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Saudi Arabia declares Eid Al Adha 2020 date

Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court has confirmed that Friday, July 31, will be the first day of Eid Al Adha.
The Saudi Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development has also announced the Eid Al Adha holidays for the public and private sector in the kingdom.
Public sector employees have been granted a two-week holiday starting from Sunday, July 26. They will resume work on Sunday, August 9.

مواعيد إجازة #عيد_الأضحى المبارك. pic.twitter.com/VST7vKWKaS
— وزارة الموارد البشرية والتنمية الاجتماعية (@HRSD_SA) July 20, 2020

Meanwhile, private sector employees are entitled to a four-day holiday starting Thursday, July 30 and ending on Sunday, August 1. They will resume work on Monday, August 3.
Saudi Arabia will allow worshippers to perform Eid Al-Adha prayers at certain mosques within the kingdom. However, worshippers will not be allowed to offer Eid prayers at open grounds this year as a result of the Covid-19 precautionary measures in place across the kingdom.
Read: Saudi to allow Eid Al Adha prayers at mosques, warns of fines for entering holy sites without permit
Here in the UAE, the country’s Federal Authority for Government Human Resources (FAHR) had previously announced that the Eid Al Adha holidays for the public and private sectors will be from the 10th until the 12th of the Islamic month of Dhu Al Hijjah.
Those dates are likely to fall from Friday, July 31, until Sunday, August 2. However, the exact dates of the UAE holidays are yet to be announced.
Saudi Arabia declares Eid Al Adha 2020 date
Saudi Arabia declares Eid Al Adha 2020 date

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Covid-19 impact: How fast has dispute resolution transitioned to a digital model in UAE?

Dispute resolution practitioners in the UAE are preparing themselves for a tsunami of disputes. The drop in the oil price and the impact of Covid-19 on the leisure and infrastructure sectors has created a perfect storm.
Preserving cash flow is a key driver for hard hit businesses. Litigation and arbitration will be a necessary tool to achieve this, as parties test the effectiveness of contract terms such as force majeure and price adjustment clauses.
The areas where we are seeing an increase in litigation and arbitration are:
· Debt recovery action and the enforcement of security by major banks, as payment defaults increase;
· Claims for force majeure and related claims mainly in the real estate, hospitality and construction industries where projects are being delayed or terminated and property prices have fallen to historic lows;
· Insurance related disputes where parties look to make claims under existing insurance policies. Unsurprisingly, we are seeing increased claims under business interruption coverage;
· Disputes between landlord and tenant – particularly regarding the termination of leases. The impact appears to cut across both residential and commercial tenants;
· Cyber related incidents and claims, which are on the rise as a natural consequence of the increased working from home necessitated by the lockdown with employees increasingly utilising less secure networks;
· Cross border restructuring and insolvency matters, such as for instance the recent administration of NMC Health in the UK and the consequential impact on its local subsidiary, NMC LLC.
The UAE is well-placed to meet the legal challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.
In recent times the UAE – onshore UAE, the DIFC and the ADGM – has made monumental progress in implementing steps to bring the UAE dispute resolution regimes in line with international best practice and standards.
The implementation of the UAE’s Federal Arbitration Law in the summer of 2018 and subsequent amendments to the UAE’s Civil Procedures Law by Cabinet Resolution No. 57 of 2018 have made real and positive changes to the conduct of arbitration and the enforcement of arbitral awards as well as foreign judgments.
More recently, the key amendments made on May 27, 2020, by the ADGM, Abu Dhabi’s financial free zone, to its founding law establish it as a significant rival to the DIFC Court.
Unlike the 2008/2009 global financial crisis, the UAE’s legal systems and infrastructure are well equipped to deal with the influx of these claims. In particular most courts and arbitral institutions are now efficiently applying the latest technology. The progress of claims should now speed up given the recent opening up of the UAE.
The effect of the pandemic has been to accelerate the transformation of dispute resolution to a fully digital model, with the parties working from electronic bundles and participants (including the judge and tribunal members) attending hearings remotely by video-conference.
Although a fully online hearing presents its own challenges, parties and their representatives are rapidly adapting to the new world.
As an alternative to litigation and arbitration, mediation (both formal and adhoc) is likely to assume increasing importance. Mediation offers parties the opportunity to reduce legal costs and achieve a commercial compromise which reflects the changing risks brought about by the pandemic. There appears to be a marked change in the mindset of parties who have historically resisted the use of alternative forms of dispute resolution such as mediation. We believe that in the current circumstances, we may see the emergence of mediation as a primary form of dispute resolution not only in the UAE but in the wider region.
Zoe O’Sullivan is the QC of Serle Court Chambers, London, and Deirdre Walker of Norton Rose Fulbright, Dubai
Covid-19 impact: How fast has dispute resolution transitioned to a digital model in UAE?
Covid-19 impact: How fast has dispute resolution transitioned to a digital model in UAE?

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GCC Covid-19 update: UAE reports 271 cases; 2,429 infections registered in Saudi

UAE
The Ministry of Health and Prevention has reported a total of 271 new Covid-19 cases and 352 additional recoveries on July 20.
The newly diagnosed cases were confirmed as a result of 27,000 tests conducted to screen for the virus.
The total infection count stands at 57,193, while the total recoveries tally 49,621.
With one additional reported death, the fatality toll has now risen to 340.
 

آخر الإحصائيات حول إصابات فيروس كوفيد 19 في الإمارات
.
The latest update of Coronavirus (Covid 19) in the UAE#التزامك_حياتك#ملتزمون_يا_وطن#فيروس_كورونا_المستجد #كوفيد19#وزارة_الصحة_ووقاية_المجتمع_الإمارات#coronavirus#covid19#mohap_uae pic.twitter.com/JRhiI5D4fL
— وزارة الصحة ووقاية المجتمع الإماراتية – MOHAP UAE (@mohapuae) July 20, 2020

Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia has registered 2,429 Covid-19 infections, 37 deaths and 5,524 recoveries.
Of the newly diagnosed cases, Jeddah reported the highest number with 254 infections.
The death toll now stands at 2,523, while the infection count has risen to 253,349.

#الصحة⁩ تعلن عن تسجيل (2429) حالة إصابة جديدة بفيروس ⁧#كورونا⁩ الجديد (كوفيد19)، وتسجيل (37) حالات وفيات رحمهم الله، وتسجيل (5524) حالة تعافي ليصبح إجمالي عدد الحالات المتعافية (203,259) حالة ولله الحمد. pic.twitter.com/kTHNERtl7X
— و ز ا ر ة ا لـ صـ حـ ة السعودية (@SaudiMOH) July 20, 2020

Oman
The Ministry of Health reported a total of 1,739 Covid-19 infections, of which 1,514 were Omanis.
It also confirmed eight additional Covid-19 related demises, raising the death toll to 326.
The total infection count stands at 68,400.

#Statement No. 144
July 20, 2020. pic.twitter.com/e8oiqxwRsS
— وزارة الصحة – عُمان (@OmaniMOH) July 20, 2020

Kuwait
A total of 559 Covid-19 infections were registered in Kuwait, raising the count to 59,763.
The death toll remain unchanged at 408, Kuwait News Agency reported.
Qatar
The Ministry of Public Health has reported 389 infections and two deaths in the past 24 hours.

آخر مستجدات فيروس كورونا في قطر
Latest update on Coronavirus in Qatar#سلامتك_هي_سلامتي #YourSafetyIsMySafety pic.twitter.com/JLfYg85zmk
— وزارة الصحة العامة (@MOPHQatar) July 20, 2020

GCC Covid-19 update: UAE reports 271 cases; 2,429 infections registered in Saudi
GCC Covid-19 update: UAE reports 271 cases; 2,429 infections registered in Saudi

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Here’s how UAE SMEs can benefit from this $1m advertising support scheme

Several small business in the UAE – similar to their peers across the world – have been hit hard by the Covid-19 crisis. As they struggle to manage resources, many have found themselves unable to allocate budgets towards marketing and advertising. However, it is imperative for companies – especially SMEs – to remain visible and market themselves during this period.
In a bid to support such SMEs, Gulf Business‘ parent company Motivate Media Group has launched a $1m initiative to support homegrown UAE SMEs with free advertising and marketing.
The scheme, which has received approval from the Dubai government’s Department of Economic Development (DED), will offer 20 SMEs upto $50,000 free advertising space each across Motivate’s brands including Gulf Business, What’s On, Emirates Woman and Identity.
SMEs can nominate themselves for consideration on this page: motivatemedia.com/smerevival
Motivate will appoint an expert panel who will evaluate the applications and select a shortlist – not just on the basis of businesses who have a plan to survive the pandemic – but on their proposal to continue to grow and contribute to the UAE even post the pandemic.
In addition to the advertising support, these SMEs will also receive support in conceptualising digital marketing and promotional plans, helping them to target relevant audiences, and ensure that their campaigns meet their expected targets.
As part of the initiative, Motivate also pledged $275,000 by way of in-kind services to support tech startups and SMEs in partnership with the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa).
Startups selected by Sheraa will receive similar in-kind support by way of advertising and marketing support from Motivate.
Read: Motivate Media Group and Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center launch Dhs1m fund for tech startups
“We are celebrating the UAE’s success by helping others achieve their business goals. This is an incredibly hard time for all businesses, especially SMEs, and we have one of the largest media portfolios to help businesses across the UAE,” said Ian Fairservice, managing partner of Motivate Media Group.
Here’s how UAE SMEs can benefit from this $1m advertising support scheme
Here’s how UAE SMEs can benefit from this $1m advertising support scheme

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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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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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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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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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