All is fair in the taxicab war



It is to my detriment that I am impeccably polite when it comes to two things: complaining about food, and confronting queue jumpers.

This attribute, I believe, will forever remain a part of me, but since moving to Abu Dhabi, I have finally overcome my cowardice when it comes to claiming a taxi that is rightfully mine. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but there are certain rules with which one must abide when concerned with the topic of taxi etiquette.

If I'm standing at my usual spot, at the bus stop on Sheikh Zayed the First Street, near the Sheraton, do not be so crass as to meander over and stand one metre ahead of me.

I don't care if your skinny wet soya vanilla latte is getting cold - if I'm there first, I expect you to stand behind me at all times. In fact, if you're within my view - and I have 20/20 vision - then that means you're breaching my guidelines. And yes, I'm talking about you, person-who-casually-strolls-to-the-bus-stop-100-yards-ahead.

Consider me extreme, maybe, but I have had it with taxi stealers. The first time it occurred, I took on a smug air; convincing myself I was above such behaviour. "No problem," I chuckled inwardly. "If you need the taxi all that much, I pity you. Go on. Take it." Giving said culprit my best withering look - although it looked suspiciously like they were too busy enjoying their hot coffee to notice - I waited patiently for the next cab to pull over, which it did, less than a minute later.

Thinking the worst was over, I made my way to work unaware that this would become a daily occurrence; it was a battle to stop my mood swinging from meek to full-on Rambo mode. And, for the longest time, I managed to keep my cool. Sure, I developed a nervous twitch in the process, but I had risen above it all. I could handle it. That is, until a few months back, when I finally lost the plot. Watching the two men in front of me flag down a cab - my cab - I marched right past them, giving them the look of disdain I had perfected. Shutting the door, I felt dizzy with power. The battle had been won.

Of course, four months later, I have an inkling that I may have taken my new-found taxi vigilantism overboard. Waiting outside work last week, it did not escape my notice that a young man had positioned himself in front of me. We both flailed our hands wildly at the approaching cab, and by a stroke of luck it stopped at my side. Locking eyes with my competitor, I considered offering him my taxi, just as I thought about how uncomfortable he must have been with the huge bag he was carrying.

In fact, I was still thinking about his discomfort as my cab and I left a trail of dust in our wake.

Surely that counts for something. Right?

Country-size land deals

US interest in purchasing territory is not as outlandish as it sounds. Here's a look at some big land transactions between nations:

Louisiana Purchase

If Donald Trump is one who aims to broker "a deal of the century", then this was the "deal of the 19th Century". In 1803, the US nearly doubled in size when it bought 2,140,000 square kilometres from France for $15 million.

Florida Purchase Treaty

The US courted Spain for Florida for years. Spain eventually realised its burden in holding on to the territory and in 1819 effectively ceded it to America in a wider border treaty. 

Alaska purchase

America's spending spree continued in 1867 when it acquired 1,518,800 km2 of  Alaskan land from Russia for $7.2m. Critics panned the government for buying "useless land".

The Philippines

At the end of the Spanish-American War, a provision in the 1898 Treaty of Paris saw Spain surrender the Philippines for a payment of $20 million. 

US Virgin Islands

It's not like a US president has never reached a deal with Denmark before. In 1917 the US purchased the Danish West Indies for $25m and renamed them the US Virgin Islands.

Gwadar

The most recent sovereign land purchase was in 1958 when Pakistan bought the southwestern port of Gwadar from Oman for 5.5bn Pakistan rupees. 

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Qureos
Based: UAE
Launch year: 2021
Number of employees: 33
Sector: Software and technology
Funding: $3 million

INDIA V SOUTH AFRICA

First Test: October 2-6, at Visakhapatnam

Second Test: October 10-14, at Maharashtra

Third Test: October 19-23, at Ranchi

The specs: 2018 Kia Picanto

Price: From Dh39,500

Engine: 1.2L inline four-cylinder

Transmission: Four-speed auto

Power: 86hp @ 6,000rpm

Torque: 122Nm @ 4,000rpm

Fuel economy, combined: 6.0L / 100km

Pakistan v New Zealand Test series

Pakistan: Sarfraz (c), Hafeez, Imam, Azhar, Sohail, Shafiq, Azam, Saad, Yasir, Asif, Abbas, Hassan, Afridi, Ashraf, Hamza

New Zealand: Williamson (c), Blundell, Boult, De Grandhomme, Henry, Latham, Nicholls, Ajaz, Raval, Sodhi, Somerville, Southee, Taylor, Wagner

Umpires: Bruce Oxerford (AUS) and Ian Gould (ENG); TV umpire: Paul Reiffel (AUS); Match referee: David Boon (AUS)

Tickets and schedule: Entry is free for all spectators. Gates open at 9am. Play commences at 10am

Company Profile

Name: Takestep
Started: March 2018
Founders: Mohamed Khashaba, Mohamed Abdallah, Mohamed Adel Wafiq and Ayman Taha
Based: Cairo, Egypt
Sector: health technology
Employees: 11 full time and 22 part time
Investment stage: pre-Series A

The 12 breakaway clubs

England

Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur

Italy
AC Milan, Inter Milan, Juventus

Spain
Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Real Madrid

TEACHERS' PAY - WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Pay varies significantly depending on the school, its rating and the curriculum. Here's a rough guide as of January 2021:

- top end schools tend to pay Dh16,000-17,000 a month - plus a monthly housing allowance of up to Dh6,000. These tend to be British curriculum schools rated 'outstanding' or 'very good', followed by American schools

- average salary across curriculums and skill levels is about Dh10,000, recruiters say

- it is becoming more common for schools to provide accommodation, sometimes in an apartment block with other teachers, rather than hand teachers a cash housing allowance

- some strong performing schools have cut back on salaries since the pandemic began, sometimes offering Dh16,000 including the housing allowance, which reflects the slump in rental costs, and sheer demand for jobs

- maths and science teachers are most in demand and some schools will pay up to Dh3,000 more than other teachers in recognition of their technical skills

- at the other end of the market, teachers in some Indian schools, where fees are lower and competition among applicants is intense, can be paid as low as Dh3,000 per month

- in Indian schools, it has also become common for teachers to share residential accommodation, living in a block with colleagues

Director: Paul Weitz
Stars: Kevin Hart
3/5 stars

Company Profile

Company name: Yeepeey

Started: Soft launch in November, 2020

Founders: Sagar Chandiramani, Jatin Sharma and Monish Chandiramani

Based: Dubai

Industry: E-grocery

Initial investment: $150,000

Future plan: Raise $1.5m and enter Saudi Arabia next year

Three ways to boost your credit score

Marwan Lutfi says the core fundamentals that drive better payment behaviour and can improve your credit score are:

1. Make sure you make your payments on time;

2. Limit the number of products you borrow on: the more loans and credit cards you have, the more it will affect your credit score;

3. Don't max out all your debts: how much you maximise those credit facilities will have an impact. If you have five credit cards and utilise 90 per cent of that credit, it will negatively affect your score.

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo

Power: 178hp at 5,500rpm

Torque: 280Nm at 1,350-4,200rpm

Transmission: seven-speed dual-clutch auto

Price: from Dh209,000 

On sale: now

The Porpoise

By Mark Haddon 

(Penguin Random House)
 

T20 WORLD CUP QUALIFIERS

Qualifier A, Muscat

(All matches to be streamed live on icc.tv) 

Fixtures

Friday, February 18: 10am Oman v Nepal, Canada v Philippines; 2pm Ireland v UAE, Germany v Bahrain 

Saturday, February 19: 10am Oman v Canada, Nepal v Philippines; 2pm UAE v Germany, Ireland v Bahrain 

Monday, February 21: 10am Ireland v Germany, UAE v Bahrain; 2pm Nepal v Canada, Oman v Philippines 

Tuesday, February 22: 2pm Semi-finals 

Thursday, February 24: 2pm Final 

UAE squad:Ahmed Raza(captain), Muhammad Waseem, Chirag Suri, Vriitya Aravind, Rohan Mustafa, Kashif Daud, Zahoor Khan, Alishan Sharafu, Raja Akifullah, Karthik Meiyappan, Junaid Siddique, Basil Hameed, Zafar Farid, Mohammed Boota, Mohammed Usman, Rahul Bhatia


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