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Mehmood-Ul-Hassan Khan

HH. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan

Most recently, the IMF mission has praised the policies and measures taken by the government of the UAE to overcome the fall out of the global financial crisis.

The IMG acknowledged that the financial policies have played an important role in supporting and strengthening the macro- economy of the UAE. Socio-economic achievement reflected the positive side, firmness of the economy and the strong desire on part of the federal government to preserve the gains made and to benefit from the opportunities emerging at the world level, including how to attract global capital.

Furthermore, the allocation of Dh70 billion to support liquidity among banks and the establishment of the Dubai Support Fund played a contributory role the economy. The IMF mission hoped that the ongoing comprehensive policy led to economic stability the country. It is hoped that the strategic infrastructure projects such as Dubai Metro and Jebel Ali Airport will be instrumental to support the economy and attract more and more FDIs.

Foreign direct investment has already started to flow in the UAE financial markets as well as deposits coming from the Arabian Peninsula and Switzerland as the rate of interest on deposits has gone up. The UAE has an open economy which has several attractions for the local as well as foreigners. It further said that the measures taken by the UAE Ministry of Finance to coordinate financial policies between the federal government and federating units would play an active role in consolidating the management of expenses.

Great news for the UAE and its people, Abu Dhabi has been ranked among the top ten best cities to visit by Lonely Planet. The emergence of the UAE as one of the 10 most desirable destinations around the world is also a tribute to the vision of its leadership under President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan in his capacity as Ruler of Abu Dhabi and General Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

The Best Ten Cities to Visit in 2010′ was based on scientific and field studies that took into consideration a range of factors. The achievement is especially noteworthy given that Istanbul (Turkey) Kyoto (Japan) Lecce (Italy) Vancouver (Canada) and Singapore was among the others that made it to the list.

The socio-economic pursuits, people-friendly policies of education, health, housing, media, press, and the last not the least higher education has already made UAE the number -1 choice for the people around the globe. The Abu Dhabi government has embarked on an integrated strategic plan to develop the emirate’s vital facilities and infrastructure to upgrade living conditions of citizens and residents and to provide them with the best services. The UAE also implemented several big-budget recreational and tourism projects.

At the domestic level, the strategic plan was to turn Abu Dhabi into an emirate that offered the best services for the lowest prices. Accordingly, implementation of the E-government project was stepped up to cope with the high-tech age. Infrastructure projects like highways, bridges and tunnels on and around Abu Dhabi Island and other transportation projects, for which over Dh50 billion were allocated in 2006 are paying the dividends.

Abu Dhabi has also enhanced its presence on the global tourism map in the past few years and managed to turn itself into an international hub for businesses, entertainment and luxury tourism.

There are also many ambitious future plans announced by the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority with about Dh100 billion made available for a chain of hotels and recreational facilities in Abu Dhabi and surrounding islands such as Yas, Saadiyat and Al Reem Island. Several other projects on the man-made islands opposite Abu Dhabi Corniche also hold immense promise.

Another landmark of the UAE is that a laboratory in the UAE has built the world’s first Arabic-speaking robot which could soon go into mass production to serve as staff in shopping malls.

First Arabic-speaking robot labeled is Ibn Sina, after the 11th century Islamic philosopher and scientist commonly known in English as Avicenna, was designed by a team at UAE University in the city of Al-Ain, which is part of Abu Dhabi emirate.

It enables the researchers to do research and it is also quite an educational tool because the students love to do projects on it. The robot could be used as a receptionist, sales staff or shopping assistants in malls. It can do a number of things its own answer a couple of questions, connect to the Internet to get information and show you things on the screen regarding what you want to buy,” he said.

Ibn Sina sports a white cloak, golden-trimmed robe, a turban and grey beard. It aims to reflect the appearance of the original character, which was born near Bukhara in then Uzbekistan. Speaking in classical Arabic, it answers questions with human-like facial expressions. The artistic and mechanical design of Ibn Sina, including motors which allow it to make facial expressions, was carried out by Hanson Robotics, while the software was devised by Mavridis and his team.

The team worked for more than a year on developing the software system that consists of the mind of the robot, including developing his vision, speech, memory and motion. The robot Sina has software modules that enable it to see, detect faces and objects, as well as subsystems to conduct dialogue, transcribe speech to text, understand and talk back. About 200,000 dollars was spent on developing the technology behind the robot that is also used for other projects in the lab.

“Given all the growth that is happening right here at this moment, it’s important that apart from building the largest tower in the world and all of these beautiful buildings, to try to do something that has to do with scientific and intellectual achievements,” Mavridis said.

“For that reason we chose Ibn Sina as the character from which our robot was inspired in order to bring back his values to our students … He brings together a lot of traditions, ancient and more recent traditions.”

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