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Abu Dhabi airport welcomes 2.1m passengers in September

posted on 20/10/2016

Abu Dhabi International Airport, AUH, welcomed 2.1 million passengers throughout September, an increase of 5 percent over September 2015.

Since the beginning of the year, passenger traffic at AUH has grown 6 percent over the same period last year, with 18,528,723 passengers between January 1st and September 30th.

There were 352,067 departures in total, a 10.1 percent increase over September 2015.

According to the TradeArabia News Service website, passenger traffic to India grew by 10 percent, maintaining that country's position as top destination, with 355,328 passengers carried throughout September.

Passengers to Qatar increased by 18.4 percent compared to September 2015, while Saudi Arabia rose to become the third busiest destination, with traffic to and from the country increasing by 19 percent.

Traffic to and from Egypt rose by 37.9 percent to 57,885 passengers. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Etihad Airways makes its fashion runway debut in style

posted on 20/10/2016

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has successfully completed sponsorship of its first six Fashion Weeks, in partnership with WME / IMG.

Etihad Airways' support of global fashion began with Fashion Weeks in Sydney, Berlin and Mumbai, and culminated with the three major Fashion Weeks in New York, London and Milan.

Patrick Pierce, Etihad Airways Vice President for Sponsorship, said, "Our custom partnerships with global Fashion Weeks began in style, with inspirational activations taking place across Europe, Asia and Australia, coupled with unique designer collaborations in each location.

"This alignment is a natural one for our commercial business, but also presents significant brand visibility and advocacy opportunities. It also gives us valuable access to influencers, opinion leaders, media and other stakeholders within the industry, in a manner previously not possible."

The long-term sponsorship represents an ideal fit for the airline, building a strong link between the quality of the Etihad Airways brand and the ever-evolving fashion industry. The partnership allows the airline to boost its reputation as a provider of world-leading service, hospitality, design and style through the unique association, by promoting passenger and cargo services to the industry in markets which are strategically important to Etihad Airways and the Etihad Airways Partner airlines.

Over the past five months, Etihad Airways has worked with fashion designers and influencers, including Oscar de la Renta in Sydney, Manish Malhotra, a favourite designer of Bollywood stars at Lakme Fashion Week in Mumbai, Jimmy Choo for its 20th anniversary celebrations in both New York and London, and, more recently, with Richard Mortimer, the editor of Rollacoaster magazine, who curated a photo exhibition for the airline on display at the Press and Buyers lounge at London Fashion Week.

At Milan Fashion Week, Etihad Airways and its partner Alitalia collaborated with fashion illustrator Megan Hess by hosting a dedicated space at the Unicredit Pavilion, where she personally sketched over 200 of Etihad Airways' VIPs and special guests.

To celebrate the opening of New York Fashion Week, Etihad Airways flew a NYFW-branded Airbus A380 from Abu Dhabi to New York's JFK International Airport on 8th September, 2016. Upon the aircraft's arrival, the airline staged a photo shoot in the Etihad Airways First and Business Class Lounge with supermodel Amber Valetta, who features prominently in Jimmy Choo's 20th anniversary campaign. . – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Aldar awards AED155 million contract for early works of Yas Acres

posted on 20/10/2016

Aldar Properties has awarded an AED155 million contract for the early works of Yas Acres, a golf and waterfront development on Yas Island, to locally-based Bauer Geotechnical Specialised Foundation.

Talal Al Dhiyebi, Chief Development Officer of Aldar Properties, said, "We are pleased to award the early works package for Yas Acres within six months of launching our flagship development. This is a clear endorsement of the commitment from Aldar and its partners to deliver a best in class development that is fully compliant with the new Real Estate Law in Abu Dhabi. This is an important milestone, and we look forward to Yas Acres being completed, and for our customers to be able to call it home."

The sales and purchase agreements for Yas Acres are the first to have been registered with Abu Dhabi Municipality, underlining the positive impact of the real estate law and its ongoing implementation. . – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Nakheel reports 2016 nine month net profit

posted on 20/10/2016

Nakheel yesterday announced a net profit of AED3.91 billion for the first nine months of 2016, an increase of 8.3 percent on the profit of AED3.61 billion in the same period last year.

The company recorded a net profit of AED955 million for third quarter of 2016, 22 percent up on Q3 2015 profit of AED781 million.

"The growth in net profit reflects stable market conditions," said Nakheel. As with previous results periods, Nakheel's development business, with its ongoing handovers of properties to customers, and the company's growing retail, leasing and leisure businesses all contributed to the results for the period ending 30th September 2016.

Ali Rashid Lootah, Nakheel Chairman, said, "The growth in our net profit for the first nine months of 2016 compared to the same period in 2015 is a sign of a stable and mature local real estate market. The results also reflect positively on our business strategy to invest in our income-generating asset portfolio. We expect to further consolidate on our position and finish the year on an even stronger note.

"The last nine months has seen a range of significant achievements for Nakheel, including the biggest milestone in our history: settling all of the AED4.4 billion of trade creditor Sukuk that was due on 25th August 2016. This was the last outstanding obligation from the financial restructuring concluded in August 2011. We thank the Government of Dubai, without whom this milestone would not have been possible, for its ongoing support. With the restructuring behind us, we can now operate with more flexibility to achieve our business and financial objectives." . – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Thuraya, Ooredoo Maldives sign deal to provide fisheries

posted on 20/10/2016

Thuraya Telecommunications Company, a UAE based satellite services operator and Ooredoo Maldives yesterday announced an agreement to supply resorts and fisheries with mobile satellite products and services across the archipelago in the Indian Ocean. The initial phase of the agreement will provide fisheries and anglers with voice products and broadband connectivity over Thuraya's satellite network.

The agreement addresses a mandate issued by the Maldives government, progressively requiring commercial fishing operators to fit their vessels with satellite communication equipment and to supply anglers with satellite phones. With Thuraya products, operators will have access to monitoring systems and services that address multiple requirements such as issues of distress and safety.

Ooredoo Maldives will now sell Thuraya SatSleeve+ and SatSleeve Hotspot devices as well as data packages at their retail outlets and through their enterprise account teams. They offer fast, simple connectivity, especially in remote areas where terrestrial networks have become unavailable or unreliable. Users can make calls, use messaging applications, send and receive email and SMS, and access apps. They also come with a programmable SOS button that works even if the smartphone isn't connected.

Bilal El Hamoui, Chief Commercial Officer at Thuraya, said, "Fishing is one of the most dangerous occupations in the world, and more stringent safety measures are required. Up until now, the lack of accessibility and affordability have placed reliable satellite communications outside the reach of many fishermen."

Hussain Niyaz, from Ooredoo, said, "Traditionally, fishery is the main occupation and major source of livelihood in the Maldives. It is also the second largest industry in the country. Safety is an important driver in this sector, where there are many accidents. It is important to have crew-calling capabilities outside of radio range so that fishermen can send alerts when in trouble."

The next phase of the agreement, which will come into effect later this year, will target the 105 plus resorts located on different atolls constituting the Maldives. In a pre-emptive and precautionary mandate by the government, all resorts and tourist facilities are now required to install satellite communication equipment as an added safety measure for tourists and visitors. . – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Dubai International Financial Centre hosts second IMF Regional Economic Outlook for 2016

posted on 20/10/2016

Dubai International Financial Centre, DIFC, the region's leading financial hub, yesterday hosted the launch of the second Regional Economic Outlook, REO, for the Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan, MENAP, for 2016, in collaboration with the International Monetary Fund, IMF.

The Regional Economic Outlooks are exclusive reports produced by the IMF for a variety of regions, with internationally verified data that highlights trends and developments across specific geographies, setting the tone for growth, trade and investment. Discussing recent economic developments, opportunities, challenges and prospects, the report is a key tool and call for action for businesses and policy makers alike.

The latest MENAP REO found that despite significant economic headwinds, regional growth is expected to stand at 3.5 percent. In addition, GCC non-oil growth is projected to pick up to 3 percent next year, as the pace of fiscal consolidation eases. The report also noted that lower oil prices and neighbouring regional conflicts are taking a toll on exports and economic activity and that authorities could make faster-than-expected progress in implementing structural reform plans. In addition, it suggested that countries need to accelerate structural reforms to diversify their economies away from hydrocarbons, boost the role of the private sector and create jobs for their rapidly growing labour forces.

The report was launched at a presentation introduced by Arif Amiri, Chief Executive Officer of DIFC Authority, which attracted senior executives and financial professionals working in the centre across sectors such as banks and capital markets, wealth and reinsurance. During the presentation, Dr. Masood Ahmed, Director of the Middle East and Central Asia Department at the IMF, outlined the impact of present-day geopolitical and socio-economic factors on the region's economies and future development prospects.

Arif Amiri said, "The IMF report, highlighting the current state of the Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan, is a crucial landmark in the financial and business calendar. By outlining the opportunities and challenges in the region, it sets the tone for growth, trade and investment for the coming period. It is a significant tool for businesses and policy makers alike in the region."

Dr. Masood Ahmed spoke about the key findings of the report, saying, "Despite recent increases, oil prices are projected to remain low over the coming years. Oil exporters are making strides in adjusting their fiscal positions, but much remains to be done. In oil importers, macro-economic stabilisation has advanced thanks to sound policies and lower oil prices, yet reforms need to be accelerated to be able to further boost inclusive growth and jobs."

The presentation was followed by an interactive panel discussion which analysed the current economic issues and the future development for the region. In addition to Dr. Masood Ahmed, this year's panel included Salmaan Jaffery, Chief Business Development Officer, DIFC Authority, Monica Malik, Chief Economist, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, and Mustafa Abdel-Wadood, Partner,The Abraaj Group, and was moderated by Lara Habib, Senior Business News Presenter at Al Arabiya News. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Sultan Al Qasimi opens Second ‘Investing in the Future’ Conference

posted on 20/10/2016

Women are the drivers of the nation's economy – that was the message delivered by H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, at the opening of the second edition of the ‘Investing in the Future' (IFFMENA) conference, which took place Wednesday at Al Jawaher Reception and Convention Centre in Sharjah.

Starting the proceedings at the event, organised by Sharjah-based humanitarian group The Big Heart Foundation in conjunction with United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), the Ruler of Sharjah reminded the audience of the UAE women's huge representation in the workplace.

Sheikh Sultan delivered the address in front of a packed audience, which included his wife, H.H. Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Chairperson of The Big Heart Foundation and Chairperson of NAMA Women Advancement Establishment. He reiterated how women form the larger percentage of the country's workforce compared to their male counterparts, particularly at the federal level.

"I would like to draw your attention to facts that make us proud in the UAE. Women represent 49 per cent of the United Arab Emirates' population yet dominate our national job market with a 66 per cent presence – this is something we take immense pride of. This trend continues in our public offices, where women fill up two-thirds of the seats at both at federal and local levels," he said.

Sheikh Sultan added that despite the achievements of women in the workplace and the economic impact of so many female entrepreneurs starting successful investments in the UAE, there was still a room for improving opportunities for women in all spheres and helping them to contribute even more to the development of the nation.

"Emirati Women's investments exceed AED12 billion at present. Despite this fact, I believe that economic empowerment of Arab women needs to be given serious attention and greater efforts," he said.

"There are organisations in the Arab world, such as family development centres, businesswomen's organisations, adult education centres and other women's societies, which play an important role in bridging the gap between women in the Arab world and developmental opportunities, preparing them to play more important roles in ensuring equal rights, which are guaranteed by all religions and state constitutions," he added.

As part of the opening of the two-day IFFMENA conference, the audience watched a video containing a call to action to the world from Sheikha Jawaher. It highlighted the importance of investing in the future of women.

"There are women in many parts of the world who continue to live in societies and under laws that do not recognise their importance nor support them. We call on all men and women to be with her. To support her, appreciate her and invest in her capabilities. Women are the source of life and the inspiration for the future. Let us stand by our women, not just for her, but for society, for future development and for peace," said Sheikha Jawaher during the presentation.

Others participating at the Investing in the Future opening ceremony included H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; Rula Bibi Gul Ghani, the First Lady of Afghanistan and wife of Afghani President Dr. Mohammed Ashraf Ghani; Kailash Satyarthi, Indian child rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner; Malala Yousafzai, the youngest- ever Nobel Peace laureate and Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women. Numerous activists, gender equality advocates, representatives from government and non-government organisations, decision-makers, academics, experts and media professionals from the Arab region and beyond were also in attendance.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed highlighted how women's role in the building of the region had historically been overlooked, adding that it is the responsibility of every UAE official to stress the importance of inclusiveness in every aspect of life. He referred to an anecdote from his family that showed the importance the UAE Rulers attach to women.

"Women are the source of life but their important role in the early days was never really mentioned - it's as if men did all the building of the nation. I learned early on how important it was to include the opinions of women in the decision-making. I remember my father Sheikh Zayed was always asking my mother Sheikha Fatima about what she thought on various issues - that had a big impression on me. I believe that women in the UAE can be role models for Arab women everywhere. Let's not forget that tolerance and happiness in the UAE are each under the remit of a woman, as women who head these UAE ministries," Sheikh Abdullah said.

Addressing the issue of conflict having terrible repercussions for women and children, Rula Ghani said, "There is no doubt that war robs people of their humanity. War is inhuman and women and children seem to suffer from it the most. In the year 2000, this fact prompted the UN Security Council to adopt Resolution 1325, which recognises the disempowering effect that war has on women. The resolution calls on all UN member states to set measures that would prevent violence against women, enhance their voice through their political participation in the decision-making positions and attend to their needs when they are stranded in refugee camps."

Commenting on the UN's involvement with the forum, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director, UN Women, said, "This conference comes as we find ourselves at a significant crossroads. Resilience is defined as the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. Such resilience is particularly necessary during and after conflicts, especially in this region, which is currently host to three out of four of the world's worst humanitarian emergencies in Iraq, Syria and Yemen. In order to build the resilience of women and girls, we must strengthen their capacities so that they are fully empowered to support long-term peace and security."

Citing education and connectivity as big enablers of women's empowerment, Nobel Peace Prize winner and child rights activist, Kailash Satyarthi, said, "Today, women are rising, but this is happening only where they have access to education. Young girls in the MENA region are demanding their rights. They are demanding access to quality education and freedom. Forty-eight per cent of women in the Arab world do not own a mobile phone and the gender gap in internet usage across the region is 34 per cent. Let us not leave them behind. Connectivity is a great equaliser, and the need to strengthen interactions between MENA's youth and the rest of the world is higher today than ever before. The world needs to step up for its children, bringing them out of conflict zones and child labour and instead putting them into schools."

Drawing attention to the current situation of conflict in the Arab world, Malala Yousafzai, the youngest Nobel laureate in the world, said, "We cannot talk about investing in the future of this region without calling for an end to the bombings and wars that surround us. We need strong unity among Muslim peoples and countries. Islam's foremost message is one of sisterhood, brotherhood and humanity and it is time that we join hands in this struggle. Together, we must make a commitment to this generation – to empower them with the education they need to bring peace and prosperity to their countries."

Also attending the opening were: Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, Minister of State for Tolerance; Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman of Sharjah Media Centre (SMC); Khawla Abdul Rahman Al Mulla, Chairperson of the Sharjah Consultative Council and CEO of Family Development Centre; Ohoud Khalfan Al Roumi, Minister of State for Happiness; Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Thani, Chairman of the Sharjah Department of Statistics and Community Development (DSCD); a number of Excellences and members of Executive Council of Sharjah, officials, representatives of regional and international organisations.

The second "Investing in the Future" Conference, which closes on Thursday, is being held under the patronage of Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi and his wife, HH Sheikha Jawaher. The UN conference aims to highlight the need to incorporate women and young girls into the decision-making and plan for economic empowerment; paying attention to their specific needs in education, skills training and employment. Participants at the global forum are discussing effective means to ensure their access to resources, particularly for female-headed households in view of the socio-economic restrictions placed on women in many countries. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Sheikha Jawaher calls for establishment of UAE Ministry for Women

posted on 20/10/2016

H.H. Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of H.H. the Ruler of Sharjah, Chairperson of NAMA Women Advancement Establishment (NAMA), has called for the establishment of a UAE Ministry for Women, while addressing a special closed session organised exclusively for women on the first day of the second edition of ‘Investing in the Future' (IIFMENA) conference.

This closed session titled ‘Future of Women in the UAE' constituted an important component of the first day's proceedings, and was organised by NAMA and the UAE General Women's Union.

Sheikha Jawaher's appeal was set in the context of adding to the UAE's illustrious history and significant achievements in enabling women's empowerment. Referring to women as pillars of advancement in all societies, she emphasised that the wisdom and vision of emancipating and empowering women was reflected in the UAE's earliest leadership starting from the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Nahyan, the founding father of the UAE.

"All of us today are here in the UAE, a country that has set numerous milestones by introducing numerous new ministries to cope with the growing demands of progress. As women are crucial drivers of progress, I believe the time is right to be at the forefront of women's ambitions by introducing a ministry for women's affairs," she said during her keynote address.

"A ministry for women's affairs will help ensure the sustainability of the empowerment of women. It will advance their roles and invest their capabilities in serving their society and nation, helping them to face any changes that might arise in the future," Sheikha Jawaher added.

Her address was followed by a panel discussion featuring speakers, Ohoud Khalfan Al Roumi, Minister of State for Happiness; Mody Al Shamsi, Director and General Manager of the Family Development Centre, and was moderated by Salha Obeid Ghabesh, Director-General of the Cultural and Media Office at the Supreme Council for Family Affairs.

Emphasising the need to understand how women have been treated in the past to determine their present and future, Al Roumi said, UAE's concerted efforts in educating and empowering their women have reaped glorious fruits for the nation, ensured progress and prosperity. Today, 54% of government bodies are occupied by women, 70% of graduates are women, and the revenue generated by them exceeds AED 50 billion.

"UAE's vision for 2021, which will coincide with its 50th anniversary, is to become one of the greatest nations in the world. To be able to achieve this goal, we need to launch new strategies and legislations at the federal level to be able to retain and further propel our achievements in the field of women's advancement, because there can be no development and no progress if our women are left behind," she added.

Citing how the UAE embraced the changing concept of gender, walking on the path of women's empowerment when the rest of the Arab world remained sceptical or rejected it, Mody Al Shamsi said, "The late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Nahyan, had been an ardent champion of the women's emancipation and development and knew it had a direct correlation with the nation's overall progress. Emulating his vision over the years, we have seen our women thriving and flourishing and contributing fully to our society.

"Act 8 in 1980 regarding the work relationships of women, our Maternity Law in allowing women more freedom to balance their personal and professional lives, UAE's participation in various international women's unions and other organisations, the Gender Equality Council in the UAE, and a different building for women's assures in Sharjah's Family Courts, are just a few example of the opportunities our country gives our women to realise our fullest potential. It is due to our forefathers' vision that I have become worthy enough to stand here today and address you all," she added.

Among other important participants at the session, Malala Yousafzai, a women's rights activist and the world's youngest Nobel laureate; Rula Bibi Gul Ghani, the First Lady of Afghanistan and wife of Afghani President Dr. Mohammed Ashraf Ghani; and Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women were in attendance. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


President Conde inaugurates EGA's container terminal in Guinea

posted on 20/10/2016

CONAKRY, GUINEA: President Alpha Conde of the Republic of Guinea has officially inaugurated Emirates Global Aluminium's container terminal at the country's new port facility at Kamsar.

In a significant boost for the local economy, the terminal will enable the import of materials for the construction of a 12 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) mine, as well as allow for the early exporting of bauxite bulk samples from Guinea Alumina Corporation S.A. ("GAC"), Guinea's largest development project. GAC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of EGA.

The terminal will also be available for third party users, as an alternative to existing container facilities in Conakry.

Abu Dhabi Ports will manage EGA's Kamsar Container Terminal, the first operation for the company in the West African country.

The opening of the container terminal was attended by Abdulla Kalban, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of EGA, and Abdulkareem Al Masabi, Acting Executive Vice President of Ports Unit at Abu Dhabi Ports.

At the opening, President Conde noted, "This project remains an important milestone for my development programme for Guinea. Indeed, the export of bauxite, at first, then an alumina production plant, will strengthen Guinea's position on the global market and enable the local processing of bauxite and, with it, the development of the mining sector."

Kalban added, "Today's inauguration is an important step in the development of our project, which will secure the UAE's aluminium industry for years to come and provide a major boost to Guinea's economy. The development of Kamsar Port is also important because it provides new facilities for others to trade here. Just as the UAE's ports have grown to become major regional trading hubs, so we know this development holds great potential for the people of Guinea, too."

EGA is developing its facilities in the port of Kamsar to allow loading of Capesize and Newcastlemax vessels, which are three to four times larger than current shipping options, for the export of bauxite to China and other markets. The size of the vessels reduces shipping costs per tonne, increasing the global competitiveness of Guinea's bauxite exports. The first high-quality bauxite samples are to be sent from EGA's Guinea concession to customers in China and India during the fourth quarter of 2016.

Guinea has some 7 billion tonnes of bauxite deposits, representing over a quarter of the global total.

Guinean bauxite is amongst the highest quality in the world. GAC's bauxite mine is in the Boke region of north-west Guinea, where it holds a concession on more than 1 billion tonnes of bauxite. Commercial production is expected to begin in 2018 and grow to 12 Mtpa. Also, a railway extension is under construction to connect the mine with Kamsar port.

The mine development project is expected to create approximately 4,000 jobs in the Boke region, increase Guinea's GDP by more than 10 per cent annually, and solidify Guinea's position as the world's largest exporter of bauxite, thus providing a significant lift to the country's foreign earnings. Global demand for high-quality bauxite, particularly in China, is expected to grow significantly over the next decade.

More than 200 Guineans are being seconded over the next several years to EGA's operations in the UAE, to prepare them for roles at GAC. EGA is also investing to support communities near its operations in Guinea, opening community health centres, installing water wells, building schools, providing adult literacy and vocational training and protecting local fauna and flora. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


President of Equatorial Guinea calls on UAE businesses to invest in his country

posted on 20/10/2016

President of Equatorial Guinea Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo urged greater investment in his country during a meeting with members of the UAE business community.

He also praised the wise leadership of the UAE, led by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, stressing the importance of enhancing cooperation, including economic and investment ties between the UAE and his country.

He further expressed his country's desire to benefit from the UAE's pioneering experience in cultural, economic and urban development in all fields and sectors.

During an expanded meeting, held yesterday at Jumeirah At Etihad Towers with Mohammed Thani Murshid Al-Rumaithi, Chairman of the Federation of the UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Chamber, along with members of the chamber, Mbasogo said that the UAE and Equatorial Guinea enjoy good relations at all levels, and are pursuing the development of economic and investment cooperation. He also pointed out that the visit would open up new partnerships between the two sides.

Mbasogo called upon Emirati businessmen and investors to invest in his country and take advantage of opportunities in a number of vital sectors and fields. He said he was prepared to provide all assistance to contribute to the success of UAE investments in Equatorial Guinea.

Al-Rumaithi noted that the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in carrying out the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, exerts efforts to develop economic co-operation with the fraternal and friendly peoples and in extending economic and investment bridges with Equatorial Guinea for the benefit of the two friendly peoples.

Among those who attended the meeting were the accompanying delegation of the President of Equatorial Guinea and a number of officials. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


UAE opens consulate in Kerala

posted on 20/10/2016

KERALA: The UAE has opened a Consulate General in Kerala, India, and appointed Jamal Al Zaabi Consul-General to Kerala, to further ties between the two countries.

The opening of the second UAE consulate in India comes within the context of bolstering the growing relations between the two countries, UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation said.

"I am delighted to announce the opening of the new UAE consulate in the Indian state of Kerala. It represents an important achievement and a new boost for bilateral relations between the two friendly countries," said Under-Secretary at the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, Mohammed Mer Al Raisi, in a ceremony in the presence of Kerala Governor P Sathasivam, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Assistant Under-Secretary for Consular Affairs at the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Ahmed Elham Al Dhaheri, Ambassador of the UAE to India Dr. Ahmed Abdulrahman Al Banna, a delegation from the Ministry of Interior and a group of notable political figures and businessmen from the UAE and India.

The opening of the consulate in Kerala is aimed at furthering co-operation and partnership between the two countries in the business sector and trade and economic cooperation as well as at the level of social and cultural exchange, he added.

In collaboration with the interior ministry, the consulate will provide visa services for UAE citizens visiting Kerala and southern India, as well as residents of Kerala in particular, Al Dhaheri said, and noted this would further facilitate and speed up the entry of Indian workers to the UAE via e-gates at the country's points of entry.

Kerala, he said, is a global business and trade hub and an integral part of the fast-expanding partnership between the UAE and India. This achievement would enable the two countries to continue to build strong relations in Kerala, an important economic partner of the UAE, he added.

"We have a lot in common, from trade and investment to workforce. A large number of workers, who come to the UAE every year to realise their job ambitions and improve their living standards in our country, hail from Kerala, UAE Consul-General to Kerala Jamal Al Zaabi said.

The new consulate will play an effective role in bolstering ties with India through enhanced trade relations and increased cultural exchange and cooperation between the UAE and Kerala, he added.

The UAE Consulate General in Kerala will support the partnership between the two countries in the government, business and social sectors, consular services, diplomatic documents as well as resources for trade and exchange between them. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Khalifa Foundation sends more aid to Yemen's Socotra Island

posted on 20/10/2016

SOCOTRA: The Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation, KF, has sent its 31st aid plane, with two tonnes of medications on board, to the Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Hospital on Socotra Island, along with one tonne of mixed content stationery to be distributed to students.

The aid shipments are in implementation of directives from President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

The foundation said that it has been providing humanitarian, relief and development aid, including food, medication and educational assistance, to thousands of Yemeni families on Socotra Island.

A KF official source said that the philanthropic organisation contributes to reconstructing and restoring a number of infrastructure projects in various fields, such as health and education facilities, water, electricity and drainage stations, in order to reduce the suffering of the Yemeni people, due to the events taking place there.

He added that the foundation will continue its humanitarian commitment towards the Yemeni people according to the directives of the leadership. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Dubai Cares commits AED73 million to Education in Emergencies

posted on 20/10/2016

Dubai Cares, DC, yesterday announced the allocation of AED 73,470,000 (US$ 20,000,000) for the International Network for Education in Emergencies, INEE, which helps promote access to quality, safe, and relevant education for persons affected by crises.

The commitment by DC, which is part of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum's Global Initiatives, will initially cover three programmes in Lebanon, Niger and Sierra Leone. Future programmes will also be announced in the coming year.

The announcement was made at a press conference yesterday, attended by Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer at Dubai Cares, and Jennifer Sklar, Deputy Director of Education at the International Rescue Committee.

Dubai Cares also launched a new community awareness and fundraising campaign, known as #LastILearned, in support of its Education in Emergencies strategy. The campaign will run for one month and aims to raise funds and build awareness of the plight of children affected by conflict and natural disasters.

Education is a fundamental right of every child, yet in times of conflict and disaster, access to education gets disrupted and in many cases results in lost generations of children and youth. Dubai Cares' #LastILearned campaign takes away the numbers and tells the real stories of the children affected by emergencies, such as the story of 15-year-old Nadia, who has not been receiving an education since the beginning of the Syrian conflict and who shares the last thing she learned in school.

Emphasising the importance of Education in Emergencies, Tariq Al Gurg, said, "Despite the growing number of children caught in conflict and natural disasters, statistics show only one percent of overall humanitarian aid is spent on education. This makes the needs of children living in fragile states an urgent priority for us."

He continued, "We need to show greater commitment to the children and their parents who have voiced their need for education despite their uncertain conditions. We have to unite and act faster than ever to ensure that children's education is not interrupted, resulting in generations missing out on an education they so desperately need. The opportunity costs of these years lost due to conflict and natural disasters is exceedingly high and we need to do everything we can to prevent it. My belief is that the adults of the future will only be literate if all children of today get the education they deserve."

Since the beginning of the year, representatives from DC have been visiting countries and regions around the world to see first-hand the struggles faced by children and young adolescents caught up in conflicts, gathering and feeding back information that guided the organisation's strategy for Education in Emergencies and provided insight for the #LastILearned campaign.

Today, one in 113 people are either a refugee, internally displaced, or seeking asylum, and more than half of the world's refugees are children. The average length of displacement today has reached 17 years and the average length of conflict today is 37 years. According to the United Nations, girls are almost 2.5 times more likely to be out of school in conflict-affected countries and adolescent girls are nearly 90 percent more likely to be out of secondary school in conflict-affected countries than their peers in stable countries.

Al Gurg continued, "#LastILearned is an extremely novel campaign that I have no doubt will prove to be highly effective and impactful. The problems faced by children and adolescents impacted by conflict and natural disasters cannot be ignored, and we at Dubai Cares intend to do everything we can to help them. The Education in Emergencies programmes we are announcing today are just a start. We are committed to providing children affected by emergencies with the education they need to give them hope, make them more resilient and help them achieve their full potential."

The new programmes in Lebanon, Niger and Sierra Leone, are part of "Education in Emergencies: Evidence for Action", or 3EA, which is a new initiative that brings together Dubai Cares, the International Rescue Committee, IRC, and the Global TIES for Children /New York University, NYU, in a pioneering three-year initiative that seeks to have a catalytic effect on the Education in Emergencies sector by testing the impact of key interventions in these emergency settings.

Jennifer Sklar said, "We are grateful to Dubai Cares for their strong commitment to Education in Emergencies. Through the 3EA initiative, we will ensure that children and youth exposed to years of war-related traumas will have access to safe and predictable learning opportunities that teach them both the academic and social-emotional skills they need to learn and thrive. We hope this initiative will jumpstart change in the humanitarian sector and develop the knowledge and evidence we need to inform global policy and practice."

Over the past 9 years, DC has successfully launched education programmes reaching over 16 million beneficiaries in 45 developing countries. With the support of the UAE community, it continues making a difference in the lives of children and their communities by building or renovating 1,580 classrooms and schools, provided more than 770 water wells and potable water sources, constructed more than 5,900 latrines in schools, and trained over 63,990 teachers. It also distributed over 2.8 million books written in local languages and established over 5,100 Parent-Teacher Associations.

Also in attendance at the conference were key campaign donors, Mohammad Al Ansari, Chairman and Managing Director, Al Ansari Exchange, Salim M.A., Director, Lulu Group International and Noor Al Ghafari, on behalf of Waleed Al Ghafari. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


ERC delivers medical assistance to WHO in Yemen

posted on 20/10/2016

ADEN: Emirates Red Crescent (ERC) has moved quickly to save lives in Yemen by delivering oral rehydration solution (ORS), which is used to treat diarrhoea, as well as cholera.

The ERC delivered the rehydration solution to the coordinator of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Yemen, Dr. Mohammed Cleese.

The move is part of the UAE efforts to improve the performance of vital sectors, including the medical sector.

Cleese praised the UAE's speedy response, in providing rehydration solutions to the Yemeni people. He also thanked the UAE leadership and people on their continued efforts to prevent the spread of disease. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Authorities remove lions, pythons, crocodiles from Sharjah residences

posted on 20/10/2016

Four lions, a lioness, three pythons, and two crocodiles have been removed from residences in Sharjah this year by the Environment and Protected Areas Authority (EPAA).

Hana Al Suwaidi, Chairperson of the EPAA, emphasised that the removal of the animals is in keeping with the directives of H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, regarding confiscation of predator and dangerous animals and providing them with suitable environments.

The decree of prohibition and confiscation of predators and dangerous animals in the Emirate of Sharjah imposes a fine of AED100,000 on the owners of predatory animals that are determined to be a danger to other people in the vicinity. However, owners will not have to pay the fine if they voluntarily hand over their predatory animals, she explained.

Only three people voluntarily handed over their animals since the beginning of 2016, following the enactment of the law. She also said that the first phase of establishing the Predators Shelter and Care Centre on 27,000 square kilometres of land in Sharjah Desert Park has begun.

Al Suwaidi indicated that the authority is seeking the issuance of a new federal law in the UAE to ban and confiscate predators from residences. Those who fail to do so would face a fine of AED 30,000, or a one month prison sentence for each animal.

The penalties are meant to highlight and enforce UAE's laws to protect exotic animals and ban the illegal trade of critically endangered animals, as part of the country's enforcement of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

The owner of these animals will be monitored for one to two months before the confiscation, after being granted permission by the prosecutors, in collaboration with the Sharjah Police and its task group. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -