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Housing benefits worth Dh1.5 billion will be disbursed to Abu Dhabi citizens, covering more than 1,100 beneficiaries in the emirate, authorities announced on Monday.
UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in his capacity as the Ruler of Abu Dhabi, ordered the disbursement of housing package to ensure social stability and help citizens raise strong, stable families that will benefit the future of the UAE.
This is the second package in 2022, which coincides with Eid Al Adha celebrations and includes grants for houses, housing loans, and exemptions from loan repayments.
Under the directives of Mohamed bin Zayed, the housing benefits to be disbursed to Abu Dhabi citizens includes grants for houses and housing loans with a total value of Dh1.5 billion.
The grants will be given to retirees and families of deceased mortgagors to be exempt from loan repayments.
In April 2022, Sheikh Mohamed ordered the disbursement of housing loans to 1,347 citizens in Abu Dhabi, worth a total of Dh2.36 billion. It was the first housing package this year, which coincided with Eid Al Fitr celebrations.
The packages form part of the UAE's leadership's ongoing commitment to further strengthening citizens' contribution to the advancement of society by maintaining high living standards as part of tightly-knit, connected communities.
Falah Mohammad Al Ahbabi, Chairman of the Department of Municipalities and Transport and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Abu Dhabi Housing Authority, earlier said that Abu Dhabi Housing Authority is continually working towards a modern and sustainable housing ecosystem that enhances social stability and cohesion and also meets Emirati families' needs in line with the leadership's vision.
Dr Mohammad Rashid Ahmad Al Hameli, Director General of Abu Dhabi Housing Authority, said that immediately after the leadership issues the directives, they contact beneficiaries to expedite the process so they can claim their housing benefits.
"This is part of the Abu Dhabi Housing Authority's strategy to provide high quality, efficient services to UAE citizens and to make their journey seamless and effortless," he said.
UAE nationals who have worked for at least 15 years and lived in the UAE for a decade or longer can apply for loans ranging from Dh500,000 to Dh2.25 million from the government. These are for buying a home or a plot of land upon which to build a house.
This loan is repaid over the remainder of their lives but can sometimes be waived if a directive is issued. Typically, these directives exempt retired or low-income Emiratis.
The loans are distributed by the Sheikh Zayed Housing Programme. An alternative scheme is run by the Abu Dhabi Housing Authority.
The Abu Dhabi Housing Authority said on its website that it was also working on expanding the base of beneficiaries of financial grants to allow citizens with lower income to receive a loan of Dh1,250,000. The loan is repaid only when the beneficiary's financial situation has improved. The payment is done through instalments for a period not exceeding 25 years.
Abu Dhabi Police received 39,000 calls on its emergency hotline 999 during the Eid Al Adha holiday.
The emergency calls were from residents in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Dhafra.
Brigadier Nasser Al Maskari, director of Central Operations, said the Command and Control Centre at Abu Dhabi Police was well prepared to receive calls round-the-clock, noting that most calls were for minor accidents, traffic jams or some emergency cases.
"We provided the best services to the community. We coordinated with other local authorities to reach out to all emergencies as soon as possible," added.
He called on the public to cooperate with the initiatives launched by the Security Media Department, which aims to create more awareness about police services and other activities.
"Members of the community should not hesitate to contact emergency number 999 in case they face any emergency at any time," he added.
Prayer timings for Eid Al Adha special prayers have been announced. Muslims across the UAE will offer the prayer on July 9 at mosques and open-air places of worship called musallahs.
Here is the list of Eid prayer timings across the emirates:
Abu Dhabi City: 5.57am
>>Al Ain: 5.51am
>>Madinat Zayed: 6.02am
Authorities in the UAE have also announced the Covid safety protocols that worshippers must follow while offering the special prayers on the first day of Eid Al Adha.
The duration of the prayer and sermon will be limited to 20 minutes.
Worshippers must wear masks, maintain a distance of at least one metre from one another, and bring their own mats.
Gatherings and handshakes before and after prayer remain prohibited.
A sphere of far-reaching entertainment awaits gamers in the UAE this Yas Gaming Month (July 7-23) at Yas Mall, Abu Dhabi, as the Yas Gaming Festival returns.
Step into Sports Boulevard from July 7-17 and unlock a realm of captivating adventure filled with legions of video games for professional and casual gamers. Participants can join competitive quests, meet iconic cosplayers and artists, and dress up as their favourite characters for a chance to walk away with exciting prizes.
The 11-day gaming extravaganza is open to all residents and tourists in the capital free of cost. Yas Gaming Festival will be an arena filled with thrilling gaming stations and hands-on plays, E-sports and tournaments for guests of all ages. A whole virtual world will be witnessed with specially curated stations, including dedicated PlayStation and Xbox areas, each with six consoles and the latest video games.
A Nintendo Super Mario themed-zone with three Switch consoles will also feature popular video games. Filled with invigorating favourites such as Elden Ring, Horizon Forbidden West, WWE2K22, Pac-Man Museum +, Lego Skywalker, Sonic Origins, and more, there’s something to cater to all experience levels. Fans can also hit the beats at the Just Dance station, which can host up to eight players.
The Arcade Alley will accommodate up to 12 gamers who can go back in time and play some of the greatest games in history at the retro arcades, choosing from over 1,000 nostalgic options that include Asteroids, Simpsons, 1948 and Street Fighter.
A special station with three life-sized racing simulators will allow guests to race against each other and curb their need for speed with F1 2020 and Grand Turismo. Players are invited to delight in the daily stage games and activations, including FIFA, Mario Kart, Super Smash Bros, and Giant Jenga, and win daily prize quests.
Taking place on July 8 from 6-11pm, the FIFA 22 Tournament welcomes registered players to compete against each other on PlayStation 4. Players get the chance to win Dh4,000 for first place, Dh2,000 for second place, and Dh1,500 for third place.
Fortnite pros are in for the chance to win Yas Gaming Festival’s competitive cup, with the Fortnite Pro Tournament happening on July 9 from 6-11pm on PlayStation 4. A total of five teams, will battle each other for the chance to be crowned this year’s Fortnite Tournament Champions. The team who takes first place will go home with a whopping Dh4,000, Dh2,000 for second place, and Dh1,500 for third place. Creating further momentum, Dh20,000 will be donated to a selected charity on behalf of the winning team.
On July 15 starting at 6pm, fans can dress up or catch some of their favourite characters for the Cosplay Competition. Guests can marvel at the artistry and details of the costumes, and pose alongside popular movie and gaming characters. The highly-anticipated competition will be judged based on the quality of craftsmanship shown in the costume, attention to detail, and the performance relevant to the chosen character. Winning Cosplayers will have the chance to walk away with tons of exciting prizes, including Dh10,000 for first place, Dh5,000 for second place and Dh2,500 for third place.
Joining the festivities is well-loved professional Cosplayer and artist, Saku, popular for her work with Netflix, Universal Studios and Coca-Cola. She will be joined by another fan favourite, Harry Field, who is a multiverse content creator, host and entrepreneur with a passion for League of Legends and Gundam Enthusiast. Both Cosplayers will be at Yas Mall as part of the Cosplay Competition.
Nintendo gamers’ best-loved game, The Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Tournament, will be held on July 16 from 6-11pm on the Nintendo Switch platform. Three prizes await the players, including Dh4,000 for the player finishing first, Dh2,000 for second place, and Dh1,500 for third place.
The pinnacle of the first ever Yas Gaming Month, which runs throughout July, shall be the anticipated World Finals of the acclaimed V10 R League. The sim racing series will name this season’s grand champion at Yas Mall. The semi-finals, bronze medal match, and final game of the unique racing league will be played on July 22 and 23, with a prize pool topping Dh444,112. Now in its third season, the league will feature some of the biggest names in Sim racing, including Mercedes AMG Esports, Red Bull Racing Esports, Aston Martin Esports, and Yas’s very own YAS HEAT.
Throughout Yas Gaming Festival, participants will be able to give back through Gaming4Good, a CSR-led initiative where guests can donate or purchase pre-owned games and consoles, with all proceeds going to the Emirates Autism Center.
Abu Dhabi's Delma Street was renamed Saeed bin Ahmed Al Otaiba Street to honour the distinguished Emirati cultural and business figure.
Abu Dhabi Media Office said that Al Otaiba was recognised for his huge contribution to the UAE capital's economy and cultural heritage.
The street renaming followed directives from UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed, chairman of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Court and member of the Executive Council, inaugurated the Saeed Bin Ahmed Al Otaiba Street in Abu Dhabi after the renaming process.
The ceremony to inaugurate the street was attended by members of Al Otaiba's family and senior officials.
Al Otaiba, born in 1916 in the Al Dhahr neighbourhood of Abu Dhabi, started his career as a pearl trader and later traded commodities across the Arab region.
The Emirati also served in several government entities after the formation of the UAE in 1971, including as chairman of Abu Dhabi Chamber of Industry and Commerce and as chairman of the UAE Federation of the Chambers of Commerce and Industry, and became a respected poet.
President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan today sent a cable of condolences to President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ebrahim Raisi, over the 6.0 magnitude earthquake that struck the village of Sayeh Khosh, southern Iran, killing five people and injuring 44.
Sheikh Mohamed expressed his sympathies and wished the injured a speedy recovery.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, sent a similar cable of condolences to the Iranian president.
Al Qana, a social, dining and entertainment destination in the heart of Abu Dhabi, has recorded impressive footfall since its launch and is on track to achieve its target of over 10 million visitors by the end of 2022.
Over 500 social media influencers have visited the waterfront area since its launch in November 2021, recording over 45 million online impressions.
The National Aquarium of Abu Dhabi (TNA) is Al Qana’s flagship tourist attraction. It is home to over 330 unique species and more than 46,000 animals. It has had over 350,000 visitors since the beginning of the year, 20 per cent of whom were tourists. TNA’s educational programs in the form of its ‘Professors Aquademy’ and ‘Junior Marine Biologist’ programmes have been hugely popular with families and children and have hosted over 25,000 students via school tours over 4 months.
Al Qana’s original and new F&B outlets, 80 per cent of which are Emirati-owned and managed, have also added heavily to the project’s success.
Stuart Gissing, General Manager at Al Qana said, “We are thrilled with the upward trajectory that Al Qana is experiencing, especially when considering the relatively short period of time that it has been open to the public. From day one, our objective has been to transform Al Qana into a leading destination for not only Abu Dhabi but also the entire UAE. The progress we have witnessed through The National Aquarium, The Bridge Lifestyle Hub, and our continually expanding F&B portfolio are effectively reinforcing the vision of the developer. This will soon be bolstered by a further 20,000 sqm of major entertainment additions like Cinemacity, Pixoul Gaming, and Adrenark Adventure further supporting Al Qana’s future ambitions and top-tier destination quality.”
In Q3 of 2022, Al Qana will launch multiple F&B concepts. Cinemacity will be immersive in its own right; the theatre has 15 luxurious screens to provide the best possible viewing experience of global blockbuster movie releases.
Pixoul Gaming, a unique virtualreality and eSports gaming hub will showcase both immersive and modern gaming capabilities under one roof. Pixoul will also include the first-ever certified eSports Academy in the region with a mission to highlight the importance of playing responsibly.
Al Qana’s infrastructure also received the Porcelanosa Award for 'Best Public Space' globally. With rising footfall, new openings, and awards, Al Qana is on track to achieve its vision of inspiring social entertainment and human connections through vibrant lifestyle experiences.
Health authorities in Abu Dhabi have trained medical staff from seven regional countries on sequencing and analysis of SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for Covid-19.
Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre (ADPHC) hosted a two-week-long workshop for staff from regional National Influenza Centres. It was held at the Reference Laboratory for Infectious Disease (Surveillance Laboratory) of Sheikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC), part of the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA).
The workshop was organised in partnership with the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Ministry of Health (MoH), and the WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean (EMRO), and attended by medical staff from Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Libya and Sudan.
Dr Francis Selvaraj, senior research scientist at SKMC, along with Dr Antoine Aboufayad and Dr Rabeh Elshesheny from the WHO, trained the staff on the approved protocol for sequencing SARS-CoV-2 to determine the virus’ lineage and identify emerging mutations and new strains.
The Department of Health – Abu Dhabi (DoH) and ADPHC have been working with SKMC’s Surveillance Laboratory, which acts as the UAE’s National Influenza Centre, on a genomic surveillance project since the start of 2021. In partnership with the WHO, the project has been sequencing samples from countries in the region that lack the necessary lab capacity while also monitoring circulating strains of SARS-CoV-2 within the UAE.
Dr Farida Al Hosani, Executive Director of Infectious Diseases and Official Spokesperson for the UAE Health Sector, underlined that ADPHC has played a vital role in training regional labs on next-generation sequencing aids.
“Virus genome sequencing is a powerful tool in the diagnosis of Covid-19 and in comprehending the spread and control of the novel mutated strains. Long-term, this will enable public health authorities to improve the precision, efficacy, and efficiency of public health decision-making responses. The workshop was a collaborative success. We continue working hand in hand to combat the pandemic.”
Dr Stefan Weber, acting medical director of the Reference Laboratory for Infectious Diseases, noted that the skill of sequencing is crucial to the current pandemic.
“Every participant has a high responsibility when they go back to their home countries in helping them to spread these skills,” said Dr Weber, who is also the consultant microbiologist at SKMC.
‘SARS-CoV-2 is rapidly mutating’
Dr Selvaraj said that SKMC is proud to support the efforts of the WHO in helping regional labs tackle the pandemic with even greater efficiency.
“There is no denying that SARS-CoV-2 is rapidly mutating, with each variant starkly different in its speed of transmission. This workshop took a crucial step toward understanding the virus and will help the region towards public health decisions. The event was a resounding success and was quite a team effort.”
Dr Amal Barakat, technical officer, Infectious Hazard Preparedness Unit Health Emergencies Programme, WHO EMRO, pointed out that the main objective of the workshop was to train and equip the region’s labs with next-generation sequencing, especially related to SARS-CoV-2.
“Our aim was to understand how it spreads and infects and identify any new emerging strains. Our best chance in fighting the spread and emergence of new strains is to understand the strains present among us. Fighting this pandemic is a team effort, which was represented by the willingness of regional medical teams to attend the workshop.”
The workshop was organised by Dr Barakat, Dr Weber and Sahar Ahmed Almarzooqi, project coordinator from SKMC.