Irena clean energy body takes historic step



ABU DHABI // History was made this week as the world's first clean energy body was transformed from a preparatory commission into an international organisation.

Founded in January 2009, the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) was realised in the capital on Monday and Tuesday.

A day earlier, Irena's 149 member states selected the UN official Dr Adnan Amin as director general. The development economist from Kenya had been filling the position on a temporary basis since October last year when Irena's first chief, Helene Pelosse, departed suddenly.

Dr Amin said: "We are excited with the challenge we have ahead of us and we are excited to go to work."

One of Dr Amin's priorities is to run an efficient and transparent organisation. This comes against the backdrop of an inquiry into how Ms Pelosse performed.

Delegates have been presented with two audits, from Ernst & Young and, more recently, the Office of the Auditor General of Norway, examining how funds were used while the former French official was in office. The second audit cited a lack of documentation in expenses and employee payouts, as well as "other benefits significantly higher than the UN scale used as a benchmark".

"We cannot confirm that all transactions undertaken by the Commission for the year 2010 are valid," the document read. Member states will need about a month to reach a conclusion, Dr Amin said.

Despite the inquiry, diplomats gave positive accounts of the Abu Dhabi meeting, saying that with key decisions taken, Irena was ready to press ahead with its tasks.

"It was very successful," said Kerri-Ann Jones, the US assistant secretary of state for oceans and international environmental and scientific affairs. "It is an important agency, giving what its objective is - to help the world achieve more renewable energy."

Other important decisions taken included an agreement on Irena's key objectives - to help address energy poverty, provide policy advice for national leaders and facilitate research and development into renewable technologies.

Delegates also negotiated the membership of the organisation's council, which will have the tasks of holding consultations among members, initiating inquiries and preparing documents to inform decisions taken at Irena's assemblies, held once every two years. A total of 21 countries, including the UAE, made it to the council.

"Everybody wanted to be on the council," said Ms Jones. "There was a lot of negotiation but it was finalised."

Dr Amin attributed the successful completion of the negotiations to Dr Sultan Ahmed al Jaber, the UAE special envoy for energy and climate change, chief executive of Masdar, and president of the session.

Another victory for the country was the formal confirmation on Sunday that Abu Dhabi was to host Irena's headquarters. The capital was chosen to do this in June 2009, but it was not until this week that the decision acquired formal status.

Peaks and pitfalls of investing in clean energy, page pf6

And tomorrow on the Frontiers page, Robert Matthews on the potential of superconductivity as a form of renewable energy

ROUTE TO TITLE

Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

The specs: 2019 Jeep Wrangler

Price, base: Dh132,000

Engine: 3.6-litre V6

Gearbox: Eight-speed automatic

Power: 285hp @ 6,400rpm

Torque: 347Nm @ 4,100rpm

Fuel economy, combined: 9.6L to 10.3L / 100km

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

The specs: 2018 Maserati GranTurismo/GranCabrio

Price, base Dh485,000 (GranTurismo) and Dh575,000 (GranCabrio)

Engine 4.7L V8

Transmission Six-speed automatic

Power 460hp @ 7,000rpm

Torque 520Nm @ 4,750rpm

Fuel economy, combined 14.3L (GranTurismo) and 14.5L (GranCabrio) / 100km

MATCH INFO

Uefa Champions League semi-final, second leg

Roma 4
Milner (15' OG), Dzeko (52'), Nainggolan (86', 90+4')

Liverpool 2
Mane (9'), Wijnaldum (25')

Building boom turning to bust as Turkey's economy slows

Deep in a provincial region of northwestern Turkey, it looks like a mirage - hundreds of luxury houses built in neat rows, their pointed towers somewhere between French chateau and Disney castle.

Meant to provide luxurious accommodations for foreign buyers, the houses are however standing empty in what is anything but a fairytale for their investors.

The ambitious development has been hit by regional turmoil as well as the slump in the Turkish construction industry - a key sector - as the country's economy heads towards what could be a hard landing in an intensifying downturn.

After a long period of solid growth, Turkey's economy contracted 1.1 per cent in the third quarter, and many economists expect it will enter into recession this year.

The country has been hit by high inflation and a currency crisis in August. The lira lost 28 per cent of its value against the dollar in 2018 and markets are still unconvinced by the readiness of the government under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to tackle underlying economic issues.

The villas close to the town centre of Mudurnu in the Bolu region are intended to resemble European architecture and are part of the Sarot Group's Burj Al Babas project.

But the development of 732 villas and a shopping centre - which began in 2014 - is now in limbo as Sarot Group has sought bankruptcy protection.

It is one of hundreds of Turkish companies that have done so as they seek cover from creditors and to restructure their debts.

How to turn your property into a holiday home
  1. Ensure decoration and styling – and portal photography – quality is high to achieve maximum rates.
  2. Research equivalent Airbnb homes in your location to ensure competitiveness.
  3. Post on all relevant platforms to reach the widest audience; whether you let personally or via an agency know your potential guest profile – aiming for the wrong demographic may leave your property empty.
  4. Factor in costs when working out if holiday letting is beneficial. The annual DCTM fee runs from Dh370 for a one-bedroom flat to Dh1,200. Tourism tax is Dh10-15 per bedroom, per night.
  5. Check your management company has a physical office, a valid DTCM licence and is licencing your property and paying tourism taxes. For transparency, regularly view your booking calendar.

Leap of Faith

Michael J Mazarr

Public Affairs

Dh67
 

 

 

RedCrow Intelligence Company Profile

Started: 2016

Founders: Hussein Nasser Eddin, Laila Akel, Tayeb Akel 

Based: Ramallah, Palestine

Sector: Technology, Security

# of staff: 13

Investment: $745,000

Investors: Palestine’s Ibtikar Fund, Abu Dhabi’s Gothams and angel investors

Results

1.30pm Handicap (PA) Dh50,000 (Dirt) 1,400m

Winner Al Suhooj, Saif Al Balushi (jockey), Khalifa Al Neyadi (trainer)

2pm Handicap (TB) 68,000 (D) 1,950m

Winner Miracle Maker, Xavier Ziani, Salem bin Ghadayer

2.30pm Maiden (TB) Dh60,000 (D) 1,600m

Winner Mazagran, Tadhg O’Shea, Satish Seemar

3pm Handicap (TB) Dh84,000 (D) 1,800m

Winner Tailor’s Row, Royston Ffrench, Salem bin Ghadayer

3.30pm Handicap (TB) Dh76,000 (D) 1,400m

Winner Alla Mahlak, Adrie de Vries, Rashed Bouresly

4pm Maiden (TB) Dh60,000 (D) 1,200m

Winner Hurry Up, Royston Ffrench, Salem bin Ghadayer

4.30pm Handicap (TB) Dh68,000 (D) 1,200m

Know before you go
  • Jebel Akhdar is a two-hour drive from Muscat airport or a six-hour drive from Dubai. It’s impossible to visit by car unless you have a 4x4. Phone ahead to the hotel to arrange a transfer.
  • If you’re driving, make sure your insurance covers Oman.
  • By air: Budget airlines Air Arabia, Flydubai and SalamAir offer direct routes to Muscat from the UAE.
  • Tourists from the Emirates (UAE nationals not included) must apply for an Omani visa online before arrival at evisa.rop.gov.om. The process typically takes several days.
  • Flash floods are probable due to the terrain and a lack of drainage. Always check the weather before venturing into any canyons or other remote areas and identify a plan of escape that includes high ground, shelter and parking where your car won’t be overtaken by sudden downpours.

 

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures

EMIRATES'S REVISED A350 DEPLOYMENT SCHEDULE

Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates

A QUIET PLACE

Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5

Inside Out 2

Director: Kelsey Mann

Starring: Amy Poehler, Maya Hawke, Ayo Edebiri

Rating: 4.5/5

Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8

Martin Sabbagh profile

Job: CEO JCDecaux Middle East

In the role: Since January 2015

Lives: In the UAE

Background: M&A, investment banking

Studied: Corporate finance

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices

THE SPECS

Engine: six-litre W12 twin-turbo

Transmission: eight-speed dual clutch auto

Power: 626bhp

Torque: 900Nm

Price: Dh940,160 (plus VAT)

On sale: Q1 2020

The biog

Name: Sari Al Zubaidi

Occupation: co-founder of Cafe di Rosati

Age: 42

Marital status: single

Favourite drink: drip coffee V60

Favourite destination: Bali, Indonesia 

Favourite book: 100 Years of Solitude 

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cyl turbo

Power: 247hp at 6,500rpm

Torque: 370Nm from 1,500-3,500rpm

Transmission: 10-speed auto

Fuel consumption: 7.8L/100km

Price: from Dh94,900

On sale: now

Results:

Men's wheelchair 800m T34: 1. Walid Ktila (TUN) 1.44.79; 2. Mohammed Al Hammadi (UAE) 1.45.88; 3. Isaac Towers (GBR) 1.46.46.

Fixtures

Sunday, December 8, Sharjah Cricket Stadium – UAE v USA

Monday, December 9, Sharjah Cricket Stadium – USA v Scotland

Wednesday, December 11, Sharjah Cricket Stadium – UAE v Scotland

Thursday, December 12, ICC Academy, Dubai – UAE v USA

Saturday, December 14, ICC Academy, Dubai – USA v Scotland

Sunday, December 15, ICC Academy, Dubai – UAE v Scotland

Note: All matches start at 10am, admission is free

Asian Cup 2019

Quarter-final

UAE v Australia, Friday, 8pm, Hazza bin Zayed Stadium, Al Ain

On Instagram: @WithHopeUAE

Although social media can be harmful to our mental health, paradoxically, one of the antidotes comes with the many social-media accounts devoted to normalising mental-health struggles. With Hope UAE is one of them.
The group, which has about 3,600 followers, was started three years ago by five Emirati women to address the stigma surrounding the subject. Via Instagram, the group recently began featuring personal accounts by Emiratis. The posts are written under the hashtag #mymindmatters, along with a black-and-white photo of the subject holding the group’s signature red balloon.
“Depression is ugly,” says one of the users, Amani. “It paints everything around me and everything in me.”
Saaed, meanwhile, faces the daunting task of caring for four family members with psychological disorders. “I’ve had no support and no resources here to help me,” he says. “It has been, and still is, a one-man battle against the demons of fractured minds.”
In addition to With Hope UAE’s frank social-media presence, the group holds talks and workshops in Dubai. “Change takes time,” Reem Al Ali, vice chairman and a founding member of With Hope UAE, told The National earlier this year. “It won’t happen overnight, and it will take persistent and passionate people to bring about this change.”


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