Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, August 14, 2017:    The sun sets behind a palm tree along the Corniche across from Mina Zayed in Abu Dhabi on August 14, 2017.  Abu Dhabi municipality recently launched the Green Abu Dhabi initiative, a wide ranging campaign to care for and protect trees and green spaces throughout the city. Christopher Pike / The National

Reporter: Mina Aldroubi
Section: News
The sun sets behind a palm tree along the Corniche across from Mina Zayed in Abu Dhabi. Christopher Pike / The National

‘People can live a lonely existence anywhere’



British-Pakistani Freya Jaffar is the founder of Abu Dhabi Q&A, a Facebook group that helps expats in the capital to connect. The group, which was launched in 2012, currently has 42,584 members, who use the platform to ask a host of questions related to life in the capital. Abu Dhabi Q&A also organises regular events where people can meet face-to-face. 

What inspired you to launch Abu Dhabi Q&A? Were you surprised by how quickly it gathered momentum?

I've always been a doer, and l like things to be done quickly and consistently. So when I struggled to find even basic information myself, I decided to do something about it. I didn't want to trail around in the heat with four children, just to find out what Friday timings in a mall were, or the most recent visa rules, or if Cadbury's Creme Eggs were available in my local store. I wanted a place that would offer a reliable and trusted source for everything related to daily life in Abu Dhabi. Yes, the size it's growing to has surprised me. While I knew it was much needed, I didn't expect this. I simply enjoyed connecting people and sharing information, and that it kept me busy.

What are some of the most common questions that you receive on your site? 

Definitely medical-related. There is a distrust of the insurance system and people compare it to the ones back home, where they have built up relationships with doctors over years. So here they rely on real recommendations from members and administrators.

Would you say that the expat experience is a lonely one?

I think people can live a lonely existence anywhere. It's a cliché, but life is what you make it. Having said that, there are times when a sense of loneliness kicks in upon any major life changes.

Because the expat community is smaller in Abu Dhabi than Dubai, do you think loneliness is more prevalent here? Or, is the community actually more close-knit because of it?

I really do think the residents of Abu Dhabi are massively altruistic. For example, we often post anonymously on Abu Dhabi Q&A, and when it's a post by someone new, lonely or depressed, I am blown away by just how many strangers inbox me to connect them to the person to help them.

What are some of the things people can do to counter loneliness in the UAE?

There are lots of meet-up groups here. If you do feel daunted just turning up alone somewhere, contact the organiser and explain this. They have probably experienced these feelings themselves and would help. Try some volunteering, too. If you have children at school, this is a great way to meet other people.

Attending an event on your own can be intimidating. Do you have any tips?

My suggestion is to head along early. This allows you time to familiarise yourself with the hosts and early arrivals. It will help you relax and form conversations with others, as those you connected with upon arrival will introduce you. And it also eliminates that awful feeling of turning up alone, late, to an event at which you know no one. Also, people love to talk about themselves, so ask questions and pay attention to what they say.

What are the biggest no-nos?

Don't exaggerate being friendly and do be your authentic self. Chances are people will quickly see through any act.

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Read more:

Happiness starts at home with these tips

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Top 10 most competitive economies

1. Singapore
2. Switzerland
3. Denmark
4. Ireland
5. Hong Kong
6. Sweden
7. UAE
8. Taiwan
9. Netherlands
10. Norway

Key changes

Commission caps

For life insurance products with a savings component, Peter Hodgins of Clyde & Co said different caps apply to the saving and protection elements:

• For the saving component, a cap of 4.5 per cent of the annualised premium per year (which may not exceed 90 per cent of the annualised premium over the policy term). 

• On the protection component, there is a cap  of 10 per cent of the annualised premium per year (which may not exceed 160 per cent of the annualised premium over the policy term).

• Indemnity commission, the amount of commission that can be advanced to a product salesperson, can be 50 per cent of the annualised premium for the first year or 50 per cent of the total commissions on the policy calculated. 

• The remaining commission after deduction of the indemnity commission is paid equally over the premium payment term.

• For pure protection products, which only offer a life insurance component, the maximum commission will be 10 per cent of the annualised premium multiplied by the length of the policy in years.

Disclosure

Customers must now be provided with a full illustration of the product they are buying to ensure they understand the potential returns on savings products as well as the effects of any charges. There is also a “free-look” period of 30 days, where insurers must provide a full refund if the buyer wishes to cancel the policy.

“The illustration should provide for at least two scenarios to illustrate the performance of the product,” said Mr Hodgins. “All illustrations are required to be signed by the customer.”

Another illustration must outline surrender charges to ensure they understand the costs of exiting a fixed-term product early.

Illustrations must also be kept updatedand insurers must provide information on the top five investment funds available annually, including at least five years' performance data.

“This may be segregated based on the risk appetite of the customer (in which case, the top five funds for each segment must be provided),” said Mr Hodgins.

Product providers must also disclose the ratio of protection benefit to savings benefits. If a protection benefit ratio is less than 10 per cent "the product must carry a warning stating that it has limited or no protection benefit" Mr Hodgins added.

Our legal consultants

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

Company Profile

Company name: Cargoz
Date started: January 2022
Founders: Premlal Pullisserry and Lijo Antony
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 30
Investment stage: Seed

ROUTE TO TITLE

Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

The biog

Simon Nadim has completed 7,000 dives. 

The hardest dive in the UAE is the German U-boat 110m down off the Fujairah coast. 

As a child, he loved the documentaries of Jacques Cousteau

He also led a team that discovered the long-lost portion of the Ines oil tanker. 

If you are interested in diving, he runs the XR Hub Dive Centre in Fujairah

 

Company profile

Name: Maly Tech
Started: 2023
Founder: Mo Ibrahim
Based: Dubai International Financial Centre
Sector: FinTech
Funds raised: $1.6 million
Current number of staff: 15
Investment stage: Pre-seed, planning first seed round
Investors: GCC-based angel investors

Mina Cup winners

Under 12 – Minerva Academy

Under 14 – Unam Pumas

Under 16 – Fursan Hispania

Under 18 – Madenat

MATCH INFO

Jersey 147 (20 overs) 

UAE 112 (19.2 overs)

Jersey win by 35 runs

The specs: Fenyr SuperSport

Price, base: Dh5.1 million

Engine: 3.8-litre twin-turbo flat-six

Transmission: Seven-speed automatic

Power: 800hp @ 7,100pm

Torque: 980Nm @ 4,000rpm

Fuel economy, combined: 13.5L / 100km

WHAT IS GRAPHENE?

It was discovered in 2004, when Russian-born Manchester scientists Andrei Geim and Kostya Novoselov were experimenting with sticky tape and graphite, the material used as lead in pencils.

Placing the tape on the graphite and peeling it, they managed to rip off thin flakes of carbon. In the beginning they got flakes consisting of many layers of graphene. But when they repeated the process many times, the flakes got thinner.

By separating the graphite fragments repeatedly, they managed to create flakes that were just one atom thick. Their experiment led to graphene being isolated for the very first time.

In 2010, Geim and Novoselov were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics. 

Company Profile

Name: HyveGeo
Started: 2023
Founders: Abdulaziz bin Redha, Dr Samsurin Welch, Eva Morales and Dr Harjit Singh
Based: Cambridge and Dubai
Number of employees: 8
Industry: Sustainability & Environment
Funding: $200,000 plus undisclosed grant
Investors: Venture capital and government

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Haltia.ai
Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Blah

Started: 2018

Founder: Aliyah Al Abbar and Hend Al Marri

Based: Dubai

Industry: Technology and talent management

Initial investment: Dh20,000

Investors: Self-funded

Total customers: 40

Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus

Developer: Sucker Punch Productions
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Console: PlayStation 2 to 5
Rating: 5/5

SPECS: Polestar 3

Engine: Long-range dual motor with 400V battery
Power: 360kW / 483bhp
Torque: 840Nm
Transmission: Single-speed automatic
Max touring range: 628km
0-100km/h: 4.7sec
Top speed: 210kph
Price: From Dh360,000
On sale: September

Champion v Champion (PFL v Bellator)

Heavyweight: Renan Ferreira v Ryan Bader
Middleweight: Impa Kasanganay v Johnny Eblen
Featherweight: Jesus Pinedo v Patricio Pitbull
Catchweight: Ray Cooper III v Jason Jackson

Showcase Bouts
Heavyweight: Bruno Cappelozza (former PFL World champ) v Vadim Nemkov (former Bellator champ)
Light Heavyweight: Thiago Santos (PFL title contender) v Yoel Romero (Bellator title contender)
Lightweight: Clay Collard (PFL title contender) v AJ McKee (former Bellator champ)
Featherweight: Gabriel Braga (PFL title contender) v Aaron Pico (Bellator title contender)
Lightweight: Biaggio Ali Walsh (pro debut) v Emmanuel Palacios (pro debut)
Women’s Lightweight: Claressa Shields v Kelsey DeSantis
Featherweight: Abdullah Al Qahtani v Edukondal Rao
Amateur Flyweight: Malik Basahel v Vinicius Pereira

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)

Our legal columnist

Name: Yousef Al Bahar

Advocate at Al Bahar & Associate Advocates and Legal Consultants, established in 1994

Education: Mr Al Bahar was born in 1979 and graduated in 2008 from the Judicial Institute. He took after his father, who was one of the first Emirati lawyers

Walls

Louis Tomlinson

3 out of 5 stars

(Syco Music/Arista Records)

The biog

Hometown: Cairo

Age: 37

Favourite TV series: The Handmaid’s Tale, Black Mirror

Favourite anime series: Death Note, One Piece and Hellsing

Favourite book: Designing Brand Identity, Fifth Edition

Bombshell

Director: Jay Roach

Stars: Nicole Kidman, Charlize Theron, Margot Robbie 

Four out of five stars 

How tumultuous protests grew
  • A fuel tax protest by French drivers appealed to wider anti-government sentiment
  • Unlike previous French demonstrations there was no trade union or organised movement involved 
  • Demonstrators responded to online petitions and flooded squares to block traffic
  • At its height there were almost 300,000 on the streets in support
  • Named after the high visibility jackets that drivers must keep in cars 
  • Clashes soon turned violent as thousands fought with police at cordons
  • An estimated two dozen people lost eyes and many others were admitted to hospital 
COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Klipit

Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded

How to come clean about financial infidelity
  • Be honest and transparent: It is always better to own up than be found out. Tell your partner everything they want to know. Show remorse. Inform them of the extent of the situation so they know what they are dealing with.
  • Work on yourself: Be honest with yourself and your partner and figure out why you did it. Don’t be ashamed to ask for professional help. 
  • Give it time: Like any breach of trust, it requires time to rebuild. So be consistent, communicate often and be patient with your partner and yourself.
  • Discuss your financial situation regularly: Ensure your spouse is involved in financial matters and decisions. Your ability to consistently follow through with what you say you are going to do when it comes to money can make all the difference in your partner’s willingness to trust you again.
  • Work on a plan to resolve the problem together: If there is a lot of debt, for example, create a budget and financial plan together and ensure your partner is fully informed, involved and supported. 

Carol Glynn, founder of Conscious Finance Coaching

RESULTS

Catchweight 82kg
Piotr Kuberski (POL) beat Ahmed Saeb (IRQ) by decision.

Women’s bantamweight
Corinne Laframboise (CAN) beat Cornelia Holm (SWE) by unanimous decision.

Welterweight
Omar Hussein (PAL) beat Vitalii Stoian (UKR) by unanimous decision.

Welterweight
Josh Togo (LEB) beat Ali Dyusenov (UZB) by unanimous decision.

Flyweight
Isaac Pimentel (BRA) beat Delfin Nawen (PHI) TKO round-3.

Catchweight 80kg​​​​​​​
Seb Eubank (GBR) beat Emad Hanbali (SYR) KO round 1.

Lightweight
Mohammad Yahya (UAE) beat Ramadan Noaman (EGY) TKO round 2.

Lightweight
Alan Omer (GER) beat Reydon Romero (PHI) submission 1.

Welterweight
Juho Valamaa (FIN) beat Ahmed Labban (LEB) by unanimous decision.

Featherweight
Elias Boudegzdame (ALG) beat Austin Arnett (USA) by unanimous decision.

Super heavyweight
Maciej Sosnowski (POL) beat Ibrahim El Sawi (EGY) by submission round 1.

Dengue fever symptoms
  • High fever
  • Intense pain behind your eyes
  • Severe headache
  • Muscle and joint pains
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Swollen glands
  • Rash

If symptoms occur, they usually last for two-seven days

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
The specs

Engine: 3.0-litre six-cylinder turbo (BMW B58)
Power: 340hp at 6,500rpm
Torque: 500Nm from 1,600-4,500rpm
Transmission: ZF 8-speed auto
0-100kph: 4.2sec
Top speed: 267kph

On sale: Now
Price: From Dh462,189
Warranty: 30-month/48,000k


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