Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed with Algeria's representative Abdel Qadir bin Saleh at the international donors conference in Kuwait.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed with Algeria's representative Abdel Qadir bin Saleh at the international donors conference in Kuwait.

UAE to give aid of Dh1bn to Syria



KUWAIT CITY //The UAE yesterday pledged US$300 million, more than Dh1 billion, in humanitarian aid to Syrians devastated by a 22-month civil war.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, said the donation was an expression of the UAE's "support for the brotherly people of Syria".
In a speech to delegates at a UN-backed conference that raised more than $1.5 billion, Sheikh Mohammed described the suffering of the Syrian people as "great and terrible".
Saudi Arabia and Kuwait also pledged $300m, bringing the total contribution from Arabian Gulf states to nearly $1bn. The exact contributions were being tallied late yesterday.
The UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon said the donations would help to "pull Syria out of its death spiral", which he blamed on the regime in Damascus.
"Primary responsibility rests with the Syrian government, with President Assad. He should listen to the voices and cries of so many people whose families and mothers and brothers and sisters who have been killed. They are honestly wishing for a democratic and peaceful country," Mr Ban said.
More than 60,000 people have been killed since the conflict began, according to the UN, and four million Syrians inside the country need food, shelter and other aid. An estimated 700,000 have fled to neighbouring countries.
The pledges from Arabian Gulf countries now rank them among the most generous contributors to relief in Syria. UN operations to this point have relied heavily on western contributions.
But as the one-day conference closed yesterday, it was not clear exactly how all the pledged funds would be allocated. Some donors, such as the European Union and the United States, which pledged an additional $370 million and $155 million respectively, have already said which UN agencies will benefit from their contributions.
Some regional countries, however, have raised concerns about operating through UN agencies, and may prefer to direct their contributions through their other charities.
The concerns stem from issues raised by the Syrian opposition coalition, which last week sharply criticised the United Nations' relief strategy for being drafted in cooperation with the government in Damascus.
"The Gulf countries take different views, some would be more keen to deliver through organisations they work with and some would be more willing to work with the United Nations," said Kristalina Georgieva, EU commissioner for international cooperation, humanitarian aid and crisis response. "[Some delegations] are concerned that the UN may be perceived to be associated with the Syrian regime, which is not true. In the humanitarian world, we have to get permission to operate."
Among the chief concerns raised by the Syrian opposition is the question of humanitarian access, said Khaled Al Salih, a member of the group's executive board. "The UN doesn't actually distribute to the northern part of Syria, they are only able to operate in Assad-controlled areas," he said.
But the United Nations was at pains to reassure delegates that its assistance has been impartial. And UN officials argued that their difficulties operating in opposition-held areas were due in part to the complex challenge of navigating a labyrinth of rebel militias.
"While there is coordination [of the opposition] abroad through the Syrian National Coalition, there are hundreds of militia-style organisations on the ground that are not necessarily coordinated," the UN under secretary general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordination, Valerie Amos, told delegates yesterday
She cited the example of a convoy of supplies that had to pass through 21 opposition checkpoints to arrive at its destination and was turned away at the last.
"The idea that we write a cheque to the Syrian government is completely wrong," said Simon Ingram, a spokesman for the UN children's organisation, Unicef, who echoed the challenges of accessing rebel-held areas safely.
"We have contacts with everyone we believe can help us extend our reach, and these contacts are ongoing," he said.
Among the highest-level delegates were the heads of state of the two countries hosting the largest share of Syrian refugees, Jordan and Lebanon, home to nearly half a million refugees. Both leaders spoke of an inability to respond adequately.
"We have reached the end of the line," said Jordan's King Abdullah. "We have exhausted the resources available."
The Lebanese president, Michel Suleiman, echoed calls for more funding but added a request that other Arab countries begin to absorb Syrian and Palestinian refugees displaced by the crisis.
"[Lebanon] hopes, over and over again, that support will not only take the shape of financial and material assistance, commensurating with the needs, but will rather look into the possibility of adopting an equitable burden-and-number-sharing programme," he said.
During the meeting, many of the delegations and UN officials spoke with passion about the crisis in Syria, a country that was not long ago host to the third-largest refugee community in the world, including Iraqis and Palestinians. Many of these people have been newly displaced in the current fighhting.
"The Syrians have opened their doors to the Arabs," said the Tunisian president, Moncef Marzouki. "Can the Arabs leave such a people, who have been suffering, in hunger and poverty? Tunisia is calling on the conscience of all Arab people. We have to translate our thoughts into deeds."
edickinson@thenational.ae
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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

The biog

From: Upper Egypt

Age: 78

Family: a daughter in Egypt; a son in Dubai and his wife, Nabila

Favourite Abu Dhabi activity: walking near to Emirates Palace

Favourite building in Abu Dhabi: Emirates Palace

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Company name: baraka
Started: July 2020
Founders: Feras Jalbout and Kunal Taneja
Based: Dubai and Bahrain
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $150,000
Current staff: 12
Stage: Pre-seed capital raising of $1 million
Investors: Class 5 Global, FJ Labs, IMO Ventures, The Community Fund, VentureSouq, Fox Ventures, Dr Abdulla Elyas (private investment)

Ibrahim's play list

Completed an electrical diploma at the Adnoc Technical Institute

Works as a public relations officer with Adnoc

Apart from the piano, he plays the accordion, oud and guitar

His favourite composer is Johann Sebastian Bach

Also enjoys listening to Mozart

Likes all genres of music including Arabic music and jazz

Enjoys rock groups Scorpions and Metallica 

Other musicians he likes are Syrian-American pianist Malek Jandali and Lebanese oud player Rabih Abou Khalil

PROFILE OF SWVL

Started: April 2017

Founders: Mostafa Kandil, Ahmed Sabbah and Mahmoud Nouh

Based: Cairo, Egypt

Sector: transport

Size: 450+ employees

Investment: approximately $80 million

Investors include: Dubai’s Beco Capital, US’s Endeavor Catalyst, China’s MSA, Egypt’s Sawari Ventures, Sweden’s Vostok New Ventures, Property Finder CEO Michael Lahyani

MATCH INFO

Manchester United 1 (Rashford 36')

Liverpool 1 (Lallana 84')

Man of the match: Marcus Rashford (Manchester United)

The biog

Name: Abeer Al Shahi

Emirate: Sharjah – Khor Fakkan

Education: Master’s degree in special education, preparing for a PhD in philosophy.

Favourite activities: Bungee jumping

Favourite quote: “My people and I will not settle for anything less than first place” – Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid.

ALRAWABI SCHOOL FOR GIRLS

Creator: Tima Shomali

Starring: Tara Abboud, Kira Yaghnam, Tara Atalla

Rating: 4/5

Frankenstein in Baghdad
Ahmed Saadawi
​​​​​​​Penguin Press

Brief scoreline:

Wales 1

James 5'

Slovakia 0

Man of the Match: Dan James (Wales)

10 tips for entry-level job seekers
  • Have an up-to-date, professional LinkedIn profile. If you don’t have a LinkedIn account, set one up today. Avoid poor-quality profile pictures with distracting backgrounds. Include a professional summary and begin to grow your network.
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  • Go online and look for details on job specifications for your target position. Make a list of skills required and set yourself some learning goals to tick off all the necessary skills one by one.
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  • Prepare for online interviews using mock interview tools. Even before landing interviews, it can be useful to start practising.
  • Be professional and patient. Always be professional with whoever you are interacting with throughout your search process, this will be remembered. You need to be patient, dedicated and not give up on your search. Candidates need to make sure they are following up appropriately for roles they have applied.

Arda Atalay, head of Mena private sector at LinkedIn Talent Solutions, Rudy Bier, managing partner of Kinetic Business Solutions and Ben Kinerman Daltrey, co-founder of KinFitz

F1 drivers' standings

1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes 281

2. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari 247

3. Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes 222

4. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull 177

5. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari 138

6. Max Verstappen, Red Bull 93

7. Sergio Perez, Force India 86

8. Esteban Ocon, Force India 56

Herc's Adventures

Developer: Big Ape Productions
Publisher: LucasArts
Console: PlayStation 1 & 5, Sega Saturn
Rating: 4/5

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo

Power: 240hp at 5,500rpm

Torque: 390Nm at 3,000rpm

Transmission: eight-speed auto

Price: from Dh122,745

On sale: now

Safety 'top priority' for rival hyperloop company

The chief operating officer of Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, Andres de Leon, said his company's hyperloop technology is “ready” and safe.

He said the company prioritised safety throughout its development and, last year, Munich Re, one of the world's largest reinsurance companies, announced it was ready to insure their technology.

“Our levitation, propulsion, and vacuum technology have all been developed [...] over several decades and have been deployed and tested at full scale,” he said in a statement to The National.

“Only once the system has been certified and approved will it move people,” he said.

HyperloopTT has begun designing and engineering processes for its Abu Dhabi projects and hopes to break ground soon. 

With no delivery date yet announced, Mr de Leon said timelines had to be considered carefully, as government approval, permits, and regulations could create necessary delays.

SPECS: Polestar 3

Engine: Long-range dual motor with 400V battery
Power: 360kW / 483bhp
Torque: 840Nm
Transmission: Single-speed automatic
Max touring range: 628km
0-100km/h: 4.7sec
Top speed: 210kph
Price: From Dh360,000
On sale: September

SPECS

Engine: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8
Power: 750hp at 7,500rpm
Torque: 800Nm at 5,500rpm
Transmission: 7 Speed dual-clutch auto
Top speed: 332kph
Fuel consumption: 12.2L/100km
On sale: Year end
Price: From Dh1,430,000 (coupe); From Dh1,566,000 (Spider)

ROUTE TO TITLE

Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat

Profile Idealz

Company: Idealz

Founded: January 2018

Based: Dubai

Sector: E-commerce

Size: (employees): 22

Investors: Co-founders and Venture Partners (9 per cent)

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

TEAMS

EUROPE:
Justin Rose, Francesco Molinari, Tyrrell Hatton, Tommy Fleetwood, Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Alex Noren, Thorbjorn Olesen, Paul Casey, Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter, Henrik Stenson

USA:
Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson, Jordan Spieth,​​​​​​​ Rickie Fowler, Webb Simpson, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau (+1 TBC)

MATCH INFO

Wales 1 (Bale 45+3')

Croatia 1 (Vlasic 09')

Bookshops: A Reader's History by Jorge Carrión (translated from the Spanish by Peter Bush),
Biblioasis

Our family matters legal consultant

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

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

World Cricket League Division 2

In Windhoek, Namibia - Top two teams qualify for the World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe, which starts on March 4.

UAE fixtures

Thursday February 8, v Kenya; Friday February 9, v Canada; Sunday February 11, v Nepal; Monday February 12, v Oman; Wednesday February 14, v Namibia; Thursday February 15, final

Australia (15-1): Israel Folau; Dane Haylett-Petty, Reece Hodge, Kurtley Beale, Marika Koroibete; Bernard Foley, Will Genia; David Pocock, Michael Hooper (capt), Lukhan Tui; Adam Coleman, Izack Rodda; Sekope Kepu, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Tom Robertson.

Replacements: Tolu Latu, Allan Alaalatoa, Taniela Tupou, Rob Simmons, Pete Samu, Nick Phipps, Matt Toomua, Jack Maddocks.