UN chief praises Qatar aid pledge



PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA // Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, has praised Qatar for pledging US$40 million (Dh147m) to assist aid efforts in war-ravaged Gaza and other relief operations around the world. The secretary general was "honoured to accept the generous sum of $40 million as a contribution from the emir of Qatar to United Nations humanitarian agencies for programmes to meet the emergency needs of civilians in Gaza", said Mr Ban's spokesman.

The bulk of Qatar's pledge - about $30m - is targeted at the world body's operations in Gaza, where Israel's recent three-week military onslaught against Hamas left more than 1,300 Palestinians dead. The UN Relief and Works Agency will receive $10m of the Gaza pledge and the remainder will help provide food to more than one million Gazans, rebuild the shattered agriculture sector and fund projects for children.

A further $10m has been allocated to the so-called Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), which provides aid in the aftermath of manmade and natural disasters around the world. The undersecretary general for humanitarian affairs, John Holmes, stressed that "the $10m donation to the CERF is especially significant, as it allows the United Nations to allocate the funds based on need to other parts of the world that are often overlooked". "I hope that other potential donors will follow suit, as humanitarian needs will only grow in 2009, considering the combined threats posed by intensified conflicts, climate change, the global food crisis and the global economic slowdown," he added.

Qatar's pledge comes in advance of a donor conference to fund reconstruction in Gaza being held in the Red Sea resort of Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, on Monday. jreinl@thenational.ae

Apple's Lockdown Mode at a glance

At launch, Lockdown Mode will include the following protections:

Messages: Most attachment types other than images are blocked. Some features, like link previews, are disabled

Web browsing: Certain complex web technologies, like just-in-time JavaScript compilation, are disabled unless the user excludes a trusted site from Lockdown Mode

Apple services: Incoming invitations and service requests, including FaceTime calls, are blocked if the user has not previously sent the initiator a call or request

Connectivity: Wired connections with a computer or accessory are blocked when an iPhone is locked

Configurations: Configuration profiles cannot be installed, and the device cannot enroll into mobile device management while Lockdown Mode is on

A QUIET PLACE

Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5

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)

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
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COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Nomad Homes
Started: 2020
Founders: Helen Chen, Damien Drap, and Dan Piehler
Based: UAE and Europe
Industry: PropTech
Funds raised so far: $44m
Investors: Acrew Capital, 01 Advisors, HighSage Ventures, Abstract Ventures, Partech, Precursor Ventures, Potluck Ventures, Knollwood and several undisclosed hedge funds

Top 10 most competitive economies

1. Singapore
2. Switzerland
3. Denmark
4. Ireland
5. Hong Kong
6. Sweden
7. UAE
8. Taiwan
9. Netherlands
10. Norway

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

The specs

Engine: 1.5-litre, 4-cylinder turbo

Transmission: CVT

Power: 170bhp

Torque: 220Nm

Price: Dh98,900

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

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

'Joker'

Directed by: Todd Phillips

Starring: Joaquin Phoenix

Rating: Five out of five stars

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

The Specs

Price, base Dh379,000
Engine 2.9-litre, twin-turbo V6
Gearbox eight-speed automatic
Power 503bhp
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On sale now

Milestones on the road to union

1970

October 26: Bahrain withdraws from a proposal to create a federation of nine with the seven Trucial States and Qatar. 

December: Ahmed Al Suwaidi visits New York to discuss potential UN membership.

1971

March 1:  Alex Douglas Hume, Conservative foreign secretary confirms that Britain will leave the Gulf and “strongly supports” the creation of a Union of Arab Emirates.

July 12: Historic meeting at which Sheikh Zayed and Sheikh Rashid make a binding agreement to create what will become the UAE.

July 18: It is announced that the UAE will be formed from six emirates, with a proposed constitution signed. RAK is not yet part of the agreement.

August 6:  The fifth anniversary of Sheikh Zayed becoming Ruler of Abu Dhabi, with official celebrations deferred until later in the year.

August 15: Bahrain becomes independent.

September 3: Qatar becomes independent.

November 23-25: Meeting with Sheikh Zayed and Sheikh Rashid and senior British officials to fix December 2 as date of creation of the UAE.

November 29:  At 5.30pm Iranian forces seize the Greater and Lesser Tunbs by force.

November 30: Despite  a power sharing agreement, Tehran takes full control of Abu Musa. 

November 31: UK officials visit all six participating Emirates to formally end the Trucial States treaties

December 2: 11am, Dubai. New Supreme Council formally elects Sheikh Zayed as President. Treaty of Friendship signed with the UK. 11.30am. Flag raising ceremony at Union House and Al Manhal Palace in Abu Dhabi witnessed by Sheikh Khalifa, then Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.

December 6: Arab League formally admits the UAE. The first British Ambassador presents his credentials to Sheikh Zayed.

December 9: UAE joins the United Nations.

BIRD BOX BARCELONA

Directors: David and Alex Pastor
Stars: Georgina Campbell, Mario Casas, Diego Calva
Rating: 2/5

A little about CVRL

Founded in 1985 by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, the Central Veterinary Research Laboratory (CVRL) is a government diagnostic centre that provides testing and research facilities to the UAE and neighbouring countries.

One of its main goals is to provide permanent treatment solutions for veterinary related diseases. 

The taxidermy centre was established 12 years ago and is headed by Dr Ulrich Wernery. 

Empty Words

By Mario Levrero  

(Coffee House Press)
 

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