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Endowment taxi, radio stations, café tables... Dubai integrates charity into the daily lives of its residents

Dubai has adopted a unique endowment concept which allows its residents to donate to charity while going about their day-to-day lives.

For example, a Dubai resident can start their day by taking a special ‘Endowment Taxi’ in the morning and the fare will go towards a social cause. They can also listen to one of the two endowment radio stations, which promote young entrepreneurs by offering free advertising for their new ventures.

Residents can also pay fees to hospitals that feature endowment rooms, which allow them to contribute towards the treatment of future patients. They can also contribute towards cancer research by participating in special auctions.

In addition, sports enthusiasts can help support health campaigns when they buy tickets to watch a match.

Thursday 23 March 2017- Express
united kingdom

Brexit: UK firms look to Dubai amidst EU uncertainty

Uncertainty over the UK’s decision to leave the EU is making British businesses more open to overseas expansion, with Dubai ranking highly among the international locations being considered, according to a new survey.

Research released by the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre found 40% of British businesses surveyed said they would consider expanding to the Middle East, while 75% said they would consider Dubai.

The main reasons cited for expanding overseas were:
- 63% said emerging markets are becoming increasingly attractive.
- 47% said their business needed a global presence.
- 44% cited the availability and wealth of overseas talent.
- 36% said there was too much uncertainty in the markets and the UK is no longer an attractive option.

British Prime Minister Theresa May will trigger Britain's withdrawal from the EU on March 29, her spokesman said on Monday.

Wednesday 22 March 2017- Express
alternative energy

Sunny outlook: As the price of solar panels plunges, Dubai invests in the world's biggest solar park

Dubai's ruler on Monday inaugurated the second phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park. With a total investment of $13.6 billion, it is set to be the largest single-site solar park in the world.

The move comes as an industry expert report that the surge in production of Chinese solar energy panels has helped to push the price of units down dramatically over the last decade, making the sector much more attractive for investors.

“The last seven to eight years the prices of [solar panel] equipment has reduced big time…. The price has probably reduced 10 times over the last eight years,” Yousif Al Ali, director of business growth in the clean energy division of Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy city, told Zawya in an interview last month.

In addition to panels becoming cheaper, the technology has become more reliable, meaning less land is now required to generate the same amount of energy, he added.

Tuesday 21 March 2017- Express

Job-hunters: outlook is for increased hiring over the next six months

The latest hiring outlook for the year showed that nearly half (49 percent) of recruiters in the Gulf expect employers to hire additional staff over the next six months.

Hiring activity will be robust among companies within the healthcare, construction and hospitality sectors. Overall, banks and financial services firms are expected to post the highest number of vacancies this year, followed by those in the construction and hospitality business.

This week it was also reported that 914 Emirati men and women were employed by 111 financial and banking institutions in 75 days through Government Accelerators, a government approach that was launched last year to create more jobs for locals.

Saudi Arabia is also looking to develop opportunities in the remote employment and work from home sector and is aiming to create 141,000 job opportunities by 2020.

Monday 20 March 2017- Express

Taxing times: new rules relating to the collection of tax in the UAE, fines, penalties and submission details

The UAE’s Federal National Council (FNC) has approved a draft federal law regarding the introduction of taxation procedures in the country, laying out the processes for the submission and collection of taxes. Here is a guide to the main points:

- Each taxpayer must provide a tax statement and supporting documents in Arabic.
- Penalties will apply to taxpayers who intentionally refrain from paying taxes or those who provide false or incorrect documents.
- Tax violators or evaders will be subject to either imprisonment or a fine that would not exceed five times the tax amount that was evaded, or both.
- A director general and tax auditors will be appointed to enforce the tax law by a decree from the Minister of Justice.

The six members of the GCC will all simultaneously introduce a law to implement value-added tax (VAT) in 2018, even if it means a slight delay due to some countries lagging behind in their preparations, an official in the UAE said.

Sunday 19 March 2017- Express

Back to black? How the different Gulf states are forecast to weather the economic slowdown

Bahrain and Oman are more exposed to currency risks, due to their low levels of foreign exchange reserves and large current account deficits among the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, Moody's Investors Service said in a recent report.

The global ratings agency said other GCC countries are well-positioned to withstand external payment pressures.

The regional countries on average posted 18 percent account surpluses during 2005-2014 but shifted to a deficit of 3.4 percent in 2016, up from 0.6 percent deficit in the previous year.

Kuwait and the UAE are expected to post average surpluses of 5.6 percent and 3.1 percent of GDP respectively in 2017-18. Qatar is forecast to return to a small surplus of 0.6 percent of GDP in 2017-18.

Sunday 19 March 2017- Express

Trading places: from phones to diamonds and cars, the top items making up the $225 billion shipped through Dubai in 2016

Dubai’s direct trade stood at 830 billion dirhams ($225 billion) in 2016, according to new figures published on Thursday. Air cargo accounted for 46% of trade by value, with sea freight accounting for 35% and inland trade 18%.

The biggest sectors included:
1) Mobile phones and communication devices (167 billion dirhams)
2) Gold (156 billion dirhams)
3) Diamonds (97 billion dirhams)
4) Jewellery (63 billion dirhams)
5) Cars (60 billion dirhams)

On Wednesday it was announced that China has maintained its position as Dubai's leading trading partner with 13 percent of total trade, with India second (7.4 percent) and the United States third (6.7 percent).

Thursday 16 March 2017- Express
islamic finance

GCC Islamic banks set to be more profitable than conventional rivals for the second year running

"Islamic banks will be able to maintain their profitability in 2017, as lower funding costs will support their margins against a backdrop of rising interest rates, while improvements in their risk management and asset quality will further ease the pressure on their cost of risk," said Nitish Bhojnagarwala, assistant vice president - analyst at Moody's.

The global ratings agency said Shariah-compliant banks will maintain stronger margins this year, primarily as a result of their low funding costs, which reflect their reliance on largely stable current and savings account balances. Islamic banks also tend to have higher asset yields, given their focus on retail and the real estate related lending.

Total Islamic banking assets in the UAE have increased to approximately $142 billion in the past few years.

Wednesday 15 March 2017- Express

Dutch go to the polls in test election for anti-Islam and anti-EU parties

The Dutch go to the polls today in an election seen as a test of anti-immigrant and nationalist feeling magnified by a deepening dispute with Turkey. Anti-Islam and anti-EU firebrand politician Geert Wilders has vowed to "de-Islamicise" the Netherlands and a win for his party would send shockwaves across Europe.

One of the big talking points of the campaign has been Turkey, which has been incensed by Dutch and German government bans on its ministers from speaking to rallies of overseas Turks.

The Dutch election is seen as a test for how popular far-right parties in Europe have become. Elections in France and Germany are due later this year.

What does this mean for investors? “Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy ride,” says Hussein Al Sayed, Dubai-based chief market strategist for the Gulf and Middle East region at FXTM.

Wednesday 15 March 2017- Express

Crash landing: aviation data shows surge in fatalities, with aircraft write-offs also up in the MENA region in 2016

While the number of air accidents declined slightly last year, those resulting in fatalities rose 97% year-on-year, according to the latest statistics from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Of 2016's accidents, 10 were fatal, versus four a year earlier. The accidents covered by the report killed 268 people, up from 136 in 2016 but below the five-year average of 371.

In terms of jet hull loss – which is an accident that damages the aircraft beyond economical repair – the number per million departures was 0.27 for European carriers, while it was 0.31 in North America and 0 in North Asia and Africa. However, in the Middle East and North Africa the rate was 2.49, up from 0.72 in 2015.

“2016 was a blip – the Emirates and flydubai crashes skew the figures and make it look worse than it was," one analyst said.

Tuesday 14 March 2017- Express

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