Sheikh Khalifa’s call to vote in the FNC elections makes several front pages.
Gulf News published an exclusive report which included part of the UAE president’s message to 129,000 Emirati men and women who will vote on Saturday to choose 20 FNC members from 468 candidates.
The National quoted a member of the National Election Committee from Sharjah as saying that the President’s call for a large turnout should be taken with great responsibility. “I don’t think any voter would stay away after this call,” the paper quoted Marwan Juma Al Mashgouni as saying.
The Khaleej Times published the whole transcript of the speech of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan in which he highlighted the leading role played by the FNC in the consultation and decision-making process since 1972.
Khaleej Times reported that UAE authorities voiced a great concern over the worsening law and order situation in Yemen, urging Sanaa to stop bloodshed, restore security and implement the peace proposals put forward by the GCC. The paper said UAE’s permanent representative to Geneva, Obaid Salem Al Za`abi, has spoken to the Office of the High Commission for Human Rights to Yemen and updated them about the current situation in the war-torn country.
Meanwhile, The National’s foreign correspondent reported a truce in Sanaa after deadly clashes that left 60 people dead in three days.
The Emirati newspapers reported the gruesome murder of former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani who was killed in a suicide bombing at his house in Kabul. Both Khaleej Times and Gulf News reported that the suicide bomber, a Taliban commander, hid explosives in his turban and exploded it while in a meeting with Rabbani and Masoom Stanikzai, the deputy chief of Afghan Peace Council.
The high profile killing is a big blow to Americans as well as Karzai’s government which has already lost a string of influential figureheads in a series of suicide bombings and target killings, the papers warned.
Today’s English papers have focused their attention on the UAE’s growing demand for water which is said to double by 2030.
Gulf News reports that at present, a little over half of our current water comes from groundwater sources. The country derives a little over 37 per cent from desalination, whereas 12 per cent comes from treated sewage water, the paper added while underlining the fact that desalination remains an expensive option with an estimated cost of AED7.16 (US$2) per 1,000 litres of water. The editor concludes that we must turn off the tap in order to ensure our future needs are met.
The National, on the other hand, picks up on the government subsidies on water and electricity bills while quoting a former top ranking government official as saying that sustainable development in the Gulf will not work until governments reduce subsidies on water and energy.
The Abu Dhabi-based paper underlines the fact that UAE citizens pay only 14% of the cost while the expats pay half the true cost of the water and electricity charges. The rest is subsidised by the government. The editor advocates a modest increase in water and electricity rates with installation of smart meters that will lead to conversation among consumers. This, the editor insists, will decrease the carbon footprint of UAE and will create a win-win situation for the government, developers and consumers. “But it starts with realistic pricing,” the article concluded.
The editorial published in Khaleej Times examines the Palestinian bid quandary and is skeptic about the recent offer by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to hold direct talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. While Tel Aviv and Washington are trying their best to forestall the Palestinian quest for statehood, the editor insists that Palestinians have neatly checkmated Israel by not accepting the status quo. It also noted that Washington’s latest support for Israel will do nothing to improve its credibility in the Arab world or among other allies.
By Moign Khawaja ~ Editor – Arabian Gazette