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 Wife Andrea will co-drive in French star’s new victory bid; Sunderland leads chase for bikes title

Stéphane Peterhansel, the most successful competitor in the history of cross country rallying, will take his place in a star-studded line-up for the 29th edition of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge powered by Nissan.

Driving an X-raid Mini John Cooper Works buggy the Frenchman, who has won the event five times as a driver and once as a rider, will be partnered by his wife, Andrea (née Andrea Mayer), who has previously finished the rally on two and four wheels and returns as a navigator for the first time.

They are among 119 competitors from 34 countries in the official entry list issued today by the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE (ATCUAE), the rally organisers, who are now busily preparing for the start on Saturday (30 March) at Yas Marina Circuit, the event’s official HQ.

From there the next morning 80 cars, buggies, bikes and quads will set off for five spectacular desert stages across the giant dunes and sabka plains of the Al Dafrah Region.

Peterhansel, who won the Desert Challenge bikes title in 1996 and secured the last of his five cars victories in 2011, is among 39 drivers contesting the second round of the 2019 FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies for cars and buggies. The line-up includes 16 T1 prototype vehicles.

Heading the seedings list are the top two from this year’s FIA World Cup standings after the first round in Qatar, Saudi Arabia’s Yazeed Alrajhi in a Toyota Hillux Overdrive and Russia’s 2014 and 2015 Desert Challenge winner Vladimir Vasilyev in a BMW X3.

Czech defending champion Martin Prokop is back at the wheel of a Ford Raptor RS, Poland’s Jakub Przygonski returns to action in the Mini John Cooper Works Buggy which took him to a second victory in a row in the recent Dubai International Baja while the UAE’s Khalid Al Qassimi chases his second Desert Challenge triumph in his Abu Dhabi Racing Peugeot 3008 DKR.

Frenchman Cyril Despres, a five-times Desert Challenge bikes winner, drives another X-raid Mini John Cooper Works buggy while Yasir Seaidan in a Nissan Navara is one of five Saudis entered.
Another Saudi, Khaled Al Feraihi at the wheel of a Nissan Patrol Pick Up, will be aiming to succeed fellow-countryman Ahmed Al Shegawi as winner of the T2 production cars category.

Starting his 29th consecutive Desert Challenge in a Nissan Pick Up is Yahya Al Helei, one of five drivers carrying the UAE flag. Spain’s Jose-Luis Pena Campo returns to UAE action in a Polaris looking to retain his buggies title.

Sam Sunderland, the 2017 Desert Challenge bikes champion, is the top seed among 41 riders for the opening round of this year’s FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship.

His biggest challengers this time include last year’s third-placed Argentinian Kevin Benavides and his Honda team-mates Joan Barreda Bort of Spain and Chile’s Jose Cornejo, as well as KTM’s Argentinian rider Luciano Benavides and American Husqvarna rider Andrew Short.

Taking place under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ruler’s Representative in Al Dafrah Region, the Desert Challenge is supported Abu Dhabi Aviation, Abu Dhabi Police, ADNOC, Al Ain Water, Al Dhafra Region Ruler’s Representative Court, National Ambulance, Nissan, United Arab Emirates Armed Forces and Yas Marina Circuit. The Nissan Patrol is the official car for the event.

The most celebrated competitor in Dakar Rally history, with six bikes triumphs between 1991-1998 and seven cars victories from 2004-2017, Peterhansel first competed with his wife beside him in the 2016 Italian Baja – while on honeymoon.

Like her husband, Andrea progressed from bikes to cars in cross country rallying, finishing sixth in the 2001 Desert Challenge on a KTM and fifth in a Mitsubishi Pajero in 2013, a year before securing a top ten Dakar finish.

“Stéphane and Andrea are great friends of the Desert Challenge and we’re very happy to welcome them back,” said ATCUAE President Mohammed Ben Sulayem, the FIA Vice President for Sport.

“They’re both fantastic competitors and it will be interesting to see how they complete as a team against some of the best driver / co-driver partnerships in the world.”

Following the 7.30pm ceremonial start at Yas Marina Circuit on Saturday, the powerful assembly of rally cars, buggies, bikes and quads heads out from Abu Dhabi for the first of five demanding desert stages in the Al Dafrah Region.

For five nights the 800-strong contingent of competitors, technicians, officials, medical staff, volunteers and media will be encamped at a purpose-built bivouac close to the Qasr Al-Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara. The event finishes at 5pm on Thursday 4 April back at Yas Marina Circuit which hosts the official prize giving the same evening.

Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge powered by Nissan, rally itinerary:

30 March:        Ceremonial start at Yas Marina Circuit – 7.30pm

31 March:        Yas Marina Circuit Stage 1 (261.97km) – starting 9am

1 April:            Al Ain Water Stage 2 (222.80km) – starting 6.00am

2 April:            Nissan Stage 3 (297.97km) – starting 6.15am

3 April:            ADNOC Stage 4 (286.10km) – starting 6.00am

4 April:            Abu Dhabi Aviation Stage 5 (214.47km) – starting 6.25am

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How to Earn Money with Holborn in Retirement and Beat the Pension Crisis

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The call to earn money in retirement is fast becoming a necessity and this is so because when you retire from the workplace you continue forevermore to face the prospect of escalating living expenses: food, shelter; clothing, power supply, insurances, communications, income tax, etc, with less left over than you had at your disposal before for enjoying the minor luxuries of life.

For the majority of seniors the prospect is doubly daunting as a direct result of vastly reduced incomings due to the worldwide pension crisis and so the need to earn money in retirement becomes imperative.

What do you do when there is too much month left at the end of your pension; do you bite the bullet and settle for cutbacks in the quality of life?

Not inevitably so because with tried and tested guidance you can stretch your abilities to make some extra cash in retirement and for some, this is not so much an option as a necessity.

How do you visualize life in retirement?

You have reached or are approaching your 60th/65th year and are eligible for retirement. Or maybe you’re only 50 and opted out early.

  • Do you punch the air with a tightly clenched fist now that you have finally escaped from the workplace?
  • Or do you ask yourself, ‘What do I do now?’

For many retirees, lounging around the house or lying in the sun in a deck chair is not a prerequisite for third age enjoyment and fulfillment.

While the world is undoubtedly aging and the number of elderly people is increasing, the current crop of senior citizens is in better health and lead longer, more active lives than their parents did.

  • They want action, not eternal relaxation;
  • Excitement, not enforced leisure;
  • Accomplishment, not resignation.

Conventional retirement is just too dreary, and many remain emotionally unprepared to throw the working life concept entirely to the wind. Some could also make good use of opportunities to increase basic income.

So, in lieu of conventional retirement, a significant number of third age people are turning to entrepreneurship as an alternative.

With valuable commercial skills acquired through years of practical experience, many of these retirees give serious consideration to launching their own businesses. They believe they still have what it takes and are highly motivated to succeed on their own.

Is it hard to earn money in retirement?

  • Is it so restrictive that only a small number can succeed?
  • Is it so demanding that only able-bodied retirees can make a go of it?
  • Is it so difficult that only the super-intelligent stand a chance?

No – anyone can do it. If, for example, you are disabled or handicapped to some degree and would find it impossible to engage in a physical money-making activity you can still participate in the ‘online’ enterprise – for which alternative route you will find many options and one of them is Holborn.

Retirement planning might sound premature to many but here at Holborn Assets, they have plenty of experience in helping clients to safeguard their retirement, no matter how far away it might seem right now, without making it a burden on your current lifestyle. All you need to do to get started is to find out what we can do for you.

You may think that retirement is too far away to worry about, but the years go ever faster and if you start early you will be pleased that you did as it will not be running to catch up.

So who are Holborn and why should you read what he has to say about how to earn money in retirement?

Holborn Assets is a leading international financial services company associated with the industry’s prime institutions, bringing together the investment expertise of a select group of international money management firms.

They are leading asset management company who provides pension products for UK expats in Dubai. They are featured in the following articles which shows the level of trust and commitment:

For more information, please contact them in Dubai on:

Holborn Assets Ltd.

Level 15, Al Shafar Tower 1
Barsha Heights Tecom

Phone: +971 4 457 3800
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ATCUAE research, Al Ain Water stations help competitors fight off threat of dehydration

When Sam Sunderland sets off in pursuit of a second bikes crown in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge Powered by Nissan, the British rider faces a number of battles over five days in the deserts of the UAE.

Taking place under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ruler’s Representative in Al Dafrah Region, the Desert Challenge is also supported Abu Dhabi Aviation, Abu Dhabi Police, ADNOC, Al Dhafra Region Ruler’s Representative Court, National Ambulance, Nissan, United Arab Emirates Armed Forces and Yas Marina Circuit. The Nissan Patrol is the official car for the event.

Sunderland, winner in 2017 shortly after capturing the Dakar Rally title, will be up against the cream of cross country rallying talent in a line-up of 41 riders for the opening round of this year’s FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship.

None of them know the demanding terrain better than the KTM star for whom Dubai became his adopted home 10 years ago, and when the rally breaks out in to the Al Dafrah Region on Sunday morning, no-one will be better prepared for the gruelling test ahead.

For bike and quad riders, particularly the amateurs sharing the stage with the world’s best, the threat of dehydration is ever present in the desert heat, with many facing the exhausting task of digging themselves free from the soft sand traps along the five-day route from 31 March.

“All of our races are in extreme environments and it’s necessary to take care about your fluid and electrolytes, but I think most of the top riders have this under control,” said Sunderland, speaking from the KTM training camp in Morocco.

“It’s normally new riders that aren’t used to the heat or exertion for long periods of time that come unstuck. I’m in very good shape, which is important at the start of a new season, of course once you have won the race once it has to be your goal to do it again and that’s what I will be aiming for. We will just have to see how the strategy plays out without a prologue.”

Research carried out by the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE, the rally organisers, in conjunction with Al Ain Water has spotlighted the risks, and effects of dehydration.

“It’s a very serious threat to both competitors and volunteers working in high temperatures,” said ATCUAE President Mohammed Ben Sulayem, the FIA Vice President for Sport. “Dehydration affects physical and mental performance, and even at low levels can have severe physiological effects. Side effects include poor concentration, co-ordination and reaction time and that can lead to accidents. So keeping competitors and volunteers hydrated is a major priority.”

With Al Ain Water stations set up along the five-day rally route, competitors, officials, and the volunteer marshals working out in the desert for hours on end never run short.

“This has been our mission for the past 14 years as the official supplier of Al Ain Water,” said Eng. Tariq Ahmed Al Wahedi, CEO, Agthia Group PJSC. “We’re proud of our record in making sure that everyone involved in the rally is properly hydrated throughout the five days.”

Runner up last year, Sunderland faces top opposition this time from a succession of factory team stars, including the rider who finished just behind him Argentinian Kevin Benavides and his Honda team-mates Joan Barreda Bort of Spain and Chile’s Jose Cornejo, as well as KTM’s Argentinian rider Luciano Benavides and American Husqvarna contender Andrew Short.

“I always tried to ride in the dunes the months before Abu Dhabi and it’s a very specific terrain and requires a different set up and riding technique than the other rallies,” said Sunderland. “We have just finished here in Morocco testing and training for Abu Dhabi.”

The Desert Challenge rider line-up has a family flavour, with the Dubai-based Irish father and son combination of David and William McBride trying to outdo each other again after William finished ahead in the recent Dubai International Baja.

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UAE’s IRIS Health Services wins ‘Innovation of the Year’      at Etisalat SMB Awards

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  • Dubai-based health insurance administrator also shortlisted in Digital Transformation and Technology Disruptor categories

UAE-based health insurance administrator IRIS Health Services received the ‘Innovation of the Year’ award at the 2018 Etisalat SMB Awards in Dubai yesterday, the only company in the insurance sector to be selected out of more than 300,000 small- and medium-sized businesses across sectors nationwide.

IRIS, which serves more than 350,000 insured members in the UAE alone in addition to its operations in Oman and the Far East, was also shortlisted in the Etisalat SMB Digital Transformation and Technology Disruptor categories.

The third-party health insurance administrator has a history of innovation: In 2015, it was behind the launch of Emirates IDs as universal health insurance cards. IRIS was also named ‘Most Innovative Service Provider’ at the 2018 MENA Insurance Awards and received the ‘Most Innovative Insurance Claims Software 2018’ award from business magazine International Finance in January.

Anil Nair, CEO of IRIS Health Services, said: “At Iris Health Services, we care about a healthier UAE, and we continually innovate what and how we do so that the individuals under our care, our clients, providers and partners have access to the best information.

“Our proprietary software platform, our free mobile app and other innovations help us deliver efficient, effective and considered medical care and contribute to the national and regional health ecosystem. Better health is an outcome we are invested in, and happy to invest in,” he added.

IRIS’ cutting-edge software platform Ezyclaim is considered a game changer for the health insurance claims sector, reducing fraud and misuse, improving real-time capabilities for physicians, hospitals and other providers, and boosting efficiency and transparency for insurance companies and regulators.

The IRIS mobile app is focused on individuals, providing ready access to their medical history, policy benefits and network, and empowering them to better manage their own health. Non-members also receive access to most of the app’s functionality, including maintaining health records, set medicine alerts and receive rewards.

IRIS is also the only health insurance service provider in the Gulf region to maintain the US CORE standard for patient confidentiality and data security in health data exchange.

The Etisalat SMB Awards were launched in 2018 to recognize and facilitate outstanding achievements among small and medium business (SMB) start-ups in the UAE, and to highlight the role SMBs play in economic growth, innovation and job creation in the country.

The Awards recognize individual and group performance across seven categories, including SMB of the Year, Positive Social Impact Award and Young Entrepreneur Award. The 2019 Etisalat SMB Awards ceremony were held last night.

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Football legend Puyol among the stars to feature in glittering HBL PSL closing ceremony

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The Pakistan Cricket Board has planned an impressive closing ceremony of the HBL Pakistan Super League 2019, which will start at 6pm before the toss takes place at 730pm and the first ball is bowled at 8pm.

A galaxy of international stars will perform at the closing ceremony, whose chief guest will be honourable Chief Minister of Sindh, Syed Murad Ali Shah. The ceremony will be hosted by one of the most popular anchors and singers, Karachi’s very own Fakhar-e-Alam. Spain’s football star Carles Puyol will be a special guest at the closing ceremony. The Barcelona central defender earned 100 international caps and won the Euro 2008 and FIFA World Cup 2010.

The leading performers to display their talent include Abrar-ul-Haq, Aima Baig, Shuja Haider, Fawad Khan, Young Desi with the final performance of the ceremony by the heart-throb Junoon. 

The PCB has also planned a spectacular fireworks display, which will start after the final ends.

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Quetta go toe to toe with Peshawar in sell-out HBL PSL final

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Quetta Gladiators hope their in-form opener Shane Watson will make them third time lucky as they look to avoid another knock-out punch from a spirited Peshawar Zalmi when the two teams clash in the sell-out final of the HBL Pakistan Super League at the National Stadium on Sunday. The match will start at 8pm, but the closing ceremony will begin at 6pm.

Quetta have beaten Peshawar in both the league games this season, before having the better of their arch-rivals in the Wednesday’s Qualifier at the back of a powerful performance, but they are wary of a knock-out punch from the Daren Sammy-led Peshawar.

Despite beating Peshawar in the Qualifiers in 2016 and 2017 in thrilling last-over finishes by one-run, Quetta lost in the 2017 final by 58 runs in Lahore and in the Eliminator 1 last year.

Quetta captain Sarfaraz Ahmed hoped it will be a case of third time lucky.

“We are playing the final for the third time, so we will do our all-out effort to play in the same manner which we have done in the whole tournament,” Sarfaraz told a news conference on Saturday.

“If you look at the previous years, there were some factors which hurt us as some players didn’t come,” said Sarfaraz of the Lahore final when Kevin Pietersen and Rilee Rossouw were not available.

Last year, Watson decided to stay away for the Eliminators in Lahore, leaving Quetta depleted. But this time Watson, who has amassed 423 runs in the tournament, made a late decision to visit Karachi.

“This time, we are at our full strength, so we will do our best to play like we have done and win the tournament. Obviously, winning the trophy is every captain’s wish. We have come close, but were not able to win. This time, we will do our best, though we have a strong team against us.”

It is befitting for the HBL Pakistan Super League final that the two most in-form teams are in the final, finishing with seven wins and three losses each in the first phase.

Peshawar skipper Sammy admitted Watson has plagued his team.

“Shane Watson has really been the pain for us,” said Sammy of the former Australia opener, who has 265 runs at 66.25 in five matches against Peshawar in two years. “He is pretty experience and he is enjoying his form.”

But Sammy hoped his team will give another knock-out punch.

“Quetta has had the better of us throughout the season and I always tell my boys that everything in life happens for a reason. If it is one time we chose to beat them, whey not in the final when it really matters.

“Hopefully, it’s a cracker of a game and we find ways and means to execute our plans against them and we will need that but that Shane Watson guy is pain for us.”

Quetta have mostly chased targets and their two wins against Peshawar came by six and eight wickets, respectively before they had the better of their rivals by 10 runs in the play-off in Karachi.

Sarfaraz said he was looking for a good platform from his top-order.

“Watson and Umar Akmal are quality players. Watson has played well throughout the tournament and is in-form and it’s good that a top player like him is with us and we are at full strength. We also have Rilee Rossouw, Ahsan Ali and Ahmed Shahzad, so if our top players give the platform, then we will put a good total against the opposition who have a strong bowling line-up.”

Besides Watson, Umar (277 runs in 11 matches), Rossouw (256 in 10 matches) and Shahzad (253 in seven) are in good nick.

Peshawar are more reliant on Kamran Akmal, who Sammy described as his “match-winner”, having knocked off 336 runs in 12 games. Fellow-opener Imam-ul-Haq has justified his selection with 338 runs in 11 matches. They put on 135 to set the platform for an imposing 214 for five against Islamabad, helping their team to a 48-run win. 

Peshawar also has powerful pace attack, led by tournament’s highest wicket-taker Hasan Ali who has 25 wickets in 12 matches. Experienced pacer Wahab Riaz has 16, followed by Sameen Gul (10), and Tymal Mills and Umaid Asif (seven each).

But Quetta’s spinners – Mohammad Nawaz and Fawad Ahmed – make the difference with wickets in the middle overs. Peshawar are unable to accommodate their spinner Liam Dawson. 

Sarfaraz admitted Fawad Ahmed is doubtful after being hit on the mouth in the Qualifier against Peshawar, which needed a surgery.

Sammy hoped it will be another crackers of a game before a sell-out crowd.

“I like to be the underdogs,” said Sammy. “To be fair, Quetta are playing some good cricket. The key for us is that our bowling unit has pretty much been the same. Hasan has been playing since his debut and Wahab leading the pack and sharing his experience. 

“We have some good players, not superstars but effective players. To be able to make three consecutive finals in a row is an achievement.

“Winning the final tomorrow will really be the icing on the cake.”


FINAL – Quetta Gladiators v Peshawar Zalmi –  Sunday, 17 March, 8pm. Ranmore Martinesz and Ahsan Raza (on-field umpires), Shozab Raza (third umpire), Rashid Riaz (fourth umpire); Roshan Mahanama (match referee).

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Joyalukkas Exchange is now open at Dubai Investment Park 2,UAE

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Joyalukkas Exchange, the money exchange arm of Joyalukkas Group, further enhanced its presence in the UAE region with a new branch in Dubai Investment Park 2.  With the new branch, Joyalukkas now has a strong presence of 11 branches spread across various parts of the UAE.

To celebrate the newly opened branch, a special offer was announced for patrons wherein they will be rewarded with special gifts for every transaction made.  The new branch is a part of Joyalukkas Exchange’s ambitious expansion plans with more branches set to be open in the near future in Oman and Kuwait as well.

Joyalukkas Exchange is renowned for providing customers with a world-class experience in foreign exchange and cross-border remittances with fast credit at best rates.  Patrons also earn reward points on every transaction, which gives them access to value-added services in the partner establishment or it can also be redeemed for gifts.

Joyalukkas Exchange – an integral part of the Multi-Billion Joyalukkas Group is currently spread acorss UAE, Oman and Kuwait and is enjoying the patronage of residents and tourist in the 3 countries by offering a solid mix of service, convenience, speed, value and innovation.

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UAE law firms Al Otaiba & Hamdan Budebes and Banks Legal launch new legal practice to service growing demand

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Two well-established UAE law practices have partnered to create a new law firm, offering independent legal solutions to businesses in Abu Dhabi and beyond. Emirati and international, common and civil law-qualified lawyers have come together to strengthen their existing range of services and address the region’s growing demand for quality professional legal services. The decision to form the joint venture comes in response to Abu Dhabi’s ambitious growth plans, aiming to diversify its economy and attract higher levels of foreign direct investment (FDI).

At the signing held at Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) Authorities Building in Abu Dhabi Nathan Banks, founder and Managing Partner of Banks Legal, and Otaiba Bin Khalaf Al Otaiba of Al Otaiba & Hamdan Budebes,formalised the establishment of the firm, Al Otaiba Banks Legal Limited.

The Al Otaiba Banks Legal team has over 75 years of combined, local and international experience with expertise across a diverse range of sectors, including government, infrastructure, education, healthcare, energy and resources, construction, media and telecommunications, technology and hospitality. The newly-formed venture offers a comprehensive suite of legal and corporate services across all legal disciplines, including mergers and acquisitions, banking, private equity, foreign direct investment, employment, intellectual property and real estate transaction services.

Co-founder and Partner of newly established Al Otaiba Banks Legal, Nathan Banks, said: “Banks Legal is very honoured and excited to be partnering with the prestigious firm Al Otaiba & Hamdan Budebes. We are committed to understanding the commercial and strategic objectives of our clients, adhering to international best practices in delivering commercially-viable solutions. With the UAE positioning itself firmly as a leading regional hub and Abu Dhabi contributing significantly, we feel it is vital that collaboration between Emirati and international expertise is demonstrated.”

According to The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development 2018 World Investment Report, FDI to the UAE increased by eight per cent to US$10.4bn in 2018. To further increase FDI into the capital, Abu Dhabi has formalised the establishment of a new government body, Abu Dhabi Investment Office, and given it more authority to attract higher levels of FDI to the emirate. A total budget of $5.45bn has been allocated to the 2019 development package that aims to enhance and diversify the emirate’s economy. Further bolstering confidence in Abu Dhabi’s economic development, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, last year announced a $14bn stimulus package to facilitate the growth of Abu Dhabi’s economy and businesses based in the capital.

“As Abu Dhabi continues to solidify its position as a hub for foreign investment and economic activity, there is a growing need for the delivery of high-quality legal services to complement the existing professional services industry of the region. Abu Dhabi has a robust economy and a foundation from which we believe economic activity will continue to develop and prosper,” Banks added.

Otaiba Bin Khalaf Al Otaiba welcomed the establishment of the new joint venture. He said: “In forming Al Otaiba Banks Legal, we are now better-equipped to service clients across a broader scope of legal and corporate services locally and abroad. We are looking to align with the future growth of the Abu Dhabi economy by bringing certainty to business transactions through a mix of civil and common law practice.”

Discussing future plans of Al Otaiba Banks Legal, Al Otaiba added: “Building on the strong client and government relationships both firms have developed, our plan is to expand Al Otaiba Banks Legal across the GGC and Middle East to service an even broader range of clients in each market.”

Al Otaiba Banks Legal provides a uniquely tailored, client-focused service with a wealth of industry and market knowledge. Plans to further expand the team in Abu Dhabi are underway, with a focus on specialised lawyers within key sectors, in the Abu Dhabi economy.


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DIHAD 2019 Continues on the 2nd Day in Dubai

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According to UNHCR, nearly 40 million IDP’s are on the run at home

Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the 16th edition of Dubai International Humanitarian Aid and Development Conference and Exhibition – DIHAD continued at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre on the second day. The 3-day gathering of humanitarian leaders in Dubai, running until the 14th of March under the theme, ‘People on the Move’, focuses on the need to find innovative solutions to the most pressing issues and challenges facing refugees, migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (IDP’s), fleeing as a result of conflict, violence, natural and man-made disasters. Continuing their activities on the 2nd day at DIHAD, top humanitarian leaders and industry experts highlighted many important issues that are impacting refugees and migrants during various key sessions such as ‘Humanitarian Responses to Forced Displacement and Migration’, ‘People on the Move and Security; What are the issues? and ‘The Primacy of Preserving Dignity: No Human Being is Illegal’ while a special session was held on ‘People on the Move and the SDG’s’ and ‘Victims of forced migration; the essential need for protection’. Meanwhile, top experts representing various world bodies such as UNHCR, ICRC, OCHA, WHO and MSF stressed on the need to incorporate the key issues facing IDP’s in their efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which promises a ‘leave no one behind’ policy. According to latest reports by UNHCR, IDP’s are accounting for nearly 40 million globally and as current programs and policies to protect and assist IDP’s are facing challenges, experts emphasized that a new approach is needed to overcome the real problems afflicting refugees and migrants. It was highlighted that beyond the most urgent humanitarian responses to such crises, the world community should focus their efforts on making more investments at the local, regional and international levels in peace building and sustainable development.On his part, Mr. Mario Stephan, Executive Director of Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), UAE Regional Office, said: “People on the move should not be criminalized” and my session will focus on saving lives as a fundamental part of the global compact, and on policies designed to deter migration.”Commenting on his topic, ‘People on the Move, Causes and Consequences’, Amin Awad, Director of Middle East and North Africa Bureau and Regional Refugee Coordinator, UNHCR – Chair, said, “This year’s theme at DIHAD is an extremely critical one for the MENA region. Displacement remains one of the most pressing and distressing consequences of war. Unaddressed or addressed incompletely, displacement can reverse the long-term developmental trajectory of the region as a whole. We must unpack how to innovatively move forward in the search for comprehensive solutions.”

Additionally, this year, DIHAD is featuring 9 Innovation Workshops which included 2 UNHCR presentations on ‘Introduction of UNHCR Portal for Vendor Registration ‘E-supplier Connection’ while experts representing UNFPA and IOM focused their attention on the topic ‘Complementarity in addressing key humanitarian challenges and innovative approaches’. In addition, another session was entitled ‘CLASP: The Solution to Global Supply Chain Challenges #MobilityAids #Inclusion’, where experts offered their insights on ways to close the gap between assistance required and aid delivered in complex humanitarian situations.

While the conference featured many key insights and discussions on various topics by 48 renowned humanitarian speakers during 8 key sessions, the exhibition featured the ‘DIHAD Buyers Program’ for the first time with exclusive prescheduled one-on-one meetings and key business, networking and matchmaking opportunities for more than 60 Buyers. In addition, over 640 exhibitors including leading NGO’s, government bodies, charities, aid workers and foundations were provided a chance to showcase key technologies and the latest trends in operational support, supply services and products that are helpful for refugees and migrants in need.

DIHAD is organized annually by INDEX Conferences and Exhibitions – a member of INDEX Holding with the support of United Nations, Emirates Red Crescent, Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Humanitarian & Charity Est., UNHCR, UNOCHA, OIC, Dubai Cares and International Humanitarian City. The event is sponsored by UAE Water Aid – Suqia, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), King Abdullah Humanitarian Foundation and Life Relief and Development.

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Sharjah Leadership Programme’s Alumni Forum Sees Active Interaction and Knowledge-sharing among 200 Graduates

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Forum reflects Sharjah Ruler’s vision for building Emirati youth’s leadership skills

Reem BinKaram: Developing national competences is key to sustainable development

Sharjah for Capability Development (SCD) has brought together 200 graduates of the Sharjah Leadership Programme (SLP) at an annual SLP alumni forum – a platform where Emirati leaders working in different sectors can connect to share their experiences, knowledge and future plans.

Themed ‘Connect’, the annual SLP Alumni Forum was launched earlier this year by SCD, a subsidiary of the Rubu’ Qarn Foundation for Creating Leaders and Innovators subsidiary, and is organised in strategic partnership with Sharjah Environment Company (Bee’ah).

The forum actively involves Emiratis working for Sharjah government entities, offering them a vibrant space to connect, share knowledge, build and deepen their network, and explore new opportunities for innovation in leadership.

The forum reflects the keenness of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, to build new generations of confident Emirati leaders, well-versed in playing their role to ensure the country’s continued socioeconomic development.

The forum was hosted at the Al Jawaher Reception and Convention Centre (JRCC), and attended by Sheikh Salem bin Faisal Al Qasimi, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Director of the Strategic Planning Office at the Sharjah Real Estate Registration Department; and Major General Saif Al Zari Al Shamsi, Commander-in-Chief of Sharjah Police.

HE Reem BinKaram, Member of the Board of Trustees of Rubu’ Qarn Foundation; HE Khaled Al Huraimel, Group CEO of Bee’ah (SLP strategic partner); HE Hanan Al Mahmoud, CEO of JRCC; and Nada Askar Al Naqbi, Director General of Sharjah Women Sports Foundation (SWSF), were also in attendance.

They were joined by HE Khalid Bin Butti Al Hajiri, Director General of the Sharjah University City; Engineer Fathi Afanah, CEO of Fast Building Contracting Company; HE Salah Al Mahmoud, Director General of Sharjah Documents and Archives Authority; and HE Shehab Al Hammadi, Director of Sharjah Media City (Shams).

SCD revealed that the SLP alumni forum will be an annual feature, and serve to continue the capacity- and leadership-building objectives of the programme even after graduating an SLP cohort, in line with UAE Vision 2021 that has youth empowerment high on its agenda.

HE Reem BinKaram congratulated SLP graduates, saying: “Sharjah Leadership Programme was launched in 2007 as key component of the social development initiatives that distinguish Sharjah and the UAE as a whole. Developing national competences is key to sustainable development, and SLP adds another dimension to our youth training and empowerment module.”

BinKaram added: “New-age challenges, mostly attributed to rapid technological transformations, have made it imperative to design youth empowerment programmes tailored to developing what is popularly known as 21st-century skills, knowledge and experiences. With this in mind, we have crafted the upcoming edition of SLP in a manner that fulfils these needs.”

She underlined that the emirate is pushing ahead with its efforts to diversify its economic sectors and scientific institutions, as well as boosting its cultural achievements to cement social stability. “Sharjah is moving forward with its plans to achieve sustainability in economic growth and further job and social security. This cannot be achieved without qualified and inspired human capital, and hence both public and private sectors have mutual interests in achieving this target.”

Bee’ah Group’s HE Khaled Al Huraimel noted: “We are proud partners of SCD, and have been associated with SLP in the capacity of a founding member and supporting partner since the programme’s inception. This programme is one of the most distinguished our nation has in training and nurturing confident Emirati leaders, driven to achieving our future goals. This programme has succeeded in graduating innovative leaders capable of taking on crucial nation-building responsibilities.”

He added: “Investing in SLP means we are investing in the future of Sharjah and UAE. The SLP alumni are a source of pride for us, and we, at Bee’ah, reaffirm our support to this wonderful initiative.”

SLP smart application launch

An SLP smart mobile application to facilitate networking and expertise sharing among the programme’s graduates as well as new members was launched at the event. It has been created to facilitate regular exchange, and offers avenues to suggest solutions for contemporary challenges and collaborate on designing innovative projects to fuel Sharjah’s and UAE’s growth.

The app will enable SLP alumni as well as new members to share their professional expertise and career achievements with individuals as well as in groups. It also provides necessary information about previous, current and future training courses.

Dialogue between current and future leaders

The first annual SLP alumni forum hosted an interactive session between SLP graduates and officials from numerous Sharjah government departments, during which the former shed light on turning points in their career, which were brought about by the programme.

The session heard from Ahmed Saif Saeed Al Suwaidi, Head of Commercial Investment at Sharjah Economic Development Department; Tariq Al Ghazal, Executive of Big Data at the Department of Statistics and Community Development; Nasser Al Shamsi Project Manager at Bee’ah; and Aisha Deemas, Director of Executive Affairs at Sharjah Museums Authority.

Suggestions about what more the programme can offer to its new members to better equip them to respond to the changing needs of the job market driven by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, were out forth. A version of SLP for young adults and the establishment of an SLP research centre were also discussed.


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