Hospitals held back as building costs rise



ABU DHABI // Medical projects are being postponed, reduced in scale or are running over budget as the price of building increases. The Ministry of Public Works has asked the Ministry of Health to re-evaluate all planned healthcare and hospital projects in the northern Emirates. The Health Ministry plans to build as many as 13 primary healthcare centres and increase the number of hospital beds in Ras al Khaimah. Al Qassimi hospital is also establishing a heart centre.

Dr Abdullah al Nuaimi, the director general of public works, said construction costs had increased so much that the ministry could no longer afford to continue with plans as they were. He said his ministry had asked health officials to "reconsider downscaling or reducing some of their requirements? to look into what pieces could be saved and what pieces should be postponed for another phase". He added that projects had been put through feasibility studies to determine whether all elements of each plan were necessary, and in some cases the scope of the project had been reduced.

Projects that were due for early 2009 have been pushed back until later in the year. Dr Nuaimi would not say which projects have been delayed or how they have been scaled down. The budget problems have been blamed on a lack of qualified contractors, high steel prices over the past year and a shortage of concrete. While prices and supplies have recently returned to normal, the damage has already been done.

"2008 is abnormal," said Dr Nuaimi. "Construction costs increase every year due to inflation but the increase is within five or six per cent." The medical system in the UAE is expanding every year, and the Government is attracting private investors to help meet demands. The exact scope of the problem is not known as many medical projects that have been planned are private arrangements. "I've heard that people who were planning on coming online in 2010 or 2011, are now saying 2012 or 2013," said Richard Larison, the chief executive officer of the American Hospital Dubai. "Nobody is really coming out and saying there is a problem but there is a lot of anecdotal evidence out there about things being pushed back."

He said the plans already being executed for the expansion of his hospital are not affected, but that the inflation is something to bear in mind for future endeavours. "There are situations that, before the project has begun, people are asking if they can make it into a viable business model. People are asking whether they can raise the prices high enough to be able to get a return." Both health authorities, in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, say the increase in prices has not affected them in a significant way, and that no projects have been stopped. The Ministry of Public Works is proceeding on the basis that this situation was a blip and will not be repeated.

Brian de Francesca, the chief operating officer of Tawam Hospital in Al Ain, said the budget of its expansion project had soared from Dh10 billion (US$2.7bn) to "Dh12bn or Dh14bn". "Generally we were always very conservative both on the timing of the project and the inflation rate, which I'm glad we did. If we had estimated 10 per cent inflation over three years [similar to other countries] then we would have been sunk.

"Everyone sees the UAE and the Middle East as an endless bucket of money and people are coming out of the woodwork to get involved on projects," said Mr de Francesca. "There are a lot of very good organisations but there are a lot of questionable ones as well. That is one of the greatest challenges, to weed out who is what." amcmeans@thenational.ae

KEY DATES IN AMAZON'S HISTORY

July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

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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

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Sector: FinTech, online payment solutions

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Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
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Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
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COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Almouneer
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Based: Egypt
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Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
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Dubai Hurricanes 58-10 Dubai Knights Eagles

Dubai Tigers 5-39 Bahrain

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Tips on buying property during a pandemic

Islay Robinson, group chief executive of mortgage broker Enness Global, offers his advice on buying property in today's market.

While many have been quick to call a market collapse, this simply isn’t what we’re seeing on the ground. Many pockets of the global property market, including London and the UAE, continue to be compelling locations to invest in real estate.

While an air of uncertainty remains, the outlook is far better than anyone could have predicted. However, it is still important to consider the wider threat posed by Covid-19 when buying bricks and mortar. 

Anything with outside space, gardens and private entrances is a must and these property features will see your investment keep its value should the pandemic drag on. In contrast, flats and particularly high-rise developments are falling in popularity and investors should avoid them at all costs.

Attractive investment property can be hard to find amid strong demand and heightened buyer activity. When you do find one, be prepared to move hard and fast to secure it. If you have your finances in order, this shouldn’t be an issue.

Lenders continue to lend and rates remain at an all-time low, so utilise this. There is no point in tying up cash when you can keep this liquidity to maximise other opportunities. 

Keep your head and, as always when investing, take the long-term view. External factors such as coronavirus or Brexit will present challenges in the short-term, but the long-term outlook remains strong. 

Finally, keep an eye on your currency. Whenever currency fluctuations favour foreign buyers, you can bet that demand will increase, as they act to secure what is essentially a discounted property.

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Sunrisers Hyderabad 178-6 (20 ovs)
Chennai Super Kings 181-2 (18.3 ovs)

Chennai win by eight wickets

Reading List

Practitioners of mindful eating recommend the following books to get you started:

Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life by Thich Nhat Hanh and Dr Lilian Cheung

How to Eat by Thich Nhat Hanh

The Mindful Diet by Dr Ruth Wolever

Mindful Eating by Dr Jan Bays

How to Raise a Mindful Eaterby Maryann Jacobsen

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Second round raised Dh720,000 from silent investors in June this year

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COMPANY PROFILE

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Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

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Funding: $40 million

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Common OCD symptoms and how they manifest

Checking: the obsession or thoughts focus on some harm coming from things not being as they should, which usually centre around the theme of safety. For example, the obsession is “the building will burn down”, therefore the compulsion is checking that the oven is switched off.

Contamination: the obsession is focused on the presence of germs, dirt or harmful bacteria and how this will impact the person and/or their loved ones. For example, the obsession is “the floor is dirty; me and my family will get sick and die”, the compulsion is repetitive cleaning.

Orderliness: the obsession is a fear of sitting with uncomfortable feelings, or to prevent harm coming to oneself or others. Objectively there appears to be no logical link between the obsession and compulsion. For example,” I won’t feel right if the jars aren’t lined up” or “harm will come to my family if I don’t line up all the jars”, so the compulsion is therefore lining up the jars.

Intrusive thoughts: the intrusive thought is usually highly distressing and repetitive. Common examples may include thoughts of perpetrating violence towards others, harming others, or questions over one’s character or deeds, usually in conflict with the person’s true values. An example would be: “I think I might hurt my family”, which in turn leads to the compulsion of avoiding social gatherings.

Hoarding: the intrusive thought is the overvaluing of objects or possessions, while the compulsion is stashing or hoarding these items and refusing to let them go. For example, “this newspaper may come in useful one day”, therefore, the compulsion is hoarding newspapers instead of discarding them the next day.

Source: Dr Robert Chandler, clinical psychologist at Lighthouse Arabia

Who are the Soroptimists?

The first Soroptimists club was founded in Oakland, California in 1921. The name comes from the Latin word soror which means sister, combined with optima, meaning the best.

The organisation said its name is best interpreted as ‘the best for women’.

Since then the group has grown exponentially around the world and is officially affiliated with the United Nations. The organisation also counts Queen Mathilde of Belgium among its ranks.

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6pm: Handicap (PA) Dh 90,000 (T) 2,200m. Winner: Onward, Connor Beasley, Abdallah Al Hammadi.

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7.30pm: Handicap (TB) Dh 90,000 (T) 1,400m. Winner: Irish Freedom, Richard Mullen, Satish Seemar.

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat