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Saudi declares Eid Al-Adha to be on October 4, 2014

This year, Eid Al-Adha (the festival of the sacrifice) is expected to fall on Saturday, Oct. 4, according to the high court of Saudi Arabia.

The country declared today to be the first day of the Islamic calendar month of Dhul Hijja, and Eid falls on the 10th day of this month.

Eid Al Adha coincides with Hajj, an pilgrimage that millions of Muslims make to holy sites in Saudi Arabia.

On Eid, Muslims sacrifice an animal (sheep, goat, cow, or camel) as something of an offering to God as the Prophet Abraham once did. The meat is then distributed among themselves, family and friends.

Qatar has yet to announce its official holidays, but it is unlikely to declare a different day for the start of Eid.

Because the festival begins on the weekend, private sector holidays will probably fall on the first three days of the week (Sunday, Oct. 5 to Tuesday, Oct. 7). Schools and the public sector will likely be off for the entire week.

The Qatar Tourism Authority has said that a slew of activities are being planned for Eid week, including entertainment and cultural shows and events at Katara Cultural Village, Souq Waqif and the malls.

Dubai Properties launches luxury waterfront hotel

Dubai Properties (DP), a leading developer in the UAE, has unveiled plans to launch a new luxury waterfront hotel in its Culture Village, a mixed-use master development situated along the Dubai creek.

The hotel, due to open in early 2018, will be one of the first luxury hotels in the Culture Village, and will be operated by Anantara Hotel Resorts and Spa, said the company in a statement.

The announcement comes close on the heels of the launch of its Dubai Wharf development earlier this week.

Mohammed Al Habbai, the chief officer of Urban Planning and Infrastructure at Dubai Properties Group, and James Kaplan, the senior Vice President of development at Minor Hotel Group, a luxury hotel operator and owner of Anantara brand, signed the agreement in the presence of Dillip Rajakarier, the CEO of Minor Hotel Group.

The hotel complements DP's broad portfolio of retail, commercial, residential and mixed-use developments, and will be one of the group's many hospitality projects that cater to the increased number of visitors expected ahead of Expo 2020.

The hotel will be located in the heart of Culture Village directly facing the Dubai creek and close to DP's new mixed-use project Dubai Wharf, as well as its luxury residential development Manazel Al Khor.

Al Habbai said: "This is part of a growing portfolio of hotels for DP which we will develop in key areas of Dubai, and we are proud to be partnering with Minor Hotel Group to bring the iconic Anantara brand to Culture Village."

"Anantara is a brand which is synonymous with luxury, and we expect the hotel with its culture spirit to become a key attraction for Culture Village," he added.

Rajakarier said: "With a well-established and well-known portfolio of hotels and resorts in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, further growing our footprint in the UAE is of key strategic importance to Minor Hotel Group."

"We are therefore very pleased to partner with Dubai Properties, such influential and highly respected partners in the region, to develop an Anantara hotel in the impressive new Dubai Culture Village project, and we look forward to a strong alliance going forward."

With a contemporary design, DP's new Anantara hotel comprises 270 guest rooms offering waterfront views of the Dubai creek, a rooftop pool and restaurants, spa, and a range of food and beverages and retail outlets, along with a 3.8-m promenade and marina, said the company statement.

The hotel will also boast beautiful waterfront views from its ballroom and conference facilities, making it the perfect place to host special events and weddings, it added.

No eviction if no 12-month Dubai notary notice

Tenants in Dubai are powerful today and no eviction from an apartment can take place unless the landlord has served a 12-month notary public notice, Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera) chief said on Monday.

"A landlord has to give a notarized notice to the tenant to vacate the apartment if he/she is going to sell it. The tenant can ask for the memorandum of understanding, but if the owner does not present it, he/she can approach the dispute committee," Marwan bin Ghalita, Chief Executive Officer, Rera, said addressing a seminar at Cityscape on Monday.

"If there is no valid reason, the committee is likely to extend your contract. In case, the owner does not sell, the committee will block it in the system so he/she can't rent it and if the owner is going to use it for personal use then he/she cannot lease for two years."

Emirates 24|7 had reported earlier that there were only three reasons that qualify or give the right to the landlord/property owner to evict a tenant:

  1. Breach of tenancy agreement or violation of a law

  2. Landlord wants to sell the property

  3. Landlord wants to self-occupy the property

"Under the second and third scenarios, the landlord can only demand eviction of the tenant once the lease term has expired and a proper notice has been served. The notice period must be 12 months in advance and served through the notary public," Ludmila Yamalova, Managing Partner, HPL Yamalova and Plewka JLT, had told this website.

Dubai has a rental slab in place (rent index calculate) that has to be followed by landlords when increasing rents. However, not many landlords follow the rent calculator and were seeking arbitrary increases.

Rera has always emphasized that tenants should approach the Rental Dispute Settlement Center of Dubai Land Department in cases of higher rental hikes, with this website reporting that a tenant lease was extended when the landlord did not serve a 12-month notice.

Dutch firm to design Doha Metro stations

Qatar Rail has appointed Dutch architectural firm UNStudio as principal architect for the Qatar Integrated Railway Project (QIRP) that will see the firm design over 30 stations in first phase of the Doha Metro network.

The QIRP aims to create a service that will promote the use of public transportation as a valid alternative to private transportation for the population of Doha.

The metro network forms the key component of the QIRP, with plans for around 35 stations in the first phase and 60 stations in the second phase, to cater to the Greater Doha Area (GDA).

The full network is being planned to include four lines connecting the GDA as well as the Al Khor and Al Wakrah-Mesaieed communities, located to the north and south of Doha respectively.

UNStudio's design forms a bridge between the past and the future of Qatar, drawing inspiration from the vast regional architectural lexicon, whilst simultaneously presenting a vision of modernisation and preservation, said the Dutch firm in its statement.

The design further aims to incorporate and integrate all functional and technical aspects of the stations and network into a coherent architectural expression with a view to making the Qatar Rail Metro Network a global benchmark for public transportation services, it added.

Since its appointment, UNStudio said the company has developed an 'Architectural Branding Manual', a set of design guidelines, architectural details and material outlines that will assure the spatial quality and clarity of the network.

The manual will be used by the appointed design and build contractors in the construction and delivery of the 35 stations in the first phase, said a top official.

"Through the production of a design manual and with the use of adaptive parametric design, it has been possible for us to create a design with many variants, yet one which maintains a coherent identity throughout all of the stations," remarked Ben van Berkel, the co-founder and principal architect of UNStudio.

"In this way, we can combine local contextual differences within an overall identity and parametrically adapt physical factors such as wayfinding, daylight penetration, passenger flows, constructive elements etc. in a complex but extremely disciplined system," he added.-TradeArabia News Service

QNB: Residential rents rising at fastest rate since '08

A new report says there are no signs that Qatar's red-hot real estate market will cool in the coming months as rents increase at the fastest pace in six years.

In a recent economic commentary report, Qatar National Bank Group said residential rents rose 7.9 percent year-over-year in August.

The report cited robust economic growth as the main reason, as Qatar's many development projects are bringing more people to the country and increasing the incomes of existing residents.

The growth in turn has been pushing up land prices. QNB says there is correlation between the price of land and rentals, albeit with a six-month lag. As the price of development sites go up, landlords attempt to recoup their higher costs by increasing the rental rates for villas, apartments and office space.

Following an eight-month lull, land prices have been rising rapidly since March - a trend QNB said it expects to continue through 2014 and 2015.


The last time rental rates were this high was in 2008. At that time, the government intervened in the housing market by imposing a two-year moratorium on rental rate hikes for most residential leases.

Recently, there have been calls for authorities to step in again. Late last month, a member of the Central Municipal Council said a law is needed to cap rental increases at no more than 10 percent every two years.

Mishal Al Dahnim said allowing rents to be determined by market forces of supply and demand would lead to an "unprecedented crisis."

However, while rent control measures provide short-term relief to tenants, they may make problems worse in the long run by reducing the financial returns available to investors and developers - discouraging them from constructing new homes.

However, some real estate firms say homebuilders are already not constructing enough villas and flats for Qatar's rapidly growing population, leading to a looming housing shortage - especially for low and middle-income expats.

Inflation projections

Housing is one of the biggest expenses for Qatar residents and a primary driver of inflation.

QNB said it expects rising rents to cause inflation to climb to 3.4 percent this year and up to 4 percent in 2015-16.

This overall inflation rate is expected to be tempered by declining international food prices, brought on by record global harvests and large stockpiles. However, several food importers told Doha News last month that they've yet to see any savings on their shipments.

QNB also forecasts that the cost of other imported products - namely clothing, footwear, furniture, textiles and home appliances - will only rise modestly in the coming months, helping to restrain the rise in the cost of living in Qatar.

Bahrain's new visa policy launches from October 1, 2014

- Bahrain now among the countries with the most flexible visa policies in the region -
- Nationals from over 100 countries set to benefit -
Manama - The new visa policy that now allows nationals from over 100 countries to obtain a visa either online ahead of travel, or on arrival, will start to be implemented from October 1st 2014.

The new visa policy is an important development that places Bahrain among the countries with the most flexible visa policies in the region. The new policy will also be accompanied by improvements to the individual screening process, ensuring faster and more effective processing of applications. It will further enable expatriates who do business in Bahrain, to easily travel in and out of the Kingdom, as well as boosting the tourism industry.

Under the new policy, visitors from 66 countries will be able to receive visas upon arrival in Bahrain. These visitors will also be eligible to apply for their visas electronically ahead of their arrival in the Kingdom, further easing their travel experience. Visitors from a further 36 countries will also be able to exclusively obtain electronic visas, bringing the overall total of countries eligible to receive e-visas to 102. E-Visas can be obtained ahead of travel through a simple online application process, making the process of travelling to the Kingdom practical and convenient, for both business and pleasure. Eligibility can be quickly checked via the Bahrain government's eVisa website (www.evisa.gov.bh).

From early 2015, both business visitors and tourists will be able to spend longer periods of time in the Kingdom, as the new policy dictates that visas will be valid for a month and can be renewed for up to three months. Multiple entry visas will also begin to be issued.

The new visa policy was presented by His Royal Highness Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, First Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the Bahrain Economic Development Board, in a Cabinet meeting in July 2014, and His Royal Highness emphasized that reforms such as this, which support the business environment in the Kingdom, will help to continue to attract inward investment and drive forward economic growth and quality job creation.

Shaikh Ahmed bin Isa AlKhalifa, Assistant Undersecretary for Nationality, Passports and Residence Affairs at Bahrain's Ministry of Interior, commented: "This policy will provide easier and quicker access for businesses with operations in Bahrain and will also help to attract more tourists to the Kingdom. During the build-up phase, we have worked closely with a range of stakeholders in the public and private sectors to ensure the new policy provides immediate benefits to visitors, and are pleased to be in a position to launch the new policy from October 1st 2014. The changes are being implemented as part of wider efforts to continually develop the passport and immigration processes and systems."

The 15th International Exhibition of Telecommunications, Information Technology & Solutions (Iran Telecom 2014) is to be held in Tehran during October 6-9.

A total of 280 domestic and foreign companies from 15 countries are to participate in the expo, IRNA reported.

The foreign companies are from Italy, Slovenia, Austria, the UAE, Germany, Taiwan, Turkey, Czech Republic, China, Japan, South Korea, Canada, Poland, Malaysia and India.

The participants are to showcase their latest achievements in the fields of communications, telecommunications and information technology.

The expo will display antennas, telecom cables, equipments and systems for mobile phones, wireless, electronic and mechanical systems as well as satellite communication and paging technologies.

Other items include multimedia, cable communication, satellite sending and receiving, voice mail, telephone communication and network systems and equipments, network security and e-trade software and telecommunication hardware.

The exhibition aims to present the latest products and capabilities of domestic and foreign companies and experts in the fields of telecommunication and information technology, prepare the ground for indigenizing modern technologies, provide producers and customers with an opportunity to meet, motivate domestic producers to take part in healthy competition, expand exports and generate jobs.

The expo is organized and sponsored by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, the Communications Regulatory Authority, the Telecommunications Infrastructure Company and the Telecommunications Company of Iran.

Telecommunications technologies are in the midst of an unprecedented wave of transformation.

The 14th edition of the exposition (Iran telecom 2013) ended on a very positive note.

More than 40,000 trade visitors from all provinces and regions of Iran came to discuss business with 261 Iranian and international companies participating from Canada, China, Germany, Britain, France, India, Iran, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, South Korea and Taiwan

El Andalous Hotel & Spa, Marrakech joins Great Hotels of the World

Great Hotels of the World recently announced El Andalous Hotel & Spa, Marrakech, Morocco as a new member.

The upscale property promises authentic Moroccan hospitality, complemented by its traditional Moorish architecture and décor.

Hotel facilities include a large swimming pool, gym and a traditional Moroccan hammam, five F&B outlets, a conference centre, plus more. Adding to this, complimentary WiFi is offered throughout the hotel.

Great Hotels of the World also recently welcomed a further five properties, including Arcotel Wimberger Vienna, Austria; Westbury Hotel Dublin, Ireland; The Alexander Hotel, Dublin; Le Plaza Hotel, Brussels; and Hotel IPV Palace & Spa, Fuengirola.

Airport road expansion project in final stages - Jordan

AMMAN - Work on the airport road expansion project is in the final stages and the highway is expected to be fully open for motorists before the end of the year, Minister of Public Works and Housing Sami Halaseh said Sunday.

Halaseh told The Jordan Times in a phone interview that the road is almost ready, with only "simple finishing touches" still remaining, such as completing the pedestrian bridges, exits to the parallel services road and planting trees alongside the highway, expected to take six weeks.

Paving and street lighting for the entire road is completely ready, the minister noted.

"We can open it for motorists as of tomorrow, but we need to make sure all final touches are implemented as planned," he noted.

Halaseh said the ministry was committed to planting trees to replace those that were uprooted when the expansion project started around three years ago.

The overall cost of the six-lane highway is around JD90 million, according to the minister, who added that part of the project was funded through Saudi Arabia's share in the $5 billion grant extended to Jordan by Gulf Cooperation Council countries in 2011.

Halaseh said the airport road includes seven pedestrian bridges and tunnels to serve students at private universities located in the area.

The 22-kilometre expansion project covers the area between the Naour bridge and the exit to Queen Alia International Airport.

The first stage of the project was a seven-kilometer stretch between the Seventh Circle and the Naour bridge, which was completed in 2004.

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