Nov 27, 2010

Cruise control

It’s been 60 years since the Land Cruiser hit the UAE’s shores, so Toyota thought it would do something special by offering the 60th Anniversary edition

In the UAE the Land Cruiser has taken on a symbolic, almost mythical role. Unlike the Ford Model T in America or the Fiat 500 in Italy, this mobiliser of the people had to be something sturdy and was able to navigate the dunes of the UAE. The Land Cruiser was it. There were of course other four-wheel-drive vehicles before the Land Cruiser, but in keeping with the Model T and 500, the Cruiser was more cost effective than its rivals and was extremely easy to mend.

The Land Cruiser phenomenon took off wherever there was a harsh climate or terrain to battle against and where there were a significant amount of people who needed to get around quickly. Whilst these elements are not unique to the UAE, it was here that the car gained a substantial foothold and why Toyota felt it necessary to celebrate this auspicious anniversary.

The 60th Anniversary edition Land Cruiser comes in VXR-i and GXR-i grades with the unique specifications for enhanced passenger comfort and safety. These include a special 60th Anniversary emblem throughout the interior and exterior and LED daytime running lights, among others. The GXR-i version also benefits from a rear view camera displayed on the driver’s interior rear mirror. In addition, the VXR-i models also feature a rear dual DVD entertainment system and a powerful new 5.7-litre engine, delivering 362 horsepower, alongside the well proven 4.7-litre engine.

Driving the Land Cruiser is like buying into this country’s history. It is now more an opulent family car than anything else, but still possesses that rugged appeal, which means it is just as comfortable bouncing through the desert as it is on Sheikh Zayed Road.

Motoring along the highway is like piloting a palace on wheels. Every whim and fancy is taken care of by some gadget to enhance the pleasure of driving this ‘king of the road.’ Sat behind the wheel, the driving position is magnificent. Placed above anything else on the road, safety aspects rarely enter your mind, being encased in the car’s rock solid body.

The gutsy engine makes every journey a dream. Hearing the roar as you fire the Land Cruiser up or go to overtake someone makes popping out for that bottle of milk you forgot worth it.

Inside, space is the overwhelming feature of the car. If you’ve got a large family, or just want loads of space for your small one, this is the car for you. The comfortable seats coax you into the car and the entertainment features, that can be mastered with only a couple of minutes familiarisation, will want to keep you there.

Overall, there’s nothing that can be said about the Land Cruiser that hasn’t been said a million times, but the 60th Anniversary edition manages to go above and beyond the norm.

Al-Futtaim Motors’ commemorative 60th Anniversary GXR-i range is available from Dhs205,000 while the VXR-i range starts at Dhs273,000.

ETISALAT Chairman Named World CEO 2010

Abu Dhabi - Mohammed Omran has been named the World CEO of the year 2010 at the World Communication Award Ceremony in the UK.

Omran leads ETISALAT, to be one of the largest telecommunications companies in the world with a market value of approximately $25 billion, AED 30.8 billion in revenues and 100 million active subscribers around the globe.

Omran has worked for ETISALAT over three decades and served in many different positions until he became the Chairman of ETISALAT in 2005. From his current position he has overseen many of the company’s major achievements and, today is considered one of the key decision makers in the telecommunications sector in the region. Omran has led ETISALAT into new markets through a set of expansions and global investments in Asia and Africa.

The World Communication Awards recognise the companies and individuals responsible for the innovations, achievements and great new services that are helping to build tomorrows industry. It is widely recognised as the most trusted and global industry event of its kind in the communications industry. Over 500 influencers and decision-makers, CEOs and senior executives attended the event.

Under his leadership ETISALAT, has positioned itself among the best international service operator in the world and achieved a solid financial and operational presence in more than 18 countries.

A global player and a leader in the latest technology and innovation, ETISALAT has leapfrogged the legacy and shaped the way people use the telecommunications service. Deploying the best technology, state of art infrastructure and international best practice, ETISALAT customers base have reached unprecedented growth to reach 2,500 per cent in less than five years.

Commenting on the award, Omran stated, ‘we are honoured by this award to commemorate our successes throughout these years. We are lucky to be part of the new digital era and the new platform that enable us to deliver state of art services to our customers, stakeholders and employees. Leadership and risk-taking are at a premium but the right choices and world class execution can generate lucrative returns.’

He stated, people are always the key and ‘at ETISALAT we are lucky to have a wealth of outstanding executive talent. There has never been a better time for innovative executives to work at ETISALAT and to build the telecommunications businesses of the future. ETISALAT believes, however, that many of our challenges are common to all of us but if we work hard and make good decisions, we can be global leaders of the next media generation.’

A several awards winner, Omran received numerous personal recognitions including national, regional and international awards most recently being named Best Chairman at the International Business Awards in 2010 and regarded as the ‘most powerful’ man in the Middle East telecoms sector according to Comms MEA magazine. Omran received an Engineering Degree in Electronics and Communications from Cairo University, Egypt, in June 1977.

UAE, UK renew friendship treaty

Queen Elizabeth on Thursday attended the UAE-UK Partnership Ceremony hosted by the British Embassy in the UAE at the Emirates Palace.

UAE Foreign Minister Shaikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and the British Foreign Secretary William Hague signed the ‘Abu Dhabi Declaration 2010’ during the ceremony, reaffirming the UAE-UK Friendship treaty signed in 1971 that asserted that the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom will, in times of need, consult each other on matters of mutual interest, will promote educational, scientific and cultural cooperation and will recognise close and outstanding trade relations. The President, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, meanwhile, met Queen Elizabeth at Al Mushrif Palace. Shaikh Khalifa welcomed Queen Elizabeth and said that the royal visit to the UAE would further enhance historic relations between the UAE and the UK.

Shaikh Khalifa expressed appreciation of the role played by Queen Elizabeth in strengthening bonds of friendship between the two countries. He added that the UAE was looking forward to further cooperation with the UK in all fields.

He also said that the UAE was honoured with Queen Elizabeth’s visit, and wished her good health and further progress and prosperity to the UK. Shaikh Khalifa hosted a luncheon in honour of Queen Elizabeth and her accompanying delegation.

Queen Elizabeth said she was honoured to visit the UAE and praised the achievements made by the country, thanks to the vision of its leadership. She expressed the hope that the UAE will make further progress under the leadership of Shaikh Khalifa.

The Queen, who later left for Britain, was seen off by Shaikh Khalifa and General Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. At the Partnership Ceremony, Shaikh Abdullah endorsed the comments of the British foreign secretary about the strength and vitality of the partnership between the UAE and the UK. “I am delighted to see gathered here today so many British people who live and work in the UAE and who make such an extraordinary contribution to our society,” he said.

Addressing the Queen, Shaikh Abdullah continued: “Your Majesty, many aspects of the UAE have no doubt changed greatly since you were last here, in 1979”.

“Nevertheless, I feel certain that you will encounter the same warm welcome, the same spirit of enterprise and innovation, and the same openness to visitors from all over the world. And I am equally sure that you will witness the same unique relationship that the UAE has always had with the British government and people”, he added.

“My late father Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founder and former President of the UAE, signed the Treaty of Friendship with Britain in December 1971,” Shaikh Abdullah recalled.

Since that time, British people have been working closely with the UAE and its citizens to harness the potential of our natural resources and to contribute to the development of our country, laying the foundations for its economic success, he stressed.

And this is by no means a one-way relationship. The UAE has been making a growing contribution to economic and social life in Britain, Shaikh Abdullah added.

Shaikh Abdullah said: “Your Majesty, we continue to build on these strong foundations and I am confident that the partnership between our countries will scale even greater heights. Whether in trade or energy, in defence or security, in culture, education or sport, in humanitarian work or promoting peace between nations, the potential is enormous”.

“And it is because of this potential and the special bond between our people that I too am proud to sign in your presence the 2010 Abu Dhabi Declaration, reaffirming the 1971 Treaty of Friendship and further cementing the partnership between the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom,” Shaikh Abdullah stressed.

In his address, the British Foreign Secretary noted that the signing of the ‘Abu Dhabi Declaration 2010’ comes almost 40 years after the signature of the original Treaty earlier in 1971 thus reaffirming that “we stand together to recommit ourselves to the relationship between our two countries”.

Noting that he has signed the declaration with Shaikh Abdullah in the presence of the Queen, William Hague said: “Britain and the United Arab Emirates share a friendship that is rooted history and reinforced by common interests, mutual respect, and daily contact between our peoples. A million British citizens visit the UAE ever year, and over 100,000 enjoy the benefits of living and working in your country.”

Tens of thousands of Emiratis have completed their studies in the UK or are doing so at this very moment, and many others are regular and valued visitors to our shores, he noted.

“Our militaries fight side by side in Afghanistan and our law enforcement officials work closely together, contributing to our mutual security. And we enjoy flourishing economic and commercial ties which we greatly value in the United Kingdom and which contribute to the prosperity of both our countries,” Hague said.

“I commend to Your Majesty and to Your Royal Highnesses all that has already been achieved between our two great nations and to realise the vision of the UAE’s founding fathers”, he added.

“Today’s Declaration celebrates the enormous untapped potential in our future relations”, he stressed.

Hague congratulated the DP World on its investment in the London Gateway project and welcomed Thursday’s unveiling of the design for the Shaikh Zayed National Museum, an exciting collaboration between the Abu Dhabi government, Foster + Partners Architects and the British Museum.

“The British government is committed to a relationship with the UAE that is based on friendship, trust and equal partnership. I am confident that this Declaration will usher in a future in our relations that is yet more glowing and successful, to the benefit of our all citizens,” Hague stressed.

Queen Elizabeth, His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum,



Queen Elizabeth, His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, General Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and Prince Philip arrive for the inauguration of Zayed National Museum construction at Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi on Thursday

Driver collects Dh82,000 fines in UAE


Dubai: A 22-year-old Emirati driver who has accumulated speeding fines of Dh75,000 in Dubai and Dh7,000 in other emirates vowed to mend his ways and regrets his failure to control his urge for speed.

The driver identified only as M.A. accumulated the fines between 2008 and 2009, according to police sources.

He was also involved in a serious accident eight months ago that left him with a fracture in his spine and injuries to the leg. His injuries were so severe that he cannot drive anymore.

Grave injuries

M.A.'s car was also facing a 510-day impoundment, but the penalty was reduced to 255, according to police sources.

"I sympathised with his situation and decided to reduce the duration of impoundment by half, especially that he sustained grave injuries from his accident. But that doesn't mean that his reckless driving wasn't wrong," said Major General Mohammad Saif Al Zafein, Director of the General Traffic Department at Dubai Police.

The driver owned a Nissan Patrol car which was worth Dh188,000, but he had its engine modified to increase its speed costing him an additional Dh200,000.

"I took a loan worth of Dh300,000 in order to install parts which will allow my car to drive at a very high speed. I regret the decision now after what happened to me, I could have invested the money in better things," said M.A, who is a government employee.

The driver also admitted that he started driving at 15, even before reaching the legal driving age.

"I used to race around with my friends in areas such as Al Warqa, I lost half of my friends due to car and motorcycle accidents. I almost lost my own life with my last accident. I wasn't wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident."

Abu Dhabi Police begins online service to issue good conduct certificate

Abu Dhabi: The ID card holders no longer need to visit the offices of Abu Dhabi police to apply for good conduct certificate, but it can be done online, the police said in a statement on Saturday.

The ID card holders in all three regions in the emirate - Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Western Region - can log on to www.adpolice.gov.ae and apply for good conduct certificate with immediate effect.

Captain Sultan Al Tunaiji, the head of fingerprints section at Abu Dhabi Police said that the initiative is part of Abu Dhabi Police's strategy to make the transactions easier for the public. The applicants can complete the process online by giving all the required information, he said.

The police will process the application the next day and send an SMS to the applicants, Tunaiji said. The applicants can collect the certificate from the nearest police station as mentioned in the SMS, the officer said.

The applicants have to give either ID card number or passport number and mobile phone number, and upload the copy of the passport or ID card and photo with the online application, he said.

The fingerprints of the applicants will be verified with the finger prints stored on the Emirates Identity Authority (EIDA) system to check the clean record of the applicant, Al Tunaiji said.

About 2,600,0000 fingerprints have been registered with the EIDA system, which will be accessible to Abu Dhabi Police, he said.

About half of them have been uploaded to Abu Dhabi police system and the rest of them will be uploaded within a few days, Al Tunaiji said.

The certificate can be used for all official purposes, the said.

The certificate can be obtained on the same day, if the applicant pays an extra amount.

It will be issued in either English or Arabic as per the choice of the applicant.

An extra amount has to be paid for the translated version of the certificate .

Those who have left the country can take the printout of the application from the website, fill it out and send to Abu Dhabi police by post with required documents. (Adress: P.B. 253, Abu Dhabi Police, Abu Dhabi, UAE).

Apart from the required fee, the applicant has to pay Dh20 extra for postal charges for the certificate to be sent by post.

The Police have set up 11 centres across the emirate – seven in Abu Dhabi, three in the western region and one in Al Ain - to deal with the applications.

Abu Dhabi to host food safety conference


Abu Dhabi: The capital will be hosting from December 14-16 the first dedicated food security conference in the region that will address issues, concerns and challenges being faced in the wake of increasing demand for limited food resources.

"After the great success of SIAL Middle East we will be hosting a food safety conference that is the first of its kind in that it will bring together participants from both the region and the world under the umbrella of Infosun," Mohammad Jalal Al Reyaysa, chairman, SIAL Organising Committee and official spokesperson, Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (Adfca), told Gulf News exclusively on the sidelines of the Fourth International Date Palm Festival.

"The main aim of the event is to address the availability, access and food safety concerns being faced around the world. The conference will not only continue to help raise Abu Dhabi's profile but will also bring Adfca full circle," he added.

Fostering partnerships

Additionally, the UAE University is in the process of creating the first global database network dedicated to bringing together experts from around the region and the world to share ideas, research techniques and to foster partnerships that will highlight the importance of the date palm.

"We're in the initial stages of creating the Date Palm Global Network, which is a database that will allow members from not only the UAE and region but even around the world to access the latest findings about topics such as the best methods to combat the Red Palm Weevil as well as to promote exchanges among participating countries of tissue cultures to fully identify the different varieties of date palm trees," Engineer Hussain Al Hadrami, Marketing and Greenhouse Coordinator, Date Palm Development Research Unit Department, Plant Tissue Cultural Laboratory, UAE University, said.


The festival is being held at Adnec (Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre) under the patronage of Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE, Minister of Presidential Affairs and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority, and is organised by Turret Media in collaboration with UAE University, Khalifa International Date Palm Award and the Date Palm Friends Society.

"An interesting aspect about this festival is that it not only highlights the culture of the UAE but also provides a platform for other GCC countries and the region to showcase and discuss our products, programmes and techniques among each other. However, organisers should encourage participants to create innovative products and techniques that could be revealed each year to help foster creativity and awareness of just how much potential there is in this industry," Engineer Mohammad Khairallah, Department of Irrigation, Ministry of Agriculture and Water, Saudi Arabia, said.

Tom Cruise charms Dubai






His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum receives a commemorative clapper board from star Tom Cruise, director Brad Bird and producer Bryan Burk while Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum looks on.

Sharjah Book Fair witnesses brisk sales and strong footfall

Sharjah: The 29th edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair received over 500,000 visitors and made sales of Dh133 million, organisers revealed.

"We organised 233 cultural events for adults and children, in addition to arranging over 60 book signings for authors who launched their new book titles," said Ahmad Bin Rakad Al Amri, Director of Sharjah International Book Fair.

The 12-day exhibition, which began on October 26 and concluded last Saturday, drew visitors in good numbers right through, "but we sometimes had to extend the closing time [of 10pm] to 11pm because there were too many visitors inside", Al Amri said.

Timings extended

"We also had to extend the timings of the live cooking stations and lectures given by guest speakers and poets to let all visitors get a chance to participate in the events," he said.

"The number of visitors to the exhibition reached up to 500,000 visitors, while the total sales volume reached Dh133 million. Next year we intend to make the book fair an even bigger success than this year's, and we will maintain our high standard in offering a platform for authors to display their books, audio books and e-books," he added.