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Damac launches new two-bedroom townhomes

Damac Properties, a leading luxury real estate developer in the region, has launched Evo Townhomes, a range of two-bedroom homes that appeal to couples and young professionals who are in search of a revolutionary living concept.

Combining both space and practicality, Evo Townhomes provide enough room to cater to the dynamic lifestyle of the new and modern generation.

These two-bedroom townhomes are available for Dh699,999 ($190,527) payable over five years, said the Emirati developer in a statement.

Featuring two bedrooms, a kitchen, a living room, covered parking and private garden or terrace, these cosy townhomes exemplify the next level in convenience and modernity.

From contemporary homes to wide-open spaces, recreational activities and lifestyle amenities; there is always an array of things to see and do, it added.

Niall McLoughlin, the senior VP, Damac Properties said: "Keeping millennials in mind, we launched yet another innovative product offering that speaks to the ever-changing lifestyle of the young and lively generation. Evo represents the address of choice for those seeking an enriching community that reinvents itself to keep up with their requirements."

Evo Townhomes, he stated, break the Dubai mould as they are set within Akoya Oxygen master development away from the skyscrapers, busy roads and bustling suburbs.

These are ideal community living for couples and young professionals, he added.

Akoya Oxygen is a green community that embraces tranquility and a more leisurely way of life. At the heart of the development is the Trump World Golf Club Dubai where residents can play on the rolling greens or take in the breathtaking vistas, said the top official.

It is located in the heart of new Dubai, where an array of entertainment and leisure amenities can be found. It’s also close to major road networks, business centres and landmark attractions allowing convenient access to key destinations, he added.- TradeArabia News Service


Azizi unveils luxury residential project in Dubai

Azizi Developments has announced the launch of its latest residential development, Azizi Aura, that offers studios, one- and two-bedroom apartments with luxury hotel facilities in the prime Jebel Ali area of Dubai, UAE.

Centrally located with convenience in mind, Azizi Aura is in close proximity to Dubai Marina, offering easy access to Sheikh Zayed Road and Mohammad Bin Zayed Road, said a statement from the developer.

As one of the most comprehensive developments in Jebel Ali, Aura rises up 17 floors and is home to 346 elegant residential units, it stated.

The apartments of the complex vary in size and shape with 191 studios, 124 one-bedroom flats and 23 two-bedroom units making up the count.

Azizi Developments said all the apartments have been designed with residents in mind. Inspired by European craftsmanship, the colours and mood of each unit reflect the warmth of a home that is imultaneously cozy, elegant and aesthetically pleasing, it stated.

With masterful finishing and beautifully intricate designs, Aura combines elegance with timelessness to offer the utmost comfort and luxury through key amenities such as landscaped gardens, gymnasium and swimming pool apart from retail areas and covered parking.

The units are all elegantly decorated with marble flooring, ample counter space and mesmerising wall and ceiling detail, said the UAE developer.

Aura’s apartments are paneled with ceiling-to-floor windows that bask each and every residential unit in the warm hues of Dubai, offering breathtaking views and refined spaces, it added.

To woo investors, Azizi has announced a flexible 50/50 payment plan for the Aura project under which investors need to pay 50 per cent in the construction phase and the rest on handover.

The project is likely to be handed over in the first quarter of 2019, it added.

A major Emirati real estate developer with a global reach, Azizi Developments had last year announced plans to launch 50 new projects comprising a mix of residential, commercial and retail space in 2017.

It currently has 15 projects in Al Furjan, two in the Palm and the first in Dubai Healthcare City. The company’s flagship project is Azizi Mina Hotel Apartments, which represents the city’s ambitious outlook and luxurious lifestyle- TradeArabia News Service


Abu Dhabi taxi tariffs to go up

Abu Dhabi taxi tariffs have been revised to enhance the quality of service provided to taxi riders, an Abu Dhabi Integrated Transport Center statement said.

The new flag-down rate will be Dh5 for daytime trips, Dh5.5 for night trips, and the fare will be Dh1.82 per km for both day and night trips. The waiting time charge per minute is 50 fils for both day and night trips, while the taxi booking rate is now Dh4 for day trips and Dh5 for night trips.

The minimum rate has been set at Dh12 for both day and night trips. The daytime trips are from 6am to 10pm, and night trips are from 10pm to 6am.

The new rates have been approved by the Abu Dhabi Executive Council and shall be effective one month after the date of publishing in the Official Gazette, said the statement.

The new rates supports the technological advancement witnessed by the transport sector in the emirate and contributes to providing services capable of enhancing the satisfaction of taxicab users, said Abu Dhabi Integrated Transport Center general manager Mohammed Darwish Al Qamzi.

“The Abu Dhabi Integrated Transport Center continuously seeks to improve the quality of services on offer to community members through broadening the scope of smart transport services and launching various initiatives and programmes in cooperation with taxi operators to provide safe trips to all customers,” he said.

“Despite the hike, the taxi fare in Abu Dhabi emirate remains the lowest when compared to top cosmopolitan cities,” said Al Qamzi. – TradeArabia News Service


In Qatar, the doctor will see you now – at home

A new startup in Qatar is offering ill residents a chance to see a doctor without even leaving their homes.

The business, which formally launched a few months ago, is the brainchild of Qatar expat Hesham Elfeshawy.

Speaking to Doha News, the Egyptian engineer said he was lying in bed sick one morning when he had a “lightbulb moment.”

Elfeshawy knew that he needed to see a doctor, but rued having to get up and head to a hospital or polyclinic.

“I felt so bad, and I thought how wonderful it would be if you had an app that you could just click and a doctor would knock on your door,” he recalled to Doha News.

Elfeshawy shared his vision with his twin brother Hatem, a doctor who previously worked in Qatar.

He had plans to launch a similar business in Australia, where he is now based.

“It’s true that we have a common language,” Hesham Elfeshawy said about his brother. He continued:

“We usually have a shared mental model. I was discussing various business ideas with Hatem and he said he’d registered a home doctor company in the Australia. So we decided to do it at the same time.”

The duo eventually set up At Home Doc together, with Hatem acting as Chief Medical Officer, and Hashem managing the business in Qatar.

Positive reviews

It took the brothers almost two years to register their company locally.

They needed to find a Qatari partner, secure funding and receive full accreditation from authorities to offer medical services.

The funding in particular proved to be a challenge. But in February, two Doha-based doctors began seeing patients in their homes for the first time.

Both of these doctors are (coincidentally) also Egyptian, and both are registered to practice medicine in Australia.

“We wanted all of our employees, in Qatar and Australia, to be on the same level, so we focused on them needing Australian accreditation,” Hatem Elfeshawy told Doha News.

“We don’t want our doctors to improvise – we have standard procedures they must all follow.”

How the service works

Plans for Android and Apple apps and a website are in the works, but for now, At Home Doc is operating primarily from a Facebook page and via phone (7772 0807).

Once a patient gets in touch, the company’s office staff ask the on-duty doctor to pay the house call.

At Home Doc charges QR350 per home visit, a fee that Elfeshawy said was on par with rates at private clinics in Doha.

Customers pay the doctor for the service via cash or card. At Home Doc provides them with forms so that they can claim the money back from their insurance company, if they have one.

When the doctor visits, he will assess the patient, order any necessary tests and prescribe medication if needed.

Prescribed medication is delivered for free, and if further tests are needed, someone will either come to the house to take blood tests, or the patient can visit a laboratory for further screening.

Follow-up care or transfers to the hospital can also be arranged.

According to Hatem Elfeshawy, who now travels frequently to Doha, the company aims to be “as responsive as possible.”

The service is open for around 18 hours a day, with doctors sometimes seeing patients as late as 1am.

Positive reviews

Despite the fact that the business is still in its early stages, At Home Doc’s Facebook page has already gotten several five-star reviews.

Many patients, including Afroditi Moschoudi, extolled the speedy response time.

“Pleasantly surprised by the customer service, level of response and great visiting doctor who took time and care to examine an entire family down with bad flu,” she said.

So far, about three to five patients are reaching out to the company a day, via Facebook and phone.

At Home Doc has also been approached by a number of hotels to provide consultations for tourists.

Plans are now afoot to expand the business in Qatar and other Gulf countries.

Service with a smile

According to Hatem Elfeshawy, what sets his company apart from other private medical providers in Qatar is its focus on customer service and competitive pricing.

“We don’t have assets and labs that we need to return of investment on,” he told Doha News. “We only refer patients to labs when it is required, we don’t require extra examinations when they are not required. We don’t abuse insurance providers and we don’t abuse patients.”

He also emphasized that he is keen on his company’s doctors adhering to best medical practices. This includes only prescribing antibiotics where they are necessary, he added.


Bahrain starts work on strategic road projects

Work has started on the Busaiteen Exit Extension linked to Shaikh Isa bin Salman Causeway in Bahrain in bid to alleviate traffic congestion along 11 locations in North Muharraq area of the kingdom, said a statement from the Ministry of Works, Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning.

The project, to be completed over two phases, will see alternative access and exit points along Ghous Highway and the Airport Highway, it stated.

Minister of Works, Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning Essam bin Abdulla Khalaf said the implementation of the project follows directives from HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister to alleviate traffic congestion along 11 locations over two phases, until other mega development projects take place as part of $1.2 billion development projects included within the GCC Development Programme.

By implementing such projects, the ministry will adopt quick solutions to alleviate traffic congestions along some intersections over two stages, the first of which will contain 6 projects and the second stage will contain 5 projects. The projects are funded by the Ministry’s budget for 2015-2016, explained Al Khalaf.

The project, he stated, will see the completion of construction of Road 2841 as a single road with one lane on each direction at a length of 2,317km; parallel to Ghous Highway and connected to the present exit along Sheikh Isa bin Salman Causeway, thus alleviating traffic congestions and providing smooth traffic flow in the area in general and in Saya in particular.

The extension will also allow residents to exit the area directly along Sheikh Isa Causeway towards Manama and thus reduce trip time, he added.

"Once completed, the capacity of the road will become 1,200 vehicles per hour, thus attracting part of the traffic travelling along Ghous Highway and will also reduce congestion by 20 per cent," said Al Khalaf.

"It is expected that 306 vehicles will travel along the road during the morning peak hour while 400 vehicles will use the same road during the afternoon peak hour and 225 vehicles per hour during evening time," he added.

In another development, the ministry said 80 per cent of the work has been completed at the A3 Storm Water Drainage Network Project, which aims to serve eight blocks in Muharraq and two blocks in Manama.

The scope of work includes extension of 3.805km-long main connections, constructing 35 inspection chambers, 239 storm water collection points and 28 storm water collection chambers to serve Block 236 in Samaheej, Block 226 in Busaiteen, Block 233 in Dair, Blocks 202, 210 and 2016 in Muharraq, Block 244 in Arad, Block 341 in Juffair and Block 359 in Zinj, stated Nazha Abo Hindi, the sanitary engineering planning and projects director at the ministry.

The BD479,489 ($1.26 million) project was awarded to Arad Contracting Company, she added.- TradeArabia News Service


Hilton, KFCD partner for $66m hotel in Bahrain

Hilton and King Faisal Corniche Development (KFCD) have partnered to launch Bahrain’s first Hilton Hotels & Resorts property at The Avenues in Manama – a major retail and leisure destination scheduled to open later this year.

The agreement for the 210-room, $66-million Hilton Bahrain Bay Hotel & Residences was signed by Hilton CEO Chris Nassetta and Mohammed Alshaya, chairman of KFCD and Mabanee Company, in Dubai, UAE.

The partnership sees the debut of the Hilton Hotels & Resorts brand in Bahrain and the opening of Waldorf Astoria and a Hilton Garden Inn as part of the expansion of The Avenues, Kuwait, also owned by Mabanee.

Rudi Jagersbacher, president, Middle East, Africa & Turkey for Hilton Worldwide, said: "It is very exciting for us to be bringing our core Hilton Hotels & Resorts brand to Bahrain for the first time. This represents a significant commitment to the market for us and we are doing so with a trusted partner in KFCD, and at a location which is set to become one of the country’s premier attractions for both visitors and local residents.”

Hilton Bahrain Bay Hotel & Residences will be directly attached to The Avenues, Bahrain. Phase One of the development will offer a wide choice of leading retail and restaurant brands covering 40,000 sq m of GLA (gross leasable area), which is due to open in the last quarter of 2017. A second phase will add a further 30,000 sq m of GLA. The site is located on the waterfront of Bahrain Bay.

Alshaya said: “As we continue to evolve The Avenues brand, we are delighted to strengthen our partnership with one of the world’s best-known hospitality companies and build on a relationship forged in Kuwait. Our partnership with Hilton Worldwide will enhance the overall experience at The Avenues, Bahrain creating a destination that appeals to local visitors, tourists and business travellers alike at this prime location.”

Hotel guests at Hilton Bahrain Bay Hotel & Residences will have direct access to the world class retail and entertainment offered at The Avenues, as well as the new 1.5-km stretch of the corniche, created to provide recreational and family-friendly facilities on the waterfront. The property will also benefit from direct links to both King Faisal Highway and Shaikh Isa Bin Salman Causeway, enabling ease of access to international visitors arriving at Bahrain International Airport or on the Causeway system linking Bahrain to Saudi Arabia.

Carlos Khneisser, vice president, Development, Mena & Turkey, Hilton said: “We are continuing to sustain rapid growth across the GCC under a range of brands and all these hotels represent quality locations and valuable additions to our portfolio. Working in strong partnership with owners such as KFCD and Mabanee, on a continued basis allows us to expand more quickly and more strategically. We look forward to working together on identifying further opportunities, as well as progressing the projects we are already developing together.”

Construction of the 210 guest room property is already under way and once completed it will consist of 150 apartments and 60 studio suites. Guests will be able to enjoy four distinct stand-alone dining outlets, a swimming pool, spa and fitness facilities. It is expected that the hotel will be completed and to welcome its first guests in early 2020.

Hilton Bahrain Bay Hotel & Residences joins a pipeline of 120 properties for Hilton in Mena & Turkey. The company boasts the largest active pipeline in the GCC of any hotel company, with over 16,000 rooms under construction. – TradeArabia News Service


Kuwait awards $4.6bn infrastructure contracts in Q1

Kuwait’s projects market has started 2017 with a bang with the government having awarded KD1.4-billion ($4.6 billion) contracts in the first quarter and another KD6.2 billion ($20 billion) worth of contracts likely by the year-end, said a report.

Kuwait’s projects pipeline remains robust against a backdrop of improving oil prices and a government commitment to maintain healthy capital spending and move forward with its development projects, according to a report by National Bank of Kuwait.

Even as lower oil prices continue to dampen state oil earnings, the government remains committed to implementing its development plan and is awarding major infrastructure contracts, stated the country top bank in its report.

The government has awarded KD1.4 billion ($4.6 billion) worth of contracts in the first quarter, said the report, citing Meed Projects, a figure roughly in line with 2016’s quarterly average.

Looking ahead to the rest of 2017, Kuwait could award another KD 6.2 billion ($20 billion) worth of contracts before year-end, it stated.

According to NBK, the oil sector dominated the contract awards in the first quarter followed by the housing sector.

The oil sector saw a total of KD672 million ($2.2 billion) contracts awarded for eight projects.

Of this, the largest project worth KD397 million ($1.3 billion), was awarded by KOC to Petrofac to build Gathering Center 32.

The new infrastructure will have the capacity to produce about 120,000 b/d of oil and will be the first sour gathering center to be developed in the Burgan field, it stated.

According to NBK, the project is scheduled to begin soon and will be completed in mid-2020.

KOC awarded another three projects pertaining to water facilities in different gathering centers in the south, south-east and east of the country. The three contracts averaged KD69 million ($225 million) each and are expected to be complete between the fourth quarter of 2019 and first quarter of 2020.

On the housing contracts, the top Kuwaiti lender said in March, the Public Authority of Housing Welfare (PAHW) had awarded the second of four infrastructure contracts in South Mutlaa city, a strategic development plan project, to China Gezhouba Group. The contract, valued at KD216 million ($708 million), is for major infrastructure work and is expected to be completed by March 2019, it stated.

According to NBK, the Authority has distributed most of the 30,000 plots to applicants; however, construction permits for the distributed plots will not be available until road and infrastructure construction is complete. As per a development plan follow-up report for the fourth quarter of 2016, work on South Mutlaa project is 12 per cent complete.

Awards during the first quarter included work on Kuwait’s airport. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) awarded one of the eleven sub-projects pertaining to the expansion of Kuwait airport, said the NBK in its statement.

The project has been awarded to a joint venture of Avic International & HOT E&C for a value of KD149 million ($489 million) and completion is expected by March 2022. This project includes construction of new runways in addition to extending existing ones and enhancing supportive infrastructure.

Looking ahead, NBK pointed out that the project awards were expected to remain healthy in 2017.- TradeArabia News Service


Impose tax on expats' remittances, Kuwaiti MP urges

Kuwaiti MP Safa Al Hashem is adamant that a tax be imposed on remittances by expatriates.

The tax will be between three and five per cent and will thus take into consideration the differences between the foreigners with low income, such as drivers and domestic helpers, and the others who usually make high remittances, she said.

Al Hashem, the only woman in the 50-member parliament, has been spreading a movement by lawmakers to press for taxing remittances, arguing that it would limit the amount of cash transferred out of the country to re-invest it in the local economy and would allow for extra revenues for the state.

Last week, the governor of Kuwait’s central bank said he did not support the proposal.

“The bank does not support taxes on remittances because their negative impact on the overall economy is far greater than the expected income,” Mohammad Al Hashel said.

“The remittance figures being circulated in the media are exaggerated. We must take into consideration that the imposition of such a tax entails operational and administrative costs and expatriates will most likely resort to other channels to transfer their money to their home countries in a bid to avoid paying the extra fees.”

THowever, Al Hashem, on Sunday, rejected the governor’s statement.

“The statement by the governor of the Central Bank is purely political and is part of the policy of courtesy pursued by the government. He was wrong when he said the tax would not constitute a source of income,” she said in remarks carried by Kuwaiti daily Al Anba.

“In fact, it is exactly the opposite. The remittances by expatriates are $14 billion and the imposition of taxes of three to five per cent will mean that 0.03 per cent of the value of the remittances will constitute an additional income for the state.”

Al Hashem claimed that some Gulf countries have imposed a six per cent tax on remittances.

“It is normal that some money exchangers would be unhappy about the tax on remittances because it would mean less money gained for them. As for the claim that the tax would create a parallel or a black market, the government, the Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance have to assume their responsibilities and ensure a tight monitoring and control of the situation,” she said.


Iran kicks off its biggest solar power plant

Iran has inaugurated a major solar power plant with an annual power generation capacity of 10 MW, a report said.

The $15 million plant is spread over an area of 20 hectares near the central city of Isfahan, Iran Daily reported, citing Press TV.

The project, which was jointly implemented by Iran's Ghadir Electricity and Energy Company and Greece's Metka engineering firm, took seven months to complete, it added.

The plant has around 39,000 solar panels each with an area of around 0.64 sq m. The panels are equipped with advanced solar tracking system, the report added.

Renewable Energy Organization of Iran (Suna) has already bought the electricity generated from the project for a period of 20 years, according to the report.


First professional home-to-work taxi service in Oman starts today

Muscat -

Marhaba Taxi will be starting a home-to-work service from Sunday. The company will also provide commuters with the option for car pooling. The service will cost RO60 for up to 15km, RO90 for 15-25km, RO120 for 25-35km, RO150 for 35-45km and RO180 for 45-55km. All the fares are for round trips per car per month, a Marhaba official told Muscat Daily .

The official said that the people interested will have to sign a monthly or an annual contract for the service. He added that as the fare is for a car, a maximum of four people can use the service. “It is just that people have to reside in an area not far from each other,” the official said. Mohammed Suleiman, a chartered accountant, said that although the service looks promising as the company is using cars of certain standards with professional drivers, the fare is high.

“It would have been ideal if 15km was for one way and not for a round trip. Four people from one office or offices nearby could have taken one car and that could have been very economical.” Abdul Wahid, another expat, said that this service will come handy for many who don’t drive. “It will be especially helpful to many female office-goers who have to depend on erratic and unreliable private operators.”

Marhaba Taxi provides services at hotels and Port Sultan Qaboos as well as call taxis through a dedicated mobile app, which helps to check taxi availability and to book at one’s convenience. The customer can also track his ride in real time and know how far his taxi is at the time of booking. Marhaba Taxi is licensed by the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Transport and Communications.


MoL directive to stop hiring foreign doctors

TABUK – The Ministry of Labor and Social Development has issued directives to stop hiring foreign doctors in its bid to find jobs for the huge number of Saudi doctors in the ministry’s waiting list. Dr. Ayed Al-Harthy, director general of human resources at the ministry, has sent a circular in this respect to all directorates of health affairs in various provinces and governorates across the Kingdom.

The ministry will implement this directive in coordination with the Ministry of Health (MoH). According to the latest figures, there are a total of 28,464 foreign doctors working in hospitals under MoH.

This directive follows the decision to stop hiring foreign dentists to provide job opportunities for Saudis. The ministry announced this decision during a joint workshop with MoH held on Tuesday in Riyadh to encourage the employment of Saudi dentists. Ministry figures showed that there are 26 dental colleges in the Kingdom, eight of which are private. An average of 3,000 dental graduates hope to join the labor market annually. The number of officially registered dentists in 2015 was 10,150, of which 5,946 were Saudis.


Saudi green card close to be issued

Finally Saudi Green Card is in final stage in Saudi Arabia, most awaited solution for expatriates living and investing in Saudi Arabia for a long time. Saudi Green card will soon become reality. It is to be given to applicant on annual payment of 14,200 saudi Riyals.

In the year 2016 in the month of april Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman announced this Card same as US Green Card while in interview on bloomberg channel. Green Card announcement give smile to many expats living in Kingdom as this allow them to get permanent residence in Saudi Arabia as well as other benefits same as Saudi citizens.

Here are some Benefits of New Green Card:

1. Green Card holder easily change job between different sponsors without any strict requirements.

2. Himself process his family visa and exit re entry visa.

3. Can Owe home and buy property in Saudi Arabia.

4. It allows expats to start the business within kingdom on their own name.

5. They will get unique identification while get certain point to achieve the Nationality of Saudi Arabia.

6. Green holders are free from following kafala system. See More: Change Sponsor Without Approval

7. The annual fee of Green Card will be 14,200

8. They will extend and get visa without following any hassle procedures.

9. Pension will also be given on retirement.

10. More benefis in terms of Government service like free treatment at government hospitals.

11. Allow expat to hire Domestic Workers.

12. Can register more cars, three vehicles seven or four seater on their own name


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