Dubai unveils mega projects

September 14, 2017 by  
Filed under Middle east, News

DUBAI, 14 September 2017: Property developers in Dubai showcased new multi-billion-dollar mega-projects on Monday despite falling prices, in the hope of stimulating demand and helping to end a three-year market downturn.

Exhibitors at the three-day Cityscape Global showed off models of high-end skyscrapers and even “Floating Venice”, a resort complete with underwater suites.

The USD680 million Venice development 4 km (2.5 miles) off Dubai will have capacity of 3,000 visitors. Read more

Emirates to increase Sydney services

September 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Aviation, Middle east, News

DUBAI, 13 September 2017: Emirates is set to introduce a fourth daily service from Dubai to Sydney, effective 25 March 2018, complementing its existing three daily A380 services.

The new service will use an A380 aircraft and will increase passenger capacity on the route by 6,846 seats a week, inbound and outbound between Sydney and Emirates’ hub in Dubai.

It represents a 7.3% increase in capacity for Emirates’ Australian services. Read more

Qatar eases visa

September 8, 2017 by  
Filed under Middle east, News

RABAT, Morocco, 8 September 2017: Morocco has been added to a list of countries whose citizens no longer need visas to enter Qatar, official Moroccan media has said.

Qatar, hit by a land and air embargo imposed by a group of its most powerful neighbours, in early August introduced a visa-free entry programme for 80 nationalities to stimulate air transport and tourism.

Qatar’s Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser Al-Thani, who met a Moroccan delegation in Doha on Tuesday, announced that his country “had removed the obligation for Moroccan citizens to obtain a visa”, Morocco’s official MAP news agency said the same day. Read more

Abu Dhabi museum marvel readies to open

September 7, 2017 by  
Filed under Middle east, News

ABU DHABI, 7 September 2017: The Louvre Abu Dhabi,  Wednesday, announced it would open its doors to the public 11 November. Here are some key figures:

The museum is built on a 97,000 square metre site on Saadiyat Island, a low-lying island 500 metres off the coast of Abu Dhabi that is the site of a number of tourism and development projects.

Engineers had to move 503,000 cubic meters of sand to lay the foundations for the museum. Read more

Tourism a white gold for Saudi

September 5, 2017 by  
Filed under Middle east, News

MINA, Saudi Arabia, 5 September 2017: With global oil prices flailing, Saudi Arabia is turning to another natural resource: billions of dollars gained from religious tourism as the kingdom hosts the annual hajj pilgrimage.

Shops line the packed esplanade of the Great Mosque of Mecca, one of the holiest sites in Islam, lowering their awnings only at prayer time and re-opening their doors minutes after the mosque empties.

Saudi authorities have reported 2.35 million Muslims are participating in this year’s hajj, the pilgrimage to the western Saudi Arabian city of Mecca that forms one of the five pillars of Islam. Read more

Egypt Air off laptop ban

September 4, 2017 by  
Filed under Aviation, Middle east, News

CAIRO, 4 September 2017: Passengers flying with EgyptAir from Cairo to Britain will again be allowed to carry personal electronic devices in aircraft cabins, the North African country’s national carrier said on Friday.

The United States instituted the laptop ban in March for eight North African and Middle East countries based on intelligence that the Islamic State group was working to build a bomb into a tablet or laptop.

Britain followed suit and banned similar-sized electronics on direct flights from Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia. Read more

Qatar now four daily to Kathmandu

September 1, 2017 by  
Filed under Aviation, Middle east, News, South Asia

DOHA, Qatar, 1 September 2017: Qatar Airways will add an additional daily flight on its Doha – Kathmandu route, today, 1 September.

The new service will help to meet high demand during Nepal’s festival season, which takes place every year in September and October.

Using an Airbus A320, the extra flight will depart Doha at 0125 and arrive in Kathmandu at 0855. Read more

Singaporeans fined and deported

August 30, 2017 by  
Filed under Middle east, News, Singapore

SINGAPORE, 30 August 2017: A Singaporean man and his transgender friend facing jail in the United Arab Emirates for dressing in a “feminine” way have had their sentences reduced to a fine and deportation, reports and a source said Monday.

Fashion photographer, Muhammad Fadli bin Abdul Rahman and his transgender friend, Noor Vitriya Kistina Ibrahim, were arrested at an Abu Dhabi shopping mall earlier this month, according to relatives and non-profit group Detained in Dubai, which claims to assist victims of injustice across the emirates.

Fadli’s brother Saiful previously said the pair were detained by the tourism police for “looking feminine”, while Detained in Dubai said they were convicted of charges related to “inappropriate behaviour over their clothing”. Read more

Gulf spat stunts Qatar Hajj travel

August 30, 2017 by  
Filed under Middle east, News

DOHA, 30 August 2017: Qatar has sent only dozens of its citizens across the border to Saudi Arabia for this week’s hajj pilgrimage to Islam’s holiest sites because of the increasingly bitter crisis between the Gulf neighbours.

The annual pilgrimage that draws 2 million Muslim faithful from across the globe and starts this year on Wednesday has become embroiled in a dispute between Doha and Riyadh now nearing its third month.

Qatar’s only land border, which it shares with Saudi Arabia, has been closed and travel, diplomatic and economic sanctions imposed over charges that Doha supports Islamist extremists and has too close ties to Riyadh’s regional rival Iran. Read more

Dress gets you jailed in UAE

August 29, 2017 by  
Filed under Middle east, News, Singapore

SINGAPORE, 29 August 2017: The family of a Singaporean man jailed with a transgender friend in the United Arab Emirates for dressing in a “feminine” way called Friday for their release, as activists raced to raise funds for legal fees.

Fashion photographer, Muhammad Fadli bin Abdul Rahman, and transgender friend, Noor Vitriya Kistina Ibrahim, were arrested at a shopping mall in Abu Dhabi at the weekend and sentenced to a year in jail, according to relatives.

Fadli’s brother Saiful told AFP from Singapore that the pair were detained by the tourism police for “looking feminine”. Read more

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