Employees the UAE can expect to see their salaries increase by an average of five per cent, according to a survey by outsourcing firm Aon Hewitt. The survey polled 500 companies across the Middle East with 180 from the UAE.
SMOOTH ADMISSION TO SCHOOLS
The school admission rush will ease as eight new schools accommodating nearly 24,000 students become operational across Abu Dhabi. Saadiyat Island will have its first school too with the opening of Cranleigh School in September. Located in the heart of Abu Dhabi’s cultural hub and overlooking the Louvre museum, the school will also offer boarding facilities.
replaced labour card
Emirates ID cards will replace labour cards in early 2014. In the second quarter of this year, a pilot project result will also determine when the Emirates ID cards could be used instead of ATM and credit cards for banking transactions, as part of cooperation agreement between Emirates ID and financial institutions.
With etisalat and du launching the mobile number portability service on December 30, 2013, residents can now switch between the licensees while retaining their mobile numbers. In a UAE-first, du has also launched a new Multi-SIM that lets you manage five devices with one plan and one number. It will entail assigning one primary SIM to a main device, with up to four secondary SIMs in other devices. All SIMs will share the same subscription for voice calls, besides making video calls, sending SMS, MMS and using data.
Travelling in public and inter-city buses will be easy with the launch of an advance automated fare collection system called Hafilat. The system will be similar to the Nol card used on Dubai’s public transport and will enable the commuter to enter the bus by simply swiping the card against the card validator, placed at the entrances and exits.
NO SHISHA CAFES
Shisha cafés near homes, mosques and schools will be a thing of the past as a new law kicks in from January 31. Cafés operating within 150 metres of their vicinity face fines of up to Dh1 million, two years in jail and closure of their businesses. Opening hours for cafés will also be standardised.
Football fans can look forward to the opening of the grand Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain this month. The stadium is built on 45,000 square metres of land can accommodate 25,000 spectators. The “First Class” stand will have 3,000 seats. The state-of-the-art stadium, which will be a pioneering football destination in the region, has been built in keeping with international best practices and FIFA requirements.
Abu Dhabi’s tallest building opens early this year. The 382-metre Residences at the World Trade Centre will have 89 floors of apartments. The tower located next to the central Souq is already a landmark dotting Abu Dhabi’s skyline.
Yas Island’s first shopping destination Yas Mall will open to the public on March 26. According to its developer Aldar Properties, the new mall will host Abu Dhabi’s first Cheesecake Factory, a Geant supermarket, the region’s largest Nike, Adidas, Brook’s Brothers, Victoria’s Secret, Zara, H&M and other stores. Once complete, the mall will add to existing attractions like the Ferrari World, Yas Waterworld, Yas Beach, Marina and other hotel and shopping destinations.
Yas Marina Circuit will host the final round of the Formula One world championship next season, the first time it has done so since 2010. The ultimate adrenaline sports event for the 2014 season consists of 19 races, with the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix  set for November 23 to conclude the year’s action.
Music lovers in Abu Dhabi will have a night to remember when The Rolling Stones perform for a one-off show  on February 21 at the Du Arena in Yas Island. The rock band’s 14 ON FIRE concert will feature their classic hits such as Gimme Shelter, Paint It Black, Jumping Jack Flash, Tumbling Dice and It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll, to name a few.
NEW BUILDING CODES
New building codes on all Abu Dhabi government projects will be compulsorily implemented. Based on the International Codes published by the International Code Council, the codes have been adapted to address the unique requirements of Abu Dhabi’s construction industry.
MOBILE HEALTH SOLUTIONS
Abu Dhabi will host the first mHealth Summit Middle East as part of wider regional strategy to improve health and fight disease through mobile health solutions. Organised by the Health Authority of Abu Dhabi (HAAD), the summit will be held on May 28 and 29.
Residents will get more green space as five new parks open in
Al Shamkha and Al Adlah. According to the Abu Dhabi Municipality, the five parks will span a total area of about 60,000 square metres.