Monday, October 20, 2008

Nakheel Trains Take to the Track on Middle East’s First Monorail

We began today on site testing for our newly delivered monorail trains on Palm Jumeirah – the first monorail service in the Middle East.

High-tech trains arrived from Japan this weekend from leading railway system manufacturer Hitachi Ltd, best known for creating Japan’s high speed Bullet train. Two trains were raised on to the 5.45km track on Palm Jumeirah, and are now making initial test journeys, closely monitored by the RTA and operators SMRTE.

Robert Lee, Nakheel Managing Director, Investment Projects, said:

“It’s great to see the Palm Monorail trains well and truly on track. Having the first monorail in the Middle East here in the Palm Jumeirah is indicative of Nakheel’s vision, leadership and ambition as a developer. It will ensure we continue to play a critical role in Dubai’s growth as a global centre for tourism, and marks our commitment to creating sustainable transport systems, hand-in-hand with our partners at the RTA.”

Tests on the trains will be carried out for the next six months before the monorail is opened to the public in April next year. The new system will carry thousands of passengers each day between Gateway Station at the trunk of Palm Jumeirah and the Atlantis’ Aquaventure Station on the crescent, calling at Trump International Hotel & Tower and the luxury retail centre Palm Mall en route. The system will ultimately connect to the Dubai Metro following the introduction of RTA’s Al Sufouh tramline, with direct links to Dubai Airport and other major transport hubs.

The Palm Monorail is being developed by a consortium of leading international companies led by the Marubeni Corporation. The system is fully automatic and driverless, although an attendant will be on board at all times. The monorail will initially carry up to 2,400 passengers per hour per direction in four separate trains, each made up of three cars. At full capacity, the figure will rise to a maximum of 6,000 people in nine vehicles.

Reinventing the mindsets of Malaysians By Looking to the Finns!

There was a look east policy implemented about 25 years ago when the then new PM tried to change the mindset of Malaysians. He made a single time zone for West and East Malaysia. The look east policy was to change the Malaysian work attitude and ethics by following the Japanese and Korean peoples.

Did we succeed or become worse? We are more corrupt today than 25 years ago and our education system has turned into a joke.

We should look to the west, somewhere near the artic to change the mindset by emulating, if not learning from Finnish success stories!

The Finnish Report Card
Finland has largely remade itself over the last 35 years, revamping its education system, transforming its medical care structure and creating a new high-tech sector that, thanks to cell phone manufacturer Nokia, has become an international player. Today Finland is regularly cited as among the world's best in a variety of indexes and comparisons. For example:
· The World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, ranks Finland's the most competitive economy in the world.
· Yale and Columbia universities rank the nations of the world in a "sustainability index" that measures a country's ability to "protect the natural environment over the next several decades." Finland is first in the rankings.
· Statistics kept by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development show that Finland invests more of its gross domestic product in research and development than any country but Sweden.
· Finnish 15-year-olds score first in the industrial world on comparative tests of their academic abilities.
· According to a global survey by Transparency International, Finland is perceived as the least corrupt country in the world. (The United States is tied for 17th.)
· Finns read newspapers and take books out of libraries at rates as high or higher than all other countries.
· Finland trains more musicians, per capita, than any other country.
-- Robert G. Kaiser

In Finland's Footsteps
If We're So Rich and Smart, Why Aren't We More Like Them?
By Robert G. KaiserSunday, August 7, 2005; Page B01
Life in Finland, one of the world's best functioning welfare states and least known success stories, can be complicated. Consider the dilemma confronting parents looking for day care for a 4-year-old daughter in Kuhmo, a town of 10,000 near the middle of the country.

Should they put their child into the town nursery school, where she could spend her weekdays from 6:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. with about 40 other children, cared for by a 47-year-old principal with 20 years' experience, Mirsa Pussinen, as well as four teachers with master's degrees in preschool education, two teacher's aides and one cook?

How to decide? There's no financial difference; both forms of day care cost the parents nothing. There's no difference in the schooling that will follow day care -- all the kids in Kuhmo (and throughout Finland) will have essentially identical opportunities in Finnish schools, Europe's best. There is no "elite" choice, no working-class choice; everyone is treated equally.

The girl would hear books read aloud every day, play games with numbers and the alphabet, learn some English, dig in the indoor sandbox or run around outside, sing and perform music, dress up for theatrical games, paint pictures, eat a hot lunch, take a nap if she wanted one, learn to play and work with others.
Continue HERE

Gitex First Day in Pictures

His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, expressed satisfaction at the remarkable development in the use of electronic systems in government ministries and institutions.
Shaikh Mohammad on Sunday inaugurated the latest edition of the Gulf Information Technology Exhibition (Gitex) at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre, along with Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai.
Shaikh Mohammad described this development as a qualitative leap and a fruit of the government's strategy, set by him.
He praised the second and third line of leaders for their dedicated work and their support for his directives, which will qualify them to be promoted to the first line leadership.
Gulf wired in to tech growth
Tom Gara

Forget the global economic crisis, IT spending in the Middle East is set to continue its rapid growth in the coming year, technology executives in Dubai said today, Gathered at the Gitex technology conference in Dubai, industry leaders said they expected strong growth in spending by customers as their underlying economies continued to expand and the cost-saving role of technology increased in importance.
“I’m still positive, and this is not based on feelings or emotions, it is based on data,” said Gaby Matar, the group managing partner of eSolutions, one of the region’s largest technology integrators.
“We are dealing with the oil sector, with utilities, telecoms and government. “The way things are moving, they are keeping all their projects in place. Why? Because we are in technology – our return on investment reduces their costs, which is what they need.”
Similar sentiments were echoed across the busy halls of the Dubai World Trade Centre, as thousands of technology buyers and sellers joined together in a mood that was far from despondent. Exhibitors said they were doing a brisk trade, particularly for the first half of the opening day, that is typically at its busiest on days two and three. Mr Matar said he was confident that sales at eSolutions would follow the overall trend of solid growth in IT spending in the Middle East.
“The growth for the industry is supposed to be 12 to 14 per cent,” he said. “Maybe it will go down by two or three points, but I am still forecasting double-digit growth.” Sales at eSolutions have grown at a consolidated annual rate of 30 per cent in the past three years.
“Companies have grown substantially, and now they are stuck at a point where they need to streamline their processes,” said Usman Zafar, the managing director of Al Taqnyah Business Solutions, a systems integrator. “There continues to be huge spending, because every sector is growing dramatically. Obviously this creates huge opportunities.”
Taqnyah has interests in areas of trade, construction and energy. Meeting the growing technology needs of businesses in the group keeps it busy, but it has also signed primarily government and financial services sector contracts in recent years.
Being the in-house technology wing of a major business group has also built a steady foundation for Al Futtaim Technologies, a unit of the Al Futtaim conglomerate that holds strong positions in a range of industries across the region. More than 75 per cent of the technology company’s business comes from other members of the Al Futtaim group.
“When you go into the marketplace there might be some caution – but mostly it’s just talk,” said Venkat Raghavan, the general manager of Al Futtaim Technologies. He does, however, believe that the underlying growth of the region will continue to support technology businesses such as his own. “Most vendors are cashing in on the infrastructure boom,” he said, “and it is one of the key contributors to our business – construction, hotels, residential, this is making a big impact.”
Al Futtaim Technologies announced yesterday that it would open an office in Qatar to serve its growing customer base. The regional infrastructure boom is well exemplified by Yahsat, the UAE’s first satellite communications company. Yahsat is investing billions of dollars to launch and operate at least two communications satellites, addressing the demand for satellite broadcasting and communications capacity in the underserved Middle East and Africa region.
“Infrastructure is a necessity, not a luxury,” said Jassem al Zaabick, Yahsat’s chief executive.