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Ambassador Al Otaiba visits Dallas, highlights strength of UAE - US ties

posted on 23/10/2016

DALLAS, TEXAS: Yousef Al Otaiba, the UAE Ambassador to the United States, visited Dallas, Texas this week to highlight the deep commercial and cultural ties between the UAE and the state of Texas, and reinforce the strength of bilateral relations between the UAE and the US.

While in Dallas, the Ambassador delivered a keynote address at the John G. Tower Centre for Political Studies at Southern Methodist University. The event was co-sponsored by the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth and the Dallas Committee on Foreign Relations (DCFR).

Those in attendance included local elected officials, members of the Dallas business community, academics and students. The Ambassador delivered remarks and participated in a Q&A session moderated by Former US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Robert Jordan.

Coming just three weeks before the American Presidential election, the Ambassador's speech focussed on the importance of the UAE-US bilateral security relationship. Specifically, the Ambassador underscored the importance of continued US engagement with its closest allies in the region to address the most pressing security challenges, including defeating Daesh and countering radical extremism.

"While the UAE and our Gulf partners are actively taking on a broader leadership role in the region, US involvement remains indispensable to help address today's challenges," said Ambassador Al Otaiba. "Deeper US engagement with longstanding partners will not only help in confronting threats, but it will also give the US an opportunity to work with countries like the UAE to carve out a positive path forward in the Middle East," he said.

He also reiterated the critical need for the US to work closely with its allies to address Iran's destabilising activities in the region. "Working together, we must take concrete steps to check Iran's aggression and make sure they are contributing to a constructive path for the region, not undermining our collective progress," said Ambassador Al Otaiba.

Ambassador Al Otaiba also reinforced the shared US and UAE priority to confront extremism in Yemen and throughout the region. "Working together, I am fully confident in our ability to sustain this military effort. And to be clear again, the UAE is actively in this fight with boots on the ground and wings in the air. Beyond the battlefield, we must continue to intensify our collective efforts in the area of countering violent extremism," said Ambassador Al Otaiba.

The Ambassador also stressed the need to provide hope and opportunity for the region as an effective way to counter radical ideologies. He cited a strong and dynamic economy, existing partnerships and initiatives like the UAE Space Agency and the launch of DC-based tech incubator 1776 in Dubai as examples of this positive vision for the region. "In the UAE, we are building an economic engine for the entire region, a place where the free flow of goods, services, people, investment, and ideas lifts the entire Middle East and links it to Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas," Ambassador Al Otaiba said.

While in Dallas, Ambassador Al Otaiba also spoke to students from several different area schools. Students from The Hockaday School as well as students and teachers from surrounding high schools including Ursuline Academy, Brighter Horizons Academy, North Hills Preparatory, and Hurst-Euless-Bedford Independent School District were also in attendance. All the participating schools are part of the Junior World Affairs Council (JWAC), an initiative by the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth with the purpose to encourage students to learn about international issues through WAC programs and events.

Among US states, Texas is the second largest merchandise exporter to the UAE – exports surpassed more than US$2 billion dollars last year, growing more than 500 percent since 1999. The robust trade relationship with the UAE supports approximately 31,000 jobs across the state of Texas. Texas is also a major commercial aviation hub for the UAE. Emirates Airline, based in Dubai, flies nonstop flights to Houston and Dallas. Etihad Airways flies nonstop air service from Dallas to Abu Dhabi.

Exports from Texas make up nearly 11 percent of total US exports to the UAE. Top exports from Texas in 2014 included drilling equipment, aircraft parts, surveying equipment, and automotive exports. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


UAE-funded cadet college opens in Pakistan's South Waziristan

posted on 23/10/2016

WAZIRISTAN: Chief of Pakistani Army Staff, General Raheel Sharif inaugurated on Saturday Spinkai Cadet College in South Waziristan, which was built as part of the UAE-funded Project to Assist Pakistan (PAP) at a total cost of US$ 6.3 million.

The College was built in line with the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and the follow up of H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, to assist the friendly people of Pakistan through a number of development and humanitarian projects.

The opening ceremony was attended by senior Pakistani army officers, government officials, tribal elders and students.

Accompanied by Abdullah Khalifa Al Ghafli, Director of PAP, General Sharif unveiled the plaque of the project, amid shouts of gratitude to His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and prayers to Allah the Almighty to reward him with good health and longevity.

Addressing the ceremony, General Sharif expressed thanks and appreciation to His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan for their continuous support and for their humanitarian initiatives.

"When I was a small boy, my father told me about a hospital built and opened in Lahore by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. When I went to see the hospital, I was moved by the few words written on the memorial plaque: A gift to Pakistan," he added.

Spinkai Cadet College, the second of its kind to be built by the UAE in South Waziristan after Wana College, offers secondary level education to 450 cadets. It is built on an 11,054 square meter plot and consists of 22 classrooms, a lecture hall, an arts hall, four fully-equipped laboratories, staff and students accommodation, a dining hall and a sports hall. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Etihad Airways donates to support education for underprivileged children in India

posted on 23/10/2016

Underprivileged children studying at Nowshera Mewat Public Middle School near New Delhi, India, received school supplies in the form of a donation from Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates.

The donation was presented at the official re-opening of the school, which has been fully rebuilt with funds raised by the Abu Dhabi-based airline. Students received over 1,000 school bags, stationery, meals, uniforms, shoes and other garments.

A senior delegation from Etihad Airways presented the donation which was funded through charitable initiatives from staff, including ‘Walk for a Cause', garage sales and a football tournament held during the Holy month of Ramadan.

The delegation, headed by Khaled Al Mehairbi, Senior Vice President of Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Hub, welcomed the participation of Dr. Ahmed Albanna, the UAE Ambassador to India and, Kavita Joshi, Jet Airways' Head of Sales, Northern India.

Also present were Adil Al Mulla, Vice President Procurement and Supply Management, Neerja Bhatia, Vice President Indian Sub-Continent, and four UAE national cadet pilots from Etihad Airways.

"We are delighted to launch this initiative just before Diwali and sincerely hope we were able to make a positive impact on the lives of the young children. As the UAE's national carrier, we are pleased to once again reaffirm our commitment to Indian society and give back to those in need. Etihad's family is proud to play a part in helping these students pursue their studies and in raising global awareness of the importance of education to the less fortunate," said Al Mehairbi, who also serves as Chairman of Etihad Airways' Sports and Social Committee.

The delegation was met by Indian representatives from Mewat district who accompanied Etihad Airways' team in distributing the airline's new ‘kids kit'. Furthermore, the Abu Dhabi-based airline announced a new school library project, to be completed by December. The new educational facility will target 1,000 students ranging from the ages of 6 to 14 years.

The library project is underway in co-operation with the UAE Board on Books for Young People (UAEBBY), a non-profit organisation that works closely with the International Board on Books for Young People.

"The rich history of friendship between India and the UAE is deep-rooted. This donation represents the kindness and generosity of Etihad Airways' staff and partners, as well as the wider Abu Dhabi community who selflessly took part in the initiative. Collectively, through our efforts, we have shone a light of glimmering hope to our brothers and sisters in India, allowing them the chance of a better future," Dr. Ahmed Albanna said. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


ERC distributes aid in Yemen's Abyan province

posted on 23/10/2016

ABYAN: The Emirates Red Crescent Authority (ERC) is continuing its programmes to distribute aid to the Yemeni citizens affected by current events.

The ERC sent yesterday a land convoy of 12 trucks, carrying food aid to Lawdar District in Abyan province, carrying 4,500 food parcels for distribution among the residents of the city and neighbouring areas.

Director of Lawdar District Abdullah Al Wahidi, thanked the UAE and ERC for aiding the Yemeni citizens. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


UAE delivers urgent medical assistance to prevent spread of cholera in Aden

posted on 23/10/2016

ADEN: Emirates Red Crescent (ERC) has dispatched urgent medical supplies to a number of hospitals in Aden to prevent the spread of cholera following monitoring a number of cases in several districts that caused the death of some patients there.

The central laboratory at Al Jumhouriya hospital received the oral rehydration solution (ORS) to help examine suspected cases of cholera. The ERC also delivered to competent authority in Aden 20 barrels of chlorine as part of a contribution to fight against the spread of cholera.

The ERC team provided in Aden the ORS to the coordinator of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Yemen, Dr. Mohammed Cleese, who thanked the ERC on the speedy response. He added that these solutions were sufficient to examine 500 suspected cases.

He also welcomed the rapid response by the UAE to meet the needs of the organisation for these solutions.

Medical sources said that a number of people with cholera continues to increase, and called on the government and local authorities to take action to deal with the situation, especially in Dar Saad, Al Mansoura and Al Ma'li Alli and Al Basateen districts.

This move coincides with an awareness campaign organised by the ERC in schools and health centre on the ways and methods of prevention of cholera.

Earlier, the WHO warned in a statement posted on the social networking site account, "Twitter" on increase of cholera cases in Yemen, saying that "it has reached a worrying stage that should not be ignored."

The UAE has recently signed two cooperation agreements with the WHO to develop the health sector in Yemen through the implementation of a number of projects and programmes worth AED50.5 million. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Jawaher Al Qasimi announces " Women Economic Empowerment" Global Summit in Fall 2017

posted on 23/10/2016

In what became one of this year's most crucial announcements for global women's economical empowerment, Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Chairperson of the NAMA Women Advancement Establishment; declared that NAMA will be organising the first edition of Women Economic Empowerment Global Summit in Fall 2017, during a NAMA–UN Women roundtable.

It will be held on the side-lines of the second day of ‘Investing in Future' (IIFMENA) conference in Sharjah.

Sheikha Jawaher, also wife of H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, explained how the Global Summit will see the birth of yet another significant collaboration between NAMA and UN Women, kicking into action their Equal Opportunities for Women Entrepreneurs flagship initiative in Sharjah, the UAE and the rest of the Arab world.

The Summit will also further support their ongoing efforts to deliver on the women's economic empowerment dimensions of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The 3-day Summit's first edition will be in partnership with UN Women and will feature the first ever business Expo lead purely by female entrepreneurs, managers and owners of SMEs, and executive businesswomen, another pioneering initiative to empower women in economic decision-making.

The roundtable was chaired by Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi alongside with Ameera BinKaram, Vice Chairperson of NAMA Women Advancement Establishment; Dr. Phumzile Mlambo, Executive Director of UN Women; Hind Alowais, Senior Advisor, UN Women; Meg Jones, Chief of Economic Empowerment division, UN Women; Fiza Farhan, Board member of UN FPI - Women's Economic Empowerment, Raghda Taryam, board member of Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry and representing SCCI, and saw the participation of successful women entrepreneurs from Brazil, Geneva, Kenya, South Africa, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

Various case studies mapping the success stories of women entrepreneurs and women-led organisations were put forth, and policy legislations to support them overcome the various challenges discussed. Strategies to empower women entrepreneurs with a special focus on procurement opportunities were the focus of the roundtable deliberations.

Highlighting education and the right mental conditioning as a precursor to ensuring women's economic empowerment, Sheikha Jawaher said, " We are all gathered here yesterday because we are strong supporters and activists of women's economic empowerment. I believe that real empowerment of women can only be realised when we start the process early, teaching our children the values of tolerance, gender equality and equal economic opportunities for women and men. By passing these values to our children from an early age, the empowerment process will be naturalised within the workings of society, and soon there will be a day when we will not have to fight for our rights anymore."

Emphasising on the need for transformative action and revitalised global partnerships, she added, "Today, to embrace all previous efforts invested to advance woman locally, regionally and globally, NAMA, will be co-convening ‘Equal Opportunities for Women Entrepreneurs' over the next five years, which is one of the Flagship Programming Initiatives (FPI) under UN Women's second strategic plan titled Women's Economic Empowerment (WEE)."

"NAMA, is strategically positioned to aid towards making international initiatives for women locally relevant, for instance, the Pearl Initiative that linked the private sector with global development and CSR practices," Sheikha Jawaher said, focusing on NAMA's role in customising the UN Women's WEE initiative for the Arab demography.

Sheikha Jawaher thanked H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and the UAE Permanent Mission at the UN in New York, for supporting NAMA with the WEE FPI and added that NAMA looks forward to furthering the strength of the relationship with the Mission and other NGOs and the civil society working towards elevating women globally. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Dubai Future Foundation, Autodesk support 3D printing initiatives in region

posted on 23/10/2016

Dubai Future Foundation has partnered with US multinational software corporation Autodesk to provide financing for entrepreneurs and start-ups in the 3D printing space in the region.

The two organisations signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, putting the Foundation in charge of identifying suitable investment channels for Autodesk's $100-million Spark investment fund for the region.

The investments will benefit businesses relying on 3D printing in their operations, by developing this technology, catalysing innovation in the sector and incubating and boosting 3D-printing start-ups in the region. Autodesk, meanwhile, will be in charge of evaluating innovation in the regional 3D printing sector to map out a clear strategy for its Spark fund.

The agreement, signed by Saif Al Aleeli, CEO of Dubai Future Foundation, and Amar Hanspal, Senior Vice President, Products, at Autodesk, also allows entrepreneurs and businesses with innovative ideas in the 3D-printing sector access to Spark's marketing and software development capabilities.

Moreover, the MoU will accelerate the establishment of a regional 3D-printing market, whereby 3D-printed products will cater to the demands of sectors such as manufacturing, construction and medical and consumer products.

Mohammed Al Gergawi, Vice Chairman and Managing Director of Dubai Future Foundation, said the Dubai 3D Printing Strategy, launched by Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, will not only turn Dubai and the UAE into an international hub for the sector but will also drive the growth of the global 3D-printing market, set to be worth US$300 billion by 2030.

"3D-printing technology will revolutionise the economic sectors that most affect people's lives," Al Gergawi said. "This includes construction, medical equipment and supplies and even consumer products. 3D-printing technology has taken centre stage in the global market, drawing attention from all major tech companies and R and D centres around the world, as they work to expedite its introduction into traditional markets, in addition to establishing exciting new markets." – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Masdar concludes Power Purchasing Agreement to build Jordan’s largest solar power plant

posted on 23/10/2016

AMMAN: Masdar, Abu Dhabi's renewable energy company, has completed a key step in the development of the largest solar power plant in Jordan.

The Power Purchasing Agreement (PPA) for a 200-megawatt (MW) photovoltaic (PV) plant was signed yesterday by Mohamed Al Ramahi, Chief Executive Officer of Masdar, and Abdul Fattah Daradkeh, Chief Executive Officer of National Electric Power Company, Jordan's state electricity provider, at a ceremony in Amman attended by Dr Hani Al Mulqi, Prime Minister of Jordan, and Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and Chairman of Masdar.

The announcement follows an agreement between Jordan's energy ministry and Masdar on the development, ownership, operation and maintenance of the country's largest solar power facility signed at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2016 in January. The wholly owned Masdar subsidiary Baynouna Solar Energy Company (BSEC) has been set up to expedite the project.

"Today's signing marks the forward progress of a significant investment in Jordan's energy security in line with His Majesty King Abdullah II's vision to diversify the country's energy mix and to meet future domestic power demand growth through sustainable sources," said Dr Ibrahim Saif, Energy Minister of Jordan.

"The solar power plant will raise the international profile of Jordan as a key destination for utility-scale renewable energy projects, stimulate local job creation and knowledge transfer, and further incentivise the adoption of commercial clean energy in the Middle East and North Africa," Dr Saif added.

"Today's agreement further strengthens the deep-rooted cooperation between the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, and builds on the success of the region's first utility-scale wind farm that Masdar and its partners inaugurated in the Kingdom last year," said Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and Chairman of Masdar.

"Meeting the region's growing demand for power will require a diverse range of energy sources, and this solar project reinforces the role of renewable energy as an efficient and cost effective contributor to the global energy mix."

"Since Masdar's establishment a decade ago, its vision has been to advance the clean energy industry and to provide sustainable, innovative solutions to the world's growing energy needs," Dr Al Jaber added. "Today, that vision is being translated into concrete action through tangible projects in the Middle East and others around the world."

Jordan's largest solar power plant will be linked to Al Muwaqqar substation located approximately 10 kilometres outside Amman. Once connected to the national grid, it will supply the annual power needs of around 110,000 homes and displace an estimated 360,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year.

Commenting on the Power Purchasing Agreement, Mohamed Al Ramahi, Chief Executive Officer of Masdar, said: "Today's signing underscores the commercial viability of renewable energy and is another key milestone in the expansion of Masdar's PV portfolio in the Middle East and North Africa and international markets. This flagship project will harness Masdar's proven expertise and experience in utility-scale clean energy and pave the way towards future projects in the kingdom and elsewhere."

The agreement to develop a PV plant follows the inauguration of the 117MW Tafila wind farm in Jordan in December, the Middle East and North Africa's first utility-scale wind project. Tafila was developed by Jordan Wind Project Company, a partnership between InfraMed (50 percent), Masdar (31 percent) and EP Global Energy (19 percent).

The solar power plant and Tafila will help Jordan reach its 2020 goal of producing 15 percent of its domestic electricity needs from renewable sources. Today, the kingdom imports around 96 percent of its energy at a cost equivalent to 20 percent of its national GDP. Combined, the two projects will account for nearly 18 percent of the 1.8 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy Jordan plans to install by 2020.

Now in its tenth year of operations, Masdar has invested US$2.7 billion in the development of renewable energy and clean technologies in the MENA region and international markets, and today has 2.7GW of gross power generating capacity either deployed or under construction.

The signing was also witnessed by Dr Ibrahim Saif, Jordan's Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources; Dr Omar Malhas, Finance Minister; Dr Mohammad Al Momani, Minister of State for Media Affairs and Communications and Jordan's Government Spokesman; Fawaz Najib Irshaidat, Jordan's Minister of State for Prime Ministerial Affairs; Ahmed Saeed Al Calily, Chief Executive Officer of Mubadala Development Company's Energy Platform; and Engineer Moeen Sayegh, Director General of Jordan's Department of Land and Survey. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


DEWA wins 9 awards at Ideas America 2016

posted on 23/10/2016

Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, DEWA, won nine awards at the recent international Ideas America competition in Georgia, USA, reflecting the company's excellence across diverse fields.

At the event, DEWA won two golden awards: one in the Best Communication Excellence category and the other in the Best Evaluator of the Year category. It won three silver awards for Idea of the Year, Best Programme Administrator and Best Executive Leadership. It also scooped two bronze awards in the Team Idea of the Year category. Apart from these, DEWA won the Advocate of the Year Award and the Kudos Award for Safety Idea of the Year - Honourable Mention Award.

"Our 9-award victory at the international Ideas America competition is the result of outstanding creative and innovative ideas, in adherence to the directives of Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to integrate innovation as a daily government practice and (as part of) an established culture, setting the Dubai government among the most innovative in the world," stated Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of DEWA. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Abdulaziz bin Humaid Foundation launches Mosaic Market in Al Safia Park-Ajman

posted on 23/10/2016

Abdulaziz bin Humaid Foundation has announced the launch of the Mosaic Market at Al Safia Park in the Emirate of Ajman from 11th November 2016 to 14th January 2017.

The weekend market, part of the Mojtamie Programme (societal programme), will open to visitors every Friday and Saturday from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The open-market concept is being introduced for the first time in the emirate. Businesspeople and members of the community who are interested in renting a booth at the market are encouraged to apply while booths still available. Eligible vendors will offer retail products, clothing, furniture, books, handicrafts, jewellery, food, movies and so on, or they will organise activities for the whole family to enjoy.

Sheikha Ali Al Nuaimi, Corporate Communications Manager of the Abdulaziz bin Humaid Foundation, said, "This unique project is an initiative of our Mojtamie Programme, one of the foundations of our four main programmes, which aim to serve the community and bring joy to the citizens and residents of the Emirate of Ajman and the UAE."

"In line with Ajman Vision 2021, setting up this market strongly supports creativity, sustainability and happiness in Ajman by providing an attractive platform for unique and innovative businesses to display their products to our visitors," she added. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


World's top jiu-jitsu athletes compete for glory in Abu Dhabi Grand Slam World Tour, Tokyo

posted on 23/10/2016

TOKYO: A 22-member UAE contingent will take to the mat along with 447 athletes from 30 countries in the jiu-jitsu championship series, the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam World Tour 2016-17, in Tokyo, Japan, after an exceptionally successful two-day event in Los Angeles, USA, last September.

Some of the world's finest jiu-jitsu players will compete for glory at Tokyo's state-of-the-art venue, Big Turtle Fukaya, Saitama, on 23rd October.

The UAE athletes won 19 medals on the Los Angeles tour last month, according to the UAE Jiu-jitsu Federation, UAEJJF, the event organisers and official authority for jiu-jitsu in the UAE.

UAEJJF Chairman Abdulmunam Al Hashemi spoke by phone with Yousef Al Batran, UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation Board Member, to enquire about the preparations being made by the UAE team ahead of the championship.

The UAEJJF announced this edition of the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam World Tour would be held in five international host cities around the world: Los Angeles (USA), Tokyo (Japan), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Abu Dhabi (UAE) and London (UK).

The host cities were chosen for their relevance and brand equity in the sport, based on a careful study that considered the geographical factor, demand for the sport in those countries and how they rank amongst the most competitive jiu-jitsu markets of the world. Japan is the birthplace of this martial art form, while Brazil has been attributed with taking it to the next level, as a sport.

London and Los Angeles are also premier centres for jiu-jitsu, while Abu Dhabi has been recognised as the new international capital of jiu-jitsu in recent years. The tournament will conclude in Abu Dhabi, UAE, at the World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship event in 2017.

The Abu Dhabi Grand Slam World Tour is open to all nationalities, belt levels and ages. The medallists will be listed in the world jiu-jitsu rankings, and cash prizes will be awarded to the top athletes in each division. Top-ranked competitors will receive large prizes at the end of the season, based on the UAEJJF World Ranking.

Organisers said they seek to advance sports and transform the UAE into a world leader in jiu-jitsu and sports in general.

The UAEJJF's vision is to be the leading symbol of jiu-jitsu in the world through the tour, aiming to provide a competitive environment to achieve sporting excellence at the local and global levels. The Abu Dhabi Grand Slam World Tour is the ideal championship for athletes who aspire to achieve professional status and an official world ranking. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -