Gulf News SahilOnline, Leading news portal from Coastal Karnataka, bringing you latest updates from the Coast, State, Nation and the World, in Kannada, Urdu and English. Gulf News Qatar refuses responsibility of Kabul airport without clear agreements Qatar has said it will not take responsibility for Kabul Airport without "clear" agreements with all parties involved, including the Taliban, about its operations. Speaking at a press briefing on Tuesday, Qatar's Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said his country cannot take responsibility for the airport's operations if all issues are not clearly addressed, Al Jazeera reported. "Right now the status is still [under] negotiation," he said 10% of UAE private sector workers should be Emiratis in 5 years: Govt Private sector companies in the UAE will have to fill 10 per cent of their positions with Emirati nationals in five years time, the UAE said on Sunday in its latest tranche of economic reforms. The Gulf state also said it plans to spend 24 billion dirhams ($6.53 billion) to create 75,000 private sector jobs for its citizens over five years. The target for 10 per cent of private sector workers to be Emiratis will start with a 2 per cent target in the first year, the UAE government said on its Twitter account. Covid-19: UAE lifts entry ban from India, other nations for vaccinated The United Arab Emirates said on Friday residents who had been fully vaccinated with a shot approved by the World Health Organization could return as of September 12 from a list of previously suspended countries. Dubai, one of the UAE's seven emirates, is due to open the Expo 2020 world fair on October 1 after a year-long delay due to the pandemic. The regional business and tourism hub is relying on the fair to give its economy a boost. Organisers had previously said they expect remaining UAE flight restrictions imposed to curb coronavirus infections to be lifted in time for Expo 2020. VFS Global resumes UAE tourist visa services for Indian travellers VFS Global has resumed United Arab Emirates' tourist visa services for Indians from August 30 as the UAE announced the reopening of borders for the Indian travellers ahead of the Expo 2020 trade fair.  “The reopening of borders to the UAE is a reassuring move for the travel industry, with the United Arab Emirates being among the most popular destinations for Indians, especially with the Expo 2020 Dubai around the corner. We wish all our customers, safe travels,” said Noel Swain, business head – Schengen, eVisa and passport services, VFS Global. Services are available for Emirates Airlines and Fly Dubai customers only, VFS Global said in a press release on Tuesday. 8 injured in drone strike on Saudi Arabia's Abha airport A bomb-laden drone on Tuesday targeted Abha airport in southwestern Saudi Arabia injuring eight persons. This is the second such strike on Abha Airport over the past 24 hours. The earlier attack caused no casualties. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the incident, reported Sputnik. Saudi state TV reported that a civilian plane too was damaged in the drone strike. UAE to resume visas for tourists vaccinated against Covid The United Arab Emirates announced it will resume issuing visas to all tourists fully vaccinated against Covid from Monday, a month before Dubai hosts the delayed Expo 2020 trade fair. The move comes amid a drop in coronavirus infections in the oil-rich Gulf country, after it reported less than 1,000 cases per day last week for the first time in months. The UAE's decision to reopen its doors to tourists from all countries was taken in order "to achieve sustainable recovery and economic growth", the official WAM news agency reported on Saturday. Saudi Arabia allows direct entry of fully vaccinated expats from countries facing travel ban Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued directives to allow direct entry of fully vaccinated expatriates from countries facing travel ban, Saudi Gazette has learnt from diplomatic sources. The diplomatic missions of the concerned countries have received the directive in this regard. UAE temporarily suspends visa-on-arrival for passengers arriving from India Authorities in the UAE have temporarily suspended the visa-on-arrival facility for passengers who are arriving from or have been in India in the past 14 days, according to Etihad Airways. The Abu Dhabi-headquartered airline, which is the second flag carrier of the UAE, said in a tweet that it is working to update its website with the latest information. “The UAE authorities have decided to temporarily suspend the Visa-on-arrival facility for passengers who are arriving from or been in India in the past 14 days,” Etihad said on Twitter. The tweet was in response to a query by a passenger whether an Indian citizen holding a US visa can fly to Abu Dhabi and get visa-on-arrival and travel to Dubai without quarantine. UAE to grant tourist visas to Indian passport holders with 14-day rider Indian passport holders, who have not been to the country in the last 14 days, can get tourist visas to the UAE, according to a media report on Sunday. The facility has been extended to Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Uganda, other than India, the Gulf News reported. Presently, only UAE citizens and transit passengers are allowed to fly to the UAE, due to the coronavirus outbreak. Ghani says 'in talks to return' to Afghanistan, terms cash allegation 'baseless' Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who has taken refuge in the UAE, said that he is in talks to return to Afghanistan and denied the allegation that he left Kabul with suitcases full of cash, a media report said. Ghani, who left Kabul on Sunday as the Taliban entered Kabul, said that he is in talks to return to Afghanistan, a media report said. He also said the allegations that he escaped with suitcases of cash were "completely baseless", saying it was all "political and personality assassination", Al Jazeera reported. Dubai travel: Expired residency visas of some expats automatically extended until Dec 9 Many residents whose visas had expired have been granted the automatic visa renewal. Dubai: Some expatriates in Dubai, whose residency visas expired while they were stranded abroad amid Covid-19 travel restrictions, have been granted automatic visa extensions until December 9, 2021, Khaleej Times has learnt. Many residents whose visas expired after the UAE put in place a suspension on inbound travellers from several countries, including India, have been granted the automatic visa renewal for three months, including the one-month grace period for reapplication, according to an Amer centre call employee. India leads Dubai Airport's passenger traffic recovery after COVID-19 pandemic “We have already witnessed some of our busiest weekends of the year in July, and with major international events such as the Dubai Expo 2020 and Dubai Airshow 2021 lined up for the months ahead, the outlook for 2021 in terms of passenger numbers looks very promising,” Griffiths said. He said the UK’s recent decision to move the UAE to the ‘Amber list’ and the UAE’s conditional lifting of travel restrictions for passengers arriving from four countries in the Indian subcontinent as well as Nigeria and Uganda will significantly boost DXB’s traffic. According to the latest figures issued by Airports Council International (ACI), DXB remains the world’s busiest airport for international passengers after retaining the title for the seventh consecutive year for annual traffic in 2020. The airport holds a significant lead over other international airports and has nearly twice the passenger traffic of the next busiest global hub in the Middle East, the press release said. Dubai Airports data showed Dubai airports passenger volumes in the second quarter totalled 4.9 million, taking the half-yearly figure for the year to 10.6 million, a year on year contraction of 40.9 per cent, it said. DXB is currently serving 68 per cent of the destinations in 94 per cent of the countries on 70 per cent of the airlines compared to before the COVID-19 pandemic. Cargo continued to outshine the passenger segment in terms of recovery with cargo volumes nearing 2019 levels in the second quarter. DXB recorded 571,568 tonnes of freight in the second quarter, propelling the first half volumes to 1.1 million tonnes, a year-on-year increase of 27.7 per cent. It recorded a total of 99,392 flight movements during the first half, a marginal year on year increase of 0.9 per cent due to a low base resulting from the impact of the partial suspension of operations from March 25 to July 7 in 2020. Dubai International Airport will see a massive spike in passenger traffic in the coming days as more than a million passengers will travel between August 12 and 22, with daily peaks averaging 100,000 passengers during weekends, The Khaleej Times reported. In a statement issued on Tuesday, Dubai Airports said this could be the hub’s busiest weekend so far this year. It urged travellers to stay abreast of the latest travel regulations and plan their journeys for a smooth travel experience. The increase in passenger traffic is attributed to summer holidays when families travel back to the UAE as well as easing of travel restrictions for certain countries by the UAE government, the report said. The UAE recently eased travel regulations for inbound and transit passengers from some Asian and African countries, including India. "We are prepared, and we are doing everything we can to make sure that passengers have a safe and smooth experience at DXB," said Essa Al Shamsi, vice-president of terminal operations at Dubai Airports. "Considering that volume of passengers will be significantly higher in the arrivals area during this period, it is important that those meeting and greeting arriving passengers do not congest the road in the terminal forecourt and that they pick up their friends and family in comfort by using the car park or valet service," Shamsi said. 'Navodesk' a brand of ergonomic furniture and accessories launched in Dubai Renowned business organization of Bhatkal, 'Eastland Group of Companies' launched its first exclusive furnitures showroom 'Navodesk' in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. UAE lifts ban on transit flights from India, other countries Dubai: The United Arab Emirates will lift a ban on transit passenger traffic from India, Pakistan, Nigeria and other countries from Aug. 5, the National Emergency and Crisis Management Authority (NCEMA) said on Tuesday. The UAE, a major international travel hub, has banned passengers from many South Asian and African countries for several months due to the coronavirus pandemic. NCEMA said on Twitter that passengers travelling from countries where flights had been suspended would be able to transit through its airports from Thursday as long as they present negative PCR tests taken 72 hours prior to departure. IAF chief meets his UAE counterpart, discusses measures to strengthen ties between two forces Indian Air Force (IAF) chief RKS Bhadauria met his UAE counterpart Ibrahim Nasser M Al Alawi and held wide-ranging talks to identify avenues and measures for further strengthening the robust relationship between the two forces, according to an official statement on Monday. NEET-UG will be conducted for the first time in Dubai and Kuwait The Ministry of Education has announced new centers for the Gulf region in Dubai and Kuwait to conduct the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test smoothly. COVID-19: Emirates, Etihad extend flight suspension from South Asian countries Two major UAE airlines, Etihad and Emirates have further extended the suspension on flights from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka to Dubai due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Emirates has suspended flight operations till August 7 while Etihad has extended the suspension till August 2, Geo News reported citing travel advisories from the carriers. COVID-19: UAE extends ban on passenger flights from India till August 2 National carrier Etihad Airways on Monday informed that flights from India to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will remain suspended till August 2. The date could be extended, depending on directions by the UAE authorities, Khaleej Times reported citing Etihad Airways Guest Relations. Pilgrims ascend on Arafat for climax of Hajj At the high point of spirituality, around 60,000 pilgrims ascended on Monday on the vast plains of Arafat at the climax of the Hajj, which is being held in downsized form and under coronavirus restrictions for the second year running. Saudi Arabia suspends entry from UAE, Ethiopia, Vietnam over COVID-19 Saudi Arabia has suspended entry for citizens of the United Arab Emirates, Ethiopia and Vietnam over the spread of the coronavirus and its strains in these countries, media reported. UAE flag carrier Emirates likely to resume Dubai-India flights from July 7: Report Dubai's flag carrier Emirates may resume its flights from India to Dubai from July 7, over two months after the UAE suspended its operations owing to the surge in coronavirus cases in India, according to a media report. However, the airline is awaiting exact travel protocols and guidelines from the government regarding the resumption of the flight operations, the Khaleej Times reported on Sunday. "We're expecting to resume our flights from India to Dubai from 7th of July 2021. We're waiting for the exact travel protocols and relevant permits from the government authorities. We hope to have more details soon," the report said, quoting the airline in response to a query from a passenger on its Twitter account. UAE extends suspension of flights from India till July 21 Even as the state government has set up Covid molecular testing laboratories at all four airports in the state to provide rapid PCR test results four hours prior to departure by NRIs, a NOTAM (notice to airmen) issued by the UAE civil aviation authority informed the airlines of suspension of flight services to and from 14 countries including India till July 21. This has literally poured cold water on the vacation travel plans of expats.  India-UAE flights suspended until July 6: Air India Air India on Wednesday told passengers that scheduled passenger flights from India to UAE are suspended until July 6, 2021. India-Dubai travel: Passengers who have taken Covishield jabs can return The Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine being sold in India under the brand name Covishield is a UAE-approved vaccine, the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) said on Sunday. The health authority responded to queries from UAE residents on social media as to whether passengers who have taken the Covishield vaccine that is being administered in India would be allowed to travel back as per the new travel protocols. “Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and Covishield are the same vaccines,” read a tweet from the DHA. Other UAE-approved vaccines, according to the DHA, are Pfizer-BioNnNTech, Sinopharm, and Sputnik V. Emirates airline to resume flights from India to Dubai from June 23 as COVID curbs ease As Dubai eases travel curbs for passengers from India, Emirates airline said it will resume flights connecting India, South Africa and Nigeria to the city from June 23. Covid: Dubai eases travel restrictions for passengers from India, other countries Dubai: Authorities in Dubai announced a revision in procedures for travellers coming from the Republic of India, South Africa and Nigeria on Saturday. The changes will go into effect from Wednesday, June 23, 2021. Jaishankar meets Qatari counterpart, discusses bilateral cooperation External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, during the meeting with his Qatari counterpart Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani on Tuesday, exchanged views on regional issues and discussed bilateral cooperation. Left parties to hold nationwide protest from June 16-30 against rising fuel, commodities prices Left Parties will hold a fortnight nationwide protest starting from Wednesday against the rising prices of fuel, essential commodities and medicines. Left Parties including the Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India, All India Forward Bloc, Revolutionary Socialist Party and Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist)-Liberation have issued a joint statement on Sunday. Saudi Arabia says hajj to be limited to 60,000 in kingdom Saudi Arabia says this year's hajj pilgrimage will be limited to no more than 60,000 people, all of them from within the kingdom, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The kingdom made the announcement Saturday on its state-run Saudi Press Agency. It cited the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah for making the decision. Jaishankar holds meeting with Indian envoys in Gulf nations, discusses trade interests External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar chaired a meeting of Indian envoys in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Iran, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Bahrain and discussed the welfare of the Indian community and trade interests in these countries. Indian External Affairs Minister Jaishankar calls on Kuwait Prime Minister External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar called on Kuwait Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah on Thursday and appreciated his commitment to taking the partnership between two countries to higher levels. Jaishankar, who arrived in Kuwait on his first bilateral visit to the oil-rich Gulf nation early on Thursday, is also carrying a personal letter from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah. Jaishankar meets Qatari NSA; thanks him for support in India's fight against COVID-19 External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Wednesday met Qatari National Security Advisor (NSA) Mohamed Bin Ahmed Al Mesned and thanked him for middle east support and solidarity in India's fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The External Minister, who embarked on his three-day visit to Kuwait today, thanked him for the support and solidarity in India's fight against COVID-19 pandemic. Karnataka Cong demands arrest of rape accused MLA Ramesh Jarkiholi Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) President D K Shivakumar on Thursday urged Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa and Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai to arrest MLA Ramesh Jarkiholi in the alleged sex scadnal. In the press conference, along with Karnataka Leader of Opposition (LoP) Siddaramaiah, held in the office of KPCC on Thursday, Shivakumar said: "The honour of the Police Department should be of utmost priority than any person. It is a shame that the government let the accused who is charged under IPC section 376 to walk freely in the society. It affects the honour of the Police Department. The CM and Home Minister have set a wrong precedent in the state." UAE firm offers job to 90 Indian nurses stranded due to job scam A prominent healthcare group in the UAE has offered jobs to at least 90 Indian nurses who have been stranded in the Gulf kingdom after they fell prey to a job scam, according to a statement.     VPS Healthcare, one of the largest healthcare groups in the UAE, has come to lend a helping hand to these nurses from Kerala after learning about their hardships. The group has been receiving job applications and inquiries from nurses for the last four weeks. Validity of iqamas, visas of expats stranded in countries facing travel ban to be extended The validity of iqamas (residency permits), exit and re-entry visas, as well as visit visas of expatriates who are currently stranded in the countries facing travel ban, will be extended until June 2, 2021 free of cost, the Saudi Press Agency reported citing a royal order. The free extension of the validity period of iqamas and visas granted by the finance minister at the directives of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman is part of the continuous efforts taken by the government to ensure the safety of citizens and residents and to mitigate its economic and financial impacts on them. Dubai: Emirates airways extends suspension of flights from India till June 14 With coronavirus cases in India still spiking every day, Emirates airways has decided to extend the suspension of all passenger flights to India until June 14. COVID-19: UAE sends medical supplies, including 157 ventilators, to India The United Arab Emirates on Thursday delivered a consignment of medical supplies, including 157 ventilators, to India which has been reeling under a severe wave of coronavirus pandemic. The Indian Air Force has already airlifted 18 cryogenic oxygen containers from Dubai in three sorties since April 26, sources said. Landmarks across UAE lit up with tricolour to support India's COVID-19 battle Prominent iconic buildings, including the Burj Khalifa, in the UAE were lit up with the tricolour to show solidarity with India as it grapples with a growing COVID-19 crisis. India's total tally of COVID-19 cases has climbed to 1,73,13,163 while active cases have crossed the 28-lakh mark. The death toll increased to 1,95,123 with a record 2,812 new fatalities, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Monday. Now, Kuwait suspends all commercial flights from India amid COVID-19 surge Kuwait on Saturday suspended all direct commercial flights coming from India until further notice due to the worsening COVID-19 situation in the country. The move came after instructions from health authorities. Kuwait's directorate general of civil aviation said that it had suspended all direct commercial flights coming from India, effective April 24. Flight reschedules, cancellations galore as UAE India travel ban nears implementation The UAE's decision to ban flights from India due to the worsening COVID-19 situation in the country has upset a lot of travel plans as people are making frantic efforts to reach to their destinations before the restrictions come into effect. The UAE has banned travel from India for 10 days from Sunday. The ban will come into effect from 11.59 pm on Saturday, April 24, and is subject to review after 10 days, the Gulf News reported. Indian Navy ship visits Saudi Arabia An Indian warship has begun a visit to Saudi Arabia and will participate in a military exercise with the navy of the Gulf nation in reflection of multi-faceted bilateral defence cooperation, officials said on Sunday. An Indian Navy spokesperson said frigate INS Talwar arrived at the Jubail port of Saudi Arabia on Saturday. "This visit underscores deep-rooted friendly ties and multi-faceted defence cooperation between India and Saudi Arabia," he said. India, Saudi Arabia hold talks on initiating cooperation in space India and Saudi Arabia held discussions on initiating cooperation in the space field and explored the possibility of inking a county-level MoU. Indian Space Research Organisation and Saudi Space Commission held a bilateral meeting on Wednesday on virtual mode. EAM Jaishankar holds talks with Kuwaiti counterpart External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Thursday held wide-ranging talks with his Kuwaiti counterpart Sheikh Ahmed Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Sabah to elevate bilateral relations. The Kuwaiti foreign minister arrived here on Wednesday evening on a nearly 18-hour visit. "Glad to welcome this morning, along with @MOS_MEA, FM @anmas71 of Kuwait. Productive discussions on our bilateral agenda & regional developments," Jaishankar said on Twitter. "Will co-chair Joint Commission with him to elevate our relationship further," he added. Saudi Arabia says Covid-19 vaccination a must for 2021 haj Saudi Arabia's Health Ministry has ruled that only people who have been vaccinated against Covid-19 will be allowed to attend the haj this year, Saudi newspaper Okaz reported on Monday (March 1). COVID-19: Saudi Arabia suspends entry from 20 countries, including India In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, Saudi Arabia temporarily suspended entry of people from 20 countries, including India, informed Indian Embassy in Riyadh on Thursday. In a tweet, India in Saudi Arabia posted its advisory saying, "Kingdom of Saudi Arabia vide its circular dated 2nd February 2021 have temporarily suspended entry into the Kingdom for passengers coming from the following 19 countries, in addition to India." Cabinet approves MoU on scientific and technical cooperation between India, UAE The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on scientific and technical cooperation between the Ministry of Earth Sciences and the National Centre of Meteorology of the UAE, according to a statement. The MoU provides for sharing of knowledge, data and operational products for meteorological, seismological and oceanic services such as radar, satellite, tide gauges, seismic and meteorological stations. The pact will pave the way for deployment of meteorological observation networks on mutual agreement over ocean waters, cooperation in the development of special capacities of tsunami models researches for their faster and more reliable forecasts propagating through the Oman Sea and the Arabian Sea which affect the coastal areas of India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). First Qatar to Saudi flight to take off after thaw Air travel between Qatar and Saudi Arabia will resume on Monday, according to the countries' airlines, a major landmark as Doha's former rivals normalise ties under a landmark agreement. Saudi Arabia and its allies the United Arab Emirates, Ba Jaishankar arrives in Qatar on strengthening bilateral relationship Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar on Sunday arrived on a two-day visit to Qatar from December 27 to 28 wherein he will hold a discussion with Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al-Thani and other important dignitaries. "EAM @DrSJaishankar arrived on a two-day visit. He'll call on HH Father Amir and HH Deputy Amir. He'll hold detailed discussions with DPM and FM @MBA_AlThani_ on strengthening India-Qatar bilateral relationship," India in Qatar wrote in a tweet. Kuwait emir reappoints Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid as prime minister Kuwait Emir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah on Tuesday re-appointed Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Sabah as prime minister. The move comes two days after Sheikh Sabah submitted his government's resignation in a procedural step following parliamentary polls, Arab News reported. Jaishankar discusses cooperation between India, UAE with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has discussed the advancement of strategic cooperation between India and the UAE in the post-COVID era with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan during his visit to the Gulf kingdom. The two leaders also exchanged views on important regional and international issues.  Jaishankar arrived here on Wednesday night on the second leg of his six-day three-nation tour to Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Seychelles, which began on Tuesday. The visit is seen as important as it comes in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic that has wreaked havoc across the world. Bahrain Prime Minister Khalifa Bin Salman passes away at 84 Bahraini Prime Minister Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa died on Wednesday in a hospital in the US, the country's royal court said. He was 84. Muslim-majority nations boycott French goods, remove products as boycott campaign grows on social media Hashtags on boycotting French products went viral, as social media users condemned the anti-Islam campaign in the European country as the French government has embraced increasingly hostile rhetoric against Muslims recently. Photos and video footage circulating on social media also show Kuwaiti supermarkets emptied shelves from made in France goods. Over 50 Indians stranded at Dubai airport Over 50 Indians have been stranded at the Dubai International Airport for non-compliance with entry requirements for tourist visa holders, a media report said on Thursday. Indian Overseas Congress celebrates Gandhi jayanthi in Jeddah Indian Overseas Congress (IOC) Jeddah had on October 2, organised an event to commemorate the birth of the great Mahatma Gandhi, also known as 'Father of India'. Saudi Arabia resumes Umrah pilgrimage to Mecca The Saudi Arabian authorities resumed on late Saturday the Umrah pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca, the kingdom's Ministry of Hajj and Umrah said. Dubai Suspends Air India Express Flights Till October 2 For Bringing "Covid-Positive" Passengers The Dubai Civil Aviation Authority has suspended Air India Express flights till October 2 for bringing passengers with covid-positive certificates twice during the last couple of weeks, senior government officials said today. Guidelines for international travellers arriving in Mangaluru The Ministry of Civil Aviation and Department of Health and Family Welfare have issued new guidelines for international travellers arriving in Mangaluru. Flying to India for NEET amid COVID-19 risk stressful, impractical: Aspirants in Gulf nations Travelling to India to write the medical entrance exam NEET is not only stressful but also impractical, several candidates in Gulf countries have said, citing the risk of contracting COVID-19 and the need to undergo a mandatory quarantine, among other issues. COVID-19 negative report mandatory for passengers flying to UAE: AI Express The Air India Express on Tuesday rolled out new guidelines for the passengers aged 12 years and above travelling to UAE making it mandatory for them to submit a valid negative COVID-19 PCR test on the website prior to their flight. Shiroor girl honoured with 'Sheikha Fatima Award for Excellence' in UAE Dania Hassan, a sixteen-year-old student, who hails from Shiroor in Byndoor taluk of Udupi district, has become the only student from the eastern region of the United Arab Emirates to be honoured with 'Her Highness Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Award for Excellence'. Indian nationals carrying valid visa can now travel to UAE; flight ticket bookings to start today Indian Ambassador to UAE Pavan Kapoor said that Indian nationals carrying any type of valid UAE visa can now travel to the country. UAE waives visa fines of stranded Indians Dubai:  The UAE has waived thousands of dirhams in fines of Indian expatriates whose visas had expired before March 1, helping them return home without additional expenses amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, according to a media report. Already, 145 Indians have availed the benefits of the scheme which was proposed by the Indian missions in the UAE, the Gulf News quoted the Indian Consulate in Dubai in a report. The Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi on July 22 had announced the launch of the new mechanism, according to which Indians whose residence and visit visas had expired before March 1 could return to India on repatriation flights without paying the due amounts till August 17, the report said. The General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs (GDRFA) in Dubai has waived fines of 145 Indians in the first set of applications which included absconders facing charges of violating residency laws, said Neeraj Agrawal, Indian consul, press, information and culture. Agrawal said people living without proper documents for years can now return home without penalties. He said 800 applications have been sent to the GDRFA office and that more approvals are expected in the following week as the Eid holidays are over. He said flyers returning home without paying the visa fines must reach the airport sooner than usual as there are a few additional procedures at the airport. The issue of visa fines came to light last month when 30 Rajasthani workers were stopped from boarding a repatriation flight as they were found to not have paid visa expiration dues. The labourers had told the Indian Consulate here that they had zero earning for three months because of the coronavirus outbreak and no proper place to stay. No COVID-19 case reported among Haj pilgrims so far: Saudi Saudi Arabia announced that pilgrims have been performing the Haj rituals safely and that no COVID-19 or any other public health-related cases have been reported so far. Holy Kaaba gets a new Kiswa MAKKAH : The Kaaba Kiswa (black cloth) was replaced on Wednesday night, a process administered by the staff of the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques in accordance with the annual tradition, the Saudi Press Agency reported. Ahmed Bin Mohammed Al-Mansouri, deputy head of the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques and director-general of the King Abdul Aziz Complex for the Kaaba, said in a statement that the Holy Kaaba was donned with a new Kiswa, constituted of four sides and a sitar (curtain) for the door. Each of the four parts of the Kiswa was separately raised, in preparation for stretching it on the old side. The side was consolidated from above by tying it and dropping at the other end after the old side’s ropes were untied by moving the new side up and down. Then, the old side was removed from the bottom and the new side remained, and the process was repeated four times for each section until the operation was complete and the belt was sewn in a line, straight with the four sides, Al-Mansouri said. Al-Mansouri added: “The process began from the side of the Hateem (a semi-circular wall opposite the northwest wall of the Kaaba), because Al-Mizab (a rainwater spout made of gold) requires a special opening at the top. After consolidating all the sides, the corners were fixed by sewing them from the top of the cloth to the bottom. Then, the curtain that required more time and hard work was installed by making a small opening with an approximate width of 3.30 meters. Three other holes were made in the black cloth to put the curtain in place under the cloth, and the sides were sewn in the black cloth of the dress, Al-Mansouri said, adding that the Kaaba cloth is made of 670 kg of high-quality silk, 120 kg of gold threads, and 100 kg of silver threads. As many as 200 Saudi craftsmen are engaged in producing the black curtain at the King Abdul Aziz Complex for Holy Kaaba Kiswa, Al-Mansouri said. Hajj authorities ready to receive pilgrims on Arafat The Saudi Health Ministry has completed its preparations to provide medical care for pilgrims who will gather on the plains of Mount Arafat to perform the pinnacle of the Hajj pilgrimage on Thursday, the ninth day of Dul-Hijjah. Health facilities in Arafat have been equipped with general clinics staffed by family doctors, internal consultants and nurses specialized in intensive care, as well as facilities equipped to deal with sunstroke and heat stress. There will also be a mobile hospital in Arafat and mobile clinics in Muzdalifah throughout the Day of Arafat to serve the pilgrims until their departure. The ministry has also prepared an integrated camp in the Arafat area to isolate suspected cases of coronavirus and to apply preventive measures. Dedicated paths for each group of pilgrims at Grand Mosque MAKKAH : The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques has completed the installation and equipping of dedicated paths at the Grand Mosque, especially in mataf (circumambulation area around the Holy Kaaba) and mas’a (area for the ritual of sai between Safa and Marwah), for each group of pilgrims in a way maintaining all the regulations stipulated in the coronavirus preventive protocols for the annual pilgrimage of Hajj. The presidency has put the finishing touches to all its preparations to receive the guests of God, adopting precautionary and preventive measures to ensure the health and safety of pilgrims as well as to enable them to perform their rituals in ease and comfort. The presidency also worked, in coordination and cooperation with the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah and the security authorities to install and equip paths dedicated to the groups of pilgrims in order to ensure social distancing between pilgrims, in addition to allocating specific doors for each group for their entry and exit from the mosque so as ensure the smooth flow of pilgrims and avoid any crowding. The presidency raised the production capacity of Zamzam water bottles that are being distributed among the Hajj pilgrims. All the pilgrims will be supplied with sealed and sterilized bottles of the holy water for single use and the refrigerated containers and coolers of Zamzam at the mosque will not be allowed to use by them. All the concerned authorities and agencies are well equipped and mobilized to make available of all the services for the pilgrims in order to ensure their health and safety following all the preventive and precautionary measures. Coronavirus: Qatar reports 292 new Covid-19 cases The Qatar health ministry on Monday reported 292 new cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus, along with 304 recoveries. Coronavirus: Saudi Arabia reports 1,897 Covid-19 cases The Saudi Arabia health ministry on Tuesday reported 1,897 new cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus, along with 2,688 recoveries. Eid Al Adha warning in UAE: Civic bodies warn residents against seeking illegal butchers, risking health Many illegal butchers are promoting their services on social media and distributing flyers in residential areas to woo customers. They are doing so even though tough penalties, including up to Dh20,000 fine, have been announced by authorities in Dubai, Sharjah and Ajman on illegal slaughtering of sacrificial animals in unauthorised places during Eid Al Adha. Muslims in UAE asked to perform Eid Al-Adha prayers at home Muslims in the United Arab Emirates have been asked to perform Eid Al-Adha prayers at home even as mosques will be allowed to operate at an increased capacity of 50 percent from Aug. 3. Saudi citizens allowed to enter Kingdom by land from UAE, Bahrain and Kuwait Saudi citizens, their immediate family members and their domestic staff are now able to enter the Kingdom by land from Kuwait, Bahrain and the UAE without obtaining prior authorization. UAE extends Covid-19 PCR test validity to 96 hours for returning residents The UAE on Thursday extended the validity of the PCR test for passengers arriving in the country by 24 hours. IPL set to start on September 19, final on November 8, teams to leave base by Aug 20, say BCCI sources: Report The eagerly-awaited Indian Premier League (IPL) will start on September 19 in the United Arab Emirates with the final slated on November 8, well-placed BCCI sources told PTI on Thursday. 184 Kannadigas stranded in UAE land at Mangalore International Airport As many as 184 stranded persons from UAE landed at Mangalore International Airport on Tuesday. Police arrest man who trafficked 9 girls to Dubai A 37-year-old man has been arrested for cheating and trafficking nine women to Dubai on the promise of getting them jobs in a dance bar, according to an official, here on Monday. KCF's special chartered flight from Qatar lands with 179 stranded passengers in Mangaluru The special chartered flight carrying 179 repatriates from Doha in Qatar landed at Mangaluru International Airport on 16th July, in which most of the passengers belonged to coastal Karnataka including those of Uttara Kannada district. This 'Indigo' operated special flight was chartered by Karnataka Cultural Forum (KCF). Saudi Arabia announces July 31 as first day of Eid Al Adha Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court has announced that Friday, July 31, will be the first day of Eid Al Adha. Saudi King Salman in hospital for gallbladder inflammation The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia, was admitted to hospital in Riyadh on Monday for gallbladder inflammation, the royal court said, prompting the postponement of the Iraqi prime minister’s high-profile visit. In Arab world's first, UAE successfully launches its spacecraft towards Mars Emiratis brimmed with joy and pride as the UAE made history on Monday by successfully launching its spacecraft "Al Amal" towards Mars from a Japanese launch centre, marking the Arab world's first interplanetary mission, according to media reports. Youth drowns while rescuing a man in Kuwait In a tragic incident, a 28-year-old youth from Kinnigoli drowned in Salmiya Beach in Kuwait, while attempting to rescue a drowning Egypt national. 50,000 Kannadigas in Kuwait may lose jobs Jobs of more than 50,000 Kannadigas in Kuwait are in limbo as the Gulf country has initiated the process of bringing in a legislation to restrict the number of foreign workers. Thermometers in hand, Dubai opens for tourists amid pandemic From French soccer jerseys to slick online campaigns, Dubai is trumpeting the fact that it reopened for tourism on Tuesday — but what that means for this sheikhdom that relies on the dollars, pounds, rupees and yuan spent by travellers remains in question. Second chartered flight carrying 181 Bhatkalis from Dubai to land in Mangaluru Airport tonight The second chartered flight carrying 181 stranded people of Bhatkal and surrounding regions, from Dubai to Mangaluru will take off from Ras Al Khaima international airport today evening, informed Mr. Atiqur Rahman Muniri, a well-known Bhatkali businessman, who have chartered the flight to ease the problems of Uttara Kannada people in gulf by repatriating them home. 166 stranded in UAE, arrive at Mangalore International Airport As many as 166 stranded people from UAE arrived at Mangalore International Airport in a chartered flight on Tuesday evening.  173 people stranded in Saudi Arabia return to Mangaluru As many as 173 stranded people including eight children from Saudi Arabia landed at Mangalore International Airport on Monday night.  Saudi Arabia to hold 'very limited' hajj due to coronavirus pandemic Saudi Arabia says this year's hajj will not be cancelled, but that due to the coronavirus only "very limited numbers" of people will be allowed to perform the major Muslim pilgrimage. Chartered flight brings 173 stranded Indians back from UAE A chartered flight on Sunday brought 173 Indians back to Karnataka from UAE where they were stranded since the coronavirus-induced lockdown. The flight, arranged by the Karnataka Sports and Cultural Club (KSCC), landed at the Mangaluru international airport (MIA). KSCC is the first sports and cultural club to arrange a chartered flight for stranded Kannadigas in the UAE, said a press release. Karnataka: 160 Kannadigas stranded in Kuwait arrive at MIA The first chartered flight repatriating Indians stranded at Kuwait since months landed at the international airport here. Second chartered flight of Bhatkalis to bring home 210 stranded people from Dubai on June 23 Following the first chartered flight, Bhatkalis business tycoon Mr Atiqur Rahman Muniri announced about the second flight that will fly home stranded 210 passengers of Bhatkal and surrounding areas on June 23 from Dubai and other parts of UAE. Dubai: Chartered flight carrying 184 Bhatkalis takes off from UAE's RAK to Mangaluru, India A chartered flight arranged and organized by one of the well-known Bhatkali businessmen and chairman of Nuha General Trading, Dubai, Mr. Ateequr Rahman Muniri, took off from Ras Al Khaima International Airport, UAE, carrying stranded citizens of Bhatkal and surrounding regions who were stuck in Dubai and other parts of the United Arab Emirates due to COVID-19 lockdown.  Saudi Firm Flies Home Over 1,600 Stranded Indian Staff On Chartered Flights In one of the largest COVID-19-related repatriations from the Gulf by a private employer, a Saudi Arabia-based company has begun operating chartered flights to send home over 1,600 of its Indian employees. Second non-Vande Bharat Mission flight landed in MIA A chartered flight carrying Kannadigas, stranded in Saudi Arabia, arrived at Mangaluru International Airport, MIA officials said on Wednesday. Chartered flight for Bhatkalis from Dubai to Mangaluru; More than 350 citizens register requesting to repatriate home Upon learning about the special chartered flight for stranded people of Bhatkal and surrounding regions from Dubai to Mangaluru, hundreds of people contacted organizers requesting to repatriate home, which has now left organizers in dilemma to decide what steps can be taken to repatriate such a large number of people trapped in United Arab Emirates due to Coronavirus lockdown. Special chartered flight to fly stranded Bhatkalis from United Arab Emirates to Mangaluru on June 11 A most comforting and breathtaking news for the people of Bhatkal and surrounding regions who are stranded in Dubai and in United Arab Emirates in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak has prevailed. Mr. Atiqur Rahman Muniri, a well-known Bhatkali businessman and a owner of Nuha General Trading Company has arranged a chartered flight to repatriate them to Bhatkal and surrounding areas via Mangaluru International airport. Special Air India flight with 65 passengers from Muscat lands in Mangaluru In the continuing evacuation of Indian citizens stranded abroad due to COVID-19 lockdown, a special repatriation flight from Muscat landed here with 65 passengers on Wednesday night. Covid-19: Karnataka govt should announce special package to Indian expats lost jobs in gulf Former Karnataka Minister and Congress Legislator U T Khader has asserted that the Karnataka government should announce a special package for Indian expats who have lost jobs in Gulf due to Covid-19 lock-down. 3 more Indians in UAE lose jobs for 'Islamobhobic' social media posts Three more Indians based in the UAE have either been fired or suspended from their jobs for "Islamophobic" posts on social media, days after the Indian ambassador to the Gulf nation warned the expatriates against posting such provocative updates online, a media report has said. Visas of Indians stranded in Gulf extended, won't return home anytime soon: Centre The Centre on Friday informed the Kerala High Court that there was no immediate plan to bring back the Indian citizens stranded in the Gulf countries due to the novel coronavirus outbreak and that the expatriates had been granted visa extension. Saudi says total oil curbs could reach 19.5 mn barrels Oil output cuts by OPEC and its allies, together with pledges from other G20 nations and purchases by strategic reserves, could remove 19.5 million barrels per day from the market, the Saudi energy minister said. IndiGo to cancel some flights to UAE New Delhi:  IndiGo on Saturday said it will cancel some of its flights to the UAE after the Gulf country announced that it would suspend all entry visas, except diplomatic visas, from March 17 in view of the coronavirus pandemic. In a statement, the airline said, "Owing to the suspension of visas for all foreigners with the exception of diplomatic passport holders, IndiGo will be cancelling some of its flights to Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi w.e.f. March 17, 2020 until the travel restrictions are lifted." "We regret the inconvenience caused to our customers, and will be refunding the full amount to the impacted passengers," it added. The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship of the United Arab emirates (UAE) stated on Saturday that the decision to suspend all visas, except diplomatic visas, from March 17 was taken as a precautionary measure to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, which has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Meanwhile, another private carrier, SpiceJet, said it had not planned cancellations as yet. "We are reviewing the situation constantly. No cancellations have been planned yet," a spokesperson of the airline said.