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JustHere | April 26, 2015

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School zone safety project to cover 200 schools across Qatar

April 23, 2015 |

Over 200 schools in different areas in Qatar will be included in the school zone safety project being implemented by Ashghal. The project is part of the National Road Safety Strategy headed by H.E. Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser Al Thani.

The development of roads surrounding 19 schools in various areas has been completed and some temporary traffic safety solutions for 11 schools have been carried out awaiting the permanent solutions to be implemented and fully developed. As part of integrated and temporary solutions, the development works of 10 other school zones are currently being implemented.

The 200 schools were selected for the programme based on a study conducted by the Supreme Education Council (SEC) to choose the school zones in urgent need for development. The programme aims at ensuring the safety of students and parents upon their arrival or departure from schools and at easing traffic congestion which is seen next to schools and which exacerbates due to the lack of parking spots and due to lack of sidewalks and footpaths.

The project includes:

  • establishing safe roads in the school zones
  • providing car parks
  • building medians and small roundabouts in order to manage traffic flow in those areas
  • placing signboards and road markings near schools
  • securing a speed limit in the school zones to 30 km/h
  • installing speed bumps
  • constructing pedestrian footpaths

School zone safety is considered as one of the most important parts in the 2013-2022 National Roads Safety Strategy since it aims at protecting children who are the most affected by the traffic hazards.

[Photo courtesy: Julie Lindsay via Flickr]

Traffic diversion on Dukhan highway between the Qatar Academy and Al Wajba roundabouts

April 22, 2015 |

The Public Works Authority, ‘Ashghal’ has announced a traffic diversion on the road stretching from the interchange opposite Al Wajba Palace and Garrafat Al Rayyan roundabout (also known as Qatar Academy roundabout), starting Friday, April 24.

This is part of the second phase of the diversion implemented to give way to construction of the Dukhan Highway East project, part of Ashghal’s vital Expressway Programme, which includes the construction of an approximately 10km dual carriageway consisting of 4 lanes in each direction with service roads and auxiliary roads along sections of the road.

A three-lane alternative road will be provided south of the existing Dukhan Road to ease traffic flow. The diversion will also include the opening of a signal U-turn on the alternative road heading north of the existing Dukhan Road towards the Interchange opposite Al Wajba Palace. This U-turn will ease the traffic flow for vehicles heading to Al Ruwad Street to avoid them having to use Al Wajba Palace Interchange as is shown on the map below.

Ashghal-map-DukhanAs part of Stage 2, Al Rayyan Road will be closed in both directions from Bani Hajer roundabout to Al Wajba roundabout (also known as Qtel roundabout) which has been converted to a signal-controlled intersection. Incoming traffic from the interchange opposite Al Wajba Palace towards the Bani Hajer roundabout must use the alternative route to reach Garrafat Al Rayyan roundabout (also known as Qatar Academy roundabout). Additionally motorists heading from Al Rayyan Road in the direction of Bani Hajer roundabout toward the Bani Hajer residential area should use the alternative road south of Dukhan Road to reach the Garrafat Al Rayyan roundabout, and then they should make a U-turn and return to Bani Hajer roundabout and take a right.

Qatari passport ranks 52 in latest passport power index

April 22, 2015 |

Qatar ranks 52nd in a ‘Passport Index’ launched by global financial advisory firm,  Arton Capital. The ranking is based on points accumulated for each country that the passport holder can travel visa-free.

The Passport Index is the world’s first online interactive tool, which collects, displays and ranks the passports of the world. Visitors of can discover the world’s passports on a map, by country name, by Passport Power Rank and even by the colour of their cover. The country list is based on the 193 UN member countries and 6 territories for a total of 199. The territories annexed to other countries are excluded. For the visa-free count, IATA’s Timaticweb platform and other sources are consulted.

In the GCC, the UAE is ranked in 47th place, with access to 72 countries visa free, Qatar shortly follows in 52nd place, whilst Bahrain and Saudi Arabia are both ranked at 57th in the list by passport power. The USA and UK top are ranked 1st, in tie at second place are ranked France, Germany and South Korea. At the bottom of the list are the passports of Solomon Islands, Myanmar (Burma), South Sudan, Sao Tome and Principe.

HMC encourages public to take precautions amid rising temperatures

April 21, 2015 |

With the rise in temperatures, Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) is urging residents of Qatar to start taking precautions to safeguard themselves against heat-related illnesses (HRI), such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

HRI occurs when a person’s body temperature rises above normal, due to prolonged exposure to heat in soaring temperatures, particularly as a result of high humidity and strenuous physical exercise. Depending on the extent of the illness, which ranges from mild to extreme, an individual may experience symptoms like muscle pain, dizziness, nausea, sweating, light-headedness, and extreme fatigue. The body’s inability to cope with the heat can result in mild HRIs such as heat cramps and episodes of fainting, but can also advance to more severe conditions, such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke, which can be life-threatening if not treated promptly.

Senior Consultant at Hamad General Hospital’s (HGH) Emergency Department (ED), Dr. Saad Al-Nuaimi, “It is highly recommended that people increase their water intake and drink at least two to four cups of water every hour, while working or exercising outdoors, even when they are not thirsty. Individuals can also drink fruit or vegetable juices but should avoid consuming liquids that contain high amounts of sugar.”

Treatment for HRI focuses on cooling the body and rehydrating it through oral or intravenous fluid, Dr. Al-Nuaimi noted. “Such cases are typically seen in late April and early May and the peak incidence is in July and August where, on average, about 300 cases are observed at HGH in a month,” he stated.

Street in Istanbul renamed after ‘Qatar’

April 21, 2015 |

Yes, you heard it right. A street in Istanbul has been renamed the ‘Qatar Street’, and was officially inaugurated by Qatar’s Ambassador to Turkey, Salem bin Mubarak Al Shafi, yesterday.

In a report published by the Qatar News Agency, the Deputy Mayor of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, Ahmed Salamat, said the renaming of the street is “a testament to the deep historical and cultural ties between the two countries”. This move cements the bilateral relations and is in line with the activities and events of the Qatar Turkey Year of Culture.

Formerly called “Istinye Bayiri”, the 3.5km street is situated in the “Sariyer” area on the European side of Istanbul, considered as one of the most beautiful neighbourhoods of the city. However, this is not the first street in Turkey to be named after Qatar. Last year, to mark Qatar’s National Day, another street adjacent to the Presidential Republican Palace in Chanakaya, one of the most prestigious suburbs in Ankara, was renamed after Qatar.

[Photo courtesy: Juanedc via Flickr]

MET: Gradual rise in temperature expected from today until Friday in Qatar

April 21, 2015 |

The country is expected to be affected by gradual rise in temperature starting on Tuesday, April 21, till Friday April 24, by 4-7°c, where the maximum temperature will be between 36-39°c in Doha and higher in the central and western areas.

This is due to extension of the Sudan thermal depression, where the wind direction will be Southeasterly-Southwesterly at light to moderate speed, the Qatar Meteorology Department has said on its website.

However, on Friday evening the country will be affected by a ridge of high pressure extending from north Saudi, associated with fresh to strong wind speed over all areas. The MET has warned sea goers of strong wind speed between 17-27KT, which could reach 37KT at times, and high waves between 6-9/12FT.

This may lead to dusty weather conditions, which will decrease the horizontal visibility to 3KM or less at places. Strong winds will continue till the beginning of next Monday, April 27. However, on Saturday there will be a significant drop in temperature which might reach between 31-33°c.

Over 120 residents in Qatar suffer from rare bleeding disorders

April 20, 2015 |

In recognition of World Hemophilia Day (WHD), Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) recently hosted a two-day event to raise awareness about hemophilia, a group of inherited bleeding disorders.

Dr. Ahmed Abdulaziz, Clinical Pharmacist at Hamad General Hospital stated: “Hemophilia occurs due to defects in the body’s blood vessels or the coagulation mechanism, which is responsible for coagulating (clotting) blood from a liquid into a solid, after surgery or injury.

“An affected individual does not bleed more profusely or faster than other people, however, he bleeds for a longer time. These hemorrhages commonly occur in joints, especially knees, ankles and elbows, and into tissues and muscles.”

He highlighted that a comprehensive care clinic located in HGH provides all required medical services to affected individuals and their families. This includes basic treatment to stop or prevent bleeding, known as the factor replacement therapy that involves injecting the medication into the patient’s bloodstream.

“Presently, over 120 patients with rare bleeding disorders, including children and adults, receive medication (clotting factor) from pharmacies at HGH and the National Center for Cancer Care and Research (NCCCR). Although medication is expensive, dedicated staff from HGH’s Pharmacy and Pediatric Hematology/Oncology services ensures that adequate supply is maintained at all times,” added Dr. Abdulaziz.

[Photo courtesy: Mattia Belletti via Flickr]

International visitor numbers to Qatar grow by 11% in first quarter of 2015

April 20, 2015 |

Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) released its tourism performance summary report for the first quarter of 2015 (January-March) revealing continued growth in Qatar’s burgeoning tourism industry.

Regional and international visitor arrivals totalled 841,025, representing a strong 11% year-on-year increase. In comparison to Q1 2014, arrivals from the Americas grew by 17%, from Europe by 9%, and from Other Asia by 7%. Arrivals from the GCC, Qatar’s largest source market, grew markedly in Q1 2015, increasing by 16% compared to the same quarter of 2014. Arrivals from other Arab and other African nations remained roughly same.

The overall growth from the GCC countries was primarily dominated by an increase in visitor arrivals from Saudi Arabia that grew by 28% in Q1 2015 compared to the same quarter of 2014. The majority of this growth took place in March when visitor arrivals grew by 82% compared to March 2014, with 241,008 Saudi visitors entering Qatar. At the same time, visitor arrivals from Bahrain, Oman, and U.A.E. also grew during the first quarter of 2015, however, by modest rates.

Regarding accommodation sector performance, all segments performed well for the first quarter of 2015, with only 5-star hotels and deluxe apartments reporting occupancy rates slightly below 80%.

Occupancy rates across all hotels reached 82% in Q1 2015, up 8% in comparison to the same period last year. At the same time, average room rates dropped slightly (by 1%), primarily driven by drops in 4-, 2- and 1-Star hotels.

13th UN Crime Congress Concludes in Doha

April 20, 2015 |

The 13th UN Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, which started on 12th Apri1 2015 in the capital of Qatar, concluded yesterday afternoon at Qatar National Convention Centre in Doha.

HE Prime Minister and Minister of Interior of Qatar and President of the 13th UN Crime Congress Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al-Thani announced the closure of the Congress by approving the ‘Doha Declaration’ on the integration of crime prevention and criminal justice in to the broader work of the United Nations agenda to address social and economic challenges and strengthen the rule of law at the national and international levels and public participation.

Delivering the closing remarks, the president of the 13th Congress said that the Congress helped a lot for the exchange of information and experiences for the world that would add to fulfill states’ efforts for crime prevention and criminal justice in order to realize the sustainable development. This congress attained tremendous achievements in calling for the implementation of ‘Doha Declaration’ and the recommendations of the 13th UN Crime congress.

While delivering the closing remarks, the Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Yury Fedotov, said that the event had set a very high bar for the future, and that the key task now was to turn the Congress’s Declaration into action.

Mr. Fedotov noted the congress was the first to have the UN Secretary General, the President of the General Assembly and the President of the Economic and Social Council in attendance. It was also the first, in the 60-year history of crime congresses, to adopt its agenda early, to hold a dynamic youth forum and to pass the congress’s declaration on the congress’s first day.

None of this could have been achieved, he said, without the “wisdom and farsightedness of the Qatari government who have, from the beginning of this long journey, been certain and steadfast about the direction of the congress”.

MDPS launches annual census; seeks cooperation from residents in Qatar

April 19, 2015 |

The Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics (MDPS) has launched the Simplified Census of Population, Housing and Establishments for the year 2015, in collaboration with the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning.

The General Simplified Census of Population, Housing and Establishments 2015 is one of the most significant and vital statistical work conducted by the Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics because of its inclusive nature, as it covers all elements of society; individuals, buildings, and establishment. Moreover, it offers recent data and indicators of interest to decision makers, researchers, and all members of the society. On the occasion, MDPS asks all citizens and residents to continue their cooperation with census-takers and to facilitate the performance of their duties in order to accomplish this important national action, as researchers will continue to visit families at 4:00-8:00 pm. every day until the end of the collection of census data in 31 May.

Citizens and residents can also complete the data of their families electronically through an online form available on the website: until the end of this week. The MDPS has also established a Communication Center that carries out technical review of data included in the household questionnaires; contacts families to make sure of the accuracy of data; develops notes on families data in accordance with quality standards tailored for this purpose; and ensures the accuracy and comprehensiveness of collected data, as well as responds to inquiries and observations of citizens on ( 8000800 ).

Qatar Airways increases frequency to 10 popular holiday destinations throughout network

April 19, 2015 |

Qatar Airways has responded to the continuous rise in passenger demand with an increase in the frequency of weekly flights to 10 of its most popular destinations throughout the Middle East and Europe. The airline, which currently flies to 146 destinations around the globe, will implement the frequency increases over the next few months for a mix of business and leisure destinations.

Commencing May 16, 2015, the airline will permanently increase weekly frequencies to seven destinations within its network. These include Ta’if, Saudi Arabia; Basra, Iraq; Najaf, Iraq; Gassim, Saudi Arabia; Ankara, Turkey; Zagreb, Croatia and Athens, Greece. The airline will also increase the weekly frequency of flights to an additional three destinations during the peak summer period, to meet the increase in demand over the holiday season: Alexandria, Egypt; Salalah, Oman and Larnaca, Cyprus. These additional flights will be seasonal only and the routes will revert back to their regular schedules from September 15, October 4 and October 24 respectively.

The permanent frequency increases will see Ta’if, Zagreb and Ankara begin daily flight services commencing May 16, July 1 and July 3 respectively. Meanwhile, the service to two Iraqi destinations will double from four to eight flights per week with Basra beginning on May 16 and Najaf on June 2, while 10 flights per week will be offered to Gassim as of July 17.

The most significant increase in frequency is the launch of an additional daily service on June 1 to Athens, bringing the number of weekly flights to the popular holiday destination up from 14 to 21 per week.

To help meet the demand of summer holiday travel, Qatar Airways will increase the number of flights per week to another three destinations. Service to Alexandria will increase to 14 flights a week from June 1 to September 15; flights to Larnaca will increase to a daily service from June 3 to October 24; and flights to Salalah will increase to 13 flights per week from July 13 to October 4.

Frequency increases:

Ta’if (Saudi Arabia) 7 flights a week from 4, beginning May 16
Basra (Iraq) 8 flights a week from 4, beginning May 16
Athens (Greece) 21 flights a week from 14, beginning June 1
Najaf (Iraq) 8 flights a week from 4, beginning June 2
Zagreb (Croatia) 7 flights a week from 5, beginning July 1
Ankara (Turkey) 7 flights a week from 6, beginning July 3
Gassim (Saudi Arabia) 10 flights a week from 8, beginning July 17

Seasonal frequency increases:

Alexandria (Egypt) 14 flights a week from 10 flights, from June 1 to September 15
Larnaca (Cyprus) 7 flights a week from 5 flights, from June 3 to October 24
Salalah (Oman) 13 flights a week from 11 flights, from July 13 to October 4


Ashghal starts construction works for development of Phase 1 of Rawdat Rashed to Umm Garn road

April 19, 2015 |

The Public Works Authority ‘Ashghal’ announced that ALCAT Contracting Company has started construction works for phase one of the Rawdat Rashed to Umm Garn Road.

The 33 Km road which is perpendicular to Salwa Road faces a north direction; it also stretches past Rawdat Rashed area to Dukhan Road. The project has been divided into 5 different stages to facilitate the construction and reduce the impact of construction works on residents and visitors of the area.

Phase one is located near Salwa Road facing a north direction and includes the construction of an 8.5 Km dual three-lane carriageway stretching from Salwa Road to a site near the existing entrance of Rawdat Rashed area. This phase is expected to be completed in Q2, 2016.

Phase 2 will include the construction of a 10.4 Km dual three-lane carriageway. The road starts from where phase one ended and stretches all the way to a new roundabout that will link to an existing road in Al Shahaniya, past Rawdat Rashed area. Bin Omran Trading Contracting is responsible for implementing phase two of the project which is expected to be completed in Q2, 2016.

The project aims at providing a safe and developed road network linking Salwa Road to Dukhan Road and easing the traffic flow around the Rawdat Rashed residential area. The additional number of lanes and the right lane designated for heavy vehicles will increase traffic capacity. The project will provide improved street lights to create safer roads and environment for both the travellers and the community.

[Photo courtesy: Ashghal - Rendering of the road upon completion]

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