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Souq rebrands as Amazon in Egypt

Souq.com rebranded as Amazon.eg in Egypt on Wednesday, marking the last local operation to shift its platform since Amazon's $580 million acquisition of the Dubai-based online retailer in 2017.

Souq became Amazon.ae in the UAE in May 2019 and Amazon.sa in Saudi Arabia in June 2020.

"We are super excited. It is a huge day for Egypt and our customers here," Ronaldo Mouchawar, who founded Souq in 2005 and became vice president of Amazon Mena when it was acquired in 2017, told The National.

Amazon, the world's biggest online retailer, announced in late July that it would be launching Amazon.eg "later this year".

Amazon.eg will feature millions of items from local and international brands across a range of categories, including electronics, apparel, home and kitchen, grocery and Amazon products, the US e-commerce company said.

"There have been many milestones for Souq.com over the years and today, we have another one to share with you. We are proud to announce that your Souq.com is now your Amazon.eg," Omar Elsahy, country manager of Amazon Egypt, said in a message on the new site.

Seattle-based Amazon is investing more than 1 billion Egyptian pounds ($63.8m) in the Egyptian market, according to Mr Mouchawar.

On Tuesday, Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly inaugurated Amazon's 28,000-square-metre logistics warehouse in the 10th of Ramadan City, an industrial area about 60 kilometres north-east of Cairo's city centre.

"It showcased a new era for us in Africa. It is the first fulfilment centre in this part of the world," Mr Mouchawar said.

Amazon already has 15 delivery stations across Egypt, including Cairo, Alexandria, Tanta, Ismalia and Assiut, and a workforce of more than 3,000.

The company also plans to launch a "sizeable customer service centre" in the country, Mr Mouchawar said.

"The potential here to work with the local young people is something that is a key moment in our journey," he said.

In July, local Egyptian businesses already on Souq and new sellers were invited to register on sell.amazon.eg, the company's seller management tool.

"Egypt has a strong industrial sector and a wealth of great retailers, sellers, brands and handicrafts. As we launch today, thousands of Egyptian businesses use Amazon.eg to reach their customers and we look forward to growing this number further in the coming years," said Mr Elsahy.

More than 50 per cent of items sold on Amazon globally come from third-party sellers and most are small and medium enterprises.

"I think we have a lot to do still in the region . We are nowhere near where our customers and sellers can be. At this stage, we are still focused on where we are," he said.


Egypt plans high-tech leap with state-of-the-art new capital

CAIRO: In Egypt's new capital on the outskirts of Cairo, residents will use smart cards and apps to unlock doors and make payments, and surf the web on public Wi-Fi beamed from lampposts.

A network of at least 6,000 cameras will monitor activity on every street, tracking pedestrians and vehicles to regulate traffic and report suspicious activity.

Its "smart city" design is a world away from parts of the existing sprawling capital.

The city being built from scratch in the desert - so far called the New Administrative Capital - is designed to hold 6.5 million residents and is expected to open to its first civil servants later this year.

How much Egypt's center of gravity shifts from Cairo to the new capital, 45 km from the Nile, is unclear. For many ordinary Egyptians, for whom the bustling city has been home for generations, the move and cost would be unthinkable.

But for those who do make the switch, they are promised a single app for paying utility bills, accessing local services, and reporting complaints and problems.

Officials say advanced technology systems will help reduce waste by detecting leaks or faults, and by allowing residents to keep an eye on consumption.

"Through their mobile app a citizen will be able to manage all their life affairs from their mobile phone," said Mohamed Khalil, head of technology for the Administrative Capital for Urban Development (ACUD), the military and government-owned company building the city.

Authorities plan to repeat and synchronize the technology through other developments championed under President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, for whom the new city is a flagship project.

"This model is being applied in all the 14 new cities that are being established ... one of our goals is the integration of cities," said Khalil.

Some Egyptians see the technological boost as long overdue.

"It's all very useful for the citizen," said Tark Habib, a 53-year-old trader speaking in central Cairo, where the Mugamma, the headquarters of Egyptian bureaucracy in recent decades, is being emptied.

Technology and communications contracts for the new capital total $640 million, which could rise to $900 million in later phases, Khalil said. Partners include Huawei, Orange and Mastercard.

A surveillance system developed by Honeywell will "monitor crowds and traffic congestion, detect incidents of theft, observe suspicious people or objects, and trigger automated alarms in emergency situations," the company says.

As building work continues, the level of scrutiny - or any concerns over it - has yet to be tested.

Officials say surveillance technology would be aimed at detecting crime and enhancing safety, and that data will be protected by Egyptian law and international standards.


Siemens-led consortium wins $4.5bn Egypt rail contract

Siemens Mobility, a unit of global technology major Siemens, has announced that its consortium with Orascom Construction and The Arab Contractors has secured a turnkey rail system contract worth $4.5 billion from the National Authority for Tunnels (NAT).

As per the deal, Siemens Mobility consortium will deliver a comprehensive rail system featuring the first ever high-speed, electrified main and freight rail line that will transform the transportation sector in Egypt.

The scope of work includes comprehensive turnkey services to design, install, commission, and maintain the systems for 15 years.

The deal also covers 660 km of modern, safe, and integrated rail system to link the Red and Mediterranean Sea for people and goods, said the statement from Siemens.

Of the total contract value, the German technology giant's share is around $3 billion. The vast majority of the order intake is expected to be booked in 2022 after financial closing.

It is the first contract to be signed following the MoU agreed upon between NAT and Siemens Mobility, Orascom Construction and The Arab Contractors in January this year.

The contract signed today covers the initial 660 km out of the 1800 km rail network planned. Additionally, it was agreed to discuss and finalize the agreements on the two other high-speed railway lines including rail infrastructure and trains, and maintenance in the coming months.

On the key agreement, Lieutenant General Kamel El-Wazir, Egyptian Minister of Transport, said: "This high-speed train will strengthen the infrastructure of the areas it passes through and help achieve urban sprawl, in addition to linking the New Administrative Capital and new cities to the railway network for transporting passengers and goods."

"The project will also help promote tourism through a fast, modern, and safe means of transportation characterized by the highest levels of efficiency and safety to meet the needs and expectations of all Egyptians across the country which is considered a major leap in the field of rail transport. For its part, Siemens will provide its latest smart technology solutions, along with its continuous support to local skills development," he added.

Siemens President and CEO Roland Busch said: "We are proud to support the Egyptian government's ambition to transform its transport sector by building its first high-speed electrical rail network. This landmark project will create jobs, boost economic growth, and improve quality of life for millions of people, by creating a more efficient, safe and sustainable transport system."

"As a long-standing partner to Egypt, we are committed to providing the most advanced technology and to supporting local skills development," he noted.

"We are honored and proud to become Egypt's partner in constructing a state-of-the art rail system that will transform the everyday travel for millions of Egyptian people," he added.

For this project, Siemens Mobility will deliver its Velaro high-speed trains, Desiro high-capacity regional train sets, and Vectron freight locomotives. A safe and reliable signaling system based on the latest computer-based interlocking technology and European Train Control System (ETCS) Level 2 will be installed, as well as the power supply system that delivers efficient and continuous energy.

Furthermore, Siemens will provide and integrate the latest communications, safety and security systems that will create a pleasant passenger experience. The trains as well as all subsystems are based on the most modern and proven products and platforms. Siemens Mobility's consortium partners will install the tracks, while the customer will build the bridges and facilitate the sub construction.


Abu Dhabi introduces unified tariff for electric vehicle charging across emirate

According to a new directive issued by officials in Abu Dhabi, all private residences and commercial buildings that offer electric vehicle (EV) charging points, must install sub-meters on the EV charging units.

The Abu Dhabi Department of Energy (DoE) has approved the new governance framework for charging EVs in the emirate.

The framework defines a unified tariff for all registered units with consumption monitored by Abu Dhabi Distribution Company (ADDC) and Al Ain Distribution Company (AADC). Currently there are 200 charging units available to the public across the emirate.

From August 26, 2021, a monthly tariff of Dhs92 will be added to monthly ADDC/AADC bills until a sub-meter is installed for the EV charging units.

The DoE has given owners of private charging units a grace period until December 31, 2021, to have a sub-meter installed.

ADDC and AADC will install the sub-meter for all registered units for free until year-end. Thereafter, violators will be fined.

Once the charging unit is registered and a sub-meter is installed, a unified tariff of 30 fils per kilowatt hour will be implemented. Registrations have already opened for EV charging unit owners who want to have their sub-meter installed immediately.

Electricity consumption will be monitored from the tariff implementation date, and owners of public and private charging units must register with ADDC or AADC by filling out the registration form available on their websites.

"With transport being one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions, EVs offer significant potential for reducing CO2 emissions, improving air quality, and also creating new industries. The governance of EV charging through the introduction of a new unified tariff is a strategic step that will complement our existing regulations for EV charging stations and will create momentum for private investors to grow the network of electric charging units in the emirate, while also motivating more people to consider electric vehicles," said DoE chairman, Awaidha Al Marar.

In the neighboring emirate of Dubai, the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority said in May that it had installed almost 300 charging stations across Dubai, including some in Hatta. EV customers registered under its newly launched EV Green Charger initiative can charge their vehicles by scanning a QR code at DEWA's charging station. DEWA added that it will provide non-commercial EV customers registered in the initiative with free charging until the December 31, 2021.


UAE: Sharjah opens seven new private schools

Seven new private schools have been opened in Sharjah in the current new academic year 2021-2022 with varying capacities and a variety of new educational curricula.

A top official at Sharjah Private Education Authority (SPEA) said that the new schools, which includes one with an Australian curriculum, represent a qualitative addition to the educational work system in the emirate.

The new schools include Darb Al-Saada Private School, Victoria International Private School, Mantina American Private School, Al-Madina International Private School, Al Sidra Private School, Gulf American Private School, and 'Shouifat' Sabis International Private School.

He added that the SPEA carried out inspections in these schools to ensure their readiness to receive students, especially new ones, and their application of the necessary conditions and procedures. These inspections also tested their commitment to the stipulated general standards, absorptive capacity, and the precautionary measures approved by the authority to confront Covid-19.

The inspectors also ensured that these schools are well prepared to provide a safe learning environment, as the safety of students is a top priority.

The new schools are distributed across seven areas, including Al Ghubaiba, which houses the Darb Al-Saada private school that follows the ministerial curriculum for kindergarten through grade 12 students.

Mantina American Private School in Muwailih follows the American curriculum, for kindergarten through grade 12.

Al-Madina International Private School is also located in the Al-Azra area and is based on the ministerial curriculum for the education of students from pre-kindergarten to sixth grade. Al-Sidra Private School in Kalba adopts the ministerial curriculum for teaching kindergarten through grade 12 students.

Gulf American Private School, located in the Al-Rahmaniya area, teaches the American curriculum for students from pre-kindergarten to grade 12. The Choueifat-SABIS-International Private School in the Aljada area is based on the special curriculum for students of pre-kindergarten to grade 12.


Dubai: Students who frequently use Metro, tram get free laptops

Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has given away free laptops to students who are frequent users of the Metro and tram. The students use the services to reach their schools and universities.

The initiative coincided with the start of the new academic year last week.

"This initiative is part of the RTA's commitment to encourage various segments of the community like the youth and students to use mass transit means like the Metro, tram, buses and marine transit means in their daily commute across Dubai," said Rowdah Al Mehrizi, director of Marketing and Corporate Communication, Corporate Administrative Support Services Sector, RTA.

The RTA offers a 50 per cent discount on blue Nol cards to students and residents. It offers the card free of charge to senior Emiratis, residents and people of determination


Abu Dhabi new entry rules: How to download the Al Hosn app

The UAE's flagship test and vaccine app is helping to get life back to normal amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Al Hosn allows the user to show proof they have taken a coronavirus vaccine, or had a recent test.

In Abu Dhabi from Friday, August 20 you will need to be vaccinated to enter supermarkets, malls and gyms, among other premises - and proof must be shown via the Al Hosn app.

So how do you download and register Al Hosn?

Here's our step-by-step guide.

How do I download Al Hosn app?

First, download the app from the Apple or Google Play store. It is about 36MB in size so won't take long to complete.

Once ready, enter your Emirates ID number - that's the long number on the front of your card.

If you're not a UAE resident or don't have an Emirates ID yet, you need to enter your "Unified ID" number.

What's a Unified ID number for Al Hosn?

If you are flying with a pre-arranged visit visa, you will have a PDF or printout of the document to show on arrival.

On that form there is a temporary Unified ID number, usually in the top right corner of the page.

It is best to download the app in advance and enter the number, in case you need to use the app to enter somewhere soon after arrival.

If you are from a country that has a visa-on-arrival arrangement with the UAE you only receive a visa stamp on your passport and a five-digit number - not a Unified ID.

You will need to contact the immigration services - GDRFA in Dubai or ICA for the rest of the country - and ask them to generate a number for you. Tourists and newly-arrived residents on stamp-on-arrival visas have reported problems getting a unified ID number.

I received the vaccine abroad. Can I upload it to Al Hosn?

As of last month, a tourist or new arrival to the country can add their international vaccine certificate to the Al Hosn app.

You can follow our step-by-step guide, showing you how to download the certificate to the app, so you can enter public places if you have been vaccinated abroad.

According to the Department of Health Abu Dhabi website, "recipients of a vaccine outside the country" can also apply for an exemption. The exemption would show up on the app.

The following number is listed for further information: Istijaba service - 800 1717.

Speaking earlier this year, Dr Farida Al Hosani, a government health spokeswoman, said people seeking an exemption in Abu Dhabi should arrange an appointment at a Seha or Mubadala Health vaccine clinic.

Once there, they will be evaluated and a medic will decide whether the individual is exempt or not.

The person will be given an official report to use until the exemption is reflected on the Hosn App.

What is Al Hosn for?

The app does two things: it serves as a test-and-trace system that helps the authorities to track if someone has been in contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19.

It uses your phone's Bluetooth function to "talk to" other devices. If someone you were in close contact with later tests positive, the authorities know who you are and can ask you to isolate and get tested.

More recently, it has been used as official proof that you have had a coronavirus vaccine, to show the results of a PCR test from a lab or hospital, and show how recently that test was taken.

The app negates the need to carry around a print out of a test or vaccine. Clinics upload your results directly to the app.

Al Hosn means 'the fort' or 'fortress' in Arabic.

Can I enter Abu Dhabi without Al Hosn app?

Whether you're a resident or visitor, you will be asked for proof of vaccination or a recent PCR test on the Al Hosn app when you reach the Abu Dhabi-Dubai border.

If you cannot download or register the app, ensure you have some physical proof of vaccination, ideally a certificate, to show the police.

If there is an issue, you may be sent for a rapid DPI test, which is located on a turn-off near the border checkpoint and costs Dh50, before being allowed to proceed.


UAE visa reforms: Residents to get up to 180-day grace period after losing job

Expats who have lost their job in the UAE will soon be able to stay up to six months in the country as part of the leadership's new reforms announced on Sunday.

The UAE law currently allows employees, who have been made redundant, to leave the country within 30 days. But the authorities are relaxing the grace period and would allow people to stay from three to six months after losing the job.

This announcement brings a major relief to employees as it will give them ample time to search for another job. For the UAE, it will help retain the talent within the country.

"We are relaxing the grace period one gets to leave the country after being made redundant. Instead of the previous 30 days, people will have 90 to 180 days to leave the country," said Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade.

All you need to know about new UAE visas

Projects of the 50: Modernisation of visa, work permits

One of the key legislative changes being introduced as part of 'Projects of the 50' is a restructuring of the entry and residency system, which is being upgraded to confirm the UAE's position as an ideal destination for work, investment, entrepreneurship, education and life.

This was announced as part of reforms for the Year of the 50th to retain the talent in the country.

Other specific regulatory changes include:

- Extension of business trip permits from 3 months to 6 months

- Sponsorship of parents under the visa of direct family members

- One-year residency extension for humanitarian cases

- Extension of children's age limit on parents' residency from 18 to 25 years

- Extension of grace period upon job loss or retirement to 90-180 days


UAE announces new initiatives, including visa changes and new data law

The UAE announced the first set of 50 new projects and initiatives set to be unveiled this month as part of its golden jubilee.

The 'Projects of the 50' is a series of developmental and economic projects that will be rolled out throughout September, which aim to accelerate the UAE's development, consolidate it into a comprehensive hub in all sectors and attract talents and investors.

Several initiatives were announced in the areas of economy, entrepreneurship, advanced skills, digital economy, space and advanced technologies at an event on Sunday.


Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE's Minister of State for Foreign Trade, revealed the launch of a new 'green visa', which will be granted to entrepreneurs, investors, highly skilled individuals, top students and graduates.

The green visa, which distinguishes between work permits and residencies, enables its holders to sponsor themselves.

The visa will permit holders to sponsor their sons until the age of 25 (from 18 at present) and will also grant them a grace period of 90-180 days

to stay in the country once their visa is cancelled either due to job loss or retirement (up from 30 days at present).

It will also allow for the sponsorship of parents.

Al Zeyoudi also announced the launch of a federal freelancers visa for self-employed workers based in the UAE and overseas in specialised fields such as artificial intelligence, blockchain and digital currencies.

The new regulations also include expanding the golden visa eligibility to include managers, CEOs, specialists in science, engineering, health, education, business management and technology.

Other specific regulatory changes include:

- Extension of business trip permits from three months to six months

- Sponsorship of parents under the visa of direct family members

- One-year residency extension for humanitarian cases

"The measures have been introduced to enhance the competitiveness and flexibility of the UAE labour market, facilitate sector growth, spur knowledge transfer and skills development, and create greater stability and security for residents," a statement said.

Industrial push

New initiatives to support the growth of the local industrial sector were unveiled by Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology along with Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Technology.

The newly launched Project 5Bn will see Dhs5bn allocated to support Emirati projects in priority sectors and is part of the Emirates Development Bank's April 2021 allocation of Dhs30bn to help accelerate industrial development, adopt advanced technology, and support entrepreneurship and innovation by 2025.

The UAE government also launched 'Tech Drive', a Dhs5bn programme to support advanced technology adoption in the industrial sector.

Established in partnership with the Emirates Development Bank, the fund will support the industrial sector's shift towards the applications of the Fourth Industrial Revolution over the next five years.

It will also provide programmes and incentives to support entrepreneurs in the industrial sector, aiming to achieve a Dhs25bn contribution to the GDP and raise productivity by 30 per cent.

The fund's packages include financial and non-financial programmes, direct and indirect lending, capital investment in emerging and small and medium-sized companies, and advisory and guidance services.

Meanwhile Al Amiri unveiled the launch of a new index which will measure the progress of the UAE's Fourth Industrial Revolution Strategy (4IR).

The Smart Industry Readiness Index and has been created in partnership with international tech giants and will support the digital transformation of 200 industrial companies after evaluating the efficiency of digital operations.

A leadership strategy has also been created to support industry leaders with 100 business leaders set to receive training initially.

The plan is to create "smart industry powered by technology", Al Amiri said.

New data law

The UAE is also set to unveil a new data law that will ensure privacy of individuals and international companies, revealed Omar Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications.

The federal law, designed in partnership with major international technology companies, gives individuals the freedom to control the way their personal information is used, stored and shared, and in a manner that supports preserving the privacy of individuals and institutions in the country.

"We don't believe that the role of the government is to hinder the prosperity of the economic accelerators to do their job - we can do our job while allowing the private sector to go up," he said.

Al Olama also said that the country is increasing its efforts to attract more coders, in line with the recently announced initiatives.

"The first step was announcing 100,000 global visas to programmers and coders," he said.

He announced the "100 programmers every day" project, which will see the UAE add 3,000 programmers per month to the workforce in the national economy, to reach 100,000 programmers within 12 months.

The country is specifically looking at boosting the number of women in the sector, with an aim to "have the highest number of female coders per capita in the world".

"We don't want to be a local player, but a global player [in the coding landscape]," Al Olama stressed.

"We want to become a Silicon Valley, and export technology to the world," he added.

Economic partnerships

To boost the UAE's position as a main gateway for global trade and investment, the government is undertaking comprehensive economic partnership agreements with eight key global markets around the world.

The agreements aim to achieve an Dhs40bn annual increase to the UAE's current Dhs257bn trade volume with these markets.

The agreements fall under the UAE's global economic partnerships strategy, which aims to double the size of the national economy from Dhs1.4 trillion to Dhs3 trillion over the next 10 years.

The countries with which deals were signed are large markets that constitute 10 per cent of the world's GDP, with an economic exchange among these countries worth $80bn. They are also home to 26 per cent of the world's population, with high demand for goods and services, in addition to strong trade and economic relations in their respective regions.

The UAE government also approved the higher committee for economic agreements to oversee the expansion of partnerships with new markets and seize new investment and economic opportunities to sustain the growth of the national economy.

The country also launched three initiatives to boost foreign direct investment:

- The 1010 programme aims to achieve an annual increase in the country's exports by 10 per cent in 10 key markets: China, the UK, the Netherlands, Italy, Russia, Poland, Luxembourg, Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia.

Through an integrated system of incentives and benefits, the project will work to achieve a 14 per cent growth in cumulative FDI outflow by 2030, and a growth of investment directed to the targeted countries of 24 per cent by 2030.

- A new electronic portal - invest.ae - has been launched to act as an umbrella for all investment-related local entities and 14 state economic entities and will present all investment opportunities across the UAE. The portal will also provide information on the local investment environment, as well as business and bank account set-up services. It will also highlight entrepreneurial success stories.

This electronic platform is designed to showcase the UAE to major international companies and unicorn companies (billionaire companies), and encourage major global sovereign wealth funds to funnel investments to the country. It will also facilitate the identification of investors unable to invest in their own countries, open communication with them and incentivise the transfer of their investments to the UAE.

- The UAE will host the Emirates Investment Summit to connect investment funds with the public and private sectors to attract Dhs550bn in FDI over the next nine years. The summit is scheduled to take place during the first quarter of 2022.

Further projects set to boost the UAE's economic and political development are set to be unveiled throughout this month.


Dubai's biggest underground metro station, Jumeirah Golf Estates, to open on Sep 1

Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has said that it will open Jumeirah Golf Estates Metro Station located on Route 2020 to the public on September 1, 2021.

The station will become the biggest underground station in the entire Dubai Metro network, including the Red and Green Lines.

The station covers an area of 28,700 square metres and extends 232 metres in height.

It can serve 11,555 riders per hour during peak times, and about 250 thousand riders per day.

It has two train-boarding platforms, four bus stops, 20 taxi stands to pick-up and drop-off riders, and 20 parking slots for the use of people of determination, in addition to 400 public parking slots free of charge in the surrounds of the station.

The facility has 14 outlets for investors over an area of 466 square metres, as well as four point of sale display areas for retailers.

Dubai Metro's new 15-km long Route 2020 will open to the public in September, and was built at a cost of Dhs11bn.

Route 2020 - the third in Dubai, after the Red and Green lines - extends from Jabal Ali metro station on the Red Line to the Expo 2020 Dubai site. There is a transfer station at Jebel Ali linking Route 2020 and the Red Line.

There will be a total of 50 trains servicing the Route 2020, and they are expected to carry over 125,000 passengers daily.

Of the 15km track, 11.8 km is above the ground level, in addition to a 3.2km underground tunnel that extends from Al Furjan to the Green Community.


World's tallest and largest observation wheel, Ain Dubai, to open this October

Dubai Holding has announced that Ain Dubai, the world's largest and tallest observation wheel, is set to open to the public on October 21, 2021.

Ticket sales for the attraction has already opened on its website, and is priced starting from Dhs130.

At 250-metres, Ain Dubai is almost twice the height of the London Eye. It will offer 19 customisable experiences from dining in the sky and exclusive celebration packages to bespoke corporate and event packages.

Located on Bluewaters Island, it is open both during the day and the night and will allow commanding 360-degree view of the emirate's skyline.

There was 11,000 tonnes of steel used to construct it - twice as much as was used in the Eiffel Tower.

Ain Dubai can carry a total of 1,750 guests at a time. Each leg connected to the hub of the wheel stands at 126 metres tall, with the hub and spindle alone weighing the same as the weight of four A380s combined.

There are 48 cabins, all of which are air-conditioned, and is larger than two-double decker buses stacked side by side. There are three cabin types: Observation Cabins, Social Cabins and Private Cabins, with experiences starting with one rotation of approximately 38 minutes, up to two rotations of approximately 76 minutes.

The Social Cabins feature beverage-inclusive packages. Visitors can also step into a premium cabin and access the Ain Dubai Sky Bar cabins.

Ain Dubai's Private Cabin meanwhile that provides exclusive use of an entire cabin. Celebration packages including for birthdays, engagements, weddings, and corporate events can be arranged for within these cabins.

"Ain Dubai offers unique experiences catering to all audiences, including luxurious special event cabins; nightlife and party occasions; unique dining and culinary options; family-friendly cabins and customisable romantic experiences for special moments. More exciting details of what to expect from our grand opening will be revealed soon," said Ronald Drake, General Manager of Ain Dubai.


Work begins on Phase Two of Sabis school project in Sharjah

Leading Sharjah developer Arada has announced that work has begun on Phase Two of the Sabis International School (SIS) project located at its residential community, Aljada.

SIS has opened its doors in time for the 2021-2022 academic year welcoming students in pre-kindergarten through primary school to its 60,000 sq m campus, which boasts its own indoor swimming pool, shaded play area and an indoor multipurpose hall.

The construction contract for the Phase Two project, which was valued at over AED100 million ($27.23 million), was awarded to ASGC.

With work making steady progress, it is likely to be completed during the summer of 2022 in time for the next academic year.

The second phase of SIS-Aljada will facilitate the welcoming of pupils up to Grade 12, thus taking its total capacity to over 3,500 students.

Upon full completion, SIS-Aljada's world-class facilities will include science and computer laboratories, a performance hall and extensive sports facilities including a semi-Olympic pool, an indoor basketball/tennis court, an Olympic soccer field and an athletics track, said the statement.

SIS-Aljada is the latest in a long line of Sabis schools in the UAE, and the second in Sharjah, joining The International School of Choueifat-Sharjah, the opening of which in 1975 marked the launch of the very first Sabis school outside Lebanon.

"Like all schools in the network, SIS-Aljada will implement the proven, proprietary Sabis Educational System that is designed to give students the solid foundation of knowledge and 21st century skills they will need to achieve success in university and in life," noted Sabis Vice-President Victor Saad.

"Proprietary, innovative, digital technology embedded into the programme will give students an edge in ensuring their academic success. From E-books and Interactive Boards to the Sabis Digital Platform, the integrated technologies are available at school and at home guaranteeing that learning never stops," he stated.

"As our second school in Sharjah, Sabis-Aljada is a testament to our continued dedication and commitment to offering students in the emirates an outstanding education that prepares them for success in the future," he added.

Arada CEO Ahmed Alkhoshaibi said: "This is one of the most important milestones in our journey to make Aljada a truly comprehensive living experience for families."

"With its outstanding teaching system and next-generation facilities, SIS-Aljada is an exceptional asset for the local community and is also in keeping with Sharjah's commitment to providing a world-class education for all, he added.- TradeArabia News Service


Jumeirah Maldives resort to open on Oct 1

Jumeirah Group, the global luxury hospitality company and a member of Dubai Holding, has announced a new international resort, Jumeirah Maldives, which will welcome its first guests from October 1.

Adding to Jumeirah Group's growing portfolio of hotels, guests can now discover Jumeirah Maldives, an all-villa luxury resort tucked away in the crystalline turquoise waters of the North Mal Atoll, easily reachable by speedboat or seaplane from Mal Airport. Its idyllic location offers privacy for romantic getaways, a blissful island retreat for friends and family, and experiences to suit the more active traveller, said a statement.

The resort's surprising panoramic architecture and calming interiors are the work of sophisticated Singaporean design studio, Miaja, who has created an elegant contemporary ethos in harmony with the natural environment, echoing modern Mediterranean chic - a design that sets it apart from the rest, it said.

Jos Silva, Chief Executive Officer of Jumeirah Group, said: "The Maldives is a much-loved getaway for travellers from around the world and Jumeirah Maldives is a destination that delivers on our brand promise of Stay Different. The resort offers unparalleled hospitality with a genuine flair that exceeds guest expectations, while pushing the limits of design, culinary and service expertise. A truly breath-taking addition to the brand's portfolio, Jumeirah Group's new home in the Maldives guarantees an immaculate guest experience right from the very moment they set foot in our new contemporary resort."

Jumeirah Maldives offers 67 beach and over-water villas in one-, two- and three-bedroom configurations, all assuring stunning panoramic views of the Indian Ocean. Starting from 171 sq m, the resort's villas are among the most spacious in the North Mal Atoll. Each villa features a private infinity pool and large roof-top terrace with a dedicated dining area for guests to take in the sensational views while indulging in delicious culinary dishes or relaxing with a picture-perfect movie-under-the-stars experience, while the three-bedroom villas also boast their own gym.

The interiors of the villas are truly breath-taking. Bathed in natural light with oversized windows framing the verdant flora and palm fringed beaches or the dramatic sweeping ocean views, guests are harmoniously connected to the natural environment, creating a calming and positive vibe. Textured walls, local artworks and handcrafts combined with Jumeirah Group's signature luxury amenities and bedding, create a sense of purity and simplicity amid organic surroundings.

As always, exceptional dining experiences are the focus of attention for Jumeirah Group, who has infused the island experience with exquisite Mediterranean and Nikkei flavours, with two of their award-winning signature restaurants, Shimmers and Kayto, for a truly memorable stay.

Delivering the ultimate in casual alfresco dining, Shimmers will feature Chef Roberto Rispoli's exquisite cuisine set against a backdrop of amazing sunrises, breath-taking ocean views and chilled vibes thanks to a resident DJ and regular live music performances. KAYTO, meanwhile, will captivate guests over dinner, with an impressive open kitchen that will draw the diner's eye to the team's culinary mastery.

The globally-renowned Talise Spa, with its six overwater treatment rooms, offers unfettered access to wellness and relaxation with a range of therapeutic and re-energising treatments. There are daily yoga classes at this tropical paradise, making your wellness routine even more rewarding.

Guests can also enjoy an array of activities from water sports, beach volleyball, billiards and tennis at the resort's phenomenal court location, or perhaps partake in enriching experiences from underwater photography, planting coconut trees and making coconut oil. A highlight for any guest stay is the unique submarine tour transporting them through the vibrant marine habitat. For the most memorable experience, try a night voyage to experience the rarely-seen underwater world after sunset.

Appealing to families is a splash waterpark and indoor play area for kids, while an outdoor cinema will screen family favourites beachside as well as blockbusters more suitable for older audiences.

Meanwhile, guest experiences are made effortless by a team of dedicated butlers who work round the clock curating exemplary hospitality services: from reservations to check-in, dining and spa bookings. - TradeArabia News Service


Saudi residents can now own one property in the kingdom

Saudi residents can now own one property in the kingdom, the Saudi Gazette reported, adding that those interested can apply for a permit to buy a single property on the 'Absher' platform.

It revealed that expats must meet three conditions to buy property in the kingdom:

They must not already own a property in the kingdom

They must have a valid and unexpired residency ID (Muqeem),

They must provide property information along with a copy of the title deed


Saudi Arabia to extend residency permits for expats stranded outside the kingdom

The General Directorate of Passports is automatically extending the validity of residence permits (Iqama) for expatriates stranded outside the kingdom due to prevailing travel restrictions.

Additionally, the validity of visit visas and exit and re-entry visas without fees or charges for all expatriates will also be extended.

Both extensions run until September 30, 2021, and cover those residents and tourists that are in countries from which entry is suspended due to the ongoing pandemic.

The extension, which was issued by the Minister of Finance, is part of the government's efforts to mitigate the impact of the pandemic. It also falls within precautionary and preventive measures to safeguard citizens and residents, reported state-run Saudi Press Agency.

The Directorate indicated that the extension will be carried out electronically in cooperation with the National Information Centre without the need to visit the departments of passports.

According to an earlier directive issued last month, the validity of residency, exit and re-entry visas of expats stranded abroad was automatically extended until August 31, 2021.

Starting July 4, Saudi had decided to suspend direct passenger flights between the kingdom and the UAE, as well as Ethiopia, and Vietnam, as a result of the pandemic.

Saudi nationals are barred from travelling, directly or indirectly to these countries, unless they obtain special permission to do so.


Saudi Arabia launches first stage of tourism program in Riyadh

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia has become a tourist destination so the Kingdom's tourism sector is launching extensive training programs in different cities throughout the country with awards up to SR45,000 ($11,700).

The first stage of the "Tourism Pioneers Camp" was launched on Tuesday in Riyadh as part of the ministry of tourism's strategy to build human resources in tourism, develop their skills, and transform their ideas into innovative prototypes that could be applied in real life.

Jeddah and Alkhobar will launch their programs on Sept. 14, followed by Abha on Sept. 28, and then Tabuk on Oct. 5 in preparation for the second stage of the camp, which will be declared at a later date.

Through these initiatives, the ministry aims to provide training and developmental programs in innovative ways that target all types of Saudi professionals who will build competitive skills at the international level.

The "Tourism Pioneers Camp" includes extensive workshops with meetings, guidance sessions, prototypes, and training on presenting innovative projects.

The program targets a number of activities related to the tourism sector including tourism accommodation, cultural, recreational, and sports activities. Saudi activities and products, travel and tourism agencies, food and beverages, leasing services, in addition to land, air, sea, and railways transport will also be included.


Bahrain updates Covid-19 entry rules for travellers

Passengers arriving in Bahrain who are eligible for a visa on arrival will now be accepted upon entry after showing their vaccination certificate, the kingdom's Civil Aviation Affairs said.

An additional PCR test on the fifth day of stay in the country will now also be required, but all previous procedures are still in place.

Passengers arriving from red list countries, including passengers who have transited those countries at any point in the last 14 days, are prohibited from entry unless they are a citizen or resident of Bahrain.

For vaccinated and unvaccinated passengers over the age of 6 arriving in Bahrain from red list countries are subject to the following rules:

. Present an approved PCR certificate with a QR code before boarding the plane, administered within 48 hours of departure

. Conduct a PCR test upon arrival

. Quarantine for a period of ten days at your residence or at a quarantine centre licensed by the National Health Regulatory Authority (NHRA)

. Conduct a PCR test on the fifth day after arrival

. Conduct a PCR test on the 10th day after arrival

Passengers arriving from non-red-list countries over the age of 6 must follow the below requirements:

Vaccinated passengers arriving from GCC countries, or countries with which Bahrain has signed a mutual vaccination recognition agreement are to follow the below procedures:

. Conduct a PCR test upon arrival

. Conduct a PCR test on the fifth day after arrival

. Neither presenting a PCR test before boarding the plane nor quarantining upon arrival is required

All vaccinated passengers aged 6 years and above who have an approved vaccination certificate from countries that are eligible to obtain an on-arrival visa are to follow the below procedures:

. Present an approved PCR certificate before boarding the plane, administered within 72 hours of departure

. Conduct a PCR test upon arrival

. Conduct a PCR test on the fifth day after arrival

. Conduct a PCR test on the 10th day after arrival

. No need to quarantine

All non-vaccinated passengers are required to follow the below procedures:

. Present an approved PCR certificate with a QR code before boarding the plane, administered within 72 hours of departure

. Conduct a PCR test upon arrival

. Quarantine for a period of 10 days at your residence or at a quarantine centre licensed by the National Health Regulatory Authority (NHRA)

. Conduct a PCR test on the fifth day after arrival

. Conduct a PCR test on the 10th day after arrival


Eagle Hills Diyar unveils residential serviced apartments

Eagle Hills Diyar, a major provider of quality lifestyle communities, has launched its unique concept of beachfront residential serviced apartments - Address Residences, Marassi Vista - within its Marassi Al Bahrain portfolio.

This exclusive project, being developed in partnership with Address Hotels and Resorts, would be the ultimate hassle-free property investment seamlessly managed on behalf of investors - from leasing to furnishing, ensuring the ideal ownership experience, said the statement from the Bahraini developer.

With a built-up area of 33,000 sq m, Address Residences, Marassi Vista features 210 units, ranging from studio to three-bedroom apartments, and designed to meet the expectations of guests for quality residences, it stated.

Address Residences, Marassi Vista guarantees fully equipped, high-quality interiors and furnishing complemented with various amenities; including a barista and caf lounge available on the ground floor as well as a state-of-the-art gymnasium.

The building also features a children's play area, in addition to a separate adult and children's swimming pool and a barbeque area.

The beachfront project is the most recent addition to the Marassi Al Bahrain community, short walk from Marassi Galleria and directly on a vibrant beach promenade and Marassi Hearts gardens, it added.

On the new project, Eagle Hills CEO Low Ping said: "We are extremely pleased to launch our latest development at Marassi Al Bahrain, in partnership with Address Hotels and Resorts. We have designed a new serviced residences project that complements and enhances our Eagle Hills portfolio and is aligned with our aspirations of providing customers with the ultimate comfort, convenience and 5-star living experience."

Eagle Hills Diyar Managing Director Dr Maher Al Shaer said: "Address Residences, Marassi Vista adds another layer to Marassi Al Bahrain's comprehensive project mix, and is a welcome addition to Bahrain's growing real estate sector, boosting the provision of residential options in the kingdom and posing as a lucrative investment opportunity."

"Our new serviced residences are envisioned to offer high end, fully furnished units complete with ample facilities and stunning sea views, all complemented further by access to all the nearby attractions and conveniences that Marassi Al Bahrain has to offer including exceptional waterfront retail and F&B," he added.

Address is a premium luxury hotel group that has positioned itself as a perfect choice for business, leisure and group travellers.

As the first brand launched by Emaar Hospitality Group with properties situated in some of the most sought-after locations, it brought a fresh identity to the global hospitality and service sector by setting new benchmarks with its gracious and exceptional standards.

Eagle Hills Diyar General Manager Engineer Gim Hwee said: "We look forward to adding a new project to the Marassi Al Bahrain skyline. A project with the prestige of Address Residences Marassi Vista will create a new market niche of investor friendly products, a welcomed addition to the exciting and unique residential solutions that are available within the Bahrain Real Estate Market."

"Staying true to its tagline 'Residences Redefined', the new project, managed by Address, is set to bring a new concept of beach front residential serviced apartments," he added.- TradeArabia News Service


iWorld opens new Apple store at Bahrain City Centre

iWorld, the leading Apple Premium Reseller and Service Provider, a prominent division of Almoayyed International Group, opened its second Apple Premium Store at Bahrain City Centre, in line with its retail and e-Commerce expansion plan in the region.

The Apple APR Store was inaugurated by Farouk Yousif Almoayyed, Founder and Honorary Chairman of Almoayyed International Group on September 2 in the presence of the company board members and other officials.

According to a company statement, at the new store, Apple certified professionals will be available to help customers to learn about all the latest Apple products and enjoy a chance to test-drive Apple's latest solutions. The new Apple APR Store will merchandise the entire Apple product range, Apple accessories and premium third-party accessories, it added.

"The opening of a new Apple Premium Store at Bahrain City Centre is a part of our retail and online business strategy and underlines the enormous demand of Apple products herein Bahrain, while reaffirming our commitment to get closer to our customers and cater to their evolving demands," said Farouk Almoayyed, Founder and Honorary Chairman of Almoayyed International Group.

iWorld also launched its new e-Commerce website www.iworld.bh powered by latest Big Data technologies to improve its customer experience. The new technology will provide a seamless buying experience interconnecting its social media, search engines, website, e-Commerce site and purchasing at the store.

iWorld APR Stores are a vital department of iWorld Connect, which is a group company of Almoayyed International Group and one of the leading System Integrators in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Established in 1986, and rebranded in 2013, it has more than three decades of experience in ICT System Integration, providing professional services and software deployments. iWorld connect is an ISO 9001: 2015 Certified Company holding very strong satisfied customer base in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

As the largest Apple Partner in the Kingdom, iWorld Connect provides an end-to-end eco system of Apple products in retail, education and enterprise. With three stores, a large team of products and technical experts, they guarantee a seamless customer experience in each visit to their unique stores.-- TradeArabia News Service


Majid Al Futtaim opens biggest retail, leisure destination in Oman

Majid Al Futtaim, the leading shopping mall, communities, retail, and leisure pioneer across the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia has announced the opening of the Mall of Oman in Muscat.

The sultanate's largest shopping and leisure destination, the Mall of Oman boasts a 9,000 sq m Carrefour Hypermarket as part of Majid Al Futtaim package as well as the largest Vox Cinemas - complete with 15 screens - in addition to the only IMAX experience in the country, the first GOLD experience in Oman and a big Magic Planet facility featuring award-winning rides, games and attractions.

Alongside this offering, customers will get to enjoy a host of brands from the Landmark and Apparel groups. In addition, Mall of Oman will offer famous outlets such as DKNY, Nespresso, G-Shock, Homes R Us, Tavola and Al Khalili Buildex, ensuring there is something for everyone.

And for those looking for dining options, they can indulge at Kitchen 35, the VIP Lounge (GOLD) and Nutella, said the retail pioneer.

The launch marks an important milestone for Majid Al Futtaim as it continues to play a significant role in supporting local communities by enhancing the Sultanate's retail and entertainment offerings for both residents and tourists.

A recipient of the LEED Platinum certificate for its commitment to sustainability, resource efficiency, health and wellbeing, the new super-regional mall combines a selection of curated stores that bring the very best in retail, leisure, entertainment, and dining, as well as experiential offerings for all ages, it stated.

Husam Al Mandhari, Director of Shopping malls in Oman at Majid Al Futtaim Properties said: "This is another achievement for us as we continue to position ourselves as a retail pioneer that offers unique experiences and unmatched value, whilst contributing to the local economy."

"Providing 3,500 new jobs in the region, Mall of Oman offers multiple first-of-its-kind experiences in the sultanate, which allows us to continue to create memorable moments for our customers that they can cherish with their family," noted Al Mandhari.

"At Majid Al Futtaim, we are committed to place the people and communities we serve at the heart of everything we do, and this new opening demonstrates this," he added.

According to him, Oman has unveiled a 1,000 plus seater food court which will offer a selection of global chains.

"Meanwhile, those looking for more indulgent cuisine options from across the globe, will soon be able to visit various cafs and restaurants at the mall including over 50 dining options. We are also pleased to announce the launch of the largest indoor snow park in the sultanate next year, spanning over 14,000 sq m," noted Al Mandhari.

Mall of Oman complements Majid Al Futtaim's strong regional presence that includes 29 existing malls across the GCC, he added.- TradeArabia News Service


ID cards mandatory for children above the age of 10 in Oman

Muscat: Oman has now made it mandatory for children above the age of 10 years to have their own ID card.

ID cards were only made mandatory for males above the age of 15 years and optional for females earlier.

Sultan Haitham Bin Tarik issued Royal Decree No. 59/2021 amending some provisions of the Civil Status Law.

Article 42 stated that "each Omani over 10 years shall obtain an ID card, while those aged 10 or under years may get ID cards with the consent of their parents. The foreigner residing in the Sultanate should also obtain a resident card. The regulation shall identify the sample card and the details therein, the validity of the card, the procedures for obtainment of the card and the required documents.

Prior to the amendment, article (42) stipulated that "each Omani over 15 years shall apply for an ID card, which is mandatory for males and optional for females, while those under 15 years may obtain ID cards with the approval of their parents".


Oman restricts areas to only vaccinated people

Oman's Covid-19 Supreme Committee has made vaccination mandatory for entering government and private establishments from September 1, local media has reported.

The decision applies to commercial complexes, restaurants, among other business outlets. Vaccination is also a pre-requisite to attend cultural and sports events, among other group activities, reported Oman News Agency (ONA).

The same decision mandates having two doses of any Covid-19 vaccine approved in the Sultanate as a condition to enter Oman from any land, sea or air checkpoints (for incoming travellers aged 18 years and above).

This is in addition to the fact that inbound travellers have to undergo PCR test before or upon arriving in the Sultanate and abide by a seven-day quarantine, after which each traveller has to do the PCR test on the 8th day to confirm that he/she is not infected with the disease.

During the 26th press conference of the Covid-19 Supreme Committee, it was announced that, with effect from September 1, public and private establishments will operate with 100% workforce, without prejudice to the vaccination term.


Kuwait to resume flights with six countries including India, Pakistan and Egypt

Kuwait is resuming direct commercial flights with India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Nepal and Sri Lanka following months of suspension due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The decision came following a cabinet meeting on Wednesday. Flights from the six countries will be subject to measures identified by Kuwait's ministerial coronavirus emergency committee, the official Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) reported.

While no official date has been confirmed for the resumption, local media said flights will restart from Sunday, August 22.

Nationals from the six countries account for a major portion of the expat population in Kuwait. According to local media reports, roughly 2.3 million out of the 3.3 million expats in Kuwait are from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Sri Lanka or Nepal.

The latest decision comes following a decline in the number of new Covid-19 cases in Kuwait.

It reported 237 new cases on Wednesday, with two deaths and 642 recoveries. Since Saturday, the number of new daily cases has remained under 400.

Meanwhile the cabinet also announced that residents who have received Chinese or Russian vaccinations outside the country including Sinopharm, Sinovac and Sputnik V - which are not approved in Kuwait, can now enter the country provided they take one additional dose of one of the four vaccines approved by Kuwait - Pfizer-BioNTech, Oxford-AstraZeneca, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.


All types of visit visas expected to reopen in October

After a gap of more than 18 months, the Ministry of the Interior is planning to reopen entry visas for expatriates wishing to visit the country, which includes visas of all kinds (family, commercial and tourist), according to specific controls and conditions after the approval of the Council of Ministers in this regard, while a security source expected it to open in October, Arabic daily Al Rai reported.

This comes in light of the continued openness, with the start of direct flights with various countries, the increase in the capacity of Kuwait airport, and other procedures and steps to return to normal life with the decline in epidemiological indicators of the Corona pandemic.

A security source revealed to Al-Rai that "there are correspondences between the Ministry of Interior and the Council of Ministers regarding allowing the opening of entry visas that have been suspended since the beginning of last year due to the Corona pandemic crisis," noting that "commercial and family entry visas are currently being issued, only through The Supreme Committee for Corona Emergency in the Council of Ministers, according to specific controls and conditions.

He explained that "the majority of the requests that are allowed relate to medical cadres and some professions required by the labor market, such as legal advisors, engineers, technicians and teachers, while other cases are subject to study and evaluation."

According to the source, "from a humanitarian standpoint, visitor visas are granted to children and spouses, taking into account the circumstances of the reunification of some families residing in the country, but in very limited numbers, after the approval of the Emergency Committee."

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