Category Archives: Politics

Emirates Publishers Association sponsors 5 affiliate members in Italy

SHARJAH, In line with its keenness to support the Emirati publishing houses, the Emirates Publishers Association, EPA, sponsored five of its affiliate members for the 56th edition of the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, which concluded on Thursday.

The five � Kalimat Group, Al Hudhud Publishing, Al Fulk for Translation and Publishing, Dragon Publishing and Al Takhayol Publishing and Distribution, took part in the fair along with the Emirates Publishers Association.

EPA’s participation enables the Emirati publishing houses to take part in regional and global cultural events, with aims to promote their titles and expand their strategic relations with international publishers.

Rashid Al Kous, Executive Director of EPA, said, “At EPA, we are keen to elevate the publishing sector in general and particularly children’s books, which are instrumental in igniting imagination and building the capabilities of young people. These books contribute to raising children’s cultural awareness, and our dedication towards the cause gets reflected by our participation in the Bologna Children’s Book Fair.”

He further said, “Recent studies indicate that the majority of children in the UAE prefer to read Arabic books. However, there is a lack of variety in topics and online Arabic content, which drives children to read books in English and other foreign languages. Consequently, the growing consumption of content in foreign languages has a negative impact on their Arabic skills. This is the main reason that drives us to dedicate our efforts in supporting publishers of Arabic children’s books.”

During the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, the EPA met with a host of international cultural experts, including Beijing International Book Fair representatives to discuss EPA’s participation in the forthcoming edition. Meetings with Italian, Brazilian and Spanish publishers were also held to explore mutual cooperation with EPA’s affiliate members.

During a meeting with the “Bologna Fiere Group”, one of the leading companies in the exhibition sector, the EPA explored its first potential participation in the forthcoming edition of the China Shanghai International Children’s Book Fair 2019, as well as possible participation in the Bologna Book Fair and New York Rights Fair.

Source: Emirates News Agency

UAE home to over 67 fintech start-ups in Middle East

DUBAI, The UAE tops the list of countries in the Middle East with the highest number of financial technology (fintech) start-ups to date, reveals Bloomberg Intelligence in its latest report.

The UAE with 67, was followed by Turkey at 44 and Jordan and Lebanon at 30 each.

Overall, the number of fintech start-ups in the region is forecast to expand from 96 in 2019 to 465 by 2020. An Accenture analysis based on CBI Insights data, has predicted that investments in the fintech sector will jump to US$2.28 billion by 2022 from US$ 287 million in 2019.

The figures were made public ahead of this year’s AIM Startup taking place in Dubai from 8th to 10th April in conjunction with the Annual Investment Meeting, AIM. This year’s theme of “Harnessing Global Digitization to Empower Startups and SMEs” will highlight the shift in consumer expectations against the backdrop of global adoption of digital technologies.

Dawood Al Shezawi, Chairman of the Organising Committee of AIM Startup, noted that the recent numbers supported other findings disclosing that not only start-ups have been flocking to the local and regional fintech sectors due to their promising growth prospects but that the UAE has remained a preferred destination for their operations as well regardless of their industries.

“We have looked into several factors for this trend and we can confidently say that the UAE’s high data connectivity makes it a fertile ground for start-ups and enterprises. In today’s era where you have tech-savvy customer base expecting exceptional service at all times, the issue of data connectivity will help make or break your business. The Emirates has one of the superb infrastructural systems in this regard across the region and it is further raising its game to transform itself into a leading global business and connectivity centre by accelerating its national 5G connectivity programme,” he said.

The country ranked first in the Middle East and North Africa and 23rd globally in the Global Connectivity Index, GCI, 2018 released by Huawei. The report described the UAE’s broadband market as “one of the most advanced both regionally and globally”. The broadband and data centre outperformed its neighbours and most countries across the world, the report added.

AIM Startup 2019 will focus on the opportunities and challenges brought about by the fourth industrial revolution and its impact on small businesses. More than 500 start-ups are joining the 2019 edition to engage with investors, government representatives, corporate executives, and industry experts.

Source: Emirates News Agency

U.S. Set To Designate Iran’s Revolutionary Guard As Terrorist Organization: Reports

U.S. media are reporting that the United States will soon designate Iran’s hard-line Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) a foreign terrorist organization, which would be the first time Washington has given that label to the military unit of another country.

The Wall Street Journal and Reuters, citing U.S. officials, reported on April 5 that the action could come as early as April 8.

The United States has designated the IRGC’s external branch — the Quds Force — and a number of individuals and entities associated with the organization as terrorist, but not the IRGC as a whole.

The WSJ said national-security adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are strong proponents of the move, asserting that it would help Washington crack down on businesses in Europe and elsewhere controlled by the IRGC.

But critics and some Pentagon officials have said the move could open U.S. military and intelligence officials to similar actions by unfriendly foreign governments. The WSJ said General Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the CIA oppose the move.

The WSJ said spokesmen for Dunford and the CIA declined to comment. Officials at the Iranian UN mission did not respond to requests for comment.

‘Precedent-Setting’

The move to designate the IRGC has been speculated upon for several years.

The WSJ quoted Jason Blazakis, who served until last year as director of the State Department’s Counterterrorism Finance and Designations Office, as saying that the designation of IRGC as a Foreign Terrorist Organization [FTO] is precedent-setting.

Never before has the FTO sanctions tool been directed at a state body. The future ramifications of this decision will be profound, he said.

The IRGC has a force of some 100,000 personnel and runs Tehran’s ballistic missile programs, the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service has said.

The IRGC’s powerful Quds Force, which conducts foreign operations in the Middle East, has arranged weapons deliveries and advised pro-Iranian militias in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and elsewhere.

Last October, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain — both bitter rivals of Iran — added the IRGC and senior officers from the Quds Force to their lists of people and organizations suspected of involvement in terrorism.

Saudi security services said Qassem Soleimani, commander of the IRGC Quds Force, was on the list together with Quds Force officers Hamed Abdollahi and Abdul Reza Shahlai.

In 2011, the U.S. Treasury Department imposed sanctions on the three amid allegations that Soleimani, Abdollahi, and Shahlai were linked to a failed plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s former ambassador to the United States, Adel Al-Jubeir.

Iran at the time dismissed the accusations as false and demanded an apology from Washington.

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.

Sharjah Charity’s clothing project spent AED 3.3 mn in 2018

SHARJAH, Sharjah Charity International, SCI, has revealed that during the past year it distributed 31,500 traditional male and female robes and provided cards to buy readymade clothes worth AED3.3 million, while the number of beneficiaries registered with the charity rose to nearly 15,000.

Abdulla Mubarak Al-Dukhan, Secretary-General of the SCI, said that the project “From Your Old to Their New”, received donations from the benefactors of used clothes and their recycling contributed during the past year to the provision of 17,000 kandooras and 14,500 abayahs for the registrants, at a cost of AED2.8 million, while 500 families received cards for the purchase of readymade garments worth AED500,000, bringing the total expenditure to AED3.3 million.

The project receives donations from the benefactors who donate their old clothes which are then sorted out through one of the pilot projects that reflect the keenness of the officials of the charity and its sponsors. These are donated to needy families and beneficiaries of the charity.

Source: Emirates News Agency

MBRF, UNDP conclude ‘Knowledge Week’ in Jordan

DUBAI, Knowledge Week, organised by the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation, MBRF, and the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, concluded, last week in Jordan’s capital, Amman.

The event was organised in collaboration with the Jordanian Ministry of Youth and the Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation, AHSF.

With several prominent Jordanian universities and 750 college students attending, the week’s activities included announcing and discussing the findings of the Global Knowledge Index 2018, GKI, focusing on the metrics pertaining to Jordan, and discussing ways to improve the country’s knowledge performance on the level of the seven sectors covered by the Index. Also on the agenda was the announcement of several workshops as part of the “Know Talks” programme, launched by the MBRF at the Knowledge Summit 2018.

Knowledge Week Jordan kicked off with a series of sessions with university students and professors at the Hashemite University and the University of Jordan, followed by a Global Knowledge Index 3-Day Workshop for youth selected from all provinces of the kingdom. The objective of the workshop was to empower the youth to explore innovative ideas that tackle development challenges.

Participants were provided with critical knowledge tools to build their future vision of Jordan and create a meaningful impact. The starting point was the performance of Jordan on the Global Knowledge Index 2018 on the level of the seven sectors: pre-university education; higher education; technical and vocational education and training; research, development, and innovation; information and communications technology; economic; and general enabling environments.

MBRF’s CEO Jamal bin Huwaireb lauded the outcomes of the event, describing them as “in line with the strategic objectives MBRF and UNDP hope to achieve from holding such initiatives around the world, which include spreading the findings and recommendations of the Global Knowledge Index, and fostering a meaningful exchange of knowledge, expertise, and best practices.”

Valentina Kassisieh, CEO of the Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation, said: “Today, we celebrate a group of young Jordanians who, over the past three days, worked to lay the foundations for a global knowledge base that promotes innovation in both education and scientific research.”

The workshop also saw Khalid Abdul Shafi, Director of the UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Arab States, highlight the latest accomplishments of the Programme’s partnership with the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation � particularly, the Future of Knowledge Report launched during the most recent Knowledge Summit.

At the conclusion, MBRF and UNDP announced that two of the teams participating in the workshop had won an opportunity to attend the Knowledge Summit 2019 in Dubai and participate in setting its topics of discussion.

Source: Emirates News Agency

Dubai Land Department concludes participation in ‘Future Blockchain Summit 2019’

DUBAI, Dubai Land Department, DLD, successfully concluded its participation in the second edition of the ‘Future Blockchain Summit 2019,’ which was inaugurated by H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, as part of its ongoing efforts to highlight its ambitious initiatives and future plans to support the real estate sector in the emirate.

DLD, through its technical arm Emirates Real Estate Solutions (ERES), prepared for this event in advance, and succeeded in highlighting its role through its participation in a major workshop titled ‘Blockchain 101’ to present its vision of the future of real estate as well as the initiatives adopted in this regard, including the Drb project which was presented at the DLD stand. In addition, DLD participated in another workshop entitled ‘Dubai Reinvents Realty.’ Sultan Butti Bin Mejren, Director General of DLD, said: “Our participation in the second edition of the ‘Future Blockchain Summit 2019’ aims to support the vision of our wise leadership and the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, to position Dubai as a global capital of innovation and to apply the ‘Dubai Blockchain Strategy’ in light of the impact this emerging technology has had in developing all the economic sectors and bringing forth a qualitative leap in the performance of government work, providing integrated services characterised by ease and convenience. We are delighted to have had strong participation in this year’s edition, in collaboration with the Dubai Smart Government. “

Source: Emirates News Agency