UAE Ambassador Congratulates NYU Abu Dhabi’s Class of 2016 with Speech

Last month, New York University’s Abu Dhabi campus had their commencement ceremony. The prestigious invitee to address the graduating class made up of 135 seniors from 59 different countries was His Excellency, Yousef Al Otaiba. During the commencement, His Excellency Yousef Al Otaiba was presented with the school’s Abu Dhabi Global Leadership Award that was acknowledging his support of the university and his periodic commitment to pursing his goal of implementing a responsible, peaceful, and fair globe.

Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba’s speech came at a prudent time where global peace is a subject that requires the recent graduating class to take action in their careers in order to make a positive difference in the world around them.

In his commencement speech, Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba remarked on the importance of the wonderful experience that the students shared together while attending NYU’s Abu Dhabi campus. He remarked that even though they were from all over the world, the NYU Abu Dhabi campus was now their home. It is for this reason that he urged students to take the connections that they have fostered as they embark on their professional careers and to not be afraid to seek counsel and guidance from their classmates. He remarked on globalization and how the world is truly more interconnected than ever before. For this reason, he urged the graduating class of 2016 to use this connectivity to stay in touch with colleagues, make professional connections, and to make a difference in the world throughout their careers.

In the later part of his speech, Ambassador Al Otaiba remarked on the importance of advocating for global values that the graduating class of 2016 had learned while studying at NYU’s campus in Abu Dhabi. He urged the students to think outside the box, practice tolerance, have periodic respect for others, promote peace, and produce a culture of hope in the coming years. He stated that if a new global culture was built upon the foundation of these principles, then the new leaders on the geopolitical scene would lead the world in the proper direction and will subsequently write the next pages of the history of humankind.

Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba’s speech was inspirational in a time where the younger generation needed to hear what was needed in the world to promote peace. Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba’s words were memorable, meaningful, and challenged the class of 2016 to get out into the world and make it a better place by applying their education to promote peace.

Craft Chocolate in Los Angeles

America cannot surpass Europe in bean to bar chocolate revolution because Europe has been in the game since 1700. However, bean-bar chocolate has over 60 years of formation in the market, most recently in Los Angeles. Firms have developed over the years to developing crafted chocolate without dairies, wheat, soy and sugar for the vegans. The market for crafted chocolate has also expanded to the point of a supplier company taking over 4 flights a week to get their cocoa directly from the supplying farm in West Africa, Central America among other regions.

Craft chocolates have since then been a preference considering the ration of chocolate versus sugar which is 70%:30%. This is distinct and substances such as preservatives, dairy and emulsifiers are absent. In addition, craft chocolates have a history of originality that has certainly made many firms in Los Angeles consider it as a priority variety at an added price. Bean-bar chocolate has created an evolution and a direct link with the processors and dealers famous in Los Angeles.

Bean to bar chocolates apparently can be dated back during the area of industrial evolution and Christopher Columbus. The variety with an ancient time in history has gained preference like the Artisanal coffee and craft beer. Artisanal has been a preference in Los Angeles over a decade because of the realized secrets of outsourcing cocoa directly from the farmer. This certainly has captured the attention of many with artisanal originality. The crafted chocolates are loved with the uniqueness in flavor and authenticity.

Letter Press Chocolate LA
The company could be a tiny company in Los Angeles, but has gained popularity in making of crafted chocolates. They have the tendency loved by most crafted chocolate lovers which are bean to bar. Certainly it’s a company that understands that there many lovers of chocolate but not so many who love the way chocolates taste the same. Crafted chocolate from Letter Press chocolate LA has been made with originality which is proven by their direct connection to farmers and their concern with agroforestry.

Choco Vivo LA
Choco Vivo makes bean to bar chocolate from the old tradition that dates over 2000 years back of Mayans and Aztecs. Originality is the key and hand ground tendency in their making of crafted chocolates. History has taught them that just as we eat whole vegetables same case applies to whole chocolates.

Mast Bros LA

The Mast Brothers have recently brought craft chocolate to LA by way of New York, where they have their flagship store/factory. They create bean-to-bar chocolate in a variety of flavors and allow visitors to see the whole process of making the chocolate from the cacao bean to the final bar of chocolate.


Homelessness up in LA this Year

The number of homeless people in Los Angeles County increased 5.7 percent over the past year, but homelessness among veterans and families fell significantly.

The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority said Tuesday that its annual count in January found about 46,800 homeless in the county with a population of 10 million. That’s up from about 44,300 in January 2015.

Officials said the increase reflected, in part, a more aggressive effort to count younger homeless people, a more daunting target because unlike older homeless people, they did not tend to be concentrated in one place like Skid Row. They said that accounted for some but not all of the increase.

You can read more below.


Recycling is Easy in NYC

Big cities across the United States are leading the effort to recycle. They are making this push not only in an effort to save the environment, but it saves them a lot of money as well. New York City is leading this push and has made recycling easy to do. In 2007, it cost New York City taxpayers $290 million to export their garbage. NYC netted $7.5 million after the initial cost of recycling paper waste. That was only half of all the paper thrown in the garbage.

Weekly Curbside Pickup

NYC offers weekly curbside pick-up. 35% of waste can be recycled through this program. You can recycle these items:

  • Cardboard
  • Mixed paper
  • Metal
  • Glass
  • Plastic
  • Cartons

You Can Recycle Your Food Scraps

Food waste in NYC creates 600,000 tons of garbage a year. In an effort to reduce this 38 of GrowNYC’s markets accept food scraps, and you may be eligible for the Department of sanitations curbside organics collection.

Textiles Can be Recycled Too

Over 20 Greenmarket locations offer drop-offs for your unwanted textile materials. On average, a New Yorker throws out 46 lbs. of textiles a year. 193,000 lbs. of textiles total are thrown out in NYC per year.

Polystyrene Foam is Easy to Recycle

There’s no need to throw out Dart Polystyrene foam products either. There’s a push to recycle these products and make NYC’s comprehensive recycling program complete. Some of these products can be accepted by the cities curbside recycling program for the items they do not accept it’s easy to go to these following polystyrene recycling centers to drop them off:

  • Bronx – Kingsbridge Armory, 10 W. 159th St.
  • Brooklyn – Nick’s Lobster parking lot, 2777 Flatbush Ave.
  • Manhattan – Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. State Office Building, loading dock on West 126th St.
  • Queens – York College parking lot, southeast corner of Guy R. Brewer Blvd. and liberty Ave.
  • Staten Island – Christ Church New Brighton, 76 Franklin Ave.

Drop off time is on Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon.

Why You Should Recycle

Big cities like New York are making it so easy. And in NYC if all of the materials that could be recycled never reached the landfill, NYC’s annual waste would be less than 50,000 tons a year. That’s a huge difference. It saves the environment and it saves money.

Richard Simmons Explains More Than 2-Year Public Absence

Richard Simmons denied he has been kidnapped and says he has “just been taking it easy” since making his last official public appearance in 2013.

“I am not kidnapped,” Simmons, 67, said in a phone interview with “Entertainment Tonight” on Sunday. “I am just in my house right now.”

“I love all the people who worry about me,” the fitness guru said. “But it was time for me to take some time to be by myself. For the last 40 years I have been traveling, teaching classes, and I had a knee injury, so I had a knee replacement, which was very difficult for me. I have really just been taking it easy, staying at home, working out in my gym and doing the things I haven’t done in a very long time.”

Simmons, who last appeared in public at the 2013 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, spoke out after a New York Daily News report published over the weekend raised concerns that he was being held against his will in his Hollywood Hills mansion. The report cited Simmons’ “closest friends.”

One of those friends concerned about Simmons’ well-being is Mauro Oliveira, Simmons’ former assistant.

Oliveira, who last saw Simmons two years ago, recently self-published an e-book titled, “King Rich and the Evil Witch,” in which he claims Simmons’ female housekeeper has control over him through her witchcraft.

“That’s what I believe,” Oliveira told ABC News’ Nick Watt. “I said, ‘Is she controlling your life now?’ and he said, ‘Yes.’”

Oliveira told Watt he believes members of Simmons’ staff are holding him for his money.

“The house alone is worth $10 million,” Oliveira said of Simmons’ mansion.

Source: ABC News

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Don’t Dump, Recycle!

Today, society realizes that we all must live an Dart earth-friendly lifestyle in order to preserve the earth’s precious natural resources for future generations. Some lawmakers have tried to outright ban foam in New York, but their decision was overturned in support of recycling. Public spaces have garbage cans placed strategically throughout high traffic areas – yet it’s better to hang on to some refuse for recycling, as opposing to dumping your garbage in a trash bin. Here is a list of items that are very easily recycled, using separation bins in the office, at home or at community recycling stations:

  • Metals such as aluminum, steel or tin cans when re-purposed by mills, takes seventy-five percent less energy to manufacture products than raw metals.
  • Paper mixes including shredded documents, newspapers and magazines, and bills and office paper are easy to recycle. In fact, sixty-three percent of paper used in 2013 was recovered and recycled.
  • EPS or polystyrene product recycling is fast becoming the next great opportunity for eco-friendly living. These foam products are used all around us in daily life. Starting school, community or workplace recycling programs for foam products is becoming more widespread.
  • Cardboard recycling centers are located in many major cities and some will pay cash depending on the amount of cardboard.
  • Composting your backyard, which includes leaves, tree trimmings and grass clippings, along with food scraps is a great way to attempt zero waste at home.
  • Glass and Plastic have long been a part of household and community recycling programs. Be familiar with the waste management provider in your neighborhood to find out if there are any plastics they don’t accept.
  • Household items such as tires, light bulbs, furniture, computers, ink cartridges and toner, batteries and electronic equipment.

Some products are incorrectly thought to be un-recyclable, such as polystyrene foam (EPS), which is used in many of our daily consumer activities such as hot/cold food take-out containers, packing peanuts, molded protective packaging and disposable cutlery. The EPS industry is taking the initiative to set up actionable guidelines and procedures in establishing recycling centers for these products.

Large cities such as San Diego, California, Portland, Oregon and Los Angeles are leading the way by diverting discarded products from landfills and into re-cycled or re-purposed products; the numbers are impressive with up to seventy to eighty percent of their communities’ dry waste products being recycled.

This year, commit to “Don’t Dump, Recycle!” it’s a great way to get family involved with protecting our environment. If you don’t know where a recycling center is near you, check-out this website to help you find one in your vicinity.

DC Embassy “Goes Green” with LEED Gold Status

Achieving the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) council certification for any structure requires a lot of innovation, dedication and patience. It is a symbol of environmental stewardship, and speaks to leadership’s dedication to making the building safer for the employees who work there. The UAE Embassy in Washington, DC has earned LEED Gold Status by thoughtfully achieving these high standards.

There are many steps to achieving LEED Gold Status, which is a painstaking process that requires the accumulation of points, which add up to achieve a ranking of Gold or other levels. UAE ambassador, Yousef Al Otaiba, commended the efforts made by Masdar Abu Dhabis and Dr. Nawal Al-Hosany, the Director of Sustainability.

One of the benchmarks for earning LEED Gold Status is to reduce a structure’s carbon footprint. For the UAE Embassy, this meant retrofitting it with machinery that uses less energy. A white roof was installed to reflect light rather than absorbing it, helping to keep the temperature inside the building steady with less energy. The entire building was painted in a lighter color, and sun shades were installed to reduce the amount of heat absorption.

All of these efforts in turn lead to reduced reliance on electricity to cool or heat the building. In fact, the changes have reduced the structure’s overall electric consumption by 40 percent. This means that some 400 tons of CO2 are saved from entering the atmosphere each year.

Water use is also a part of LEED certification, so the UAE building installed a solar system to heat water. The embassy now uses 41 percent less water than the standards set forth by the 1992 EPAct.

One of the environmental drawbacks to new construction or retrofitting is that a lot of waste is produced, some of it potentially hazardous. The UAE team was able to harvest 75 percent of construction wastes for either recycling or other uses, helping to free up local landfills.

All of this hard work netted the UAE Embassy the LEED Gold status, but also saves on operating costs in the long run due to lower energy needs. Employees also benefit by enjoying a cleaner, safer structure to work in each day.

Currently, the UAE Embassy is the only embassy in the world that has achieved LEED Gold Status. One embassy, the Finnish Embassy in Washington, has achieved LEED Platinum certification. Platinum is the top certification possible, one level above gold.

Dart Foundation Supporting Nation’s Aspiring STEM Professionals

The Dart Foundation is proud to help fund Project Lead the Way (PLTW), a national nonprofit that provides students with a quality educational basis in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Through generous grants, the  PLTW program is helping students learn the skills needed to succeed in the global economy at multiple high schools throughout the United States.

Riverview High School in Florida, one of the schools that received a $35,000 grant from the Dart Foundation, used the generous donation to cover materials, supplies and teacher training in their Computer Integrated Classroom. As a result, the school received National Certification, meaning that its students were able to earn college credit, qualify for scholarships and advance to notable universities.

In fact, 80 percent of PLTW students nationwide intend to go to college, compared to only 68 percent of all high school seniors in the country.

Heritage High School in Conyers, Georgia, also received a generous grant of $35,000 from the Dart Foundation. With a Dart Container plant located in Conyers, the grant demonstrates the Dart Foundation and foundation board member, Ken Dart’s commitment to supporting and giving back to the local community that supports them.

“As a funder of STEM education programs, we look for opportunities that encourage science and math learning as well as career exploration,” said Ariane Dart, a board member of the Dart Foundation.

Events Calendar: Summer in Camana Bay

Summer is sweeter in Camana Bay where the days seem to be longer, the seas tend to be calmer, and the outfits are flirty. There are also events, summer specials, outdoor movies, and kids’ camps to be enjoyed throughout the season.

For summer events at Camana Bay, check out Drum Circle, and the Flavour Tour. Explore the local produce of avocados, ackees, mango, guavas, June plums, guineps and more at the weekly Farmers & Artisans Market.

Moonlight & Movies is an event that guests can enjoy every Tuesday at The Crescent during the months of June, July, and August.

  • Every Tuesday enjoy a different movie that families can experience under the stars after eating at one of Camana Bay’s signature restaurants or pack a picnic to enjoy during the movie
  • All movies are displayed on a big outdoor screen
  • Movies playing in July include Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, Puss in Boots, Stardust, Kung Fu Panda 2, and MegaMind. Movies playing in August include Charlotte’s Web, Nacho Libre, Flushed Away, and Top Gun

Kids’ camps available in Camana Bay include Music Camp, the 4th Annual Camana Bay Multi-Sport Summer Camp, the 2nd Annual Summer Art Camp, Budding Chef Summer Classes, Shutterbugs Photography Camp, Camana Bay Basketball Camp with Orlando Magic, and the Starfish Village.

  • Kids as young as age 4 and as old as age 17 can participate in the programs which last varied periods of time.

There are also plenty of other things that can be done in Camana Bay like enjoying the shops, going to the top of the Observation Tower, or taking the kids to story time at Books & Books.

Camana Bay was developed by Dart Realty (Cayman) Ltd., a subsidiary of Dart Enterprises owned by Ken Dart. The Cayman Islands hot spot has something to offer for vacationers or residents of all ages.

Polystyrene Recycling IS Worthwhile

Polystyrene foam, commonly mistaken as Styrofoam, a registered trademark of the Dow Chemical company (, is one of the most commonly used plastics available on the market. In its first iterations as a clear, brittle plastic, polystyrene was used for CD cases and plastics utensils. In its present form with air added, the formula becomes light and buoyant. This development made the use of polystyrene foam proliferate into everyday life.

Polystyrene Dart foam is an extremely useful and valuable material that serves a number of purposes due to its highly sought-after characteristics. For example, polystyrene foam can be easily manipulated and it is light in weight. As a result, it serves as a popular packaging material because it cushions without leading to additional shipping costs due to increased weight. The food industries also take advantage of the material’s inert properties such as its resistance to heat to make containers for warm foods and raw bulk items.

While polystyrene foam is not biodegradable it is easily broken down and recycled into new products such as building insulation, picture frames and more. That being said, polystyrene recycling is a worthwhile endeavor for both communities and businesses interested in reducing the amount of waste entering landfills and further preserving the environment. Currently, over 65 cities across the United States are recycling polystyrene foam. Is yours one?