COVID-19: UAE infections falling, says disaster management authority
Health|: Abu Dhabi: The UAE has been witnessing a drop in the number of COVID-19 infections, which confirms the success of the UAE’s strategy on dealing with the pandemic. “We have witnessed a decrease in the number of cases, which confirms the success of the UAE’s strategy to deal with the crisis, where measures are taken based on the developments, reflecting the high flexibility and adaptation which is required due to the nature of the pandemic,” Dr. Taher Al Amiri, official spokesman for the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority, said during the weekly media briefing on Tuesday. He said that 77.91 per cent of the UAE’s population received the first shot of COVID-19 vaccine, while 69.35 per cent received both doses of the vaccine. The decrease in cases has been met with the gradual return to normal life and the return of economic and tourism activities, as well as the return of employees to their offices, Al Amiri said. Travel protocols The authority urged travellers to abide by travel protocols to ensure their safety. Travelling to green-list countries require travellers to adhere to precautionary measures and getting health insurance as stipulated by the World Health Organisation. Al Amiri said that the UAE is one of the best safe tourist destinations, as “we have witnessed a demand for tourism in the country due to adoption of a package of precautionary and preventive measures that ensure everyone spends a special time in the country in a safe environment, thus enhancing its reputation and position among the best tourist destinations around the world”. UAE aid Al Amiri revealed that the UAE’s aid constituted 80 per cent of the total international aid to troubled countries during the pandemic. More than 2,154 tonnes of medical aid supplies, including respiratory devices, examination devices, personal protective equipment were dispatched to 135 countries around the world. A total of 117 countries received aid from international organisation’s warehouses in Dubai International Humanitarian City.
Fake website of UAE Embassy in India blocked
UAE|: Dubai: A fake website of the UAE Embassy in India being used to extort money from UAE residents stuck in India due to the COVID-19 entry restrictions has been blocked after the scam came to light following complaints from some Indian expatriates stuck in Kerala. The fraudsters were using the fake website with a ‘.in’ domain [uaeembassy.in] cloning information — excluding the contact details — on the original website of the UAE Embassy in India that uses a ‘.ae’ domain. They were targeting expats seeking special approval to return to the UAE. The call centre of the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MOFAIC) confirmed to Gulf News that the website using the ‘.in’ domain is fake. The site is currently not accessible in both India and the UAE. Reports from India said that the cyber cell of Kerala Police had begun investigations into the scam after some UAE residents reported the matter to the police. V Muraleedharan, India’s Minister of State for External Affairs, had reportedly taken note of the incident. Speaking to Gulf News from Kerala, Namitha Venugopal, one of the complainants, said she had ended up accessing the fake website when she was searching for help to know what to do to renew her visa to return to the UAE. “My visa is due to expire on August 5 and I didn’t know what to do. I tried the GDRFA [General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs — Dubai] website, but couldn’t find out what I needed do to in order to renew my visa and whether I could fly back on the same visa once the entry restrictions are lifted,” said Namitha, who lost her job as a network engineer in Dubai amid the pandemic. She said she thought of contacting the UAE Embassy in New Delhi to seek clarification on the matter. Top on Google search “When you search for the [UAE] Embassy on Google from India, this fake website was the first one that pops up. Usually, we see email IDs with ‘information’ or ‘admin’ for general enquiries. Hence, I didn’t have any suspicion when I sent an email to the administrator of that website.” A screenshot of the fake website. Image Credit: Supplied However, in reply to the mail, Namitha was informed that an agent of the Embassy would assist her on the WhatsApp number +971566787769. When Namitha contacted this number, she was asked to get a special permission letter from the Embassy by sending copies of her documents to the administrator’s email. She was also asked to refer the name of one Naveen Kumar. Since there have been reports of UAE residents returning from India with special approvals, Namitha did not think twice and sent copies of her passport, visa, Emirates ID, air ticket, COVID-19 vaccination certificate and photograph of her and her husband to the said email address. It was when she got a reply to that email asking for a fee of Rs16,100 that Namitha suspected that she had been taken for a ride. “In the reply, we were asked to deposit this money to the money exchange account of one Veeru Kumar and the details of a bank account in Delhi were given. I realised it was a scam from the language used in that letter and the requirement to send the money to an individual instead of the mission’s account.” Site linked to Google Maps too Namitha’s husband Naveen Balan, who works as a business development manager in Dubai, said they were shocked to find that the fake website had also been linked to the Google Map of the UAE Embassy. “Once you Google the location of the Embassy, you get the Google Map link and if you click on the tab for the website, it takes you to this fake site. People would never expect this.” When Gulf News tried to access the fake site directly, it showed that the server could not be found from the UAE. However, when we searched for the location on Google Maps and tried to access the site linked to that, we could earlier visit the fake website from the UAE. This has since been changed and the genuine site of the embassy is now linked to Google Maps. Gulf News has also found out that the WhatsApp number first contacted by Namitha is still active and was using the logo of the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. When inquired about travel approval in guise of a stranded expat, we also received the message asking us to send email with the reference of Naveen Kumar. “This is a serious scam and we are afraid many gullible people may fall for it. We have no idea how many people may have already sent money to these fraudsters. We are glad the site has been blocked. But, we hope the authorities in India and the UAE will take strict action against those behind the scam. We have sent letters to the UAE Ambassador to India and the Home Minister of India apprising them about this fake website conning people,” said Namitha and Naveen. An immediate response was not available from the UAE Ambassador to the UAE.
Video: Two-year-old Yemeni girl treated in Abu Dhabi hospital for rare congenital anomaly
Health|: Abu Dhabi: A two-year-old Yemeni girl, born with a rare medical condition — in which her rectum, vagina and urinary tract were all fused into a single external opening — has been successfully treated in Abu Dhabi. S. Taleb was diagnosed with the condition, known as a cloacal malformation, as a three-month-old, when Dr Amin El Gohary, consultant paediatric surgeon at Burjeel Hospital, visited Yemen on a charity mission hosted by Burjeel’s parent company, VPS Healthcare. This kind of a condition is seen only once in 50,000 live births. Complex case “This was a complex case. Taleb’s rectum, vagina and urinary tract were merged into one long exit channel when we first saw her. The child also had ambiguous genitalia that resembled a male child’s, so we had to conduct a chromosomal investigation, which helped us determine that she was a girl,” Dr El Gohary told Gulf News. “She was having urinary leakage and abdominal bloating at the time. Since health facilities and medical equipment are limited in Yemen, we performed a simple colostomy to divert the stool and prevent it from contaminating her other organs,” he added. Taleb underwent a three-hour procedure at Burjeel Hospital, led by Dr El Gohary, Dr Shahid Rashid and Dr Hamdy Aboutaleb. Image Credit: Supplied Further treatment However, this did not completely resolve her condition and Dr El Gohary continued to be in touch with the family. In May 2021, the little girl was finally flown down to Abu Dhabi with her family. She underwent a three-hour procedure at Burjeel Hospital, led by Dr El Gohary, Dr Shahid Rashid, paediatric surgery specialist at the hospital, and Dr Hamdy Aboutaleb, urology consultant. The surgery separated the joint organs so that Taleb would be able to have full control of her urine and bowel movements, and also so that she could have full reproductive function. “We are grateful to the doctor and the hospital for their kindness and compassion. They helped us a lot. We do not have words to express our gratitude. The hospital had done everything, right from bringing us from Yemen to getting the right treatment. We will not forget this in our life,” said Mohsen Taleb, the girl’s father. Read more Peanuts, shellfish or dairy can kill you: know the allergies, triggers, treatments and preventive measures UAE health alert: Why periodic screening for hepatitis, vaccines are a must Gulf Medical University offers scholarships and discounts for Emirati students Will NMC Healthcare founder B.R. Shetty's high-stakes $7b legal gamble in the US pay-off? Taleb is now recovering and after being discharged from hospital, has flown back to Yemen. Dr El Gohary added that he had remained in touch with the family to ensure a smooth and successful recovery. “She is already doing extremely well and we believe she should also be able to have a normal reproductive life as an adult. As a doctor, I am happy that a charity mission enabled us to find and treat this little girl,” he added.
IPA boss Bodour Al Qasimi welcomes move to hold onsite Istanbul book fair
UAE|: Istanbul: Bodour Al Qasimi, President of International Publishers Association (IPA), has welcomed the decision of Turkish Publishers Association (TPA) to organise the International Istanbul Book Fair in November. A meeting was held in the presence of the TPA President Kenan Kocaturk, members of the association and prominent local publishers to mark the announcement. The IPA President’s visit to Turkey follows a series of meetings with publishers’ associations in Egypt, Kenya, Ivory Coast, Ghana and Georgia earlier this year. Seeing opportunity in challenges Al Qasimi said IPA is focusing on establishing effective communication with publishers’ associations worldwide, in order to discuss the challenges facing businesses in the COVID-19 pandemic-affected economic climate, and help them design business models to ensure their growth. The IPA President added that the pandemic has offered the industry an opportunity to re-evaluate current business models and replace them with more agile ones, with a strong focus on pushing the agenda of digital publishing. Publishers who had been perceptive enough to expand their business models to include digital offerings have been able to rebound quickly, she said. New academy The IPA has been working closely with its members to assess any gaps in the knowledge needed to transform their businesses to adapt to both the current circumstances and the post-pandemic era. Al Qasimi added that the upcoming IPA Academy, to be launched later this year, would seek to provide publishers around the world with courses aimed at meeting the necessity for capacity building and upskilling for publishers. Al Qasimi also took the opportunity to congratulate TPAon its work in defending the freedom of publishing, one of the IPA’s two primary objectives, and the protection of copyright. The TPA shares its findings on freedom to publish both in Turkey and worldwide in an annual report, and its efforts recently culminated in the organising of the 2020 Freedom of Thought and Expression Awards, which were held as an online ceremony in January.
Gulf Medical University offers scholarships and discounts for Emirati students
Health|: Ajman: In order to double the representation of Emiratis in the UAE healthcare sector, Gulf Medical University (GMU) in Ajman has announced scholarships and discounts in all its six colleges and 28 accredited programmes for Emirati students. The initiative also includes full scholarship in Doctor of Philosophy in Precision Medicine in collaboration with Université Paris Saclay in France. The university has also introduced career guidance programmes for Emirati students to assist them in choosing careers in the healthcare profession. Students are provided with vocational counselling on subjects including medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, nursing, biomedical sciences, healthcare management and economics, anaesthesia technology, medical laboratory sciences, physiotherapy, medical imaging sciences and healthcare management and economics. Research-based careers Moreover, GMU has introduced a programme to enable students to explore research-based careers. The ‘Future Scientists of the UAE’ programme has been developed to give Emirati high school students access to tools that are usually only made available to college students. The aim of the programme is to embed the students in the research environment. Eventually, the students will be placed in research labs to work on extensive research projects where they will interact with people and patients on one-on-one basis. Three specialised institutes, namely Thumbay Research Institute for Precision Medicine, Thumbay Institute of Population Health and Thumbay Institute of Healthcare Workforce Development, are enabling graduates for career enhancement in the healthcare industry. GMU also offers graduate programmes in public health, physical therapy, endodontology, periodontics, clinical pharmacy, drug discovery development, healthcare management and economics, health professions education and medical laboratory sciences.
Westford wins prestigious BTEC International Institution of the year silver awards 2021
Education|: The exceptional achievements of Westford University College were celebrated by its students, staff, alumni, and all other well-wishers as the college was awarded the prestigious BTEC INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTION OF THE YEAR 2021 Silver Award. Westford’s vocational and higher education excellence was celebrated at the 11th anniversary of Pearson’s annual BTEC Awards hosted online on 7th July 2021 at 2pm (BST). This award is of high standing as it is an international award and recognition awarded by UK's largest awarding body i.e., Pearson regulated by Ofqual (England), SQA Accreditation (Scotland), CCEA Accreditation (Northern Ireland) and Qualifications Wales (Wales). Hanil Das, Co-founder & Executive Director, Westford University College said: “We are extremely glad to win the Silver BTEC Award BTEC INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTION OF THE YEAR 2021. It is a proud moment for Westford that we have won at the 11th anniversary of BTEC awards while Westford is also completing 11 years of operations and 11 years of partnership with Pearson with an achievement of around 2000 BTEC graduates. "We dedicate this award to our BTEC students who have achieved great success by demonstrating hard work and commitment during a time of unprecedented disruption. This is an extraordinary achievement, and we are thrilled to celebrate this prestigious recognition. A huge round of applause goes to Team Westford who delivered and provided a high-quality education from UK and prepared them to face bigger challenges in the industry.” Nearly a million learners across the globe completed BTEC courses over the past year; the career-focused qualifications are a vital route for those pursuing careers in sectors such as IT, business, the creative industries, healthcare, engineering, construction and future industries. This is especially important in the current context as the UK responds to the global pandemic and looks to kickstart projects to speed economic recovery.
Tokyo Olympics 2020: UAE’s Yousef Al Matrooshi takes third spot in 100m freestyle heat
UAE swimmer and Tokyo 2020 Olympics flag-bearer Yousef Al Matrooshi finished an impressive third in his 100m freestyle heat on Tuesday evening in the pool. The Emirati finished third in Heat 3 at the Aquatics Centre in 51.50 seconds, behind Yemen’s Mokhtar Al Yamani (50.52s) and Malta’s Andrew Chetcuti (51.47s). However, Al Matrooshi’s time was not enough to carry him into the semi-finals, which take place at 5.30am UAE time on Wednesday. Italy’s Thomas Ceccon topped the timesheets (47.71s), with the 16 swimmers with the fastest times advancing. gold medal l hopefuls Australia’s Kyle Chalmers and United States’ Caeleb Dressel safely made it through, with both posting sub-48s times.
Dubai Police call upon the public to help identify body of man
UAE|: Dubai: Dubai Police have called upon the public to help identify a man whose body was found in a deserted yard at Al Muhaisnah 2. The person had no identification documents on him. The body was transferred to Dubai Police’s Forensic Science and Criminology Department and was immediately examined for the cause of death. Police have not yet received any missing person’s report since the discovery of the body. Read more Woman sentenced to 10 years in jail and fined Dh50,000 for drug smuggling in Dubai Gang jailed for stealing iPhones from Dubai shop UAE joins hands with Interpol’s Operation Liberterra Dubai driver to be deported after being caught sleeping under influence of drugs Al Qusais Police Station has urged the public to come forward with any information that they may be having about the deceased person. Community members can either contact the Port Police Station or call 901 to provide information. Those from outside the UAE can call 04901 to provide information.
UAE reports 1,539 new COVID-19 cases, 2 deaths and 1,497 recoveries
UAE|: Abu Dhabi: The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) announced that it conducted 296,686 additional COVID-19 tests over the past 24 hours, using state-of-the-art medical testing equipment. In a statement on Tuesday, the Ministry stressed its aim to continue expanding the scope of testing nationwide to facilitate the early detection of coronavirus cases and carry out the necessary treatment. As part of its intensified testing campaign, MoHAP announced 1,539 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of recorded cases in the UAE to 674,724. According to the Ministry, the infected individuals are from various nationalities, are in a stable condition, and receiving the necessary care. MoHAP also announced two deaths due to COVID-19 complications, bringing the total number of deaths in the country to 1,929. The Ministry expressed its sincere condolences to the family of the deceased and wished COVID-19 patients a speedy and full recovery. It called on all members of the society to cooperate with health authorities, adhere to the instructions and physical distance to ensure the health and safety of all. MoHAP also noted that an additional 1,497 individuals had fully recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries to 652,180.
What makes the UAE an ideal study destination?
Education|: As the pandemic approaches the 18-month mark, higher education remains one of the coronavirus’ most disrupted sectors. At a time when high school students are making the important decision of which university to attend, choices that were once easy are suddenly a lot less certain. This is particularly pertinent for many of the UAE’s expat student population, who might be considering the US, UK or Canada – countries that are seeing a rise in Delta variant COVID-19 cases, which in turn raises the spectre of lockdowns, the closure of physical campus facilities and travel restrictions. “The ongoing travel restrictions to the traditional destinations for UAE-based students such as the UK has meant that many are rethinking plans to study abroad,” says Dr Cedwyn Fernandes, Pro-Vice Chancellor of Middlesex University and Director of Middlesex University Dubai. Meanwhile, a number of factors have made a strong case for the UAE as an ideal study destination. From a pandemic perspective, the country has managed to keep a lid on its number of positive cases while running a vaccination programme that has seen more than 16.3 million doses delivered to its population, and keeping the economy open. Its universities have been developing their research capabilities, offering internationally recognised degrees as well as ample opportunities for research, innovation and entrepreneurship to students. To help prospective students learn everything they need to know about studying in the UAE, Gulf News has partnered with some of the country’s leading universities, including Middlesex University Dubai and Heriot-Watt University Dubai, to bring back Edufair. While restrictions made last year’s inaugural event a virtual one, Edufair 2021 will mark the higher education event’s in-person debut when it takes place from August 12-14 at the Shangri-la. A budding hub for research With this year’s Expo 2020 Dubai – a globally significant six-month event organisers expect to attract 25 million visitors – focused on sustainability, the UAE’s universities are doing their part to research and develop their own solutions. For example, students at RIT University Dubai have been developing renewable portfolios based on solar, geothermal and biomass energy. Sustainability is being studied on a number of other fronts at UAE universities too. This is something the country’s government supports, with sustainability a core tenet of UAE Vision 2030. The UAE’s long-held status as an energy exporter and trading hub has also seen well-funded original research being conducted into oil exploration and smart logistics. The pandemic has also raised interesting research opportunities over the past year. Scientists at Khalifa University have been collaborating with Birmingham City University and Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi to develop blockchain-based Covid-19 vaccine passports and immunity certificates. “The opening up of tourism and Expo 2020 will boost the economy and create more travel opportunities,” says Dr Fernandes. An innovation centre “The UAE is an emerging global innovation hub where students are empowered by the latest technologies, attractive employment opportunities, access to investment and the ease of doing business,” explains a Heriot-Watt University Dubai spokesperson. With a number of universities having spent the past few years cultivating strong relationships with industry, this strategy has borne fruit both for students looking to access the best graduate employment opportunities and budding entrepreneurs seeking funding for their start-up. The Heriot-Watt spokesperson also points to the UAE’s recent residency law amendments, which now offer outstanding high school and university students – and their families – a ten-year Golden residency visa. This initiative could be a gamechanger, not only for expat students who have grown up in the UAE but also those considering coming here from abroad, as it will incentivise the world’s brightest young talents to set up shop in the country. Global degrees The UAE also offers one of the key benefits of a Western degree — international accreditation — at a significantly lower cost. Universities such as Middlesex, Heriot-Watt and RIT all offer the same degree as their mother campuses — based in London, Edinburgh and New York, respectively — from here in Dubai. Academic standards and excellence are sustained through the sending of papers to senior faculty based at these home campuses for grading and feedback, while students get 24-7 access to the same digital library content as their peers in other cities. Students can also enjoy an international experience through transferring to their university’s mother campus for a year or two. When you factor in accommodation (particularly for cities such as London and New York), flights, food and assorted lifestyle expenses, going abroad to study can be an extremely pricey proposition. Why attend Gulf News Edufair? You might have a lot of questions about university in Dubai or the wider UAE. From the grades and other admission requirements you need to meet to information about specific programmes and their modules, as well as the cost of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, EduFair is a one-stop shop for everything you need to know about university here. Prospective students and their families can speak with admissions officers and faculty, discussing their options for different programmes while learning about trends in both higher education and industry, following exchanges with career counsellors. There are seminars and workshops that discuss the future of higher education in the UAE; employability and skills for tomorrow's workforce; and career readiness and success. Our exhibitors are: Middlesex University; Heriot Watt University Dubai; RIT Dubai; Westford University College; Manipal University Dubai; University of Birmingham Dubai; BITS Pilani Dubai; Canadian University Dubai; Curtin University Dubai; Cromwell UK Education; De Montfort University Dubai and the British Council. Our Platinum Sponsor is UAE University; Styling Partner is SHEIN ; Career-ready Partner is Y-Axis; Counselling Partner is EdOrbis; Radio Partner is Fun Asia; and Supporting Partner is Bukhatir Education Advancement and Management International Register now on www.gnedufair.com August 12 -14, 2021, 11am to 8pm Hotel Shangri-la, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, UAE.
UAE culture minister appears on The Dukkan Show anniversary podcast to highlight creativity
UAE|: Dubai: The Dukkan Show, one of the first independent society and culture podcasts in the Middle East and North Africa region, has marked its sixth anniversary with a celebration of 200 episodes. To celebrate the achievement, the podcast hosted Noura Bint Mohammad Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Youth, who shared reflections on how social, cultural and creative spheres and communities in the UAE are driving a sustainable economy for the country. Noura Al Kaabi “The Creative Economy has become an important part of our global economy. Not just as a narrative, but also as an implementation model. Many countries have realised the importance of knowledge-based industries, and the UAE in particular believes that these cultural and creative industries are key assets to create sustainability for the economy. The UAE is a major player in the growth of CCI in the Middle East and North Africa region. The UAE’s preeminent position as an innovation hub is central to the growth of CCI in the wider region,” said Al Kaabi. The Dukkan Show, in the past six years, has seen over 2.6 million downloads. It is the “first podcast globally” to host a #TodayAtApple talk with “its authentic content experiences that speak truth about the culture”. Omar Tom, co-founder and CEO at Dukkan Media, said: “Dukkan Show was created to tackle cultural conversations, own our own narratives and most importantly export our culture and stories from the Middle East to the world. Cultural export through media is soft policy and we work hard to shape and shift conversations about the Middle East and how the world sees it.” The Dukkan Show is available on any of the podcatchers including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts. Since January 2016, it has featured more than 120 guests from around the world, notably Gary Vaynerchuch, Liza Kishk, Prince EA and Shepard Fairey (OBEY), among others.
Gang jailed for stealing iPhones from Dubai shop
Crime|: Dubai: the Dubai Court of First Instance sentenced a gang of three men who stole 86 iPhones worth Dh355,000 from a Dubai shop to six months in jail. The three Cameroonian men broke into a shop at Dubai’s Naif area and stole the phones after damaging the door and surveillance cameras in May this year. Judges ordered the defendants to pay additionally a fine of Dh369,090. The 43-year-old Indian shop owner testified that he received a call at 4am, saying that his shop was burgled. “They broke the locks and the door. They stole 86 iPhones of different models and Dh14,735 in cash, which was in a drawer,” the Indian victim said in official records. Identification through surveillance cameras Dubai Police identified the burglars through nearby surveillance cameras. Police then arrested the men who admitted to the robbery. The stolen phones were handed over to a fourth countryman who was identified and arrested. The three defendants were charged with robbery and damaging property. The fourth defendant was charged with obtaining stolen valuables. He was referred to Dubai Misdemeanor Court for a trial.
Filipinos in UAE assess how President Duterte fared in the last five years of his tenure
UAE|: Dubai: As Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte delivered his final State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Monday, Filipinos in the UAE also aired their views on how the populist leader, with a penchant for skewed humour and strong-arm rule, has fared in the last five years. It was the sixth and last Sona for Duterte, who is barred from seeking re-election next year. Without a doubt, he remained popular among Filipinos, particularly those outside the country or the so-called OFWs (overseas Filipino workers). But there were also criticisms on how he handled the COVID-19 pandemic, his bloody war on drugs, stand on issues surrounding Philippine territories in the West Philippine Sea, programmes for the OFWs and his latest pronouncement to run as vice-president in the next national elections. ‘Much could have been done’ Atty Barney Almazar For Atty Barney Almazar, finance expert and director at the corporate-commercial department of Gulf Law, “much could have been done and faster by Pres Duterte for the OFWs”. Almazar said Duterte’s promise to create a separate government line agency for OFWs or the Department of Filipinos Overseas has yet to be realised. “Now, more than ever, OFWs who are stranded in foreign lands need assistance that could have been addressed by the department had it been prioritised,” Almazar asserted. He added: “Another thing that could have been done is the abolition of exit pass or the overseas employment certificate (OEC). Silvestre Bello III Lab, the Philippine Labour Secretary, has acknowledged that graduates are competent and so, requiring them to pass a professional exam will be a superfluous. And yet, our OFWs who are mostly graduates and professionals are required to get an exit pass to work abroad. “There is also the OFW ID program, which, way back in 2017, was said to be the best gift of the president to the OFWs. But what happened to it? From the beginning, it was very clear that the people behind it did not really know the needs of those they had to serve. If it was truly of such high importance that they justified the curtailment of the constitutional right to travel, how come its implementation was suspended until now?”, continued Almazar, who offers monthly free legal aid at the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi and Philippine Consulate in Dubai. ‘Positive things Duterte has done’ Ronald Awa Ronald Awa, 56, who has been living in Dubai for 27 years, also assessed the hits and misses of the Duterte administration. Awa told Gulf News: “Duterte’s love for all OFWs and families back home is nonstop. He cares so much and he is working to eradicate the drug menace and problems in the country. He is sincere in curbing corruption in the government. “He fulfilled his promises, but not all Filipinos still understand his style of leadership. He handled the pandemic well, but the lack of funds made it more difficult to solve the problems. He also resorted to trial-and-error style of solving the pandemic (which resulted to inconsistencies in government policies),” added Awa, who considers himself as neither a diehard Duterte supporter nor a critic. ‘Strong president’ Fevie Laurilla For Filipino community volunteer and entrepreneur Fevie Laurilla, 41, “Duterte did a very good job despite all the challenges to his war on drugs, issues in the West Philippine Sea, inherent corruption in the government and the current pandemic. We Filipinos are very fortunate to have a strong president in these trying times. But despite all his efforts, he admittedly fell short on most of his promises — like ending the war on drugs, which he began since Day One of his presidency,” Laurilla added. Lyne Catedrilla Lyne Catedrilla, a Filipino nanny who has been working in Dubai for more than 15 years, also said: “Since Duterte came to power, we have seen a decline in illegal drugs in the Philippines. But there is a more pressing issue and that is solving the COVID-19 pandemic. Duterte said the health and safety protocol that were in place have proved to be effective in slowing down the spread of the virus, but the best solution is still vaccination and the government has to fastrack the inoculation programme.” The pandemic and Duterte’s response Before stepping down next year, the drug war — which Duterte said still has a ‘long way to go’ despite the controversial crackdown that has killed thousands of people — the continuing pandemic and the possibility that his daughter will succeed him next year were the other key concerns of Filipino expatriate Bryan Cabugsa. Cabugsa, who is also a Migrante-UAE coordinator, said: “OFWs have been suffering a lot since the pandemic broke out. Many of us were retrenched from work, others received wage cuts and were subjected to ‘no-work, no-pay’ rule. The pandemic and Duterte’s response to it further exposed the grave inequalities in our country. The vaccination programme was inadequate and many Filipinos lost their sources of livelihood because of extended lockdowns.” Cabugsa also criticised the “small and delayed financial assistance” extended by the Philippine government to OFWs during the pandemic. Marawi rehabilitation Ahmad Jumar Taurac Meanwhile, for Ahmad Jumar Taurac, 31, another important issue that Duterte has failed to address during his term is the rehabilitation of war-torn Marawi, a city in southern Philippines — once a centre of Islamic grandeur and tradition — that was razed to the ground after the Daesh-inspired Maute group laid siege to the city during Ramadan in 2017. Taura, who is from Marawi, commented: “It’s really heart-breaking — many people are still wondering when they can return to their homeland? Some have been given assistance, but others are left to fend for themselves despite the billions of pesos poured into the city rehabilitation programme.” Duterte’s last Sona? Film director Patrick Fronda, a UAE resident for 13 years, has a more biting assessment of President Duterte and has also raised an alarm over the president’s agenda to have another Duterte in Malacanang. Patrick Fronda Fronda told Gulf News: “I hope and I pray that this will be Duterte’s final year in office because our Constitution is very clear that a president only has a six-year term. But because there are political rumours that his daughter, Sara, will run for the highest position next year, I doubt if he will ever retire from public office. Maybe, Duterte wants to seek criminal immunity because of the possibility that he will be indicted by the International Criminal Court for the human rights abuses and bloody war on drugs,” Fronda said. He continued: “Overall, Duterte’s five years in office have never been good. Corruption in the government has remained unabated. There were also many abuses like the shutdown of media giant ABS-CBN; and his handling of the COVID pandemic was very poor. Many Filipinos, including the OFWS, have been suffering from continuing lockdown.” Art Los Banos Art Los Banos, a public relations professional, added: “President Duterte’s admission that the drug problem and corruption are still widespread and cannot be contained will become critical issues in next year’s presidential candidates. If a purported strongman like Duterte is unable to address the situation then how can any candidate assure voters that he or she will be more effective in combating the drug menace and corruption within the government apparatus, including the police and military organisations?”. Read more Mohammed bin Rashid issues a decree to form Emirati Human Resources Development Council in Dubai More than 18,000 Abu Dhabi workers get Dh300m in unpaid salaries Dubai Court inaugurates smart e-notary service Dubai Police receive 42,000 calls during Eid Al Adha Change is needed Dr Rex Bacarra, campus academic head and director for administrative services at Southville-RAK, the first Filipino college in the UAE, noted: “I have always looked at President Duterte as necessary for transition — from a society beset with corruption and oligarchy to a nation that is determined to change. He should be replaced by someone who can give clarity and create an environment of physical and emotional safety for Filipinos.” Dr Rex Bacarra Bacarra, who voted for Duterte, added: “I always considered Duterte’s leadership as strategically transitional — one that shocks and jolts into making us realise that change is possible. Governments do not depend on one person, but the succession of leaders with the right intentions. "In that context, I can say President Duterte fared well. There were unfulfilled promises, true, but it is not about what he accomplished, but what he has shown us, that it is possible to have the willpower and nerve to fight; to aspire and hammer on for a change. For me, this was Duterte’s role, and now it is time for him to now let go.”
Sharjah Ruler appoints new chancellor for the American University of Sharjah
Education|: Sharjah: American University of Sharjah (AUS) will welcome a new chancellor in August, following the approval of the appointment. The approval of Dr Susan Mumm as the new AUS chancellor came from His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, and President of AUS. In a message to the AUS community, the Sharjah Ruler said that the new chancellor was identified after an extensive international search. The university’s board of trustees approved Dr Mumm’s appointment upon the recommendation of the board’s Chancellor Search Committee. Dr Shaikh Sultan said: “Dr Mumm has extensive experience in higher education and is an accomplished historian. She is well prepared to lead AUS through the next phase of development. We also want to express our sincere appreciation to Professor Kevin Mitchell for remarkable commitment to the university during his period of service as Chancellor.” Prof Mitchell, who has served AUS and held various administrative roles since 1999, will return to his faculty appointment in the College of Architecture, Art and Design. Read More American University of Sharjah researchers get US patent for unique breast cancer treatment American University of Sharjah studies molecules in cockroaches to potentially treat infections About Dr Mumm Dean of Arts and Science at Queen’s University of Kingston. She previously served in senior leadership roles at Massey University in New Zealand, and Mount Saint Vincent University in Canada. Dr Mumm holds a DPhil in History at the University of Sussex and an MA in History and a BA in English (Honours) and History (High Honours) from the University of Saskatchewan. She was a Commonwealth Scholar and is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. Dr Mumm thanked the Ruler of Sharjah for the trust and confidence placed in her. She said: “It is the greatest honour of my career to be appointed to this leadership role at AUS. I look forward to joining such a vibrant, highly respected, and ambitious institution that has earned a reputation for excellence in the region and beyond.”
Consulate General of Pakistan Dubai opens its first call centre
UAE|: Dubai: Consulate General of Pakistan Dubai has inaugurated its first call centre to facilitate Pakistani community residing in Dubai and northern emirates. Acting Consul General Giyan Chand said the call centre can respond to 14 calls at a time and over 800 calls daily. This reduces the chance of missing or dropping calls, he added. Six call operators are serving the call centre, who are well trained to receive the calls and respond to all queries, said Chand. “A toll free number will also be available soon and gradually we will make it a 24/7 service for all services. Presently an Emergency Line is available for 24/7,” added Chand. The new call centre is equipped to handle 14 calls at a time. Image Credit: Supplied Meanwhile, a mobile app previously launched for facilitation of community services has received “a very good response”, with 15,000 downloads so far. It is available on Google Play store and very soon will be available on Apple’s App Store. Additionally, a nursing centre has been launched at the consulate to facilitate visiting mothers and take care of their children. Read more Mohammed bin Rashid issues a decree to form Emirati Human Resources Development Council in Dubai More than 18,000 Abu Dhabi workers get Dh300m in unpaid salaries Dubai Court inaugurates smart e-notary service Dubai Police receive 42,000 calls during Eid Al Adha Presidents of Pakistan Business Council and Pakistan Association Dubai also attended the inauguration of the call centre and appreciated the consulate’s efforts to facilitate the community.
Deep Dive Dubai is now open to the public and have revealed prices
Dubai: Deep Dive Dubai, the home of the world’s deepest swimming pool for diving is announcing that public bookings are now open online at deepdivedubai.com. It is the first time that members of the public can book to explore the 60-meter-deep pool, and its sunken city, since it was first unveiled to the world in early July. Along with scuba diving and freediving, a Discover Snorkeling experience has also been added to the list of awe-inspiring experiences available for adventure seekers from the July 28. Designed for everyone, from beginners and professionals, Deep Dive Dubai offers a variety of freediving and scuba diving experiences and courses Image Credit: Supplied Deep Dive Dubai’s pool features a sunken city that divers of all levels can engage with and explore, complete with an abandoned streetscape and featuring a fully furnished apartment, garage, and arcade, amongst other surprises. All courses and experiences are delivered by a hand-picked team of international diving professionals and supported by the latest equipment, technology, and facilities including what will be the region’s most advanced hyperbaric chamber. What are the prices like? Freediving, Snorkeling and Scuba Diving experiences and courses are now available to book online and start from Dh400 per person. Designed for everyone of all ability levels, aged 10 and up, experiences and courses fall into three categories: Discover, Dive and Develop. The Discover category of snorkeling, scuba diving and freediving experiences caters for those who want to try a single dive or snorkel or take their first steps towards certification as a diver. No diving certification is required. The newly added Discover Snorkeling experience is Dh400 per person and includes fins, snorkel, mask, and special flotation vest for a one-hour guided snorkel, allowing guests to see first-hand the breathtaking depth and features of the sunken city. Discover Freediving is a one-hour, guided, in-water experience that allows divers to dive up to 10 meters. Priced at Dh1000 per person, it includes fins, snorkel, mask, and wetsuit, along with video of the experience. Discover Scuba Diving is a one-hour guided scuba dive, allowing beginner divers to dive up to 12 meters and interact with elements of the sunken city including car, telephone booth, library, bicycle, and chess game, among other features. Priced at Dh1500 per person, all scuba diving equipment & gases are included along with a video of the experience. The Dive category of experiences starts at Dh600 Dhs and allows everyone from newbies to experienced individuals to freedive or scuba dive within their certification limits. The Develop category of courses includes PADI Open Water Diving certification which, priced at Dh3,600 per person and inclusive of all equipment rentals, is the ideal first step for beginners who want to progress in the sport. Other courses within the Develop category are priced upon request and include a full range of recreational, technical, and leadership freediving and scuba diving courses and programs with an emphasis placed on programs that Deep Dive Dubai is uniquely placed to deliver including nitrox, advanced, deep, rebreather, and photography. All experiences have a low guide-to-guest ratio, and all bookings include high-end equipment rental conveniently delivered poolside by Deep Dive Dubai’s team. With complimentary lockers, robe and towel rental included, all guests need to bring is their swimsuit and flip flops. With each booking, one spectator can accompany the diver to Deep Dive Dubai with up to two additional spectators allowed at Dh100 per person. Along with the sunken city, Deep Dive Dubai’s 60m pool also features two underwater habitats with dry chambers at six and 21 meters, 56 underwater cameras covering all angles of the pool, as well as advanced sound and mood lighting systems. The pool water temperature is maintained at an optimal 30 degrees Celsius for diver comfort. The 1,500sqm facility, which is shaped like a giant oyster in a nod to the UAE’s pearl diving heritage, is also home to a dive shop, gift shop, an 80-seat restaurant as well as a variety of meeting, event, and conference spaces. Large viewing areas on the lower floors of the building allow diners at the restaurant and other rooms to peer into the underwater environment. Located in Nad Al Sheba, Dubai, Deep Dive Dubai is open Wednesday to Sunday, from 12pm to 8pm.
Cebu Pacific to operate special flight from Dubai to Manila on July 30
UAE|: Dubai: Philippine budget carrier Cebu Pacific (CEB) will have a special commercial flight on Friday, July 30, “in response to the government’s call for assistance to repatriate Filipino workers in Dubai”, the airline confirmed to Gulf News on Monday. CEB earlier announced that it had cancelled all its commercial flights to and from Dubai until August 1, following the decision by the Philippine government to “extend the ban on travellers from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Oman and the UAE” until July 30. New passengers and those affected by previous flight cancellations who would like to take the 5J27 Dubai-Manila special flight on July 30, dubbed as Bayanihan flight, may book their tickets on Cebu Pacific website, though seats are subject to availability. Health protocol CEB noted: “Pursuant to current Philippine health protocols, a passenger who would like to take the Bayanihan flight must present a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR result, taken within 48 hours before departure.” Face masks and face shields should always be worn (except during meals) while on board the aircraft, as an added precaution against the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Quarantine requirements “Pursuant to government’s health protocols, all passengers will be subjected to a 14-day, facility-based quarantine upon arrival in the Philippines. For this purpose, passengers are advised to have pre-booked quarantine hotels for 15 days/14 nights,” CEB added. The cost of quarantine hotels for OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) will be paid for by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA); while tourist and returning overseas Filipinos will have to shoulder the cost of hotel quarantine. All the passengers of Bayanihan flights will undergo COVID-19 RT-PCR test after seven days of quarantine. The cost of the test for land-based OFWs will be shouldered by OWWA; while the Philippine Port Authority will cover the cost for sea-based OFWs. Non-OFWs will have to pay for their own RT-PCR test. Read more Ropeway: RTA explores to develop aerial transport network in Dubai Video: RTA uses artificial intelligence to improve bus services in Dubai Emirates airline postpones flight resumption to India, Pakistan until July 21 Dubai to open mini bus depot next to Etisalat metro station Stranded Filipinos The Philippine government had first imposed restrictions on inbound travel from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Oman and the UAE from May 15 until May 31, in view of the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic and to prevent the spread of the highly transmissible Delta coronavirus variant that first emerged in India. The travel ban was first extended until June 15, then stretched until June 30 before prolonging it further until July 30. Thousands of stranded Filipinos in the UAE have signed an online petition seeking to immediately lift the travel restrictions imposed by the Philippine government. The online petition titled ‘Lift the UAE ban! It’s our right to go home’, has garnered over 4,000 virtual signatures.