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WAM: UAE Press: Reading challenge is way to knowledge

UAE Press

ABU DHABI, 9th March, 2020 (WAM) — A UAE newspaper has highlighted the importance of reading in shaping minds, building harmony in society, enhancing communication, noting that it is the best-known way to expand one’s knowledge and wisdom.

“The UAE leadership has been creating a generation of readers by consistently promoting the culture of reading among the community,” said Gulf Today in an editorial on Monday.

The decision to declare March as the Month of Reading in 2016 with nation-wide activities that aim to spark the passion for knowledge across all society segments has proved to be a remarkable initiative.

The tremendous response elicited by the Arab Reading Challenge 2020, ARC, is an unambiguous proof of how the project has turned into a global phenomenon. The participation in the 5th edition of the Arab Reading Challenge that marked a new record of 21 million students supported by 120,000 supervisors from 96,000 schools across 52 countries highlights its growing popularity.

The paper quoted His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, as saying in his Twitter message, “Reading broadens horizons and enlightens the mind and thus, accelerates the journey towards development. The Arab Reading Challenge demonstrates our region’s capability to collectively carry out vast knowledge initiatives. We take this opportunity to thank Arab education ministers, supervisors and coordinators across the world and congratulate our Arab students upon this new level of achievement.”

It should be noted that for the fifth consecutive year, the Arab Reading Challenge participations continued to increase, drawing 21 million students from 52 countries in the 2020 edition that records a 55 percent increase from last year’s 13.5 million students from 49 countries.

Since its inception, the Arab Reading Challenge attracted more than 54 million students who summarised books they read in 50.5 million printed challenge ‘passports.’ It is clear that solid coordination with ministries of education across the Arab world has led to a notable increase in the number of participating schools to 96,000, marking a 43 percent increase from last year’s 67,000 schools.

The 5th edition saw a 21 percent increase in participating supervisors to 120,000, as compared to last year’s 99,000 supervisors.

Another interesting aspect is the participation of new countries. This year’s Arab Reading Challenge has attracted participation of Arab students from four new countries of Switzerland, Turkey, Luxembourg and Austria, bringing the number of participating nations to 52 including 14 Arab countries.

“Going by the positive response the initiative has been eliciting from across the globe, one can rest assured that the future generation is moving on the right track,” concluded the Sharjah-based daily.

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corona virus COVID-19 Local News

WAM: Emirates Airline intensifies cleaning, disinfection across company’s fleet

DUBAI, 8th March, 2020 (WAM) — Emirates Airline has taken more additional steps that exceed the requirements and regulations of the aviation industry to ensure the health and comfort of its customers, and give them confidence and reassurance in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak around the world.

The airline said in a press statement that it is subjecting all its planes departing from Dubai to precautionary measures that include extensive and comprehensive cleaning and sterilisation of all passenger compartments.

After the latest medical discoveries indicated that the “Covid-19” virus was mainly transmitted by contact, Emirates Airlines focused on cleaning and disinfecting the surfaces of passengers and crews.

The Airlines uses certified chemicals to eliminate viruses, germs and fungi, leaving protective layers on the surfaces for a long time and preventing any subsequent infection with the virus. These material are also environmentally friendly.

The cleaning process includes a comprehensive survey of all surfaces, from windows, tables, personal video screens, armrests, seats, seat controls, ventilation openings and upper cabinets in the cabin, to bathrooms, corridors, and the staff’s comfort areas, in addition to other routine procedures, such as changing headrest covers on All seats, print replacement and floor cleaning.

According to the carrier, the Boeing plane needs to be cleaned and sterilised to prepare for the next trip at the hands of team of 18 people working for an hour, while the Airbus A380 needs a team of 36 workers.

On average, 248 planes undergo a comprehensive cleaning and sterilization within 24 hours. If it turns out that a plane has transferred a suspected case or a confirmed case with the “Covid-19” virus, the Emirates’ procedures go deeper than that, and the plane undergoes a deep cleaning and disinfection process that takes between 6-8 hours and includes spraying the interior with antiseptic materials, and replacing seat covers and upholstery in the affected area. Air filters in the cabin are also replaced.

It is noteworthy that all Emirates aircraft are equipped with HEPA air filters capable of removing 99.97 percent of viruses, germs, fungi and dust, which makes the cabin atmosphere clean, safe and comfortable for passengers and crew.

The company said it has provided its customers, via its global network, with more options and flexibility to adjust their travel dates without incurring fees for changing and re-issuing tickets. This grace policy applies to tickets issued during the period from 7-31 March.

Within this context, “Emirates Skywards” provides more flexibility to its members affected by the spread of Corona virus due to restrictions imposed on travel and reducing the number of flights.

Members of the Platinum, Gold and Silver categories can maintain their categories by reaching 80 percent of the travel requirements for each category between March 31 and June 30 2020. In addition, members who booked their flights between March 1 and June 30 will benefit.

The company has made it clear that it puts the safety and welfare of its customers and employees at the top of its list of priorities, and since last January it activated its emergency response team to monitor the daily developments related to the outbreak of Virus Covid-19, and continuous communication with the relevant health and regulatory authorities to ensure appropriate action is taken.

Emirates Airlines continues to work closely with all its partners and industry-related bodies to ensure that the safety, comfort and well-being of travelers on its flights are constantly maintained.

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WAM: Mohamed bin Zayed, WHO Chief review global fight against coronavirus

Mohamed bin Zayed, WHO Chief ABU DHABI, 8th March, 2020 (WAM) — His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, has re-affirmed the UAE’s full preparedness to continue to cooperate with the World Health Organisation, WHO, in fighting the novel coronavirus and curbing the spread of its global outbreak.

This came as Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed and Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, today deliberated the cooperation ties between the two sides over a phone call where they reiterated the paramount importance of doubling international efforts to accelerate concerted action and synergistic efforts to contain the infection.

The two sides reviewed the latest developments in the endeavours to address the outbreak of the sometimes fatal virus and precautionary and preventive measures taken so far, with the WHO Director-General updating Sheikh Mohamed on the organisation’s efforts to expedite initiatives to develop effective COVID-19 treatments.

Sheikh Mohamed doubled on the UAE’s readiness to continue to stand by the WHO in its endeavours in line with the sheer humanitarian approach adopted by the UAE, which, Sheikh Mohamed said, is never limited by the geography, race, colour or religion of the beneficiaries under such tough circumstances.

The WHO’s chief commended the UAE for evacuating a number of Arab nationals from the epidemic-stricken Chinese province of Hubei to the newly established Emirates Humanitarian City in Abu Dhabi, praising the high medical standards pursued by the UAE in line with the WHO’s guidelines.

The international official also hailed the significant support provided by the UAE in support of combatting diseases and pandemics and improving living conditions across the world.

Sheikh Mohamed and Dr Adhanom called for expediting cooperation between regional and international health organisations to achieve the aspired results in the global fight against the novel virus, and agreed to continue dialogue over the coming weeks to review the latest developments of the situation and efforts made to fight the infection and other health challenges.

 

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WAM: Abdullah bin Zayed, Lithuanian FM discuss advancing ties

ABU DHABI, 8th March, 2020 (WAM) — H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, hailed the opening of the first Lithuanian embassy in the Gulf Region in Abu Dhabi, and underlined the role played by the Lithuanian government in propelling relations with the UAE.

This came as the UAE top diplomat received today Linas Linkevicius, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania, at the ministry’s premises in the UAE capital, where they reviewed fostering relations in addition to an array of international and regional issues of common concern.

Applauding the pioneering stature enjoyed by the UAE on the regional and international scene, Linkevicius said the opening of his country’s embassy on the sidelines of his visit stems from the Lithuanian government’s determination to advance cooperation with the UAE across all fronts.

Attending the meeting were Khalifa Shaheen, Assistant Foreign Minister for Political Affairs, and Edminas Bagdonas, Ambassador of Lithuania to the UAE.

 

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WAM: Lithuania FM opens embassy in Abu Dhabi

ABU DHABI, 8th March, 2020 (WAM) — Linas Linkevicius, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania, on Sunday officially opened his country’s embassy in the UAE.

The opening ceremony was attended by Zaki Nusseibeh, Minister of State, Edminas Bagdonas, Ambassador of Lithuania to the UAE, embassy staff, Ahmad Al Attar, Deputy Director of the European Affairs Department, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, members of the Arab and foreign diplomatic corps accredited to the UAE, and a number of businessmen and members of the Lithuanian community in the UAE.

In his welcome address to the audience, Linkevicius said the presence of the Lithuanian embassy in the UAE marks a new chapter in fruitful bilateral friendship ties between the two countries which ”we hope will grow stronger by time.” He described the UAE as key strategic partner to his country in the region and hoped for a robust joint partnership to serve mutual interests.

He thanked H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, for his constructive role in strengthening UAE-Lithuanian ties.

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WAM: No coronavirus cases among Emirati students abroad: Minister

ABU DHABI, 8th March, 2020 (WAM) — No coronavirus cases have been confirmed among a total 1,251 Emirati students learning in universities overseas, according to Dr. Ahmed bin Abdullah Hamid Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Higher Education and Advanced Skills.

Al Falasi made the statement in response to the reported novel coronavirus outbreak all over the world, and the state of emergency declared by some countries.

“We affirm that there are no reported infection cases among our students learning in various countries all over the world due to the coronavirus outbreak. We have contacted our consulates and attachés in many international capitals and cities where Emirati students are studying, to maintain ongoing coordination and the daily monitoring of their health status and the impact of current conditions on their studies,” Al Falasi said.

“We are also communicating with official authorities and academic institutions in countries concerned to follow up the developments and decisions affecting our students, to undertake all relevant measures that will guarantee their safety. We also are communicating directly with the students to ensure that they are in a stable condition, meet their needs, and inform them of the health instructions that must be followed,” he added.

“We encourage Emirati students abroad to take all needed precautions and follow health and safety guidelines announced by the countries where they are staying,” he said.

Al Falasi also noted that his ministry has published several instructions for Emirati students abroad, most notably to avoid crowded places and postpone unnecessary travel. He thanked the consulate officials for ensuring the safety of Emirati students and citizens abroad.

The minister praised the UAE’s role in preventing the spread of coronavirus outbreak inside the country and around the world, noting that there are 1,251 Emirati students studying in 16 countries, 642 of whom are in UK, 327 in the US, 120 in Australia, and 26 in Canada, along with other countries.

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WAM: AED27.5 bn of share trades in Abu Dhabi, Dubai year to date

ABU DHABI, 8th March, 2020 (WAM) — Foreign and local investors purchased and sold to the tune of AED 27.5 bn worth of domestic listed stocks over the first two months of 2020, AED14.3 bn of which were traded by foreigners, according to data released by the country’s two main bourses in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

The upbeat sentiments exhibited over the early months of the year followed the positive financial statements disclosed by the listed companies and the lucrative dividends they announced and which in turn spurred investment in growth stocks.

According to the statistics released by the Dubai Financial Market, January and February saw AED15.8 bn in share trades, with foreigners’ investments hitting around AED8.5 bn year-to-date, accounting for 53.8 percent of total transactions, with non-Arabs buying and selling equities worth AED4.8 bn, while Gulf investors’ trades hit AED2.12 bn and Arabs AED1.58 bn.

At ADX, a total of AED11.7 bn worth of transactions were conducted year-to-date, with foreigners’ trades hitting around AED5.8 bn, comprising around 49.5 percent of the total.

Non Arabs invested AED4.5 bn in the capital’s bourse, with Arabs buying and selling shares worth AED345 million and Gulf investors AED940 million.

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WAM: Sheikha Latifa highlights cinema’s role in cultural and social heritage development

DUBAI, 8th March, 2020 (WAM) — H.H. Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairperson of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, Dubai Culture, visited the first edition of ‘Al Marmoom: Film in the Desert’, at the Al Marmoom Reserve.

The event, organised by the Authority from 4th – 7th March, was aimed at providing an innovative platform for supporting the emerging local and regional film sector as well as fostering and provide enriching experiences to filmmaking talent. The event also shed light on Al Marmoom as a cultural and tourist destination and a natural reserve that reflects the richness of Emirati heritage.

Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed stressed the importance of the event within the framework of cultural initiatives focused on contributing to Dubai Culture’s vision to consolidate the Emirate’s position as a global centre for arts and culture, an incubator for creativity, and a thriving hub for talent. She noted that ‘Al Marmoom: Film in the Desert’ helps advance the local and Arab film industry landscape by encouraging promising talent to present their cinematic works in Dubai, the UAE, and the region.

Expressing her happiness at the remarkable response the event received from residents and visitors of various nationalities, Sheikha Latifa said the unique event is the starting point for the Al Marmoom cinematic initiative. The Authority plans to turn the event into a pioneering, regional cinematic event that meets international standards. It seeks to highlight major technologies used in the production of local and regional films while protecting their intellectual and creative property rights and enhancing Dubai’s position as a global destination for cinema.

Sheikha Latifa toured the event’s venue, accompanied by Hala Badri, Director-General of Dubai Culture, a group of experts and filmmakers, and a number of officials from private and public entities participating in the project. She watched a short non-dialogue film as part of ‘Films in a Box,’ the first mobile cinema in Dubai and the region to display a package of short films ranging between 10 – 15 minutes.

She said the showcased films transcend the boundaries of language by reaching members of the public without translation, especially People of Determination. The initiative reflects the inclusiveness of the event, which embraces all segments of society, and is aligned with the principles of social responsibility that Dubai Culture is committed to.

Furthermore, Sheikha Latifa announced a non-dialogue short film competition as part of the partnership between Dubai Culture and Films in a Box. The winning filmmakers will have the opportunity to present their films at Expo 2020 Dubai later this year as part of the collaboration between the Authority and the Expo. Dubai Culture is the official cultural supporter of the global mega event.

She noted that the competition’s aim of supporting and encouraging this art form reflects the Authority’s keenness to promote greater interaction of cultures within the unique social fabric of Dubai, a city that is home to more than 190 nationalities.

“Movies and the art of filmmaking represent a key pillar of Dubai’s creative ecosystem. Supporting this dynamic industry is an important step as we move towards implementing the new cultural vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai,” she said. “Initiatives such as Al Marmoom: Film in the Desert, achieved with an unprecedented number of partnerships, support our efforts to transform Dubai into a global hub for regional and international creative talent in several ways – from nurturing the local film industry to inspiring viewers around the world with our own stories.”

She continued, “I am particularly proud to have seen so many Emirati and regional filmmakers present their work in this inaugural edition of the Al Marmoom event, showcasing our homegrown talent against the breathtaking backdrop of Dubai’s desert landscape.”

[Image Credit: Dubai Government Media Office]

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WAM: Global Women Leaders Conference discusses strategies to empower women to hold international positions

Global Women Leaders Conference discusses strategies to empower women to hold international positions

DUBAI, 8th March, 2020 (WAM) — The 24th Global Women Leaders Conference discussed strategies to empower women to hold international positions, competitiveness among women in the private sector, the media and politics, as well as entrepreneurship and their participation in SMEs.

The conference is one of the largest international conferences for women leaders in the region that is attended by leaders, decision makers, and CEOs and entrepreneurs from government, private, media, social, regional and international organisations.

The two-day global women leaders’ event, which is held annually on International Women’s Day, has become a global platform that links women from all sectors, making it an important gathering of global women leaders and entrepreneurs from different countries, states, provinces, cities and regions. This includes the government, business, media, social communities, women’s associations, global official institutions and NGOs, and aims to highlight the achievements of women globally.

The conference discusses and highlights international strategies on how to empower women to lead the corporate, business sector and government, and explores the dimensions of leadership and knowledge that support women and enables them to hold international positions. The conference will also review the experience of leaders in international positions and business.

The event is an important opportunity for global women leaders to promote the exchange of best practices, knowledge on leadership, management and women’s empowerment, in order to support the opening of new horizons for women empowerment.

Day one of the conference came to a close with the Middle East Excellence Awards Institute recognising and honouring the notable achievements of global women leaders with the 21st Middle East Women Leaders Excellence Awards, in recognition of the achievements of women leaders who have played a distinct role in regional and global development. It also highlighted the achievements of women leaders with regard to excellence and creativity to serve as role models for the next generation and a catalyst for development and progress, in the presence of regional and global personalities.

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WAM: GCC countries implementing measures to support human rights, UAE tells Human Rights Council

GCC countries have prioritised people of determination: Obaid Al Zaabi

GENEVA, 8th March, 2020 (WAM) — Obaid Salem Al Zaabi, UAE Permanent Representative at the United Nations, UN, and Other International Organisations in Geneva, stressed that Gulf Cooperation Council, GCC, member countries are putting in place additional measures to support human rights.

While delivering a speech on behalf of GCC countries at the 43rd session of the Human Rights Council, Al Zaabi said that they are committed to promoting human rights and achieving the required balance between civil and political rights, as well as between social and economic rights.

He noted that previous years have witnessed the launch of many related policies and measures in GCC countries, which are prioritising the adoption of national legislation, joining many human rights agreements, and supporting national human rights institutions.

He stressed that this is reflected by the signing of the GCC Human Rights Declaration in 2014, which has achieved progress in terms of ensuring human rights and giving special attention to the rights of children, women, people with disabilities and the elderly.

His statement also pointed out that GCC countries are welcoming the hosting of the 21st meeting of the Working Group of Governmental Experts on the Right to Development to be held in May 2020, as well as the drafting of a binding instrument on the right to development, which will support the adoption of this right and eliminate all measures that may negatively affect its implementation.

Al Zaabi called upon the session’s participants to support national and global efforts to reinforce the right to development, facilitate the work of the group, and strengthen related multilateral efforts.

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WAM: GCC countries have prioritised people of determination: Obaid Al Zaabi

GCC countries have prioritised people of determination: Obaid Al Zaabi

GENEVA, 8th March, 2020 (WAM) — Obaid Salem Al Zaabi, UAE Permanent Representative at the United Nations and Other International Organisations in Geneva, stressed that Gulf Cooperation Council member countries have prioritised people of determination under the framework of specific standards guaranteed by international treaties.

These standards are based on respect for the dignity of people of determination and efforts to ensure their independence, including their freedom to make decisions, participation in the community, right to equal opportunities, and ending all forms of discrimination against them.

While delivering a speech on behalf of GCC member countries at the 43rd session of the Human Rights Council, Al Zaabi thanked the session’s participants for their valuable interventions, which contributed to enriching the discussion on the rights of people of determination.

He added that GCC countries have placed this issue at the top of their national priorities by drafting legislation and undertaking various social and economic measures to ensure the involvement of people of determination in their social and economic development.

Al Zaabi also pointed out that GCC countries have adopted a comprehensive policy that provides medical, psychological, social and professional support to people of determination, in addition to audiovisual awareness campaigns on social media that aim to promote their rights to achieve the desired objectives of Article 8 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

He stressed the importance of adopting awareness campaigns to strengthen their capacities and fight all forms of discrimination against them.

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WAM: Follow-Up Committee of the Initiatives of the UAE President” reviews projects worth AED2 billion

ABU DHABI, 8th March, 2020 (WAM) — During its regular meeting, the “Follow-Up Committee of the Initiatives of the UAE President” reviewed a series of construction and development projects in regions around the country worth AED2 billion.

The approved projects include the construction of 379 houses in Al Khawaneej district in Dubai between Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Road and Emirates Road, costing AED501 million.

During the meeting, which was held at the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court and chaired by Jaber Mohammed Ghanem Al Suwaidi , General Director of the Court, the committee was briefed about the progress of the Sheikh Khalifa Specialist Hospital Project in Fujairah, which is expected to be completed in February 2021 at a cost of AED865.9 million.

The 292-bed hospital, which covers an area of 83,965-square meters, will help in the treatment of victims of disasters and serious accidents.

The committee also approved two environmental projects worth AED119 million, which are part of a series of comprehensive national waste management projects.

The first project is the restoration of the Julfar Landfill in Ras Al Khaimah costing AED61.3 million, while the second is the construction of a central sewage treatment plant in Dibba Al Fujairah and the upgrading of landfills in Al Hail, Dana, Al Bidiyah and Hilla in Fujairah, at a cost of AED57.7 million.

The committee also discussed the upgrading of the city landfill in Umm Al Qaiwain, which is expected to cost AED29.3 million.

The committee then approved road, lighting, flood water and sewage plant projects in many regions around the country. costing a total of AED503 million.

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WAM: UAE President appoints Emiratisation Under-Secretary at Ministry of Human Resources

Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed

ABU DHABI, 8th March, 2020 (WAM) — President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has issued a federal decree for 2020, appointing Nasser Abdullah bin Kherbash as Under-Secretary for Emiratisation at the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation.

A holder of Bachelor’s Degree in Aeronautical Administration from St. Louis University, Missouri, USA, Nasser bin Kherbash has occupied several positions in both government and public sectors with experience in the aviation industry and its related commercial activities in addition to human resources.

At the Emirates Group, he worked as Regional Manager for Saudi Arabia, Switzerland and Austria, Regional Manager for MENA, and Divisional Senior Vice President, HR Development & Employee Services, Emirates Group’s

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WAM: Sharjah Ruler issues a law on Cultural Heritage in the Emirate

Sharjah Ruler

SHARJAH, 8th March, 2020 (WAM) — H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, has issued Law No. 04 of 2020 on Cultural Heritage in the Emirate of Sharjah.

This law applies to the intangible and tangible cultural heritage and underwater cultural heritage, and the foreign tangible heritage in the Emirate of Sharjah, within the limits stipulated in this law and the legislation in force of UAE.

The law stipulate that the tangible cultural heritage in the emirate is its public property, whether it is on its lands or in its territorial waters, or it was discovered as a result of legitimate or illegal excavations or by accidentally excavated, except for the tangible heritage whose ownership proves to it by a legal basis and it may acquire it in accordance with the provisions of this law and the applicable legislation In the UAE.

The concerned authority may order the payment of a suitable financial reward for those who discover a tangible heritage and inform the concerned authority about it during the specified period in accordance with the provisions of this law, and the relevant authority determines the amount of the reward.

The concerned authority should take the necessary measures to protect cultural heritage sites in coordination with government agencies.

The law includes actions that punish any offender with imprisonment for a period of not less than two years and a fine of no less than AED500,000 and no more than AED10 million.

The Antiquities Law No. 01 of 1992 shall be annulled in the Emirate of Sharjah.

 

The Law is effective from the date of issuance and shall be published in the Official Gazette. Other competent authorities should implement its provisions each in its respective field.

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WAM: VidCon Abu Dhabi postponed to December 2020

VidCon Abu Dhabi postponed to December 2020DUBAI, 8th March, 2020 (WAM) — The Union Coop has released a statement noting that personal hygiene product supplies in the UAE are “sufficient”.

The statement noted a surge in the demand for hand sanitisers and other similar hygiene products, which prompted the Union Coop to “ration supplies” and take the “necessary steps to ensure a smooth shopping experience for consumers.”

Commenting on the moves taken, Dr. Suhail Al Bastaki, Director of Happiness and Marketing Department at Union Coop, said, “Personal care supplies, especially hand sanitisers are available in sufficient quantities that meet the need of shoppers in all Union Coop branches.

He stressed that sanitiser prices have not risen, noting that such changes “violate Union Coop’s policy” and are against strategic objectives aimed to build a sustainable national economy.

 

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WAM: Dubai launches Industrial Control Systems Security Standard

Dubai launches Industrial Control Systems Security Standard

DUBAI, 8th March, 2020 (WAM) — The Dubai Electronic Security Centre, DESC, announced the launch of the Industrial Control Systems, ICS, Security Standard for Dubai, to provide a new and improved minimal risk framework for industrial security, in order to fortify the industrial sector’s digital infrastructure against the rise in global cyber attacks.

The announcement was made at a press conference today at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel, which was addressed by Amer Sharaf, Director of Compliance, Support and Alliances at DESC, and Dr. Bushra Al Blooshi, Deputy Director of Information Services Department at DESC.

During her opening note, Dr. Al Blooshi expressed her appreciation for the efforts of various government entities, such as ENOC, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, Dubai Airports and the Roads and Transport Authority, which played a major role in co-developing and implementing the new ICS Security Standard. “The rich expertise and comprehensive knowledge of these entities in industrial systems processes helped in the drafting and implementation of the standard,” Dr. Bushra said.

The initial framework of the regulation of the new standard has evolved from a series of workshops with stakeholders in order to provide a thorough examination, equate it with other leading ICS security standards and emphasise the key differences between the information technology security controls and those related to industrial control systems and operational technologies. Additionally, the ICS Standard has been benchmarked against internationally recognised standards.

Al Blooshi added, “The UAE is committed to lead the race towards digital transformation by adopting Artificial intelligence tools, the application of Internet of Things and other smart technologies, especially those that rely on 5G networks.”

The conference highlighted the principal challenges and primary security controls implemented within operational technology departments in Dubai’s industrial sector.

“The launch of the new ICS Security Standard is in line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, to position Dubai as the leader in the cybersecurity sector and amongst the safest cities in cyberspace. It also aligns with DESC’s strategy of applying the highest security standards to ensure the safety of information systems and enable them to confront and tackle challenges in this domain,” said Sharaf.

Sharaf also underlined DESC’s role in supporting government entities to accelerate the growth of their projects, while maintaining the highest levels of electronic security standards within a safe and stable environment.

 

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WAM: DIFC reports 14% growth in total number of businesses

DUBAI, 8th March, 2020 (WAM) — The Dubai International Financial Centre, DIFC, announced a record growth in 2019, registering an addition of 493 new businesses for the year.

The total number of firms in the Centre reached 2,437, up 14 percent from 2018, with a total of 32 percent growth since 2017.

The DIFC now counts 17 of the world’s top 20 banks, eight of the 10 leading global law firms, three of the top 5 insurance companies and 6 of the top 10 asset managers among its clients.

In total, the Centre is home to 737 active financial firms, representing an 18 percent increase since 2018, and 64 percent growth in five years.

The DIFC contributed to the creation of 2,034 new jobs, increasing the combined workforce to more than 25,600 professionals, up nine percent vs 2018, representing more than 140 nationalities.

H.H. Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and President of the DIFC, said, “This growth reflects the Centre’s significant direct contribution to Dubai’s economy, in line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, to establish the emirate as a major global centre for the new economy.”

“Both the DIFC’s expansion and its ability to reinforce its status as a hub for the world’s largest financial institutions are all the more exceptional considering the current stagnant growth in the global financial industry. In the years ahead, the DIFC will continue to implement the vision of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, by forging closer partnerships with the world’s financial giants. we will work to further strengthen our soft and hard infrastructure to support DIFC-based companies in discovering new growth opportunities and creating greater value. We also seek to consolidate our leadership in the global financial landscape through strategic investments in innovation and technology,” he added.

Essa Kazim, Chairman of DIFC Authority Board of Directors and Governor of DIFC, said, “This has been another momentous year for DIFC and we are pleased to have produced record results having achieved a number of milestones including firms registered, number of employees at the Centre and total assets.

“The Centre’s success is being powered by our focus on sector diversification, investment in innovation and our unwavering commitment to attracting the best global and local talent. We have also forged a number of new partnerships and strengthened existing agreements internationally and regionally which have helped the Centre achieve substantial growth,” he added.

Arif Amiri, Chief Executive Officer of DIFC Authority, said, “The rapid growth of young tech firms setting up in DIFC is validation of our strategy to help start-ups to grow by providing access to capital, talent and mature partners with established networks. We are developing a tech ecosystem that will enable tomorrow’s entrepreneurs to flourish.”

In 2019, total banking assets booked in DIFC stood at US$178 billion (up by 13 percent from 2018). An additional $99 billion of lending was also arranged by DIFC firms. DIFC’s total wealth and asset management industry is worth $424 billion, of which $99 billion was invested by DIFC portfolio managers. Gross Written Premiums for the insurance sector reached nearly $2 billion in 2019, representing a growth of 17.4 percent versus 2018.

During 2019, fDi Intelligence, published by the Financial Times, ranked Dubai seventh globally among the world’s top FinTech Locations of the Future 2019 / 2020 for Economic Potential Index. FinTech companies in the Centre grew four-fold to 129 in 2019. New entrants to DIFC included Wethaq (Capital Markets) Ltd, Likvidi Securities Ltd (formerly known as TokenMarket Capital Limited), and Fenergo.

In 2019, the DIFC FinTech Hive received 425 applications from start-ups operating in the RegTech, Islamic FinTech, InsurTech and broader FinTech sectors. This was a 42 percent increase year-on-year and a three-fold increase from its inaugural cycle in 2017. 31 start-ups were selected.

In March 2019, the Centre announced the appointment of Middle East Venture Partners and Wamda Capital to manage $10 million of its dedicated $100 million FinTech Fund. To date, DIFC has invested in FinTech organisations including payments, roboadvisory, blockchain and KYC platforms.

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WAM: ‘20 for 2020’ launched to increase female representation on UAE Boards

ABU DHABI, 8th March, 2020 (WAM) — Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan today announced the launch of ‘20 for 2020’, an innovative programme launched to drive gender balance at a board-level.

Twenty women will have the opportunity to partake in a year-long professional development course while they gain board-level experience. The overarching objective of ‘20 for 2020’ is to create gender equality by placing more women into board of director roles.

The programme aligns with the UAE’s leadership directive to empower women in the workplace, and more specifically with the Dubai Women Establishment’s objective to increase female representation on corporate boards to 20 percent within 2020.

The first partners of the ‘20 for 2020’ initiative was also confirmed today, which included the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, ADNOC, who signed a cooperation agreement with programme representatives.

The agreement will see ADNOC become the ‘Anchor Partner’ by selecting the first two participants of 20 For 2020. The remaining 18 places on the programme will be reserved for future partners, who will make their own selection.

Abu Dhabi Global Market, Dubai Future Foundation, Egon Zehnder, Fidelio Partners, INSEAD Corporate Governance Centre, Hawkamah Institute for Corporate Governance and Nasdaq Dubai were all named ‘Founding Knowledge Partners’.

The diverse range of partners will help deliver the different components of this unique programme, which include multiple days of board training, a year-long placement on a UAE-based company’s board, executive coaching and mentoring, round-table discussions, workshops providing finance and media training, plus an array of networking opportunities.

Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, co-founder of ‘20 For 2020’, stated, “Under the guidance and through the efforts of the Gender Balance Council, the UAE has established itself as a leader and world model, in many respects, for gender equality. Our aim is to continue to build on this precedent with ‘20 for 2020’, which provides a practical solution for ambitious women to grow into leadership and board positions.”

“This initiative,” she explained, “is about creating a pathway which enables inclusiveness and creates opportunities.”

“By placing more women into board positions we’re enriching the perspective of boardrooms across the UAE, and thus creating a work environment where business operations have an opportunity to perform optimally,” Sheikha Shamma added. “By championing equality and ensuring balanced representation on boards, we can create a culture of diversity that is essential in combatting groupthink and driving competitiveness.”

She went on to say, “We have seen great commitment from our Anchor Partner, ADNOC, and Knowledge Partners towards furthering gender equality in boardrooms across the country, which is not only representative of them as organisations but of the UAE as a whole. As our nation prepares to celebrate its Golden Jubilee and sets the blueprint for the next 50 years, my hope is that other organisations will follow suit in supporting the growth and development of female talent for decades to come.”

For her part, Fatema Al Nuaimi, ADNOC LNG CEO and Chair of the ADNOC Gender Balance Committee, said, “ADNOC has an unwavering commitment in supporting females to grow, develop and excel in their careers, which is why we are proud to be an anchor partner of the ‘20 for 2020’ program. We believe that gender diversity in leadership positions contributes to innovative thinking that drives competitive advantage. As we seek to contribute towards our nation’s prosperity, this programme will help the UAE build a pipeline of female talent in leadership positions.”

‘20 For 2020’ was launched following a multitude of initiatives, mandates and conversations that have taken place surrounding the inclusiveness of boards across the UAE.

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WAM: Over 30 startups participate in Innovation Hackathon at AREA 2071

Over 30 startups participate in Innovation Hackathon at AREA 2071

DUBAI, 8th March, 2020 (WAM) — The UAE Ministry of Economy, in cooperation with the Dubai Future Foundation, organised the Startup Innovation Hackathon at AREA 2071 in Dubai, with the participation of more than 30 startups from across the country and abroad.

The hackathon was held in the aim to provide an opportunity for startups and individuals with innovative ideas to take part in the development of innovative solutions to a series of trademark-related economic and commercial challenges. The event provided financial prizes to businesses that offered the best solutions.

The hackathon was launched as part of the partnership between the Ministry of Economy’s national programme to support innovative startups and Dubai Future Foundation, to support the development of an innovation environment in the UAE, and to engage the youth and individuals with creative ideas in providing distinct and practical solutions to develop government services, and enhance the ease and flexibility of doing business in the UAE.

The event included two main challenges, the ‘Trademarks Challenge’ and the ‘Restrictions Challenge’, which focus on cases of acceptance or rejection of trademark registration. The value of the prize money for each challenge was set at AED25,000.

Muhammed Ahmed bin Abdulaziz Al Shehhi, Under-Secretary of Economic Affairs at the Ministry of Economy, distributed the awards to winning teams, in the presence of Samah Al Hajri, Director of the Anti-Harmful Practices Department and Executive Director of Innovation at the Ministry of Economy, and Fatima Al Hosani, Director of Trademarks Department at the Ministry.

The initiative was launched in two phases, the first phase included a group of startups to compete for the Trademark challenge. The second phase will be launched in the last quarter of this year and will include school and university students from different educational levels. A number of new challenges are also planned in various sectors.

The winners of the Phase 1 of the hackathon are GEEKS, a startup which specialises in providing IT solutions for businesses and individuals, and MMG, founded in Spain in 2015 and employs artificial intelligence to develop global solutions that enhance knowledge development and exchange.

Commenting on the event, Mohammed Al Shehhi noted that such events fuel the country’s innovation environment and creates an incentive for innovators and startup owners to contribute to developing more innovative government services in light of the rapid technological changes taking place in the world.

He went on to say that the hackathon promotes integration between government agencies, entrepreneurs and emerging and innovative startups, as it aims to attract and support innovative university projects, stimulating young people to compete, innovate, and find creative solutions to the Ministry of Economy’s challenges, while also contributing to transform creative ideas into realistic and successful projects.

Al Shehhi added that the Ministry was keen during the UAE Innovation Month to organise a diverse number of activities that achieve a real return on the innovation environment in the country and serve entrepreneurs and young groups of inventors and innovators in communicating with institutions supporting innovation and the business sector, and also enhance their awareness about issues of intellectual property and its role in protecting their rights and the efforts of the UAE to develop this system in accordance with global best practices.

Khalfan Juma Belhoul, CEO of Dubai Future Foundation, noted that hosting the Innovation Hackathon for startups at AREA 2071 provides the opportunity for startups to work in an innovative environment that stimulates the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship for those with unique and promising ideas, and provides them with an opportunity to exchange experiences and communicate with government and private agencies within Dubai Future District.

He pointed out that this event constitutes the first partnership between the Ministry of Economy and Dubai Future Foundation, which aims to enhance the position of the UAE as a world leader in encouraging future innovations and adopting emerging technology to keep pace with the rapid changes, as well as create a qualitative shift in various sectors of the new economy.

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WAM: Rabdan Academy introduces distance learning for students

ABU DHABI, 8th March, 2020 (WAM) — Rabdan Academy has introduced the option of distance learning for students, in response to ministerial advice and calls to action to ensure the health and safety of the UAE community.

In a statement, the academy, which specialises in the security and defence education sector, announced that all students would undertake distance learning for various programmes and courses across multiple platforms.

Rabdan Academy noted that teaching mechanisms via face-to-face meetings and online conferences, access to e-learning tools and digital libraries, would be utilised by students and faculty to continue their education.

Commenting on the announcement, Dr. Faisal Al Ayyan, Rabdan Academy Vice President, said, “We constantly work on developing plans and strategies that comply with the vision of the wise leadership.”

Dr. Faisal Al Kaabi, Dean of the Faculty of Resilience at Rabdan Academy, noted, “Distance learning is the ultimate solution in times of crises and natural disasters. It provides students with all the curricula, in case they need to stay at home. It also enhances their self-confidence and helps them take responsibility for self-learning.”

Al Kaabi added that the academy has employed advanced programmes and applications to use distance learning for its educational and vocational programmes and courses. He noted that the faculty and staff at the academy have been trained to use the newly devised distance learning applications.

 

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