No Swine flu risk in Dubai Says Ministry of Health

Dubai: Jamal Al Turki, technical director, preventive medicines, Ministry of Health (MoH), has said on Sunday thet “Currently there is no actual threat of swine flu to the UAE. We are monitoring the situation,”.

Al Turki said: “This particular type of flu can be transmitted by being close to pigs; so in this regard there is no real threat in the UAE. The disease is also not transmitted through the food chain.”

Meanwhile H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister, will chair tomorrow a high-level meeting to discuss the latest developments in regards to the swine flu, Health Minister Humaid Al Qattami announced today.

He said the Ministry of Health is maintaining contacts through a hot line with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other countries which detected cases of swine flu to follow up the situation.

”We are closely monitoring latest developments in a number of infected countries including Mexico, US and Spain,”he added.

“We are also keeping a close surveillance on people coming from the infected part of the world based on the slightest flu like symptoms. There is a potential for this flu to turn into an epidemic because this particular virus changes its genetic composition. It can infect pigs but human-to-human transmission does not take place,” he added.

Meanwhile, Francisco Alonso, consul-general of Mexico in Dubai, said that his diplomatic mission is yet to receive enquiries about the outbreak or panic calls from the community. No enquiries had been received from visa applicants either, he said. “My government is constantly in touch with us on this problem. There is nothing to panic. I am glad to inform you that the situation is very much under control in Mexico.

“There has been no fall in the number of visa applicants that we receive each day. The diplomatic mission was opened last year and since then the number of Emiratis who apply for a visa has risen. Majority apply for business visas. The consulate receives three to five visa applicants per day,” he said.

On April 16, the consulate had issued a circular to the community updating them about necessary measures to be taken by the country (Mexico) in dealing with the outbreak.

There are an estimated 600 to 700 Mexicans residing in the UAE.

What is Swine Influenza?

Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type. Swine flu viruses cause high levels of illness and low death rates in pigs. Swine influenza viruses may circulate among swine throughout the year, but most outbreaks occur during the late fall and winter months similar to outbreaks in humans. The classical swine flu virus (an influenza type A H1N1 virus) was first isolated from a pig in 1930.

Can humans catch swine flu?

Swine flu viruses do not normally infect humans. However, sporadic human infections with swine flu have occurred. Most commonly, these cases occur in persons with direct exposure to pigs (e.g. children near pigs at a fair or workers in the swine industry). In addition, there have been documented cases of one person spreading swine flu to others. What are the symptoms of swine flu in humans? The symptoms of swine flu in people are expected to be similar to the symptoms of regular human seasonal influenza and include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and coughing. Some people with swine flu also have reported runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

How does swine flu spread?

Influenza viruses can be directly transmitted from pigs to people and from people to pigs. Human infection with flu viruses from pigs are most likely to occur when people are in close proximity to infected pigs, such as in pig barns and livestock exhibits housing pigs at fairs.

People may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.

The outbreak of swine flu in humans was first reported in Mexico and the United States and experts have warned about its pandemic potential as it has claimed over 68 lives and sickened over 1,000 others.

The alarming situation had forced World Health Organisation (WHO) director-general Margaret Chan to convene a meeting of the Emergency Committee to assess the situation and advise her on appropriate responses. 

After reviewing available data on the current situation, committee members identified a number of gaps in knowledge about the clinical features, epidemiology, and virology of reported cases and the appropriate responses.

In a telephone news conference in Geneva, Chan said: “The situation is evolving quickly. The new disease is by definition poorly understood.”

Is there a vaccine for swine flu?

Vaccines are available to be given to pigs to prevent swine influenza. There is no vaccine to protect humans from swine flu. The seasonal influenza vaccine will likely help provide partial protection against swine H3N2, but not swine H1N1.

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DED to launch comprehensive business registration guide for investors in Dubai

Dubai, 18th April 2009 (WAM): The Business Registration and Licensing Division at the Dubai, the Department of Economic Development (DED) will issue a comprehensive guide on the various procedures relating to business registration.

This follows a meeting of the Division with over 20 personnel from legal offices, strategic partners from federal bodies and government organisations concerned with business registration to enhance communication channels and strengthen business registration procedures for investors in Dubai.

Following the meeting, representatives from the Business Registration and Licensing Division at DED also contacted other concerned government bodies to start preparations for the comprehensive guide. The guide is expected to serve as a referral source for investors on various services and procedures related to starting a business in Dubai.

“DED is committed to assisting investors and providing them with services and facilities by coordinating with various related government departments to ease business registration procedures. This is the first in a series of meetings to clarify issues related to business registration. A specialised newsletter from DED will be sent to all participants in the meeting to inform them of any modifications to the legal procedures in business registration,” said Mr Mohammed Shael, CEO, Business Registration and Licensing Division, DED.

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10 percent growth in GCC tourist traffic to Sharjah expected this year

18th April 2009 (WAM) The Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) has announced the successful completion of its recent GCC Road Show that was designed to showcase this year’s Summer Promotions in Sharjah and to increase GCC tourism to the Emirate of Sharjah. The road show ran from April 7-17 2009.

The announcement came in Jeddah after their final road show. Jeddah KSA was the third destination for the Sharjah delegation in KSA, where it has organized successful workshops for representatives of key travel and tourism agencies in three major cities: the Eastern region, Riyadh and Jeddah. Sharjah saw a 10 percent increase in the number of Saudi tourists visiting the emirate in 2008, bringing the total to 105,000, with a further 10 percent growth expected by the SCTDA in 2009. KSA citizens make up the largest number of GCC tourists to Sharjah, and the second largest from around the world.

This GCC Road Show was the eighth of the road shows being arranged by the SCTDA and was intended to promote Sharjah’s unique tourist attractions and attract more GCC tourists to the emirate.

The tour is part of SCTDA’s efforts to encourage regional tourist activities, strengthen tourist ties among GCC countries, and to promote Sharjah’s unique attractions as a distinctive destination for heritage, cultural and family tourism.

In addition to the SCTDA, Sharjah delegation included senior representatives from the Sharjah Museums Department, Air Arabia, Sharjah Millennium Hotel, Golden Tulip Hotel, Radisson SAS Resort, Verona Resort and Marbella Resort.

Sheikh Sultan Bin Ahmad Al Qassimi, SCTDA Chairman, emphasized the importance of this promotional tour, adding that it comes at a time of major changes and challenges that require tremendous cooperative efforts to attract more tourists to the emirate.

“We will intensify marketing and promotional activities for Sharjah to further boost its leading position on the regional and global tourism map. These campaigns will focus on highlighting the emirate’s status as a world-class destination for heritage, cultural and family tourism, combining its distinctive attractions to form a unique tourist destination that blends a historic setting and cultural significance with all the features of a modern city.” This promotional tour is the result of outstanding cooperation between all parties involved in Sharjah’s tourism sector, and directly precedes the imminent launch of the Sharjah Summer Promotion 2009, which will include special discounts, prizes and offers to encourage shopping activity during the summer.

Around 398,186 GCC tourists visited the emirate of Sharjah in 2008 representing 27 percent of the total. These figures prove the vital importance of this market and justify the tremendous efforts exerted by the SCTDA in the region, as well as the host of tourist promotions and products offered by the authority to GCC visitors.

Speaking about the nationalities of tourists visiting the emirate, Al Qassimi said: “Recent statistics issued by SCTDA show that European tourists accounted for 35 percent of the total tourist influx into the emirate in 2008, with GCC tourists accounting for 27 percent, and other Arab countries accounting for 12 percent. Asian tourists made up 23 percent, while the remaining 3 percent came from America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Africa and the Pacific”.

Al Qassimi concluded: “At a time when the emirate of Sharjah is being recognized as a favoured destination on the world tourism map, the SCTDA is putting more initiatives that will boost this leading position at the top of our agenda. To this end, the Authority is actively involved in organizing and participating in a number of prestigious events, all of which have gained global exposure. The Gulf promotional road show is an initiative that creates further opportunities for the emirate of Sharjah to showcase its tourist attractions, building on the success we have experienced on previous tours over the past seven years”.

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Le Meridien Al Aqah to highlight its extensive environmental initiatives at ATM 2009

Fujairah, April 16th, 2009 Le Meridien Al Aqah will highlight its extensive environmental initiatives at Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2009, as it continues to capture the lucrative East Coast tourism share.

Following on from the resort’s programme of planting 100 new coconut palms along its shoreline in 2008, this year will see activities implemented by resort staff and the local community, including recycling awareness with local schools in May, a clean-up of Khor Fakkan Beach in June, an environmental symposium at the resort’s conference centre in July, tree planting on the grounds of the resort in August, and an awareness programme about Red Tide, focusing on the need to protect coral reefs, in September.

“During these difficult economic times, we believe it is important to invest in the community and to focus on how we can continue to improve the resort’s operations, particularly from an environmental perspective,” said Patrick Antaki, General Manager, Le Meridien Al Aqah.

In addition to beautifying the resort, the environmental awareness drive will see cost savings in energy. To date, the resort has cut utilities consumption by 1,793,499 KW (electricity), 6,137,000 gallons (water) and 85,154 litres (gas).

“The effect is far-reaching, in terms of reducing the resort’s carbon footprint and also reducing the energy bill. We are redirecting these funds to improve key areas of the resort, such as the children’s facility, the Penguin Club,” added Antaki.

Reducing the waste sent to landfill is also high on the environmental agenda, with the resort continuing its recycling target of about 7000kg per month, mainly of high-use items such as glass, plastic, oils and newspapers.

After the $2 million upgrade of the beachfront in 2008, the resort will keep the garden area greener by installing solar panels for the garden lights and parking.

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Medication Safety conference from 18th April 2009

Abu Dhabi, 16th April 2009 The UAE capital will host the second Medication Safety Conference on 18th and 19th April 2009 at Al Ain Rotana. The conference is aimed at addressing the challenges of medications safety in the region and will explore the topic related to healthcare institutional frameworks and legislative requirements.

Supported by Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA), and chaired by Dr. Adeline Saliba, the medication safety officer of Tawam Hospital (in affiliation with Johns Hopkins Medicine), the conference is organized by Synovetics.

The two day scientific program will focus on identifying, designing and evaluating practices that eliminate or mitigate the effects of medication error, and system-related risks and hazards. Issues will be covered from multiple perspectives including those of the patient, the physician and the health authorities. Both international and national perspectives will be presented with a strong focus on remedial action and best practice measures.

An exhibition will be held alongside the conference, showcasing products and services aimed at raising medication safety standards and research.

The conference is relevant to the healthcare community as patient safety has emerged as a serious global public health issue and medication error is currently the most fundamental challenge facing the health sector.

“This is one of the few programs in the Middle East that offers the opportunity to enhance awareness of safe medication practices and standard,” said Dr. Sahar Abu-Omar, chair of SEHA Medication Safety Group.

Not only is the programme aimed at decision makers, healthcare managers and quality experts in the healthcare sector, it also attract the participation of all healthcare professionals in the public and private hospitals involved in medication use including pharmacists, physicians and nurses.

Participants of the event will receive continuing medical education (CME) hours, which are mandated to enable healthcare professionals to continually upgrade their knowledge while meeting requirements for the future renewal of their professional licenses.

Confrence Fees In AED is : 1000
Confrence Fees In USD is : 283

A 10% discount is available to groups of 5 delegates

For inquiries, please contact
Phone: +971 2 6673418
Fax: +971 2 6673389

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President H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Tours Landmarks in Dubai

President H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan paid today an inspection tour of a number of major civilisational landmarks and development projects in Dubai. Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum welcomed the President at the entrance of Dubai in Jebel Ali area. Sheikh Mohammed highly appreciated the visit of Sheikh Khalifa who praised him as leader of the march of good and welfare.

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Etisalat Subsidiary Appointed to Maintain Dubai?s Mosques

WAM Dubai, 14th April 2009: e-Facility Management of Etisalat Services Holding LLC, is appointed by the Dubai Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department (DICD) to maintain all 420 mosques in Dubai.

The agreement was signed by Dr. Hammad Bin Al Sheikh Ahmed Al Sheibani, General Manager of DICD and Ali Mohammed Al Sharid, Chief Executive Officer at Etisalat Services Holding at the DICD’s head office in Al Mamzar, Dubai.

Dr. Al Sheibani said: “Etisalat is a leading national corporation that plays an important role in providing valuable services to the community. This partnership emphasises the strategic collaboration between the DICD and other local organisations. This affiliation reflects our commitment to maintain Dubai’s mosques to the highest standards. We are looking forward to extending this partnership and to launching further development plans and initiatives.” Al Sharid said: “This agreement is the first step towards enhancing the strategic relationship between e-Facility Management and the DICD. We are looking forward to expand our efforts to manage all facility services for the mosques of Dubai. We are committed to share our experience with DICD to help them achieve their goals. We will use specialised online programs and manual information processing devices to implement this program.” In the first stage of this initiative, e-Facility Management is going to provide the mosques with maintenance services, operational process and appropriate equipment. The second phase will include a consultancy project for the development of services provided to the mosques in order to raise the level of services, increase efficiency and preserve quality.

“Our collaboration with Etisalat represents a dynamic step that makes us closer to the fulfilling our targets and implementing integrated relationships to develop mosques’ services. We are confident that this partnership will best serve our strategic development plans and contribute to achieving several benefits as it provides with best services and expertise to the mosques and the worshipers, and contribute to the civilization of Dubai,” said Abdul Rahim Mohammed Taher, Director of Financial Affairs, DICD
Etisalat Facility Management is a member of Etisalat Services Holding, and is today responsible for the maintenance of more than 5000 sites in the UAE ranging from GSM sites to high rise buildings. Etisalat Facility Management was formally established on March 1st 2007 and is made up of all facility management staff previously employed by Etisalat.

Etisalat Facility Management has more than 1,600 specialists employed covering the UAE. The team provides integrated facility management services covering all aspects of planned and reactive maintenance, cleaning, security, catering as well as providing facility management consulting services and project management

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UNESCO to cenebrate Copyright Day on 23rd April

UNESCO is cenebrating the World Book & Copyright Day on 23rd April 2009. The day is being celebrated around the world to promote book reading, publishing and the protection of intellectual property through copyright. 

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23 April: a symbolic date for world literature for on this date and in the same year of 1616, Cervantes, Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega all died. It is also the date of birth or death of other prominent authors such as Maurice Druon, K.Laxness, Vladimir Nabokov, Josep Pla and Manuel Mejía Vallejo. It was a natural choice for UNESCO’s General Conference to pay a world-wide tribute to books and authors on this date, encouraging everyone, and in particular young people, to discover the pleasure of reading and gain a renewed respect for the irreplaceable contributions of those who have furthered the social and cultural progress of humanity.

The idea for this celebration originated in Catalonia where on 23 April, Saint George’s Day, a rose is traditionally given as a gift for each book sold. The success of the World Book and Copyright Day will depend primarily on the support received from all parties concerned (authors, publishers, teachers, librarians, public and private institutions,

humanitarian NGOs and the mass media), who have been mobilized in each country by UNESCO National Commissions, UNESCO Clubs, Centres and Associations, Associated Schools and Libraries, and by all those who feel motivated to work together in this world celebration of books and authors.

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UAE, Britian to co-produce Driver Dan’s “Story Train”

ABU DHABI, Mar. 31st, 2009: twofour54 ibtikar, the media industry funding and support pillar of twofour54 Abu Dhabi, has announced the signing of its first partnership deal, an agreement with 3Line Media of the United Kingdom to co-produce a fun, educational Arabic/English children’s series, �Driver Dan’s Story Train’. The series will debut in the spring of 2010 in the UK on the BBC’s flagship UK children’s channel CBeebies.

“With the deal to co-produce �Driver Dan’s Story Train’, twofour54 is taking its first steps towards establishing a sustainable media and content industry in the MENA region,” commented twofour54 CEO Tony Orsten. “The fact that we have already secured an agreement with one of the world’s leading children’s TV channels shows how great the programme is and we are sure it will be well received by Arabic TV channels throughout the MENA region.” �Driver Dan’s Story Train’ is an animation and live action television series developed to introduce young, pre-school age children to the delights of storytelling and reading books. The 52 x 11 minute episode series was created by well known British illustrator and children’s author Rebecca Elgar, and features a cast of animated animal characters who read and explore a different children’s storybook in each show.

twofour54 ibtikar will co-produce the series with 3Line Media, developing and producing the property for the Arabic speaking region, including sourcing and producing original stories from Arab authors. The format has been developed specifically to enable the programme to be localised for its viewing audience in each country. Rather than re-formatting or dubbing into Arabic, live action footage of actual children responding and play-acting to the story will be produced and will constitute a key part of the show format.

Arab animators who have been on vocational training courses at twofour54 tadreeb, the vocational training academy, will be given invaluable work placements and internships in order to gain hands-on experience working with 3Line in the UK. �Driver Dan’s Story Train’ will be produced using twofour54 intaj’s state of the art production and post-production facilities in Abu Dhabi, providing even more benefits to the Arab world.

“One of our objectives is to stimulate and produce high quality, original content for the MENA region and �Driver Dan’s Story Train’ offers us the opportunity not only to co-produce a delightful and distinctive new children’s property but also to directly develop its content in an appropriate direction for the region and its culture,” added Orsten. “Increasing and improving the levels of literacy amongst Arabic speaking children is a priority in many MENA countries and a TV show such as �Driver Dan’s Story Train’ is the perfect vehicle upon which to build an early reading programme.” Estelle Hughes, Director of 3Line Media and Executive Producer, said, “We are very excited to be working with twofour54 on �Driver Dan’s Story Train’ and are looking forward to collaborating with them to shape the project directly for the Arab world. It is well accepted in educational circles that introducing children to storybooks and reading at an early age is very important. The MENA region has one of the world’s fastest growing child populations with an increasing demand for relevant and high-quality children’s content.” “Storytelling-based properties such as �Driver Dan’s Story Train’ can play a major part in driving higher levels of reading and educational attainment as well as providing genuine entertainment to this new emerging children’s marketplace,” she added.

twofour54 ibtikar provides media and entertainment industry funding and support for start up and early stage businesses and individuals with creative ideas and a passion for success. As part of its investment strategy, twofour54 ibtikar has formed ibtikar kids, a kids IP (intellectual property) platform focusing on the pre-school and school age groups, a sector with enormous growth potential in the Middle East ‘&’ North Africa (MENA) region.

twofour54 ibtikar offers two sources of funding: ventures for entrepreneurs and businesses that need start-up, early stage or growth capital, business development and operational support; and creative lab grants for talent that would benefit from seed funding, development guidance and planning to get a great idea off the ground.
ibtikar ventures is the first dedicated MENA-based media and entertainment investment fund. It will target entrepreneurs and businesses from the region that are willing to be based at twofour54, with the aim of creating a thriving and diversified Arabic content creation sector serving the broader MENA region. Investments will range from $500,000 to $5 million.

In addition to financial support, ibtikar ventures will assist with business planning and provide ongoing mentoring, assistance with strategy and business development, finance, legal affairs and marketing support as required.

Launching later this year, ibtikar creative lab will provide grant funding on a not-for-profit basis. It will be the first creative ideas incubator focused on the media and entertainment sector in the MENA region. It will primarily provide grant funding to UAE Nationals, ranging from US$1,000 to US$50,000, for ideas across all media platforms demonstrating exceptional creativity and originality.

Alongside funding, ibtikar creative lab will also offer guidance and expertise to facilitate the development and execution of ideas, helping turn concepts into commercially viable propositions.

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World-class Lashings World XI launched in Abu Dhabi

ABU DHABI, Mar. 26th, 2009: The world-class Lashings World XI was launched Wednesday in a press conference at the Emirates Palace ahead of the Lashing’s Twenty20 Cricket Festival, which starts today Thursday.

The week long event which is being organized by the iconic Emirates Palace under the patronage of H.E Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak al-Nahyan forms part of efforts by Emirates Palace to support Abu Dhabi as the cultural centre of the Middle East and Emirates Palace as the flagship and iconic landmark of Abu Dhabi hosting prestigious sporting events to the ever growing cultural social calendar of Abu Dhabi.

The famous Lashings tour party is led by founder and chairman David Folb and comprises a constellation of international players who will enthrall cricket enthusiasts at the matches to be held on Emirates Palace lawn pitch between 26 and 29 March.

Folb expressed confidence that Lashing team would give a wonderful performance on the Emirates Palace East Lawn pitch which he described as more than wonderful.

“When you have Graeme Hick, Stuart Law, Saqlain Mushtaq, Devon Malcolm, Damien Martin and other internationals playing under the captaincy of Chris Harris, anything is possible,” he said.

The iconic Emirates Palace, with its magnificent setting and palatial back-drop, provides a world class wicket to host the Lashings World X1 team for the Second Annual Cricket Festival from March 24-31.

Commentary on the Lashing matches will be provided by world renowned veteran sports journalist Henry Blofeld (AKA Blowers) who is best known as a cricket commentator for the Test Match Specials on BBC, with more than 500 Test Matches to his credit. Blowers epitomizes the historical institution that is cricket and relays the game to his audience in a highly amusing manner.

World XI Abu Dhabi Teams
Lashings XI:
Alvin Kallicharran, Chris Harris, Adam Hollioake, Philp DeFreitas, Jimmy Adams, Devon Malcolm, Brendon Taylor, Chris Cairns, Chris Silverwood, Grant Flower, Graeme Hick, Rashid Latif, Marvan Atapattu and Ed Giddins.

Chairman’s XI: Saqib Ali, Alawi Shukri, Sajjad Ahmad, Arshad Ali, Amjad Javed, Irfan Haider, Khurram Khan, Mohammad Iqbal, Prasanth Braggs, Amjad Ali, Fayaz Ahmad, Haroon Iftiqar, Fahad Al Hashimi and Waqas Alwi.
The fixtures for the Lashings World XI matches which will all be 20/Twenty format, starting at 2pm daily, are as follows:

Thursday 26th March – LASHINGS WORLD CRICKET XI v Henry Blofeld Select XI Friday 27th March – LASHINGS WORLD CRICKET XI v ME Cricket Magazine Select XI Saturday 28th March – LASHINGS WORLD CRICKET XI v Emirates Palace XI Sunday 29th March – Emirates Palace XI v Media XI

History of Lashings

The Lashings cricket team’s began with a chance encounter in 1984, Maidstone-based businessman David Folb was in the Lashings Bar and Restaurant on a Saturday night when he heard about the plight of the nearby Minstrel Wine Bar’s cricket team, who had a match scheduled the following day but had just lost their opposition.

Not wanting to see them miss out on their Sunday afternoon fixture, Folb appointed himself captain and wicketkeeper, made a few calls and assembled an opposition.

A motley crew of customers, friends, solicitors, bank managers and even Lashings restaurant manager John Tobin (an Irishman who had never played cricket in his life, and indeed hasn’t since!) were roped in to play and appeared the following day in the less-than-idyllic surroundings of Mote Park. It wasn’t quite a dream start for Folb’s new venture though, as the team that were to become known as Lashings fell short by a mere 294 runs! However, the experience was enough for Folb’s band of merry men to catch the bug and soon there were enough personnel to be able to put out a village team on a regular basis for several years, eventually reaching the dizzy heights of the Maidstone and District Riverside League!

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21000 meters of LEDs Shipped for Dubai Metro

LightWild an architectural lighting company based in Overland Park Kensas USA, manufacturer making energy efficient LED lighting in commercial projects worldwide have shipped more than 21,000 meters of LED lighting to be used on the exterior of stations for Dubai Metro.

Overland Park-based LightWild said in a Wednesday release that the Dubai Metro system will be the longest fully automated rail system in the world, with more than 43 miles of line and 47 stations, including nine underground stations.

LightWild’s distributor in the United Arab Emirates, Gargash Lighting Systems LLC, supplied the accent lighting product for the Dubai Metro project, which is scheduled to begin operating in September

Systra was awarded the preliminary engineering contract, and a consortium of four companies headed by Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) is leading the project to build the first two lines of a high-tech driverless rapid transit system. Other consortium members include the Japanese Obayashi and Kajima corporations, and Yapi Merkesi of Turkey.

The Metro will be fully integrated within the network operated by the Roads & Transport Authority (RTA), a body created in 2005. Routes will be organised around the backbone provided by the rail system.

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Airlines around the world could lose $4.7B in 2009

International airlines may lose US $4.7 billion this year as a result of the global recession, according to the International Air Transport Association IATA.

Cuts in spending for individuals and a decline in production at factories has led to fewer airline passengers and less cargo being shipped around the world. Despite lower fuel prices than last year, airlines everywhere are struggling with sluggish demand.

The IATA, which represents 230 airlines, also raised its estimate of international airline losses in 2008 to $8.5 billion, from its previous $8 billion estimate.

The Swiss-based body said its latest forecast is based on a view that the economy and air transport demand will hit bottom by mid-2009 and then start to recover.

Leading airlines in USA and other countries have slashed fares to encourage continued travel and unveiled a range of cost-cutting measures to stay afloat throughout the economic slump.

The group predicts fares will stay low throughout the year while airlines compete for the business that remains until global economic activity rebounds.

Carriers in North America are expected to deliver the “best performance” among the world’s regions with an estimated $100 million profit, IATA said, crediting their strength to early capacity cuts and relatively little fuel hedging that has permitted them to benefit from sliding oil prices.

European carriers are expected to lose $1 billion in 2009 as a result of the recession that continues to drag down both economy and premium demand worldwide.

According to the IATA, international passenger demand fell 5.6 percent in January compared to the same month a year ago. The IATA’s February traffic figures are due to be released later this week.

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HH Sheikh Mohammad tours historic Bastikiya area in Dubai

Dubai, Mar. 22, 2009 (WAM) — Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and The Ruler of Dubai, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, toured the historic Bastikiya area on the Dubai Creek.

Sheikh Mohammed visited a number of cultural and heritage activities being organised by the “Dubai Culture and Arts Authority as part of the “Dubai Culture” project which was launched by Sheikh Mohammed last year.

The Dubai Culture project is aimed at transforming Dubai into arts and cultural landmark, Dubai’s forums and cultural centres to become centre of attraction for artists & culture lovers worldwide.

Sheikh Mohammed started the tour with a visit to the traditional community market where about 40 national families are showcasing their products, including handicrafts, local dishes and cuisine. He then moved to the art gallery hall where art works of more than 35 artists are on show.

Sheikh Mohammed expressed great admiration on some valuable paintings, which depict nature, environment and expressive humanitarian situations. He was also treated to international musical show by a German pianist, whose songs won the admiration of Sheikh Mohammed and many tourists who thronged the place.

Sheikh Mohammed also visited the international art stand of UAE fine artist, Fatima Lootah, who put on show some of her finest art works she had earlier showcased in Italy. Lootah briefed the Dubai Ruler about the meanings of her paintings, which reflect local environment, culture and heritage. He praised her for her international achievements and expressed great pride to see an Emirati artist reaching international stardom.

Sheikh Mohammed was accompanied on the tour by Minister for Cabinet Affairs, Mohammed bin Abdullah Al-Gergawi, Governor of the Dubai International Financial Centre, Dr. Omar Mohammed Ahmed bin Sulaiman, who is also the Managing Director of “Dubai Culture”, Director General of Dubai’s Department of Protocol and Guests, Khalifa Saeed Sulaiman and a number of UAE cultural personalities.

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Flydubai prepares its pilots and crew

Flydubai, Dubai’s first low-cost airline has annouced that it has completed the selection process of its air pilots and crew in preparation for the its launch.

The Flydubai Airline received more than 11,500 applications in the past few months from flight and cabin crew keen to join flydubai before its launch in a few months.

So far, 80 cabin crew have been appointed from the 3,500 applicants. The first group of 21 cabin crew and 24 captains are currently undergoing training in preparation for flydubai’s launch in a few months’ time.

Flydubai’s Routes will include destinations within four and a half hours’ flying time from Dubai. Flydubai will operate a fleet of new Next-Generation Boeing 737-800s, each with 189 economy class seats. The airline said it will announce details of its initial routes soon, it will operate from Dubai airport’s Terminal 2.

Kenneth Gile, flydubai’s chief operating officer, said he was satisfied with the pilots the airline has hired.

“On average, they each have more than 4,000 hours serving as captains in similar aircraft and a total experience of more than 8,000 flying hours – this is impressive by any standard. Candidate screening and selection is now complete and we thank Emirates for their valuable support, expertise and experience throughout this process,” he said in a statement.

Flydubai pilots include senior managers, chief pilots, chief technical pilots, director of flight operations and several certified type rating examiners (TRE), which represents the highest accomplishment a pilot can obtain.

“We have had a huge response from applicants who are keen to come and join us, which shows the excitement amongst flight crew at the prospect of joining a new and exciting airline and also demonstrates that Dubai is still seen as an attractive place to live and work. Flydubai aims to provide the best possible service and value to our customers and of course with the utmost of safety and professionalism, so we are especially pleased to have such experienced pilots on our team,” said Gaith Al Gaith, CEO of flydubai.

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Art Dubai To be Hed from 19th to 21st March

Dubai Art Dubai Festival will be held at from 19th March 2009 to 21st March 2009

Art Dubai has become a cornerstone of the Middle East’s booming contemporary art community. The 2009 fair will host nearly seventy leading international galleries in addition to a strong programme of artist’s projects including the launch of the Abraaj Capital Art Prize and the critically acclaimed Global Art Forum:3.

Fair Opening Hours:
Thursday 19th March – 16:00 – 21:00
Friday 20th March – 14:00 – 21:00
Saturday 21st March – 10:00 – 18:00


* Opening Times
* Art Park Talks
* Performances
* Book Launches + Signings
* START Workshops
* Public Tours


11.30 – 13.00 START Workshop, (Girls Only Sesssion) i-Film Art Dubai with Elhum Shakerifar.
Learn video camera skills & documentary film-making techniques, ages 10-13, START @ Barclays Wealth Learning Zone
12.00 – 12.30 Special Performance (For ladies only), Costume Drawings,Susan Hefuna, Terrace, Art Dubai
15.00 – 16.00 Young Persons’ Thinking Cloud: How do I become an Artist?
Panellists’ will include performance artists showcased at Art Dubai 2009, Young Associates & members of the Shaikha Manal Art Exchange Programme, Bidoun Lounge, Art Park
16.00 – 21.30

Vernissage of Art Dubai

17.00 Book Signing, Beirut Bereft, Architecture of the Forsaken and Map of the Derelict, Rasha Salti & Ziad Antar, Art Books
18.00 – 18:30 Book Launch, Third Text Asia, Bidoun Lounge, Art Park
18:15 – 18:45 Performance, traces, Joumana Mourad & IJAD Dance Company, Global Art Forum Tent
19:00 – 20.00

Art Park Talk, Processes and Production, Abraaj Capital Art Prize Panel, Bidoun Lounge, Art Park

20:15 – 21:15 Performance, The Inhabitants of Images, Rabih Mroué, premiere of new performance co-produced by Bidoun, Ashkal Alwan and Tanzquartier Wien, Bidoun Lounge, Art Park
20:30/ 22:00 Performance, Emelan, Kirstie Macleod, Madinat Beach, Art Dubai


11.00-12.00 Curatorial Workshop, Christine Tohmé, Sylvia Kouvali and other Bidoun curators discuss the formation of innovative exhibitions and projects in the Arab world. All curators, exhibition organisers and enthusiasts welcome, Bidoun Lounge, Art Park
13.00 – 15.00 START Workshop, Big Painting with Sacha Jafri & Tashkeel. Create a 6 foot painting with a large team, ages 3-18, START @ Barclays Wealth Learning Zone
15.30 – 17.30 START Workshop, The Boat Makers with Maitha bin Lahej & Noor Al Khaja. Decorate a full-scale boat and design the fabric sail, ages 9-18, Terrace
16.00-18.00 START Workshop, i-Film Art Dubai with Elhum Shakerifar.
Learn video camera skills & documentary film-making techniques, ages 10-13, START @ Barclays Wealth Learning Zone
16.00 – 21.00 Public Access to Art Dubai
17.00-17.45 Art Park Talk, Art in the Contemporary City-in-Flux: 98 Weeks, Beirut (Mirene Arsenios) and Kharita, Cairo (Shahira Issa), Bidoun Lounge, Art Park
17.30 – 18.00

Book Signing, Owning Art: A Collectors Handbook, Arabic edition, Judith Greer and Louisa Buck, published by ADACH

17:15 – 17:45 Performance, traces, Joumana Mourad & IJAD Dance Company, Global Art Forum Tent, Art Dubai
18.00 – 19.00 Public Tour of Art Dubai: Souk entrance *
18:00 – 20:30 Performance, Emelan, Kirstie Macleod, Art Park
18:00 – 18:30 Book Launch, Waves and Otherworldly Stories, Janet Bellotto, Bidoun Lounge, Art Park
18.00 Book Launch, Different Sames, New Perspectives in Contemporary Iranian Art, Madinat Beach
21.00 – 21.30

Book Launch, Ahmed Alsoudani, presented by Robert Goff, Bidoun Lounge, Art Park


13.00-15.00 START Workshop, Big Painting with Sacha Jafri & Tashkeel. Create a 6 foot painting with a large team, ages 3-18, START @ Barclays Wealth Learning Zone
14.00 – 21.00 Public Access to Art Dubai
14:00 – 17:00 Performance, In Determination, Monali Meher, Art Park
15.30 – 17.30 START Workshop, The Boat Makers with Maitha bin Lahej & Noor Al Khaja. Decorate a full-scale boat and designing the fabric sail, ages 9-18, Terrace
16.00 – 18.00 START Workshop, i-Film Art Dubai with Elhum Shakerifar. Learn video camera skills & documentary film-making techniques, ages 10-13, START @ Barclays Wealth Learning Zone
17:30 – 18:00 Performance, The Tabouli Performer, Roula Haj-Ismail, Bidoun Lounge, Art Park
18.00 – 19.00 Public Tour of Art Dubai: Souk entrance *
18:00 – 18:45 Book Launch, Presence, Lamya Gargash followed by a conversation with curator Tirdad Zolghadr, Bidoun Lounge, Art Park
19:00 – 20:00 Art Park Talk, Foundations: Who is supporting art production in the Gulf?, Bidoun Lounge, Art Park
20:15 – 21:15 Performance, The Inhabitants of Images, Rabih Mroué, premiere of new performance co-produced by Bidoun, Ashkal Alwan and Tanzquartier Wien, Bidoun Lounge, Art Park


10.00 – 18.00 Public Access to Art Dubai
10.30 – 11.15 Art Park Talk, Online Art Journals, Bidoun Lounge, Art Park
11.00 – 13.00 START Workshop, Stories & Film with Nayla al Khaja. Developing story boards and methods of performance for film, ages 6-14, START @ Barclays Wealth Learning Zone
11.30 – 12:00 Book Launch, AISH – Bread and Life presented by curator Gaia Simionati, Bidoun Lounge, Art Park
13.00 – 13.45 Art Park Talk, Art Production in Palestine, Bidoun Lounge, Art Park
13.00-15.00 START Workshop, Big Painting with Sacha Jafri & Tashkeel. Create a 6 foot painting with a large team, ages 3-18, START @ Barclays Wealth Learning Zone
14.00 Book signing, In Absentia, Tarek Al Ghoussein, hosted by The Third Line, Art Books
14:30 -15:15 Art Park Talk, Rami Farook, Director of Traffic, with designers James Clar & Katrin Greiling, discuss production design in the Gulf, Bidoun Lounge, Art Park
15.00 – 16.00

Public Tour of Art Dubai: Souk entrance *

15:30 – 16:15 Art Park Talk, Khatt Foundation – Typographic Matchmaking in the City V2.0 Project, with Huda Smitshuijzen AbiFarès, René Knip and Jeroen van Erp, Bidoun Lounge, Art Park
16.30 – 17.00 Art Park Talk, Richard Wagner and Adina Hempel – the Pr0gress studio, Bidoun Lounge, Art Park
17:15 – 17:45 Book Launch, The Conference of Birds, Farah Behbehani, Bidoun Lounge, Art Park

* Limited Numbers – to reserve a place please email Please meet at the Souk Entrance, Madinat Jumeirah ten minutes before the tour is due to commence.

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