Gazans power cars with cooking gas



GAZA CITY // They say necessity is the mother of invention. It is an idiom 1.4 million Gazans are being forced to live every day, and with petrol and diesel now a scarce and expensive commodity, many have had to find alternative means to power their cars. Sometimes, though, the measures leave a lingering stench. Maher Matas, 47, feeds his nine children by carrying passengers in a shared taxi from outside Gaza City's Shifa Hospital. But his 16-year-old, eight-seat stretch diesel Mercedes-Benz reeks like a falafel stand after midnight. And the engine, he complained, is wearing out.

Mr Matas is running his car on cooking oil. With a complete Israeli blockade on fuel supplies to Gaza, there is neither diesel nor petrol at fuel stations and for those like Mr Matas who depend on their vehicles for a living, it is the only option. It works … just, he said. "It coughs, it splutters, it sounds like someone is dying," Mr Matas said about his car, holding up empty cans of the soybean chip frying oil he last used to fill the tank. "It stinks and it destroys the engine. But it works."

It does not deter his passengers. Gaza's streets are fast emptying of private vehicles as tanks run dry. The Hamas police have taken to riding horses. People have no choice but to crowd into whatever taxis are still on the streets. Passengers, Mr Matas said, "no longer complain about the smell, or if, instead of taking seven passengers, I take nine or more". The Gaza Strip has long been an impoverished and overcrowded strip of land. But since the Aqsa intifada broke out in 2000 and especially since Israel enforced a blockade on goods reaching the strip after Hamas won parliamentary elections in January 2006, the situation has worsened.

The United Nations has repeatedly warned of a looming humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The UN's Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimates that unemployment here now hovers at a little more than 35 per cent while poverty affects nearly 80 per cent of Gazans. And the situation is only getting worse. Two weeks ago, Israel completely halted fuel and diesel deliveries to the Strip after Islamic Jihad militants attacked the Israeli fuel terminal across the border from Gaza and killed two employees. Israel also cut the fuel supply to Gaza's sole power plant by half.

On Tuesday, Gaza fuel officials warned that the power station would run out of fuel last night if supplies were not resumed, and said reserves of industrial-grade fuel have dwindled to 400,000 litres since Israel halted fuel deliveries. Should the plant close down, 30 per cent of Gaza's electricity supply would be cut. The threatened shutdown of the Gaza Strip's only power plant was averted yesterday after Israel agreed to pump 980,000 litres of diesel fuel to the territory, enough to run the plant for at least three days. But it is cold comfort for Gazans, with fuel for private consumption now fetching 30 shekels (Dh32) a litre on the black market, five times the normal price.

Mr Matas said Gazans were "magicians" for still managing to cope with such shortages. Samir Naja, 45, manager of the Akila fast food restaurant, was a little less equivocal. "We know how to survive," he said. "But we should be allowed to live in dignity like anyone else." About two weeks ago, when Israel imposed its total closure on any fuel reaching Gaza, he found people turning up at his restaurant before closing time asking him for any leftover falafel oil.

"There is maybe a litre, maximum two, left at the end of the day. Normally I would throw it out. Now I just give it to whoever comes first. If they want to run their cars on it, why not? Personally, I think it's disgusting. It's unhealthy and it stinks horribly." The Akila restaurant uses a mixture of sunflower and corn oil. To be used as fuel, Mr Naja said, it works best after it has been cooked. But the cooking oil is still heavier than diesel, and it clogs up the exhaust and eventually ruins the engine.

And cooking oil only works for diesel engines. If your car runs on petrol, cooking gas is the solution. Ahed Hamadeh, 25, learned his trade as a mechanic in Egypt. There he also picked up a useful tip on how to convert a petrol engine to run on gas. It is a simple procedure, he said, and takes no more than one to three hours. Once installed, the converter is connected to a gas canister, either a little one inside the car or a larger 12-litre gas cylinder more commonly used for ovens that is put in the back and from which a pipe is run to the front.

Unlike the smelly and messy cooking oil in diesel engines, the gas converter is clean and does not ruin the engine. A small car can go as far as 180km to 200km on a 12-litre cylinder, Mr Hamadeh said, and gas is cheaper than petrol. Not surprisingly, Mr Hamadeh has no complaints about the amount of work at his Wafa shop, where a conversion costs 1,300 shekels. "Work is good. I convert about five cars a week these days. It used to be better though. Almost all cars are now converted. A few weeks ago I was doing 15 to 20 conversions a week."

Tawfiq al Kerem, 37, a medical engineer is a satisfied customer. He converted his car two months ago and said he never wants to go back to petrol. Gas, he said, is "better and cheaper". "I am very proud," he said, as Mr Hamadeh was adjusting the flow of gas from the canister in the back of Mr Kerem's car to the engine. "I think this shows that Gazans are steadfast and clever. I'm sure we'll be running our cars on water soon."

Company profile

Name: Purpl

Co-founders: Karl Naim, Wissam Ghorra, Jean-Marie Khoueir

Based: Hub71 in Abu Dhabi and Beirut

Started: 2021

Number of employees: 12

Sector: FinTech

Funding: $2 million

Director: Nag Ashwin

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

Rating: ★★★★

Company profile

Company: Splintr

Started: May 2019

Founders: Mohammad AlMheiri and Badr AlBadr

Based: Dubai and Riyadh

Sector: payments / FinTech

Size: 10 employees

Initial investment: undisclosed seven-figure sum / pre-seed

Stage: seed

Investors: angel investors

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

Biography

Favourite book: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Holiday choice: Anything Disney-related

Proudest achievement: Receiving a presidential award for foreign services.

Family: Wife and three children.

Like motto: You always get what you ask for, the universe listens.

Company profile

Name: WallyGPT
Started: 2014
Founders: Saeid and Sami Hejazi
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Investment raised: $7.1 million
Number of staff: 20
Investment stage: Pre-seed round

Bridgerton season three - part one

Directors: Various

Starring: Nicola Coughlan, Luke Newton, Jonathan Bailey

Rating: 3/5

pakistan Test squad

Azhar Ali (capt), Shan Masood, Abid Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Fawad Alam, Haris Sohail, Imran Khan, Kashif Bhatti, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Mohammad Abbas, Yasir Shah, Usman Shinwari

LAST 16

SEEDS

Liverpool, Manchester City, Barcelona, Paris St-Germain, Bayern Munich, RB Leipzig, Valencia, Juventus

PLUS

Real Madrid, Tottenham, Atalanta, Atletico Madrid, Napoli, Borussia Dortmund, Lyon, Chelsea

If you go...

Etihad Airways flies from Abu Dhabi to Kuala Lumpur, from about Dh3,600. Air Asia currently flies from Kuala Lumpur to Terengganu, with Berjaya Hotels & Resorts planning to launch direct chartered flights to Redang Island in the near future. Rooms at The Taaras Beach and Spa Resort start from 680RM (Dh597).

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)

UAE WARRIORS RESULTS

Featherweight

Azouz Anwar (EGY) beat Marcelo Pontes (BRA)

TKO round 2

Catchweight 90kg

Moustafa Rashid Nada (KSA) beat Imad Al Howayeck (LEB)

Split points decision

Welterweight

Gimbat Ismailov (RUS) beat Mohammed Al Khatib (JOR)

TKO round 1

Flyweight (women)

Lucie Bertaud (FRA) beat Kelig Pinson (BEL)

Unanimous points decision

Lightweight

Alexandru Chitoran (ROU) beat Regelo Enumerables Jr (PHI)

TKO round 1

Catchweight 100kg

Marc Vleiger (NED) beat Mohamed Ali (EGY)

Rear neck choke round 1

Featherweight

James Bishop (NZ) beat Mark Valerio (PHI)

TKO round 2

Welterweight

Abdelghani Saber (EGY) beat Gerson Carvalho (BRA)

TKO round 1

Middleweight

Bakhtiyar Abbasov (AZE) beat Igor Litoshik (BLR)

Unanimous points decision

Bantamweight

Fabio Mello (BRA) beat Mark Alcoba (PHI)

Unanimous points decision

Welterweight

Ahmed Labban (LEB) v Magomedsultan Magomedsultanov (RUS)

TKO round 1

Bantamweight

Trent Girdham (AUS) beat Jayson Margallo (PHI)

TKO round 3

Lightweight

Usman Nurmagomedov (RUS) beat Roman Golovinov (UKR)

TKO round 1

Middleweight

Tarek Suleiman (SYR) beat Steve Kennedy (AUS)

Submission round 2

Lightweight

Dan Moret (USA) v Anton Kuivanen (FIN)

TKO round 2

Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8

Surianah's top five jazz artists

Billie Holliday: for the burn and also the way she told stories.  

Thelonius Monk: for his earnestness.

Duke Ellington: for his edge and spirituality.

Louis Armstrong: his legacy is undeniable. He is considered as one of the most revolutionary and influential musicians.

Terence Blanchard: very political - a lot of jazz musicians are making protest music right now.

The Land between Two Rivers: Writing in an Age of Refugees
Tom Sleigh, Graywolf Press

MATCH INFO

UAE Division 1

Abu Dhabi Harlequins 12-24 Abu Dhabi Saracens

UFC FIGHT NIGHT: SAUDI ARABIA RESULTS

Main card
Middleweight:

Robert Whittaker defeated Ikram Aliskerov via knockout (Round 1)
Heavyweight:
Alexander Volkov def Sergei Pavlovich via unanimous decision
Middleweight:
Kelvin Gastelum def Daniel Rodriguez via unanimous decision
Middleweight:
Shara Magomedov def Antonio Trocoli via knockout (Round 3)
Light heavyweight:
Volkan Oezdemir def Johnny Walker via knockout (Round 1)
Preliminary Card
Lightweight:

Nasrat Haqparast def Jared Gordon via split decision
Featherweight:
Felipe Lima def Muhammad Naimov via submission (Round 3)
Welterweight:
Rinat Fakhretdinov defeats Nicolas Dalby via split decision
Bantamweight:
Muin Gafurov def Kang Kyung-ho via unanimous decision
Light heavyweight:
Magomed Gadzhiyasulov def Brendson Ribeiro via majority decision
Bantamweight:
Chang Ho Lee def Xiao Long via split decision

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Haltia.ai
Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends

‘White Elephant’

Director: Jesse V Johnson
Stars: Michael Rooker, Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Olga Kurylenko
Rating: 3/5

The specs

Engine: 4.0-litre, twin-turbocharged V8

Transmission: nine-speed automatic

Power: 630bhp

Torque: 900Nm

Price: Dh810,000

TWISTERS

Director: Lee Isaac Chung

Starring: Glenn Powell, Daisy Edgar-Jones, Anthony Ramos

Rating: 2.5/5

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

Name: WonderTree
Started: April 2016
Co-founders: Muhammad Waqas and Muhammad Usman
Based: Karachi, Pakistan, Abu Dhabi, UAE, and Delaware, US
Sector: Special education, education technology, assistive technology, augmented reality
Number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Growth
Investors: Grants from the Lego Foundation, UAE's Anjal Z, Unicef, Pakistan's Ignite National Technology Fund

Squad

Ali Kasheif, Salim Rashid, Khalifa Al Hammadi, Khalfan Mubarak, Ali Mabkhout, Omar Abdulrahman, Mohammed Al Attas, Abdullah Ramadan, Zayed Al Ameri (Al Jazira), Mohammed Al Shamsi, Hamdan Al Kamali, Mohammed Barghash, Khalil Al Hammadi (Al Wahda), Khalid Essa, Mohammed Shaker, Ahmed Barman, Bandar Al Ahbabi (Al Ain), Al Hassan Saleh, Majid Suroor (Sharjah) Walid Abbas, Ahmed Khalil (Shabab Al Ahli), Tariq Ahmed, Jasim Yaqoub (Al Nasr), Ali Saleh, Ali Salmeen (Al Wasl), Hassan Al Muharami (Baniyas) 

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

Our family matters legal consultant

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

Company Profile

Name: HyveGeo
Started: 2023
Founders: Abdulaziz bin Redha, Dr Samsurin Welch, Eva Morales and Dr Harjit Singh
Based: Cambridge and Dubai
Number of employees: 8
Industry: Sustainability & Environment
Funding: $200,000 plus undisclosed grant
Investors: Venture capital and government

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Ejari
Based: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Founders: Yazeed Al Shamsi, Fahad Albedah, Mohammed Alkhelewy and Khalid Almunif
Sector: PropTech
Total funding: $1 million
Investors: Sanabil 500 Mena, Hambro Perks' Oryx Fund and angel investors
Number of employees: 8

Is it worth it? We put cheesecake frap to the test.

The verdict from the nutritionists is damning. But does a cheesecake frappuccino taste good enough to merit the indulgence?

My advice is to only go there if you have unusually sweet tooth. I like my puddings, but this was a bit much even for me. The first hit is a winner, but it's downhill, slowly, from there. Each sip is a little less satisfying than the last, and maybe it was just all that sugar, but it isn't long before the rush is replaced by a creeping remorse. And half of the thing is still left.

The caramel version is far superior to the blueberry, too. If someone put a full caramel cheesecake through a liquidiser and scooped out the contents, it would probably taste something like this. Blueberry, on the other hand, has more of an artificial taste. It's like someone has tried to invent this drink in a lab, and while early results were promising, they're still in the testing phase. It isn't terrible, but something isn't quite right either.

So if you want an experience, go for a small, and opt for the caramel. But if you want a cheesecake, it's probably more satisfying, and not quite as unhealthy, to just order the real thing.

 

 

Tips for SMEs to cope
  • Adapt your business model. Make changes that are future-proof to the new normal
  • Make sure you have an online presence
  • Open communication with suppliers, especially if they are international. Look for local suppliers to avoid delivery delays
  • Open communication with customers to see how they are coping and be flexible about extending terms, etc
    Courtesy: Craig Moore, founder and CEO of Beehive, which provides term finance and working capital finance to SMEs. Only SMEs that have been trading for two years are eligible for funding from Beehive.
BULKWHIZ PROFILE

Date started: February 2017

Founders: Amira Rashad (CEO), Yusuf Saber (CTO), Mahmoud Sayedahmed (adviser), Reda Bouraoui (adviser)

Based: Dubai, UAE

Sector: E-commerce 

Size: 50 employees

Funding: approximately $6m

Investors: Beco Capital, Enabling Future and Wain in the UAE; China's MSA Capital; 500 Startups; Faith Capital and Savour Ventures in Kuwait

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Klipit

Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded

Tips to avoid getting scammed

1) Beware of cheques presented late on Thursday

2) Visit an RTA centre to change registration only after receiving payment

3) Be aware of people asking to test drive the car alone

4) Try not to close the sale at night

5) Don't be rushed into a sale 

6) Call 901 if you see any suspicious behaviour

Key figures in the life of the fort

Sheikh Dhiyab bin Isa (ruled 1761-1793) Built Qasr Al Hosn as a watchtower to guard over the only freshwater well on Abu Dhabi island.

Sheikh Shakhbut bin Dhiyab (ruled 1793-1816) Expanded the tower into a small fort and transferred his ruling place of residence from Liwa Oasis to the fort on the island.

Sheikh Tahnoon bin Shakhbut (ruled 1818-1833) Expanded Qasr Al Hosn further as Abu Dhabi grew from a small village of palm huts to a town of more than 5,000 inhabitants.

Sheikh Khalifa bin Shakhbut (ruled 1833-1845) Repaired and fortified the fort.

Sheikh Saeed bin Tahnoon (ruled 1845-1855) Turned Qasr Al Hosn into a strong two-storied structure.

Sheikh Zayed bin Khalifa (ruled 1855-1909) Expanded Qasr Al Hosn further to reflect the emirate's increasing prominence.

Sheikh Shakhbut bin Sultan (ruled 1928-1966) Renovated and enlarged Qasr Al Hosn, adding a decorative arch and two new villas.

Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan (ruled 1966-2004) Moved the royal residence to Al Manhal palace and kept his diwan at Qasr Al Hosn.

Sources: Jayanti Maitra, www.adach.ae

Sarfira

Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5

Company Profile

Company name: Namara
Started: June 2022
Founder: Mohammed Alnamara
Based: Dubai
Sector: Microfinance
Current number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Family offices

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: 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8
Power: 620hp from 5,750-7,500rpm
Torque: 760Nm from 3,000-5,750rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch auto
On sale: Now
Price: From Dh1.05 million ($286,000)

RESULT

Fifth ODI, at Headingley

England 351/9
Pakistan 297
England win by 54 runs (win series 4-0)