All DEWA Customers To Receive ‘Green Bill’ By Q2 2015 جميع عملاء هيئة كهرباء ومياه دبي سيحصلون على “فواتير خضراء” في النصف الثاني من 2015

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Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (DEWA) will send electronic “green bills” to all its customers by the end of the second quarter of 2015, and stop sending paper bills. The move supports DEWA’s efforts to enhance its services, protect the environment, and give a chance to its customers to adapt to electronic transformation.  DEWA says using its electronic and smart services helped eliminate 11,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions in 2013 as a result of DEWA’s customers conducting 3.3 million transactions online and through the smart app. This amount of carbon dioxide is the equivalent amount that could have resulted from customers travelling to and from DEWA offices. This equates to planting 56,331 trees in an area equivalent to 106 football fields.

ستوقف هيئة كهرباء ومياه دبي إرسال الفواتير الورقية في نهاية الربع الثاني من عام 2015 لتستبدلها لفواتير إلكترونية “خضراء” وذلك ضمن جهود الهيئة في تطوير خدماتها ومساعيها في حماية البيئة وايضا إعطاء الفرصة لعملائها للتأقلم مع المعاملات الرقمية. تؤكد الهيئة ان استخدام السبل الذكية والرقمية والقيام ب 3.3 مليون عملية دفع رقمية وعلى التطبيق الذكي من قبل المستهلكين ،ساهم في تقليل انبعاث 11 ألف طن من ثاني اكسيد الكربون في عام 2013. كمية الانبعاثات تلك هي التي ستوفر بسبب عدم ذهاب العملاء الى مكاتب الهيئة للقيام بالمعاملات المختلفة. وايضا تلك الكمية تساوي زراعة أكثر من 56 ألف شجرة في منطقة تساوي 106 ملعباً لكرة القدم.

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2022 World Cup City Lusail A “Smart” City مدينة لوسيل “ذكية” لكأس العالم 2022

Lusail City, Qatar
If you’re trying to create the perfect 21st-century city, it helps to start with a blank slate. Even if that slate is a sweltering strip of sand. That’s essentially what the government of Qatar and its developers are trying with Lusail, an ambitious planned city on 28 square miles of waterfront desert along the Persian Gulf. Now under construction, the compact city will contain a commercial district, a lagoon, four islands, two marinas, an upscale shopping mall, a hospital, a zoo, two golf courses and housing for some 250,000 people. It also will feature an 86,000-seat soccer stadium, surrounded by a moat, that’s expected to host the final game of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Residents and visitors will get around via a light-rail network, a water-taxi system and a network of underground pedestrian tunnels. And all the energy, communications and transportation systems will be run with the help of computers from a single command center, making Lusail a “smart” city that can automatically adapt to changing traffic and weather conditions.

 

إذا كان أحداً يحاول ان يخلق مدينة متكاملة للقرن ال21، تكون العملية أسهل بكثير إن بدأ أحدهم من البداية. حتى ولو كانت تلك البداية من صحراء حارة. وهذا بالتحديد ما تحاول ان تقوم به قطر ومطوريها في مدينة لوسيل بمشروع طموح للمدينة الواقعة على مساحة 45 كيلومتراً على ساحل الخليج العربي. ستحتوي المدينة التي في قيد الإنشاء حالياً على منطقة تجارية وبحيرة وأربعة جزر ومرفأين ومجمع راقي ومستشفى وحديقة الحيوان وملعبين للغولف ومسكن لحوالي ربع مليون نسمة. كما من المقرر ان تحتوي المدينة على ملعب كرة قدم يسع ل86.000 ألف متفرج ومن المفترض ان يشهد مباراة نهائي بطولة نهائيات كأس العام فيفا 2022. سيستخدم سكان المدينة وزوارها عن طريق سكك حديدية خفيفة وزوارق أجرة وسلسلة من الأنفاق المخصصة للمشاة. سيدير كل أمور الطاقة والاتصالات والمواصلات أجهزة كمبيوتر من مركز تحكم واحد، والذي سيجعل من مدينة لوسيل “ذكية” تستطيع ان تتأقلم أوتوماتيكياً مع عوامل المناخ وحالات المرور.

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Syrian Conflict: Untold Misery Of Child Brides الصراع السوري: مآسي تزويج الأطفال

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There is an alarming rise in the number of Syrian refugee girls in Jordan being forced into early marriages, according to the new figures from the United Nations. Poverty is forcing some families to effectively sell their daughters to much older men, and there is now an organized trade in young girls. In a prefabricated cabin in the sprawling camp, a girl, 13, sat on the floor engulfed by a frilly white dress, and a hooded silk cape. She was surrounded by children, not much younger than her, clapping and singing a nursery rhyme. What looked like a game of dressing-up was in fact her wedding reception. Her mother looked on from a distance and wept – for her war torn homeland, and perhaps for her daughter. Almost one third (32%) of refugee marriages in Jordan involve a girl under 18, according to the latest figures from UNICEF. This refers to registered marriages, so the actual figure may be much higher. The rate of child marriage in Syria before the war was 13%. Image: Alaa, a 14-year-old resident of the Zaatari camp, married her cousin and is now pregnant and worried.

هنالك تزايد مخيف لعدد البنات السوريات اللاجئات في الأردن واللاتي يتم تزويجهن في عمر مبكر، وذلك حسب احصائية قامت بها الأمم المتحدة. بات الفقر يفرض على بعض العائلات “بيع” بناتهم لرجال يكبرونهن بالعمر كثيراً، وأصبح هنالك سوقا وتجارة منتظمة للبنات الصغار. تجلس فتاة تبلغ ال13 من العمر في وسط الكابينة الجاهزة مرتدية بدلة بيضاء ويحاوطها أطفال تغني وتصفق لا يصغرونها كثيراً بالعمر. لما يبدو وكأنها لعبة تمثيل يقوم بها الأطفال، هي في الحقيقة ليلة زواج تلك الطفلة. بقت أمها تراها من بعيد وتتهاطل من عيونها الدموع – لوطنها الذي مزقته الحرب وربما أيضا لبنتها. حوالي ثلث (32%) من حالات الزواج بين اللاجئين في الأردن تقع على بنات يقل أعمارهم عن ال18 عاما حسب احصائية منظمة اليونيسيف. وهذا فقط احصائية حالات الزواج الرسمية، فالرقم قد يكون أعلى بكثير. نسبة تزويج الأطفال في سوريا قبل الحرب كانت حوالي 13%. الصور: علا، بنت عمرها 14 عام وتسكن في مخيم الزعتري ومتزوجة لولد عمها وهي الآن حامل وقلقة.

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Abdul Aziz Mehdi: A Conceptual Artist Representing The Love Of Heritage عبدالعزيز مهدي: خيال فنان يمثل حب التراث

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Art becomes a noble message when the artist is devoted to bringing out the best in humanity and one’s culture. Saudi artist Abdul Aziz Mehdi employs energy and passion to convey his love for heritage and the Arabic culture. His kinetic paintings and sculptures on Asir’s culture and heritage tell a story of a man embracing his culture. He considers himself a positive man avoiding criticism and only focusing on the beautiful things in the universe. “For me, I like to show what benefits humanity such as Islam and Islamic arts, the ancient Arabic culture, civilization, old heritage, calligraphy, and patterning,” he told Arab News. The Saudi artist has presented his work in more than a hundred festivals and galleries in Saudi Arabia, the Gulf and around the world.

يمثل الفن رسالة نبيلة عندما يكرس الفنان نفسه لإظهار الأفضل في الانسانية وتراثه الثقافي. الفنان السعودي عبدالعزيز مهدي يوظف طاقته وشغفه لتسليط الضوء لحبه لثقافته والتراث العربي. لوحاته ومنحوتاته حول تراث وثقافة مدينة عسير تحكي حكاية رجل يعانق ثقافته. يعتبر مهدي نفسه انسان متفائل يتفادى النقد والسلبية ويركز فقط على الأشياء الجميلة في الكون. وقال الفنان مهدي لأخبار العرب “بالنسبة لي، أحب ان اظهر ما استفادت منه الانسانية من الاسلام والفنون الاسلامية، والثقافة العربية القديمة، الحضارة والتراث القديم وفنون الخط والزخرفة”. قدم الفنان السعودي أعماله في أكثر من مئة فعالية ومعرض في المملكة العربية السعودية ومنطقة الخليج والعالم.

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Seeking Civil Society Collaboration in Kuwait – Kuwait Times

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Just five years ago, pressing issues such as migrant workers’ rights, animal rights and environmental sustainability would have been lucky to earn even passing reference in Kuwait’s newspapers and public conversations. Today, these issues are claiming their place at the forefront of the public agenda, largely due to the acceleration of vocal civil society activism. Yet despite increased public awareness, the wholly inadequate level of collaboration between civil society organizations (CSOs) themselves is proving a crucial handicap to the sector’s work in Kuwait.

In Kuwait, as in any other nation-state, the non-governmental and not-for-profit organizations comprising civil society play an important role in representing public interest and lobbying the government for policy changes in the social, cultural and political arenas. As compared to the rest of the GCC, this sector is arguably much more vibrant in Kuwait. The country also has a relatively longer history of civil society activism, going at least as far back as the establishment of the Kuwait Trade Union Federation and the Women’s Cultural and Social Society in the 1960s. However, without tapping into the potential for knowledge and resource sharing, and advocacy coordination, civil society in Kuwait is running the risk of mitigating the success of otherwise well-planned and adequately financed initiatives.

The importance of collaboration Zahed Sultan is the managing director at the en.v Initiative, an organization that works in the fields of education, environment and capacity-building in order to foster greater social responsibility in the Arab world. “Two heads are better than one,” he said. “One benefit of collaboration is knowledge sharing. If people collaborate on a given topic, then the increase in the number of communities that these people can tap into mitigates the risk of the initiative failing. It also creates a shared sense of responsibility among stakeholders. Also, the sharing of limited resources, skill sets [and] spaces creates more effective organizations.” Dr Shaikha Al-Muhareb, a member of Group-29, an organization that focuses on advancing the principle of equal rights espoused in Article 29 of Kuwait’s constitution, agrees. With increased collaboration “there will be more awareness,” she said, adding that, “you would see more pressure on the National Assembly to introduce changes in laws because there are more people lobbying for that.”

A capitalist mindset Despite the logic and benefits to be gained from collaboration, several obstacles hinder collaboration in this sector. The fundamental challenge is a misunderstanding of the importance of cooperation within civil society itself. “There’s also a huge educational component because there is a lack of understanding about the need for collaboration. When all of us live in a capitalist society, civil society itself gets drawn into the competition as well. And Kuwait as we know is a very capitalist society,” Sultan explained. Lina Al-Qaddoumi, program manager at INJAZ Kuwait, part of an international network which offers entrepreneurial and leadership training to the youth, concurred. “For example, most organizations here receive private corporate funding and they feel that if they collaborate with other groups, they would get less funding.”

Legal restrictions Another hurdle, as both Muhareb and Sultan point out, is the legal environment in which civil societies operate. According to law no. 24 of 1962, CSOs are required to coordinate extensively with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor concerning matters of funding, management and participating in regional or international coalitions. “The other problem is when you share a project you need some kind of liberty, some kind of freedom. Societies in the past were always under the umbrella of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor. That made it difficult for them to manage their own space of work. If there is a threat that this civil society will be banned or closed, then again societies will be very worried to collaborate with others fearing that they will get them in trouble,” explained Muhareb. Also, more recently created CSOs, many of whom operate on an informal basis, have perhaps found it harder to collaborate than those established before the Gulf War. While many NGOs were established during the ‘70s and ‘80s and received annual funding from the government, Sultan claims that during the ‘90s it became increasingly difficult to maneuver governmental bureaucracy to establish a CSO.

Personal rivalries A further obstacle is that sometimes individuals from different organizations simply do not like working with each other. “They are still possessive of their projects,” as Muhareb put it. At a more basic level, Sultan pointed out that civil societies often simply do not know of each other’s existence.

An unthreatening ecosystem This not to say that civil society in Kuwait is completely devoid of intra-sectoral collaboration. The National Committee for the Resolution of Statelessness in Kuwait is a coalition of 22 civil society and political groups, including Group-29 and the Women’s Cultural and Social Society, that work towards emancipating the bedoons. Organizations like the en.v Initiative and INJAZ are currently involved in providing capacity-building training to other CSOs. With the social media-propelled democratization of information flow, attitudes among the youth in Kuwait are also changing. They are committed to causes of equality and sustainability, and are no longer satisfied with public sector employment. Kuwait’s 2013 Companies Law provides for a slightly more flexible environment for civil society to operate, by introducing – for the first time – a legal framework for not-for-profit companies (NPCs). “You need to create an ecosystem at the sector level that is conducive to collaboration for the CSOs to not feel threatened. The intent is there; it’s the implementation that is ineffective,” Sultan maintained.

By Batul K Sadliwala

 

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A New Generation Of Corruption Fighters In The Middle East

Integrity School
For five intensive days in Tunis, youth across the region brainstormed innovative anti-corruption measures in the new project: MENA Integrity School. The initiative, hosted by election watchdog I Watch and Transparency International, brought together 50 active youths from Yemen, Morocco, Egypt, Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq and Tunisia. “The MENA integrity school is the first anti-corruption summer school in the Arab world,” Moheb Karoui, I Watch’s President, told Tunisian news site Tunisia Live. For five days the participants were drilled in anti-corruption methods. The agenda included lessons in investigative journalism, social media and other communication tools. By the end of the five-day-course each participant had to present a project idea, with the possibility of receiving financial support from the organizers.

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Kuwait Activists Decry Social Media Curbs

 

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Human rights activists allege that a law restricting social media networks will limit free speech in Kuwait. Kuwait is forging ahead with a law that will regulate the country’s telecommunications and information technology, including social media, despite claims by human rights activists that the bill will restrict freedom of expression. “The law allows authorities to block websites, terminate mobile lines for security reasons without a legal order, and issue warrants to search houses without a prior legal order,” Kuwaiti humans rights activist Nawaf al-Hendal told Al Jazeera News. Hendal alleged that the legislation violates Kuwait’s obligations under international treaties, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which it signed in 1996. Social media platforms, which are a favored tool of the country’s opposition groups, are widely prevalent in the state, making Kuwait one of the most connected countries in the Middle East.

 

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