Exciting things to do in Qatar during the weekend (Nov.24–26)

Looking for exciting options this weekend? Doha News has got you covered. Check out our pick of the best things to do in the capital this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Plan your downtime right here.

Date and Venue: November 14–25 at the Fire Station, 9 am onwards

Entry Free

If you care about sustainable development and want to explore alternative, innovative resources, you should plan a trip to the Solar Art Festival. The event offers a wide range of collection of exceptional solar art created by globally-renowned solar artists and Qatar-based students.

Some of the major attractions are Olafur Eliasson’s Little Sun, lamps for use in off-grid communities; Craig Colorusso’s Sun Boxes, a composite of audio speakers and solar panels; Anthony Castronovo and Eleonora Nicoletti’s Solar Shimmer, a kinetic screen that displays vibrance, using discarded plastic and solar energy; Shams Mashrabiya, artworks created by students in a form of living installation.

“The Extraordinary Italian Taste” Festival

Date and Venue: November 20–26 at LuLu Hypermarket, 9 am onwards

Free Entry

If you are fond of Italian cuisine, visit LuLu and indulge in some delectable flavours. The Hypermarket is wooing foodies with rich taste of genuine cuisines. It’s also an opportunity to learn a few Italian recipes. Apart from offering mouth-watering delights, the festival will have in-store promotions and live demonstrations by Italian chefs to encourage awareness around food products.

The customers can buy freshly-made pizzas, pastas, lasagna, tiramisu and many other Italian delicacies. The lucky ones stand to win exciting air tickets and holidays.

Mangrove Kayaking and Flamingo Watch

Date and Venue: November 24 (8am) Nov. 25 (9am) at Al Thakira

Don’t miss mangrove kayaking, flamingo watching and swimming at this event. Tides and wind conditions are near-perfect. Come with friends and family to share the experience.

You can book your visit at discoverarabia.rezdy.comorwhatsapp +974 5001 3246 / 3023 3207 for more details.

Motorbike Track Day

Date and Venue: November 25 at the Losail international Circuit, 1 pm onwards.

Entry: paid (as per session and vehicle)

Doha has a vibrant motorbike racing scene. The sport can be one of the most moving experiences of your life, both as a spectator and racer. Get swept away in the excitement by being a part of the “Motorbike Track Day” event. You will feel true freedom and experience a sense of community. It will also show you how good you are at dealing with nerves and how you respond to the pressure of competition.

For more details you can visit-https://www.circuitlosail.com/track-days

Qatar’s Strongest Man

Date and Venue: November 24–25 at the Aspire Park, 5 pm onwards.

Entry free (registration fee: 100QR)

The Aspire Park is once again hosting the “Qatar’s Strongest Man” competition. If you are a weightlifting fanatic or enthusiast, you should not miss this opportunity to witness the magic of muscle, speed and endurance. Watch them test their mental and physical fortitude and get inspired. The two-day event will have the Open competitions for the community on Friday, 24th November and the Qatari-only competitions on Saturday, 25th November.

For more details visit- http://crm.aspirezone.qa/Registrations/RegistrationPage.aspx?event=GqtIDv68AUPHX…

We may also look at the weekends with a different perspective. It is equally, if not more, rewarding and gratifying.

Help someone in need. There are always going to be those around you who may not be as privileged as you are. There is a good feeling attached to giving. Some psychologists call it ‘helper’s high’.

Take time out to make a visit to the local fire or police station and let them know how incredible they are. A simple gesture can really mean a lot to the men and women who serve us on a daily basis.

Write to someone you haven’t met in a long time. Most of us no longer use paper and pen, but there’s something magical about it. Write to them and show them you haven’t forgotten

Taking a free online class can be both interesting and enlightening. You can learn new things. There are plenty of free online classes you could take to improve your skills in a certain area. You can do a household maintenance walk-through. See what needs repairing.

Start a blog on a topic that interests you. Pen you feelings. Writing can really calm you down and relieve you of pent-up emotions. Try a basic meditation technique. It’s a great stress-buster and proven solver of many problems in life.

Enjoy!

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Kashmir Solidarity Day celebrated in Qatar

The Pakistan embassy on Sunday hosted a gathering in Doha to express solidarity with the people of Kashmir. During his speech, the Pakistani ambassador, Shahzad Ahmad, said that the Government of Pakistan has declared an additional ‘Kashmir Solidarity Day’ keeping in mind the disturbing situation in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent.

The ambassador implored the international community to step forward and help the Kashmiris in their struggle for self-determination. He also urged the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission to send fact-finding missions. It was predictable and laced with a large serving of vitriol.

By raising the issue, Pakistan has once again blatantly disregarded its pledge to the 1972 Simla Agreement. Signed by the Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and then-Pakistan President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the two countries contracted that Kashmir is a bilateral issue that has to be resolved without third party involvement.

Dwindling international support and a losing battle

Pakistan’s Kashmir bogey has hardly left any impression in the Gulf or the West. The Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) has in the past issued statements denouncing the bloodshed in Kashmir, much of it triggered by terrorists reportedly supported and trained by Pakistan. The Gulf States have not issued any announcement so far validating Pakistan’s stand on Kashmir, which indicates an erosion of global support, if not a rebuff. Even North Africa, a Muslim majority region, hasn’t come out in Islamabad’s defence.

While Pakistan’s customary allies have, expectedly, maintained their official line, the capitals in the West haven’t shown much interest and have exercised restraint despite several briefings by Pakistan foreign ministry in the recent past. What they have been unable to overlook is the fact that Pakistan protected Osama Bin Laden until he was eliminated by the US and the country still harbours UN-designated terrorists, like Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, who roams freely on its soil with its tacit support.

In the current scenario, Pakistan is largely perceived as part of the problem, which is a sign of its failure to sell its outlook on Kashmir to the global community. India, on the other hand, has mostly succeeded in shrugging off the impact of its own faults against the Kashmiris and has managed to expose Pakistan as the culprit.

Kashmiris continue to pay a heavy price

Since the uprising that started in the Valley in 1989-90, Pakistani authorities continue to hold the position that they only provide moral and political support to the freedom fighters for the liberation of their homeland from India, while India maintains that Pakistan is accountable and fuels the insurgents and their terrorist activities. It also alleges that Pakistani army personnel are involved with the uprising. The violence has killed close to 50, 000 people, which does not include people who have gone missing due to the turmoil. Some human rights groups put the death toll at twice that number.

Reports from Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the International Commission of Jurists have recognized Indian reports of organized human rights breaches by militants, ranging from kidnapping to ethnic cleansing of several hundred thousand Hindu Kashmiri Pandits.

A 2010 US state department report held insurgents in Kashmir and other parts of the country liable of committing grave cruelty, including the killing of Indian security personnel and civilians, and of engaging in extensive persecution, rape, beheadings, kidnapping, and extortion.

Pakistan needs to restructure and tidy up its policy on Kashmir. Considering the deeply embedded antagonism on both sides, it will not be easy for a solution to emerge, but India and Pakistan need to seize every given opportunity to come up with a revamped policy that is aligned with today’s realities. Alleviation of the anguish of the Kashmiris ought to be the collective concern.

Riyadh Summit

Qatar has formally been invited to attend this year’s Arab League summit, set to be held in Riyadh on April 15. Saudi Arabia had earlier postponed the summit to April, saying the original date in late March clashed with Egypt’s presidential election. According to Lulwa al-Khater, a spokesperson for Qatar’s foreign ministry, Qatar will take part but has yet to decide on the level of participation.

Maybe, just maybe, the upcoming summit could lead to the thawing of the bitter relationship between Qatar and the Arab bloc, although going by the attitude of Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman, who categorically pointed out earlier in March that he would not tolerate outside mediation in the resolution to the Gulf crisis, the possibilities are remote.

But going by the historical role the League has played, there may be some hope of at least a start of reconciliation.

After all, the League’s prime objective is to draw closer the relations between member States and co-ordinate collaboration between them, to safeguard their independence and sovereignty, and to consider in a general way the affairs and interests of the Arab countries. It facilitates political, economic, cultural, scientific, and social programmes designed to promote the interests of the Arab world.

In the past, it has served as a forum for the member states to coordinate their policy positions, to deliberate on matters of common concern, to settle some Arab disputes and to limit conflicts such as the 1958 Lebanon crisis.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates imposed a sea, land and air blockade on Qatar on June 5, 2017, accusing it of supporting terrorism and destabilising the region. Doha has consistently denied these charges.

Starting with only six members in 1945, the Arab League now has 22 members. Qatar joined in 1971. One of the significant agendas will be to seek to prevent Israel from gaining a rotating seat on the U.N. Security Council in 2019.

 

Qatar is not diversifying its economy because it is, unlike its Gulf neighbours, running out of its oil and gas reserves any time soon. They have the third largest gas reserves in the world, following Russia and Iran, with an estimated 872 trillion cubic feet – the equivalent of 188 billion barrels of oil. At the current production rate, it is estimated these reserves will last for approximately 156 years.

The country is branching out because there is more to Qatar than oil and gas. The country has embarked on a wide-ranging investment programme to enhance the economic diversity ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The programme includes investing oil and gas revenues into major infrastructure projects, industrial manufacturing and to strengthen and develop financial and government services. The diversification also includes the transportation services and the tourism sector. The investment aims to diversify national revenue sources, rebalancing Qatar’s economy to focus on knowledge sectors that is in line with Qatar’s National Vision 2030.

The inaugural Qatar Self Sufficiency Exhibition 2018, which just concluded in Doha (April 1-3), was one such impactful declaration outlining the country’s expansion plan. The expo provided the perfect platform to showcase latest production lines for food, healthcare, industrial and environmental sectors. Apart from local manufacturers, the trade fair caught the fancy of exhibitors from Kuwait, Lebanon, UK, Turkey, Spain, USA, France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Iran, China and more, who congregated at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre to network and share ideas for growth and development. Deals worth QR 15 Million were signed.

Abdulrahman Saleh Al Obaidly, Chairman of HiSky for Tourism and Exhibitions, the organisers of the exhibition, said that the idea stems from the vision of the Emir to broaden the economic horizons and focus on the significance of self-sufficiency.

It is expected that post 2022, Qatar will maintain a new chapter of economic progress focused on knowledge sectors and developing international expertise and talent.

Embargo a boon in disguise?

It’s been nearly a year since the Saudi Arabia-led blockade came into effect. If the idea was to stifle Qatar’s progressive stride, it has failed miserably. What it has done instead is it has stimulated the tiny nation into becoming more resolute and self-reliant. It triggered the emergence of a new Qatar.

While it was tough going initially, the siege finally drove Qatar to focus on turning hardships into privilege and freedom. There has been an explosion of developmental activities in all sectors of the economy. It is rapidly achieving food security with new-fangled urgency after the blockading countries severed supply routes. The predicament inspired Qatari farm owners to expand farmlands and amplify food and fodder productions with government support. Thousands of Jersey cows have been flown down from Australia to boost milk production and make Qatar self-reliant in dairy products.

As per a ministry report, Qatar’s poultry sector has seen a production surge from 40 to 80 percent since blockade took effect. It is also becoming self-sufficient in fresh meat by producing 100 percent of its requirements by 2018 end. The country has doubled its livestock and increasing fish yield with the start of fishing projects in its territorial waters.

Qatar has been continuously intensifying and deepening its trade relationship with a number of friendly nations. Metro and light railway networks and FIFA World Cup-related ventures are progressing advancing unimpeded. Qatar’s economy is predicted to remain one of the fastest growing in the region with a projected 3.4 growth in 2018.

Diversification will boost employment opportunities

Given the limited local population and the workforce in Qatar, the additional employment opportunities generated during the process of economic diversification will benefit locals as well as expatriates from around the world.

There was a reported decrease in job advertisements in Qatar at an average rate of 20% per month in the initial phase due to the blockade. However, the changing dynamics and the growing thrust on economic diversification through the setting up of new industries with the injection of foreign investments promises a robust market for people looking to make a living in the world’s richest country.

Although the Qatar government is already involved in reforming the labour laws, it must now also consider making it favourable enough to attract employees from various nationalities to fulfil its future workforce demands that is expected to continue to rise.