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Saudi Alhokair unit plans to build mall in Egypt

Marakez for Real Estate Investment, a unit of Saudi group Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair, is set to develop a new shopping mall in Salam City on the Cairo-Ismailia road at an investment of E250 million ($15 million), said a report.

A leading real estate developer in Egypt, Marakez boasts a complete portfolio of residential, commercial, entertainment and retail projects.

The mall will feature both open-air areas and retail stores, reported Al Shorouk, citing a senior company official.

The Saudi Alhokair subsidiary is also looking to acquire land in Assiut for its plans to bring more of its shopping malls outside Cairo, said its Chief Business Development Officer Ashraf Farid.

Marakez will pump in more than E15 billion ($916 million) into its flagship project - Mall of Arabia in 6 October - over the coming period for further expansion, he added

http://tradearabia.com/news/CONS_358861.html

City Centre Almaza Opens Doors to Public

Majid Al Futtaim, the leading shopping mall, communities, retail, and leisure pioneer across the Middle East, Africa, and Asia announced on Monday the opening of City Centre Almaza to the public.

City Centre Almaza is the fourth Majid Al Futtaim shopping mall in Egypt and the newest property set to be a destination for a unique retail and entertainment experiences in eastern Cairo.

In this context, Chief Executive Officer of Shopping Malls at Majid Al Futtaim - Properties Ghaith Shocair said: "Over the past decade, Majid Al Futtaim has become known for creating great moments for everyone every day. We are excited to be extending this promise to more people in Cairo."

"City Centre Almaza marks the next step in our growth strategy for Egypt as we increase the size of our shopping malls business in Egypt by almost 30%," Shocair added.

Over 100,000 square meters, the mall includes more than 260 stores and has dedicated nearly 10% of its space for entertainment in addition to hosting east Cairo's first-ever VOX Cinemas (16 screens).

The mall's visitors can also enjoy Magic Planet, an indoor ride, games and attractions venue, Gravity Code, an indoor trampoline park, and Ignite sports center.

It also offers diverse food and beverage which can be found throughout the various indoor and outdoor spaces and a unique designed food court.

The mall features a state-of-the-art Carrefour hypermarket with two football fields introducing - for the first time in Egypt - innovations that enhance the customer experience, as well as exclusive amenities and services including free WiFi, valet service and lounge, and over 4,000 parking spaces.

In light of improving the infrastructure in the vicinity of the mall, Majid Al Futtaim invested more than EGP500 million in traffic and investment solutions including the upgrade of Suez Road and the construction of a new pedestrian bridge over Thawra Street, allowing visitors to safely access the shopping destination.

https://see.news/city-centre-almaza-opens-doors-to-public/

Egypt to manufacture electric vehicle charging stations

CAIRO - 1 October 2019: The National Authority for Military Production signed on Tuesday an MoU with SSE and Marathon International Limited to build a factory that manufactures electric vehicle charging stations, and recycles batteries.

The move comes within the state's plan to give up the use of fuel vehicles in public transportation and introduce electric ones. The Ministry of Military Production had signed in April an agreement with Foton Motor to produce 2,000 electric buses over 4 years at its Tank Production and Repair Company (Factory 200).

In the same month, the ministry signed an MoU with Geely to produce cars starting September 2019. That was during the president's visit to China to attend the Belt and the Road Summit.

The CEO of SSE expressed desire in cooperating with the ministry's affiliate companies for its qualified labor and advanced production lines, saying his company would share the latest technology in the sector with the ministry with the aim of exporting to African and Arab markets.

https://www.egypttoday.com/Article/1/75415/Egypt-to-manufacture-electric-vehicle-charging-stations

Emirates to launch first A380 service to Egypt

Emirates will be operating its A380 service to Cairo International Airport on October 2, making it the first scheduled commercial airline to operate an A380 flight into Egypt.

With the intent to make the world's largest commercial passenger jet a part of the airline's scheduled service to Cairo, this inaugural flight will re-affirm the airport's infrastructure readiness ahead of regular A380 operations.

The Emirates A380 service will operate as EK 927 and EK 928, departing Dubai at 08:15hrs and arriving in Cairo at 10:00hrs. The flight will depart Cairo at 13:15hrs arriving in Dubai at 18:45hrs on the same day. All timings are local.

Adel Al Redha, chief operating officer, Emirates, said: "Our close relationship with Egypt spans over 30 years and we reaffirm our commitment to the country by operating our iconic A380 to Cairo. We are setting the stage to make the popular A380 experience a part of our scheduled service to Cairo. Egypt has always been a significant destination for us in the region, and we are humbled to be able to play a role in making aviation history in Egypt. We are confident that Egyptian travellers will enjoy the Emirates A380 experience, especially our innovative products such as the onboard lounge and shower spa."

The Emirates A380 operating to Cairo is set in a three-class configuration, and will have 426 seats in Economy Class on the lower deck, 76 flat-bed Business Class seats and 14 luxurious First Class Suites. First Class passengers can relax and revitalise in one of the two A380 Shower Spas, and First and Business Class passengers are welcome in the Onboard Lounge to enjoy an extensive range of beverages and delicacies.

Passengers in all classes can enjoy complimentary meals and beverages, wi-fi, hospitality and service from multi-national cabin crew and Emirates' award-winning 'ice' with up to 4,500 channels of movies, TV programs, music and podcasts. Premium customers, and Platinum and Gold Skywards members can additionally enjoy the dedicated Emirates Lounge in Cairo airport which opened in 2018.

Popular destinations on the Emirates network for Egyptian travellers include cities in the Asia, the Americas and Australia such as Beijing, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Sydney, Shanghai, New Delhi, Mumbai, New York and Washington DC.

Emirates started operations to Cairo in April 1986 with three flights a week and since then, has carried more than 7.3 million passengers to and from Cairo. Operations have steadily grown with increases in both frequency and capacity between Cairo and Dubai to match customer demand. Today, Emirates operates 21 weekly flights between Cairo and Dubai.

Earlier this year, Emirates announced it will increase the frequency of flights between Dubai and Cairo, adding four additional flights a week to its existing thrice-daily service, starting October 28, taking the total number of weekly Emirates flights serving Cairo to 25. Globally, the airline employs more than 2,000 Egyptian nationals in a variety of roles across the Emirates Group, including over 1,000 cabin crew.

The Emirates A380 has become one of the most recognised and admired aircraft in the world, and more than 115 million passengers have experienced the airline's flagship since 2008. Emirates currently has 112 A380s in service and 11 pending delivery, and is set to receive six A380s this financial year. - TradeArabia News Service

http://tradearabia.com/news/TTN_359192.html


Vodafone to enter Omani market as sultanate's third mobile operator

Vodafone's operations in the sultanate will begin next year, following a 15-year partnership signed with Oman Future Telecommunication, an Oman 70 Holding company.

Vodafone is expected to begin operators as Oman's third mobile network operator in 2020.

Vodafone's operations in the sultanate will begin next year, following a 15-year partnership signed with Oman Future Telecommunication, an Oman 70 Holding company.

"We welcome the international company Vodafone as a strategic partner for the third telecom operator with Oman Future Telecommunications under the name Vodafone Oman," Omani Minister of Transport and Communications Dr. Ahmed Al Futaisi said.

"The communications sector will enter a new phase of growth competitiveness, which will give more choices to customers and create more job opportunities for the youth," he added.

Dieggo Massida, the CEO of partner markets at Vodafone, said that "raising the level of Omani labour is the core focus of our partnership."

As part of the agreement, Oman Future Telecommunications will join Vodafone's global partner programme and form a board of directors for the company, which will also include support and investment from the Omani government.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed in May.

"TRA welcomes such trade agreements, which is one of the jurisdictions of the licensing entities," the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority said at the time. "The authority regards such agreements as a positive indicator that the telecommunications market in the Sultanate is an attractive market for international and domestic investors."

https://www.arabianbusiness.com/technology/427438-vodafone-to-enter-omani-market-as-sultanates-third-mobile-operator

Oman Air joins airlines in Apple MacBook Pro check-in ban

Oman Air said the ban is in light of safety concerns over the batteries in the 15-inch MacBook Pro devices and the potential fire risk they pose, although they are allowed as part of carry-on luggage.

Oman Air has joined the list of carriers refusing to allow MacBook Pro laptops in checked-in luggage on its flights.

The airline said the ban is in light of safety concerns over the batteries in the 15-inch MacBook Pro devices and the potential fire risk they pose, although they are allowed as part of carry-on luggage.

A statement from the airline said: "For the safety of our guests and crew, Oman Air has prohibited the carriage of older generation 15-inch Macbook Pro models in checked luggage.

"Guests are to refrain from bringing the affected models in checked baggage. They may be allowed as hand-carry provided they remain switched off throughout the flight, protected from accidental activation, and not to be charged during the flight."

Oman Air joins a growing list of carriers and jurisdictions across the world cracking down on the portable computers out of concern some could self-combust, including Etihad Airways, Qantas, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways and Virgin Australia.

A spokesperson for Emirates confirmed that the airline would not be issuing a similar ban.

The US Federal Aviation Administration earlier this month said it alerted major US airlines about Apple's recall. The FAA reminded airlines to follow 2016 safety instructions for goods with recalled batteries, which means the affected Apple laptops should not be taken on flights as cargo or carry-on baggage.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency issued its own warning about the particular MacBook Pro models on August 1.

While there have been repeated incidents of phones, laptops and other devices overheating and catching fire in planes' passenger compartments, a fire hasn't ever gone out of control. There have been at least three accidents, two of them fatal, on cargo airlines since 2006 in which lithium batteries were suspected of causing fires.

https://www.arabianbusiness.com/transport/426950-oman-air-joins-airlines-in-apple-macbook-pro-check-in-ban

How expats living for more than 20 years can apply for citizenship in Oman

Expats who have been living in Oman for more than 20 years can get an Omani citizenship if they fulfil certain criterion. The decision to grant citizenship, however, rests with the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

All one needs to do is comply with the procedure and submit the required documents, the Times of Oman said.

Yasin Chowdhury, Head of the Corporate Advisory at Al Faqih & Co., said that any single foreigner who has been living in Oman for a period of 20 consecutive years, or for 15 years if married to an Omani citizen, is eligible to apply for Omani citizenship, the report added.

Applications should be made using the forms which can be obtained from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and submitted with the other documents required -- a copy of the passport including a valid residence visa and details of the first entry to Oman if any; a copy of the ID card or the like; a copy of a valid resident card; a copy of the marriage contract if applicable and copies of the passports of the spouse and children along with their birth certificate as appropriate, the expert said.

The application fee for single expats who have been living for 20 years and more is OMR600, whereas the spouses or previous spouses of Omani citizens will need to pay OMR300.

https://www.khaleejtimes.com/region/oman/how-expats-living-for-more-than-20-years-can-apply-for-citizenship-in-oman

Alfardan launches St Regis luxury residences project in Oman

Alfardan Group, a leading upscale property developer in the region, has announced the launch of the St. Regis Al Mouj Muscat Resort and branded residences, a bespoke luxury destination in the heart of Oman, in collaboration with Marriott International.

An extraordinary escape in the heart of the capital's seaside, the luxury destination located in Al Mouj Muscat boasts a prime address along 360 m of Muscat's beachfront, strategically situated next to the Al Mouj Golf Course. It also marks the debut of the iconic St. Regis brand in Oman, said the Qatari developer.

Comprising 271 crafted guestrooms and suites in the resort and 170 branded residences featuring a mix of one- to four-bedroom units and duplexes, the master development is an exemplar of modern luxury living, offering international tourists, families and residents' world-class facilities and services, it stated.

The exclusive sanctuary immerses tenants and visitors in eloquent living and lifestyle experiences in bustling Muscat, its world-class amenities including the marina, parks, renowned retail brands, health clubs, courtyards and community clubs, it added.

The new development (also known as Alfardan Resort) is Alfardan's third high-profile venture in Oman, following Finaa Alfardan and Alfardan Heights, as the group solidifies its footprint and diversifies its presence in the sultanate's booming regional hospitality sector.

The St. Regis Al Mouj Muscat Resort was launched at a key event held in the presence of Sayyid Asaad bin Tariq al Said, Oman's Deputy Prime Minister for International Relations and Cooperation Affairs and Personal Representative of His Majesty the Sultan and other senior officials.

Alfardan Group said through its subsidiaries, the developer's portfolio has followed a strategic and ambitious expansion drive in the region, today counting over 14 hotel, residential and commercial developments in Qatar alone, and a number of large-scale hospitality and real estate projects in the Gulf region and Turkey.

On the flagship project, Group President and CEO Omar Hussain Alfardan said: "We launched the Middle East's very first St. Regis property out of Doha and most recently announced The St. Regis Marsa Arabia Island, The Pearl- Qatar. This development comes a decade after we introduced St. Regis to Doha and the Middle East."

"This track record of firsts is nothing short of a testament to the synergies and promise we share with the iconic brand to deliver exceptional experiences for our guests," he stated.

Alfardan Group's launch of this legacy destination in Muscat comes at an opportune time, building on Oman's unprecedented momentum and untapped potential for its tourism and hospitality sectors ahead of its 49th National Day.

"This growth spurt cements our confidence in this market's prospects for a prosperous future, owing to the sultanate's strong cultural heritage, as well as balanced and strategic geopolitical ties with worldwide nations, projecting it as a promising leading regional touristic destination," stated Alfardan.

Alfardan Group's The St. Regis Al Mouj Muscat Resort and branded residences, a power partnership for the Qatari and Omani hospitality sectors, is set to further strengthen economic ties and bolster collaboration between both nations, in light of the global interest in the Sultanate's tourism and hospitality sector.

"An architectural masterpiece seamlessly fusing cultural imprints of decades in Omani history with contemporary design features, to the backdrop of landscaped greenery, The St. Regis Al Mouj Muscat Resort and branded residences is a testament to Alfardan Group's commitment to superior benchmarks in luxury, quality and service excellence," said the top official.

Future guests and residents will have access to The St. Regis signature superior amenities and exclusive butler service. They will also be privy to bespoke wellbeing experiences, as well as to corporate amenities and facilities, including a host of dining outlets, a VIP lounge, a business centre, a deluxe wellness centre and spa, and a modern health club, he added.

Alfardan Group's The St. Regis Al Mouj Muscat Resort and branded residences, a power partnership for the Qatari and Omani hospitality sectors, is set to further strengthen economic ties and bolster collaboration between both nations, in light of the global interest in the Sultanate's tourism and hospitality sector.

Marriott International President and Managing Director (MEA) Alex Kyriakidis said: "The signing of St. Regis in Oman is a natural progression for the brand's portfolio, as the brand continues to become one of the most recognised and sought-after luxury hotel brands in the region."

"We are thrilled to be working with Alfardan Group to bring this significant project to Oman, especially to this strategic location in one of the most desired waterfront masterplans in the city of Muscat," he added.

Al Mouj Muscat CEO Nasser bin Masoud Al Sheibani said: "We are very excited to be associated with such a renowned brand as The St. Regis, and proud that Alfardan Group has chosen Al Mouj Muscat as the very first location for this prestigious name in Oman."

"The St. Regis is famous worldwide for setting the highest standards of luxury and sophistication, built on more than a century of heritage and tradition. As Oman's leading Integrated Tourism Complex, Al Mouj Muscat already delivers a world-class leisure and lifestyle destination for residents and visitors alike," he stated.

"This partnership between Alfardan Group and Al Mouj Muscat will make a significant contribution to the growth of luxury tourism in Oman," he added.- TradeArabia News Service

http://tradearabia.com/news/CONS_359267.html


Tenants in charge as Bahrain's office market remains subdued

Tenants are firmly in charge of Bahrain's commercial property market as supply keeps growing despite subdued demand, according to a new report by Savills, the real estate services provider.

Its report said a sustained supply addition and less active occupier demand has resulted in a tenant's market, prompting some landlords and developers to offer generous incentives.

Savills also noted the rise of flexible office space, which is gaining momentum across major cities in the world.

According to Savills, the impact of economic slowdown is well reflected in the case of Bahrain's real estate.

Rental decline was observed in the key office markets such as Bahrain Financial Harbour and Seef where the average rents dropped by 8 percent annually.

It added that companies are ramping up their efforts to accommodate employee needs, including a more flexible and collaborative work environment.

Hashim Kadhem, associate director - head of professional services at Savills Bahrain said: "The commercial office market in Bahrain remains characterised by a supply-demand imbalance. The market continued to soften during Q2 with office rents dropping by 5 to 8 percent year-on-year across the board.

"It is however showing positive signs of recovery with the rental rates sustaining in some areas and rate of decline subsiding in others. The majority of enquiry levels and transactions were for small and medium sized office space. In fact, there's limited demand for large office plates except in the case of large-scale companies establishing their base in Bahrain."

He added that it has become imperative for developers and landlords to look at global trends and adapt their local service offering.

Flexible office spaces including co-working, though still at a nascent stage in the region, is now considered a disruptor of the office real estate landscape. The current flexible office space landscape is largely dominated by domestic players or niche operators.

According to Savills estimates, in London - which is the biggest co-working market in the world - co-working spaces accounted for 7.6 percent of total office stock in Central London at the end of 2018.

In Bahrain, there is potential for co-working opportunities as it has a strong entrepreneurial culture. There are currently 119 innovative start-ups within the growing StartUp Bahrain ecosystem, as well as 34 accelerators, incubators, co-working spaces, and government entities to support.

Kadhem said: "We believe that the traditional office format will continue to be challenged and will evolve to provide a holistic working environment. Developers and landlords that identify and adapt to this trend will be able to reap long term dividends."

https://www.arabianbusiness.com/news/428896-tenants-in-charge-as-bahrains-office-market-remains-subdued

Bahrain's underwater theme park opens to diving enthusiasts

Dive Bahrain, the world's largest underwater theme park spanning an area of 100,000 sq m, complete with a sunken Boeing 747, is now open to diving enthusiasts.

The site, close to Bahrain International Airport, has a 70m-long decommissioned Boeing 747 as its centerpiece, the largest aircraft ever to be intentionally submerged. The project was developed by the Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority (BTEA) and the Supreme Council for Environment (SCE).

In addition to the Boeing 747, the underwater theme park features a replica of a traditional Bahraini pearl merchant's house, which is being overseen by Diyar Al Muharraq, artificial coral reefs and other sculptures that will be fabricated and submerged to provide a safe haven for coral reef growth and to ensure a sustainable habitat for marine life

The eco-friendly park will also provide researchers a rich source of information on marine ecologies, and will enhance environmental awareness on the importance of preserving marine life.

The theme park forms part of the BTEA's strategy of boosting tourism by making greater use of the kingdom's natural assets.

Backers expect the park to attract global recognition and become an international tourist attraction.

Since its successful submersion, professional divers from registered dive centers have conducted intermittent inspections of the aircraft to ensure the park's safety to both professional and leisure divers.

A website - www.divebahrain.com - includes a list of registered dive centres, and has been developed to provide visitors with a guide to the underwater theme park.

https://www.arabianbusiness.com/travel-hospitality/428690-bahrains-underwater-theme-park-opens-to-diving-enthusiasts


Saudi fee waiver move 'to benefit over 700,000 expats'

The Saudi government's decision to bear the cost of fees for expatriate workers on behalf of industrial institutions is set to have impact on over 700,000 expats working in the manufacturing and mining sectors, said experts.

According to the Saudi General Authority for Statistics for the H1, there are 644,590 non-Saudi workers employed in the manufacturing sector, and 68,312 in mining and quarrying sector.

On Tuesday, soon after a cabinet meeting, the Saudi government had announced that it will pay the five-year mandatory fees for expatriates working in the industrial sector starting from October 1. The move is aimed at stimulating the sector and lower the operating costs.

Since January 2018, businesses have been required to pay fees for foreign workers they employ, part of the government's strategy to raise non-oil revenue and encourage companies to hire Saudis, reported Bloomberg.

It was applied last year on firms hiring expat workers with SR300 ($80) fee set for each work permit. This was to gradually double to SR600 ($160) this year and SR800 in 2020.

Many businesses, accustomed to cheaper foreign labour, have struggled to adapt to the fees, which were imposed at the same time as subsidy cuts and a value-added tax, it stated.

The levies contributed to an exodus of foreign labourers, hitting the economy without making much of a dent in Saudi unemployment, it added.

According to industry experts, this landmark decision will contribute to stimulating investments in the sector, diversifying the economy besides finding urgent solutions to economic problems and reducing dependence on oil.

This move will, no doubt, give a competitive advantage to Saudi Arabia among its peers in the industrial and manufacturing sectors in the Middle East, they added.- TradeArabia News Service

http://tradearabia.com/news/CONS_359109.html

Saudi to issue tourist visa to visitors from 49 nations

In a historic move, Saudi Arabia has opened its doors to international tourists for the first time with plans to grant tourist visas for visitors from 49 countries.

The kingdom will also ease its strict dress code for foreign women, allowing them to go without the abaya robe that is still mandatory public wear for Saudi women, said an Arab News report quoting Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) chief Ahmed Al-Khateeb.

Foreign women, however, will be required to wear "modest clothing," he added.

Saudi Arabia boasts a diverse range of landscapes, including the green mountains of Asir, the crystal waters of the Red Sea, the snow-covered winter plains of Tabuk and the shifting sands of the Empty Quarter.

A number of new tourist destinations are currently under construction, including the futuristic city of NEOM, the Qiddiya entertainment city near Riyadh and a range of luxury destinations by the Red Sea.

Opening Saudi Arabia to tourism is a key milestone in the implementation of Vision 2030, which seeks to diversify the country's economy and reduce its dependence on oil.

Saudi Arabia expects to increase international and domestic visits to 100 million a year by 2030, attracting significant foreign and domestic investment and creating a million jobs.

By 2030, the aim is for tourism to contribute up to 10 per cent towards the Saudi GDP, compared to just 3 per cent today.

Saudi Arabia's airport capacity is expected to increase by 150 million passengers per annum and an additional 500,000 hotel key cards will be needed across the country over the coming decade.

Al-Khateeb commented: "Opening Saudi Arabia to international tourists is a historic moment for our country. Generous hospitality is at the heart of Arabian culture and we look forward to showing our guests a very warm welcome."

"Visitors will be surprised and delighted by the treasures we have to share. Five Unesco World Heritage Sites, a vibrant local culture and breathtaking natural beauty."

"To visitors we say: be among the first to discover and explore the treasures of Arabia. To investors we say: become part of the fastest growing tourism sector on earth," he said.

Visas so far have been largely restricted to pilgrims, business people and expatriate workers.

Non-Muslims will still not be allowed to visit the holy cities of Makkha and Madinah and the ban on alcohol will be maintained.

Tourists from 38 countries in Europe, seven in Asia, as well as the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, will be eligible to apply for the new visas. These will cost SR300 ($80), with an additional cost of SR140 for travel insurance, the report said quoting sources. Visas can be obtained online via a seven-minute application process, or on arrival at machine kiosks or special counters in any of Saudi Arabia's four international airports.

The visas will be valid for 360 days from the date of issue for stays of 90 days or less, and for a total of no more than 180 days in a single year.

Applications for the tourist visas will commence on September 28 at https://www.saudiarabiavisa.com/

SCTH announced on Thursday that it had established a SR15 billion fund to support tourism projects across the kingdom, reports said.

http://tradearabia.com/news/TTN_359140.html

All you need to know about the new Saudi public decency code

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia has given the go-ahead to implement new regulations related to public decency as the country opens up to foreign tourists.

Interior Minister Prince Abdul Aziz bin Saud bin Naif on Friday approved the rules, which identify 19 offenses as punishable.

The ministerial decision accompanies the launch of a visa regime that allows holidaymakers from 49 countries to visit Saudi Arabia. Until now, most visitors to the Kingdom have been either pilgrims or businesspeople.

Men and women are required to dress modestly, refrain from public displays of affection, and avoid using profane language or gestures.

Women are required to cover shoulders and knees in public, but they are free to choose a modest choice of clothing.

The Kingdom is encouraging tourists and visitors to familiarize themselves with public decency laws in order to avoid fines.

Violations listed on the new visa website include littering, spitting, queue jumping, taking photographs and videos of people without permission, and playing music at prayer times.

Fines range from SR50 ($13) to SR6,000.

"The regulations are meant to ensure that visitors and tourists in the Kingdom are aware of the law relating to public behavior so that they comply with it," said a government media statement, adding that Saudi police had

the sole responsibility for monitoring offenses and imposing fines.

The sale, purchase and consumption of alcohol are illegal in Saudi Arabia, as is bringing alcohol or drugs into the country.

The new code forbids hate, racism, discrimination and indecent behavior. Anyone found engaging in indecent behavior, which includes acts of a sexual nature, will receive a SR3,000 fine that can be doubled if the violation is committed a second time.

The charter forbids playing loud music in a residential area without a prior license. The violator will receive a SR500 penalty that could be doubled if repeated.

The same punishment will be imposed on anyone caught littering streets and public places, jumping over or going around barriers to access a public place, or wearing clothing with language, images or symbols that promote discrimination, racism, porn or drug use.

A person who plays loud music at prayer times will receive a SR1,000 fine. Repeating the violation exposes the offender to a SR2,000 penalty.

Saudi Arabia has traditionally given high priority to attention and respect for the elderly and those with special needs.

As such, the new code says anyone who occupies their seats and facilities will receive a SR200 fine for the first time. The fine can be doubled if the violation is repeated.

The new code imposes a SR100 fine on people who fail to remove the excrement of their pets. The fine can be doubled if the violation is repeated.

The same punishment can apply to other violations such as writing or drawing on public transportation vehicles or public walls; lighting fires in public places; harming or frightening anyone in a public place, whether verbally or physically; and directing harmful lights, such as laser beams, at someone.

The new code includes a SR1,000 fine for those who take photos or videos of people without their permission. The fine, which may be increased to SR2,000, applies to taking photos or videos of traffic accidents, crimes and other similar incidents.

Unless allowed, those who do not respect their turn in a line of people waiting to be served will be fined SR50. That amount can be doubled if the law is broken a second time.

The new code says no penalties can be imposed on any behavior not mentioned in the charter. It adds that violators will have to bear the costs of rectifying their violation.

Anyone harmed by a violation can claim their private rights and file a lawsuit against the offender. In case of multiple offenders in a single violation, the prescribed fine shall be imposed separately on each violator.

Any person on whom a penalty is imposed has the right to file a complaint before the Public Decency Circuit at the Specialized Court (Board of Grievances).

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1561206/saudi-arabia


UAE bans drug linked to stomach cancer from sale

Stomach-acid medicine suspected of having been contaminated with a cancer-causing agent have been taken off pharmacy shelves in the UAE.

The Ministry of Health and Prevention released information for those taking ranitidine, a substance found in brand-name drugs for heartburn, indigestion or to treat and prevent stomach ulcers.

The withdrawal notice follows a global recall of some products, including a suspension on the distribution of Zantac by Swiss drug manufacturer Novartis.

Although the health ministry does not recommend that patients stop taking products containing ranitidine, it says people should contact their doctor to seek alternative treatments.

"The circular was issued after reviewing measures taken by international health authorities," said Dr Ruqaya Al Bastaki, director of the ministry's drug department.

Once any warning in relation to medicines is issued, the ministry immediately releases a circular to all health and concerned authorities, highlighting the need to withdraw and dispose of certain products in order to safeguard the health and safety of the community.

"Patients should contact the ministry in the event of any side effects arising from using these products."

The ministry said it will not permanently withdraw affected medicines until the acceptable ratio of N-Nitrosodimethylamine, or NDMA, is established by the international health authorities.

Its decision follows recommendations from the US Food and Drug Administration, the European Medicines Agency and Health Canada regarding the possible contamination of the medicine with NDMA.

Sandoz, the generics division of Novartis, voluntarily recalled supplies of its 150mg and 300mg ranitidine hydrochloride capsules due to concerns of NDMA contamination, although adverse effects of the drug have not been reported.

To report any ill effects from taking ranitidine medication, contact the ministry on 04 04 2301448 or email them at pv@moh.gov.ae and see your doctor.

https://www.thenational.ae/uae/health/uae-bans-drug-linked-to-stomach-cancer-from-sale-1.916556

Abu Dhabi airport to shut down city terminal

The Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) will close its City Terminal, effective from 6am on October 3, 2019, as a result of its continuous efforts to deliver a smooth and seamless passenger experience.

All passengers travelling from AUH are encouraged to depart directly from the airport, where they will be able to enjoy the full comfort and amenities offered to them by Abu Dhabi Airports' staff, or to visit the Abu Dhabi International Airport Expo Check-In, located at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center (ADNEC), open seven days a week from 9am to 8pm local time.

The closure of the terminal falls in line with Abu Dhabi International Airport's commitment to providing passengers with a streamlined and comfortable experience that allows passengers departing from the airport easy access to their flights and onward destinations.

https://www.khaleejtimes.com/uae/abu-dhabi/abu-dhabi-airport-to-shut-down-city-terminal

New service patrols to hit Abu Dhabi roads

As many as 30 brand new Road Service Patrol vehicles will hit the streets from October 1 as the Integrated Transport Centre expands its free services across Abu Dhabi, a top official said.

Since 2009, the Road Service Patrol fleet has been coming to the rescue of vehicles that had broken down on highways, among other services.

Now, these patrols - which come in a new colour and design - will cover a wider area.

"So far, we have 13 vehicles covering only Abu Dhabi City. From October 1, we will have 17 more to serve Al Ain and Al Dhafra. We will have 30 new vehicles to offer our free services across Abu Dhabi.

"We will monitor the situation for three months and later review if there is need to add vehicles in Al Ain and Al Dhafra," said engineer Hamad Adel Al Afifi, acting director for the traffic management division in the road sector at Integrated Transport Centre Abu Dhabi. "The new orange-coloured vehicle is different than the old yellow one as this gives indication of an arrow. It helps inform people that they need to move to the next lane."

Al Afifi said Road Service Patrol offers unique, distinctive and innovative services, among them are urgent repairs for cars on the road, as well as technical and mechanical maintenance.

"We help with changing tyres, supplying fuel and other repairs. All of this is on 24/7 basis. The Road Service Patrol vehicle is equipped to manage minor incidents. It can also provide five litres of fuel to reach nearest filing station," he added. Al Afifi said the Road Service Patrol improves traffic safety by securing sites of accidents and dealing with obstacles.

https://www.khaleejtimes.com/uae/abu-dhabi/new-service-patrols-to-hit-abu-dhabi-roads

Emirates launches 2-second biometric boarding system for US flights

Emirates has become the first airline outside the US to receive approval for biometric boarding from the US Customs Border Protection (CBP).

Soon, customers flying from Dubai to any of Emirates' 12 destinations in the US will be able to choose facial recognition technology at the departure gates, reducing the time taken for identity checks to two seconds or less. No pre-registration is required, and customers may also choose not to use the technology. Emirates does not store any biometric records of its customers - all the data is managed securely by CBP.

The technology was piloted at the departure gates of Emirates' flights from Dubai to New York and Los Angeles through the peak periods in July and August.

The results were encouraging with some flights achieving 100 per cent biometric boarding and zero manual checks.

The airline expects to make biometric boarding available for all its US destinations by year-end, once the equipment is in place.

How biometric boarding works

At the boarding gate, the system clicks the passenger's photo, which is matched against CBP's gallery in real-time to verify the person's identity in two seconds or less.

The system may not work for those who haven't travelled to the US for a long time or whose images are not in CBP's gallery, in which case they can simply approach the gate desks.

Dr Abdulla Al Hashimi, Divisional Senior Vice President, Emirates Group Security said: "Safety and security will always remain our number one priority, as Emirates continues to explore and invest in innovative solutions for hassle-free travel that help our customers fly better. Our ultimate aim is to help our passengers travel paperless, without the need for passports and IDs.

John Wagner, Deputy Executive Assistant Commission, Office of Field Operations, US Customs and Border Protection said: "CBP has been working with our stakeholders like Emirates to build a simplified, but secure travel process that aligns with CBP's and the travel industry's modernization efforts.

In June, Emirates had implemented biometric boarding for passengers on its Washington-Dubai flights. The airline expects to roll out this technology across all its US destination airports.

Emirates currently flies to 12 US cities: New York, Newark, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington, D.C., Orlando and Fort Lauderdale.

https://www.khaleejtimes.com/business/aviation/emirates-launches-2-second-boarding-system-for-12-destinations-1-

New community shopping mall opens in RAK

UAE-based developer Master Investment Group has announced the opening of Grove Village, a retail community and lifestyle boutique mall built over a 125,000-sq-ft area in the northern emirate of Ras Al Khaimah.

The two-storey development was inaugurated by HH Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah on September 27 in the presence of Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Master Investment Group chairman and group CEO Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Saqr Al Qasimi and several local officials.

Built at an investment of Dh42 million ($11.4 million), the shopping mall boasts a wide range of international luxury brands besides varied dining, shopping and entertainment options, said the mall developer.

The mall is also an ideal venue to host a range of community events, it stated

One of the critical aspects of this project is the ambience created within the development and the opportunity to explore the culture of Ras Al Khaimah, said the developer.

The Grove Village project will also host children's entertainment activities and a variety of exciting events throughout the year, it added.- TradeArabia News Service

http://tradearabia.com/news/RET_359143.html

Arada unveils new residential community in Sharjah

Arada, the UAE's newest developer, has announced the launch of The Boulevard, a new residential community that forms part of its urban megaproject, Aljada.

Located in the edge of the ultra-contemporary East Village district of the city, The Boulevard comprises three apartment blocks, all built within a wealth of amenities and surrounded by lush green landscaping.

The nine-storey blocks are located next to Aljada's main avenue, an elegant tree-lined street complete with shops, restaurants and cafes, stated the developer.

Characterised by distinctive architecture and thoughtful design, these New York-style apartments boast floor-to-ceiling windows offering spectacular panoramic views, alongside hand-selected fixtures and stylish materials offered as standard.

Each home also features state-of-the-art Arada Smart Home technology, providing residents with comfort, ease and efficiency.

Featuring around 600 units in total, The Boulevard buildings feature a range of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments with a wide range of sizes and floorplans, which are targeted at singles, young couples and families.

The complex also includes a fully stocked health club and a shared swimming pool, as well as a number of cafes and retail outlets at ground-floor level.

According to Arada, The Boulevard will be officially launched at the upcoming Cityscape Global, the Gulf's largest real estate exhibition, which is taking place between 25-27 September at Dubai World Trade Centre.

Construction on The Boulevard will begin next year, and the first homes in the complex will be handed over by the end of 2022.

Aljada, a master-planned destination with a sales value of Dh24 billion ($6.5 billion) that is set to transform the future of Sharjah, was unveiled by HH Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, during an exclusive ceremony in September 2017.

Sharjah's largest ever mixed-use community, Aljada is ideally situated on the last major plot of undeveloped land in the heart of the city.

The 24-million-sq-ft megaproject has exceptional connectivity to surrounding areas, and is an all-encompassing district that comprises considerable retail, leisure and entertainment options, in addition to a wide range of residential and commercial offerings.

On the new project, chairman Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi said: "We have been extremely pleased with the investor and end-user interest we have received in East Village, which is now 85 per cent sold out."

"The Boulevard represents one of the last opportunities to buy homes in this modern and progressive district. Located close to the Central Hub, a new entertainment and leisure district for the UAE, as well as Aljada's upcoming business park, we are confident that The Boulevard's impressive design and amenities will be appreciated by its future residents," he noted.

Construction on Aljada is well under way, with the first homes scheduled to be handed over in the first quarter of 2020.- TradeArabia News Service

http://tradearabia.com/news/CONS_358924.html

International flights start from new Jeddah terminal

Saudi Arabia's General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) has announced that first international flights from the new King Abdulaziz International Airport Terminal 1 in Jeddah will be launched today (Aug 9).

The first two destinations, operated by kingdom's national carrier Saudi Arabian Airlines, will be Abu Dhabi and Bahrain. Muscat International Airport in Oman will be the third destination, which will be added on August 10, a Saudi Press Agency report said.

Saudi Arabian Airlines had previously transferred the operation and flights of 21 of its domestic destinations to Terminal 1 at the New King Abdulaziz International Airport.

http://tradearabia.com/news/TTN_357544.html


Oman's first utility-scale wind farm starts op

The 50-megawatt (MW) Dhofar Wind Farm in Oman has produced its first kilowatt hour of electricity, marking a major milestone for the GCC region's first utility-scale wind farm.

The landmark wind farm, which is fully funded by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), the leading national entity for international development aid, was successfully connected to Oman's electricity transmission grid last week during the commissioning of the project's first wind turbine, which is now supplying clean power.

The remaining 12 wind turbines will be commissioned, tested and connected to the grid in sequence, ensuring the start of commercial operations before the end of 2019.

The project is being implemented by Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar) through an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) consortium of GE Renewable Energy and Spain's TSK. Once fully commissioned, the wind farm is expected to generate enough electricity to supply 16,000 homes - equivalent to seven per cent of Dhofar Governorate's total power demand - and will offset an estimated 110,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually, while reducing reliance on natural gas for domestic power generation.

He added: "Bringing Oman's 50-MW Dhofar Wind Farm online is yet another milestone in our 48-year development funding journey. Aimed at helping to achieve SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy - this strategic venture also contributes to enhancing Oman's energy output, while creating job opportunities and bolstering sustainable economic development in the country."

Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, CEO of Masdar, said: "Masdar is proud to have developed the first utility-scale wind farm in the GCC. The successful connection of the first wind turbine to the electricity transmission grid at the Dhofar Wind Farm is a major step for Oman and the country's ambitions to diversify its energy mix to include renewables. As a global leader in the development of commercially viable wind power, Masdar is committed to advancing clean-tech innovation both regionally and internationally by deploying the latest technologies at scale and enhancing their commercial viability."

The Oman Power and Water Procurement Company (OPWP) will be the off-taker, or purchaser of the generated power, from the Rural Areas Electricity Company of Oman (Tanweer), which is responsible for operating the wind power plant upon completion.

GE Renewable Energy has provided the project's 3.8-MW wind turbines, which have been built to withstand Oman's hot and arid desert conditions, while TSK is responsible for the remainder of the wind farm's infrastructure and electrical transmission facilities connecting the plant to the grid.

Dr Manar Al-Moneef, president and CEO, Onshore Wind, Mena and Turkey of GE Renewable Energy, said: "We have completed a huge milestone in the execution of the Dhofar Wind Farm by producing this first kilowatt-hour, first out of the 50MW that will power Oman's Dhofar Governorate with clean energy. Wind power is growing around the world and it is becoming a reliable and affordable source of green energy. We are proud to be working with Masdar and our partners to bring this technology to Oman and build the first utility-scale wind farm in the country."

Earlier this month, the consortium of EDF Renewables and Masdar announced that they had reached financial close on the 400-MW Dumat Al Jandal wind project in Saudi Arabia, the country's first utility-scale wind farm that will be the largest in the Middle East when completed. - TradeArabia News Service

http://tradearabia.com/news/CONS_357587.html

Pay and park' system at Al Sahwa Park from next month: Municipality

Muscat -

Muscat Municipality is all set to introduce the 'pay and park' system at Al Sahwa Park from September for better management of parking facilities in the area.

In the past, motorists and visitors to the park had asked the authorities that a proper system should be put in place as there are many who leave their vehicles parked there for days.

They had requested the authorities to intervene and segregate slots for buses, taxis as well as private cars with some even calling for the installation of parking meters.

According to the municipality, all motorists using the parking facilities have to pay at the meters. "Anyone who wants to park his or her car will have to pay. It will be operationalised beginning September," a municipality official told Muscat Daily.

Many have expressed their happiness on the move saying that order will prevail now.

Mohsin Rashid, a bus driver who uses the facilities almost every day, said, "There is no proper order in place. Buses, taxis and private vehicles are just parked randomly in the area. I believe once the system is in place, there will be order."

Al Sahwa Park is located near the Rusayl roundabout, which is one of the busiest intersections in the city. Many people who take buses to attend work in oil fields park their vehicles near the park for days.

"Often, I see vehicles covered in dust parked for days. The owners are usually those working in oil fields in the interiors who leave their vehicles for weeks as per their convenience. As a result, park goers struggle to find parking slots.

"I am happy now that I will be able to find a slot to park my vehicle easily as motorists will have to pay from next month onwards," Jamila al Asmi, a Mawaleh resident who visits the park almost every week, said.

https://muscatdaily.com/Archive/Oman/Pay-and-park-system-at-Al-Sahwa-Park-from-next-month-Municipality-5fdm

Logistics giant Panalpina to open Oman office

Muscat -

Switzerland-based international freight forwarding and logistics company Panalpina is planning to establish its presence in Oman, leveraging the company's long-standing experience in project solutions and energy sector to support the sultanate's burgeoning economic and infrastructural growth.

Panalpina Oman expects to open its office in Muscat by the end of the third quarter in 2019, the company said in a statement on its website.

'Oman's government is aiming to diversify the economy and is focusing on agriculture, fisheries, tourism, mining, public utilities and manufacturing. Together with a growing number of large infrastructure projects and its transhipment hub for Qatar, Oman is fast becoming the latest business hotspot within the Middle East region,' Panalpina said.

'Riding on that economic growth, Panalpina is establishing its presence in Oman to leverage its proven expertise in handling large-scale and complex major moves for energy and capital infrastructure projects,' the company added.

Panalpina said that it recently completed the registration of Panalpina Oman with a minority shareholding partner - the Daoud Group, a family-owned Omani business conglomerate.

Charles Francis, Panalpina's country manager for Qatar, Kuwait and Oman, said, "Oman has become a pivotal geographical location for cargo flows to and from Qatar. Unlike some of the GCC countries, Oman has not introduced economic sanctions and its trade with Qatar has increased by more than three times since the embargo started two years ago."

Panalpina's operations in Oman were previously handled by an agent. Panalpina Oman will now cover core activities such as air freight, ocean freight and customs clearance.

Panalpina Group operates a global network with some 500 offices in around 70 countries, and it works with partner companies in another 100 countries.

https://muscatdaily.com/Archive/Business/Logistics-giant-Panalpina-to-open-Oman-office-5fdf

Oman residents can now lodge human rights complaints via WhatsApp

The commission received 163% more complaints in 2018 (50 complaints) compared to 2017 (19 complaints), its annual report shows, with most cases related to residency, work, personal freedom and social security.

You can now make a complaint to the Oman Human Rights Commission through a WhatsApp message.

The authority said in a statement, "Citizens and residents can communicate via WhatsApp with the Monitoring and Complaints Department of the Oman Human Rights Commission and submit their reports to the phone number 72221966."

The service was introduced to ease the processing of complaints, Ahmed Al Rashdi, Director of the Monitoring and Complaints Department at OHRC told Times of Oman.

The commission received 163% more complaints in 2018 (50 complaints) compared to 2017 (19 complaints), its annual report shows, with most cases related to residency, work, personal freedom and social security.

Over half of complains in 2018 were related to economic and cultural rights, while the remaining were related to civil and political rights.

The rise in complaints is largely due to educational programmes implemented by the commission OHRC to raise awareness about available channels in which residents can hand in their complaints and guarantee their rights by law.

Plaintiffs were initially asked to take the reports to the commission's office in person, before a mailbox was designed for the service, followed by a hot line, an electronic reporting service on the authority's website and now a WhatsApp number.

https://www.arabianbusiness.com/culture-society/425392-oman-residents-can-now-lodge-human-rights-complaints-via-whatsapp

No plans to delay introduction of VAT in Oman, says finance ministryp

Oman has said it is to introduce the new tax in accordance with its GCC agreement.

Oman's Ministry of Finance has said there are no plans to postpone the implementation of value added tax (VAT) in the country.

Oman agreed to introduce VAT in 2018, as part of the GCC Unified Agreement, although it later delayed its implementation to 2019.

Citing a bond prospectus, Reuters reported that Oman "expected VAT to be implemented in 2021".

The Sultanate's Ministry of Finance, however, issued a statement to Oman News Agency - under a headline of 'No plans to postpone VAT' - and said it planned to introduce the new tax in accordance with its GCC agreement.

"The Ministry of Finance affirmed that it is going to apply the value added tax (VAT) in compliance with the GCC unified agreement to apply this tax at the level of the GCC countries," said the statement said.

The ministry said the government is working on completing the legislative procedures to issue the VAT law, and that the Secretariat General of Taxation is currently completing the administrative, technical and technological equipment in preparation for applying this tax once it is approved.

Reducing the deficit

Addressing concerns about the current state of Oman's finances, the ministry said various financial measures, including spending control, have had a positive impact.

"The Sultanate will continue taking a number of financial procedures in aspects related to revenue and public expenditure in a bid to achieve fiscal balance of public finance," a statement said.

"The financial accounts of the Sultanate indicate that the financial measures taken have achieved positive results in controlling government spending and reducing the annual deficit in return for an increase in government revenues."

Last month, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said that Oman should work harder to implement economic reforms, including adjusting government expenditure and expediting the implementation of VAT.

According to a recent report from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW) and Oxford Economics, Oman's economy is expected to experience modestly weaker growth of 2.8 percent this year, down from an estimated 3.3 percent in 2018 but up from the 0.9 percent drop in 2017.

The slowdown is partly driven by forecast oil prices of $67 per barrel, down 5.6 percent from 2018's average. An estimated 60 percent of Oman's total budget revenue comes from oil revenue.

"The slump in oil prices has put significant pressure on Oman in the last year," said Maya Senussi, ICAEW economic advisor and senior economist for Middle East at Oxford Economics. "There is a dire need for an improvement in the non-oil sector and delaying the introduction of VAT has had a significant effect on the fiscal deficit."

https://www.arabianbusiness.com/politics-economics/425134-no-plans-to-delay-introduction-of-vat-in-oman-says-finance-ministry

Oman extends visa ban on hiring expats

Oman had extended the ban earlier in July to include carpenters, metallurgy workers, blacksmiths and brick kiln workers.

Oman's Ministry of Manpower has extended the temporary visa ban on hiring expats to include four more professions in the private sector, reported the Times of Oman.

The ban which is part of the Sultanate's Omanisation process will be extended for six months beginning August 5, 2019, according to the ministry.

It will apply to jobs in the sectors of IT, accounting and finance, sales and marketing, management and human resources, insurance, media, medical, airports and engineering.

The period of the ban on permits to bring temporary expatriate manpower into private sector establishments for the professions specified in Ministerial Decision No. 73/2019, shall continue for a period of six months from August 5, 2019," the ministry said in a statement on Sunday.

Oman had extended the ban earlier in July to include carpenters, metallurgy workers, blacksmiths and brick kiln workers.

In March this year, the Sultanate announced the establishment of a new National Centre for Employment (NCE), a plan to replace expats with Omanis in various sectors.

According to a report in the Times of Oman, the centre - which will come into effect on January 1 2020 - will open branches in various parts of Oman to suggest qualified Omani jobseekers for various positions before the Ministry of Manpower approves requests for labour permits to fill positions.

The move means that if a company files a request for an expat visa, the centre will first determine whether there are any qualified Omanis to fill the roll.

https://www.arabianbusiness.com/politics-economics/424842-oman-extends-visa-ban-on-hiring-expats


Recruitment of expats based on local needs: Aqeel

Minister of State for Economic Affairs Mariam Al-Aqeel yesterday said the recruitment of foreign workers to the country is based on labor contracts and according to the needs of the local market. "Figures circulated recently in the media about the entry of large numbers of the Egyptian community monthly to the country are incorrect," Aqeel told reporters at the headquarters of the General Secretariat for Planning.

She stressed statistics show the real monthly rate of entry of this community to Kuwait is between 1,400 and 2,200 people per month in the private sector. Aqeel noted the total work permits for Egyptian workers issued in 2018 amounted to 62,000, while 23,000 were canceled in 2018, pointing out that Egyptians who entered the government sector last year amounted to 577 workers, mostly teachers.

Regarding the implantation of the new national labor percentages in the private sector, Aqeel affirmed that the postponement of the application of the new decision was due to technical reasons, and work is underway to reclassify work and amend regulations in cooperation with the ministry of commerce and industry. Aqeel stressed the readiness of the bodies affiliated to her ministry to achieve more during the coming period,

whether with regards to the General Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development or the General Authority for Manpower and other bodies. - KUNA

https://news.kuwaittimes.net/website/recruitment-of-expats-based-on-local-needs-aqeel/

Ministry to avoid local contracting with expat teachers for next year

KUWAIT: Official sources said the Ministry of Education will not open local contracting with expat teachers for the upcoming school year, because its contracts with teachers from abroad and appointments of Kuwaiti teachers meets the need and covers what the school year and new schools need. The sources said the education ministry does not want to repeat violations attributed to it from the Civil Service Commission when it contracted expat teachers who arrived in Kuwait not as teachers - rather they were registered for other jobs.

The sources said the education ministry is thinking about banning local contracting in the coming years and limit it to Kuwaitis, children of Kuwaiti women and Gulf nationals only, and as for expats, they will not have a chance except in cases of extreme need.

Meanwhile, the ministry's administrative sector asked its departments to prepare lists of expat employees who are to be terminated, be they teachers or administrators, as per the Cabinet's decision to Kuwaitize the government sector, expecting the list to include more than 400 expats of both genders.

In other news, the Ministry of Electricity and Water (MEW) denied any stoppage in the MEW-PAY application with regards to enquiry and payment services. Leaked information earlier indicated that MEW Minister Khalid Al-Fadhel asked for the halting of the application in its trial phase for more investigation to ensure authors' rights.

https://news.kuwaittimes.net/website/ministry-to-avoid-local-contracting-with-expat-teachers-for-next-year/

Clean criminal record certificate required for expats working in NGOs

Govt looks to cut expenses in staff annual bonuses

KUWAIT: The Ministry of Social Affairs plans to ask NGOs to obtain a clean criminal record certificate from expatriates who wish to work for them in order to make sure that they are not affiliated with any organizations, groups or activities that in contrary to the rules and regulations of those NGOs, which the ministry supervises. The ministry made this new condition after investigations following the arrest of Egyptians in Kuwait wanted on terrorism charges in their home country revealed that they have work visas issued by some NGOs in Kuwait, said sources familiar with the new circular.

Meanwhile, the ministry said aid payments were not stopped to those eligible to receive them; rather they were stopped for those who did not renew their documents, besides those who should be suspended because of changing their social and financial status. They said the suspension is precautionary and temporary until the required documents are submitted. It said the ministry did not and will not stop any payments until beneficiaries are contacted and asked to submit required documents.

Employees' bonuses

Rewards for excellent work that ministries and other state departments pay to employees each year will be reduced by half, informed sources said. According to the sources, employees should next year notice that the total value of rewards will drop by 40 to 50 percent because of new conditions, most important of which is employees' compliance with attendance, as those who do not comply with the biometric access system for at least 180 days will not receive their bonus and cannot file grievances over the issue.

The sources said the biometric system will be the first condition for the reward and is the approach to other conditions that guarantee productivity and the extent of compliance with working hours. They said that the majority of rewards will be for Kuwaitis, as non-Kuwaiti employees will have another system. The reward will be according to the allocated budget and managers' input. Sources said the Civil Service Commission (CSC) and State Audit Bureau noticed many loopholes in payments of excellent work bonuses, and money was given to those who do not deserve it, so the rewards will be linked with CSC to follow their compliance.

School preparations

Education Minister Hamed Al-Azmi told education ministry officials that any dereliction in preparations for the upcoming school year will mean they will be forced out of their jobs or sent for involuntary retirement. Official sources said Azmi asked ministry undersecretaries and education zone managers to follow preparations directly in the field and not from their offices. He asked the general education undersecretary and zone directors to complete preparations two weeks before the start of the school year. The sources said direct instructions were given to undersecretaries to provide all school needs, such as air conditioners, tables and teachers' desks before the middle of August, and directed that contracts be signed with cleaning companies to provide the necessary labor before the start of the school year. The sources said the curriculum sector received most schoolbooks for the school year from print shops, while some are still being printed. The sources added that new teachers from Tunisia, Palestine and Jordan will arrive in Kuwait after the Eid-Al-Adha holiday, adding that a special committee will receive them.

https://news.kuwaittimes.net/website/clean-criminal-record-certificate-required-for-expats-working-in-ngos/
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