Thursday, April 28, 2016

Alliance formed vs online child abuse

DUBAI -- The Department of Oil Affairs of the Government of Dubai has announced that the official price of Dubai crude oil, which will be delivered next July, will be equal to the average daily settlement price of the DME Oman Crude Oil Financial Contract in Dubai Mercantile Exchange contracts traded during the next month.

Abdullah Abdul Karim, Director-General of the Department, told Emirates News Agency, WAM, that the department sets the price of Dubai crude oil in the markets in parallel with Oman oil prices, which reinforces the transparency of pricing process commitment and setting a fair value of crude oil in the Middle East.

The official monthly price of Dubai crude oil – with the transition to the pricing futures contracts – is determined in advance, for a differential price is placed before three months, "M-3", while the official final monthly price is determined at the end of the second month "M-2 ".

The DME Oman crude oil is considered a benchmark for pricing crude oil by the countries that produce it, and it gives them a differential price that reflects the quality of the product.

Everyday at 12:30 p.m. Dubai time, Dubai Mercantile Exchange determines the daily settlement price of the Oman contract, which is the average price of transactions made within five minutes from 12:25 p.m to 12:30 p.m, Dubai time.

On the last circulating day of the month, the settlement’s window lasts for thirty minutes from 12:00 p.m. until 12:30 p.m., Dubai time.

Topnotch emergency services available here

ABU DHABI -- Brigadier Hussein Ahmed Al Harithi, Director-General of Central Operations at Abu Dhabi Police General Headquarters, has visited the Emergency and Public Safety Department, to inspect the level of readiness of staff members and the different vehicles and techniques used to deal with accidents, and provide awareness, first aid, rescue and public safety to society in general.

During the inspection visit, Brigadier Al Harithi examined the workflow at the department, the different tasks and duties it undertakes, and the speed of response to accidents. He also reviewed the department’s efforts in providing support to other police authorities in similar cases. Brigadier Al Harithi urged staff members to pursue their dedicated efforts and outstanding achievements in a way that keeps pace with the leading stature attained by the Ministry of Interior and the rapid development achieved by the UAE Police in all areas of police work. He also called upon them to further endeavor to achieve the delivery of services that meet the requirements of customers and enhance their satisfaction.

Brigadier Al Harithi was briefed by Colonel Mohammed Ibrahim Al Ameri, Head of the Department, about the readiness of staff members and the different vehicles used in rescue operations, in response to the plans of Abu Dhabi Police, which aim to reduce accidents, educate the public, and provide prevention advice and guidance on the proper ways to handle various types of accidents.

He also reviewed the department’s achievements, work processes, and international and regional awards it has obtained; particularly the international rescue diving center certification and the environment and occupational health awards.


This maybe the biggest oil devt project in the universe

ABU DHABI--His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, officially inaugurated, today, ADNOC s Al Hosn Sour Gas Development Project, the largest of its kind in the world.

Sheikh Mohamed was accompanied by H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in the Western Region, H.H. Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Council and H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs.

Al Hosn Shah Sour Gas Development Project is the first ultra-sour gas project to produce and safely process more than one billion cubic feet per day of ultra-sour gas from a single gas plant. Located in the Shah Field, 210 kilometers south west of Abu Dhabi city, Al Hosn is a joint venture between ADNOC and Occidental Petroleum.

Sheikh Mohamed was received at the plant by Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, CEO of ADNOC, Vicki Hollub, President, Chief Operating Officer and incoming CEO of Occidental Petroleum, along with senior management in ADNOC and its group of companies.

Speaking during his tour of the project, Sheikh Mohammed praised ADNOC s role in positioning the UAE, on the global energy map, as a reliable and secure source of natural gas. He expressed his support for ADNOC s plans to ensure a sustainable supply of gas and its commitment to developing the infrastructure and skills necessary to meet the needs of the next generation of energy consumers.

During their tour of the Al Hosn Shah Sour Gas Development Project, Sheikh Mohammed was briefed on the role of the new facility in expanding ADNOC s production of gas, natural gas, and liquefied condensates and liquefied natural gas.

Dr. Al Jaber said, "The inauguration of Al Hosn Shah Sour Gas Development Project is an important milestone for ADNOC as we maximise the value of Abu Dhabi s gas resources to meet the United Arab Emirates and the world’s growing demand. It is a prime example of how ADNOC utilizes innovative solutions to deliver on our strategic objectives and maintain our competitive edge."

Vicki Hollub said Occidental was proud to partner with ADNOC on the Al Hosn Shah Sour Gas Development Project, which she described as world class. "The scale of the Shah Gas field development is larger than any other ultra-sour gas field in the world. With our collaborative efforts, we have used our combined expertise to deliver the project on time and on budget," Hollub said.

"The achievements of Al Hosn Gas are a great source of pride for all of us at Occidental. I am personally honored to be part of this moment in the presence of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed and I sincerely thank His Highness for being part of this event.

"Occidental is looking forward to the possibility of expanding the Al Hosn Gas project to help the UAE meet its energy needs," added Hollub.

The $10 billion Shah Gas Development Project will produce 504 million cubic feet of natural gas, 33 thousand barrels of condensates, 4,400 tons of natural gas liquids and 9,900 tons of sulfur granules. In 2015 the facility produced 2 million tons of sulfur and is forecast to produce 3.2 million tons in 2016.

ADNOC has a 60% majority share in Al Hosn Gas and Occidental Petroleum, a 40% share.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Young Emirati chef makes waves

 The UAE's youngest Emirati chef, Bader Najeeb, who has gained worldwide recognition for his speciality in creating artistic, succulent and jaw-dropping desserts, has turned to some French inspiration for his local dishes.

The 20-year-old, who is known as "Chef b" on social media - with over 70,000 followers on Instagram and 10,000 YouTube subscribers - has collaborated with Sebastien Pinson, the French executive chef at Brasserie Flo in the Venetian Village in Abu Dhabi.

During the weekend, fans of Chef Bader got the chance to meet and greet their favourite Emirati cook, as well as taste some unique blends of desserts, including a café gourmand dessert consisting of éclairs, luqaimaat and aseedat bobar.

The collaboration between the two chefs resulted in a culinary fusion of France and the UAE.

Chef Bader, who also appeared on America's 'The Today Show' where he created luqaimaat, - an Emirati classic but with an ice cream twist - believes that food is not just a meal to be eaten, but it is also a chance to get creative and to be inspired with cultures around us.

He told Khaleej Times that creating a dish that is an art for the eye is important, as it signifies the taste of the dish itself.

"There is an old saying, "we eat with our eyes first," and that is 100 per cent true."
"If you had the most delicious dish in front of you, but not well presented, then you would not feel appealed to eat it," he added.

The self-taught chef highlighted that it was his mother's love for baking cake every Saturday, while he was a child, motivated him to learn the fine art of cooking.
He illustrated that being recognised as the youngest Emirati chef has certainly lifted his spirit and made him proud.

However, Chef Bader, who has also given classes around the world, including in Milan and Saudi, highlighted that he did not always get the support that he hoped for.

"Being a male chef might not be considered the norm in the UAE, so some people looked at it negatively and didn't support me. But I want to change that perception, because I believe one should always follow his or her true passion. Passion is a passion, you don't really choose it, you are just born with it," he added.

He noted that the collaboration between Emirati and global dishes is a representation of UAE itself, because it reflects on the multina- tionalities and cultures that are welcomed in the nation.

"Collaborating with other cultures is what the UAE has taught us. I want to reach different heights by reaching different cultures."

It is about mixing two cultures into one cuisine, he stressed. "You can gain a lot from other cultures by learning about their cuisines".

Chef Sebastien Pinson said this was the first time he worked with an Emirati chef, noting that collaborating different cultures in food certainly creates something unforgettable.

"I've been fortunate enough to work all over the world, but this was the first time I had the chance to work with an Emirati chef since I've been in the UAE."

At the end of the day however, UAE's youngest chef believes that age is not a restriction and that one should always follow his true calling. "If you have a vision, you must go for it. Ignore what people think and just surround yourself with those who support you, and you will succeed."

"You can never dream big enough in this world."

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Illegal drug use on the wane here

NEW YORK -- The UAE has reaffirmed its strong commitment to effectively address the global drug problem, confirming its success in reducing drug use within its territories by record levels.

In a statement during a United Nations General Assembly meeting on the world drug problem which concluded yesterday, Colonel Saeed Abdullah Al Suwaidi, Director-General of the Anti-Narcotics Federal Directorate-General at the Ministry of Interior and Chairman of the Higher Committee for Combating Drugs, said, "There are just a few years left until we reach the deadline for achieving the goals and objectives of the world drug problem and we are still seeing the problem worsening and its adverse effect on human health and well-being."

Al Suwaidi, also noted that the thirtieth special session of the General Assembly meeting on the world drug problem confirms joint international commitment to addressing the issue effectively.

He also spoke about the UAE Government's active efforts in this regard, he said, "The UAE has implemented a number of national drug prevention programmes which have contributed to reducing the rate of drug use by 7% in 2014 and 8% in 2015."

Al Suwaidi went on to point out that the UAE's doubling efforts has also resulted in a significantly higher number of drug dealer arrests made, with a 9% increase in 2014 and 15% in 2015.

Climate change agreement signed by 170 countries

NEW YORK -- The UAE joined over 170 countries to sign the Paris Climate Agreement during the high-level signing ceremony, convened by the United Nation’s Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, in New York. The ceremony marked the first step in implementing the Paris Agreement, which was adopted in December 2015.

Signing on behalf of the UAE government was Dr. Thani Bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, who said, "The UAE is proud to be here today to send a united message to the world. We will make Paris Agreement work, and we will work individually and collectively to find the best courses of climate action."

The Paris Agreement will govern climate action after 2020 by to continue diversifying its economy through a flexible framework that allows countries to determine its own action in mitigating and adapting to climate change. Starting in May of this year, Parties to the United Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will begin a multi-year process of detailing the Agreement to find fair and innovative ways to incentivize all countries, developed and developing, to reach their greatest ambitions.

During his statement at the signing ceremony, Dr. Al Zeyoudi outlined the voluntary steps that the UAE is undertaking to diversify its economy into knowledge driven industries, particularly through the UAE Vision 2021, Green Growth Strategy and Innovation Strategy. "These comprehensive strategies and plans will not only yield emissions reductions benefits, but they also help safeguard our economy for future generations."

Dr. Al Zeyoudi also emphasised the country’s strategies aimed at protecting its unique environmental resources, especially as with regards to water and marine environment conservation.

On the margins of the signing ceremony, the UAE and the Kingdom of Morocco signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at enhancing cooperation on climate change issues and addressing global sustainability challenges. The MoU builds on the strong bilateral ties with Morocco, who will host the 22nd Session of the Conference of Parties (COP22) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which will be held in Marrakech, Morocco in November 2016.

The UAE delegation also met with their counterparts from Australia, Canada, France, Madagascar, Maldives, Philippines and the Kingdom of Morocco to discuss areas of cooperation in the context of climate change and the environment.

Dr Al Zeyoudi also met with the U.N. Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change, Michael Bloomberg. They discussed what cities can do more to combat climate change.

The UAE delegation included Razan Al Mubarak, Secretary General of Environment Agency- Abu Dhabi (EAD),Lana Nusseibeh, UAE Permanent Representative to the United Nations, and Majid Hassan Al Suwaidi, UAE Consul General in New York, as well as representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Ministry of Climate Change and Water, ADNOC, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, and Dubai Land.

Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak said that the Environment Agency of Abu Dhabi is committed to play its part and calls for an urgent and multi stakeholder approach to climate change that balances the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, decouple carbon dioxide from economic growth, adapt to a changing climate, and engage our community of citizens and residents to do their part in addressing what may be humanity’s greatest environmental, societal and economic challenge.

"Abu Dhabi has remained steadfast in its commitment to the development of its city and its people, and we remain dedicated to supporting this while protecting and preserving our natural heritage. We will remain an active, collaborative player in providing efficient access to reliable environmental data that will equip decision-makers with information that ensures that responsible, sustainable development is the way of our future," she said.

The signing of the Paris Agreement is a significant step forward on the path to ensure we see global warming curbed to within the 2 degrees above pre-industrial temperatures - that scientists have deemed as a critical threshold. The UAE and all of the other nations that have submitted and committed to Intended National Determined Contributions (INDCs) will need to act decisively, innovate, and collaborate with other nations to curb their emissions.

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Thursday, April 14, 2016

Good neighbors’ policy applies everywhere

ISTANBUL - The UAE is absolutely committed to the principles of respecting sovereignty of states and their territorial integrity and adopting a policy of good neighborliness, Dr. Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs told the preparatory meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul, Turkey.
The ministers are to hammer out agenda of the 14-15 April OIC Summit Conference.

Dr. Gargash said the 13th Session of the Islamic Summit Conference is being convened amidst very critical and delicate circumstances the Islamic World is passing through.

''Extremism, terrorism and sectarianism have become the scourge that threaten to undermine the national structure of the state, tear apart the social fabric, communal harmony, and pose a risk to national and regional security as well as international peace and security,'' he noted.

Firmly recognizing the important role that thought can play in correcting the misconception of linking violence to Islam, the UAE has established the Hedaya Center for countering violent extremism, hosted the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies under the leadership of the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, and has launched, in partnership with the United States, the Sawab Center to harness the social media networking sites to refute malicious propaganda of terrorist organizations, notably Daesh, and respond to its mischievous fatwas, and to correct misconceptions they try to spread.

''With their geographic extension and cultural diversity, the OIC member states are in a desperate need to emphasize on these principles to establish normal ties between them. Building on this belief, the UAE is absolutely committed to the principles of respecting sovereignty of states and their territorial integrity and adopting a policy of good neighborliness,'' the UAE minister added.

''On the other hand, we confirm our categorical rejection of interference into the internal affairs of other states, particularly if that intervention could stir up sectarian strife and trigger troubles and sedition among citizens. We also call on all member states to pursue a policy that respects international law, abandons illusions of hegemony, stops support for armed militias and tampering with components of the nation state,'' he said.

Following is the full text of Gargash's speech: Mr. President, The 13th Session of the Islamic Summit Conference which is taking place in Istanbul, Turkey, is being convened amidst very critical and delicate circumstances the Islamic World is passing through.

Extremism, terrorism and sectarianism have become the scourge that threaten to undermine the national structure of the state, tear apart the social fabric, communal harmony, and pose a risk to national and regional security as well as international peace and security.

Reading this reality and out of the desire to address and confront these threats, the UAE believes the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has a core role to play in the following matters: First, the prevailing fears by some Islamic countries and Muslims which gave rise to Islamophobia requires the OIC to exert relentless efforts to correct the negative mind-set about our tolerant religion and promote its essence of centrism and tolerance. It needs a collective comprehensive cultural, intellectual and media strategy which engages both scholars and religious institutions to correct misconceptions about Islam by renewal of the religious rhetoric, promotion of Islam's core values of tolerance and peace and rejection of extremism and violence.

Firmly recognizing the important role that thought can play in correcting the misconception of linking violence to Islam, the UAE has established the Hedaya Center for countering violent extremism, hosted the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies under the leadership of the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, and has launched, in partnership with the United States, the Sawab Center to harness the social media networking sites to refute malicious propaganda of terrorist organizations, notably Daesh, and respond to its mischievous fatwas, and to correct misconceptions they try to spread.

Second, the OIC member states maintain wide diversity in the structure of their people socially, culturally and humanitarianly but there is a common factor which is to adhere to the goals of Islam and its values of centrism, moderation, tolerance and acceptance of the other which together represent the foundations of Islamic civilization. This is what urges us to call on the OIC to work diligently to co-ordinate stances and policies so as to address delicate, perilous challenges and circumstances our Islamic World is experiencing including the increasingly dangerous phenomena of terrorism and violence which don the cloak of Islam.

Though a majority of victims of terrorism are Muslims, the stereotype that some people have by one way or another is the link between Islam and violence.
Therefore, we expect the OIC to urge its member states to take decisive action against all forms of terrorism, regardless of their motivation, track down perpetrators, dry up financial sources of terrorism, and adopt national and international mechanisms to reach these goals. To do this, the OIC should have an effective framework to ensure the minimum level of concerted policies among its member states so as to speak with one voice at international gatherings.

Third, to arrive at these objectives, member states should set aside their differences that arose from divergent political opinions towards some issues and files, and they are urged to rise above these disagreements to replace divergence with convergence, and agree to a joint strategy for development and enlightenment of the Islamic peoples in the social, economic and cultural fields.

As a pool of the Islamic World, the OIC should honestly reflect the constructive role of Islam in establishing collaborative ties with other states in general and between member states in particular. It needs to have a convincing, true rhetoric that respects diversity without compromising national sovereignty of individual states, guided by the words of Allah! ''O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other.'' Fourth, you are well aware of the firm principles of international relations that were laid down by the international law which call for respecting regional sovereignty of states and non-interference into the internal affairs of other states. Commitment to these principles is a sure guarantee to realize security and stability in inter-state relations.

With their geographic extension and cultural diversity, the OIC member states are in a desperate need to emphasize on these principles to establish normal ties between them. Building on this belief, the UAE is absolutely committed to the principles of respecting sovereignty of states and their territorial integrity and adopting a policy of good neighborliness.

On the other hand, we confirm our categorical rejection of interference into the internal affairs of other states, particularly if that intervention could stir up sectarian strife and trigger troubles and sedition among citizens. We also call on all member states to pursue a policy that respects international law, abandons illusions of hegemony, stops support for armed militias and tampering with components of the nation state.

Fifth, being a staunch advocate of the rule of law and of peaceful settlement of international disputes, the UAE - from this platform, calls on the Islamic Republic of Iran to positively respond to the repeated initiatives by the UAE to reach a peaceful solution that ends the Iranian occupation of its three islands - Greater and Lesser Tunbs and Abu Mousa - either through direct negotiations or recourse the issue to the international arbitration in line with the United Nations Charter and principle of international law. Solving this long dispute will contribute to building confidence measures; promote the policy of good neighborliness on a historic stage that requires solidity and realization of mutual interest conducive to stability in our region, which was rocked by troubles.

Even they abhor extremism

Dubai: Young Arabs across the region view the UAE as a model country that provides  safety, security and well-paying jobs, according to this year’s Arab Youth Survey 2016 released on Tuesday by Asda’a Burson-Marsteller.

According to survey findings, the “UAE’s popularity is likely a reflection of its status as a model country and regional political and economic safe haven.

The Gulf state has developed a global reputation for its robust and diversified economy, which encourages a ‘can-do’ attitude among its residents and is respectful of religious and cultural diversity.”

For the fifth year in a row of a sweeping annual survey of 3,500 Arab youth in 16 countries in the Middle East, the UAE has emerged as the number-one country in which young people in the region want to live.

Twenty-two per cent of respondents aged 18-24 said in Tuesday’s release of the eight annual Arab Youth Survey that the UAE is “the top country to live in” placing the emirates a full seven per cent ahead of second-place finisher, the United States which pulled in 15 per cent of responders votes.

Both Germany and Saudi Arabia placed in third place with 11 per cent of the survey vote while Canada and France placed fourth with 10 per cent of the survey responses for best country.

The UK was ranked fifth.

“Arab youth believe the UAE is a safe and secure country with a thriving economy that offers good job opportunities and as such, is the country most would like to live in and their own country [23 per cent] to be like,” stated the survey authors in its Arab Youth Survey companion White Paper.

“The top associations with the UAE revolve around safety, security and economic opportunities with “safe and secure” the most associated phrase with 36 per cent of youth, followed by “growing economy,” a “wide range of opportunities” and generous salary packages (all 29 per cent.”

Sunil John, Chief Executive Officer of Asda’a Burson-Marsteller, said this year’s survey efforts included for the first time, questions for young business-minded youth for their thoughts on the UAE’s business environment.

“This year, for the first time, the survey also asked potential entrepreneurs -- young Arabs who said they intend to start their business in the next five years -- in which Arab country they would like to set up their business. The UAE ranked as the most preferred country with one in four (24 per cent) citing is as the top business destination in the world, followed by Saudi Arabia (18 per cent) and Qatar (13 per cent).”

The UAE also scored high marks with youth for other positive attributes in the survey.

Twenty per cent of respondents said the UAE offers a high-quality education system, 19 per cent said the UAE respects cultural traditions while 17 per cent said the UAE is a good place to raise a family.

Author and expert on global geo-political risk and geo-economics Ashfin Molavi had good things to say about the youth survey responses to UAE’s unbridled opportunity.

“There is nothing more tragic than stifled potential, of watching young, talented hard-working Arabs unable to succeed in their homelands, lining up outside Western embassies, dreaming of a visa, an exit, a way out and up,” said Molavi.

“Clearly, the UAE has emerged as a lodestar for young Arabs and while the UAE has given them an opportunity, it has also benefited from the combined efforts of the most talented, cosmopolitan, hard-working men and women of their generation.”

It has landed! A bird? No it's the Louvre!

Abu Dhabi: The Louvre Abu Dhabi is currently more than 95 per cent complete, with the project progressing on schedule and set for handing to the Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA) by July or August 2016.

The museum is expected to open in December 2016 or January 2017, according to Ali Majed Al Mansouri, chairman of the Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC).

“We will hand over the Louvre to TCA by August… and TCA will then take their time to test the building, cool it down, and hang those beautiful paintings up there. I expect they will decide, and maybe by December, all of us might be able to go and see it.

“The plan is on track. We are above 95 per cent complete, and the remaining five per cent is very critical; it’s [defining] and it’s what people will see, so we are very careful to deliver good quality,” he said.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi was originally set to open in 2012, but that date was pushed back to late 2014, and then late 2016. It will be the first of three museums set for opening on Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island, and will be followed by the openings of the Zayed National Museum and the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi.

Al Mansouri was speaking to Gulf News on Tuesday on the sidelines of Cityscape Abu Dhabi, which runs until Thursday, bringing together over 90 exhibitors and leading real estate developers.

Cityscape was inaugurated by a visit from Shaikh Hazza Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council.

At the event, TDIC launched its latest project, Saadiyat Lagoons District, which is expected to be home to 29,000 residents across over 4,000 residential units. The six million square metre mixed-use developments will feature townhouses, villas, and apartments, along with leisure facilities.

The chairman said that TDIC has already received a lot of calls from investors to reserve their units, and is expected to see strong demand for the project.

“Long-term investors who are looking beyond 2016 and 2017 will buy a product like this. In 2017, I expect the economy to be better because the government is not cutting any projects and the fundamentals of the economy are strong.

I was a little cautious in 2015, but today, I’m optimistic about 2017 because I see the numbers; from the tourism numbers, for example, and new developments like [the expansion of] Abu Dhabi Airport,” Al Mansouri said.

Discussing Abu Dhabi’s economy, he said that such factors along with forecasted increases in oil prices are giving him some optimism about improved economic growth in 2017.

Also present at Cityscape was Aldar Properties showcasing its latest project, announced on Monday, Yas Acres to investors. The Dh6 billion residential and leisure development will feature 1,315 villas once it is completed in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Other developers at the event include Bloom Properties, Mubadala Development Company, Manazel Real Estate, Tamouh Investments, Eagle Hills, and Trafalgar Properties, among others.

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Monday, April 4, 2016

Around the world via solar power

Dubai: The UAE-backed aviation quest by Solar Impulse 2 to circumnavigate the world using only a solar-powered flight will resume in mid-April, says the team leader behind the multi-million-dollar mission.

Solar Impulse 2 is ready once again to champion its next challenge to encircle the remainder of the globe and is expected to end its mission in Abu Dhabi in summer, André Borschberg, CEO and founder, told Gulf News.
“We plan to return sometime this summer to Abu Dhabi but we have no specific deadline regarding the arrival. Once we are in Europe or North Africa we have different strategies to fly to Abu Dhabi depending on the season,” he said.
The aircraft was forced to ditch its mission temporarily after the plane experienced battery damage in its longest and most difficult five-day leg of the round-the-world flight over the Pacific Ocean from Japan to Hawaii where it landed on July 3, 2015.
The eighth leg of the mission logged a 117-hour, 52-minute non-stop flight covering 8,900km, smashing world aviation records for longest single flight ever both for duration and distance as well as for the longest solo flight in history.
While effecting repairs, the plane has remained grounded for eight months in Hawaii waiting to embark on its ninth leg to North America.
The hallmark flight to Hawaii was piloted by Borschberg who said in an exclusive interview that after making repairs to the planes batteries, the team is ready to take to the air once again in a couple of weeks.
Solar Impulse 2 will disembark from Hawaii and plot a track for the United States.
The take-off day is tentatively slated for April 15, pending weather conditions.
The April time window was chosen because days are growing longer, giving Solar Impulse 2 more daylight hours to recharge its batteries while airborne to power the aircraft through the night flights as it flies easterly.
The team expects the ninth leg of the resumed round-the-world flight to the US to take roughly four days and four nights and will be piloted by Solar Impulse 2 chairman Bertrand Piccard given Borschberg completed the first half of the Pacific journey.
Borschberg said the team has every confidence in the world in the Solar Impulse 2 technology and its reliability despite mechanical setbacks that grounded the aircraft last year.
“We had a problem with the batteries — we overheated them. It’s not a problem with the technology, which works very well, but we decided to change them not to not take any risks. So now we are ready to resume the Round-The-World Flight. During our time in Hawaii, our engineers have developed a fail-safe system which should safeguard them from temperature-related glitches in case we have to follow a different mission profile than the one foreseen,” Borschberg said. “It can be controlled from the cockpit and includes a cooling and backup system. In case the cooling system breaks down, the backup one steps in, allowing the pilot to control the opening so that it doesn’t stay completely open, which would cause freezing, or completely closed, leading to another overheating scenario.”
He said the engine housing has been tweaked to include a new air vent allowing for more air flow into the battery’s cooling system.
“The task was to improve the battery system — in particular the insulation and ventilation of the four batteries — so that nothing gets overheated again,” he said.
With new adjustments made to the aircraft, Borschberg said challenges still await Piccard in the cockpit as well as for the entire support team to cross not only the remainder of the Pacific but also the Atlantic Ocean after Solar Impulse 2 completes its crossing of North America.
The physical exertion upon the pilot who must stay awake for long periods of flight time is a major issue as are other health impacts from sustained flying, he said.
“Additionally, being able to stay awake, concentrate and to keep alert is a major human challenge. I did a lot of meditation to learn how to relax and breathe properly during the flight. With my trainer, we developed special exercises in order to keep blood circulation active and relax muscles. These were more postures than exercises, in some way derived from yoga. Above all, however, passion has been the driving force behind this endeavour,” Borschberg said.
Solar Impulse 2
The plane is highly unique with a sizeable wingspan of 72m across — longer than a Boeing 747 — to reduce drag and to house a surface large enough for its 17,248 solar panels. With a maximum altitude of 28,000 feet, the cruising speed is between 50-100 km/h. Solar Impulse 2 has four batteries that power four 17.5 horsepower electric engines.
2004-2009: Start-up financing, design and construction of Solar Impulse 1
2010: First-ever solar-powered day and night flight (André Borshberg)
2011: Special guest at Paris-le-Bourget International Air Show
2012: First intercontinental solar flight across the Mediterranean to Morocco (Bertrand Piccard)
2013: Across America Mission from San Francisco to New York City
2014: Solar Impulse 2 maiden flight
2015: Departure for the Round-The-World Flight from Abu Dhabi
July 3, 2015: First flight of 5 days and 5 nights without fuel over the Pacific from Nagoya, Japan, to Honolulu, Hawaii; and longest solo flight ever achieved (André Borschberg)
April 2016: Round-The-World Flight resumes

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More children's playgrounds being built here

ABU DHABI, 2st April, 2016 (WAM) -- Abu Dhabi City Municipality (ADM) has unveiled the layout of 20 sites for children playgrounds to be constructed within parks during 2015-2016 at a cost of more than AED 30.542 million, spanning an area of over 14,000 square meters under the infrastructure projects in Abu Dhabi Mainland – North.
These projects, which come as part of the Master Development Plan of Abu Dhabi and suburbs 2030, reflect the Municipal System’s keenness and strategy aimed at developing infrastructure system of all cities and constructing parks and playgrounds.
The projects conform to the highest international standards and address the safety requirements for children and visitors of parks as well as children playing areas. The step also reiterates the Municipality’s commitment to provide entertainment options, especially for children.
Musabbah Mubarak Al Murar, Acting General Manager of Abu Dhabi City Municipality, said the Municipality had constructed 6 children's playing areas in the Mainland –North last year, spanning an area of 4,690 square meters, costing 9 million dirham.
This project included constructing children playgrounds, expanding the rubber tracks, erecting sheds, planting trees and ground cover plants, installing irrigation and lighting systems, and all other project requirements. The distribution of parks constructed covered the construction of one park at Baniyas East, four parks at Mohammed bin Zayed City hosting the aforementioned children playgrounds, and one park at Khalifa city.
"As part of its plan for 2016 aimed at revamping the infrastructure, the Abu Dhabi City Municipality is currently undertaking the construction of 14 recreational facilities in to Abu Dhabi Mainland – North as part of a project for constructing 20 children playing areas occupying an area of more than 9,700 square meters, costing over more than 20.5 million dirham," added Al Murar.
He noted that the sites, which were distributed over an extended geographical area, included 4 sites in Khalifa bin Zayed City, and 2 in Baniyas - East, 3 in Al Shawamekh, whereas Abu Dhabi Gate, Al Maqtaa, Al Falah, Shakhboot City, and Mohammed bin Zayed City had 1 site apiece.
Speaking about the key landscaping projects that have been constructed in Abu Dhabi and suburbs since last year, Al Murar said that during 2015 and as part of Phase VI, the Municipality completed a project aimed at embellishing and gussying up areas beyond Abu Dhabi Island, and rehabilitating parks & infrastructure in the Mainland.

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Got recyclable waste? Send it to this center

Dubai: The Bee’ah Waste Management Centre received 2.3 million tonnes of recyclable waste in 2015, an official said on Saturday.
Located in Al Sajaa, the centre is deemed the world’s largest waste management facility in terms of area, operational capacity and in-house facilities in which it has different types of facilities that have various functions like garbage dumping and material recovery, the official added.
The material recovery facilities receive different types of waste such as household and construction and demolition waste as well as tyres and car bodies, among others.

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Friday, April 1, 2016

Empowering women victims of violence

Dubai: The Dubai Foundation for Women and Children (DFWAC) launched its "Cases Empowerment Program" to rehabilitate the victims of violence of women to enter the Jobs market or starting their own small business that guarantees them a steady income to meet subsistence needs and ensures financial independence, which is one of the most important challenges facing this group.

Afra Al Basti, Director General of the Dubai Foundation for Women and Children, said that the program also includes establishing a workshop for the victims of violence of women at DFWAC, to produce some of the products that can be sold in the market and benefit from the income for the good of the cases during their stay in the Foundation.

"The initiative is based on the provision of many training courses for this category, including courses in English, Arabic, cooking, sewing, handicrafts, arts and management of small projects, ICDL, Beauty, which includes hair styling and an expert makeup courses in collaboration with several licensed institutions that can give certificates to the victims in the end of the course to enhance their chances to get a job or start their own project", she added.

Al Basti explained that this initiative will contribute significantly to breaking the cycle of violence against women and reduce it, where some of the victims of violence often have to return again to the same cycle of violence as a result of their financial needs, and their dependence entirely on the person who is the source of abuse in this aspect, which is often the husband.

She added that through the rehabilitation of these victims within this initiative they will have greater opportunities to get jobs or start their own small project which enables them to achieve the desired financial independence, away from the source of abuse.

Al Basti noted that achieving financial independence for the victims of violence of women is very important not only to provide subsistence needs, but also is a part of the psychological support to help them to regain their normal lives back and reintegrate them into society.

Al Basti also add that the various parties and individuals can contribute to support this initiative and the other initiatives that the Foundation carried out to support the victims of violence of women and children, through the gate of the Emirates Charity Gate or by downloading its Mobile App, as well as through DFWAC’s page on "Just Giving" platform.

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Starting them young in entrepreneurship

Dubai: The Young Entrepreneur Competition 2016, held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince and Chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai, began today at the Dubai Festival City Mall. The competition, organised by Dubai SME, the agency of the Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai mandated to develop the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector, features more than 500 diverse business projects presented by more than 1,000 students from schools and universities across the UAE.

Mall visitors can see the participating business projects and buy the products displayed in specially designed kiosks till the 2nd of April. UAE nationals account for 45% of the projects on display while 10% are from other GCC countries and the remaining are from other nationalities. Girl students are a majority among the contestants – 574, against 427 boys.

Ibtihal Al Naji, General Coordinator of YEC, said the overwhelming participation in YEC 2016 confirms the event’s success in reaching out to the students in various age categories to nurture the entrepreneurial culture, in consistent with the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President UAE Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.

"In its 11th edition, the Young Entrepreneur Competition is being supported by various government and private agencies, including, but not limited to, Al Jalila Cultural Centre for Children, Ministry of Social Affairs, Public administration for children centers and the Ministry of Education, along with a number of schools in the UAE. Such support reflects the priority accorded by competent authorities to entrepreneurship development and to supporting creative young talents who are looking for the perfect environment to achieve their ambitions," Al Naji stated.

"Dubai Festival City Mall is proud to support the entrepreneurial spirit of the UAE by partnering with Dubai SME for the Young Entrepreneur Competition 2016. The competition offers a great platform for students to translate their business ideas into real-world projects, and gain operational experience in buying, selling, and dealing directly with customers. We believe DFC Mall provides the right environment for students to showcase their products, while enjoying an unbeatable combination of shopping, leisure and entertainment options within a truly unrivalled setting," commented Steven Cleaver, Director – Shopping Centres, Al Futtaim Group Real Estate.

Abdul Aziz Al Mazam, Chief of the Registration Committee of YEC said the 2016 edition is witnessing an unprecedented level of competition, creativity and business acumen among the participants. "Besides, there are younger age groups participating for the first time, which shows the growing interest and confidence generated by the event year after year. Around 750 of the participants this year are aged 12-25 years while 250 are aged 6-11, which is more than twice the number of participants in this category in the previous cycle."

Al Mazam also stressed the importance of the contest in encouraging creative ideas of the youth and enabling them to drive economic growth in the emirate. The event provides a competitive environment that true to the realities of the business world, gives the students an opportunity to manage their business projects, and instills a desire in them to establish their own businesses in the future.

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Emirates Airline now serves Cebu and Clark

Emirates airline’s new daily circular service from Dubai to Cebu and Clark in the Philippines has touched down at Mactan-Cebu International Airport.

The service, which is the airline’s latest route addition, is expected to strengthen international connectivity to the hubs, which are two of the Philippines’ fastest-growing.
The nine-hour inaugural flight left Dubai in the early hours of Wednesday morning and was welcomed with an airport reception and press conference upon touching down in Cebu mid-afternoon.

The airport is the second busiest in the Philippines behind Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

“The Cebu Clark route has been a long commitment for Emirates in the Philippines since we started our flights to Manila in 1990, so it’s kind of a story-built commitment," said Emirates’ senior vice president commercial operations Far East, Badr Abbas.

“Cebu Clark is a popular destination - 75 per cent of Filipino foreign workers living in the Gulf area originate from the Philippines’ northern zone, which is close to Cebu area, while the catchment in the northern region has 17 million, and a lot of them are overseas workers working in the Middle East," he added.

Mr Abbas says he is confident the new service will be a good addition to the overall Philippines strategy and would generate enough demand to sustain direct flights.
The launch of the service comes a day after Emirates added four additional weekly flights from Dubai to Manila.

Since launching to the capital 26 years ago Emirates has transported more than 7.5 million Filipinos, international tourists and business travellers. Last year alone, it hosted more than 550,000 passengers on the Manila-Dubai route.

Cebu attracted 3.5 million foreign and local tourists between January and October 2015, which was up 4.1 per cent on the same period in 2014.

The two-class configured Boeing777-300ER that Emirates will operate on this route offers 42 seats in business class and 386 seats in economy class, with starting rates for each class starting from Dh8,775 and Dh2,385 including taxes respectively.

The flights to Cebu and Clark are scheduled to depart daily from Dubai as EK338 at 2.55am and arrive at Mactan-Cebu International Airport at 3.50pm. The service will then depart from Cebu at 5.25pm and arrive at Clark International Airport at 6.45pm. The return flight will depart at 8.20pm, arriving at Dubai International Airport the following morning at 1.25am.

According to Philippine officials the new services are a boon to their country, and especially important to its foreign workers.

“I have a brother working in Dubai, with this flight it makes my brother closer to home," a local spokeswoman said.

Last year, Emirates, which currently operates 251 aircraft worldwide, carried 49.3 million passengers and generated revenue of $US24.2 billion.

The inaugural flight saw Cebu local Walter Friday Brigoli as first officer.