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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.

Sharjah Police cancels black points, offers 50% traffic fine discount

Sharjah Police on Wednesday announced a 50 per cent discount on traffic fines issued in the emirate. The implementation of the discounts will begin on Thursday, October 19, and will be applicable on all fines incurred until October 18. The fines are payable until December 31, the police said in a post on their official Instagram account. All black points accumulated till October 18 will be cancelled, Brig. Saif Al Zeri Al Shamsi, Commander-in-Chief of Sharjah Police, said. The initiative is part of the police’s celebration of its 50th anniversary of operations. The fines are payable either through the website of the Ministry of Interior, or police stations across the emirate. Published on 18 October 2017

Qatar’s HIA named second-best airport in the world

Hamad International Airport (HIA) was ranked second in the ‘Top 10 international airports’ in the ‘Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards 2017’ readers’ survey. The magazine’s ‘World’s Best’ awards recognise the greatest airports, islands, cities, hotels, and cruise lines as voted by its 4.8mn readers and has been on-going annually for 22 years. HIA comes a close second to winner, Singapore’s Changi Airport. With the runner-up position, HIA takes the lead in the global race of best international airports, along with South Korea’s Incheon International, Hong Kong International, Zurich Airport Switzerland and Haneda, Tokyo International Airport. Competing airports were ranked according to their ease of access, security, variety of food and beverages options, shopping experience and design. HIA ranked very high on all criteria and scooped the 2nd place based on its unique vitality well-being and fitness centre as well as its world-class sculptural art curated in partnership with Qatar…

Hotel reservations not compulsory for on arrival visa to Qatar: Ministry

Hotel reservations or other conditions are not compulsory for obtaining different types of on-arrival tourist visas in Qatar, the Ministry of Interior (MoI) has clarified. However, visitors may be asked to provide the address of their place of stay in Qatar, the MoI explained in a post on social media. The general conditions for getting on-arrival tourist visas are six months’ passport validity and a confirmed return or onward ticket. Qatar recently introduced different types of visas, including on-arrival visas, e-authorisation and e-visas. 30 days free tourist visas Visitors from 47 countries (including India) can enter and stay in Qatar for 30 days with this type of visa. The visa is valid for multiple entries and extendable for another 30 days. The passport must be valid for at least 6 months. The visa is free of charge. The visa is stamped on the passports along with entry stamp and date…

India working closely with UAE to address worker issues

India’s Ministry of External Affairs is working closely with the UAE government to resolve cases of exploitation and abuse faced by its migrant workers in the Gulf nation, a top official said on Sunday. “We work very closely with the UAE government to make sure that every single case that comes to us is addressed. “We run a shelter for domestic workers, especially women who have faced problems are rescued and put in the shelter until we can obtain their passport or issue fresh travel documents to them so that they can safely go back to India,” India’s High Commissioner to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Navdeep Suri told PTI in an interview. He said the Ministry of External Affairs is working actively with state governments to see how it can improve the scenario for migrant workers. However, Suri highlighted that when one looks at the 2.7 million Indian population in…

NRI deposits drop 98% as oil prices remain low: Report

Net deposits by Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) dropped sharply by 98 percent in April-August this fiscal due to fluctuation in oil prices, industry body ASSOCHAM said. Net bank deposits — the difference between total deposits and not withdrawals — came in at USD 434 million in April-August this year, compared to a net deposit of USD 3.8 billion in the same period last year. Gulf crisis hits remittances “While there are various factors responsible for the NRI flows, including the interest rates, but the most plausible at this point of time seems to be economic problems in the Gulf countries, the largest source of NRI remittances, particularly for the low income expatriates,” the statement said. “Remittances have been affected for states like Kerala, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, in particularly which have a large number of its people making living in the Gulf nations.” “With fading away of the glorious years for…

NRIs, OCIs need not link Aadhaar with Bank Account, PAN or SIM cards: UIDAI

Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) and Overseas Citizens of India (OCIs) do not have to link their bank accounts, PAN or SIM cards with Aadhaar card, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has reiterated. On their official Twitter account, UIDAI, the authority for issuing the biometrics-based Aadhaar cards, has retweeted a statement from official Digital India Twitter account. If you a NRI or OCI, here’s #Aadhaar related information for you… — Digital India (@_DigitalIndia) October 5, 2017 “NRI/OCI (Overseas Citizen of India) are not eligible to obtain Aadhaar as per the Aadhaar Act and hence are fully exempted to produce Aadhaar for any verification,” the tweet said. “NRI/OCI need not verify their bank account or SIM or PAN with Aadhaar. If required, they may inform the service provider(s) that they being NRI/OCI are exempted from Aadhaar verification,” the tweet added. Many NRIs are still confused whether it is mandatory for them…

Qatar’s rainy season to begin on October 16 and last for 52 days

Qatar’s rainy season, locally known as Al Wasmi, will begin on October 16 and last for 52 days, Qatar Meteorology department has said in a statement. According to latest seasonal forecasts, rainfall is expected to be around the average levels from now until December in Qatar and the Gulf region in general. During this season, the maximum temperature in Doha will decrease gradually to be below 35C, while the minimum will drop to about 20C. Overall, mild temperature is experienced during the day and it becomes relatively cold at night, especially under the influence of dry northwesterly winds. Clouds move from the west to east this time of the year and rainfall at the beginning of this period is usually an indication of a good rainy season, the statement added. On a cautionary note, the Met department has said flu and other diseases are common during this transitional period. Accordingly,…

Emirates flight from Dubai diverted after passenger dies on board

An Emirates flight from Dubai to Munich was diverted to Kuwait after a passenger died on board, the airline said on Wednesday. The flight — EK049 — had to be diverted to Kuwait International Airport shortly after taking off on October 10 after a passenger developed health complications. The passenger, who received immediate medical attention upon landing, unfortunately could not be saved. “Emirates can confirm that flight EK049 from Dubai to Munich was diverted on October 10, 2017 to Kuwait International Airport due to a medical emergency,” Emirates said in a statement. “The passenger received immediate medical attention upon landing, but unfortunately was pronounced dead by an emergency doctor on the ground. “Emirates would like to express its condolences to the family of the deceased. The flight continued its journey to Munich where it landed approximately 2.5hrs behind schedule,” the statement added. The statement did not mention the nationality or…

Kuwait planning new reforms to limit number of expatriates

Residency permits for some foreigners in Kuwait are likely not to be renewed in an official bid to help address the demographic imbalance hitting the country, Gulf News has reported. Studies are being conducted as part of new regulatory decisions to reform the labour market and remove marginal workers who have no jobs and cannot secure employment, the report cited Social Affairs Minister and State Minister for Economic Affairs Hind Al Subaih as having said. Such decisions are aimed at protecting workers from any exploitation of their vulnerable situation as well as avoiding temptations to seek money through illegal means in order to survive, the minister said in a statement to Kuwaiti daily Al Anba on Tuesday. “The new regulations are not confined to expatriates, but also include the Kuwaiti owners of companies who resort to illegal means to hire foreigners in a manner that is akin to trafficking in…

Doha Bank launches ‘NRI Home Loans’ in Qatar and Kuwait

Doha Bank has announced the launch of its new NRI Home Loans for Indian expatriates to buy a home in India. The new and only mortgage product, available for Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) and Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs), offers attractive rates of interest and a longer tenure. Doha Bank Group CEO Dr R Seetharaman said: “This is another first for Doha Bank in Qatar and Kuwait. All our NRI customers can enjoy best in class service, as they can now get a home loan for India through a seamless approval process while being based in Qatar or Kuwait as a valued Doha Bank customer.” Features of the loan Customers can finance their new and resale flats with the housing loan Maximum tenure of up to 20 years Customers can choose between fixed and floating interest rate options Loan amount up to 50 million Indian rupees (Rs 5 crore) Doorstep service…

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