As the sun rises over the Gaza Strip , Palestinian fish transporter Nasser Abu Raeda at the port in Gaza City loads up his horse cart  with the fish that Ibrahim Al Habid fishing boat caught out at sea so that it can be transported up the road to the wholesale fish market  Gaza City , Gaza at day break. (Photo by Heidi Levine/Sipa Press). *** Local Caption ***  IMG_4172.jpg
A reader reports that a joint venture between the Free Gaza Movement and the Turkish Relief Organisation will supply 10 boats to the struggling fishermen of the Gaza Strip.

Aid to fishermen in the Gaza Strip

I refer to Gaza fishermen risk lives for survival (January 27). On January 28, the Free Gaza Movement and the Turkish Relief Foundation announced a joint venture. They are sending 10 boats in the spring of 2010 to the besieged Gaza Strip. Organisations from Greece, Ireland and Sweden have also promised to send boats to join the flotilla. Martina Lauer, Canada

I would like to address the the security of local banks. I have been receiving demands for repayment of loan accounts and threats of legal action for non-payment from Emirates NBD for the last three months or so. I do not have a loan account with this bank and the number given to contact the department concerned is continuously engaged, so there has been no opportunity to advise them of their mistake. I was able finally to get through to the National Bank of Abu Dhabi last month, on a separate mission, to advise them that the salary deposit statement and withdrawal notices that were being sent by text message to my mobile phone were not in fact of any interest to me, as I do not have an account with that bank either. Two separate cases of incorrect information raises the question of how secure our general banking system here actually is.

Is my banking business being shared with others as their's has been with me? How common are these mistakes? Are bank account holders able to supply fictitious mobile telephone contact details without any follow up from the banks? It is hardly surprising that the banks complain about the numbers of defaulters, if the approval process is as weak as it appears to be from these two instances. Fraser M Martin, Dubai

In reference to the article Couple to sue Tamweel over 'unfair' home loan (January 27), we will be seeing more such cases. The main issue here is why did the couple take a loan that they certainly knew that they couldn't afford. Some might give a counter-argument that there should be more conservative criteria for mortgages. In the developed world, if you take a loan, you are liable for it. Does this couple think that they should be bailed out? The funny issue here is that many foreigners have taken up loans and have fled Dubai thinking that no one would chase them. I doubt that the couple will win their case. Name Withheld by Request

With reference to the article New parking fees, same congestion (January 31): while many people may complain they don't like to pay for parking, surely a few dirhams is worthwhile to rid public parking lots of cars that often sit "stored" for weeks and months, taking up valuable parking space that shoppers, visitors and residents desperately need. If the capital really wants to improve the parking situation, tow cars in violation of parking rules. That will certainly scare off drivers who think it's OK to leave their vehicles parked haphazardly, selfishly blocking the way of other more courteous drivers. Based on my experience in other countries, the threat of towing truly works. MC, Dubai

I refer to the article Child dies in latest of hundreds of fatal falls from windows (January 22). For parents: bolt the windows of apartments with child-proof locks to avoid tragedies of children falling from balconies. For the municipality: raise the safety standards of building construction and ensure every apartment has a safe balcony with rails or walls of adequate height that would prevent children from climbing and falling. The majority of the buildings that have been built in the last decade or so are without balconies but with windows that pose a high risk of young children falling. Tessy Anthony, Abu Dhabi

In reference to the article Filipinos organise beauty contest (January 31), it's good to hear there are efforts like the "Maid in the Philippines, UAE 2010" event to boost morale among the low-income bracket within the Filipino community. One other way to boost morale, however, is through increased confidence in the way you integrate yourself into the entire UAE community and not just within your own national group. Encourage our amazing blue-collar Filipino workers to be proud of our Philippine culture and show the rest of the UAE community that we are more than our occupations - a rich society full of culture and heritage.

Name Withheld by Request


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

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

What is a calorie?

A food calorie, or kilocalorie, is a measure of nutritional energy generated from what is consumed.

One calorie, is the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram of water by 1°C.

A kilocalorie represents a 1,000 true calories of energy.

Energy density figures are often quoted as calories per serving, with one gram of fat in food containing nine calories, and a gram of protein or carbohydrate providing about four.

Alcohol contains about seven calories a gram. 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge

Developer: Tribute Games
Publisher: Dotemu
Consoles: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4&5, PC and Xbox One
Rating: 4/5

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

The specs: 2019 Audi A8

Price From Dh390,000

Engine 3.0L V6 turbo

Gearbox Eight-speed automatic

Power 345hp @ 5,000rpm

Torque 500Nm @ 1,370rpm

Fuel economy, combined 7.5L / 100km


Developer: SCE Studio Cambridge
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Console: PlayStation, PlayStation 4 and 5
Rating: 3.5/5

Key Points
  • Protests against President Omar Al Bashir enter their sixth day
  • Reports of President Bashir's resignation and arrests of senior government officials
The specs

Engine: Single front-axle electric motor
Power: 218hp
Torque: 330Nm
Transmission: Single-speed automatic
Max touring range: 402km (claimed)
Price: From Dh215,000 (estimate)
On sale: September


Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5

The specs: 2018 Maserati Levante S

Price, base / as tested: Dh409,000 / Dh467,000

Engine: 3.0-litre V6

Transmission: Eight-speed automatic

Power: 430hp @ 5,750rpm

Torque: 580Nm @ 4,500rpm

Fuel economy, combined: 10.9L / 100km

Citizenship-by-investment programmes

United Kingdom

The UK offers three programmes for residency. The UK Overseas Business Representative Visa lets you open an overseas branch office of your existing company in the country at no extra investment. For the UK Tier 1 Innovator Visa, you are required to invest £50,000 (Dh238,000) into a business. You can also get a UK Tier 1 Investor Visa if you invest £2 million, £5m or £10m (the higher the investment, the sooner you obtain your permanent residency).

All UK residency visas get approved in 90 to 120 days and are valid for 3 years. After 3 years, the applicant can apply for extension of another 2 years. Once they have lived in the UK for a minimum of 6 months every year, they are eligible to apply for permanent residency (called Indefinite Leave to Remain). After one year of ILR, the applicant can apply for UK passport.

The Caribbean

Depending on the country, the investment amount starts from $100,000 (Dh367,250) and can go up to $400,000 in real estate. From the date of purchase, it will take between four to five months to receive a passport. 


The investment amount ranges from €350,000 to €500,000 (Dh1.5m to Dh2.16m) in real estate. From the date of purchase, it will take a maximum of six months to receive a Golden Visa. Applicants can apply for permanent residency after five years and Portuguese citizenship after six years.

“Among European countries with residency programmes, Portugal has been the most popular because it offers the most cost-effective programme to eventually acquire citizenship of the European Union without ever residing in Portugal,” states Veronica Cotdemiey of Citizenship Invest.


The real estate investment threshold to acquire residency for Greece is €250,000, making it the cheapest real estate residency visa scheme in Europe. You can apply for residency in four months and citizenship after seven years.


The real estate investment threshold to acquire residency for Spain is €500,000. You can apply for permanent residency after five years and citizenship after 10 years. It is not necessary to live in Spain to retain and renew the residency visa permit.


Cyprus offers the quickest route to citizenship of a European country in only six months. An investment of €2m in real estate is required, making it the highest priced programme in Europe.


The Malta citizenship by investment programme is lengthy and investors are required to contribute sums as donations to the Maltese government. The applicant must either contribute at least €650,000 to the National Development & Social Fund. Spouses and children are required to contribute €25,000; unmarried children between 18 and 25 and dependent parents must contribute €50,000 each.

The second step is to make an investment in property of at least €350,000 or enter a property rental contract for at least €16,000 per annum for five years. The third step is to invest at least €150,000 in bonds or shares approved by the Maltese government to be kept for at least five years.

Candidates must commit to a minimum physical presence in Malta before citizenship is granted. While you get residency in two months, you can apply for citizenship after a year.


A one-year residency permit can be bought if you purchase property in Egypt worth $100,000. A three-year residency is available for those who invest $200,000 in property, and five years for those who purchase property worth $400,000.

Source: Citizenship Invest and Aqua Properties

The specs

Engine: 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6

Power: 380hp at 5,800rpm

Torque: 530Nm at 1,300-4,500rpm

Transmission: Eight-speed auto

Price: From Dh299,000 ($81,415)

On sale: Now

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