Oman unveils preparations for Khareef Dhofar 2024 at ATM


DUBAI: As part of the Dhofar Governorate’s preparations for the launch of the Khareef Dhofar 2024 activities in cooperation with the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism to promote the tourism season, the Dhofar Municipality participated in the Arabian Travel Market 2024 exhibition.

The Khareef Dhofar saw an increase in visitors last season, with 962,000 visitors compared to 813,000 in 2022. This year’s visitor count is expected to exceed one million.

Dhofar Governorate is a leading tourist destination for visitors inside and outside the Sultanate of Oman.

During the Khareef Dhofar season, tourists enjoy an exceptional experience that includes nature, relaxation, shopping, entertainment, culture, tourism, and sports activities.

Dhofar Governorate boasts natural, tourist, and cultural heritage resources alongside ambitious plans to expand economic opportunities this season and the upcoming ones.

Dr Ahmed bin Mohsen Al-Ghassani, Chairman of Dhofar Municipality, stated during the press conference on the sidelin
es of the exhibition that this year’s activities would start early in conjunction with the astronomical beginning of the Khareef season on June 21 and will continue until the end of the Khareef season on September 20.

‘This will provide a three-month duration, double the period previously allocated for Khareef season activities.It is expected to attract more tourists over a longer period, increasing the governorate’s capacity to accommodate larger numbers and ensuring smoother traffic flow. Activities will be spread across existing and new locations, offering new, thrilling experiences.’

Source: Emirates News Agency

EPAA organises Sir Bu Nair Festival on May 17


SHARJAH: The Environment and Protected Areas Authority in Sharjah (EPAA) announced the completion of its preparations for organising the 24th edition of the annual Sir Bu Nair Festival on 17th-18th May, with distinguished participation from several government sector institutions in Sharjah.

The festival is organised by the EPAA, with the participation of the Sharjah Police General Command, Sharjah Media Council, Sharjah Government Media Bureau, Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority, Sharjah Broadcasting Authority, Sharjah Sports Council, in addition to Sharjah International Marine Sports Club.

Several government and private entities, represented by Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority, Sharjah Coop, Sharjah Driving Institute, and Zulal Water, provide support and sponsorship for this annual festival to ensure its optimal success.

Hana Saif Al Suwaidi, EPAA Chairperson, stressed the importance of cooperation between community institutions and individuals and the integration of capa
bilities and plans to enhance the environmental and tourism efforts undertaken by the Emirate of Sharjah.

She noted that the continuation of the festival to perform its educational and awareness message reflects the priority of environmental protection and biodiversity within Sharjah’s agenda and aspirations towards the environment and the conservation of marine and environmental heritage.

The festival will witness various activities and events, including sports competitions, tourist tours, training workshops, and heritage sessions, in addition to an accompanying exhibition and the presence of food trucks throughout Sir Bu Nair Island, and honouring the participating entities and institutions.

Source: Emirates News Agency

Saudi boosts local production of banana seedlings, supporting self-sufficiency, GDP growth


RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture (MEWA) has increased local production of banana seedlings through tissue culture and propagation of several varieties suitable for the Kingdom’s climate, especially in Jazan, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Wednesday.

This initiative is proof of the ministry’s commitment to supporting Saudi Vision 2030 through promoting self-sufficiency, contributing to GDP growth, and achieving sustainable development, as well as its focus on sustainable agriculture and food security.

The ministry’s centre for plant tissue culture and biotechnology has successfully cultivated high-quality, disease-free seedlings both in greenhouses and in open fields. This achievement has significant implications for the agricultural sector, as it boosts sustainability and productivity.

According to the ministry, local production attracts investors in tissue culture technology. This investment aims to intensify the production of all varieties with high nutritional
value, which leads to high economic return.

Importing seedlings incurs significant economic loss, of approximately 25 percent compared to the locally produced seedlings, the ministry said.

To address this issue, the ministry has launched the first phase of two initiatives: to plant 45 million fruit trees on agricultural terraces and four million lemon trees using renewable water by 2030. These initiatives are part of the Saudi Green Initiative, conducted in collaboration with private sector institutions and the Agricultural Development Fund.

The focus on local production, with a much lower predicted loss rate, promises a more sustainable and cost-effective approach to fruit cultivation, said the SPA report.

Source: Emirates News Agency

Khalifa University provides academic scholarships to its local, international students


ABU DHABI: Khalifa University of Science and Technology today announced its holistic academic and research offerings will have a far wider reach, becoming even more accessible to all students across the UAE, the region and globally, further strengthening the University’s status as a key contributor to the rapid transformation of the UAE’s human and intellectual capital.

As a consistently highly-ranked academic institution with an emphasis on research, innovation and enterprise, Khalifa University continues to spearhead creativity and collaboration nurturing tomorrow’s talent leaders through various initiatives.

Admissions for all students from around the world to Khalifa University is open until 30th April 2024.

Dr. Yousof Al Hammadi, Senior Vice-President, Academic and Student Services and Assistant Vice-President, Graduate Studies, Khalifa University, said, ‘Khalifa University provides the most appropriate learning environment while ensuring that its world-class academic, research and scholarship options
are available and accessible to more students in the region and across the world. This is in line with the UAE leadership’s directives and the objectives of UAE Vision 2030 towards contributing to developing human and intellectual capital for the UAE. Each of Khalifa University’s initiatives is geared towards achieving the most advanced solutions through scientific research, while simultaneously offering a platform for learning to as many students as possible, across the globe. In addition, as a highly-ranked international institution, Khalifa University continuously works towards providing highly diverse regional and international internships, as well as facilitating work opportunities.’

Students have access to dynamic internships and career opportunities across a wide spectrum of industries including the emerging space sector, metallurgical industries in aluminium and steel, and oil-and-gas and petrochemical sectors. Equipped with substantial technical skills and theoretical knowledge students are able to
present research projects at major international conferences and apply a broad range of technical and non-technical transferable skills, needed for successful careers and leadership roles in industry, business and government. Many graduates also have the option to pursue postgraduate study or research, earning their MSc or PhD, being well-prepared to embark on successful careers in Intelligent Systems and application of mathematical and statistical techniques to machine learning (ML).

Covering a broad range of disciplines in science, engineering, medicine and life sciences, the University continuously broadens the scope for world-class academics with unlimited research. Khalifa University remains top in the UAE in academic rankings and it also has the highest number of patents in the UAE.

Student-led clubs at Khalifa University promote creativity and collaboration, enriching the academic experience. These clubs cater to various interests, including arts, science, culture, and history, and provide a platform
for student advocacy and leadership development.

Source: Emirates News Agency

UAHR praises UAE President as a leader and role model for promoting peace and coexistence worldwide


GENEVA: The Union Association for Human Rights (UAHR) has commended President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan as a leader and role model for promoting peace and coexistence worldwide. It also noted His Highness’ role in advancing the UAE’s efforts to promote principles of human fraternity globally, solidifying its position as a leading hub for peace and human coexistence.

This came in UAHR statement which was delivered by Dr. Fatima Khalifa Al Kaabi, President of the UAHR, as part of the 8th item of the agenda of the United Nations Human Rights Council related to combating racism and racial discrimination, and following up on the implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (DDPA). This was within the framework of its participation in the 55th session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC55) held at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

As part of His Highness’ efforts, the statement highlighted that the UN General Assembly, backed by 34 nations, unanimously passed a resolution
designating the 4th of February annually as the International Day of Human Fraternity.

This coincides with the day on which His Eminence the Grand Imam, Professor Dr. Ahmed El-Tayeb, Sheikh of Al-Azhar, and His Holiness Pope Francis, Head of the Catholic Church, signed the Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together in Abu Dhabi in 2019, under the patronage and presence of President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Al Kaabi stressed the importance of working to combat racism and racial discrimination, promote the values of tolerance and coexistence, and reject hate speech. She also stressed the importance of evaluating the commitment of states and measuring the progress made in this regard.

UAHR called on the UN Human Rights Council to promote international efforts to eradicate racism and the associated racial discrimination that contradicts human values and principles, as well as the associated forms of intolerance and non-acceptance of others.

UAHR emphasised the sig
nificance of following the UAE’s example in promoting peace, tolerance, and cultural diversity. The UAE serves as a model for hosting over 200 nationalities living together harmoniously, experiencing justice, equality, and fair opportunities. The country’s overarching vision aims to establish global peace, tolerance, and human coexistence, fostering a worldwide environment that upholds justice and equality for all, free from discrimination.

Source: Emirates News Agency

India takes steps to enhance transparency in food safety standards


NEW DELHI: India has intensified the measures to ensure food safety standards across the country. The Food Safety and Standards Authority (FSSAI) said it has taken steps ‘to enhance clarity and transparency regarding the nature and functional properties of products, ensuring that consumers can make well-informed choices without encountering misleading information.’

This will have ramifications on food exporters worldwide, for whom India is a huge market both via retail shops sales within India and through e-commerce Food Business Operators (FBOs).

Exports and re-exports from global sources with labelling in English and other foreign languages are ubiquitous in high-end food markets in major Indian cities. These are also widely sold through e-commerce.

‘The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India has asked all e-commerce FBOs to ensure appropriate categorisation of food products being sold on their websites,’ India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said in an announcement today.

For example, the
FSSAI will henceforth strictly enforce a rule that the description ‘Energy Drink’ can be used only on products licensed under Food Category System ‘Carbonated and Non-carbonated water-based flavoured drinks’ standardised under ‘Caffeinated Beverage.’

Similarly, since the term ‘Health Drink’ is not defined or standardised by the FSSAI, those engaged in food business have been asked to ‘rectify misclassifications by removing or de-linking such beverages from the category of ‘Health Drinks/Energy Drinks’ and place such products in the appropriate category as provided under the extant law.’

The FSSAI has also advised FBOs that ‘Proprietary Foods’ are items that are not standardised in India’s Food Safety Standards.

These cover food additives, health supplements, nutraceuticals, food for special dietary use, food for special medical purposes, functional food, and novel food that use standardised ingredients.

Source: Emirates News Agency

MBRSG, APCO sign MoU to improve cooperation in GenAI, government communications


DUBAI: The Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government (MBRSG) and global advisory and advocacy firm APCO have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to enhance cooperation and exchange expertise in areas including generative AI (GenAI) and government communications.

MBRSG and APCO will collaborate on developing education and training programmes focusing on enhancing the communication skills of leaders and managers in the government sector. The parties will also explore the use of advanced technologies in research and employing GenAI in government communications.

Dr. Ali bin Sebaa Al Marri, Executive President of MBRSG signed the MoU together with Mamoon Sbeih, President of APCO in the Middle East and North Africa. It was signed in the presence of Dr. Arthur King, Acting Dean and Director of Academic Affairs at MBRSG.

Dr. Al Marri said, ‘This memorandum reflects the Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government’s commitment to capacity building to strengthen government work and enable public sector employees t
o effectively address challenges. Our work contributes to leadership excellence and supports the UAE’s development journey, elevating its regional and global standing. The school is focused on uniting its efforts with prestigious international institutions to exchange knowledge and expertise to enrich the knowledge of government personnel and enhance their communication skills based on the latest techniques and technologies.’

Under the MoU, the school will work with APCO Institute, the company’s training arm that is specialised in building strategic communications capabilities and empowering professionals with tools, knowledge, exposure and international best practices in media communications. The collaboration will provide training courses in strategic planning, government communication, crisis management, internal communication management and change management. The courses will equip leaders and spokespersons with skills to more effectively engage with international media, manage individual and institution
al reputation, as well as manage the building, operation, and transfer of ownership system in government communication departments.

Source: Emirates News Agency

Hamdan bin Mohammed grants golden visas to veteran imams, muezzins, religious scholars; disburses financial rewards on the occasion of Eid Al Fir


DUBAI: H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai, has issued an order to grant golden visas to imams, preachers, muezzins, Muftis, and religious scholars who have served in the emirate for more than 20 years.

H.H. also issued directives to provide them with financial rewards on the occasion of Eid Al Fitr. The decision is a gesture of appreciation for their efforts to share the teachings of Islam, spread its true message and promote the value of tolerance.

Source: Emirates News Agency

ITC enhances measures at Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque during Ramadan


ABU DHABI: The Integrated Transport Centre (ITC) of the Department of Municipalities and Transport (DMT) in Abu Dhabi intensified its efforts during the Holy Month of Ramadan to facilitate traffic flow and ensure the comfort of worshippers at Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. The ITC is dedicated to enhancing surveillance and inspection services and organising traffic movement.

The ITC has announced that during Ramadan, it will provide a team of 33 inspectors and supervisors between the north and south gates of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.

The ITC’s endeavours intensified during the last ten days of the holy month. The team expanded to include 43 inspectors and supervisors from 9:00 pm to 2:00 am, aiming to ensure the organised use of parking spaces and facilitate traffic flow.

Additionally, the ITC mentioned that worshippers and fasting individuals have been guided to the iftar and Taraweeh prayer locations with the assistance of inspectors in parking areas and tents. Arriving worshippers have been gradually direc
ted to park their vehicles in available spaces to guarantee a unique and smooth spiritual experience throughout the holy month.

In this regard, the ITC has allocated dedicated parking spaces for people of determination and senior citizens while organising vehicle distribution based on specific permits for each category. This ensures smooth movement for entry and exit points.

Through a set of procedures, the ITC monitors the roads surrounding the mosque and intersections using surveillance cameras and monitoring systems to ensure an immediate response to any congestion or traffic accidents.

Additionally, mobile electronic boards have been provided, and directional messages for visitor parking have been activated. Furthermore, messages on fixed electronic variable message signs (VMS) surrounding the mosque have been activated to guide and alert road users.

The ITC prioritises providing road service patrol and vehicle towing services, increasing routine surveillance patrols, and actively assisting in clearin
g traffic incidents around the mosque area during the Taraweeh prayers and the last ten days of Ramadan.

As for taxi services, the ITC provides over 100 taxis daily to meet the needs of visitors, with an increase in the number of taxis during the last ten days of the month to accommodate the growing demand.

Source: Emirates News Agency

Sharjah’s Shurooq completes expansion work at Kingfisher, Al Badayer eco retreats


SHARJAH: Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) continues its commitment to elevate the emirate’s stature as a globally distinctive tourist destination by announcing the completion of expansions for two flagship projects under the Sharjah Collection: The Kingfisher Retreat and Al Badayer Retreat.

These expansions are geared towards amplifying capacity and delivering unparalleled tourist experiences that seamlessly blend tradition with modernity, all while upholding principles of sustainability and environmental conservation.

Kingfisher Retreat has 20 new accommodations nestled in a unique mangrove ecosystem. Since its opening, the Kingfisher Retreat has been a popular family resort nestled amidst mangroves on an island off the east coast of Sharjah. The new expansion sees the addition of 20 tents, bringing the total count to 40. The expansion includes 6 one-bedroom tents, 8 two-bedroom tents, 5 three-bedroom tents, and one four-bedroom tent, catering to discerning guests seeking luxury and s
ustainability in their stay.

The new expansion features spacious areas tailored to meet guest needs, along with additional facilities such as a state-of-the-art health club and gym staffed with professional trainers, as well as dedicated spaces for children’s entertainment.

The island’s popularity amongst families draws from the fact that it has a working conservation centre, and is home to rare birds, gazelles, turtles and crabs. Several nature-inspired adventures can be crafted as per the desires of guests. From picturesque boat rides and kayaking to practising archery or going on nature walks to learn about the diverse local plant and wild species, the retreat is a haven of exploration.

For those seeking pure relaxation, a dip in the property’s pool, bicycle rides and unwinding by the bonfire under the starlight sky are great options. Children can enjoy the excitement of the Great Kingfisher Treasure Hunt, and everyone has the opportunity to learn about the ecosystem at the Mangrove Centre, where they c
an observe mangroves, birds, and marine life.

Al Badayer Retreat has 15 new tents to immerse in Sharjah’s desert. Renowned for its unique red dunes and awe-inspiring views, Al Badayer Retreat invites visitors on a journey into the traditional Emirati lifestyle. Set against the backdrop of the Al Badayer desert in Sharjah’s central region, it caters to adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers alike, offering an environment steeped in authentic local heritage.

With the addition of 15 new tents, the retreat now boasts a total of 25 luxury tents and 21 rooms, accommodating solo travellers, families, and groups of friends alike. The expansion includes 7 single tents, 5 two-bedroom tents, and 3 three-bedroom tents, all featuring luxurious design and comfort.

This expansion reflects Shurooq’s vision to offer diverse and distinctive tourist experiences that seamlessly integrate nature, culture and history. The architectural design of the project harmonises with the desert surroundings, elevating the luxury and soph
istication of the five-star Al Badayer Retreat, while reflecting Arab and Emirati identity with modern and elegant touches.

Commenting on the expansions, Ahmed Obaid Al Qaseer, CEO of Shurooq, emphasised, ‘We prioritise ecotourism as a cornerstone of our strategy to develop the tourism sector in Sharjah and enhance its reputation as a globally diverse and unique destination. We meticulously monitor all our destinations to understand market needs and expectations, enabling us to continuously enhance our projects to the highest quality and sustainability standards. With a noticeable surge in demand for coastal and desert ecotourism experiences, catering to visitors of all ages seeking luxurious and comfortable stays while immersing in the culture and nature of the UAE.”

He further added, ‘Based on our analysis and visitor interests, we have expanded Al Badayer Retreat and Kingfisher Retreat, two of our most prominent luxury tourism projects, to accommodate more visitors and meet their evolving needs, providin
g an experience that seamlessly intertwines authenticity, heritage, modernity, and sustainability. These expansions, coupled with ongoing enhancements to our other projects, reiterate Sharjah’s allure as an investment and tourist destination within the UAE and internationally, cementing its position as a leading destination in the region and beyond.’

Source: Emirates News Agency

MoFA receives credentials copy from new Ambassador of Solomon Islands to UAE


ABU DHABI: Saif Abdulla Alshamisi, Assistant Undersecretary for Protocol Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, received a copy of the credentials of Cornelius Walegerea, Ambassador of the Solomon Islands to the UAE.

He wished the new Ambassador success in the performance of his duties and in enhancing bilateral relations and cooperation between the UAE and his country.

The newly appointed Solomon Islands Ambassador expressed his pleasure at representing his country in the United Arab Emirates, which enjoys a prestigious regional and international position under the visionary policy of President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Source: Emirates News Agency

Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi receives Crown Prince of Dubai


ABU DHABI: H.H. Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, has received H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai, today at Al Bateen Palace, where they engaged in warm discussions about the importance of promoting community ties and Emirati values of compassion and generosity during Ramadan.

Their Highnesses and accompanying guests offered prayers for the enduring health and wellness of our leadership on this occasion, and to uphold the blessings of security, stability, and ongoing prosperity of our nation, under the guidance of President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Their Highnesses, joined by sheikhs, guests and the crowd of well-wishers, performed the Maghrib prayer. Following the prayer, they attended the Iftar banquet hosted by H.H. Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Together, they prayed for the continuance of
these blessed days for the United Arab Emirates, and for the prosperity and welfare of both its leadership and its people. Their Highnesses also exchanged heartfelt wishes for the long-lasting prosperity and blessings of Arab and Islamic nations worldwide.

Source: Emirates News Agency