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November, 2015

 

The UAE Believes That Terrorism And Extremism Are Independent And Need To Be Dismantled

World Affairs

Open Eyes Opinion {source: WAM}

UAE

Terrorism and extremism are interdependent; UAE believes in need to dismantle relationship

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ABU DHABI, 30th November, 2015  — Dr. Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, has reiterated the UAE’s determination to continue the fight against terrorism, highlighting its symbiotic relationship with extremism, adding that terrorism is not a phenomenon linked only to Islam but has a strong presence among different religions.

Speaking at a press conference at the Fairmont Bab Al Bahr Hotel in Abu Dhabi last night, which was attended by more than 60 journalists and media people from Arab and foreign countries who are being hosted by the National Media Council for the 44th National Day celebrations, Dr. Gargash said that the war on terrorism begins with a fight on both its funding, and extremist educational and fundamentalist curricula which encourage its growth.

He said, “I do not accept the hijacking of the Islamic religion by takfiri groups, so we must begin to fight extremist ideology.” Dr. Gargash added that the UAE placed the Muslim Brotherhood on its list of terrorist organisations because of its takfirist ideology, as it did with other Shiite sect groups due to their extremism, which, he said, highlights the fact that terrorism is not linked to a particular doctrine.

The Minister also said that, “This period represents a kind of negligence,” before stressing the need for an Arab project which steers away from sectarianism and one which preserves the diversity of all Arabs sects.

Dr. Gargash noted that addressing extremism requires a collective effort because we all suffer as a result of it, and that the UAE is doing its part in the fight against extremism through wise council with the Muslim Council of Elders, adding that facing terrorism and extremism is a long-term and diverse strategy.

Gargash went on to say that Islam is a universal religion with no specific geographical area, as Islam exists in all countries of the world. He said, “Addressing extremism is not solely an Arab issue, and therefore there must be a collective effort. Terrorism targets Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Belgium, France, Kenya, and Tunisia, and all countries are facing a global challenge, so dealing with it must be from this standpoint, and each region should study its circumstances.”

With regards to the fight against terrorism, the Minister explained, “There is no Arab solution we can export to face extremism and terrorism in the world. Terrorism is a global challenge and the solution must therefore also be global. All states must make a common effort on an international level to counter extremism, and we are working, through the UAE experience, to provide assistance in facing extremism as part of the international coalition fighting terrorism.”

In response to a question about the situation in Syria, Gargash stressed that the only solution for Syria is a political one; however, he expressed concern about the transitional phase there and his hope that state institutions are maintained during any transitional period and not fall into the trap of a political vacuum, prompting the disintegration of these institutions.

The Minister pointed out that “The Syrian crisis is still raging, and the UAE is convinced that a political solution is the only possible solution, and that choosing between Daesh and Al Nusra Front is not a realistic option. Unfortunately we see the marginalization of the moderate and rational voices in Syria which seek to create a civil state.”

With regards to military intervention, Dr. Gargash said that he believes that there will be an imminent involvement whether by Russia, or any other party. “We agree that none will resent the Russian bombing of Deash or Al-Qaeda, as they are a common enemy.

Yet, as for a resolution, the UAE is convinced of the need to find a political solution with a Syrian partner,” he said.

Dr. Gargash also noted that during the past four years, there was always a question involving the fate of Al Assad. He said, “The UAE does not see Al Assad’s presence as a legitimate part of Syria’s future following the civil war which killed more than 300,000 people, yet, we do not want to disintegrate Syrian government institutions, and there should be a transitional phase, but we do not have definitive answers for the Syrian crisis yet, and the situation is still complicated.”

The minister reiterated the UAE’s readiness to participate in any international efforts which require land intervention to fight terrorism, stressing that countries of the region are willing to bear the burden in this fight, as there is no room for foreign interference like the American intervention to liberate Kuwait. “Such a scenario is no longer feasible,” he said, “So the Arab coalition in Yemen led by Saudi Arabia is the alternative model for us as nations,” he explained.

Dr. Gargash expressed his concern that the global strategy to combat terrorism is no longer viable or sufficient, saying that a solution to the Syrian crisis is key to the success of this war, and that the fate of Al Assad, his position in the transitional phase, and his exit subsequently, is what is hindering the resolve of the crisis, and the success of the war on terror.

In response to a question about the UAE’s welcome of Syrian refugees, Dr. Gargash stressed, “The population of the Syrian community in the UAE, since 2011, has increased to 100,000 who entered and integrated in the UAE workforce. There are more than 5,000 Syrian facilities and institutions, in addition, 37,000 Syrian children have been enrolled in state schools.” He added that the UAE continues to support Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, and in the Kurdish areas of northern Iraq.

On the Sudanese issue, Dr. Gargash stressed that UAE-Sudanese relations are now going through a distinctive phase, preceded by Sudan’s decision to participate in the Saudi-led Arab coalition in Yemen, pointing out that Abu Dhabi has worked with Khartoum to strengthen these relations during the past two years.

On the subject of Egypt, Dr. Gargash said, “The UAE’s support for Egypt to assume its place among Arab countries is a strategic option on which the UAE will not give up,” pointing out that there are parties who have driven a wedge through Arab relations. He added that what is reported by the extremists, that the Gulf States ‘abandoned’ Egypt, is totally untrue, as the UAE’s program to support Egypt is going through stages, which is a strategic choice, and ongoing.

He continued, “Of course Egypt is improving and thus the nature of support varies to restore balance there, and already many programs have been completed but support still continues in accordance with the new mechanisms, as Egypt is still facing long-term economic challenges, but it has emerged from a critical stage.”

With regard to Yemen, Gargash stressed that the coalition has achieved most of its objectives there; firstly, the return of the legitimate government to the country, secondly, the beginning of the peace process in Yemen according to the United Nations resolutions, GCC initiatives, and the outputs of the National Dialogue Conference which was approved by all parties, stressing that the coming negotiations in Switzerland which are set to take place in December, will be based on Security Council Resolution No. 2216.

Dr. Gargash added that the third goal of involvement in Yemen was to send a strong message to Iran that the Arab world’s stance is unified in this regard, pointing out that the time is appropriate now to start a political solution, stressing that there should not be a long transition period depriving Yemen of access to funds needed for development under a temporary political solution, noting that a prolonged political solution would be used by Daesh and Al Qaida, as they take advantage of any political vacuum, and this is exactly what happened in Syria, Libya and Iraq.

Gargash highlighted the absence of non-Arab forces fighting, preparing to fight, or on site, in Yemen.

On the Libyan crisis, Dr. Gargash said, “The Libyan crisis has not yet found a solution, and we hope that the efforts of the new UN envoy will lead parties to reach an agreement, the first step to resolving the crisis, followed by the elimination of terrorist cells and support for the national army.”

In response to a question about the UAE’s relationship with Lebanon, he noted that the relationship is good, and there is a large Lebanese community living in the UAE, but with regard to the Lebanese government, of which Hezbollah is an essential component, hostile statements by Hezbollah with respect to Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, can not be ignored.

In conclusion, speaking on Iran, Dr. Gargash said that Iran is an important regional neighbor, and that the UAE would like to turn the page and start with new political relations based on respect and non-interference, adding that the Iranian nuclear agreement gives Iran the opportunity to create normal relations with its neighbors, but the indicators received from Iran are not positive because of its continuous interference in Arab politics, taking Bahrain as an example. He said that if this intervention lasts, relations will be complicated.

{source: WAM/Esraa/Rasha/Moran}

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[photo credits: “Jumeira Mosque Dubai-2” by Commons:User:Vicharam – Commons:File:Jumeira Mosque Dubai.jpg. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Jumeira_Mosque_Dubai-2.jpg#/media/File:Jumeira_Mosque_Dubai-2.jpg]

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Nigerian Prince Joins The U.S. Air force

World Affairs

Open Eyes Opinion {source:DOD}

Military

Face of Defense: From Nigerian Prince to American Airman

 

 

 

 

 

By Air Force Staff Sgt. Samantha Krolikowski

FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash., November 30, 2015 — Since he was nine years old, Air Force Airman 1st Class Adeola Adeboyejo, an outbound assignment technician with the 92nd Force Support Squadron, has been working toward his dream of becoming a pilot.

Adeboyejo grew up in Nigeria and had a seemingly normal upbringing, despite being born into royalty.

Air Force Airman 1st Class Adeola Adeboyejo, an outbound assignment technician with the 92nd Force Support Squadron, poses for a photo in 2011 while wearing a traditional Nigerian embroidered shirt. Adeboyejo was born in Nigeria with a royal bloodline, but moved to the United States in 2013 to further his education. Since he was nine years old, Adeboyejo has been working toward becoming a pilot. Courtesy photo

“My dad was born a prince, but instead of living a royal life he went to college to become an engineer,” Adeboyejo said. “He would tell me stories of being a prince and what it entails in Africa.”

Adeboyejo said he went to high school when he was nine years old and graduated when he was 15. He then attended The Federal University of Technology, Akure in Nigeria to study information technology. He said he soon realized that a technology degree wasn’t what he wanted. Around that time, an opportunity arose for him to come to the United States.

“My mom was already in the U.S., so she suggested I move there to go to school,” Adeboyejo said.

Culture, Climate Shock

Adeboyejo said he jumped at the opportunity and moved to Wisconsin where his family lived. At first, he said, the change in location shocked him. It was nothing like he expected, but he said it did not disappoint him.

“Back in Nigeria, we think everything in the U.S. is free,” Adeboyejo said. “I was impressed with how everything was when I got here. Then, when I saw snow and realized how cold it was, I wanted to go back.”

Once Adeboyejo started taking classes, he said he found schools in the U.S. and Nigeria to be similar. The only difference, he said, was the U.S. offered more hands-on experiences.

“I’m a visual learner, so to be able to take a lab or be shown how to do something helped me out,” he said.

During this time, Adeboyejo said he was looking into the costs of becoming a pilot. He said he found it would cost more than $70,000 — much more than he expected.

“Some of my cousins told me certain airlines would pay for my school if I worked for them for so many years, but when I contacted the airlines the program wasn’t offered anymore,” Adeboyejo said. But, he added, his desire to become a pilot didn’t diminish.

Aiming High

“My pastor told me the Air Force was the way to go,” he said. “I did some research and found it was not only a good way for me to become a pilot, but to also have my school paid for.”

Six months after he joined the Air Force, Adeboyejo became a U.S. citizen, but because he couldn’t keep dual citizenship in the military, he had to give up his Nigerian passport.

“Nigeria has played a big role in developing me, but I feel it has given me all it can right now,” he said.

Adeboyejo’s job as an outbound assignment technician involves processing airmen for permanent changes of station, retirement or separation. Airmen need official orders to be authorized Air Force funds to PCS to their gaining base. Once notified, he and his coworkers sort out every assignment and get the documents needed for orders.

“PCSing is fun and exciting for a lot of airmen,” Adeboyejo said. “When they come to me, I can make the move happen for them.”

Feeling at Home

Despite being new to the U.S. and the Air Force, Adeboyejo said he’s felt particularly welcome at Fairchild. The Spokane community accepts and cares for the airmen, he said.

“I’m currently a part of the Airmen Against Drunk Driving program [and] act as the dorm chief for the 92nd Comptroller Squadron and 92nd Communications Squadron,” Adeboyejo said. “I also help with events in my squadron.”

Adeboyejo is also putting together his application for the Air Force Academy. He has taken his American College Testing exam and received recommendation letters from his superiors. Selections are slated to be announced in March.

“Being in the military, I am living my brother’s dream,” he said. “When I become a pilot, I will be living my dad’s dream.”

Even if he doesn’t get accepted into the academy, he said will keep striving to become a pilot.

“Life isn’t always fun, and things don’t always come easy, but the Air Force has been the best decision I have made,” Adeboyejo said. “I feel I’m part of something bigger.”

{source: U.S. Department of Defense – By Air Force Staff Sgt. Samantha Krolikowski 92nd Air Refueling Wing}

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[photo credits-featured image:”Fairchild-kc135″ by USAF – http://public.fairchild.amc.af.mil/shared/media/photodb/photos/021202-O-9999G-100.jpg. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fairchild-kc135.jpg#/media/File:Fairchild-kc135.jpg]

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Monday’s Quote – 30 November 2015

Monday’s Quote

Start the week thinking

 

 

 

 

Nothing better is possible until we cease to be mental savages in industry and business, and become men and women. This can only come about by the rise of the whole race to a higher viewpoint. And this can only come about by the rise of such individuals here and there as are ready for the higher viewpoint.

– Wallace D. Wattles 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[photo credits: “WallaceWattles portrait”. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:WallaceWattles_portrait.gif#/media/File:WallaceWattles_portrait.gif]

 

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Three Thailand Destinations Voted Most Popular In Asia

World Travel – Tourism

Open Eyes opinion {source: TAT}

Thailand

Three destinations in Thailand voted among 20 most popular destinations in Asia

 

 

 

 

Bangkok,  – Chiang Mai, Bangkok, and Phuket were recently voted among the 20 most popular and best value cities in Asia by US travellers, according to TripAdvisor’s TripIndex report.

IG-F-S-Songkran_009

Conducted by the popular travel website, TripAdvisor, the index aims at helping US travellers identify the destinations that offer the best value by comparing the price of a one-week trip to different Asian cities between 1 November, 2015, and 30 April, 2016. It evaluates primary travel expenses including a seven-night hotel stay and average round-trip airfare from the US as well as a year-over-year comparison of the overall costs.

In the rankings of the top 20 best value destinations in Asia, Chiang Mai came in fourth, Bangkok in seventh place, and Phuket – Kathu in particular – tenth.

The report described Chiang Mai as providing the lowest cost in Thailand by giving a sample price point of US$1,577 for the total one-week trip, representing a 21 per cent decrease than the previous year. Travel expenses in Bangkok for the polling period stood at US$1,680 (nine per cent lower than last year) while costs in Kathu, Phuket dropped 20 per cent year-on-year to US$1,902.

The index also stated that travel expenses for popular destinations in Asia will have dropped on an average of 12 per cent year-over-year, allowing travellers to save as much as 32 per cent on a trip to the Far East during the next six months.

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Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor of the TAT said, “Apart from offering the best value for money, Thailand provides the US visitors with the best travelling experiences due to the diversity of destinations to fulfill the different desirable holiday. Also, we would like to welcome US travellers to Thailand and see how Thainess, Thai hospitality, our rich history, culture and Thai ways of life can fulfill their holiday time.”

In 2014, the number of tourists from the United States totalled 762,530, who generated revenue of 52.16 billion Baht (1.6 billion US) to the Thai tourism industry. Moreover, the figure indicates that US travellers spend 4,956 Baht and have an average stay of about 14 days per person travelling in Thailand.  Also, the top destinations to this market, which responds to the result of the TripAdvisor survey, include Bangkok, Phuket, and Chiang Mai. US visitors favor beaches and culture in Thailand.

In order to keep attracting US tourists travelling to Thailand, the two TAT offices in the United States have planned their marketing strategies and activities in 2016. These include conducting advertising via on and off-line channels, organizing in-market trade shows for the growing segments; such as honeymoon, adventure, luxury, and leisure.

The TAT US offices are promoting Thailand as a holiday destination with interesting attractions by inviting media and travel agents to join the familiarization trips, which for the past several years, have attracted multiple high impact broadcast TV shows from the US to film in Thailand.

Earlier this year, TAT attracted an Emmy Award winning 30 minute show, ABC’s Ocean Mysteries with Jeff Corwin, to film in Chon Buri where the show featured sea turtle conservation project and on Mae Klong River where Mr. Corwin caught the world largest giant string ray and in Chiang Rai’s Anantara Elephant camp where showcasing Elephant’s intelligence. The show aired all three Thailand episodes on ABC in October, 2015 with 1.8 million viewers per week in the US.

According to the latest international arrivals to Thailand from January – October 2015, the US market recorded at 677,198, representing an increase by 12.96 per cent over the same period of 2014.

{source: Tourism Authority of Thailand}

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[photo credits-featured image: By BrokenSphere (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons]

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Hungary To Oppose EU Mandatory Migrant Resettlement Quotas

News Snippet

Open Eyes Opinion {source: HUgov}

Hungary

The threat of mandatory resettlement quotas still exists

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

30 November 2015

In an address before the start of Parliament’s daily business on Monday, Head of Cabinet of the Prime Minister Antal Rogán said that the threat of mandatory resettlement quotas still exists, as Brussels is still pushing for mandatory distribution and the forced resettlement of migrants among Member States.

Mr. Rogán said that so far more than one million people have entered Europe, and if the Juncker formula was to be applied, it would mean the resettlement of fifteen thousand people and their families to Hungary.

He emphasized that the Government will continue its fight against the quota system, and by 14 December it will file a challenge against the mandatory resettlement scheme at the European Court of Justice.

Mr. Rogán said that the Government is obliged to do so by the result of the national consultation and Hungarian citizens’ rejection of the quota system.

{source:Cabinet Office of the Hungarian Prime Minister}

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[photo credits: By Photo: Gémes Sándor/SzomSzed [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons]

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Lithuania’s President Says Turkey’s Contribution Is Essential To Overcome The Migration Crisis

World Affairs

Open Eyes Opinion {source: LTgov}

Lithuania

Turkey’s contribution is essential to overcome the migration crisis

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday, November 29, Brussels – President Dalia Grybauskaitė is in Brussels attending the EU-Turkey summit at which Turkey is represented by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu.

The summit has been held to manage the flow of Syrian refugees crossing Turkey.

“The migration crisis cannot be overcome without assistance from third countries, especially Turkey.

The largest wave of refugees is coming to Europe via Turkey; therefore, we must seek solutions together. It is better to invest into collaboration now than deal with even more serious consequences later,” the President said.

This year alone, 575 thousand refugees have arrived in the EU via Turkey. This country, which shares a border with war-stricken Syria, is itself facing a very serious problem of migration.

Turkey has granted asylum to more than 2 million refugees and has already spent 8 billion U.S. dollars to host them.

EU and Turkey’s leaders will adopt a joint political declaration agreeing to hold regular EU-Turkey summits, to pursue acceleration of talks on Turkey’s EU membership and visa liberalization, and to develop a high-level political dialogue in the fields of energy, economic policies and customs union.

The need to implement, without delay, the EU-Turkey Joint Action Plan adopted at the European Council meeting in October is emphasized as an essential element in the declaration.

Turkey will contribute to ensuring proper control of its border with the EU, strengthen its border guard capabilities and collaboration with the European border agency Frontex, exchange information with neighboring Community countries, handle refugee registration procedures and speed up the return of economic migrants whose lives are not in danger.

The European Union will allocate 3 billion euros to implement the measures set out in the Action Plan.

{source: Press Service of  Government of Lithuania}
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[photo credits-featured image: By Voice of America News: Henry Ridgwell on Turkish border, “Refugees Flee Aleppo; Hot, Barren Turkish Camps Await”. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons]
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UAE – Sharjah Ports Gets First Damen Shipyards Built ASD Tugboat

World Trade – Ports

Open Eyes Opinion {source: WAM}

Sharjah

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sharjah Ports Authority gets first ASD 2 tug boat

SHARJAH, – Sharjah Ports Authority has taken delivery of a Damen ASD Tug 2411, named AL LUOLO’AYA from Damen Shipyards recently.

Shaikh Khaled bin Abdullah bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Department of Seaports and Customs, Hamriyah Free Zone Authority (HFZA) and Sharjah Airport International Free Zone (SAIF Zone), presided over the ceremony that was held at Damen Shipyards in Hamriyah Free Zone.

Sheikh Khaled also toured and inspected the tug boat after the ceremony.

Mohamed Meer Abdelrehman Al-Sarrah, Director of Seaports and Customs; Saud Salim Al Mazrouei, Director of Hamriyah Free Zone Authority, and SAIF Zone; Lars Seistrup, Managing Director of Damen Shipyard and other officials were present.

The tug was built at Damen Shipyards Sharjah, which is located in the Hamriyah Free Zone and is one of three ports owned and operated by Sharjah Ports Authority.

With a 68.5 tonne bollard pull ahead, the Damen ASD Tug 2411 will be deployed at the Port Khor Fakkan. The ASD Tug is also fully equipped with FiFi 1 and water spraying notation.

Khor Fakkan is one of the leading container transhipment ports and the new tug allows the port to handle even larger container vessels.

Pascal Slingerland, Damen Sales Manager Middle East, commented: “The ASD Tugs are highly manoeuverable and powerful and ideally suited to operations in Khor Fakkan.

We are extremely proud to have built this vessel ‘in Sharjah and for Sharjah’ according to the world’s highest shipbuilding standards.

We have built some 70 Damen ASD Tugs 2411 over the years and a large number of these vessels are operating very successfully here in the UAE.”

{Source: WAM/tfaham}

 (Intext photos attributed and inserted by openeyesopinion.com)
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[photo credits-featured image: By Seuteraar (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons]
Video, ASD Tugboat posted to Youtube By Damen Shipbuilding
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The European Commission Approves Aid For Greek Bank

World Trade

Open Eyes Opinion {source: EC}

Greece

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

State aid: European Commission approves aid for Piraeus Bank on the basis of an amended restructuring plan

Brussels, 29 November 2015

In the context of the third economic adjustment program for Greece, the European Commission has approved additional state aid of €2.72 billion to Greek Piraeus Bank under EU state aid rules, on the basis of an amended restructuring plan.

The Commission concluded that the measures already implemented as part of the bank’s existing restructuring plan of July 2014, in addition to those envisaged in the amended plan, will enable Piraeus Bank to ensure lending to the Greek economy in line with EU state aid rules, in particular the 2013 Banking Communication, and the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive.

Piraeus Bank is the largest lender to Greek companies and households. EU Commissioner in charge of competition policy, Margrethe Vestager, said: “I welcome that Piraeus Bank has covered a significant part of its capital needs from private investors. This is a sign of market confidence. The additional public support and further implementation of its restructuring plan should enable the bank to return to long-term viability and continue supporting the recovery of the Greek economy.

As part of the third economic adjustment program, on 31 October 2015, the comprehensive assessment carried out by the European Central Bank’s Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) to ensure that the four systemic Greek banks are adequately capitalized identified a capital shortfall of €4.93 billion for Piraeus Bank.

Piraeus Bank has succeeded in covering in total €1.94 billion of this large capital needs by private means (existing creditors, through voluntary exchange of their notes for new shares, and new investors through share capital increase). The SSM also approved additional capital actions of €271 million. This means that Piraeus Bank has raised sufficient capital from private investors to cover its asset quality review and baseline scenario capital needs under the SSM’s comprehensive assessment. The level of private capital is a sign of market confidence in the restoration of the long-term viability of this bank. It also shows that contributions by junior and senior bondholders can significantly reduce the need for injections of taxpayer money to support banks, whilst preserving financial stability.

The remaining balance of the capital needs amounting to €2.72 billion (as identified in the SSM’s comprehensive assessment’s so-called stressed scenario) will be covered by additional state aid injected by the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund (HFSF). This will take the form of a combination of share capital and contingent convertible capital instruments. The funding will be provided by the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) in the framework of the economic adjustment program agreed with Greece with €10 billion funding made available to cover potential capital needs of the banking sector.

On this basis, the Greek authorities proposed changes to Piraeus Bank’s restructuring plan approved in July 2014 in addition to the extensive restructuring already implemented. These changes include a deepening of the bank’s operational restructuring and some amendments of deadlines in response to the changes in the bank’s macroeconomic situation, as well as a commitment to further dispose of non-core assets outside of Greece.

The Commission took into account the fact that most of Piraeus Bank’s difficulties did not come from excessive risk taking but from the uncertainty and the events that led to the agreement of the third economic adjustment program for Greece in August. Therefore, it found the measures proposed in the revised restructuring plan are sufficient to limit distortions of competition as a result of the state aid and, in particular, requested no downsizing in the bank’s core lending activities in Greece.

As part of its state aid decision, the Commission has also verified that the capital injection by the HFSF can be granted as a precautionary recapitalization within the meaning of the Bank Resolution and Recovery Directive (BRRD). It concluded that all the conditions of the BRRD to grant the aid without having to put the bank into resolution were met.

Background

The Commission approved restructuring plans for Piraeus Bank in July 2014. Despite positive signs over the course of 2014, the events that led to the agreement of a European Stability Mechanism (ESM) support programme for Greece in August 2015 significantly changed the situation on the ground and projections on the basis of which the restructuring plans were approved. In October 2015, the European Central Bank’s Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) carried out a comprehensive assessment of the four systemic Greek banks to ensure they are adequately capitalized. On 26 November 2015, the Commission approved amended restructuring plans for Alpha Bank and Eurobank.

On 24 November 2015, the Eurogroup issued a Statement noting that the policy conditions have been met for the transfer from the ESM to the HFSF of the funds needed for bank recapitalization purposes. The funds will be transferred on a case by case basis, depending on the individual needs of the respective banks.

Under EU state aid rules, additional capital requirements should in the first place be covered from the market and/or other private sources. If this is not sufficient and a bank needs state aid in the form of a capital injection, such support has to be approved under EU state aid rules before it is granted, and on the basis of a restructuring plan. Furthermore, under the Bank Resolution and Recovery Directive, a bank in need of State aid has to be put in resolution. Only in narrowly defined exceptional conditions can State aid be provided to a bank outside resolution. Such exception defined in Article 32(4)(d)(iii) BRRD is referred to as “precautionary recapitalization”.

Please also see the Commission’s Policy Brief “State aid to European banks: returning to viability” on the application of EU state aid rules in the banking sector.

The non-confidential version of this decision will be made available under the case number SA.43364 in the State Aid Register on the competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved. New publications of state aid decisions on the internet and in the Official Journal are listed in the State Aid Weekly e-News.

{source: European Commission}

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[photo credits: By Danel Solabarrieta from Ondarroa [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons]

 

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Challenges For The Paris Climate Change Conference

World Affairs – Environment

Open Eyes Opinion {source: EP}

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

European Parliament Think Tank Report

Negotiating a new UN climate agreement: Challenges for the Paris Climate Change Conference

 

Synopsis:

A new international agreement to combat climate change is due to be adopted in December 2015 at the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Besides actions to stop global warming, it should also cover adaptation to climate change.

In the course of 2015, the vast majority of Parties submitted their intended nationally determined contributions (INDC).

The EU’s INDC commits to reducing greenhouse-gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030.

Analysis of the submitted INDCs by the UNFCCC secretariat found that greater emissions reductions are needed to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius, the target agreed in the 2009 Copenhagen Accord.

The draft UNFCCC negotiating text agreed in October 2015 leaves a number of important issues unresolved, notably the legal form of the agreement.

While some negotiators favor a strong, legally binding agreement, others prefer a bottom-up approach based on voluntary contributions. Moreover, issues of fairness and equity need to be addressed, acknowledging that developed countries have a greater historical responsibility for climate change and stronger capacity for taking action.

Finally, the question of climate finance is of major importance for developing countries.

The leadership role of the EU in international climate action is being challenged by the developments. EU climate diplomacy will have to adapt to the new situation if the EU wants to retain its leadership role, and remain a major player in the global transition towards a zero-carbon economy and energy system

Please Read Full In-Depth Analysis:

 http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/IDAN/2015/572794/EPRS_IDA(2015)572794_EN.pdf

(This is a revised and updated version of a publication from March 2015: PE 551.347.)

{Source:  European Parliamentary Research Service Author: Gregor Erbach Members’ Research Service}

(Intext photo attributed and inserted by openeyesopininion.com)

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[photo credits-featured image:By Jon Sullivan (Public-domain-image.com) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons]

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The Asian Development Bank Signs Agreement To Rebuild Roads in Vanuatu

World Affairs

Open Eyes Opinion {source: ADB}

Vanuatu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ADB, Vanuatu Sign Agreement to Rebuild Roads After Cyclone Pam

ORT VILA, VANUATU – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Vanuatu have signed a project agreement confirming the Cyclone Pam Road Reconstruction Project.

Andrea Iffland, Regional Director of ADB’s Pacific Liaison and Coordination Office in Australia, together with Vanuatu’s Minister of Finance and Economic Development,  Willie Jimmy participated in the signing ceremony in Port Vila.

The project will support the government’s efforts to reconstruct, and climate- and disaster-proof transport sector infrastructure on the Efate ring road, which suffered significant damage from flooding as a result of Cyclone Pam in March 2015.

“The Cyclone Pam Road Reconstruction Project will help the government upgrade and strengthen the resilience of targeted infrastructure under the project,” said Ms. Iffland at the ceremony.

Some of the tentative civil works under the project include the rehabilitation of 10km of roads; upgrades of 8 major stream crossings and their approach roads; repairs to damaged bridges, box culverts and causeways; protection against storm surges for, 1,000 meters of sealed pavement; and realignment of 200 meters of river channel.

Destruction caused by Cyclone Pam coupled with subsequent flooding is expected to have a negative impact on economic growth, particularly in the tourism sector—the main earner of foreign exchange.

The project which is expected to cost $18.5 million is funded by a $1 million loan and a $7 million grant from ADB’s concessional Asian Development Fund; a $2.8 million loan and a $2.81 million grant from ADB’s Disaster Response Facility; a $2.68 million grant from the Global Environment facility; and a $2.21 million in-kind contribution from the Government of Vanuatu.

ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region. In 2014, ADB assistance totaled $USD22.9 billion, including cofinancing of $USD9.2 billion.

{source: Asian Development Bank}

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[photo credits-featured image:Graham Crumb/Imagicity.com [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons]

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Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival Announced A Series For Lady Endurance Riders For 2016

World Affairs

Open Eyes Opinion {source: WAM}

Abu Dhabi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sheikh Mansour Festival announces endurance rides for ladies in 2016

ABU DHABI, 27th November 2015 — The HH Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival today announced a series for lady endurance riders for 2016 during a press conference on the eve of Saturday’s H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies Endurance Cup CEN 100 km ride.

Over 100 lady riders are expected to start in Saturday’s ride at the Emirates International Endurance Village in Al Wathba under the directives of HH Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs.

“The 100-km event is being sponsored by Abu Dhabi Sports Council, Sheikh Mansour Festival, National Feed and Flour Production Company, National Archives and Al Masoud. The top five who finish the ride will be awarded 4WD cars each,” said Adnan Sultan Al Nuaimi, ADEC Director-General.

Dr. Abdulla Rayess, Director of the National Archive, Mubarak Al Nuaimi, of the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, Ahmed Al Qubaisi, of Abu Dhabi Sports Council, Ahmed Al Marzouqi, of the International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing Authorities (IFHAR), Nadim Lahad, of Emirates Airline, Sheikha Al Shehhi, of the UAE Women Union, Mounira Al Marzouqi, of the National Feed, and top veterinarian Stefano Daneri addressed the press conference.

In a major boost to lady riders, Ms Lara Sawaya, Executive Director of the H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival, Chairperson of the International Federation of Horse Racing Academies (IFHRA) and Chairperson of Ladies & Apprentice Racing Committees in the International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing Authorities (IFAHR) said the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Endurance Cup will be a series this year.

“Under the directives of H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, three endurance races will be staged in Europe in 2016 and carry the name of HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Endurance Cup which will become a series and culminate with the final in Abu Dhabi,” she said.

Giving details she said, “A CEIO Endurance Ride in Portugal by the end of April 2016 with a purse of Euros 10,000, will be followed by two more rides carrying the same status and prize money in Italy and France.”

“The French leg will coincide with the World Championship for Young Horses which is again a Festival event with Euros 10,000 prize money,” she confirmed.

“We will be requesting the FEI to introduce a ranking/rating system for the lady riders and horses in the series. Anyway based on the national teams performance (best timing of three of the 5-member team) in the three rides in Europe, the top three teams of riders and horses will be transported to Abu Dhabi to take part in the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Endurance Cup Final with a cash prize of Euros 20,000,” Ms Sawaya said.

Meanwhile, following the disqualification of the French team, Italian team are here and they will receive Euros 5000 and UAE team will receive Euros 3000 respectively for their performance in this year’s Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies Endurance Cup.

“These lady riders are here as the guests of the Festival and the awards ceremony will be held at the Sheikh Mansour Festival stand at the ongoing Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival,” Ms Sawaya said.

The horse racing fans have been encouraged to attend Saturday’s ride and the Festival will be parting with DH 30,000 in cash, six iPhones 6S and 5 Mini iPads, all through a free raffle draw. “There is also a car to be won as a Grand Prize in the raffle,” Ms Sawaya said.

The HH Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival is sustained by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority and coordinated by Abu Dhabi Sports Council, with National Feed and Flour Production and Marketing Co. LLC as associate sponsors, in cooperation with Emirates Racing Authority, IFAHR, Emirates Arabian Horse Society, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, General Authority of Youth and Sports Welfare with The National Archives as the official partner and Emirates airline as the official carriers.

It is sponsored by Invest AD, Bloom, Petromal, Rise General Trading Co. LLC, Hayatna, Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC), Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), Al Awani General Enterprises, Kabale, Al Wathba Centre, the UAE’s General Women’s Union, the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, the Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy, Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition 2015, Dr. Nader Saab Switzerland, Al Wathba Center, Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, Eastern Mangroves Suites-Abu Dhabi by Jannah, Yas Channel, Omeir Travels, Racing Post, Paris Turf and Laboratories Fadia Karam Cosmetics.

{source: WAM/MMYS}

(Intext photo attributed and inserted by openeyesopinion.com)

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[photo credits-featured image: BDS2006 at English Wikipedia [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons]
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Abu Dhabi Tourism And Culture Authority Hosts International Travel Leaders

World Travel – Tourism

Open Eyes Opinion {source: WAM}

Abu Dhabi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Int’l tour operators in pole position to sell Abu Dhabi Grand Prix catalyst to drive industry leaders’ awareness

ABU DHABI, 28th November, 2015  — Ten of the world’s top tour operators are in Abu Dhabi as part of an intensive campaign led by Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) to leverage awareness of the emirate’s culture, experiences and attractions on the back of the season-ending 2015 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The influential travel leaders from China, Italy, German, the GCC, France, South Africa, India, Russia and the UK are being hosted in the emirate in an effort to stimulate additional Abu Dhabi package development in their tour operator programs.

“Inviting these powerful influencers is the culmination of an almost year-long program of international promotional activity to drive increased sales of packages to Abu Dhabi and to increase international visitor numbers, average spend and length of stay during the F1 period,” Faisal Al Sheikh, Events Bureau Director, TCA Abu Dhabi, said.

The tour operators are on a four-day destination familiarization tour of the emirate before experiencing the pinnacle of the Formula 1 season and joining TCA Abu Dhabi for the sell-out 2015 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on November 29 at the state-of-the-art Yas Marina Circuit.

“Experiencing the sites and attractions of Abu Dhabi at a time when the entire capital is abuzz with activity will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression on our important travel industry guests,” Al Sheikh added. “We want to build strong relationships going forward among these key influencers and encourage positive word-of-mouth recommendation.”

The tour operator hosted line-up includes China Swan International of China, Dreams Team of Italy, Hotel Beds from Bahrain, Safrans du Monde of France, South Africa’s Satguru Travel, Kuoni India Pvt Ltd, Coral Travel of Russia and specialists in luxury worldwide holidays from the UK, Kenwood Travel.

TCA Abu Dhabi is also hosting two heritage-themed Oasis village zones within the north and main grandstands, with race-goers having the opportunity to join daily activities which include traditional Al Ayala dancing and Emirati musical performances.

“Showing off the diversity of our vibrant destination to the travel industry from our priority overseas markets doesn’t end at the circuit, and inviting the operators to sample the traditional heritage activities of our Oasis villages allows them to also share the typical experiences that can be enjoyed by their guests,” Al Sheikh said.

{source: WAM/MMYS}

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[photo credit-featured image: By Morio (photo taken by Morio) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons]
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