UAE | General

The year that was: Recounting UAE newsmakers in 2012

From national pride to family tragedies, the year was full of eventful occasions

  • By Faisal Masudi, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 21:00 December 30, 2012
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Gulf News archives
  • Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai at the launch of the Smart Learning Initiative in Dubai. Shaikh Mohammad watches a pupil use a tablet after launching the Mohammad Bin Rashid Smart Learning Initiative.
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Dubai: 2012 was an eventful year, from new national projects affecting millions of UAE residents to more personal developments changing the lives of a few families in the country. Initiatives for more jobs and housing for Emiratis were launched by the nation’s leadership, while the wider population also benefited from improved infrastructure and security measures.

A series of National Day projects were unveiled, including the Year of Emiratisation (2013) to increase the number of UAE nationals joining the public and private sector workforce.

Meanwhile, commuters saw work and leisure trips going smoothly thanks to completed projects like the First Interchange on Dubai’s Shaikh Zayed Road and the Shaikh Zayed Tunnel in Abu Dhabi.

Even people outside the UAE were touched by the generosity of local welfare groups and residents reaching out to the needy overseas, be they victims of natural disasters or young students struggling for schooling options.

President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan ordered the Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Humanitarian Foundation to send aid to Rohingya Muslims in violence-hit Myanmar.

Meanwhile, Shaikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ruler’s Representative in the Western Region and Chairman of the Red Crescent Authority, toured the UAE-Jordan field hospital for refugees of the Syrian conflict, to see how they were faring.

Also, Dubai Cares was selected from other international charities to take part in the United Nations’ ‘Education First’ global campaign.

Several international conferences and meetings were held to tackle global sticking points like clean energy or internet security, not to mention issues closer to home.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All at the fifth World Future Energy Summit (WFES) in Abu Dhabi.

Also, His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, launched the Dh1 billion Mohammad Bin Rashid Smart Learning Initiative to bring together pupils, teachers, parents and administrators on an interactive e-platform.

It was also a year of frightening developments, from a spate of high-rise infernos that left dozens homeless and penniless to shocking cases of child abuse, like Emirati girl Wudeema, 8, who was allegedly tortured to death by her father.

Authorities quickly intervened in both cases, starting proceedings to introduce new safety and child protection laws.

Looking back, profound memories of the times gone by remain, while hope shines in the days ahead.

Monthly timeline

January

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon launches the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All at the fifth World Future Energy Summit (WFES) in Abu Dhabi

125 families left homeless after a massive fire breaks out in the 25-storey Al Baker Tower in Sharjah

 

February

Dubai Media Office launches a special YouTube channel on His Highness Shaikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai

His Highness Shaikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, launches the world’s biggest book, ‘This is Mohammad,’ weighing 1.5 tonnes and measuring five metres by four metres

 

March

The Dh617 million First Interchange on Shaikh Zayed Road opens to traffic, proving easy access to Dubai Mall, Al Wasl and other destinations

Tawam Hospital in Al Ain announces the birth of the first baby from a pregnancy conceived with vitrified-thawed oocytes (eggs) that were rapidly frozen and later thawed for insemination

 

April

His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, launches Dh1 billion Mohammad Bin Rashid Smart Learning Initiative to bring together pupils, teachers, parents and administrators on an interactive e-platform

11-year-old student Loujain Hussain suffers brain haemorrhage and goes into coma after being beaten by a group of boys at a school in Abu Dhabi

 

May

Dubai Customs foils attempt to smuggle Dh1b worth of prescription drug Tramadol

Sky News Arabia, Abu Dhabi’s first international TV channel, is launched

 

June

Gulf News adapts to a new Berliner format, smaller than its traditional broadsheet look

The UAE pledges a $1 million (around Dh3.67 million) anti-piracy fund for Somalia at the 2nd International Counter-Piracy Conference in Dubai

 

July

The Dubai International Holy Quran Award names American Muslim preacher Yousuf Estes as winner of the Islamic Personality of the Year

A US Navy ship opens fire on a fishing boat near Jebel Ali Port in Dubai, killing an Indian fisherman and seriously wounding his compatriots

 

August

President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan orders the Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Humanitarian Foundation to send aid to Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar

His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, inaugurates the new premises of Al Bayan and Emarat Al Youm, the first paperless editorial room in the region.

 

September 2012

Shaikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ruler’s Representative in the Western Region and Chairman of the Red Crescent Authority, tours the UAE-Jordan field hospital for refugees of the Syrian conflict

Dubai Cares is selected from other international charities to take part in the United Nations’ ‘Education First’ global campaign

 

October

Dubai announces plans to spend Dh1.5 billion to extend Business Bay canal by almost 13 kilometres from Shaikh Zayed Road near the Safa Park Interchange to the Arabian Gulf

Dubai hosts the World Energy Forum, a three-day event to boost international cooperation in safe and clean sustainable energy

 

November

His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, approves draft of Wudeema law, a federal law for children’s rights; named after eight-year-old Emirati child Wudeema who was abused to death

His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, launches UAE Flag Day Initiative to be celebrated on November 30 every year, to coincide with the accession of His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan as UAE President

 

December

President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan unveils a 10,000-unit housing programme for citizens across the UAE. He also announces the setting up of a federal committee to implement Emiratisation for both public and private sectors and pledges to expand the political representation base

The Shaikh Zayed Tunnel, one of the longest tunnels in the Middle East stretching 4.2 kilometres, opens to traffic in Abu Dhabi
 

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