Sunday, 23rd August 2015
Note: News U Wish to Read is a compilation of 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 not to 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.
Weak outlook as oil prices continue to slide
Oil prices are unlikely to recover in the near term as production continues to rise and demand slows down across the globe. Crude oil in the United States fell below $40 (Dh147) per barrel on Friday, the lowest since 2009. It recovered later to close at $40.45. International benchmark brent was at $45.46, down by 2.49 per cent. According to analysts, the very near term outlook for oil prices is not good. “There is a reasonable risk that in the coming weeks the West Texas oil price will fall into the thirties, brent maybe as low as $40 (per barrel),” said Gary Dugan, Chief Investment Officer at National Bank of Abu Dhabi.
Published: 18th August 2015
UAE domestic energy usage doubles in 10 years: Study
The UAE’s gross domestic electricity consumption has more than doubled over the past 10 years, and is expected to grow even more rapidly over the next five years as the country undergoes substantial population and economic growth, according to a study by management consultancy Strategy &, formerly Booz & Company. The study reveals that energy usage in the UAE has grown at an annual average of four per cent over the past six years, and is projected to increase to five per cent through 2020. A recent forum organised by the Energy Working Group of the UAE-UK Business Council and facilitated by Strategy&, highlighted three key aspects of energy efficiency which comprise of smart cities, building efficiency and water usage. Although numerous initiatives have already been launched in the UAE, implementing additional comprehensive measures and policies can help reap the full benefits of an improved energy efficiency strategy, as challenges cannot be overcome in isolation. While UAE’s increased urbanization is a sign of the country’s growth and progress, it also presents some challenges alongside. According to the UN, 85 per cent of the UAE’s population resided in urban areas as of 2014, and this is forecasted to reach 91 per cent by 2050. The UAE, therefore, needs to have integrated infrastructure planning as a prerequisite to any urban master plan. Per-Ola Karlsson, a senior partner with Strategy&, formerly Booz & Company in Dubai, said one of the best way of doing this, which takes advantage of digitization and the Big Data that urban populations produce, is through the so-called ‘smart city approach’. “This term typically entails integrated infrastructure planning that applies digital technologies to deliver better services and, critically for the UAE, reduce energy consumption. Smart cities allow city planners and managers to improve efficiency at the intersection of different infrastructure sectors, such as electricity, water, transport, telecommunications, cooling and waste.”
Published: 21st August 2015
Government, Apollo Hospitals partner to launch telemedicine services
The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology will launch telemedicine services in collaboration with the Apollo Hospitals on August 25, under which people can consult doctors through video link and also order generic drugs online. Under the service, people can visit Common Service Centres (CSC) and fix an appointment for seeking expert consultancy with a doctor. The doctors at Apollo Hospitals will be able to provide consultancy to the patients using the video link facilities, a Ministry official said. The Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) has a network of 1.5 lakh CSCs across the country and Apollo Hospitals will provide the services using the network. To begin with, the services will be launched in 60,000 CSCs across the country. The initiative will benefit the patients in remote areas of the country where there is acute shortage of doctors.
Published: 23rd August 2015
Bandhan Bank to fund SMEs, create jobs: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley
Newly-launched Bandhan Bank will fund lakhs of small and medium entrepreneurs, create jobs and act as a response to agrarian poverty, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said today. “A great institution is being born in West Bengal,” he said while inaugurating Bandhan Bank here. Bandhan Bank today launched its operations with 501 branches in the country. The company, which started operations as a micro finance institution, got final approval from RBI in June to launch commercial banking operations. Jaitley said Bandhan Bank Chairman and Managing Director Chandra Shekhar Ghosh has said that the priority area of the bank will be small and medium enterprises (SMEs). “It is a landmark initiative in the service of country and state. It is these entrepreneurs in SMEs, many of them in unorganised sector, who today form the backbone of Indian economy. “Small entrepreneurs, from shopkeepers to hawkers, they are generating almost 11-12 crore jobs in this country. The large organised industry is able to generate only a small fraction of that,” Jaitley said.
The Bandhan experiment – a transformation from a micro lender to a full-fledged bank, may shape the India’s future banking, felt who’s who of the country’s financial field who thronged to the city in numbers for the Bandhan Bank’s inaugural programme. The formation of Bandhan Bank in fact, marked a new beginning of Indian banking, which in another one-and-a-half year will see emergence of payments banks and small finance bank. Reserve Bank of India has decided to offer licenses to entities with different capabilities with a single agenda in mid: improve financial penetration. “India is home to several experiments and an MFI turning unto a bank is one such experiment,” former RBI deputy governor Shyamala Gopinath said at pre-launch event on the eve of Bandhan’s inauguration on Sunday. Bandhan Bank is the first to be off the block as the new change happening in the country’s finance and banking field,” Uday Kotak, executive vice chairman and managing managing director of Kotak Mahindra Bank, said at the event. West Bengal finance cum industry minister Amit Mitra, who was present at the inaugural event, said that Bandhan Bank would serve the twin purpose of women empowerment and poverty alleviation.
Published: 23rd August 2015
Politics & Economy
Mohammed bin Rashid issues law regulating partnership between public, private sectors in Dubai Emirate
Vice President and Prime Minister, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, in his capacity as the Ruler of Dubai, has issued Law No. 22 for 2015, regulating partnerships between the public and private sectors in the Emirate of Dubai. The new law aims at encouraging the private sector to participate in the development of projects and increasing investment in different fields in a way that serves economic and social development in the Emirate of Dubai. It also allows the government to implement its strategic projects effectively and efficiently, as well as harness financial, administrative, technical and technological expertise of the private sector. This will also enable individuals in the community to have better access to services at less cost. The new law also aims to increase productivity and improve the quality of public services, transfer of knowledge and experience from the private to the public sector, as well as training and qualifying Emirati public employees in the areas of management and operation of projects.
Published: 18th August 2015
Arabian Gulf markets lose $58 billion as weak oil and global equity rout spark sell-off
Billions of dirhams were wiped off the value of Dubai shares yesterday, as stock markets across the Arabian Gulf lost US$58 billion on a day of calamitous trading. The sharp sell-offs came in the wake of sliding oil prices and a global equity rout on Friday, spurred by fears of a slowdown in China’s economic expansion, a key engine of global growth. Dubai’s stock market led losses in the Middle East yesterday: the Dubai Financial Market General Index fell as much as 7.2 per cent on the day, before closing down 6.96 per cent at 3,451.48, its lowest level since the end of March.“There’s been absolutely no discrimination, it’s red across the board,” said Sebastien Henin of the The National Investor in Abu Dhabi. “Many stocks are back to their lowest level since December or January.” Emaar Properties, the heaviest-weighted stock on Dubai’s headline index, ended the day down 8.3 per cent at Dh6.18, its lowest level since December. The market plunge in Dubai was closely mirrored in Saudi Arabia, where equities have suffered severe losses in the past month in the wake of plummeting oil prices.
Published: 23rd August 2015
Inflation climbs to 4.43% in UAE
The overall inflation in the country rose to 4.43 per cent year-on-year in July, highest in six years. In a month-on-month comparison, CPI rose to 126.03 points from 125.66 points or 0.37 points. The chief contributing factors to the rise in inflation were led by food and beverages that rose 1.37 per cent; followed by textiles, clothing and footwear that went up 0.33 per cent and rise of 0.13 per cent in housing rents. Decreases to the CPI came from miscellaneous goods and services 0.12 per cent; medical care 0.07 per cent and furniture and household goods 0.01 per cent. Housing and utility costs, which account for over 39 per cent of consumer expenses, jumped 10.0 per cent from a year earlier in July and rose 0.1 per cent from the previous month. Abu Dhabi hiked electricity and water tariffs from January 1. Food and soft drink prices, which account for nearly 14 per cent of the basket, rose 3.4 per cent year-on-year and 1.4 per cent month-on-month. At the emirate level, CPI fluctuated highest in Sharjah measuring 0.54 per cent; followed by Ajman where 0.49 per cent growth was witnessed. In Dubai, it rose 0.45 per cent followed by 0.31 per cent in Abu Dhabi, according to latest data. Lowest fluctuation of 0.15 per cent was noted in Fujairah, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. On the rise in food prices in July which is reflected on the CPI, a leading retailer Wissal Ahmed Khan, chief executive officer of Alam Supermarkets in Abu Dhabi, said: “The period covered in the survey includes the second half of Holy month of Ramadan, when the promotions launched by the retailers came to an end, to normal price levels.”
Published: 21st August 2015
Community, Environment & Society
Ecocity World Summit 2015 to welcome 13 ministers and government officials as speakers
Ecocity World Summit, ECWS, 2015 has confirmed a line-up of 13 ministers and government officials as speakers, in addition to 22 subject matter experts, up to a dozen from academia, and other visionary leaders from the private sector. The event is scheduled to take place in Abu Dhabi from 11th to 13th October, marking its debut in the Middle East. As part of the city-wide preparation for the summit, the ECWS host committee members conducted their first official meeting on 19th August with over 15 bodies to discuss their anticipated outcomes and collaborative efforts towards the successful launch of the Middle East’s first ECWS edition. ECWS 2015 is to be hosted by the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, supported by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Urban Planning Council, Masdar, and will be facilitated by Abu Dhabi Environmental Data Initiative with Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority as the destination host. “The response to the 11th edition of the Ecocity World Summit conference series has been tremendous, and we are very much looking forward to the contribution of our list of speakers, from across the globe. By creating an opportunity for dialogue with the greatest minds in this field, we are confident that the summit will help pave the way for greener cities across the globe,” said Ahmed Baharoon, Executive Director of the Environmental Science, Information and Outreach Sector and Acting Director of AGEDI of Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi.
Published: 23rd August 2015.
National Archive signs agreement with BP Archive on UAE documents
The UAE National Archive has signed an agreement with British Petroleum (BP), allowing it to access documents and records about the Emirate in the company’s archive. The agreement, signed on the directives of H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Presidential Affairs and Chairman of the National Archive, grants the National Archive a 10-year exclusive access to all documents in the BP archive about the UAE. The company’s documents and records relating to the UAE chronicle a critical era in the country’s history. The agreement was signed by Dr. Abdulla Al Raes, Director-General of the National Archive and Peter Housego, BP Archive Manager, in presence of Abdul Rahman Ghanem Al Mutaiwee, UAE Ambassador to the United Kingdom.
Published: 20th August 2015.
Tweets now visible on Google search
Now you can see Tweets in the Google search results as Google has added Tweets to their real-time search results on the desktop. Google’s results will now show Tweets along with standard search results on your desktop, especially when search terms have to do with keywords that are trending on Twitter at the time the search is made, Slashgear.com reported. For example, searching for ‘NASA Twitter’ will not only show you a link to NASA’s official Twitter page, it will also show NASA’s most recent Tweets.
Published: 22nd August 2015
Government looking to open education, legal services for foreigners
The Economic Times
The government is following a “calibrated approach” to open its education and legal services for foreigners, a move aimed at boosting country’s services sector. Commerce Secretary Rita Teaotia said that work is under progress for opening education and legal services for foreign players. In a country like India, “this (the liberalisation of the services sector) is to be slow and should have a calibrated approach. It is at a very early stage. A roadmap has been prepared,” she told PTI. Explaining about the country’s approach to open education sector, the secretary said, in the beginning, opening online courses could be an option.
Published: 23rd August 2015
The Youth Money Olympiad (YMO) is a national level competition open to college students. Its aim is to help students evaluate their personal finance awareness. The winners of the first edition of Youth Money Olympiad were honoured by Principal Mutual Funds and Money Wizards at a function in Mumbai recently. The first edition had the YMO reaching out to more than 7,700 students across 75 colleges, from 41 cities in India. The students were assessed on the basis of a personal finance IQ test conducted first at the college level, and then at a national level. The participants were given personal assessment reports and were provided with educational material to help them understand personal finance issues. Ranjai Banerji from IIM Calcutta bagged the first prize, while the second spot was shared by students from IIM Kozhikode and IIM Ahmedabad and IIM Ranchi, followed by Janani Srinivasan, a student from Ethiraj College for Women at the third position.
Published: 22nd August 2015
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.
Indian Table Tennis League launched
The inaugural Indian Table Tennis League, offering Rs. 1 crore prize money, will take off in May-June next year, the organisers announced today besides boasting that the franchise-based event will be the first ever league to get a dedicated window by world body ITTF. The announcement came after months of planning though many questions still remain unanswered for the league scheduled from May 28 to June 12 in the Olympic year. As of now, the league will have eight teams battling out for the lucrative prize money. Besides that, the teams will have a foreign male and female player each as well as an Indian in both categories. Officials of 11EVEN Sports, the company formed to run the league and which has the backing of Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI), said the event format will be worked out soon. “Today we have just announced the launch of the league. We are still in the process of working out the number of teams, who their owners will be and players’ participation from all around the world. Now that we have got the ITTF nod, we are confident the best players of the world will be a part of this league, which will turn out to be a great learning experience for the Indian players,” 11EVEN Sports director and former player Kamlesh Mehta told PTI.
Published: 20th August 2015
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