudent risk management in challenging market conditions.

Business highlights from across the Mubadala Group in the first half of 2012 include: Semiconductors: GLOBALFOUNDRIES has quickly achieved scale as the second largest dedicated semiconductor foundry in the world, providing advanced manufacturing technology to more than 160 customers. Year to date the company shipped nearly half a million High-k Metal Gate (HKMG) wafers far more than any other foundry and began ramping production in its new Fab 8 facility in upstate New York.

Oil '&' Gas: Mubadala Petroleum's South East Asia business continued to grow with higher than expected oil production in Thailand from the Jasmine Field, and finalisation of development plans for the Manora Field. In the UAE, the Emirates LNG Terminal project remains on schedule.

Communications Technology: Yahsat successfully launched its second satellite, Y1B, which has since begun operations. As with the Y1A satellite launched last year, Y1B is providing a variety of government and commercial applications. In Africa, Etisalat Nigeria (EMTS), which is 30 per cent owned by Mubadala, has seen an increase from 10.7 million to 13.1 million subscribers during the first half of this year.

Aerospace: Strata Manufacturing won a landmark contract from SABCA for the Airbus A350 XWB flap track fairings work package, adding to its existing Airbus flap track fairing work packages for the manufacturer's fleet of A330, A340 and the A380 aircraft. SR Technics signed an engine maintenance service agreement with Spice Jet while ADAT signed a seven year integrated component solutions agreement with Ethiopian Airways to cover the Boeing 737NG fleet.

Real Estate '&' Infrastructure: The development of Al Maryah Island continued with the completion of Sowwah Square Office Towers 2, 3 and 4. In addition, the Galleria at the Sowwah Square development on Al Maryah announced a commitment from over 90 top global retail brands, corresponding to over 85% of the development's available retail space.

Metals and Mining: EMAL achieved the milestone of 1.5 million tons of hot metal produced in just two and a half years since its commissioning in December 2009. Tabreed, the district cooling utility, increased its installed capacity across the GCC to 767,125 Refrigeration Tons, making it one of the world's largest district cooling companies.

Renewable Energy: Masdar reported that the Valle 1 '&' 2 Concentrated Solar Power plants, part of its Torresol investment in Spain, achieved full operation with each plant providing enough power for 40,000 households. The Shams 1 solar power plant, the largest UAE solar project implemented by Masdar, finalised development and is on schedule to generate electricity.

Healthcare: Mubadala delivered further vital healthcare infrastructure for the UAE. The Imperial College London Diabetes Centre in Al Ain was officially inaugurated and the Wooridul Spine Centre in Dubai successfully completed the UAE's first ever minimally invasive spine surgery to treat cervical disc diseases.

Mubadala CEO and Managing Director, Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, said: "Against a backdrop of global economic volatility, our interim financial results demonstrate ongoing delivery against our mandate. We continue to support Abu Dhabi's economic diversification through investments in priority sectors, the development of social infrastructure, and the generation of economic returns for our Shareholders."

A key part of Mubadala's mandate remains the development of human capital and the creation of opportunities for present and future generations of Emiratis. During the period, Mubadala has enabled employees to undertake CFA program qualifications, the ATIC Al Nokhba scholarship, internships with Mubadala Aerospace and the Masdar Institute, and through its partnership with GE, the Leadership Acceleration for Business (LAB) program.

Revenues increased 18 per cent to Dh 16.0 billion compared to Dh 13.5 billion for H1 2011, driven by revenues from GLOBALFOUNDRIES, Mubadala Petroleum, Mubadala Aerospace assets, and Yahsat.

Operating income grew to Dh 2.2 billion for the period compared to Dh 402 million for H1 2011. This increase was driven by contributions from GLOBALFOUNDRIES as well as increases in income from investments in equity accounted assets.

Total comprehensive income increased to Dh 1.1 billion for the first half period compared to Dh 198 million for H1 2011, driven by a combination of increased operating income, improvements in the fair value of investments and lower impairments.

Total assets increased by 10 per cent from Dh 177 billion as of the end of 2011 to Dh 195 billion at the end of June 2012, driven by the growth of GLOBALFOUNDRIES, assets under Mubadala Healthcare and new investments.

Total equity increased by 18 per cent from Dh 106 billion as of the end of 2011 to Dh 125 billion as of the end of June 2012, primarily due to additional cash contributions from Mubadala's Shareholder, the Government of Abu Dhabi.

Total liabilities '&' leverage Total liabilities decreased to Dh 70 billion compared to Dh 71 billion as of the end of 2011. Mubadala's gearing ratio decreased from 22% as of the end of 2011 to 19% at the end of June 2012, reflecting the increase in equity.

Mubadala's credit ratings were recently reaffirmed amongst the top corporate ratings in the region at Aa3/AA/AA by Moody's, S'&'P and Fitch, respectively. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


DIFC Courts win UAE Customer Service Award

            The DIFC Courts, have won Customer Service Week Award, for the third time in a row under UAE Customer Service Week STAR Awards programme.

The program has been developed by The International Customer Service Institute (TICSI) to reward organisations, government departments and individuals, delivering service excellence across the United Arab Emirates.

Courts' Coordinator, Rita Engelbrecht took home the Customer Service Skill Award for being acknowledged as an "individual with outstanding customer service skills and knowledge who consistently exceeds customer expectations by going above and beyond the call of duty to ensure each and every customer they come in contact with, receives a positive experience".

This recognition follows similar wins in previous years of the annual competition. In 2011 the Courts' e-Registry platform was recognised at the Awards as was the Courts' registry service in 2010.

In line with the directives of the Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the DIFC Courts are committed to the highest standards of customer service. To this end, all strategic decisions concerning the Courts are put to public consultation and are advised by a Users' Committee. The quality of DIFC Courts users' experience is mandated in stringent internal performance indicators and continuously reviewed by independent satisfaction surveys.

This dedication to customer service: transparency, efficiency and accessible justice drives strong service results for the Courts; for example, over 90% of cases in the Courts' Small Claims Tribunal are settled within three weeks.

Mark Beer, Registrar at the DIFC Courts said: "We are thrilled to be recognised, once again, for our efforts in customer service. We are also very proud of the hard work that Rita and all members of our registry team deliver on a daily basis. Our quest for excellence in customer engagement is ongoing and Court's users' satisfaction is under constant review to ensure that we are delivering the efficient, flexible and accessible justice we are becoming known for internationally." This year's award winner, Rita, has been with the Courts since 2008. Rita has played a key role in the development of the e-Registry platform. She is Manager of the Courts' Register of Legal Practitioners and Secretary of the Courts' Users' Committee.  – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Sharjah Healthcare City, the largest healthcare facility in UAE, scheduled to commence operations by early, 2013

            Sharjah Healthcare City (SHCC) formed under the directive and vision of H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and the Ruler of Sharjah with the objective to transform and enhance the regional healthcare service industry and establish Sharjah as the most sought after destination for healthcare services is set to commence operations by early next year.

In a statement, Abdulla Ali Al Mahyan, Chairman, Sharjah Health Authority and Member of Sharjah Executive Council, said, "Our objective of setting up Sharjah Healthcare city is to create a perfect solution for the ever growing needs of the healthcare and allied services in the region".

Abdulla said the Sharjah healthcare city has been decreed by H.H Dr. Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme council and the Ruler of Sharjah SHCC and will be set-up on an extensive area of 2.4 million square meters. The Sharjah Healthcare City will operate as a free zone under Sharjah Health Authority (SHA) and will offer a state-of-the-art facility for healthcare centres and allied services.

The primary aim of the Sharjah Healthcare City (SHCC) is to manage an immediate solution for the hospital bed gap that exists in Sharjah and Northern Emirates. The City will also enhance the already growing healthcare infrastructure of the Emirate including the world class Sharjah University hospital.

The Sharjah Healthcare City (SHCC) will offer prospective investors i.e. individuals and companies across the globe an excellent investment opportunity in the field of healthcare and related fields under convenient free zone rules and regulations through single window service system.

Abdulla added, "The final master plan is under study with the concerned Authorities and the city will be built as per international standards and will be functional by 1st quarter of 2013. Sharjah Healthcare City has great location advantage as it will be located adjacent to Emirates road and Al Dhaid road; next to the Sharjah University city. The city will be an approximate 10 kms distance from both Dubai and Sharjah international airports.

Some well established hospitals and esteemed foundations have already confirmed presence in the Sharjah Healthcare City, The Khalifa Bin Zayed Foundation dedicated Trauma hospital operated by an international operator as well as Mubarak Al Hassawi Medical Complex a specialised tertiary care hospital complimented by state of the art Rehabilitation and Wellness facilities are few among them".

Sharjah Healthcare City will offer 100pc foreign owned investment opportunities for small, medium or larger hospitals, poly clinics, Laboratories, rehabilitation centres, wellness centres, residential units, health clubs, consultancy offices, storage and production units of healthcare equipments and accessories.

The 2.4 million sq. meters area will aim to service the healthcare needs of the UAE residents as well as population around the region with state-of-the-art facilities in the scope of healthcare. "Our commitment is to create a destination that offers trusted and holistic solutions in healthcare for all mankind. So we intend to service and fulfil the needs of all demographics within the City with as many options possible in healthcare." said Abdulla.

Sharjah Healthcare City has created simple yet stringent criteria for prospective partners to ensure they house the best options possible in healthcare. In addition to this the City will also be home to research and training facilities that will help in developing and creating future talent for the facility. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Pink Caravan turns Wild Wadi water park PINK each Thursday night

            Wild Wadi Water Park, the premium leisure destination that forms part of the Jumeirah Group, has dedicated its popular Thursday Ladies' Nights - to breast cancer awareness this month.

With October being International Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the spotlight is on Pink Caravan and their new Wellness campaign. The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness about breast cancer and educate both men and women on the importance of self-examination. The organisers of the campaign hope to instil the idea that knowledge is the first step towards a cure.

Playing their role in accelerating the campaign's success, the Wild Wadi Water Park has dedicated their Ladies' Nights - every Thursday evening 8pm-12pm which provides a friendly and comfortable environment for women to enjoy the park's attractions in an all female environment - to the cause each Thursday this month.

During each Wellness day a team of professional medical practitioners provide free-of-charge breast cancer screenings. Screenings are being conducted at different corporate locations across the country in October and patients have the chance to be examined by healthcare professionals, with referrals for further treatment if necessary.

Samreen, a Pakistani working in Dubai for the past three years, commented, "A very interesting awareness campaign, which is - at the same time - educational and fun as well. I always had a vague idea about breast cancer, but after being part of the awareness campaign, at least I can say with confidence that I have been screened and I feel safer about the future" The Wellness campaign is designed to coach women, as well as men, to check for lumps in the chest.

The campaign's motto is to be sure, and to be safe! The Turn the UAE Pink campaign is being held in different corporate locations each day, during the month of October, where guests and employees are to be medically examined in a comfortable environment. The Turn the UAE Pink campaign map is also present at Wild Wadi Water Park and raises funds from guests and staff, who have the chance to purchase a magnetic pink ribbon at 50Dh each to be placed on the map, helping to Turn the UAE Pink'. The money that is raised from the map goes towards the Pink Caravan's goal of purchasing a 3D mobile mammography unit. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Dh120m 'The Pyramids' of Egypt to adorn Dubai skyline

            The Pyramids of Egypt will be adorning the Dubai skyline in the next 30 months, if all goes well.

At the cost of Dh120-million, Falconcity of Wonders, the master developer, will be building an 11-storey -high Pyramid, which will house offices and a museum. It expects to complete the monument in 24 to 30 months after it receives clearance from the authorities.

“We are building a ‘small’ Pyramid and we are waiting to get the building permit from Dubai Municipality. The Pyramid will contain offices and a museum which will speak of the UAE and the world civilisations,” Salem Al Moosa, Chairman, Falconcity of Wonders, told ‘Emirates24|7’

“It will be a good educational aid to our generations. Once ready, we will have special buses to bring students who can understand about
their country and the other civilisations.

Although the mega project was hit by financial crisis with regards to sub-developers not commencing their projects, Falconcity, Al Moosa said, kept working on developing the infrastructure of the US$12 billion Falconcity.

“We have been working all these times to get the infrastructure done the sewerage, potable water, irrigation water, piping, telephone lines, etc. By the way, we have also created an underground sewerage treatment plant that deals with 15,000 cubic metres of sewerage daily.”
Falcon Head shopping mall

According to the chairman, the company is currently working on developing the “Falcon Head“.

“The Falcon head will be the shopping centre and it will be different from what we have here… it will be shopping with attractions.”

Last week, Link Global Group, a Dubai-based developer, revealed plans to construct the US$1 billion ‘Taj Arabia’ that will comprise a 300-room five-star hotel and seven Mughal architecture-themed buildings consisting of retail and residential elements in the Falconcity by 2014.

Falconcity is planning to have an Eiffel Tower, the Grand Pyramids, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Great Wall of China, the canals New York City and Town of Venice. – Emirates 24|7


Curtain comes down on Gitex Shopper 2012

            As the region’s biggest technology retail show comes to a close on Saturday night, exhibitors have reported a surge in sales, a jump in consumer confidence, a phenomenal rush of bargain hunters scouting for throwaway deals and fabled last-minute discounts.

From being just a marketplace for computers and accessories, Gulf Information and Technology Exhibition (Gitex) Shopper — the eight-day shopping extravaganza held at its new home this year — has emerged as the single largest retail platform for technology in the Middle East.

With girls in metallic silver and red dresses handing out discount leaflets every 50 metres, sales agents shouting at the top of their voice about deals of the hour and thumping music blaring from every kiosk, decibels and adrenaline ran high at the Gitex Shopper on Saturday night. In a world where the computer hardware is in the user’s pocket and the data in the cloud, buzzwords such as connectivity, smart innovation, voice recognition and retina display filled the air as crowds surged across the exhibition halls at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre on the closing day.

Organisers confirmed that more than Dh50 million has been invested in bundles and freebies this year, which was matched by a rise in consumer spending.

“We’ve seen an upswing in numbers and the brands are pretty happy with the number of buyers. Most retailers have come up with bundle offers and you can win anything from a car to gadgets, which adds incentives for consumers to buy more than they came in for,” Hemesh Chandavarkar, industry group manager at the Dubai World Trade Centre, organisers of Gitex Shopper, told Gulf News.

Apart from a bullish consumer sentiment, a key reason behind the rise in spending was also due to the Shopper moving to its new venue at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre. Many electronics companies reported massive increases in sales over last year, stressing that parking arrangements for more cars, easier accessibility to the Metro and a greater affordability of electronics drew in more shoppers.

The total footfall was expected to exceed organisers’ expectations of 175,000, while total retail sales were expected to cross Dh200 million.

“I am a bit of a gadget freak and it is great for me to browse and make comparisons among so many brands and products under one roof before deciding on a purchase,” Ahmad Shareef, an Egyptian expat browsing the kiosks, told Gulf News.

Sa’ad Mohideen from Turkey, who bought an MP4 player, was impressed with the variety on display. “I was able to find something to suit my budget and the prices are definitely better at the Shopper than at most malls,” he said.

Consumer electronics giants LG and Samsung chose the Shopper to launch their latest additions to the market — showcasing the 55-inch OLED TV and the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 respectively.

Bigger crowds

A majority of participating retailers described this year’s Shopper as a “phenomenal success” and the crowd as bigger than last year’s.

“Our sales were up by 50 per cent in the last three days,” Ashish Panjabi, chief officer at Jacky’s Electronics, said. “Some of the hot products this year were laptops, tablets, smartphones and digital cameras,” he added. According to Nilesh Khalkho, CEO of Sharaf DG, the show has boosted their sales and brand awareness considerably.

“The show has been fantastic,” Neelesh Bhatnagar, CEO of Emax, said. “We are already running out of stock of some models and even the vendors were not able to supply us. This issue is being faced by many retailers. Nobody was prepared for this show to become such a success. Gitex Shopper remains a staple event in our retail activity calendar. From a local marketing perspective, it is a must for every electronics retailer to participate and we have had positive results to date. This year has again proven to be successful, with all targets achieved,” he said. – Gulf News


Central Park to open ‘shortly’ on Palm Jumeirah

            A long-awaited public park on Dubai’s man-made island of Palm Jumeirah is expected to open soon, Gulf News has learnt.

A spokesperson for the developer, Nakheel, said Central Park will open “shortly”, with plans for shops under study by Nakheel Retail.

The shops and cafes will be located in the Golden Mile row of residential buildings right next to the park. Golden Mile developer IFA Hotels and Resorts confirmed to Gulf News that at least 24 outlets are expected to open by mid-2013.

The list includes upmarket British grocery chain Waitrose, Starbucks, Pizza Express, London Dairy Ice Cream, Mothercare and many other cafes, pharmacies and stores.

Work on the one million square foot park, located between Shoreline apartments and the Golden Mile, started in October 2011. Unofficial sources in July said the park would be ready by August.

The park is still under construction, with incomplete greenery, landscaping and water features. That has not stopped residents from hitting the jogging track or visiting its playgrounds.

“People are using it, and things are going to get real busy when the weather cools down. I think they want to see it ready by winter time,” said Chris, 42, a German resident of the Palm.

The park’s outer ring is a jogging track about 1.5km long in each direction. Shaped like a giant rubber band in the trunk of the Palm, the facility will be open to non-Palm residents and have dedicated parking spaces. It will also be accessible by the monorail on the date palm tree-shaped island.

By contrast, beach access on the Palm’s fronds is for residents and guests only. – Gulf News


Dubai Creek canal set to cross Sheikh Zayed Road

            Dubai will spend Dh1.5 billion to extend the Business Bay canal by 12.8 kilometres, from the section of Sheikh Zayed Road flanking the Safa Park Interchange to the Arabian Gulf.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has endorsed the extension of the Business Bay Canal Project, including required modifications to roads and bridges.

Sheikh Mohammad has also directed the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) to complete the project within two years.

The project will add a fresh urban and tourist landmark to the Dubai’s landscape and is expected to boost Dubai’s bid to host the World Expo 2020.

he extended Business Bay Canal will cross Sheikh Zayed Road before Al Safa Interchange and cut across Safa Park, Al Wasl Road, and Jumeirah 2, terminating in the Arabian Gulf

The canal will usher in a host of new business and investment opportunities including the possibility of utilising it to harbour floating hotels, or constructing hotels and restaurants on either side, or launching integrated tourist and recreational facilities in Al Safa Park, besides constructing canal view houses.

Mattar Al Tayer, chairman of the board and executive director of the RTA, said: “The extension of the Business Bay canal is one of the key strategic projects undertaken by the RTA.”

The width of the extended canal will be between 80 to 100 metres. Major diversions on Sheikh Zayed Road, Al Wasl Road and Jumeirah Road will be in place as the work starts.

The project will see an 800-metre-long bridge being built on Sheikh Zayed Road with six lanes in each direction. The bridge will be 8.5-metres high to ensure smooth sailing for marine transport.

A six-lane bridge with three lanes in each direction will also be built on Al Wasl Road next to Safa Park and another six-lane bridge with three lanes in both directions will be built on Jumeirah Road.

The Dubai Creek Canal extension project is also part of Dubai’s ambitious plan to develop marine transport as the waterway will be used by private boats, water taxis and ferries.

Some 10 kilometres out of the total 12.8 kilometres envisaged under the creek canal extension work has already been completed under the Business Bay development project.

Dubai Creek, which begins at the point of the Arabian Gulf near Al Shindagha in Bur Dubai, currently spans 14 kilometres and culminates at Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary.

Once completed, the final length of the creek will be around 26.8 kilometres, with Bur Dubai becoming an island ringed by the Dubai Creek.

The creek has been the lifeline of Dubai since it was built along the creek.

The RTA plans to give shape to the canal’s banks employing the soil-cement method, an innovative engineering solution that will add to the aesthetics of the canal and its surroundings.

The creek extension will ensure the replenishment of water in the entire Business Bay Canal automatically without the need for pumps.

Due to the scale of the project and the need to expedite construction, the project has been divided into three contracts.

“The first covers drilling and landscaping works as well as the construction of marine transit stations. The other two contracts relate to road and bridge projects, and the project is set for completion early 2015,” Al Tayer said.

The RTA will carry out several improvements on key roads intersecting the canal as well as the surrounding areas such as Jumeirah and Al Safa and Al Wasl.

Three pedestrian bridges across the canal will ensure free movement and safety for pedestrians. Footpaths will also be provided on all the new main bridges passing over the canal.

Moreover, dedicated tracks for jogging and cycling will be constructed along both sides of the canal. Landscaping plans for both sides of the canal will ensure green spaces, benches, public relaxation areas and other facilities besides tourist-oriented projects. – Gulf News


Wi-Fi on the go for more Dubai-Abu Dhabi buses

            It’s fast, it’s reliable and it is here to stay. Wi-Fi services recently introduced on some Dubai-Abu Dhabi buses will become a permanent feature from next year, a senior Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) official said.

The service is currently available on five buses after being launched on a trial basis but will soon be extended to five more buses.

“The trial period will end in December and, with the response to the facility being overwhelming, we are going to continue the Wi-Fi connectivity and will continue to add the service to more buses,” said Adel Shakeri, director of IT services at RTA’s Public Transport Agency, as he took a ride with Gulf News on a Wifi-enabled bus to Abu Dhabi.

He said the internet connectivity, along with the catering service, is intended to give the inter-city bus services a “five-star” feel. “It’s a five-star hospitality we are offering to the commuters for no extra charge. The facilities have already played an important role in attracting new passengers on buses and it will get better as time passes,” he added.

The Wi-Fi connectivity is currently provided free of cost but it may not be the same always. “It is free for now and we at RTA will try to keep it free as long as we can. I see it as an added value for customers,” Shakeri said.

Less than one month into the launch of the Wi-Fi service, it is already popular with many regular travellers.

Many commuters told Gulf News they were very happy with the Wi-Fi services.

Maguel Lopes, a business development manager with a Swiss firm based in Dubai, said he preferred a bus ride over a drive in his own car because he had to travel to Abu Dhabi often. “I like travelling by bus because I can work on the way. It’s been better since the RTA have launched the Wi-Fi connectivity. I can browse, check mails and communicate on the way using free internet. It’s a fantastic service that RTA is providing,” said the Portuguese technocrat, who is a long-time Dubai resident.

But there were also those who were not aware of the service.

Ahmad, 25, an IT professional from Egypt, another frequent traveller between Dubai and Abu Dhabi could only think of positives on learning about the service. “I can save money now by not using my 3G while on the bus. It’s a good service and it will certainly help more people use the buses and it’s fast as well,” he said.

The internet service on buses can be accessed through a gateway called “rta@emirateswifi”, which requires passengers to register for free and then diverts them to the browser. This process takes less than one minute.

The Gulf News team found the service reliable and fast through the entire journey. With food and beverages also readily available, bus rides are not the same anymore. Once the service becomes permanent on the Dubai-Abu Dhabi route, it will be extended to over 100 buses on other inter-emirate routes. – Gulf News


Five hotels in UAE going green

            When you check into a high-end hotel, you expect the bed sheets to be crisp and white, the towels fresh and replaced every day, lights aplenty and hot and cold water to be available at all times.

What many guests don’t realise is that while all these things help to make their stay a pleasurable experience, they all increase the carbon footprint enormously. But now several hotels have woken up to this issue and are determined to address it.

Keen to end – or at least greatly reduce – the waste and destruction of natural resources, a growing proportion of the hospitality industry is adopting what it calls sustainable hospitality measures, and is looking for new and innovative ways to keep the earth green.

From protecting the natural environment, preserving culture and heritage and recycling junk, to using energy-efficient labour-saving devices, composting biodegradable waste and growing their own organic vegetables, hotels around the world are exploring different ways of reducing their carbon footprint.

Friday checked out five hotels in the UAE that are going out of their way to introduce sustainable hospitality strategies that are making a positive difference.

Who: Al Maha Desert Resort and Wildlife Reserve, Dubai

What: Protecting the environment and preserving heritage and culture.

How: One of the few hotels where conservation began with the structure and design, the Al Maha Desert Resort and Wildlife Reserve in Dubai has several ongoing programmes to conserve wildlife and preserve natural heritage.

Preservation of natural desert habitat is integral to its architecture. Its green design has been internationally acknowledged, as it received the World Legacy Award from National Geographic, and the Arab Cities Award for Architecture and for Best Environmental Design, among many others.

The architecture of the resort is a clear deviation from the typical skyline of the UAE. Al Maha’s desert conservation project, covering  225 square kilometres, is based on ‘global norms’ and works with the aim of protecting Dubai’s last remaining desert habitats.

It is the largest area under protected management in the Gulf; propagating around 6,000 indigenous trees and shrubs, the Reserve operates as a national park and is a haven for several rare mammals and birds.

A wide range of indigenous species, several of them threatened, such as the Arabian oryx and gazelles that were bred by the project, were released into the area and have been coexisting peacefully ever since. Priceless Arabian antiques conserve the local heritage

The Al Maha collection contains more than 2,000 original items of jewellery, weaponry, artwork, antiques, household items, furniture and handicrafts. The collection ensures that such rare pieces stay in the region, and are not lost by being sold and exported to collectors overseas.

Tourists get the chance to experience the flavours of true Bedouin life, with heritage activities such as falconry demonstrations, camel safaris, horse riding over the sand dunes, archery with traditional wooden bows and nature walks. From conception to design, this desert resort is a champion of conservation causes that promotes national heritage.

Who: Ramada Hotel and Suites Ajman

What: Reducing hotel waste.

How: The hotel launched a programme to reduce its waste from 100kg a day to zero, within in a year.

It was a tall order, but Iftikhar Hamdani, general manager of Ramada Hotel and Suites Ajman and his team, were up to the challenge. “Before we began, we found that the total waste generated at the hotel every year was 360 tonnes. With our efforts in recycling, cutting down on food wastage and composting biodegradable waste, we have succeeded in saving nearly 328 tonnes of waste from going to the landfill. That’s a 90 per cent reduction this year, which I think is a great achievement.

“We want to achieve zero waste to landfill, but it is fact that we can’t recycle and re-use every kind of waste through our compost machine. Some materials, including plastic, paper, glass, used oil, metal and ink cartridges, can be recycled, but some waste from the guest rooms is not recyclable or reusable at the moment.

“We are working on this project with Green Mountains Waste Management to reduce our waste even further by another 5 to 6 per cent. It is always good to start an initiative, and it will be improved with further development as the project progresses.”

The hotel has also achieved remarkable success in recycling water. Its daily water requirement is 45,000 to 50,000 gallons. It installed an RO (reverse osmosis) plant at its premises to purify hard water so it could be used.

“Thanks to the RO plant, we were able to save the wear and tear on our laundry and kitchen equipment, which hard water would usually cause. We know that the change worked because no more breakages were reported after the improvement in water quality. Also, we don’t have to purchase any water anymore – instead we use water drawn from borewells and filter it on site.”

Iftikhar is continuing the education of the guests and staff, and is very optimistic about reaching more green milestones. “Green is not a colour, it is a state of mind, and we need to give back to society and spare our time, as it’s for a great cause,” he says.

Who: Hotel Le Méridien Al Aqah, Fujairah

What: Environmental clean-up and protection drives.

How: Over the past five years, Le Méridien Al Aqah has launched several projects aimed at cleaning up the environment and reducing its carbon footprint. The schemes promoted by the hotel, including the reef ball programme and sea turtle conservation programme, have been extremely successful.

In 2009, the resort joined up with Al Boom, the team responsible for operating its on-site dive centre, to create an artificial coral reef. The project included the placement of 18 reef structures and reef balls approximately 500 metres off the resort’s shoreline.
Reef balls are hollow, moulded blocks of concrete that provide shelter for plants and coral to grow.

There is evidence that the increased amount of healthy coral has attracted fish and other marine life such as whale sharks and stingrays to the region. And there is also evidence that the conservation programme for sea turtles that the hotel undertook has helped save the lives and promote the healthy growth of the creatures in the waters off the Oman coast.

Patrick Antaki, general manager of the hotel, is a big believer in recycling as well as preserving wildlife. “Recycling is also a top priority at the hotel,’’ he says. “Recycled grey water is used to water the gardens and lawns, and everything from cans, bottles, ink cartridges and scrap metal to bathroom amenities and paper is collected, separated and sent to a local recycling plant. We’ve also introduced low-flow toilets and water-saving showers to save precious water while still doing the job.’’

In hotel kitchens, electrical appliances are being used more efficiently and for less time. Also, shorter dishwasher cycles are being used to wash crockery. The installation of energy-efficient fluorescent lighting in back-of-house areas and motion sensors in low-occupancy storage areas has also helped reduce energy wastage.

Who: The Rotana Group of hotels

What: Giving back to the community

How: The Rotana Group of hotels has been involved in providing vocational training for students with special needs since 2009. Faaten Mohammad, spokesperson for the group, says, “Each year the group selects three students for each of its three flagships, Rimal, Rihab and Villa Rotana, from the Rashid Paediatric Centre.

“The students are trained in jobs such as towel folding, arranging plates and data-entry operations among other things. The training is provided for six to eight months, and is followed by a ceremony, where the students are awarded certificates. A few students from our previous programmes are now part of our staff. The training not only helps them blend with people, it also improves their self-esteem and prepares them for future jobs,” says Faaten.

Bushra, the mother of special needs teenager Mohammad Yahya, was thrilled to discover that her son had a good chance of landing a job with the group. Mohammad, 18, was selected for the vocational training programme at Rihab Rotana Hotel in Deira. “Work experience has affected Mohammad positively,” says Bushra. “It has lifted his spirit and improved his personality – especially his social communication. It was a very nice experience and we really appreciate the chance that he’s been given.”

Who: The Accor Group of hotels

What: Planet 21 programme.

How: The programme focuses on sustainable development and involves hotel employees and guests worldwide. Referring to Agenda 21, the action plan adopted by 178 heads of state at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, it underscores the urgent need to change our production and consumption patterns to protect our planet.

Planet 21 promotes responsible eating, reducing water and electricity use, increasing use of renewable energy and using sustainable buildings. The group initiated an Earth Guest programme in 2006 in all its hotels, where employees and guests were encouraged to plant trees around the grounds of its hotels.

Christophe Landais, group managing director of Accor Middle East, says, “We also tied up with the eco-friendly website Goumbook in the UAE, and participated in its Give a ghaf tree programme, planting nearly 120 trees on April 21 at the Arab Unity school. We plan to do even more to be green in the community.

“Our organisation is the only hotel group to be rated by the Dow Jones sustainability Index,” says Christophe. Companies are selected for the Index based on a comprehensive assessment of long-term economic, environmental and social criteria that account for general as well as industry-specific sustainability trends. The Accor group has been involved with the local communities, promoting fair trade.

It has also been successful in reducing energy consumption. “We have managed to reduce energy use by 5.5 per cent worldwide [over the past year], and 82 per cent of Accor hotels are equipped with compact fluorescent lamps for areas that have to stay lit at all times. Also, more than 110 hotels have been fitted with solar panels.”

The chain has also reduced water consumption in the UAE by 12 per cent. The group has been undertaking sustainable activities such as recycling, to cut down on the amount of waste that goes into landfills. And it has also started to source more of its food produce from local vendors. – Friday / Gulf News


UAE to make presence felt at Venice Biennale

            For the third consecutive time, the UAE will take part in the Venice Biennale, one of the world’s largest arts and cultural gathering, happening once every two years in Venice, Italy.

The UAE National Pavilion will be curated by Reem Fadda, associate curator for Middle East Art at the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi project, who announced on Wednesday night, in the presence of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan (grandson of the President His Highness President, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan) that this time the country will be represented by just one artist.

“It is an optimal choice, and I would say it’s about time Mohammed Kazem has been selected to represent the UAE with a solo exhibition,” revealed Fadda.

The concept of the exhibition has not yet been developed, but Kazem will work on one of his existing projects and turn it into something suitable for the Biennale. Born in 1969 in Dubai, Kazem entered the world of art when he was 14 years old, working with the first generation of Emirati artists, including his mentor, the veteran master Hassan Sharif.

Currently doing a Master’s in Fine Arts at the University of Arts in Philadelphia, USA, Kazem has been widely exhibited throughout Europe, Asia and America in the past decades.

A pioneer in the UAE contemporary art scene for his incorporation of video and new technologies, his interest in conceptual art and his progressive attitude towards medium and context is especially highlighted by his ongoing series, ‘Directions’.

Honouring the UAE’s efforts to become an arts and cultural hub for the region, the Venice Biennale has dedicated the National Pavilion ample space in the Arsenale section, one of the most prominent that also hosts music, film and dance events.

The Emirates’ participation at the Venice Biennale 2013, which takes place from June to November next year, is supported by the Shaikha Salma bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation. – Khaleej Times


Fire damages tower in Tecom area

            A major fire in a residential building in Dubai’s Tecom area has left behind charred remains as entire flats were burnt down in a ‘freak accident’. Smoke detectors set off fire alarms early on Saturday morning as residents ran to safety through the building stairwell.

“I was sleeping when the fire started. I opened the main door of my house after hearing a fire alarm and there was a lot of smoke,” said Niraj Dugad, a resident.

The fire started at around 9.30am on the fourth floor of the building as it quickly spread across upper floors. Falling debris and glass pieces damaged several cars parked in the area.

“Most people were sleeping when the fire started. I knocked on the doors of many to inform them of the fire,” added Niraj.

Cladding material used on the building melted and fell to the ground, adding to the damage as fire-fighting teams brought the blaze under control in two hours.

“Most of the cladding melted very quickly and fell off with the fire. A lot of pieces were burning even after falling on the ground,” said Eidullah, an eye-witness who was near the building when the fire started.

For Mohammed Ameen who lives on the eighth floor of the building, there was no house to go back to.

“There is nothing left in my house. Luckily, I ran out with my passport and there was no one else in the house.”

His house was among the many houses affected by the fire in the 12-storey building.

“I just saw my flat and it was completely burnt. The television, sofa set, clothes, bed, walls, everything is gone. There is no way I can live in that house,” said Ameen.

Other families in the building were waiting with infants in cars parked away from the area. A resident who did not wish to be named blamed the accident on a gas cylinder illegally stored in the building’s balcony.

Civil defence officials contained the fire at around 11.30am as paramedics treated a few people for minor injuries. Mahmood Hamed, spokesperson of the Dubai Civil Defence, said the front side of eight flats of the building were burnt in the fire, which started at 9.30.

He said that fire brigades and fire engines from three Civil Defence Station, Rashidiya, Al Quoz and Karama rushed to the site and brought the fire under control within an hour. Fire brigades evacuated 300 people from the building.

Few people suffered suffocation but they were treated at the site and nobody was injured.

Fire experts are still investigating into the cause of the fire. – Khaleej Times


Abu Dhabi traffic and patrol directorate launches 4 new initiatives

            The Traffic and Patrol Directorate at the Abu Dhabi Police General Headquarters has launched four community-based initiatives as part of a new initiative titled “Community is a traffic cop,” which aims to improve traffic safety.

The announcement was made by Brigadier Eng. Hussein Ahmed Al Harthi, director of Abu Dhabi Police Traffic and Patrol Directorate.

Al Harthi pointed out that the community-based initiatives that represent a major component of the plan to develop traffic safety, embodies the firm belief of the directorate that traffic safety is a social responsibility, requiring concerted efforts from all segments of society.

Al Harthi noted that the Traffic and Patrol Directorate began implementing this year the ‘Community is a traffic cop’ initiative, which includes four community-based initiatives covering a significant and important segment of Abu Dhabi’s community to further involve it in traffic safety issues.

He said that through interactive participation, the initiative ‘Community is a traffic cop’ contributes to enhancing road users’ behaviour and implementing laws and safety standards in addition to raising general awareness.

Al Harthi emphasised the adoption of the special conditions for each of the ‘Community is a traffic cop’ initiatives to contribute to develop plans and implement initiatives and traffic programmes.

Moreover, he noted that the special criteria for selecting the best school in the area of traffic safety aim to enhance the role of the education sector and include the following:

* Special safety standards for the transport of students.

*  Special safety standards for traffic environment in the vicinity of the school and the neighbouring parking areas.

* The availability of traffic awareness guidelines and posters at the school.

*  The number of traffic awareness hours that the school provides for its students, depending on their age groups.

*  The level of traffic awareness among students, which will be evaluated through tests prepared by the directorate for each age group and that “will be distributed to the schools.”

*  The level of traffic awareness among faculty and administrative bodies, among many other things. – The Gulf Today


Dubai Marathon bags another IAAF Gold Label

            The Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon has been awarded the Gold Label status by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) for the second consecutive year.

It is the first time any athletics event in the region has won a back-to-back IAAF Gold Label.

As online entries continue to flood in for the 2013 edition, which will get underway from Emaar Boulevard in Downtown Dubai on January 25, event director Peter Connerton said he was proud that the Dubai Marathon continues to cement its place among the world’s premier road races.

“When the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon was recognised last year, it was the first time a Middle East running event of any kind had gained IAAF Road Race Gold Label status, so to do it for a second straight year is a tribute to everyone involved in making it such a success,” he said.

To qualify for IAAF Gold Label status, an event has to satisfy a number of criteria including global media and TV coverage, the variety of international competitors and the quality of their previous race times.

In the men’s competition, Dubai now has the fourth fastest course record/time in marathon history behind Boston, Berlin and Frankfurt.

In the women’s event, Dubai is now placed fourth in the world behind London, Chicago and Berlin in terms of course record/time, while the top-10 average times in the history of the event (2:21:16) also places Dubai fourth in the marathon league table behind London, Chicago and Berlin respectively. – Sport 360°


Al Mutaiwei seals second FIA World Cup title

            Dubai’s Fazza Rally Team driver Khalifa Al Mutaiwei won the Pharaons International Cross-Country Rally and in the process secured the 2012 FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies title with the last round to spare in Portugal, which is now of mere academic interest.

Al Mutaiwei finished the gruelling six-day, 2,000km rally last evening in a total time of 23 hours 30 minutes 47 seconds, a good 1hr 37min 03sec ahead of second placed Regis Delahaye of France and Miroslav Zapletal of the Czech Republic, who completed the podium in a time of 25hr 29min 37sec.

“I drove like a 75-year-old man on the stage today,” said Al Mutaiwei at the finish in Cairo. “I counted every stone just to make sure I made it safely to the finish. I am so happy. I cannot find the words to express my feelings right now.

“I want to thank His Royal Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, crown prince of Dubai, for his full support and backing. Without this my return would never have happened. I would also like to thank Andy my co-driver, the X-raid team, and all the members of my team and friends for their support.”

Al Mutaiwei first won the title in 2004 after which he quit the sport, only to be brought out of retirement by Fazza this year to have another shot at the title. The Fazza driver is only the second Arab driver in history to win the gruelling Pharaons Rally – his good friend Saeed Al Hajri of Qatar won the event in a Porsche 959 in 1985.

Al Mutaiwei is now the first Arab driver to win a major international, non-regional, championship on two occasions. His navigator Andreas Schulz is the first co-driver to win the title for the third successive occasion.

Al Mutaiwei began the final stage from fifth position on the road behind Zapletal, Aidyn Rakhinmbayev, Patrick Sireyjol and Jun Mitsuhashi after he dropped several minutes helping the stranded Sireyjol out of a sand hole on Friday.

It was vital that the Fazza driver stayed out of trouble on the 425km special stage between Tibniya and Cairo, which was later shortened by race officials. Al Mutaiwei duly held on to secure the fourth fastest time and the title.

The final round will be held in Portugal from November 1. – Sport 360°

Mohammed bin Rashid orders adding of new members to the Supreme Committee for Expo 2020

            UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum ordered on Wednesday, adding of three more authorities to the membership of the Supreme Committee for Expo 2020.

The adding of the General Command of the Dubai Police, Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) and Dubai Municipality as members of the Supreme Committee reflects his belief in the importance of making concerted national efforts in its quest to host Expo 2020 in the UAE.

Sheikh Mohammed stressed the need for coordination and consultation among various stakeholders in this event of cultural, tourism economic importance, for promoting UAE on local, regional and international levels to gain support of all fraternal and friendly countries who will vote for the city of Dubai to host this international fair. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Vice President establishes 'Mohammed bin Rashid Award for Emiratisation'

Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has ordered the creation of the 'Mohammed bin Rashid Award for Emiratisation' for the public and private sectors in Dubai.

Sheikh Mohammed also approved the criteria on which nominations from the public and private sectors will be evaluated.

The criteria comprise Emiratisation plans and programmes, leadership, training and empowerment in addition to social responsibility initiatives.

Sheikh Mohammed's instructions came after His Highness reviewed a detailed study, in presence of Dubai Deputy Ruler H.H. Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, on the design of the award criteria in such a way that assists public and private entities to select, train and employ Emirati citizens.

The study, presented by the Coordinator General of the Dubai Government Excellence Programme (DGEP) Ahmed Nuseirat, highlighted criteria that supports national initiatives that aim to drive Emiratisation and encourage UAE nationals to broaden their prospect when it comes to job selection .

The Emiratisation plans and programmes criterion measures how entities plan and implement Emiratisation plans, whereas the leadership criterion measures reviews the vision and practices of higher management at public and private in this regard.

Training and empowerment focuses on the efforts exerted by entities to enhance and hone the skills of Emirati employees. Finally, the social responsibility initiatives criterion highlights entities' activities in supporting the employment of Emirati citizens through training programmes Sheikh Mohammed expressed his satisfaction with the study and stressed his support to initiatives and programmes that benefit Emirati youth and help them in becoming active members of the UAE society. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Ras Al Khaimah to Abu Dhabi in 25 minutes

            You can now fly between Ras Al Khaimah and Abu Dhabi in about 25 minutes as RAK Airways on Wednesday became the first UAE carrier to operate domestic flights between the two emirates.

The first passengers on the historic inaugural flight from Ras Al Khaimah to Abu Dhabi were treated to views of the UAE coastline studded with manmade marvels like the world’s tallest tower, Burj Khalifa, and the date-tree shaped islands of Palm Jumeirah and Palm Jebel Ali — all under Dubai skies along the way.

The A320 Airbus plane was barely in the sky for 15 minutes following take-off at 7am from Ras Al Khaimah International Airport when the captain announced it was time for the landing approach into Abu Dhabi. The flight touched down at about 7.30am at Abu Dhabi International Airport to the cheers of passengers. A ceremonial water salute, where planes pass under an arch made by water jets on both sides, was also held for the new arrival.

The trip costs Dh205 one-way and Dh410 roundtrip. The flight operates on Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. It departs Ras Al Khaimah at 6.40am and arrives in Abu Dhabi at 7.20am. On the same day, the return flight is scheduled to depart Abu Dhabi at 10am and arrive in Ras Al Khaimah at 10.40am.

Apart from regular passengers, also on board were Sheikh Salem Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairman of DCA; Sheikh Mohammad Bin Qaid Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Department of Economic Development of Ras Al Khaimah, other VIPs and journalists.

The maiden flight follows a codeshare deal between RAK Airways and Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways, allowing passengers to connect to five destinations serviced by Etihad — between Abu Dhabi and London, Manchester, Dublin, Bangkok, and Geneva.

About a dozen passengers on the flight had final stops in Abu Dhabi, while a number of other passengers were travelling onwards to Bangkok via an Etihad code-sharing (connecting) flight, said RAK Airways CEO John Brayford. He added that the list included some RAK passengers who had initially come from Peshawar and Dhaka.

Codeshare requests for some US and German destinations are also pending, Brayford said.

A statement on RAK Airways’ website says: “The agreement, the first ever between two UAE carriers, will see Etihad Airways place its ‘EY’ code on the RAK Airways flight between Ras Al Khaimah and Abu Dhabi. In return, RAK Airways will place its ‘RT’ code on Etihad Airways routes, which initially includes flights between Abu Dhabi and London Heathrow, Manchester, Dublin, Bangkok and Geneva.”

There are also plans to make the domestic flights daily by the end of 2012 and twice a day by April 2013, Brayford said.

“We may not be able to match the luxury and entertainment services of Emirates or Qatar [airlines], but we can beat them on service. Personal customer service and satisfaction — that’s our USP [unique selling point],” he added.

The carrier is planning to a third plane to its fleet of two aircraft. – Gulf News


Emirates welcomes 25th Airbus A380 to its Fleet

            Emirates, took delivery of its 24th and 25th Airbus A380 and its 78th Boeing 777-300 yesterday.

            The aircraft will be immediately engaged into service across Emirates network of 126 destinations in 74 countries; supporting Emirates planned expansion of its network and flights. The delivery of three wide-body aircraft in one day, a record for Emirates, required careful review and advance preparation within all operational units to ensure the availability of the required flight crew, cabin crew, engineers, airport staff in time to ensure a smooth entry into service.

The jubilee Emirates A380 aircraft was handed over to the Emirates aircraft acceptance team by Michael Pflaum, Airbus Head of A380 delivery in Hamburg, during a delivery ceremony at the planemaker's Jurgen Thomas A380 Delivery Centre. With 25 A380 aircraft now in its fleet, growing to 31 by the end of 2012, Emirates is the largest A380 operator worldwide and with 90 jets on firm order by far the largest A380 customer. The Dubai-based carrier was the first airline to order the A380 and thus enabled Airbus to proceed with the programme. The further 65 A380s on Emirates' order book is part of Emirates' overall 216 aircraft still to be delivered; worth US62 billion.

Operating at some of the world's busiest airports, Emirates A380s are proving day in, day out not just how good the aircraft is at reducing congestion but also how quiet and environmentally friendly it is." Amongst its 186 aircraft in operation, Emirates has the world's largest fleet of A380s which currently serve Amsterdam, Auckland, Bangkok, Beijing, Hong Kong, Jeddah, Kuala Lumpur, London Heathrow, Manchester, Munich, New York JFK, Paris, Rome, Seoul, Shanghai, Sydney, Tokyo and Toronto. Melbourne yesterday joins the A380 network and Moscow and Singapore will receive Emirates A380 service in December. In early 2013, Emirates will expand operations at Dubai in the world's first exclusive A380 terminal, Concourse A, at Dubai International Airport. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


UAE GCAA Celebrates International Air Traffic Controllers Day

            On the 20th October, the Air Navigation Services Sector of the General Civil Aviation Authority will host a gala dinner to mark International Air Traffic Controller Day in the UAE.

This is an important occasion for Air Traffic Controllers worldwide and recognises the dedication and commitment that Air Traffic Controllers bring to their work every day.

Executive Director of Air Navigation Services, Ahmed Al Jallaf says that "air traffic controllers in the UAE have played an important an integral part of the glory of the aviation system in the UAE and this occasion recognises their contribution and commitment".

The Sheikh Zayed Air Navigation Centre of the GCAA will bring together controllers from the various Air Navigation Service Providers in the UAE and celebrate their hard work and recognise their contribution to the fast growing aviation sector in the UAE.

"Since the inception of the UAE FIR in April 1986, the UAE FIR enjoyed an upward trend of a steady 10% increase in Air Traffic. With air traffic growing at such a high rate the need for highly qualified, trained, and professional Air Traffic Controllers is vital" said Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi, the Director General of the General Civil Aviation Authority.

The event will be held at Yas Links in Abu Dhabi. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


UAE economy grows as new orders surge

            Non-oil business activity of the UAE private sector rose in September as new orders surged to a 15-month high, a purchasing managers’ survey showed on Wednesday.

The UAE Purchasing Managers’ Index, or PMI, rose in September to 53.8 points, up from 53.3 in the month before, reflecting the economy’s steady pace of growth amid increasing signs of a global slowdown, the HSBC said on Wednesday.

“Non-oil private sector business activity in the UAE strengthened in September, compared to the month earlier, underlining the economy’s strong recovery,” the bank said. Inventories also continued to increase, but at a more modest pace than in August.

New export orders increased for the 28th month in a row, albeit at a marginally stronger rate than in August. Staffing levels expanded during September as companies responded to greater production requirements.

“It is a positive reading that suggests the UAE is one of the few economies in the world where private sector growth is accelerating rather than losing pace,” said Simon Williams, chief economist for the Middle East & North Africa at HSBC.

“I’m still concerned by the UAE’s reliance on export demand, and by the rate of employment growth which is still disappointingly slow. But for now the economy is showing resilience and with new orders strengthening, there’s good reason to expect the UAE to maintain momentum into the year-end.”

HSBC’s PMI index, the first of its kind to be published in the Gulf, was compiled with data provider Markit and based on data compiled from monthly replies to questionnaires sent to purchasing executives in approximately 400 private sector companies.

According to the report, production levels expanded for a 32nd straight month during September. In addition, the rate of growth was the quickest in three months and remained solid, while growth in new business reached a 15- month high thanks to improved market conditions and stronger client demand, the report said.

September is considered the start of the high season in the UAE, as tourists, merchants and investors return to the Emirates after the hot summer lull in July and August.

Stock markets in the UAE confirm HSBC’s positive assessment, as the Dubai Financial Market and the Abu Dhabi exchange ADX advanced year-to-date by 19.80 per cent and 10.30 per cent, respectively, representing the best performances among all Gulf Arab stock markets.

However, Williams added that it is too early to relax about the UAE’s non-oil economic growth. “I’m still concerned by the UAE’s reliance on export demand, and by the rate of employment growth which is still disappointingly slow.”

Williams remains optimistic. “As for now the economy is showing resilience and with new orders strengthening, there’s good reason to expect the UAE to maintain momentum into the year end.”

On the price front, overall input prices continued to rise, though the rate of inflation eased slightly from August. Higher purchasing prices were the key driver of overall input price inflation as suppliers raised prices in line with higher demand for inputs. Staffing costs continued to increase in September, but inflation of wages in the latest survey was modest.

HSBC’s upbeat report on the economy is augmented by a revised economic growth forecast by the National Bank of Abu Dhabi to 3.3 per cent from the 2.6 per cent it projected at the beginning of the year as the nation produced more oil, which yielded better prices.

According to NBAD group chief economist Dr Giyas Gokkent, the UAE is in a position to raise output given the availability of new capacity if events continue to unfold as they have in 2012 with Iranian output declining. “This would result in an upward revision to our current growth estimate.” – Khaleej Times


Abu Dhabi organisations are eco-friendly thanks to initiative

            Many government and private organisations in Abu Dhabi have started using recycled paper and cutting their energy consumption thanks to a new initiative called ‘sustainable procurement’, officials said on Wednesday.

The use of recycled paper and less energy consumption curtails deforestation and carbon emissions.

‘Sustainable procurement’ is a flagship programme of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Group (ADSG) which comprises government and private organisations. The programme encourages organisations to adopt a sustainable procurement policy which benefits not only the organisations but society as well, by minimising environmental impact.

Since the programme was launched in April this year, it has attracted 30 government institutions, private companies and non-profit organisations. They held a meeting on Wednesday in the capital to share their experience of the programme.

This initiative will contribute to the implementation of Abu Dhabi’s Environment Vision 2030 which encompasses goals to protect the environment by improving resource efficiency and promoting sustainable lifestyles, said Razzan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Secretary-General of Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi, in her opening speech at the meeting.

She said the programme focuses on sustainable procurement in transport, waste management, buildings and infrastructure.

The awareness created by the programme encouraged several Abu Dhabi organisations — both government and private — to use recycled paper and minimise energy consumption, an official told Gulf News on the sidelines of the meeting.

“This proves that voluntary action prompted by awareness can really make changes on the ground level without any legislations to make mandatory steps to practice sustainability,” said Huda Al Houqani, Director of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Group.

She said the use of recycled paper and minimised energy consumption at Abu Dhabi offices have curtailed carbon emissions on a large scale, but she did not have any figures readily available.

Huda explained that Abu Dhabi has a two-pronged strategy of creating legislation and awareness to promote sustainability. The mandatory pearl rating system introduced by the government for sustainable buildings ensures that new buildings use sustainable materials. But Abu Dhabi Sustainability Group, an initiative of Abu Dhabi Government, focuses on awareness among consumers, suppliers and other stakeholders concerned, she said.

The sustainable procurement programme tries to ensure that economic development, social development and environmental protection are balanced against business needs, Huda said.

“We will also encourage more entities to join and support this programme. Paperless Day, which was launched by Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi in 2008, is one of the environmental initiatives to address over-consumption,” she said.

The meeting included a review of some of the local experiences in the field of green procurement including the Masdar ‘buys green’ programme and the ‘collaborative building initiative’ of the Emirates Nuclear Energy Company (ENEC). The meeting concluded with participating members identifying programme priorities and proposed actions to be implemented.  – Gulf News


Zayed Future Energy Prize finalists named

            The Zayed Future Energy Prize Selection Committee has identified the finalists of the prize in preparation for the jury meeting set to take place this month.

Candidates represent a wide spectrum of technologies ranging from energy access, solar and wind power to carbon reduction.

They will be presented to the jury on October 17 for the final deliberations.

A record number of 579 entries from 88 countries were received this year, marking a 36 per cent increase over last year.

The two-day selection committee meeting took place after the review committee met last month.

Dr. Sultan Ahmad Al Jaber, Director-General of the Zayed Future Energy Prize, said: “By focusing on leadership, long term vision, impact and innovation, the criterion of the Prize truly encapsulates the legacy of our late Founding Father, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan and the ongoing commitment of our wise and visionary leadership.”

Razan Al Mubarak, Secretary-General of the Environment Agency in Abu Dhabi and Chairperson of the Selection Committee, said: “The Prize drives innovation and recognition in a field that is pertinent to the conservation of our future.”

All categories — Large Corporations, SME, NGO, Lifetime Achievement and the newly launched Global High Schools prize category — were assessed based on the criteria of innovation, impact, leadership and long-term vision.

On October 17, the jury will meet for the final phase of the process — the selection of the winners who will be announced at the 2013 awards ceremony, taking place during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week in January.

The 2013 finalists are: BYD Company Limited, Sharp Corporation and Siemens in the Large Corporation category; Ceres, Fraunhofer ISE and Rocky Mountain Institute in the NGO category; Clean Power Finance, d.light design, EcoNation, Grameen Shakti and Mainstream Renewable Power in the SME category; and in the Global High Schools category, Bronx Design & Construction Academy and Secundaria Tecnica 120 from the Americas, Okehampton College and Queen Elizabeth II High School from Europe, Kirya Secondary School and Waterford Kamhlaba from Africa and Fujimigaoka Educational Institution, Kalkeri Sangeet Vidyalaya and Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Bangladesh Islamia School from Asia. – Gulf News


Dh1.5b clean coal power plant in RAK

            Utico Middle East and Shanghai Electric, the world’s largest coal power company, announced on Wednesday a joint collaboration to establish the world’s greenest coal-fired power plant in Ras Al Khaimah.

            An agreement to this effect was signed in Ras Al Khaimah between Rashid Mehran Al Baloushi, chairman of Utico Middle East, and Han Youtian, vice-chairman of Shanghai Electric, in the presence of high-ranking authorities from the Ras Al Khaimah government.

            Supported by the Ras Al Khaimah government, the Dh1.5 billion venture is expected to be completed in 2015 and will generate 270 MW of power when fully functional.

            The event was held on the sidelines of the Global IWPP (Independent Water & Power Plant) Summit, which concluded in the emirate on Wednesday and was attended by over 150 high-ranking delegates and professionals from 25 countries at Al Hamra Convention Centre, Ras Al Khaimah. – Khaleej Times


ADNOC announces crude prices for September 2012

            The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) yesterday announced its crude oil prices for September 2012.

A company statement said that Government Selling Prices (GSP) for crude oil FOB Abu Dhabi ports for the month of September 2012 are as follows: Murban US$115.40 per barrel, Lower Zakum US$ 115.35, Umm Shaif US$ 115.00, and Upper Zakum US$ 112.50 per barrel.  – Emirates News Agency, WAM


International Advisory Board publishes fifth semi-annual report on UAE's peaceful nuclear energy program

            The International Advisory Board (IAB), a body mandated to provide an independent assessment of the United Arab Emirates' (UAE) Peaceful Nuclear Energy Program, published its fifth semi-annual report yesterday.

The report reflects the discussions and meetings that took place in Abu Dhabi on March 2012. In attendance at these meetings were members of the Board of the IAB and UAE entities operating in the nuclear energy sector, which include the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) and the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC).

This is the fifth report published by the Board and it addresses the development of the United Arab Emirates' Nuclear Power Program and provides an overview of the UAE lessons' learned from the Fukushima accident as well as the development of the Construction License.

"The UAE entities have done an outstanding job in addressing the members' concerns and recommendations" said Dr. Hans Blix, Chairman of IAB.

The newly published report addresses the progress made on the recommendations outlined in the previously published reports. The report also provides further ideas and recommendations on improving and enhancing the UAE's nuclear energy program.

The report is available to the general public on the IAB's website. www.uaeiab.ae – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Seha unifies all health information systems under one brand, Malaffi

            Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (Seha) announced a new brand name for its hospital information system as part of its effort to further enhance the quality of care and clinical outcomes for patients in Abu Dhabi.

The system will now be known as Malaffi in both English and Arabic. Meaning "my file" in English, the name 'Malaffi' preserves the essence of confidentiality and patient privacy. The new identity, which will be implemented across Seha's medical facilities, was developed following extensive market research across Abu Dhabi. The study involved residents comprising UAE nationals, expats and employees from the healthcare sector.

Seha initially launched its hospital information system in 2008 at Tawam Hospital, and it is now implemented across 12 hospitals and 62 clinics. Malaffi links the Seha network to one clinical data depository where all patient information is stored.

This environmentally-friendly initiative provides access to over 1.7 Million, patients' electronic medical records in a simple, swift and secure manner. Malaffi allows healthcare providers to access patient information, including medical history, blood type and prescription drugs, instantaneously from any Seha hospital or clinic. The system also allows physicians to review x-rays and other imaging tests with their patients. The aim is to speed up diagnoses and treatments, and improve patient care by reducing medical errors and prescribing unnecessary drugs.

Health Care Information and Management Systems Society's Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model highlights a seven-stage process to be completed by hospitals worldwide, evaluating their progress and impact in implementing electronic medical record systems. Seha facilities are leading the way in executing these stages in the Middle East, with Corniche Hospital achieving Stage 6, placing it amongst the top 5% globally. Other facilities such as Al Ain Hospital, Al Rahba Hospital, Mafraq Hospital, SKMC, and Tawam Hospital have achieved a rate ranging from 5.260 to 5.304 as of February 2012. All are working towards meeting the criteria for Stage 6 in the deployment and use of clinical information technology to improve patient safety and healthcare quality and efficiency.

Seha was awarded the prestigious 'Health Tech Innovation Award' during ID World Abu Dhabi 2011 for its achievements in Electronic Medical Records technologies in healthcare to improve patient security, hospital efficiency and the safe supply of pharmaceuticals. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


TDIC targets investments for Saadiyat Island project

            Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC), the flagship developer of cultural and residential projects in Abu Dhabi, is hoping to sell parcels of land on its flagship Saadiyat Island project to foreign sovereign wealth funds.

The government-owned developer building Abu Dhabi's much anticipated cultural district told The National that it was in discussions with overseas funds to invest in land at its 27 square kilometre island, which lies 500 metres off the coast of Abu Dhabi.

"We are talking to sovereign funds for them to come and invest in Saadiyat. I can't say which funds yet and it is at an early stage but we are talking with them about buying plots of land on Saadiyat," Ahmed Al Fahim, the executive director of sales and leasing, said at the Cityscape Global exhibition in Dubai this week.

"They would be sovereign funds."

TDIC has been working on plans to develop the prestigious Saadiyat Island scheme since its inception in 2006. Ambitious plans for the island include branches of the Louvre and Guggenheim museums, a campus for New York University and homes for 145,000 residents.

Plans for the development were put under review during the global economic downturn but Mr Al Fahim said he was seeing signs the market was recovering and it was keen to press ahead with its plans.

The Executive Council earlier this year approved funding for the construction of the Louvre and Guggenheim museums, as well as the Zayed museum on the island.

Investment by sovereign wealth funds into other projects on the island would likely speed up TDIC's plans and allow it to press ahead with its ambitious projects.

"We are recovering now. Once you witness an increase in transactions and market is recovering then we will start to master plan again what we want to build next," he said at the sidelines of the Cityscape Global event in Dubai this week, where buyers of new projects pointed to a rebound in the real estate markets.

"What's happening in Dubai is repeated also in Abu Dhabi. In 2011 for the whole year we sold 16 villas. And in 2012 we didn't finish the year and we've sold 72 villas so that gives you the real picture that really there is an increased interest in properties. Mainly they were on our project on Saadiyat. This is the first time after two years we are participating in Cityscape, obviously because we see that the market is coming back and there is increasing demand so we thought this is a good opportunity to be here."

Mr Al Fahim did not detail which land parcels might be on offer to investors.

Investment from overseas would also shore up TDIC's balance sheet, after years of investment in infrastructure and other investment on the island. In June the company announced it made a loss of Dh1.2bn last year, following a loss of Dh1.15bn in 2010.

However, TDIC ended last year with more than Dh2bn in cash on its balance sheet and Mr Al Fahim was hopeful that the company would be turning a profit in the coming year as it progresses with its plans on Saadiyat and the Eastern Mangroves.

The company last month started leasing its 285 one, two and three-bedroom apartments at its Saadiyat Beach Residences, which Mr Al Fahim said were in high demand. And three weeks ago it’s announced it was selling 29 villa plots at Saadiyat Golf Views.

"The rents start from Dh70,000. We have people coming and signing contracts. So far we have signed about 20 contracts. We are expecting a lot of demand; we have big companies and we have individuals taking leases - whatever comes."

"We are looking at going into another phase of villas and another phase of apartments because we see demand on Saadiyat," he added. – The National


Nahyan promises to make UAEU a leader in higher education sector

            Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research and Chancellor of the United Arab Emirates University, has promised to make the UAE University a higher education provider worthy of the UAE name, an essential resource for the country, and a well-recognised performer among the other fine universities of the world.

Addressing the annual convocation for the new academic year yesterday, Sheikh Nahyan said :''Our three basic functions - undergraduate education, graduate programs, and research - direct our attention to at least six elements that we must preserve in our daily activities: First, total commitment to quality, expressed in measurable performance indicators, Second, recruitment and support of excellent faculty, Third, superior preparation of students, with clear learning outcomes and learning assessment protocols, from UGRU through senior year, Fourth, expansion of graduate programs as an important aspect of the University's academic relevance and as an activity that prepares leaders of society, Fifth, development as a major centre for research and innovation, and Sixth, the necessity for building strong community relations and establishing effective communications with society so as to enhance society's support of the university.

''Those six elements represent our path towards making the UAE University a successful full-fledged research University, a University for the 21st Century, a university that serves society and human aspirations, he told the university community.

''Our accomplishments demonstrate that we have been able to achieve the goals and objectives for which we established thorough and realistic plans. Our university, therefore, continues to improve. We are among the top 400 universities in the world. We are also among the top 50 universities who are less than fifty years of age.

''Students worldwide, and indeed many of us, have integrated instant mobile communication devices into our normal behaviour. We must recognise that this new technology provides an opportunity for us to become leaders in developing innovative ways of teaching and learning. Beginning in UGRU and expanding to the rest of the University in subsequent years, each student and faculty member will have an iPad. I am excited about the potential of the iPad to enliven learning, teaching, research, and creativity in a classroom with porous walls.

''This initiative, implemented simultaneously at UAE University, Zayed University, and the Higher Colleges of Technology, launches us on a voyage of discovery in the new world of mobile devices. In higher education, our iPad users will constitute one of the largest populations worldwide. As the iPad initiative boots up, we will be watching closely! We will monitor the results to ensure that our faculty utilise this technology in a variety of innovative ways to enhance learning among our students,'' he added. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Nol cards to work in supermarkets

            Residents will soon be able to use their Nol transport cards to pay for transactions in supermarkets, a senior Roads and Transport Authority official revealed on Wednesday.

Speaking at the Future Cities Conference on Wednesday at CityScape, Abdul Mohsin Younes, chief executive, strategic and corporate governance sector, Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), explained that the expansion plans of the Nol card will be expected to be in use in the next few years.

“Within the next few years, passengers using the Nol transport card will be able to use them in groceries or hypermarkets. They will be required to top up their card at use it at their own convenience, whether it is for buses or water taxis or even at the supermarket,” said Younes.

He also pointed out that the service of using the Nol card as a debit card is determined by the willingness of commercial establishments, and it is up to businesses to decide whether they want to install the necessary equipment to carry out such transactions.

During the conference, titled, “RTA experience in sustainability strategy,” Younes noted that Dubai is acknowledged as the first global city of the modern Arab world, and this achievement was made partially due to integrating the public transport system, implementing a comprehensive road safety plan and striving for a safe and environmental sustainability plan.

One of the main challenges the RTA faced was the traffic congestion in the emirate when aiming to achieving sustainability, and the number of road accident fatalities have reduced from 21.9 per 100,000 per population in 2006 to six per 100,000 in 2011.

“With our intensive plans, we were also able to reduce the average delay in trips by 15 minutes per trip a day in 2005 to 5.5 minutes to 2011,” Younes said, adding that road accidents directly cost more than Dh800 million a year on the government.

He further pointed out that as part of the emirate’s road expansion and integration plan, the RTA aims to construct 120 interchanges, nine new roads and increase the number of lanes across the creek on both sides to 100 lanes in 2020. – Gulf News


New 24-hour visa hotline set up for residents

            The Ministry of Interior announced on Wednesday a new 24-hour hotline for visa and naturalisation issues.

Announcing the service, it was revealed that residents across the UAE can call the Dubai based centre for an answer to queries on a new free number.

The communication and media hub will open at the General Directorate for Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai.

It will allow members of the public from all over the country to contact the centre to enquire about visa and naturalisation related issues for any of the emirates.

In a press conference, held yesterday at the GDRFA in Dubai, Major General Nasser Al Awadi Al Menhali, Assistant Undersecretary for Naturalisation and Residency and Ports Affairs at the Ministry of Interior said the centre will be operational next week.

Members of the public can call the toll free ‘AMER service on 8005111’ for public complaints, suggestions and enquiries.

Major General Mohammad Ahmad Al Merri, director general of the General Directorate for Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai said this centre will link all the residency departments together and will open the door to the public to allow them to communicate easily and directly with each department.

According to Brigadier Sultan Al Nuaimi, director General of the General Directorate for Residency and Foreigners Affairs of Rasaimah, the centre will receive all enquiries from the public and will then transfer the cases to the correct person at any of the relevant departments across the country.

Previously, members of the public with queries would have had to call the operator at the residency department in each emirate and have the case transferred from there.

Major General Al Menhali, confirmed the centre in Dubai will receive all calls and enquires from the public all over the country — even if their issues are not in Dubai.

“Members of the public who want to enquire, for example, about their visas in Ajman or want to check about an issue in Sharjah or want to enquire about information in Abu Dhabi, they can contact the toll free number in Dubai,” he said.

Major General Al Menhali added that the number will be a 24-hour service on weekdays offering communication by phone, fax, email and e-chat.

“We will also open at the GDRFA in Dubai a comprehensive media monitoring centre in Dubai which will monitor all media sectors when they publish issues related to residency and foreigners affairs,” he said.

He added that the media monitoring centre will communicate with media outlets in the country on any issues related to residency and foreigner affairs.

The conference was attended by senior officials from the Ministry of Interior. – Gulf News


Dubai going pink from October 4

            A month-long event — Dubai Goes Pink — is being organised by Breast Cancer Arabia starting October 4.

This city-wide event is aimed at unifying the efforts of fundraisers, events, activities and companies in the region wishing to support breast cancer patients and true medically produced and backed breast cancer awareness.

Through the event, Breast Cancer Arabia hopes to redress some of the current problems with delivering ‘awareness’ in the region as well as raising money to directly help the women and their families affected by breast cancer.

“Breast cancer treatment is very costly and not everyone has the means to afford it,” says Elizabeth Reyes, president, Breast Cancer Arabia.

“Some women have medical insurance, but are not covered under their particular policies, whilst other women have limited or very basic cover through their employment or have no medical insurance whatsoever. Together with our hospital partners, the Breast Cancer Arabia Foundation can help these women afford their breast cancer treatment, giving them the best chance of surviving their breast cancer.”

There are many different ways to take part in Dubai Goes Pink. More information on how to take part and what type of events to arrange can be found on www.dubaigoespink.com.

“Not only have we had pledges from numerous individuals and families, but Burj Al Arab Hotel will illuminate their famous sail with a pink ribbon as part of the ‘pink’ initiative,” says Reyes.

Breast Cancer Arabia is a free interactive internet portal that gives women high-quality information about breast cancer and its treatment, a specialised place to get the right treatment and a support system. All patient educational and medical information on the website has been provided by Dr Richard Reyes, who is a consultant breast surgeon from the UK.

20% increase in cases

The number of breast cancer cases have increased by 20 per cent in Dubai Health Authority (DHA) hospitals, according to an official.

During a campaign to promote screening for breast cancer, the DHA is organising free checkups across all government departments for the entire month of October. Dr Moza Al Hattawi, Chairperson of the DHA Breast Cancer Campaign, said, “Through this campaign, we aim to educate people about the importance of regular screenings and raise awareness about this disease. It is a known fact that early detection can save lives and help reduce the number of women who succumb to this disease. However, one of the main challenges facing healthcare professionals is the significant number of women who are not aware of this.”

She said that almost 30 per cent of women who are detected with breast cancer visit the DHA hospitals in the third stage. The number of breast cancer cases in DHA hospitals has increased by 20 per cent since 2009. Of all breast operations conducted in 2009, 25 per cent were due to breast cancer, she said.

A few patients in their 20s have also been diagnosed with breast cancer. “We, therefore, recommend that women with a family history of breast cancer should conduct breast examinations from the age of 20, once every year.” A mobile mammogram machine will be taken to locations to conduct on-the-spot screenings for women. Philips will provide the state-of-the-art mobile mammography unit. – Khaleej Times


International flavour to Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix

            Preparations are well underway for the upcoming Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on November 2-4 with 83 per cent of tickets for the eagerly-anticipated race already sold. 

Revealing Yas Marina Circuit's 2012-13 calendar, CEO Richard Cregan said the majority of ticket sales for the Formula One race were from international customers, but that he expected and encouraged UAE residents to purchase their passes for the Circuit’s flagship event soon.

“We live in a last-minute market in the UAE so we’ve seen very, very good international take-up on our tickets and there are some very unique buying patterns this year, which is obviously changing all the time,” said Cregan.

“But what’s important for us is that we’re actually slightly ahead of schedule in terms of sales. There are still tickets available, there’s still hospitality available, but from what we’ve seen, we’ve gone into our last phase basically in terms of selling and there’s been a big take-up in the last week to ten days especially.

“Things are going out the door fast, and that’s obviously what we want to see,” he added.

The 2012/2013 season is poised to be the Circuit’s biggest and busiest to date and this year the calendar incorporates all events hosted at the Circuit including motorsport and community events.

Also announced, and new this year, is the Yas Motor Racing Club, which was founded to develop grassroots motorsport racing across the UAE.

The establishment of the Club means that the Circuit for the first time is able to host and in collaboration with ATC-UAE, sanction its own races.

Under the banner of the Yas Motor Racing Club, Yas Marina Circuit will host a wide variety of motorsport events including six rounds of Yas Marina Circuit’s own Yas Racing Series, four rounds of the Pro Drag Racing Series, two rounds of the GCC Drag Race Championship, Gulf 12 Hours, and the UAE Rotax Max Challenge.

The 2012/2013 Calendar also includes the largest schedule of Yas Marina Circuit community events to date, which include the increasingly popular Train Yas nights, ADNIC Yas Run, Tri Yas, Walk 2012, as well as new events such as Cycle Yas.

What’s more, the Circuit welcomes the F1 in Schools World Finals later this month which will see students from across the globe visit Ferrari World Abu Dhabi and Yas Marina Circuit to take part in this special “F1 before the F1”.

“This exciting new calendar reflects our ongoing dialogue with the UAE community as it also aims to engage and excite new Yas Marina Circuit fans and talent,” Cregan added. – Sport 360°


Ready to make a splash: Abu Dhabi Dragon Boat Festival

            Dragon boating is really emerging on the local scene. There are already several social and competitive events held throughout the year in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai for its avid paddlers, some of whom have even made it to the world stage, thanks to dedicated practice on the many creeks and beaches we’re lucky to be surrounded by.

If you’ve been out of the loop and would like to see what this ancient oriental water sport is all about, then there’s no better weekend than this one as the Abu Dhabi Dragon Boat Festival returns to Shangri-La Qaryat Al Beri on Friday and Saturday.

Last year’s festival was a blast. It featured a record 70 teams in dragon-tipped boats of 20-22 paddlers cutting their way across the scenic creek in front of cheering spectators hanging out and bronzing along the hotel’s 1km beachfront stretch.

As usual, the quickest finishers were the likes of team Abu Dhabi Mar (they claimed the respected Corporate Cup Final category), and rivals the Dubai Diggers, who actually just returned from the world championships with gold in the 200m and 500m Mixed Small Boats category.

The pair never miss the Abu Dhabi event and you’re bound to see them again out in full force from day one. They will be joined by several other corporate, school and social teams looking to make an impression…or just a splash.

Spectators are, as usual, more than welcome to enjoy the fun, which will not be limited to the water. There will be cooking stations and entertainment including a live DJ, massage kiosk, volleyball, and paddle boarding opportunities.

Event organisers Siren Events are planning various kids activities too, such as a ‘Bouncy Castle’. And the renowned barbeque party at Traders Hotel’s beach is the perfect way to unwind and bond for friends and family alike after the first day’s race. The two-day event ends with an award ceremony.

A challenging yet exhilarating water sport, dragon boating is full of adrenaline and sportsmanship with strategy and technique playing key roles. The sport places emphasis on team spirit, making friends and having fun while promoting a healthy lifestyle.

As we’ve ourselves experienced dragon boating, both as spectators and paddlers, we can vouch for the event and think you should seriously weigh your options carefully in terms of what you plan to be doing this weekend.

With the hotel celebrating its fifth anniversary, this year’s Dragon Boat Race is certainly set to be bigger and better. Arbind K. Shrestha, general manager, Shangri-la Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi states: “We are delighted to witness continuous successes of the Dragon Boat Festival in the hotel as much as we are celebrating our five years of established Arabian luxury.”

If you can’t make it, then there’s plenty of opportunity to see these vessels in action, or grab a paddle yourself thanks to a dedicated local Dragon Boat Federation – the UAE Dragon Boat Association, which organises several weekly social and competitive training and tryout days across the emirate, as well as competitions. – Sport 360°

Mohammad bin Zayed visits defence firm

            His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, toured the General Maintenance Division of the Joint Logistics Command of the General Headquarters of the UAE Armed Forces (GHQ) in Zayed Military City.

Sheikh Mohammed was accompanied during the inspection visit by H. H. Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, Staff Lt. General Hamad Mohammed Thani Al Rumaithi, Chief of Staff of the UAE Armed Forces, Staff Major General Jumaa Ahmed Al Bowardi, Commander of Land Forces, Mohammed Ahmed Al Bowardi, Member of the Executive Council, Khaldoun Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Executive Authority Affairs and CEO of Mubadala Development Company, Major General Obaid Al Hairi Al Kitbi, Deputy General Commander of Abu Dhabi Police and Chairman of Al Taif Technical Services, senior army officers and members of the Company's board.

The Abu Dhabi Crown Prince visited a number of major maintenance workshops, where he was briefed about the structure and nature of their work. The Joint Logistics Command, with support from the GHQ, had approached experts from the private sector to enter into a quality partnership to raise the level of the technical services of the Armed Forces. A contract was then signed, whereby Al Taif Technical Services, a national general maintenance company and a subsidiary of Mubadala Development Company, has been assigned to carry out the maintenance work. These tasks have been outsourced to the company so as to develop a sustainable base that can serve all the land forces and provide the highest quality of equipment, as well as high operating efficiency, in accordance with the highest standards and criteria for the armed forces.

The Commander of the Joint Logistics Command, Staff Major General Mohammed Saeed bin Maran Al Dhahiri, gave a demonstration about the role of maintenance, the provision of necessary services and the economic feasibility of outsourcing, indicating that the aim of this technical partnership "is to keep pace with the latest developments in the area of maintenance and adapting to the new technical service programmes that can establish a local industry base to further upgrade the level of maintenance at the hands of local cadres." Cyril Asaad Arar, CEO of Al Taif Technical Services, briefed Sheikh Mohammed on the functions of the company and its vision to become the first in the provision of integral maintenance solutions in the UAE and the region.

Sheikh Mohammed toured the main weapon plant, which is specialised in fixing the turrets of all combat vehicles and different types of light guns. He was briefed about the nature of the support departments of the plant, a section that follows up production, quality control, the equipment warehouse, security and safety.

He also toured the main mechanics plant (a), where he and the other visitors were briefed about the work of plant which repairs, restores and maintains tanks, armoured vehicles and cannon to increase their lifespan by updating parts and improving performance and functions of some parts.

The Abu Dhabi Crown Prince visited the main maintenance plant, where he inspected the maintenance and repair phases of the major mechanical and electrical parts, which include all the kinds of light and heavy engines.

Sheikh Mohammed concluded the tour by visiting the Maintenance School, one of the oldest specialised military schools, which was set up in 1972. Since its technical work was outsourced to Al Taif Company in 2008, the school's focus is training and rehabilitating citizens to serve in the Armed Forces. He toured the workshops in the school, where he got acquainted with the nature of the maintenance and training programmes.  – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Mohammed bin Rashid orders biannual Gitex

            His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on Tuesday ordered the organisers to hold Gitex Shopper twice a year in view of the increasing demand. He issued the order after visiting the expo.

            Sheikh Mohammed also visited the real estate expo, Cityscape Global, which was opened at Dubai World Trade Centre earlier in the day. He expressed satisfaction at the robust return of Cityscape, which has 50 per cent more exhibition area this year, a positive indication of the realty sector’s gradual recovery.

            Accompanied by Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, he rounded off his tour by visiting Meydan stand, the biggest in the show. He launched the Dh4 billion tourism and entertainment project ‘Mohammed bin Rashid Gardens’.

Sheikh Mohammed also viewed a residential tower project being executed at Sheikh Zayed Road at a cost of Dh1.5 billion, which he named as ‘Intisar’ (Victory), and the Dh2 billion Jumeirah Island residential-cum-tourism project by Meraas Properties Development Company.


Supreme Council of Energy launches Emirates Energy Award 2012-2013

            The Supreme Council of Energy launched yesterday the Emirates Energy Award 2012-13, which will reward best practices and leading initiatives in the areas of energy efficiency, alternative energy, sustainability and environmental protection.

The Award was launched under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Details of the award and its new logo were presented at a press conference at the Grand Hyatt hotel in Dubai, attended by Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Vice-Chairman of the Supreme Council of Energy and President of the Emirates Energy Award and Nejib Zaafarani, Secretary General and CEO of the Council, along with Chairmen, Vice-Chairmen and members of the three committees of the Award: the executive Committee, the technical committee and the marketing and events committee.

H. H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Supreme Council of Energy, is the Honorary President of the Emirates Energy Award. The Emirates Energy Award highlights best practices and business leaders in the field of energy efficiency, alternative energy, sustainable energy and environmental protection.

Al Tayer emphasised that energy is the vital element that plays a crucial part in socioeconomic development plans of countries around the world and innovative use of energy can be a real energizer of sustainable development.

Al Tayer stressed that the award will reward conservation and demand management efforts, highlighting the Supreme Council of Energy's instrumental role in fostering a business-friendly environment through significant initiatives that achieve the goals of the Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy 2030 to fulfil the Dubai's strategy to ensure a reliable and efficient supply of energy and ensure efficient demand-side management of electricity, water and fuel.

"The Award not only focuses on the UAE as a world platform for sustainable development, but also stresses the importance of sustainability in the Middle East and North Africa. We are confident that energy officials will appreciate the significance of this award and making its goal of achieving sustainable development a global priority as well," said Al Tayer.

He added that delivering a highly-efficient and reliable electricity and water infrastructure has played a key role in Dubai's success as a global hub for trade, finance and tourism. The growth has spurred us to take essential steps to consistently improve demand management and conservation efforts.

The new logo is derived from Emirati national identity as the falcon is regarded as a national, historical and cultural symbol, which represents a deep-rooted symbol of Emirati heritage and culture. It is also a symbol of freedom, strength, dignity and pride.

The award's efforts to promote the successes of the public and private sectors in energy efficiency and projects related to this and encourage education and scientific research in the field of energy are classed as a significant initiative undertaken by the Supreme Council of Energy to make sustainable development a reality and raise awareness about the best uses of energy among employees, to improve society and the economy.

According to the Supreme Council, the Emirates Energy Award is a global platform to highlight a select club of winners and highlight their achievements in demand management, energy management and conservation. The Award highlights their efforts in differing areas of energy and gives them the recognition they deserve.

Applications are now open for any individuals, teams and organisations in the Middle East and Africa. The application process will come to a close in January 2013. Eligible projects should meet several conditions, including being completed by December 2007, and being in operation for a period of at least one year.

The EEA scheme was developed based on specific criteria to ensure a fair process for all entries. This process is supported by detailed terms of reference, selected committees, application guidelines and evaluation processes leading to a publicised Award Ceremony in May 2013 to promote the award and recognise the winners. The award ceremony will be attended by high level government, industry and community officials and delegates.

The award recognises achievements in six categories: Gold and Silver awards for Energy Conservation in the private and public sectors; Gold and Silver awards for large-scale energy projects; Gold and Silver awards for small-energy projects and Gold and Silver awards for education and research, in addition to a special award for excellence as well as an award for young innovators in energy.

Winners can apply for the next year's award as well, with the exception of applications in the same category, which will be required to wait for three years before re-applying in the same category. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


ADAC passenger survey reveal the attractiveness of Abu Dhabi as a tourism destination

            Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC) yesterday released the results of the ADAC Passenger Survey during the 18th World Route Development Forum (World Routes), the largest and only global annual meeting for aviation professionals from around the world.

The passenger survey comes as another leading initiative from ADAC as it is the only comprehensive passenger analysis available from an airport in the region.

The ADAC Passenger Survey provides exclusive and detailed information about the Abu Dhabi market not readily available from other sources. The survey analyses data relating to passengers travelling through Abu Dhabi International Airport, including demographics, travel flow, booking and travelling profiles, purchasing behaviour - all of which can assist airlines to get an in-depth picture and understanding of the Abu Dhabi market. Moreover, this market intelligence offers useful insight to local stakeholders in the transport and tourism sectors for tailoring strategies and initiatives based on the profile of the airport's passengers.

Among the findings of the survey, it is worth noting: 93 per cent of passengers evaluate Abu Dhabi positively and very positively as a tourism destination, 94 per cent of the passengers would like to visit Abu Dhabi for one of their future vacations, 50 per cent of passengers are residents in the Middle East, and ticket price and convenience of travel are the two key parameters of how Abu Dhabi International Airport passengers choose their airlines and flights.

The Survey was initiated in May 2011, and took place at Abu Dhabi International Airport 365 days a year on a 24-hour basis. To date, more than 45,000 passengers have been interviewed. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Emirates SkyCargo stimulating US international trade

            Emirates SkyCargo, the freight division of Emirates has transported almost 34,000 tonnes between the US and points across its global network since the addition of Dallas/Fort Worth, Seattle and Washington, DC this year increased its number of American trade lanes to seven

In the six months since its Seattle service was launched on March 1, Emirates SkyCargo has connected businesses across its US network, including firms in New York, Houston, Los Angeles and San Francisco, to international trade opportunities in more than 120 destinations.

The total of 33,760 tonnes (11,000 tonnes of imports and 22,760 tonnes of exports) represents an increase of 145 per cent on the 13,760 tonnes carried in the six months from December 3, 2007, the day Houston became the second US destination for Emirates after New York City.


“Our expanded services have not only boosted US trade with the UAE, but also with its business partners throughout the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent, Africa, the Far East and Australasia,” said Ram Menen, Emirates’ Divisional Senior Vice President Cargo, at TIACA Air Cargo Forum, an event held in Atlanta for the international air cargo and logistics industry.

Expanding its network with 12 new destinations so far in 2012, Emirates has added 21 new aircraft to its fleet to date, recently taking delivery of a Boeing 777-F, the second new freighter added to the fleet this year. The fleet now comprises five Boeing 777-Fs, two B747-400ERFs and one B747-400F.

On September 12, Emirates SkyCargo added a Washington, DC service operated by a Boeing 777-200 LR. The new route is already proving popular with local businesses, while firms in neighbouring Maryland and Virginia are being connected to the service by an extensive trucking network. – Gulf News


New generation virtual assistants at Dubai airport

            A new generation of virtual assistants has been introduced by Dubai Airports. These interactive virtual assistants will be able to respond to passengers’ queries in English and Arabic.

            The new technology is a world first for Dubai International Airport and an upgrade of the virtual assistants already in place. The new-version ‘virtual assistants’ are programmed to answer frequently asked questions such as the location of departure gates, washrooms and check-in areas, rather than just providing a static message.

The ‘virtual assistants’ were first introduced in December last year to communicate important travel information to the 50-million-plus passengers who pass through the airport each year. They greet and engage with passengers in order to provide them with information on the preparations they need to make prior to entering the security screening and immigration areas.

The state-of-the-art assistants, which use the very latest in rear-projected audio visual technology to create the illusion of a real person, will now be able to provide a greater variety of information and will be deployed across the airport. – Khaleej Times


UAE's Central Bank announces increase of money supply M0 by 3.8 percent

            The Central Bank announced that money supply M0 (currency in circulation + currency at banks) increased by 3.8 percent from Dh 53.1 billion at the end of June 2012 to Dh 55.1 billion at the end of July 2012.

Money supply aggregate M1 (currency in circulation plus monetary deposits, i.e., current accounts and call accounts at banks) increased by 0.7 percent , from Dh 284.3 billion at the end of June 2012 to Dh 286.4 billion at the end of July of the same year.

Money supply aggregate M2 which comprises of M1 and quasi-monetary deposits (resident time and savings deposits in Dirhams, commercial prepayments in Dirhams and resident deposits in foreign currencies), increased by 0.7 percent, from Dh 827.1 billion at the end of June 2012 to Dh 832.5 billion at the end of July of the same year.

Money supply aggregate, M3 (M2 plus government deposits at bank operating in the UAE as well as at the Central Bank) increased by 0.4 percent , from Dh 1,028.6 billion at the end of June to Dh 1,033.0 billion at the end of July of the same year.

Total bank deposits increased by 0.7 percent during the month of July 2012 to close at Dh 1,114.9 billion. Meanwhile, total bank loans and advances (net of provisions and interest in suspense) increased by 0.1percent to reach Dh 1,091.3 billion, and total bank assets decreased by 0.5 percent to reach Dh 1,724.6 billion, at the end of July.

During the first 7 months of 2012, intermediary monetary aggregate M2 increased by 0.8 percent , while bank loans and advances increased by 1.9 percent and bank deposits increased by 4.2 percent. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Growth back on fast track

            Sending a clear message to the international business community that sunny days are here again, a slew of data emerging from different sectors confirmed the UAE’s turnaround story is more compelling than ever.

The National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) revised its economic growth forecast for the UAE to 3.3 per cent from the 2.6 per cent it projected at the beginning of the year as the nation produced more oil, which yielded better prices.

Speaking to reporters after issuing the first Economic Outlook Report on the GCC, Jordan and Egypt, NBAD group chief economist Dr Giyas Gokkent said: “The UAE is in a position to raise output given the availability of new capacity if events continue to unfold as they have in 2012 with Iranian output declining. This would result in an upward revision to our current growth estimate.”

Dr Gokkent said that in 2011, real GDP growth accelerated to 4.2 per cent year-on-year, up from 1.3 per cent in 2010, on the back of oil prices. In Dubai, a 3.4 per cent year-on-year growth was driven by the wholesale/retail trade, manufacturing and transport/communication sectors.

Year-on-year, listed Abu Dhabi-based bank assets were up by 6.2 per cent, deposits 6.8 per cent and loans 6.6 per cent in June. This trend is likely to continue due to the economic diversification drive. Abu Dhabi’s economy would grow 4.4 per cent in the year, up against an estimated growth of 3.5 per cent last year, the bank said.

According to another data released by the Central Bank on Tuesday, banks and financial institutions in the country sanctioned loans more generously to their credit-hungry customers as they recorded strong growth in deposits during the first seven months of this year. Lending grew 1.9 per cent and bank deposits increased 4.2 per cent during January-July 2012.

According to NBAD, credit growth was also seen in five of the total 12 main sectors of economy in the January-May 2012 period. Loans to these sectors were up by US$6.6 billion, including personal loans for consumption that accounted 40 per cent, government 37 per cent, “others” 15.9 per cent, transport/communication 6.8 per cent and manufacturing 0.15 per cent.

The Central Bank said that money supply M0, which includes currency in circulation and currency at banks, increased by 3.8 per cent to Dh55.1 billion at the end of July 2012.

In another positive development, Mohammed Al Shaibani, Director-General of the Dubai Ruler’s Court, said the emirate is seeing a recovery in the real estate market.

“Dubai has proved itself over and over again, everybody has learnt the big lesson,” Shaibani said at the Cityscape Global property exhibition. “The developers are being more realistic. The banks are more mature.”

Dubai’s default risk has dropped over the past three years as debt restructuring deals, bond repayments and profits at companies boost confidence in its economic rebound. Sub-market home rental rates are on an “upward curve” in Dubai, CBRE Group said in a report, while the benchmark stock index has gained 18 per cent this year, making it the best performer in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council. – Khaleej Times


RAK FTZ posts 4% rise in new registrations

            Ras Al Khaimah Free Trade Zone (RAK FTZ) – one of the fastest-growing and most cost-effective free trade zones in the UAE – announced on Tuesday a four per cent year-on-year increase in new company registrations in the first half of 2012, according to the audited reports by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

A total of 1,145 new companies registered with RAK FTZ in H1 2012, a significant increase from the 1,101 companies registered in the first half of 2011.

Revenues from the registrations touched Dh123.55 million, a 10.21 per cent increase compared to the Dh112.1 million generated during H1 2011, revealed PwC in the report.

This growth has far outstripped the budgeted revenue and registration targets for the free zone this year.

In addition, RAK FTZ’s growing reputation also received a major fillip as it was recently named as one of the Top 50 Free Zones in the Global Free Zones of the Future 2012-2013 rankings, which recognised the free zone’s various attributes, including its cost-effectiveness and economic potential, on offer.

The top new companies at RAK FTZ that registered during H1 2012 came from India, the UK, Jordan and Pakistan, among others. A vast majority (62 per cent) of the newly registered companies represent the commercial sector, followed by consulting (28 per cent) and general trading (nine per cent), as shown in the PwC report.

Maryam Al Murshedi Al Shehhi, deputy director general of RAK FTZ, said: “The RAK Free Trade Zone’s philosophy centres on attracting and maximising the growth of value-added, know-how based, and technologically advanced businesses in Ras Al Khaimah. This has seen us attracting some top companies to the region over the last 12 years. The tremendous and continuous growth in our new client portfolio reflects the investors’ confidence in our transparent and business-friendly environment.” – Khaleej Times


Dh1bn 'Dubai Sustainable City' launched…construction to begin by year-end

            Diamond Developers, a Dubai-based developer, has launched Dh1 billion “Dubai Sustainable City” with construction set to commence by year-end.

The city will have “zero” waste due to the integrated system for waste recycling, sustainable and natural transport means such as horse carts and 20 organic farms. It will cover 46 hectares and have 550 residential villas fitted with organic farms and solar cells to generate electricity and heat water.

Eco-friendly and sustainable resort and spa, an educational zone, a green belt that will have 20,000 trees, a 5,000 square feet long water canal and a tourist minaret that allows tourists and residents to view the city at an altitude of 100 meters will also be part of the sustainable city.

According to the developer, 20 per cent of the construction area will be built with eco-friendly materials, with 60 per cent of the project will be landscaped. Solar farms will cover 600,000 square feet, while fifty per cent of the cooling energy in the city will generated through solar power.

Faris Saeed, company Chairman, told Emirates 24/7: “The company would commence work on infrastructure and greenery work by year-end, while construction on the residential and commercial buildings will commence by March next year.”

He added: “The final design of the city has been submitted to Dubai Municipality to ensure harmony required between the city, building standards and urban and engineering sustainability.”

Saeed is optimistic about the project and states that he has funding in place.

"The market is recovering and there is good demand for townhouses and villas. Prices have shot up but we believe the increase will be reasonable and not as before," he stated. – Emirates 24|7


Meydan unveils two major projects

            The Meydan Group has launched two major new projects, Hadaeq Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid and Meydan Tower, at  the Cityscape Global exhibition in Dubai on Tuesday.

Hadaeq Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, introduced by Meydan, establishes a new community spanning a total 5,088,959sq metres across the Nad Al Sheba landscape.

Saeed H. Al Tayer, CEO of the Meydan Group, said: “Meydan has always sought to play an active role in growing Dubai’s famed urban landscape. Our projects have been designed to position Dubai at the forefront of innovation and progress and we look forward to furthering this vision with these signature developments.”

Hadaeq Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid will be a collection of neighbourhoods centred on ‘garden living’, with infrastructure designed to resemble modern residential locales that imitate those found in the English and French countryside and Japanese gardens. 

Connected by canals and lagoons, the water network will run over 190,000sqm alongside a horse riding trail, walking and jogging paths, bicycle track and sports facilities.

Meydan Tower, on Sheikh Zayed Road skyline in Dubai, is the group’s first foray outside Meydan City.  The new property will offer residential, commercial and leisure options in one spectacularly designed tower in the heart of the emirate.

The tower will have planned office and retail spaces, serviced residences and a boutique hotel in addition to a select number of residential villas, all designed with a signature interior from a leading fashion brand.

The tower’s leisure component will boast one of the largest spa and fitness centres in the region featuring an indoor running track and tennis courts while the community tower will house nine pools as well as private and community Sky Gardens.

The Club House, located on the top floor, will be home to a late-night Rooftop Nightclub experience with vistas across the infinity pool roll over city, beach and desert landscapes.

“Cityscape Global is the Middle East’s most established influential meeting point for the real estate markets of the globe and is a fundamental platform for attracting investment to the region.  We are very proud to announce the expansion of the group’s presence beyond Meydan City here,” Al Tayer said. – Emirates 24|7


Emaar, Al Futtaim mull Egypt JV

Plan to build lifestyle development Dh3bn Cairo Gate

            Al Futtaim Group and Emaar on Tuesday announced an initial intention to enter into a EGP 5 billion (Dh3bn) joint venture agreement to develop ‘Cairo Gate’, the largest lifestyle and entertainment development on an Emaar Misr property of 160 acres of prime land on the Cairo- Alexandria desert highway.

The first phase of the Cairo Gate development will comprise a mall with a gross leasable area of 120,000 sqm, and will be anchored by Al Futtaim’s retail brands such as IKEA, Marks & Spencer, Toys “R” Us, ACE, Intersport, Guess, Esprit and others apart from restaurants, cafés and leisure outlets with a strong outdoor theme.

Cairo Gate will have a frontage of 1km along the Cairo-Alexandria Desert Road near the Smart Village commercial precinct, and will complement the residential, hospitality and commercial components of Emaar Misr's development. The primary catchment areas, including 6 October City and Giza, have a population of over six million residents.

While a mega shopping mall will be the centrepiece of the development, Cairo Gate will be complemented by an office park with facilities including a luxury hotel, schools, medical facilities and residences ranging from townhouses to villas and apartments.

Mohamed Alabbar, Chairman of Emaar Properties PJSC, said “We are proud of this partnership which will add tremendous value to the real estate and retail industry sectors at large, and we look forward to working together with Al-Futtaim Group and realising the full potential of this venture.”

Omar Al Futtaim. Vice Chairman and Group CEO said: “This JV represents a significant and long-term partnership between Al-Futtaim Group and Emaar who are on a new path for growth in Egypt. The agreement demonstrates our confidence in the Egyptian economy.”

“This is a clear evidence to our positive view on the Egyptian economy and we are confident of the investor-friendly direction of the Egyptian government especially in resolving investors’ disputes,” Al Futtaim added. – Emirates 24|7


Dubai remains an attractive destination for investors

            Dubai continues to remain an attractive destination for investors due to its safe haven status, but mechanisms are needed to make it difficult for investors to flip properties as the realty market shows signs of recovery, a panel of experts said.

“Long-term investors generally look at yields, finance, demand and supply, cash flow against short-term investors who borrow money for quick profit. Developers not just need to study the profile of buyers and must put financial conditions that make it difficult to flip properties,” Fadi Al Said, Senior Investment Manager, Head of Investments, Middle East and Africa, ING Investment Manager, said addressing a seminar at Cityscape on Tuesday.

However, Dr Ryan Lemand, Senior Economic Advisor and Head of Risk management, Securities and commodities Authority, UAE, was of the view that residential flipping, which took place during the boom days, did good in the sense that it put Dubai on the world map and created all the buzz.

“Dubai is emerging out of the crisis… It has showed the world how to fight and adapt to crisis.”

In July, Emirates 24/7 reported that the Dubai Land Department had urged developers launching new projects to discourage investors from re-selling “off plan” properties unless the project has reached an advanced stage of construction.

“We don’t have any regulation to prevent people from reselling their property. The developer should discourage people from selling off-plan until the project has reached an advanced stage,” the department said.

Masood Al Awar, CEO, Tasweek, said the Dubai real estate market was maturing and has always remained an attractive destination.

“The emirate offers security, stability and quality… there is government support and this all is helping the market to revive.”

However, he warned that some developers had not learnt their lesson and were trying to leverage the investors confidence to make quick gains.

“These non-professionals need to be stopped from entering the market,” he emphasised.

On Monday, Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) said that the recovery in the real estate market was more robust in Dubai than in Abu Dhabi. The consultancy said that Dubai was ahead of the curve as rents are finally starting to pick up while Abu Dhabi was yet to bottom out. In terms of sectors, retail remains a driving force with significant opportunities in both emirates. – Emirates 24|7


UAE, Argentina to increase trade

            Argentina, Latin America’s third largest economy, wants to strengthen its presence in Middle East markets.

The country seeks to boost its agri-food and livestock exports particularly meat, fish and poultry into the region.

A seven member delegation, led by Ruben Caro, Argentine Ambassador in the UAE, comprising Gustavo Al Varez, Undersecretary of Political Co-ordination at the Argentine Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries and other senior officials from the Agriculture Ministry including Walid Al Kaddour, Director, Chamber of Arabic-Argentine Commerce visited Jafza recently.

The delegation was received by Ibrahim Mohamed Al Janahi, Deputy CEO, Jafza and Adil Al Zarooni, Senior Vice President, Global Sales.

The delegation sought to strengthen commercial relations with Jafza and explore the various possibilities for establishing its regional base in the Free Zone.

Ibrahim Al Janahi said of the visit: “We are more than happy to extend our full support to Argentinean businesses in their goals to extend their reach and presence in the region. As a facilitator and a trade and logistics hub we are committed to supporting our customers to serve the region as seamlessly and efficiently as possible.”

The Argentina delegation to Jafza comes on the heels of a visit by Norbert Yahuar, Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Argentina, earlier in the year to the UAE.

During this visit he signed a joint statement of co-operation with the Department of Economic Development Dubai to boost commercial exchange in the agricultural, agri-food and livestock sectors.

Adil Al Zarooni, in his presentation, briefed visiting delegates on the strategic strength of Jafza as a trade and logistics hub to reach the markets in the Middle East, Africa, the CIS and South Asia comprising a consumer base of more than 2 billion people.

“Jafza is the only multi-modal logistics platform in the region and perhaps in the world, which is located between the region’s two largest enablers, Jebel Ali Port and Al Maktoum International Airport,” Al Zarooni said.

Argentine Ambassador announced that the Argentinean Government is fully committed to strengthening bilateral trade relations between the two countries and mentioned that an impending delegation comprising government institutions and leading businesses from Argentina will soon visit the UAE and Jafza to take this initiative forward to the next level.

Trade between Argentina and the UAE was worth Dhs1.1 billion (US$300 million) in 2011.

Meat and poultry constitute a major share of Argentinean exports to the UAE. Argentina-Jafza trade in 2010 reached Dhs195 million (US$54 million), up 170 per cent from its trade of Dhs72 million (US$20 billion) in 2005.

Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza) is one of the world’s leading free zones.

Established in 1985, Jafza is today home to over 6,700 companies, including more than 120 of the Global Fortune 500 enterprises from across the world. It is a leading driver of the burgeoning UAE economy.

Jafza is the region’s most efficient logistics hub and the only one in the world located between a top container terminal (Jebel Ali Port) and a top international airport (Al Maktoum International Airport), enabling the best in multi-modal connectivity.

As the leading business hub of the Middle East, it focuses on long term customer relationships and fosters alliances with global investors by providing them world class infrastructure duly supported with quality driven value added services and incentives, enabling them to avail huge business opportunities in the region, in the most efficient way.

Earlier last month Abdullah Al Saleh, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Trade (MOFT), has discussed with a visiting Argentinean delegation ways of strengthening and developing joint UAE-Argentinean investment in the South American country’s agricultural sector and removing barriers to Emirati investors wishing to invest in the sector. – The Gulf Today


UAE launches a knowledge revolution

            Public schools across the UAE are to put in place advanced electronic infrastructure complete with fourth-generation, high-speed networks in a concerted effort to strengthen the overall standard of learning and complement standard curriculums.

The use of the latest technology in education was the dominant theme at the third annual conference of the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR) titled ‘Information Technology and the Future of Education in the UAE.’

The ultimate aim of the initiative is to ensure that the UAE becomes a leading producer and exporter of knowledge, educationists addressing the conference in Abu Dhabi said on Tuesday.

The UAE government has been able to support education in advanced technical fields through a series of pioneering initiatives, most notably the ‘Smart Learning Initiative’ launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, at an estimated cost of nearly Dh1 billion.

Khulood Saqr Al Qasimi, director of the Curriculum Department at the Ministry of Education, said the forward-looking project involves the Ministry of Education and the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority and is directly followed up by the UAE Cabinet given its critical importance in the context of sustainable development plans.

The initiative will provide a variety of services for parents to electronically follow up on the education of their children, acquaint themselves with their projects, make comments and suggestions, besides sharing information with teachers and various sections in schools on the progress of their children.

The advantage of the project, which will be implemented in 400 schools within three years, is that it takes into account all the elements of the educational process — the student, the teacher and the curriculum, and the school environment. It will employ the latest and finest electronic information systems available to promote an integrated approach in the educational process, involving all concerned parties. The initiative also reflects a comprehensive e-transformation in the federal government.

“The UAE’s strategy for achieving sustainable human development gives more attention to quality of education because it is the fundamental basis for any successful investment in human resources,” Humaid Al Qattami, Minister of Education, told the third annual conference of the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research.

Al Qattami said the UAE has assiduously worked towards attaining the objectives of ‘Education First’, a global initiative by the United Nations to ensure a transformative and quality education experience for all people. He also cited the increase in the number of students in 725 general schools to 268,272 students from only 24,000 in 129 schools in 1971 when the UAE was founded and 110,000 students in 80 higher education institutions.

According to figures for the academic year 2012-2013, the number of students in various disciplines of engineering and health sciences spread across 17 faculties stands at 6,265 currently.

Dr Jamal Sanad Al Suwaidi, director general of the ECSSR, said there is a need to constantly upgrade the education system in view of the skills required to keep abreast with technological advances worldwide. “All of these form part of 21st century information and technology skills which form a sophisticated educational basis for the digital age and are considered fundamental to learning, living, working and creativity.” – Gulf News


Takatof and Sanid Volunteers arrive in USA

            Volunteers at the Takatof and Sanid Programs, two initiatives by the Emirates Foundation for Youth Development, arrived earlier this week to the United States in a new international mission.

Twelve volunteers will work closely with other volunteers from different nationalities renovating destroyed homes in Tuscaloosa, Alabama caused by the Tuscaloosa-Birmingham tornado in April 2011. Habitat for Humanity, the on ground partner, will manage the process of home renovations.

The UAE Embassy in Washington DC is cosponsoring with EF this mission for the second time. The first mission was in 2011 as volunteers contributed their efforts to another home renovations campaign that took place in Joplin, Missouri.

In addition, these opportunities shall also establish a new awareness of global poverty and population challenges among our youth, according to the embassy.

The volunteers represent the UAE's strong history of providing emergency relief to regions affected by natural disasters. At the time of the tornado, two of the diplomats at the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Washington, DC who were graduates of the University of Alabama felt a significant connection to the Tuscaloosa community. Through their efforts, the UAE Embassy organised the collaborative effort with Habitat for Humanity and UAE's Emirates Foundation to aid in the rebuilding process.

Commenting on UAE's decision to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity, UAE Ambassador to the US, Yousef Al Otaiba said, "The UAE is honored to lend its assistance in rebuilding this great American community. Over the past year, we have witnessed the courage and determination of Tuscaloosa as they have worked to bring back their city. UAE and the US are close friends, so it is no surprise to see our volunteers lined up to come over and lend a hand." Maytha Al Habsi, Chief Programme's Officer at the Emirates Foundation for Youth Development, said: "Volunteering abroad is a great way to meet and work with other volunteers from around the world and learn about different cultures, lifestyles and exchanging thoughts, learning's and ideas." "This is not the first time for our volunteers to contribute to international project. They have been serving in many countries such as Morocco, Egypt, Thailand, Tanzania, Italy and China. Last month volunteers were in a humanitarian mission in Jordan in aid of the Syrian refugees," she added.

The Global Volunteering Team helps meet the needs of communities in host countries while developing volunteers' skills and experience through work and useful activities outside the UAE. It also fosters cultural exchange activities between volunteers and hosting countries and extends the opportunity for Emirati youth to act as cultural ambassadors, In addition to establishing a new awareness of global poverty and population challenges among our youth. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Six Emirati artists win the Abu Dhabi Art Wings Project competition

The designs of six Emirati artists won the Abu Dhabi Art Wings Project competition organised by TCA Abu Dhabi and sponsored by Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank.

This year's winners, Aljoud Lootah, Hajer Al Tenaiji, Nada Khalid Mohammed, Wafa Al Qassimi, Khaled Al Jabri and Ahmed Al Dhahri will have their works on display in The ADCB Ambition Exhibition which can be found at the entrance of the Fair, and across the fair programme which includes visiting artist and patrons, along with a cash prize and VIP tickets to the event.

Their designs will also be showcased on various items in the fair's design store through printed materials, advertising, merchandise and other collateral with the international audience that visit Abu Dhabi Art.

Abu Dhabi Art organised by Abu Dhabi Tourism '&' Culture Authority is an annual platform for modern and contemporary art and design to be held from 7-10 November, 2012.

Martin Scott, Chief Marketing Officer at ADCB said of the partnership: "ADCB is committed to supporting worthy initiatives that enrich the local community and encourage UAE Nationals to realise their ambitions. The Wings Project supported by ADCB brings together young talented Emirati artists and offers them a chance to have their work displayed prominently during Abu Dhabi Art".

"Abu Dhabi Art is a global platform attracting key players from the international arts community. For us, it's an important part of our mission to open doors and encourage often young, emerging Emirati artists and designers to showcase their work," said Rita Aoun Abdo from Abu Dhabi Tourism '&' Culture Authority.  – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Djokovic, Nadal and Murray head billing for Abu Dhabi tennis event

            Rafael Nadal could make his long-awaited comeback in Abu Dhabi just before the end of the year

The Spaniard was the surprise inclusion in the six-player line-up for the fifth Mubadala World Tennis Championship, which was announced yesterday.

The 26 year old has not featured in a tournament since losing in the second round at Wimbledon in June. But championship organisers are confident he will be fully fit to play in Abu Dhabi.

“We wouldn’t be announcing him today if we didn’t have confidence that he wouldn’t be here,” said Greg Sproule, the managing director of IMG Middle East. “Everything is on track in terms of his fitness and recovery of his left knee.”

Heading the stellar line-up at the Abu Dhabi International Tennis Complex at Zayed Sports City from December 27 to 29 will be Novak Djokovic, the world No 2 and defending champion, in a tournament which offers a US$250,000 (Dh918,200) winner-takes-all prize.

Joining the Serb and the world No 4 Nadal will be Andy Murray, David Ferrer and Tomas Berdych, the world Nos 3, 5 and 6, along with the rising Serb Janko Tipsarevic, the world No 9.

Roger Federer, the world No 1, is missing the Abu Dhabi event for the first time.

Sproule said the organisers had invited the three previous Abu Dhabi winners – Murray, Nadal (twice) and Djokovic – and three of the rising stars from the ATP.

“I think most people would agree there are four major players these days and it includes Roger, Andy, Novak and Rafael, and of the four we are celebrating the winners of the previous years,” he said at yesterday’s press conference.

“We had some discussions with Roger but, ultimately, the theme was past winners; that’s what we stuck with.

“I think it is fair to say Andy Murray is the most talked about player in tennis today because of an incredible summer with his Olympic gold medal and the US Open grand slam title. And we hope he carries that kind of momentum in to Abu Dhabi. We understand Roger is greatly popular. However, we can’t have all the players that we want all the time but we think we have is the best line-up of players we can possibly secure.”

Organisers also noted the significance of the event ahead of next year’s first major, the Australian Open, which starts on January 14.

“Last year Novak won this title on his debut and went on to win his third grand slam title at the Australian Open, just demonstrating the importance of the Abu Dhabi event,” Sproule said.

“The Abu Dhabi championship has gone from strength to strength since its inauguration four years ago. We believe this event is a true success story by every measure, and the facts are testament to all that is achieved to put Abu Dhabi on the global tennis stage.”

Amina Taher, Mubadala’s head of community engagement, said they were looking forward to three days of exciting competition. “And for the local community, it is so much more than just a weekend of entertainment,” she said.

“The championship is leaving a lasting legacy in Abu Dhabi by inspiring a new generation into tennis through dedicated community initiatives like the Mubadala Tennis in School programme and the Mubadala Community Cup leading up to the Mubadala World Tennis Championship.”  - The National


‘Return of Pink Polo for a good cause in Abu Dhabi

            Ghantoot Racing & Polo Club will host the third renewal of the Pink Polo breast cancer awareness day on November 10.

Presented by Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB), Pink Polo is the conclusion of Health Authority Abu Dhabi’s National Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign and uses competitive sport to promote a life-saving message.

Event founder Carrie McNeill said: “Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed form of the disease in the UAE and Pink Polo highlights the importance of regular self-examination and early diagnosis.”

The ADCB has been confirmed as presenting sponsor for the third consecutive year, while St. Regis Hotels & Resorts has become team sponsor.

Commenting on the upcoming event, Martin Scott, chief marketing officer at ADCB, said: “Pink Polo helps break down social taboos surrounding the discussion of what could be a sensitive issue through fun and accessible means.

“Breast cancer is not just a women’s issue, this disease affects whole communities regardless of gender, culture or background and it has been great to see so many people and companies help promote the message.”

He continued: “ADCB are very happy to be the presenting sponsor of Pink Polo for the third year and pledge our support to this worthy cause.”

The St. Regis brand has been associated with polo since the beginning of the 20th Century when polo matches were the highlight of the New York social calendar and where St. Regis’ founding family, the Astors, were the prominent guests.

Pink Polo is a fun family day centred around an exhibition polo match, showcasing Argentine professionals alongside local players.

Pink Polo also hosts the Pink Majlis, a focal point for breast cancer information where guests can meet medical experts and sign up for free screening.

There are also prizes for the best dressed, photo opportunities with players, free family activities, picnic areas and much more.

The event takes place at Ghantoot Racing & Polo Club and is free to the public. To find out more, visit www.pinkpolo.ae and follow on Facebook/PinkPoloWorld and Twitter/PinkPoloWorld. – Sport 360°


Al Qassimi-led ADR drives Abu Dhabi back to WRC

            Rally driver Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi is behind the wheel of Abu Dhabi Racing (ADR), a capital-based company aimed at giving a fillip to the emirate’s presence in regional and global motorsport.

The national and regional rally champion, who drove for Ford Abu Dhabi WRT at the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) from 2007 to 2011, has confirmed to Sport360° that ADR was formed with the objective of identifying Emirati drivers and preparing them for regional and international competitions, in addition to vigorously promoting the emirate of Abu Dhabi globally.

“We have some very ambitious plans to participate in international and regional motorsport events to promote local talent and also the emirate of Abu Dhabi globally,” Sheikh Khalid said.

In order to achieve this end, ADR has agreed a five-year partnership with car maker Citroen to create a three-car Citroen Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team, which will participate in the 2013 WRC season.

Sheikh Khalid confirmed that he would once again be in action at the WRC starting next year, but disclosed that he would not drive the full season and instead handover the wheel to another factory driver.

“I will not do the full season, it is not possible. There will be much more to do once ADR is formally launched in December and I would like to be actively involved in the company’s development from day one.

"So, while I will do some rounds of the WRC, another factory driver will do rounds that I skip. This driver will be named after a due selection process carried out between ourselves and Citroen,” Sheikh Khalid revealed.

ADR has forged a strategic relationship with motorsport stakeholders from Abu Dhabi, such as the Abu Dhabi Motorsport Management, Yas Marina Circuit and the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi).

Sheikh Khalid also disclosed that as part of plans to prepare for an assault on regional and international titles, he would be participating in the Jordan Rally, round five of the Middle East Rally Championship, to get back in the groove after taking a break since November last year.

However, Sheikh Khalid pointed out that he would be participating in Jordan (October 11-13) in a non-branded car and will be back officially in action at the Dubai International Rally, the last round of the MERC, from November 29-December 1.

In keeping with the ADR’s primary objective of increasing Emirati participation in various global motorsport series, including off-road and circuit-based disciplines, Sheikh Khalid said the company is currently exploring opportunities to place local drivers in regional rally series over the coming seasons.

It is understood that Khalid Al Qubaisi, who has driven in the Porsche Supercup series and was part of a four-driver ‘Abu Dhabi by Black Falcon’ team which won this year’s Dubai 24 Hour race, is part of ADR’s circuit racing plans.

According to sources, the ADR is now working towards securing additional strategic partners, including scouting for potential local, regional and international sponsors.

To aid ADR in sourcing and developing talent, the company’s supporting partners will provide strategic assistance across a number of key areas, including infrastructure, equipment, event management, marketing, communications and international promotions.

The ADR board features Sheikh Khalid as chairman, Khalid Bin Shaiban, vice-chairman, ADMM, and Al Qubaisi. – Sport 360°

United Nations hosts Pearl Initiative in New York

            On 24th September 2012, the United Nations Office for Partnerships hosted the Pearl Initiative's roundtable event on Corporate Accountability, held in parallel with the UN General Assembly meetings at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

The high-level roundtable marked the two-year anniversary of the launch of the Pearl Initiative, the non-for-profit organisation that seeks to create a corporate culture of accountability and transparency in the Arab world. The organisation has achieved much in that time, through tangible initiatives on anti-corruption, corporate governance, ethics and integrity, integrated reporting, corporate disclosure and responsible business practices. The Founding Patron of the Pearl Initiative is His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al-Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council of UAE and Ruler of Sharjah.

The roundtable brought together business leaders from public sector and private companies, state-owned enterprises and family firms, GCC Government Leaders, UN Leaders and Ambassadors as well as Heads of NGOs and Foundations to discuss the current state and the future of corporate accountability and transparency in the region. As Sheikh Nahayan Mubarak Al Nahayan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research and Chancellor of the Higher Colleges of Technology, UAE, has said, as Honorary Chairman of the Pearl Initiative "Public companies, privately held firms, government-owned corporations, not-for profit organisations, and governmental entities all are concerned with ethics." Welcoming the participants to the event were the Co-Founders of the Pearl Initiative, Badr Jafar, President of Crescent Petroleum, and Amir Dossal, Founder and Chairman of Global Partnerships Forum. They were followed by Roland Rich, Officer-in-Charge, UN Office for Partnerships; Adel Abdellatif, Chief, Regional Programme Division for the Regional Bureau for Arab States at the United Nations Development Program (UNDP); Basil Moftah, Thomson Reuters MD for Middle East, Africa and Russia; Joseph Rizzo, PWC's UN Global Relationship Partner; and Her Excellency Hoda Al Khamis-Kanoo, Founder of the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation (ADMAF) -- all who shared personal insight and experiences of imperatives, partnership opportunities and good corporate practices.

"It is very important that the Arab World plays a more active role in corporate accountability and corporate responsibility," said Badr Jafar, Co-founder of the Pearl Initiative and President of Crescent Petroleum. "The Pearl Initiative works with the private sector in countries that are part of the Gulf Cooperation Council to encourage businesses to attain greater awareness of corporate accountability and transparency towards their stakeholders and to embrace corporate responsibility in the fabric of their business models," he added.

"We work with the private sector to promote business ethics, through activities and programmes that are central to fostering a culture of corporate accountability, such as reporting, good governance, compliance and anti-corruption," said Imelda Dunlop, Executive Director of the Pearl Initiative. "This event, which brought together such a high calibre of participants, will hopefully be a catalyst for further dialogue between the public and private sectors on how to build upon the region's many business successes and make them even more competitive in today's globalised society," she noted.

In her address, Hoda Al Khamis-Kanoo, Founder of ADMAF, summed up perfectly the need for joint and urgent action when she said "Good character is invaluable. Credibility is priceless. It is the young who tomorrow will hold us accountable for our actions today. If we fail to lead by example, if we lose sight of the values we uphold, if we fail to preserve the morals that protect society, then we shall fail them." – Emirates News Agency, WAM


50 airlines will operate from the Abu Dhabi international airport

            As many as 50 airlines will operate from the Abu Dhabi international airport by the end of the year, James E. Bennett, chief executive officer for Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC) said on Sunday.

“In 2012, six new airlines will be operating from Abu Dhabi,” said Bennett, speaking at Routes Abu Dhabi 2012 press conference in reply to a question by Gulf News.

He said the future of the commercial aviation industry is closely tied to the development of new routes, which directly benefit the economies of a city or a region.

“The annual economic impact in tourism alone of an additional daily long-haul service into Abu Dhabi is estimated at approximately Dh100 million. ADAC, therefore, understands how the direct and indirect economic benefits of new routes contribute towards the growth of Abu Dhabi’s tourism, trade and commerce. At the same time new routes also strengthen Abu Dhabi International Airport’s position as a global aviation hub,” Bennett added.

He said ADAC sees the World Route Development Forum as a unique opportunity to support the local economy and the aviation industry as a whole, and “looks forward to seeing other airports and airlines develop new partnerships with us here in Abu Dhabi.”

He said the Routes conference will provide a platform to map out plans for growth in the commercial aviation industry, but more importantly, “will allow Abu Dhabi to showcase its world-class airports and aviation services, and to work even closer with airlines in delivering new routes and destinations to Abu Dhabi airports.”

Bennett said the key project ADAC is keen on showcasing to the global commercial aviation industry during the Forum is the construction of our iconic Midfield terminal complex that, when operational in 2017, will transform the travel experience of all passengers travelling to, from or through Abu Dhabi International Airport.

ADAC, in June this year, awarded a Dh10.8 billion contract to a consortium of TAV, Arabtec and CCC for building the midfield terminal. Once ready, it will have the capacity to handle 30 million passengers a year, up from the current 12 million.

“The aviation industry is one of the 12 sectors that underpin the Emirate’s engines of economic growth and diversification in Abu Dhabi’s Economic Vision 2030. The government’s recognition that this sector is essential for connecting the Emirate to the world, has been translated into significant investment in the commercial aviation sector, enabling Abu Dhabi International Airport to become one of the world’s fastest growing international airport hubs,” Bennett concluded. – Gulf News


2,800 delegates, 750 airports and 300 airlines gather in Abu Dhabi for the world's largest commercial aviation event

            World Routes, the 18th World Route Development Forum was officially opened yesterday by Abu Dhabi Airports Company's (ADAC) CEO, James Bennett. The event, which takes place over four days, will attract 2,800 senior professionals who represent over 300 airlines and 750 airports as well as numerous governments, destinations and tour operators.

On the first day of the event the World Route Development Strategy Summit, which takes place alongside World Routes, was launched with a keynote speech by ADAC CEO, James E. Bennett. The summit provided a platform for industry leaders to discuss key on-going topics that impact this dynamic and ever-evolving industry. Key topics highlighted during the summit included: taxation; rising oil prices; aeropolitics; environmental factors; sustainable route development; economic development; and, general regional perspectives on aviation and its potential for growth.

Along with the summit opening, Routes held a joint press conference with Abu Dhabi Airports Company to announce the launch of the event and to engage with the 180 accredited journalists on Route Development strategies and trends. In addition, the first day of the forum started with meetings held between airlines and airports to seek and plan for new routes.

This year's event programme has been extended to include full days on both Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th with delegates invited to "Experience Abu Dhabi", attend the World Route Development Strategy Summit and further enjoy the unique one-to-one networking, briefing, and meeting opportunities. Exclusive Route Exchange Airline Briefings by airlines such as Etihad, Air Canada, Southwest, Iberia, and Aeromexico will also allow airlines to brief airports directly on their requirements and various market opportunities.

This marks the first time the event has returned to a previous host city. Back in 1996, Abu Dhabi's downtown Hilton Hotel was the setting for the first hosted World Routes event. 16 years later, delegates will be able to witness for themselves the immense changes that demonstrate how the city's future as a world class destination is taking shape. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Etihad aims for revenue in 2012 to reach US$5bn

            James Hogan, the chief executive of Etihad Airways, is targeting revenue of more than US$5 billion (Dh18.36bn) this year after he reiterated the airline's expansion plans by buying stakes in other global carriers.

Hogan laid out the carrier's ambitions at an aviation conference in the capital yesterday.

"We see further equity investments only if it's the right opportunity, right partner, right market and right price," he said in a speech at the World Route Development Forum in the capital.

Etihad has already snapped up minority equity stakes this year in Virgin Australia, Aer Lingus and Air Seychelles after hitting the acquisition trail. It also has an almost 30 per cent stake in Air Berlin.

Further acquisitions would fall along the same lines with Mr Hogan making it clear the airline was not interested in majority ownership. The carrier will also continue to add to its codeshare partnerships. Etihad has agreements with 38 airlines, contributing about 20 per cent of revenue.

"Our equity model is about growth, not control," he said.

"Through partners, we stretch our reach and it gives us the ability to compete with our immediate neighbours."

Equity stakes and codeshare deals have become a major cornerstone of the airline's expansion as it competes for traffic with its regional rivals Emirates Airline and Qatar Airways.

Last year, it landed a net profit of US$14 million, its first time in the black since launching in 2003.

This year, Etihad's revenue will hit a record US$5bn or more, despite pressures squeezing the aviation industry from the global economic slowdown and higher fuel prices, he said. Revenues reached US$4.1bn last year and revenues from partnerships hit US$281m in the first half of this year, Mr Hogan said.

Going hand in hand with Etihad's expansion has been the development of its base, Abu Dhabi International Airport.

Construction on the airport's new Midfield Terminal began this month and is expected to be completed by the third quarter of 2017, James Bennett, the chief executive of Abu Dhabi Airports Company (Adac), said on the sidelines of the World Route forum.

"The primary benefit of the new terminal is that it will be a showcase for Abu Dhabi and it will allow Etihad to grow," he said.

Located between two existing runways, a consortium led by Turkey's TAV, Greece's Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC) and the UAE builder Arabtec Construction is working on the Dh10.8bn project. The terminal will initially have a capacity of 30 million passengers a year. Adac is also working on smaller projects worth up to Dh1bn in total, to help increase capacity at the airport.

"Work is already underway for a new bus-gate facility, we are adding 20 new bus-gates," said Mr Bennett. "We are also adding extra [Airbus] A380 capability and some non public-facing improvements." The smaller projects will be completed by the third quarter of next year, he said.

Etihad has a fleet of 67 aircraft, including six cargo aircraft. Its four equity stakes bring the total aircraft fleet to 379, flying more than 72 million passengers.

Last year, 12.4 million passengers came through the airport, so far this year the figure has increased to 14 million, up 21.5 per cent, said Mr Bennett. – The National


Four express trains to ply on Red Line from today

            Starting today, trip time on the Dubai Metro Red Line will be reduced with four express trains being introduced on a trial basis for five months.

Ramadan Abdullah, Director of the Metro Trains Operation Department, said: “The four express trains will be plying on the Red Line between Jebel Ali metro station and Al Rashidiya and the other way round.” He pointed out that the new service will reduce the trip time by 10 minutes as the express trains will take around 40 minutes for a one-way trip.

The express trains will start operating at 5.30am, 20 minutes earlier than the actual operation time of the metro’s regular service, from Jebel Ali and Al Rashidiya stations. Each train will stop only at 13 main stations in both directions instead of 27, and they are Al Rashidiya, Emirates, Al Rigga, Union, Khalid Bin Al Waleed, Al Karama, Al Jafiliya, Emirates Towers, Noor Islamic Bank, First Gulf Bank, Dubai Internet City, Ibn Battuta and Jebel Ali stations, he added. 

“This service has been launched on a trial basis for a period of five months based on requests made by the metro users who voiced their need to reach their workplaces early without stopping at every metro station.”

The ticket price for a trip between Jebel Ali and Al Rashidiya will remain unchanged, Abdullah pointed out. He revealed that a survey would be conducted to evoke opinions of Metro riders on the effectiveness of the service.

Metro upgrades

The RTA is also planning art and cultural themes in addition to the commercial opportunities on the metro. Plans are on to further integrate public transport in order to reduce traffic congestion and pollution. This can be achieved through Transit Oriented Developments, which are, as the name suggests, developments integrated into public transport infrastructure.

Abdullah identified the Union Square metro station as an ideal location to commence such a pilot project. The development above/adjacent to the metro station is envisaged to be a mixed use development, which may include residential, retail or commercial entities along with anchor community spaces and civic facilities.

“Once developed, the project will be identified as an example of one of the first Transit Oriented Developments in the Middle East. It will serve as a multimodal public transport hub that will revitalise and have a positive impact on the social and commercial development of the surrounding areas,” he said

The project will be built under public-private partnership, with the private party given a concession to finance, develop, operate and maintain the facility.


Dubai plans mammoth building complex

The Dubai Municipality on Sunday unveiled the proposal for a one-million-square-foot building complex that is likely to add to the architectural attraction of the emirate soon.

The project, the image of which was revealed to the media, is envisioned as a multi-purpose complex that houses shopping complexes, corporate offices and residential flats to be located in Al Gharoud area.

The Buildings Department of the civic body has completed the initial study for the project and has sent its report for detailed consultation and deliberations, Head of the Building Permits Section Yousuf Abdullah said in a press statement.

He said the new edifice will add much more colour to the already acclaimed international attraction of Dubai.

“It consists of 70 shops, 25 offices and 280 residential flats ranging between 1,600 to 2,400 square feet in size. The complex will also have 580 parking lots, facilitating visitors and inmates,” the official said.

However, he did not clarify when the project is likely to get a go-ahead from the authorities concerned. – Khaleej Times


FDI to Dubai jumps 7% in H1

            Signalling the strong resurgence of investor confidence in Dubai’s economic growth, foreign direct investment, or FDI, to the emirate recorded a seven per cent jump in the first half of this year.

Dubai FDI, the foreign investment office at the Department of Economic Development, said on Sunday the emirate drew Dh16.5 billion in FDI during the first six months of 2012.

Statistics compiled by Dubai FDI showed that during the first half, 113 companies initiated 115 FDI projects. January saw the highest average capital investment while the highest number of projects in a single month — 26 — was recorded in April 2012.

“Total FDI that flowed into Dubai during January-June 2012 was seven per cent up from the first half of 2011. The presence of larger projects is the most notable feature of the FDI inflow during the first half of 2012,” Dubai FDI said in a statement.

In 2011, the UAE, which is giving final touches to a long expected foreign investment law, attracted more than Dh36.73 billion in foreign investment, emerging as a leading destination for FDI projects in the Middle East and Africa.

A total of 328 projects were launched, up 13 per cent from the previous year, data from FDI Intelligence shows.

According to United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, or Unctad, the UAE was the second top recipient of FDI in the Arab world at US$75 billion in 10 years after Saudi Arabia at US$154 billion.

Overall FDI trends during January-June 2012 reaffirm Dubai’s pre-eminence as an investment destination of choice and reflect a growing confidence globally on the growth prospects across key sectors of the emirate’s economy.

“More and more firms and investors worldwide are now convinced of the unique growth opportunities Dubai provides as a regional hub and business centre. The rise in number of multinationals relocating to Dubai and in FDI across key industry sectors in the emirate validate this,” said Fahad Al Gergawi, chief executive officer of Dubai FDI.

“Dubai FDI is particularly proud to see such positive outcomes achieved by the government of Dubai as our focus is on comprehensively promoting business in Dubai and enabling investors to take advantage of Dubai’s competitiveness,” added Al Gergawi.

Similar to the first half of 2011, India, the US, the UK, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Germany, Switzerland and France were on top among the source countries for FDI into Dubai in the first half of 2012. The top 10 countries accounted for 83 projects, or 72 per cent of the total, and their combined investment of Dh15.5 billion was 94 per cent of the January-June 2012 FDI into Dubai. The UK and India accounted for 29 per cent of the FDI projects, mainly in business services.

“It is also noteworthy that a new breed of investors is finding Dubai the place to be. Dubai’s world-class infrastructure, convenient links to the East as well as West and distinguished lifestyle is especially appealing for this generation of ambitious and innovative entrepreneurs,” said Al Gergawi.

Almost 93.9 per cent of FDI projects initiated in Dubai during January-June 2012 are new investments, compared to 88 per cent in the first half of 2011. Moreover, almost 45 per cent of the projects came from companies that had not previously had a project recorded in Dubai.

Average capital investment in the new projects was Dh149 million, while average capital investment for expansion was Dh56 million. – Khaleej Times


Nakheel launches Jumeirah Park Legacy villas

            Nakheel, Dubai-based master developer, on Sunday announced the launch of Jumeirah Park Legacy villas, which are part of the 350-hectare master community that comprises 2,000 villas.

In a statement, Chairman Ali Rashid Lootah, said: “Nakheel is transforming a large expanse of desert into a vibrant group of communities which combine premier location with quality living.”

Earlier this year, Nakheel launched the Palm Residence and Palm Views East and West on the Palm Jumeirah.

Jumeirah Park, located next to the Jumeirah Islands community, offers three distinct styles of villas: Legacy, Regional and Heritage.

The Legacy type villa have a large open hall overlooking the back garden and closed kitchen with the ground level having a guest room while four bedrooms, each with its own terrace, are on the first floor. Each villa is designed with closed garage for two cars and a large backyard garden.

Residents will have access to a range of shops and services within the development, including a community shopping centre, restaurants, mosques, school, police and fire stations and landscaped gardens.

Nakheel did not mention prices of the villas. However, four-bed Legacy villas are listed for sale in the secondary market between Dh4.2 million andDh5 million.

In July, Nakheel signed a Dh27.5 million contract for the construction of the new 10,600 sq metres Jumeirah Park Community Centre.

Parkway International Contracting has been appointed the main contractor for the community centre, which will primarily serve 4,200 homes in Jumeirah Islands, Jumeirah Village Triangle and Jumeirah Park. Construction is expected to be completed in 12 months. – Emirates 24|7


Ajman plans to make Masfoot a tourist city

            The Ajman Municipality has made a strategic plan until the year 2030 to develop Masfoot as a tourist city.

Mohammed bin Omair, director of planning department of the Ajman Municipality, said that the city, ideally located between the Oman borders and Dubai, has all the features of a tourist city in terms of nature, weather and environment.

The plan also includes the expansion of residential areas since the demand of residences in the area has increased tremendously. The plan to be executed by the beginning of 2013 include Masfoot hospital with 30 beds, banks, government offices, abattoir, vegetables and fruit market and industrial areas with several labour camps.

The industrial areas will include heavy and light industry. Hotels and tourist attractions have also been included in the plan to attract tourism.

“We are focusing on tourism as part of the development of Masfoot,” said bin Omair. “There will be a number of schools, and other education centres as well entertainment areas such as Al Warqa and Masfoot parks.

He pointed out that, currently, the number of residents is 6,000 of which 90 per cent belong to the Bedouin tribes and the rest are expatriates working in service areas.

A study on the recently opened five dams in the area has been made and referred to the Ministry of Environment. Five more dams are being planned to prevent floods during the rainy season and emphasis is laid on increasing the water sources and green areas of the city, and on landscaping. A variety of trees and flowering plants will be planted on either side of the main roads.

With regard to the road networks, the plan includes development of Ittihad road in addition to a number of internal and external roads based on international standards. All streets will be well-lit and the municipality will undertake the task of naming and numbering them.

The municipality will also ensure that 70 per cent of the land is held by UAE nationals in the area, and all types of municipal services will be rendered to the residents.

The municipality will also hold meetings with residents and explain the new development plans. – Khaleej Times


Flying hospital seeks helping hand in UAE

            A gleaming white DC-10 sits on the tarmac at Al Bateen Executive Airport in Abu Dhabi. What sets it apart from any other aircraft is the fact that it is equipped with an operating theatre, a recovery room and all manner of surgical equipment.

This is the Flying Eye Hospital which has treated more than 15 million patients worldwide for a range of eye-related diseases.

Currently on its first trip to the UAE since 1982, the hospital is looking to build long-standing relationships with medical professionals.

“Our activities, which offer free surgeries and training programmes, also require corporate and individual funding. We hope to build a network here in the UAE to support these initiatives financially and medically,” Jack McHale, programme director for new aircraft sourcing, told Gulf News. “As a hospital, we travel to developing nations to train medical staff in surgical and treatment methods. For this, we recruit specialists from other countries, including a doctor from Dubai who works closely with us.”

Jackie Newton, a staff nurse at the hospital, added: “At present, we are looking for volunteers experienced in paediatric ophthalmology, as well as anaesthesiologists for the crew.”

The Flying Eye Hospital provides treatment and procedures to prevent avoidable blindness in developing countries. It has reached out to people in China, India, Ethiopia, Zambia and Bangladesh, among other countries. The hospital is operated by international non-profit organisation Orbis International, which is dedicated to providing eyecare in situations where people generally don’t have access to alternative medical care.

“In numerous cases, blindness and visual impairment can be avoided, especially in cases when it is caused by lack of proper eyecare and nutrition in developing cases. In fact, 20 per cent of all our patients so far have been children who have received eyecare to restore their vision,” Dr Ahmad Juma, the hospital’s medical director, told Gulf News.

The World Health Organisation estimates that 80 per cent of all cases of visual impairment around the world can be avoided or cured. Yet nearly 39 million people suffer from blindness, and about 246 million people have low vision.

To counter this, staff from Orbis first select an area or location that requires medical skills to prevent blindness among its population. Thereafter, they coordinate with local government and hospitals to establish the timeline and exact goals of the programme. Preparation then takes a year or more, before the flying hospital eventually arrives to conduct the programme.

McHale added that the surgeries to restore vision for many patients often costs less than US$10 (Dh36) to offer. “We provide them [treatment] free of cost, but most importantly, we try to train local medical staff so that they can deal with the eye-related medical problems most common in their communities,” he said.

The aircraft currently has 22 crew members on board, including five aviation technicians, anaesthesiologists and nurses.

McHale also explained that the training programmes offered by the hospital, and Orbis, cover a range of surgeries and diagnostic treatments, as well as biomedical engineering processes needed to maintain surgical equipment.

After its five-day stopover in Abu Dhabi, the flying hospital is bound for the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa for one of two planned training programmes. – Gulf News


Successful Pink Caravan Campaign initiative receives international applause

            Throwing the spotlight on Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October, Pink Caravan, the breast cancer awareness campaign of Friends of Cancer Patients (FoCP), made its mark on the international arena when, as part of the collective global efforts to fight cancer and reduce its impact on communities around the world, FoCP participated in the World Cancer Congress (WCC) 2012, at the Palais des congres Montreal, Canada.

Held under the theme Connecting for Global Impact, the WCC was organised by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) in collaboration with the Canadian Cancer Association, McGill University and the University of Montreal.

The third day of the congress witnessed a historical moment for Friends of Cancer Patients when Ameera BinKaram gave a presentation on the tremendous success of FoCP's Pink Caravan campaign, an initiative launched to create countrywide breast cancer awareness and encourage regular check-ups, along with a short film on the campaign's major achievements.

Speaking before a large global audience comprised of leading specialists and experts from international cancer control organisations, representatives from world-renown health institutions including the World Health Organisation, prominent Canadian figures, and a large number of doctors, psychologists and representatives of hospitals and pharmaceutical companies of international repute, she highlighted the importance of the campaign in fighting breast cancer in the UAE.

The presentation struck a chord and received enthusiastic applause from the audience -BinKaram being the only presenter to receive this honour.

Following the session, she was approached by many representatives interested in launching the campaign in their respective countries.

WCC 2012, which attracted more than 3,000 experts and specialists in cancer control from 120 countries across the world, represented a unique platform for the international cancer control community to meet, discuss, share and learn in order to find solutions to the increasingly cancer affected communities around the globe.

The WCC Programme included the Global Cancer Summit, the opening ceremony of the World Cancer Congress, interactive meetings, forums, workshops and sessions where speaker's gave short presentations, as well as abstracts on a wide range of cancer related topics.

In addition to these, the new UICC Global Village was also launched. An international initiative, the village provided a central and dynamic environment, where people could interact and exchange ideas and create partnerships with the aim of putting cancer on the global health agenda, mobilising global efforts and adopting effective plans to fight cancer and reduce its impact on both the short and long run.

Held every two years, the Congress is the perfect event to highlight the need for continued support and momentum in translating the benefits of knowledge gained through research and practice to those living with and affected by cancer. FOCP aims to host this international event on home soil in the future. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Broader range of PhD areas offered to KU students

            Five new specialisations under the PhD in engineering programme have been approved by the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Khalifa University announced on Saturday.

The new PhD specialisations comprise mechanical, aerospace, nuclear, biomedical engineering and robotics.

More than 1,220 students are currently enrolled at Khalifa University (KU), with more than 80 per cent of its students being Emirati. KU has a total of 22 PhD students, with expectations to increase this number in the next few years, a senior official told Gulf News.

“Khalifa University is the first university in the UAE to offer a PhD in engineering and these new specialisations will be added to the existing fields in communication, computer, and electronic engineering,” Tod Laursen, president of Khalifa University, said.

The additional majors will enable Khalifa University students to select from a much broader range of PhD areas of studies — all of which are critical to the development of human capital and as part of Abu Dhabi’s 2030 vision, Laursen added.

The university president also highlighted the fact that Khalifa University is actively engaged with external partners that are shaping the future of the UAE economy.

“Our discussions with these partners have identified the need for highly specialised PhD-level education. These programmes have become increasingly necessary to build a resilient and sustainable knowledge economy, which is a vital part of achieving Abu Dhabi’s 2030 vision,” he added.

“It is deeply gratifying to receive formal approval to add these additional majors to the existing PhD programme in engineering,” said Dr Mohammad Al Mualla, Khalifa University’s senior vice-president for research and development.

“These new PhD specialisations will make important contributions towards the expansion and diversification of the UAE economy into critical knowledge-intensive industries,” he added.

Students at Khalifa University will now have the option to either concentrate their studies in one of this rich set of specialisations or they may opt to do a generic PhD that spans more than one specialisation.

“This multidisciplinary approach to PhD studies is at the forefront of graduate education,” Dr Al Mualla said. – Gulf News


Exhibition to feature renowned Emirati artist

            The Sharjah Museums Department (SMD) has announced the 3rd edition of the ‘Lasting Impressions’ exhibition with a focus on the works of renowned Emirati artist Abdul Qader Al Rais

The exhibition, which aims to highlight outstanding local and Arab artistic works, includes some of Al Rais’ early works from the 1970s, some of his recent pieces, and other pieces of a political nature.

“Al Rais draws inspiration from the region’s landscape, heritage, environment and construction,” Aisha Demmas, director of executive affairs at Sharjah Museums Department, said in her welcome speech, referring to the artist as a standout cultural and artistic ambassador for his country.

Manal Ataya, SMD director general, also described Al Rais’ works as multi-layered and complex.

A detailed presentation of Al Rais’ artworks will be on display at Sharjah Art Museum until November 30.

Al Rais has exhibited his work around the world since 1965 and has taken part in numerous exhibitions in Kuwait, Geneva, Madrid, Vienna, London, and Sydney. In his 40-year career in contemporary art, Al Rais has also featured as a solo exhibitor at several other events, making the 2012 ‘Lasting Impressions’ exhibition his 36th solo exhibition.

The exhibition previously hosted Syrian artist Esmail Al Rifai in its first edition and Emirati artist Najat Meky in its second edition. – Gulf News


Sultan grants Dh1.5m to Paralympic team

            His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, has ordered a grant of Dh1.5 million to be given to the UAE Disabled Sport Federation (UDSF) in appreciation of the results achieved by the UAE team during the 2012 London Games.

This was announced on Sunday when Sheikh Sultan received the Chairman and members of the UDSF as well as members of the team.

Sheikh Sultan said he was pleased with the achievements made by the team members during the London Games. He also expressed his best wishes to the team and urged the players to win more championships and keep up the excellent performance.

Sheikh Sultan called on the UAE National Olympic Committee and the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Community Development to join efforts to encourage members of the team.

He underlined the important role played by the community at large in providing support to the Paralympics champions.

"Parents should raise their children in a way that makes them value contributions to the community. They should educate them that the differently abled champions have outperformed their able-bodied counterparts and therefore, they should be looked at as equals," he added.

Sheikh Sultan said in recognition of their achievements, he would always be prepared to meet all requirements of the champions.

UDSF Chairman Mohammed Fadel Al Hamly thanked Sheikh Sultan for his continuous support and lauded his call for a larger involvement by the community in encouraging the champions to make further achievements.


Sheikh Sultan reveals inspiration behind poem

His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi

Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah shared the inspirations that went into the creation of his poem “Manabe’a Al Ezz” (Sources of Pride) .

He also highlighted the meaning of the poetic verses during his interaction on the direct line programme, which is simultaneously broadcast on Sharjah Radio and TV.

In his interview with Sharjah Radio, Dr Sheikh Sultan said the poem carries memories of his childhood and his days as a student in Cairo. He said he sees life’s lessons that he learned being encapsulated in the beauty and diversity of Sharjah, which inspired him to release “Manabe’a Al Ezz”. It was released on the eve of the 30th Sharjah International Book Fair in 2011, during a speech dedicated to the emirate of Sharjah.

Dr Sheikh Sultan added that he has completed the second part of his Biography “Hadith Al Zakira” (Discourse from Memory) and is currently reviewing a voluminous composition titled ‘Tahta Rayat Al Ihtilal’ (Under the Flags of Occupation).

Meanwhile, Dr Sheikh Sultan received yesterday at his office Rob Waller, the US Consul General in Dubai, who called on him on the occasion of the beginning of his tenure in the UAE.

Sheikh Sultan welcoming the US diplomat wished him success in his job in further strengthening relations between both countries in various fields. – Gulf News


Inventors from UAE reach reality show final

            Software that projects virtual keyboards on to students' desks and a shopping cart that follows its user around helped two UAE scientists beat 7,000 others to reach the final 16 of the Stars of Science reality show.

Dr Mohamed Watfa, an assistant professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Wollongong Dubai, and Aisha Saleh, an Emirati final-year civil engineering student at the University of Sharjah, are competing for a first prize of Dh1.1 million.

They were among 20 contestants to reach the televised stages of the show, on the MBC4 channel.

Dr Watfa, 30, designed software for teachers in developing countries that allows them to give lessons by computer to a class of 20 using just one laptop and a projector.

Ms Saleh, 21, designed an electronic shopping cart that recognises and follows its owner using heat sensors.

Dr Watfa's software enables students to work from a keyboard projected on to their desks and backs their work up remotely on either their email account or a drop box.

"My idea is to give access to computer-based education for people in the world who can't afford it," said Lebanese-born Dr Watfa. "It will transform a wooden desk into a computer. You can have digital exams and you don't have to print anything. With a digital pen you can also take notes."

The design cuts down on cost, saves energy and enables a poorly resourced school to give a whole classroom access to hi-tech facilities. He hopes to pioneer the invention in the UAE's universities.

"There are the funds and means of support here," he said. "Dubai always wants to lead the way, so we'd be the first country to have such technology."

Dr Watfa said being on the show gave competitors exposure to international companies to market their products.

"It's been so exciting," he said. "When we got selected for the final 16 from the 20, I was a bit nervous. I'm in a competitive category with software and hardware so it's been a tough one."

One of the show's judges, Dr Yousef Al Assaf, the head of engineering at the American University of Sharjah, said Dr Watfa "wowed" the panel.

"He not only had the idea but he mastered it and could see the end of the tunnel while being only at the beginning," said Dr Al Assaf.

Ms Saleh said her electronic Follower Cart, which operates using heat sensors, would help the elderly or those with disabilities to shop.

"As an Emirati woman, I am proud to be one of the 16 candidates selected to represent my country," she said.

Dr Al Assaf said the judges were impressed by Ms Saleh's creativity.

"They loved the fact that we had an Emirati lady as it's not just good for Gulf women, but women all over the Arab world," he said. "It will show our female students that nothing can stop them. If they have the ideas and do the hard work, they can compete even internationally."

Dr Al Assaf said the show offered a platform for the region's talent and would help to inspire an interest in science in schools.

"It shows them there's another side of life," he said. "Even though compared with other countries such as Egypt there weren't many UAE entries, those there were very strong.

"Maybe it will help build the culture of innovation in the UAE."

The show is funded by the Qatar Foundation and involves competitors aged 18 to 30 competing for the top prize.

They are judged by jury members drawn from academia and innovative companies including NASA.

The winners of the nine-week show, broadcast on Thursday evenings, will be announced live on November 8. Half the votes will be cast by jury members and half by viewers. Until then, from next week viewers will see contestants eliminated on a weekly basis. – The National


Yas bids to lure more foreign fans to Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

            Ticket sales are on track for next month's fourth Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, according to Yas Marina Circuit officials.

Richard Cregan, chief executive of the track, said about 20 per cent of the 50,000 ticket sales last year came from race fans outside the UAE. This year, the goal is 35 per cent.

"We concentrated on the GCC and did a lot in Australia, Europe, and in particular the UK," he said.

Australian race fans are expected to visit specifically for the Australian V8 Supercars competition.

"The Australians are good people to travel and [they] like to get out and have a good time - not only for the Grand Prix, but to take a week off. That has worked very well."

Yas Marina Circuit, Etihad Airways, Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA) and Flash Entertainment have worked together to promote Abu Dhabi as a destination in seven countries - Britain, France, China, Australia, Russia, Saudi Arabia and the United States.

The TCA made a big push in Australia, hosting a morning television personality for a week in April and organising a special race featuring Australian drivers, called V8-Face Off in the Desert.

"Our collective strategy to boost international sales for this year's Grand Prix is based on casting our net further and earlier than ever before," said Faisal Al Sheikh, events manager at the TCA. "By taking the event to proven source markets we are strategically upping the ante in territories with well-established track records in generating strong inbound traffic to Abu Dhabi."

Three "destination packages" are on offer - luxury and lifestyle, entertainment seekers and motorsport fans.

UAE residents are notorious for buying their tickets at the last minute, and Mr Cregan expects sales to surge in the run-up to the November 2 event.

"We live in a last-minute market," he said. – The National


Real Madrid hunt UAE talent as Academy unveiled in Dubai

            The Baniyas Investment and Development announced the opening of the new Realmadrid Foundation Football Academy in Dubai today at the Dubai Municipal Stadium following the immense success of the academy in Abu Dhabi.

The academy, which aims to encourage a healthy lifestyle and build community ties, was opened by the Technical Director of Football Adolfo Sanchez Munoz, who put a group of 16 kids through their paces in front around 100 guests.

The Real Madrid man showcased some of the training routines that the foundation runs, all of which were focused on technical, social, educative and moral aspects as well as on-field tactical practices.

Sánchez Muñoz reiterated the foundation’s primary purposes to promote the intrinsic values of sport as an educational tool in the comprehensive development of those who practice it.

He said: “Real Madrid Foundation is delighted to work on promoting sports values as an educational instrument in the youth’s development in the UAE.

"The coaches’ training sessions that are currently underway are part of our endeavours to hold the supervisory, coordination, and evaluation mechanisms which ensure perfect functioning of Realmadrid Foundation Football Academy.”

Participants registering for 12 weeks in the program will be granted the chance to win complimentary trips to Madrid, Spain, to join the Real Madrid upcoming 3rd Team Camp.

The raffle draw will be held towards the end of the current 2012/2013 season to choose 3 winners from the Academy in Abu Dhabi and another 3 winners from the Academy in Dubai. – Sport 360°


Police douse two fires in Sharjah

Firefighters in Sharjah managed to douse two fires in the emirate on Sunday.

The first fire considered huge, started at 12pm at a petrochemical warehouse in Al Sajjah Industrial Area. The warehouse was completely gutted due to the inflammable contents. All barrels containing  chemicals and petroleum material were also gutted.

Firefighters from the Sharjah, Ajman and Dubai police stations helped in putting out the blaze according to Brigadier Abdullah Saeed Al Suwaidi, Director-General of Sharjah Civil Defence.

“Firefighters also managed to prevent the blaze from spreading to a neighbouring warehouse which belonged to another petrochemical company,” he said.

No casualties have been reported and fire fighters are expected to continue the cooling process till today before handing over the premises to the police to investigate into the cause of the blaze.

Another fire gutted a wooden make-shift house at a construction site in Al Taawun. Two workers suffered moderate burns,” Al Suwaidi added. Two small vans parked at the site were also burnt down in the fire that started at around 3am.

Al Suwaidi said the injured were both from Mauritania, and that they have been shifted to Kuwaiti Hospital in Sharjah. – Khaleej Times


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