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UAE National Day: 26 most important milestones in the country’s 50-year history

As the United Arab Emirates celebrates its 50th National Day, we look back at some of the federation’s most historic moments that paved the way for its transformation from relative obscurity to a household name known for its ambition and record-breaking prowess.

December 2, 1971: The United Arab Emirates is formed

On the very first National Day, founding father Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan united six tribal families to form the UAE.

An agreement between the six ruling families was signed in what is now known as Dubai’s Union House.

Discussions about forming a union had been ongoing for several years prior to the official founding of the nation.

When a treaty with the British ended on December 1 1971, the fledging federation was ready to hoist its flag for the first time.

The United Arab Emirates was welcomed into the Arab League on the day it was founded.

December 9, 1971: The UN recognizes the UAE

Days after its founding, the UAE became a member state of the United Nations.

February 10, 1972: Ras al-Khaimah joins the union

Some two months after the official founding of the UAE, the ruling family of the northernmost emirate Ras al-Khaimah decided to

October 5, 1972: Mina Rashid opens

Dubai’s then-ruler Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed al-Maktoum inaugurated Mina Rashid almost a year after the unification.

The opening of the port was an early step in building Dubai’s status as an international trading hub.

It was a significant improvement over the creek – providing deep water berths for cargo ships.

Sheikh Rashid enlisted the services of British engineering firm Halcrow to design and build the port.

May 6, 1976: Seven emirates unify their armed forces

Although a Union Defense Force had been set up soon after founding in December 1971, introducing federal authority over the armed forces, each emirate was responsible for training their own soldiers up until 1976.

In May of 1976, the separate forces were unified and officially renamed the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces.

February 26, 1979: Jebel Ali’s port opens

Seven years after Mina Rashid was inaugurated, Sheikh Rashid inaugurated the Port of Jebel Ali, which to this day remains the world’s largest manmade harbor and one of the busiest ports globally.

The inauguration of Jebel Ali, 35 kilometers from Dubai’s city center, solidified the young emirate’s position as a vital trading hub between the Eastern and Western worlds.

February 26, 1979: Dubai World Trade Center inaugurated

On the same day as the ambitious port project was officially opened, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth inaugurated the newly-built Dubai World Trade Center.

One of the first skyscrapers in the city, the World Trade Center symbolized Dubai’s ambition to become a powerful player in global business.

May 5 1981: UAE co-founds Gulf Cooperation Council in Abu Dhabi

The heads of state of Gulf neighbors Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Oman signed a charter to form the GCC in 1981.

The economic agreement recognized the shared culture of the Gulf states and included, at one point, plans for a common currency.

January 2, 1982: Abu Dhabi International Airport opens

Linking the capital to the rest of the world, Abu Dhabi’s airport opened in the early 80s.

Dubai had opened its own airport in 1960, before the formation of the union.

Sharjah, meanwhile, had operated an airport since the 1930s, and opened its current international airport in 1976.

October 25, 1985: First Emirates flight takes off

Although it is now known as one of the world’s biggest airlines, Emirates’ humble beginnings were an inaugural flight to Karachi on plane rented from Pakistan International Airlines.

October 7, 1990: Dubai mourns ruler’s death

The emirate went into mourning after its leader and the UAE’s Prime Minister Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed al-Maktoum passed away.

Sheikh Rashid led the emirate through its founding and was responsible for a number of major projects, setting Dubai on the path to becoming the metropolis it is today.

He was succeeded by his son Sheikh Maktoum, who served until his death in 2006.

December 1, 1999: Burj al-Arab opens

The world’s first seven-star hotel and an enduring icon of Dubai’s luxury tourist attractions, the Burj al-Arab, opens.

June 2001: Construction begins on Palm Jumeirah

An ambitious building project to create an artificial island off Dubai’s coast begins.

The first residential units on the Palm Jumeriah were handed over in 2006.

March 3, 2003: Al Arabiya begins broadcasting from Dubai

Al Arabiya begins broadcasting its news channel from Dubai’s newly-developed Media City.

May 11, 2003: First Etihad flight takes off

Abu Dhabi’s flag carrier Etihad launched its first ever flight with a ceremonial trip from Abu Dhabi International Airport to Al Ain.

November 2, 2004: Founding father Sheikh Zayed dies

The nation fell into mourning on November 2 2004 when its founding father Sheikh Zayed passed away.

Sheikh Zayed was a beloved figure among UAE residents, respected globally for his efforts to unite the seven emirates and celebrated locally for his reputed generosity and deep involvement in ruling over his people.

His son, the current President of the UAE, Sheikh Khalifa succeeded him.

August 28, 2005: Mall of the Emirates and Ski Dubai open

Symbolic of the flurry of development that took place in the 2000s, the Mall of the Emirates with its Ski Dubai indoor ski slope opened in August of 2005.

At the time is was hailed as the largest mall in the world, while Ski Dubai

16 to 20 December, 2006: The UAE’s first election

For the first time, UAE citizens were allowed to choose members of their governments for the first time.

Elections were held to decide the posts of half of the 40 seats of the Federal National Council (FNC).

November 4, 2008: Dubai Mall opens

Surpassing the previous record for the world’s largest mall, Dubai’s Emaar opened Dubai Mall in November of 2008.

August 9, 2009: Dubai Metro inaugurated

Another historic achievement for the UAE was cemented when Dubai inaugurated its metro system in 2009, which was at the time the Arabian Gulf’s first urban rail system.

January 4 2010: Dubai opens the world’s tallest building

The ultimate symbol of the 2000s building boom, Dubai made headlines around the world again with its Burj Khalifa – the world’s tallest building.

The tower is an architectural marvel, standing at 829.8 meters tall, and remains the tallest manmade structure in the world to this day.

November 27, 2013: Dubai wins Expo 2020 bid

Dubai won its bid to host the World Expo 2020, which would be the first ever held in the Middle East.

July, 2014: UAE announces Mars mission

Not content with breaking records on earth, the UAE’s President Sheikh Khalifa announced that Emirati scientists would develop a craft that would travel to Mars.

July 20, 2020: Mars mission launches

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the Emirates Mars Mission brought hope to the UAE when it launched the aptly-named Hope probe on July 20, 2020.

It set off from a launch site in Japan and entered the red planet’s orbit in February of 2021, where it remains, collecting data about the atmosphere.

September 15, 2020: Abraham Accords signed

A historic deal between the UAE, Bahrain, the US, and Israel was signed in September of 2020.

It was the first time an Arab country had recognized Israel since Jordan had in 1994.

November 11, 2020: Sweeping legal reform

A raft of sweeping legal reforms was announced in November of 2020, amending rules across a broad range of areas.

Some traditional restrictions on societal norms were eased, paving the way for a more modern state.

Read more:

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Almarai signs an MoU with the Authority of People with Disabilities to train and employ them.

Almarai Company signed a memorandum of understanding with the Authority of People with
Disabilities to train, qualify and employ persons with disabilities. This came on the sidelines of
the First International Labor Market Conference, organized by the Ministry of Human Resources
and Social Development on December 13 – 14, 2023, at the King Abdulaziz Convention Center
in Riyadh.

The memorandum was signed by the Chief Human Resources Officer of Almarai Company,
Fahad Mohammed Aldrees, and the CEO of the Authority of People with Disabilities, Dr.
Hisham bin Muhammad Al-Haidari.

“This agreement comes within the framework of the company’s social responsibility program, as
Almarai employs more than 500 people with disabilities, which is one of the most suitable work
environments for them.” Fahad Aldrees said. Pointing out that Almarai has the “Silent Line”,
which is one of its production lines that is designated for people with hearing disabilities.

It is worth mentioning that Almarai supports over 300 charity organizations annually across the
kingdom that operate in the field of community development.

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Central Phuket Shopping Center Prepared Surprises This Christmas & New Year 2024

Central Phuket Shopping Center, the luxury lifestyle landmark o Phuket, invites everyone to celebrate Christmas and New Year 2024 in The Great Celebration 2024 Campaign. Joining hands with global partner ‘The Pokémon Company’, Central Phuket bring over Pokémon, the super cute character popular around the world, for all locals and international fans. The special campaign launch presents a procession of cute ‘Pikachu’ alongside with the giant Christmas tree for the first time in Thailand.
This December, Central Phuket prepared many activities for shoppers when visiting Phuket! Experience the “Surprise of the Day” with free Cotton Candy for our little ones, a sweet and fluffy treat, a special gift from Central Phuket. Bring your kids to enjoy this sweet treat every Saturday and Sunday throughout the month of December. Don’t miss the Christmas Carol that
everyone loves, little Santas spread freshness by singing together in the Christmas Carol activity. Plus, Christmas Live Music, the festival of joy is back! Celebrate Christmas in a luxurious and classy atmosphere, enjoying the music that will bring us joy. Also, there will be Christmas Troop, Santa Claus is coming to town! The Santa troop will spread happiness throughout Central Phuket. Lastly, Cake Workshop, workshop activity with Chef Sebastien’s IRON CHEF Thailand teaching how to make Christmas Vanilla Cake. A special activity for the Christmas season. Moreover, Central Phuket provides special promotion exclusively for international tourists throughout December 23 – January 24 including:

1) Get Free! Tourist welcome discount package valued up to THB 10,000.
2) Receive THB 100 Gift voucher when spending up to THB 2,500 per receipt.
3) Get to buy ‘Happy Holiday Collections’ special price: Pokémon 2-in-1 pillow blanket, tumbler, travel bag set, and keychain. Visit redemption counter for the price.
4) Exclusive for Grab Users get discount code up to 25% off* when traveling to participating Central Shopping Centers.
5) Receive famous Elephant Pants when spending over THB 5,000 in shopping center.
6) Get Free! H&M THB 100 gift voucher when booking any accommodations in Phuket with Agoda. Terms and conditions apply.

Central Phuket is a home of global luxury brands such as Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Ermenegildo Zegna, Gucci, Hermès, Louis Vuitton, and Saint Laurent. Exclusive for this season, Louis Vuitton launches a pop-up store located at Central Phuket. The design is inspired by the story of Damier or Checkerboard, the brand’s signature pattern. This classic pattern was created by Louis
Vuitton and his son Georges Vuitton in 1888 and has always been part of the design of Maison’s iconic items and concepts. Find clothes, shoes, bags, and accessories for men at the Pop-up Store from Louis Vuitton at Central Phuket, 1st floor, from today until 31 March 2024. And with over 500 renowned fashion brands and lifestyle shops ranging from local to international
well-known brands covering all categories, international shoppers will be able to find what they are looking for in Central Phuket.
Central Phuket is located in the heart of one of the world’s most famous beach cities, Phuket and await to welcome both locals and international visitors this holiday. Also, don’t miss one of the most joyful New Year Count Down events in Phuket city at Central Phuket Shopping Center on December 31, 2023.

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Saudi Fund for Development Provides $100 Million Development Loan for the Rogun Hydropower Project

The Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) Chief Executive Officer, H.E. Sultan Al-Marshad, signed a new development loan agreement with the Minister of Finance of the Republic of Tajikistan, H.E. Kahhorzoda Fayziddin Sattor, through which SFD is contributing $100 million USD to fund the Rogun Hydropower Project, a landmark initiative that will enhance energy,
food, and water security, and foster sustainable development in the country. The signing was attended by the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the Republic of Tajikistan, H.E. Waleed Al-Reshiadan, and the Ambassador of Tajikistan to Saudi Arabia, H.E. Akram Karimi, alongside other officials from both sides. SFD’s development loan will help contribute towards a more sustainable and equitable food and water future for Tajikistan, while driving the country’s energy transition and climate resilience. The project aims to contribute to the national energy security and will help advance sustainable
development in the Republic of Tajikistan, by providing the renewable electricity supply to meet local demand and expand electricity production domestically and regionally, producing 3600 MW of energy. The loan agreement will also finance the construction of a 335-meter-tall dam, which will enhance irrigation capabilities and bolster agricultural activities across the country. Additionally, the project will improve flood protection through the construction of four hydraulic
tunnels for diversion and drainage. It will also provide clean and drinkable water to people through desalination, and help advance socio-economic development, by creating both direct and indirect jobs.
Importantly, this project also supports the realization of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); specifically, SDG 2, Zero Hunger, SDG 6, Clean Water and Sanitation, and SDG 7, Affordable and Clean Energy.
On this occasion, the CEO of SFD, H.E. Sultan Al-Marshad, said: “Today’s signing marks a major milestone in our shared journey towards a more sustainable future. With this landmark development loan, SFD is not just supporting Tajikistan’s energy future, but also its sustainable development and the well-being of its people. The Rogun Hydropower Project is a beacon of
hope for a bright future that is powered by clean, renewable energy. It will propel Tajikistan towards environmental stewardship and prosperity.”

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