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Top headlines: Sheikh Mohammed helps teen in Dubai; IMF sees deeper global economic contraction; Emirates brings back the A380

Web Report/Dubai
Filed on June 24, 2020 | Last updated on June 24, 2020 at 06.17 pm

Here are some of the headlines that made news over the last 24 hours.

Sheikh Mohammed steps in to help Dubai teen who needs life-saving transplant

In what came as a timely royal intervention, His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has stepped in to help a 15-year old Indian student who needs life-saving kidney transplant.

A Dubai College student, Pritvik Sinha was battling long-term renal failure and his condition had worsened on May 31 at a time when his father, who is the only potential donor, was stranded in Doha, Qatar due to coronavirus travel restrictions.

Hearing about the plight of the boy, who is the only son of Bhaskar Sinha and Indira Dharchaudhuri, Sheikh Mohammed personallly wrote to Prithvik and assured him that he is in "safe hands".

IMF predicts deeper contraction in global economy, sees $12 trillion loss in 2020-21

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Wednesday revised down its projection for the global and Middle East region yet again, predicting deeper negative growth this year and even slower recovery next year due to the coronavirus pandemic having a bigger impact than anticipated in the first half of 2020.

The Fund projected that global and Middle East and Central Asia (MECA) economies will contract 4.9 per cent and 4.7 per cent, respectively, in 2020, which is 1.9 per cent more than its April forecast for both of them.

Similarly, it projected 5.4 per cent global growth for the next year, 0.4 per cent less than its previous estimate, while MECA region is estimated to grow at 3.3 per cent, 0.7 per cent slower than the April forecast.

Dubai gets Dh10b FDI in the first five months of 2020

Dubai has received Dh10 billion foreign investment in the first five months of 2020, emerging as a bright spot for FDI despite coronavirus impacting the region and the global economy.

Fahad Al Gergawi, CEO of Dubai FDI, said the emirate received 135 foreign investment projects during the January-May period.

The numbers are much smaller when the compared with the first-half figures of last year when the emirate received Dh46.6 billion but still highly encouraging considering global trade and economies are shrinking due to coronavirus.

UAE remains committed to upholding children's rights worldwide

The UAE reiterated its continued commitment to upholding the rights of children around the world and to the framework established by the UN Security Council on children and armed conflict.

In a written statement submitted to the UN Security Council for its annual open debate on children and armed conflict, the UAE stated, "The Covid-19 pandemic is having broad-reaching and long-term impacts on lives and livelihoods. For children living in conflict situations, this adds yet another layer of vulnerability. They already struggle to access health services and coverage for their basic needs, including access to education. The weakening of their social protection systems incentivises child recruitment by armed groups, as well as sexual exploitation."

Emirates brings back A380 to London, Paris

Emirates airline on Wednesday said it will operate world's largest passenger aircraft Airbus A380 on London Heathrow and Paris routes from July 15.   

"The A380 remains a popular aircraft amongst our customers and it offers many unique on-board features. We are looking forward to gradually introduce our A380 into more destinations according to the travel demand on specific destinations," said Adel Al Redha, Emirates' chief operating officer.

Saj Ahmad, chief analyst at London's StrategicAero Research, said that despite the impact of Covid-19, Emirates has seen a sustained increase in traffic to these two key European cities where demand will support the deployment of the A380 and also allow for the airline to reposition its 777-300ERs onto other parts of its network as demand comes back.

Flydubai to resume flights to 24 destinations with Covid-19 safety measures

Dubai-based airline flydubai has announced flights to 24 destinations, initially, after resuming commercial operations from July 7. The airline expects to increase it to 66 destinations during the summer.

Destinations and flight frequencies will continue to be added to the schedule over the summer, a statement issued on Wednesday said.

Hamad Obaidalla, Chief Commercial Officer of flydubai, said: "Flights are available for booking from today and will operate from July 7.  We are initially planning to operate to 24 destinations and we will continuously add destinations and flight frequencies to the network and we expect this to increase to 66 destinations over the course of the summer. This, of course, will be dependent on countries being able to open up and accept international travel.

Sharjah parks ready to welcome visitors

Parks in Sharjah are welcoming visitors once more, according to an update by Sharjah Municipality on Wednesday.

In a tweet posted on its official account, the authority confirmed that all precautionary measures have been taken to ensure public safety.

Indian curriculum school in Dubai to close due to 'Covid-19 impact'

A Gems school in Dubai has told its parents that it will close down at the end of the academic year due to the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

GEMS Heritage Indian School - Dubai which opened four years ago communicated to its parents on June 24, in a letter and a Q&A stating the reasons for its closure as well as assuring its parents that its students will be accommodated in its other sister schools.

Emirates temporarily suspends passenger service from Pakistan

Emirates on Wednesday suspended scheduled passenger services from Pakistan after certain passengers were tested positive for coronavirus.

"Following the announcement of positive Covid-19 cases in Hong Kong relating to certain passengers who travelled on our flights, Emirates has taken the decision to temporarily suspend passenger services from Pakistan, from June 24," the Dubai-based airline's spokesperson said in a statement to Khaleej Times.

However, the Dubai-based carrier said it will continue cargo and repatriation flights to Pakistan as per the announced schedule and is working hard to resume service as soon as possible.

Gold soars to near 8-year high as fears of second virus wave grow

Gold climbed to its highest level in nearly eight years on Wednesday, as safe-haven demand was boosted by worries over a surge in coronavirus infections and hopes of more stimulus measures to combat the economic blow.

Spot gold was up 0.1 per cent at $1,768.50 per ounce as of 0448 GMT after touching $1,773, its highest level since October 2012 in early Asian trade. US gold futures rose 0.2 per cent to $1,785.50.

"The fears of second wave cases, particularly in the US, and also in Latin America, are driving concerns about sustained weakness in the economic recovery and that's certainly supporting safe-haven assets like gold," said ANZ analyst Daniel Hynes.

Australia reports first Covid-19 death in more than a month

Australia reported its first Covid-19 death in more than a month on Wednesday, as concerns about a second wave of infections saw thousands of people queue, sometimes for hours, to be tested for the virus.

A man in his eighties died in Victoria state, where 20 new cases were reported overnight, Victoria Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton told reporters in Melbourne.

Australia has so far escaped a high number of casualties from the new coronavirus, with just over 7,500 infections and 103 deaths, aided by strict lockdown measures and social distancing rules.

Pakistan receives $1 billion loan from World Bank, ADB

Pakistan's foreign exchange reserves increased by $1 billion on Wednesday after it received $500 million each from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the World Bank.

The new funding, which could also help stabilising the falling rupee in the near term, will be used to help fight the coronavirus pandemic and support different economic sectors.

As of June 12, the State Bank of Pakistan, the country's central bank, said foreign currency reserves stood at $10.1 billion, up $11 million from the previous week, while total foreign exchange reserves, which include net reserves held by other banks, totalled $16.77 billion.

Relief for expats as Kerala eases on demand for Covid-free certificates

After drawing criticism for making it mandatory for the Kerala diaspora returning from abroad to possess Covid-negative certificates, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday said the returnees will have to wear PPE kits.

Vijayan said this after chairing a weekly Cabinet meeting. The health certificates for returnees was earlier made mandatory from June 20, but later the date was postponed to June 25.

According to sources, Vijayan has now insisted that it would be the responsibility of the airlines to ensure that all arriving passengers wore PPE kits.

Over 51,000 coronavirus tests conducted at Abu Dhabi airport

A total of 51,100 Covid-19 tests have been conducted at the Abu Dhabi International Airport covering passengers, airline crew members and airport employees since the first week of February.

As passenger operations were suspended, the airport remained open for vital cargo operations, special repatriation flights and facilitating global humanitarian relief efforts.

Mohammed Husain Ahmed, general manager, Abu Dhabi International Airport, said: "Operations at the airport have continued smoothly and efficiently despite the robust precautionary measures in place including social distancing, the mandatory use of personal protective equipment, thermal screening, and nasal swab and polymerase chain reaction testing. These measures were in line with the recommendations and guidelines of the UAE's health and civil aviation authorities and the World Health Organisation."


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