Dubai housemaid dies in gas explosion, and a rat's to blame



Dubai Police confirmed on Thursday that a housemaid was killed following a gas cylinder explosion.

The explosion was a result of a rat tampering with the gas cylinder tubes in a kitchen of a villa in Dubai.

Captain Mohammed Ali Al Qasim, head of the criminal engineering department at Dubai Police, said that "the villa’s owner had warned his maids against using the stove in the kitchen after smelling a gas leak".

However, one of the maids entered the kitchen and ignited one of the burners, leading to the explosion that damaged the kitchen's walls, which eventually collapsed into her colleague's room. The maid was killed instantly, while the fire from the explosion caused moderate burns to the other maid.

Capt Al Qasim confirmed that this was not the first incident where rats have caused a gas leak. "A similar case was reported  in Al Tuwar area, but no fatalities were reported."

"The first six months of this year witnessed 68 fires in houses, compared to 160 house fires registered throughout last year."

He stated that most house fires were a result of faulty electrical connections, gas explosions and air-conditioning malfunctions.

THE DEALS

Hamilton $60m x 2 = $120m

Vettel $45m x 2 = $90m

Ricciardo $35m x 2 = $70m

Verstappen $55m x 3 = $165m

Leclerc $20m x 2 = $40m

TOTAL $485m

Du Plessis plans his retirement

South Africa captain Faf du Plessis said on Friday the Twenty20 World Cup in Australia in two years' time will be his last.

Du Plessis, 34, who has led his country in two World T20 campaigns, in 2014 and 2016, is keen to play a third but will then step aside.

"The T20 World Cup in 2020 is something I'm really looking forward to. I think right now that will probably be the last tournament for me," he said in Brisbane ahead of a one-off T20 against Australia on Saturday. 

PROFILE BOX

Company name: Overwrite.ai

Founder: Ayman Alashkar

Started: Established in 2020

Based: Dubai International Financial Centre, Dubai

Sector: PropTech

Initial investment: Self-funded by founder

Funding stage: Seed funding, in talks with angel investors

How to play the stock market recovery in 2021?

If you are looking to build your long-term wealth in 2021 and beyond, the stock market is still the best place to do it as equities powered on despite the pandemic.

Investing in individual stocks is not for everyone and most private investors should stick to mutual funds and ETFs, but there are some thrilling opportunities for those who understand the risks.

Peter Garnry, head of equity strategy at Saxo Bank, says the 20 best-performing US and European stocks have delivered an average return year-to-date of 148 per cent, measured in local currency terms.

Online marketplace Etsy was the best performer with a return of 330.6 per cent, followed by communications software company Sinch (315.4 per cent), online supermarket HelloFresh (232.8 per cent) and fuel cells specialist NEL (191.7 per cent).

Mr Garnry says digital companies benefited from the lockdown, while green energy firms flew as efforts to combat climate change were ramped up, helped in part by the European Union’s green deal. 

Electric car company Tesla would be on the list if it had been part of the S&P 500 Index, but it only joined on December 21. “Tesla has become one of the most valuable companies in the world this year as demand for electric vehicles has grown dramatically,” Mr Garnry says.

By contrast, the 20 worst-performing European stocks fell 54 per cent on average, with European banks hit by the economic fallout from the pandemic, while cruise liners and airline stocks suffered due to travel restrictions.

As demand for energy fell, the oil and gas industry had a tough year, too.

Mr Garnry says the biggest story this year was the “absolute crunch” in so-called value stocks, companies that trade at low valuations compared to their earnings and growth potential.

He says they are “heavily tilted towards financials, miners, energy, utilities and industrials, which have all been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic”. “The last year saw these cheap stocks become cheaper and expensive stocks have become more expensive.” 

This has triggered excited talk about the “great value rotation” but Mr Garnry remains sceptical. “We need to see a breakout of interest rates combined with higher inflation before we join the crowd.”

Always remember that past performance is not a guarantee of future returns. Last year’s winners often turn out to be this year’s losers, and vice-versa.

WHAT IS A BLACK HOLE?

1. Black holes are objects whose gravity is so strong not even light can escape their pull

2. They can be created when massive stars collapse under their own weight

3. Large black holes can also be formed when smaller ones collide and merge

4. The biggest black holes lurk at the centre of many galaxies, including our own

5. Astronomers believe that when the universe was very young, black holes affected how galaxies formed

THE SPECS

Engine: 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder

Transmission: Constant Variable (CVT)

Power: 141bhp 

Torque: 250Nm 

Price: Dh64,500

On sale: Now

Miss Granny

Director: Joyce Bernal

Starring: Sarah Geronimo, James Reid, Xian Lim, Nova Villa

3/5

(Tagalog with Eng/Ar subtitles)

Electric scooters: some rules to remember
  • Riders must be 14-years-old or over
  • Wear a protective helmet
  • Park the electric scooter in designated parking lots (if any)
  • Do not leave electric scooter in locations that obstruct traffic or pedestrians
  • Solo riders only, no passengers allowed
  • Do not drive outside designated lanes
57 Seconds

Director: Rusty Cundieff
Stars: Josh Hutcherson, Morgan Freeman, Greg Germann, Lovie Simone
Rating: 2/5

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)

The Specs

Engine: 1.6-litre 4-cylinder petrol
Power: 118hp
Torque: 149Nm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Price: From Dh61,500
On sale: Now

The specs

Engine: 1.8-litre 4-cyl turbo
Power: 190hp at 5,200rpm
Torque: 320Nm from 1,800-5,000rpm
Transmission: Seven-speed dual-clutch auto
Fuel consumption: 6.7L/100km
Price: From Dh111,195
On sale: Now

HEY MERCEDES, WHAT CAN YOU DO FOR ME?

Mercedes-Benz's MBUX digital voice assistant, Hey Mercedes, allows users to set up commands for:

• Navigation

• Calls

• In-car climate

• Ambient lighting

• Media controls

• Driver assistance

• General inquiries such as motor data, fuel consumption and next service schedule, and even funny questions

There's also a hidden feature: pressing and holding the voice command button on the steering wheel activates the voice assistant on a connected smartphone – Siri on Apple's iOS or Google Assistant on Android – enabling a user to command the car even without Apple CarPlay or Android Auto

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

THE SPECS

Engine: 4.4-litre V8

Transmission: Automatic

Power: 530bhp 

Torque: 750Nm 

Price: Dh535,000

On sale: Now

Janet Yellen's Firsts

  • In 2014, she became the first woman to lead the US Federal Reserve 
  • In 1999, she became the first female chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers 
The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cyl turbo
Power: 190hp at 5,600rpm
Torque: 320Nm at 1,500-4,000rpm
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch auto
Fuel consumption: 10.9L/100km
Price: From Dh119,900
On sale: Now

Turning waste into fuel

Average amount of biofuel produced at DIC factory every month: Approximately 106,000 litres

Amount of biofuel produced from 1 litre of used cooking oil: 920ml (92%)

Time required for one full cycle of production from used cooking oil to biofuel: One day

Energy requirements for one cycle of production from 1,000 litres of used cooking oil:
▪ Electricity - 1.1904 units
▪ Water- 31 litres
▪ Diesel – 26.275 litres

Jurassic Park

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Sam Neill, Jeff Goldblum and Richard Attenborough
Rating: 5/5

Fund-raising tips for start-ups

Develop an innovative business concept

Have the ability to differentiate yourself from competitors

Put in place a business continuity plan after Covid-19

Prepare for the worst-case scenario (further lockdowns, long wait for a vaccine, etc.) 

Have enough cash to stay afloat for the next 12 to 18 months

Be creative and innovative to reduce expenses

Be prepared to use Covid-19 as an opportunity for your business

* Tips from Jassim Al Marzooqi and Walid Hanna


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