A compilation of recent news items that shape our lives here in Qatar.From a very recent internal email to all students and employees
"Please note that internet services in Qatar have been affected by the breach of three of the four internet sub-cables in the Mediterranean Sea, linking the Middle East and India with Europe and America. Engineers from Qtel are working to source additional alternative routes to maintain speed and connectivity but, in the meantime, you may experience delays accessing external web pages. Work to repair the cables is currently underway, although this could take several days to complete.
Thank you for your patience." Delays continue ...Qatar celebrated its National Day
- commemorating the establishment of the State of Qatar in 1887 by Sheikh Jassim bin Mohammed bin Thani. I was trapped for over 30 minutes in traffic as a parade passed by - first wonderful horses and then camels, all with riders dressed in native outfits. Of course, no camera since I had been trying to get groceries. Below are some excerpts from the local newspaper.
DOHA: It was a day to cherish and a night to remember as Qatar’s history, achievements and visions were presented in all its glory to an admiring public and curious onlookers. “The Qatar National Day celebrations exceeded our expectations,” said Salman Almass Al Qubaisi, director of administrative and financial affairs and state bureau; and a committee member of the Qatar National Day Organising Committee. “The members of the Qatar National Day Organising Committee are very happy with the turnout of the event. And we saw many people along the Corniche having fun with family and friends, and enjoying the shows since morning,” said Al Qubaisi. Thousands gathered at the Corniche to witness the shows—from the parade in the morning, to the light and water show in the afternoon and early evening, to the spectacular display of fireworks at 10pm.More
(I saw the fireworks from my apartment.)New Islamic Museum and culture news
DOHA: The total number of visitors to the newly-opened Museum of Islamic Art has crossed the 30,000 mark within two weeks of its opening to the public. Both local and international visitors joined the rush to see Qatar’s new cultural landmark during the period, the Qatar Museums Authority has said. The largest Islamic museum in the world resounded with the footsteps of 1,500 visitors on December 1, the day it opened to the public. Visitors of all ages enjoyed the museum’s permanent collection featuring more than 800 pieces of priceless Islamic art and the first temporary exhibition ‘Beyond Boundaries: Islamic Art Across Cultures’ – all free of charge. more
DOHA: Qatar is grateful to renowned architect I M Pei for presenting the iconic Museum of Islamic Art (IMA) to the country and the whole world, said H H Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al Missned here yesterday. “The priceless monument Pei has offered us will be the cornerstone of the region’s culture and tradition,” she added.
Sheikha Mozah was addressing a seminar on “Islamic Architecture from Tradition to Modernity”; a discussion held in honour of Pei at the newly opened museum yesterday.
“Our idea is to enhance this museum as an epicenter of the region’s arts and cultural movement,” she said. more
DOHA: Hollywood icon Robert De Niro signed an agreement with Qatar Museum Authority (QMA) here yesterday to launch the next edition of New York’s world-renowned Tribeca Film Festival (TFF) in Doha. ...The first Tribeca Film Festival Doha, featuring 40 films, is to run from November 10-14, 2009, at the Museum of Islamic Art. more
...Qatar to assist developing countries fight poverty
UNITED NATIONS: Qatar is spearheading efforts to promote trade and cooperation between developing economies as a part of an economic strategy to help the world’s poor work together in pulling themselves out of poverty. Qatar’s ambassador to the United Nations Nasser Abdulaziz Al Nasser, opened a four-day conference in New York recently to debate a process economists have called “South-South Development”. The Global South-South Development Expo 2008, which closed on Friday, saw Al Nasser joined by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and other advocates of fair economic growth in midtown Manhattan. Doha’s envoy, who is also the president of the UN General Assembly’s High-Level Committee on South-South Cooperation, emphasised on the importance of forging such an economic alliance. more
...Boat with medical supplies defies Israeli blockade
DOHA: A boat chartered by Western pro-Palestinian activists, docked in the Gaza’s fishing port yesterday morning, carrying urgent medical aid supplies and a Qatari delegation. The boat named Al-Karama (Dignity) was the first to successfully break Israel’s naval blockade on the Gaza Strip, which is a part of a series of sanctions Israel applied on the territory after the Hamas movement seized the territory in 2007. Prime Minister of the defunct Palestinian government Ismail Haniyah expressed his gratitude over the arrival of the boat at the Gaza Port. He viewed demonstrations staged in Arab and Islamic capitals that called for lifting of the Gaza siege as evidence that Arab people could no longer tolerate the Israel blockade. more
...Divorce, Saudi Style
RIYADH: A Saudi court has rejected a plea to divorce an eight-year-old girl married off by her father to a man who is 58, saying the case should wait until the girl reaches puberty, a lawyer involved with the case said. “The judge has dismissed the plea (filed by the mother) because she does not have the right to file such a case, and ordered that the plea should be filed by the girl herself when she reaches puberty,” lawyer Abdullah Jtili said after a court decision on Saturday. The divorce plea was filed in August by the girl’s divorced mother with a court at Unayzah, 220km north of Riyadh just after the marriage contract was signed by the father and the groom. morefrom today's paper, news you can use
DOHA: The Ministry of Public Health yesterday denied what has been circulating through SMS that a street vendor has been selling perfumes, which, if sniffed could cause death. An official at the Public Health Ministry denied as baseless these rumours, which said 18 persons were killed and another 35 persons were rushed to intensive care units as a result of these perfumes. The official affirmed that such rumours were completely untrue and called on the people not to spread such rumours and messages, which created panic. The Ministry of Public Health urges people to notify the Ministry of Public Health on 5511847 in case of receiving such SMS.
(Last year an SMS mesage circulated about an impending hurricane that caused enough panic among some to have workforces let go - not ours - the same was tried this year but debunked early. An interesting demonstration of the power of SMS.)
and finally, Weather
(from end November):
DOHA: Qatar received scattered rainfall across the country yesterday, and the weatherman has forecast chances of more showers today. The Met department officials termed yesterday’s rains as “scattered but almost all across the country”. The daily weather chart forecast “partly cloudy to cloudy weather with a chance of scattered rain today.” The weather report also forecast relatively cold weather. Early yesterday morning, Doha received light scattered rain. Ruwais, Dukhan, Al Khor, Abu Samra and Mesaieed also witnessed light drizzles. Doha witnessed very light rain in the noon that lasted just a few minutes. The weatherman forecast a maximum temperature of 27 degrees Celsius and minimum of 19 degrees today. The easterly to southeasterly wind is expected to blow at a speed of six to 14 knots inshore and eight to 17 knots offshore. Winds are expected to whip up waves.from Dec. 1
Doha: The Emir H H Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani will take part in the Istiska (rain-seeking) prayers tomorrow morning at the Al Wajba prayers ground. These prayers come in line with the sayings and deeds of the Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him), who performmed Istiska prayers at the time of rainfall delay.
As I recall, the last time this was attempted, hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans ...