Daily Archives: September 9, 2012

Syria action should not be at the cost of civilians lives, UAE paper

Abu Dhabi: As talks on what will take place next in Syria gather momentum, it is critical that the country’s long-term future is taken as the driving force for any action, a UAE paper commented.

“Syria is at the crossroads. It can either move forward towards a democratic process or disintegrate amidst a vicious civil war. Either way, it is the people of Syria who will reap the benefits or take the burden of the suffering,” Gulf News said in its today’s editorial on the Syrian situation.

Once again the Syrian regime of Bashar Al Assad came under attack as the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, described Syria as a terror state. In his address to Arab foreign ministers in Cairo, Egyptian President Mohammad Mursi also highlighted the Syrian situation, asking Al Assad to step down.

These comments come as the new UN-Arab League envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi, takes over the Syria file. Brahimi has yet to bring all the disputing parties together to an agreement. The early signs are already indicative of no change in position as Russian President Vladimir Putin urged western and Arab envoys to reassess their stance on Syria, the paper noted.

Putin also demanded that the security of the current leadership is assured if a transition of power is to take place.

“Regardless of the differences in positions, it is obvious that immediate action needs to be taken. But this should not be at the cost of civilian lives or the unity of the country,” the paper concluded.

ASTA International Destination Expo 2013 to be held in Dubai, announces DTCM

Dubai: Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) has further expanded its promotion of Dubai’s tourism assets through a partnership with the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) and made an announcement that Dubai will host the ASTA International Destination Expo (IDE) 2013 in April next year.

The event will be promoted at this year’s ASTA Travel Retailing and Destination Expo, held in Los Angeles during September 7 to 9 2012.

The Retailing Expo is the top North American meeting place for destinations, travel suppliers and travel retailers worldwide, attended by 1040 travel agents from across the USA.

The 2013 conference was successfully brought to the emirate by Dubai Convention Bureau on behalf of the DTCM, who secured the decision in favour of Dubai and is recognized as co-sponsor of the meeting.

ASTA estimated attendance in Dubai next year will be between 500 and 700 travel agents. The DTCM staff in LA was joined at the stand by representatives of six Dubai-based tourism companies, whose products and services are included in the ASTA IDE Dubai itinerary: 24 Degrees, InterContinental and Crown Plaza Festival City, Emirates Airline, the J.W. Marriott Marquis and Madinat Jumeirah.

Hamad M. Bin Mejren, Executive Director of Business Tourism at DTCM, said of next year’s IDE: “The prestige of hosting ASTA’s IDE next year is a great honour and recognized throughout the tourism and convention industries worldwide”.

“Cities from around the globe vie for this opportunity. We can expect to see continued growth of North American tourism traffic in 2013 and beyond as these ASTA agents serve as new ambassadors for Dubai, spreading their enthusiasm to new clients from around the world.

This organized outreach at the Dubai stand in Los Angeles will help ensure a strong attendance in April 2013 – and as always with these events, a huge potential boon for the Dubai economy, in the short term because of increased hospitality spending, and in the long term because of the promotion of Dubai as a first-class tourist destination. ” Dubai’s hosting of the 2013 Expo was awarded back in March, with ASTA Vice President, Cheryl Ahearn making it clear why the emirate was selected: “Dubai is an amazing, growing destination that is expected to host more than 15 million international tourists annually by 2015.

We want to ensure our global travel agent members are fully equipped to fulfil their customer’s expectations on Dubai with hands-on and on-the -ground experience.” DTCM’s Manager of Promotions for North America, Jessica Herring, hosted a seminar entitled “Definitely Dubai”, outlining a variety of features of the emirate, from hotel choices to local tours, and activities that connect visitors with Dubai’s Arabian culture.

“Travel Agents here are delighted that Dubai is the site for their annual international meeting, IDE 2013. Agents are receiving more inquiries about Dubai and look forward to seeing first-hand this amazing city they are selling”, she claimed.

“With the USA now being the 4th most productive source market for travel to Dubai, the ASTA agents are eager to become better informed and share in the benefits of creating new tourism traffic for Dubai.”

Dubai International Financial Centre grows 6 percent in H1, 2012

Dubai: Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the financial and business hub connecting the region’s emerging markets with the markets of Europe, Asia and the Americas, updated the market today on its continuous positive performance throughout the first half of 2012.

Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, Chairman of the Board of Directors of DIFC Authority commented: “The strong principles on which DIFC is founded – effective regulation and a dynamic business environment – position DIFC well to continue its development as a world financial centre. There are promising opportunities for significant expansion of DIFC both in terms of the number of companies operating here and the range of activities in which they are engaged.” DIFC has continued to strengthen its position as the international financial centre of choice in the region. As of 30 June 2012, 899 active registered companies had a presence in DIFC (FY 2011: 848 companies), with 329 regulated, 465 non-regulated companies, and 105 retailers (FY 2011: 322 regulated, 423 non-regulated, and 103 retailers). The number of employees working in DIFC stands at around 13,000.

Interest from North America and Europe continues to increase as western multinationals look to diversify their operations and expand towards the East. DIFC also witnessed sustained interest from Middle Eastern and Asian firms looking to increase their exposure to opportunities arising in Africa and the West. Today, the geographical diversity of the Centre’s total number of regulated companies reaffirms DIFC’s growing status as a global financial centre. Approximately 36% of regulated member companies come from Europe, 26% from the Middle East, 16% from North America, 11% from Asia, and 11% from the rest of the world.

In the first half of 2012, DIFC issued 90 commercial licences, representing a 41% increase in registrations from same period last year (FY 2011: 135 registrations; H1 2011: 64). The Centre welcomed 9 new regulated companies including Coutts ‘&’ Company, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions Ltd, NBAD Investment Management (DIFC) Limited, ICAP Securities Limited, CIMD (Dubai) Limited and Stonehage Trust holdings (Jersey) Limited.

Amongst the licences were 73 issued to new non-regulated companies including Booz ‘&’ Company (M.E.) LLC, BMW Finance (United Arab Emirates) Ltd and Marubeni Europower (Middle East) Limited.

DIFC also attracted 8 new retailers including Mint Leaf of London and Brownbook Publishing FZ LLC.

As it continues to develop its modern and supportive infrastructure, major international firms took up significant additional space within the Centre including ES Bankers, which trebled its presence during the first half of this year.

DIFC remains the financial hub of choice for the world’s leading companies with 17 of the world’s top 25 banks1, eight of the world’s ten largest insurers2, eight out of 15 top law firms3, ten of the top 20 money managers4 and seven of the top ten consultancies5 all based in the Centre.

This is also underlined by Dubai’s ranking in the Global Financial Centres Index, which tracks competitiveness among 77 international financial hubs. Dubai is ranked the leading financial centre in the region and was also named amongst the top five centres where companies are thinking of opening offices. Moreover, a report from the Economist Intelligence Unit commissioned by Citi, entitled Hot Spots – Benchmarking global city competitiveness, ranked the most competitive 120 cities in the world for their demonstrated ability to attract capital, business, talent and tourists. Dubai was ranked 40 overall and the first in the MENASA region. Dubai was also ranked 10th overall for its financial maturity.

Dubai International Financial Centre grows 6 percent in H1, 2012 / first and final add

Dubai: Dubai was also ranked 10th overall for its financial maturity. To remain competitive and operate as per the highest regulatory standards, DIFC continues to develop its internationally-recognised regulatory framework and legal system in order to support the growth of financial services and commercial activities.

During the first six months of 2012, four legislative proposals were published for public consultation and have been submitted for enactment by the Ruler of Dubai. These include amendments to the Employment Law, DIFC Law No. 4 of 2005; the Real Property Law, DIFC Law No. 4 of 2007; and the Data Protection Law, DIFC Law No. 1 of 2007. They also include a draft law and regulations for Non-Profit Incorporated Organisations.

At the same time, DIFC has further strengthened its efforts to develop its relationships with strategic counterparties and organisations. In H1 2012, DIFC Authority signed three new Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) with TheCityUK, the Australia Gulf Council and New South Wales Trade ‘&’ Investment.

As new companies join and existing companies expand, demand for space at DIFC continues to grow. A total of 179,700 square feet of new space was occupied in H1 2012 representing 60% of those leased during the whole of 2011 (FY 2011 262,000 square feet).

Occupancy of the DIFC-owned commercial offices in the Gate District (Gate Building, Gate Precinct and Gate Village) remains high above 98% of the leasable space (total commercial office space: 1,379,103 square feet), while occupancy within the DIFC-owned retail space has remained consistent at 96% (Total DIFC-owned retail space: 226,397 square feet).

In the first six months of this year, the Property Lease Management Agreement (PLMA) between DIFC and a number of units in Liberty House expired. As such, third party owned office space managed by DIFC under the PLMA now includes the Currency House, Currency Tower and some units in Liberty House with a total area of 531,659 square feet. These are 86% occupied.

Office space in third party owned office space not managed by DIFC remains available and includes the Index Tower, Park Towers and Emirates Financial Towers as well as a number of units in Liberty House. The total space occupied in these buildings stands at around 349,407 sq ft though occupancy rates for the total space available in these developments are not available to DIFC.

Majority backs speeding fines, cameras help contain speed and save lives, 999 Magazine survey

Abu Dhabi: In a survey of 420 UAE drivers conducted by 999 Magazine, the official English monthly of the Ministry of Interior, a vast majority (71 per cent) of respondents say that they don’t see speed cameras as a money-making scheme.

Close to 300 of the 420 respondents agree that most traffic accidents occur due to excessive speeds, and that speed cameras help contain speed, thereby saving lives However, about 20 per cent of the respondents said that they saw speed cameras as mere tools to increase government revenue while a little over 9 per cent said installation of speed cameras is a form of indirect taxation.

A report from 999 Magazine shows that fixed speed cameras are expensive to install and maintain. On an average, a speed camera can cost anywhere between Dh150,000 to Dh400,000 to install, depending on their location, and can cost up to another Dh150,000 a year to maintain, atop the infrastructure set-up cost. With such a high expense, it is impossible for all speed cameras to turn a profit’.

Lt Colonel Awadh Saleh Al Kindi, Editor-in-Chief of 999 Magazine, said: “The real value of the speed cameras is in the socio-economic savings. Speeding accidents result in most deaths on UAE roads, as well as damage to property. The combined cost of these accidents completely dwarfs the revenue generated by speeding fines, emphasising the necessity of stricter speed monitoring and destroying the argument that speed cameras are simply there for profit.” The findings of a study by the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, presented in April 2012, showed that car accidents cost the UAE nearly Dh17bn in socio-economic losses in just three years (2009-2011).

More than 62 per cent of respondents to the 999 survey on speed cameras maintain the real economic benefit of such cameras is not from the generated fines but from the reduction in accidents and deaths.

The special report is published in the September edition of English 999 magazine, a part of the Strategic Plan of the Ministry of the Interior to provide media coverage for the activities and efforts of the Ministry and Abu Dhabi Police. It also aims to encourage the public to contribute to the reduction of crime and enhancement of safety in the UAE.

Emirati woman gets first patent of invention from China

Abu Dhabi: Emirati woman Aida Al Meharabi and her partner Eng. Wasfi Al Shedaifat have received the patent of invention from the Intellectual Property Office of the People’s Republic of China, for their invention of “Accordion Cover for Vehicles.” This patent is the first one granted to UAE national woman by the Intellectual Property Office of the People’s Republic of China.

Al Mehairbi said that during the international phase of the invention, all 24 development demands have been approved by the World Intellectual Property Organisation, “WIPO” giving the invention authentication, protection and precedence.

DUBAL and EMAL aim to raise sector profile at 27th International Aluminium Conference in Moscow

Dubai: Dubai Aluminium (DUBAL) and Emirates Aluminium (EMAL) will jointly participate at the 27th International Aluminium Conference in Moscow to promote UAE’s primary aluminium sector role within the global industry.

The conference is organised and hosted by Metal Bulletin from 12 to 14 of the current month (“MBI 2012″).

DUBAL and EMAL will have a combined stand in the exhibition component alongside the conference, besides they are the joint Platinum Sponsors of the overall event and the MBI 2012 Registration Desk. Yousuf Bastaki, EMAL’s Vice President: Projects, is also among the line-up of speakers.

Touted as the premier international forum for understanding industry dynamics and uncovering market potential, the annual MBI events attract 500-plus key industry decision-makers from around the world thus offering excellent opportunities for networking and deal-making.

Aiming to maximize the exposure offered by the forum, the joint DUBAL-EMAL exhibition stand will showcase the two companies and promote their product portfolios. DUBAL produces billets for construction, industrial, transportation and forging purposes in automotive industries; high-purity aluminium ingots for use in the electronics and aerospace industries; and foundry alloy ingots, which are absorbed primarily by the automotive sector. EMAL’s product portfolio also includes extrusion billets for construction and transportation applications; foundry ingots, used in the automotive sector; and sheet ingots, which are primarily destined for the packaging industry, lithographic sheets and the automotive industry.

An entirely state-owned enterprise, DUBAL owns and operates a one million metric tonne per annum primary aluminium smelter at Jebel Ali, Dubai one of the largest single-site operations of its kind in the world and in 2011 produced 1,014,795 metric tonnes of hot metal. Dedicated programmes support the Emiratisation goals of the UAE, including targeted recruitment, skills development, management training and strategic career planning. Approximately 92 per cent of DUBAL’s annual production is exported to more than 50 countries in over 300 countries across the globe, the company’s key markets being Asia, Europe, the Middle East North Africa (“MENA”) region and The Americas.

A green-field development, EMAL is being built in two phases at Al Taweelah, Abu Dhabi, and is owned in equal shareholding by DUBAL and Mubadala Development Company. Energizing of the 756 reduction cells in EMAL Phase I, with a total capacity of 750,000 metric tonnes per annum, took place between 1 December 2009 and 31 December 2010 with full production being reached four months ahead of schedule, yet within budget. EMAL’s high quality products are currently supplied to more than 200 customers in 36 countries around the world. EMAL Phase II was announced in July 2011. A new 444-cell potline is being built which, together with a technology upgrade of the existing cells, will increase EMAL’s annual production capacity to 1.3 million metric tonnes by 2014.

Confirming the contribution of the region to the global industry, the combined 1.8 million metric tonnes of primary aluminium products manufactured in the UAE in 2011 represents almost 4 per cent of the estimated 45.5 million metric tonnes of annual global production. It’s also 50 per cent of the 3.6 million metric tonnes produced in the greater Gulf region (itself equivalent to 7.9 per cent of global production in 2011).

Three Kalimat Books Make 2012 IBBY Honour List

Sharjah: Three books published by Kalimat Publishing, the Sharjah-based publisher of high quality Arabic books for children, have been selected for the 2012 International Board on Books for Young People’s (IBBY) Honour List.

The IBBY Honour List is a biennial selection of outstanding, recently published books, honouring writers, illustrators and translators from IBBY member countries.

The Honour List was announced at the 33rd IBBY Congress that was held between the 23rd and 26th of August in London. Billed as the greatest gathering of children’s books enthusiasts in the world, the 33rd IBBY Congress was attended by delegates from across the world highlighting the international diversity of children’s books and their role as a bridge between cultures.

On the occasion, Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi, Kalimat founder and CEO, said, “We are elated to have three of our books selected for the IBBY Honour List where the best books are handpicked from across the world. Written, translated, and illustrated by renowned Arabic children’s writers, the books are prime examples of excellence in Arabic children’s literature. Kalimat is proud of its contribution to children’s literature and we intend to continue our efforts in this direction with the same commitment and passion. ”

The book chosen for excellence in the illustration category is Ibn Battuta’, a concise biography that explains the travels of the globe-trotting Arab historian Ibn Battuta through a series of fascinating anecdotes. Illustrated by illustrator, graphic designer and author Intelaq Mohammad Ali, the book tells the story of the renowned Arab explorer in an informative and interesting manner.

Wathifat Mama’ (My Mother’s Job) written by Abir Ballan, a heart-warming story that celebrates the diverse roles handled by a homemaker mom was another Kalimat book that made it to the honour list. Princesses of the World’ is the third book which clinched a spot in the list in the translation category.

Translated into Arabic by Fatima Sharefeddine from its original French version, this book is the story of 14 princesses from diverse lands who take you on an enchanting journey of the ancient world as seen through their eyes. The book is a snapshot of cultures from the east and west ranging from Japan to Spain and includes our very own Scheherazade.

During the Congress, Kalimat was lauded by IBBY for the quality of its books and its overall contribution to Arabic children’s literature, and was awarded certificates for each of its honour list books.