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Look: UAE projects among shortlist for World Architecture Festival 2021

The World Architecture Festival (WAF) has unveiled its prestigious shortlist for 2021, which spans two main categories, Completed Buildings and Future Projects and contains more than 400 entries from around the globe. The winners will be announced during the three-day festival in December in Lisbon, Portugal. Above, Expo 2020 Dubai’s Sustainability Pavilion, nominated in the display category under Completed Buildings.

Zayed National Museum, Abu Dhabi nominated under the Future Projects category. Conceived as a monument and memorial to the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding president of the UAE, the Zayed National Museum will be the centrepiece of the Saadiyat Island Cultural District and will showcase the history, culture and, more recently, the social and economic transformation of the Emirates. Architecturally, the aim has been to combine a highly efficient, contemporary form with elements of traditional Arabic design and hospitality to create a museum that is sustainable, welcoming and culturally of its place. Celebrating Sheikh Zayed’s legacy and love of nature, the museum is set within a landscaped garden, based on a timeline of his life.

House of Wisdom in Sharjah in the completed buildings by Foster + Partners. The House of Wisdom is Sharjah’s new iconic cultural hub. It was commissioned in honour of the Sharjah World Book Capital 2019 title by UNESCO and is the living legacy of the promises made then, namely to continue to promote reading and ease access to knowledge to all members of society and, in doing so, become a progressive society that are the catalysts of harmonious coexistence. The aim is to promote reading and ease access to knowledge by redefining the library and cultural centre concept.

Buhais Geology Museum in Sharjah, by Hopkins Architects. The visitor centre is in the desert 30 miles southeast of the city of Sharjah, alongside the Jebel Buhais archaeological site within the Al Madam plain.

Qasr Al Hosn park scape in Abu Dhabi, by CEBRA Architecture, was shortlisted in the Landscape category. The landscape project reconnects Abu Dhabi’s important heritage site surrounding the Qasr Al Hosn Fort with the modern metropolis and its inhabitants by introducing a distinctive locally rooted urban landscape aesthetic that bridges Emirati heritage, nature and modern city life. The landscape design implements sustainable initiatives that build on and specifically adapt to the site, climate and culture.

Nanchang City, China. Nanchang Waves, by Nordic Office of Architecture

Al Fay Park in Abu Dhabi shortlisted under the Landscape category. Designed by Danish-based design studio SLA, Al Fay Park is the Middle East’s first urban biodiversity park.

Designed by Heatherwick Studio, Maggie’s Centre provides support for cancer patients. It’s located on the campus of St. James’s University Hospital in Leeds, United Kingdom.

Schnals, Italy. Ötzi Peak 3251m, by noa network of architecture.

Sanya City, China. Deep Form of Designed Nature: Sanya mangrove park by Turenscape.
Chinese Culture Exhibition Center, by Qingdao Tengyuan Design Institute Co Ltd.

Le Brassus, Switzerland. Musée Atelier Audemars Piguet, by BIG Architecture DPC.

Dubai: World’s deepest diving swimming pool now open to public

The world’s deepest swimming pool for diving, Deep Dive Dubai, is all set to throw open its doors to the public from July 28.

Located in Dubai’s Nad Al Sheba, the pool at Deep Dive Dubai extends to a breathtaking depth of 60.02 metres and contains 14 million litres of water.

After captivating the imagination of the world earlier this month with sneak peeks of the fascinating 1,500sqm facility — which is shaped like a giant oyster in keeping with the UAE’s pearl diving heritage — Deep Dive Dubai on Tuesday announced that public bookings would open online at starting tomorrow, July 28.

Members of the public can explore the world record-breaking pool facility — which also houses a sunken city and other underwater habitats — for Dh400 per person. The price is inclusive of all dive equipment.

Along with scuba diving and freediving, a snorkelling experience has also been added to the list of awe-inspiring experiences available for adventure seekers.

Opening hours

Deep Dive Dubai is open Wednesday to Sunday, from 12pm to 8pm. With ample free parking onsite, the facility is easily accessible from main Dubai tourist and residential neighbourhoods. It is only a 15-minute drive from Downtown Dubai, and a 20-minute drive from Dubai International Airport. Access to the facility will only be granted with a prior online booking.

“Deep Dive Dubai allows thrill-seekers of all ages and abilities to dive into another world of possibilities in a safe, controlled, and exceptional underwater environment,” said Jarrod Jablonski, Director of Deep Dive Dubai.

“Since unveiling Deep Dive Dubai to the world, we have been overwhelmed by the positive feedback from both our invited guests as well as beginner and experienced divers from all corners of the globe who are excited to visit. We’re now thrilled to invite the world in to experience it for themselves.”

Courses and tours

Designed for everyone of all ability levels, aged 10 and up, experiences and courses fall into three categories: Discover, Dive and Develop.

The Discover category of snorkelling, scuba diving and freediving experiences caters to those who want to try a single dive or snorkel or take their first steps towards certification as a diver. No diving certification is required.

“The newly added Discover Snorkeling experience costs Dh400 per person and includes fins, snorkel, mask, and a special flotation vest for a one-hour guided snorkel, allowing guests to see first-hand the breathtaking depth and features of the sunken city,” the statement said.

All courses and experiences are delivered by a hand-picked team of international diving professionals and supported by the latest equipment, technology, and facilities — including what will be the region’s most advanced hyperbaric chamber.

Discover Freediving is a one-hour, guided, in-water experience that allows divers to dive up to 10 metres. This is priced at Dh1,000 per person and includes fins, snorkel, mask, and wetsuit, along with a video of the experience.

The Discover Scuba Diving is a one-hour guided scuba dive, allowing beginner divers to dive up to 12 metres and interact with elements of the sunken city including a car, telephone booth, library, bicycle, and chess game, among other features. This will cost Dh1,500 per person and will include all scuba diving equipment, along with a video of the experience.

The ‘Dive’ category of experience starts at Dh600 and allows everyone from newbies to experienced individuals to freedive or scuba dive within their certification limits.

The ‘Develop’ category of courses includes PADI Open Water Diving certification, which will cost Dh3,600 per person and includes all equipment rentals. It is said to be the ideal first step for beginners who want to progress in the sport.


Other courses within the ‘Develop’ category are priced upon request and include a full range of recreational, technical, and leadership freediving and scuba diving courses with an emphasis placed on programmes that Deep Dive Dubai is uniquely placed to deliver including nitrox, advanced, deep, rebreather, and photography.

All experiences have a low guide-to-guest ratio, and all bookings include high-end equipment rental. With complimentary lockers, robe and towel rental included, all guests need to bring are their swimsuits and flip flops.

With each booking, one spectator can accompany the diver to Deep Dive Dubai, and up to two additional spectators will be allowed at Dh100 per person.

What else to expect

Along with the sunken city, Deep Dive Dubai’s 60m pool also features two underwater habitats with dry chambers at six and 21 metres, 56 underwater cameras covering all angles of the pool, as well as advanced sound and mood lighting systems.

The facility is also home to a dive shop, gift shop, an 80-seat restaurant as well as a variety of meeting, event, and conference spaces.

Large viewing areas on the lower floors of the building will allow diners at the restaurant and other rooms to peer into the underwater environment.

UAE helps Interpol rescue 430 human trafficking victims

At least 430 human trafficking victims have been rescued from around the world during a special mission carried out by the Interpol, in coordination with 47 countries — including the UAE.

The five-day operation dubbed ‘The liberterra’, which took place in July, also saw the arrest of 286 criminal gangs and identified 4,000 illegal migrants originating from 74 countries.

Many of the victims required medical, psychological and housing assistance and were taken into the care of protective services, the authorities said at the virtual Press conference held on Monday by the Interpol, in coordination with the UAE’s Ministry of Interior (MoI).

Some 500,000 cross-checks involving human trafficking activities were conducted during the special operation. Three temporary international operations offices had been established, including one in Abu Dhabi, to coordinate the activities for the mission, the authorities added.

Lt-Col Dana Humid Al Marzouqi, head of the International Affairs Bureau affairs at the MoI, said the National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking has done a significant job to coordinate efforts from around the world and eradicate trafficking in the UAE.

“The UAE currently maintains efforts to protect and rehabilitate human trafficking victims. We also have a dedicated hotline to facilitate the reporting of cases,” she said.

“Given the transnational nature of human trafficking, no country can combat the smuggling of people by itself. It’s critical that there is cross-border cooperation. This is where the Interpol plays a critical role, especially in facilitating the sharing of information and operational collaboration between member countries. The Interpol also assists countries in developing long-term capabilities through training, events and access to resources.”

The recent special operation, where the UAE played a major role, was led by the Interpol in collaboration with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC), International Organisation on Migration and the Regional Operations Center in Khartoum, Lt-Col Al Marzouqi added.

“The UAE looks forward to continuing and deepening it’s already extensive cooperation with the Interpol in the years to come,” she said.

Ilana De Wild, director of Interpol Organised and Emerging Crimes, said the active participation of member countries was ‘very important’ in fighting criminal networks that are smuggling people.

“We have conducted this operation side by side with nations and organisations by sharing information about human traffickers, tracking down their activities, carrying out investigations and arresting the criminals,” she said.

The official noted that as the Covid-19 pandemic triggered economic issues and pushed several people to go out looking for greener pastures, an increase in human trafficking victims was recorded, especially in Africa and Asia.

Dubai to explore new, high-speed ropeway transport system

A new agreement signed in Dubai will see authorities explore the development of an urban ropeway.

Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) signed the agreement with French mobility specialist MND, a leading company in the ropeways industry.

The CABLINE system developed by MND aims at offering a “completely new experience” for aerial transportation.

CABLINE is designed to integrate and connect to a city’s existing inter-modal transport network. The fully automatic, driverless transport system has self-propelled cabins moving over ropes at speeds of up to 45km/hr.

It uses a minimalist infrastructure that is easy to integrate with the least possible footprint. It is more aesthetic, quieter and more energy sufficient than traditional ropeway transportation.

CABLINE allows easier maintenance to “guarantee high availability rate of the urban transport system and optimal service for the passengers”.

The agreement is in line with the RTA’s efforts to realise Dubai’s vision to have 25 per cent of all trips be self-driving by 2030.

Abdul Mohsin Ibrahim Younes, CEO of Rail Agency, said: “Developing advanced innovative transport systems and improving the sustainable transport network in Dubai (would) encourage people and visitors to use public transport.

“MND is a leading group for ropeways infrastructure (that is) working on a new driverless high-speed system. This CABLINE system by MND is flexible, energy-saving, and has minor impact on the urban environment,” he added.

Xavier Gallot-Lavallée, CEO of MND, said: “We believe the CABLINE technology under development in our ropeways design centre based in the French Alps can contribute to new urban transportation experience. Our engineering team has been working hard in the last years to finalise design and make CABLINE a unique and disruptive technology to ease urban mobility.”

This agreement is among the many the RTA has been signing to explore new, futuristic modes of transport for the Emirate.

In June, the authority had inked an agreement to explore developing a suspended transport network. The agreement was signed with Zhong Tang Sky Railway Group, which is behind the Sky Train that can zip at speeds of up to 65kmph.

In April, it was announced that Dubai would become the first city outside the US to operate Cruise driverless taxis.

In June 2019, the RTA had signed an agreement with skyTran, which develops Sky Pod units.

In February last year, it signed another agreement with one of the biggest developers of sky pods in the world, BeemCar Ltd.

In February 2019, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, was pictured testing two models of Sky Pods developed by Skyway Greentech Co.

Deepest diving swimming pool in the world opens in Dubai

Dubai’s Crown Prince has invited adventurers to experience the pool, verified by Guinness World Records at an incredible depth of 60.02 meters.

Located in Dubai’s Nad Al Sheba neighbourhood, the pool at Deep Dive Dubai has been verified by Guinness World Records as the world’s deepest swimming pool for diving at an incredible depth of 60.02 meters and holding 14 million litres of water — the equivalent of six Olympic-sized swimming pools.

The 1,500sqm facility, which is shaped like a giant oyster in line with the UAE’s pearl diving heritage, is also home to a dive shop, gift shop, an 80-seat restaurant that will be open to the public later this year, as well as a variety of meeting, event, and conference spaces.

The pool got a nod from Dubai’s Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who took to social media on Wednesday to invite adventurers to give it a try.

“An entire world awaits you at Deep Dive Dubai,” he wrote, posting a mesmerising video of the emirate’s latest attraction.

100 Million Meals: Over 750,000 meals reach Tanzania, Kenya, and Senegal

UAE campaign’s food distribution operations completed in three African countries.(Gulfnews)

Dubai: The ‘100 Million Meals’ campaign’s food parcels distribution has been complete in Tanzania, Kenya and Senegal, providing more than 750,000 meals to low-income individuals and families, it was announced on Monday.

In collaboration with the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Humanitarian and Charity Establishment (MBRCH) and the local authorities and charities, parcels of easy-to-store food items, including rice, flour, oil, and sugar, were distributed to empower beneficiaries to prepare their own meals. One food parcel sustains a family of five for one month.

The ‘100 Million Meals’ campaign operations continue across the world as part of the objectives to provide food support in 30 countries on four continents.

Ibrahim Mohammed Bu Melha, adviser to Ruler of Dubai for Cultural and Humanitarian Affairs and deputy chairman of the Board of Trustees of MBRCH, said: “The ‘100 Million Meals’ campaign, which delivers food support to communities in need across 30 countries, reflects the values of kindness and generosity which are deeply-embedded in the fabric of the UAE’s society. Philanthropy and taking the initiative to help people across the world regardless of race, colour or nationalities, have been at the core of the UAE’s philosophy.”.

In coordination with the UAE Embassy in Dar es Salam in Tanzania, 240,000 meals were distributed in the Wete district on Pemba Island, Makonde and Bangui districts on Unguja Island in Zanzibar, as well as in the Kigoma Region. The UAE Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, supported the distribution of 342,000 meals in the capital, as well as in the Mombasa, Asilia, Wajir, and Lamu regions, while the UAE Embassy in Senegal’s Dakar coordinated with Al Wasaat Charity Association, to distribute 172,800 meals in Tivawan and Gombe.

30 beneficiary countries

The ‘100 Million Meals’ campaign provides food support, in cooperation with local charity and humanitarian organisations in the 30 beneficiary countries, including Sudan, Yemen, Tunisia, Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Sierra Leone, Angola, Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, Senegal, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Burundi, Benin, Kosovo, and Brazil.

COVID-19: UAE becomes world’s most vaccinated nation

15.5m doses covering 72.1% of population puts UAE ahead of Seychelles: Bloomberg tracker.

Abu Dhabi: The UAE has overtaken Seychelles to become the world’s most vaccinated nation against COVID-19, according to Bloomberg’s Vaccine Tracker.

The UAE has so far administered 15.5 million doses, enough to cover 72.1 per cent of its population based on a two-dose regimen. The UAE tests more people per capita than most nations and has one of the lowest fatality rates in the world.

In a statement, Abdul Rahman bin Mohammad bin Nasser Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention, said that this new global achievement adds to the country’s success and record of achievements in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, noting that it is an international recognition of the success of the National Vaccination Campaign, launched by the UAE, which is continuing to achieve its objectives.

“The proactive vision of the country’s leadership enabled us to address the challenges posed by COVID-19. Today, the UAE is the world’s most vaccinated country,” he added. He also highlighted the efforts of the national health sector, which is keen to provide diverse types of vaccines to all segments of the community, as well as the community’s awareness about the importance of being vaccinated.

Al Owais stressed that the National Vaccination Campaign is continuing in all emirates of the country, along with the adherence to relevant precautionary measures, which represent the foundations of the national efforts aimed at achieving recovery and ensuring the return to normalcy.

100 days countdown to Expo 2020 Dubai, world’s most incredible show

Expo 2020 Dubai, which will begin on October 1, to attract more than 25 million visitors.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on Wednesday, announced the countdown for Expo 2020 Dubai, the world’s largest cultural event to convene the global community towards creating solutions for a better future.

In 100 days, the UAE will be the first country in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (Measa) region to host a World Expo in the largest global gathering since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Above, an aerial view of the Sustainability Pavilion at Expo 2020 site.

Expo 2020 Dubai, which will begin on October 1, is expected to attract more than 25 million visitors from all over the world and showcase life-changing innovations. The mega event aims to drive collaboration and innovation and develop real-life solutions as the world heads into a post-pandemic economic recovery. Above, Al Wasl Plaza.

Expo 2020 Dubai site to provide rapid COVID-19 testing

Vaccination currently not an entry requirement, safety measures to be adjusted.

Dubai: Expo 2020 Dubai has introduced a number of precautionary measures across the site including rapid COVID-19 testing to prevent the spread of coronavirus at the world’s largest exhibition, say the organisers.

In response to questions from Gulf News, the organisers said they have acted responsibly to meet the challenges of COVID-19, developing protocols, guidelines and precautionary measures that are science-based and data-driven.

“The health, safety and wellbeing of everyone working at Expo 2020 is our number one priority and the pandemic has put our commitment to the health, safety and well-being of our staff, participants and visitors even more sharply into focus.”

Economy is our top priority: Sheikh Mohammed

Sheikh Mohammed said Dubai Chamber will take the UAE towards a renewed, prosperous and a solid economic future.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on Tuesday met members of the board of directors of Dubai Chambers and asked them to take economy as a top priority.

“During my meeting with the board of directors of Dubai Chambers after the major restructuring where we formed 3 new chambers of commerce, digital economy and international trade. Establishing a solid and prosperous economy is at the centre of our priorities”, Sheikh Mohammed tweeted.

Dubai on Saturday announced structural changes to the three Dubai Chambers to accelerate the emirate’s economic transformation and position it as a global business hub.

Speaking on the chambers’ business plan, Sheikh Mohammed said the members of Dubai Chambers will be active stakeholders in executing Dubai’s international trade strategy which aims to expand our external trade to Dh2 trillion in five years.