Month: February 2020

News update: UAE Central Bank seeks measures to mitigate economic impact of coronavirus

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Banks asked to reschedule loans and reduce fees and commissions.

Dubai: The Central Bank of UAE (CBUAE) on Saturday asked banks to reschedule loans and reduce fees and commissions as part of measures to mitigate the economic effects of the coronavirus outbreak.

The country is a regional business hub and major transit point for passengers travelling to China and other destinations in Asia.

“Financial institutions are expected to implement measures such as re-scheduling of loans contracts, granting temporary deferrals on monthly loan payments, and reducing fees and commissions for affected customers,” Reuters quoted a central bank said statement .

Read more at: Gulf News

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque sees 6.6 million worshippers, visitors in 2019

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ABU DHABI, 29th February, 2020 (WAM) — Over 6.6 million worshippers, tourists and residents visited the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque during the ‘Year of Tolerance’ last year.

According to figures released by the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre, SZGMC, the total number of individuals visiting the iconic mosque reached 6,656,818 in 2019.

The SZGMC said that it had intensified its efforts to boost the mosque’s standing as a global intellectual platform for tolerance and a leading cultural destination.

Of the total number of visitors, the majority group were tourists visiting the site that totalled to 4,132,309. The Centre tallied worshippers at 1,562,149 individuals, fasting guests at 891,860 and recipients of weekly meals at 70,500.

The Centre noted that visitors from India lead the top ten countries visiting the mosque, with a total of 879,049, followed by China (704,680), Russia (234,849), Germany (193,234), and France (155,223).

Read more at: WAM

News update: Coronavirus in UAE: Schools to stop all meets

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KHDA issues circular calling for stringent steps to safeguard kids against the virus.

Dubai: In an effort to safeguard students and others in the UAE against the novel coronavirus, called Covid 19, which has infected more than 84,000 worldwide, Dubai Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) issued a circular on Saturday morning calling for the ban of activities such as field trips and gatherings that may comprise students.

Read more at: Gulf News


7th Sharjah Used Book Fair by Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services opens

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Photo courtesy SCHS

The 7th edition of the Used Book Fair organised under the theme of “Get a book – Light a path” by the Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services (SCHS) opened on Wednesday, 26th February 2020.

Celebrating the Emirate of Sharjah as World Book Capital City, this four-day book fair offering over a million used books will be held from Feb 26-29 held at the Palm Gardens, Khalid Lake, Sharjah.

In her message, Sheikha Jamila bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Director-General of Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services, emphasised the importance of organising the book fair coinciding to the vision of the His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohamed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah.

Consistent with the cultural, and knowledge approach which, coinciding with the vision of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, the Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services (SCHS) has been organising the fair every 2 years since 2006, reinforcing the value of a book and its importance, and also to promote the culture of reading through the community in all age categories.

In addition, it promotes the book’s value and its importance through encouraging reading and promotion and development of volunteering amongst youth.

This year the organisers have targeted a million books for display and sale.

Mr. Jehad Abed Alkader, the festival’s General Coordinator has ensured the rule of volunteering, in all stages of the book fair. Starting from preparatory works, volunteers a valuable number of people with different abilities. participate and engage in the festival’s organization and realized the importance of promoting awareness and education in community, through organizing this festival.

They all work under the directives of Her Highness Sheikha Jameela Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, to make the Used Book Festival through perfect organisation, innovative ideas, and the increase in the number of displayed books and revenues that serves the public interest of people with special abilities and the society as well.  Special attention has been taken to maintain the pricing of books in the fair between one dirham and twenty dirhams, providing an opportunity for all, to get books at nominal prices.

The first version of the festival has been launched, in April 2006. the number of books displayed in that year was 80 thousand books.  Then, the number of books increased in 2007 to become (100 thousand). The number became (150 thousand) in 2009.  In the fourth edition, which was in 2011, the number of books was (500,000 thousand).  The number of books increased more and more in the years 2013 and 2016 to reach in 2020 more than one million books as indicated by supervisors who have been working in sorting and pricing books since months.

The Festival, will offer a wide range of cultural events, recreational programs, and various cultural activities. It considered as the first, and the largest festival of its kind in the United Arab Emirates, in aspects of its idea, and organizing.

The festival deserves every required support especially; it has a rosy picture of “The Smiling Emirate,” which works hard to ensure a decent life for all.

Undoubtedly, main goals of the festival are not financial profit; however, the proceeds of this event will be used in supporting services provided by the SCHS to people with disabilities. the process provide an opportunity to forming alternators committees, collecting books and classifying them, and it offers to its pioneers from different age and population groups to get books and provide equipping with the knowledge  and culture.

Volunteers included students from Sharjah Technical College and University of Sharjah and students from Arab and foreign schools and participants from the Emirates Volunteers platform and Emirates NBD.


Thai Poosam Abu Dhabi 2020

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IMG_20200214_135326 cover photoWork is worship. True, for every expatriate. Family is devotion, more important for every human being. Balancing life between work and family and your passion is sometimes a challenge. You love to do so many things in life, but unable to do.

Never mind. I believe in keeping an attitude in my life like one gets in a cricket match for a player to get a run out or a stumping chance or a football or hockey player to score a goal in a flash. 

It was one such occasion that I happened to attend. I was not planning to attend. But, ended up and then couldn’t resist leaving.

And if I attend, even if I do not have my professional equipment, use whatever I have!.

That’s what I did this weekend. Captured an entire Bhajan session by Bhajan Bharathi for Thai Poosam 2020 held at Abu Dhabi, using my mobile camera. 

Enjoying watching the videos, taken through mobile, not one but two. One live on FB and other for Youtube!.

Our Story of Date Palm Trees – 2020

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DSCN6437_InPixio_InPixio2_InPixio3-2-bIt’s beginning of a new year and new month and a new season too. The date palm trees have flowered. Yes, It marks the arrival of a new season. Weather is cold now, but very soon it will change and the summer will begin. You can expect hot and sunny days soon. Then in no time, the holy month of Ramadan starts. By the time Eid Al Fitr comes, these flowers on date palms would have developed and fully ripened dates will be ready.
I have been following them for the past several years. Each time they flower, it is an opportunity to remember about the past seasons. And also look forward to the future ahead.

If you have kids, take them around for a walk in the evening. Show them the changes to the trees and flowers as the flowers blossom to a fresh green date and then ripen to reddish and juicy ones.

Very few know about this hidden treasure from this part of the world. The actual date tree population in UAE is about 40 millions of which 8.5 in Al-Ain region. The gene pool is large and composes about 120 date varieties. New introductions from Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Oman included Khallas, AbouMaan, Hallawi, Khissab, Khenezi, Nabut Saif, Jabiri, Hillali, Lulu, Chichi, Khadraoui, Sakii, Sultana and Barhi varieties.

UAE produces 533,701 Metric tons of dates on an average every year.

Mark out one or two date palm trees near your home and click them as you watch these wonderful natural phenomenon happening near you. Involve your kids.

Please do share your clicks with hashtags #OurStoryofDatePalms2020 #Talentshare
Good photos taken by children will definitely get appreciated and appropriate rewards.