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Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque wins Traveller’s Choice Award for second year in a row

posted on 28/05/2017

Once again, the UAE adds another outstanding achievement to its vast array of exceptional accomplishments following the announcement of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque ranking as the world's second favourite landmark, winning Trip Advisors Traveller's Choice Award of 2017.

Trip Advisor, the world's largest travel site, bases the ranking of its Traveller's Choice Award on the opinions, ratings and comments of millions of travellers and visitors of architectural, and historic sites around the world, and is regarded as one of the most prestigious awards in the world.

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre's administration attributed this achievement to several reasons, the most significant of which was the support of the nation's wise leadership, which led to the mosque becoming one of the most prominent tourist destinations in the UAE. The magnificence of its architecture and the exquisiteness of its ornamentation further enhances its splendour, so does its religious, and tolerant role in consolidating the notions of coexistence and cross-cultural communication, making it one of the most preferred global destinations throughout the year.

Ahmed Juma Al Za'abi, Deputy Minister for Presidential Affairs and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, said that "achieving second place, two years in a row, as one of most significant architectural monuments in the world, culminates the tremendous efforts and exceptional services the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque offers to visitors from all walks of life."

"The award also highlights the wise leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and Their Highness' roles in transforming the UAE, and Abu Dhabi in particular, into a global beacon of tolerance, and socio-cultural coexistence," Al Za'abi added.

The Deputy Minister for Presidential Affairs also referred to the great support of H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, where His Highness' efforts played a significant factor in the mosque achieving such a unique international status.

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is a contemporary and unique model of Islamic architecture and a tipping point in the modern arts. "The mosque aesthetic makes it an urban icon in both the UAE and the Middle East," Al Za'abi added, while also referring to the unique harmony and integration amongst the essence of Islamic architecture and the essentials of modern architecture, making the mosque a remarkable and an impressive model of architectural engineering.

He continued, "All these exceptional features mark the mosque's distinctive presence in the tourism arena, as one of the most significant and prominent tourist destinations in the world. It is a source of pride and motivates us to work even harder to maintain performance levels that in turn ensure the increase in the mosque's standing in international tourism."

"The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque will maintain its cultural, national, aesthetic, and religious value that will continue to reflect the concepts and values consolidated by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, which are deeply rooted in the UAE's soul and conscious, as an extension of its national identity" Al Za'abi concluded.

Yosuf Abdullah Alobaidli, Director-General of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre considered gaining such a rank to be an accurate reflection of the Centre's enduring efforts to improve its level of performance and achieve the finest and highest standards of quality in visitor services.

"Another source of pride for the Centre is that all services are delivered by UAE nationals, who were successfully able to reflect a bright image of their nation, and its exceptional values inspired by the vision of the nation's late founder Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan the Nahyan and the UAE's strategy that strives to extend the bridges of cross-cultural harmony across various countries," Alobaidli added.

He ensured the Centre is determined to consolidate its position as one of the most important humanitarian beacons in the world, and also enrich its cultural and civilisational movement through a scheme of events and activities to enhance its prominent role in upholding the values of tolerance and coexistence. The Centre aims to organise and host various charitable and humanitarian initiatives, religious and cultural lectures, and local and international cultural forums, in line with the Plan Abu Dhabi 2030 and the UAE Vision 2021.

According to Alobaidli, the mosque's total visitors in 2016 reached 5,209,801, of which 1,448,394 were worshipers, 2,807,556 visitors, and 872,070 Ramadan Iftar guests, while lectures and the Holy Quran memorisation programmes reached a total number of 9,781. The mosque also distributed some 72,000 meals to the underprivileged.


Unit 1 fuel assemblies safely transported and securely stored at Barakah Plant

posted on 28/05/2017

The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, ENEC, has announced the successful receipt of the fuel assemblies required to generate electricity from Unit 1. The fuel assemblies are securely stored in Barakah until the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation, FANR, approves the Operating License for Units 1 and 2, which will allow the generation of the first megawatts of emission-free electricity to power the growth of the UAE.

The fuel assemblies were transported in adherence to the highest standards of quality and safety, in accordance with the recommendations of the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, as well as FANR regulations and the safeguard of the Critical Infrastructure and Coastal Protection Authority, CICPA.

The fuel strategy is founded on the UAE's commitment to the highest standards of safety, security and non-proliferation, outlined in the UAE Policy on Nuclear Energy document released in April 2008. It also guarantees security of supply, quality assurance of fuel-related materials and competitive commercial terms to protect the interests of the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Programme by providing volume flexibilities and the ability to adapt to changing market conditions.

"As we move towards the operation of the first nuclear energy reactor in the UAE, the successful transportation of the first fuel assemblies to the Barakah Plant is a major success for ENEC and the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Programme," said Mohamed Al Hammadi, ENEC CEO.

"The transportation was made possible thanks to the cooperation of numerous teams at ENEC and its joint venture partner, the Korea Electric Power Corporation, KEPCO, alongside Nawah, FANR, CICPA, and other government and international stakeholders. The fact that all fuel assemblies were transported safely and protecting their integrity reflects the commitment of all these entities to the highest standards of quality, safety, and security," he added.

In accordance to FANR regulations, all fuel assemblies arriving at the Barakah Plant must be closely inspected by ENEC's and Nawah's fuel experts. These inspections are done to ensure the structural integrity of each fuel assembly and to obtain confirmation and independent verification of the quality of the assemblies.

"We are glad to announce that all the received fuel assemblies have cleared quality inspections at site and that they are ready to be used to produce electricity for the Nation, pending regulatory approval," said Dr. Mohamed Abdalla Chookah, Executive Director for Fuel Procurement and Analysis at ENEC.

Chookah continued, "New fuel assemblies, meaning fuel assemblies that have not yet completed a fuel cycle inside a reactor, contain fresh fuel pellets which emit natural amounts of radiation that are well below international safe limits. ENEC's number one priority is the safety of the community, the environment, its staff and its technology and we are glad to report that the fuel assemblies are securely stored within the Barakah plant."

Since its inception in 2009, ENEC has focused on the safe delivery of the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Programme. Construction of Unit 1 began in 2012 and it is now more than 95 percent complete. All four units are now 80 percent complete. Once the four reactors are online, the facility will deliver up to a quarter of the UAE's electricity needs.


Telecommunications Regulatory Authority wins Global Award in Mobile Government

posted on 28/05/2017

LONDON: The Center of Digital Innovation, CoDI, in the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, TRA, has won the Global Mobile Government Award during the Mobile Government World Summit 2017, held recently in the United Kingdom.

More than 100 teams from around the world participated in the competition, and the participating UAE Project was ranked first regionally, and second globally as the best implementer of smart technologies in the development of government services and future shaping.

Majid Al Madhloum, Director of CoDI, received the award on behalf of the TRA.

Commenting on this achievement, Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, TRA Director-General, said, "We are proud that Emirati innovation projects are valued in international forums, which indicates the position of our beloved country. In this framework, we continue to work in accordance with our wise leadership's directives, to apply the concepts of creativity and innovation to develop projects, plans and programmes that contribute in achieving sustainability, and reaching the highest levels of happiness that represents the ultimate goal of the UAE's mGovernment.' Al Mansoori added, "I would like to extend our appreciation to the employees of CoDI, and urge them to work more closely with the brothers in government entities, in order to achieve the Centre's objectives in establishing a culture of innovation, as well as enhancing national capacities, to endure the burdens of major developments of the future, in particular, transitioning towards smart cities, and intensive utilisation of artificial and digital intelligence.' CoDI was established as part of the implementation of the national mGovernment plan in the UAE. It aims to enhance the digital process in the country through research, innovation, education, training, skills development, quality assurance and provision of advisory services. CoDI provides a motivational environment for innovation, research and exploration of new ways to develop and provide smart government services, in addition to providing a central collaboration platform.


University of Birmingham to open new campus in Dubai International Academic City

posted on 28/05/2017

The University of Birmingham will open a campus in Dubai in November, becoming the first global top 100 and Russell Group University to establish a campus in Dubai's leading international education hub, Dubai International Academic City.

Located within Dubai International Academic City's diverse higher education ecosystem, the first phase of the campus will open in autumn 2017, with the first undergraduate and post-graduate students commencing their studies in September 2018.

Already recognised in the top one percent of universities across the globe, this landmark announcement marks the latest phase in the University of Birmingham's global expansion and builds on the University's international teaching activities in Singapore and China, and its extensive international research collaborations.

Commenting on this milestone, Mohammad Abdullah, Managing Director of Dubai International Academic City, said, "As Dubai International Academic City celebrates a decade of excellence, we are honoured to welcome one of the world's top universities, University of Birmingham, to our vibrant and diverse higher education community. The University of Birmingham's commitment to knowledge transfer through cutting-edge research makes it an ideal partner of choice in contributing to the achievement of the UAE's vision of creating innovative and enduring solutions that meet the demands of key sectors of development such as STEM and Education.

He added, "We are excited to strengthen our relationship with the University of Birmingham and are confident that together, we can tap into world-class expertise and provide a truly global experience for students and faculty."

DIAC's efforts to collaborate with top global academic institutions is key in elevating the UAE's National Innovation Strategy by ensuring learning and innovation go hand in hand and meet the demands of emerging industries. The integrated and innovative education experience offered by DIAC universities gives students the right skills to succeed in an increasingly competitive world.

The University of Birmingham Dubai will provide opportunities for students to study on a range of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. Initially, these will include Business, Economics, Computer Science, Mechanical Engineering, and Primary and Secondary Teacher Education, with further programmes to be offered subsequently.

With a strong tradition of teaching excellence, commended by the UK's Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education, QAA, in 2016, degrees at the University of Birmingham Dubai will be taught, examined and accredited to the same recognised high standards as those delivered on the University's UK campus in Birmingham.

Professor Sir David Eastwood, Principal and Vice-Chancellor at the University of Birmingham, said, "For more than a century, we have been welcoming international students to our campus in Birmingham and for the last 20 years have been providing opportunities for students to study on University of Birmingham degree programmes at partner institutions, including in China and Singapore. We have strategic partnerships in the USA, Australia, China, and Brazil and active research collaborations across the world. Opening a campus in Dubai is the next step in our global mission and demonstrates our ambition as an outward looking, world-class institution."


Abu Dhabi Fund for Development finances 31 projects worth AED5.7 billion in Jordan

posted on 28/05/2017

The Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, ADFD, has financed 31 projects worth AED5.7 billion in Jordan.

In its report which was released today to mark Jordan's 71st Independence Day, it stated that ADFD and the Government of Jordan have enjoyed close ties dating back to 1974. Their constructive co-operation aims to achieve their sustainable development goals in vital economic sectors that benefit the Jordanian population.

The fund announced that by the end of 2016, it had provided financing for 31 development projects with a cumulative value of AED5.7 billion through government grants and concessionary loans. The projects covered several sectors, namely mining, water and irrigation, transport, housing, agriculture, energy, education and healthcare.

ADFD manages the US$1.25 billion (AED4.6 billion) UAE government contribution to the Gulf Development Fund, a five-year grant programme of the Gulf Cooperation Council, GCC, to finance development projects, in line with the Jordanian government's strategic objectives. The end of 2016 marked the successful distribution of AED4.459 billion.

Congratulating Jordan's people on its Independence Day, Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, Director-General of ADFD, wished the country's government progress and success in achieving its sustainable development goals.

He said that under the directives of the President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, the UAE and Jordan have enjoyed a strong fraternal bond. He added that the UAE is keen to support friendly countries in achieving their sustainability and socio-economic agendas.

Imad Fakhoury, Jordanian Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, said, "Under the wise leadership of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE has played an instrumental role in its sustainable development endeavours in Jordan. Through ADFD, the UAE government has provided funding for projects that advance Jordan's development priorities and socio-economic well-being, since 1974."

"The Jordanian government sees ADFD as an essential partner of its long-term growth efforts. The fund has successfully managed, allocated and distributed concessionary loans and grants to key sectors in Jordan, most notably infrastructure, healthcare, industry and mining, and water and irrigation," he added.

The following is a summary of some of the most prominent projects administered by ADFD, as part of the $1.25 billion (AED4.6 billion) UAE grant to the Gulf Development Fund programme for Jordan in 2012-2017.

ADFD is funding the $25 million expansion works that will increase the receiving capacity of the King Hussein Cancer Centre. The project is scheduled for completion by the end of 2017.

ADFD has also contributed about $200 million to fund the first phase of the expansion works of the King Hussein Medical City, including the construction of a state-of-the-art 940-bed hospital with a capacity of 1,200 patients per day.

A $34 million project aims to build 85 new schools featuring modern science laboratories and advanced educational equipment, to cater for the growing number of students and enhance the education sector in Jordan. The project is slated for completion by the end of 2017.

A $17 million project to increase the efficiency of irrigation systems and water conservation has now been completed. The works included the replacement of calcified pipes, as well as the construction of walls and an underground drainage system for protection from floods.

A $49 million project included the construction of two concrete dams, the Zarqa-Ma'een and Kufranjah dams. Its main goal is to optimise the use of rainwater, meet the growing demand for drinking and irrigation water and improve water output and transfer, in line with industry standards.

A four-phase project valued at US$150 million will include the construction of an environment-friendly solar photovoltaic power plant in the Al Quweira region, which will take place from September to December 2017. Once connected to the national grid, the plant will generate 100 megawatts of energy.

A $210 million project will provide storage units to maintain a reserve of petroleum products sufficient for 60 days of domestic consumption across Jordan, enhancing the country's oil security and infrastructure. The project is scheduled for completion in September 2017.

A $33 million project that aims to meet Jordan's liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) needs has now been completed, ensuring the continuity of gas and electricity supply in the country.

A $186 million project includes the development of 15 roads, of which 12 have been completed and the remaining three are near completion, improving the ease of the movement of people and goods between cities, villages and regions across Jordan.

With the aim of modernising public universities, a $126.9 million programme will equip nine official universities with better infrastructure, newer technical apparatus and will foster a healthier academic and social environment.

Grain Silos, a $70.5 million project, aims to expand the Juwaideh and Aqaba silos to increase the holding capacity of essential food grains, particularly wheat and barley. With 75 percent of the works completed, the Juwaideh silo is slated for handover in Q1, 2018.


ADM signs Musataha contract for developing Sheikha Fatima Park in Abu Dhabi

posted on 28/05/2017

The Abu Dhabi City Municipality, ADM, has signed an AED94 million Musataha contract on Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) model with Capital Investment LLC, for the rehabilitation of H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Park (formerly known as Al Khaldiya Park for Women).

Upon signing the contract, Musabbah Mubarak Al Murar, Acting General Manager of Abu Dhabi City Municipality, said, "The Department of Municipal Affairs and Transport at ADM, is keen on developing the infrastructure to keep it in line with the aspirations of community members. Such endeavours also conform to the objectives of sustainable development in Abu Dhabi and realise Abu Dhabi Plan 2030."

The Park will shape into a prominent entertainment destination for all community segments capable of hosting a variety of events, activities and programs covering entertainment, sports and community fields. It will create an additional recreational venue offering stylish services besides being a point of attraction for thousands of visitors, he added The redevelopment works cover converting the fenced park into a lively spot bustling with entertainment activities. The innovative development of the park involves integrating the park with community events and commercial components over an area of about 6,900 square meters with a view to establishing an integrated community village in the heart of the Park.

The scope of project works includes initial preparations, site levelling, demolition, transportation, protection of utility lines, constructions works (playgrounds, mosque, cultural square, outdoor market, organic foods market with balconies, outdoor cafes, retail arcades, F&B outlets at the terrace, kids park, ice rink, interactive fountain with outdoor theatres, walk, cycling lane, women centre, learning corner, butterfly garden, green playgrounds, covered children playground, patients rehabilitation park and fitness centre.

The park spans an area of 46 thousand square meters, and greens cover an area of 24,035 square meters.


Emirates Red Crescent launches iftar project in Yemen

posted on 28/05/2017

MUKALLA: The Emirates Red Crescent, ERC, on Saturday launched its Ramadan iftar project in Hadramaut governorate, south Yemen, for this year and distributed iftar meals and other food supplies to fasting people with the help of local volunteers.

Now in its second year, the annual charity project is in line with directives from President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan to ease the suffering of Yemenis during the crisis that their country is going through.

Head of the ERC team Abdullah Al Musaferi said the agency is keen on providing adequate humanitarian support to Yemenis to help them during the crisis.

He also conveyed greetings and best wishes from the leadership and government of the UAE for the Yemeni people.


ERC opens building for blind after rehabilitation in Tarim, Yemen

posted on 28/05/2017

TARIM: Emirates Red Crescent (ERC) opened on Friday a building for blind in the Yemeni Directorate of Tarim in Hadramaut valley, following the completion of rehabilitation in accordance with an agreement signed last April to rehabilitate the building to support the community.

The move is part of the ERC development and service projects carried out in Hadramaut and various liberated areas.

The opening ceremony was attended by Col. Mansour al-Tamimi, Director General of Tarim Directorate, Khalil al-Tamimi, Consultant of the ERC's projects in Hadramout, Sheikh Obaid bin Kordous al-Tamimi, a social figure, and Aqeel Salem Al Kaf, Director of the Blind Association.

Abdullah al-Musafari, Head of the ERC team, said that the opening of the building after completion of its rehabilitation comes within the framework of the authority's interest in supporting people with disabilities, being an integral part of the community fabric of Hadramaut.

The beneficiaries thanked the UAE leadership, government and people for continued assistance, citing the rehabilitation of the building for blind as an example.


Zayed Giving Convoys treat over 2,000 needy patients in Zanzibar

posted on 28/05/2017

DAR ES SALAAM: A joint medical voluntary team from the UAE and Zanzibar has treated more than 2,000 children and elderly people, mostly suffering from cardiac disorders, in four medical camps.

The charitable medical mission in Zanzibar is run by Zayed Giving Initiative with support from Dar Al Ber Society, Sharjah Charity International and the Saudi-German Hospital, in coordination with the UAE embassy there.

The mission is in response to an appeal from the Zanzibar ministry of health and is also in line with the Year of Giving.

The 50-member team includes volunteer doctors and surgeons from the UAE, Tanzania, United States, France, Britain, Canada, Egypt, Pakistan, South Africa and India.

The ministry of health in Zanzibar appreciated the efforts being made by the UAE globally to provide medical care to heart patients.


Mauritanian Professor Lo Boubou Baidy wins 2017 United Arab Emirates Health Foundation Prize

posted on 28/05/2017

GENEVA: The United Arab Emirates Health Foundation Prize for 2017 went to Professor Lo Boubou Baidy, 61, of Mauritania, for his significant contribution to the establishment of the national blood transfusion centres and laboratory services , as well as his fight against viral hepatitis, HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, it was announced on the sidelines of the 70th World Health Assembly, WHA.

Professor Baidy was selected for his great contributions towards combating these diseases in Mauritania, noted Ambassador Obaid Salem Al Zaabi, UAE Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Geneva, in a speech delivered at a ceremony held by the World Health Organisation to honour those who made significant contributions towards enhancing human health.

Professor Baidy worked to ensure adequate stocks of blood across Mauritania, including in remote areas. He also advocated for the introduction, in 2002, of the vaccination against hepatitis B in the expanded immunisation programme. Owing to his efforts, the immunisation programme was further strengthened through the introduction of vaccination against hepatitis B within 24 hours of birth.

The award was created in 1995 by the UAE leadership, which has a wise vision for supporting the noble work of the World Health Organisation, and encouraging winners to achieve more and benefit human health, Al Zaabi added The UAE, he said, is at the forefront of pursuing promising future strategies for the development of comprehensive health programmes to keep pace with the developments taking place in all sectors, as well as in its efforts to be the best in the world in terms of services provided to all those who live in the country.

"Through establishing this award, the UAE seeks to encourage researchers and scientists to keep pace with fast-paced developments in today's world and come up with more effective solutions to beat current challenges. The UAE continues to provide all that benefits mankind," Al Zaabi said.

Thirty-six personalities and health non-government organisations have won the United Arab Emirates Health Foundation Prize.

In 2006, Baidy became Professor of Medicine and Head of Fundamental Sciences Department of the Faculty of Medicine of Nouakchott University.

Director-General of the World Health Organisation Dr Margaret Chan, President of the 70th World Health Assembly Professor Veronica Skvortsova, health ministers and permanent representatives of member states and organisation attended the ceremony.


UAE President's guest scholars lecture on fasting on 1st day of Ramadan

posted on 28/05/2017

A group of Muslim scholars invited by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan to the UAE, delivered on Saturday lectures at a number of mosques in Abu Dhabi on the manners and values that should be upheld by fasting people during the Holy Month of Ramadan.

The lectures were organised by the General Authority of Islamic Affairs And Endowments.

The guest scholars highlighted that Ramadan is a month of tolerance for generous giving, knowledge seeking, recitation of Quran, and promotion of peace. They said it is one of the great blessings by Islam to the entire humanity.

They hailed the overall development taking place across the UAE.

They visited the tomb of the Founder of the UAE, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, located at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, where they prayed for his soul.

The scholars also visited the Wahat Al Karama memorial site, established to honour the UAE martyrs. They paid tribute to the UAE Armed Forces for their heroism and bravery in protecting legitimacy and Arab causes during crucial challenges.


Women for Afghan Women honours late UAE Ambassador to Afghanistan for humanitarian efforts

posted on 28/05/2017

NEW YORK: The late UAE Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Juma Mohammed Abdullah Al Ka'abi, was honoured with the 2017 Legacy Award posthumously by Women for Afghan Women, WAW, at the organisation's annual gala.

WAW's Legacy Award recognised Ambassador Al Ka'abi's service in Afghanistan, particularly his achievements as a "humanitarian ambassador", in the presence of several hundred members of the Afghan community in New York, ambassadors and other senior dignitaries.

WAW's leadership expressed their sincere condolences to the family of the brave ambassador, and their eternal appreciation to him for his tireless commitment to the people of Afghanistan.

Ambassador Lana Zaki Nusseibeh, UAE's Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, accepted the award on behalf of H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

Upon receiving the award, Nusseibeh said that Ambassador Al Ka'abi was devoted to peace in Afghanistan, and worked tirelessly to support communities across the nation. She highlighted how Al Ka'abi strengthened the close relationship between UAE and Afghanistan, which is bonded by shared history, traditions, and culture.

"Ambassador Al Ka'abi built and sustained trust during his tenure in Afghanistan to expand UAE's humanitarian legacy in the country," she said.

"Al Ka'abi's deep commitment to the Afghan people will be continued by future Emirati diplomats, along with other important civil society organisations that are working with great impact for women and families across Afghanistan," Nusseibeh concluded.

Al Ka'abi passed away on 15th February, 2017, after succumbing to injuries sustained in a terrorist attack in Kandahar, Afghanistan. The five Emirati diplomats, who were part of the humanitarian mission to the region and also killed in the attack, include Mohammed Ali Zainal Bastaki, Abdullah Mohammed Al Kaabi, Ahmed Al Mazroui, Ahmed Abdul Rahman Al Tunaiji, and Abdul Hamid Sultan Al Hammadi. The Ambassador and dignitaries were on a humanitarian mission to lay the foundation stone for Dar Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan orphanage, and to sign an agreement with Kardan University to offer scholarships sponsored by the UAE.


Kalimat Foundation for Children's Empowerment donates books to visually impaired students in Amman

posted on 28/05/2017

Kalimat Foundation for Children's Empowerment, KF, a Sharjah-based non-profit children's organisation, has donated 150 audio, braille and large print books to visually impaired students at the Abdullah Ibn Umm Maktum School in the Jordanian capital, Amman.

The gesture was in line with KF's vision to promote the role of children with special needs as a part of the ‘Year of Giving 2017' initiative, started by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The books were distributed during KF's visit to the school, which coincided with the visit by Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Founder and Chairperson of KF, to the Emirati-Jordanian refugee camp in Marjeeb Al Fahood, Al Zarqa.

The project is aimed at getting a closer view of children's abilities and their need for learning materials and sources of knowledge. The move comes as part of KF's efforts to strengthen its channels of communication with all relevant bodies in the Arab countries.

The visit is also among the means adopted by the Foundation to implement the "Ara See" initiative it launched during its participation in the ninth edition of the Sharjah Children's Reading Festival. It sought to promote awareness about children who are visually impaired and to encourage community segments to support their education pursuits.

Amna Al Mazmi, Manager of KF, met Abdul Monem Al Duwairi, Principal of the school, and a number of the teaching and administrative staff. She discussed possible avenues of co-operation to realise the Foundation's goal of advancing knowledge and enhancing their educational performance.

Al Mazmi toured the school's various sections, where she met a number of students. She was able to gain a deeper insight into their lifestyles and to learn about assistive-technology devices used to facilitate their learning process and help in their daily lives. She also familiarised herself with the sources of knowledge available at the school, such as audio and braille books.

"KF's initiative to distribute books to children with visual impairment aligns with the goals of Sheikha Bodour to support children's rights to access books and to benefit from the knowledge they acquire to serve their communities and nations in the future.

"Children with special needs face difficulties in obtaining the necessary books in braille, due to a lack of Arabic content and also due to high prices. This is why we undertook the initiative of providing this collection of books to the Abdullah Ibn Umm Maktoum School for the Visually Impaired. It aims to meet students' needs for braille books and to enrich the school's library that serves generations of pupils," Al Mazmi added.

Principal Al Duwairi said, "Our school provides care and education for students with visual impairment from grades 1-12, where we offer all the academic and rehabilitative services they need. We look forward to upgrading the school's library with a range of braille books, stories and novels."


UAE ship carrying 1,700 tonnes of food supplies arrives in Somalia

posted on 28/05/2017

BERBERA, Somalia: A UAE ship carrying 1,700 tonnes of food supplies, provided by the Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation to alleviate the dire living conditions and assist those affected by drought, has arrived in the Berbera Port in Somalia.

This gesture is in implementation of the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, with the support of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs.

It is in line with the 'For You Somalia' campaign under the Year of Giving Initiative 2017, which was launched by the UAE President to provide help to the Somalis. It aims to enhance the role played by the UAE and to spread its humanitarian and cultural message to address the crisis of famine in Somalia, and the disasters in various countries across the world.

An official source at the Foundation told the Emirates News Agency, WAM, that the urgent relief was in response to the directives of the wise leadership to fulfil the food needs of the Somalis who are suffering in difficult humanitarian conditions.

The ship sailed from Hamriyah Port in Dubai and arrived on Saturday at Berbera Port in the north-west of Somalia. A relief team from the Foundation will begin distributing food supplies immediately after the ship has been unloaded, he informed.

The relief ship is carrying about 1,700 tonnes of basic food supplies "including 32,000 10-kg bags of rice, 32,000 5-kg bags of sugar, 26,667 boxes of milk powder, 40,000 5-litre bottles of water, 26,668 10-kg bags of flour, 26,668 packs of cooking oil and 1,650 boxes of dates. In addition, 21,697 pairs of women's shoes and children's socks will be distributed to those affected by the drought that hit large areas in Somalia."

He reiterated that a delegation from the Foundation will oversee the distribution of food and milk baskets to provide moral and material support to those affected by the drought.

Somali officials hailed the distinguished relations between their country and the UAE. They also extended their appreciation to President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi for the efforts made by the Foundation to alleviate the suffering of the Somalis. They stressed that the gesture is an Emirati legacy, as the country spares no effort to provide assistance to Somalia, and various countries across the world.


Ministry of Economy discusses cooperation with Canada-UAE Business Council

posted on 28/05/2017

Mohammed Ahmed Bin Abdul Aziz Al Shehhi, Under-Secretary of the UAE's Ministry of Economy, has met with Farid Amin, Chairman of the Canada-UAE Business Council, CUBC, to discuss developing economic and trade relations between the two countries, and encouraging private sector participation.

During the meeting, the two sides discussed the role of the Council in communicating with the private sector in the two countries and enhancing benefits and opportunities available for investors and businesspeople.

Al Shehhi and Amin also reviewed important areas of joint cooperation in the trade, industry, tourism and renewable energy sectors.

Al Shehhi said that the economic and trade relations between the UAE and Canada are witnessing remarkable growth, supported by a number of fruitful cooperation agreements signed by the two countries during the past period, as well as the creation of a joint economic committee to enhance prospects to establish partnerships in various sectors of common interest.

He added that the private sector plays a major role in developing economic relations and diversifying the fields of cooperation, highlighting that the Canada-UAE Business Council's pivotal role presents an ideal platform for communication between the private sector and government agencies on both sides.

Innovative small and medium enterprises, SMEs, are a priority on the agenda of economic relations between the two countries, Al Shehhi continued. "The past period has witnessed a number of concrete steps in developing mechanisms for cooperation and exchange of experiences, which opens up a wider area for businesspeople and investors to take advantage of the opportunities available to them," he added.

"The volume of non-oil trade between the two countries recorded US$3.9 billion at the end of 2016. There are currently 46 Canadian companies registered with the Ministry, while there are more than 1,326 Canadian brands available to the UAE market," the Under-Secretary concluded.


RAKEZ wins Best Call Centre System User in Middle East

posted on 28/05/2017

Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ), the world-class government authority comprising RAK Free Trade Zone (RAK FTZ) and RAK Investment Authority (RAKIA), has won as the ‘Best New Customer' of the Genesys call centre system ‘PureConnect' in the Middle East region.

RAKEZ was awarded the prize at the G-Summit Middle East 2017 held at Armani Hotel in Burj Khalifa, Duba.

Commenting on the award, Group CEO of RAKEZ, RAK FTZ and RAKIA, Ramy Jallad said, "We are proud that RAKEZ, still in its first month, has been recognised as a market leader in customer service by winning the ‘New Best Customer' award".

Jallad noted that the new system "gives both new investors and existing clients highly simplified options to access our premium services through automated responses that are now faster and much more efficient". He said, "The new advanced customer experience platform, which we've obtained from a world-leader in customer care solutions, saves time and efforts for our more than 13,000 clients".

"We've basically elevated our call centre through the new system to be in line with today's fast-paced world," said Jallad, adding that "our award-winning Customer Care staff, who just recently received recognition as Best Call Centre staff by Sheikh Saqr Program for Government Excellence, will now be better positioned to serve our clients, and also conduct electronic surveys and other client outreach processes."


Al Ain’s 2017 Cultural Events Programme draws visitors to explore city’s rich heritage

posted on 28/05/2017

Al Ain's celebration of Emirati cultural heritage has successfully concluded after an initial five month run. Activities that included poetry, music, tours, and an international equestrian show drew more than 230,000 visitors to the programme.

Organised by Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, TCA Abu Dhabi, events at multiple venues across Al Ain introduced a variety of community-focused activities to the city's most popular sites, building awareness of the breadth and diversity of Al Ain's heritage attractions.

Designed to provide interactive methods of learning about the Emirate's cherished history, the first phase of Al Ain's diverse and engaging programme was introduced in January 2017 and will make a much-anticipated return in September.

The full programme was curated to support the UNESCO theme ‘Protecting our Heritage and Fostering Creativity,' and designed to highlight Al Ain as the cultural heartland of the Emirates and the home to the UAE's only UNESCO World Heritage site, encompassing several iconic locations including Al Ain Oasis, Al Jahili Fort, Qasr Al Muwaiji, Al Ain National Museum, Al Ain Palace Museum and Al Qattara Arts Centre. Al Ain is one of the world's oldest continually inhabited cities, fusing the spirit of the past with a lively and contemporary vision for the future.

Saif Saeed Ghobash, Director-General of TCA Abu Dhabi, said, "The launch of this year's Al Ain Cultural Programme has proven a great success, bringing in close to a quarter of a million visitors. The programme highlighted the vibrant cultural scene by increasing the visitor's number to Al Ain city, and sought to revive the national identity of the Emirate by providing residents and visitors a deep insight into the arts and culture scene of the United Arab Emirates, from past to present".

Although the 2017 event programme has ended, visitors' adventures into Al Ain continue with the Collage Exhibition, showcasing 23 artists' mixed media works in Al Qattara Arts Centre until 15th June, and the anticipated Comic Art Group Exhibition, displaying UAE-based artists' comics, animations and pop art in Al Qattara Arts Centre, due to open later in the summer.

The Al Ain cultural programme will return in September with more announcements to come and can be found on the Visit Al Ain website.


Environment and Protected Areas Authority in Sharjah conducts 456 inspection visits in Q1 2017

posted on 28/05/2017

The Environment and Protected Areas Authority, EPAA, in Sharjah has completed 320 site visits and 136 inspections of protected areas in the first quarter of 2017. As a result of the inspections, there were 86 environmental violations detected, 252 bird attracting devices confiscated and 14 wild and endangered animals seized by the authority's teams.

Hana Saif Al Suwaidi, Chairperson of the EPAA, said, "Under the directives of H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, the Environment and Protected Areas Authority in Sharjah is dedicated to performing all of its tasks in relation to environmental conservation and spreading environmental awareness."

She explained that the site visits, conducted over the three month period, have contributed to minimising wildlife intrusion, while inspections of companies based in wild areas have reduced illegal construction, demolition and waste disposal in these areas, in addition to raising environmental awareness and promoting the concept of sustainability.

"Tours of the desert areas have helped reduce cutting down perennial tees, increase awareness of campers and reduce littering," she said, adding that the EPAA bans the use of trapping devices, which produce sounds to attract and hunt endangered curlews, as well as prohibiting hunting of migratory and wild birds.


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