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News that you need to know! Selected news stories from Qatar, India, Middle East and around the world, with focus on news that matters to Indians in Qatar.

Qatar reiterates commitment to meet India’s energy demand

Qatar has reiterated its commitment to “effectively contributing” to satisfying India’s growing energy demand, including the reliable delivery of LNG and other hydrocarbons. This was stated by Qatar Petroleum president and CEO Saad Sherida al-Kaabi, also Qatargas chairman, after his successful working visit to New Delhi and talks on enhancing co-operation with top Indian energy officials. Al-Kaabi expressed “great satisfaction at the positive conclusion” of the visit and said, “Qatar appreciates and values its long term and mutually beneficial relationship with India, and reiterates its commitment to effectively contribute to satisfying India’s growing energy demand, including the reliable delivery of LNG and other hydrocarbons.” “I would like to thank the Indian government and all the executives and energy leaders we have met for their hospitality and constructive discussions. We look forward to more co-operation between our companies,” he added. India is a strategic partner for Qatar Petroleum. Its business relationship…

Qatar Airways denies plan to bid for Air India

Qatar Airways has denied reports in a section of the Indian media that it is making a joint bid with IndiGo for India’s national carrier Air India, which the country’s federal government plans to sell. “We are aware of the reports in India, but we are not interested in the bid. We deny the report that we are making a bid on Air India along with IndiGo,” a Qatar Airways spokesperson told Gulf Times on Wednesday. In June 2017, India’s Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs gave an in-principle nod for the strategic divestment of the airline. Earlier, several media outlets in India had reported that a consortium of IndiGo and Qatar Airways is likely to table a bid for ailing Air India. A notification announcing the contours of the Air India sale is expected this week. The expression of interest (EoI) document could be released sometime this month. Published on…

Dubai ranked as the best city for expats in MENA

Dubai has ranked the best city for expats in the Middle East and Africa, according to Mercer’s 20th Quality of Living Survey. Dubai ranks 74th globally in overall quality of living, making it the number one city in the Middle East and Africa region for the sixth year in a row. Dubai was closely followed by Abu Dhabi, which claimed 77th place. Only four other cities in this region make the top 100, including Muscat (70), Tel Aviv (87), Manama (93), and Kuwait City (99).  Vienna tops the global ranking for the ninth year running and is followed by Zurich, with Auckland and Munich in joint third place. The survey, said to be one of the world’s most comprehensive, is conducted annually to enable multinational companies and other organisations to compensate employees fairly when placing them on international assignments. Published on 21 March 2018

Second Aspire Lake Festival to be held this weekend

More than 40 talented artists and experts to showcase theatrical performances and fireworks displays at The Second Aspire Lake Festival, which is due to take place this weekend on March 23 and 24 in Aspire Park, Doha. Organised this year in partnership with Ooredoo, Qatar Airways, the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy and Katara, this event returns after the huge success of the First Aspire Lake Festival, which was organised as a trial-run to gauge people’s interest last November. AZF will set up food and beverage stalls for visitors attending the Aspire Park during the two-days. The Aspire Lake Festival will run throughout the weekend, on Friday and Saturday, starting at 8pm. The Second Aspire Lake Festival is set to take spectators through a half-hour ‘Magical Journey’. The entire show will be directed by French fireworks art wizard and director Christophe Berthonneau. Some of Berthonneau’s earlier work was displayed…

Indian airports stretched as passengers reach new heights

India’s airports are struggling to cope with a massive surge in passenger numbers and billions of dollars must be spent to boost their capacity, analysts have warned. The country is witnessing a huge boom in air travel as its growing middle class increasingly takes to the skies but experts say infrastructure is failing to keep up. “There’s an urgent need for capacity building in major Indian airports as they are bursting at the seams and close to saturation,” Binit Somaia, South Asia Director at the Centre for Aviation (CAPA), told AFP. India has witnessed a six-fold increase in passenger numbers over the past decade as citizens take advantage of better connectivity and cheaper fares thanks to a host of low-cost airlines. Indian airports handled 265 million domestic passengers in 2016 and will cross 300 million this year, according to CAPA. The country’s entire airport network is only capable of handling…

School buses in Qatar to have cameras to record safe distance violations

Qatar’s Traffic Department has come up with an innovative initiative to make sure vehicles are keeping safe distance with school buses. As per the new plan, school buses will be equipped with cameras that will register violations against vehicles that do not keep proper distance with school buses. “For the first time in Qatar, a school bus will be exhibited at Darb Al Saai during the 34th traffic week starting this evening. The bus is equipped with camera that can register violation for not keeping safe distance with school buses,” Major Jabir Muhammad Odhaiba, Assistant Director of Traffic Awareness Department told The Peninsula. About when the department will launch the camera-equipped bus, he said: “Now we are waiting for feedback from other concerned authorities regarding this innovative idea.” The 34th traffic week will last till March 24, and will be open to the public in two shifts from 8to 12…

Qatar Navy holds joint exercise with Indian Navy

Qatar’s Emiri Naval Forces carried out a joint maritime exercise with the Indian Naval forces in the territorial waters of the State of Qatar. A missile boat (Al Ghariya Q 02), one of the Emiri Naval Forces’ fleet, commanded by Marine Major Ghanim Abdullah Al Kaabi and Indian Navy’s destroyer ‘INS Kolkata’ commanded by Colonel Susheel Menon participated in the exercise. The exercise included training on how to manoeuvre and how to defend a ship in the event of an external attack, in addition to approach exercise and the method of boarding and search and fire-fighting. The joint exercise focused on the exchange of experiences through the exchange of officers and individuals between the two sides in all stages of the exercise as well as training Qatari and Indian crews on support methods. It was carried out as part of the concluding activities of the Doha International Maritime Defense Exhibition…

Qatar to reimburse recruitment fees to 30,000 workers

International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) welcomed the State of Qatar’s steps on reimbursing the fees of bringing in 30,000 migrant workers in the construction of World Cup facilities. The confederation said that, by the end of March, more than 5,500 people from across South Asia (one-third of the workforce) will recover the money they have paid to intermediaries who hired them to work in Qatar. ITUC added that Doha is negotiating with a number of mediators to recover fees for the rest of the construction workers, which are expected to reach 30,000 by 2019. The amount may total up to 3.6 million pounds. The employment fees have become a thorny issue for Qatar and that dealing with them is part of the efforts of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy to improve the human rights file, pointing out in this context that workers pay money to mediators in their…

Qatar health system ranked 13th best in the world and first in Middle East

Qatar’s health system has been ranked 13th best in the world and first in the Middle East by the 2017 Legatum Prosperity Index. The annual index measures and ranks the health of people living in 149 countries. A comprehensive review process assessed three key measures of the quality of each country’s healthcare system, including basic mental and physical health, health infrastructure, and the availability of preventive care. Qatar’s health ranking within the Legatum Prosperity Index has risen in the past ten years, advancing from 27th in the world in 2008 to 13th place at present. “To be ranked 13th in the world is a wonderful endorsement of the quality of care we deliver every day to patients across our health system,” said Minister of Public Health H E Dr Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari. “The transformation of Qatar’s health system in recent decades has been remarkable. We have made enormous progress…

Indian schools in Qatar to reopen on September 9, No change in age limits

Indian schools in Qatar will reopen on September 9, 2018 after the summer vacation as the Ministry of Education and Higher Education has approved a request from the institutions. No change in age limit for KG admissions Following the requests from Indian schools, the Ministry has also revoked the decision to reduce the upper age limit for KG class admission by one year. For Indian schools, the existing age limit will continue for one more year. Earlier, Ministry had issued a circular stating that maximum age to join KG1 has been revised to 3 years, 11 months and 29 days as of September 30 instead of 4 years, 11 months and 29 days. This would have affected students whose parents have decided to skip a year. If the rule was implemented, such parents would have to seek admission in KG2. According to The Peninsula, the change in age limit will…

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