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Abu Dhabi Crown Prince, Sudanese President hold talks on bilateral ties, regional and global developments

posted on 19/02/2017

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, discussed ways of boosting bilateral ties, and the latest regional and international developments of mutual concern, during a meeting with Sudanese President Omer Al-Bashir, in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed welcomed President Al-Bashir, who is on an official visit to the UAE, and expressed satisfaction at the progress of bilateral ties between the UAE and Sudan, under the guidance of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and his support for enhancing their relations in the best interests of the two countries and their people.

The two leaders explored the possibility of expanding the existing co-operation in the political, economic, developmental and cultural domains.

He also affirmed the strength and distinction of UAE-Sudanese relations, based on its historical depth, mutual interests, joint economic and developmental partnerships, joint co-operation towards Arab causes and joint defence of mutual interest against regional interference.

Sheikh Mohamed commended Khartoum's active role in the Arab Coalition for restoring hope in Yemen and for its position on challenges facing regional security and stability.

He also expressed his appreciation for the Sudanese community's contribution to the development of the UAE.

President Al-Bashir expressed his delight at visiting the UAE, and lauded its role in supporting Arab issues and preserving regional security, stability and identity.

Both sides highlighted the need for concerted Arab and international efforts to restore security and stability in a number of Arab countries. They also called for the establishment of national institutions to alleviate the suffering of people in these countries, and to counter violence and extremism by terrorist organisations. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Sudanese President visits Wahat Al Karama

posted on 19/02/2017

Omer Al-Bashir, President of Sudan, visited the Wahat Al Karama (Oasis of Dignity) memorial in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.

The memorial was built to honour the UAE's martyrs, and their sacrifices to defend their country and its achievements.

President Al-Bashir was received by Sheikh Khalifa bin Tahnoun bin Mohammad Al Nahyan, Director of the Martyrs' Families' Affairs Office at the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince's Court. He inspected the guard of honour and laid a wreath at the memorial.

He then toured the memorial and visited the Pavilion of Honour, where he was briefed by Sheikh Khalifa bin Tahnoun about the pavilion, which has the names of UAE martyrs and verses of the Quran engraved on its mural. He concluded the tour by writing a statement in the book of honour.

Sheikh Khalifa bin Tahnoun welcomed the Sudanese President's visit to Wahat Al Karama, and highlighted the appreciation for the UAE martyrs' sacrifices at both popular and official levels, which reflects the high stature of martyrs in the hearts of all UAE citizens.

President Al-Bashir was accompanied by Sultan bin Saeed Al Badi, Minister of Justice and Head of Honorary Mission; Hamad Mohammed Humaid Al Junaibi, UAE Ambassador to the Republic of Sudan, and Mohammad Ameen Abdullah Al Khareb, Ambassador of Sudan to the UAE. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Mohamed bin Zayed receives U.S. Defence Secretary

posted on 19/02/2017

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, received the visiting U.S. Defence Secretary, James Mattis, on Saturday.

During the meeting, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed welcomed the new U.S. Defence Secretary and congratulated him on his appointment to the post. He also wished him success in his new duty.

They discussed friendship and co-operation between the UAE and the U.S., and ways to strengthen them, especially in the areas of military affairs and defence.

They also reviewed overall regional and international issues, and focussed on the latest regional developments, especially with regards to the joint efforts and co-ordination between the two countries to fight against extremism, violence and terrorist organisations, as well as their roles in laying down the foundations for security and stability, and to tackle threats that undermine peace in the region.

The two sides then discussed a number of issues of mutual interest, and exchanged views regarding these issues.

The meeting was also attended by Mohammed bin Ahmed Al Bowardi, Minister of State for Defence; Mohamed Mubarak Al Mazrouei, Under-Secretary of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince's Court; Yousef Al Otaiba, UAE Ambassador to the United States, and Staff Lt. General Eng. Eisa Saif bin Ablan Al Mazrouei, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces.


Abu Dhabi Crown Prince welcomes General Atomics and Raytheon Chairmen

posted on 19/02/2017

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, separately received Neal Blue, Chairman of General Atomics, and Thomas Kennedy, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Raytheon Defence Company, at Al Shati Palace on Saturday.

The two major United States (US) defence companies are participating at the International Defence Exhibition and Conference 2017 (IDEX), a biennial event at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre that runs from 19th to 23rd of February, 2017.

Sheikh Mohamed and the two chairmen explored the possibilities of bolstering co-operation between the US companies and their UAE counterparts, especially in areas of research and studies, training and other defence and civilian industries. The meetings also reviewed the latest developments in advanced military technology.

The chairmen of both companies also informed Sheikh Mohamed about their exhibits and development projects on show at IDEX. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Abu Dhabi Aviation looks forward to new partnership at IDEX: Al Hammadi

posted on 19/02/2017

Abu Dhabi Aviation, ADA, the largest helicopter operator in the GCC and MENA regions is participating at the International Defence Exhibition and Conference 2017 (IDEX 2017).

"Aviation industry in the UAE is one of the strategic components promoting economic growth. The wise insight of our leadership has provided the proper platform, systems and investments to build a significant international hub of aviation and logistic services" Nader Ahmed Al Hammadi, ADA Chairman said.

"The Strategic vision of Abu Dhabi Aviation is to be one of the major helicopter aviation companies in the world providing competitive logistic services to the military and civil sectors inside and outside the UAE." he added.

Al Hammadi was speaking to the press in his ADA office, on the outset of IDEX 2017. The press conference was attended, among others, by Emirates News Agency, the local press and the National Shield magazine.

IDEX is one of the most significant international events and is the largest exhibition of its kind. Since its launch in 1993, it has been able to establish its position as a meeting place of major decision makers and as a part of the UAE's strategy to boost the economic development and diversify the sources of income.

"With a large number of participants exceeding 1,232 exhibitors, ADA's participation in IDEX presents an opportunity to keep abreast of the latest technological breakthroughs and trends in the aviation sector. This is in line with ADA's strategy of gaining exposure and experience. The event will allow ADA to participate alongside other regional and international companies, and to establish new partnerships that may introduce our expertise, skills and experiences to the world at large, especially that the aviation industry plays a vital role in the development of the military, civil, medical and recreation sectors in the region," he added.

Al Hammadi noted, "This will further pave the way for ongoing development of the helicopter industry and shall enhance its role in the economic system and increase its contribution in the GDP. Also, we shall not forget that ADA is a national company that would never fail to attend and actively participate in such an important event."

"We are looking forward to drawing attention to the services provided by ADA to the army and the police, starting from search and rescue and maintenance services to the provision of helicopter spare parts, along with training and transportation services."

He added that ADA is more than 40 years old now, it has the first helicopter fleet in the MENA region and Europe. ADA is proud with the size of its accomplishments, whether in helicopter services, fixed-wing aircraft services, maintenance, supply of spare parts, search and rescue, transportation, air ambulance or medical evacuation operations.

"We have fully medically equipped helicopters providing a mini operation room which is the first of its kind in the Middle East. ADA has also taken a huge step to expand its services, where it established the largest specialized helicopter simulator training center in the MENA region. One of ADA advantages is its compliance with international safety and security standards, as this has become a significant challenge which distinguishes countries worldwide. Such compliance was promoted with ADA reaching 1 million hours of safe operation. We boast the huge fleet owned by ADA which qualified the company to be the largest helicopter operator in the MENA region," he said.

Abu Dhabi Aviation owns 61 aircrafts, 57 of which are helicopters including 412 Epi Bell, EP 412 Bell and AW139 VVIP and four of the world's latest fixed-wing aircrafts Dash8/Q400, two Q200/ Dash8, and one Dash 8/Q300.

Owning such an advanced fleet of aircrafts that features high speed along with an advanced safety system has boosted the Company's operations and allowed it to provide high quality customer service. As to expanding our fleet, it remains dependent on the customers' needs and requirements. However, ADA has cooperation agreements with aircraft manufacturers such as Agusta Westland and Bell Aircraft Corporation to buy 25 air crafts if prompted by the customers' needs.

The helicopter aviation sector in the UAE has seen multiple quantum leaps to become today one of the fastest growing worldwide. ADA was established with a capital of AED 445 million. With its continuous success and expansion, its investments have reached more than AED 1 billion and 700 K in 2016.

"As ADA is a national joint stock company, it takes into consideration the steady surge of its stocks and the satisfaction of its shareholders. Accordingly, we have sensed the need for diversified sources of income hence we established an aircraft simulator training center. The simulator has the ability to train full flight crews (the pilot, the co-pilot and the rest of the crew) for all aviation related entities," Al Hammadi said.

"It is the largest and most significant simulator training centre in the region. The training centre will be ready by the first half of 2017 for Agusta Westland AW139, and Bell412 aircrafts. These helicopters are the most frequently used in the UAE, the GCC and Middle East regions. Pilots will be able to receive training in ADA, while such training was only available in Europe, the US or Malaysia. This will save the relevant trainees the effort of traveling and the cost of training. The center will be able to train more than 300pilots every month with an average of 6000 hours of operation, all on one simulator. Once operative, the training center will boost the training standards to unprecedented levels and shall promote the confidence and peace of mind for the customers."

He added, "As another source of income, we have established Agusta Westland Aviation Services to provide aircraft maintenance, spareparts and accessories as a cooperation between ADA and Agusta , the specialized aircraft manufacture."

Furthermore, we have recently established ADA Millennium to provide feasibility studies, aviation and hospitality consultancy. In addition, ADA owns 50% of Royal Jet, the luxury flight services company and holds 100% of the shares of Maximus Shipping Company, Al Hammadi said.

"Our plans stem from the UAE's goal to meet the highest safety and security standards, and to continue supporting creativity which is a founding and inherent value of the air transport and services, and a core pillar of the industry's development worldwide. We are also keen on keeping abreast of the latest technologies and expanding to new areas such as Africa. We will continue our efforts to achieve excellence, to be an international role model, to focus on high quality and excellent customer services, invest in human resources, develop leaders and adopt a culture of excellence through strategic thinking," he said.

ADA's services; especially in the fields of operation, maintenance and training; are amongst the best in the Middle East and the world. One of the company's most significant strategies is to take a proactive approach to overcome obstructions and identify problems and errors in order to improve its performance, he added. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


International Golden Group to open Advanced Industries City, says IGG Chairman

posted on 19/02/2017

The International Golden Group (IGG) will soon open the IGG Advanced Industries at Tawazun Industrial Park (TIP) in Abu Dhabi, said Mohammed Hilal Al Kaabi, Chairman at International Golden Group.

'The industrial city compiles with the offset program that promotes the transfer of technology and know-how to the UAE, by bringing the latest technology. The purpose of these strategies is to improve IGG's industrial capabilities in system engineering, development and integration delivery of local after-sales services to the UAE and the GCC region,' Al Kaabi to the Emirates News Agency, WAM, ahead of International Defense Exhibition (IDEX 2017) which opens tomorrow.

'IGG Advanced Industries positioned to implement a sound growth strategy with its future business concepts that includes state-of-the-art technologies, will soon be opened in Tawazun Industrial Park,'he added..

IGG Advanced Industries has revealed the contents of its premise that include heavy and light industries, a military clothing factory, equipped training facilities, simulations, maintenance repair and overhaul (MRO), imaging devices factory, recreational center and an entertainment center for labors.

IGG, the Abu Dhabi-based supplier of high-end defense and Security Systems, announced its participation at IDEX 2017. The IGG pavilion will host more than 80 international defense companies from the USA, Europe and Asia sector who will take part in the 1,500-square meter IGG stand.

Al Kaabi said, "We are proud to participate at IDEX 2017 as it is the largest defense exhibition in the world." He added, "We will be honored to meet the key leaders and personalities of the defense market at the show which is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates, and the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces."

I would like to use this opportunity to express my gratitude to the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) for organizing this esteemed show in this grand scale. The five-day long exhibition that takes place from 19 – 23 February gives companies the ideal platform to network and effectively promote its products and services," commented Kaabi.

The IGG stand will feature companies who are leaders in the defense and security sector who will promote its high-technology defense systems and equipment for soldiers and the armed forces of the UAE and the GCC region. IGG, the largest supplier of the UAE Armed Forces plan to become the manufacturer of cutting-edge technology and defense systems.

Al Kaabi said, "In addition to our commercial products, IGG has identified the scope to grow in the field of military and industrial products and we are preparing to announce a host of new products catering to these fields at IDEX 2017". He added, "We have partnered with distinguished international companies to offer state-of-the-art products and the latest technology for our Armed Forces." He added, "Our strong relationships with key players of the defense and security field make IGG the most trusted Emirati defense company in the region."

IDEX 2017 will be the venue for announcements that confirm valuable deals between IGG and other organizations within the same field. "We look forward to consolidating our position as the top organization to offer the best experiences, updated knowledge and defense and security training for citizens of the UAE," he stated. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


IDEX Conference 2017 tackles disruptive innovation in defence and security

posted on 19/02/2017

IDEX Conference 2017, part of the 13th edition of the International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX 2017) and the fourth edition of the Naval Defence Exhibition (NAVDEX 2017) commenced yesterday at the National Archives headquarters in Abu Dhabi.

The event attracted national and international defence policy makers and experts engaging in a lively debate over the most pressing topics in the industry.

Themed ‘Disruptive Innovation in Defence and Security', the conference took place ahead of IDEX and NAVDEX 2017, which are set to draw the participation of 1,235 specialised local and international companies in the defence industry. This represents a three per cent growth compared to 2015, when 1,200 companies attended.

Organised by Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC) in collaboration with the UAE Armed Forces under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE President and Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, IDEX and NAVDEX 2017 will run at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre from 19 to 23 February 2017.

Welcoming the keynote speakers and panellists, Mohammed Al Bowardi, UAE Minister of State for Defence, said, "It is my absolute honour to welcome you all here today. This year, IDEX will witness its 13th edition, and owing to the wise direction of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, it will be bigger than ever."

Re-affirming the importance of continuous development in the defence industry, he added, "Today's conference provides a unique opportunity to further the development of defence capabilities. We will discuss the latest advancements in technology with a special focus on disruptive technology and their impact on our armed forces. We live at a time of rapid technological progress that manifests itself in areas such as robotics and 3D printing."

Speaking on the significance of state-of-the-art technology in the defence arena, he said, "Disruptive technology offers great advancements for our military institutions. However, in the hands of terrorists or enemies, it can yield results of catastrophic proportions. There is no other sector that witnesses changes at such rapid rate as the defence industry. This brings about continuous change in warfare parameters. Disruptive technology is what led to the rise of cyber warfare. Military institutions must employ skillful professionals to create the highest levels of competitive advantage. They need mechanisms that facilitate, monitor and understand disruptive technology and its impact on each and every one of us. In the UAE, our armed forces continuously aim to advance through introducing emerging technologies and developing human capital and know-how."

He added, "The UAE has made tremendous strides in fostering national defence companies. ADNEC in collaboration with the UAE Armed Forces have been monumental in driving today's event and the subsequent exhibitions. Defence innovation, security and control are areas that need our undivided attention, expertise and ingenuity. Today, let us really think outside the box, share experience and come up with cutting-edge solutions."

In closing, Mohammed Al Bowardi said, "I look forward to the sessions, panels and deliberations today at IDEX Conference 2017. It is important to discuss and understand the new paradigm of military warfare."

Warfare. For his part, Staff Major General Pilot Faris Khalaf Al Mazrouei, Chairman of the Higher Organising Committee of IDEX 2017 and NAVDEX 2017, said, "We are proud of the overwhelming response to the IDEX Conference 2017 that demonstrates the reach and prestige of the event, and its status as a growing hub for specialists to discuss security and defence challenges facing the region and the world."

He also thanked the General Command of the UAE Armed Forces for the fundamental role they play in the success of the IDEX Conference 2017. Under the coordination of the Higher Organising Committee, teams have worked around the clock to secure an even bigger edition, liaise with speakers and attract international experts, leaders and military personnel to participate in the event.

Humaid Mattar Al Dhaheri, Group CEO of ADNEC, said, "Organising the International Defence Conference on the side-lines of IDEX and NAVDEX 2017 stems from ADNEC's efforts to transfer, foster and localise knowledge of the defence industry, one of the main sectors of the Abu Dhabi Plan and the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030."

He added, "Since its inception a decade ago, ADNEC has actively attracted specialised international conferences to Abu Dhabi. Through continuous cooperation with various national institutions – most notably the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, Abu Dhabi Convention Bureau and national professional associations - we successfully bid and won hosting major international conferences."

He stressed that conferences and exhibitions offer ideal opportunities for networking with international decision-makers and specialists. Furthermore, they provide platforms for showcasing cutting-edge technology, directly and indirectly contribute to the national economy and support key sectors, such as tourism, aviation and hospitality.

Entitled ‘Disruptive Emerging Technology and Innovation: A New Military Paradigm', the first keynote session led by the Honourable Christopher Pyne, Australian Minister for Defence Industry, discussed disruptive technology and innovation in the military context.

The session shed light on the complex and increasingly critical new technologies and rapidly accelerating technological innovation, which have powerful impact on the daily lives of populations throughout the world.

Following the session, Mohannad Al Khatib of Sky News Arabia moderated a panel discussion titled ‘How disruptive technology and innovation impact military operation'. Panellists included Uday B. Desai, Director of the Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad, Young Bum Choi, Executive Vice-President of the Security Solutions Division at Samsung S1 Corporation, Vice Admiral Kevin Donegan, Commander of US Naval Forces Central Command, and Brigadier General Dr. Mubarak bin Gafan Al Jabri, Head of Communications and Information Technology at UAE Armed Forces. The discussion provided a compelling range of national, professional and multi-disciplinary perspectives and opinions on disruptive innovation.

The second keynote session, ‘The next big leap in cyber defence', led by Dr. Thomas Kennedy, Chairman of the Board and CEO at Raytheon, focussed on the consensus that in cyber-security, hackers always have the upper hand. The session addressed the shifting cyber-security landscape, focusing on lessons learned from industry, military and security communities.

Naoufer Ramoul of Dubai Media Incorporated moderated the accompanying second panel discussion, ‘Cyber warfare: Preparing for the unknown'. Panellists comprised Dr Mohamed Al-Kuwaiti, Executive Director of UAE National Electronic Security Authority (NESA), Jean-Michel Orozco, Senior Vice President and Head of Cybersecurity Group at DCNS, Rear Admiral Nick Hine, Assistant Chief of the Naval Staff at the UK Royal Navy, and Arto Tuomas Raty, Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Communications at Fortum.

The panel examined the topic of cyber security, its impact on industries, especially national security, and ways of monitoring and addressing the threat.

Lt Gen Dr. SP Kochhar (Retd), CEO of Telecom Sector Skill Council and former Signal Officer-in-Chief of Indian Army, led the third and final keynote session, ‘Can defence and security control/mitigate multiple disruptions?' He provided insight into how defence and security organisations can cope with multiple disruptions and implement reliable and sustainable solutions.

Tate Nurkin, Senior Director of the Strategic Assessment and Future Studies Centre at IHS Jane's, moderated the final panel discussion, ‘Do current military capabilities meet the multiple disruptive challenges successfully?' Panellists included Dr. Yehya Al Marzouqi, Executive Director, UAE Capability Development and Special Projects at Tawazun, Micael Johansson, Deputy CEO and Senior Executive Vice President of Saab, Lt General Steven Shepro, Deputy Chairman of NATO Military Committee, and Major General John Frewan, Commander of Australian Defence Force in the Middle East. The discussion focused on ensuring military readiness when faced with multiple disruptive challenges, and the evolution of policies, procedures and doctrines over the years.

IDEX and NAVDEX 2017 are expected to welcome over 100,000 visitors from all over the world. The total area dedicated to the two exhibitions has expanded to 53,532 square metres, up by five percent compared to the previous edition. Moreover, the biennial events are expected to host a total of 1,000 local and international media representatives, a 72 per cent increase on 2015.

IDEX 2015 attracted more than 1,200 local and international defence manufacturers and contractors and drew over 101,000 visitors from across the world. The event also facilitated business deals worth AED18.3 billion. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


WAM sheds light on IDEX

posted on 19/02/2017

Emirates News Agency (WAM) is extensively covering the International Defence Exhibition and Conference 2017 (IDEX), through an integrated media team that will broadcast live from its media centre at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), according to a UAE official.

The news service will constantly cover the unfolding sessions at IDEX, and provide reports, photos and videos to Arab and international media directly from the event, said Mohammed Jalal Al Rayssi, Executive Director of WAM.

The WAM digital team will also broadcast news and information via WAM's social media platforms, he added, noting the official agency has prepared an integrated action plan to cover sessions during IDEX.

"The team, which includes editors, correspondents, photographers, engineers and technicians, will be at the ADNEC," he said.

Al Rayysi said, "WAM is keen to highlight the achievements, and events hosted by the UAE, including the main events that involve major international defence companies and senior officials." – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Hamdan bin Mohammed honours winners of UAE Drones for Good Award and UAE AI/ Robotics Award for Good

posted on 19/02/2017

H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, honoured on Saturday afternoon, the winners of UAE Drones for Good Award and UAE AI/ Robotics Award for Good.

A total of 40 projects were shortlisted for both the awards, 20 from inside the country, including 10 for UAE Drones Award and 10 for UAE AI/ Robotics Award for Good. The finalists were selected from 1,017 entries from 165 countries.

Sheikh Hamdan was briefed on a number of hi tech projects presented by the participating teams, who provide practical and innovative solutions in economy, humanitarian and scientific research areas.

A low weight communication equipment project developed by Nokia won the UAE Drones for Good Award in the international category, while Sanad Academy project won the award in the national category in Dubai.

The international project, ‘Seven Lives', carried a prize money of $1 million while the national category winner Sanad Academy was handed AED1 million prize money. The Sanad Academy project is based on the idea of inventing a drone that can locate drowning victims and offer assistance immediately.

The award, in its second year as part of the 3rd UAE Drones for Good Award, the UAE AI/Robotics for Good Award aims to support innovation in the key area of artificial intelligence and robotics focusing on their practical use for society's greater good in areas such as health, education and social services. It is organised by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Fund.

AI/Robotics award Sheikh Hamdan also honoured a project by the Open Bionics team which won the UAE AI/Robotics for Good Award under the international category while the "In-pipe inspection" robot won under the national category. The In-pipe inspection robot can navigate inside oil and pipelines to detect leaks that need repair so they don't damage their surrounding environment. The robot enables highly accurate localisation.

The honouring ceremony was attended by Mohammad bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and the Future; Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy; Lt-General Dahi Khalfan Tamim, Deputy Chief of Police and Public Security in Dubai; and other senior officials. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Over 120% increase in participants in Sharjah Award for Voluntary Work

posted on 19/02/2017

The number of participants in the 14th edition of Sharjah Award for voluntary Work has increased substantially as compared to the figures of last year, according to a report issued by the award's executive management.

The award attracted 159 entries this year, an impressive 127 percent growth as compared to the 70 participants in 2015. Participants are competing in different categories including government institutions, civil societies, private sector, families, individuals, voluntary teams and students.

The report was presented during a meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Award held recently. The meeting was chaired by Affaf Ibrahim Al Marri, Chairperson of the Board of Trustees, and attended by members of the Board of Trustees.

According to the report, the individual participants accounted for 61 percent of the total participants, while 23% of the total participants represented government institutions. The report suggests that there is a remarkable increase in the number of participants in other categories of voluntary works.

Affaf Ibrahim Al Marri, Chairperson of the Board of Trustees, extended sincere gratitude and appreciation to H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, for his unhindered support to the award since its inception, and his innovative guidance which has helped the award gain momentum and a substantial social impact.

Musabah Balageed Al Kuttbi, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Trustees, said that the steady increase in the number of participants in all categories of the award, year on year, reflects the significance and impact of the award. "The growing participation is a sign of community awareness of the voluntary work", he said.

He added that the Board of Trustees is committed to constantly develop the criteria and categories of the award to maintain its excellence and leadership and to ensure that Sharjah will remain a hotspot for humanitarian work, social service and community development.

Jassim Hamad Al Hamadi, the Secretary-General of the Award, said that the board approved the lists of nominees submitted by official parties, after reviewing the eligible participants, such as those who donated more than 30 units of blood in previous years, the supporters of civil societies and the female volunteers who wash the dead.

During the meeting, members of the Board of Trustees stressed the importance of extensive awareness programs, and urged the relevant entities to reach out to people, provide awareness and training, and encourage them to participate in the award.

Members of the Board of Trustees reviewed the report of the selected winners of the award and the ongoing preparation to host the annual award ceremony for the 13th and 14 editions, which will take place next March.

The judging panel has recently submitted the names of winners to the Board of Trustees for approval. The winners accounted for 37 percent of the total participants in all categories, except for the student category where the winners accounted for 18.6 percent of the total participants. The numbers of participants in all categories, altogether, and in student category, alone, were 84 and 75, respectively. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


UAE discuss enhancing parliamentary work with Egypt, Jordan, Algeria, Sudan

posted on 19/02/2017

Dr. Amal Abdullah Al Qubaisi, Speaker of the Federal National Council, FNC, met separately with Dr. Ali Abdel Aal, Speaker of the Egyptian House of Representatives; Atef Tarawneh, Speaker of the Jordanian House of Representative; Dr. Mohamed Larbi Ould Khalifa, Speaker of the Algerian National People's Assembly, and Prof. Ibrahim Ahmed Omer, Speaker of the Sundanese National Assembly.

She discussed ways of enhancing and activating the work of Arab parliamentary institutions to address the challenges, developments and crises being witnessed by Arab countries, in the light of regional and international developments.

During the meetings, everyone stressed the importance of unifying Arab parliament efforts by holding intensified meetings, setting strategies, communicating with people and other parliaments around the world, and unifying visions by participating in regional and global parliamentary events.

"Our Arab parliaments are responsible for preserving Arab identity, uniting the people in one nation, and fighting extremism and terrorism that brings horror, fear, intimidation and brutality. The Arab legislative and supervisory role is the key to working with governments, to establish the main values that built both Arab and Islamic civilisation,' Dr. Al Qubaisi said.

Dr. Al Qubaisi extended an official invitation to Dr. Mohamed Larbi Ould Khalifa to visit both the UAE and FNC, while Dr. Khalifa reciprocated with an official invitation to Dr. Al Qubaisi to visit Algeria and the Algerian Parliament. The meetings were also attended by a number of FNC members. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Dubai Department of Economic Development received 27,027 consumer complaints in 2016

posted on 19/02/2017

The Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai received 27,027 consumer complaints in 2016, an increase of 23 percent compared to the 21,896 complaints received during the previous year.

On an average the Ahlan Dubai call centre (600 54 5555) of DED received 2,252 complaints monthly as continued awareness campaigns by DED led to better understanding of consumer rights and responsibilities across the emirate.

The Commercial Compliance and Consumer Protection (CCCP) sector, as part of its efforts to promote Dubai as a safe shopping destination and promote best practices in retailing in the emirate, seeks to build awareness among consumers on the mechanisms available to raise their complaints and have their rights protected.

The complaints received in 2016 involved various issues such as non-compliance with warranty terms (39 percent of complaints), refunds (17 percent), damaged goods (13 percent), and lack of safety systems (5 percent). Indicating an eagerness among traders to offer better customer service and improved compliance to business regulations resulting from the various initiatives rolled out by CCCP, complaints relating to exchanges dropped 20 percent and those relating to commercial fraud, by 40 percent in 2016.

Sector-wise, services accounted for 43 percent of the complaints followed by electronics (24 percent), automobiles (15 percent), textiles (7 percent) and furniture (3 percent). The remaining eight per cent were from varied sectors.

Mohammed Ali Rashed Lootah, CEO of CEEP, commented that the number of consumer complaints received reflects the success of the campaigns conducted by DED during 2016 to strengthen Dubai's position as the shopping destination of choice for residents and visitors, across all nationalities.

"Consumers have become more conscious and determined about their rights and the quality of service they deserve. Most of the complaints we received related to non-compliance with warranty terms, refunds and defective products. The CEEP sector did the necessary follow up and took steps to resolve those complaints amicably in not later than four working days, to the satisfaction of the consumer as well as the merchant," Lootah said.

Ahmed Al Awadi, Director of Consumer Protection in DED, added that the focus is on nurturing a healthy consumer rights culture through establishing cordial relations between consumers and traders. "We promote the principle of neutrality, awareness and adoption of the highest international standards in retailing, which is a critical sector and an engine of economic growth in Dubai."

In 2017 too, DED will be launching a series of awareness campaigns with emphasis on discounts and measures to be taken by consumers during purchasing so as to avoid being duped, said Al Awadi. The campaigns will also seek to familiarise consumers with the Blue Book, which is being brought out in 10 different languages to educate consumers and merchants on their individual roles and responsibilities in the purchasing process. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


City Walk to transform into ‘open air canvas’ for 3D artists at Dubai Canvas 3D Art Festival

posted on 19/02/2017

City Walk, the urban living destination by Meraas, will transform into an ‘open air canvas' for the world's best 3D street artists to create stunning artworks during the Dubai Canvas 3D Art Festival 2017.

The high-end lifestyle destination, stretching over 10 million square feet, will provide a vibrant venue for artists to create and display their 3D artworks at the Festival. To be held from 1st to 7th March 2017, Dubai Canvas will feature the works of 25 international artists shortlisted for the Dubai Canvas 3D Art Award.

Dubai Canvas 2017 is organised by Brand Dubai, the creative arm of the Government of Dubai Media Office (GDMO), in partnership with Meraas, one of Dubai's leading holding companies.

3D street art is an emerging art form in which images appear to rise from or fall into the ground when viewed from a specific angle. The optical illusions created by the artist pull audiences to engage with the art more closely. City Walk's distinctive urban space and creative vibe provides the perfect backdrop for audiences to intimately explore the 3D art featured in the Festival.

Saleh Al Geziry, Vice President, Promotions and Recreation of Retail at Meraas, said: "We are delighted to create opportunities for local and international artists and the public to connect through Dubai Canvas. Urban events like these are engaging for residents and visitors, and hosting Dubai Canvas at CITY WALK will enable us to create a common thread between our unique destinations and the community that will shape urban life now and into the future. CITY WALK already features a selection of street art and therefore offers an ideal backdrop for artists and visitors to socialise, explore, and learn."

Project Manager of Dubai Canvas Ayesha bin Kalli said: "One of Brand Dubai's objectives is to take art beyond its traditional indoor boundaries into public spaces in order to provide audiences with opportunities to experience it in unique ways. Public engagement is at the heart of the Dubai Canvas 3D Art Festival, and City Walk provides a unique venue for the artists at the Festival to both showcase their art and interact with the public. Our partnership with City Walk also allows us to highlight the cosmopolitan and creative environment Dubai offers as a venue for global art events."

The artists will start working on their creations at City Walk during the week preceding the Festival, from 22nd – 28th February, giving the public an invaluable opportunity to watch them at work. The 25 artists will be competing with each other to win the AED2.3 million Dubai Canvas 3D Art Award, the world's first award that recognises excellence in 3D art. The Award saw a total of 122 entries from 35 countries.

A jury comprising of renowned international and local artists will evaluate the 25 shortlisted artworks to select three winners. The winners will be honoured at a ceremony to be held at the Festival. There will also be a ‘People's Choice' award based on votes from the public.

Dubai Canvas 3D Art Festival 2017 aims to build on the success of last year's Festival. The 2016 event, which featured the works of a wide array of artists from across the world, received an overwhelming response from both residents and visitors to Dubai. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -