Month: August 2007

To us must you return

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To us must you return
M Yusuf Khan/HINDUSTAN TIMES New Delhi, August 30, 2007

A friend called the other day, sounding pensive. He had lost a dear friend the previous day. His friend had sent a ‘friendship day’ SMS to him and thirty others wishing them well and hoping to enjoy their friendship for many years.

He died that very afternoon of a massive heart attack. My friend’s biggest regret was that he did not reply immediately but postponed messaging to the evening, an evening that never came.

The Quran says: Every soul shall have a taste of death … to us must you return (35:21). If there is any thing certain in this life it is death. Yet the very mention of it is considered inauspicious and unpleasant.

We are scared of so many things in life and we try to overcome the fear by rationalising. Somehow we do not apply the same approach to our fear of death.

Death, most believe, is transition from one life to another. But the next life is not the extension of the one we are living and that is the scary part.

We go to another world or life alone, not knowing what awaits us. But the Sufis look at the death differently. They long to be united with their beloved God and for them death provides the opportunity to fulfill their mission.

The uncertainty of life should never be a reason for gloom. On the contrary it should encourage us to treat every day as special, make us try and complete our unfinished tasks with a sense of urgency.

It should urge us to enjoy every moment and to be nice and kind to the people around us. When Alexander the Great, who ruled half the then known world, died, his hands were placed outside the coffin as willed by him.

This was to remind all that everyone, pauper or the king, would go from this world empty-handed. In most Sufi orders, death is remembered as a daily ritual in one form or the other. It brings humility, softens the heart and makes us humane.

Abu Dhabi Awards winners to get honours

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Abu Dhabi Awards winners to get honours
By Dina El Shammaa, Staff Reporter/GULF NEWS Published: August 28, 2007, 18:43

Abu Dhabi: The winners of the Abu Dhabi Awards 2007 will be honoured in mid-December.

The nominations for ‘2007 awards’ will be held between September 9 to October 7. The judging period will be held in October and November, which will be followed by an awards ceremony.

General Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, will present an award to the ten winners at the Emirates Palace by mid-December.

The awards will mainly go to the top ten nominees recognized by residents and citizens for their humanitarian acts and contributions to the society.

“The award honors citizens and residents who have contributed to building a greater sense of community and social welfare within Abu Dhabi. Everyone is given the chance to nominate those whose goodness knows no limits and in doing so share in their goodwill,” said Mariam Ameri from the Organizing Committee in Abu Dhabi.

All nominations are reviewed individually and reported by a nomination panel. This is then reviewed by a judging committee comprising senior government officials. The merit of those people nominated will determine the final number of awards given.

The nomination process requires completing a “nomination form” available at stands in 26 key locations, including malls in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain. The form can either be faxed or posted back and there are no limits to the number of people one person can nominate.

“Let your voice speak of their actions, in honouring people in this way. The awards raise awareness of the value of such contributions and in turn encourage others to make similar contributions,” stressed Amiri.

The 2006 awards received over 50,000 nominations, up from 42,000 in 2005. Three winners of the 2005 awards were present at the conference and spoke to the media.

“I never thought or expected to win this award. I received a call to bring along my husband and children to attend the event. They never gave me details. I only knew I was one of the winners when they announced my name that same day,” said Amira Al Shaibani.

Al Shaibani received nominations for her efforts in 1982 in a project to build a sports centre for children with special needs in the UAE.

Huda Kanoo, was nominated for her efforts in establishing the Abu Dhabi Classical Music and Arts Foundation in 1996 and a music library at the National Library in Abu Dhabi.

In addition, she launched an award carrying her name as a contribution to urge students to participate and compete at the Abu Dhabi Festival for Classical Music.

Dr. B.R. Shetty known for his medical achievements established the New Medical Center (NMC) Hospital with branches in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah.

He also opened the National Hospital, New National Medical Centre, NMC Specialty Hospitals and NMC Family Clinic that treats over one million patients a year.

“My father came to this country in 1973 with only 8 Dollars in his pocket. If it weren’t for this country offering opportunities and opening their arms to him he wouldn’t have succeeded in helping others and we wouldn’t have received this award today,” said one of Shetty’s daughters who represented him in his absence.

About the ADA 2007 Awards

-Through the commitment of the President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi has chosen to celebrate compassionate individuals who have silently volunteered their time to build and support the community of Abu Dhabi.

-The Emirate of Abu Dhabi recognizes the accomplishments of individuals through the Abu Dhabi Awards 2007, which marks the third year of awards.

-2005 was the inaugural year of the event


To make the Emirate of Abu Dhabi a better place, where humanity and goodness are cherished and celebrated.


To encourage and motivate citizens and residents of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi to reach out and help each other live more fulfilling and rewarding lives.

Who can nominate

-Residents and citizens of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, including Al Ain and the Western Region.

-Those who know someone whose goodness has contributed to the community and spirit of Abu Dhabi.

Why Participate?

-Recognize and celebrate citizens and residents of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi who have contributed to building a greater sense of community and social welfare within Abu Dhabi.

-The awards raise awareness of the value of such contributions and in turn encourage others to make similar contributions.

The Nomination Process

-Going to any of the many nomination stations across the Emirate of Abu Dhabi including roving nomination stations

-Filling out a nomination form, these are currently being delivered to homes across the UAE and can be returned by post, fax or by placing them in collection boxes placed at the nomination stations.


-Filling out your nomination form and faxing it 800-333-00

Previous winner summaries

Winners 2006

Ahmad Khalifa Al Suwaidi
Dedicated his life and money to the welfare of the local community. He played an important role in the union of the UAE and was personal advisor to the Nation’s late father

Shaikh Salem bin Ham Al Amri
Strong supporter of the protection and welfare of the UAE
Contributed immensely to the protection and welfare of the nation both before and after the union and contributed to the social development in Abu Dhabi through the National Consultative Council

Shamsa Hazim Al Muhairi
Active member of the Abu Dhabi Women Development Association. Al Muhairi created awareness on the importance of women’s education and other social problems facing today’s community. Al Muhairi also launched a health program in the Emirate in cooperation with UNICEF and was pivotal in the establishment of the UAE Women Affairs bureau in 1991

Ahmed Awad Kareem
In collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Municipality, contributed to developing several important infrastructure projects in the Emirate including the establishment of the current industrial area

Sana’a Darwish Al Kitby
Dedicated her efforts to supporting people with special needs, women in the Emirate and autistic children. She contributed to the establishment of the General Women’s Union and the Abu Dhabi Women’s Development Association

Dr. Izzeidein Ibrahim Mustafa
Established several cultural and social associations, including the Women’s Union in the UAE

Wahida Ibrahim
Contributed to the education sector by providing free classes to special students and organized fund raising activities to support her school

Ahlam Yahya Al Shateri
Created a platform for parents, teachers and children to better use their time and better understand each others needs. Al Shateri delivers seminars to promote loyalty to the country and charitable causes

Shaikha Siddeeqa Al Qasimi
One of the first UAE women graduates and a leader in supporting education and her school is now known as being one of the best governmental schools in the country. Al Qasimi focused on educating women and helping them excel in their communities and businesses and promoted principles of equality and ethics among her students

Winners in 2005

Dr Rawdha Al Mutawa
Established the Abu Dhabi Business Women Council, Chairwoman of the Gulf Business Committee and a member of the board of directors of the UAE Red Crescent
Strong supporter of National business women

The Late Abdul Jaleel Mohammad Al Fahim
His desire to help others led him into the trading business to allow him the means and resources to fulfill his selfless goals. His activities and generosity contributed to the economic backbone of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi

Amira Al Shaibani
In 1982 Amira Al Shaibani spearheaded a project to build a sports centre for children with special needs in the Emirate.
She also launched the Olympics for children with special needs.

Colonel Edward Wilson
Supervised and trained the first defense battalions between 1964 and 1968, which evolved into the UAE Armed Forces
Established the Royal Stables, whose first cornerstones were laid by the late Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan

Major General Hamad Al Khaili
The late Shaikh Zayed civil escort until the establishment of the Special Guards in 1971. He joined many training courses and was promoted up the military ranks till he received the rank of Major General. A sleepless soldier, man of strength and careful protector of the safety of the leader

Huda Kanoo
Established the Abu Dhabi Classical Music and Arts Foundation in 1996 and a music library at the National Library in Abu Dhabi. Kanoo launched an award carrying her name as a contribution to urge students to participate and compete at the Abu Dhabi Festival for Classical Music

Pat & Marian Kennedy
Established the first hospital in Al Ain. Their efforts significantly contributed to the reduction of mortality rates, particularly among infants, and raised the birth rates during the many years they spent in Abu Dhabi. At least 4,000 babies came to life by virtue of their efforts.

Major General Khalfan Al Rumaithi
Served Abu Dhabi for 45 years and occupied many military posts from the day he joined the Trucial Oman Scouts.
Founded the Emiri Guards. This service earned him the UAE first-class medal

Sally Benge
Sally approached the Future Centre to provide help for a group of children from Central Hospital. Sally looks after them all day, every day in return for the Future Centre taking them in and giving them homes. She has since adopted and sponsored other children

B R Shetty
His sense of purpose and determination culminated in the establishment of the NMC Hospital in Abu Dhabi, the first of its kind in the country, with branches in Dubai and Sharjah following that. These hospitals along with National Hospital, New National Medical Centre, Abu Dhabi, the state of the art NMC Specialty Hospitals in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Al Ain and NMC Family Clinic, Dubai treat over one million patients a year

Places to visit in UAE – Jebel Hafeet Mountain, Al Ain

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Just have a look what they have created in a desert…

The Jebel Hafeet Mountain Road in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the greatest driving road in the world. Stretching for 7.3 miles and climbing nearly 4,000 feet, it boasts 60 corners and a surface so smooth that it would flatter a racetrack. It could easily be described as the eighth wonder of the world, but almost nothing is known about its creation.

The road is cut into the Jebel Hafeet Mountain , the highest peak in the United Arab Emirates , the oil-rich Persian Gulf state. The mountain spans the border with Oman and lies about 90 minutes’ drive southeast of the thriving city of Dubai . It looks down upon a dusty, desert landscape that belies a nation of astonishing wealth.

Jebel Hafeet (Arabic: جبل حفيت) (variously translated Jabal, Jabel and Jebal) is a mountain primarily in the United Arab Emirates on the outskirts of Al Ain. The mountain actually straddles part of the border with Oman. The mountain rises 1240 meters and offers an impressive view over the city, with what has been described as “the greatest driving road in the world” extending to the summit. Jebel Hafeet was a well-known landmark through out the area’s history and is a contemporary tourist attraction. An extensive natural cave system winds through Jebel Hafeet.

At the foothills of Jabal Hafeet lies the Green Mubazarrah, a well developed tourist attraction. At the Green Mubazarrah, hot-water springs gush forth in little streams and form a lake. Swimming pools and jacuzzis are scattered all over the Green Mubazarrah. Jebel Hafeet is also home to a wide range of animals including bats, foxes, snakes, etc.

It is often incorrectly labelled U.A.E’s highest mountain (as it is certainly the most well-known); this honor actually belongs to Jabal Yibir.

The Jebel Hafeet Mountain Road extends for 7.3 mi (11.7 km) up the mountain, rising 4000 ft (1219 m). With 21 corners and three lanes (two climbing and one descending), the immaculate road was called the greatest driving road in the world by The road scales the mountain and ends at a parking lot with only a hotel and a palace belonging to the country’s rulers.

Jebel Hafeet Road is the challenge for cyclists who frequently come over to train. The Jebel Hafeet Mercure Challenge is a yearly road cycling competition taking place somewhere in January. National & international riders take part in climbing the 8% average ascent of the mighty mountain.

Hotels: Hotel Mercure Grand Jebel HafeetJebel Hafeet P O BOX 24476 0 AL AIN – UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Tel : (+971)3/7838888 – Fax : (+971)3/7839000 – @ :

Nearby Tourist spots:

Lake HOT SPRINGS LAKE (10.00km)
OLYMPIC SPORTS Centre (15.00km)

Venezuela wants two US oil firms to leave

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Venezuela wants two US oil firms to leave
30 Aug, 2007, 1410 hrs IST, AGENCIES

CARACAS: The Venezuelan government wants two US oil giants that refuse to come under state control to leave and is not offering compensation, Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez said.

Exxon Mobil and Conoco Phillips have refused to fall in line with a law passed by President Hugo Chavez’s leftist government forcing multinationals to give at least 60 percent of the capital in their Venezuelan operations to the state-controlled Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA).

Venezuela is one of the world’s top 10 oil producers and a major supplier to the US, its biggest customer.

But Ramirez said late Wednesday, “We are negotiating with the companies that have not accepted our laws in order to finalize their departure from the country.”

The minister said that the era of “oil openness is over” and highlighted that no compensation would be given to the US companies.

“We have been very clear since last year: quite simply, it does not interest us to work with companies that do not accept our laws,” Ramirez said as he left a Venezuelan parliament debate on energy.

He added that those companies which do work with PDVSA would be allowed to stay in “the biggest oil reserve on the planet” for at least 25 years.

Venezuela is the only Latin-American member of OPEC, the main oil producers’ cartel. Officially it produces about three million barrels of oil per day but the International Energy Agency has given a figure of 2.6 million.

About half of the production goes to the US. There is an estimated 230 billion barrels of oil in Venezuela’s Orinoco field but 78 billion are proved.

Military precision

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Military precision
Kelly Crane, Staff Reporter/GULF NEWS Published: August 29, 2007, 23:46

The term “bootcamp” generally conjures up images of outdoor, military-style fitness training, with sergeants barking orders at, more often than not, unfit new recruits who, by the looks on their faces, are already totally regretting what they signed up for.

Well, you wouldn’t be far wrong.

So remind me, why do people enrol to be a part of this madness? The answer is simple – it’s torture, but it works.
Bootcamp training is certainly not for the faint-hearted, but advocates are effusive about the fitness benefits and the entire experience, and this style of training is growing in popularity.

But being Dubai we have to go that one step further. Instead of just a decision as to whether you’d like someone to yell at you and make you do sit-ups at a time even before you normally wake up, Dubai gives you the opportunity to pick whether you’d like to partake in this madness in either the hot or the cold. Well, sit tight for just a minute while tabloid! does the research for you by checking out boot camp in the snow and sand right here in the city.

The verdict

Admittedly, I didn’t do somersaults when my alarm went off at 5.20am on a Sunday morning and I knew what lay ahead. But at 7am, when it was all over, it was worth the pain (or at least I think it was – I may have been so exhausted, I was delirious).

I reluctantly signed up for the Military Bootcamp and met Corey Oliver (who is too fit for words) at the Open Beach, behind the Village shopping mall on Beach Road in Jumeirah.

That’s when it really hit me: there wasn’t just one stupidly-energetic and overly-fit person to bark at me – there were four. I nearly died on the spot.

So, is it hard?

Yes, but not impossible. The thing which first struck me about bootcamp was the fact there were people of all levels of fitness involved.

From super-fit rugby players getting super, super fit in the run-up to the start of the new season, to guys and girls who have not lifted a finger nor got out of breath for years.

It was wake-up time and it happened in a flash. Somehow, these guys seem to whip you into a state of utter denial, where you really do believe in yourself and what your body is capable of.

Even the guys who said they would normally cook up a million excuses as to why they can’t work out – “my back is stiff”, “I’m too busy” or “too old” – found themselves immersed in the passion for the team-building exercise that bootcamps promote.

Don’t be afraid

Although the team pulls together as one, bootcamp works for each individual because you all push yourself to your own personal breaking point, whether that is 10 sit-ups or 100.

Everyone encourages each other and the sessions are broken down to work on different aspects of fitness across the week, so you are never working the same muscles too much.

T-shirts are issued according to rank – solider, commando or elite – and the guys are always on hand to offer advice.
Sessions involve a warm-up and cool-down, bodyweight exercises, running, stretching, relays and exercises with a partner.

Boxing and all the old basics, like sit-ups and push-ups, lunges, along with rope running, rifle carrying and a good old run, certainly keep your heart racing throughout.

Training “al fresco” is also invigorating, especially when your team pick up penalties along the way which result in you having to do the usual routine in the puddles at the beach. Yes, be warned – Corey and the boys will ensure results but they won’t let you get away with much.

Military Bootcamp

Who: Physical Advantage (fitness solutions).
Where: Open beach (behind the Village), sunset beach (next to the Burj Al Arab) and Safa Park.
When: Starting from September 2: Course One: Sunday 6am, Tuesday 6am, Thursday 6am.

Course Two: Sunday 8pm, Tuesday 8pm, Thursday 8pm.
Course Three: Monday 6am, Wednesday 6am, Friday 6am.
Course Four: Monday 8pm, Wednesday 8pm, Friday 6pm.

What: Physical Advantage, based at The Fairmont Dubai, began bootcamps in Dubai on January 29, 2007.
Military Bootcamp has been scientifically designed to achieve optimum results in the minimum time, no matter what your current fitness level is. The basic programme consists of three 60-minute sessions a week over four weeks.
Why: To lose weight, get fit and tone every muscle in your body.
Contact: Corey on 050-8487940, email or visit
Cost: Dh950 for 12 sessions.

There’s snow way

The Renegade Bootcamp team has just introduced sessions which take place in the snow at Ski Dubai. Personal trainer Ziggy Darwish said the sessions have been well received and can offer some clients welcome relief from the summer heat.

He said: “The sessions can only be described as refreshing even though they are still hard work because it is a great deal of uphill work.

“It is cold at first but the body works harder in the cold so you soon warm up.”

Ski Dubai courses are priced at Dh650 for six sessions or Dh120 for one.


Athletes who want a winning edge should take in the right nutrition. When you drink enough water and eat a balanced diet, your body can make energy efficiently and fuel top performance. It also enables you to make the most of your athletic talents and gain more strength, power and endurance when you train. Base your diet on a variety of factors including your age, size and physical condition, and the type of exercise you are doing.


Water is the most important factor in sport nutrition. It makes up about 60 per cent of body weight and is involved in almost every bodily process.

Your body cannot make or store water, so you must replace what you eliminate (through urine and sweat).

Everyone should drink at least two quarts (eight cups) of water each day and athletes need more. Drink plenty of fluids before, during and after sport to stay hydrated and avoid overheating. When you work out or compete, especially in hot weather, try to closely match the amount of fluid you drink with the amount you lose to sweat.

Do not disturb – Taking time off

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I haven’t posted any photos for quite some time. I was thinking of it while coming to my car last night. And our friend here was taking his time off. I did not waste an opportunity to capture his reactions.

It was a very hot day and it’s nice to take a short cat sleep at this time before the owner comes!

Is he here alreday, too early and too short, I should have selected another car.

I think he is not the one, let me sleep for some more time.

What was that I was dreaming, this guy disturbed me…..

Hey, I told you not to disturb me now. Come back later.

And he goes to sleep again!!!

Mubadala to develop Dh4.4b city in Malaysia

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Mubadala to develop Dh4.4b city in Malaysia
Gulf News Report / Published: August 29, 2007, 23:58

Dubai: Mubadala Development Company, Abu Dhabi government’s investment arm, will lead a consortium of Gulf investors to develop a Dh4.4 billion ($1.2 billion integrated international city development in Malaysia’s the Iskandar Development Region (IDR).

The company yesterday signed a series of Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) with partners on the project, to be developed over 20 years.

“This landmark investment will represent the single largest foreign real estate development in Malaysia, one of the largest real estate developments in the region and one of the largest single foreign investments ever in Malaysia,” Mubadala said.

Growth strategy

Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, CEO and managing director of Mubadala, said, “We believe strongly that sustainable development built upon a solid infrastructure attracts global brands and pays continuing dividends. This is an integral part of our growth strategy in Abu Dhabi and beyond. Node 1 fits well with our vision and investment objectives and Mubadala is pleased to be part of this endeavour.”

Abu Dhabi-based developer Aldar Properties will act as its Master Development Manager for IDR, referred to as Node 1.

Aldar chairman Ahmad Al Sayegh, said, “Node 1 has the opportunity to be a showcase of new ideas and standards in development and Aldar is committed to its success.”

The conditional agreements entered by South Johor Investment Corporation Berhad (SJIC), through its subsidiary Rim City Sdn Bhd (RCSB) yesterday were with three leading consortiums, led by Mubadala, Kuwait Finance House and Millennium Development International Company.

The consortiums will invest more than $1.2 billion of initial investment for land and infrastructure to develop three clusters, namely the Lifestyle and Leisure cluster, the Cultural cluster and the Financial District. These three clusters will consist of nine distinctly themed zones.

Node 1 is a development spread over approximately 9.02 million square metres, located in the area of Nusajaya.

Impressive show by UAE girls in karate championship

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Impressive show by UAE girls in karate championship
By Alaric Gomes, Staff Reporter/GULF NEWS Published: August 29, 2007, 23:46

Dubai: The UAE girls karate team walked away with six medals at the end of the open karate meet that concluded in Grado, Italy yesterday.

Led by UAE skipper, Shaikha Maitha Bint Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the team picked up one gold, four silver and one bronze at the day-long competition.

Nearly 650 athletes from 16 countries participated in the competition that was held to mark the end of a ten-day camp.

More than 150 athletes took part in the Kata competition, while the rest participated in the Kumite competition.

The UAE’s medal hunt was led by young Haya Juma, who won the individual gold in the Kata competition.

She also picked up a silver medal in the individual Kumite in the under 45 kgs category for beginners.

Inspirational role

Shaikha Maitha herself was inspirational, winning the silver in the over 60 kgs category.

Two more silver medals came from Lana Ali in the under 51 kgs Cadets category and Mai Omran in the under 70 kgs Cadets category, while Noor Nasser bagged a bronze in the under 55kgs beginners category.

The UAE team attended special training sessions with the Italian national squad at the end of the competition. The team is scheduled to arrive in Dubai today.

Prices of essentials poised to spiral

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Cooperatives and supermarkets say they will not be able to hold on to their prices of essential commodities for much longer.

Prices of essentials poised to spiral
By Himendra Mohan Kumar, Staff Reporter/GULF NEWS Published: August 28, 2007, 23:23

Abu Dhabi: Prices of essentials in the UAE might go up in the coming months, large retailers say.

Cooperatives and supermarkets say they will not be able to hold on to their prices of essential commodities for much longer, despite efforts by the UAE’s Ministry of Economy to curb inflation, as suppliers are threatening to pull out amid squeezed profitability and rising costs.

“The suppliers have restrictions from the ministry and they say they can’t afford to supply at the current prices. If they increase their prices, then we have no choice but to pass them on to the customers,” Abu Dhabi Cooperative Society’s purchase manager N.S. Jayan told Gulf News.

Retailers say the prices of rice, wheat, cooking oil and milk powder are under pressure as suppliers are citing increased production and transportation costs, insufficient crop and an uptrend in domestic and overseas demand as reasons for raising the prices.

Ebrahim Al Bahr, assistant general manager at Union Cooperative Society in Dubai, said they will hold on to their current prices until Ramadan.

“After that, the Ministry of Economy will sit with the suppliers and we will then get an overall picture of where the prices are headed.”

Last year, the prices of food items surged dramatically during Ramadan. It became serious enough for the Ministry of Economy to interfere and issue warnings.

The situation had resulted in the establishment of the Consumer Protection Department by the ministry.

Yahoo Mail adds SMS, drops beta tag

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Yahoo Mail adds SMS, drops beta tag

AP[ MONDAY, AUGUST 27, 2007 02:14:25 PM]

SAN FRANCISCO: Yahoo Inc. will introduce new features for its popular Web-based e-mail programme, including software that allows computer users to type text messages on a keyboard and send them directly to someone’s cell phone.

The enhancements make it easier to send e-mail, instant messages or text messages from a single Web site – no need to launch or toggle between separate applications or devices. It will take up to six weeks for all the new features to become available to all 254 million Yahoo Mail subscribers in 21 languages worldwide.

The most obvious beneficiaries will be parents, who will be able to use their keyboards to type messages sent to their children’s cell phones – no thumb-twisting typing on a dial pad, said Yahoo Vice President John Kremer.

“We’re giving you the right way to connect at the right time with right person,” said Kremer, whose two preteen sons vastly prefer text and instant messages to e-mail.

The changes come amid fierce competition among providers of free, Web-based e-mail services. Yahoo and Microsoft Corp’s Hotmail have long dominated the niche, but Google Inc’s Gmail has grown quickly since its introduction in April 2004.

In February, Yahoo announced that it would provide unlimited storage space, and earlier this month Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft said Hotmail would increase free storage from 2 to 5 gigabytes. Time Warner Inc’s AOL, the fourth largest e-mail provider, began offering unlimited storage last summer. Google provides nearly 3 gigabytes.