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Dubai’s Emirates to resume flights to Stockholm from August 1

Dubai carrier Emirates will resume passenger services to Stockholm with weekly flights from August 1, expanding its network in Europe to 22 cities.
Emirates flight EK157 will depart Dubai at 8.40am and arrive in Stockholm at 1.10pm local time. Meanwhile, the return flight EK 158 will leave Stockholm Arlanda Airport at 3.05pm and arrive at Dubai International Airport at 11.20pm local time.
The flights will be operated with the Emirates Boeing 777-300ER, and can be booked on the carrier’s website or via travel agents.
With the resumption of Stockholm flights, all Emirates gateways in Scandinavia will have resumed services by August, with flights to Oslo restarting from August 4 and services to Copenhagen having resumed since June.
The airline’s passenger network will broaden to 63 destinations in August, offering customers worldwide connections to and via Dubai.
Tourists can travel to Dubai as the city has re-opened for business and leisure visitors from July 7, with new air travel protocols in place for UAE citizens, residents and tourists.
Read: Dubai to welcome tourists from July 7, unveils new travel protocols for all residents and citizens
Emirates has implemented several precautionary measures to ensure the health and safety of passengers and employees on the ground and in the air, including the distribution of complimentary hygiene kits containing masks, gloves, hand sanitiser and antibacterial wipes.
Those looking to travel via the airline will have to meet entry requirements of their destination country.
As the borders gradually reopen, Emirates has revised its booking policies to offer customers added flexibility.
In July, the airline said that it had processed nearly 650,000 refund requests in the past two months, returning over Dhs1.9bn to its customers due to several cancellations as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Read more: Dubai’s Emirates processes nearly 650,000 refund requests, returns over Dhs1.9bn to customers
Dubai’s Emirates to resume flights to Stockholm from August 1
Dubai’s Emirates to resume flights to Stockholm from August 1

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Dubai’s Amanat agrees to sell Middlesex University Dubai

Dubai’s education and healthcare investment firm Amanat Holdings has agreed to sell Middlesex University Dubai to Study World Education Holding Group.
In an update listed on Dubai Financial Market’s (DFM) website, Amanat has confirmed that it has signed a sale and purchase agreement with Study World.
“The transaction is subject to the satisfactory completion of customary conditions, including regulatory approvals and estimation of final consideration,” the update on DFM’s website read.
“Amanat will update the market if and when there are any material developments in this regard in accordance with the disclosure and transparency rules.”
However, the value of the transaction was not disclosed.
The Middlesex University Dubai campus was opened in January 2005, and has over 3,500 students from more than 100 nationalities.
In 2018, Amanat Holdings acquired a 35 per cent stake in Abu Dhabi University Holding Company (ADUHC).
Read: Dubai’s Amanat acquires 35% stake in Abu Dhabi University Holding
Dubai’s Amanat agrees to sell Middlesex University Dubai
Dubai’s Amanat agrees to sell Middlesex University Dubai

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Emirates Holidays introduces new measures to offer customers increased flexibility

Emirates Holidays, the tour operations division of Dubai carrier Emirates, has launched new measures to offer customers more choice and flexibility while planning their holidays.
Emirates Holidays has relaxed its policy to enable customers to book a holiday package in advance with a nominal deposit of Dhs199 instead of purchasing the package at full price.
This new policy aims to provide travellers with peace of mind should they decide to change their travel plans due to the Covid-19 situation.
Emirates Holidays has also introduced video appointments, to facilitate and personalise travel support.
Customers are encouraged to visit the tour operator’s website to browse through a collection of holiday packages or visit any of its retail stores across the UAE, or alternatively opt to book a private video appointment from the comfort of their own home.
Bob Kabli, senior VP online sales development and Emirates Holidays, said: “Emirates Holidays has always been committed to providing customers with the finest travel experiences. Our aim is to ensure customers feel supported and confident when making travel plans with us, while offering great value for money experiences. We have relaxed our booking policies, introduced video appointments and will continue to roll out measures that provide customers with utmost flexibility, convenience and peace of mind.”
Emirates has implemented several precautionary measures to ensure the health and safety of passengers and employees on the ground and in the air.
Tourists can travel to Dubai as the city has re-opened for business and leisure visitors from July 7, with new air travel protocols in place for UAE citizens, residents and tourists.
Read: Dubai to welcome tourists from July 7, unveils new travel protocols for all residents and citizens
Emirates’ network will grow to 63 destination by August.
Read more: Dubai’s Emirates to resume flights to Stockholm from August 1
Emirates Holidays introduces new measures to offer customers increased flexibility
Emirates Holidays introduces new measures to offer customers increased flexibility

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Lego opens exclusive e-commerce store in Saudi Arabia

Lego has opened its first certified retail store, as well as an online store, in Saudi Arabia. The 157sqm store is housed at the Red Sea Mall in Jeddah and will be operated by local franchisee Kamal Osman Jamjoom Group.
The store will feature the latest toy launches and exclusive sets from Lego while providing play spaces. The store has commissioned a large-scale 3D model of a traditional Saudi family that will be positioned in the store as well as a mosaic of Jeddah’s iconic Old Souk. Other concepts include a modular bookshop, Manchester United Stadium, the international space station, Fiat 500, Pirates of Barracuda Bay, Fairground Haunted House and Lamborghini.
“We are excited to add another blue-chip international brand to our portfolio that shares our values in promoting child development through play and fun. We are glad that we are now able to provide parents in KSA the opportunity to experience Lego and use it to inspire creativity and encourage learning at home,” said Hisham Al Amoudi, group CEO of Kamal Osman Jamjoom Group.
“It is hoped that the launch of our online shopping channel will create a 360-degree customer experience and despite these difficult times, we are pleased to partner with Lego because we believe in the brand and look forward to this successful partnership,” he added.
The first Lego stores in the GCC opened in 2015 in Yas Mall, Abu Dhabi, followed by three in Dubai. Two more were opened in Kuwait in the same year, operated by Majid Al Futtaim. In February last year, the iconic brand opened a new business unit headquarters for the Middle East and Africa in Dubai.
Lego opens exclusive e-commerce store in Saudi Arabia
Lego opens exclusive e-commerce store in Saudi Arabia

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UAE’s Etihad to resume flights to Shanghai from July 27

Abu Dhabi carrier Etihad Airways will resume passenger flights to Shanghai, China, effective July 27.
The service will operate with an initial weekly flight from Abu Dhabi, using a Boeing 777-300ER, featuring Business and Economy cabins, it announced on July 20.
Robin Kamark, Etihad Aviation group chief commercial officer, said: “We are delighted to announce the resumption of scheduled services to China, as we gradually return to more destinations on our global network, supporting the recovery of economic and social activities worldwide. Our priority now is to build the network back up on markets that have opened up and to provide a secure and hygienic flying environment across the entire guest journey.
“The restarting of passenger services between Abu Dhabi and Shanghai will cater to the large demand from business travellers in the UAE, China, and other economies in the Middle East and Africa. We are tremendously grateful to our customers and partners for their continued loyalty and we stand ready to fly more frequencies to China when possible.”
Flight schedule, effective July 27  (local times) 

Flight
Departure
Time
Arrival
Time
Aircraft
Frequency

EY  862
Abu Dhabi
1.00
Shanghai
13.50
Boeing 777-300ER
Monday

EY  867
Shanghai
23.40
Abu Dhabi
05.10 +1
Boeing 777-300ER
Tuesday

Those wishing to book are advised to visit the carrier’s website and to remain informed of the appropriate entry regulations at their end destinations.
Flights can also be booked via the mobile app, a local or online travel agency or by calling the airline’s contact centre.
Passengers travelling on Etihad Airways flights to China will be required to show a negative Covid-19 PCR test result received within 72 hours prior to departure from Abu Dhabi, or from their departure airport if they are transferring from other cities via Abu Dhabi.
In partnership with Mediclinic, Etihad Airways has rolled out a new initiative enabling its outbound passengers in the UAE to avail of Covid-19 testing services prior to their departure.
As part of its Etihad Wellness programme, passengers can avail the testing service either at their home or at a Medicare facility.

Read more: Etihad Airways rolls out Covid-19 home-testing for travellers in the UAE

Last month, Etihad launched its ‘Etihad Wellness’ initiative, an expanded health and hygiene programme as well as customer guide, supported by the introduction of trained wellness ambassadors who provide essential travel health information and care.
Read: UAE’s Etihad launches health and hygiene programme
By August, Etihad is expected to resume flights to 58 cities around the world.
Also read: Abu Dhabi’s Etihad to operate at 45% pre-Covid capacity by August; to add 20 destinations from next month
UAE’s Etihad to resume flights to Shanghai from July 27
UAE’s Etihad to resume flights to Shanghai from July 27

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Emirates NBD posts 45% dip in net profit for H1 2020

Dubai’s Emirates NBD recorded net profit worth Dhs4.1bn for the first half of 2020, 45 per cent down year-on-year from Dhs7.48bn for H1 2019.
The decline in net profit was driven by higher provisions and no repeat of the gain on disposal of Network International shares in 2019, it announced on July 20.
Excluding the gain from Network International, the bank’s net profit was down 24 per cent.
Meanwhile, total income for the first half of 2020 amounted to Dhs12.6bn, marking an increase of 33 per cent compared to Dhs9.5bn during the same period in 2019.
Net interest income worth Dhs9.3bn improved 36 per cent year-on-year in H1 2020 from Dhs6.8bn in H1 2019, supported by loan growth and higher margins from DenizBank.
Costs for the first half of 2020 amounted to Dhs3.9bn, an increase of 42 per cent year-on-year from Dhs2.8bn in the comparable period in 2019, with the inclusion of DenizBank. However, costs improved 1 per cent year-on-year excluding DenizBank.
Also, the cost-to-income ratio at 31.7 per cent is expected to increase in H2 2020, towards the 33 per cent management guidance.
During the first half of 2020, the non-performing loan ratio also increased to 5.8 per cent.
Customer loans at Dhs442.9bn, grew 1 per cent from end 2019.
The liquidity coverage ratio stood at 152.5 per cent as at June 30, 2020, while the advances to deposits ratio poised at 96.1 per cent.
In H1 2020, the group raised Dhs10.9bn of term debt, including two benchmark senior public bond issues and Dhs7.3bn of private placements with maturities out to 20 years.
Meanwhile, digital activation increased to 76 per cent of the customer base and the share of mobile based digital account opening doubled to over 40 per cent of new individual accounts sourced during Q2 2020.
Hesham Abdulla Al Qassim, vice chairman and managing director, Emirates NBD said: “Emirates NBD delivered a net profit of Dhs4.1bn for the first half of 2020 and maintained a strong balance sheet. The UAE Government and the UAE Central Bank took decisive action to protect the health of UAE residents and to provide economic relief measures to support customers and UAE banks. This swift government action to ensure the safety of UAE residents has enabled the Dubai economy to begin re-opening in a phased and controlled manner. The economic improvement is reflected in the UAE headline PMI which rose to 50.4 in June, the first reading in expansion territory this year.”
“Throughout these unprecedented times, we have put the safety and well-being of our customers and staff first. We proactively reached out to our customer base and support has now been provided to approximately one-tenth of our customers primarily through the deferral of over Dhs8bn of interest and principal for periods of up to six months. In addition, we have waived certain fees to help individuals and businesses cope with the disruption. We believe that by providing support now we will assist in stabilising the economy and minimise the impact on our customers,” said Shayne Nelson, group chief executive officer.
“As the economy re-opens we are seeing business volumes improving although they are expected to remain below pre-Covid levels in the coming quarters. The Group’s balance sheet remains strong with stable credit, capital and liquidity. Emirates NBD’s solid capital base along with an ability to generate healthy operating profits, provides a strong loss absorption capacity. The UAE Central Bank has been proactive in supporting the economy through liquidity and capital relief measures introduced through TESS and reduced cash reserve requirements.”
Also read: Emirates NBD and Visa commit to a 5-year partnership agreement
Emirates NBD posts 45% dip in net profit for H1 2020
Emirates NBD posts 45% dip in net profit for H1 2020

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G20 to make debt relief extension call closer to year end

The Group of 20 leading economies will decide on extending the current debt payments suspension for the poorest countries closer to the end of the year, putting off assurances of additional relief as the coronavirus pandemic ravages the world.
All member countries have started implementing the Debt Service Suspension Initiative that currently is set to only run through December, and the G20 expects the standstill to make $14bn available to confront the virus, Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan of host Saudi Arabia told reporters on Saturday.
So far, 42 countries have requested help under the plan, leading to the suspension of $5.3bn in repayments.
The move to consider extending debt suspension follows calls from the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and charities such as Oxfam.
The rate of Covid-19 infections is increasing in many countries, and even with the G20’s agreement in April that aims to waive bilateral debt payments from vulnerable countries, the cost of servicing obligations crowds out health and social expenses.
The World Bank last month forecast emerging markets’ output will shrink for the first time in at least six decades.
The virus and worldwide recession will lead to increasing poverty in less-developed nations, and debt burdens for some countries are rising to crisis levels, World Bank president David Malpass said in remarks prepared for Saturday’s virtual gathering of finance ministers and central bankers.
He urged the G20 to extend the standstill through the end of 2021 and to broaden the scope.
‘Increasingly Desperate’
“The situation in developing countries is increasingly desperate,” Malpass said. “Time is short. We need to take action quickly on debt suspension, debt reduction, debt resolution mechanisms and debt transparency.”
Al-Jadaan said the G20 will receive a progress report from the IMF and World Bank in advance of the lenders’ annual meetings in October to help decide on the next steps.
In its official communique on Saturday the G20 said it is “determined to continue to use all available policy tools to safeguard people’s lives, jobs and incomes, support global economic recovery, and enhance the resilience of the financial system, while safeguarding against downside risks.”
IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva said in a statement that she hoped the G20 would consider an extension of the debt moratorium, without giving a specific time frame. The IMF is stepping up action to make better use of existing special drawing rights, or reserve assets, she said.
Path to Agreement
After Saturday’s meeting, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said France supports extending the debt service suspension through the end of 2021, and that the nations are on a good path to get an agreement. He said European nations continued to discuss work to establish a tax for digital companies by the end of the year and a minimum tax for corporations to fight evasion.
However, the commitments made at Saturday’s meeting may not yet go far enough, according to Jubilee USA Network, a nonprofit group that advocates for debt relief for smaller economies.
“Given the severity of the current crisis, we hoped we’d see more action,” Jubilee’s Eric LeCompte said in a statement.
LeCompte highlighted as a positive the G20’s stronger language Saturday in its communique, where it “strongly encouraged” private creditors to join the debt suspension initiative.
That was a more forceful appeal than in April, when the nations said they would “call on” the private sector to participate. That’s important because some private sector creditors have been resisting the debt relief process, he said.
The aid group Oxfam was critical of the results of Saturday’s meetings, saying in a statement that the “lack of progress on debt relief is as irresponsible as it is underwhelming.”
The group called for steps that include extending the debt suspension through the end of 2022, expanding it to middle-income countries, including the private sector and multilateral development banks, and for the IMF to issue additional reserves assets.
Also on Saturday, Germany pledged an additional EUR 3bn ($3.4bn) to the world’s poorest countries through the IMF’s Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust.
The extra funding is designed to help countries access long-term loans and overcome liquidity bottlenecks, especially during the current crisis, Germany’s finance ministry said in a statement.
G20 to make debt relief extension call closer to year end
G20 to make debt relief extension call closer to year end

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More than a quarter of UAE, Saudi businesses to allow remote work post-Covid: study

More than one in five (22 per cent) UAE and Saudi business leaders expect half or more of their employees to work remotely (full time or at least half time) after Covid-19, new research by Riverbed reveals.
This is despite the fact that nearly all (97 per cent) of the business leaders surveyed in the two countries reported that technology performance issues have impacted the experience of their remote workers.
“The last several months have given organisations a better understanding of the barriers to success for creating a high-impact remote workforce,” said Subbu Iyer, CMO at Riverbed.
According to the “Future of Work” study by the network performance solutions vendor, the most common issues remote workers face include frequent disconnects from corporate networks (43 per cent), slow file downloads (41 per cent), apps not working properly (40 per cent), and long response times when loading apps (39 per cent).
Organisations in the region have universally accepted the ‘new normal’, the study show. Almost all (95 per cent) business leaders in the UAE and Saudi Arabia state that they are comfortable with the broad-scale shift toward remote work. In contrast, over two-thirds (68 per cent) of organisations in the two countries were not completely prepared to support remote working when the Covid-19 pandemic began.
“This new study shows that business leaders are now much more comfortable with their teams working remotely. However, organisations must have the right technology in place to ensure greater productivity and a better remote experience as employees increasingly work from anywhere,” said Rich McBee, president and CEO of Riverbed.
To drive greater remote working performance, the large majority (79 per cent) of UAE and Saudi business leaders plan to make additional technology investments – and 41 per cent plan to make significant investments – in the next 12 months. The top initiatives regional business decision makers plan to undertake in the next two years include: updating company-wide remote workplace strategies and policies (48 per cent); deploying technology to automate remote network operations (47 per cent); re-evaluating and/or re-architecting the IT environment (46 per cent), and; gaining better visibility of network and application performance (45 per cent).
“It’s encouraging to see from the Future of Work survey and in conversations with our customers, that businesses and governments are planning to invest more in technology to boost remote work performance,” said Iyer.
Middle East business leaders expect to gain long-term benefits for their employees and bottom line as a result of increasing their remote workforce, including: better work-life balance (56) per cent; increases in employee retention (48 per cent); savings from office space and related costs (48 per cent); better use of technology 48 per cent, the study showed.
More than a quarter of UAE, Saudi businesses to allow remote work post-Covid: study
More than a quarter of UAE, Saudi businesses to allow remote work post-Covid: study

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Video: UAE Hope Probe bound for Mars successfully launches from Japan

The first Arab interplanetary space mission commenced early on Monday morning as the Hope Probe successfully lifted off from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Centre at 1.58am (UAE time).
The UAE Space Agency and Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre also announced that the Ground Control station located in the Al Khawaneej area of Dubai successfully received the first transmission from the Hope Probe at 03:10 am on Monday, reported official news agency WAM.
The Ground Control Team analysed the data and ensure that the solar panels on the probe were facing the sun correctly, and that all other systems were in order.
The probe placed on a Mitsubishi H-IIA rocket, which was released at 2.55am, is the first-ever Arab mission to Mars.

دولة #الإمارات تحقق حدثاً تاريخياً بإنجاز فضائي غير مسبوق على مستوى الوطن العربي، مع الإطلاق الناجح لـ #مسبار_الأمل من مركز تانيغاشيما للفضاء في اليابان#أول_عد_تنازلي_عربي #العرب_إلى_المريخ pic.twitter.com/12zgP2ujYT
— UAEGov (@uaegov) July 19, 2020

It is expected to enter Mars’ orbit in February 2021, the year that the UAE will celebrate its 50th anniversary.
The Hope probe’s liftoff to Mars is the culmination of a six-year journey of 200 Emirati engineers and researchers coming together to build the Arab world’s first spacecraft.
The Emirates Mars Mission also helped develop 200 new science technologies and build 66 parts of the probe in the UAE.
It will travel 493 million kilometers and orbit the Red Planet for one full Martian year of 687 days to provide a greater understanding of the Martian atmosphere.
The Hope probe will be the first to study the Martian climate throughout daily and seasonal cycles, observing the weather phenomena in Mars such as its vast dust storms.
The probe will gather and send back new Mars data to the Science Data Center in the UAE via different ground stations spread around the world. The data will be catalogued and analysed by the Emirates Mars Mission science team, and shared with the international Mars science community too.

لحظات انطلاق مسبار الأمل إلى المريخ حاملاً معه طموحات قيادة وشعب دولة #الإمارات وآمال كل العرب #مسبار_الأمل #أول_عد_تنازلي_عربي #العرب_إلى_المريخ pic.twitter.com/l6LrELXwlD
— UAEGov (@uaegov) July 19, 2020

On Saturday, through a video meeting held with the Emirati launch team in Japan and 21 engineers from the UAE Space Agency and Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center (MBRSC) stationed in Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and President of MBRSC, were briefed on the range of technical tasks overseen by the space mission’s team.
Read: UAE leaders review pre-flight preparations of Mars Hope Probe
The final preparations for the launch took place 18 hours prior to the launch, which was previously rescheduled a few times due to prevailing local weather conditions.
Further details about the successful launch and mission will be shared at a press conference at the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre on Monday at 1pm.
Video: UAE Hope Probe bound for Mars successfully launches from Japan
Video: UAE Hope Probe bound for Mars successfully launches from Japan

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Dubai Chamber announces task force to manage late payments issue

The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry has launched a task force which will take on the issue of late payments to subcontractors and suppliers, official news agency WAM reported.
The Task Force on Prompt Payment Practices for Subcontractors and Suppliers is joined by member companies from across multiple economic sectors, and will explore the causes of late payments, raise awareness and encourage the adoption of best payments practices within the business community in Dubai.
Research conducted by the task force, launched under its Sustainability Network, will focus on creating tools and processes in line with global best practices that can be adopted by companies to increase efficiency and promptness in payments.
The member companies will publish guidelines to help suppliers and sub-contractors avoid and manage late payments and encourage businesses to sign the Dubai Chamber Prompt Payment Charter, under which businesses will commit to abiding by principles and tackling the culture of late payment by setting a positive example.
The charter will also encourage signatories to devise policies for prompt payment and measure their performance in paying their contractors.
The member companies on the task force are Suez Middle East Recycling, Gerab Group, Scott Bader Middle East Limited, Hepworth, Dgrade LLC, Tristar Group, Pure Energy, Infofort and Dubai Technologies.
Launched in 2010, the Dubai Chamber Sustainability Network is a CSR/sustainability business group within the chamber for businesses in the UAE.
It serves as a platform for members to identify and share expertise on CSR and sustainability challenges and develop practical solutions. The network also provides the opportunity to its members to engage with key stakeholders including government bodies.
The Centre for Responsible Business (CRB) was established by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry in 2004 to support and promote corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability. The centre’s objective is to engage the Dubai business community in assuming greater responsibility for the emirate’s social and environmental needs.
Dubai Chamber announces task force to manage late payments issue
Dubai Chamber announces task force to manage late payments issue

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