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Costa Rica Trade Minister hails UAE as reliable partner

Manuel Tovar stressed the importance strengthening and expanding economic partnership with the UAE…reports Asian Lite News

Costa Rica signs Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with UAE. Following that, Manuel Tovar, Minister of Foreign Trade of Costa Rica highlights that UAE is a “reliable partner and trade gateway” to the Middle East and Gulf countries.  

In statements to the Emirates News Agency (WAM) on the sidelines of the CEPA signing, Tovar said that the agreement marks a new era in promoting trade and investment relations between the two countries.

He stressed the importance of strengthening and expanding economic partnership with the UAE, recognising the country’s strategic economic weight, not only regionally but also in international markets.

He commended the UAE’s success in diversifying its economy beyond oil, leading to a developed and flexible economic structure, particularly in the service trade, a focus area for both nations to underscore and reinforce through the CEPA.

Tovar stressed the mutual interest in bolstering economic ties through the CEPA, emphasising sectors like renewable energy, where Costa Rica aims to fulfill over 90% of its electricity needs from sustainable sources. Tovar discussed potential collaboration and investment opportunities in renewable energy, presenting promising prospects for businesses in both countries.

Moreover, Tovar identified agriculture and food processing as key areas of cooperation, with a focus on expanding Costa Rica’s exports of various agricultural products such as apples and coffee. He also highlighted the potential for tourism growth between the two countries, noting the UAE’s diverse attractions.

Non-oil trade between the UAE and Costa Rica has shown consistent annual growth, with a remarkable 23% increase in 2022, reaching $60.4 million, more than double the value recorded in 2018.

ALSO READ : UAE, Costa Rica Agree Terms on CEPA

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DEWA to increase green fast and ultra-fast charging stations

The Green Charger initiative was announced back in 2014, with the completion of its first phase in 2015, installing 100 stations. …reports Asian Lite News

Majid Hilal Al Hazami, Director of Smart Grid Projects Management at Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), said that the authority plans to increase the number of green fast and ultra-fast charging stations for Electric Vehicles (EVs) in Dubai this year, noting that the total number of stations deployed in Dubai is approximately 390 charging stations of different types.

In a statement to the Emirates News Agency (WAM) during their participation in the World Future Energy Summit (WFES) in Abu Dhabi, Al Hazami said that work is underway to increase the number of charging stations for Electric Vehicles to reach 1,000 stations by the end of 2025, with an increase in the proportion of ultra-fast chargers in the emirate.

He explained that the differences between green chargers are related to their charging speed and deployment locations, noting that fast and ultra-fast chargers are available at petrol stations and at entrances and exits of the emirate.

He said that the time to charge about 80 percent of a vehicle’s battery using ultra-fast chargers ranges from 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the battery capacity and vehicle type, noting that medium-speed chargers are usually deployed in shopping malls, parks and office areas, and the process of charging 80 percent of a vehicle’s battery takes from 2 to 4 hours, depending on the battery capacity and vehicle type.

The Green Charger initiative was announced back in 2014, with the completion of its first phase in 2015, installing 100 stations. The expansion of adopting and deploying green chargers has been continuous over the past years.

Al Hazami spoke about the effectiveness of smart grid management in achieving sustainability goals and serving customers optimally. Regarding participation in the Global Future Energy Summit, Al Hazami emphasised its significant role in supporting clean energy trends locally, regionally, and globally. He pointed out that the importance of the authority’s participation lies in two directions: firstly, by reviewing the authority’s projects in the field of clean energy, such as the Mohammed bin Rashid Solar Energy Project, which is the largest of its kind in one location worldwide for solar energy production.

He explained that various technologies used in the complex contribute to generating energy with the highest efficiency and effectiveness, highlighting the use of the tallest solar power tower in the complex, reaching a height of over 263 meters.

Al Hazami praised the efforts of the Innovation Center, which significantly contributes to supporting clean energy projects and future projects, noting the achievements of the Innovation Center in assisting various entities, especially universities, in understanding various future technologies in the field of clean energy.

ALSO READ: UAE President receives phone call from Turkey’s Erdogan

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Masdar to invest heavily in green hydrogen projects

This move will reinforce Masdar’s leading position in developing renewable and clean energy projects worldwide…reports Asian Lite News

Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company – Masdar, is ramping up its investments in green hydrogen by establishing a dedicated unit to develop specialised projects in this sector locally, regionally, and globally.

This move will reinforce Masdar’s leading position in developing renewable and clean energy projects worldwide and consolidate Abu Dhabi’s pioneering role as a key player in the green hydrogen sector.

Mohammad Abdelqader El Ramahi, Chief Green Hydrogen Officer, said in statements to Emirates News Agency (WAM) on the sidelines of the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi, that this period is the best time to implement these projects in the UAE, aiming to allocate half of the targeted production capacity according to Masdar’s announced strategy by 2030-2033, which is one million tonnes per year of green hydrogen and its derivatives.

El Ramahi explained that half of this quantity has been allocated for development in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, equivalent to 500,000 tonnes of green hydrogen annually, which will enhance Abu Dhabi’s leading role as one of the world’s main hubs for green hydrogen production. He pointed out that the development of these projects has already begun in early January 2023.

He noted that Masdar has a pilot project with a production capacity of over 2 megawatts of electrolyzers that will be dedicated to producing green iron in cooperation with Emirates Steel Arkan. He added that the purpose of this project is to experiment with hydrogen and ensure its effectiveness and economic feasibility.

El Ramahi continued, “We are working to expand this project in the second phase, where we aim to raise efficiency to reach approximately 100 megawatts, but this figure is still under study and development.”

He pointed out that Masdar’s other green hydrogen projects in the Arab Republic of Egypt reach 4,000 megawatts of electrolysers, and the same in Morocco, in addition to our ambition to expand in Europe, America, and Balkan countries such as Azerbaijan and neighbouring countries, and to utilise the company’s effective presence in more than 40 countries around the world with an investment portfolio of over US$30 billion and a production capacity of 20 gigawatts.

He indicated that Masdar is also trying to look for investment opportunities in regional countries, including the Sultanate of Oman, in light of its efforts through the development of these projects to prove the economic feasibility of green hydrogen projects as the fuel of the future.

Masdar’s Chief Green Hydrogen Officer said that the green hydrogen sector is one of the new emerging sectors globally that promises a promising future with investments reaching US$11 trillion by 2050, according to World Bank estimates. He pointed out that this sector will help the international community in addressing the repercussions of climate change and neutralising the carbon footprint globally.

El Ramahi indicated that Masdar is focusing on developing its green hydrogen projects in Europe, especially as it has reached a level of maturity in governance frameworks, through which it seeks to apply stricter standards regarding the carbon footprint.

ALSO READ: UAE President receives phone call from Turkey’s Erdogan

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MBZ hails UAE’s response to rains

H.H. Sheikh Mohamed appreciated members of the national and local emergency and crisis teams in managing rescue and evacuation operations….reports Asian Lite News

President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan has reaffirmed that the safety and security of citizens and residents is the top priority of the UAE government. The President also expressed his appreciation for the level of awareness and responsibility demonstrated by people during the adverse weather conditions witnessed recently across the country.

H.H. Sheikh Mohamed has directed the concerned authorities to quickly work on studying the condition of infrastructure throughout the UAE and to limit the damage caused after the country witnessed its heaviest rainfall on record.

The UAE President also directed that the necessary support be provided to all families impacted by the severe weather, ordering the transfer of affected families to safe locations in cooperation with local authorities.

H.H. Sheikh Mohamed expressed his appreciation to members of the national and local emergency and crisis teams and various authorities in managing rescue and evacuation operations during the unprecedented conditions, which had a positive impact on preserving lives and property. The President also highlighted on the deep appreciation to the spirit of solidarity portrayed by the UAE community during the weather conditions, noting it to be a true essence of the UAE identity.

End of weather fluctuations

 The Ministry of Interior (MoI), in collaboration with the National Emergency, Crisis and Disaster Management Authority, the National Centre of Meteorology, and strategic partners, has announced the end of the weather fluctuations, with rainfall stopping and weather conditions gradually improving.

MoI highlighted the efforts of the field teams that worked in a preventive manner and will continue to work diligently until full recovery. The Supreme Committee for Internal Security remained in constant session during the weather conditions to ensure rapid response and guarantee business continuity

All emergency response teams, including the civil defence, ambulance, rescue and Police patrol will continue to work to secure roads and areas with fast-moving streams, valleys and dam exits. The teams are working to manage traffic and clear the rainwater until full restoration of normal life in all civil facilities.

The Ministry expressed deep appreciation to the role of the concerned authorities in dealing with the weather fluctuations, highlighting their contribution in reducing the repercussions of the unusual weather conditions through a proactive and professional integrated response that ensured the protection of lives and properties and enhanced society’s stability and safety.

The Ministry praised the positive role of social responsibility reflected in the public’s awareness during the weather fluctuations as they put their trust in government bodies to deal with emergency weather conditions and received updates through official state channels. Emphasis was made on the importance of continuing to adhere to the instructions issued by the official authorities and staying clear from stream valleys and water accumulations.

Emirates extends DXB check-in suspension

Emirates is extending the suspension of check-in for passengers departing Dubai effective until 09:00 on 18th April, due to continued operational challenges caused by bad weather and road conditions, the Airline announced on its official X account.

Emirates had previously announced that it is suspending check-in for passengers departing DXB from 08:00 on 17th April until midnight, due to operational challenges caused by bad weather and road conditions.

Customers departing Dubai are advised to not travel to the airport until after 09:00 on 18th April, and only if they have a confirmed flight booking. “Do not come to the airport if you have a booking before this time, as you will be unable to check in,” the Airline stated.

DXB Terminal 1 entry

Dubai Airports urged travellers not to come to Terminal 1 at the airport before confirming their flight status with their airline.

In a post on its official X account, DXB said that due to crowding, access to DXB’s Terminal 1 is now strictly limited to guests with confirmed departures.

Re-booking facilities are not available on-site, the post added.

Zayed Airport fully operational

Zayed International Airport remains fully operational despite recent adverse weather. Abu Dhabi Airports is closely collaborating with airlines and service staff to continue serving passengers smoothly.

Passengers are advised to check their respective airlines’ websites, and social media feeds, ahead of arriving at the airport.

Within the last 24 hours, 21 flights, including one freighter and 20 passenger flights, were diverted from Dubai International Airport (DXB) to Zayed International Airport (AUH).

ALSO READ: UAE President receives phone call from Turkey’s Erdogan

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UAE President receives phone call from Turkey’s Erdogan

President Erdoğan expressed his heartfelt wishes for the UAE and its people for continued well-being, praying to God to protect them from all harm….reports Asian Lite News

President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan has received a phone call from Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President of the Republic of Türkiye, during which he expressed his well-wishes for the safety of the UAE and its people following the heavy rains and the adverse weather conditions witnessed recently across the country.

President Erdoğan expressed his heartfelt wishes for the UAE and its people for continued well-being, praying to God to protect them from all harm.

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan thanked the Turkish President, expressing his appreciation for his wishes, highlighting the strong UAE-Türkiye relations and the two countries’ mutual commitment to their enhancement.

On Tuesday, the UAE was lashed by downpours described by its National Centre of Meteorology as the heaviest rainfall in the past 75 years. As a result, the federal government announced extending remote working for all state employees to Wednesday.

At least one person died after his car was swept away by floods in the emirate of Ras Al Khaima, police said. The man, a UAE citizen, was in his 70s.

In neighbouring Oman, at least 18 people died after the country was hit by torrential rains.

ALSO READ: UAE, UK FMs discuss regional developments

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Umm Al Emarat Park to organize ‘recycling workshop’

In line with Earth Day, Umm Al Emarat Park reaffirms its commitment to sustainability. Serving as a haven of greenery and diverse activities, the Park stands as a symbol of environmental stewardship…reports Asian Lite News

Umm Al Emarat Park joins forces with Vine Communities, organizing a recycling workshop as part of the celebration of Earth Day (22nd April).

Taking place at the Park’s Little Farm area on Sunday, 21st April, the workshop aims at instilling a profound understanding of environmental conservation.

Open to children aged 7 and above, this workshop offers an immersive and educational experience focused on the importance of recycling and sustainability. Participants can anticipate an interactive session filled with engaging activities and insightful discussions.

From transforming ordinary materials like plastics, cans, bottles and paper into innovative creations to crafting personalised wallets using recycled resources, young attendees will not only cultivate their creativity but also deepen their commitment to environmental stewardship.

In line with Earth Day, Umm Al Emarat Park reaffirms its commitment to sustainability. Serving as a haven of greenery and diverse activities, the Park stands as a symbol of environmental stewardship. Through eco-friendly initiatives and educational programmes, it encourages the community to adopt greener lifestyles.

ALSO READ: Dubai Municipality bags top environment award

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Heavy rainfall : Sharjah Municipality deploys 65 community service patrols

The municipality employs all available resources, including its vehicle fleet, to minimise damage, improve traffic flow, and ensure the safety of residents and their belongings…reports Asian Lite News

As the part of handling  the impact of heavy rainfall, Sharjah Municipality deploys 65 community service patrols to rain-affected areas.

The municipality employs all available resources, including its vehicle fleet, to minimise damage, improve traffic flow, and ensure the safety of residents and their belongings. A dedicated team is working round-the-clock to conduct fieldwork across all regions of Sharjah.

Obaid Saeed Al Tunaiji, Director-General of SM and Head of the High Committee for Rain Emergencies, underscored the municipality’s commitment to dealing with significant water accumulations caused by heavy rainfall. He commends the municipality’s swift response of mobilising committees and staff and declaring a state of emergency to effectively manage the situation.

Al Tunaiji highlighted the municipality’s proactive measures, including deploying field teams and 65 patrols to undertake essential communal and humanitarian tasks. These efforts involve aiding affected families in reaching authorised shelters, assisting stranded individuals in waterlogged areas, clearing obstructed vehicles, and providing support to vulnerable groups such as the elderly and others in need within the community.

ALSO READ : UAE Soaked by Largest Rainfall in 75 Years

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European Leaders Engage in Urgent Diplomacy in Israel

The British Foreign Secretary said it was more important to concentrate on freeing the Israeli hostages, getting aid supplies…reports Asian Lite News

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and British Foreign Secretary David Cameron were in Israel on Wednesday for crisis diplomacy talks.

Cameron spoke in favour of a measured response by Israel to Iran’s recent attack.

He hopes the country responds “in a way that is smart, as well as tough, but it’s also does as little as possible to escalate this conflict”.

The British Foreign Secretary said it was more important to concentrate on freeing the Israeli hostages, getting aid supplies into the Gaza Strip and achieving a ceasefire there.

He added that he planned to discuss this with the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority.

Baerbock and Cameron met Israeli President Isaac Herzog and planned to hold further talks with top Israeli officials in a separate but coordinated manner, according to the German Foreign Office.

Baerbock also met with Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz during the visit, her seventh since the deadly October 7 attacks on Israel led by the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

She is also set to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and former Opposition leader Benny Gantz, who is a member of the Israeli war Cabinet, before leaving Israel later on Wednesday.

At the centre of the discussions is fears that the ongoing war in the Gaza Strip could erupt into a major regional war.

Iran launched significant air attacks on Israel last Saturday in response to a strike on the Iranian embassy in Damascus.

Israeli officials are now vowing a harsh counter-attack against Iran.

Israel’s allies worry such a response could fuel a spiral of violence and are urging restraint.

Baerbock is also likely to address the humanitarian situation of the suffering civilian population in Gaza. In recent weeks, she has repeatedly called on Israel to allow more aid deliveries to the Palestinian territory.

ALSO READ: Germany Summons Iran Ambassador Over Israel Attack

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UN panel unable to agree on Palestinian bid for full membership

Currently, the Palestinians hold observer status at the U.N. General Assembly, a designation granted in 2012…reports Asian Lite News

The United Nations Security Council committee tasked with evaluating the Palestinian Authority’s application for full U.N. membership has encountered a deadlock, as reported by Reuters on Tuesday. Despite deliberations, the committee failed to reach a unanimous recommendation regarding whether the Palestinian Authority met the necessary criteria.

Nonetheless, the Palestinian Authority intends to proceed with its efforts to secure a vote within the 15-member Security Council, potentially as soon as this week, diplomats indicated. If successful, this resolution would signify formal recognition of Palestine as a sovereign state within the international community.

Currently, the Palestinians hold observer status at the U.N. General Assembly, a designation granted in 2012. However, achieving full U.N. membership requires approval from the Security Council, where the United States, a staunch ally of Israel, retains the power to veto such a decision. Additionally, approval from at least two-thirds of the General Assembly is necessary.

The United States reiterated its stance earlier this month, asserting that the establishment of an independent Palestinian state should be the outcome of direct negotiations between the concerned parties, rather than through unilateral action at the United Nations.

The longstanding vision endorsed by the U.N. Security Council involves the coexistence of two states—Israel and Palestine—within secure and recognized borders. Palestinians aspire to establish their state in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, territories occupied by Israel since 1967.

However, progress towards Palestinian statehood has been minimal since the signing of the Oslo Accords in the early 1990s. The Palestinian Authority’s pursuit of full U.N. membership occurs against the backdrop of heightened tensions, including the recent conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, as well as Israel’s ongoing expansion of settlements in the occupied West Bank.

The Security Council committee, comprising all 15 council members, convened twice last week to discuss the Palestinian application. Despite these discussions, the committee’s report acknowledged the existence of differing viewpoints among its members, resulting in an inability to reach a unanimous recommendation regarding the Palestinian Authority’s eligibility for full U.N. membership.

According to the U.N. Charter, membership is extended to “peace-loving states” willing to uphold the obligations outlined in the Charter.

ALSO READ: World Bank raises UAE’s real GDP growth forecast

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Masdar City unveils plans for Dh4 b projects targeting AI, space

Ahmed Baghoum stressed that Masdar City is currently focusing on vital sectors including energy…reports Asian Lite News

CEO of Masdar City, Ahmed Baghoum, has revealed that there are projects under the design phase with an investment cost ranging between AED3-4 billion that target critical sectors like energy, artificial intelligence, space, life sciences, and agriculture.

Bakhoum added, in statements to the Emirates News Agency (WAM) on the sidelines of the first day of the World Future Energy Summit, hosted by Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar), that the total value of projects currently under construction at the City is estimated at around AED1 billion , including the Masdar City Complex and ‘The Link’, scheduled for completion in mid-2025.

He stressed that Masdar City is currently focusing on vital sectors including energy, AI, space, the life sciences and agriculture, noting that all of these areas are important for the emirate of Abu Dhabi in particular and the UAE in general, where “we are working to support and focus on them by attracting talent and partners.”

He noted that there are discussions with foreign companies to relocate and establish their research centres in Masdar City.

“Masdar City is a world-class business and technology hub, operating at the highest international standards. It offers companies a compelling package of advantages and incentives, including full foreign ownership, exemption from income tax, and unrestricted currency exchange,” he explained.

ALSO READ: World Bank raises UAE’s real GDP growth forecast