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UAE Commemoration Day: VP, Mohamed bin Zayed, Rulers attend Commemoration Day celebrations

posted on 01/12/2016

Their Highnesses Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed and other rulers of the emirates toured the memorial site (Wahat Al Karama) where they heard from Sheikh Khalifa bin Tahnoun bin Mohamed Al Nahyan, Director of the Martyrs' Families' Affairs Office at the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince's Court, about the features of the site.

He said the site includes the Memorial Plaza, a large open area of over 4,000 square metres which will host the annual Commemoration Day ceremony. A circular pool of water – 15mm deep – occupies the centre of the Memorial Plaza. The pool provides a unique reflection of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and also the memorial's panels.

The memorial comprises 31 aluminium-clad panels, each leaning on the other, representing the unity, solidarity and mutual support that binds together leadership and citizens. The panels are engraved with poems written by the UAE's Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. The long spine at the rear of the memorial is engraved with the pledge of allegiance of the UAE Armed Forces.

Wahat Al Karama also includes the Pavilion of Honour. The pavilion's roof is made from eight large panels, seven of which represent the UAE's emirates and the eighth representing the nation's heroes. At the centre of the pavilion are seven massive glass panels, representing the seven emirates; on each is written the Armed Forces' pledge of allegiance. It has a grand stand which can accommodate up to 1,200 people.

The leaders concluded their tour at the Pavilion of Honour which contains the names of 196 fallen heroes displayed on an illuminated panel made from aluminium reclaimed from Armed Forces vehicle used by the nation's defenders in the battlefields of honour and duty.

The leaders expressed their pride in the martyrs who offered the ultimate sacrifice in defence of the nation, while affirming that the UAE, under the leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, will always remember the brave and heroic acts of those galaxy of heroes who will go down in the annals of the UAE's history as an inspiration for the generations for their loyalty, dedication and sacrifice.

They also hailed the families of the martyrs who offered and brought up these young, loyal and dedicated patriots. The honour of these families behind their children and their pride in them, the rulers affirmed, will always be a source of reverence and appreciation from the leadership and people of the UAE.

Special ceremonies were held after the arrival of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed and Their Highnesses Rulers of the Emirates to Wahat Al Karama.

Later on, the national anthem was played and a 21-gun salute was fired by the artillery. A number of the UAE Air Force aircrafts flew in a tribute to the martyrs. Sheikhs laid the wreaths at the Memorial of Martyrs in recognition of their sacrifices and the UAE's national anthem was played.

The leaders also honoured 18 families of martyrs and presented the Martyr Medal in recognition of their sacrifices for the sake of the homeland.

'The history of nations and people witnesses moments of pride and great milestones. Today is one of the most brilliant moments in the history of the UAE. Today, the Emiratis pay tribute and express their appreciation towards those who presented sacrifices for the sake of their homeland," H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, told the audience.

"Martyrs of the nation have written the story of the country's pride. They translated courage, belonging and loyalty values in reality to defend the country's achievements. The martyrdom of Salem Suhail bin Khamis, the first martyr in the history of the UAE, is a symbol of national sacrifices and it is instilled in our souls. At the same time, our history has proven the Emiratis' willingness to defend their country with strength and heroism, pride and loyalty, as our forefathers fought against invaders and sacrificed their souls for the sake of this homeland. Homeland, for Emiratis, is the most precious thing in their social system," he added.

"On this day every year, the UAE leadership and people recall the story of those elite youths who sacrificed their souls for the sake of their dear country. Their sacrifices are a source of pride for all of us. Their sacrifices have proven the national spirit of the UAE citizens; consequently they united behind the flag of the homeland and wise leadership," Sheikh Abdullah said.

"Today, we have the right to be proud of the families of martyrs, not only because they are the families of those great men, but also because they taught them the meaning of belonging; for that, we highly appreciate them," he noted.

He concluded, "We celebrate their immortality, not their passing away, the acts of heroism which will be immortal in the memory of this great homeland." – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


UAE Commemoration Day.. VP orders establishment of monument for Emirati martyrs in Dubai

posted on 01/12/2016

Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has ordered the establishment of a monument for the UAE martyrs in the Emirate of Dubai.

The monument will be inaugurated next year on the Commemoration Day.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid directed the construction of monument that should honour and reflect the sacrifices of the martyrs, and also inculcate their martyrdom in the minds of future generations.

"Commemorating Emirati martyrs depicts perpetuation of the strength and sacrifices of the people of the UAE. And we are not afraid to give our most cherished sons for the sake of the most precious thing we have - the homeland," he added.

"The blood of our martyrs will be preserved, memory elevated, and their sacrifices remain a source of inspiration for generations to come," Sheikh Mohammed said.

"Across the country, the UAE martyrs' banners will rise. Our first martyrs' monument is in the capital, located near the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, where the tomb of the UAE's founding father lies peacefully," he added. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


UAE Commemoration Day: UAQ Ruler pays tribute to martyrs, inaugurates martyrs’ memorial monument

posted on 01/12/2016

The sacrifices of the martyrs of the UAE Armed Forces embody loyalty and allegiance to the leadership and the nation founded by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, said H.H. Sheikh Saud bin Rashid Al Mualla, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Umm al-Qaiwain, at the inauguration of the martyrs' memorial monument at Square Martyrs in Umm al-Qaiwain.

The martyrs are symbols of sacrifice, true reflection of the nation's unity and cohesion in the face of greed that targets the homeland, he added.

Sheikh Rashid bin Saud bin Rashid Al Mualla, Crown Prince of Umm al-Qaiwain, was also present at the ceremony.

The ceremony started by observing a minute's silence in honour of the martyrs. The UAQ Ruler then hoisted the flag while the national anthem was being played.

Ali Jassim Ahmed, Member of the Federal National Council, welcomed the UAQ Ruler, the Crown Prince of Umm al-Qaiwain and the audience. He hailed the martyrs for their valuable sacrifices on the occasion of the Commemoration Day.

The UAQ Ruler presented a martyr shield to the families of the martyrs, praying to the Almighty Allah to rest them in peace and bestow patience and solace on their families.

Among others present were Sheikh Humaid bin Ahmed Al Mualla; Sheikh Saif bin Rashid Al Mualla, Head of the Department of Economic Development; Sheikh Ahmed bin Saud bin Rashid Al Mualla, Deputy Chairman of the Executive Council of the Emirate of Umm al-Qaiwain; Sheikh Abdullah bin Saud bin Rashid Al Mualla; Sheikh Saqr bin Saud bin Rashid Al Mualla; Eng. Sheikh Ahmed bin Khalid Al Mualla, Head of the Department of Planning and Survey; Nasser Saeed Al Talai, Director of the Emiri Court; Rashid Mohamed Ahmed, Director of Protocol; directors of local and federal departments and a group of citizens and residents. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


UAE expresses deep concern over reports about Iranian arm shipments to Houthi militia in Yemen

posted on 01/12/2016

NEW YORK: The United Arab Emirates is alarmed and deeply concerned by ongoing reports regarding Iranian shipments of weapons to the Houthi militia in Yemen, said Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh, Permanent Representative of the United Arab Emirates to the United Nations.

'Such activity would be a flagrant violation of UN Security Council Resolutions 2216 (2015) and 2231 (2015), and the UAE calls on the Security Council to take all measures necessary to demand that Iran comply with its obligations. These shipments are further evidence of Iran's expansionist and destabilising behaviour in Yemen, fuelling the conflict and endangering Yemeni civilians and Yemen's neighbours,' said Ambassador Nusseibeh in a statement on Wednesday.

'Furthermore, the UAE believes that Iranian arms shipments are undermining the important work of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, to reach a comprehensive agreement to end the conflict in Yemen, in accordance with the initiative of the Gulf Cooperation Council, the outcome of the National Dialogue Conference and its implementation mechanism, and the relevant Security Council resolutions,' she added.

'The UAE shares the Special Envoy's concern, expressed on Tuesday, over the unilateral declaration of a government by Ansar Allah and the General People's Congress, which is only the latest manifestation of how ongoing arms shipments by Iran are instrumental to prolonging the conflict,' she concluded. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Study Shows Iran has Supplied Weapons to Houthi Militias in Yemen

posted on 01/12/2016

A new study by the London-based Conflict Armament Research (CAR) puts the record straight on the role of Iran in arming non-state actors in Yemen. The findings presented in the study, titled 'Maritime Interdictions of Weapons Supplies to Somalia and Yemen: Deciphering a link to Iran' and published in November 2016, proves beyond any shadow of doubt that Iran was indeed supplying lethal arms to the Houthi rebels with absolute impunity.

The CAR's analysis comprises four components. First; analysis of weapons seized during a four-week period in February and March 2016 by the warships HMAS Darwin, FS Provence, and USS Sirocco, which were operating as part of the multi-national Combined Maritime Forces (CMF). CMF intercepted three dhows transporting weapons in the Arabian Sea. The dhows contained significant quantities of Iranian-manufactured weapons and weapons that plausibly derive from Iranian stockpiles.

Second; in October 2016, CAR also documented military equipment that was recovered in Yemen. A portion of this materiel matches weapons recovered from the seized dhows. Similarly, among the weapons recovered in Yemen included a 2015 Iranian-manufactured Dehlavieh anti-tank guided weapon (ATGW) and a Russian-manufactured 9M133-1 Kornet ATGW. The Kornet's lot number matches those of five Kornets seized by the crew of the FS Provence in March 2016, and its serial number falls within the same sequence. The discovery of weapons in Yemen from the same production run as weapons on board the dhow intercepted by the FS Provence confirms that the weapons originated in Iran and that the dhow's cargo was destined for Yemen.

Third; all three interdictions involved significant weapon seizures. For instance, the dhow intercepted by FS Provence included 2,000 new condition AK pattern assault rifles with serial numbers in sequential order. This suggests, according to CAR analysis, that the rifles derived from a national stockpile, rather than disparate non-state sources. Also, the crews of the FS Provence and HMAS Darwin each seized RPD-pattern light machine guns of suspected North Korean manufacture. Weapons from the same serial number sequence were present on both vessels, which suggest that the materiel derived from the same original consignment.

Fourth; the Iranian shipbuilder, Al Mansoor, manufactured two of the three dhows intercepted by the CMF. Local sources in Puntland, Somalia, report that Al Mansoor vessels have supplied weapons to local markets and used the region's ports as transshipment points for maritime weapon transfers. According to records maintained by the Iranian Registry for Personal and Deed Organisations, Al Mansoor is located next to an Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) facility. Equally importantly, CAR investigations into the dhow trade around the Horn of Africa suggests the existence of a weapon pipeline extending from Iran to Somalia and Yemen, which involves the transfer, by dhow, of significant quantities of Iranian-manufactured weapons.

The study includes detailed information about the types of weapons seized from the dhows and those recovered from the battleground in Yemen, in addition to their pictures. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Lubna Al Qasimi: Family values and education are vital to spread the message of tolerance

posted on 01/12/2016

Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, Minister of State for Tolerance, has said that the government of the United Arab Emirates believes that it is time to put together a national programme for tolerance, not just for the UAE, but for the whole community that can send a strong message to the region.

Recognised by Forbes magazine as one of the most powerful women in world, Sheikha Lubna spoke to Newsweek Middle East on the sidelines of a November 16th gathering of diplomats and officials from 150 nations in the capital Abu Dhabi on the International Day of Tolerance, saying that all religions ask people to be merciful, to be kind, to be tolerant. "The language of all religions does not advocate wars and hatred, and people who are doing this are the radicals. We need to make sure that our children everywhere in the world are immune."

In an exclusive interview with Irene Hell of Newsweek Middle East magazine, she said, "Sometimes I think it is mind-boggling when all of a sudden you find a teenager who left home because he wanted to fight in Syria, and you think what have I done to my child? Why would a child become like this?"

According to the Minister, family values and education are vital in facilitating the spread of the message of tolerance anywhere. But what is more important "is the proper understanding of the tone of religion." Al Qasimi believes that all religions carry in them "value and mercy," and it is in fact those who misinterpret and politicise religious teachings are the ones who convey the wrong message about its core values.

The UAE, according to the minister, is a sociological phenomenon, with millions of people from as many as 200 nationalities living and working together peacefully, despite the country being situated in a region marred by bloody armed conflicts, instability and misery.

"But unlike in Europe and the US," she said, "Where fanatic right wing nationalists now threaten to destroy democracies and free societies with xenophobia and hate, the UAE government is making serious attempts to promote hope, peace and tolerance."

Sheikha Lubna told Newsweek Middle East, "In these days, we see ourselves in an ocean of turmoil around us here in the Middle East, and worldwide where the language of negativity, intolerance and hate is rising. The government of the United Arab Emirates believes that it is time for us to put together a national programme for tolerance – not just for us but for the whole community [that can send] a strong message also for the region," she adds.

"Nowadays, a lot of values keep eroding over time. And when you have the rhetoric and the negative language after a while, people take [that] for granted as values can disappear and we don't know. Not just here but in the whole world."

Perhaps it is the sense of responsibility towards its youth and future generations, and the fact that all human beings "have a moral responsibility" to coexist, that pushes the UAE and the minister to push forward the message of tolerance, explains Minister Al Qasimi.

To set up a programme and an agenda to promote tolerance, Al Qasimi says that her team consulted with everyone, from diplomats to resident communities, the churches, the office of Islamic Affairs, and the minsters, among others.

"I reiterate, this programme is not about me or my ministry – this programme is about what people gave me to manage and to run and to fulfil this wish," she stresses.

And to those who have hatred, negativity or conflict in their hearts, the minister advises them to practice meditation. "I think people who carry feelings of negativity, they need to meditate. They need to amend their hearts by pushing themselves back to human nature. I don't think God made us in this universe to hate others. We are here equal in this universe. We are not born to hate," says Al Qasimi. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


President, VP, Mohamed bin Zayed cable condolences to Brazilian president over plane crash

posted on 01/12/2016

President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has sent a cable to Brazilian President Michel Temer extending condolences over the plane crash which involved the players of the Brazilian Chapecoense football club.

In the cable, H.H. Sheikh Khalifa expressed sincere sympathies to President Temer and the families of the victims.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister of the UAE 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, sent similar cables to the Brazilian president. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Why saving endangered cultural heritage is important for the UAE

posted on 01/12/2016

The UNESCO-sponsored International Conference of the Safeguarding of Endangered Cultural Heritage, due to open in Abu Dhabi tomorrow, shows "a determination to turn the tide" against the wave of destruction of heritage as a result of conflicts in the region, according to Peter Hellyer, author of several books on the archaeology of the UAE and an active campaigner for the preservation of the region's cultural heritage.

The conference is supported by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and President Francois Hollande of France, and is due to be attended by heads of state, government ministers and a wide range of experts.

In an OpEd in yesterday's issue of the Abu Dhabi-based newspaper, The National, Hellyer writes that the protection of cultural heritage is "of fundamental importance, not just to the countries whose heritage is being obliterated, but on a much wider scale when it is destroyed, we are all losers."

The full text follows .

Back in May 2014, I wrote a column that ran in this newspaper with the headline 'As Syria's war rages, the cradle of civilisation is plundered'. I referred to reports from the country's Hasakeh region, where important archaeological sites were being destroyed by looters and by fanatics of Daesh, who, I noted, "care nothing for culture, history or heritage, or even for the basic principles of humanity to be found in all of the world's religions".

Since then, of course, much more of Syria's heritage, and that of Iraq, has been destroyed. The glorious Temple of Bel in Syria's Palmyra, the huge winged bull of Iraq's Nimrud – these and much more have been lost. In recent years, systematic destruction and looting of historic sites and monuments has spread far beyond the Middle East. The great Buddha statues of Bamiyan in Afghanistan are no more. In Mali, the fabled city of Timbuktu, capital of one of the great medieval Muslim empires, has seen its ancient architecture blown up, its priceless libraries destroyed or dispersed.

Archaeologists have bewailed the destruction; historians have wrung their hands in despair at the loss of knowledge, and organisations such as UNESCO have condemned and lamented the irreparable loss of aspects of the cultural heritage of mankind. Yet the destruction has continued, driven by fanaticism and greed – for looting is a highly profitable "business" – and, let us not forget, sometimes by governments whose desire to maintain their authority has meant that they care little for their people's welfare, and even less for the heritage of the country they purport to govern. How I wish I had seen the magnificence of Aleppo before it was reduced to rubble.

This weekend, however, Abu Dhabi hosts an event that indicates that, at a global level, there is a determination to turn the tide. The UNESCO-backed International Conference on Safeguarding Endangered Cultural Heritage, taking place at the Emirates Palace, is organised in recognition of the urgent need to safeguard some of the world's most important cultural resources. With the support of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, and France's President Hollande, the event will bring together heads of state and representatives of governments, international organisations and major non-profit organisations as well as experts in a wide variety of fields, from museums to archaeologists, from religious figures to Interpol officials, to discuss how to protect cultural heritage in areas of conflict.

The Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority is co-organising the event along with the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris. The ADTCA chairman, Mohammed Al Mubarak, said that "the continuing devastation of these treasures in combat zones deprives us, and future generations, of a resource that is of enormous historical value".

There are good reasons why the UAE, together with France, has chosen to take the lead in this initiative. Cultural exchanges between this country and the rest of the region, countries in the Levant such as Syria and Iraq, and those beyond the region, including Pakistan and Afghanistan, date back thousands of years. Their heritage is intimately linked to ours; their loss is ours too. Moreover, the protection of heritage was always a topic dear to the heart of the nation's founder, the late Sheikh Zayed, who stressed the need to learn from the past as a way of preparing for the future.

The conference itself will be a complex series of events, including round tables and workshops, culminating with the adoption of an Abu Dhabi Declaration. It will seek to define mechanisms for policies and processes to safeguard both movable and immovable cultural heritage before and during armed conflicts, to tackle illegal trafficking of antiquities, plan for restoration of damaged artefacts and build capacity for professionals in the field.

Among the anticipated outcomes are the creation of an international non-profit foundation to support preventive, emergency and restoration operations, a framework for greater coordination between the projects already under way and the setting up of a network of safe havens, where movable cultural property can be protected during conflict.

That's a tall order and no one is under any illusion that it's going to be easy. The task is, though, one of fundamental importance, not just to the countries whose heritage is being obliterated, but for the rest of the world. The world's cultural heritage, Mr. Al Mubarak noted, "defined our civilisation and united mankind through shared history". When it is destroyed, all of us lose.

Peter Hellyer is a consultant specialising in the UAE's history and culture. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Abu Dhabi organises the Safeguarding Endangered Cultural Heritage Conference

posted on 01/12/2016

Presidents, heads of states, formal delegations and representatives from over 40 countries have confirmed their participation at the Safeguarding Endangered Cultural Heritage conference, taking place on 2nd and 3rd December at the Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi.

The global conference, launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and Francois Hollande, President of France, as a global partnership between the UAE and France.

The conference aims to support the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO's global mandate to protect cultural heritage during armed conflicts, and to safeguard historic sites and monuments that represent civilisations dating back millennia from systematic destruction or looting - like in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Mali, and throughout the world.

The conference has been organised by the governments of the UAE and France in response to the growing threats to some of the world's most important cultural resources arising from sustained periods of armed conflict, acts of terrorism and illicit trafficking of cultural property.

Over two days, the conference will host H.H. Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah, Amir of Kuwait, H.H. Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Emir of Qatar, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt, Francois Hollande, President of the French Republic, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, President of Mali, Mohammed Ashraf Ghani, President of Afghanistan, Fayez Al-Sarraj, Prime Minister of the Government of National Accord of Libya, Denis Zvizdic, Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Alexis Tsipras, Prime Minister of Greece, Hailemariam Desalegn, Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Prince Khalid Al-Faisal, Governor of Makkah Province, Saudi Arabia, Haitham bin Tariq bin Al Busaid, Minister of Heritage and Culture in the Sultanate of Oman, Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Son of King of Bahrain, and Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO.

The conference will also host key players from private and public institutions involved in world heritage conservation.

The conference's agenda will focus on improving legal and funding mechanisms to facilitate emergency protection of heritage sites as well as post-conflict rehabilitation. It will also study the development of concrete and innovative solutions, as well as the creation of a global framework for immediate and long-term goals.

Additionally, it will launch the creation of a global network of safe havens as refuges for endangered works, and an international financial fund to sustain long term programmes to preserve cultural heritage, and build on the capacity of conservation professionals in conflict areas.

The conference will conclude with the ratification and adoption of the Abu Dhabi Declaration by the attendees. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Masdar City’s PRT system celebrates double milestone with two millionth passenger ahead of 6th anniversary

posted on 01/12/2016

The Masdar City Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) system celebrated its 6th anniversary on 28th November, just a week after carrying its 2 millionth passenger.

The PRT's driverless pods have covered a distance of more than 891,879 km on their transit route over the past six years, and have displaced CO2 emissions equivalent to running 53 cars for a whole year.

Masdar's Executive Director of Sustainable Real Estate Yousef Baselaib greeted Miss Geethma Devangee, the lucky two million milestone passenger, as the pod completed its journey from the North Car Park station to dock at Masdar Institute. Geethma, a student from Merryland School Abu Dhabi, was visiting Masdar City as part of an educational tour with her school.

"This achievement stands as a true testament to our culture of innovation. The popularity of the PRT demonstrates how functional sustainable urban transport development is paving the way for cities of the future," said Baselaib.

Over the years a wealth of data has been collected from the PRT system which has been used to further the development of autonomous vehicles, both in relation to the technology, as well as user interaction.

The CEO of PRT manufacturer 2getthere, Carel van Helsdingen, added: "Real-life applications are invaluable for the reliability of the resulting information. Where a demonstration only provides an indication of the way passengers interface with a system, a real-life application shows real-world behaviour.

"At Masdar City we have both daily passengers and first-time users, from 6am until midnight, with the requirement to constantly provide a reliable and high service level under difficult environmental conditions. As a result we have gained significant knowledge to support autonomous vehicle development."

The PRT system in Masdar City welcomed its 1 millionth passenger in May 2014, and has now carried a second million in the short time since, accounting for a 75 per cent increase in passenger numbers. The system is currently carrying five times the originally anticipated number of passengers, averaging close to 90 per cent occupancy rates during morning and afternoon peak hours.

The driverless vehicles are controlled by an advanced navigation system that uses magnets embedded in the corridor to know their position while onboard sensors detect any obstacles in their path. They are powered by a battery that recharges while the pods are standing in the stations between trips.

The Masdar City PRT system benefits from dynamic safety features, resulting in zero accidents or collisions since launch. System availability and vehicle reliability have also consistently achieved success rates of 99.6 per cent and 99.9 per cent respectively.

Phase 1A of the Masdar City PRT pilot project is approximately 1.4 km long and features two stations: the North Car Park and the Masdar Institute for Science and Technology. 2getthere is set to expand this network across more sites across the City, as well as introducing a General Rapid Transit (GRT) system in the near future.

Since its launch, the PRT system in Masdar City has been attracting local and international visitors, as well as high profile dignitaries. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Sheikh Zayed Book Award announces long list in translation category

posted on 01/12/2016

The Sheikh Zayed Book Award, SZBA, announced yesterday its long list for the Translation category, consisting of 8 titles out of 86 nominations received. These nominations came mostly from Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, and France.

The award has announced its long list in two categories so far;' Arts and Literary Criticism' and ‘Best Contribution to the Development of Nations'.

The announcements will continue for the remaining awards during the next few weeks.

The Sheikh Zayed Book award, an independent cultural award administered by Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, is presented every year to outstanding writers, intellectuals, publishers as well as young talents whose writings and translations of humanities have scholarly and objectively enriched Arab cultural, literary and social life. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


UAE provides new vehicles and equipment to Aden police

posted on 01/12/2016

The UAE on Wednesday presented a new batch of police patrol vehicles and equipment to Aden Security Department.

Aden's Deputy Director of Aden Security Department Brigadier Abu Bakr Jaber received the four modern vehicles and other equipment. The gesture is part of the efforts of Arab Coalition to Support Legitimacy in Yemen, led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, to bring life to normalcy in Aden, the interim capital of Yemen, and other liberated governorates.

The aid also aims at supporting security and stability in Aden.

During the ceremony to hand over the aid, Abu Bakr renewed thanks to the UAE for its assistance for the security authorities, affirming that the Coalition's support, in general and the UAE in particular, had contributed to restoring the role of security forces in Aden and other neighbouring governorates.

He added that Aden Police commended the continuous support of the UAE which had a positive impact in restoring normalcy in Aden and other liberated areas in various fields.

The UAE representative in the ceremony stressed that the UAE's support would continue in the coming phase in all sectors. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Sharjah Book Authority celebrates UAE’s literary bonds with Kuwait

posted on 01/12/2016

The literary and cultural bonds between the UAE and Kuwait were celebrated at the 41st edition of the Kuwait International Book Fair, KIBF, with Sharjah Book Authority, SBA's, participation at the event highlighting the two GCC states' strong ties.

A total of 565 publishing houses from 30 countries took part at this year's edition of the fair, which took place at Kuwait International Fairground and hosted a number of prominent authors, intellectuals and literary figures from across the world.

During his visit to the SBA pavilion at KIBF 2016, Sheikh Salman Sabah Salem Al Sabah, Minister of Information and Minister of State for Youth Affairs in Kuwait, was given a copy of the book, ‘Power Struggles and Trade in the Gulf (1620–1820)' by H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah. The book was presented to Sheikh Salman by Fadel Hussein, Deputy Director of Libraries in the Eastern Region at SBA. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival highlights UAE as a crossroads of civilisations

posted on 01/12/2016

The Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival 2016, one of the largest cultural demonstrations to take place in the UAE, is gearing up for another year, beginning December 1 and running until New Year's Day 2017 in Al Wathba, Abu Dhabi.

This year's festival focuses on the UAE as a crossroads of civilisations and is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE. The event also draws support and guidance from His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, and HH Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Presidential Affairs Office.

Named after founding father Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the annual festival celebrates his commitment to preserving the UAE's rich heritage and history. Today, that recognition comes with the UAE's modern identity as a gateway to the future.

The festival offers an enriching experience that combines authentic Emirati culture with the diversity of world heritage. Visitors can see an array of neighbourhood displays showing the daily lives of the world's ancient civilisations. Innovative exhibitions and interactive performances feature traditional cuisine and heritage from everywhere, along with global folk performances and dazzling fireworks at night.

Following its December 1 launch, the festival will kick off National Day with performances from prominent Emirati artists. Days later on December 4, tribes from across the emirates will gather for the Union March, celebrating the diversity found across the emirates.

Meanwhile, the Dancing Fountain presents a new element to the festival. Visitors will be delighted by water shows programmed to the beat of patriotic songs as well as poems written by the late HH Sheikh Zayed.

Organisers say the festival invokes immense pride of Emirati heritage, and in its diversity of citizens and residents. The festival focuses on both national and world history, aiming to encourage young generations to explore their own heritage while learning about others.

To drive this message home, this year's festival features 17 countries to present their own heritage, spanning cuisine, traditional crafts and musical performances.

The festival offers a wide range of events that embody the UAE's great legacy and that of the Gulf and the Arab world. Events this year include a number of competitions, including one for best journalist of Arabic and English coverage.

Meanwhile, the Memory of a Nation Exhibition offers glimpses of the life and achievements of the late HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, with never-before-seen documents illuminating the innovative process of the UAE's early formation.

Other exhibitions highlight the history of animal husbandry and sportsmanship in the region, particularly with Arabian thoroughbred horses and Arabian camels.

The UAE District offers a range of traditional events evoking the country's past customs and folklore, with local products displayed in participating shops. The UAE Traditional Crafts Area is like a living museum of the old UAE, featuring stories from four unique environments: terrestrial, marine, agricultural and mountainous. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


UAENationalDay45 .. Emirates Red Crescent’s Initiative ‘Al Ghadeer UAE Crafts’ cement the UAE’s heritage

posted on 01/12/2016

In celebration of the 45th National Day of the UAE, the Shangri-La, Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi have partnered up with Al Ghadeer UAE Crafts, an Emirates Red Crescent initiative that seeks to empower underprivileged women using indigenous arts and crafts that are inspired by the rich heritage of the UAE.

Between November 30th and December 4th, traditional Bedouin craftswomen from Al Ghadeer UAE Crafts will be handcrafting and selling items made using the intricate ‘talli' embroidery and ‘sadu' weaving in the hotel.

Mr Thomas Guss, the General Manager of the Shangri-La, Qaryat Al Beri, and Abu Dhabi, stated: "As a destination for people to visit from all around the world we always try and share the true essence of Arabic culture, and embrace our arabesque style.

We can't wait to have a special group like Al Ghadeer UAE Crafts at this monumental time of year. It's going to be a celebration of culture from Wednesday to Sunday, and we're honoured to be hosting".

Established in 2006, Al Ghadeer UAE Crafts have helped women earn a source of income for over a decade, by offering UAE craftswomen training, supplies and services. In addition, Al Ghadeer UAE Crafts have pioneered the preservation of traditional crafts that are a part of the UAE's artistic heritage.

All proceedings from the handicraft sale will go to Al Ghadeer which in turn will aid in preserving and encouraging the traditional art of handcrafting. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -