A reader underscores the merits of cloud seeding. Courtesy National Centre for Meteorology and Seismology
A reader underscores the merits of cloud seeding. Courtesy National Centre for Meteorology and Seismology

Let’s consider the benefits of cloud seeding



Like all scientific experiments, it takes time and patience to achieve the desired results (Cloud seeding over UAE ‘played a part in record March rainfall’, April 9). The flooding and consequent damage to property are a small price to pay for advancement. What if we could develop this technology to alleviate drought in parts of Africa, which holds 60 per cent of the world’s arable land?

Food security is one of the priorities, not just for the Middle East but for the entire world. At a time when the UAE needs to diversify from hydrocarbons, it’s these types of initiatives that could help.

I’ve always advocated that we need to transform into a knowledge economy and the export of technology could contribute significantly to the Global Poverty Project. Let’s not be selfish and only see the negatives, but support the positives.

Randall Mohammed, Dubai

Cloud-seeding technology presents wonderful opportunities for this country, but it also played a part in the catastrophic flooding in many areas of Dubai, including my area. Dubai’s infrastructure is not built to cope with seeded rain. Please leave nature alone or completely rebuild drainage systems first.

Phil Jones, Dubai

Bullies may have emotional issues

In reference to Fatima Al Shamsi's opinion article, We all have a role to play in stopping school bullies (April 1), bullies themselves sometimes suffer from emotional problems – often because of the lack of affection from parents or family problems. Every school should have child psychologists who keep an eye on children's behaviour.

Marlice Brits, Dubai

What makes the UAE so special

The Homeland Protectors card not only takes care of the needs of the martyrs' families, but it's a great honour to receive the card that helps families of martyrs to form a close-knit community (Housing loans gift for families of fallen UAE heroes, March 31). It's these initiatives that make this country so special.

Name withheld by request

Sorry state of affairs in India

The prime minister of Iceland had to resign his post in a couple of days after the Panama leaks (World figures deny wrongdoing as Panama Papers turn spotlight on tax evasion, April 5). Compare this to countries such as India, China and Pakistan, all of which have decided to launch investigations into their citizens who figure in the list.

It is well-known that such investigations seldom lead anywhere in these countries. Once the heat is gone out of this issue, everyone will be silent.

Meanwhile, all those named from these countries have denied any wrongdoing. The Indian media is particularly silent on Indians involved in the scandal. It shows how the society works in this part of the world and how helpless the common people are in the so-called largest democracy in the world.

Name withheld by request

The elimination of global poverty becomes an even greater challenge when the rich ends up stashing away excess moolah at offshore destinations.

Big ostentatious gatherings at G8 summits, the pledges to the tune of millions and copious dinners and photo shoots are testimony to the lies that come from these statesmen.

These monies are indirectly coming from the pockets of common people by way of taxation.

Tax havens should not be reformed, they should be outlawed.

KB Rahiman, South Africa

Technology can’t solve this

Noisy cars should not be our immediate concern (Abu Dhabi roadside sensors to detect cars that make too much noise, April 6). The priority is to make our roads safer by compelling drivers to comply with traffic rules.

This objective can be achieved easily by enforcing traffic rules.

The capability of technology is limited to detecting errors and offences.

Taking steps on the basis of these findings is our job. Unless motorists are taken to task randomly for violating rules, there is little hope that we shall be able to achieve anything worthwhile.

Michael Baldwin, Dubai

Confirmed bouts (more to be added)

Cory Sandhagen v Umar Nurmagomedov
Nick Diaz v Vicente Luque
Michael Chiesa v Tony Ferguson
Deiveson Figueiredo v Marlon Vera
Mackenzie Dern v Loopy Godinez

Tickets for the August 3 Fight Night, held in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, went on sale earlier this month, through www.etihadarena.ae and www.ticketmaster.ae.

A cheaper choice

Vanuatu: $130,000

Why on earth pick Vanuatu? Easy. The South Pacific country has no income tax, wealth tax, capital gains or inheritance tax. And in 2015, when it was hit by Cyclone Pam, it signed an agreement with the EU that gave it some serious passport power.

Cost: A minimum investment of $130,000 for a family of up to four, plus $25,000 in fees.

Criteria: Applicants must have a minimum net worth of $250,000. The process take six to eight weeks, after which the investor must travel to Vanuatu or Hong Kong to take the oath of allegiance. Citizenship and passport are normally provided on the same day.

Benefits:  No tax, no restrictions on dual citizenship, no requirement to visit or reside to retain a passport. Visa-free access to 129 countries.

How to vote

Canadians living in the UAE can register to vote online and be added to the International Register of Electors.

They'll then be sent a special ballot voting kit by mail either to their address, the Consulate General of Canada to the UAE in Dubai or The Embassy of Canada in Abu Dhabi

Registered voters mark the ballot with their choice and must send it back by 6pm Eastern time on October 21 (2am next Friday) 

Indika

Developer: 11 Bit Studios
Publisher: Odd Meter
Console: PlayStation 5, PC and Xbox series X/S
Rating: 4/5

'Worse than a prison sentence'

Marie Byrne, a counsellor who volunteers at the UAE government's mental health crisis helpline, said the ordeal the crew had been through would take time to overcome.

“It was worse than a prison sentence, where at least someone can deal with a set amount of time incarcerated," she said.

“They were living in perpetual mystery as to how their futures would pan out, and what that would be.

“Because of coronavirus, the world is very different now to the one they left, that will also have an impact.

“It will not fully register until they are on dry land. Some have not seen their young children grow up while others will have to rebuild relationships.

“It will be a challenge mentally, and to find other work to support their families as they have been out of circulation for so long. Hopefully they will get the care they need when they get home.”

Sweet Tooth

Creator: Jim Mickle
Starring: Christian Convery, Nonso Anozie, Adeel Akhtar, Stefania LaVie Owen
Rating: 2.5/5

David Haye record

Total fights: 32
Wins: 28
Wins by KO: 26
Losses: 4

EMIRATES'S REVISED A350 DEPLOYMENT SCHEDULE

Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates

Mercer, the investment consulting arm of US services company Marsh & McLennan, expects its wealth division to at least double its assets under management (AUM) in the Middle East as wealth in the region continues to grow despite economic headwinds, a company official said.

Mercer Wealth, which globally has $160 billion in AUM, plans to boost its AUM in the region to $2-$3bn in the next 2-3 years from the present $1bn, said Yasir AbuShaban, a Dubai-based principal with Mercer Wealth.

Within the next two to three years, we are looking at reaching $2 to $3 billion as a conservative estimate and we do see an opportunity to do so,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Mercer does not directly make investments, but allocates clients’ money they have discretion to, to professional asset managers. They also provide advice to clients.

“We have buying power. We can negotiate on their (client’s) behalf with asset managers to provide them lower fees than they otherwise would have to get on their own,” he added.

Mercer Wealth’s clients include sovereign wealth funds, family offices, and insurance companies among others.

From its office in Dubai, Mercer also looks after Africa, India and Turkey, where they also see opportunity for growth.

Wealth creation in Middle East and Africa (MEA) grew 8.5 per cent to $8.1 trillion last year from $7.5tn in 2015, higher than last year’s global average of 6 per cent and the second-highest growth in a region after Asia-Pacific which grew 9.9 per cent, according to consultancy Boston Consulting Group (BCG). In the region, where wealth grew just 1.9 per cent in 2015 compared with 2014, a pickup in oil prices has helped in wealth generation.

BCG is forecasting MEA wealth will rise to $12tn by 2021, growing at an annual average of 8 per cent.

Drivers of wealth generation in the region will be split evenly between new wealth creation and growth of performance of existing assets, according to BCG.

Another general trend in the region is clients’ looking for a comprehensive approach to investing, according to Mr AbuShaban.

“Institutional investors or some of the families are seeing a slowdown in the available capital they have to invest and in that sense they are looking at optimizing the way they manage their portfolios and making sure they are not investing haphazardly and different parts of their investment are working together,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Some clients also have a higher appetite for risk, given the low interest-rate environment that does not provide enough yield for some institutional investors. These clients are keen to invest in illiquid assets, such as private equity and infrastructure.

“What we have seen is a desire for higher returns in what has been a low-return environment specifically in various fixed income or bonds,” he said.

“In this environment, we have seen a de facto increase in the risk that clients are taking in things like illiquid investments, private equity investments, infrastructure and private debt, those kind of investments were higher illiquidity results in incrementally higher returns.”

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, one of the largest sovereign wealth funds, said in its 2016 report that has gradually increased its exposure in direct private equity and private credit transactions, mainly in Asian markets and especially in China and India. The authority’s private equity department focused on structured equities owing to “their defensive characteristics.”