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Mohammed bin Rashid takes Iftar meal with national service conscripts

posted on 29/06/2016

Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, had the iftar meal this evening with the national service recruits at the national service school of the presidential guard, in Saih Hafeer area, at the Abu Dhabi-Dubai road.

He was accompanied by H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai.

Sheikh Mohammed exchanged views with the conscripts. They told him that the national service "is a feather in the cap of youth who learnt how best to serve the nation." The recruits reiterated that the national service "is a token of gratitude and allegiance to the leadership that brings them up to be future leaders in a state whose pillars had been laid by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan."

The recruits said they learnt during the training period patience, self-reliance, harmony, live under one roof, eat at the same table, socialize and exchange views about their future and the future of the nation, as well as the national duty and how best to serve their country and people.

Sheikh Mohammed expressed his satisfaction about the youth views that reflect high sense of duty and patriotism. He saluted them for enduring the training difficulties away from home, and hailed their perseverance and enthusiasm for the national duty.

"I recall the first days of the formation of our armed forces 44 years ago by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who was then the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces. Now President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, is the Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi is the Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. We are all soldiers. I served in the Army," he said.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid said that "those states or individuals who doubted that our Union would not withstand challenges and that we would not build an organised capable and modern army, now believe beyond the shadow of doubt that we did it, thanks to the policies of Sheikh Zayed sustained by Sheikh Khalifa."

He noted that the UAE has now a capable and strong army due to the follow up of Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, citing the training, educational and armament programmes to build an army that safeguards peace, protects borders and sovereignty.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid performed the Maghreb prayer at the training school with the youth who wished well to the leadership, and national cohesion to the UAE.

He was also accompanied by Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Makoum, Staff Lt. General Hamad Mohammed Thani Al Rumaithi, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, Pilot Staff-Brigadier Sheikh Ahmed bin Tahnoun bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the National and Reserve Service Authority, Khalifa Saeed Suleiman, Director-General of Department of Protocol and Hospitality in Dubai and senior army officers. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


UAE earns praise for containing Yemen Al Qaeda

posted on 29/06/2016

The role of the UAE in containing Al Qaeda in Yemen and providing a new template for counter-terrorism has come in for praise from Washington.

The Emiratis were deployed initially against Yemen's Houthi group, joining a Saudi-led campaign last year to try to reverse a bid for power by the rebel group.

The war weakened the Houthis, but in the resulting turmoil Al Qaeda swept across the eastern side of the country, seizing more land than it had ever held and raising tens of millions of dollars from running Mukalla, the country's third largest port.

But the UAE quickly deployed its special forces to sharpen its push against Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), seen as one of the network's most capable.

The Emiratis are working with the United States to train, manage and equip Yemeni fighters in that effort, signalling they have the stamina to stick with a campaign that could last long after the separate confrontation with the Houthis is resolved.

The ability to run combined air, sea and land operations, deploy forces clandestinely and endure scores of troop losses has won acknowledgement from Western states.

Retired General Anthony Zinni, former chief of US Central Command, told Reuters the UAE was "a top military" in the region and "exponentially more capable than its size might indicate".

"It has also shown the ability to hang in there despite casualties...(The UAE) has proven its willingness to fight alongside the US and coalitions."

After months of preparation the UAE ousted Al Qaeda from Mukalla in a complex operation backed by US intelligence support and aerial refuelling.

"They are the most capable counter-terrorism force on the ground in Yemen," said a US

UAE earns praises for crippling Al Qaeda in Yemen counter-terrorism official familiar with Yemen.

The Pentagon said a small number of military personnel were deployed to help UAE counter-terrorism efforts, in a possible sign of increasing US willingness to re-engage on the ground.

The Pentagon said last week that this support mission, initially seen as short term, is being extended.

Michael Morrell, former deputy director of the CIA, wrote in Politico that the UAE's Mukalla assault was a "textbook solution of dealing with terrorist groups that hold territory".

From the Yemen war's outset, the UAE took on a big role.

Days after hostilities began, an eight-person special forces team of forward air controllers landed discreetly in a CH-47 Chinook helicopter on Aden's Little Aden peninsula on April 13-15, 2015, the senior coalition military official said.

The team linked up with a Yemeni agent on the ground, part of the anti-Houthi southern resistance, the official said.

Within 10 days there was an amphibious landing to insert more troops. In ensuing weeks, 4-to-6 man teams of the UAE special forces trained groups of 50 Yemenis and provided leadership, building a 2,000-strong team of resistance fighters in Aden.

In July 2015, after months of preparation and liaison with Saudi-led partners, the force drove the Houthis from Aden and from a big air base nearby. The UAE went on to train 4,000 Yemeni fighters in Assab, Eritrea, as a force to help prevent lawlessness in the sprawling city.

In the autumn, the UAE smoothly rotated thousands of its troops in-theatre, while planning for the Mukalla operation.

"The Emirates has played an exceptional role," Mahmoud Al Salmi, a professor at Aden University, said of the UAE's rebuilding of hospitals and schools.

Southern Yemenis were grateful to the coalition because now, "whether there's secession or not, the south is in the hands of its sons and that was made possible by the coalition countries".

Michael Knights of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy says counter-insurgency in Yemen may last many years. "But the Emiratis are capable of making that commitment," he said. – Reuters -


UAE joins Arab, Islamic GCC countries in condemning human rights violations in occupied Palestine

posted on 29/06/2016

GENEVA: The UAE has joined statements by the groups of Arab, Islamic and GCC countries at the Human Rights Council to express great concern and dissatisfaction over the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories and Israel's serious and systematic violations against the Palestinians, Ambassador Obaid Salem Al Zaabi, Permanent Representative of the UAE to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Geneva, announced.

The statements were issued at the Human Rights Council's general debate on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories. They condemned the occupation forces' violation of rights and freedoms of the Palestinian people.

In a speech before the council, Al Zaabi stressed that Israel as an occupying force must abide by the international law and the international humanitarian law, in particular the Fourth Geneva Convention, and protect civilians under its occupation.

But Israel, he said, in continuous collaboration with its allies, continues its aggression in occupied Palestine, commits the ugliest crimes killing civilian Palestinians, seizing their lands and destroying their properties as part of its policies of ethnic cleansing, judaisation of Jerusalem and collective and indiscriminate punishment, expanding settlements and inciting violence, all of which show that the avenues opened by the 1993 Oslo agreement are set to vanish.

He noted that Israel's impunity for its violations, as well as its rejection of any solution that would restore regional peace and security, makes it difficult for international efforts to reach a settlement of the conflict as long as Israel continues to occupy Palestine.

The UAE, Al Zaabi stressed, urges the international community to spare no effort to save the two-state solution and work seriously towards reviving the Middle East process.

Additionally, he said the UAE welcomes Palestine's joining a number of international agreements in the past two years.

The UAE also welcomes some European countries' recognition of the Palestinian statehood and expressed the hope that more countries would follow suit, he noted.

AL Zaabi also renewed the UAE's support for the Arab Peace Initiative as a historical opportunity to end the conflict, establish an independent Palestinian state on the June 1967 border with East Jerusalem as its capital. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Christian leaders laud UAE tolerance

posted on 29/06/2016

Dubai government has saved Dh4.3 billion through shared smart services between 2003-2015, announced Smart Dubai Government (SDG) on June 28 at the Dubai Media Office.

The statistics were a part of the ‘Shared services impact report,' a six-month study compiled by IBM, which highlights the impact of SDG's services and their benefits to the Government of Dubai since their inception in 2003.

The report analysed SGD service portfolio, expenditure reports and projected cost savings to determine the cost-to-savings ratio for the Government of Dubai as a result of shared smart government services.

"For the first time, we can quantify the benefits that we are delivering to the government due to enhanced efficiency; greater agility and higher responsiveness in government services,” said Wesam Lootah, CEO of Smart Dubai Government.

The report showed an average saving of Dh358 million per year [Dh29million per month] over the 12-year period.

It also found that the Government of Dubai has saved Dh5.6 for every Dh1 spent by Smart Dubai Government since its inception.

"The results of this report are further evidence of our ongoing commitment to ensuring the most efficient government, in line with our mandate to deliver world-class smart services and infrastructure as the technology arm of the Smart Dubai Office,” he added.

In 2015, SDG saved the Dubai Government an average of Dh35.5 million every month. They also saved Dh4.2 for every Dh1 spent by SDG in 2015, the highest cost-to-savings ratio of all time, and a growth of 20 per cent over the previous year.

The report further identified savings in hardware and software installation and maintenance costs, as well as savings to daily operations and personnel costs. Savings are identified across all business categories, demonstrating the value-add of SDG connected and shared services for all government partners.

"SDG were able to provide 70 per cent of a government entity's department services from day one. Our service portfolio drives significant benefits for the whole government — from increased cap-ex efficiency; to removing redundancies; to reduced carbon footprints resulting from shared services,” said Lootah.

He explained that smart government services also contribute to increased employee efficiency through improved asset management, and has drastically reduced maintenance costs.

"Through smart technology, we are empowering an agile and connected government to meet the future of Dubai,” he said.

Total savings were calculated across four Smart Dubai Government service categories: Infrastructure management; Government Resource Planning (GRP) services; Smart Services; and the annual GITEX event.

Government Resource Planning (GRP) contributed the most significant savings to the Dubai Government, accounting for over Dh1.2 billion, saved over 12 years. GRP services include daily business support services such as finance, HR, procurement and asset management.

Infrastructure Management saw the highest cost-to-savings ratio, saving the government Dh5.2 for every Dh1 spent on network services, cloud services, data and disaster recovery, and communication support services.

Smart Services have also contributed an additional Dh443 million in savings to the Dubai government over 12 years.

These services include the DubaiNow application, the secure single-sign-on digital ID service MyID, and the payment platform ePay. The report showed that 22 entities were using the DubaiNow application, which includes over 50 services, in 2015. Over four million transactions and 130, 000 downloads were made on the app during 2015.

Savings from SDG smart services have been growing at a rate of 6 per cent per year. "We expect savings to significantly increases as more government entities adopt smart services, in line with Dubai's smart city transformation,” said Lootah.

Smart Dubai Government will also soon be extending its service portfolio to the whole city, with cost savings and benefits expected to increase significantly for all constituents. – Gulf News -


Al Roumi: National Happiness and Positivity Programme eyes measurable results

posted on 29/06/2016

Ohood Al Roumi, the UAE State Minister for Happiness, has launched a series of Happiness and Positivity educational seminars for government employees as part of the broader National Happiness and Positivity Programme.

The seminars aim to educate public sector employees about the National Happiness and Positivity Programme and its goal of establishing a happy society in the UAE.

They are crucial to the success of the National Happiness and Positivity Programme, which revolves around three main pillars: Happiness and Positivity in Government Work, Happiness and Positivity as a Lifestyle, and, last but certainly not least, Measuring Happiness and Positivity, which will involve establishing mechanisms and indices to record the progress made in that area.

"His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, stresses that it is the government's job to instil positivity as a key trait in society,” assures Al Roumi, insisting on the importance of attending these seminars. She added that "the National Happiness and Positivity Programme adheres to His Highness' directions in a bid to turn the UAE into a role model for the region and the world.”

The inaugural event, entitled "Happiness”, took place recently at the Higher Colleges of Technology in Dubai, and was attended by 350 federal and local public sector employees. International expert Mike Waking, CEO of The Happiness Research Institute in Denmark – ranked as the happiest country in the world in 2016 – spoke at the event.

Waking, who is also a contributing researcher for the World Database of Happiness and a member of the Latin American Network for Luxury and Quality of Life, praised the UAE leadership its efforts and initiatives to raise the level of happiness and satisfaction for all residents in the Emirates.

The initiatives, projects and creative programmes launched by the UAE government, he noted, serve to establish a positive social environment and spread happiness and satisfaction among all segments of society.

Waking went on to examine the very concept of happiness and its importance on a global scale, as well as the challenges that stand in the way of achieving it.

To that end, Al Roumi signed a memorandum of understanding with Waking, underlining the importance of collaboration between the two parties and the sharing of knowledge and expertise with regards to happiness.

This went towards establishing procedures to train and educate government personnel and make happiness a part of the government's work culture. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


The National holds 'webinar' for ‘Genes in Space’ competition

posted on 29/06/2016

The National newspaper is organising a webinar, or web-based seminar, for students, teachers and other parties involved in the ‘Genes in Space' competition, part of the National Space Programme, on Wednesday. The event aims to help participants develop competitive presentations by identifying the challenges facing DNA analysis in outer space.

Winners of the contest, which is being organised in collaboration with the UAE Space Agency and the Boeing Company, will have the opportunity to observe astronauts conduct experiments on-board the International Space Station, ISS. Successful contestants will also be hosted in the United States, where they will watch the launch of the rocket that will carry the experiment into space.

The competition involves students presenting a gene amplification experiment using polymerase chain reaction. The process will later be replicated in the low-gravity environment of the ISS.

The contest is open to students from grades 7 to 12, who are able to work individually or in groups of up to four. They will receive instructions and advice from scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University as well as Khalifa University.

Mohammed Al Otaiba, Editor in Chief of The National, said, "This webinar is part of our commitment to support national innovation initiatives and increase national awareness about the latest in space science and technology. This is done through the launch of several initiatives that aim to help participants put together more competitive proposals in order to win the competition."

Al Otaiba added, "The National Space Programme will help encourage the generation graduating from schools and universities to conduct experiments in space sciences and other scientific fields. The Genes in Space competition, which comes as part of these efforts, therefore translates our responsibilities into achievements and advances by the UAE on the world stage."

He explained that these initiatives fall under the newspaper's social responsibility and are in line with its role of supporting community development. He also noted that this contest is part of The National's contribution to Abu Dhabi Vision 2030 and the UAE Vision 2021.

Sheikha Al Maskari, Chief Innovation Officer at the UAE Space Agency, said, "The UAE Space Agency's support for the Genes in Space competition is part of our plans to promote a culture of innovation and scientific research among school students throughout the UAE."

She continued, "A competition like this can help inspire more students to study space sciences and its applications. Ultimately, they will be motivated to lead the national space sector in the future, and to support it with the expertise needed for its long-term growth and development."

Peter McGrath, Director of Business Development at Boeing's Space Exploration Division, said, "Boeing committed to bring this unique competition to the UAE because we believe that the UAE has a promising youth that are capable of acquiring the necessary skills to excel in space research fields. This workshop will bring huge benefits to those participating in the competition, in terms of providing them with knowledge and experience in gene research and space sciences. This will contribute to an increase in the number of presentations submitted to the competition." – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


EAD seeks to develop research project database for Emirate through new application process

posted on 29/06/2016

The Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi (EAD) has launched a new process for facilitating scientific research projects carried out on the Emirate of Abu Dhabi's wildlife and environment.

Following several meetings with research institutes, academics and independent scientists throughout the past year, EAD has developed a simple and straightforward application process for scientific research projects carried out on the Emirate's wildlife and environment.

The new process helps provide international as well as locally based scientists with a formal recognition and approval of their activities within Abu Dhabi Emirate, helping facilitate access to sampling areas when needed and giving researchers the chance of consulting with EAD scientists for advice and recommendations on their projects.

The process will help EAD in developing and maintaining a useful database of past and ongoing scientific research projects that can be consulted whenever new research is being planned. A public database of centrally available information on such work will benefit not only EAD's own efforts but also local and international scientists wishing to conduct applied ecological and environmental research that may provide a direct benefit to conservation efforts.

The review of research applications also helps ensure that whenever wildlife specimens are handled or collected for research purposes, this would be carried out according to ethical standards and limits, with special precautions and advice for ensuring that sensitive species and habitats are not disturbed. The application process will also support researchers in obtaining the permits needed to carry out their work. As the UAE has recently joined the Nagoya Protocol, an international agreement on regulating access to a country's biological and genetic resources, researchers require a letter of permission from the country of origin when transporting biological samples across borders.

Dr. Sheikha Al Dhaheri, Executive Director of Terrestrial and Marine Biodiversity at EAD, said, "Scientific research is at the heart of EAD's mission. It is crucial for developing well-informed regulations and policies that help achieve the best outcome for both people and the environment. We have launched this new process to open up the channels of communication between us and researchers, foster collaborative projects and allow us to stay up to date on all the valuable research being carried out by students, universities and independent scientists, and identify possible synergies with EAD's own research projects."

The new process will help encourage quality research that will directly benefit Abu Dhabi and the UAE and increase the body of scientific knowledge as a whole, while at the same time ensuring an ethical and precautionary standard for research on native wildlife, especially threatened and sensitive species. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Mleiha project offers excursions until end of Ramadan

posted on 29/06/2016

Mleiha Archaeological and Eco-tourism Project, one of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority's (Shurooq) most prominent developments, is continuing its special offers for tourists and residents up until the end of Ramadan.

The heritage and cultural destination's Holy Month excursion packages are providing visitors with the opportunity to enjoy unique desert experiences; including evening tours, "dune bashing” and dining under the stars at the Mleiha Desert Star Lounge.

Mleiha's Ramadan activities, which start at 9pm each evening, comprise safari trips and off-road 4X4 fun drives.

Customers have the opportunity to evoke the past by immersing themselves in a world of archaeology, antique artefacts and historical monuments during their desert adventure. Accompanied by a professional tour guide, visitors can enjoy captivating views of the spectacular natural scenery as they discover the region's rich heritage.

After pulling in at ancient history and historical heritage stations situated along the tour's vast open spaces, which boast breath-taking vistas of natural landscapes of red sand and limestone, visitors take a break and relax at the Mleiha Star Lounge.

There, they can prepare an outdoor barbecue, savour Arabic tea or coffee, and enjoy the use of telescopes for a spot of after sunset star-gazing.

"During the wonderful month of Ramadan, the Mleiha Project is extending a package of special excursions designed to showcase the history and traditions of Sharjah and its fascinating region.

"Visitors to the project – tourists and residents alike – can make the most of the very best under-the-stars experience that captures the essence of the Holy Month in the Gulf region,” said Ahmed Obaid Al Qaseer, COO of Shurooq.

"We are keen to impart fun and excitement through our 4X4 safari trips, which take in the desert, its dunes and wadis, as well as offer a great open air dining experience and views of the breath-taking night time firmament.

"We cordially invite all those who enjoy adventure, nature and meaningful experiences off the beaten track, to come and enjoy our fantastic desert excursions,” Al Qaseer added.

The Mleiha Archaeological and Eco-tourism Project is a collaboration between Shurooq, the Environment and Protected Areas Authority in Sharjah and the Directorate of Antiquities at the Sharjah Department of Culture and Information.

It is deemed one of the most significant tourist destinations in the UAE with its numerous archaeological sites which have been recently discovered and which date back hundreds and thousands of years.

The project, the first phase of which was completed in January, is located 50 kilometres east of Sharjah. – The Gulf Today -


New mascot to greet young visitors at Burj Khalifa

posted on 29/06/2016

Young visitors to the Burj Khalifa will be greeted by Mr Burj, the new official mascot of At The Top, Burj Khalifa SKY and At The Top, Burj Khalifa, the two popular observation deck experiences in the tower.

Mr Burj will also offer personal meet-and-greet sessions and be available for photographs with visitors.

Soon, dedicated Mr Burj merchandise will be available at the At The Top, Burj Khalifa retail store on the ground floor of The Dubai Mall.

Mr Burj can also be spotted soon at several other destinations including at The Dubai Mall, where it is set to have a face-off with the mascots of KidZania, the children's edutainment city and Sonic at the Sega Republic. A replica of Burj Khalifa, Mr Burj wears a heartwarming smile at all times. It was conceptualised from the wish of Omar, a fictional Arab boy, to have his toy come to life. Mr Burj arrives and takes him on some leisurely, adventurous, entertaining and educational experiences.

The adventures of Mr Burj and Omar, who is joined by his friends, are represented in comic strip teasers now available on Burj Khalifa's social media networks.

The At The Top, Burj Khalifa journey includes two experiences: Visitors can opt to tour At the Top, Burj Khalifa SKY, at 555 metres high, which holds the Guinness World Record. Located on Level 148, At the Top, Burj Khalifa SKY opens to unmatched views. It also has a premium lounge with five-star hospitality services.

Visitors will also tour Level 125 that serves as a tribute to Arab arts and culture. They can also take in 360 degree views of the city with signature Viewfinders while ‘Dubai – A Falcon's Eye View' allows visitors to view Dubai from an entirely unique perspective.

The second option is to visit Level 124 to visit the observation deck with an outdoor terrace that opened in 2010 and continues to be one of the sought-after leisure attractions in the city.

At 828 metres, the 200 plus storey Burj Khalifa has 160 habitable levels, the most of any building in the world. It also holds the Guinness World Records for the Tallest Building, the Tallest Man-made Structure on Land Ever and Highest Restaurant from Ground Level for At.mosphere. – Gulf News -


Emirates Red Crescent receives Dhs1m donation for refugees

posted on 29/06/2016

Borealis, a leading provider of innovative solutions in the fields of polyolefins, base chemicals and fertilisers, has announced the donation of Dhs1 million to the Emirates Red Crescent (ERC) to support refugee relief efforts in Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq.

The donation is provided by way of the Borealis Social Fund, which was launched in 2008 and is dedicated to enhancing social welfare.

Fahad Abdulrahman Bin Sultan, Deputy Secretary General for International Aid at ERC, received the cheque at the headquarters of the authority from Mark Garrett, Borealis' Chief Executive Officer, in the presence of Rashid Mubarak Al Mansouri, ERC's Deputy Secretary-General for Local Affairs.

"We extend our thanks to the Borealis Social Fund for their substantial support in boosting the refugee relief programmes conducted by the Emirates Red Crescent,” stated Fahad.

"The support we receive from our partners and benefactors makes it possible for ERC to provide shelter and comfort to the displaced people in a quick and flexible manner.”

"We are grateful to organisations like the ERC for their unflagging efforts to alleviate the pain and suffering of thousands,” Garrett stated.

"At Borealis, we believe it is part of our social and ethical responsibility to support organisations such as the ERC, and the Borealis Social Fund is the ideal vehicle through which to channel our support.” – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Air Force and Air Defence Commander, US official discuss military cooperation

posted on 29/06/2016

Major General Staff Pilot Ibrahim Nasser Al Alawi, Commander of the Air Force and Air Defence, yesterday met Lieutenant General Charles Brown, Commander of the U.S. Air Forces Central Command.

During the meeting, they discussed a number of military issues of mutual interest and ways of enhancing these ties between the two sides.

A number of senior officers of the Air Force and Air Defence and the accompanying delegation attended the meeting. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Saif bin Zayed: Ramadan Councils promote exchange of ideas and community partnership

posted on 29/06/2016

H.H. Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, during a ceremony held in Abu Dhabi on Monday evening, honoured a number of ministries, national and media institutions and participants and media personnel taking part in MoI Ramadan Councils, held this year under the auspices of the Martyrs' Families Affairs Office.

H.H. Sheikh Saif praised the participants' keenness on the success of the councils that contribute to the promotion of cooperation, communication and the exchange of ideas to meet the challenges and submitting proposals that enhance the quality of services and enhance the stability and security of society, saying that all will be partners in the march of development and construction being witnessed in the country thanks to its wise leadership.

The ceremony was attended by Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, Minister of State for Tolerance, Dr. Sultan bin Ahmad Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State, Shamma bint Sohail Faris AlMazrui, Minister of State for Youth Affairs, Sheikh Khalifa bin Tahnoun bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, Director of the Martyrs' Families Affairs Office, Lieutenant General Saif Abdullah Al Sha'far, Under-Secretary at the Ministry of Interior, Major General Khalifa Hareb Al Khaili, Acting Assistant Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Interior for Naturalisation, Residency and Ports Affairs, Major-General Khamis Matar AI Mazeina, Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police, a number of senior officials, council hosts, representatives of government agencies participating in the Ramadan Councils, along with a number of Interior Ministry officers and invited guests. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Emirati awarded first place in Tanzania Int’l Holy Quran Award

posted on 29/06/2016

Of 23 full Quran contestants, an Emirati Quran memoriser stole the show and ranked first in the Tanzania International Holy Quran Award.

Rashid Ali Khalfan Bin Khalaf Al Naqbi mesmerised the audience and arbitration committee with perfection in memorisation and beautiful recitation, getting the highest score in the global competition.

The organising committee of the Dubai International Holy Quran Award (Dihqa) has nominated Al Naqbi for this international competition due to his exceptional performance, according to a top official.

Ibrahim Mohammed Bu Melha, Adviser to the Ruler of Dubai for Cultural and Humanitarian Affairs and Head of Dihqa Organising Committee, said the 14-catogry Dubai International Holy Quran Award spares no effort to discover, encourage, support, sponsor, qualify and train Emirati Quran memorisers of all ages.

"This is line with the tireless support and sincere commitment of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, main supporter and sponsor of the 20-year-old global Award.”

Such incomparable dedication has helped the Award attract more local Quran memorisers who remarkably score high in all the international Holy Quran competitions they chip in and proudly represent the UAE worldwide. He added. "Rashid was all set for the competition and was significantly helped and encouraged by his parents to have the honour of memorising the Quran and proudly represent his beloved country.”

Dedicating the achievement to the UAE leaders who pay much attention to Quran memorisation and recitation, Bu Melha said it was earlier so difficult to nominate an Emirati Quran memoriser, whether male or female, for international Quran awards.

"This is not the case anymore as we have now an extensive database of hundreds of Emirati full Quran memorisers who all go through intensive training courses under the pioneering ‘UAE National Memoriser' programme.”

They have brilliantly managed to secure advanced positions in all the Quran competitions they chipped in, he elaborated. "The Dihqa organising committee has prepared a special programme to welcome, celebrate and honour Al Naqbi for his outstanding success.”

Paying tributes to Rashid Al Naqbi, Prof Dr Mohammed Abdulrahim Sultan Alolama, Member of the Organising Committee and Head of the Contests Unit, said the young memoriser has participated in several local and international Quran competitions.

"Rashid has efficiently seized advanced ranks in many international holy Quran awards, as was the case in Sudan, Tunisia, Egypt, Malaysia, Dubai, Jordan, and finally Tanzania.”

These are added to the first rank he got in a grand Quran contest for talented memorisers on the Darshana Malayalam TV channel, he added. "Rashid has far excelled his counterparts in a special local contest for this purpose, and was hence nominated for participation in this competition.”

The Contest Unit of the Dubai International Holy Quran Award has qualified and nominated a number of male and female Emirati Quran memorisers to several international Quran awards this year, Prof. Alolama elaborated. "These include Sudan, Kuwait, Jordan, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Malaysia, and Indonesia.” – The Gulf Today -


Going beyond feeding the hungry, social clubs feed the minds in Dubai

posted on 29/06/2016

This Ramadan, the drive is no longer just about feeding the hungry and underprivileged. Volunteers are also feeding and enriching their minds.

Social clubs licensed by the Community Development Authority (CDA) in Dubai and private sector organisations are working together to positively impact the community through the Honour Labour initiative.

Now in its fifth year, Honour Labour is a yearlong programme dedicated to uplifting blue-collar workers and promoting their inclusion in the community. But with the season of giving during Ramadan, volunteers intensify their efforts to reach as many workers as they can.

"During this Ramadan, the Honour Labour initiative by the Community Development Authority is going strong in its fifth year of delivering sustainable programmes to the workers of Dubai,” Dr Omar Al Muthanna, CEO of the Licensing and Regulatory Sector at CDA, told Gulf News.

This year's Ramadan campaign alone will benefit an estimated 350,000 workers, in comparison to 364,480 workers who benefited from a full year's programme in 2015.

Some 18 social clubs are serving Iftar meals to thousands of workers, up from 10 social clubs who served Iftar meals to 196,700 people in 2015.

Advocate Sajid Abu Bakr, secretary of the Dubai Kerala Muslim Cultural Centre, said they are providing 2,000 Iftar meals to the public daily in their office throughout Ramadan. They also give out Iftar kits to labour accommodations every week.

"Apart from the Iftar meals, we are also distributing 5,000 books through our ‘1 Book for 1 Person' campaign this Ramadan,” Abu Bakr told Gulf News.

"As a social charity, we are helping change the mentality of society nowadays. People now are becoming more and more selfish. We want to set an example to the next generation [to learn to give back to the community].”

This push to go beyond giving one meal to one worker but help that worker become a better individual in the long run is the main thrust of the Honour Labour campaign this Ramadan.

"This initiative is not only providing meals to those who are fasting in this holy month of generosity but also moving into feeding the minds and souls through education in languages and life skills. The initiative is carried out by myriads of non-profit organisations, volunteers, private companies, and government bodies in a wonderful display of selfless acts of social responsibility,” Dr Al Muthanna said.

"This initiative is one of many examples of our commitment to strengthen the maturing notion of sustainable community development.”

Several activities that promote national identity, empower individuals, provide social inclusion, cohesion and protection, are being held in various labour accommodations across the city. These programmes came from a series of brainstorming sessions with the social clubs to ensure that all the solutions and services are planned out from the ground level.

Some 11,000 volunteers, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, from the licensed social clubs are offering services and gifts this Ramadan amounting to Dh3.2 million. Their volunteering hours throughout the month when computed have a cash equivalent of Dh1.8 million.

Dr Al Muthanna said a lot has changed since the authority started the programme in 2012. The model it has set in place where they license, guide, and teach social clubs how to go about their programmes has matured. From being very hands-on in delivering services in 2012, the CDA has slowly taken the back seat and is now leading from behind.

"Since the initiation of the CDA, we have realised that there are lots of goodwill in Dubai and people want to deliver services because of this goodwill. However, goodwill alone will not take you very far. You have to have the right tools and expertise,” Dr Al Muthanna said.

"We are empowering the community by putting down well-structured framework through licensing and through building channels across the different sectors. We create the environment to promote this kind of thinking and then we watch the magic happen.” – Gulf News -


UAEJJF adds UAE capital as fifth host city for 2016/17 Abu Dhabi Grand Slam World Tour

posted on 29/06/2016

The UAE Jiu-jitsu Federation (UAEJJF) announced the return of the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam World Tour 2016/17 on Sunday.

The grand slam will be held in five international host cities around the world: Los Angeles, Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro, Abu Dhabi and London.

The Abu Dhabi Grand Slam is open to all nationalities, the medallists will be listed in the jiu-jitsu world rankings and cash prizes are awarded for the top athletes of each division. Top ranked competitors will receive huge prizes at the end of the season according to the UAEJJF World Ranking.

"We are inspired by the vision of our leadership, especially His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to advance sports and transform the UAE into a world leader in jiu-jitsu and sports in general," Chairman of the UAE Jiu-jitsu Federation H.E. Abdulmunam Al Hashemi said.

"With the incredible success of the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam globally last year, we have received a lot of requests from various federations and countries from around the world to stage the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam in their country. This shows that we are on the right track.

"However we have decided to add a fifth hosting city to the Grand Slam this year, which will be in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Our strategic plans for 2017/18 are in process too and we aim to build a sustainable global sport championship product, not just events.

Our partnerships with key partners and sponsors will contribute to the objectives of the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam in the coming years," H.E. Abdulmunam Al Hashemi said.

The UAEJJF's vision is to be the leading symbol of jiu-jitsu in the world through the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam World Tour and hopes to once again attract the world's top jiu-jitsu athletes.

According to the UAEJJF, the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam World Tour will be broadcasted live by over 10 major TV networks around the world including USA & North America, Brazil, Colombia, Europe, Middle East & North Africa, China, Japan and Asia.

"I am very happy to have competed in Abu Dhabi Grand Slam last year," Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt & Abu Dhabi Grand Slam champion Erberth Santos said.

"I was in Los Angeles, Rio de Janeiro, London and Tokyo, all four of them. I won in my division in all four events as well. This gave me a boost in the ranks and I liked fighting most in the first edition, because it really felt like the World Pro in Abu Dhabi.

"I look forward to participating again this year, I am excited that they have added another event in Abu Dhabi. This is great for us athletes, an event that pays well and everything is organised in the most professional way."

Faisal Al Ketbi, an Emirati jiu-jitsu black belt and champion, said: "Thank you to His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces for developing the sport of jiu-jitsu in Abu Dhabi and around the world.

"I am ready and excited and so are my team mates from the UAE."

Registrations are now open and for more information, visit

Abu Dhabi Grand Slam World Tour Calendar 2016/17

September 3-4, 2016 - Los Angeles, USA [LA Conventional Center]

October 23, 2016 - Tokyo, Japan [Big Turtle Fukaya]

November 12-13, 2016 - Rio De Janeiro, Brazil [HSBC Arena]

January 13-14, 2017 - Abu Dhabi, UAE [IPIC Arena]

March 18, 2017 - London, UK [Excel London]. – The National -