News U Wish to Read – 27th July 2015
Note: News U Wish to Read is a daily press review compiled and only covers articles published in the press, in the UAE, India and world around. Its purpose is to keep us informed of important news items which we all wish to not miss. Enjoy reading the below news items and links. More sections will come as it takes shape and interest. Your response to this initiative is highly appreciated.
UAE fuel price change would cost about $387 per head this year
The government’s move to cut transport fuel subsidies would cost UAE residents an average of US$387 per head this year, although some households would be hit harder than others, according to the debt rating agency Moody’s Investors Service. The UAE was widely lauded for its move last week to cut fuel subsidies to promote efficiency, reduce environmental damage and encourage public transportation usage. Moody’s yesterday echoed others in saying that the move would have a positive impact on the public finances of the UAE and Abu Dhabi, as well as their credit ratings. Among the unanswered questions, however, is how quickly the government will move transport fuel prices towards market prices, how exactly it will define market prices and how much that will add to the average Emirates resident’s fuel budget every year. In Moody’s analysis – which relies on IMF data – the annual subsidy rate for transport fuels in the UAE is $730 for each of its 9.6 million residents, based on an estimated average oil price of $58 per barrel this year. But nearly half of that (47 per cent) is “external” costs, such as the environmental damage, traffic congestion, road wear and tear and forgone taxes which would not be transferred to drivers. The direct subsidy this year would total about $387 per head, according to Moody’s.That compares to a direct subsidy of about $583 per head in 2013, when oil prices averaged more than $90 per barrel.
Published: 27th July 2015
Read more: http://www.thenational.ae/business/energy/uae-fuel-price-change-would-cost-about-387-per-head-this-year
Dubai’s Solar Park closer to reality
Dewa closes financial close for second phase, Dh30b project to generate 1,000MW by 2019. The ambitious target set by Dubai to boost the share of renewable energy mix to seven per cent by 2020 is getting closer to reality with the state utility announcing the financial close for the second phase of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park on Sunday. The Dh30 billion Solar Park, one of the largest renewable energy projects in the region, has a planned capacity of 1,000MW by 2019, which can be increased up to 3,000MW by 2030. The project has been envisaged to meet the goal set by Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy 2030 to enhance solar energy share mix to seven per cent of Dubai’s total energy production by 2020 and 15 per cent by 2030. The 200MW Phase II project is a photovoltaic plant that will be based on the independent power producer model, the state utility, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa), said on Sunday. To be operational by 2017, the second phase involves the installation of over 2.3 million solar PV panels. “Today, Dewa adds another milestone in history at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, which is one of the largest renewable energy projects in the region. This is in line with the directives of the President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan to produce renewable energy locally to sustain our precious resources and support growth of a new promising sector. It also supports the Green Economy for Sustainable Development initiative, launched by His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai,” said Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, managing director and chief executive of Dewa.
Published: 20th July 2015
Read more: http://www.khaleejtimes.com/business/energy/solar-park-phase-2-in-the-offing
Abu Dhabi Aviation sets its sights on Iran if sanctions are lifted
Abu Dhabi Aviation, the largest commercial helicopter operator in the Middle East, said it will target contracts in Iran if sanctions are removed as it posted a 36.5 per cent jump in second-quarter net profit. That sent the stock surging 11 per cent yesterday. The company reported net profit of Dh67.39 million compared with Dh49.3m a year earlier. Revenue for the quarter was Dh518m compared with Dh382.2m a year earlier. Abu Dhabi Aviation will mainly target oil companies in Iran and those in the tourism, transport and medical evacuation sectors, said Ashraf Fahmy, the chief financial officer. “The last time we served the Iranian market was in 2007.” Mr Fahmy said he expected to face competition from the likes of Qatar’s Gulf Helicopters and Falcon Aviation from the UAE. Abu Dhabi Aviation operates a fleet of 61 helicopters, according to its website, making it the largest operator in the region. Mr Fahmy said that Maximus, its previously struggling air cargo division, has turned around its operations after restructuring.
Published: 26th July 2015
Politics & Economy
UAE to cut government spending for first time in 13 years
The UAE will cut spending in 2015 for the first time in 13 years, as low oil prices lead the government to take major action on reducing energy subsidies, according to the first official breakdown of the government’s spending plans for the year. Government spending is set to fall by 4.2 per cent to Dh460 billion in 2015, down from Dh480bn last year, data from the Central Bank and the IMF shows. The country had increased spending by an average rate of 12 per cent each year since 2004. The governments of the UAE – the seven emirate-level governments plus the federal government – plan to acknowledge IMF recommendations to reduce spending on subsidies by more than a third across 2015, the data show. Spending on subsidies is set to fall by 34.3 per cent to Dh13bn this year, which represents a Dh6.8bn reduction. That is a result both of falls in commodity prices, and the phasing out of subsidies on consumer products. Reductions in subsidies have already begun – Abu Dhabi Distribution Company ended subsidies on electricity and water for expats in January, and the Ministry of Energy has announced plans to phase out fuel subsidies. The government also plans to reduce grants by almost half – with spending set to fall to Dh11.3bn, down from Dh21.9bn last year. The UAE plans to increase spending on public sector wages by 3.4 per cent this year, with the government’s wage bill set to increase to Dh 48.8bn this year, up from Dh47.2 bn last year.
Published: 27th July 2015
Read more: http://www.thenational.ae/business/economy/uae-to-cut-government-spending-for-first-time-in-13-years
GCC car sales to slow as weaker oil prices put brakes on economic growth
Car sales in the GCC are expected to increase at a much slower rate this year compared with the double-digit jump of 2014, as consistently lower oil prices put the brakes on economic growth. Data from the consultancy IHS Automotive show that first-half sales in the GCC were 890,000 units. Overall sales this year are expected to reach about 1.88 million units compared with 1.78 million last year – a growth of 5.6 per cent. “The market is growing but not at the rate seen last year,” said Pierluigi Bellini, manager for the Middle East and Africa at IHS Automotive. “We have seen varied performance across the region.” Oil prices have fallen by more than half since June last year and have been hovering around the $60 mark in recent months. As a result, the IMF has revised growth forecasts lower for the UAE and Saudi Arabia in the past few months. The UAE’s GDP growth of about 4.2 per cent last year is expected to slow to 3.2 per cent this year. Saudi Arabia, which gets nearly 88 per cent of its revenue from crude exports, will grow 3 per cent this year compared with 3.6 per cent last year. According to IHS Automotive, the UAE led the region in car sales growth during the first half of this year at 3.5 per cent compared with last year. Saudi Arabia followed at about 3.2 per cent, while Kuwait barely showed gains of about 1 per cent. Oman, meanwhile, was the only country to record negative growth.
Published: 27th July 2015
Read more: http://www.thenational.ae/business/economy/gcc-car-sales-to-slow-as-weaker-oil-prices-put-brakes-on-economic-growth
Former Indian president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam dies at 84
Popular former head of state dies aged 84 after collapsing during lecture. Former Indian president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam died here on Monday evening following a cardiac arrest, hospital sources said. Dr Abdul Kalam, 84, was rushed to Bethany hospital in Nongrim hills after he collapsed while delivering a lecture to students at the Indian Institute of Management at around 6.30pm.
Published: 27th July 2015
Read more: http://gulfnews.com/news/asia/india/former-indian-president-a-p-j-abdul-kalam-dies-at-84-1.1557081
Community, Environment & Society
Palm trees tested for water usage by Abu Dhabi environment agency
The Environment Agency Abu Dhabi is researching the amount of water consumed by palm trees in order to promote resource conservation and create guidelines for farmers. Scientists initiated the project in the Western Region by conducting experiments on a natural preserve of palms near Madinat Zayed. The head engineer for the project, Wafaa Al Yamani, said the project was timed to coincide with the Liwa Festival to garner attention to the over-watering of palm trees. “We will be monitoring the rates of use of irrigation water and using smart water meters, which in turn will provide the wildlife management agencies and the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi information on the amount of water used by palm trees,” said Ms Al Yamani, an Emirati. Through empirical research, the end result is to establish the amount of water needed by palm trees hourly and at varying temperatures. Scientists will also test soil salinity levels and water balance. The research model conducted on palm trees, said Ms Al Yamani, will also be used to study other native plants in the region.
Published: 27th July 2015
Read more: http://www.thenational.ae/uae/environment/palm-trees-tested-for-water-usage-by-abu-dhabi-environment-agency
World’s most popular PC and laptop brands, Q2 2015 – in pictures
Worldwide PC shipments totalled 66.1 million units in the second quarter of 2015, according to the International Data Corporation, a year-on-year decline of 11.8%.
Published: 26th July 2015
Read more: http://www.thenational.ae/business/technology/worlds-most-popular-pc-and-laptop-brands-q2-2015–in-pictures#5
Run smarter with this gadget
An anklet attached to a special running sock helps you improve your running technique. Running is a brilliantly simple and effective way to get fit. It takes less time than you would spend commuting to your gym and you can experience the goodness that only a stress – relieving workout can bring about. However simple it might sound, running is not easy. Most of us get a coach for whichever form of exercise we choose – from weightlifting to pranayama. But, as far as running is concerned, we assume we don’t need a coach for we’ve been running since childhood. But, if the technique is wrong, it will eventually cause you chronic pain that will force you to give it up.
Published: 21st July 2015
Read more: http://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/sensoria-sock-helps-you-run-smarter/article7448342.ece
Sports – Campaign PASS
Campaign PASS (Promote All Sports Simultaneously) is an initiative started through my blog to promote all sports(other than cricket – which gets lot of attention) and sports personnel associated to give them more exposure.
Good training facilities will improve chess in India: Tania Sachdev
The Times of India
She may not have reached the dizzying heights and star status that the likes of Sania Mirza and Saina Nehwal enjoy, but those who know chess in India will know that Tania Sachdev has been no less an inspiration for girls taking up the sport. Sachdev, who began playing when she was just six, was the only girl competing in chess tournaments from Delhi for a long time. TOI caught up with the 28-year-old International Master and woman Grandmaster, after she participated in the Redbull tweet chess event, which saw her play chess against hundreds of people on Twitter. Excerpts from an exclusive interview.
Published: 24th July 2015
Read more: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/sports/chess/Good-training-facilities-will-improve-chess-in-India-Tania-Sachdev/articleshow/48198730.cms
Hope you enjoyed reading the above news items and links. More sections will come as it take shape and interest. Your response to this initiative is highly appreciated.
Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi
27th July 2015