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At the Top of the World

At the Top of the World

burjThe unveiling of the Burj Khalifa was an unforgettable night by all accounts.

It was more than just the opening of a building; it was a night for the Nation to come together in mutual love and respect for the visionary leadership that has made UAE the country that it is today.  Standing beneath the tower as flashes of multicolored lights showed off the enormous stature of the world’s greatest architectural marvel, it was a moment in time that will always be remembered as a pinnacle of humankind’s ingenuity and ambition.

An estimated two billion people around the world watched live TV coverage of the inauguration, which coincided with the fourth anniversary of the succession of Sheikh Mohammad as ruler of Dubai.  The value of the tower’s residential units has been skyrocketing in recent months, although much of the space was sold years ago to developers across the globe.  If you haven’t seen the building yet, definitely make it a point to drop by and see the view from the top of the world.

Posted in Inside UAE, Real Estate and Construction, Tourism and HospitalityComments (30)

First-ever Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Patrons of the Arts awards by Dubai Culture to honour path-breaking arts patronage

First-ever Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Patrons of the Arts awards by Dubai Culture to honour path-breaking arts patronage

Awards launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum

Initiative to recognize and support the cultural sector of the UAE and the region

To catalyse development of art education initiatives, funds and infrastructure

Four categories of awards for art patronage to be presented during Art Dubai 2010 Read the full story

Posted in Art & Design, Entertainment & Culture, Featured, Inside UAE, PR 2.0Comments (0)

Crisis Management key issue as sixth Middle East Public Relations Congress begins in Dubai

Crisis Management key issue as sixth Middle East Public Relations Congress begins in Dubai

Attendance numbers exceed projections as representatives from local and multi-national organizations kick off week-long forum

Mr. Kosta Petrov, Conference Director for IIR Middle East

Mr. Kosta Petrov, Conference Director for IIR Middle East

Panel discussions began today for the oldest and one of the largest public relations conferences in the region, the Middle East Public Relations Congress.  Produced by IIR Middle East and in association with Dubai Media City and supported by the Middle East Public Relations Association (MEPRA), the annual event is the most powerful PR networking and evaluation platform in the Middle East. Read the full story

Posted in Inside UAE, Media & Marketing, O2, PR 2.0 Members, Social MediaComments (0)

CDA to join hands with UN in promoting human rights

CDA to join hands with UN in promoting human rights

Receives the United Nations Special Rapporteur

The Community Development Authority (CDA) discussed partnering with the United Nations to promoting a culture of respect for human rights and steps to be taken by Dubai to further strengthen its role as a key ally in the global fight against violation of human rights. Read the full story

Posted in CSR, Environment, Inside UAEComments (0)

Hayes trio complete epic Greenland trek

Hayes trio complete epic Greenland trek

greenlandSOURCE: The National - read full article here

July 27th 2009: Perhaps the last thing Adrian Hayes, Derek Crowe and Devon McDiarmid were expecting when they finally battled their way to the remote finish line of their epic two-month trek across Greenland’s barren ice cap was a reception committee – but that’s what was awaiting them on the shore of MacCormick Fjord in the small hours of yesterday. The Dubai-based British explorer and his Canadian companions completed their mission to highlight the perils of global warming at 4am UAE time yesterday morning, while the Emirates slept. After 67 days spent trekking and kite-skiing across the testing terrain of the threatened Greenland ice cap, they successfully descended the rubble-strewn glacial moraine that was the last barrier between them and the lapping waters of Baffin Bay.

There, exhausted but jubilant after their journey of 4,262 kilometres, which began on May 22, they made camp for the last time and awaited pick up by boat, despatched from the town of Qaanaaq, 50km away. That was when they saw them. “There is a little hut here and, because it is summer, a couple of Greenlanders are here hunting and fishing,” said Hayes, speaking to The National last night by satellite telephone from six time zones away. “They saw us and came round on their boat to say ‘hi’

They were looking at us coming down the mountain and thinking, ‘Where are these guys coming from?’. When we told them we’d come from the southern tip of Greenland via the Arctic Ocean at the top, they just shook their heads. They looked at us with disbelief, but we looked at them with disbelief as well. Human beings!”

The three men are due to fly out from Qaanaaq today, but they are grateful that the boat was not due to collect them until late last night, giving them time to pause and “decompress” before being thrust back into the hurly-burly of everyday life.

It is fine by us,” said Hayes. “The worst thing would be to come down the mountain after yesterday’s events and go straight into town.”

The dramatic 12km descent was “one challenge we knew was coming” but “I don’t think any of us was quite prepared for this being a 13-hour hike, going through massive boulders, sledges getting stuck, trying to haul them out.

“It was quite a tiring day, to be honest, over the most horrendous terrain you could imagine.”

At the bottom, however, the men were rewarded by “this spectacular location. We can’t keep our eyes off it; glaciers in the background, a beautiful fjord and water, with meadows of grass and flowers. You never look at moss with such affection back at home.”

Hayes paid tribute to his two fellow explorers. The success of the Emirates NBD Greenland Quest, of which The National has been the media partner, was “a testament to our planning, preparation and gear and how well we’ve worked together as a team”.

The main purpose of the trip had been to raise awareness about the perils of global warming, but the men also had a practical mission. Throughout the trip they have daily measured the depth of the snow cover of the ice cap down to hard ice, providing scientists studying global warming with invaluable data about precipitation in the Arctic that cannot be gathered by any other means. Every five days, they also measured the density of the snow, adding to the picture.

“In simple terms,” said Hayes, “the ice is melting and a load of water is pouring off into the sea every year. The question is, how much is being replaced by natural precipitation from the sky?”

The data the team has gathered will form part of a paper being prepared by Dr Sebastian Mernild, a polar climatologist and expert in glaciology at the International Arctic Research Centre at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. It will be presented at COP 15, the UN climate-change conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, in December.

“Greenland is just one focal point for the whole message, but I think it’s a pretty powerful one,” said Hayes. “This country, this place, more than any other on Earth, is the manifestation of the effects of global warming.”

The expedition had reached its first goal, JP Kocks Fjord, on the shore of the Arctic Ocean at Greenland’s most northerly point, on day 46. A sight seen by very few human beings before, it had, said Hayes, affected them all profoundly.

“All three of us, when we saw this frozen paradise, we couldn’t take our eyes off it. That touches you, and I hope the photographs that Derek Crowe took will make an impact and touch other people.”

Hayes plans to spend some time relaxing with his wife, Dawn, and children Alexander, 10, and Charlotte, 8, in the UK before returning to Dubai, probably at the end of August.

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Emirates ‘disappointed’ with Canada move

Emirates ‘disappointed’ with Canada move

emirates-airlinesSOUCE: Emirates Business 24/7

July 27th -Dubai’s Emirates airline has said it is “disappointed” by the Canadian Government’s decision of not allowing it greater access to that country’s various destinations and that its services to Canada are “restricted to only three flights per week”.

Media reports in Canada claim that Canadian “transport officials have been quietly undermining plans by one of the world’s biggest airlines [Emirates] to expand service to Toronto.”

A report published in Canadian media over the weekend claimed that a publication possesses documents that prove the above.

“In private briefings, Transport Canada officials have gone on the offensive against Emirates airlines’ request for greater access to the Canadian market, charging that the Middle Eastern carrier is ‘an instrument of government policy’ and is heavily subsidised by the public purse,” the report said.

Emirates, on the other hand, has termed the Canadian Government’s decision to not allow it greater access to that market as “unfortunate”.

“Unfortunately the Canadian Government has stated it does not see the need for more services. We are disappointed by this response and are working hard to convince our many friends in Ottawa on the case for more business between Dubai and Canada via a progressive increase in services,” an Emirates spokesperson said.

“Emirates is currently restricted to only three flights per week between Dubai and Canada

“Our services to Toronto have been thriving in the first year and it is our desire to fly to Canada more often,” he said.

“At the very least we seek to offer our business and leisure travellers a daily service to Toronto in the near future. We would also like to sensibly grow our flights to more Canadian cities such as Calgary and Vancouver, in the same way that we have enhanced other markets such as Australia, Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom.”

The airline has also said its increased operations into Canada would not negatively impact the Canadian flag-bearer Air Canada.

“Emirates’ operations to Toronto would not significantly impact on Air Canada’s traffic, which Air Canada currently carries indirectly in co-operation with principally its Star Alliance members, between Toronto and Emirates’ points in the Middle East, Africa and South Asian Subcontinent,” said the spokesperson.

“Given the enormous strength of the Star Alliance’s and, by implication, Air Canada’s market position in the relevant markets as well as globally, an Emirates’ daily flight to Toronto would not pose any competitive threat to either Air Canada or the Star Alliance.

“Emirates believes that its operations to Toronto, whether with the current three or the sought seven, or even more, weekly flight frequencies, will not be at the expense of Air Canada,” he added.

“There is no direct competitive overlap between Emirates and Air Canada, since Air Canada does not currently operate its own services to the UAE or to any points in the Middle East, Africa or the South Asian Subcontinent,” he said.

On the other hand, the airline reiterated that Air Canada benefits from Emirates’ operations. “Air Canada benefits from the significant amount of traffic brought in by Emirates’ flights to Air Canada’s domestic and North American network system. Such traffic, and thus benefits to Air Canada, would grow significantly with an increase in Emirates’ flight frequency from the current three to seven weekly flights.

“Emirates lays particular emphasis on generating new demand, and not on redistributing the existing traffic. Emirates would welcome Air Canada, alongside an Emirates’ daily non-stop service to Toronto, between any point(s) in Canada and Dubai,” he said.

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DU secures 30% share of the UAE mobile phone market a year ahead of its plan

DU secures 30% share of the UAE mobile phone market a year ahead of its plan

duSOURCE: Khaleej Times

27 July 2009 DUBAI - A surge in the number of new subscribers contributed to record second-quarter earnings for du, the country’s No. 2 telecom operator, with the company claiming on Sunday to have secured a 30 per cent share of the UAE mobile phone market a year ahead 
of its plan.

Du, which launched operations in 2007, posted Dh242 million in net income before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization for the April-June quarter. The result marked a 52 per cent increase over the comparable income figure for the first quarter and a 734 per cent jump from the second quarter of 2008, du’s first full year 
of operations.

Du took a provision for a 50 per cent royalty fee it expects to have to pay to the government. Its second-quarter net income, after this provision, improved to Dh115.3 million, more than double its Dh47 million net income for the first quarter and a turnaround from a second-quarter loss of Dh44 million in 2008, the company said in a statement.

Osman Sultan, du’s Chief Executive Officer, said in a statement that the operator’s launch this spring of its first post-paid billing service helped propel its growth.

Sleiman Aboulhosn, an analyst at Abu Dhabi-based Prime Emirates, told Reuters that du’s quarterly profit was ahead of his estimates, as revenue per available user (ARPU) picked up by 5 per cent in the second quarter after dropping by 14 per cent in the first quarter and after du’s main competitor Emirates Telecommunications Corporation, or etisalat, lost 
80,000 subscribers.

“People are starting to realise the value du is offering … In these times people want to cut costs and focus on expenses,” Aboulhosn said, referring to cheaper international and local calls offered by the Dubai-based operator.

Du’s revenues in the second quarter rose to Dh1.31 billion, up by 12 per cent from the first quarter and 44 per cent higher than the same period last year. The company attributed this revenue growth in particular to a continued increase in mobile subscribers and a strong performance from its wholesale business.

The firm’s number of mobile subscribers in the second quarter increased to 2.9 million following a net addition of 155,900 subscribers at a time when mobile subscriber growth in the UAE slowed amid the economic downturn. 

“Having already reached our target of 30 per cent market share one year ahead of schedule, we are now working towards capturing 35 per cent of the market in 2010.  However, we do expect to be operating in challenging times for the next one or two quarters,” du Chariman Ahmed bin Byat said in
the statement.

Du’s shares closed 4.8 per cent higher at Dh2.82 on the Dubai Financial Market following the announcement.

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join-facebookFacebook has once again shown its continuing popularity as another world leader jumped on the bandwagon. Just weeks ago, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai created a Facebook Page, whereby friends and family and even the public can write on his wall, view old and recent photos of him as well as find out more about his interests and hobbies. His Highness is one of many political leaders who are now using Facebook as a means of communicating with the public. 

SOURCE: 7-Days -  Facing up to a new world - Read Full Article Here

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UAE becomes first developing country to host a major international organisation

UAE becomes first developing country to host a major international organisation

masdarIt’s official, Abu Dhabi will soon be the home of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), despite bids from Germany and Austria. IRENA’s new home will be located in Masdar City, the world’s first carbon neutral, zero waste city which will be completely powered by renewable energy. Support for the IRENA Headquarters in UAE came from across the Arab World and included the Arab League, the Organisation of the Islamic Conference as well as from the north and south countries and the non-aligned movement. The agency, which was established in Germany in January 2009, has high hopes of overseeing and contributing to the next generation of energy. With its mandate coming from its 129 member countries, IRENA is expected to help industrialised and developing countries improve their regulatory frameworks and build capacity for renewable energy. It is hoped that the presence of IRENA in the UAE will also help bring increased environmental awareness to the region, which has the world’s biggest per capita emissions of CO2.

SOURCE:  Gulf News -  UAE wins bid to host Irena HQ - Read full story here

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$70 for jewel-encrusted brand of mineral water

$70 for jewel-encrusted brand of mineral water

blingThe general consensus by Doctors is that we should aim to drink around 1 to 2 litres of water a day. Whilst many of us may consume tea, coffee, juices and soda to get our daily intake of fluids, water is by far the best drink. It can aid weight loss, lower the risks of a heart attack, give increased energy, cure headaches, give the skin a radient natural glow as well as cleansing the body and flushing out toxins. Here in the UAE, where most people drink bottled water, prices of a 1 litre bottle of water range for AED 2 for a bottle of Arwa or Aquafina to AED 8 for a bottle of Evian. Yet, as of August, a new brand of water will be available - Bling H20. This new brand of water comes in a glitzy bottle encrusted with jewels and costs US$70. Yet, for the exact same price one could buy the equivelant of 130 1 litre bottles of Awra or 32 1 little bottles of Evian. If you live in the US it’s even cheaper, with the average cost of water costing about $1.50 for 1,000 gallons.

Yet, despite the cost, $1.50 - $70, over 1 billion people in the developing world still do not have access to clean drinking water and a staggering 1.4 million children die each year because the water they drink is dirty, that’s over 5,000 deaths a day. However, despite the awful statistics, there is something we can do, we can support the thousands of NGO’s and indviduals who are raising awareness about this issue and help raise funds to pay for the projects they are establishing. For, Global Water, an International Non Profit Organisation, children in rural villages throughout the world are benefiting from their water projects. For as little as AED 8,000, the NPO, for example, can dig a well at a rural school in Nicaragua and provide clean drinking water to over 1,000 students.

SOURCE: 7-days - A real thirst - Read full story here

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