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A medical professional’s love for Abu Dhabi turned out to be shot in the arm for imaging diagnosis in UAE

UAE|: Abu Dhabi: Way back in 1976, Dr Essam Eldin Mohamed El Shammaa was invited by the Abu Dhabi Government to review the medical imaging services in Abu Dhabi. After spending as little as two weeks in Abu Dhabi, he fell in love with the city’s simplicity, its people and instantly detected a potential for medical growth. That was when he decided to take up medical imaging detection as a career option. He went back to London, which is where he worked as a consultant radiologist, and in 1977, he decided to pack his bags and return to what he now refers to as his own home -- Abu Dhabi -- with his wife and two children. From there, Dr El Shammaa worked selflessly at the Corniche Hospital for more than four decades, witnessing over two million ultrasound examinations, some of them complicated. Dr El Shammaa still lives in Abu Dhabi with his wife, daughter and grandchildren and is glad he took the decision to return to Abu Dhabi 44 years ago. “I clearly recall how sceptical people were at the time. It was hard for them to believe that a machine was able to determine a baby’s gender and study the development of a foetus inside the womb. By the grace of God and with the leadership’s continuous support, the resilience grew into confidence,” he said. Dr El Shammaa was the first doctor in Abu Dhabi to use an ultrasound machine, which was the start of a long journey of changing a society’s outlook regarding fetal and gender detection, which at first was not conceivable. Alongside, he also trained doctors at Zayed Hospital, Abu Dhabi Central Hospital (now Sheikh Khalifa Medical City) and Mafraq Hospital. Later, private hospitals also approached him for assistance. He was also keen on transferring his knowledge to the young generation of medical professionals and decided to develop a training centre for young graduate doctors. Commitment to imaging diagnosis Despite the initial resistance that Dr El Shammaa faced, his ethical and professional commitment to imaging diagnoses earned him the respect and confidence of pregnant women and families. He successfully managed to change the overall culture of medicine in a short time span. “With the introduction of fetal medicine and advanced ultrasound, we started to update various medical techniques to save patients’ lives, while offering relevant treatment to various complicated pregnancies,” he added. His commitment to the profession led to the renaming of the Radiology Department at the Corniche Hospital to ‘Dr El Shammaa Imaging Department’, leaving Dr El Shammaa’s legacy of ‘Patients First’ at the hospital to this day. Dr El Shammaa recalls many memorable and honourable moments throughout his career, but the ultimate moment was when he received the Abu Dhabi Award from His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. The ‘amazing’ people of Abu Dhabi “After 56 years of my career, including 43 years in Abu Dhabi, I was honoured by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed. This has made my career and my life worthwhile. Abu Dhabi has always been my home, and not for one second did I feel otherwise. I cannot ask for a more honourable recognition. The most important factor and reason for me to return to beloved Abu Dhabi in August 1977 was its amazing people. No words can describe how warm, kind, loving and generous Emiratis are. I simply love them,” Dr El Shammaa added. Dr Essam Eldin Mohamed El Shammaa with the Abu Dhabi Award. Image Credit: Supplied Despite his age, Dr El Shammaa’s passion for his profession and service to community remains intact. He is currently a Senior Medical Adviser to the Board at United Eastern Medical Services. He hopes to establish a world-class medical research institute that will provide latest medical consultancy to the UAE community and beyond. Role of husbands – the game changer When asked how the current generation of pregnant patients react during medical consultations, in comparison to those in the past, Dr El Shammaa said: “Now, mothers constantly follow up with the doctors and are much more aware. Medicine is constantly evolving and fetal behaviour can be detected. There’s much more interest to learn and understand these aspects. The number of working mothers has also increased -- thanks to the wise, encouraging and futuristic outlook of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima. God grant her health,” he said. Read more Mohamed bin Zayed honours 12 personalities at 10th Abu Dhabi Awards UAE announces 1,931 new coronavirus cases, 1,833 recoveries and 3 deaths Mubadala Health’s obesity management centre earns European accreditation for its Abu Dhabi unit UAE: 33,972 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine administered during past 24 hours: MoHAP He added that a huge factor behind the improvement in the overall health and wellbeing of expectant mothers is the role played by their husbands and their support. “I constantly advise and encourage husbands to help their pregnant wives by joining them during their visits to the doctors and take good care of them during the entire pregnancy.”

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Lulu chairman Yusuff Ali, wife back in Abu Dhabi after forced helicopter landing in Kerala

UAE|: Abu Dhabi: M. A. Yusuff Ali, the chairman of UAE-headquartered multinational company Lulu Group, and his wife Shabira reached Abu Dhabi on Monday, a day after they had a narrow escape following an emergency landing of their helicopter in Kerala, India. The couple, two of their staff members and two pilots were aboard their private helicopter which made a forced landing in a swamp amid heavy rains and winds in Kochi. All passengers were safe, but sustained minor injuries and had been taken to hospital, early reports had said on Sunday. In a statement issued later, V Nandakumar, director of Marketing and Communications at Lulu, had said the helicopter “had to make a precautionary landing in Kochi”. “Yusuff Ali M.A. currently in Kerala, was on a short trip from his home in Kochi to visit a relative at a nearby hospital. Due to the sudden deterioration of the weather conditions and heavy rains, the experienced pilots decided to make precautionary landing at a safe place to prevent any risk to the life of the passengers of the public at large. All passengers and crew underwent necessary medical check-up and are safe,” read the statement. Read more UAE-based Lulu Group chairman Yousuf Ali’s helicopter makes emergency landing in Kerala Speaking to Gulf News on Monday, Nandakumar said both Yusuff Ali and his wife reached Abu Dhabi on an Etihad charter flight by 5:45am on Monday. “His family members including all three daughters had flown home yesterday to bring the parents back here. All of them returned safely.” He said the couple were fine and resting at home after undergoing another round of check-up in Abu Dhabi. “There could be some slight pains and aches … but nothing major,” he said when asked about their health. The pilot finding that place to safely land the helicopter without causing safety risk to the passengers and the residents in the area is a big blessing. All are happy about that,” he added, while heading to the inauguration of the 209th branch of Lulu in Dubai Silicon Oasis. Meanwhile, efforts to remove the helicopter were underway in Kerala. An investigation on the technical issues that led to the emergency landing would be carried out by the aviation authorities in India.

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Want to homeschool your child in the UAE? Read this

Education|: Dubai: Parents planning to homeschool their children in the UAE have multiple accredited options, a webinar organised by Pakistan Association Dubai (PAD) explained on Saturday. Homeschooling is not prohibited in the UAE but not officially recognised either. However, there are a few accredited pathways for students, the webinar discussed. The webinar was led by Muna Ajadi, who heads Tawakkul Educational Consultancy, and held in collaboration with Targheeb Educational Consultancy Services. The virtual event was held live on PAD’s Facebook page. What are the options? Ajadi said there are three options in the UAE for accredited homeschooling. The first one she listed was the ‘Rahhal’ programme recognised by Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority. Students first have to register in one of the 20 participating Dubai private schools. Parents and the school then sign a contract about how much time the student will homeschool instead of attending regular classes and agree on the fees. Muna Ajadi of Tawakkul Educational Consultancy addresses the webinar. Image Credit: Screengrab “At the end of the school year, you should be able to come out with a school certificate that states that your child was educated under this school. So you will have an accredited school certificate at the end of the year for that grade,” Ajadi said. Ministry programme Second on her list was the homeschooling programme under the Ministry of Education. This is open for grade seven students (who are at least 14 years old) to grade 12 in public schools, she Ajadi said. Students do not have to attend regular classes and the education zone of their emirate of residence provides them the books. The coursework is set by the ministry and the students self-learn or choose a private tutor. The students take the ministry’s exams in the end of the term to earn their certificate. Coping in pandemic It is not known exactly how many children in the UAE are homeschooling, but the number is believed to be in the thousands. One group, Dubai and Northern Emirates Homeschool Association, alone has over 6,000 members. Ajadi said school fees have become “unbearable” for some parents “due to the COVID-19 situation”. In Dubai, school fees have not been allowed to rise for two years, with many schools reducing fees or offering discounts. Word of caution “There are certain requirements that the ministry asks of you before they will accept your child into the programme. So you will need to contact them directly to see whether they will accept your family under your current circumstances. However, if you are accepted onto this programme, successful completion of this type of homeschool education in the UAE is equivalent to graduation from any regular public high school in the UAE,” Ajadi said. Board exams The third option, she added, is to homeschool “all the way through” and sit accredited international board exams such as the IGCSEs, normally taken by Year 11 students, through the British Council. Ajadi said as long as homeschoolers have studied the course, they can sit the exams no matter if they are much younger. They don’t have to be wait to be a certain age or grade level; however, they should be at least 10 years old, she added. Word of caution Last June, UAE education authorities cautioned parents against enrolling their children in distance learning from schools outside the UAE that are not recognised. The advisory followed reports at the time that some UAE-based parents were considering the move after being approached on social media by such schools offering annual fees less than Dh5,000. Authorities in the UAE had warned against choosing unaccredited operators abroad, saying their certificates will not be accepted in the emirates. “So if your children take their exams at the British Council, they will get certified certificates from there. And they can go on to applying to approved colleges and universities in the UAE. And also these certificates are accepted internationally,” Ajadi said.

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245 police patrols to deploy on Sharjah Roads during Ramadan

Government|: Sharjah: Sharjah Police have prepared a comprehensive security plan for Ramadan. Brigadier General Abdullah Mubarak bin Amer, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of Sharjah Police, chaired a meeting on Sunday evening to define the security preparations of the Sharjah Police General Command for Ramadan. Brigadier General Ahmad Al Serkal, Director General of Police Operations, and Brigadier Dr. Ahmad Saeed Al Naour Director General of Central Operations, and a number of specialised directors of departments were present at the meeting. The meeting discussed the readiness of the competent departments, reviewing their security plans designed to enhance preventive and comprehensive security measures at the emirate level, in a way that guarantees the achievement of security and safety. The meeting also dealt with the security, traffic and societal plan to strengthen security measures in residential areas, industrial areas, roads and public squares. The number of police patrols will be increased to 245 every day to provide the necessary support to community members, and to facilitate their services around the clock. Banned activities Officials reminded the public that family and institutional iftar tents are banned during Ramadan this year. Iftar banquets for groups; and distributing iftar meals in front of restaurants, at gatherings, or in front of homes and mosques, cars or any other means is banned as well. Distribution of free charity meals is only allowed through the official charitable bodies accredited in the emirate. Brigadier General Abdullah Mubarak bin Amer Inspections will be stepped up to ensure compliance with the rules in a manner that guarantees the security, safety and health of community members during the holy month, Brigadier Bin Amer said. Residents are advised to call the police on 901 if they spot any COVID-19 safety rules being violated. Only one cannon this year Ramadan cannon locations were also discussed in the meeting. The only cannon this year will be placed at Al Majaz Waterfront. This decision is based on the general leadership’s concern for the health and safety of the community, in order to prevent this event from causing crowding and human gatherings at firing sites. This is in line with the precautionary and preventive measures that the competent authorities follow to limit the spread of COVID-19. The meeting also dealt with discussing the negative phenomena appearing during the holy month, such as begging, the surge in street vendors, and others, and to educate the public how report such issues to police through their official channels in order to protect members of society from these risks. Brigadier Bin Amer urged the public not to sympathise with beggars or dealing with street vendors, as these require cooperation with the police from the public to maintaining the security, health and safety of society, by calling 901 or contact the toll-free number 80040, dedicated to reporting negative phenomena, or via the guard service through the Sharjah Police smart app.

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UAE expats: Best time to remit? Indian Rupee to weaken, Pakistani Rupee to drop, Philippine Peso seen stable

Dubai: When it comes to sending money back home, it is vital to know whether it is currently an ideal time to remit. To understand whether it is or isn’t, one should first find out if your currency back home is expected to rise or fall in the days to come. According to statistics, South Asians, which – among others – include people from India, Pakistan and the Philippines, make up nearly 60 per cent of the UAE population. So, it would be financially beneficial to regularly analyse currencies of the above countries, be it – the Rupee or the Peso. Here is an analysis of how these aforementioned currencies have been performing and expected to perform in the coming weeks and months, to help understand whether remitting money now is profitable or cost-effective, or should you wait it out for a few weeks for a better rate to come along. What currencies will drop in the weeks to come? Remittances from the UAE are seeing a sharp surge as several, particularly South Asian currencies, were losing ground in the past weeks. However, the trend is not seen lasting as current currency exchange rates against UAE dirham, for the Indian Rupee, is seen rising in the weeks to come. Where is the Indian Rupee headed in the rest of April? With the Indian rupee currently at 20.34 to the UAE dirham, the Indian rupee last weakened to 74.7 against the US dollar. According to research, the Indian rupee is expected to average between Rs20.4-21 against the UAE dirham in the remaining days of April. However, these rates are seen persisting towards mid-May, rates are seen dropping to as low as Rs20.7, and as high as Rs21, before rebounding back slightly by the end of the month. During the rest of 2021, analysis indicates that rates will stay around the 21-level or higher, indicating that now is currently the most cost-effective time to remit, when compared to the remainder of the year. Pakistani Rupee seen dropping in the coming weeks In Pakistan, the buying rate of the US dollar was 152.88 Pakistani rupee (41.6 versus UAE dirham). According to research, the Pakistani rupee is expected to drop to Rs40.7, from the current Rs41.6 against the UAE dirham in the remaining days of April – dropping to as low as Rs40.4 in the first couple of weeks of May. During the last two weeks of May, the Pakistani Rupee will mostly average between 40.9 and 40.4. Global ratings agency Fitch Solution predicts the Pakistani currency to average weaker at Rs171.15 for every US dollar in 2021, citing higher structural inflation in the US. Picture used for illustrative purposes. Image Credit: Photo Virendra Saklani/Gulf News Where is the Philippine Peso headed in the weeks to come? According to research, the Philippine Peso is expected to average between 13.19-13.26 against the UAE dirham over the next one month, with no major fluctuations seen – making it ideal to send money any time over the next coming weeks. The average exchange rate against the UAE dirham in April will be 13.2, with the currency slipping just 0.2 per cent in the month. Over the month of May, rates are expected to stay largely the same at the end the month while the exchange rate averages at 13.24. However, during the following months of June and July this year, rates are expected to spike about 1.4 per cent to over 13.36. So, it would be cost-effective to remit during the preceding months. The Philippine Peso dropped 1 per cent during the last quarter. What about other South Asia currencies? When analysing other South Asia currencies, even the Nepalese currency, which remains pegged to the Indian currency since 1994, has been falling. With the world’s worst performing currencies in the entire Asian region, it can be ascertained that some South Asian currencies are getting weaker with respect to the standard US dollar. When analysing exchange rates for Bangladeshi Taka against the UAE dirham, rates averaged at 23.09 over the last 180 days. The Thai Baht was the worst performer among commonly traded Southeast Asian currencies during the first quarter, as its fundamentals were eroded due to lack of tourist spending. The Baht depreciated 4 per cent against the US dollar to 31.24, according to Refinitiv data. The fall stood out from regional peers, which also were in decline. On Wednesday last week, the Baht reached the cheapest level in roughly half a year. Among other regional peers, the Indonesian rupiah and Malaysian ringgit fell 3.4 per cent and 3.1 per cent respectively in the first quarter. The Singaporean Dollar also fell over 1 per cent, while the Vietnamese Dong remained virtually flat. The Myanmar Kyat, a rarely traded currency in the region, recorded a 5.6 per cent drop during the quarter. The Refinitiv data showed that the Myanmar kyat has not changed in the currency spot market in the past two months on account of economic instability.

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Why there is no stopping the BJP in India

On April 6, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) marked its forty-first Sthapana Divas (Foundation Day) with quiet online celebrations, both at the national and district levels . This was to be expected, given that the whole country is in the middle of a second Covid-19 wave, even more virulent than the earlier one. With the latest daily caseload of over 150,000, the figures are nothing short of alarming. The good news, however, is that over 100 million Indians have already been vaccinated and the fatality rates in this second surge are considerably lower, even if the new strains seem to be highly infectious and transmissible. With many parts of the country, including India’s financial capital, Mumbai, facing an imminent lockdown or at least much more stringent curfews, the Covid-19 pandemic in India is far from over. Oddly, though, the fear and alarm over the virus have really reduced. More by Prof Makarand R. Paranjape Mamata Banerjee: The “Didi” who cried wolf From India’s Metro Man to chief ministerial candidate of Kerala New models of leadership for India and the world Modi in Dhaka: India and Bangladesh share a golden bond What is certain is that there is much that we are yet to learn about this deadly and deceptive enemy. Whom it infects, how it affects those infected, what our resistance or immunity levels truly are after getting infected once or receiving the first jab – answers to none of these basic questions is immediately forthcoming let alone definitive. The country is also in the midst of assembly elections and farmers protests, both of which are fertile grounds for the spread of the virus. In addition, Cooch Bihar in West Bengal unfortunately witnessed poll violence, leaving four dead on April 10th. Just a few of days earlier, on April 4th, Easter Sunday, Maoist insurgents gunned down twenty-three state security personnel in an ambush. Modi's message  Given this unfolding scenario, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s message to the members of his party could not have been more apt. “The nation is bigger than the party,” Modi said, just as the “party is bigger than the individual.” It is not clear how many of the reported 180 million members of the world’s largest political organisation were tuned in or paying attention. But the message is certainly relevant and valuable to all patriotic citizens. Modi acknowledged the contributions of stalwarts before him who made the party great, especially leaders such as Syama Prasad Mukherjee, Deen Dayal Upadhyay, Kushabhau Thackre, Rajmata Scindia, and Atal Bihari Vajpayee. He praised senior living trailblazers, such as Lal Krishna Advani and Murali Manohar Joshi, who helped give direction and expand the party. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the first prime minister from the BJP, was an erudite scholar and noted poet Image Credit: PTI He remembered the founder of BJP’s earlier avatar, the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee. Just two years after founding the party in 1951, Mookerjee died prematurely in Kashmir on 23 June 1953, under circumstances which many consider suspicious. Mookerjee was campaigning against the special status given to Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) because he believed that it divided and weakened the republic. Why wasn’t the jurisdiction of the President of India applicable in J&K? Why was a special permit required to enter the state? To protest, he entered the state without a permit. He also popularised the slogan, “Ek desh mein do Vidhan, do Pradhan aur do Nishan nahi chalenge, nahi chalenge” – two legislatures, two prime ministers, and two flags in one nation are not acceptable, not acceptable. By abrogating Article 370 and turning the erstwhile state of J&K into two Union Territories, Modi said that his government had fulfilled Mookerjee’s demand of fully integrating the province into the Indian Union. Evolution from Jana Sangh The Jana Sangh became part of the popular front, the Janata Party, which ousted Indira Gandhi from power after the Emergency in 1975. But in 1980, the Janata Party broke up after the erstwhile Jana Sangh members were banned for being “dual members” of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in addition to the Janata Party. The old Jana Sangh faction exited from the Janata Party to launch a new political formation, the BJP. At that time, who would have imagined that they would one day become the dominant political force in the country? This spectacular rise was remembered and emphasised by current party president, J. P. Nadda. He underscored the 303 BJP members elected to the Lok Sabha in the 2019 general elections, besides the twelve states of India where the BJP was currently in power. He praised Modi’s leadership in taking the party to new heights. Modi, in turn, criticised the opposition for dubbing his party “an election-winning machine.” On the contrary, he argued, BJP should be credited for freeing the country from “dynastic politics.” He said, “Parties that began with help from local aspirations, became a family-based party later. These parties, who were wearing a mask of secularism, are finally being unmasked." He maintained that his party worked for the development of the whole nation, for the “hopes, dreams, expectations of the people of this country.” He warned that false narratives were used to divide and mislead the people. He urged his party workers to spread awareness against the opposition conspiracy to instigate political instability through divisive appeals, lies, and rumour mongering. “The BJP means defeating dynasty-based politics. It means an opportunity to able leadership. It means transparency and good governance. It means 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikaas, Sabka Vishwas',” he stressed. The results of the keenly contested state assembly elections, especially in West Bengal, will indicate whether the people believe him or not. What is, however, quite evident is that at 41 the BJP is poised to go to even greater heights of political power and prowess in India. Makarand R. Paranjape @MakrandParanspe Makarand R. Paranjape is Director, Indian Institute of Advanced Study. Views are personal.

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UAE's next-gen ecommerce entrepreneurs and portals want a breakthrough

Retail|: Dubai: A new generation of digital startups and entrepreneurs are trying to break into the UAE’s ecommerce marketplace – and stop it from being a two-horse race. It won’t be easy - despite recording bumper growth in 2020 as more shoppers picked up their needs and luxuries online, it’s not a category where profits come easily. For every gains made by noon or Amazon, there have been casualties such as Awok.com. Then, there is the competition that the ecommerce ventures of UAE’s traditional retail heavyweights – Majid Al Futtaim, Apparel Group, LuLu and Landmark – come up with. But even then, recent weeks show that some are willing to give it a try. “Becoming a profitable online marketplace is tough,” said Nicolas Bruylants, co-founder of CNNB. “You have the likes of Amazon and noon as direct competitors, two companies that have very deep pockets that are fighting between themselves for marketshare by giving their customers the best price and experience, leaving little chance for other players. “But I believe there are still opportunities in the region for new kinds of marketplaces that address a specific vertical. For example, a marketplace that would focus on everything related to health, sleep and wellness, a trend that showed significant growth during the pandemic. Or a marketplace that offers verified-only sustainable, healthy and organic products.”Nicolas Bruylants of CNNB helps manage brands' online presence and gain visibility in digital marketplaces. Irish Eden. R. Belleza/Gulf News Bruylants’ venture CNNB is chasing opportunities in a niche area, where it’s ecommerce solutions will allow brands “to own their customer relationship”. He knows a thing or two about brands and selling, being the founder of citrussTV, the Dubai-based shopping channel that was later sold to a Chinese company. “The CNNB business is currently still self-funded, by myself,” he said. “The business name is after my business partner initials CN (Charbel Nasr) and mine. We have a strong background together from our time at citrussTV. “CNNB allows brands to concentrate on what they do best – promote their products – safe in the knowledge that we will maximize their online sales. Our team helps brands build online stores, manage and scale direct to consumer operations. “There are many brands that want to own their customer experience, but they aren’t doing it yet through lack of expertise, or time-to-market is too long for them, or investment is too large. We reduce the time-to-market and reduce the costs.” One for the small business Another ecommerce venture is going live in the UAE, this time more as a marketplace. But rather than be a platform for everything – as noon or Amazon do – SellShip.co targets small businesses and even individuals wanting to sell their products online. “Our platform is currently only available in the UAE, but it is open to more than just licensed business,” said Alex Briggs of SellShip. “Anyone above can sell with our free plan as we are looking to support start-ups/entrepreneurship and home businesses. As for businesses with trade licenses, we offer a different package with multiple features to support their selling process. “SellShip’s USP is its accessibility and casual environment. Any person from a small business to a single person looking for a new way to make money can easily make an account and sell items in a few minutes without the hassle of complicated terms or shipping.” The SellShip formula, according to Alex Briggs, is offer the easiest possible ways for small businesses or individuals to list their products online. And not worry about commissions. Image Credit: Supplied Still room for more The big names in local ecommerce too offer SMEs their platforms to sell from. But these come on rigid commission terms and rules of engagement. SellShip’s promoters clearly believe there is a chance to target a wider base of small businesses for whom costs matter as much as exposure. “A user must first create an account and an online store on SellShip,” said Briggs. “After creating the store, our team will verify the store details. Once approved the seller can go ahead and list an item/items. “When a buyer purchases the item, the seller will be notified to confirm the pick-up of the item. SellShip’s courier team will pick up the item and deliver it to the buyer. Upon delivery, the seller will be rated and paid.” B2B action Another UAE based venture, Tradeling, recently launched Tradeling Shops focussed exclusively on the micro- and small business community. It allows small businesses owners to source their wholesale supplies and targets grocers, minimarts, supermarkets, tea shops, cafeterias and small restaurants. The plan is to expand further and cater to laundromats, beauty salons, barbers and other small business shops. Tradeling Shops will give these businesses easy payment options ranging from cash to credit card. The service is now available in Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah and Umm Al Quwain and extend to Abu Dhabi and Al Ain later in the year. Marius Ciavola, CEO of Tradeling, said: “We cater to all segments of the B2B market to enable businesses to grow and operate with ease. Tradeling Shops is aimed at supporting small enterprise owners to expand their product range quickly, effectively and competitively so they can grow their businesses.” Tradeling Shops' is also aiming for the small business out there. This is one category that could see more action as more players come up with specific solutions that meet the needs of SMEs chasing an online exposure. Image Credit: Supplied Chance of successNitin Agarwal, President of Hundred, reckons price comparison apps can last the distance. Irish Eden R. Belleza/Gulf News If 2020 was the breakthrough year for the UAE’s ecommerce space, this year will be about furthering its possibilities. Deep pockets will count for a lot, as some of the online grocery portals are finding to their cost. But there are niche needs, which is what Bruylants means when he talks about looking beyond marketplaces. Nitin Agarwal, President of Hundred, seems to be doing just that. He has a newly launched app – View Hundred – that provides a listing of all the discount offers out there related to the individual’s credit or debit cards. This applies to all categories like food and drinks, retail, fashion, fitness, hotel and travel. So, if someone wants to know the three Ramadan deals linked to a particular card or set of cards, then tap on the View Hundred. Ditto for staycation offers if that’s what the user wants to browse through. There are other compare apps and platforms available, but the ones that can come up with the partner tie-ins will stand the best chance of surviving out there. Whatever the future has in store, the present is clear enough – the UAE’s ecommerce space is no closed shop.

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UAE to get new digital-only bank with Zand, with Mohammed Alabbar as Chairman

Banking|: Dubai: A new full-scale digital bank - 'Zand' - is set to open in the UAE - and becoming the "first in the world" to offer both retail and corporate banking services. In a statement, Mohamed Alabbar, the Chairman, said: “As the first fully independent digital bank in the country, with a full UAE banking licence, Zand will provide innovative, effective financial solutions that help simplify businesses and lives, addressing the needs of both retail and corporate customers.” Zand will be "unique in focusing on ecosystems and communities of businesses and individuals, enabling it to introduce unique products and services not traditionally available," the statement added. Work in progress Zand is awaiting regulatory clearance to go live. Its website is still static and asks visitors to register their interest for updates. Some of UAE's mega-banks already have gone live with their digital banking spinoffs, while in Abu Dhabi, the holding company ADQ could soon be launching one. “Backed by strong shareholders and working with the best bankers and technologists, we’ve built a bank that delivers on the promise of understanding and meeting customer needs," said Zand’s CEO, Olivier Crespin. "From our systems to our processes and our team, we're built and ready, and we're looking forward to welcoming the first customers soon.” The UAE combines progressive regulations with commercial, financial, and technology hubs. This provides the perfect environment for a world-leading digital bank that can launch in the UAE and scale beyond Mohammed Alabbar, Zand's Chairman

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Emirati astronaut Nora Al Matrooshi: First Arab 'space girl' set for orbital mission

Dubai: An Arab woman is on the cusp of joining an elite group of space pioneers. The UAE announced Nora Al Matrooshi, a 27-year-old Emirati engineer, as one for the country’s two new astronauts. She was chosen alongside Mohammed Al Mulla, 33, a pilot. Al Matrooshi is the first female Arab astronaut. There had been only 65 women in space. She was chosen from over 4,000 candidates to be trained for future exploration missions. The two form the second batch of the UAE Astronaut Programme. The announcement was made by His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai on Twitter. Q: How many astronauts does the UAE have? Four. Al Matrooshi and Al Mulla join astronauts Hazzaa Al Mansoori and Sultan Al Neyadi to form a four-member team under the UAE Astronaut Programme. They serve under the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), whose vision is to usher in the UAE to become one of the leading space-exploring nations through its National Space Programme. These are some of the women who have led space exploration. Image Credit: Vijith Pulikkal / Gulf News Q: What happens next? After selection, the new UAE astronauts will train for at least three years before a possible selection for a future mission. Al Matrooshi and Al Mulla will begin training in the UAE — before moving on to a 30-month course at Nasa’s Johnson Space Centre (JSC) in Houston, Texas, which starts later this year. They will then join the “2021 Nasa Astronaut Candidate Class”, part of a joint strategic agreement between the UAE and the US. Q: What would their training cover? They will undergo spacewalk training, language training (especially Russian), and systems training on board the International Space Station (ISS). The two new astronauts will be trained in the following: Human spaceflight Research and space flight control Carrying out missions in low-earth orbit Spacewalk training Systems training on the International Space Station (ISS) Language training (especially Russian) They will train using the Human Exploration Research Analog, a unique three-story habitat designed to serve as an “analog” for isolation, confinement, and remote conditions in exploration scenarios. Under the training programme, the astronauts will be trained to manage various missions on the ISS, including simulated spacewalks and long-duration stay, along with training in major systems, robotics, extravehicular activity, T-38 jet courses, water and land survival, Russian language skills and theoretical training. Their specific training, however, depends on the type of mission they would perform in space. Q: What mission will be given them? Following the extensive training for the next space mission, the astronauts would then undergo specific training for that expedition. This would typically run for 6 to 12 months. Hazza Al Mansouri, 37, the first Emirati in space, and reserve astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi, 39, have already completed six months of training at the JSC. Q: Who is Nora Al Matrooshi? Al Matrooshi, born in 1993, holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from UAE University. Al Matrooshi is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. She has a proven record of volunteer work and excellence in the scientific field and she ranked first in the UAE for the 2011 International Mathematical Olympiad. She worked as an engineer at the National Petroleum Construction Co. and was also the vice president of the Youth Council for three consecutive years at the company. Al Matrooshi’s passion for space started at a young age. She said she enjoyed going to stargazing events. “Do what makes you happy” is her motto. Salem Al Marri, head of the astronaut programme at MBRSC, said Al Matrooshi has a long and promising career ahead of her. Q: Why is Nora Al Matrooshi’s selection historic for the Arab world? She is the Arab world’s first woman astronaut, chosen alongside pilot Mohammed Al Mulla out of 4,305 applicants after going through rigorous testing process. The UAE is investing heavily in space. The country has also invested in aviation, and is already a manufacturer of advanced aircraft parts supplying commercial planemakers like Boeing and Airbus. Dh 22 b the amount of money earmarked by UAE for its space program, starting with the creation of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre in 2014 The country has already earmarked Dh22 billion since the MBRSC was established in 2014 for its space program. Al Matrooshi and Mohammed Al Mulla are expected to consolidate their country’s position in the upcoming space missions. The Boeing Blue suit, as worn by Nasa astronaut Chris Ferguson. Image Credit: Boeing Earlier this year, on February 9, 2021, the UAE Hope Probe successfully entered Mars’ orbit, thus making the country now only the fifth nation or entity in the world to reach the Red Planet. Q: How many women have flown in space? 65. As of March 2021, 65 women have flown in space, including cosmonauts, astronauts, payload specialists, and space station participants. The first woman in space was Russian cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, who flew on Vostok 6 on June 16, 1963. The first American woman in space, Sally Ride, flew aboard the Space Shuttle STS-7 in June of 1983. 65 As of March 2021, 65 women have flown in space, including cosmonauts, astronauts, payload specialists, and space station participants. Q: How many people have travelled in space? More than 560. As of January 2018, people from 37 countries have traveled in space. 553 people have reached Earth orbit. 556 have reached the altitude of space according to the FAI definition of the boundary of space, and 562 people have reached the altitude of space according to the American definition. Q: Has anyone ever died in space? Yes, a total of 18 people have lost their lives either while in space or in preparation for a space mission, in four separate incidents, according to New Scientist. Q: Astronaut suit: What is it made of? Who makes them? The Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit, or xEMU, (left) and the Orion Crew Survival Suit being revealed in 2019. File photo. Image Credit: Nasa The design of astronaut suits have changed over the years. The earlier ones used were bulky. They are mostly composed of urethane-coated nylon. There’s a restraining layer of Dacron and an outer thermal garment composed of Neoprene-coated nylon. It also has five layers of aluminised Mylar and a fabric surface layer composed of Teflon, Kevlar, and Nomex. Hard-shell suits are usually made of metal or composite materials. Spacesuits do not use fabric for joints. Hard suits joints use ball bearings. The Boeing Blue suits are about 40% lighter than earlier generations of spacesuits worn by American astronauts — and more flexible. The spacesuits worn by astronauts for the SpaceX Crew Dragon mission, on the other hand, is a further iteration of earlier designs. The futuristic flight suits worn by Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken included: 3D printed helmets, and the gloves are touchscreen-sensitive. NASA astronauts Doug Hurley (foreground) and Bob Behnken give a thumbs up from inside the Crew Dragon capsule ahead of the Demo-2 launch on May 30, 2020. (Image credit: SpaceX/Twitter) Image Credit: Nasa Their primary purpose remains the same: protect crew members from depressurisation, where air is lost from the capsule. The suits also ensure astronauts have sufficient oxygen and regulate their temperature. A communications link and breathable air are provided via a single "umbilical" cable in the seat that plugs in to the suit. Nasa astronauts Doug Hurley (foreground) and Bob Behnken give a thumbs up from inside the Crew Dragon capsule ahead of the Demo-2 launch on May 30, 2020. The SpaceX 'Starman' futuristic flight suits are a world away from the bulky orange shuttle flight suits. The helmets are 3D-printed and the gloves are touchscreen-sensitive. Image Credit: SpaceX/Twitter Q: Is there a woman in space at the moment? Yes, Dr Kate Rubins is a viral disease expert and has spent more than 115 days in space. She has a PhD in cancer biology from Stanford. It’s not her first space mission. During her first ISS mission in 2016, the virologist became the first human to ever sequence DNA in orbit. Her pioneering efforts are a “game changer” for health research on Earth and in space. Nasa said that one day, it may be used as a tool to help us study alien lifeforms). Her second spaceflight kicked off on October 14, 2020. She’s currently part of a team conducting research in technology development, Earth science, biology, human research. She is expected to fly back to Earth on board the Soyuz capsule scheduled to parachute to a landing on the steppes of Kazakhstan at on April 17, 2021 after a 185-day mission. Q: What’s the idea behind DNA sequencing in space? In 2016, DNA was successfully sequenced in microgravity for the first time ever. It formed part of the Biomolecule Sequencer experiment performed by Nasa astronaut Kate Rubins aboard the International Space Station (ISS). “The ability to sequence the DNA of living organisms in space opens a whole new world of scientific and medical possibilities. Scientists consider it a game changer,” Nasa said. DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, contains the instructions each cell in an organism on Earth needs to live. These instructions are represented by the letters A, G, C and T, which stand for the four chemical bases of DNA, adenine, guanine, cytosine, and thymine. Both the number and arrangement of these bases differ among organisms, so their order — or sequence — can be used to identify a specific organism. The ability to sequence DNA in space demonstrated, for the first time, that DNA sequencing is possible in an orbiting spacecraft. As such, astronauts could diagnose an illness, or identify microbes growing in the International Space Station and determine whether or not they represent a health threat. Image Credit: Nasa A space-based DNA sequencer would be an important tool to help protect astronaut health during long duration missions on the journey to Mars, and future explorers could also potentially use the technology to identify DNA-based life forms beyond Earth. UAE’s Hope Probe moves to science orbit UAE’s Hope Probe now on its science orbit around Mars Mars Hope Probe: A quantum leap forward UAE HOPE PROBE Hope Probe entered Mars’ orbit on February 9, 2021. It was followed by China’s Tianwen-1 dual orbiter-rover which arrived in Mars on February 10, 2021. Nasa’s Perseverance rover landed on Mars on February 18. All three Mars missions were launched in July 2020. The Hope Probe has travelled over 435 million kilometres to Mars after liftoff from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Centre in July 2020.

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Strong reaction against communal remark on Kerala couple’s viral dance video

India|: Kochi: A dance video showing two medical students of Thrissur Medical College — Janaki M Omkumar, a Hindu, and Naveen K Razak, a Muslim — went viral last week. The due danced to Boney M’s Rasputin in their college. Controversy ensued when an advocate on Facebook made communal, divisive comments about the dua, because of Razak’s religion. The advocate, Krishna Raj, compared the case to that of another girl, Nimisha, a Hindu girl from Kerala, who joined Daesh after marrying a Christian man who had converted to Islam and joined Daesh later. “Janaki & Naveen. Dance of two students from Thrissur Medical College has gone viral Students are Janaki Omkumar and Naveen K Razak. Something is fishy about this. Better if Janaki’s parents can be more cautious. Nimisha’s mother has shown us that u needn’t if you have taken proper care. Let’s pray for Janaki’s husband Omkumar and his wife,” Raj wrote on Facebook. On Friday evening, the college union came up with yet another video of more students dancing to the same music. The communal remark trigged a massive response, and support for the duo. On Friday evening, the college union came up with yet another video of more students dancing to the same music. The video was posted with hashtag #resisthate and captioned, “If your plan is to hate, then we have decided to resist”. The students’ union at the Cochin University of Science and Technology in Kochi, led by the CPM’s Students’ Federation of India, announced a dance challenge with cash prizes in solidarity with Janaki and Naveen. A member of the union, Abhinav Krishna, said, “We also borrowed the term ‘Entho oru panthikedu (there’s something fishy)’ from the lawyer’s comments for our dance challenge. We want to register our protest at those making such hateful comments to show that these have no place in Kerala.” The video of the medical students went viral last week, with many of the users sharing them on Instagram and other social media handles. Janaki and Naveen are part of the 25-member dance team at Thrissur Medical College. Their video was filmed by their friend Musthak Ali. They said that they were planning to do another fun reel soon and would like to dance with the other team members. Though Janaki and Naveen have posted several solo acts and some moves along with Viking members, none of them got such wide appreciation.

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Saudi Arabia announces first day of Ramadan 2021 as Tuesday, April 13

Gulf|Ramadan|: Dubai: The first day of Ramadan will be April 13, Tuesday, the moon sighting committee in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announced on Sunday evening. The committee added that the crescent moon had not been sighted. Accordingly, Monday, April 12, will be the last and 30th day of Shaban 1442 Hijri. Sunday marks the 29th day of Shaban, the month before Ramadan according to the Islamic calendar. Ramadan lasts for one complete moon cycle, which is usually 29 or 30 days. The moon sighting determines the duration. Read more Ramadan 2021: When is the first day of Ramadan and everything else you need to know Check daily prayer timings in the UAE. Makkah is considered the holiest city in Islam. Not only was it the birthplace of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), but also the location where Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) had his first revelation of the Quran. Because of this, the rest of the Islamic world follows Saudi Arabia’s announcement. UAE also usually follows Saudi Arabia's announcement, but residents should wait for an official confirmation from the UAE authorities. Eid Al Fitr is a three-day celebration that marks the end of Ramadan. The exact date will be determined by the moon-sighting committee. Ebrahim Al Jarwan, member of the Arab Union for Astronomy and Space Sciences and head of Sharjah Planetarium said that the crescent moon for the month of Shawwal will form on May 11, 2021, although it is not expected to be visible until Thursday, May 13, which will mark the first day of Eid Al Fitr. Details to follow.