Archive for November, 2009

UAE joins IATA statement of principles for liberalization

Capt-Ayesha-Al-HamiliMontreal, 23 Nov. 2009 The United Arab Emirates, represented by the its representative to ICAO Capt. Ayesha Al Hamili, signed the multilateral statement of policy principles regarding the implementation of bilateral air service agreements, at the International Air Transport Association (IATA) 2nd Agenda for Freedom convened from 14 – 16 November.

This industry initiative, which was also signed by Chile, Malaysia, Panama, Singapore, Switzerland, the United States of America, as well as the European Commission, seeks to advance liberalization in international air transport.

The Multilateral Statement of Policy Principles addresses three main areas: Freedom to access capital markets: principles that would open the possibility for airlines to access global capital markets. This would be achieved with an agreement not to exercise bilateral rights that could allow them to block international services from airlines with non-national ownership structures.

Participating states agreed that relaxation of long-overdue “substantial ownership” and “effective control” rules in international air transport may provide easier access to world’s capital markets, facilitate restructuring and reduce high barriers to exit.

Freedom to do business: principles oriented at reducing restrictions on market access and to expedite the further opening of markets in future bilateral negotiations.

Freedom to price services: principles that would allow greater freedom to price airline services in line with market realities.

All participating states and IATA recognized and relentlessly supported the essential role that ICAO plays in advancing liberalization in international air transport.

The UAE underscored that while the airline industry has a legitimate right to raise this issue, governments also have the genuine right to request that the concept of liberalization be authentically embraced by all airlines. The UAE has extensive experience with some foreign airlines that, either individually or as part of world’ alliances, act in a contrary manner to the liberalization agenda by aggressively lobbying their governments to deny, minimize, or request withdrawal of market access rights of other competing airlines.

While suggesting that other governments, not represented at this summit, also be invited to endorse this commendable initiative, the UAE made very clear that it will continue to pursue a second stage of the liberalization agenda where traffic rights are included.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - November 24, 2009 at 12:04 am

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The UAE’s First Dedicated Arthouse Cinema Opens At Reel Cinemas

dubai-art-house-cinemaThe Picturehouse, the first cinema in the UAE dedicated to arthouse, independent and award-winning classics opened recently at Reel Cinemas in The Dubai Mall. The Picturehouse has lined up five debate-rousing movies between now and the end of January.

The opening attraction is Paper Heart featuring Charlyne Yi, who embarks on a journey across America to make a documentary about the one subject she doesn’t fully understand – love. She joins the film’s director Nicholas Jasenovec as they talk to strangers, scientists, bikers, romance novelists and children in search of answers and advice. But it is when Charlyne meets Michael Cera, a boy after her own heart, that her pursuit to discover the nature of love takes on a fresh new urgency and she risks losing the person closest to her.

Other forthcoming attractions include In The Loop, a no-holds-barred political satire about two super-power presidents ready to go to war; Cold Souls, a soul-searching comedy featuring Paul Giamatti as himself agonizing over his role in a Chekov play; No One Knows About Persian Cats, the Iranian film directed by Bahman Ghobadi about Iran’s underground Rock scene; and The Shock Doctrine, an investigation of disaster capitalism. Each movie will run for between two and three weeks at a time at The Picturehouse.

Mr Gordon Kirk, General Manager, Reel Cinemas said: “The Picturehouse represents a new wave in cinema in the UAE. For serious movie lovers, it will bring a wide array of exciting classics, arthouse and independent films, which will spark debates amongst our patrons. The Picturehouse will also screen critically acclaimed films and movies from the Arab World, thus offering the first of its kind platform to promote local talent.”

Mr Suhaimi Rafdi, Chief Executive Officer, Cathay Organisation said: “The Picturehouse was Singapore’s first arthouse cinema. It has been showcasing cutting edge and critically acclaimed films since 1990 and has played an important role in Singapore’s cinematic history. When we were developing the Reel Cinemas brand, there was no doubt that we would introduce The Picturehouse as one of its key unique features in Dubai and we hope it will play an important role in the development of UAE cinemas. Boasting a multi-cultural population, Dubai is the perfect fit for an arthouse cinema with a wide audience of varied nationalities and cinematic sensibilities.”

As a special offer to celebrate the opening of The Picturehouse, Reel Cinemas has introduced The Picturehouse Passport, a booklet of tickets valid for the first five movies to show on The Picturehouse screen. This passport will be priced at just AED100, a discount of AED50 off the regular price.

The Picturehouse has its own unique identity which is epitomized in its logo designed in a 16:9 ratio that symbolizes the commonly used aspect ratio between the height and width of cinematic framing. The logo reflects a sense of independence and uniqueness which are often associated with movies and thereby creates an identity that epitomises the soul and essence of The Picturehouse.

The Picturehouse at Reel Cinemas seats just over 100 persons and has its own dedicated lounge which acts as an ideal venue for movie-goers to gather and discuss the film over light refreshments.

The aim of The Picturehouse is to entertain, inspire and engage its patrons and conjure up lively debates and discussion points from the content of the films it showcases. An ongoing calendar of events will be introduced to The Picturehouse such as discussion forums, membership schemes and themed sessions.

Developed by Reel Entertainment LLC, the joint venture of Emaar Retail and Singapore-based premier entertainment provider Cathay Organisation Holdings Ltd, Reel Cinemas at The Dubai Mall houses 22 screens and is the largest in Dubai.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - November 23, 2009 at 11:48 pm

Categories: featured, General   Tags:

Schedule of Race To Dubai World Golf Championship

49 challenging tournaments to get to Dubai

  • FromToTournament
    & Venue
    Winner/Prize (€)
  • 06 Nov09 NovHSBC

    Sheshan International GC , Shanghai, China
  • 20 Nov23 NovUBS
    Hong Kong Open

    Hong Kong GC, Fanling, Hong Kong
    Wen-tang LIN
  • 27 Nov30 NovSportsbet
    Australian Masters

    Huntingdale GC, Melbourne, Australia
  • 11 Dec14 DecAlfred
    Dunhill Championship

    Leopard Creek GC, Mpumalanga, South Africa
  • 18 Dec21 DecSouth
    African Open Championship

    Pearl Valley Golf Estates, Paarl, Western Cape, South Africa
  • 08 Jan11 JanJoburg

    Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • 09 Jan11 JanThe
    Royal Trophy

    Amata Spring Country Club, Bangkok, Thailand
  • 15 Jan18 JanThe
    Abu Dhabi Golf Championship

    Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
  • 22 Jan25 JanCommercialbank
    Qatar Masters Presented by Dolphin Energy

    Doha GC, Doha, Qatar
    Alvaro QUIROS
  • 29 Jan01 FebDubai
    Desert Classic

    Emirates GC, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  • 12 Feb15 FebMaybank
    Malaysian Open

    Saujana Golf and Country Club, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • 19 Feb22 FebJohnnie
    Walker Classic

    The Vines Resort & Country Club , Perth, Western Australia, Australia
    LEE (AM)
  • 25 Feb01 MarWGC
    – Accenture Match Play

    Ritz-Carlton GC, Dove Mountain, Marana, Arizona, USA
  • 26 Feb01 MarEnjoy
    Jakarta Indonesia Open

    New Kuta GC, Bali, Indonesia
    Thongchai JAIDEE
  • 12 Mar15 MarWGC-CA

    Doral Golf Resort & Spa, Doral, Florida, USA
  • 19 Mar22 MarMadeira
    Islands Open BPI – Portugal
    Porto Santo Golfe, Portugal
    Estanislao GOYA
  • 26 Mar29 MarOpen
    de Andalucia

    Real Club de Golf de Sevilla, Seville, Spain
  • 02 Apr05 AprEstoril
    Open de Portugal

    Oitavos Dunes, Estoril, Portugal
    Michael HOEY
  • 09 Apr12 AprMASTERS

    Augusta National, Augusta, Georgia, USA
    CABRERA 5,647,429
  • 16 Apr19 AprVolvo
    China Open

    Beijing CBD International GC, Beijing, China
    STRANGE 1,662,349
  • 23 Apr26 AprBallantine’s

    Pinx GC, Jeju Island, South Korea
    Thongchai JAIDEE
  • 30 Apr03 MayOpen
    de España

    PGA Golf de Catalunya, Girona, Spain
    Thomas LEVET
  • 07 May10 MayBMW
    Italian Open
    Royal Park I Roveri, Torino, Italy
    Daniel VANCSIK
  • 14 May17 MayThe
    3 Irish Open
    Co Louth GC, Baltray, Drogheda, Ireland
  • 21 May24 MayBMW
    PGA Championship

    Wentworth Club, Surrey, England
    Paul CASEY
  • 28 May31 MayThe
    European Open

    The London Golf Club, Ash, Kent, England
  • 04 Jun07 JunThe
    Celtic Manor Wales Open

    The Celtic Manor Resort, Newport, Wales
  • 11 Jun14 JunAustrian
    Golf Open

    Fontana GC, Vienna, Austria

  • 18 Jun21 JunUS

    Bethpage State Park (Black Course), Farmingdale, New York, USA
  • 18 Jun21 JunSAINT-OMER
    OPEN presented by Neuflize OBC
    Aa Saint Omer GC, Lumbres, France
    David DIXON
  • 25 Jun28 JunBMW
    International Open

    Golfclub München Eichenried, Munich, Germany
  • 02 Jul05 JulOpen
    de France ALSTOM

    Le Golf National, Paris, France
    Martin KAYMER
  • 09 Jul12 JulThe
    Barclays Scottish Open

    Loch Lomond GC, Glasgow, Scotland
    Martin KAYMER
  • 16 Jul19 JulTHE

    Ailsa Course, Turnberry, Ayrshire, Scotland
    CINK 4,857,633
  • 23 Jul26 JulSAS

    Barsebäck G & CC, Malmö, Sweden
    Ricardo GONZALEZ
  • 30 Jul02 AugCzech
    Golf OpenProsper Golf Resort, Čeladná, Czech Republic

    Oskar HENNINGSSON 2,003,000
  • 06 Aug09 AugWGC
    – Bridgestone Invitational
    Firestone CC, Akron, Ohio, USA
    Tiger WOODS
  • 13 Aug16 AugUS

    Hazeltine National GC, Chaska, MN, USA
  • 20 Aug23 AugThe
    KLM Open

    Kennemer G&CC, Zandvoort, Netherlands
    Simon DYSON
  • 27 Aug30 AugJohnnie
    Walker Championships at Gleneagles

    The Gleneagles Hotel, Perthshire, Scotland
  • 03 Sep06 SepOmega
    European Masters

    Crans-sur-Sierre, Crans, Switzerland
  • 10 Sep13 SepMercedes-Benz
    Golf Club Gut Lärchenhof, Cologne, Germany
  • 17 Sep20 SepAustrian
    Golf Open

    Oberwaltersdorf, Austria
  • 24 Sep27 SepTrophée
    by Canal+
    St Nom-la-Bretèche, Paris, France
    Great Britain &
  • 24 Sep27 SepVolvo
    World Match Play Championship

    Finca Cortesin GC, Malaga, Spain

  • 01 Oct04 OctAlfred
    Dunhill Links Championship

    Old Course, St Andrews, Carnoustie & Kingsbarns, Fife, Scotland
  • 08 Oct11 OctMadrid
    Club de Campo Villa de Madrid, Madrid, Spain
  • 08 Oct11 Oct*Seve
    TBC, TBC

  • 15 Oct18 OctPortugal

    Oceânico Victoria Golf Course, Vilamoura, Portugal
  • 22 Oct25 OctCASTELLÓ
    MASTERS Costa Azahar

    Club de Campo del Mediterráneo, Castellón, Spain
  • 29 Oct01 NovBarclays
    Singapore Open

    Sentosa Golf Club, Singapore
  • 29 Oct01 NovVolvo
    World Match Play Championship

    Finca Cortesin GC, Casares, Spain
    Ross FISHER
  • 05 Nov08 NovHSBC

    Sheshan International GC , Shanghai, China

  • 12 Nov15 NovUBS
    Hong Kong Open

    Hong Kong GC, Fanling, Hong Kong

  • 19 Nov22 NovDUBAI

    Earth Course, Jumeirah Golf Estates, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  • 26 Nov29 Nov*Omega
    Mission Hills World Cup

    Mission Hills GC, China


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - November 17, 2009 at 1:44 pm

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SCCI to host first India-Sharjah Business and Cultural Forum

Sharjah, 16 Nov. 2009 First India-Sharjah Business and Cultural Forum was launched, Under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, the Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) at a press conference today in Sharjah

The press conference was attended by SCCI Director General Hussein Mohammed Al Mahmoudi; Venu Rajamony, Consul General of India in Dubai; Sudesh Agarwal, President of the Indian Business and Professional Council; and a representative from the Indian Association in Sharjah.

The India-Sharjah Business and Cultural Forum will be held on Wednesday, November 18, 2009 at SCCI’s headquarters. It is being organised in coordination with the Consulate General of India in Dubai, the Indian Association in Sharjah, and the Indian Business and Professional Council, Sharjah. The business, artistic and cultural event aims to strengthen cultural communications and mutual relations between India and the UAE, Sharjah in particular. It will welcome VIPs and senior government officials from Sharjah as well as business and cultural leaders and businessmen. It will also feature presentations on trade and investment opportunities from delegates of India and Sharjah, and will also provide details about the proposed setting up of a technology center in the South Indian state of Kerala.

Speaking at the press conference, Hussein Mohammed Al Mahmoudi said: “India and the UAE maintain strong economic relations and deep cultural ties, even as the non-oil trade volume between the countries touched USD 44.5 billion in 2008-09. This Forum serves as an ideal platform for interaction between business leaders of India and Sharjah and for highlighting the art and heritage of India. It provides an opportunity for us to appreciate the vital role India has played in the UAE’s growth and development in various levels.” “Sharjah is a leading destination in helping achieve sustainable and comprehensive development across the region. This event is a major initiative by the SCCI and will certainly contribute to supporting the Indian presence in the UAE at the economic, cultural, artistic, and social levels,” added Rajamony.

During the event, Rajamony outlined the Forum agenda, including the meetings, programs, events and topics to be discussed. He underscored the concerns of participating Indian businessmen and investors and the opportunity provided by the direct communication with their peers from the UAE to identify the investment environment and available prospects and services in Sharjah.

The India-Sharjah Business and Cultural Forum will also include evening cultural and artistic programs at the University City Hall in Sharjah. To be held under the theme �India Then, Now and Forever,’ the activities will be introduced by the DARPANA Group under the supervision of Mrs. Mallika Sarabhai. The event will also showcase the opening of an art gallery at the Chamber’s headquarters which will feature a painting entitled �100 Years of Indian Cinema.’

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - at 1:36 pm

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Rotana to complete World’s tallest hotel in Dubai

Rotana has revealed that it has entered into the final stages prior to the opening of one of Dubai’s forthcoming landmarks, Rose Rayhaan by Rotana in mid December.

Commenting on the announcement, senior vice president – UAE, Rotana, Omer Kaddouri said: “We are very proud to be managing this landmark property. The Rose Rayhaan by Rotana team has been working hand in hand with Rotana corporate office to ensure all areas of the opening are perfected for the operation of this scenic property.”

At 72 floors and 333m high, Rose Rayhaan by Rotana is set to be the world’s tallest hotel and a dramatic addition to Sheikh Zayed Road. Located in the heart of Dubai, some five minutes away from Dubai Mall and 10 minutes from Dubai International Airport, the 481-room, -suite and -penthouse hotel offers a number of food and beverage venues, eight meeting rooms, a fitness centre, outdoor swimming pool, and sauna and steam rooms.

General manager, Rose Rayhaan by Rotana, Daniel Mathew expressed: “Rose Rayhaan by Rotana is the second property to open under Rotana’s brand Rayhaan Hotels & Resorts by Rotana, which is uniquely designed to cater to the diverse needs of our guests.

“This alcohol-free option reflects our respect for the culture and beliefs of our guests and our dedication to fostering a new Arabia in today’s world.”

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - November 15, 2009 at 11:43 pm

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Abu Dhabi Tourism Grand Progress

Abu Dhabi’s tourism sector is buoyant following the inaugural Abu Dhabi Formula 1 (F1) Grand Prix, which marked a milestone in the emirate’s development, promoted the capital internationally and gave its hospitality sector a welcome fillip.

Visit : http:/ for tours and hotel reservations in Abu Dhabi

“Motorsport enthusiasts may have seen the race as simply the close to another season. To the emirate, however, the event was part of a wider economic strategy,” Mahmood Ebraheem Al Mahmood, the CEO of Al Qudra Holding, told OBG.

According to its Economic Vision 2030, released early this year, the government of Abu Dhabi wants to use tourism as a means of economic diversification.

“A vibrant business, culture, leisure and sports segment is being developed in the emirate, which will be supported by a fast-growing hotels sector to cater to the growing number of high-end tourists and visitors,” the report stated.

Key to this vision is Yas Island, which played host to the F1. Dubbed an entertainment zone, the island’s centrepiece is the Yas Marina Circuit along with its signature Yas Hotel. Another clutch of international hotels, such as the Crowne Plaza, are five-minutes’ walk from the track. Further development to the island, which is already under construction, will see theme parks, golf courses, shopping malls and residential units added in phases.

“Yas Island is a component of the 2030 Plan and the successful grand prix illustrates that the strategy is being delivered on time and on target,” Al Mahmood said.

Many of the stakeholders who brought F1 to the capital, such as Aldar and Abu Dhabi Motorsports Management (ADMM), believed the race could increase international exposure of the emirate.

Televised across 188 countries and attracting over 600m viewers, F1 also allowed the capital to position itself in the minds of an international audience as a business metropolis and holiday destination.

According to Al Mahmood, the publicity was very positive. He said the emirate showed itself as a “sustainable, moderate, open-minded city where business is still good”.

Though difficult to measure, such a message can only be good for the emirate’s long-term economic strategy, especially as other countries slash tourism promotion amid grim economic conditions.

Another advantage to hosting the race was the influx of visitors. F1 fans – known for being well heeled – flooded hotels and restaurants, buoying the local hospitality industry.

“Since we are so close to Yas Marina Circuit, our 428 rooms were booked to full occupancy well in advance of the race,” Dieter Franke, the general manager of Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi Yas Island, told OBG. “Moreover, all of our six food and beverage outlets did great business over the weekend.”

It was a similar story across the city as visitors booked up available rooms. A new Holiday Inn, which opened only two days before the race, was fully booked for the F1 weekend.

Meanwhile, international and local media praised the track and facilities, as well as the overall planning of the event. The Department of Transport (DoT) played an important role transferring fans to and around the island – providing a “park-and-ride” bus system, as well as courtesy vehicles manned by young Emiratis.

“Everybody was impressed by the delivery of the entire event,” Khalid Hashim, the executive director of land transport at DoT, told OBG. “Feedback was positive and our services operated very smoothly,” he said.

While attracting new tourists via F1 will assist in diversifying revenue streams, the further development of Yas Island with its slew of impressive tourist attractions will help to smooth out seasonality problems moving forward. In the meantime, F1 creates international awareness and, not least of all, a buzz about the emirate.

Report By Oxford Business visit

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - November 13, 2009 at 3:46 pm

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Emirates Palace Bags Five honours at World Travel Awards 2009

emirates-palace-abu-dhabiAbu Dhabi, Nov 12th, 2009 Emirates Palace, one of the leading lights of the world travel and tourism industry, has scooped a collection of honours at the 2009 World Travel Awards (WTA), the most prestigious and coveted global travel and tourism accolades which also acknowledge and recognize excellence in the industry.

The Emirates Palace has snatched five prestigious awards in the categories of World’s Leading Conference Hotel, Middle East Leading Conference Resort, – Abu Dhabi Leading Conference Hotel, Abu Dhabi Leading Hotel and Abu Dhabi Leading Resort.

As the 16th WTA unveiled honours list of world class travel companies, it said the Abu Dhabi iconic hotel brand has been awarded these highest accolades by votes cast by 183,000 agents and travel professionals in over 160 countries across the globe, for its world class products of exceptional luxury, quality and value.

Hailed as “the Oscars of the Travel Industry”, The World Travel Awards is without doubt the most prestigious and comprehensive awards programme for the travel business. The World Travel Awards has become globally recognised, bringing worldwide acclaim to some of the best of the best in the travel and tourism industry.

”We are extremely delighted to have been honoured and recognised among the best of best leaders of the world travel, tourism and hospitality industry by such reputed organisations and publications” Emirates Palace General Manager Mr. Hans Olbertz said in a comment on the remarkable achievement.

”These prestigious honours will, no doubt, further entrench our high profile stature in the industry ….they serve as a vote of confidence on our top world class services and products and a testimony of how our brand has positioned itself among the world’s best and powerful trademarks”, Olbertz added ”We will remain committed to the highest benchmarks we have set for ourselves. These successes will definitely further improve our international profile and help us reach out to new customers. Increasingly, customers will be making the right choices and feel total peace of mind when booking at a hotel which has won WTA laurels.

According to organisers, winning one of the awards not only brings a travel company or destination acknowledgement and respect from the global industry, but also offers valuable commercial and profiling benefits that can filter down to the bottom line. The winners can expect massive international profile and acclaim worldwide.

”We aspire to be a reliable industry barometer, adopting latest developments, creating new products and improving customer experiences that is why winning such honours will have a special significance, with long term international impact” Olbertz said , ” The prestigious WTA acknowledges the cream of the travel and tourism industry, those players who are setting new boundaries and trends in travel excellence and we at the Emirates Palace are delighted and honoured to be associated with this, Olbertz said.

Increasingly, the awards are known as raising the bar for ultimate customer service and overall business performance. Growing numbers of travel companies, airlines, operators and resorts compete to walk away with one of the coveted titles and the Emirates Palace has a lion share of these accolades.

Over 1000 travel companies were nominated in 94 World categories. These inspirational organisations will continue to reap profile and commercial benefits in 2010.

Graham Cooke, President and Founder, World Travel Awards commented: “The past 12 months have brought several challenges, namely the economic downturn and the outbreak of swine flu, which has impacted travel and tourism worldwide; today’s winners have not only been recognised as the best in their region, but they have proved themselves to be the best in the World and the number one choice of travel professionals and consumers alike.” He added: “They have remained focused on their long term objectives, and continued to deliver above and beyond the call of duty, setting an industry example.” Cooke explained: “This year’s World winners can display the official World Travel Awards symbol with pride on their sales and marketing literature, offering travellers a cast-iron assurance that what they are buying is a guarantee of travel excellence.” Esraa

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - at 4:15 am

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Abu Dhabi and Dubai are one family Full Texy of Sheikh Mohammed’s Speech

sheikh-mohammed-al-maktoomDubai, 9th Nov. 2009: Ruler of Dubai His Higness Sheikh Mohammad Al Maktoom has reafirmed that Dubai & Abu Dhabi are one family. Following is the full tex of his speech delivered to Investor Conference in Dubai.

Thank you for inviting me to address such a distinguished gathering today. Before I commence, I would like to welcome you all to your second country, UAE and second home Dubai.

I am not known as a man who wastes time. So I will get straight to the subject, which is – I am sure – of most interest to you: Dubai’s economy. I will not waste your time in telling the details of the global financial crisis because you are the experts in this field.

However, today I would like to share with you some of my thoughts related to the crisis which has an impact on the whole world from East to West and has become a universal economic concern of which the biggest economies in the world have been affected, not only emerging markets.

As a result of its consequences, we have a new economic situation globally. Nevertheless, it has less impact on open economies compared with the closed and the protected ones or those with lesser links and interaction with the international market.

Thus, Dubai had to take necessary measures to deal with the consequences of the crunch of the global economy and shrinking of markets throughout the world. Dubai initiatives are not isolated from the serious and significant steps that the UAE has taken in this regard. As you know, Dubai is inseparable part of the UAE Federation.

I will not narrate the steps we have taken to combat the crisis, as you are aware of them whether on the local or the federal level.

Today, I prefer to speak about the important facts and fundamentals which I will summarize in a brief sentence. The global economic crisis despite of its short impacts on the local economy will not deter Dubai’s ambitions of implementing its development plans and will not divert it from its leading position and will not distant it from playing its role in the arena of the international economy. It will not suppress the will and determination of its citizens in continuation the development march.

Though I agree with that words are easy to say but the real test would be the implementation, I have full confidence in our ability to act. The achievements that stand today in Dubai are the most effective testimony that our vision regarding is practical and we are saying words in vain or have a day light dream which can be translated into reality.

We in the UAE, under the leadership of my brother, H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, the President of the UAE continue the march started by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan and my father Sheikh Rashed bin Saeed, starting from the 70s of the past century. They both laid the corner stone of the UAE Federation which was the blessing birth of our nation.

When my father took a decision to expand the creek and ordered the construction of the Dubai International Airport and directed the development of the Jebel Ali Port in a chain of ambitious and giant projects in Dubai, those who were around didn’t hide their skepticism about the feasibility of such project at the time.

Dubai today is as being developed in the past and those are its sons who are known for their ambitious and visionary look for the future, to which they move in a steady steps with hard work being their motto and a great belief in the support of Almighty God, supported by self confidence and capabilities that is strong enough to tackle all the challenges that seem to others as an impossible mission.

Today we are harvesting what has been planted by our fathers; we have a diverse economy which is not based only on foreign investment that we will come any way to host in Dubai. We are proud to have a group of national companies that spread internationally with a great international reputation like the emirates airline, Dubai World, Jumaira Group, in addition to other companies that are functioning as the true shields of our economy in Dubai.

These achievements and others are the practical and real evidence through which we prove our ability to overcome the crisis of any nature and is our golden card to continue in exploring new horizons of growth and development.

We realized from the very beginning the importance of investments in establishing the foundation of our economy that enjoy the highest degree of credibility and reliability and cope with the latest achieved in the world in this regard.

Our strategic choice has been always to start from the point that others have achieved with emphasis on developing a private model that guarantees our abilities to face challenges in a flexible and efficient way with man as our priority.

Some may believe that Dubai could have acted faster in combating the impacts of the international financial crisis. However, we preferred to wait rather than rushing because we are keen to ensure strengthening our major enterprises and restructure it in a way that will have the momentum and the strength to cope with the realties in the new economy. This new economy has dictated on the great international economies slower growth rate, opening promising horizons for emerging markets like Inida and China which will play greater role in the future.

I am confident that the worst has passed, and that as the global economy stabilizes, Dubai today is well placed to exploit its inherent strength and its key strategic location to start new rounds in its march towards excellence; this race which has been witnessed by the whole world throughout the past 3 decades taken by our abilities of achievement and excellence.

I have a big confidence in Dubai’s ability to overcome the crisis not from vacuum, but based on true reality. I would like to share with you some of the characteristics of such realities which some of you might know but have forgotten when skeptical pre-judgments were made about Dubai capabilities to overcome the crisis which was forced on Dubai by international development that covered the whole world including Dubai.

It is a chain of elements that gathered in Dubai to make it – whether people like or dislike – the right option for international investments and enabled Dubai to host businesses that are capable of expanding in new markets with more than 2 billion people in an emerging region that is full with opportunities which are not available and specially in developing markets that become mature and saturated.

Here, I want to emphasize on important facts: the international economic crisis will not move Dubai from its distinguished location that placed in the heart of the world as a link between east and west. The infrastructure that is available in Dubai including air and sea lines with great efficiency that support our capabilities to penetrate to other markets in the region and enhance connectivity with other parties. Jebel Ali port is the 6th among the largest ports in the world and the largest in the Middle East. Dubai International Airport is the 6th among the largest ports in the world that provide services to 125 airlines that operate flight to 210 destinations in the world’s 6 continents.

When completed, Al Maktoum International Airport will be the largest in the world with a capacity of 160 million passengers and 12 million tons of good and freight to be handled through its because it will equipped to receive passengers and giant freight carriers. Upon the completion of the logistics of the infrastructure, we have emphasized upon developing legal framework and infrastructure that is meant to support our financial sectors which is one of the 4 major economic sectors in Dubai.

The world has witnessed the success of Dubai as a comprehensive financial market that is located in the middle of the international market from New York and London in the west to Hong Kong and Tokyo in the East to act as a central link based on regulatory structures including Dubai Financial Center that earned the respect and appreciation of the international financial community in the world.

We succeeded in Dubai in building a friendly environment for businesses that catered to the needs of investors through facilities including exemption from income and corporate taxes or through offering efficient technology infrastructure and real estate services in addition to vocational and professional facilities that cater to the needs of the investor and his/her family members. There are the Dubai Internet and Media City and Dubai studios in addition to the knowledge village and academic cities as well as the TCom and other quality projects that aimed at establishing platforms for knowledge economy on the land of Duabi which we are proud of with still more to come.

I am not going to spell out all the details that make as confident and sure about Dubai capabilities to overcome this passing crisis, but I want to mention that those who believe that the remarkable success of our real estate development projects was the sole driver of our development. No one could deny the great leap in real estate projects in the in past few years, but it would be unfair to summarize Dubai’s experience in those projects only regardless of their giant size, as Dubai success in its development story covers a wider range and more depth and varieties from a strategic point of view.

In addition to the above, Dubai is not alone. It is inseparable part of the UAE and this sold and strong federation which holds each other as a great strong structure.

So the success of Dubai is an extension of the success of Abu Dhabi and vice versa. It is also true for the rest of the seven emirates forming the federation. The success of the federation is the success of Sharjah, Ajman, UAQ, RAK and Fujairah which form an undefeatable union and a strong citadel that will not allow to fell in front of challenges. This union is the source of our strength and confidence.

Dear Guests, My optimism in ending the crisis and confidence in Dubai’s ability to restore its strong growth rate soon is based on ideological background and human heritage linked to my Bedouin roots which my nation and I are proud of. Bedouins are strong by nature with strong will in combating crisis. They only know determination to achieve the goal and walk towards that end.

Those who know me closely trust my statements and my belief that the second part of bonds program initiated by Dubai early this year would be highly received by subscriber and would be directed to settle Dubai financial obligations in the coming years.

Our development journey was and will be race towards excellence.. a race towards establishing Dubai as a leading business center and ensure its credibility as an unchallenged financial and trade capital in the Middle East.

Ladies and gentlemen, in the past 20 years, Dubai enjoyed healthy growth rates. A lot of individuals and business have benefited from such growth, but the economic slow down offered us an opportunity to sit and consider the world around us. I believe such space was important to catch our breath and work on reinforcing our competitive capabilities to resume the race.

We can deny that the international crisis has put us in a the middle of space of silence with great information vacuum that was a fertile space for rumors and propaganda. We should not allow this to happen again in the future as transparency and effective communication channels are basic elements in building mature and civilized nations.

We should not forget that the economic shrink is in its way to disappear similar to other economic downturn that faced the world in the past year. I listened with a great attention during the past year to a number of business leaders in Dubai, Emirates, Asia, Europe and the US as well as executive directors representing different economic sectors including airline, hotels and investors. I was listening to them and to their ambitions with a great attention. Today, I ensure all of them from this stage that we will continue our investments in infrastructure in all sectors to serve our national interest and ensure the success of our partners and investors from all over world in all sectors.

Dear Guest, Our celebration of inauguration of Dubai Metro was a practical testimony of our determination to strengthen Dubai as an international City having all pillars of excellence on the short and long run.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - November 10, 2009 at 5:39 pm

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World closer to running out of oil Guardian

the-guardianLONDON, Nov 10 (KUNA) — The world is much closer to running out of oil than official estimates admit, according to a whistleblower at the International Energy Agency (IEA), the Guardian newspaper reported Tuesday.

The whistleblower claims the agency has been “deliberately underplaying” a looming shortage for fear of triggering panic buying.

The senior official claims the US has played an influential role in encouraging the watchdog to underplay the rate of decline from existing oil fields while overplaying the chances of finding new reserves.
The allegations raise serious questions about the accuracy of the organisation’s latest World Energy Outlook on oil demand and supply to be published tomorrow – which is used by the British and many other governments to help guide their wider energy and climate change policies.

In particular they question the prediction in the last World Economic Outlook, believed to be repeated again this year, that oil production can be raised from its current level of 83 million barrels a day to 105 million barrels.

External critics have frequently argued that this cannot be substantiated by firm evidence and say the world has already passed its peak in oil production.

Now the “peak oil” theory is gaining support at the heart of the global energy establishment, the publication said.

“The IEA in 2005 was predicting oil supplies could rise as high as 120 million barrels a day by 2030 although it was forced to reduce this gradually to 116 million and then 105 million last year,” said the IEA source, who was unwilling to be identified for fear of reprisals inside the industry.

“The 120 million figure always was nonsense but even today’s number is much higher than can be justified and the IEA knows this. Many inside the organisation believe that maintaining oil supplies at even 90 million to 95 million barrels a day would be impossible but there are fears that panic could spread on the financial markets if the figures were brought down further,” he said.

“And the Americans fear the end of oil supremacy because it would threaten their power over access to oil resources,” he added.

A second senior IEA source, who has now left but was also unwilling to give his name, said a key rule at the organisation was that it was “imperative not to anger the Americans” but the fact was that there was not as much oil in the world as had been admitted.

“We have already entered the ‘peak oil’ zone. I think that the situation is really bad,” he added.
The British government, among others, always uses IEA statistics rather than any of its own to argue that there is little threat to long-term oil supplies.

The IEA said today that peak oil critics had often wrongly questioned the accuracy of its figures.
A spokesman said it was unable to comment ahead of the 2009 report being released tomorrow.
The IEA was established in 1974 after the oil crisis in an attempt to try to safeguard energy supplies to the west.

The World Energy Outlook is produced annually under the control of the IEA’s chief economist, Fatih Birol, who has defended the projections

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Burj Al Arab Dubai celebrates its tenth birthday

BURJ_AL_ARAB1Dubai 10th November 2009 – Burj Al Arab Hotel regarded is one of the finest hotels of the world and a symbol of Dubai celebrates its first ten years in December 2009. The iconic bulding, which resembles a giant billowing sail, has become one of the most notable landmarks in the Gulf emirate. It is one of the most luxurious and most expensive hotels in the world but much more besides.

Many people call it the 7 Star hotel of Dubai, “There is a myth surrounding this hotel. We never claimed to be a seven-star establishment but we have acquired that reputation,” said Heinrich Morio, general manager of the Burj Al Arab.

Perhaps the considerable reputation of the hotel arises from 202 lavishly-appointed duplex suites or the seemingly endless 22-carat gold-plated surfaces. Adding to the upmarket impression is an unusually large staff of 1,500, whose job it is to pamper the guests. This amounts to seven employees per visitor. The prices are definitely high. Check Rates for Burj Al Arab

Such features made the hotel unique when it first opened. “We cater for the world’s most discerning guests and the level of expectation is extremely high,” said Morio who hails from Germany. Despite the global economic downturn, the Burj al Arab has not lowered its prices and is well-booked, he added.

Gaining access to this noble house of Arabian hospitality on Jumeirah Beach Road is not as straightforward as it looks and a guarded causeway prevents tourists from simply strolling through the entrance. Those without a reservation in one of the restaurants or a booked room for the night are left to gaze at the 321-metre-tall space-age structure from the outside. For illustrious guests a fleet of ten chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce limousines is available to transport them from the city’s airport.

BURJ_AL_ARAB_restaurantThe interior of this hotel is best described as serenely sumptuous with fountains in the foyer and all manner of luxurious fittings. The hotel belongs to the Dubai Holding, most of which is owned by the ruling al Maktoum family. After around 40 years of oil wealth they decided to transform Dubai into a magnet for financiers and holidaymakers.

Before that could happen the emirate had to make a name for itself worldwide. The Burj Al Arab placed a key part in that strategy. “The owners wanted to create the most handsome, luxurious and splendid hotel the world has ever seen,” said the manager. A brief on this scale made it easier for the architects and designers to create features shared with only a handful of hotels in the world.

BURJ_AL_ARAB_ROOM1One example is the pets department where British-born Warren R Baverstock looks after the hotel’s numerous aquariums. “I came to Dubai ten years ago and as I lay on the beach and gazed at the hotel I was simply thrilled,” he recalled. Back then he quickly made up his mind to trade northern Europe for the heat of the desert.

A lot has changed in Dubai since the hotel opened in December 1999. The metropolis has continued to expand and where locals once played impromptu football games alongside the hotel, exclusive apartments and hotels have mushroomed. Yet staff at the Burj al Arab do not fear competition from spectacular new resorts such as the new Palm Island.

Dubai’s signature building no longer stands alone and in December of this year it is set to be dwarfed by the new Burj Dubai, the projected world’s tallest structure with more than 160 floors.

The new hotel has been the subject of much speculation regarding its precise height – the official word is that is stands at over 800 metres – along with the exact opening date and the scale of planned public celebrations to mark its inception. The investment costs are no secret and it is well known in Dubai that this latest superlative structure cost around a billion dollars to erect.

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Dubai Shopping Festival from Jan 28

DSF 2010 will begin on January 28 2010 and go on till February 28, similarly next year’s Dubai Summer Surprises 2010 will be held from June 17 to August 7.

The DSF Office has announced Dubai Shopping Festival dates as it presents a preview of DSF 2010 and it new promotion the “Definitely Dubai”  to a global audience at the World Travel Market 2009, which begins on November 9, and goes on till November 12 in London.

While The participation in WTM is part of DSF Office’s efforts in highlighting the upcoming and a landmark 15th edition of DSF, and to promote the festival as one among the world’s leading shopping and family entertainment events to a wider global audience. The DSF Office is participating under the auspices of the Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing department (DTCM).

The DSF Office delegation to London comprises of Laila Suhail, CEO of the DSF Office; Abdulla Amiri, Operations and Logistics Manager, and Tracey Shuttlewood, Senior Marketing Coordinator. While DSF 2010 is the main objective of the DSF Office’s participation, Dubai Summer Surprises, and the popular character ‘Modhesh’ will also feature prominently during the four-day event where visitors from around the world are expected to converge.

Laila Suhail, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Shopping Festival Office said, ‘World Travel Market 2009 is the ideal opportunity to showcase the 15th edition of Dubai Shopping Festival that will be a benchmark in the history of the festival. This edition is special in many ways and we are eager to embrace this challenge and highlight the fact that DSF is not just a festival but an event that the world looks forward to. Dubai is a rapidly developing city and DSF 2010 will reflect the changes witnessed by Dubai.’

Suhail also added that announcing dates for DSS 2010 would enable the DSF Office to cooperate with travel partners from around the world in showcasing Dubai as the region’s favoured summer destination.

A record breaking 49,963 travel industry professionals attended WTM 2008. World Travel Market is a business to business exhibition that was initiated to bring together the world’s various destinations on to one platform. The event provides a unique opportunity for the whole global travel trade industry to meet, network, negotiate, conduct business and stay abreast with the latest developments in the travel industry.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - November 8, 2009 at 6:29 pm

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Hospitality sector gears up to tap festival season

definetly-dubaiThe Travel Tourism sector in Dubai is once again in top gear for the coming winter season, with packages and market-specific promtions to lure tourists, Arabian Business247 reported in its report today.

DTCM the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commence Marketing along with the hotel and travel industry has doubled its sales promotion efforts in the UK and Europe to increase tourist arrivals in Dubai.

DTCM is all set to make a big splash with the “Definitely Dubai” brand at the World Travel Market (WTM) in London in a few weeks time.

“Definitely Dubai will be launched as the official tourism brand for Dotcom’s promotion of Dubai,” said Saleh Mohammed Al Geziry, DTCM Director for Overseas Promotions and Inward Missions.

He added that at this year’s Dubai stand at WTM, there would be 77 co-participants representing hotels, hotel apartments and tour operators. These would include Dubai Shopping Festival, Dubai Naturalisation and Residency Department and Dubai Police.

The Dubai stand is expected to attract fresh business from the UK and Europe, DTCM said in a statement.

The UK and Ireland markets together generated 854,601 million visitors in 2008, an increase of 14 per cent over the previous year. In the first half of 2009, 383,197 million visitors from the UK and Ireland stayed in Dubai hotels, it said.

The arrivals from the UK had dropped earlier this year, said industry executives. Hotel operators such as Rotana too have redoubled their sales efforts in the UK.

“The UK is a really important and year-round feeder market for Dubai, so we have increased our promotions there,” Naeem Darkazally, Area Director – Sales and Marketing for Rotana Dubai and Northern Emirates told Emirates Business.

Hotels are also running a number of promotions in other European markets to attract tourists to Dubai.

A report by Business Monitor said tourism arrivals into UAE will be three per cent lower this year compared to the 10 per cent growth seen in 2008 over 2007.

This was attributed to the economic problems seen in the US and Europe, key markets for the UAE.

Tourists arrival in Dubai

In its UAE Tourism Report Q3, the research house said: “Our forecast of negative growth in tourist arrivals in 2009 remains minus three per cent year-on-year.” But it also predicted a “slight recovery in growth” in 2010.

“The poor outlook for the tourism sector in the short term is based on the impact of further downward revisions this quarter to BMI’s forecasts for the UK and key European economies which together accounted for 40 per cent of all arrivals in the UAE in 2007,” said the report. “Taking into account a much weaker growth in tourist arrivals to Dubai in Q1 2009 and a slowdown in growth of arrivals to Sharjah and Abu Dhabi last year, BMI continues to maintain that the UAE will face a challenging period ahead in the tourism sector.”

The DTCM and the hotel industry in Dubai have timed their marketing expecting a revival in the tourism sector in 2010.

According to the latest UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Tourism Barometer report, the decline in international tourism may have started to bottom out.

Worldwide, international tourist arrivals declined by seven per cent between January and August 2009, but the rate of decline has eased in the past few months. These results and the most recent economic data confirm UNWTO’s initial forecast of a five per cent decline in international tourist arrivals for the year 2009.

The Middle East (minus eight per cent), although well down on the growth levels of previous years, already saw a shift to positive growth between June and September.

In Europe (minus eight per cent), destinations in Central and Eastern Europe were the most affected, but results for all other sub-regions were close to the average.

Asia and the Pacific (minus five per cent) shows the clearest signs of improvement with growth already positive in August driven by the encouraging results of North-East Asia.

RevPar increases

In the second quarter, hotels in Dubai posted a 4.09 percentage points higher average growth in revenue per available room (Revpar), compared to the corresponding period in the previous year, said new research.

According to the Deloitte analysis of STR Global data of hotel performances in the Middle East, Revpar, an industry benchmark, showed a small increase in September relative to August.

The research showed “occupancy decreased by 10.6 per cent in September 2009 compared to August 2009. The average growth of occupancy in the quarter July-September 2009 is 1.86 percentage points higher than in the same period in 2008”.

Rob O’Hanlon, Tourism, Hospitality and Leisure partner at Deloitte in the Middle East, said: “Dubai has now an impressive portfolio of international hotels. As global confidence returns, it is likely that Dubai will be well positioned to benefit from the changing environment. Innovative programmes by leading hotel companies are assisting Dubai in effectively managing the increase in supply of hotel rooms.”

In the Middle East, occupancy in September 2009 was 52.8 per cent, only 4.7 per cent below that in September 2008, despite Ramadan and Eid Al Fitr dominating the month. Year-to-date September occupancy was 11 per cent below occupancy in the same period in 2008, the analysis showed.

Revpar in the Middle East increased in September compared to August by 6.57 per cent, reversing the trend observed in 2008. Year-to-date September Revpar was 18 per cent lower than Revpar in the same period in 2008.

Abu Dhabi saw an increase in September occupancy, compared to August. Year-to-date September occupancy, at 60.9 per cent, was eight per cent below occupancy in the same period in 2008. The Revpar increased by 13 per cent in September, compared to August. Year-to-date September Revpar was only one per cent below year-to-date September 2008 Revpar.

Positive outlook

“The fourth quarter is a very important time of the year for the hotels in Dubai. November is very healthy [as far as bookings go] with a number of key events, such as the Dubai Air Show taking place in Dubai, which will give a boost to occupancies,” said Rotana’s Darkazally.

“We have a number of promos going for Christmas and New. We also expect a strong Eid with arrivals from the GCC countries.”

Rotana is currently doing promos with Saudi travel agents, said Darkazally.

International hotel operators such as Starwood and Marriott are also doing a number of promotions for forthcoming Eid break.

Hoteliers said they are anticipating a lot of traffic from within the GCC countries.

“For the upcoming Eid period, our hotel is targeting the GCC, Turkey, Iran and North Africa. We are working very closely with travel agents in the respective countries and we are happy to note the strong demands so far and we are confident that it will increase even further,” said Deeksha Trivedi, Director for Sales and Marketing of Sheraton Dubai Creek Hotel and Towers.

“For the Christmas and Year End festive period, our main focus will be on strong markets like Greece, Russia, the UK and Italy. We are running early bird promotions which are working well for us.”

Talking about the promotion for the Eid holidays, Jeff Strachan, Area Director, Sales and Marketing, Middle East and Africa at Marriott Hotels International Limited, said: “We anticipate that Eid followed by UAE National Day on December 2 will be a busy period for the city. Our hotels are popular within the Gulf and we do have a number of packages and promotions available.”

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FAO to promote climate-smart agriculture

Rome, Nov 06th, 2009: The twin battles to improve food security for a growing world population and contain climate change can be fought on the same front the world’s farmland, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations said in a new report released on Thursday.

The report explored mutual benefits and trade-offs in tackling hunger and climate change.

Agriculture not only suffers the impacts of climate change, it is also responsible for 14 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. But agriculture has the potential to be an important part of the solution, through mitigation reducing and/or removing a significant amount of global emissions, FAO says. Some 70 percent of this mitigation potential could be realized in developing countries.

“Many effective strategies for climate change mitigation from agriculture also benefit food security, development and adaptation to climate change,” said FAO Assistant Director-General Alexander Muller. “The challenge is to capture these potential synergies, while managing trade-offs that may have negative impacts on food security.” The report, Food Security and Agricultural Mitigation in Developing Countries: Options for Capturing Synergies was launched during the Barcelona Climate Change Talks.

The most important technical options for climate change mitigation from agriculture are improvements in cropland and grazing land management and the restoration of organic soils and degraded lands.

Nearly 90 percent of the technical mitigation potential of agriculture comes from soil carbon sequestration. These options involve increasing the levels of organic matter, of which carbon is the main component, in soil. This can translate into better plant nutrient content, increased water retention capacity and better structure, eventually leading to higher yields and greater resilience.

Agricultural mitigation options that sequester carbon can include: low tillage, utilizing residues for composting or mulching, use of perennial crops to cover soil, re-seeding or improving grazing management on grasslands.

Other options involve difficult trade-offs, with benefits for mitigation but potentially negative consequences for food security and development. In some cases, there are synergies in the long-run, but trade-offs in the short-run.

Biofuel production provides a clean alternative to fossil fuel but can compete for land and water resources needed for food production. Restoration of organic soils enables greater carbon sequestration, but may reduce the land available for food production. Rangeland restoration may improve carbon sequestration but involves short-term reductions in herder incomes by limiting the number of livestock.

Some trade-offs can be managed through measures to increase efficiency or through payment of incentives or compensation.

Many of the technical mitigation options are readily available and could be deployed immediately. But while these actions often generate a net positive benefit over time, they involve significant up-front costs.

Other barriers, such as uncertain property rights, lack of information and technical assistance or access to appropriate seeds and fertilizer, also need to be overcome. “Linking to ongoing agricultural development efforts that address these same issues is one cost effective way of doing this,” said Kostas Stamoulis, Director of the FAO Agricultural Development Economics Division.

The report outlines possible design features for financing mechanisms that could help unlock agriculture’s potential benefits for climate change mitigation, food security and agricultural development.

A range of financing options public, public-private and carbon markets are currently under negotiation for climate change mitigation actions in developing countries. These could be future sources of finance for agricultural mitigation actions, the report says, as could a dedicated international fund to support agricultural mitigation in developing countries and coordination with financing from official development assistance for agricultural development.

Despite its significant potential, agricultural mitigation has remained relatively marginal within the climate change negotiations.

To capture the multiple benefits of agriculture. the report recommends a work programme on agricultural mitigation within the UNFCCC Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice to help address methodological issues related to implementation. It also proposes country-led piloting of action and field testing, using a phased approach linked to national capabilities and supported by capacity building and financial/technology transfers.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - November 7, 2009 at 2:56 am

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Sharjah Water festival to boost tourism

sharjah-water-festivalDubai: Sharjah-based Dana Gas, the Middle East’s first and largest regional private sector natural gas company, will be the main sponsor of the Sharjah Water Festival 2009.

The festival — an initiative from the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA)  is one of its main events that put the emirate on the international map through sports.

Mohammad Ali Al Noma’n, Director General, SCTDA, announced Dana Gas said: “Following the resounding success of the previous editions we once again want to face this huge challenge of further improving on innovative entertainment for the family so as to make Sharjah a popular destination to all,” he said.

Ahmad Al Arbeed, CEO, Dana Gas said his company was committed to supporting such activities.

This year’s event will feature a host of exciting activities.

About Sharjah – Etisalat Water Festival

In a bid to repeat the resounding success story in the Formula 1 powerboat race, and to implement the directions of H.H Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qassimi, Member of the UAE Supreme Council, Ruler of Sharjah, and the generous support of H.H Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed bin Sultan Al Qassimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) has conceptualized an entertainment, family oriented, tourist sport festival, that offers miscellaneous activities designed to create a fun environment that focuses on the culture, history and heritage of the emirate in a sophisticated educational manner.

Gaining a further momentum from the direct support and supervision of SCTDA Chairman, Sheikh Sultan Bin Ahmed Bin Sultan Al Qassimi, this

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - November 5, 2009 at 1:04 am

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TV presenter in Saudia covered from head to toe

tv-saudiaJEDDAH: A new TV show that discusses issues concerning teenage girls and female university students was recently broadcast with Saudi presenters dressed in black from head to toe.

The show — named Asrar Al-Banat (The Secrets of Girls) — is broadcast on Awtan TV, a Saudi religious channel that was first aired in August 2008 and has women broadcasters who are covered in the all-enveloping abaya and niqab.

There are over 60 religious satellite channels that are broadcast across the Middle East via Arabsat and Nilesat networks. The channels represent different extremes when it comes to women presenters. Channels such as Iqraa and Al-Resalah have women presenters who do not cover their faces and dress in different colors, not necessarily black. On the other hand, channels such as Al-Majd have no women presenters. Awtan is perhaps one that toes the middle line by allowing women to appear but only when covered from head to toe.

Presenting Asrar Al-Banat is Sawsan Salah Al-Deen, a 26-year-old Saudi BA graduate in Media and Guidance.

Sawsan presents the show with her sister, Sarah, a specialist in blood diseases, and psychologist Nawal Dawood.

Sawsan, who is from Riyadh, said she has long been looking to work as a journalist and has previously tried writing for the print media. She, however, finds TV shows effective in conveying her message. Asrar Al-Banat was the idea of Sa’ad Al-Obaid, the program’s director, who wanted a program that provides an insight into girls’ issues.

“He presented the idea to me and I liked it. He gave me the main points and I’ve been preparing the discussions ever since,” she said.

Commenting on how she looks on TV, Sawsan said, “Basically, this is my hijab and I don’t wear it because of the channel. The channel is an Islamic one and has a rule that I appear in full hijab.”

Sawsan, who is appearing on TV for the first time, said she was initially anxious. Her family has, however, been supportive, particularly since “people will not see me” and the program reaches out to young women.

Something that has also appealed to her family is the fact that her work environment is women-only; male technical assistants do not enter the studio while women are inside and carry out their duties from outside.Commenting on feedback on the program, Sawsan said, “I’ve seen comments on the Internet, spoke to my friends and heard varying opinions in my community in Riyadh. You can’t please all — everything new is refuted by some and welcomed by others.”

Speaking about a woman who criticized her appearance on TV she questioned why would people criticize her while she is in full hijab and leave other women who appear in improper dresses on various channels.

Sawsan added that in addition to compliments from the channel’s owner and the program’s director, the support of religious scholars — such as Sheikh Salim Al-Gadani and Sheikh Ghazi Al-Shammari — has been very encouraging for her.

Answering a question about some opposing religious views that regard the voice of women as Awrah (something that cannot be revealed in the presence of men), Sawsan said that scholars deem women’s voices as Awrah only if they are speaking softly or on immoral topics.

She added that the Prophet’s wife Sayyidatuna Ayesha (may Allah be pleased with her) would verbally issue religious rulings (fatwas) to men and that none of the Prophet’s companions criticized her at that time.

Commenting on whether her appearance on TV would now lead to women appearing on cooking and children programs, she said, “When it comes to cooking, men can present them. However, there are some issues relating to women which men cannot handle in the way we can.”

Asrar Al-Banat, which discusses different issues relating to teenage girls, has so far broadcast four episodes. It is aired from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. every Friday and receives live phone calls from members of the public.


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