Day: August 28, 2007

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.

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Happy Raksha Bandhan

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Happy Raksha Bandhan… Artist Sudarsan Pattnaik makes a sculpture of Rakhi, with a message against terrorism inscribed on it, at Puri beach in Orissa on Monday.

And this special one to all my sisters……… Please select the one you like and wish for me Good luck. Team 1 protection is all yours.

Taqa readies $4b buyout plan

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Taqa readies $4b buyout plan
By Himendra Mohan Kumar, Staff Reporter/GULF NEWS Published: August 27, 2007, 23:06

Abu Dhabi: The Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (Taqa), plans to invest Dh14.68 billion ($4 billion) in new energy acquisitions over the next 12 months, the company’s chief executive said yesterday.

“We are looking at opportunities in Algeria, Libya, Tunisia, Norway, The Netherlands, UK, Canada and possibly, the US,” Peter Barker-Homek told Gulf News.

At present, Taqa has investments, assets and operations in 10 countries – UAE, Canada, Ghana, India, Morocco, The Netherlands, Russia, Saudi Arabia, the UK and the US.

Barker-Homek said Taqa’s latest upstream acquisition – Pioneer Canada – will go through the normal regulatory approval process and is expected to be completed “probably in November this year.”

Taqa said last week that it will acquire the Calgary-based upstream petroleum exploration company for $540 million from Pioneer’s parent – the US-based Pioneer Natural Resources Company.

Pioneer Canada, which has operations in the western Canadian sedimentary basin, would be Taqa’s fifth overseas acquisition since November 2006.

Post acquisition of Pioneer Canada, Taqa’s debt-to equity ratio would be 80 per cent debt and 20 per cent equity.

Talking about the company’s debts, he said: “We have $3.5 billion in bonds that we have issued to the global financial community. In addition, we have, through a syndication of banks, about $6.5 in project finance in our subsidiaries in the UAE.” Barker-Homek said Taqa’s assets are worth $16 billion.

Output

The combined output of Taqa’s upstream assets is currently a little more than 60,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

Even if there are no further acquisitions by the company, Taqa can sustain its current production level for several years, said Barker-Homek. “Right now, the average reserve life of our oil and gas properties is 12 years,” he said.

Barker-Homek said Taqa plans to invest $300 million in 2007 to boost output at its oil and natural gas producing assets. “Since January this year, we have invested about $200 million.”

Barker-Homek felt Taqa is grossly undervalued on the Abu Dhabi Securities Market.

“The earnings potential of the company is currently not reflected in the share price. I think the market is probably waiting to see if our acquisitions will add value to shareholders. We plan to maintain and increase the dividend that we established last year,” Barker-Homek added.

New masterplan to offer growth roadmap

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New masterplan to offer growth roadmap
By Saifur Rahman, Business News Editor GULF NEWS Published: August 27, 2007, 23:06

Dubai: The newly announced Dubai Urban Development Framework (DUDF) will offer a comprehensive roadmap for Dubai’s future up to 2020 and beyond, according to a top government official, that would solve the main concerns of today’s urban life.

“The DUDF is our roadmap for the future of Dubai in offering sustainable growth that will look into environmental and social aspects of the urbanisation,” Ahmad Bin Bayat, secretary-general of Dubai Executive Council, told Gulf News in an interview.

Dubai, which has witnessed an explosive growth over the last half-decades due to government’s major economic initiatives, has been trying to cope with the rapid-fire expansion, leading to inflationary pressures.

The emirate’s GDP grew 16 per cent year-on-year over the last few years while the foreign trade skyrocketed in recent years.

More than 80 per cent of the UAE’s Dh510 billion ($139 billion) merchandise trade are conducted through Dubai, while the city’s attractive hard infrastructure is attracting massive investments that is adding further pressure on its capacity, pushing the property and rent prices higher – beyond the reach of the middle income group.

In the recent years, traffic and skyrocketing rents have been identified by the city’s residents as the major cause for concern.

“In 14 months time, the consortium will offer an integrated masterplan that will be based on the future needs of Dubai’s growing population, in terms of land use, traffic impact , water and electricity consumption requirement, etc,” he said.

The government has not yet re-calculate the population growth projections yet.

“The consortium, in its masterplan, will suggest that and the plan will be based on those calculations. We did not give any projections,” Bin Byat said.

The DUDF project will be guided by the Urban Planning Committee (UPC) of Dubai Government and by Ahmad Bin Bayat, a UPC statement said yesterday.

The project falls in line with Dubai’s nine-year vision and is part of the Dubai Strategic Plan 2015 (DSP) announced earlier this year.

“The DSP articulates the collective vision and strategy of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. It focuses on economic development, social development, security, justice and safety, infrastructure, land and environment and public sector excellence,” the statement said.

The UPC has key stakeholders including Dubai Municipality, the Road and Transport Authority (RTA), Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa), Dubai Land Department, and The Executive Office, as well as developers like Dubai Holdings, Emaar and Nakheel.

Technical experts from each of these organisations will be part of a task force which will help prepare the DUDF. The project will be administered by the Executive Council Secretariat and managed and directed by Dubai-based consultants, Halcrow.

“Environment and sustainability will be key in the masterplan as Dubai has now grown to become an international metropolis,” Bin Byat said.

“Therefore, Dubai needs a different approach to its future development and growth where all the aspects will be integrated into the plan so that we no longer face the usual problems like traffic and other issues.”

An Advisory Panel, which will have specialists and representatives from globally-recognised companies as members, will be formed to provide independent guidance to the project.

The long term Vision will provide clear direction and establish shared aspirations for the city-region, particularly in improving environmental, economic and social sustainability and business conditions in the city. It will develop quality of life targets, seeking to firmly position Dubai within the short list of the world’s most ‘liveable’ places.

The Emirate-wide ‘City and Regional Planning Framework’ will seek to establish a strong integration between the increasingly complex governmental, quasi-governmental and private stakeholder relationships of the city. Key elements of the Framework will include: integrated land use and mobility, housing provision, economic and demographic growth, urban character and design, heritage management, integrated community facilities provision, civic harmony and sustainability strategy.