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Shark Week exhibit opens at Dubai Mall

posted on 22/07/2016

A new shark exhibit opened at The Dubai Mall on Thursday to give residents a chance to know more about these sea creatures that are being killed and finned by the millions every year.

The ‘Discovery Shark Week' exhibit is a hybrid of digital technology and a living aquarium that features the "shark heroes” of Discovery Channel's Shark Week show. The entrance to the exhibit is a computer-generated imagery (CGI) of a shark cage that divers use underwater to get close to sharks.

The interactive digital shark cage, which consists of LED screens, gives guests a chance to "be surrounded” by Great White sharks, but obviously only through CGIs. Guests may learn more about the shark's biology using the information panels spread throughout the exhibit.

"The sharks you will see inside [the exhibit] represent the 100 million sharks that are finned every year. This is a practice that we need to stop. And we hope this exhibit delivers that message,” Paul Hamilton, general manager and curator of Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, said.

Sharks are targeted for their fins to be used in making high-end bowls of soup in the Far East. Shark finning is illegal in the UAE.

After the shark cage, guests can enter a 20-metre aquarium demi-tunnel, which houses Scalloped Hammerhead Sharks, Sandbar Whalers, Blacktip Reef Sharks, Bonnethead Sharks and Devil Rays, a close relative of Manta Ray.

LED screens line the opposite edge of the aquarium, which show other species of sharks featured in the Shark Week show. Guests can choose which shark species they want to "swim” with them with the LED background.

Joe Romeiro, naturalist and award-winning cinematographer from Shark Week, said the exhibit will help show the youth how beautiful sharks really are.

"So long as we have exhibits like this, we can always see sharks and think about sharks and know that 70 to 100 million sharks die every year — that's three sharks every second. And if you don't really keep an eye on these animals, they will go extinct in our lifetime.”

How to enter:

The Discovery Shark Week exhibit is part of the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo package. UAE residents may book their tickets online to get up to 30 to 50 per cent discount. – Gulf News -


Ministry of Climate Change and Environment reaffirms UAE’s leading role in protecting sharks

posted on 22/07/2016

Following the global spread of unethical and uncontrolled fishing methods and the rise of the shark fin trade which is putting shark species on the edge of extinction, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment reaffirms UAE's global role in the preservation of marine biodiversity and raising community awareness on the issue.

Eng. Mariam Hareb, Assistant Under-Secretary of Water Resources and Nature Conservation Sector at the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, said, "In line with the directives of our leadership and in light of UAE's pioneering role in protecting the environment, MOCCAE has been taking a series of tangible steps aimed at protecting the environment, spreading awareness and enhancing cooperation for the protection of sharks in order to contribute to the global environmental balance and maintain a sustainable marine environment."

Hareb pointed out that The UAE recognises the threat to sharks, and the wider challenges resulting from overfishing and illegal wildlife trade and is taking these efforts as part of an on-going continual assessment of its environmental policy and action effectiveness which has made it a regional leader. It was the first country in the Middle East to ratify the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

The UAE's efforts include enhancing monitoring and control measures by working with relevant authorities domestically and internationally, such as inspections and audits at fish markets and landing sites with customs and municipalities. Where laws and regulations have been broken concerning shark and fin trading, confiscations and legal action are taken as necessary.

Sharks are among the oldest creatures alive, existing more than 400 million years ago.

They play a big role in maintaining the seas' ecological balance, where they feed on weak and diseased fish to prevent the spread of diseases in the marine environment and prevent the continuation of mating among infected fish.

The majority of shark species are threatened or endangered because sharks reproduce in small numbers and their growth period is very long, exacerbated by illegal fishing practices. There are approximately 550 species of sharks present around the world and more than 30 species in the Arabian Gulf. - Emirates News Agency, WAM –


UAE researchers grow date palm in three years

posted on 22/07/2016

Along with celebrating the iconic fruit of the UAE, the 12th edition of the Liwa Date Festival is also showcasing some of the latest innovative research being carried out by Emirati scientists on growing date palm trees.

UAE University (UAEU), one of the main sponsors of the festival, used the opportunity to educate visitors on their latest work, which employs the use of tissue culture for growing date palm trees rather than traditional methods such as seeding.

"We try to grow the date palm by using tissue culture techniques. This allows us to grow the tree quickly, and also gives us more date palm trees,” said Eman Hussain, from the university's date palm development research unit department.

First stage

"This [stage] takes place inside the laboratory; we get the heart of the plant — which is located just above the roots — and cut it into small pieces. We place the pieces in soil that has all the minerals and nutrients it needs,” she explained.

"The next step is to transfer this into another test tube for multiplication, and this takes around four to six months. During this period, small branches start to form and we then move on to the next stage for elongation, allowing the branches to grow fully with their roots.”

Second stage

"[This involves] taking the plant to our greenhouse, where the tree fully grows and is able to start giving fruit. Farmers can then collect the tree from us,” Hussain added.

The entire process takes up to three years, according to Hussain, but she notes that in that time, "we can grow thousands of trees with just one plant heart”.

With the whole process taking place under controlled conditions, Hussain says that this creates optimum growth and production of the trees.

"We don't have to deal with problems like insects and diseases that could potentially harm the tree, because the growth is in a controlled environment,” she said.

"Weather issues are also not a problem for us because when we start growing the plant in the second stage, we also make sure to modify the temperature that best suits the plant's needs and growth,” she added.

The research being done by Hussain and her team has also been officially recognised for its achievements. In 2015, they were named the recipients of the Khalifa Date Palm Award for Best Distinguished Producers.

Hussain said that she and her team are looking to improve on their research.

"We have a new professor from France, and the goal now is to try to quicken the process. We are looking at maybe having the tree grow in one or two years,” she said.

"We have a large demand for the dates that have been produced from our trees. We have customers not only in the UAE, but from around the world in countries like India, Jordan and others,” she added. – Gulf News -


12th Liwa Dates Festival kicks off

posted on 22/07/2016

Over 100 baskets of Dabbas were lined up on tables awaiting judgment for the tastiest, healthiest and the best looking date of them all. This variety of date, especially popular in Liwa oasis, was the first of the 10 Ratab - half ripen dates - competitions to kick-start the 12th annual Liwa Dates Festival, which is being held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs.

Organised by the Cultural Programmes and Heritage Festivals Committee, Abu Dhabi, the festival is a celebration of the new harvest of dates across UAE, but also a celebration of Emirati heritage and a great economic support to the Al Gharbia (the Western Region of Abu Dhabi Emirate) population.

"Dabbas, khallas, kunaizi, farth, bou maan, these are the most popular and most grown varieties of dates in the UAE, and that is why we selected them for the Ratab competitions," said Abdullah Butti Al Qubaisi, Director of Projects Management and Communication for the Committee.

"Participants have the option to compete with other varieties of Ratab in the Nukhba competition, which awards the best basket of mixed Ratab," he added.

Also in the Ratab "Mazeinah" (beauty competition), there is the Biggest Bunch competition as well, awarding from AED 2,000 to AED 50,000 for the top five heaviest bunch of dates.

The Festival includes around 35 exhibitors specialising in palm trees and dates, and will shed light on the latest technical and counselling services available to date farm owners.

In a related context, the Abu Dhabi Farmers' Services Centre, ADFSC, is also gearing up to participate in the 12th edition of the Liwa Date Festival.

"The centre seeks, through its programmes and projects, to provide the best agricultural solutions, innovations and practices suitable for the local conditions of the UAE, improve the nutrition of palm trees to preserve their great heritage, and increase the productivity and the quality of dates on farms in Abu Dhabi," said Nasser Al Junaibi, Acting CEO, ADFSC.

Abu Dhabi Farmers' Services Centre will be updating farmers during the event about how it is currently combatting the red palm weevil and other pests threatening the palm trees of the UAE. The centre will also be providing training and technical advice to farm owners in order to raise awareness of the need for water rationing, and methods of improving productivity and increasing quantity.

The red palm weevil (rhynchophorus ferrugineus), is a species of snout beetle also known as the Asian palm weevil. The adult beetles are relatively large, ranging between two and five centimetres long, and are usually a rusty red colour. Weevil larvae can excavate holes in the trunk of palm trees up to a metre long, thereby weakening and eventually killing the host plant.

There are 6.7 million palm trees in Abu Dhabi, and between January 2013 and June 2016, over five million red palm weevils were removed, thanks to the efforts of the Abu Dhabi Farmers' Services Centre.

This was achieved with an emirate-wide programme using pheromone traps that are monitored and maintained on the farmers' behalf by ADFSC. - Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Summer Fun at Al Majaz Waterfront attracts high turnout of visitors

posted on 22/07/2016

Visitors to Al Majaz Waterfront in Sharjah are enjoying a host of new activities on offer, as the tourist and leisure destination has commenced its exciting ‘Summer Fun' annual programme, which runs every Thursday and Friday until the end of August.

Having begun on the first day of Eid al-Fitr, Summer Fun at Al Majaz Waterfront features an array of specially devised events designed to provide an exciting environment for everyone, as well as highlight the beautiful landscape attractions that are a main feature of the popular attraction.

Summer Fun comprises a series of interactive shows held at the Mini Splash Park, one of the destination's key facilities. The first week of the programme witnessed a high footfall of visitors, with entertaining performances that blend circus, art, theatre and music. Children in particular made the most of the face painting, balloon modelling and bubble-shows that are also taking place.

"Summer is the perfect time for families to participate in the additional recreation and leisure activities that are taking place at Al Majaz Waterfront, with the time of year seeing children enjoying a long school holiday," said Mohammed Fadhil Al Mazroui, Manager of Al Majaz Waterfront.

"The Summer Fun programme has been especially inaugurated to attract visitors and tourists to Sharjah's unique destination and boasts numerous events and shows, all taking place in a fun and engaging environment," he said.

The AED 120m Al Majaz Waterfront, Shurooq's debut project, was opened in March, 2012, and is situated in Sharjah's most lively district on the picturesque Khalid Lagoon. - Emirates News Agency, WAM –


UAE President issues federal laws

posted on 22/07/2016

President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has issued a number of special federal laws, including one amending Federal Law No. 45/1992 pertaining to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and one on regulating of the competencies of the National Media Council.

H.H. Sheikh Khalifa also issued federal laws on combating cyber crimes and judicial fees at federal courts.

Federal Law No. 10/2016 amends some of the provisions of Federal Law No. 45/1992 on regulating the work of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The first article of the law, published in the latest issue of the Official Gazette, changes the text of Clause 10 of Article 2 of Federal Law No. 45/1992 and replaces it with the following text: Issuance and renewal of diplomatic and special passports for the nationals of the state as well as service passports. Specifying the eligible groups (of people) and rules for issuing these passports as an exception from the provisions of Federal Law No. 17/1972 on naturalisation and passports, and amendments. A diplomatic or special passport is given to groups of people, who are not specified in the previous clause, excluding their families, and by virtue of a decision made by the President or the Vice President of the State, based on a proposal from the Foreign Minister.

Article 2 states that each and any provision that contradicts the provisions of this law shall be abolished. Article 3 provides for the publication of this law in the Official Gazette and that it will come into effect the day after publication.

H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed also issued Federal Law No. 11/ 2016 regulating the competencies of the National Media Council.

According to the law, the National Media Council is the federal government body established to oversee and undertake the media affairs of the United Arab Emirates. It has corporate character, an independent budget and the legal capacity required to undertake all activities to ensure achievement of its goals. It is a government body affiliated with the Cabinet and shall have its seat in Abu Dhabi City. The Council may set up branches and offices inside and outside the UAE.

Article 4 of the law states the objectives of the NMC and accordingly it shall develop the UAE's media policy, draft media legislation and ensure its execution and co-ordinate the media policy between the emirates, in line with the UAE's domestic and foreign policy to ensure support for the Federation of the UAE and project national unity.

Article 5 states the NMC's scope of jurisdiction which includes the following: developing and executing the required policies and plans to develop the media sector; proposing bills and regulations relating to the work of the Council in coordination with the relevant authorities in the country; proposing regulations, standards and foundations required for licensing and accrediting media outlets and their staff and activities, including e-publishing; issuing rules and regulations that ensure the achievement of the Council's goals in line with the controls it specifies; coordinating with the authorities of media free zones on developing an organisational framework to regulate the Council's relationship with these zones; representing the UAE at media meetings, events and activities in and outside the UAE; undertaking any other relevant responsibilities specified by the Cabinet's regulations and resolutions.

Article 6 states that a Board of Directors, formed by virtue of a decision issued by the Cabinet, shall run the Council.

Article 7 states that the Board of Directors is the supreme authority of the Council and shall accordingly exercise all its powers and the required authority. It may develop the Council's general policy, propose amendments to the required plans and follow up the plans for their execution, propose draft regulations pertaining to the work and competencies of the Council as well as to the achievement of its objectives and submitting the same to the Cabinet for approval as well as the preparing of a draft organisational structure for the Council, specifying the responsibilities and competencies and departments of the Council, and submit the same to the Cabinet for approval, propose a draft annual budget for the Council and a draft annual closing account in addition to any other competencies delegated to the Board by the laws, regulations and resolutions issued by the Cabinet. The Board may also delegate some of its competencies to its Chairman.

According to the law, the Chairman of the National Media Council is responsible for overseeing the management of the Council for all aspects in line with the provisions of the Council's effective regulations. The Council shall have a director general, to be appointed by virtue of a federal law based on a proposal from the Chairman, who will be the legal representative of the Council. The Board of Directors shall issue a decision specifying the Chairman's competencies and jurisdiction.

Article 10, a clause about the standards and regulations issued by the Council, states that media organisations in the state must comply with the regulations and rules issued by the Council, as well as commit themselves to provide information and data required by the Council to achieve its objectives.

Article 11 states that the fiscal year of the Council shall start on the 1st of January and ends on the 31st of December every year.

According to the law, regulations and decisions which are effective in the National Media Council shall remain enforced at the time of issuance of the law without conflict with its provisions.

The law shall be published in the Official Gazette and will come into effect the day following publication.

President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan also issued Federal Law No. 12/2016 amending Federal Law No. 5/2012 on combating information technology crimes.

Article 1 provides for replacing the text of Article 9 of Federal Law No. 9/2012 as follows: Whoever uses a fraudulent computer network protocol address (IP address) by using a false address or a third-party address by any other means for the purpose of committing a crime or preventing its discovery, shall be punished by temporary imprisonment and a fine of no less than AED500,000 and not exceeding AED2,000,000, or either of these two penalties.

Article 2 of the law states that the law shall be published in the Official Gazette and shall come into effect the day following publication. - Emirates News Agency, WAM –


DEWA wins International Star for Leadership in Quality Award for outstanding excellence and quality

posted on 22/07/2016

Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), has won the International Star for Leadership in Quality in the Gold Category from Business Initiative Directions (BID) for outstanding excellence and quality, in accordance with the QC100 criteria, for economic growth, leadership, technical development, and innovation.

The Award was received by Marwan Al Zaabi, Vice President of Corporate Excellence at DEWA, on behalf of Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD and CEO of DEWA, during the 20th International Star for Leadership in Quality Award ceremony held in Paris, France.

A large number of organisations, companies, businessmen, experts, academics, specialists in quality and excellence, and diplomats from around the world attended the event.

Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer expressed his gratitude on winning the award, and stressed that DEWA believes that quality is a major element required to improve, and enhance competitiveness.

"As part of our efforts to achieve the vision of Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, in relation to sustainable excellence, DEWA promotes a culture of quality among employees, suppliers, and the community as a whole. This is supported by a comprehensive quality management model, as well as our belief that quality is a major element required to achieve positive results, and the satisfaction of our customers." said Al Tayer.

He added that DEWA adheres to the QC100 quality standard to enhance teamwork, decision-making, and exceed expectations, as well as the needs of customers and stakeholders. We provide our employees with technical and economic support, to achieve continuous development, while simultaneously preserving the environment. DEWA strives to continue to develop its human resource management, to achieve the best results. - Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Nahyan bin Mubarak examines National Archives historical documentation of UAE-Egypt relations at embassy event

posted on 22/07/2016

Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, has visited an exhibition organised by the National Archives, featuring a collection of photographs documenting the historical relations between the UAE and Egypt.

The exhibition was being held as part of a ceremony held on the occasion of the 64th anniversary of the Egyptian 23rd July Revolution.

During his tour, Sheikh Nahyan, who was accompanied by Wael Gad, the Egyptian Ambassador to the UAE, commended the National Archives for its efforts to keep record of the nation's memories, and documenting the historic and fraternal relations between the UAE and Egypt.

The Egyptian ambassador described the National Archives' collection as an expression of, "The Historical depth of brotherly relations between the two countries, which witnessed a growth in various fields, thanks to the wise directives of both leaderships." - Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Two UAE relief planes arrive in Libya

posted on 22/07/2016

TRIPOLI: Two UAE relief planes carrying emergency aid items from the Emirates Red Crescent have arrived at Mitiga International Airport, in the Libyan capital Tripoli.

The planes arrived today equipped with food, medical equipment and supplies to support the Government of National Accord in Tripoli.

The assistance is part of UAE efforts to lend a helping hand to its brothers in Libya, alleviate the human suffering being witnessed there and strengthen the ability of affected parties to face the situation in which they find themselves.

The aid will be distributed in Libyan hospitals to enhance the capabilities of the country's health institutions which are facing major humanitarian and healthcare challenges due to a lack of essential materials and medical equipment. - Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Hot to very hot days ahead in UAE

posted on 22/07/2016

Hazy and hot to very hot weather will continue to prevail over the country with a slight increase in temperatures expected on Saturday.

"There will be no big difference in the weather for the weekend but we expect a 1 degree Celsius to 2C increase in temperatures, with internal areas probably reaching 50C. The southerly flow will dominate our area till the end of the week,” a forecaster from the National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology (NCMS) told Gulf News.

Convective clouds, or clouds associated with rainfall, are expected to form over the east on Saturday.

Dust clouds are expected to affect visibility in exposed areas in the western region, which could go down to 3,000 metres.

The forecaster said the Indian monsoon continues to affect the weather pattern in the country, which is the usual case for July to August. This means more vapour-packed wind blows into the country from the east, coming from the Indian Ocean and the Oman Sea, contributing to the increased levels of humidity in general or occasional rain over the eastern and southern parts of the country.

The average maximum temperature for July is between 41C and 43C while the average relative humidity is between 65 per cent and 81 per cent.

The forecaster said the peak of summer is between July 15 and August 21 in the UAE.

Meanwhile, the Arabian Gulf will be moderate on Friday while the Oman Sea will be moderate, but rough at times. Beginning Saturday night, however, the seas may become rough for the next two days. – Gulf News -