Saturday, January 13, 2018

UAE off to a good start to meet Energy Plan 2050 goals

Although it has a tenth of the world’s oil reserves, the UAE is doing a pivotal turnaround in championing clean and green energy with thoughtful policies, large-scale investments in renewables, and ongoing research. GN Focus takes a look ahead of this week's World Future Energy Summit

It is exactly a year since the announcement of the UAE Energy Plan 2050, the country’s first energy strategy, and one that will serve for the next three decades. Increasing the contribution of clean energy to 50 per cent, and simultaneously, reducing the consumption of individuals and institutions by 40 percent is expected to save the UAE as much as Dh700 billion by 2050.

The national strategy is designed to achieve both economic and environmental goals, and by all measures, it is not merely in motion but gaining rapid momentum.

“The UAE is off to a great start in its quest to achieve 50 percent of clean energy contribution to the overall energy mix by 2050,” observes Dr. Raed Bkayrat, Managing Director of Clean Energy Business Council. “For example, operational solar projects are close to 350MW, while 3GW of solar photo-voltaic projects currently under execution should come online around 2020. More importantly, this mand
With a targeted energy equation of 44 per cent clean energy, 38 per cent gas, 12 per cent clean coal and 6 per cent nuclear, the bandwagon is also broad enough to accommodate variability and diversity.ate on clean energy is also part of the UAE’s holistic approach to energy security, resource mix and energy efficiency.” 
The multi-pronged Dubai Clean Energy Strategy serves as a noteworthy example. Launched in November 2015 – with the intention of producing 75 per cent of Dubai’s energy requirements from clean sources by 2050 – the strategy encompasses activities under infrastructure, legislation, funding, capacity and skill building, and an environment-friendly energy mix. 

Part of Dubai’s strategy includes building the world’s largest Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) project and begin generation within the next five years to deliver inexpensive power at less than 8US cents per kilowatt-hour. The CSP project is located at the Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, the largest single-site solar park in the world based on the independent power producer (IPP) model. The 40sq km park in Seih Al Dahal is expected to generate 1,000 megawatts (MW) by 2020 and 5,000 MW by 2030, and will reduce approximately 15,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

US revamps travel warning system, ranks countries

The State Department's travel warning system for Americans has gotten a makeover.

The changes are an effort to make the system easier to understand, and come after more than 80 million Americans traveled abroad in 2016 and as the total number of travelers for 2017 is expected to be a record, ABC News reports.

As part of the makeover, the department is replacing its travel warnings and alerts with a travel advisory for every country. Each country's advisory falls within four color-coded levels and can be seen on country-specific webpages, which also listinformation including visa requirements, embassy locations and contact information, and local laws travelers should know about

"And for each country that has a Level 2 or above, we will specify what we think those risks or threats are, why is it that we're telling people to reconsider travel or to exercise caution or not to travel at all," State Department official Michelle Bernier-Toth said during a briefing on the changes Wednesday.

Additionally available via the new pages is an interactive map showing the locations of embassies and consulates. The map is color-coded in coordination with the level of travel advisory assigned to each country.

The four advisory levels, from low to high regarding safety and security risk, are:

  • Level 1 — Blue – Exercise Normal Precautions
  • Level 2 — Yellow – Exercise Increased Caution
  • Level 3 — Orange – Reconsider Travel
  • Level 4 — Red – Do Not Travel
As of Thursday, there were 11 countries with Level 4 travel advisories, according to ABC News: Afghanistan, Central African Republic, North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Five states in Mexico – which overall is tagged with a Level 2 advisory – also received Level 4 designations due to crime, while 11 Mexican states bore Level 3 designations.

Bernier-Toth explained the specificity as related "to the restrictions that our mission in Mexico imposes upon U.S. government personnel in the country."

"We wanted to make sure that the U.S. traveling public was aware of all those restrictions and rules that we impose upon ourself in Mexico," she said.

The pages also allow travelers to enroll in STEP, or the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. Enrolling in the free service allows citizens to receive safety and security updates about their destination country, and helps the U.S. Embassy in the country, as well as friends and family, contact travelers in case of an emergency.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Ahmadinejad arrested for ‘inciting violence’ in Iran: report

Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was reportedly arrested for “inciting violence” as the protests against the Tehran government and skyrocketing food prices began.

Ahmadinejad was busted for comments he made during a Dec. 28 protest in the western Iranian city of Bushehr, the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper reported.

Ahmadinejad, whom Iranian officials will seek to keep under house arrest with the approval of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, was critical of the regime and President Hassan Rouhani.

“Some of the current leaders live detached from the problems and concerns of the people, and do not know anything about the reality of society​,​”​ Ahmadinejad said, according to the report.

He also accused the ​government of “mismanagement” and criticized Rouhani for believing “that they own the land and that the people are an ignorant society.”

Friday, January 5, 2018


A supposed trend of penis whitening has captivated Thailand in recent days and left it asking if the country’s beauty industry is taking things too far.

Skin whitening is nothing new in many Asian countries, where darker skin is often associated with outdoor labour, therefore, being poorer.

But even so, when a clip of a clinic’s latest intriguing procedure was posted online, it quickly went viral.

Thailand’s health ministry has since issued a warning over the procedure.

The BBC Thai service spoke to one patient who had undergone the treatment, who told them: “I wanted to feel more confident in my swimming briefs”.

The 30-year-old said his first session of several was two months ago, and he had since seen a definite change in the shade.

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UAE off to a good start to meet Energy Plan 2050 goals