Iraqis shout slogans during ongoing protests in the southern city of Basra on August 24, 2018. - Iraq has been gripped by protests over power outages, unemployment, state mismanagement and a lack of clean water. The demonstrations erupted in the neglected southern province of Basra, home to Iraq's only sea port, before spreading north including to Baghdad. (Photo by Haidar MOHAMMED ALI / AFP)
Iraqis shout slogans during protests in the southern city of Basra on August 24, 2018. AFP

Basra governor wants oil firms to build water plants



The governor of the Iraq's Basra province has said major oil companies must set up water desalination plants for residents if they want to continue operating there.

The oil-rich province last week saw a surge in illnesses blamed on a lack of safe drinking water, which residents and local politicians say is part of a breakdown in public services caused by corruption and years of neglect by the government in Baghdad.

"The federal government must address this issue, otherwise we will take all necessary measures to protect our people in Basra," Governor Assad Al Edani told the Al Hurra TV channel at the weekend.

"Every major oil company that is working in the province has to set up a desalination and sterilisation treatment plant if it wishes to continue working," Mr Al Edani said.

He said an agreement had been reached with the director of Basra Oil Company, Ihsan Abdul Jabbar, to ensure that oil companies abide by the condition.

The state-run company, which oversees the development of Iraq's southern oilfields, last week signed an agreement with Chevron to start oilfield development, and earlier this month awarded a $370 million (Dh1.35 billion) engineering, procurement and construction contract to Petrofac, listed in London, to expand crude processing facilities associated with the Majnoon field.

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Mr Al Edani said hospitals in Basra had seen more than 1,500 cases of water-related diseases in the past week, a number he described as “very high and dangerous".

Along with a lack of safe water, Basra and the surrounding region suffers from chronic power cuts, a stagnant economy, widespread corruption, chronic unemployment and an agriculture sector devastated by drought.

Mr Al Edani said Basra was not receiving its fair share of state funding to address its problems, even though even its port accounts for more than 90 per cent of Iraq's oil export revenues.

"Since I assumed office last year, Basra hasn’t received any money from the central government,” he said.

After weeks of demonstrations over poor services, in which several people were killed, Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi's caretaker government said in July that it would release funds to improve water supply, electricity and health services. Residents say they have seen no improvements yet.

Minister of Water Hasan Al Janabi promised at the weekend to "address the problem of drinking water and the increase of salinity in the Shatt Al Arab", the river that is the main source of fresh water in the province.

The ministry will hold a workshop on September 5 in cooperation with the University of Basra to study the water crisis, he said.

Iraqi Vice President Ayyad Allawi, a former prime minister, said the crisis highlighted serious mismanagement and corruption.

"A comprehensive rescue plan, accountability and proper planning could proffer a solution," Mr Allawi said on Twitter.

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Director: Amanda Nell Eu 

Stars: Zafreen Zairizal, Deena Ezral and Piqa

Rating: 4.5

Find the right policy for you

Don’t wait until the week you fly to sign up for insurance – get it when you book your trip. Insurance covers you for cancellation and anything else that can go wrong before you leave.

Some insurers, such as World Nomads, allow you to book once you are travelling – but, as Mr Mohammed found out, pre-existing medical conditions are not covered.

Check your credit card before booking insurance to see if you have any travel insurance as a benefit – most UAE banks, such as Emirates NBD, First Abu Dhabi Bank and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, have cards that throw in insurance as part of their package. But read the fine print – they may only cover emergencies while you’re travelling, not cancellation before a trip.

Pre-existing medical conditions such as a heart condition, diabetes, epilepsy and even asthma may not be included as standard. Again, check the terms, exclusions and limitations of any insurance carefully.

If you want trip cancellation or curtailment, baggage loss or delay covered, you may need a higher-grade plan, says Ambareen Musa of Souqalmal.com. Decide how much coverage you need for emergency medical expenses or personal liability. Premium insurance packages give up to $1 million (Dh3.7m) in each category, Ms Musa adds.

Don’t wait for days to call your insurer if you need to make a claim. You may be required to notify them within 72 hours. Gather together all receipts, emails and reports to prove that you paid for something, that you didn’t use it and that you did not get reimbursed.

Finally, consider optional extras you may need, says Sarah Pickford of Travel Counsellors, such as a winter sports holiday. Also ensure all individuals can travel independently on that cover, she adds. And remember: “Cheap isn’t necessarily best.”

If you go

The flights
There are various ways of getting to the southern Serengeti in Tanzania from the UAE. The exact route and airstrip depends on your overall trip itinerary and which camp you’re staying at. 
Flydubai flies direct from Dubai to Kilimanjaro International Airport from Dh1,350 return, including taxes; this can be followed by a short flight from Kilimanjaro to the Serengeti with Coastal Aviation from about US$700 (Dh2,500) return, including taxes. Kenya Airways, Emirates and Etihad offer flights via Nairobi or Dar es Salaam.   

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Based: Dubai, UAE
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Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends

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Director: Sean Durkin 

Starring: Zac Efron, Jeremy Allen White, Harris Dickinson, Maura Tierney, Holt McCallany, Lily James

Rating: 4/5

The specs

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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

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

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The internal combustion engine is facing a watershed moment – major manufacturer Volvo is to stop producing petroleum-powered vehicles by 2021 and countries in Europe, including the UK, have vowed to ban their sale before 2040. The National takes a look at the story of one of the most successful technologies of the last 100 years and how it has impacted life in the UAE.

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