Genetic tests urged for engaged couples



ABU DHABI // Premarital medical screenings will be encouraged for couples seeking government funds for their nuptials, the Ministry of Health said yesterday. The goal is to reduce the incidence of hereditary illnesses, officials say - a problem compounded by a high rate of marriages between cousins and other relatives. Lectures and printed information will be available to prospective spouses as part of an agreement between the ministry and Marriage Fund signed yesterday.

Two healthy parents can carry the genes for hereditary illnesses, making their children more likely to suffer from that disease. Testing can identify those genes. The Centre for Arab Genomic Studies has said Gulf countries show a high prevalence of hereditary disorders. Diseases such as sickle-cell anaemia and thalassaemia, for instance, are more common here than elsewhere. And according to the centre, more than 70 out of every 1,000 children born in the UAE, Kuwait and Oman have a birth defect.

Half of Emirati weddings in the UAE are between relatives, which experts say increases the chances of children being born with disorders. In Abu Dhabi, 32 per cent of marriages are between relatives. In Dubai the number is 40 per cent, while 54 per cent of couples in Al Ain are related, according to the centre. In 2008 the ministry launched a campaign promoting premarital testing for thalassaemia, sickle cell anaemia and some sexually transmitted diseases.

And in May, Sheikh Khalifa Medical City marked International Thalassaemia Day, distributing information on the importance of premarital screening. Dr Azzam al Zoebie of the medical city said at the time that the hospital was treating 58 children and 25 adults with the disease. Although people are free to marry if their results show a predisposition for illness in their offspring, it is discouraged, the Minister of Health, Humaid al Qutami, said when the thalassaemia programme was launched in 2008.

"Such negligence not only affects the couple but also their children, their future generations and society as a whole," Mr al Qutami said. amcmeans@thenational.ae

EXPATS

Director: Lulu Wang

Stars: Nicole Kidman, Sarayu Blue, Ji-young Yoo, Brian Tee, Jack Huston

Rating: 4/5

The specs: 2018 Nissan 370Z Nismo

The specs: 2018 Nissan 370Z Nismo
Price, base / as tested: Dh182,178
Engine: 3.7-litre V6
Power: 350hp @ 7,400rpm
Torque: 374Nm @ 5,200rpm
Transmission: Seven-speed automatic
​​​​​​​Fuel consumption, combined: 10.5L / 100km

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: SmartCrowd
Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech / PropTech
Initial investment: $650,000
Current number of staff: 35
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices

Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus

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

How to avoid getting scammed
  • Never click on links provided via app or SMS, even if they seem to come from authorised senders at first glance
  • Always double-check the authenticity of websites
  • Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) for all your working and personal services
  • Only use official links published by the respective entity
  • Double-check the web addresses to reduce exposure to fake sites created with domain names containing spelling errors
The specs: 2019 BMW i8 Roadster

Price, base: Dh708,750

Engine: 1.5L three-cylinder petrol, plus 11.6 kWh lithium-ion battery

Transmission: Six-speed automatic

Power: 374hp (total)

Torque: 570Nm (total)

Fuel economy, combined: 2.0L / 100km

Results

6.30pm: Maiden Dh165,000 (Dirt) 1,400m. Winner: Rio Angie, Pat Dobbs (jockey), Doug Watson (trainer).

7.05pm: Handicap Dh170,000 (D) 1,600m. Winner: Trenchard, Pat Dobbs, Doug Watson.

7.40pm: Maiden Dh165,000 (D) 1,600m. Winner: Mulfit, Pat Dobbs, Doug Watson.

8.15pm: Handicap Dh210,000 (D) 1,200m. Winner: Waady, Dane O’Neill, Doug Watson.

8.50pm: Handicap Dh210,000 (D) 2,000m. Winner: Tried And True, Pat Dobbs, Doug Watson.

9.25pm:Handicap Dh185,000 (D) 1,400m. Winner: Midnight Sands, Pat Dobbs, Doug Watson.

Voy! Voy! Voy!

Director: Omar Hilal
Stars: Muhammad Farrag, Bayoumi Fouad, Nelly Karim
Rating: 4/5

The Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index

The Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index

Mazen Abukhater, principal and actuary at global consultancy Mercer, Middle East, says the company’s Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index - which benchmarks 34 pension schemes across the globe to assess their adequacy, sustainability and integrity - included Saudi Arabia for the first time this year to offer a glimpse into the region.

The index highlighted fundamental issues for all 34 countries, such as a rapid ageing population and a low growth / low interest environment putting pressure on expected returns. It also highlighted the increasing popularity around the world of defined contribution schemes.

“Average life expectancy has been increasing by about three years every 10 years. Someone born in 1947 is expected to live until 85 whereas someone born in 2007 is expected to live to 103,” Mr Abukhater told the Mena Pensions Conference.

“Are our systems equipped to handle these kind of life expectancies in the future? If so many people retire at 60, they are going to be in retirement for 43 years – so we need to adapt our retirement age to our changing life expectancy.”

Saudi Arabia came in the middle of Mercer’s ranking with a score of 58.9. The report said the country's index could be raised by improving the minimum level of support for the poorest aged individuals and increasing the labour force participation rate at older ages as life expectancies rise.

Mr Abukhater said the challenges of an ageing population, increased life expectancy and some individuals relying solely on their government for financial support in their retirement years will put the system under strain.

“To relieve that pressure, governments need to consider whether it is time to switch to a defined contribution scheme so that individuals can supplement their own future with the help of government support,” he said.

THE SPECS

Engine: 1.6-litre turbo

Transmission: six-speed automatic

Power: 165hp

Torque: 240Nm

Price: From Dh89,000 (Enjoy), Dh99,900 (Innovation)

On sale: Now

Company profile

Name: Fruitful Day

Founders: Marie-Christine Luijckx, Lyla Dalal AlRawi, Lindsey Fournie

Based: Dubai, UAE

Founded: 2015

Number of employees: 30

Sector: F&B

Funding so far: Dh3 million

Future funding plans: None at present

Future markets: Saudi Arabia, potentially Kuwait and other GCC countries

Pox that threatens the Middle East's native species

Camelpox

Caused by a virus related to the one that causes human smallpox, camelpox typically causes fever, swelling of lymph nodes and skin lesions in camels aged over three, but the animal usually recovers after a month or so. Younger animals may develop a more acute form that causes internal lesions and diarrhoea, and is often fatal, especially when secondary infections result. It is found across the Middle East as well as in parts of Asia, Africa, Russia and India.

Falconpox

Falconpox can cause a variety of types of lesions, which can affect, for example, the eyelids, feet and the areas above and below the beak. It is a problem among captive falcons and is one of many types of avian pox or avipox diseases that together affect dozens of bird species across the world. Among the other forms are pigeonpox, turkeypox, starlingpox and canarypox. Avipox viruses are spread by mosquitoes and direct bird-to-bird contact.

Houbarapox

Houbarapox is, like falconpox, one of the many forms of avipox diseases. It exists in various forms, with a type that causes skin lesions being least likely to result in death. Other forms cause more severe lesions, including internal lesions, and are more likely to kill the bird, often because secondary infections develop. This summer the CVRL reported an outbreak of pox in houbaras after rains in spring led to an increase in mosquito numbers.

Company Profile

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

A Long Way Home by Peter Carey
Faber & Faber

EMERGENCY PHONE NUMBERS

Estijaba – 8001717 –  number to call to request coronavirus testing

Ministry of Health and Prevention – 80011111

Dubai Health Authority – 800342 – The number to book a free video or voice consultation with a doctor or connect to a local health centre

Emirates airline – 600555555

Etihad Airways – 600555666

Ambulance – 998

Knowledge and Human Development Authority – 8005432 ext. 4 for Covid-19 queries

Don't get fined

The UAE FTA requires following to be kept:

  • Records of all supplies and imports of goods and services
  • All tax invoices and tax credit notes
  • Alternative documents related to receiving goods or services
  • All tax invoices and tax credit notes
  • Alternative documents issued
  • Records of goods and services that have been disposed of or used for matters not related to business
The Boy and the Heron

Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Starring: Soma Santoki, Masaki Suda, Ko Shibasaki

Rating: 5/5

Dengue fever symptoms

High fever (40°C/104°F)
Severe headache
Pain behind the eyes
Muscle and joint pains
Nausea
Vomiting
Swollen glands
Rash

The specs: 2018 BMW R nineT Scrambler

Price, base / as tested Dh57,000

Engine 1,170cc air/oil-cooled flat twin four-stroke engine

Transmission Six-speed gearbox

Power 110hp) @ 7,750rpm

Torque 116Nm @ 6,000rpm

Fuel economy, combined 5.3L / 100km

Company Profile

Company name: myZoi
Started: 2021
Founders: Syed Ali, Christian Buchholz, Shanawaz Rouf, Arsalan Siddiqui, Nabid Hassan
Based: UAE
Number of staff: 37
Investment: Initial undisclosed funding from SC Ventures; second round of funding totalling $14 million from a consortium of SBI, a Japanese VC firm, and SC Venture

Coal Black Mornings

Brett Anderson

Little Brown Book Group 

BIGGEST CYBER SECURITY INCIDENTS IN RECENT TIMES

SolarWinds supply chain attack: Came to light in December 2020 but had taken root for several months, compromising major tech companies, governments and its entities

Microsoft Exchange server exploitation: March 2021; attackers used a vulnerability to steal emails

Kaseya attack: July 2021; ransomware hit perpetrated REvil, resulting in severe downtime for more than 1,000 companies

Log4j breach: December 2021; attackers exploited the Java-written code to inflitrate businesses and governments

SPECS

Engine: 2-litre 4-cylinder petrol (V Class); electric motor with 60kW or 90kW powerpack (EQV)
Power: 233hp (V Class, best option); 204hp (EQV, best option)
Torque: 350Nm (V Class, best option); TBA (EQV)
On sale: Mid-2024
Price: TBA

The biog

Favourite books: 'Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A Life' by Jane D. Mathews and ‘The Moment of Lift’ by Melinda Gates

Favourite travel destination: Greece, a blend of ancient history and captivating nature. It always has given me a sense of joy, endless possibilities, positive energy and wonderful people that make you feel at home.

Favourite pastime: travelling and experiencing different cultures across the globe.

Favourite quote: “In the future, there will be no female leaders. There will just be leaders” - Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook.

Favourite Movie: Mona Lisa Smile 

Favourite Author: Kahlil Gibran

Favourite Artist: Meryl Streep

The specs

Engine: 4.0-litre flat 6-cylinder
Transmission: 7-speed PDK
Power: 500hp
Torque: 450Nm
Price: Dh530,300 as tested
On sale: Now

The biog

Name: Salem Alkarbi

Age: 32

Favourite Al Wasl player: Alexandre Oliveira

First started supporting Al Wasl: 7

Biggest rival: Al Nasr

The specs

Engine: two permanent magnet synchronous motors
Transmission: two-speed
Power: 625hp
Torque: 850Nm
Range: 456km
Price: from Dh737,480
On sale: now

Sarfira

Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5

ABU DHABI'S KEY TOURISM GOALS: BY THE NUMBERS

By 2030, Abu Dhabi aims to achieve:

• 39.3 million visitors, nearly 64% up from 2023

• Dh90 billion contribution to GDP, about 84% more than Dh49 billion in 2023

• 178,000 new jobs, bringing the total to about 366,000

• 52,000 hotel rooms, up 53% from 34,000 in 2023

• 7.2 million international visitors, almost 90% higher compared to 2023's 3.8 million

• 3.9 international overnight hotel stays, 22% more from 3.2 nights in 2023

LA LIGA FIXTURES

Thursday (All UAE kick-off times)

Sevilla v Real Betis (midnight)

Friday

Granada v Real Betis (9.30pm)

Valencia v Levante (midnight)

Saturday

Espanyol v Alaves (4pm)

Celta Vigo v Villarreal (7pm)

Leganes v Real Valladolid (9.30pm)

Mallorca v Barcelona (midnight)

Sunday

Atletic Bilbao v Atletico Madrid (4pm)

Real Madrid v Eibar (9.30pm)

Real Sociedad v Osasuna (midnight)

MATCH INFO

Rugby World Cup (all times UAE)

Final: England v South Africa, Saturday, 1pm

The specs

Engine: 6.5-litre V12
Power: 725hp at 7,750rpm
Torque: 716Nm at 6,250rpm
Transmission: 8-speed dual-clutch auto
On sale: Q4 2023
Price: From Dh1,650,000

THE DRAFT

The final phase of player recruitment for the T10 League has taken place, with UAE and Indian players being drafted to each of the eight teams.

Bengal Tigers
UAE players: Chirag Suri, Mohammed Usman
Indian: Zaheer Khan

Karachians
UAE players: Ahmed Raza, Ghulam Shabber
Indian: Pravin Tambe

Kerala Kings
UAE players: Mohammed Naveed, Abdul Shakoor
Indian: RS Sodhi

Maratha Arabians
UAE players: Zahoor Khan, Amir Hayat
Indian: S Badrinath

Northern Warriors
UAE players: Imran Haider, Rahul Bhatia
Indian: Amitoze Singh

Pakhtoons
UAE players: Hafiz Kaleem, Sheer Walli
Indian: RP Singh

Punjabi Legends
UAE players: Shaiman Anwar, Sandy Singh
Indian: Praveen Kumar

Rajputs
UAE players: Rohan Mustafa, Ashfaq Ahmed
Indian: Munaf Patel


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